Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WildRose Revisited

The other day I wrote a post about the Wildrose Party's retraction of its definitive equal rights clause that covered almost every conceivable individual. Although leader Danielle Smith had enthused the day before about its inclusiveness, when party delegates voted it down, she quickly changed her tune, saying that the more generic substitute was better.

In this morning's Globe, Gary Mason offers his own view on what many see as a regressive step for Wildrose, and what he calls yet another 'bozo eruption.":
The change was important for a political institution that is still viewed suspiciously in some quarters. It is widely accepted that it lost the past provincial election when an old blog post written by one of its candidates was unearthed in the dying days of the campaign. In it, Allan Hunsperger condemned gays and lesbians to an “eternal lake of fire.” Ms. Smith lamented the “bozo eruption,” and pledged that the party would do a better job in future of weeding out those with bigoted and narrow-minded attitudes.
The policy alteration was designed to do just that:
Last year’s recommended alteration to its human rights policy was designed, in part, to show Albertans that Wildrose is as inclusive as any party in Canada. It was hoped the change would dispel any notion it is not ready to govern an increasingly multiethnic and socially liberal society.
The failure of the party is egregious in this regard, and is reflected in its recent loss in the four by-elections last month, which saw all taken by the newly-revived Conservatives under Jim Prentice.
Suddenly, Wildrose looks lost and uncertain. At the convention Ms. Smith blamed the media for many of the party’s woes, accusing news organizations of perverting or ignoring positive stories to instead perpetuate the image of a negative and angry political brand. This takes gall, considering that for much of Ms. Redford’s two-year tenure, the media focused almost entirely on the former premier’s near-constant travails. Wildrose was served up daily opportunities to take vicious, but legitimate, swipes at its main rivals.
Surely, part of the blame must be put on Danielle Smith, who after those losses urged a leadership review that was rejected by the party.

Gary Mason ends his piece with this ominous observation:
The decision to reject overwhelmingly a human rights policy change that would have made the party look decidedly more modern and inviting does nothing to help its cause. At one time, Wildrose seemed close to governing Alberta. Now it could not seem further away from power.
The lesson for the Alberta electorate, I suppose, is clear. No one should be surprised that when these 'bozos' remove their 'public face,' the same faces peer back at them in the mirror.

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