Thursday, August 31, 2006

So long, Ralph

...and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Thursday was Premier Ralph Klein's last day in the Alberta legislature. It's about time. Hopefully, someone will have sense enough to present term-limit legislation so we don't get stuck with a dinsoaur again for years on end.

There's an upside and a downside to his resignation, however. The upside is that the provincial political scene will now change - at least there'll be a new leader of the Conservative party. That is the downside too. Voters who may have moved away from the PCs might now reach back to the party with the hope that they might actually become more progressive and responsive and that could definitely take the wind out of the sails of the left-wing opposition parties which made gains during the last election.

No matter who wins the party's leadership, there will be promises of a new direction that will most likely sell well with the majority of Albertans, despite the fact that the candidates are all staunch Conservatives who enthusiastically embraced Ralph's policies to begin with. New face - same old agenda. Conservatives are not exactly known for reinventing the wheel. In fact, that flies in the face of conservativism as we know it - especially in Alberta.

So, it's going to take everything and then more for the left to add to the gains it's made in this province. There is hope in the form of a massive influx of new people who've come here from other provinces to find jobs in the oil patch. The only question to ponder is if they've brought their politics with them since most parts of the country actually encourage a change in government when they vote - unlike too many Albertans who have dug their boots into the status quo so much the past thirty years that they're stuck in the mud they've placed themselves in and think twiddling their thumbs instead of trying to get out is some sort of political strategy.

It's time for a change. It's been time for a change for a very long time. So, see you later, Ralph. This Albertan won't miss you. That's for damn sure.

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