Well the fiscal update has come and went and the news on the Calgary-Glenmore seems to be in silence mode. The blog days of summer are back. Still I find myself yearning for the answers on what is in a label. E.S. had a great piece written on conservatives and the label which brands it, hopefully he will finish one day. I also wonder on the liberal side as well. Have the labels, and the respective parties attached to them shifted dramatically or has the provincial way of thinking slipped to a more "liberal" or left way of thinking?
Voters base their vote on what their party stands for, for example the P.C., WRA, Socred are all claiming to be conservative, yet in actuality they are all far from the representing same principles. Fiscal conservatism is a political phrase term used in North America to describe a fiscal policy that advocates a reduction in overall government spending. Fiscal conservatives often consider deficit and debt reduction, as well as balancing the budget of paramount importance. Free trade, deregulation of the economy, lower taxes, and other economically conservative or neoliberal policies are also often affiliated with fiscal conservatism.
"Liberalism holds that the only legitimate form of government is one that respects the liberty of its citizens, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law. Theories in support of economic liberalism were developed in the Enlightenment, and believed to be first fully formulated by Adam Smith which advocates minimal interference by government in a market economy, though it does not necessarily oppose the state's provision of a few basic public goods." How many of you knew this was the term?
Libertarianism is a term adopted by a broad spectrum of political philosophies which advocate the maximization of individual liberty and the minimization or even abolition of the state. Libertarians embrace viewpoints across that spectrum, ranging from pro-property to anti-property, from minarchist to openly anarchist. These are of course not what I have seen from Albertans that claim to be Libertarian. I would have to say here we are libertarian lite.
These only begin to touch on the various mixing of each label people have these days, which is why I believe a political label can confuse even the best of political minds. I have always considered myself to be a conservative, yet I go by Adam Smith and the invisible hand theory which is considered to be liberal. I would have to say almost every conservative I know believes in the open market, letting the market place set the prices and corrections needed. How very liberal of them indeed.
So in essence if you vote for the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, is it fair to say they would not be considered fiscal conservatives by definition? Is the Wildrose Party of Alberta conservative, I have talked to many in the higher end and party members that agree with the Adam Smith principles. How about the Alberta Liberal Party, they have criticized the PC's for the mismanagement of the budget and for running a deficit. This is a conservative way of thinking, what exactly is going on here?
In the end does the labels of the past apply to the parties of today, or does a party simply embrace a label whether it truly stands for it or not? From a personal perspective I believe that each party will posture themselves to what their interpretation of what the voters want, which is why you see today's ALP swinging right to try and garner more of the "conservative vote".
What does it take to win an election in Alberta? Does anyone read policies? Do we vote on the political branding? Do we only change when we are totally pissed off with the current government, or do we just give up and not bother to vote? Looking at past governments in Alberta before the PC dynasty when change came in it was not foreseen by the governing party. Alberta is unique in the fact most of the 26 Albertan general elections held as of 2006 have resulted in overwhelming majorities for the governing party, a trend unseen in any other province in Canada. No minority government has ever been elected in Alberta, nor has any minority ever been brought about due to by-elections or floor crossing.
All said and done this does not mean the PC party should have a false sense of security. Just because the past has not seen these changes happen, they easily could. The by-election will have a new MLA, and the party may have the momentum and will to form a new government. I have been told numerous times by PC MLA's it takes money to win elections, and I wonder if another party has the funds there, could the change come? Either way if the current government is forced back in line it is just as much a win, providing members truly just want good government. A strong opposition party is needed in any government to keep things in check. I believe the WRA is the best choice for government or at a minimum official opposition.
One of my favorite quotes as of late happens to be by Danielle Smith "It’s not the members who have left the P.C. party, it’s the P.C. party that has left its members." This is something they need to address if they want to carry on.
Note: These are the definitions for the labels I have found on the Internet, since no one could pinpoint on labels, I have chosen to go with these. Give your thoughts.
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