Back in 2012, many people were getting ready for the end of the world, on account of the Mayan calendar reaching its end in December of that year. A friend of mine and I were joking that it wouldn’t be the end of the world, merely the end of the world as we knew it, for nothing would be the same – what used to be up, would be down, and what used to be down, would be up. I guess we were not that far off the mark.
In all the recent analyses on Brexit and Trump, one tends to overlook the first example of this new global trend of popular uprisings: Alberta.
Alberta used to be governed (or ruled) by the Progressive Conservatives (PC) for four decades. No matter what the issues were, no matter who the candidates were, the PCs would always win, and by substantial margins.
Nothing exemplified the rule by elites more than the Alberta dynasty of PC. But it all came crashing down in the 2015 election. The New Democrats (NDP) won the election and the PCs were reduced to a rump.
Albertans, who have always been and continue to be extremely conservative, voted for the NDP not because they were suddenly reborn as lefties, but because they wanted to stick it to “the man”, the establishment or elites. Four decades of unopposed rule and corruption had been more than enough.
And when we’re talking about the fight against elites, as we have been doing on the subject of Brexit and Trumpism, there is no example that is more textbook than the 2015 election in Alberta. Not in Europe, not in America, had there ever been a more powerful, and more corrupt, elite than the PC dynasty of Alberta.
Alison Redford, for example, one of the last PC premiers of Alberta, will forever be remembered as the most corrupt and most devious of them all – it was not for nothing that Ms. Redford wanted to build herself her very own personal “palace in the sky” at taxpayers’ expense, a project that was aborted thanks to her being ousted.
The pro-PC elite did play very dirty, and they didn’t even care if the public caught on or not. One of the Calgary Herald’s editors, Naomi Lakritz, for example, gleefully announced on Twitter during the 2012 election campaign that she was going to be on a radio show to denounce the PC’s opponents, the Wildrose Party, and even outright lie about their policies. Ms. Lakritz’s son worked in the premier’s office at the time, so she felt it necessary to discredit the opposition at all cost – even if it meant telling blatant lies.
Less than 24 hours before the polls closed in the 2012 election, a group of pro-PC business people in Calgary placed a full-page ad in the newspapers, in full violation of election laws. They had failed to register as an interest group, which was a requirement under the laws then, and when this was pointed out to them, such as through social media, they responded with foul language and essentially said that they, as members of the elite, were above the law.
You may wonder why it wasn’t the Wildrose Party, ideologically closer to what the majority of Albertans believe in, that won the 2015 election, and the answer is quite straightforward: being a party of former PCs, they were considered too close to the elite and establishment, whereas the NDP had never been anywhere near the levers of power.
Don’t take my word for it. It was none other than Wildrose leader Danielle Smith who sealed her party’s fate and confirmed people’s worst suspicions when she took a good chunk of her party and crossed the floor to sit with the governing PCs. The prodigal sons and daughters had returned home to the PC elite.
Albertans felt a burning desire for change. They wanted not only change, but a revolution. They wanted the PCs tarred and feathered and driven out of town. With the Wildrose Party having taken itself out of the equation, this left only one option for those who were serious about hanging all the PC elitists from the gallows: the NDP.
In this ongoing revolution by ordinary folks, Albertans were clearly the first to pull it off, and that a left-leaning party profited from it was nothing but coincidence (and due to a serious lack of options).
In America, too, the left could have easily become the beneficiary if the Democrats had put up Bernie Sanders, rather than the corrupt elitist Hillary Clinton. Recent analyses have shown that Mr. Sanders would have been Americans’ first choice, followed by Donald Trump, and Mrs. Clinton coming in a distant third. But once the Democrats had eliminated Mr. Sanders – and, yes, the Democratic primary process was rigged in Mrs. Clinton’s favour from day one – Mr. Trump moved to first place and, obviously, carried the day.
Thus, Democrats have no one and nothing else to blame but themselves – Mrs. Clinton did not lose because of sexism, nor did Mr. Trump win because so many Americans are allegedly racists. No, the election produced the result it did because the Democrats had decided that Americans were not allowed to vote for Mr. Sanders.
By the same token, if Ms. Smith in Alberta hadn’t been impatient and decided that she couldn’t wait any longer to move up the chain of government power, she’d be premier today. But when she and most of the Wildrose MLAs (members of the Legislative Assembly) became traitors to the Official Opposition, and gave the middle finger to all those who had voted for them in 2012, as well as to democracy as such, it was the end not only of her party, but of the PC dynasty as well.
For that was the moment when Albertans said to themselves that they needed to toss those bastards out, even if it meant electing a left-wing party for the first time in Alberta’s history.
It’s simple, really: when you’re hungry or have a craving, you make an omelette with the number of eggs and ingredients that are readily available to you. This is why Mr. Trump won, because he was the ingredient of the day, and this is why UKIP won the Brexit referendum in Britain earlier this year. And this is also why, the Front National in France stands more than a good chance of winning the 2017 election in France.