Don’t it make my brown eyes blue

I’ve been thinking about jumping on the bandwagon and signing up for an Alberta Tory membership. Everybody’s doing it. If you belong to a union, the first one is even free. From the left, from the right, Alberta Alliance, First Nations, pack up the babies and grab the old ladies. We all know that it’s the only vote that really counts in this province. The new leader of the Alberta Tories is the next premier, and will have a strong chance to set the agenda for the next decade or so. I’d like to have a say in who that is, for as distasteful as the good choices are, the bad are positively horrid.

Alberta CrestSome critics within the party have expressed the view that people who don’t actually, you know, support the Tories in general elections should not be voting for the party leader. I say, if they want to make rules to that effect, go ahead. Even a simple oath of support in the membership application would be enough to turn me off. When the Tories implement reforms to make my vote in general elections count (read: proportional representation), I’ll be delighted to sow my democratic oats that way instead. Until then, it’s open season.


But what are the drawbacks of jumping into the blue? Well, for reasons I won’t get into here, I was for some time on the calling list of the Conservative Party of Canada, and I did not particularly enjoy the dinnertime solicitations for support. It requires a lot of effort to maintain civility when being asked to contribute to a party that you have to work to refrain from despising utterly. Though I did get a chance for some supercilious smirking after being yelled at by a telemarketer who thought I had just hung up on him, when in reality someone had just picked up the extension. Oh, those angry, angry Tories.

There is also the concern that those $5 memberships will help inflate Tory coffers. I’ll assume that giving $20 to the provincial Liberals or NDP would offset that.

My chief concern is really whether everyone joining the Tories legitimizes our effective one-party state. We’re not far from the point where we can dicuss the Alberta PCs and omit which party we are actually talking about. “Jim’s dad is a party member.” That should bring up some unfavourable associations, which may be a good thing. The dialogue being created by this rush into the big blue tent is increasing awareness that the provincial general elections are mostly meaningless. Perhaps this dialogue and awareness will spark a movement to change that.

~Gnomes

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5 Comments

  1. Gnomes said,

    Thursday, 12 October 2006 at 2:36 pm

    The CBC has an interesting discussion of the ethics of large groups joining the Tories en masse by U of A political scientist and media star Steve Patten, though the article isn’t nearly as scandalous as its title makes it sound.

    Bloc voting for Alberta Tory leader threatens grassroots power: expert

  2. Jan Johnstone said,

    Thursday, 12 October 2006 at 4:38 pm

    It’s like making a conscienious decision to going over to the dark side.

  3. Quietbeatle said,

    Thursday, 12 October 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Apparently the memberships expire on December 31st, 2006 making any betrayal in your personal politics a tiny blip on the radar. Or even better after the vote you could join the mass membership burning I’m planning at the Legislature grounds.

  4. Gnomes said,

    Thursday, 12 October 2006 at 5:48 pm

    It’s like making a conscienious decision to going over to the dark side.

    I wouldn’t put it that way; it makes it sound like more fun than it really will be.

    Apparently the memberships expire on December 31st, 2006 making any betrayal in your personal politics a tiny blip on the radar. Or even better after the vote you could join the mass membership burning I’m planning at the Legislature grounds.

    That sort of thing does sound like it has promise.

  5. Manatee said,

    Tuesday, 24 October 2006 at 11:45 pm

    “My chief concern is really whether everyone joining the Tories legitimizes our effective one-party state.”

    My reason for not joining to try and steer the results to something that won’t lead to my immediate migration is along these lines, but I’d word it a little differently. By joining or convincing large numbers of semi-political union members that they can influence change through joining the PC’s delegitimizes other forms of political expression. Too many voters will become content accepting the lesser of evils.

    That said, if TM is leading after the first ballot I will join to vote in the second. Gotta laugh at these PC leadership rules.


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