I’m monitoring the exciting election in Alberta between radical leftist Alison Redford and moderate conservative/libertarian Danielle Smith. The Progressive Conservative party has been dominating the province for years, but their new leader Alison Redford is a liberal extremist on social policy and fiscal policy.
In a list of party principles approved at the Wildrose annual general meeting last year, members voted in a clause that reads: “Wildrose members believe the Government of Alberta should…implement legislation protecting the ‘conscience rights’ of health-care professionals.” Ms. Smith also told the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association that “Wildrose will ensure conscience rights for marriage commissioners and health professionals,” according to a summary of candidate positions published by the association in August, 2011.
Ms. Redford, who opposes the notion of conscience rights, eagerly responded to a reporter when asked about it Wednesday, hoping it will cast the Wildrose as a hard-right party and win back supporters.
“I was very frightened to hear the discussion today.… I certainly respect people’s personal beliefs, but I believe in a province where we have to treat individuals with dignity and respect. We have to live in a community where we respect diversity and we understand that everyone feels safe and included,” Ms. Redford said.
She said doctors would be expected to prescribe birth control and perform abortions, regardless of personal beliefs, to ensure that “all of the unique families in this province have the opportunity to know that when they’re accessing services, they can trust those services can be provided. And when they take on professional responsibilities, I expect them to be able to meet those professional responsibilities. I think it’s a critical discussion in this election.”
[...]The Wildrose says conscience rights cases will be among those heard by justices in a new Human Rights Division of the Alberta provincial court. Anyone filing a complaint and needing legal aid will be referred to a roster of “human rights advocates.”
These advocates will have specialized training in human rights law and be in good standing with the Law Society of Alberta. The division will be funded with money currently used for the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which Wildrose plans to scrap.
Danielle Smith’s view is a moderate view – it’s more moderate than Redford’s leftist view.
On fiscal issues, Danielle Smith has proposed returning some of the money from budget surpluses to taxpayers, but the leftist Alison Redford opposes that.
Take a look at this column.
[...]…Alison Redford wondered whether or not Albertans could be trusted to spend such bonuses wisely.
Redford and the tut-tutting experts reveal one thing with their criticisms: They believe all money belongs to governments and you and I should be grateful for whatever crumbs we are permitted to keep. If you cannot demonstrate you have a higher purpose for the money you earn than the schemes proposed by politicians, bureaucrats and academics, then you have no right to complain if government taxes away giant gobs of your income to spend on the “public good.”
On the other hand, the proposal by Smith to send each Albertan a cheque whenever the provincial budget is in surplus is an indication that Wildrose believes what you earn is yours and government should tax away only as much as is necessary to fund essential services. If a government finds itself with more money on its hands than it needs to cover the spending it budgeted for in a given year, it should be obliged to return the overage to taxpayers rather than rub its hands with glee and look for new ways to spend.
Again, Danielle’s view is a moderate view – it only returns money to taxpayers if there is a surplus. Redford, on the other hand, has been spending like a drunken sailor since she took office, and most Albertans I know think that tax increases are just around the corner.
The latest poll shows the Wildrose with a 13-point lead over the Alison Redford’s leftist Progressive Conservative party.
Wildrose: 43% (+10)
PC: 30% (-6)
Danielle Smith: 56% approve, 32% disapprove (57-30 in Calgary, 50-42 in Edmonton)
Alison Redford: 48% approve, 43% disapprove (45-45 in Calgary, 45-43 in Edmonton)
You can watch an interview about the election here.