COLUMN: Election should be about a way forward not breaking the mould

Premier Jason Kenney. Photo: Larry Wong

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We are two and a half months out from the next federal election and all anyone can talk about is what will happen in the aftermath.

More specifically, the likelihood of growing Western alienation and positive vibes towards Alberta separating from the rest of Canada if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party gains another mandate.

In a video posted to social media on Saturday, Alberta Premiere Jason Kenney said “Rather than focusing on Alberta separating from the Canadian federation, I’d like to focus on separating Justin Trudeau from the Prime Minister’s Office.”

Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt amounted this to twisting the knife of separation to the tune of either he goes or we go.

“Kenney did not create this fire around separation, but I think he is stoking it by saying, ‘I’m not a separatist, but if I don’t get my way the only other alternative is separation,’” he told Postmedia.

This is in contrast, sort of, to comments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on an Economist magazine podcast called “The Intelligence,” on July 31.

“I think in certain extents this is going to be a polarized election in terms of some of the rhetoric that flies around, but I’m actually counting on and going to work very, very hard to make sure that Canadians themselves aren’t overly polarized.

“I’m not going to be looking for wedge issues. I’m not going to be looking for ways to play off one region against another for immediate gain. I don’t want this election to be polarized.

“I’m going to make sharp contrasts with the policy positions of my opponents, but I’m not going to go around insulting voters who won’t vote for me.

“My job is to try and bring people together in a way that recognizes the challenges we’re facing and reassures them.”

So does this mean Trudeau and the Liberal party are going to stop doing everything they have been doing for the last three months since the SNC-Lavalin scandal?

They have not even kept to issues within Canadian borders to create wedge issues, cherry picking abortion votes in the U.S. to super impose intent on the CPC platform that does not exist.

Or one could look at the division created by the battle over resources and pipelines, shipping of said resources and carbon taxation.

There is also the guilt by association movement where by there being some extremists on the far-right who are despicably intolerant or racist, there is a push to paint any and all conservatives with the same brush. Reality is this could not be further from the truth.

To be fair there are certain politicians on the right who hurt their own cause in this regard and the populist movements of U.S. and other foreign governments further encourage these comparisons.

The Liberals have been all-to eager to pounce with a mantra that they and only they are beholden to the truth and righteousness on all matters. Forgetting this control of opinion and direction helped land them in the toilet in the polls with SNC-Lavalin. On May 3, a CBC poll had the CPC with a commanding 36.9 per cent to 29. 6 per cent lead in the polls, that lead has shrunk to 34.5 per cent to 31.9 per cent.

The separatist movement has consistently grown in Alberta for the last year and unfortunately will only get louder if the Liberals are re-elected. If Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer wants to make the move from Stornoway to 24 Sussex Drive, I am hoping the bar is not lowered too far, and actually filters the extremists out of the big tent.

Trudeau is also well aware of how important maintaining his foothold in Quebec is to holding on to power. Without debating Trudeau’s political intelligence and inexperience, there is plenty of savvy within the party. They know the best road to keeping control of the house is paved in poutine, regardless of their well-coiffed leader’s pledge.

This is all setting the table for what is sure to be an ugly fight for power, though I am not sure there is a scenario where Canada wins.

 

jaldrich@postmedia.com

twitter.com/joshaldrich03

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