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Alberta Diary: The Stephen Harper model for Wildrose power: promise free votes and deliver the Borg Hive

Singing along: What we were promised by the Reform-Conservative platform. Below: What we got.

Alberta’s Wildrose Party blossomed at the edges of the same muddy spring whence sprang the federal Reform Party of Preston Manning and Stephen Harper.

As is well known, the Reform Party went on to engineer the hostile takeover in 2003 of the old Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, after renaming but not successfully re-branding itself as the Canadian Alliance.

By this mechanism the Reform Party evolved over a short time from a populist Prairie uprising into the most autocratic and secretive government in Canadian history, including

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Song of the Watermelon: Rick Salutin on Democracy, Parties, and Electoral Reform

“Democracy,” as Winston Churchill famously stated, “is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Somewhat less famously, he also remarked that “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

Notwithstanding this somewhat anemic endorsement, those who live under democracy tend to quite like it. We often devote ourselves to attempts at strengthening the people’s rule. A recent effort in this vein comes courtesy of columnist Rick Salutin and his series on democratic renewal for the Toronto Star.

Salutin, in the second

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atypicalalbertan: Will recall remain a priority for a Wildrose government?

Democratic reform is a popular part of opposition party platforms, especially for populist parties who are trying to toss out a long standing party in power that is seen to have accountability issues. And so it goes for the 2012 Alberta general election. The Wildrose party is attempting to push aside the Progressive Conservatives whom have governed this province for over 41 years.

The Wildrose is sending the message that 40 years is enough and advancing rhetoric like, “The politics of entitlement and corruption must be replaced by a culture of accountability where doing what’s right is the rule, (Read more…)