EDITORIAL: Alberta surprise

Relationships between the new Alberta government and the B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP might be interesting

Ring-ring. Ring-ring.

Reception desk in Hades: Hello? This is Hell, how can’t I help you?

Caller: I was wondering what day and time you are hosting the snowball fight?

Hades: Huh? Come again? We’re busy down here making life miserable for people, so if this is a prank call, we admire your jerk-ness, but go away.

Caller: Well, the New Democratic Party just won an election in Alberta, so surely it’s freezing down there.

After 44 years of Progressive Conservative governments led by the likes of Peter Lougheed, Don Getty and Ralph Klein, the NDP won a majority in the Wild Rose province last week.

NDP leaders in Ottawa and Victoria were almost giddy, trying to talk about how this result could help their causes.

Could this Alberta result have an effect on what plays out in B.C. politics, or, more specifically, the future of policies related to the Salish Sea off Parksville Qualicum Beach?

That’s difficult to determine right now. A provincial election is more than two years away — a lot of good and bad can happen for the NDP in that time.

Smug comments like the one from provincial Energy Minister Bill Bennett, as reported by Black Press, won’t help the B.C. Liberals’ cause.

“It took 44 years to elect an NDP government in Alberta,” said Bennett. “We’ve got 30 years left.”

It makes more sense that the federal NDP would see some benefit, some push, from the result in Alberta — the federal election is only months away.

It’s important to note policies — and membership expectations — of the Alberta NDP and the B.C. NDP differ in many ways. The Alberta NDP isn’t about to turn Fort McMurray into a ghost town, although early comments from premier-elect Rachel Notley about increasing corporate taxes during a time of layoffs in the oil patch will not be welcome in that industry. And the Alberta NDP is on the record in favour of the TransMountain pipeline twinning plan from Alberta to Burnaby. We’re not sure where B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan and his party stand on this issue, but we hear loud opposition from many on his side of the political spectrum.

Premier Christy Clark had a strained relationship with a recent Progressive Conservative premier from Alberta. Perhaps, oddly, she will find a better working relationship with the new NDP premier.

— Editorial by John Harding

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