“But you don’t understand, the person who wins the leadership of the PCs becomes Premier.” I wondered if the woman mistook me for a seven-year-old child who had not yet taken Grade 6 social studies instead of who I really am—a 51-year-old with an honours degree in political science, who has lived in the province since 1987 and witnessed three, about to be four, PC leadership contests. So, yes, I do understand how politics works, but thanks for assuming I don’t just because I disagree with you.
It wasn’t ignorance that led to me raising an eyebrow when Liberal and NDP members lined up behind Nancy Betkowski when she ran against Ralph Klein in 1992 and it isn’t ignorance that has me doing the same today when I hear so-called left-leaning progressives urging people to line up behind one or another PC leadership candidate.
Buying a membership in a political party should be more meaningful than picking a horse in a Saturday-afternoon race at Northlands. It’s supposed to mean the party to which you have chosen to give your money and name is the party that closest reflects your values. Your five bucks is an endorsement of their program. So, vote for a PC leader? I’ll pass. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.
I am going to join a party, though. I’ve decided to rejoin the Alberta NDP, a party I left for a few reasons, not the least of which involved leadership. And leadership is the reason I’m going back. I want to vote for the new one.
While all three candidates seeking to lead the NDP are worthy, it’s David Eggen, MLA for Edmonton-Calder, who is getting my vote. I’ve known Eggen almost 20 years. His intelligence and compassion were apparent early, but it’s the man’s unparalleled work ethic that impresses me most. If the NDP are going to make any inroads in the next election, they need a leader prepared to work every minute of every day to reach out to voters who are hungry for options. The NDP cannot afford leaders who feel they are above the hard work they expect their followers to perform and with Eggen, they’ll never have to experience that again.
My circus. My monkeys. Here’s my five bucks.