Grey hair, Mercedes Benz and Jesus Fish stickers on cars. That’s what I saw as I waited in the never ending line outside a dowtown community school to cast my ballot for Alberta’s next premier.
The Progressive Conservative advanced polling station was hopping with people and with energy. A local journalist nabbing the handful of individuals from different ethnic backgrounds for interviews, a cameraman waiting to shoot some tape, a man in a suit telling people in line they would need a PC membership to vote and if they didn’t have one, they could just go to that corner over there and buy one for $5.
I’m no conservative, but I decided over a month ago to fork out the $5 for a PC membership just so I could vote for Alberta’s next Premier. I call this positive political subversion. This of course is much to my parents chagrin. They are both born and bred Saskatchewan teachers and have experienced the ills of a fiscally conservative government and its dealings with the education system since their big move to Alberta a decade ago.
Thanks to the perpetual nature of Alberta’s one party state, (thanks Ralph!) we can always assume that come time for provincial elections, the PCs will always win. Big business, big oil and big money rules the Alberta roost and the only effective political clout the average socially minded citizen has, is to be subversive and co-opt the PCs from the inside out, voting for a leadership candidate who might have a more socially senstive side than their predecessor.
I finally got to the front of line at the voting station to fill out a statement that I couldn’t for religious reasons or due to absence from my constituency, vote on elections day. Passport, drivers licence, a signature here and there, shuffling through the bureaucratic engine, the well oiled political machine that is the Alberta PC party from ivory tower in Edmonton right down the the toenails of the voting station I stood in to fill out the infamous ballot.
PC leadership elections – just as glossy and smooth as the party itself. And it looks like it’ll stay that way for a while to come. Albertans are notorious for an unwillingness to try out a different political system. Maybe things could change. Then again, there are a few good cookies vying for Klein’s place and they have at least considered social issues and the potential consequences of Alberta’s boom.
At least I had some say in who becomes the next premier. Maybe it was worth $5 after all.