The electoral process in Canada does not get the coverage that the US elections do. And yesterday was the big Provincial election here in Alberta. Up for grabs were the ‘premiership’, mayors, and members of the ‘seat of power’ in Edmonton.

I think it is possible to summarize the entire event as ‘a huge yawner’. Alberta is the richest Province in Canada, we have huge oil and gas reserves, the revenue from which the Federal Government in (hated Eastern Canada) would give their collective right arms for. No other Province runs runs an account book in the black. Alberta is also famous for completely ignoring elections. A turn out of 50% is considered a huge success.

The Tory’s have held on to power for well over 30 years, and yesterday only added the rubber stamp, of the 83 seats available, the Tory’s took 72. A huge yawn, with a low turnout.

The opposition ‘wannabes’ really didn’t appeal to the voters. Maybe the biggest waste of time was ‘The Green Party’, Alberta is the heart of Oil and Gas, if you ask the average Albertan about Kyoto they are likely so say ‘I been there once, it is just east of Edmonton’, or ‘They don’t sell that brand at Safeway’.

This entire campaign lasted only 28 days, and for that we should be thankful. I have to admit that I thought it was the perfect length, and when you consider the apathy level of the voters, the press, and to a certain extent the candidates themselves it all worked out quite well. There were a few adverts on the roadside, and two of the Mayoral candidates picked the wrong entrance at work and chatted with me rather than the intended audience. Well actually they got into high gear until I explained that they were in the wrong building. They seemed like nice people, but for the life of me I have no idea what their names were, or what party they were representing.

As a good Albertan I just wanted a couple of questions answered. I tried my question out, and I have to say I got very poor responses. “we have all this oil and gas, particularly gas, we ship it all the way to Florida, how come we pay as much per gigajoule (whatever that might be) as people in Florida do”?

I was told this was because of NAFTA, well that makes no sense to me, in Alberta you may have to ship gas 50 miles, to get that same gas to Florida is thousands of miles of pipelines, stations, and people monitoring the transfer. What I am hearing is that because of NAFTA I have to subsidize this transportation. This is not a reciprocal process though, I lived in Southern California, and when in season Lettuces, and other produce were the equivalent of $1 for as much as you could carry. How come we don’t see this in Alberta? No one in California is subsidizing my salad, so why should we be subsidizing their natural gas BBQ!

Politics as usual in snowy Alberta!

Simon Barrett

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