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Lately, Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives seem like the type of people Michael Moore would try to interview: old, white, and male. So out of touch! To be fair, they were always this way. The PCs have ruled Alberta for 43 old, white, out of touch male years (excluding the Redford years, which they’re not exactly talking up). But now, in the 44th, their iron grip on power is loosening. Why? For one, there’s a fresh face in town, the Wildrose Party. Perhaps Albertans want a change of image. Maybe they’re tired of the status quo. If so, they have a chance to show it in the upcoming by-elections, and Wildrose wants to capitalize on this opportunity. Gone are the days of old, white, male, and out of touch politicians, they say. It’s time for real change in the form of young, white, female, out of touch politicians. Should Albertans bite?

For the upcoming by-elections, newly minted PC Leader Jim Prentice is running a slate of four elderly male candidates. That’s cool, whatever, ho hum. But look at Wildrose…two of its four candidates are women in their 30s or 40s!


Wowie, two of them are white and female! What diversity!

What diversity! They even got some Sikhs in the background of one of them!


Hold on, phone call:

Alberta, the phone’s ringing.

Who is it?

It’s relevance.

According to the National Post, “Wildrose looks young, vibrant and chock full of fiscally conservative females.” This single factor could very well push undecided voters to bring the provincial flower to power.

After all, intelligence, political ability, and human decency are gender-specific traits. The reason the PCs suck so hard is because they’re loading up on men, better known for brutish behaviour and Jackass re-runs than for elevated discourse and putting people first. Asked about the PCs all-male slate, Keith Brownsey, a political science professor at Mount Royal University, said, “This is 2014, not 1914…I’m dumbfounded.” With a (more) female slate, Wildrose can’t help but be better.

It is 2014, isn’t it? It surely isn’t still 2012, when Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and her party contested the scientific basis of global climate change. It isn’t even 2013, when Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith “accept[ed] that climate change is a reality,” and “accept[ed] that there is a human influence on it,” not because she believed the science, but rather because she thought that accepting climate change would improve market access to Alberta oil. Could it be 2010 or 2011? No, back then the Wildrose policy book would have allowed marriage commissioners and health professionals to use “personal beliefs” as an excuse to opt out of offering certain services to certain people. Brownsey is right. It must be 2014. But what does this have to do with men and women?


Voters are looking for any reason to stop Jim Prentice from being able to recreate Ralph Klein's post election celebratory laughter.Turd Ferguson

Voters are looking for any reason to stop Jim Prentice from being able to recreate Ralph Klein’s post election celebratory laughter.
Turd Ferguson


Call it ignorance if you must, but it’s hard to understand why running more women should make the Wildrose Party more appealing to Albertan voters. If anything, it just proves that the party is willing to try its hand at another optical illusion. There’s a reason why the Wildrose party initially denied climate change and tried to circumvent abortion laws—its members supported those policies. Initially, that’s what the base wanted. Yet, after losing to Alison Redford’s PCs, possibly because of these relatively radical policies, Wildrose decided it wanted something else. It wanted power, and it was willing to make a few changes to the policy book if it would mean more seats in the legislature. Wildrose didn’t force women onto the ballot, so it’s hard to argue that this was an intentional attempt to modernize the old guard. At the same time, when we’re talking about a party with a climate change strategy that is at least three years out of date, it’s hard to argue that a candidate’s gender makes any difference whatsoever.