Alberta politics is much improved by the PC's self-execution


National Post, 27 July 2017

The PC party existed to sell access to power; with no power to sell, it was bankrupt. Had it had any honour left, it would have thanked voters for 44 years of support, and arranged for a decent burial

Spare a thought, but not a tear, for the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta, the greatest behemoth in Canadian political history, which administered a long-overdue self-execution last Saturday in Alberta. The political hygiene of my home province is improved by its disappearance, alas delayed by the haplessness of its proper heir, the Wildrose Party, which also ended its existence on Saturday.

Alberta has a most unusual political culture. It prefers that a party burst upon the scene, take power from a tired government, and then rule for decades with massive majorities until displaced by the successor. At which point it has the decency to disappear. Alberta was governed by the United Farmers of Alberta from 1921 to 1935. The Social Credit took over then, and ruled until 1971, a 36-year run, 25 of those years under Ernest Manning.

In 1971, Peter Lougheed and the Progressive Conservatives swept to power, where they remained until 2015, becoming the longest-serving government – federal or provincial – in the history of Canada. Those 44 years were about 10 years too many.

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