Again, this is a work of complete fiction.
NOTE: This may not be as much fiction as originally thought–an article in the Toronto Star on Dec. 24th stated that Danielle Smith mentor and former Reform party strategist, Tom Flanagan, is on record as urging a non-compete agreement between the PCs and the Wildrose, with a cabinet position to Smith as one possible outcome. See the article at: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/742546–a-wildrose-is-blooming-in
Once upon a time, there was a tired, crusty old political party that had been in power for 40 years. It had clearly run out of new ideas and its leader was so unpopular that the party feared a downright mutiny. The trouble was, the party leader had won the last election so handily that he believed his authority to be iron clad. He wouldn’t listen to the people who elected him.
Then, one day someone came up the idea of creating a new party! There was much joviality and no shortage of willing volunteers. The most vocal whiners and complainers were let loose to figure out the organizational details and build the new party unimpeded. Many of these cranky party members rushed to the new party and for a short time, things were relatively quiet. The naysayers and rebel rousers were merrily embroiled in the building of the new party and held small but raucous meetings where they got so caught up in their excitement that they sometimes broke out in hymns and talked tax cuts well into the wee hours. All the while, the old party continued to function as it always had, running the province into the ground and acting with impunity.
In time, of course, the new party began to stagnate. The members grew tired of seeing the same old people at their potluck suppers and were bored with writing anti-gay pamphlets. The leaders decided they needed to sell more memberships. The new party also realized with some trepidation that it must start to cannibalize the old party because there were only so many conservatives to go around. However, the new party was afraid it looked a little too much like the old party. A few people suggested they could perhaps wear disguises, but there was much doubt that this would work.
This is when the new party discovered a potential leader who looked and acted so completely different from anyone else, that at least one party organizer almost peed his pants with glee. A young, media savvy, well-dressed woman emerged from the shadows and there was an ecstatic rush of excitement. “See, we ARE different,” they said to themselves, as she looked down upon them from the throne they had made her. And the people across the province bought it–hook, line and sinker.
In the meantime, the old party had sunk to new lows of popularity. Portly and prominent members of the old party announced they were switching to the new party. Every day, former MLAs, cabinet ministers, old party organizers and other supporters left the old party and skidaddled on over to the new party, swelling its ranks and its bank account. Large oil companies also began to sense the sinking ship mentality and began shifting their political donations to the new party, hoping the new party would become beholden to them and do their bidding.
Polls showed the new party gaining in popularity and the old party shrinking in support. Over time, the old party became a shell of it’s former self as the new party sucked away members. The media claimed the new party represented a radical change and trumpeted the fact that Alberta had finally undergone a major political shake-up.
On the street, when voters were questioned as to the policies of the new party, most did not know and said they didn’t care because they were so upset about the state of the province’s debt. They said they just wanted to send a message to the leader and wondered if the new party would bring back Ralph bucks.
The traditional media reported daily on the popularity of the new party and even thought the new leader had once worked for one of the major media outlets, the media denied any favouritism. Political pundits expressed shock and disbelief at the rise of the new party, hoping to increase sales as they penned columns in a frenzy claiming that Alberta was not so boring after all.
Meanwhile, the defections continued as members of the old party flocked to the new party in droves, swooning over the new leader and slapping each other on the back as they found themselves sitting again with their old friends and colleagues.
Soon, the “new” party started to look a little familiar. The new party had absorbed almost all of the old party . The members started voting on policy, making decisions and electing officers the same way they had always done when they belonged to the old party. And soon, the old leader, battered and bruised, his ego trampled by the realities of his defeat, was forced to withdraw a large sum of money from the treasury for a TV ad. A free ad on the CBC would necessitate giving equal time to the Opposition, a prospect that gave the leader heartburn and sounded a bit too democratic for his liking.
Then, just when things were starting to get a lot more complicated and the new party was feeling pressure to explain its policies, a miraculous thing happened. Someone in the old party raised his hand and suggested a merger of the two parties. There was stunned silence and a few people actually cried out in disgust. Then, someone in the new party also put up her hand and said that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. There was a bit of mumbling and consulting with pastors, and then, there began an all out campaign to unite the two parties. Political columnists had a field day again and the bloggers went berserk. The major dailies had to cut off comments on their online stories and party executives suddenly had a lot of free time on their hands.
There WAS however, the sticky problem of the leadership. Who would lead this new combined, reborn party? The leader of the old party was obviously out of the question. The leader of the new party had served her purpose but as a woman, she was clearly not strong or manly enough for the giant task of uniting the two parties. (organizing a Tupperware party maybe, said one male member).
Then, suddenly, fresh from a fundraising dinner, a white knight appeared on the horizon. An experienced federal cabinet minister stepped forward sheepishly. The young ,well-dressed female leader was rewarded with a plum cabinet position in a new portfolio created just for her, Minister of Family Values, and she was happy.
And the old leader? Well, he retired from politics and returned to farming with a very large sum of money in his pocket. The new-old combined party was reelected and continued to rely on revenues from non-renewable energy, give million-dollar bonuses to civil servants and build hospitals they can’t staff.
Wild Rose Alliance Party, Vision statement
Wildrose Alliance Party entry in Wikipedia
Wildrose Alliance Party organizer Craig Chandler’s entry in Wikipedia
Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance’s future depends on its choice of leader
Designer candidate Danielle Smith should worry drifting Alberta Tories
Crack appears in Alberta Tories rural fortress
Liepert, former MLA trade barbs as Tories’ divide deepens
Reform Party entry in Wikipedia