Re: “Left behind” by Jeremy Klaszus Cover November 15-21 2007.

One of the many points raised in Jeremy Klaszus’s wide ranging article on the apparent failure of Kevin Taft’s Liberals to capitalize upon the current vulnerability of the Progressive Conservatives under Ed Stelmach is the undeniable fact that the opposition in Alberta is splintered. And similar to the calculations made on the other side of the political spectrum the suggestion was made that if the “left” was united there would be an increased chance of that combined entity beating the Conservatives — the hegemonic natural party of government in our province — in the next election. However when applied to Alberta’s current political scene this arithmetic is based on faulty assumptions and is wrong. Simply because a party is not Conservative it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is left wing or shares a progressive vision for the future of our province.

True the legislative opposition is composed of Liberal New Democrat and Alliance MLAs. The spectre of this fractured opposition is then compounded by the haunting presence of the Green Party which although currently without seats appears set to capture a not insignificant percentage of the vote in the next provincial election. Yes there is a lot of well-reasoned opposition to the current Stelmach regime based in large measure on increased and ever growing awareness of the social dislocation occasioned by the Klein-Dinning regime. However as mentioned simply because a party is not Conservative it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is left wing. And this is clearly the case with the Alberta Liberal Party.

For the good of both Alberta and the planet we need a left-wing government one that puts people above markets one that ensures that one’s life chances are not largely predetermined by circumstances of birth and one that places long-term social and ecological needs above the short-term interests of capital. We desperately need a government that will help in the creation of a just humane and inclusive society. However the Liberal Party is simply a failsafe mechanism for the socially and environmentally destructive status quo of inequality production and consumption — as shown for example by Taft’s position that not accepting donations from the oil and gas lobby is simply beyond the pale. At root it is essential that we challenge the assumption that the Liberals are a progressive force. While my views as an unreconstructed leftist may be insignificant I can at least remain choosy about the company I keep!

Timothy Wild


Editor’s note: Timothy Wild is an occasional contributor to Fast Forward.