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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Anticipating a Minority Government in Alberta?

OK - this idea of an Alberta minority government is a very hypothetical possibility today.  There is no imminent election in the province but the politics are more volatile than most people living here have ever seen.

All signs point to a change from the political status quo next election.  Will we do the historical thing and go for a wholesale change of government?  Or will we reaffirm the status quo like in the last provincial election that returned the PCs with an increased majority under Stelmach as a new leader.  Were we that supportive, or looking for stability or just wanting to give him a chance to prove himself?  Or will we be so divided and uncertain about our future by the time the next election comes around that we end up with a minority government.

The key question, of course, is which party would form the minority government?  Some of the power shifts in a minority government situation to a smaller party, provided they have enough votes to keep the minority government in power, or not.  In that case it is just as critical a question for citizens to consider as to who should have that balance of power to make or break the minority government.

If Albertans decide to elect a minority government next time, will it be a sign we want to change incrementally or perhaps we want to send the PCs a message of our discontent but not rejection.  That is what Albertans in Calgary Glenmore did in the by-election by putting the PCs in third place in popular vote.  That was in a constituency that had been held by the Deputy Premier.  OUCH!

I wonder if Albertans interpret that by-election as indication that the warning shot across PC bow has already been delivered.  If so the next election outcome could be much more open and uncertain than the conventional wisdom that tends to think tomorrow will be a reflection and a mere extension of yesterdays results.

The blog poll this week presumes a minority government but not who wins.  It ask who do you want to be the conscience of any minority government should we end up with one.  Will you answer differ depending on who you think will form the minority government?  Or will you trust one party over all others to hold the balance of power to keep any potential minority government on their toes and honest?  Is that balance of power party choice chosen because they are able to assure a wider range of opinions will be debated?  Or is that balance of power party perceived as a government in waiting and able to pick the time and ballot question in the next election after this one?

This is not a random scientific poll just a conversation starter and an attention focus for readers.  I hope your comments on this post will give some insight as to what party you would prefer form a minority and why as well as who you trust to have the balance of power and why.  It is complex stuff and an informed answer requires that you think about where you want the province to go and how to return political stability as part of the means to get there.

Looking forward to your choice and you feedback in the comments.