On Oct 27, the provincial NDP announced its first budget, which projects Alberta’s biggest deficit in its 110 year history. This deficit is in reaction to adverse economic circumstances: according to the Globe and Mail, Alberta has lost about 64,000 jobs in the first 8 months of the year, the biggest job loss since the global financial crisis of 2009. The budget announcement was met with staunch opposition, and the NDP are rapidly losing support only seven months into a four year term — but through no fault of their own.
According to a Mainstreet/Postmedia poll, the NDP’s approval ratings plunged by 12 percentage points only 2 months after the provincial election and is expected to fall even further, primarily due to the increase of the minimum wage, rising corporate taxes and the large deficit. The swift disapproval to these changes only months after a massive win signals that Albertans were apparently not prepared for increased taxes for the richest and spending during recessions.
The blame for this though falls on the voters and not the NDP because the aforementioned policies were major components of their platform and actions that Rachel Notley publicly planned on taking.
By voting for these measures and then swiftly objecting to them only months after, Albertans have essentially voted in the NDP because of what the party promised and then deplored them for sticking to those promises. Albertans elected the NDP to punish the Progressive Conservatives for the dozens of scandals that suggested to Albertans that the PCs were taking this provinces’ much discussed partisanship for granted.
Albertans were tired of an inept and entitled government, and decided to vote NDP to stick it to the Conservatives without giving the NDP platform much thought.
But by wanting to punish the PCs, we have elected the NDP via default, and in doing so have set the NDP up for failure. The recent federal election shows that Albertans seems to want leaders with the same political leanings as the conservative parties that led this province for 43 years, without having the stench of scandal and ineptitude of the most recent one. Albertans wanted a conservative government, just not this conservative government.
And thus, the NDP has the short end of the stick. We’ve asked Notley and her young caucus to weather this economic storm for us, but in the same manner of previous conservative governments. The NDP we elected is not the PCs, and they are not going to act like they are.