Canada: Alberta’s NDP, the Oil industry, and the Fate of the Planet

Source: Media Coop

In 2001, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein got drunk and told his chauffeur to drive him to a homeless shelter. He proceeded to berate the people who were there, yelling at them to “get a job”. The encounter ended with the inebriated Klein throwing money on the floor while venting his disgust with the homeless people (some of whom turned out to be employed but unable to access housing in an overheated and unregulated Edmonton economy).
In 2004, Klein and his PC party won a 62-seat majority in the Alberta legislature. Rather than being the nail in the coffin of a cruel and morally bankrupt political ideology, Klein’s visit to the shelter became the stuff of political legend, cementing Alberta’s self-image as the radical champion of individualism, the free market, and total alignment with the oil industry.
All that is to say that when Rachel Notley’s New Democratic Party took 40 per cent of the vote and 54 seats, it signalled a major shift in Alberta’s self image.

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