It’s pie time for Alberta

The Conservatives in third place! And one of the parties tied for first is the NDP? In Alberta? That's craziness!

Carolyn Grant

Back in the day, when the Sullivan Mine was still operating in Kimberley, some miners called the lunch break “pie time”.

It was pie time in Alberta last week too, but much to the chagrin of  Wildrose candidate Rick Strankman, his pie auction fundraiser idea backfired and had him issuing an apology.

Let me explain. Strankman, who is running for election in the rural riding of Drumheller-Stettler, thought that an old-fashioned pie auction might be just the ticket to raise some funds and meet riding residents. Sounds great. Who doesn’t like pie?

Strankman even created an acronym for the event, BYWP, which sounds cool. Acronyms lend an event a certain cachet, don’t you think? But what does BYWP mean? Well, unfortunately it means Bring Your Wife’s Pie.

Yes, Strankman wants you to bring your wife’s pie to the event so it can be auctioned off to raise him some funds. Bring the pie, but don’t bring your wife.  Just the pie, that your wife made, because what do women know about politics? Nothing ­— not their business. They’re too busy making pies. Everyone knows politics is strictly for men here in 1915 Alberta. Oh, wait …  it’s 2015.

Naturally the outcry was swift as soon as the BYWP poster was released. A small Twitter storm erupted and the offending poster was soon gone. Strankman, being an astute politician, did what politicians have been doing since before 1915 — he blamed his volunteers.

“I apologize for our poster. It was posted by our volunteers through my account. As soon as I saw it, I asked them to take it down #abvote,” he Tweeted.

Let’s parse this statement, shall we?

“I apologize for our poster.” Our poster. Not his, but ours. It spreads responsibility outward a bit, right at the beginning of the statement. Nice work.

“It was posted by our volunteers through my account.” Those volunteers just high-jacked his account and started posting Neanderthal statements about who should be doing the pie-baking in Drumeller-Stettler. You can’t trust volunteers — you need them, but you can’t trust them not to make you sound like a sexist throwback.

“As soon as I saw it, I asked them to take it down.” Look at how decisive I am! Look at how I recognize a potentially damaging situation caused by my crazy volunteers and made bold moves to correct it! Vote for me!

It’s going to be an interesting election in Alberta on May 5. Polls are showing that the Conservative Party, which has ruled Alberta for over 40 years, is in third place.

The Globe and Mail reported that a poll released last Wednesday sampled 3,121 people and found the Wildrose Party and the NDP tied in the lead, each with 24 per cent of the voters, while the PCs came in third at 18 per cent.

The Conservatives in third place! And one of the parties tied for first is the NDP? In Alberta? That’s craziness!

It is doubtful that a minor gaffe like BYWP will make much of a difference to the Wildrose Party’s fortunes in the long run.

But Alberta voters have tantalized us with the possibility of change before. Anyone remember the last election when all polls indicated that the province would go Wildrose and the voters collectively gagged at the last moment and returned the Conservatives to power?

And that gave the province Alison Redford in all her Marie Antoinetteish glory. Even though Redford is long gone, her effect on the Conservative Party in Alberta remains. Will Alberta veer left or even further right? Don’t know, but it’s going to be interesting to watch.

I might even have an election return watching party on May 5. Bring your own pie. Unlike Rick Strankman, I don’t care who makes it.

Carolyn Grant is the Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin