On This Date In History
It was 40 years ago today that Peter Lougheed's Progressive Conservatives swept to power, ending Alberta's third political dynasty, and starting its fourth. Lougheed's slogan was 3 letters long ("NOW") and his message was simple - as recounted in Rennie's Alberta Premiers of the 20th Century:
These times of turmoil - of protest - of change - of confrontation - require a government party NOW where members place people before party... We also look to the future convinced this province could be doing very much better... It needs a party of the future, not of the past... The Socreds convinced themselves that Alberta's development has been due to their efforts, not due to the fortunate presence of natural resources of the province.
The first half of that speech is mostly platitudes, but 1971 was certainly not the first nor the last time a young and charismatic leader got elected on platitudes. Lougheed showed energy, bouncing from door to door, racing children in the street, and drawing large enthusiastic crowds. Quite simply, he promised change at a time when the electorate wanted change.
Since then, the house Lougheed built has only come under siege once - in 1993, when Liberal Lawrence Decore would likely have won had he not been up against one of the most talented politicians in Alberta's history, Ralph Klein. Danielle Smith may give the PCs another scare next year, but the smart money has the dynasty Lougheed built living well into its 40s.
Of course, one wonders what Lougheed truly thinks of the state of his party today. After all, take one more look at that line of Lougheed's I posted above - "The Socreds convinced themselves that Alberta's development has been due to their efforts, not due to the fortunate presence of natural resources of the province".
That one likely hits a little close to home.