Here’s how Alberta’s conservatives can resolve their crippling split

If the party unreservedly champions parental rights against gay rights, the feud will end

The luminaries of the Left in Canada’s province of Alberta have had a very bad year.. First, they assured us that Jason Kenney’s plan to return the province to its cultural and philosophic roots wouldn’t work because those roots didn’t much matter to people any more. They were wrong. Then they told us that traditionalist elements in the Wildrose party would oppose and defeat the union. Again, they were wrong. Then they informed us that there was such a residual embitterment among the old Progressive Conservatives against the Wildrose for splitting the Right, that they could never bring themselves to uniting with them. Wrong again.

Last week when the facts became known, more than 90 per cent of both parties supported the union. In other words, the commentators were almost totally out of touch with sentiments in the province they were supposed to be covering. Can we blame them? No, we should blame their educators. Except that they didn’t have any. They were not educated; they were brainwashed,. And the central purpose of the new Alberta school curriculum is to brainwash the next generation more thoroughly.

Now, however, they have started up again. The new Conservative party, they assure us, will never be able to hang together. The division between the so-called “social” conservatives and the “fiscal” is too deep. Even the National Post columnist John Robson, certainly no Leftist, leans in this direction, deploring the tendency of supposedly Rightwing leaders to talk one way and vote another.

Meanwhile. National Post columnist Kelly McParland stresses that the electoral victory of the newly united Right is being widely assumed. Alberta’s new socialist NDP government, like Ottawa’s new Liberal government, are merrily borrowing their way into electoral victory, he writes We can’t keep that up, realists warn. But few seem to listen. Edmonton, the capital, is now an NDP town. To hold on to it, all the government need only give the civil service unions everything they ask for. It’s the road to doom, some cry. But doom never seems to happen. Can this somehow go on forever?

I put this question to my old friend, the economist Nick Rostvantonnienaen, who produces a weekly newsletter on current economics ( He said the consequences of what we’re doing are not mysterious. “At some point the market downgrades our securities so deeply that investors refuse to lend us any more. What follows is slash and burn. All programs must be cut severely. Tens of thousands are thrown out of work. Pensions are slashed. It isn’t pleasant, believe me. And it could certainly happen here.”

In fact, something akin to it already has happened here. In 1914, the outbreak of the First World War halted foreign investment in Canada generally and in the prairies particularly. A boom, which had begun at the close of the prior century, came to an abrupt end. Mass housing and business development abruptly stopped. The effect on the new Edmonton community of Meadowlark was typical. Streets and sidewalks were paved, sewer and water services installed. But the first houses were not built until the early 1950s– 40 years later.

However, for several reasons the social versus fiscal split in the new government may not be as irresolvable as it appears. The concerns of the social conservatives centre chiefly on the Education ministry, which has seemingly declared war on two very formidable institutions– parenthood and religion. In the matter of the “sex clubs,” which the government is promoting in the schools, they are championing the rights of gays against the rights of parents, a lunacy so bizarre that most people can’t believe they’re actually doing it.

Meanwhile, academically the performance of our schools against much of the rest of the world in mathematics, language skills and the sciences seems in free fall. Our standing keeps gettimng worse. Yet the government’s vaunted new curriculum,. promising “the most sweeping changes ever in the history of Alberta education,” makes no mention whatever of how they intend to deal with this colossal failure. It appears that their whole focus of attention is directed to things like sex clubs and trans-gendered washrooms.

Now it seems to me that if this new party were to strongly back up the parents and other traditionalists in putting some controls on these educational innovators, this would satisfy the social conservatives. The determination of the fiscals to force the government to face financial realities already has the full support of socials So unity may not be as impossible as it seems.

As to the future of the sex clubs themselves, I don’t think the new party should concern itself about them. Once the government discovers the very real problem they pose, the department will quietly abandon them. That problem is paedophilia, the sexual exploitation of children. Needless to say, it has cost the Catholic Church billions of dollars. We can safely assume it will become a persistent and omni-present affliction as men drawn to this vice try to use the clubs to gain access to minors. What safeguards, if any, the clubs are providing against this I do not know. None has been mentioned, but that is understandable. To even suggest such a hazard would –and should — put parents and teachers on high alert. Moreover, the question is not if it happens, but when. Given present attitudes in our society, its occurrence would seem inevitable.

Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.


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