Travis Benson
Apr 13 · 12 min read

16 Reasons To Vote For The NDP, Even If You Don’t Want To.

1) You know any LGBT people at all.

Jason Kenney has a history of persecuting sexual and gender minorities. The public record on this is clear and he hasn’t exactly been shy about it. Kenney has never made any guarantees to protect this vulnerable community and has recently announced that his party will kill Bill 24, which protects LGBT kids. this isn’t a surprise. This is also what he’s admitted to doing before he is elected. Imagine what he will do once he can’t be fired from his job.

If you know and care about anyone who is LGBTQ, voting for a UCP government will hurt them directly. Not just because a UCP government will hurt them (and it really will), but because if they ever find out you voted in favour of it, your betrayal will hurt them even more. Just don’t do it.

2) You care about women.

Along with the LGBTQ community, Jason Kenney has spent a lot of time campaigning against the rights and freedoms of women. Kenney was once an anti-abortion lobbyist himself and his party today has candidates with ties to that anti-choice lobby and they are taking a lot of campaign money from anti-choice groups.

3) Fiscal Responsibility.

This is where the Conservatives of all stripes just love to winge on the political left. The NDP spends too much they say, but do they actually? The NDP were handed a flaming bag of fiscal dog crap when they took over. If anyone tries to tell you they could have taken over and not gone into deficit, they’re lying. What the NDP have done in these few short years is taken one of the worst economic downturns Alberta has seen in recent decades and turned it around faster than any Conservative government has ever done.

The Conservatives drove this province straight into the ground. Between 2005–2015 Alberta experienced unprecedented economic growth in the history of Canada. Let that sink in, no one had ever had as much economic success in Canada, ever. None of this was because of Conservative leadership, only because oil was over a hundred dollars a barrel. We should have had a provincial government drowning in money.

Despite this, the Conservatives not only didn’t save money, they spent the $11B heritage fund and left Alberta $20B behind on infrastructure projects. The Conservatives are not fiscally responsible.

But these aren’t the same Conservatives, you say, they’ll be better with our money. If anything, the Kenney conservatives have a worse track record. Stephen Harper’s government, the one Kenney served on as a cabinet minister, broke the record for both the largest amount of debt accumulated under a Canadian Federal government AND for the largest single-year deficit in Canadian history.

In the recent revelation of the UCP full platform, Kenney revealed that they will INCREASE the deficit. You read that right. After all the talk about the NDP being irresponsible, the UCP plans to raise our deficit spending but, unlike the NDP, they don’t plan on giving us roads, better schools, state of the art facilities, economic diversification, or even jobs. Their only plan is to give a massive tax cut to people that aren’t you.

And ask yourself, what is the UCP’s fiscal policy? No one knows at this point. The promises Kenney has made is a return to the flat tax and eliminating the carbon tax, these two promises will pull over five billion dollars out of the province’s pockets per year. Where is the UCP going to find five billion dollars? All Kenney has said is that “it will hurt”.

4) You Don’t Like Corruption.

You know how many times the NDP have gotten caught with their hands in the cookie jar? None. Since being elected the NDP haven’t had any scandals, they’ve even massively cut government budgets and have done a great job policing government corruption.

The UCP? As of this writing it has been …. zero days since the UCP has had a scandal involving one of their nominees being racist online, and not just a little racist, full-on, white supremacist ideology revealed in a text exchange. And this wasn’t an outlier either, she was a personal pick of Jason Kenney’s, endorsed by him as a prime example of leadership.

Kenney himself is currently under RCMP investigation for breaking campaign finance laws. He’s also under investigation for other campaign malfeasance, like purposefully interfering in Brian Jean’s leadership campaign. If he’s willing to break so many rules before the election, do you honestly think this behaviour will improve if Kenney becomes Premier?

5) if you know anyone that works in the public sector.

The NDP have helped a lot of Albertans keep working and feed their families through hiring new public sector employees. This has, in turn, improved the lives of every Albertan. We have better services, better facilities and better infrastructure now. All of these benefits will go away under the UCP. that “hurt” Kenney talked about will be a lot of public sector employees being laid off and others having their pay cut. It won’t hurt Kenney and his friends, but it will hurt you and your friends, maybe a lot.

6) You know someone who works in the private sector that depends on government contracts.

Do you know anyone who isn’t a public sector employee, but does work building roads, schools, parks, or any other public projects? Those projects are all going to be cut to the bone as well.

Previous Conservative governments maintained the illusion that they didn’t deficit spend by cutting billions of dollars from infrastructure spending. Here in Calgary we dynamited our central hospital because we had to, the building was about to fall down; but it was almost a decade before the new hospital opened its doors. This isn’t how responsible governments run things, but it is how the UCP have said they would run things, by massively cutting taxes on the wealthiest people and then leaving everyone else to pay for it.

7) You have children.

Do you have children? They’re either in school or they will be soon. The NDP has invested in schooling. This is a proven strong investment strategy and long overdue in Alberta. The richest province in Canada should not have a school system that languishes in the middle of the pack when it comes to education scores. The UCP not only plans on cutting that investment, they also want to pay to reverse the educational reforms that the NDP put in place.

Despite what the UCP says, these education reforms are not a waste of money. They are a vital update to school curriculum that brings Alberta into the twentieth century. Pretty much everyone who works for the board of education doesn’t want them rolled back, and the top brass have said as much. So, why does the UCP want to waste your money to remove them? Largely to appeal to a bunch of their supporters that don’t like the sex education requirements under the new system.

Here’s the thing, I get that sex is a subject that we are a bit uncomfortable broaching with our kids, but there is a reason why teenage pregnancy and STI rates are highest in places where Sex Ed is at its lowest. This is an important thing to teach children. Don’t let a guy who’s pushing fifty and never had a relationship tell you what your kids should know about sex.

8) you make less than $95,000/yr

Here’s the thing that everyone I’ve talked to doesn’t get: if you earn under $95,000/yr you are paying less taxes under the NDP. You get all of your carbon tax money back in the rebates and your provincial taxes have not gone up. The amount and quality of services available to you have increased, significantly. Kenney is not offering you a tax break. He is giving a big tax break to people who make more money than you can dream of at this point and your services are going to pay for it.

Also, for quite a few of you, your livelihood will pay for it. You’ll lose your job, or you’ll lose work that you need to pay the bills. Again, public employee or person who’s work depends on public projects, you are going to feel that pain Jason Kenney mentioned.

Oh yeah, and if you work at a job that banks overtime, Kenney is looking at taking away that overtime pay.

9) You make less than $250,000/yr

Hey, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who makes over $95,000/yr. congratulations, that’s a problem I’d like to have. Guess what? You aren’t getting a tax break either. Sorry.

You may get a small break on what you pay on the Carbon Tax…. except you won’t. Kenney has promised to repeal the carbon tax. The second that happens the Federal carbon tax will apply to Albertans, and it’s higher and none of that money will stay in Alberta. Sure, the UCP has promised to fight it in court, but they’ll lose and they know it, because introducing taxation is within the rights and responsibilities of the Federal government. They could charge us a carbon tax on top of our own and there still wouldn’t be any grounds for a legal challenge. Saying so is literally just pandering to their base because they know that most of their voters don’t understand how the legal system works at that level.

The Carbon tax we pay is one of the lowest there is, definitely one of the lowest in Canada, and it benefits Albertans in so many ways.

10) you want Alberta to get some pipelines built at some point.

Did you ever notice how Stephen Harper, and Jason Kenney as his cabinet minister, never got Alberta’s oil pipelines approved? Did you notice how the Alberta PC’s never managed it either? Did you notice how the NDP got more movement on the pipeline approval process in two years than the Conservatives got in ten? There’s a good reason for that.

This is another case of Conservatives either not understanding how the law works (unlikely) or just misrepresenting it to their base. Since Alberta is landlocked, getting oil out of the country involves building it through other provinces or the US. In either of those cases the pipeline is legally the responsibility of the jurisdiction it sits on. Anything that happens, like a catastrophic spill, is their responsibility. This is why it is hard to get pipelines approved. Neither Alberta’s government nor the federal government can force that approval process through its legal challenges.

In order to get pipelines approved Alberta has to act in good faith with these other actors, which includes things like carbon taxes, environmental reforms, and some form of benefit for those provinces. The NDP has embraced the role of being a good faith actor in these cases. The conservatives do not. I won’t go too much into it here, but the Conservative parties benefit more from the sense of outrage around pipelines than they do from the pipelines.

If you want pipelines, the NDP have proven to be the best shot at them.

11) you are against Nazis.

Okay, this one may be personal for me. I have studied extremism for many years, in particular the homegrown, holocaust-denying, antisemitic kind. The resurgence of nazi groups and Nazi ideology in recent years is truly disturbing. The amount of affiliations between white supremacy and the United Conservative Party is troubling to say the least.

Candidates have met with Nazis, one later admitted knowing they were Nazis and thought they were nice people. One candidate, a “parachute” candidate hand-picked by Jason Kenney, stepped down when her private messages were leaked wherein she expressed explicitly white supremacist views.

If we widened this net to include islamaphobia, homophobia and transphobia, the waters get even murkier. Jason Kenney himself has a documented history of being one of the most anti-gay men in Canadian politics. The UCP, and the Canadian Conservative movement in general, are getting far too comfortable with Nazis. In a decent political landscape politicians would see Nazis being attracted to their policies and they’d change their policies rather than trying to not upset the Nazis.

12) You are a post-secondary student.

Along with everything that the NDP has done to help secondary students, they’ve done a lot to help post-secondary students. From freezing tuition rates to increasing access, opportunity for students in Alberta has never been better.

13) You like health care.

Of the policy changes the UCP has discussed, Jason Kenney has said he will look at private medical care. With all of the cuts the UCP will be making to health care, this will create a two-tired medical system where people who pay will get better and faster care than everyone else. No doubt, many facets of medical care will also be relegated to non-essential. If you aren’t the sort of person who can afford to pay out-of-pocket for heath care, this suggestion should be very worrying to you.

14) You like money in your pocket.

Along with medical care and a whole slew of front line services that are going to get cut, the UCP has talked about introducing toll roads. This is a fairly typical move of the modern Conservative. To offset the cost of a massive tax cut by charging people directly for a service those people are already paying for through their taxes.

15) You want Alberta to have a future.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth people just don’t want to hear: the sun is setting on the golden days of oil and gas. The product our province loves is setting the world on fire and everyone knows it. Some politicians make a good living lying to people about it. Guys like Jason Kenney tell people that global warming isn’t real, that people still love oil, and that under their leadership all our problems will be solved and oil will go back up to a hundred twenty dollars a barrel. People buy it because they want it to be true, but deep down we all know it isn’t.

The entire world is moving away from our product. The only way to fight for a future for Alberta is to diversify our economy while the oil money is still coming in. If we keep putting all of our eggs in the oil and gas basket, eventually there isn’t going to be a basket to go back to. Our economy crashed last time because the conservatives married themselves to the resource market and acted like the good times were never going to end.

The UCP promise is to put everything back into the oil and gas basket and act like the good times are coming back…. and THEN they’ll never end.

If we want our province to remain viable, we need diversification and a strong commitment to research, technological development , and education. Exactly the plan the NDP has been committed to over the last four years. It would probably be a good idea to give it a shot and see if it works out for us.

16) You are a conservative.

I know what you might be thinking. I’m just some lefty, hating on the Conservatives, telling you to vote for Rachel Notley because she’s my ticket. Why should you listen to me?

Here’s the funny thing. I’m not who you think I am. I’ve got real Conservative credentials. I was raised conservative, by conservatives, with real Conservative values. My great-grandfather was Hugh Allen, he was a conservative politician in northern Alberta. There’s a tiny Hamlet in the Beaver Lodge region named after him. He was one of the politicians that started the Northern Alberta Wheat Pool. He did that to help Albertan workers get fair prices for their labour and stop predatory banks from foreclosing on rural farmers. Jason Kenney’s boss, Stephen Harper, sold the Wheat Pool, which was a cash producing asset owned by the citizens of Canada, to Saudi Arabia so that he could claim he had a surplus in an election year.

You see, I quit conservatism mainly because I couldn’t handle the hypocrisy. The Conservative values I was raised with were things like family, community, those who are strong protecting the weak, fighting to protect the working people who are the backbone of this province. The Conservatives, be they the PCs that drove our province into the ground, or the UCP that have all the same ideas as them and a few new ones that are worse, have abandoned those values. The Conservatives today believe in the money. My entire adult life the right end of the spectrum’s goal has been the erosion of worker’s rights, convincing the poor and middle-class to give up what little wealth they’ve pooled together so that the wealthiest can pay even less than their share, and stoking the fire of hatred and distrust of society’s weakest members to distract people from all of it.

Today’s Conservatives are an insult to Conservative values, the sort of people you could call conservative in name only. If you care about conservativism, voting for the UCP only aids it’s continued decay.

Travis Benson

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