From left: Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney, Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel are seen Thursday at the leaders debate. Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK

By GRAHAM HICKS

As Alberta finally heads to the polls on Tuesday, April 16, a last loving look backwards at this political campaign.

And yes, these observations come from a pro-business point of view — this opinion column isn’t called “Hicks on Biz” for nothing.

Like any fan of free enterprise, I believe in capitalism with a human face, in individual initiative over the collective. I believe human beings are generally better off if left alone, rather than subjected to the whims/over-taxation of the nanny state.

I believe government’s primary role is to encourage a powerful economic engine, creating meaningful employment and the taxation necessary to support public social services, to help those truly in need.

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

Like many free-enterprisers, I fear the humongous debt load being run up by both the Alberta and federal governments, plus unprecedented consumer debt. If not reined in, we believe this debt will result in future financial calamity for our children or our children’s children.

IT AIN’T OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER

Yes, the UCP (United Conservative Party) lead looks insurmountable according to most polls. But never take the outcome of any election for granted. Don’t sell the fur until you’ve killed the bear. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Forecasting is never easy. Particularly when it’s about the future.

BEST POLITICAL HUMOUR OF THE CAMPAIGN

From Alberta Party leader and former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, responding to provincial Liberal leader David Khan: “Maybe you were smoking things that you shouldn’t have been smoking.”

Best political cartoon — a social-media reaction to the ND’s ridiculous  Jason-Kenney-Darkness-Is-Coming campaign, being a photo of Rachel Notley with the following balloon caption: Vote for me (Rachel Notley) or you are nothing but a Homophobe, Islamophobe, Bigot, Racist, Xenophobe, White Supremacist, Embarrassing Cousin, Sewer Rat and you hate kids.

Best inadvertent humour of the election:  Thomas Lukaszuk’s non-stop anti-Jason Kenney Facebook posts, an internal Conservative feud dating back to a blow-up between the two when Kenney was leader of the federal Conservative Alberta caucus and Lukaszuk was Alberta’s deputy premier under Premier Alison Redford. One example: “UCP members are starting to realize that not only were they cheated in a leadership race (by Kenney), but they’re being bamboozled now too.”

If Kenney wins, look for Lukaszuk to commit hari-kari on the steps of the Legislature … or seek the leadership of the Alberta Party if or when Mandel steps down.

THE INSUFFERABLE SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LEFT

National Post columnist Rex Murphy’s observations, on then-Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in 2015, are equally applicable to today’s Alberta New Democrats.  “Any disagreement with her “progressive” worldview is seen as the product of corrupt thinking or moral defect …  She seems unwilling or unable to believe that others can have ideas different from those she espouses, unless they, her critics, are morally inferior to her and their ideas are the products of ugly or ignorant minds.”

MOST OVERLOOKED

Mandel and the Alberta Party’s innovative ideas being buried under the UCP/NDP heavyweight showdown: Especially that party’s resurrection of the Alaska oil-moving option — a possibility detailed in Hicks on Biz three years ago.

SETTING THE STAGE FOR A PROVINCIAL SALES TAX

With the provincial Liberals openly trumpeting a provincial sales tax, accompanied with income tax relief, I suspect Albertans are reluctantly concluding a PST will have to replace oil/gas/coal energy royalties. Alberta’s carbon tax, incidentally, should be considered the equivalent of a 2% PST. My latest residential natural gas bill includes a $38 carbon levy.

POLITICS IN GENERAL

“The public interest is a concept easily imbued with the political flavour of the day.”
Faisal Bhabhal, Osgoode Hall Law School

TELL US WHAT YOU REALLY THINK

Facebook comments on Hicks on Biz election columns:

“Graham Hicks, I like him personally, but he is a poor writer, even within the limitations of journalism. I say this without malice:” Richard Sherbaniuk. (See Rex Murphy, above.)

“(The provincial debt) is more important than education? … than health care? …  than seniors getting a shower/bath every week in provincial seniors’ homes?  I’d rather borrow when money is cheap and maintain basic public services. Stop listening to corrupt, illegitimate “leaders” like J-Boy (Jason Kenney) and His Prairie-Bullies. They are lying to you!!“ Eoin Kenny

“Fox News called. They want you back Graham.” Charlie Rothman