Consider what’s going on all through Canada, and North America:
Conservatives are finding themselves uniting under big tents while those on the left are most squabbling and setting up their own tiny encampments.
This right-wing solidarity started 23 years ago right here in Saskatchewan.
Of course, some might dispute the notion that the 1997 formation of the Sask. Party via the merger of four Liberal and four Progressive Conservative MLAs was the catalyst for this North America-wide trend. Certainly, there’s little evidence that what happened locally had any impact on the monster that is U.S. politics.
There again, when Saskatchewan elected North America’s first social democratic government in 1944, arguably, this province’s previous claim to political fame, no one thought its promise of free health care paid for by government would change the nature of Canada and even have such a profound effect on U.S. political debate for decades to come.
Could it be that what we are now seeing all over the placed was cooked up the incubator that is Saskatchewan politics?
The thought crosses one’s mind with the news the right-wing Wexit movement, those wanting to remove Saskatchewan and Alberta from confederation, has just received party status. That means that Wexit will now be allowed to run candidates in the (possibly, sooner-than-expected) next provincial election.
Combined with another recent development that sees the old Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative party gaining support from members of the Maxime Bernier’s federal People’s Party of Canada and we are suddenly looking at political spectrum becoming rather crowded at the far right end.
One might think that Premier Scott Moe would be a little concerned about a party promoting separatism … especially, since Wexit’s existence is surely driven by the same western alienation sentiments that Moe has said are real and common among many of his supporters.
It makes the Saskatchewan Premier’s comment that it’s “not my job to worry about them” all that much more perculiar.
There again, why would the Sask. Party leader really be worried about Wexit or the PCs?
With a penchant of winning its rural seats by 75 to 80 per cent of the vote (and one presumes both Wexit and the PCs will have their most success in rural seats), the Sask. Party probably isn’t worried about losing a few votes here and there.
Consider the last Saskatchewan general election in 2016, when the PCs received 5,571 votes throughout the province (1.28 per cent) while the Western Independence Party received a whopping total of 318 votes (0.07 per cent).
By comparison, Sask. Party votes in 2016 totalled 270,776 votes, or 62.36 percent of all votes cast in this province. That’s the second highest percentage ever in Saskatchewan election history. The only time a governing party registered a higher percentage was in 2011 by the Sask. Party.
This is the end result of years of single-minded dedication to defeat the NDP. It’s a goal so engrained on Saskatchewan’s political right that the vast majority of them, don’t much fuss over ideological differences on even critical social issues. The focus is simply not just defeating the NDP but ensuring that the NDP never forms government again.
After years of unrest on the federal scene that saw the old Reform Party and Progressive Conservatives merge into the Canadian Alliance, we are seeing the same single-mindedness in the Conservative Party of Canada. Not even Bernier’s PPC that took a far more libertarian view on things like marketing boards had much impact.
Similarly, most American Republicans can’t justify Donald Trump’s indiscretions or questionable policies like tariffs or government subsidizing farms and businesses.
But like conservatives in Saskatchewan, they clearly know what they don’t want.
It’s an approach that started here more than two decades ago.