Danielle Smith: A wildflower blooming virtuous and free on the Prairie...
or a programed-from-youth apparatchik of big oil corporatocracy and U.S. Republicanism?
A legitimate enough question.
If only it were the only question.
The problem for Wildrose is that the federal Conservatives are not only their ideological "soulmates". The Conservatives also now stand accused of crimes against Canada: perpetrating election fraud in ridings across the country, and deliberately misleading Parliament on the question of procuring billions of dollars worth of fighter jets.
The links, ties and parallels between Wildrose and the federal Conservatives run broad and deep and are well described in yesterday's Globe and Mail article by Gary Mason, even if it only scratches the surface.
University of Calgary political science professor Tom Flanagan, who has served as a mentor for both Danielle Smith and Stephen Harper, is the same guy who called for the assassination of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. (and later "withdrew" the comment)
Flanagan also wrote two books on property rights (Theories of Property: Aristotle to the Present and Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights). Danielle Smith founded the Canadian Property Rights Research Institute and worked as an advocate for Alberta rural landowners.
Flanagan played a major role in Harper's rise to power and is now the campaign manager for Wildrose's provincial election campaign.
So let's get this straight. The same guy who called for Julian Assange's assassination is philosophically somewhere near the heart of the "libertarianism" subscribed to by Danielle Smith. Awesome!
Wildrose's rise in the polls over the past couple of years is beyond remarkable. How does this information react with what we now know about the Harper Conservatives' ethical approach to influencing an electorate?
Harper's Conservatives, who also got their start as a "breath of fresh air" from the Prairies, are now mired in such a quagmire of election fraud, misleading Parliament and misspending of hundreds of millions of dollars, that the mere adventures of a Bruce Carson fly totally under the radar!
Given the close ties, philosophical similarities, familiar faces, geographical location, shared causes and power bases, etc., between Wildrose and the Harper Conservatives, the question must be asked: Does Wildrose respect ethical standards? Does Wildrose believe in democracy and the Canadian Parliamentary tradition? How far is Wildrose willing to go to win power? What will they really do with that power?
Is this potentially a case of guilt or smear by association? Or is association too loose a term to describe the ties between Wildrose and Harperism?