Alberta’s Growing Bunches of “Sour Grapes”

“Sour grapes” usually refers to someone who suddenly finds something undesirable because they cannot have it.

This week, Prab Gill, MLA for Calgary-Greenway, was accused of having a case of sour grapes because he lashed out at the “crooked party politics” of the United Conservative Party.  A day later, four former contestants from the Calgary-East UCP nomination were accused of having a localized case of sour grapes when they collectively signed a letter to the party claiming the winner of the nomination cheated.  If you’re keeping track, that’s five; more.

Since the start of the United Conservative Party nomination races, there have been complaints, allegations, and excuses.  The former from, in many cases, first-time candidates and the latter from the Party.  To date, so far as has been put on public record, there have been complaints regarding Party processes or decisions.  For these to have been random complaints, the “price of political success”, they shouldn’t have much, if anything, in common; but they do.

Number of public complaints alleging standards or rules not applied equally to all candidates and/or (“preferred” candidates):

Lac St.Anne-Parkland

Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St.Paul


Calgary-Mountain View

Calgary – Fish Creek  



Calgary-Mountain View

Brooks-Medicine Hat


Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville

Updated December 8: Highwood

Updated December 9: Red Deer South

Updated December 12: Highwood

Private (individuals who have not made public statements but who I have personally spoken with):

8, from five different races

Number of public complaints alleging Party interference:

Brooks-Medicine Hat




2, from two different races

Number of public complaints alleging intimidation by the Party/MLAs:







Whisperings (grapevine):

27 races so far (including above)

Certainly some discontent can be expected.

The Blue Sign looks as if it will carry more weight than anything else in the next election and being elected for your Party over your personal merit can be a powerful instigator to win at any cost.  One has to ask themselves, though, why someone who wants to represent voters in the Legislature would sink to some of the levels noted above to do so.

Is it the healthy MLA salary?  $125,000 per year, plus expenses, is a very good wage to a number of Albertans. Tack on an additional $50,000 per year if a cabinet position is bestowed upon you and it’s a very good wage indeed.

For a number of those who run, however, they tended to have well-paying jobs or businesses beforehand.  So if it’s not the wages, then what?  What makes a potential job worth smearing your opposition, intimidating your neighbours or lying, cheating and stealing?

Politics is one of the most lucrative businesses around.  Getting elected allows a small group of people to shape governance and policy to whatever they want.  It allows them to steer policy for our future and our children’s future.  So does it matter if different standards are applied to some people over others?  Does it matter if individuals cheat, lie and steal to get that nomination?

Some would say no, if it gets them what they want.  But what does that offer the rest of us?

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

[email protected] @thisweekinAB @Mitchell_AB


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