By Kirstin Morrell

Over 2,700 voters in Calgary Buffalo are shaking their heads tonight. In a Nader-esque display of vote-splitting, the Liberal candidate lost by less than the margin of Alberta Green Party voters.

It happened again in Edmonton Whitemud, where the PCS walked away with a win where the NDP voters could have made up the difference.

In Edmonton Castle Downs, even with all polls reporting back, it is still too close to call. It looks like the Liberals will take it, but with no help from the NDP. While far back in the polls, Brian Mason’s party still captured a large chunk of the leftist vote.

Maybe it is time in Alberta for the Green Party and the NDP, or at least their voters, to temporarily sacrifice their own ideals for a better cause. Is it better to grab for the individual party and candidate gain, while losing all hope at having their ideals forwarded, if even by another party?

If the Liberals are willing to increase support for post-secondary education, if they are willing to improve labour standards, if they are willing to safeguard some parts of the environment that were not safeguarded before, isn’t that what matters most? At the end of the day, what does the Green Party have to show for itself in Calgary? A few votes and increased awareness for their party, but nothing for their cause.

In ridings where parties have a genuine chance of winning, of course they should fight for it. But if they have no hope of success for themselves, and have a very real chance of sabotaging the race for the next closest candidate to their ideas, why are Alberta mini-parties stealing this option from the real contenders?

The Alberta NDP and the Alberta Green Party need to work with the Liberals in places like Calgary, where they have no hope of winning seats for themselves for years to come. There would be a cost to their own party, but the candidates need to remember that they are Albertans, too. And that a strong opposition is what is best for the province.

Even the Liberals of Calgary Currie should be concerned. Yes, they won. Yes, by a large margin. But would they have done so well against a stronger candidate than Jon Lord? The Liberals should not rest on their victories, because the Tories will be fighting harder than ever next election.

If the leftist parties of Alberta will not listen to this, then let us hope they at least work with each other in the legislature, not just to oppose the Tories, but to formulate alternative solutions. Because, as the Alberta Alliance learned, you cannot run on a platform of opposition alone.

But if Alberta leftists continue their factional, vote-splitting ways, they will continue to lose seats by the most foolish of margins.

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