When Danielle Smith took over, bringing some Conservative Party of Canada organizing talent with her, these evangelical populists were joined by great numbers of libertarian types aghast at the loss of the government’s fiscal discipline, its increasing propensity for bribing public-sector unions, and the improvisational nature of its policymaking. Make your Wildrose board members your friends and plan to do your board business around doing something fun before or after your monthly board meetings.

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It appears that’s what’s going to happen in Alberta on Wednesday, and it is difficult to find any precedent for it—outside the Third World, one hesitates to add.

Major opposition figures will often dart back and forth across the two-sword divide in parliamentary democracies that suffer (or are designed for) numerical instability.

Alberta, which has never come close to minority government in 109 years of history, is the opposite of this.

Somehow it became a cue for their caucus to self-destruct.

It’s a fascinating, surprising thing—but not entirely a mystery.

Ever since Jim Prentice parachuted into Alberta politics to save the governing Progressive Conservatives, the Wildrose Party has been suffering an acknowledged identity crisis.

It was initially created by Old Reformers seeking to replace the tiny hobby parties that were constantly winking in and out of existence on the right of the PCs during the 1990s.

A couple of weeks ago, the strongest opposition in the history of the province’s assembly shamed the government into suspending a bill on anti-bullying measures in schools.

Together, the minority parties split the governing caucus, introducing cracks that have not yet finished spreading, and demonstrated that its appreciation of public sentiment was probably much better than the government’s.