The Alberta Liberal Party is a longtime political sadsack. Unlike its much more successful federal version, the centrist Alberta Liberals are perpetual underdogs, it seems, having never formed government in this province. For the longest time they could blame it on the genetic conservatism of Albertans; but that explanation no longer works, given that the leftist New Democratic Party under Rachel Notley leapfrogged over the Liberals in the 2015 election and took power.
Still, though, I have a soft spot for the Alberta Liberals (for the same reason that I’ve always loved the Leafs). That’s probably why I agreed to put a Liberal sign on my lawn when candidate Donna Wilson knocked on my door a month before the election. I liked her and had heard good things about her work. The Liberals went on to lose the election, of course, and in the end, I’m embarrassed to admit, I didn’t even vote for Donna Wilson. (Sorry, Donna, really! I got swept up in the orange wave like everyone else.) But it may be some consolation to Donna and her party that, while the campaign was a failure, her lawn sign lives on.
When, a few months ago, I was seized by a rare surge of DIY inspiration to fashion some home-made fenders for my fatbike, it didn’t take much rooting around the garage to discover the perfect material. Election signs these days tend to be made of coroplast, also known as corriboard, a high-impact polypropolene resin plastic product. It’s lightweight, water-proof, super tough, easy to cut, and recycleable to boot. Apparently it’s all the rage in the guinea-pig- owner community, where it’s ideal for making inexpensive critter-proof enclosures.
And election signs are great for fenders too. A little scissor work, some zip ties, and voila! You’ve got lightweight, sturdy, entirely functional protection from water and mud. Without intentionally doing so, I happened to use the part of the sign with Donna’s name and campaign phone number (surely no longer in service) on it. Some may consider this poor taste on my part, but I’ve grown to think of it as a tribute, of sorts, and a souvenir of what will go down as an historic election. I don’t think Donna would really mind.
Although technically any coroplast election sign will work as fender material, I’ve heard that the NDP ones tend to drift a bit to the left, while the Wild Rose ones pull hard to the right. Some might accuse the Alberta Liberals of irrelevance, but I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing irrelevant about a functional, DIY, middle-of-the-road fender. In fact, it’s an embodiment of the prudence and practicality we look for in good government. Donna Wilson can be proud of that, at least. The Liberals may not ever attain the arid heights of political power in Alberta, but at least they can say that they’re making a difference—preventing me from being all wet.