Nation, I apologize for being incognito over the past several weeks... suffice it to say, real life intervened in a most difficult-to-ignore way, but now that things are back to a semblance of normalcy, the Enlightened Savage is back in the saddle!
Now then, on to the issues of the past 2 weeks...
Premier Stelmach Makes Cabinet Additions
Good move, if a little transparent. Stelmach needed more urban representation, and more women in cabinet. Now, he has both. Ceremonial or not, nobody can accuse Stelmach of ignoring Calgary with a freshly-minted Deputy Premier from the city. Now, the trick is going to be whether Ed can go on the offensive, take the fight to Bronco, and give Calgarians a reason to come out and vote PC in the next election. An election which, if the Stelmach government wants to retain ANY semblance of democratic legitimacy, needs to be held in the first half of 2008, polling numbers be damned. The longer he waits, the more that Henry and Martha will want to vote him out, just to prove a point.
UFO Enthusiasts Get Letter From G.G.
Well, those NDP voters need to come from SOMEWHERE, right?
Tories Will Overhaul RCMP, Inquiry Deemed Unnecessary
The RCMP badly needs a re-boot. Corruption, politicization, cover-ups... this is not what the Canadian public has come to expect from those proud few for whom "Maintain the Right" is supposed to be more than a catchy turn of phrase, but rather a way of life.
That being said, the Federal Tories need to do this in public. I know that Stock Day seems to think that Osama gets CPAC, and further, the Torie just have a general hate on for ANYTHING relating to an inquiry as being non-productive, drawn-out pits of taxpayer dollars. BUT, if you're trying to differentiate yourself in the public eye from the OTHER guy, the last thing you want to do is run plays from his playbook. The "real work happens where the peon voter can't see it" mentality, whether or not it's the true view of the Harper Tories, can't be held aloft publicly in this manner. It's a public institution, funded by public dollars, and carrying a public trust. This needs to be done in public. Voters like to feel important - if you don't make them feel that way, they'll remind you when they get the best chance, on Election Day, just how important they actually are. Ask Brian Mulroney's Tories, after the boss left them high-and-dry to face the wrath of the voters.
Ed Says We Need a Royalty Review
Darn tootin' we do. The only thing more embarrassing to Alberta than the current infrastructure deficit after how many years of multi-billion dollar surpluses, is the idea that we may squander our future economic health as well with meaningless reforms to the Royalty system.
Alberta, and Albertans, need to get more for their oil and gas than they are, currently. Increasing our share of the royalties will slow down production, without a doubt. It will hurt the economy, without a doubt. But the oil companies will come back, without a doubt. Because they HAVE to - the oil isn't going to dry up and blow away and end up in Palm Springs. If they want it, they've got to pay a fair price for it. Because it belongs to me and you and the people of Alberta, and we need to be sure we're getting fairly compensated, so that our government can afford to give us the things we need - like roads, hospitals, mass transit, a high-speed rail line from Calgary to Edmonton, scholarships for medical students, reduced student loan loads, income tax reductions or even elimination, schools, teachers, Alberta Sheriffs, protection for our parks and forests, affordable housing, et cetera, et cetera...
Stephen Versus the Senators
The old adage goes "You get more flies with honey than with vinegar". I don't know if Harper has tried honey, but I think the Canadian public is behind him on this one. This isn't an issue that's up there with climate change, or where our next meal is coming from... but Canadians think the Senate needs to change. The Senate hasn't said that they disagree, they've asked for an opinion from the Supreme Court. The bottom line is, the Senate WILL change, because the Canadian public will demand that it do so. The only question is, will it do so of its own volition? The Senate had best not fight this, because as all true hockey fans know... the Senators just can't win the big one.
Politics is a game. What Ms. Stronach is going through is a life-and-death struggle. Like her politics or not, she's a real person, with family and friends who love her. I'd like to think I speak for all of the E.S. Nation when I wish her a speedy recovery and a long, happy life ahead. There's a rant in there somewhere, about how we can cure baldness and erectile dysfunction but can't do jack all about cancer... but that's for another time.
Jack Layton: Screw the Afghans, Let's Get Outta Here!
According to Jack Layton, too many people are dying in Afghanistan. His solution? Leave. Of course, then many thousands more will die, because Omar and Hedy in Kabul don't have self-propelled grenades and automatic weapons in their spare room - they've got photo albums and a used baby crib. But to hell with them, says Jack. Let their neighbours kill them - it's not our fight. Pull the troops out, and we can talk about this like adults. Neville Chamberlain, meet your soulmate.
Sorry, Jack... that's not what Canada's about. We're about protecting and defending those who can't protect and defend themselves. Standing on the sidelines and watching innocent people suffer never struck me as an NDP value. As one of your heroes might have said: "We do not do these things because they are easy... we do them because they are hard."
Nation, that should give you plenty to chew on. Never fear - I'll be back on the job MUCH sooner than last time. :)