Thursday, January 31, 2008

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie...


"One who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"

-Winston Churchill

Nation, I've been making a concerted effort to avoid giving undue coverage to the small band of self-styled "outlaws" who, in typical scaramouche fashion (you thought it was a throw-away lyric from Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody", didn't you?), have taken it upon themselves to try and highjack the public consciousness ahead of the upcoming provincial election.

With a never-ending stream of badly-worded press releases, legal threats, and desperate media-grabbing stunts, this group has managed to join, obtain board positions, alienate, be denied nominations, poison, leave, join, be denied board positions, and be denied nominations in 2 different political parties, all within the space of the past 6 months. Most of it in the past TWO months. It's the equivalent of being jilted at the altar, and proposing to someone else a few months later.

Even in my prime, I didn't get around that fast.

(author's note: thank god my fiancee hates politics, and doesn't read this blog)

Like the bully at school with the bad body odour, they sit wherever they want in the lunch room, and nobody tells them that they can't - but everyone seems to be drawing the line at calling them "friends". So, just like that school-yard bully, their first impulse is to attack when rejected.

"Screw you guys, I never wanted to hang out with you guys anyway - you're a bunch of snobby jerks who don't respect democracy!" screams the bully at one group that rejects him, proceeding to go home and cry before coming back to school and finding a new kid to threaten if he's the "wrong shade of blue". (update: the bully has now decided to try and kiss up to the new kid at school, who has privately suggested he's not really all that interested in the bully's overtures of friendship, based on his history - we'll see how that goes)

Similar stunts and veins have involved claiming to be "democratically elected" (a turn of phrase that djkelly quite handily refutes), claiming to be a victim of "Christophobia" (the victimizers: almost exclusively baptized Christians, which is odd...), and claims of being denied his RIGHT to represent the party (as I look through the Charter, which hurts as I'm as anti-Trudeau as someone born in 1978 could be... I'm not seeing the "right to run under the banner of, and destroy the reputation of, any political party whose local constituency board and nomination meeting you can sufficiently stack" - but I'll keep looking...).

The media have, for the most part, caught on and have been giving this group as little coverage as possible, considering the noise they've been making.

And then, just yesterday, as the Premier of Alberta is making yet another in a long list of pre-election spending promises, one of the "big wheels" of this group gets up to the mic, and asks a question that sounds much more like a campaign ad than it does a question for serious debate. If we had American campaign laws, the questions would have been followed by a taped, cheerful "I'm Darth Vader, and I approved this question..."

Then another.

Then another.

One wonders how receptive the room would have been if, rather than identifying himself as a member of the Regressive Group for Whatchyamacallit, the questioner had identified himself by his most relevant credential, considering the context of the question: "My name is Grand Moff Tarkin, campaign manager for the independent candidate I'm about to name in my question, and I was wondering..."

On the heels of this attempted high-jacking comes a press release, stating in part:
"... the Premier needs to apologize to me or I willl address this with him personally at the next opportunity that arises and it will be in a very public manner." (playing the classic "bully" role - it must have been hard to delete that "or else"...)

The release then goes on to state:
"... campaign team has vowed to insure that any event the Premier will attend in Calgary and area will have... supporters reminding voters that Ed Stelmach does not believe in democracy."

Wonderful. So, in an election to determine Alberta's future, the small-minded folks who just can't get over being jilted in a PARTY NOMINATION RACE are going to high-jack the debate, and instead of talking about royalties, health care, education, and the environment, we'll be forced to listen to a group of fanatics chanting and trying to get on a microphone, to "get back at the premier", and embarass him for rejecting their buddy? THIS is how these people plan to elevate the debate, and improve Alberta? By making a provincial election take a back seat to a squabble over a local party nomination? It's like breaking up an acquaintance's wedding ceremony because he stole your girlfriend in 8th grade.

Ed's not the one who should be embarassed.

Gang, this is not how we do things here in Alberta, or Canada. We don't stack meetings with supporters, holding scripted or pre-approved questions meant to embarass the speaker, and promote his opponent.

Although... wait... something seems eerily similar about the approach...

Seems like I've heard of this approach being used somewhere before...

There you have it, Egmont... the political role model for your independent candidate.

* * *

Nation, I'll be attending the function at The Garage at Eau Claire this afternoon... I'll personally buy a beer for the first person who comes up to me and accuses me of being "The Enlightened Savage" - in a quiet voice, of course. ;)

And "Anonymous" - you're not eligible. I owe you a beer anyway. :)


Kirk Schmidt said...

I would, but I already know your secret identity and it just wouldn't be fair.

wait. am I allowed to do that? be fair? and be a politician? seems kind of contradictory.

Enlightened Savage said...

Kirk: I'll buy your silence. That more in keeping with your political instincts? ;)

Alright... so a beer for Anon, a beer for Kirk, and a beer for the first person to "out" me quietly... :)

Allie Wojtaszek said...

If I only had a car... you'd owe me a beer AND a T-shirt!

Anonymous said...

I actually don't know who you are, ES, but I have read your blog faithfully for the past six months. If you don't want to buy me a beer at the Garage event, you might want to refrain from talking in your blogging voice.

Or, you could just buy me a beer anyway for the small amount of traffic I send your way.

See you at the Garage ...

Enlightened Savage said...

Troy: I'll keep my eyes open for you. :)

kenchapman said...

I was in Calgary all day today and just got home to Edmonton. I should have stayed a bit showed up and blown your cover :~}

Good post BTW.