Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quick Thoughts

Greetings, Nation. Perhaps you've heard of me... I am "the world's most interesting man"...

... would you believe, Guy Boutilier's blogging alter-ego?

... would you believe, the last anonymous blogger standing in the long-running blood feud between the E.S. Nation and the followers of Tiny Perfect Blog?

Well, one out of 3 ain't bad. ;)

I've got some HEAVY writing to do to get you all up to speed on exactly how you should be thinking about issues over the past month (I kid, I kid), but I wanted to whet your appetites with a few quick thoughts that have occurred in the last little bit.

Thought One: No Solicitation

Nation, I'm on Twitter (aren't we all?), and I've got to admit that some of the stuff that pops up with the #ableg hashtag is just plain funny.

One of the trends I've noticed as late, though, is the blatant kissing-up that's taking place as supporters of the Wildrose Alliance try to butter up the more "conservative" of the PC caucus in Alberta. I'm waiting to see if some of these supporters are planning on proposing marriage, it's gotten so bad.

Look, the tactic is pretty simplistic, and easy to achieve. So bravo for being efficient. But come on, WAP supporters: you're the same people who completely reformed the centre-right movement in this country with the Reform Party. You know how this is going to go - and while it may potentially benefit your party in the long run to drive wedges between these "ideologically compatible" PC MLA's and the "evil" Red Tories who sit with them in caucus - all you're doing in the short term is causing problems for these same MLA's you're claiming to be so enamoured with, who have to go back into the caucus meetings and face the stares of fellow MLA's who wonder why "MLA X" is getting such nice things written about them by the leadership contenders and supporters of the Wildrose Alliance.

There's a cabinet shuffle afoot in the not-so-distant future. I wonder how these same MLA's will feel if the "right-wing unsolicited admiration society" costs them a shot at a cabinet post.

Thought Two: How NOT To Be A Responsible Opposition

I received an email recently from Dr. David Swann. Truth be told, it was a press release - Dr. Swann doesn't spend a lot of time personally emailing The Enlightened Savage (although I'd be happy to do an e-mail interview, Dr. Swann).

In the release, the Liberal leader asks of Ed "Whatcha gonna hack?". The school-yard language proves appropriate, given the rest of the message. Further into the release, he calls on Stelmach to "name which vital facilities, programs and services he'll cut to balance the books" (added emphasis mine).

First of all, I love that Dr. Swann feels, apparently, that there is no waste or inefficiency in government that can be eliminated. As a government employee myself, I feel exactly the same way - as do the 30,000 other members of AUPE who aren't out chasing down the hidden identities of bloggers.

Secondly, I really enjoy that the Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition is suggesting that the government is going to cut not only A vital facility, program, or service - but SEVERAL - in order to balance the books. There's nothing quite like inciting a public panic for political gain.

My favourite part of the message, though, comes at the bottom, where it reads: "Swann speculates that the following big-ticket items and vital services could be on Ed's chopping block", and then proceeds to, in his magnanimity, list off 16 items in a list that seems to be designed to stir up anger and protest in every possible corner and facet of Albertan society.

Releasing a smear-job like this is way, WAY beneath Dr. David Swann - and the person who actually composed this message, and advocated for its release, should be reminded as such.

Folks, I don't think I'm shocking anyone with the information that I am not, in fact, a member of the Alberta Liberals. That said, though, I have been quite impressed with the kind of operation they've run since Dr. Swann took over the leadership. Their communications, as a caucus and an opposition, have improved dramatically. As has the quality of their participation in the Legislature.

Garbage like THIS, though, is a throwback to the "bad old days" for the Liberals.

Dr. Swann wants Albertans to believe that he is capable of being the Premier of Alberta, tomorrow if necessary. He wants us to believe that the Alberta Liberals are ready to run the business of government - and, ergo, that they're capable of getting us out of our economic predicament.



This is a press release using juvenile language and smear tactics to throw a giant "NAH-nee-NAH-nee-BOO-boo" at the current government.

If the Liberals want us to believe they're more capable than the PC's to get us out of this mess, then where is THEIR plan? They're sending out releases suggesting what, in their estimation, the "mean-spirited and backwards Tories" are going to cut to balance the books - but what do the LIBERALS suggest we do? Where's the Liberal plan? The opposition plan? The plan of the government-in-waiting?

They're not releasing one. They're not releasing one, because they believe it's more advantageous to them, politically, to let the PC's screw up the economy, and cost thousands of Albertans their jobs, homes, and health, then it is to make suggestions outside the context of an election - when they have something to gain. They would rather let Albertans SUFFER - which they believe Albertans will do under this government - than give away their brilliant ideas, for the Tories to "steal".

In a ironic turn of phrase, considering this is the same accusation that was made by these same Liberals towards Premier Stelmach: They're more interested in protecting their OWN jobs than they are in protecting yours. Just what we should ALL hope for in our leaders.

If we can accept for a moment that math is non-partisan - we need to find $2 Billion. And, since the Liberals don't seem inclined to address their plan directly - and, since what's good for the goose is good for the gander - I'll try to address it FOR them.

"The Enlightened Savage speculates that the following tax hikes and user fees could be implemented, and the following big-ticket items and vital services could be on Dave's chopping block, under the secret Liberal plan to balance Alberta's books:"

- Provincial Sales Tax of 15% - only levied against women.
- Increase the Royalty Rate for Oil & Gas, putting a final nail in the economic coffin.
- Close both YEG and YYC airports, replacing them with a mandatory $1500 horse-and-buggy ride to Springbank airport or a new airstrip at Morinville.
- Close all the schools in Lethbridge - just because.
- Queen Elizabeth II Highway will be a toll road, with booths set up immediately North and South of Red Deer.
- Sell off all the lands in Kananaskis Country, at market value.
- Re-institute health care premiums, at $5000 per person per year.
- Double tuition at the University of Alberta
- Tax tickets to Calgary Flames games at 200% of face value.

Do any of these make sense? No. Do I have any evidence to back up these claims? No.

But I'm just a blogger.

The Liberals want the keys to the Government Porsche.

Shouldn't the "Government-in-Waiting" be held to a higher standard than a blogger?


Anonymous said...

If you are going to say that supporters of the Wildrose Alliance are sucking up to PCs on twitter why don't you give examples. Come on - let's hear them.

Anonymous said...

re: twitter examples
'Cause giving examples would give exactly the same negative exposure he/she is writing about. Why put them under more scrutiny?

The Swann letter is silly. Hope he isn't taking his advice from Taft's crew.

Enlightened Savage said...

Off the top of my head?

"Alderman *****, MLA **PC** & Mark Dyrholm all served pancakes in Riverbend today. Three soild conservative and respectable men"

"**PCMLA** Shows us some of the common sense-conservatism that he has in spades"

Strange way to describe people you're planning to run candidates against...

Derrick Jacobson said...

While I am a supporter of the WAP I don't consider most supporters are sucking up so to say. I believe there are a couple who are for some reason trying to justify themselves as conservative. While I support the WAP there are also about 15 in the PC party who I also think very highly of. It is just a shame they can not openly express their view in the Leg without repercussion. A merger at this point should not even be considered. Within the pC party there are many unhappy with Ed and I can't wait to see the numbers from the leadership review. Like it or not there are us blue tories that have shifted parties for good reason, there needs to be a change in the PC party or they will lose the confidence of many of the other conservative minded. I have talked to a few of the MLA's I know and they do notice the poll numbers showing growing support for the WAP. Do you think it will help them change from within? It seems this is a common response these days, therefor they must see the problems as well.

Josh said...

Could not agree more with you E.S.!

PS nice to have you back!!

Anonymous said...

As we all know (or should!), politics is a bloodsport. The two issues you identify are definitively part of the game.

The Wildrose Alliance has a catalyst issue with the new royalty framework. That issue morphed along the way as commodity prices dramatically fell in concert with the broader economic meltdown. All that is 'wrong' in Alberta, WAP will point to, started with the NRF.

As for the Liberals, Dr. Swann would rather play armchair quarterback and the critic that provide anything that might be considered an alternative. As you, ES, have pointed out, the Libs have identified programs/services/facilities that could be on a list to be cut. Of course, it fails to answer the question as to what THEY would cut or, more to the point, what taxes would be increased to continue to pay for those programs/services/facilities.

As an entrepreneur who owns and runs his own business, the huge changes in the world, national, provincial and local ecomonic condition, all of which are, of course, interconnected. In times like these, where good news is rare and its difficult to see the glass as half full, its always easy to throw rocks at governments at all levels. We've seen the rhetoric in the press and around the water cooler against all levels ramp up (some more deserved than others).

As conservative Albertan who votes PC, there have been moments of disappointment with some of the crew that now man positions in the both the elected and non-elected sector of this government. But, at the moment in my opinion, there is not an alternative that could govern. I look forward to the overdue cabinet shuffle to provide the opportunity for some of the better talent within caucus to both displace those whose positions were mere rewards for support during the now 3 year old leadership race and requisite follow up of cascading changes into the ranks of the offices of those ministries, DM and ADM levels.