Editorial – Big government, or big sleaze?

Jeff Burgar

Federal and provincial elections bring out many ideas.

Yet so far, not much mention of the Alberta old boy’s club of fat cronies. After 42 years of the Conservative dynasty, the number of leeches and porkers sucking the party to death was beyond count. Those who wanted to ride the gravy train saw the path to the station packed. Most of all though, the whole Conservative meat loaf was far, far past its best before expiry date. Thus came the Wildrose Party. New faces often bring boneheaded political moves. One of the most boneheaded came when Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and a dozen of her fellow animals were suckered into crossing the floor to join the PC’s. The crossover resulted in vote splitting between Progressive Conservative and Wildrose when an election finally came. The rest is NDP history.

It seems like just yesterday, but it was four years ago. Albertans were completely fed up. Rachel Notley ended the PC dynasty. Following that, Wildrose and PC joined forces. Brian Jean lost out in the leadership for the new, United Conservative Party, and retired from politics.

Now, we learn the “new, inspired” UCP has much of the “old” Progressive Conservative party still hanging around. Allegations fly how UCP leader Jason Kenney rigged a scheme to steal leadership of the new party from Brian Jean. Kenney snickers at a bevy of charges. “Hey, it’s all just politics,” he says. Move along now. Nothing to see here. “Just politics” is what most Albertans wanted rid of. Cozying with party bigwigs to get a grant, or a casino license, or a highway paved, or all the myriads of perks and pork passed out by governments disgusts everybody. Except of course, people gaming the system, and doing quite well at it. Rachel Notley and New Democrats have done well with running a respectable government.

Alberta’s economy hasn’t co-operated. Trudeau’s federal government hasn’t co-operated. The NDP neighbours in British Columbia haven’t co-operated. Oil prices last fall definitely did not co-operate. Major Alberta energy companies, some consumed with their own greed, are split on co-operating. All in all, the past four years are mostly what should be expected from a brand new government, working with a tired old bureaucracy not interested in spreading good messages.

A few months ago, polls showed the UCP had a solid lead over the NDP. Then the stink began. In particular, the stink of old government, and that same old bureaucracy (now doing happy dances that those good old days will soon return) back running the show while politicians make their deals. It’s a running joke in government when budgets and spending are announced. “Is this old money, new money, or ‘new’ old money just being recycled.”

Jason Kenney. Not new politics. Old politics. Being sold as “a new politician” selling an idea the house cleanng will happen and Alberta will start fresh. In reality, we get the same ideas the past decade of Conservative rule left us. Old politicians recycling nothing. Pretending they have new ideas. And expecting Albertans will once again fall for it all, as they too often did.


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