Thursday, June 14, 2007

Light on Relations ... Period

I see that the Stelmach Cons are as clueless about relations with other governments as the Harper Cons.

It seems to me that just as Harper can't seem to "get it" on either the world or domestic stages, neither can Stelmach's bunch get it right in managing the relationship between the government in Edmonton and the cities in Alberta.

In neither case does this come as a big surprise. Every piece of evidence I have seen to date makes it clear that the only kind of negotiations that Harper is capable of takes its roots in the "six-shooter diplomacy" of George W. Bush. Whether it is on the world stage, where Harper's performances have had all the nuance of an incontinent water buffalo in five star restaurant, or at home, where Harper not only turns everything into a confrontation, but a pugilistic one at that. Turning to the provinces and saying "so sue me" is buying yourself exactly no love.

At home, Stelmach is a lifelong farmer - he has no idea about the stresses and problems that are faced by Alberta's large urban centers. Now he thinks he is going to assuage that by pouring money into the cities. Don't get me wrong, the money is badly needed, but that isn't what the problem is. Having your cabinet ministers running about making snotty remarks about the cities like Ted Morton just did only gets people's noses out of joint.

No, Albertans - at least in Calgary Elbow - have made a statement. It's time for the government to show us some vision and actual leadership. This means showing us a plan that looks beyond the end of your stubby noses, without turning it into a juvenile pissing match.


Anonymous said...

Pouring money - yes... and a little late in the week to purchase votes. (There might be hope for the man yet! Klein always managed to time the bribe money and promises to be released BEFORE voting day).

But is it the BEST outlay of cash? Or a kneejerk reaction.

Take schools. P3 private-public partnerships. On the face of it, the idea sounds grand! Private industry will build the schools and then simply lease them back to the school board. So much money that we don't have to pay up front for construction.... 30 years of debt, well, let's not worry about those details right now.

Face it - private corporations are in business to make money. Period. Are they doing a charitable public favour by helping the province build schools? Nope. They are putting down a deposit on a 30 year cash cow, where they will see enormous returns on the back of the taxpayer. I'm not convinced that this is the best solution, especially given the type of cash that currently resides in government coffers. So much money would be saved over the long term if the government simply put up the schools themselves (or took out a mortgage on them), rather than get into bed with greedy sticky fingered private interests.

In one of the most prosperous provinces in Canada? Buy votes today, Alberta Parents taxdollars can pay for them the rest of their life. What a grand idea!

What's next for the Conservatives? Steal candy from babies and resell it at a profit? Oh, wait... they've already got the corner on THAT market.

MAS said...

The Minister of Education, on CBC this am, said that the P3's were necessary because the "Surplus" was all allocated. Then in the Calgary Herald today, the Liberals claim that over the next 10 years the gov't will spend $500 million supporting the horse racing industry. Both the gov't and the industry claim this is not a subsidy because the funds come from slot machines at the race tracks. Of course it is a subsidy, PERIOD. The money could be better used to finance the building of new schools instead of this P3 crap. The Alberta Cons have their priorities totally wrong. But weren't they supposed to "get out of the business of being in business" ?