Okay, I’m just going to apologize in advance for writing another opinion column about politics, especially federal politics. I dislike political columns because, frankly, I find them boring and feel most readers agree with me. Especially federal politics, as I’m almost to the point where I’m not sure Albertans have a federal government. But something this past week, in the wake of our federal election, really gripped me.
The Prime Minister elect, Justin Trudeau, facing the reality of his damaged popularity and minority government, began lurching as if in a dark room for options. Options for an Alberta voice in his cabinet. Since Alberta went all Conservative Party, the Prime Minister’s Liberal Party apparently has no idea what Alberta wants in Ottawa and no way to find out.
So Trudeau started floating ideas.
Former Liberal MP Anne McLellan was the latest, which would be a solid move for Trudeau as McLellan is as Liberal as they come, although you must be suspicious of McLellan. She was described as a “rising star” in politics, and as a journalist that term automatically attracts my attention. McLellan was in Jean Chretien’s government the same time as another “rising star,” Jane Stewart,who was in charge of the Human Resources department when 1$ billion went missing. This is what a rising star can do for you. McLellan can’t possibly speak on behalf of Alberta simply for the fact this retread barely won elections in Alberta; she squeaked by in virtually every one. If she was such a powerful voice for Alberta, why were her victory margins, even in lefty Edmonton, razor thin?
Then there is Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, described by the Canadian Press this past week as “popular.” That’s untrue. Nenshi’s popularity slid considerably between his second and third election, over 20 per cent and if that continues he’ll lose his next election. Nenshi developed a reputation among many Calgary voters for being “tax crazy.” Calgary actually overtaxed their residents to the tune of $52 million and Nenshi stated the money should be used for “flood relief” rather than give it back to the people it was stolen, eh, I mean, levied from. This person has no right to speak on behalf of Alberta. If this dude ends up speaking on behalf of Alberta, we are in serious, serious trouble.
Then former premier Allison Redford stepped forward, letting Trudeau know she was willing to speak on behalf of Alberta. This is the premier who turned official provincial business into family outing days and ordered, in essence, a private residence built with taxpayer money. All I can say is if this has-been is the best Alberta can do for a voice, silence is the better option.
The truth is, Alberta sent many MPs to Ottawa after the election who have the people’s permission and confidence to speak on Alberta’s behalf, and none of them were Liberal. We don’t need Nenshi, Redford or any other B-list politicians who’ve never been elected federally claiming they know what Albertans want or pathetically trying to exercise influence they have never earned.
Trudeau, if you want to know what Alberta wants, speak to the MPs that the majority of Albertans elected.
Stu Salkeld is editor of The Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and is also willing to speak on behalf of Alberta if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is desperately in need of advice.