I loved the gothic interiors. And there were moments when the premier didn’t do a half bad Price Vlad. But was this really what Ed Stelmach’s political advisors had in mind as they plotted out the video to resuscitate their boss’s flagging career?
Had Mr. Stelmach been riding high in the polls, with the laurels of success still upon his brow, tonight’s Way Forward message to the people of Alberta might have seemed adequate. Barely.
For a politician who is widely perceived – fairly or not – to be in a deep pit of his own digging, this message did not make the grade. It fell short on style. It fell short on substance.
From the undertaker’s suit and distracting blue tie with its enormous knot to Mr. Stelmach’s promises to make us all to live within our means whether we like it or not and buy Confederate reconstruction bonds while we’re at it, there was very little here to inspire confidence or rally the troops.
Despite the premier’s apparent attempt to head the loony right off at the pass, no one will be crying at Wildrose Alliance HQ tonight.
Mr. Stelmach wants public employees to accept a wage freeze – no plan, though, for cabinet to give back the 30-per-cent-plus raises they voted themselves last year. As for his promise of a surplus in three years, well, one would bloody well think so! The Conference Board predicts natural gas prices will be back up to record levels in … about three years. Oil is sure to follow.
There were precious few additional details, though I’m sure more than a few Albertans heaved sighs of relief that what was spelled out wasn’t worse – yet, anyway.
The video itself, with its herky-jerky editing and acres of royalty-free B-roll showing Alberta hay bales from low altitude was, in a word, lame. It is astonishing that a group with such deep pockets and so many resources would offer up a message so insipid and amateurish.
If this was the best the premier’s communications team could come up with at a moment when Alberta’s voters seem to have grown tired of their boss, and the party faithful are growing restive, well, Mr. Stelmach may be in worse trouble than we’d imagined.
He could certainly use some new advisors.