Question: Tell me, Perfesser Dave, why can’t sensitive new-age Albertans like us have a political party as exciting and cutting edge as that Wildrose Alliance thing? I mean, those Conservative types are just not hep to the jive the way we lefties are. So how come that Danielle Smith seems to have the media in a tizzy all the time and all we’ve got is Brian Mason his old grey suit and David Swann in his weird red turtleneck? Why can’t Rachel Notley set those guys ablaze?
Answer: That Danielle does look sharp in a blazer, doesn’t she? … And Rachel’s not setting anyone ablaze. I think she’s spoken for….
Question: Perfesser Dave! You’re not even trying to answer my question! I meant set the media ablaze!
Answer: Oh. Sorry. I was thinking about something else. OK, just give me a minute here… It’s complicated. You see, before you can have a really exiting new splinter party, you have to have something worth splintering from. So before you can have a thrilling new splinter that sets the media ablaze, you’ve got to have a big fat old tired monolith that absolutely everybody and their dog is a member of, seeing as they can’t think of anything better to do on a Saturday night in Stettler. That’s why the conservatives in this province are way ahead of us. Once they got all their original splinters together into one big stick, the time was ripe for them to have an exciting new splinter! Also, it helps to have about a bazillion dollars in oil money.
Question: I still don’t get it. Why can’t we have a splinter like they have a splinter?
Answer: Because all we’ve got now are splinters, only without cool names. Before we can have a really newsworthy splinter, we’d have to tie everything up with a splint and I just can’t see that happening, can you?
Question: Perfesser Dave, why do you always answer my questions with a question?
Answer: Why shouldn’t I answer your questions with a question?
Question: Seriously, Perfesser, why couldn’t we have a Progressive New Democratic Green Liberal Alliance?
Answer: Because that name sucks big time, plus it’s one-sixth taken. Would you vote for something called the PNDGLA?
Question: Maybe not. But Albertans voted for the Conservative Reform Alliance Party, and that wasn’t exactly a great name either! Maybe we could come up with a cooler name, sort of like “the Wildrose Alliance?”
Answer: Hmmmm… I used to think that. I used to think the Wildrose Alliance would be a great name. Not obviously partisan, plus it includes our beloved Alberta provincial flower. Who could hate something named after a wild rose? The problem is, it’s taken… Well, I suppose we could call our new monolithic party the Wild Rose Alliance – that would have the benefit of being spelled correctly!
Question: I don’t think you could do that, Perfesser Dave. Think of the confusion!
Answer: Think of the votes we’d get by mistake! Oh, never mind… I suppose you’re right. Anyway, the right wing seems to have the market cornered on alliances nowadays. Too bad, though! Symbolism’s so … symbolic, and that rose is such a nice symbol. It’s even our colour! Sort of. Well, maybe we could use another provincial symbol….
Question: Alberta has another provincial symbol?
Answer: Absolutely! Oodles of ’em, in fact. We have a provincial tree, a provincial bird, a provincial fish, a provincial rock, and more. Let me illuminate your fuzzification.
Question: Gee, a provincial tree sounds nice? And Albertans seem to go for political flora… D’ya think we could name our party after the provincial tree?
Answer: Our provincial tree is the lodgepole pine. This has some pluses and minuses, symbologically speaking. On the plus side, it tends to stand straight and makes a very nice tent pole, hence the name. On the down side, however, it burns like gasoline and is infested with bark beetles. Anyway, if you ask me, the Lodgepole Federation sounds a little too much like a group that would wear green shirts and gather at Red Green’s lodge. The last time we had Greenshirts in Alberta they had something to do with Mr. Aberhart’s Social Credits. I don’t think we ought to go there again.
Question: Got it. What about the provincial fish?
Answer: The provincial fish is the Bull Trout. Personally, I’m very fond of the Bull Trout … especially with a little garlic butter. Ha-ha! Settle down, I was kidding. I think it’s an endangered species too. But I can’t shake the feeling our political opponents would make fun of the Bull part, just like we did when they formed the CRAP. I think we’d better throw the Bull Trout back.
Question: Is there another animal symbol?
Question: They sound good. Why not use one of them?
Answer: There’s a theme running through those two that I’m not sure Alberta voters would be comfortable with. You know how important that fundamentalist vote is! On the other hand, calling ourselves the Great Horned Social Democrats or the Big Horned Liberal Democrats couldn’t hurt the action in the hospitality rooms come convention time! Let’s put those ones in the Maybe File.
Question: Anything else?
Answer: Well, I suppose we could think about the provincial grass – no! not that kind of grass! It’s called Festuca scabrella, rendered in English as Rough Fescue. When I hear it spoken aloud, I can’t say I like the sound of it in either Latin or English! Let’s not go there either.
Question: Is there a provincial rock?
Answer: Yes there is. It’s called petrified wood. I don’t think that’s suitable for us, but I think the Tories might be interested in it after Danielle’s the premier. …
Question: You’d think there’d be a pretty provincial rock.
Answer: In fact there is. The provincial gemstone is Ammolite.
Question: This isn’t good. Is there anything left?
Answer: Only the provincial fungus.
Question: The provincial fungus?
Answer: Leccinum boreale (the red cap mushroom). The Legislature voted to make it our provincial fungus, but it’s never been proclaimed into law.
Question: Why not, I wonder?
Answer: Probably because even though it’s harmless and edible, it looks pretty much like two other red-topped fungi found in Alberta that, not to mince words, will kill you if you eat ’em. Quite quickly, too, apparently. Still, I think you’ve got to concede that a name like the Red Cap Mushroom League might just be what it takes to Unite The Left!
Question: Gee, thanks, Perfesser Dave. This time you really did illuminate my fuzzification!
Answer: You’re welcome. My pleasure! That’s why they call me Perfesser.