Perfesser Dave: Not a problem, Questioner. I’m delighted to help by casting light on things. You see, Tom Lukaszuk may not be the sharpest knife in Premier Stelmach’s kitchen drawer, but he was sharp enough to suggest there oughtta be a law against crossing the floor to the Wildrose Alliance, so Premier Ed put him in the cabinet as a reward. Loyalty to Ed is everything with Ed. Tom’s from Poland, so it was natural that he gave him the immigration ministry.
Question: But isn’t immigration a federal matter?
Perfesser Dave: Don’t worry about constitutional niceties, my friend. I’ll bet you Wayne Cao is wishing he hadn’t! Nowadays, an unconstitutional private member’s bill on floor crossing can get you almost anywhere in this province! Anyway, that ministry is really about keeping the unions in line, and with the economy and all, Tom won’t be very busy with that stuff until after the next election, so I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m sure Tom won’t.
Question: Well, OK, I guess… So the shuffle doesn’t mean anything then?
Perfesser Dave: Whoa there, big fellah! I didn’t say that. Mostly you’re right, it’s just a matter of shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic – except, of course, that the government of Alberta is a heck of a lot bigger and slower than the Titanic, and almost as unsinkable. But some of the changes do matter.
Question: OK, I’ll bite. Like what? Like who?
Perfesser Dave: Like Ted Morton’s appointment as the Minister Responsible for Stemming Defections to the Wildrose Alliance.
Question: I thought that was Tom Lukaszuk….
Perfesser Dave: Nope. Not Tom. That private member’s bill will never see the light of day. It’s totally unconstitutional; you can trust me on that. But by jumping Ted up from the Ministry of Guys Who Hang Rifles in Their Pickup Trucks’ Windows and Ride Around on Quads to the Ministry of Subtraction, the premier is sending a message to all those Angry White Men in Black that they shouldn’t go join the ReFarm Party … I mean, the Wildrose Alliance. Also, he’s sending a message to Ted that he shouldn’t go join the Wildrose Alliance. He’s already a member of the ReFarm, of course, or whatever they call it these days.
Question: So Mr. Morton’s been promoted.
Perfesser Dave: Affirmative. Big time!
Question: OK, so what about Ron Liepert? Has he been demoted?
Perfesser Dave: Nope. He’s been shuffled. Totally lateral. You see, the premier likes Ron Liepert even if no one else can stand him. But he did blow the health ministry to smithereens, so he had to be moved somewhere where there was more stuff he could wreck. So the premier decided to move him over to the Energy Ministry where he can work with oil industry execs who are just like him.
Question: So the energy industry will be happy?
Perfesser Dave: No, they’ll be furious. They’re bound to hate him, too.
Question: Aw, c’mon, Perfesser Dave! Why would the premier do that?
Perfesser Dave: Who knows? Maybe he thinks they’ll like Ronnie just like him. The premier doesn’t like to be mean to guys who are loyal to him. It’s one of his most endearing traits! Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Those oil guys in Calgary are giving all their money to that Danielle Smith over at the Wildrose Alliance, you know, the gal with the nice hair…
Question: I thought everybody hated her hair! Anyway, isn’t that kind of a sexist thing to say.
Perfesser Dave: Hell no! I already insulted Tom Lukuszuk’s hair, so I’m allowed to get away with the same number of cheap shots per sex. Plus, like, it’s only the readers of this blog that feel that way about Danielle’s do…
Question: Whatever… So, before you start to act like an even bigger jerk, what are the other important moves in today’s shuffle?
Perfesser Dave: Horner. Doug Horner’s big.
Question: How’s that?
Perfesser Dave: Well, everyone thinks he wants to be the premier some day, and now he’s the deputy premier, so the premier’s given him a shot at being the leader of the Opposition…
Question: What do you mean leader of the Opposition? The Conservatives are the government…
Perfesser Dave: Well, OK, they are now. But Doug Horner lives in just about the last safe Tory riding in Alberta. So if the premier hangs on, which he’d like, after the next election Doug’ll get to be the Opposition leader. If the Conservatives come to their senses and Ed has to go, which Ed wouldn’t like, then Mr. Horner will be waiting in the wings. The premier really wouldn’t like that! So this may be the premier’s way of blowing him to smithereens – the health ministry is usually good for that. Plus, I think he has a relative who was a Liberal once or something, so this may be the premier’s way of saying, “be careful what you wish for.”
Question: That’s two smithereenses in one post. What’s with that? Makes sense, though, I guess, Perfesser. But what happened to Fred Horne? I thought he was going to be the minister of health?
Perfesser Dave: Ah yes, Fred Horne. Nice guy. Trouble is, he doesn’t live in the last safe riding in Alberta. Not much percentage in promoting him, is there, when he slipped in by 64 votes? Plus, when the premier gave him all those crappy accident-prone files, he started spending too much time on the stage. And people liked him! Ed really doesn’t like that. Anyway, it was the last straw when he yelled at the premier and Ron Liepert’s pal Stephen Duckett and made them give those people in the mental hospital their soap and Kleenexes back.
Question: Really? How do you know that?
Perfesser Dave: Well, they gave them back, didn’t they? Someone must’ve yelled at them! … Anything else?
Question: Well, yeah, as a matter of fact. What’s with this Gene Zwozdesky dude?
Perfesser Dave: Clearly a mistake.
Question: A mistake to make him minister of health?
Perfesser Dave: Oh no. On the contrary, he’s a pretty good choice. Nice guy. Knows how to schmooze – in about 12 languages, including Polish and Ukrainian, which should keep both the premier and his pal Lukaszuk happy! And he knows something about health.
Question: Then why do you call it a mistake?
Perfesser Dave: Because this premier never does anything right. By definition, if he’s managed a shrewd move, he must’ve mucked something up! Old Gene crossed over from the Liberals way back when dinosaurs used to be seen as far north as Brooks! When that Klein guy was premier, I think. Maybe Premier Ed might have been confused about that and thought that meant he was going to make a run for the ReFarm … I mean, the Wildrose.
Question: I’m still confused, Perfesser…
Perfesser Dave: You’re always confused, Questioner.
Question: No, what I mean is, I’m confused about this shuffle. Why is Mr. Zwozdesky a good move in health?
Perfesser Dave: Easy. Because he gets along with people, like I said.
Question: You mean, not like Mr. Liepert?
Perfesser Dave: Exactly. The last guy couldn’t get along with anybody. That’s why he’s been assigned to the Ministry of Destroying the Oil Industry in Revenge for Their Financing the Wildrose Alliance. Gene Zwozdesky, on the other hand, should be able to get everyone in Alberta settled down and sleeping better, if not with each other. He may even get the nurses and the West Edmonton Mall of Health Regions talking to each other again! After that, well, maybe he’ll turn some water into wine and they’ll all walk across the lake for a drink!
Question: Ha-ha! You’re funny. But won’t Mr. Duckett be unhappy about that?
Perfesser Dave: Crocodile Duckett? The Aussie who runs Alberta Health Services? You bet he’ll be unhappy! We’ll just have to see how that all works out. The premier made an OK choice in asking Gene to be health minister, but he’s got a new budget coming out in about five minutes, so that means the health minister won’t really get to be health minister, at least until after the next election….
Question: So who will really be the health minister?
Perfesser Dave: Ron Liepert, obviously. Leastways, it’ll be his budget. And with him not around, Steve Duckett will still get to run things. Deputy Ministers do all the work anyway and this one seems to be almost as cantankerous as old Ronnie. I can’t wait to see who he accuses of whinging next. “Whinging:” It’s an Australianism….
Question: Never mind, Perfesser. I read that post. So how will that change anything?
Perfesser Dave: It won’t. But they’ll be way nicer about it.
Question: So if nothing changes, what’s that mean?
Perfesser Dave: Do I have to spell it out for you? D-A-N-I-E-L-L…
Question: That’s another thing. Why would anyone vote for Danielle Smith if they’re sick of the Conservatives?
Perfesser Dave: I’m afraid I just can’t answer that, son. This is Alberta.
Question: But if something’s not going to help, why would the premier do it?
Perfesser Dave: Remember when I said Tom Lukaszuk wasn’t the sharpest knife in the cabinet drawer? Well, he’s not the butter knife either. Know what I mean?
Question: I guess. Say, who’s this Oberle guy?
Question: So… They’re both in Cabinet?
Perfesser Dave: Right! Either that or the Wildrose Party!
Question: Oh! I think I get it. Anything else we should talk about before we take the rest of the night off?
Perfesser Dave: Not really. Like I said, other than that, it’s mostly deck chair shuffling. Doesn’t mean a thing.
Perfesser Dave: Naw, not this guy. They may be hopeless, but they’re loyal.
Question: Hmmm… OK. And what about George Groeneveld? Why’d he have to go?
Perfesser Dave: Ah, that’s a different kettle of fish. He’s a wheat guy. He pissed off the meat guys!
Question: So this new agriculture minister, Jack Hayden, his job is to …. ?
Perfesser Dave: Beats me. Piss off the wheat guys, maybe. I never think about agriculture. Nobody in the media thinks about agriculture. That’s because it’s Alberta’s biggest industry.
Question: Well, that doesn’t make any sense, but I guess that makes sense. But, what do you mean you’re in the media? You’re not in the media! You’re a perfesser.
Perfesser Dave: I’m a Perfesser of Journalism. That’s the same as being a perfesser of media. And that’s sort of the same as being in the media. Right? Like being a blogger.
Question: Well thank you so much, Perfesser, I’m always so pleased when you illuminate my fuzzification!
Perfesser Dave: Think nothing of it. That’s what I’m here for.
Question: Wait! One more thing…. What about Janice Tarchuk? Why’d he dump her? …
Perfesser Dave: Oh. Her. Now she was hopeless!