Question: Help me out here, Perfesser Dave. I’m just totally confused. Premier Stelmach’s Conservatives said they were going to change the way we Albertans get our health care, but they also said they weren’t going to change anything, then they said the system was broke and had to be changed, and now they say it isn’t broke any more, seeing as they’ve given it so much money, and nothing has to change. Is this the end of it? Please illuminate my fuzzification!
Perfesser Dave: That’s a good question, Questioner. The government has given up trying to change the health care system because the voters don’t want them to change it. Period. But just because the government has given up on changing Alberta’s public health care system doesn’t mean they’ve given up on changing Alberta’s public health care system.
Question: What! They said they weren’t going to change anything and we could all go back to sleep! Now you say they’re going to change everything again? Where the heck do you get this stuff! Do you just make it up?
Perfesser Dave: No, I don’t just make it up. You can’t make up stuff like this! I get it from the community press.
Questioner: From the community press?
Perfesser Dave: Righty-ho! Governments never tell the truth to what is known in Alberta as The Media, but they do tell the truth to reporters from the community press, you know, little weekly newspapers published by cranky publishers who can be depended upon to tell their readers to vote Conservative.
Question: Well, I have two questions about that: Why would they tell reporters from the community press…
Perfesser Dave: Because they don’t know they’re there…
Question: Don’t know they’re there? How can they not know they’re there?
Perfesser Dave: Maybe because they wear the same dumb gimme caps as all the other voters in the riding… but also because half the time they’re sitting on the Member’s re-election committee, so they’re easy to forget.
Question: OK, I guess, but then what happens?
Perfesser Dave: Then they blurt out what they really think and it ends up in the community press. The only thing that saves them is that nobody, you know, like, outside the community, actually reads the community press. So it doesn’t matter. Your other question?
Question: My other question? What other … Oh yeah! So how is the community press different from The Media if they tell all their readers to vote Conservative? Don’t they all do that?
Perfesser Dave: Good point, Questioner. But unlike The Media, there’s a possibility they might go tell their readers to vote for the Wildrose Alliance Party, and their Conservative MLAs know it.
Question: Oh…. I get it! So the readers might vote for the Wildrose Alliance because their community paper tells them to!
Perfesser Dave: Well, not exactly. Nobody does what the paper tells them to do any more. They just do it on their own. But their MLAs think they might do it because the community press told them too, instead of because they just felt like it, and you can’t be too careful, so they invite the community press to things to keep them on side, and then they forget they’re there because they don’t look like city reporters, and sometimes the stuff they say ends up in the paper.
Question: OK, so you read a community paper and found out the Conservatives were going to muck up health care again, right?
Perfesser Dave: Exactly! Except that nowadays they don’t call it mucking up. They call it “reforming.” But it means the same thing. So, you’re right. Ted Morton, you know, that pale young finance minister we have who always dresses so nice? He went out to a field north of Edmonton and told a bunch of guys that he hasn’t given up on messing with the health care system. One of them was from the community press. The muck in those fields! Must’ve played hell with Ted’s nice Italian loafers…
Question: Yuk! So what exactly did he say?
Perfesser Dave: Well, Mr. Morton explained that just because the government surrendered and retreated on health care in his last budget doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender and retreat on health care any time soon.
Question: Awww, Perfesser Dave! I still don’t get it! I was just starting to understand, and now I’m confused again.
Perfesser Dave: That’s because you live in a city.
Question: What’s where I live got to do with it?
Perfesser Dave: In Alberta? A heck of a lot! But don’t worry about it. Country accounting is just different from city accounting. So while he was out in that field by Morinville, Mr. Morton explained that while the whole health system had a deficit of $1.3 million, the government just happened to find $1.3 million down in the basement of the Legislature or something. So it paid off all the health system’s debts, so now the system isn’t broke any more. But that doesn’t mean the system won’t be broke again soon, and if it is, everything will have to be cut back again. So, just because the government listened to the voters sure as heck doesn’t mean the government is listening to the voters again any time soon. You don’t want to do that except when you have to! Here’s what he actually said: “This does not mean that we’re surrendering or retreating on health care reform. It means that we’re putting the money there that we think we need to put there to get the job done.”
Question: Well what the heck does that mean?
Perfesser Dave: It means they want to get the job done, and so they put the money there, and then they’re going to get back to dreaming about wrecking health care in Alberta.
Question: But then how will they get the health care job done?
Perfesser Dave: Health care? Who said anything about health care? That’s not the job he’s talking about!
Perfesser Dave: Quit yowling! It’s not that complicated. The job he’s talking about is making sure the Wildrose Alliance doesn’t get elected.
Question: So because they surrendered means they didn’t surrender? I’m so confused…
Perfesser Dave: Exactly! It’s just like those Talibans. The more they attack, the more it means they’re losing….
Perfesser Dave: Oh never mind. I shouldn’t have mentioned that. They’ll change the health care system after the Wildrose Alliance doesn’t get elected. The Conservatives will, I mean, not the Taliban.
Question: But if people don’t want the health care system changed, and they know that, then they will vote for the Wildrose Alliance!
Perfesser Dave: Well, so what if they do? The Wildrose Alliance hasn’t surrendered either and they plan to wreck health care too.
Question: Well, then why…. Awwwwww! Then if they don’t want health care wrecked, why would anyone vote for the Wildrose Alliance?
Perfesser Dave: Questioner, I’m afraid we just don’t understand that yet. It might have something to do with the water in the Sturgeon River. We’re applying for a research grant from “Alberta Innovates … Politics That Don’t Make Sense…”
Question: “Alberta Innovates … Politics That Don’t Make Sense”…? Say what?
Perfesser Dave: You’ve got to say it in a deeper voice: “ALBERTA INNOVATES….” Oh, never mind, you’d have to ask Doug Horner about that one. He wasn’t around when Mr. Morton was out in his riding reforming his shoes and getting ready to wreck health care again.
Question: So they’ll never give up? And we’ll never get rid of them?
Perfesser Dave: Not as long as the job needs to get done.
Question: Well, how long will that be?
Perfesser Dave: Until they put in Internet voting so nobody can ever win an election but them.
NOTE: Perfesser Dave has been sent to Labour Camp for writing stuff like this. This is not as bad as it sounds, but it means he may not be able to post helpful explanations like this one as often as he’d like for a few days. If you can’t live without commentary about Alberta politics, well, go read Daveberta….