Well, it’s been a wild week already out here in Alberta and it only started yesterday morning – unless you count Sunday, of course, which was pretty quiet.
First thing Monday morning, Alison Redford got up and flew up to Edmonton, where she was apparently delayed by fog, which is a bad omen for reasons we’ll discuss in a moment. Then she called an election for April 23. She could do this because she’s the premier of Alberta and all.
Then the election campaign got an entirely new issue – to wit, the practice of prostitution in red light districts, specifically red light districts in Calgary, which is normally not the sort of town that would go in for that sort of thing.
But apparently Danielle Smith, the leader of the far-right Wildrose Party, which apparently takes its orders directly from Old Harpoon the Free-Marketer down at 24 Sussex, is in favour of red light districts. Leastways, she was in Calgary according to a newspaper article she wrote back in 2003. (Let that be a lesson to all you journalists and bloggers who are contemplating your own political careers: everything you have ever said has been taken down and will be used against you!)
This became an issue because a court in Ontario said it ought to be legal to work in a Common Bawdy House, which nobody’s called one of those places since a B.C. Cabinet minister got caught in one back when I was a cub reporter. This just goes to show, I guess, that those places are never anything but a peck of trouble for politicians.
Anyway, the Ontario court ruled, Ontario prostitutes cheered, and someone on Premier Redford’s staff noticed that back when Ms. Smith was toiling in the vineyards of the Calgary Herald she wrote “city council should establish a red-light district and begin to clean up the neighbourhoods — and the profession.” (The profession she was referring to, by the way, was not politics.)
And so far I haven’t even made anything up! Well, really, you can’t make up stories as good as these.
Anyway, the stuff likely won’t really hit the fan until a little later this week, when a canary of my acquaintance says a well-known and legitimate polling company – like, say, Leger Marketing – will release a poll that puts Ms. Redford’s Progressive Conservatives and Ms. Smith’s Wildrose Party neck and neck.
At that point, presumably, the press won’t care any more what Ms. Smith said way back in Aught-3, seeing as they’ll all be busy declaring her premier again, as they’ve been doing off and on for the past couple of years. Even more Harper aides will fly out from Ottawa to join the Wildrose bus, which – thankfully, under the circumstances – has had its wheels relocated to a more demure location.
What’s more, the journalists will then all officially conclude that Ms. Redford’s Tories are up to their asses in alligators, which, notwithstanding Conservative strategist Stephen Carter’s well known penchant for winning races by coming from behind, is probably not where you want to start a campaign you could have won with a massive majority by calling the election three weeks earlier.
Some people will do anything for a challenge, I guess. But the problem is that, after former front-runner Gary Mar’s defeat and Ms. Redford’s seeming flight so close to the sun, anything but a majority even more massive that unlucky Ed Stelmach’s 72 seats in 2008 is going to look pretty shabby, no matter how entertainingly nasty and off-putting the intramural right-wing rhetoric gets.
So even if Ms. Redford manages to hang onto her job as premier, even if she manages to hang on to a majority government, rebellious Tories are going to be grumbling under their breath about how they probably could have done better with Mr. Stelmach, let alone with Mr. Mar.
If that’s the result, you can expect Mr. Carter to be shipped back to the minors to manage municipal campaigns for the rest of his career. Who knows what Mr. Mar may do, seeing as he may be looking for a job now that his cushy posting as Alberta’s “envoy” to Asia has hit a bumpy patch?
Oh, and speaking of Mr. Mar, I almost forgot that fog. Does anyone else recall whose plane was delayed by fog on the day of a crucial campaign launch?
The headline on this blog read: “Delayed by fog, dogged by health system allegations, Gary Mar’s campaign has less than stellar start.” A less than stellar finish, too, as it turned out.
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.