Alberta Premier Alison Redford, right, meets Opposition Leader Danielle Smith, left, while on her way to announcing a new school opening. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Premier Redford, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith.
Once upon a time, while Alberta’s premier was telling fairy tales to impressionable children, some of her senior officials were spinning fairy stories of their own.
The premier told a group of Grade 1 students at an Edmonton school library a story about a good princess named Alison, who built schools for children just like them, and a very bad princess named Danielle, who wouldn’t build any schools at all!
The Alison in question, of course, is Premier Alison Redford herself, the one telling the story. The Danielle is Danielle Smith, leader of the Opposition Wildrose Party. And maybe Ms. Redford didn’t use exactly those words, but you get the general idea.
If you think I’m just making this up to be mean, well, forget it! You can’t make up stuff like this! Anyway, you can read all about it yourself courtesy of the Canadian Press, which is usually pretty dependable.
“Alberta Premier Alison Redford is warning young schoolchildren to beware of the Opposition Wildrose party because, she says, it is committed to not building anything,” the anonymous CP reporter managed to write without breaking into hysterical giggles. “Redford told the children – and the parents and dignitaries seated behind them – that while her government is committed to building things, her opponents are not.”
The CP report didn’t say if anyone’s jaw actually hit the floor when the premier started saying stuff like this to little children, but it did mention that she said the same thing to another group of kids in Calgary the day before – so apparently this is part of an actual plan cooked up by the communications braniacs in her office, not just a horrible error in judgment.
She also announced that her government will be building seven new schools in the Edmonton region.
Meanwhile, across town at the Edmonton Remand Centre, where bad children who don’t attend to their lessons will find themselves when they grow up, either as inmates or guards, Deputy Solicitor General Tim Grant was said to be taunting guards who illegally walked off the job for five days last week in a dispute over safety issues in the recently opened jail.
According to the leader of the guards’ union, Mr. Grant “was telling members there was no blanket amnesty for the Correctional Peace Officers, contrary to the agreement I reached with the government to end the strike.”
“He has been inflaming raw emotions and threatening labour peace with his actions,” said Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith. AUPE has made a complaint to the Alberta Labour Relations Board, not that that’s likely to do much good, given the Board’s transparent pro-employer bias.
Well, you can only hope AUPE thought to get their strike-ending deal with the government in writing, preferably notarized and signed by witnesses. And you can only wonder if the Redford Government is now trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest broken promise in history.
The guards, meanwhile, are so furious that it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if they walked off the job again. If that happens, and you thought last week was a gong show, just wait!
Well, there’s one thing you can believe Ms. Redford about, and that’s her commitment to not changing Alberta’s election financing law – which alert readers will recall has now been shown to permit billionaires to write humungous cheques and then decide later who among their employees, friends and relatives were actually making $30,000 maximum donations.
“We’re comfortable that we have a system that Albertans can have confidence in — that is transparent — and we’re going to move forward,” the premier told reporters at the school-building announcement after nearly five days in virtual hiding during the jail guards’ wildcat strike. (I threw in the italics myself.)
This is actually part of her communications team’s plan, by the way. Ms. Redford will only be around to make happy announcements, plus tell scary stories to toddlers. The rest is left to Deputy Premier Tom Lukaszuk.
To those who suggest banning huge donations from unions and corporations, this government says: “Never!”
The explanation for that position is probably pretty simple. As NDP Leader Brian Mason explained it last week, without huge corporate donations, the Redford Government wouldn’t stand a chance of re-election.
Speaking of which, Ms. Redford closed the day yesterday with a “campaign-style” (not Gangnam style) speech at a $500 a plate dinner to 1,400 or so supporters, each of whom presumably wrote their own cheque.
Even though there’s not supposed to be an election in Alberta until 2016, Ms. Redford needs to campaign hard because she’s facing a Progressive Conservative Party leadership review in November and elements of her own party are growing antsy, thinking things may be slipping out of control under her leadership.
So you can count on hearing many more fantastic tales from Mr. Redford and her retinue in the next few weeks. If this keeps up, even school kids won’t believe what she’s peddling, just like a lot of their parents.