Ich kann nicht Anderson


I approve unreservedly of Colleague Kohler’s reaction to today’s defections in the Alberta assembly. As a former cabinet minister Forsyth may get the lion’s share of the attention in tomorrow’s papers, but Anderson is the more intriguing figure. His indignant, score-settling address to the media about his reasons for crossing the floor would guarantee that, even if there were no pre-existing reason to think so.

He has already established, in less than two years as a politician, a propensity for making jaws drop. Late last year he pulled a bizarre trick, requesting space for an op-ed in his riding’s local papers and essentially using it to say “You know those community lottery-fund grants that the opposition sometimes characterizes as a political slush fund, despite the elaborate pretense that they’re handed out according to objective criteria after  a competitive process? Well, it seems I’ve got personal control of about $750,000 here and I’m telling you up front how I intend to have it spent.”

The Liberals promptly seized on Anderson’s op-ed as proof that Conservative politics in Alberta haven’t changed much since the more nakedly feudal 1980s, and Anderson’s loose talk didn’t win him any friends in the Stelmach inner circle. (It’s natural for provincial governments to become more dependent on a network of relationships, reaching down to the neighbourhood level, when the personality of the leader is weaker.) On the other hand, at least some of the lottery cash seems to have been spent according to Anderson’s agenda, even after he offended sensibilities by setting it down in black and white. It is still hard to tell whether his gesture was a matter of mere naïveté, a sincere expression of his philosophy of government, or part of a cunning plan to do as much damage to the PC brand before today’s exit. Maybe it’s a little bit from columns A, B, and C.


Ich kann nicht Anderson

  1. What is a small-c conservative? = I don't care about God, guns, and all that shiat….I love money!

  2. "Colleague Kohler" *gag* Feschuk apparently was right.

    I can hardly wait for the troika of Smith, Anderson and Cosh warning us of how devistating life became when the NEP was enacted, (never to be revisited with cap and trade etc or else separation), when they were respectively 9, 3 and 9.

    • How DO you fit the NEP into every possible thread even when nobody else has brought it up? You must be a real card at dinner parties.

      • Sorry if made life more difficult. I figured the global warming stuff had run its course and you were running out of material.

        How about a story of the research efforts at the Slowpoke reactor at the U of A? Some, I bet, don't even know it exits. Others used the construction money to fund university education.

      • How does he do it? First Dot softens up his fellow dinner guests with a relentless barrage of puns. Once they're dazed and reeling, Dot dazzles them with a string of non sequiturs about Albertan stereotypes, the oilsands, and the NEP.

        • Perhaps it has to do with occasional Maclean's commenter Stephen Gordon's reinforcement of my limited readings when he stated:

          (I take particular exception to Colby Cosh's use of the word 'hoax'; there's nothing in what I wrote that would justify that sort of spin.)

      • Hey Colby, what's on the menu tonight in Edmonton?

        In a note sent to supporters, Stelmach admitted he was disappointed to hear of the departure of Rob Anderson and Heather Forsyth. But he said the province needs to stick together in tough times.

        "It is the Alberta way," Stelmach said. "We did it during the Depression in the 1930s and we did it during the dark days of the National Energy Program."


      • Re: Wildrose Blooms Jan 18

        Were there pizza drippings on the manuscript? Cheese only, no toppings again?

        Hmmm, I wonder what this is alluding to:

        From outside Alberta, Smith's early-December statement that "I believe the science [of climate change] is not settled" may have looked like a foul-up. If it was, it was a carefully pre-meditated one. For better or worse, Albertans are naturally quick to see massive transfers of wealth

        When Oscar stole Big Bird's lunch?

  3. Well, I saw Bert and Ernie over in Copenhagen…and chuckled…..Oh times have changed

  4. And breakaway politics in Ontario? Imagine that!

    I asked what a small-c conservative was; what in Canada is a Liberal?

  5. Hey, I was 10 and I remember it

    • Yeah, probably with as much insight as to why Bert and Ernie were single and always appeared together.

  6. Breakaway politics in the Alberta legislature? Truly, the blind leading the blind.

  7. (It's natural for provincial governments to become more dependent on a network of relationships, reaching down to the neighbourhood level, when the personality of the leader is weaker.)

    You're much too kind to Premier Stelmach. No wonder his caucus is showing cracks – the current government of Alberta is on a spending binge that would make the Ontario NDP government of Bob Rae (1990-1995) envious, even after accounting for inflation. The PC MLA's should be bailing for that reason alone.

    • I think Mark Lisac contended that it is this network that's kept them in power, especially in rural areas. The longer they're in power, the deeper the roots go. The deeper the roots, the easier it is to apply that subtle pressure that everybody else is voting PC because they're the party that protects rural constituencies, and if everybody doesn't vote PC, then what happens if this given constituency leaves the fold but the PCs get elected anyway? No voice in caucus. If you don't have a voice in the PC caucus, then what do you have, and what do you get? There were a couple of anecdotal instances from the last election that pointed in this direction.

  8. Stelmach's a hapless goof, but that in itself isn't enough to disqualify somebody from being a popular Alberta premier. His bigger problems are that he's not a Calgarian, and he's not tightly connected to the oil & gas industry. If you bounced Stelmach out of the PC leadership and dropped in Jim Dinning or Ted Morton, I'd guarantee that the whining and backbiting fuelling the Wild Rose Alliance would evaporate like snow during a Calgary chinook.

  9. It is still hard to tell whether his gesture was a matter of mere naïveté, a sincere expression of his philosophy of government, or part of a cunning plan to do as much damage to the PC brand before today's exit. Maybe it's a little bit from columns A, B, and C.

    Sadly, I think it's column B, knowing how most people in power tend to think.

  10. Martin Luther!

    Where do I collect my prize?

  11. Have some magpie for dessert.

  12. Speaking of kookies:

    The NEP was so traumatizing in Alberta that eternal vigilance will remain a watchword for generations to come. Consider just one fact: The current U.S. economic crisis, with its store closures and its rotting neighbourhoods, has been touched off by an overall decline of about 20% in indexed housing prices over the past 18 months. The NEP took more like 40% of the air out of Edmonton and Calgary home values. “Jingle mail” and mortgage abandonments are not new phenomena for any Albertan over the age of 35: They're old, familiar horrors. Indeed, our experience of rapid, policy-driven economic destruction may still be unique among postwar North Americans. Many of us grew up watching classmates disappear overnight and playing in derelict houses still full of furniture.

    I thought I'd try googling three words: "Colby Cosh NEP". Paydirt in 0.31 seconds.


  13. Wow, you caught me. Writing about it a year ago when it was directly relevant to some news event that had just happened.

  14. Same words/ ideology /scare tactics that Danielle Smith uses – you know, your third tag, the leader who heads the party that the two individuals just joined. Or haven't you been following her recent speeches? Think of Link Byfield with a younger smile and better hair. Maybe you already do.

    Yes, way out in left field, totally unrelated to your topic.

  15. FYI, it's Calgarians who seem to be going gaga for Danielle. Edmontonians seem much less smitten.

  16. Follow the money….

  17. Pretty much.

  18. The truth is simply that Stelmach isn't enough of a Daddy to pull of Alberta PC politics-as-usual.

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