Between a Clark and a Red Place

It is an uncomfortable place to be in.  On one hand, you’ve got an opportunist premier of a neighbouring province in Christy Clark playing the ‘Alberta card’ on the federal scene over a proposed pipeline; a premier whose polling numbers at home are in freefall and in need of an issue to defect attention away from her own environmental nightmare – a dam on Peace River.

On the other hand is Alison Redford, the lib-left Alberta Premier who spearheaded the proposed National Energy strategy at the Premier’s Conference, a proposal Albertans know very little about and are more than a little gun-shy given we are prone to be cautious after the National Energy Program disaster.  We do have long memories.

The problem for many Albertans is we need a strong, Alberta-first leader in moments like this.  Even when faced with the most obvious and transparent of political games such as the one being played by Clark, our inherent expectation of our leader is that he or she uses all means to defend Alberta’s interests.

Many proud Albertans did not cast their vote for Redford’s P.C.s in the recent election, the lack of trust in Redford being a primary reason.  With her overt big-government policies and U.N. background, along with several instances of questionable actions from her team, Albertan’s have gone into the new governing term wary of the abilities of our provincial leader.

Now is the moment of truth.  A problem has arisen, one that has put both Clark and Redford front-and-centre on the national stage.  To this point, Clark has taken the opportunity to grandstand at every turn, never seeming to miss a camera.  Her public walk-out of the Premier’s meeting reeked of premeditation.

And now that the issue has exploded, Clark’s gambit on the pipeline issue has become one she must now take all the way.  If she somehow manages to ‘win’ the battle, she may gain a short-term bump in B.C. (the enviro crowd has been known to sway easily), but it won’t keep attention away from her government’s growing list of controversies forever.

But if Clark continues to be looked upon in a negative light outside B.C. borders, and ultimately ends up causing deep geographical divides, she will be known as more than a failed premier.  She will become a legendary embarrassment to British Columbia.

So now we have Alison Redford leading the charge against the Mouse Who Roared on the West Coast.  Thus far, she has kept an ultra-diplomatic tone, talking encouragingly about the progress being made at the Conference.  She has only spoke a few words regarding Clark directly, and as usual, they have been more technical than cutting.

Given the setting, I’m willing to cut Redford some slack.  Surrounded by fellow provincial leaders, she has taken the high road on the ridiculous issue and stayed on message.  But the time is fast approaching when Albertans are going to expect a little sauce.  We like the Kleinesque bluster than reminds those who would engage in the age-old Alberta bash that’s not how we roll.

Right about now, we’d like to see a couple of verbal slaps in defense of Alberta.  Perhaps a visual will help:

Christy Clark took a page from the Quebec playbook of Alberta extortion and is throwing it at Alison Redford.  We need to see Redford throw it right back.


Island Song said...

I think you are too generous. IMO Redford has been much too muted in her defense of Alberta and her attacks on our detractors.

She should have been quicker (and louder) to point out that tariffs on products from other provinces brings into question the nature of Confederation. She could also point out that the free flow of many products between provinces is threatened when one product from one province is targeted. Pointing out the flow of products through Alberta wouldn't have hurt.

She could also point out that BC has been using Alberta oil for generations, or that BC has cut down all of their rain-forest and now calls anything green rain-forest as if it is equivalent.

The Canadian and international media is not on Alberta's side. To advance our cause we are going to have to break some eggs. Some should be broken over the other premier.

If we take the high road we may find that international oil has a way of ensuring the original owners get few of the profits but all the costs. And they always like it if they can do that quietly.

Albertagirl said...

I agree with Island Song. Redford has to BUCK UP and start flexing some muscle instead of dirty looks. It's well past time to GET TOUGH and act like an Albertan by DEFENDING Alberta and OUR RIGHTS. Clark is a sitting duck anyway, paddling like hell under the surface to appear like she's smooth sailing on top. Time to just shut her up.

His Name Was Steven