Prentice is picking his spots, but can he save Alberta?

Let me begin by saying I am not a shill for Jim Prentice! I am glad he is away from the company of those Conservative Senators Duffy, Harb and Wallin. They are bad influences.

Let me begin by saying I am not a shill for Jim Prentice! I am glad he is away from the company of those Conservative Senators Duffy, Harb and Wallin. They are bad influences.

However, if Pamela Wallin is convicted and sentenced to jail time, I hope they let her work in the laundry. She was a nice person, once. I’m sorry, I digress.

Yes, I watched Premier Prentice’s telecast on March 24, which some have crassly labeled as an info-mercial. Then they snicker and say a title for the half hour might be “Hi. I’m Jim. How do you like me so far?”

I listened to the premier reverently mention Peter Lougheed several times. It was a good idea for the spinwriter to work Peter in. It struck a chord with us who remember those golden Alberta days.

Once he even spoke Ralph Klein’s name. Reading the book King Ralph, I got the impression that Jim and Ralph weren’t the best of friends! Ralph is not so fondly remembered by me either because of deregulation of electricity and natural gas. (That gambit has cost me several thousands of dollars so far.)

That said, we know Klein had a soft spot for the underdog. Ralph showed us that side of his personality when he tossed a handful of loose change to the homeless one chilly Christmas Eve!

Former premiers Don, Ed and Alison weren’t mentioned in the telecast. Taking a page out of the old Soviet Union playbook, Getty, Stelmach, Redford and their entourage of free-wheeling cabinet ministers, handlers, hangers on, and good ol’ boys seem to have been declared ‘unpersons’! Hopefully the Redford way of recording debt on the books is gone as well. Either we own it or we owe it.

Jim’s main point was that the multibillion-dollar cash flow crisis we are in will only get worse. Much worse!

Especially if $50 a barrel is the new norm for oil. I think we means Team Progressive-Conservative and not U.S. non-ruling, hard-working, paycheque-to-paycheque hoi polloi. However I was left with the impression that U.S. might be stuck with the cheque!

He is rolling out a 10-year plan. Part of that plan is for the PCs to govern for another full decade in order to fully implement the plan. It somewhat moves in the direction the Norwegians have gone with their royalty savings fund.

Their fund tops $1 trillion. That’s $1,000 billion. We could run Alberta with the interest Norway earns every year. Meanwhile, our Heritage Savings Trust Fund has been in place for much longer than Norway’s and is over $17 billion.

The only problem in building this new Jim dynasty may come from within the party itself. Doing a quick lumberman’s tally of the different members huddled under the PC tent, about one-third can be called Progressives. Another seven to 10 might be called ‘wishy washy’ Progressives. These Progressives may find the New Democrats and the Liberals care more about meat and potato issues and are more in sync than their own more Conservative brethren.

As programs are cut and levies, fees and tax squeezing begins, is another round of floor crossings on the horizon? This time a mass crossing of Progressives!

T.N. Grover


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