A search for a member of Alison Redford’s cabinet or caucus who knew what was going on in the premier’s office might look something like this. Nothing like this is necessary in Alberta, though, because no one knew anything. It’s hardly necessary to say that real Alberta Tories may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below, left to right: Dave Hancock, Doug Horner, Thomas Lukaszuk back in the day when they were ministers in premier Alison Redford’s cabinet; Mark Twain.
“When in doubt tell the truth,” Mark Twain famously advised. “It will confound your enemies and astound your friends.”
Now we have the scoop in detail on the former premier’s airborne and architectural shenanigans, thanks to Alberta Auditor General Merwan Saher’s full report, released yesterday. (The Reader’s Digest version was published a week earlier by the CBC, with the assistance of a well-placed leaker.)
Astonishingly, it turns out not one minister in Alison Redford’s cabinet, and not a single member of her caucus had the faintest suspicion, the remotest thought, not a single clue in a carload, about what was going on!
No! Seriously! It came as a complete surprise. That Alison Redford, she must have been a world class sneak!
Not the minister of finance, the fellow responsible for the provincial air fleet, the one used as a personal taxi service by the premier’s office, which we now know consistently lied about the size of their travel costs. He had no idea! And, no, Doug Horner’s not resigning his portfolio because … uh, he had no idea. (Never mind that ministerial responsibility stuff. Like all the other rules in the rulebook, it doesn’t apply to Alberta Tories.)
Anyway, Mr. Horner must’ve figured that Dave Hancock, the premier pro tempore who replaced Ms. Redford, tried that contrition stuff back on the International Day of the Worker and it just didn’t hit the right note for an Alberta PC.
Speaking of Mr. Hancock, not the former minister of human services either. It was all news to Dave Hancock too. He never heard a whisper about it until he was relaxing one day at his villa in Italy and the phone started making that funny buzzy chirp.
And not the deputypremier, either, now running for the real non-deputy premier’s job. Geeze, what a shocker it all must’ve been to Thomas Lukaszuk, long after he was busy being deputy dawg, and later even busier cutting the crap out of post-secondary education budgets.
Not the minister of infrastructure, who didn’t even know for the longest time about that Sky Palace apartment thing that was being built for Ms. Redford. Ric McIver’s also running for Ms. Redford’s job now … and it turns out the Sky Palace is also still being built. Although that doesn’t really come as news to any Edmontonian who’s been watching it take shape, day by day, atop the confusingly named Federal Building, which is a provincial building.
Not the Solicitor General, Sun Media’s beloved “top cop.” Jonathan Denis hadn’t heard a peep until Dave Hancock gave him a dingle from Umbria or wherever with the bad news that he needed to pick up the phone and call the Mounties.
Have I missed anyone? Oh, probably…
Not one of them heard a thing, all the way down, presumably, to Mike Allen, the honourable member, if you’ll pardon the expression, for the evocatively named riding of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Mr. Allen, at least, has an excuse. He’d been busted for trying to hire a hooker in Minneapolis and kicked out of the hearing-impaired Tory caucus by … Alison Redford.
And in fairness, as far as we know, no one’s asked him. Maybe they should! He might have heard something when he was left wandering the hallways. Anyway, he’s back now, in time to take part in the rash of head scratching that’s broken out in Tory circles.
A lot of us thought it was pretty bad when premier Ed Stelmach said he had no idea the economy was going to take a header into the toilet in the third quarter of 2008. But boy, does Mr. Stelmach – who actually was honest, just like his nickname said – look good now!
This is just pathetic, whether they knew anything and kept their lips zipped or had beans in their ears. There’s really nothing more to say about it.
Except this: Call a public inquiry. Call it now! Just call it, already!
A real one, run by an impartial and independent judge, with the power to poke around where he or she pleases, unlike certain carefully directed health care inquiries.
The rot in the Alberta Progressive Conservative government is so deep, and the public cynicism it breeds about our democracy is so profound, that the Hancock Government owes it to the province and the country as an act of patriotism to clear the air about what the hell is going on in this place.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
Oh, and if that’s just not on, call a flippin’ election!
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.