PHOTOS: Hello Canada! South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines in October 2015, not long after his return from Alberta. (Photo by Gage Skidmore.) Below: Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Wildrose MLA Tony Yao (Wildrose.ca).
OK, people, it’s official. Environment Minister Shannon Phillips must’ve hit exactly the right note with her warm Alberta welcome to U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham back in late August 2015.
Apparently Sen. Graham, once a candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States, not that anyone south of the Medicine Line ever took him very seriously, finds Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton so unappealing he’d like to move to Canada!
Very alert readers will recall the huge brouhaha stirred up at the end of August 2015 by the Wildrose Opposition – obligingly re-broadcast by all the little elves of the mainstream media – about how Ms. Phillips had failed all Albertans by not being at the airport with a brass band, a bouquet of red roses, a bottle of Scotch and a red carpet to greet the South Carolina Senator when he got off his plane for a quickie tour of oilsands operations near Fort Mac.
The Wildrose spokesperson on the file, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Tany Yao, also seemed to think Ms. Phillips owed it to Mr. Graham to be along to hold his hand during the visitor’s tarsands tourism.
Mr. Graham could, don’t you know, become the President of the United States, the Wildrosers sputtered, claiming in a news release they actually published that the newly elected Dippers were “letting Alberta down by almost blowing off top-level delegation.” (Emphasis added.)
Mr. Graham and his esteemed travel mates, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat of Rhode Island) and Rep. Tom Rice (Republican of South Carolina) – who? – “are top level decision makers in Washington and a visit by them is a big deal,” said Mr. Yao, who nowadays is best known for his redistribution of climate-change denial posts on social media.
Mr. Yao went on in the news release, getting to the real meat of the matter from the Wildrose perspective: “Yesterday, they spent the day with Premier Brad Wall being shown Saskatchewan’s energy innovations, whose government took their visit seriously.”
At the time, the NDP – then in office for not quite four months – seemed somewhat bemused by the weird Wildrose performance, not having realized this was going to turn out to be standard Wildrose/media operating procedure no matter what they did or said.
Well, whether or not the NDP dredged up Ms. Phillips for the job at 7 p.m., as the Wildrosers claimed at the time, she was certainly was on hand to politely welcome the three American amigos at a reception.
And she must have impressed Sen. Graham. Leastways, according to the New York Daily News just yesterday, Mr. Graham commented after watching the presidential candidates’ performances during NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum Wednesday night that “it makes me want to move to Canada.”
Even if he’d also had a good time in Saskatchewan, which seems unlikely given Premier Wall’s well-known sour disposition, surely he wouldn’t have said that had it not been for the NDP’s warm hospitality!
Unfortunately for Sen. Graham, he’ll have to go through the same process as any other immigrant, and that can take a while. Well, at least he’s likely to be able to meet Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Kellie Leitch’s exacting tolerance-test standards for real Canadian values, believing, as I am certain any South Carolina Republican would, in our Canadian tradition of “economic values.”
Will the Wildrose Party issue a press release next week condemning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government for not offering Sen. Graham accelerated priority immigration? After all, he’s a top-level decision maker whose visit meant a lot to the government of Saskatchewan!
This post also appears on Rabble.ca.