If life is going to be dramatically different from what it was as an MLA, it is not obvious yet – not by a long shot.
Both in politics and media, I’ve tried to be a straight shooter (or at least as straight a shooter as possible, under the circumstances).
That has meant at various times calling it as I see it, speaking truth to power, questioning authority, taking a stand, defending my position, and criticizing others when I think they deserved to be criticized.
Here’s what’s fair, as applied to those in authority and those who seek to be: friend or foe, ally or adversary, if you do something dumb or disingenuous, you’re fair game for criticism.
I hate it when politicians promise something they can’t or won’t deliver.
On Monday, the hapless electorate was treated to an outrageous promise by Danielle Smith: elect the Wildrose and they’ll give every man, woman, and child in this province a cheque for $300 – in 2015 – if they have the money.
There were so many loopholes in that promise, it’s a wonder she wasn’t required by law to add the words, “Some conditions may apply. See dealer for details.”
The DaniDollars Promise, you see, hinges on the word “surplus.” When the province runs a surplus, 20 percent of it would be funneled into a trust fund from which she would cut you your dividend cheque. I do not doubt that Danielle Smith sincerely believes that Albertans can spend their own money better than government. I do, however, doubt the sincerity of Smith’s belief that we are going to run a surplus in Alberta anytime soon. I was sitting right there in the budget lockup room last February as she and Rob Anderson were snorting derisively as they read the PC Government’s sunshine-and-lollipops revenue projections for two years’ hence.
They sure didn’t believe the numbers then. Suddenly, now, you and I are asked to believe they do? Up is down, back is front, left is right and reality is whatever they say it is?
Here’s the thing: If we’re not running a big fat surplus in 2015, she doesn’t have to deliver on the cheque promise. And even if we are running a surplus,governments can make it disappear, either by reducing their revenue take (tax cuts, anyone?) or increasing their spending. Yes, Virginia, small-c conservative governments are notorious for doing both simultaneously.
Are Alison Redford’s promises any less outrageous? Come back here tomorrow and I’ll tell you what I think.