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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

pierre trudeau, not the declining world economy, responsible for worsening financial crisis.

Having been only one year old when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau stepped down in 1984, I can’t claim to have experienced the havoc and devastation that his destructive NEP cast on Western Canada, but as an Albertan who grew up hearing what an awful man he was, I can admit that I'm pretty sick of listening to people complain about it. Twenty-four years later, it’s pretty clear that the fall back position of blaming the problems of 2008 on a Prime Minister who was elected forty years ago sounds just about as ridiculous as Sarah Palin claiming that Barack Obama is a Marxist.

This was the case in Question Period today when Opposition leader Kevin Taft asked Premier Ed Stelmach how the government planned to deal with the worsening financial crisis. You can listen to the exchange below:

It would be really nice if the next time Premier Stelmach decides that he doesn’t like a question asked to him in the Legislature, that he not blame an ancient Prime Minister for his inability to come up with a quick and clever response, but just answer the damn question.


Ryan said...

I think Stelmach has a pretty obvious choice to make here. He needs to decide whether Joseph Stalin or Pierre Trudeau is to blame for the economic downturn.

Anonymous said...

Stelmach is like the girl who got dumped in high school and never got over it.

We all suffered through the last recession so put aside your petty excuses and get down to the business of planning how to get the province through the next one!

Anonymous said...

Every day I'm coming closer and closer to the recognition that we live in some kind of sick post-democratic state.

It is actually just unfuckingbelievable what passes for politicans in these parts.

Anonymous said...

The title of your post sums up how ludicrous the Premier's entire argument sounds.

Anonymous said...

I remember when this was a blog of substance. Instead, all we get is petty partisan sniping here nowadays. This latest post is among your worst, Daveberta.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:44: Since when is criticizing politicians for saying stupid shit is "partisan sniping?" Daveberta's post rightfully calls out the Premier for 'partisan snipping' instead of answering a legitimate question.

Simon said...

I remember when this was a blog of substance. Instead, all we get is petty partisan sniping here nowadays. This latest post is among your worst, Daveberta.
That's a classic Alberta Tory move: don't ever criticize me, that's just partisan. We govern in the interest of all Albertans. Gawd I hate these people.

Anonymous said...

The saddest thing is that the goings on in the Legislature have very little to do with the governing of the province. Taft can beat the crap out of Stelmach every day in question period, but it has no effect on the Tories, and no effect on Tory supporters' voting decisions in the next election. No one is watching!

Our only hope is proportional representation and the resulting possibility of a minority government. Then this would matter.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

Well, Dave.. grow up already.

Taft is the one raising the past.. and pretty much says, "Alberta screwed up it's own economy after the last boom, how are you going to do different?".

Dave - I graduated university in 1985, and came back to Alberta, in a struggling economy, with 20% interest rates.. and I know, first hand, of people pushed into bankruptcy by the NEP, people who lost everything, based upon a Liberal tax-grab and effort at income redistribution.

Oh.. I'm sure it won't happen again.. there is no way that a Liberal federal government would ever seek to grab oil revenue and seek to redistribute it to central Canada. Wait - that's exactly what Dion was trying to do.

So.. when the Premier of this Province says, "you want to know how things will be different, seeing as YOU Mr. Taft.. the man who single-handedly took the Liberals from a contender to a pretender btw.. seeing as YOU want to talk about how this Province failed after the last boom - well, I'll refresh your memory, because obviously you are too stupid or naive to understand just how Alberta got kicked in the balls in the mid 80's by Ottawa.

So.. who's living in the past?

Maybe the best question would have been, "Mr. Taft.. after Lawrence Decore brought your party to a level of respectability that may have allowed it to be seriously considered as a choice for a governing party.. just how did you, all by yourself, throw it all away to such extent that your own party is discussing actually throwing away the Liberal brand?

Anonymous said...

Question to roblaw, let's not raise the past, let's focus on today. Are you satisfied with Mr. Stelmach and his cabinet's performance and their handling of our resource revenues? Be honest now....

The other thing is that's exactly what Mo Elsalhy is talking about in his leadership bid. Those few bitter, dismissive Albertans who will never forget the NEP and will never vote Liberal, even if they admit they respected someone like Decore. The grits should really focus their marketing and outreach efforts more on areas or segments of the population with potential and less on dry or resistant markets.

Albertans should be willing to try something new, even if for only one term, and if they don't like what they get, they can go back to another 40 years of uniterrupted conservative rule if they so choose.

Anonymous said...

I love how these Public Affairs Bureau wankers spend their days trolling through blogs to bash their enemies.

Is this Tom Olsen's brilliant idea? What a genius!

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

..just so I'm not simply dismissed as a Conservative zealot.. I did at one point hold a provincial Liberal card. I did attend meetings during the leadership bid between Nick Taylor and Laurence Decore.. during earlier federal elections I voted for John Turner in the Quadra riding I then lived in, and voted once for Jean Chretien..

Since then, I am afraid from my perspective the Liberal party lost its way. It lost me with Alan Rock's idiocy federally, and as I began to raise a family and start my own business... it lost me provincially with it's failure, at least from my point of view, in understanding the needs of average Albertans and becoming much too connected to the culture of entitlement arising on the left.

Regarding current politics - do I like everything the party does? No. I think, for a conservative government we spend entirely too much money on a civil service which is bloated,particularly at the top end.. I think that we have a good balance relative to royalty payments, I think we could do more environmentally (not CO2, but water issues concern me more).. and I would like all governments to apply their attention to alleviation of Aboriginal difficulties than they currently do.

I have met Mr. Stelmach several times, I have had the opportunity to share meals with him.. and I can say in my estimation he is a man who is committed to govern responsibly, without flash, in a determined and thoughtful way.. which I can't honestly say was the case a few years ago when every new idea suddenly found its way into legislation (deregulation of utilities for example).

So.. I try to be thoughtful, could conceivably even consider supporting a Liberal if the circumstances showed me it was truly in the interests of the public.. but, frankly, Kevin Taft has, to me, been nothing but the typical allegedly educated eletist that Liberals get stereotyped as.

Anonymous said...

Really, roblaw? As a partisan PC, I can understand that you want to defend your leader, but as a lawyer, I would hope that you can see the ridiculousness in his argument.

Blaming the NEP to deflect a legit question about the financial crisis of today is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lost money in the 1980's and in 2008 I wish these fricking politicians would get their heads out of their asses and take some action. They sit comfy in the haughty offices and moan while I quit bitching about it along time ago.

Stelmach, Harper, Dion, whoever, I don't care, I vote for the best candidate in my district. Let's quit living in the past and deal with what's going affecting people now.

Anonymous said...

I wish Stelmach would have presented this argument at the Premiers' Meeting that he skipped.

Anonymous said...

I blame Mackenzie King.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this.

Robert G. Harvie, Q.C. said...

My read on the response of Stelmach (and lets be honest, he is not as skilled a debater as others) was that to respond to the "assumption" that Taft made that Alberta tanked in the mid-80's due to Conservative mismanagement, he responded that, well, it had at least a little to do with the NEP.. and we're not going to be put in that position now..

Sort of being asked, "have you stopped beating your wife".. sometimes, you need to explain how the question is stupid in order to give the answer.

Bottom line - I'm coming back to Canada from Italy a month ago.. I'm in line at customs, and the guy behind me is a financial consultant whose only job is to facilitate the establishment of U.S. business in Canada... when I commented on the massive crash of AIG et all.. his response, "in Alberta, you have very little to worry about.. I just got back from Montreal, and if you want to see a Province that's going to have problems, you should be there.. Alberta will be fine."

Now - I'm sure he's no guru and he might be blowing smoke.. but he is communicating a sentiment that many share - that in difficult economic times, making life harder for business is hardly the answer to employment concerns.

..and if I thought his response was stupid.. I'd say so.

I can tell you, for example.. that Harper's non-explanation for why his lawyer quit in the Cadman litigation is, to my mind, not acceptable.. but right now, today, I don't have a problem with Stelmach's response to Taft.

Ryan said...

We all know how well financial projections have worked out.

For a bunch of people with a healthy mistrust of government, Albertans sure do buy all the horseshit the "goodguys" send their way.

I guess we'll see who the real "elitists" are when the shit hits the fan.

Anonymous said...

Wow. The comments on this post are almost as ridiculous as the response to the question.

I agree, Dave, we should expect more than that. Unfortunately for the Liberals they do not seem to have the ability or the desire to offer anything better than "what are we doing here" or "that's why I think rodeo should be Alberta's official sport". At least the Federal Government is able to present a well articulated and reasoned response to the crisis.

The Mound of Sound said...

Special Ed. A total douchebag.

kenlister1 said...

Clearly, the current financial crisis is directly and entirely related to the Pacific Scandal. Alberta Liberal MLA's will never accept bribe like John A MacDonald and his crew of Conservatives did, which got us into this mess, and we are still digging out of it 136 years later.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent exchange in the comments. One group fails to recognize the absurdity in blaming a long dead PM, and use it as a chance to attack those who point out that simple truth. It would be scary if it wasn't so funny that these people are so unable to digest modern situations, and accept responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Trudeau was bad for Alberta, and Canada, but all after all this time, we should stop pointing fingers to the past.

Having said that, the most ridiculous thing in the last provincial election was when the Tories tried to blame the NEP on the Alberta Liberals! A party that has no connection with the federal Liberals or Trudeau whatsoever!

It doesn't really say much about the intelligence of so many Albertans who actually fell for that lie and therefore didn't vote Liberal in March of this year.

Anonymous said...

1. Reply to Anonymous, Wed Nov 19,"the saddest thing is.."
I agree with you. Any thoughts on how to get that proportional representation?? The trouble with Canadians is that we don't know how to protest effectively. I predict that the next step in web consciousness will be organized and quickly mobilized activism. But I think Canadians are still too complacent. It's hard to get us to move on anything we say we care about.
2. Reply to Roblaw, Nov 19 re Harper's lawyer: Harper doesn't have to give any explanation, Roblaw, for why his lawyer quit. The explanation given to him by his lawyer would be what is called a privileged communication; and he is certainly under no obligation to share it with the public. But it's news to me that the lawyer quit; and it's interesting. I had written to Harper's lawyer and about him, calling him a "hired gun" whose work on defamation and Charter issues showed he had no qualms representing individuals like Harper whose philosophy on free speech was completely inimical to that of the lawyer's journalist clients. And I wondered aloud how those journalists were going to view his representation of Harper within the context of his continued work on their behalf. Just putting it out there, you know... but who knows, maybe other people said the same things and he gave it some thought.
Marnie Tunay
Fakirs Canada

Anonymous said...


You state that "I graduated university in 1985, and came back to Alberta, in a struggling economy, with 20% interest rates.." and then later you state
"well, I'll refresh your memory, because obviously you are too stupid or naive to understand just how Alberta got kicked in the balls in the mid 80's by Ottawa."

Well I'll refresh your memory - you do realize that Brian Mulroney, a Conservative, was Prime Minister of Canada from 1984 to 1993? Since you write with such accuracy and grasp of detail, I'll take your word for it that Conservative PM Mulroney's Ottawa in the mid-'80s was 'kicking Alberta in the balls.' Or are somehow Liberals still responsible for everything bad even when they are not in power?

The NEP ran from 1980 to 1986. The last half of that time was under a Conservative Prime Miniser with a majority. Why didn't Mulroney cancel it as soon as he came into power in 1983? He didn't, so this makes the federal Conervatives equally responsible for the NEP. There was nothing stopping Mulroney from cancelling it right away.

Anonymous said...

A correction and addition to my last post:

Correction: I meant to say 'Why didn't Mulroney cancel it as soon as he came into power in 1984?' (not 1983 as I wrote). Just to be precise, Mulroney became PM in Sept. 17, 1984.

And this from the Wikipedia entry on the NEP: "In the 1984 election the government of Brian Mulroney was elected with the support of western Canada after campaigning against the NEP. However, Mulroney did not eliminate the last vestiges of the program until two and a half years later... The Conservative government's delay was a contributing factor to the creation of a new conservative party, Western Canada's Reform Party of Canada."

Which is worse, introducing a bad eonomic policy with good intentions or cynically promising to eliminate it for political gain but then break that promise? Even worse is Tories (at best in ignorance and at worst in utter hypocrisy) using the NEP over 20 years later to condenm the Liberals for a program they actually kept on enforcing themselves.