I was creepin' at the Sugar Bowl cafe' today with my new friend Don Hill, ex-host of the Wild Rose Forum on the CBC and it is evident that he's not set back by the recent turn of events that have left him without the same platform he once had. Don Hill, it seems, has a plan.
Don contends that the people in Alberta have a two year window to effect some significant changes in Alberta's political landscape, and that Albertans are beginning to wake up and smell the funk that Uncle Ralph and company have fallen into as of late. God bless them, but the Klein Cronies are getting old and are running out of ideas. I think it's time they step aside and let another generation of idealists take the reigns of leadership in this province. The problem, of course, is finding said people.
Oh, the power of an idea. One idea that has taken a firm grip in Alberta is that of deregulation. Don argues that the Kleinians used as their Bible, the book entitled Unfinished Business by Roger Douglas, former Finance Minister for New Zealand. The outcome of implementing the policies described in this book is the "Privatize and tell lots of lies" strategy adopted by the Alberta Government over the past decade. It's almost Straussian in design because it works around the "democracy problem" through a simple three-pronged approach at management.
1. Move hard, move fast and damn the torpedoes.
2. Remain steadfast in the presence of criticism.
3. Eliminate, denounce or silence opposition.
The interesting thing is how well this strategy is working for the Old Boys. The Kleinians (or Kleinites, Kleinarchians, Kleinistanians, and Kleintopians) really think they have this province bagged. Of course, when you look around in search of alternatives the natural result is to look at the Liberals, but I really doubt that they present THE alternative. This fall, Uncle Ralph may announce his final ride into the sunset and the PC's (who are neither Progressive nor Conservative) will be in search of a new leader. The PC "Golden Boy" is none other than Jim Dinning, followed closely by Ted Morton.
So IF Uncle Ralph decides to fade out into the sunset this fall or next, we will be looking at the possibility of re-electing the devil that we do know, headed by either T-Mort or JimDin. Maybe, just maybe they know that they have a two-year window before the "Enron thing" blows up any further and are hoping to God that more of it doesn't spill out into the public sphere. So it's a race between who gets control over how to spin this scandal that has potential to rock Alberta.
The whole problem with the Enron thing is that many of the characters in this high drama have fled into private life (does Steve West ring a bell?) where accountability is a moot point.
So Albertans who want to effect some changes in Alberta - no matter what their political stripe - have a two-year window in which to act. I'm a fan of change myself, but the problem is a lack of a real alternative to Kleinocracy. But I will tell you this: Don Hill has a plan, and it's interesting.