My old reporter’s heart, which bleeds ink, feels a certain empathy for the poor sods who have to cover the Alberta Legislature on a daily basis. All that sound and fury, and hardly a story to report.
I found a few things that were amusing over the past couple of days, if you really stretch the definition of the word ‘amusing’.
For example, Lindsay Blackett, the minister of Culture and Community Spirit (surely the silliest name for a ministry ever) must have been feeling like a forgotten man lately, and felt compelled to do something about it. On Monday, a backbencher tossed him a couple of puffballs about the arts and culture industry to get him back in the game, to wit:
“Can the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit please tell me what he is doing to help this critically important sector during these tough economic times?”, followed up by “Can the minister please tell me what he is doing to ensure that this sector remains healthy after the economy has recovered?”
That should have been enough to keep the guy happy, but no. In Tuesday’s QP, another Tory seat warmer asked these questions: “Can the minister offer that assurance and tell us specifically what he’s doing to support the arts?”, followed by “Can the minister tell us how we’re comparing with other jurisdictions?” and finishing with “Can the minister tell us anything about planning for the future in terms of budgeting?”
If you look at the first question from the two days, you’ll see that they are essentially the same question. The other questions are simply variations on the theme. Let’s hope that keeps the nearly forgotten Minister Blackett happy for a couple of weeks.
Elsewhere, it was a typically non-productive day in the Legislature. Of note, however, was the debate on Bill 12, the supposedly historic, landmark, etc. Alberta Health Act. For most of Tuesday afternoon, members debated the merits of the bill, quite accurately described as a “Seinfeld bill” — a bill about nothing. Nothing or not, that didn’t stop opposition members from entering in a vigourous debate about the bill. The trouble was, they were debating themselves — not one single government member rose to debate the bill on Tuesday. The Scrap Metal Dealers act was important enough for 11 of them to rise on Monday, but on the Alberta Health Act, they remained almost universally silent. Maybe it really is a bill about nothing….
And finally, one amusing moment from Twitter.
The Globe and Mail’s Edmonton correspondent, Josh Wingrove, Twittered about Premier Ed Stelmach’s use of the word “ironical” in the legislature. “Hey, ABPremierComms, please tell Stelmach that ironical isn’t a word” he Tweeted. Moments later, some wag in the premier’s communication office offered “Ironical is a perfectly cromulent word.”
Wow! An obscure reference from The Simpsons from someone in the premier’s communications staff, and used properly! Kudos to the writer. Too bad the premier’s communication people don’t display that kind of with-it wit a little more often. Might make Stelmach look almost human.