I have a dog, Bam Bam (no, we did not name him) who loves to gnaw on bones. The bone begins with a little meat on it (not much, really, once I get through with it), and as the dog gnaws away at it, it becomes progressively smaller and smoother. After a day or so of this treatment, the bone is bare and not very interesting, except to my dog. Even my OTHER dog, Bailey, has lost interest in it, except when he decides it would be fun to hide it from Bam Bam, which is hilarious.
The Alberta Liberals, in their role of Official Opposition, are a lot like my dog Bam Bam. The Liberals get a bone with some meat on it, and just keep gnawing away on it until there’s nothing left of it. Basically — and this was my experience as an MLA — they just don’t know when to quit.
This is exactly what we’re seeing in the Legislature right now, for those of you who pay any attention to what is happening under the dome. The Liberals have been gnawing on the issue of how much money the PC party gives in supplementary pay to the premier. The PCs, who are flush with cash, give their leader extra pay on top of the $200,000 or so the government pays the premier (the highest paid in the land, we are told). The Liberals seem to think there is something nefarious in all of this, and have asked question after question in the past week. There have also been much better questions about an organization called True Blue, the legal vehicle for fundraising for the Tories, that is run by well-connected lawyer who gets incredibly lucrative contracts from the government. The uptake from the media — which, ultimately, is the point of modern question period — has been at best minimal.
I’m sure the Liberals are frustrated by the lack of coverage and attendant outrage over their questions. But I know why the questions are getting so little traction — NOBODY CARES!
Frankly, I don’t care if the PC party gives the premier top up money. How does this impact me in any way? The PC party is free to do whatever they like with the money they’ve raised. If they want to give it to the premier, fine. I don’t care, and I haven’t read any reason why I should care. If there is a reason why this is worthy of days of questions from the official opposition — which the government has easily batted away, since it’s not really public business — I haven’t seen it. Perhaps there is something here, but the Liberals have done a bad job of relating whatever it is.
As for the True Blue story, yes, that stinks. But it’s not surprising. This government — hell, any government — repays its friends. That’s the Alberta way, or at least the PC way. And while it is a legitimate question, asking it any more than once is a waste of a precious Question Period space.
So, if I may, a little advice to my friends in the official opposition. Bury this bone, and forget about it. The public already has. I hope when the Legislature returns, the Liberals have found a new bone to chew on, preferably something with some meat on it.