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Barely has a day gone by in the last six months that the Notley gov’t has not announced a handout of cash to some group or another—almost always accompanied by a photo-op-friendly press conference with a politically correct backdrop (dark female faces front and centre, a solar-panelled roof in the middle distance). And more often than not the amount of cash handed out is, relative to the $55B budget and $10B deficit, chump change.
We’re not saying that this gov’t, like the web-footed Tories before it, doesn’t hand out its share of big lumps of cash for major, usually necessary, and often politically rewarding, infrastructure projects—roads & bridges, LRT lines, schools, medical facilities, sewage treatment plants, etc. Transportation & Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason, is the most popular NDP cabinet member, certainly in the rural areas, not just for his rumpled amiability and sardonic humor, but for his largesse with things made from concrete, steel, and asphalt. (Climate-change contributors, alas. Where are the hemp highways and the electric semis? One weeps for the planet… We digress.)
And Mason is not only the gatekeeper of the largest capital …
About 350 middle-of-the-roaders showed up in the halfway city of Red Deer Saturday for what might, but then again might not, mark the beginning of a major—but moderate—political force. “Alberta Together,” was the name given to this gathering of the reasonable, who came in three liberal flavours: actual Alberta Liberals, Alberta Party members, and red Tory refugees fleeing the Kenney regime.
Alberta Together is also the name of the political action committee (PAC), founded by Stephen Mandel, former Edmonton Mayor, short-lived Prentice cabinet minister, and disaffected Tory. The PAC will be raising money and “promoting political engagement” by centrists through the summer.
Mandel, 71, looking tanned, fit, and—as always—slightly irritated, gave a nice short speech towards the end of the four-hour conclave: “I can’t thank you all enough for being here today to begin to start a great future for the province of Alberta. It’s a very exciting time, it’s a very dangerous time, and, I think for all the people in this room, a great opportunity.”Mandel and a dozen or so former PC MLAs and cabinet ministers, including Doug Griffiths, Stephen Khan, Heather Klimchuk, Dave Coutts, and Ron Casey, were part of the estimated 50% of the audience who are, or were, Tory members…