COMMENT: Never apologize for selling Alberta to the world!
For decades premiers have been trundling Alberta about like a one-carnival pyramid scheme. The premiers themselves fully immersed in the aesthetic of grift: gold teeth, alligator skin shoes and beluga fat pomade.
“I will never apologize for selling Alberta to the world!” was the resonating huckster mantra that the publicly-shamed plutocrat Alison Redford left us with as she gracefully mounted the world’s rarest horse and rode it to the world’s rarest Porsche, driving into the golden sunset.
But in times of austerity perhaps the only thing that can keep us afloat is the siren-like bejeweled buoy of excess. Alberta has been strategically carved out as a slab of prairie meat heavily reliant on outside investment, so we must woo not just ducks, but foreign businesses to moor in our tailings ponds and keep the bitumen bubble from rising to the top and bursting once again.
Would you buy choice cut sirloins at a discount rate from a rotten-toothed urchin in a Ford Windstar? Absolutely not. How about from a wavy haired Adonis with a perfect smile in a Ford Windstar Sport? Of course you would. You’d be eating steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Steak would be your confidante and lover. Consumption is as much experience as it is product. And there is nothing sexier than the bastard lovechild of aristocratic superwealth and a punk rock disregard for the responsible use of it.
Redford went with an aide to Chicago and Toronto for three nights to the jangly tune of $16,353.71. She told Alberta’s story, built relationships, and sold bitumen like snake oil for three nights in the Windy City. In 2006, Ralph Klein and four others spent nine days in France and Ukraine for $68,856.85. In 2010 Stelmach and four others went to Chicago and Washington four days and it cost $33,034.33, with over half of it going towards travel. Redford was Alberta’s avatar continuing a grand tradition. Wooing investors and currying interest with shock and awe, throwing around single family incomes like confetti and letting investors know that we mean business.
Was Alison’s $45 000 flight to Mandela’s funeral excessive? Absolutely, but if she was able to slip a few business cards into the complimentary grief-tarts at the snack table then it’s all justified. Should the tax payers foot the bill of her daughter and her daughter’s friends? If said daughter’s friends are the Children of the Corn, then the answer is yes. Such children would be an asset on any business trip, and Alberta’s facing dark times. We need every advantage we can get.
The excess will not stop with Redford, for it runs in our blood. It sits at the very core of our DNA as Albertans, and our noble history will march onward blindly, premier to premier through good times and bad. Truly, it is the one thing we can rely on.