Premier Eddie was asked by reporters yesterday if the $5000 contributions paid by various flim-flam artistes and other shameless Tory favor seekers for intimate trysts with the Premier, had been returned since the stink arose last week.
His response: "I don't know what has been given. We have a committee in place to deal with the fundraising and that's up to the committee." So, for such a malodorous scheme, hatched by Eddie and his boys to pay off the Premier's and his kingmakers' $300,000 worth of campaign debts, the buck doesn't stop with Eddie. It stops with his 'committee.' Later in the day, his office admitted that his "volunteers did not get the message strong enough" the week previous, but now Eddie had it "clarified" to them.
So, was the decision to return the money Eddie's or his committee's? According to Eddie, its the committee. According to his spokesman, it's Eddie. Thus, quite apart from the issue of the Premier's 'character,' in this sorry affair, we are now also dealing with the issue of his competence.
But getting back to the issue of Fast Eddie's 'character.' The Premier said that he cancelled the $5000 favour seeker's intimacy program because "the optics were poor." A reasonable interpretation of such a statement is that because the program 'looked' bad, wrong, unseemly, and morally indefensible, therefore the program was cancelled. Not because it was bad, wrong, unseemly and morally indefensible. So Eddie trashed the program because he thought it 'looked' bad. Not because he thought it 'was' bad.
Too bad Eddie wasn't as quick to publicly trash his well-heeled insider's fundraising program as he was to trash the career of Calgary MLA and Dinning supporter, Harvey Cenaiko a couple of weeks ago. Something for the people of Alberta to keep fresh in their minds as we head into Election territory in the months ahead.