Let the people be reminded that Fast Eddie Stelmach is no novice to either politics or Government.
The beginning of his political career began more than twenty years ago, when he was a little gaffer in his mid-thirties and was elected as a County of Lamont Representative. In 1987 he became the Reeve of the County, and thus began a close involvement with, not only Municipal Affairs, but also Health Care. He was a Regional Representative on the Health Unit Association of Alberta and was on the Board of the Lamont Health Care Center.
He became the Tory Member of the Legislature for Vegreville-Viking, almost 14 years ago in 1993. Ralph must have loved him, because he sure made him a Big Stick. First of all, his corpulent patron made him Deputy Whip, and then, in 1995, Caucus Whip. Subsequently, he served as Agriculture Minister from 1997 to 1999. For those Albertans who rightfully bellyache about our deteriorating and unsafe highways, schools, hospitals, and other public works, may I remind them that he was Infrastructure Minister from 1999 to 2001 and Tranportation Minister from 2001 to 2004. And then, surely for his diplomatic skills (made evident when he refused to have his photo taken with Federal Opposition Leader Stephane Dion during a courtesy visit), he served as International and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister from 2004 to 2006.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, during his years in the Klein Government he served 5 years on the Agenda and Priorities Committee and 6 years on the Treasury Board.
I have described his smooth, upward, Klein-paved rise (probably the only successful infrastructure project during the Klein years) to prominence to remind Albertans that Fast Eddie was an important member of the Klein Government. The Klein Government was arguably the worst Government in the history of the Province. Every endeavor, the responsibility for which belonged to the Klein Provincial Government - whether it be our schools, universities, colleges, hospitals, highways, municipal funding, social policy - you name it - wound up in worse shape than when Ralph took office. If the Feds ever needed an arguement why more powers should not devolve to the Provinces, it is the Klein Government,inside of which - as described above - Fast Eddie carried a big stick.
So let the people not convince themselves that the Stelmach victory was the dawning of a new day. It isn't. It is likely more of the same with merely a change of personality at the top. Instead of the moist and garrulous Premier Klein, we have the tentative and twitchy Premier Eddie - that is the only difference. And judging from his cabinet selections and his stripping of the cities' power, the new Government may be even worse than its predecessor. Let Albertans get this message from recent history: if you wanted to punish Ralph for the mess he's made, your only chance now is to punish Eddie.