Since the election of Fast Eddie, the Tories sure haven't been short on providing blogging material: Eddie trashing Cenaiko; Eddie and his volunteers being caught red-handed trying to organize the $5000 intimacy session with the new Premier,only to shut it down because of 'perceptions;' Fast Eddie the Statesman refusing to have his photo taken with Stephane Dion; Energy Minister Mel Knight's generosity with the people of Alberta's birth-right bitumin so that his corporate and political pals in the U.S. line their pockets with billions of dollars of value-added benefits; the wounded Ty Lund wanting to keep the Government out of the bedrooms of Albertans, while looking for law -breaking smokers (presumably Ty wants to protect the honorable tradition of cigarettes following sex); Treasury Board Chairman Lloyd Snelgrove (one of Fast Eddie's bosom buddies)admonishing Health Minister Dave Hancock that he had no business speaking out on stronger anti-smoking legislation! Wow! A veritable smorgasbord of gaffes, fumbles, foolishness and stink test failures all of which are making thoughtful Albertans shudder about their future under Fast Eddie.
And if that wasn't enough, who should again emerge, 'Godzilla'-like, but arguably the worst Premier in the history of the Province, Ralph Klein. Just when we thought we were rid of him once and for all, there he was, all over the newspapers and television screens enveloped in a miasma of foul pungent air, talking about his new job as a senior business advisor with the national blue-chip (if not blue-blood) law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
Well, just what does a 'senior business advisor' do for a 'blue chip' law firm? The firm's spokesman stated that, "The Alberta economy has got to be the hottest place for investment in, if not Canada, North America.. . "So people all around the world are interested in investing here, and with our expertise and Mr. Klein's profile, reputation, and expertise . . . those investors will want to come and speak to us." He went on, "We have a very significant client base of corporations from the United States and around the world and Mr. Klein is well known in both Asia and Europe and, quite frankly, there's a lot of them that want to invest here in Alberta and there's nobody better to advise them on what's happening in Alberta than Mr. Klein." Translation: We want Ralph out glad-handing our clients and smoothing their way through the morass of Government regulations and decision-makers, so that they get from the Government what they are looking for.
Ralph, so far, falls within the letter of the law - the Conflicts of Interest Act. He mustn't lobby on behalf of clients in the first six months upon leaving office; he can only advise them. Borden Ladner Gervais assures us that they and their new acquisition will adhere to the letter of the law.
So, why the foul air? The announcement that Ralph took the job came just 3 days after his final day in office, the same day that he became entitled to his fat $650,000 severance payment. He grabbed the job with unseemly haste-particularly when Bush's pal, Steve Harper's Federal Accountablility Act provides for a 5 year 'cooling off' period before any member of the Federal Government can begin to apply his charm and influence for his new private-sector bosses.
Ethics Commissioner, Don Hamilton, found nothing wrong, with Ralph's taking the job. This followed the tradition of his predecessor Ethics Commissioner, Bob Clark, who seldom found Tory wrong-doing in his investigations. A couple of Clark's investigations topped the El Stinko charts - like the Multicorp and the Hong Pham/Aftergood Civic Election scandals, the stench from which still permeates the air on a bad day. Interestingly, both are alumnae of the dead carcass of the Social Credit Party. Oh well, after the disappearance of the Party of Aberhart and Manning the Elder, they had to do something for a living.