Neil Waugh has been a columnist for the Edmonton Sun for many years. His message is always the same: Tories are great; Grits are vermin - much like the scribblings of his Edmonton Sun colleague Paul Stanway and Herald hackster Tom Olsen. Stanway and Olsen were finally put on the Tory payroll full time. How is it Waugh didn't make the cut? He probably will, the next time the Premier wants to reward his pals in the media with cushy jobs paid for by the tax-payer in his Communications office.
Waugh is representative of virtually all of the right-wing scribes and loud-mouth conservative talk radio hosts who ply their less than awesome talents in Alberta and elsewhere. They are not above exploiting the Goebbels truism of the BIG LIE: Tell the BIG LIE often enough, and the masses will sure to believe it.
An example is the BIG LIE of the National Energy Policy (you remember, shurely, the 'NEP'). It was the proposition that it was the NEP alone that devastated the Alberta economy when it was launched in the fall of 1980, and that it was a punitive measure imposed on the oil industry, deliberately and with malice, by the Trudeau Government of the day, to destroy Alberta prosperity. Perhaps it has been expressed with differences here and there, but that is the essence of it.
It is a BIG LIE because the NEP was not a malicious and punitive measure. It was a response - albeit, probably a bad one - to sky high oil prices that were crippling world economies, including Canada's. Furthermore, there were other far more significant factors that plundered the economies of all oil producing regions of the day - whether it was in Alberta, Texas or the Sultanate of Brunei. Interest rates, led by the U. S. Federal Reserve Board during the reign of conservative poster-boy Ronnie Reagan, went through the roof for an extended time, exceeding 20% and thus bringing construction and industrial expansion to a crashing halt. In addition, oil prices did not continue to rise, as predicted by the economic gurus of the day. Oil prices went south, which combined with the high interest rates, resulted in the cataclysmic collapse of the oil and gas economies.
But the BIG LIE has been told ad nauseum by the likes of Waugh and his pals in the conservative media and politics, and so a great proportion of Albertans have come to believe it.
Waugh is at it again. His target again this time is of course the Liberal Party. His recent column of Thursday February 15, entitled 'Scary and Really Scary' beats up on Ajax-Pickering MP Mark Holland. Never one to understate when it comes to an attack on the Grits, Waugh states that 'the greatest threat to the Alberta oil patch is not Al Qaida terrorists . . . but Ottawa Liberals ' such as ' M.P. Mark Holland.
Now here comes the BIG LIE. Waugh goes on to say, 'Holland, apparently, let the cat out of the bag when he blabbed on open-line talk shows recently that Stephane Dion and the Libs would seize the oilsands if companies didn't conform to the Kyoto agreements impossible green house gas emission targets.'
Holland said no such thing, 'apparently' (a weasel word if there ever was one) or otherwise. Furthermore, no Liberal - from the Leader on down, has said such a thing. Nor could any Liberal's words be interpreted as saying any such thing. And neither did Mr. Holland try to 'wriggle out' of what he said - as alleged by Waugh - when Holland later claimed that the Liberals still support oilsands development 'in a reasonable and sustainable manner.' That is what Holland and the Liberals, and indeed, former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed, have said all along.
What Waugh has done is introduce another BIG LIE to once again scare the people of Alberta into voting Conservative. He and his ilk have done it before and they will try to do it again. They will repeat the BIG LIE over and over again, so as to maintain the depressing, monolithic presence of the Federal Conservative Party representing Albertans in Ottawa.
Let's hope the people of Alberta finally recognize that they have been manipulated by twits like Waugh long enough. Good bye to the BIG LIE.