Bad news. Its all bad news. That's what Premier Fast Eddie must have thought last night as the Quebec polls rolled in announcing big changes in the offing for La Belle Province.
At least part of Bush's pal Steve Harper's Nation of Quebecois spoke pretty clearly. They wanted change. As a result, Mario Dumont's Action Democratique du Quebec came out of nowhere to vault to second place, the PQ dropped to a dismal third, and Jean Charest squeaked to a slender minority victory.
Fast Eddie must be asking himself and his other paid flaks that loiter about his office - Olsen and Stanway come to mind - Is the desire for change in the Provinces catchy? Will it catch on in Alberta?
If they are honest they will say, 'dern right!' or 'dern tootin!' consistent with the hayseed lingo of Eddie's new Government. Why? Because first of all, Alberta has profound problems that are affecting everyone. Lack of Hospitals, dirty Hospitals, inadequate health care, lack of schools, crumbling infrastructure, overcrowded universities - you name it. It would be surprising if they did not want change, given how the chickens have come home to roost as a result of the do-nothing boys of the Klein years - one of those boys being Fast Eddie himself. Fast Eddie was a Big Stick for Ralph during those dark ages (See Darryl Raymaker Blog, January 27, 2007).
In addition, the new Premier's record since he blew Dinning and Morton away has been less than stellar. His Ministers are not singing from the same song book, he's been seen as graspy respecting fund-raising, and is now widely regarded as being slow to respond to the Province's woes.
Furthermore, he seems to have no clout with his fellow-traveler, Bush's pal Steve Harper, who
in his recent Budget included resource revenues for the purpose of calculating equalization payments - an idea long considered to be heresy in the Tory establishment in these parts.
The upset in Quebec follows closely upon an ominous poll taken recently by CTVglobemedia. The results were announced last thursday. In the poll, more than 1200 Calgarians were questioned about Fast Eddie's performance to date. 20% of them thought he was doing a good job, 64.5% said it was too soon to tell, and 15% thought he was doing a poor job. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Edmonton, a Liberal stronghold, was a little kinder to Eddie. 34% said he was doing a good job, 56% said it was too soon to tell, and 10% thought he was doing a poor job. The poll is considered accurate to within 2.5% 19 times out of 20.
The Grits are gearing up for two by-elections, one in Calgary Elbow - the Riding vacated by Klein - and one in Drumheller-Stettler. In Calgary, even Ralph's bosom buddies are predicting the Tories will lose the seat. In Drumheller, all reports indicate that farmers and ranchers are on the warpath against the Tories respecting water supply and other long-standing issues, and are for the first time taking a long long at the Grits.
All of which is bad news for Fast Eddie. The good old days when a Tory didn't even have to campaign to win are gone.
Is change catchy? Dern Tootin!