Thursday, December 31, 2009


As most of you who read my blog know, although I have little time for most of the editorial writers and columnists over at the hapless Calgary Herald, I do read and have respect for a few. One that I have for the most part admired is long-time political columnist Don Braid who I have known and read for thirty years.

But alas, Braid is not always right. His column in yesterday’s Herald “Victim mentality keeps Liberals in doghouse,” is one of his more dismal efforts. Read:

He starts off on the right note. He sees the Tories on the ropes and the Alberta right coming apart at the seams. He notes that Alberta Grits are paying down their debt, becoming a presence on the internet, and presenting sound policies. All of this, Braid correctly observes, shows that Liberals in Alberta now have a great chance to move forward, and perhaps even attain power.

From that point on Braid’s column goes all to hell. He predicts that despite those positive signs of potential success, the Grits will fail because of their collective victim mentality which causes them to blame others for their problems. Braid says that the first words one hears from senior Alberta Liberals these days are “Why is the Wildrose Alliance getting a free ride?” The evidence upon which he draws this sweeping conclusion is that he recently met “one top guy” [who , and what makes him a “top guy,” he doesn’t say] who “threw me that question at a party this week.”

Well first of all, “one top guy” doesn’t speak for the whole party. Secondly, you find individuals all the time who are out of sync with any group to which they may belong. For instance, I’m sure you will find one or two Calgarians who might say that Stelmach is a good Premier, but that doesn’t mean that all Calgarians believe he is a good Premier. You might even find a Calgarian who will say that the Calgary Herald is a good newspaper, God forbid, and that sure as hell does not mean that all Calgarians believe that!

Braid continues his diatribe by saying that when the Grits lose they blame the media and also they “blame the voters for being too stupid to see their virtues. And the voters, far from stupid, pick up on the condescension and reject the Liberals once again.”

Well, I have spent more time around Alberta Liberals than the whole of the Calgary Herald editorial and writing staff of the last ten years put together, and I can tell you that this is pure – to put it politely – bullshit. If Braid believes that then he is spending too much time on the Tory cocktail circuit helping them drink their own bathwater.

Almost all of the Liberals that I know – and I know and have known thousands of the critters in the more than 40 years of being an active Grit - don’t blame anybody for not being able to form a government except themselves. They may be disappointed at having not formed a government after an election, but they just get back to work and merrily try to create a winning combination. And always with an abiding respect for the people as well as a smile. They are truly happy warriors, who – as the song goes - pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again.

Alberta Grits are also resilient. The Alberta Liberal Party is the only provincial political party that has had a presence in every Alberta election since 1905 and thus holds the record of being the longest standing party in the history of the province. It has outlasted the United Farmers and Social Credit parties and was alive and well when the pre-Lougheed Tories were protected by game laws. Five will get you ten that the Liberals will survive the Tories once again and if anybody wants to bet money against that one, by all means, give me a call.