ALBERTA VOTES 2008

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Reporters' Notebook

A pattern emerges

February 29, 2008 | 10:21 AM
Scott DippelScott Dippel

The PC party may have the huge war chest and dominate the ad war on TV but it's not having a campaign like it has in the past. It's quite curious. Is it a lack of control? Fear? Or a calculated plan? Here are some examples.

Newspaper brouhaha
Two members of a Conservative candidate's team in rural Alberta storm into a local newspaper office. The candidate wants the editor's head on a plate. His crime: the paper dared to print a picture of Liberal Leader Kevin Taft on its front page.

The editor agrees to tell this story to CBC News but stops at the last minute. That's because the paper's publisher tells the editor that "if he values his job," he won't speak about the incident.

cgy-donna-bier.jpg
Donna Bier placed the ad endorsing a Tory candidate in the Lethbridge Herald on Feb. 24 and 25. (CBC)

Political advertising
A member of the government-appointed Chinook Health Region board buys an ad in the Lethbridge Herald, encouraging folks to vote for the PC candidate in Lethbridge-East.

Her boss, former PC MLA and cabinet minister Jack Ady, is appalled. He calls it inappropriate and apologizes on behalf of the board. Ady says the question of discipline is for health minister and PC candidate Dave Hancock.

Hancock, who has fired entire regional health authority boards in the past, says he's not sure he can punish an individual board member.

Blame Canada Post
A PC candidate in Calgary sends out a brochure to people in his riding, listing his accomplishments as an MLA. Trouble is, the brochure is paid for by his MLA office budget and it's sent out during an election campaign.

The MLA says the brochure was delivered to Canada Post in January for distribution. He blames the posties for the tardy delivery, landing in mailboxes smack dab in the middle of an election campaign. The MLA says he has no intention of paying for this out of his campaign funds.

Gambling on investments
At a Calgary seniors centre, an 80-year-old gent wants assurances from a visiting Ed Stelmach that the government will no longer gamble with the heritage fund on the stock market.

He recalls a few years ago that the fund lost hundreds of millions of dollars during a market downturn, and says the fund isn't worth much more than it was 20 years ago.

Stelmach assures the senior that money is going into the fund again and that it's "in long-term investments, to not gamble away our money."

A visit to the heritage fund website shows that on Dec. 31, 2007, more than $7.7 billion of the fund is invested in Canadian, U.S. and non-North American equities. For the casual or newbie investor, ahem, equities ARE stocks.

The numbers game
Speaking of Stelmach, it's day 25 of 28 day campaign. He still can't source his claim that a Liberal government's environment plan will kill 345,000 jobs in Alberta... or as we found out at a campaign stop this week, he meant to say Canada.

When asked to name which organization produced this statistic, he tells reporters: "I forget the name of the board." The PC campaign team can't name a website, document or author.

« The Stelmach swagger | Main | Treatment in a tent »

This entry is now Closed. View the comments.

Comments: (2)

Karren Brown (Edmonton) wrote:

If a conservative government is elected there will be a loss of 450,000 jobs. I don't recall the source of my information. But trust me, it is true. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Posted February 29, 2008 09:14 PM

Jason Morris (Sherwood_Park_AB) wrote:

At what point do journalists stop asking politicians to "source" their lies, and start asking them to admit them?

Posted February 29, 2008 04:28 PM

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