Byfield: The sudden silence of Alberta’s controversial Education minister
Did Rachel warn him that his declarations are costing more votes than they’re winning?
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When an outspoken politician suddenly falls silent, be assured that somebody has got to him with an unpleasant message: “Please do us all a favour, and try to keep your big mouth shut for a change.” Something less lucid than that, probably, but the meaning got through. The particular politician I have in mind has become well known to many in the Canadian province where I live, Alberta. He is David Eggen, our minister of Education. Within a week or so he will have completed an entire session of the Legislature without enraging anybody.
This was a first for Mr. Eggen. In the past, he has picked fights with the Catholics, the home-schoolers, parents, pastors and finally all of my group, the pious and the prudes, whom he customarily assails with unremitting fervour.
So unremitting that we rather miss being infuriated by him. Here we are, nearly half way through April, and he’s given us almost nothing to be outraged about. What’s going on?
We think we know, of course. It’s that Notley woman–Rachel Notley the socialist premier of Alberta, distinguished from other lady premiers in Canada by not becoming a total embarrassment to practically everybody in her province. Besides which, she’s very good looking, a quality that does not go unobserved by us aging lecherous journalists.
Besides which, she is a woman in distress. In fact her situation is hopeless. The economy of her province depends almost wholly on our somehow acquiring a right to build a pipeline to ship our burgeoning oil reserves to the sea. Premier Rachel’s socialist New Democratic Party in the past has been very loud in its opposition to pipelines. Why we were asinine enough to elect that party to govern us will provide a question for political scientists to undertake for years to come. In the meantime, she has had to do a political U-turn and become the improbable champion of an improbable project. The task as I say, is impossible. Small wonder she’s getting nowhere with it.
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