The blame game

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, someone comes along to offer up a thought, sentiment, statement or opinion that you can just hardly believe.

Premier Jim Prentice has found himself in such a spot. After recent comments he made about how Albertans should be shouldering at least some of the blame for the province’s current financial woes, he has faced reams of criticism and ridicule for the remarks and there is even a hashtag – #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans which folks have been happily posting all kinds of things on.

It’s hard to imagine how he would have thought the outcome would be any different.

People don’t generally like to be blamed for things that they didn’t specifically and directly have much to do with, for one thing. To just say in general terms that a populace is to blame is simply too easy. And it’s just downright careless and disrespectful. With an expected spring election nearing, it’s all the more baffling why he would say something like this ‘out loud’. Maybe think it, Jim – but for heaven’s sake, don’t ‘say it’.

Perhaps it’s a sense of being able to get away with pretty much anything. This is Alberta, let’s remember. The PCs have been at the head of government for decades, and when a government has been in power that long, it’s easy to see that a sense of invincibility must seep in over the years. That, combined with an opposition that, across the remaining parties, has certainly seen better days.

To start with, the Wildrose party just had a leadership debate earlier this week and it’s already almost the middle of March. A provincial budget is due March 26th, and in all likelihood, an election will probably take place in late April.

For a party to not even have a leader with an election possibly just six to eight weeks away must be intimidating, to say the least.

But the Wildrose are putting their best foot forward, pledging to restore party unity after the Danielle Smith fiasco and provide answers to voters seeking strong alternatives to what the Tories are promising to bring. The Alberta Liberals remain essentially in the background – they don’t seem to have much to say these days.

Back to Prentice – it would be fair to say that up until recently, most Albertans seemed to be happy with his performance. He was doing basically all the right things – which might not be too in the footsteps of Alison Redford. But still, things seemed to be going in a good direction for him and his party.

So it will be interesting to see where these outlandish comments will take him in the next few weeks. It’s politics – it may be largely forgotten in a couple of weeks or Albertans may just show they won’t let this one slide so easily.