Monday, February 27, 2012

No Truck Or Trade

You know, in my weaker moments, I do admit to thinking that Dalton isn't totally hidebound by his lifelong, generational Liberalism. That he isn't completely a slave to dead and dying welfare-state ideas. That for all the Liberal dogma he's espoused over his lifetime, there remains, within, some capacity for understanding something outside of his frame of reference.

And then, Dalton picks a fight with Premier Mom herself, Allison Redford, over the tar sands.

I don't know how this is being received in Alberta. My guess would be that there are quite a few people saying that Redford shouldn't have been so trusting when she came a-calling a few months ago to Central Canada. That's because, out there, more people are willing to call things as they are.

I, on the other hand, was completely flummoxed at first. At a time when Dalton has Don Drummond breathing down his neck, Hudak in his face, a budget on the horizon, his utterly clueless Health Minister going "I dunno" when asked about $25 million going missing from ORNGE, Dalton opts to alienate one of the few Premiers he can really call an ideological ally, reminding people that Alberta and the West are doing better than Ontario in the process and looking like a whiny child. Did I mention that all this was happening only just before a crucial budget? I did?

But then I remembered that I am not up to my eyeballs in red Kool-Aid, and that if I was a Liberal, I would be loving Dalton's little chest-pounding rant. Not only because the tar sands are dirty and nasty and Mordor-esque, while Dalton's waste-of-money green schemes make all the downtown Toronto people happy.

It must be remembered that Liberals of a certain generation must occasionally get into fits about how we are "selling off our resources" and how we are in the state we're in because of the big, bad meanies to the south. Back in the 80's, Brian Mulroney fought an election on free trade and won, and some people still haven't gotten around to accepting that we don't do closed-economy European style autarky in this country anymore. In short: Dalton is engaging in reflexive, old-fart John Turner Liberal economic nationalism.

For it must be remembered that Alberta oil is sold to other countries (horrors), while good ol' Ontario manufacturing provides....provided? for good ol' Ontarians right here in good ol' Ontairy-airy-airy-O. Why else do you think Dalton made a point of listening when people pitched a fit about the Caterpillar lockout? Because Dalton is an old-fart Liberal economic nationalist.

And Dalton knows poking Redford for her less-than-perfect devotion to old-fart nationalism will win him praise from the rest of the old-fart nationalists in advance of a budget which he says will contain some decidedly un-old-fart nationalist cost cutting.

Was this the way it was in the olden days when Liberals knocked PC's for being marginally more capitalist-minded than they were? 

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