Stelmach swings right; from far left to moderate left

Seriously, there's probably two, maybe three actual facts in this Edmonton Journal article about Ed Stelmach. Its a subject that yesterday I only had time to briefly Twitter about (twice!), mainly about how an op-ed was on the front page passing as news. Here are some snippets from the article in question:

But since the March 2008 election, Stelmach appears to have shifted to the right. Party faithful, who thought they'd voted to contain the right wing by rejecting Ted Morton, must now be scratching their heads.

The task forces and citizen consultations are long gone, as the government, backed by a massive majority, gets on with the job. These days, Albertans see a premier who gives his ministers wide latitude to make public policy.

Powerful individuals have quickly emerged, notably Health Minister Ron Liepert, Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett, Infrastructure Minister Jack Hayden and Justice Minister Alison Redford.

All have brought individual agendas to the table -- often dramatic new policies -- and carried on with little, if any, public consultation. In many cases, the public first learned about legislation only after it was tabled.
Wow, powerful ministers bringing about dramatic policies. Why, they have to be right-wing! "Powerful". "Dramatic" "Wide latitude". Well let's just declare Stelmach a right-winger right away. Should we perhaps take a gander at some of these "hard right" policies, starting with Health Minister Ron Liepert? A bunch of medium sized health regions are replaced with a provincial superregion. Massive centralization of government power is one of the most right-wing policies around, isn't it?

Well, okay, health is a bit of a conservative bust. But lets move onto Lindsay Blackett, the controversial culture minister. His Bill 44 is a polarizing cry for leftwingers across the province, so maybe this is the intense shift to the right that we're looking for. Let's see, Bill 44...
  1. Expands Human Rights legislation to protect dirty sodomites from having their sick perverse uranist lifestyles subjected to criticism, and preventing people who don't enjoy hiring cocksuckers from living the life they want to live.
  2. Does not make the anticipated alterations to the power of Alberta's infamous Human Rights Commission to hold supra-legal tribunals such as in the infamous cases of Stephen Boissoin and Ezra Levant. The free speech trammeling of HRCs will be allowed to continue.
  3. Expand HRCs to remove the exemption from schoolteachers
Er, that's it? That's the horrendous big bad evil right-wing legislation?

Maybe its Jack Hayden in infrastructure. The Alberta Green Party's former leader whoops..."current leader" Joe Anglin is in an uproar over the infamous Bill 19, which...expropriates land...from rightwing rural property owners. Damn, sounds like that's hardly a "rightward shift" either!

Well, we aren't out of rightwing standout ministers yet: Justice Minister Alison Redford was also named. Here she is applauding public transit in Calgary. Oh, well here she is again trying to collect more money for the public healthcare system. Is this really the crop of rightwing Tory ministers? Who came up with this crap?
Tory insider Ken Chapman says the government has hunkered down and centralized operations partly because of uncertainties engendered by the economic downturn.

It's back to "command and control," says Chapman, a consultant with Cambridge Strategies. "The attitude seems to be, we know what's best.

"They are broadcasting, rather than joining the conversation. Albertans want a conversation."
Ahhh... say no more. Another man with an irrational Klein fetish/hatred. The only way this article could get much worse would be a quote from David Taras, the hardcore University of Alberta Liberal who's the catchall source for yellow anti-Conservative journalism.
Political analyst Dave Taras agrees there is still plenty of anger in downtown Calgary over the royalty rates. But there's no place for the disaffected to go, says the University of Calgary communications professor, so the government knows it's not vulnerable.

After winning so many seats in the 2008 election, Taras says there's a sense among MLAs that "we can do what we want."
Oh. Never mind.
The influence of the party's right wing is certainly growing under Stelmach, Taras says.

Peter Lougheed and Klein had a sense of the political middle ground, he says.

Klein was astute in sensing when the government swerved too far to the right and he'd quickly correct his course, says Taras. Not so with Stelmach, who is making the right wingers feel more comfortable.
More comfortable? More comfortable? Stelmach has never done anything to make me feel more comfortable! What, besides the conspicuous amount of heroin a person must take to put his name to such nonsense as Taras does on a regular basis, are these people smoking?
Perhaps, but rumbles of discontent can already be heard in Stelmach's backyard. Northern Alberta helped put their man in the premier's office, but in the Grande Prairie area, they're not so sure it paid off.

Marv Moore, a former cabinet minister in the Lougheed days, now runs a 1,000-bison feedlot near Grande Prairie. Eighteen months ago, he was removed from his position as chairman of the Peace Country Health Authority when Liepert disbanded the health regions
Ohhh, news flash! Person who lost their job is mad at their former boss! Somebody give Sheila Pratt a Pulitzer!
When Stelmach took over, the party was at a crossroads, says Warrack, who is retired from the University of Alberta.

Many wondered whether he could move the party back to its founding roots, the inclusive, big tent that believed in government as a positive force. Others hoped he would continue down the Klein road to the right.
What. Move. To. The. Right?

Seriously, can anybody find a "move to the right"? Klein spent 90% of his Premiership moving to the left, and it made up 100% of his final three years. For anybody to seriously believe this is absolutely outrageous. It has no actual validity. It has no actual facts. It is not news, it is opinion. And it is a stupid opinion based on lies.