I vote for “Edmonton: Where The Streets Are Paved With Whatever Mr. Katz Wants”.— Colby Cosh (@colbycosh) September 24, 2014
This throwaway Colby Cosh joke reminded me of a little something: when sleazy slum property owner Stephen Mandel left office as Edmonton's mayor, he also left behind the multi-million dollar new arena, a cool new facility for Daryl Katz's Edmonton Oilers to play in without having to do any of that obnoxious capital investment that other hugely successful companies would tend to have to do. That Mandel's little arena deal also meant great news for property developers and speculators (like longtime heavy Mandel financier Terry Paranych) isn't at all a sign that he's beholden to interests willing to use government power to exert control the free market wouldn't give them.
Now Mandel is sadly back in public life as the unelected Health Minister in the new Prentice cabinet, and as thin-skinned and unwilling to speak with opponents as ever. What does this put him in charge of? If you guessed the industry that would be a customer to the pharmaceuticals which are the primary business of one Daryl Katz.
At least there's a good chance that Alberta will be getting new hospitals, even though there's even money that half the space of each will wind up dedicated to free floor space for a Rexall Pharmacy or two...