Friday, August 26, 2011

Rick Orman Appeals to Everyman

To kick off this examination of Mr. Rick Orman I shall present, without comment, this blurb from his website:

"Unlike the other candidates, Rick has not announced policies. He believes government policies must be developed in an open, transparent manner that involves MLAs staying in touch with their constituents and bringing their comments to caucus for discussion and consideration. Policies hatched by a small group of people, who remain nameless behind closed doors, are no way to make laws that affect everyone."

When the only copy of Mr. Orman's policies went through the wash I bet everyone was in a panic; until the most resourceful spin doctor on his team said, "Wait. Let's convince the public it's a good idea!" and everyone cheered.

I might be confused about things, but last time I checked we ELECTED people (theoretically that involves their names) based on the strengths of their policies. As for building policy based on the opinions of people who have the time and inclination to wander over to caucus, well, "Tyranny of the minority", my friend. Nevertheless, on to the 'visions' he has posted. (No word on whether they were developed by a peyote-soaked vision quest)

Fiscal Responsability
The name of the game here is subtlety. He doesn't say Alberta is being taken advantage of, he just "notices" that a lot of money has left Alberta through the equalization program. So he says things could be better if we just 'talk' about it with Ottawa. I can see this plan through two ways; One, he's too polite and nothing happens since convincing politicians (hell, whole provinces) to stop recieving money is much like asking someone if they want a shot to the nuts, or two, this is all a thinly veiled threat, and Dalton McGuinty will wake up with a cow's head in his bed (Grade A Alberta beef). I must confess, quiet confidence is pretty menacing.

He also plans to get rid of the sales tax, presumably with the money saved from the equalization payments, but now we're asking the feds to do without TWO sources of income. If we aren't careful, we're going to be invaded by our own country, and that will be so awkward.

Managing Alberta's Economy
The bulk of the paragraphs is smoke about how we have such an awesome work ethic, then putting people who criticize our environmental behavior 'on notice'. That's right, says Rick, we're looking at you, and we have plenty of cow heads to go around.

The specific policies include more international promotion of Alberta and municipalities, removing the 'barriers' keeping immigrants and first nations from participating in our economy (What does this mean? No more assistance?), more innovation, and 'unleashing' the power of the arts to create jobs (No, seriously)

Health Care
Rick plans, like all the candidates, to conduct an inquiry into the allegations of wrong-doing aimed at the healthcare system. Other than that, it's all the same old song and dance about working with healthcare workers and looking into strategies to reduce the wait-times. The only novel proposal is to incorporate pictures into healthcare cards to ensure people aren't just loaning out their cards, kind of how driver's license photos keep younger siblings from stealing their older siblings' cards to get into bars.

K-12 Education
To clean up the mess that is purportedly our education system Mr. Orman seeks to commit funding for 5 years (Good idea), focusing on fairness across the province (Okay idea), based on the resource needs of the classroom (Terrible idea). The problem we have been experiencing is that we did not consider the economic realities of our province when deciding funding. We cannot fix that problem by blindly commiting to better funding any more than we can dig ourselves out of a hole. Also, when he commits to fixing non-teaching issues that distract from teaching I get a little chill - I'm not sure what he means, but I suspect it comes down to tying teachers' hands.

Safe, Vibrant Communities
When anyone talks about safety, you can bet the phrase "tougher sentances" is not far behind, but it is not effective to get 'tough on crime' when we have no space to deal with the criminals we currently have. His plan to finance apace with the growth of the law enforcement communities is good, if we can find the money. He does speak about reinstating the lottery funding, and so, sadly, I suspect that the 'community revitalization program' he talks about is the plan to build more prisons.

Efficient, Accountable Government
He also speaks about reducing cabinet, which makes me think that it is consiedered to be too large, but he then insists that every ministry include an efficiency specialist to facilitate inter-agency communication (If you're accepting applications for this position, I'd love to apply!). It's nice to see him talking about the morale of public service workers, though, and couple that with his plan to recognize volunteers in the province I think he could be pretty popular.

Alberta's First Nations and Metis
He plans to honor previous agreements, build working relationships, figure out barriers that prevent them from working with the government, and support traditional land useage. I hope at least a few of these include improving their drinking water, but I wonder what will happen if he discovers that the barriers to the First Nations' involvement in economic development is that they don't want it to happen because it conflicts with traditional land use.

All in all, I can see why he's popular; He's not promising anything that no one else is promising, and he promises things that everyone else is promising. He's the everyman without any real solid plans. I suspect that, should he be elected, we will unwrap our shiny new premier to discover the terrible words "Some assembly required".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But then, if we put him together ourselves maybe we'll get one we actually like?