Thursday, September 01, 2011

Doug Horner Throws in One More, FOR FREE: Part Two

When I lunged into the second half, with renewed vigor, I got completely derailed by one word that took me a half an hour to recover from: Mavericks. I kid you not, he says the people of Alberta are mavericks. I'm not sure if I want to make a Palin joke or a Top Gun joke, either way poor word usage.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship
The first policy actually grabbed me right from the start: Teaching entrepreneurship to kids in the K-12 system. I really like this idea as, typically, starting a business seems quite daunting without instruction, and so those who would like to start one tend to wait until age tempers them. This with his mentorship program, venture funding program, and increased funding for engineering programs, could turn out to be highly successful at boosting the innovation in our province. The only part that confused me was the plan to "liberate the latent intellectual property that resides in universities to the free market for adoption and commercialization". Does he genuinely think that if there was some easy way to extract money from anything in the university, that the university wouldn't have exploited it already? Or is he talking about kidnapping professors?

Expanding Population
He provides a bevy of interesting immigration policies, that run the range of good to bad. Programs to encourage successful immigration are good, negotiating directly with the federal government for a tailor-made immigration program could be good or bad, and funding an Alberta equivalency program in foreign countries so that people can graduate directly with Alberta approved education is downright terrible. The cost would be significant, while the result would be either negligible interest or the burden of providing equivalent education for anyone who wanted to work anywhere in Canada. The only way it would be effective is for doctors, since we are so desperate it would be worth it almost regardless of cost. 

Brand Stewardship
This whole section reads like a mash-up of a kid's third grade introduction and that time a down-and-out day trader slept on your couch for a month, even though you tried to help him find work with your sister's former roommate as a receptionist. It waffles between throwing our 'stories' in the world's face and asking them for help with our problems and networking, with a soupcon of redecorating our foreign offices thrown in. I think the best approach right now, considering our negative press, might be to just lay low and negotiate directly with business partners, ie. people who don't give a crap about how 'nice' we are, they just really want to get paid.

Building Capacity
The main goal stated in this building capacity section is to promote development of government officials and other people who work in the public sector. He plans to remove 'self-imposed restrictions' such as hiring freezes, but even though I am not familiar with all the various reasons for the freezes, I am pretty sure they serve some purpose. Aw, who am I kidding? The man said the golden words, " Enhance Alberta’s post-secondary programs focused on public policy and provide opportunities for meaningful employment in public organizations". He could have drooled the rest of the section into a Mondrian of phlegm and I'd still like it.

Excellence in the Arts
I am unsure what occurred recently, but the over-emphasis on courting the hippie-liberal vote has me standing amazed and stupefied. Sometimes it makes me so proud to be an Albertan I can almost overlook the bumper sticker I saw the other day that read, "My truck was built with wrenches, not chopsticks". (True story. I even had my collapsible chopsticks a foot away; I could have grabbed them and given her the finger and she would have known EXACTLY why I was pissed, but I was at work and apparently that kind of behaviour is 'unprofessional'. TL;dr Being a grow'd up still sucks.) Stable funding for the arts foundation for three years, connect businesses with the arts, encourage community arts; it's like a dream! Oh, be still my fluttering heart.

Direct Communication
There are three sections he promises within this section, I'll disseminate them in order of least to most funniest. The least funniest, of course, being his plan to pass down an itemized priority list so everyone is on the same page vis a vi the gameplan for the province. It's a good idea to put everyone on the same cloud nine, but the problem is less that people don't know, and more that they disagree on the order of priorities. The second funniest is that he plans to tell everyone of all the decisions that were made and the reasoning behind them. This back and forth, informing everyone of all moves, is going to bog down the process worse than a pound of butter in a vegan. The funniest point is that he plans to say what he'll do, and do what he'll say but, of course, in order to believe that, we first must believe that he'll do what he says, ie. doing what he says he'll do. It's delightfully intrinsic.

Empowering Seniors
To be honest, I'd be surprised if most seniors managed to make it this far in his policy program - I aged about fifty years just reading this saga. He aims to separate seniors care from healthcare, which would be a sensible move that I believe would empower seniors but would also cost millions in taxes, let alone the millions required to boost the blue cross healthcare provided and force seniors to take advantage of every service they are eligible for (Note: that is not hyperbole. That is his policy). The mentoring and couple's housing are great ideas, but there is simply too much money required for a sector that never returns a profit (and, to be honest, should not be expected to)

Principled Governance
I suspect that this man might be just rehashing the same thing over and over: This whole section consists of communication, openness, and opportunities. The same principles brought up in the direct communication section. Perhaps he has two different campaign managers?

Structural Effectiveness
Let me break this down really nicely:
1. Make departments work together.
2. Find out what these 'Inter-tubes' are.
3. Run thought experiments in case of zombie apocalypse.
4. Make the provinces work together.

Top 100 Employees
It may be just my waning patience, but the final section reminds me most of a kindergarten class: Ideas, community, healthy environment, progress, and being a role model.

More glurg and sugar everywhere, but to be honest there are some good ideas underneath this candy-coating. I would like to actually meet Mr. Horner in person to get a better idea of his personality, especially when he promises to "Do what he says and says what he does". A noble idea that stronger people have lost in the face of the furnace that is provincial politics.

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