Watch out, Notley. Passive-aggressive sniping is our spin doctor's specialty.
Premier Christy 'Some of My Best Friends Squander Resource Wealth' Clark. Photo: BC Gov Flickr.
[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]
Dear Doctor Steve,
B.C.'s Liberal government has now laid out its plans in the speech from the throne. Our emphasis is on helping British Columbians become self-sustaining through buying and growing locally. Local is hip! And it certainly beats getting stuff from Alberta which is a province that -- well, I just won't say anymore because my parents raised me to be nice. But let's just point out that they spent their resource money like drunken sailors and now they expect us to clean up their mess.
My government pledges to be different. And not just because the order we placed for enough LNG to fuel the mother of all keg parties has not come through. No, it's because we're better than that.
Still, some Albertans seem upset with our throne speech. Please help us put out the word that we have absolutely nothing against our Alberta friends. In fact, we value them as a cautionary example. Just sayin'.
Premier Christy Clark
Dear Premier Clark,
Given current pop culture obsessions, perhaps it was inevitable -- a throne speech that reads more like a speech from Game of Thrones. Attack! Consider poor Alberta, your speech said sorrowfully: "Over the decades, Alberta lost its focus. They expected their resource boom never to end, failed to diversify their economy and lost control of government spending."
Oh my. A catapult fired into a nearby castle by our very own Daenerys Targaryen. Though at the later press conference you hastened to insist that no slight was intended to those dear, dear Albertans. "They are our best friends in the country," you said.
Play with fuel, get dirty
Passive-aggressive sniping at political foes from the throne? As a professional spinmeister I applaud this new approach, familiar to anyone who has owned a TV set during an election campaign. Never mind our platform, you say -- have a look at the other team. Fools and nitwits, am I right? When you ask what we propose, we reply: We propose that we're not these clowns.
And it's true Premier Clark -- you are different from the Albertans. At least Alberta actually had the resource money it got drunk on. You on the other hand got elected by yelling "Resource-based drinks for the house!" and then coming up broke. A major component of your government's plan for a growing and diverse economy is the opportunity presented by LNG, said the speech. "There is no question that unforeseen global conditions are posing new challenges. Low global prices will have an impact on your government's initial timelines."
In other words, sorry, I forgot my wallet. Lecturing the other boozehounds after you stiffed them on the booze-up you promised is the height of bad barroom etiquette, Premier.
Interesting that in oil-dependent Alberta Rachel Notley got elected preaching responsibility and restraint, while in B.C. you won by promising we were about to become the new Alberta. But the LNG thing hasn't worked out the way you hoped. So this seems like a suspiciously convenient time to start tut-tutting about how to manage resource windfalls. You're like the convict who suddenly gets religion after the prison door slams shut.
Throw that shade, Premier!
But again, I believe I can speak for my spin-doctoring cronies when I say we applaud your government as pioneers. Typically elections are the time for negative stuff, throne speeches the time for sober blueprints. But why not expand your opportunities? Use every available opportunity to stir it up.
For example: Tuesday is budget day. That's when the government unveils its fiscal plan for the future -- if you're kicking it old school. Not you, Premier Bold. You're going to take it in a whole new direction. Instead of a budget, why not come up with a list of stuff Alberta can't afford anymore? Give every Liberal MLA a gold-flaked Stetson. Roll into the chamber in an open-top Hummer crunching over a carpet of Rolexes purchased from Calgary pawn shops. Fill a wading pool full of Medical Service Plan contributions, splash around in it, and send selfies to Premier Notley. Mail every Albertan an invitation to the grand opening of Trump Tower in envelopes addressed to "Loser."
Nobody cares about your bullshit budget anyway, Premier. They want beefin' -- beefin' with the beef bros, the cattle crowd, our very best friends. You tell Alberta it's on.
And if you get to be this smug now, Premier Clark, just imagine how insufferable you'll get to be if any of your plans actually work out.