True Lies: Alberta’s Premier Edition

All news to be buried shall be released on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend. ~ Government Decree, probably.

It is a long-standing tradition to release unflattering news at the most opportune time and that has not changed with a new Alberta government. Though in this particular case, it is certainly a wonder why any government would want to bury the news that the deficit is $2 billion dollars less than was initially projected.

A government who campaigned on the horrors of debt accumulation and a promise to wipe out the annual expenditures that contributed to that debt. A government who, in its infinite wisdom, also cut the revenues that kept that debt lower than it could have been. A government that should have been breaking its own arm to pat itself on the back when it discovered the debt was less than originally forecast.

Unfortunately, this government is headed by a man whose penchant for bending the truth is based on a complete lack of adherence to the laws of physics. One cannot bend that which he cannot first grasp.

Yes, the United Conservative government had to bury the fiscal year-end report on the Friday afternoon of a long weekend simply because their leader had taken it upon himself to present an alternate reality through his personal industry press secretary a bare three weeks prior.

“The NDP lied” the Premier told his secretary. “They fudged the numbers. They misled Albertans.” The doom and gloom Jason Kenney is well-known for was on full display.

At the time, it seemed as if Kenney was merely attempting to lay blame on the NDP for losing $1.78 billion dollars in revenue that Kenney himself cut without the scheduled fanfare and celebrations on May 30. He had access to the books for a month and a half by then. We could be forgiven for thinking the deficit was going to be higher than the NDP had projected.

Lo and behold, it turns out that the NDP’s revenue projections were much more conservative than we knew. Kenney should have known as well. His private industry press secretary wouldn’t have known. He’s been relegated to the dodo-on-demand, carving out Kenney’s dictation with his beak. Not exactly the promotion one hopes for after decades in journalism.

To be sure, had the deficit been higher than the NDP predicted, Kenney and friends would have scheduled a week’s worth of press releases with the thunderous condemnation worthy of such a financial misstep.

Instead, in an effort to sidestep the Premier’s ill-conceived attempt to throw shade on the Opposition, the fiscal year-end report was offered up with no media availability and no immediate statements from the sitting government. Most certainly, no statements from the Premier on why he lied so gratuitously in the first place.

This post is an opinion.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

contact: [email protected]

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for all the commentary; @thisweekinAB for posts.