Ms Soapbox was trolling through Hansard searching for signs of intelligent life under the Dome when she discovered (sandwiched between the Wildrose Opposition’s accusation that the Premier appointed a Soviet-era communist to serve as her deputy chief of staff and the NDP MLA for Edmonton-Ellerslie admires “the worst leftist dictators”) a few glimmers of wit.
This led to the birth of the Soapy Awards.
The Soapys recognize politicians who come up with a clever response in the face of unrelenting tedium, commonly referred to as Question Period.
Here are the Soapy winners in the individual performer category:
The sex-lives-of-giant-mammals award goes to Progressive Conservative MLA Dr Starke who compared the NDP’s announcement of a $10 million grant for a new biofuel production facility to the mating behavior of elephants—“it was done at a high level, there was a lot of trumpeting and stamping of feet, and it will take two years to see if we get any results”. This preamble was in aid of his question, a concern about the availability of sufficient canola feedstock.
Dr Starke is a vet. No doubt he sees a lot of this sort of thing, presumably with cows not elephants.
The lucky leprechaun award goes to Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman who deflected Wildrose leader Brian Jean’s assertion that if the government didn’t denounce BC’s tanker ban it was against Alberta’s energy industry.
Ms Hoffman said the either/or dichotomy showed a lack of diplomacy and respect for other provinces and that Mr Jean’s “plan to address the difficulties that we’re facing is kind of like a four-leaf clover, shrouded in mythology and hard to find”.
Ms Hoffman got extra points for making the quip on St Patrick’s Day.
The Mesozoic-Era-put-down award also goes to Ms Hoffman for her response to Mr Jean who continued to insist she condemn the BC tanker ban or Alberta’s energy industry.
She said “instead of acting like dinosaurs from Drumheller” Albertans needed to develop a reputation for being environmentally responsible. The link to dinosaurs in a comment about fossil fuels was very clever.
An honourable mention goes to Wildrose MLA Mr Nixon who declared “orange is clearly the new blue” in a question concerning the NDP government’s new caucus office in Calgary. We all know “orange is the new black” but Mr Nixon can be forgiven for getting his colours mixed up given that in the last federal election it was unclear whether orange was the new red or red was the new orange and it’s equally confusing on the provincial level where blue will be the new blue/green (teal?) if the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose merge.
The Soapy for Best Performance by a Political Party is jointly awarded to the NDP and the Liberals for press releases they issued on April Fools Day.
The NDP’s press release announced a plan to float bitumen, oil and natural gas to foreign markets by Zeppelin. The plan would sidestep the NEB and avoid objections from other provinces. The Local Dirigible Manufacturing requirement would kick start “a nascent aerospace industry” thereby furthering the government’s efforts to diversify the economy.
The Liberal’s press release announced the PC party had officially filed for divorce from the Wildrose party citing “irreconcilable differences”.
It included a quote from a Wildrose supporter who said “It’s not like we haven’t tried. When they stole our leadership, we turned the other cheek. When Albertans elected an NDP government we thought that horror would bring us together. We even stood up and voted unanimously for Bill 10.”
The press release said Premier Notley was unavailable for comment but the song “We are the Champions” was heard emanating from her office.
That concludes the Soapy Awards for this year. Ms Soapbox will be accepting nominations for the 2017 Soapy Awards on Jan 1, 2017.
On a more serious note, Ms Soapbox would like to take this opportunity to ask the Official Opposition to pull itself together (there really aren’t any “Soviet-era communists” lurking in the corridors of power) and work with the government and the other members of the Opposition (Sandra Jansen is right, we don’t need Yet Another Recall Act) to help bring Alberta through this difficult downturn.
Hi Susan, Dr Starke is a PC member.
Sent from my iPhone
Cathy…how embarrassing!!!! I fixed it. Thanks for pointing it out.
I have as good a sense of humour as anyone but thought the NDP April Fool press release was not funny, especially on a day when Cenovus let another 400 people go. I thought it was somewhat peculiar to treat issues of importance to many unemployed Albertans as an April fool joke.
Tom Lynch, Calgary
That’s a fair point Tom. I hadn’t thought of it in those terms. Thanks.
I completely agree with Tom.
Complete tone-deaf dumb bomb by the NDP.
As an NDP supporter, I’m appalled at the steady stream of small and large communication gaffes since they got elected.
Unforced errors. Over and over and over.
Sam, you and Tom raise slightly different issues.
Tom said the NDP were insensitive in issuing an April Fools press release relating to the lack of access to foreign markets smack in the middle of the economic downturn. While I respect Tom’s opinion, I don’t see it the same way. Humour helps people cope with stress and anxiety (music operates the same way, the Juno awards were completely sold out this weekend, this surprised everyone, including its organizers who thought that the economic downturn would take a toll on ticket sales).
Sam, you raise a more complicated issue. Has the NDP made communication gaffes? Yes, the roll out of Bill 6 is a good example. Is the NDP continuing to make communication gaffes? That depends on what else you’d put into this bucket. While the government dropped the ball on Bill 6, its response to criticism of the new personal and corporate tax regime, the Royalty Review or the climate leadership plan was appropriate. I can’t speak to how it’s communicating around things like changes to PDD because I haven’t followed it closely enough.
Having said all that I do agree with you on this: the NDP must become masters at communication especially as it starts its negotiations with the unions.
Actually, a bit of humour from the government, apparently in much scarcity everywhere else, was most appropriate on April Fool’s day.
The Zeppelin joke made some pointed commentary, which seemingly flew totally over the heads of many wearing black arm-bands because of job losses, about some of the reasons for those job losses.
When Albertans stop worrying about jobs, most of which are nothing more than bribes from foreign multi-nationals to keep mouths shut while they rip, strip and ship our raw, low royalty, no added-value resources out of country, and start working on solutions with creativity, courage, innovation, and dedication to Alberta and Canada, then we will start to get somewhere.
If the tens of thousands of job losses so far had any real value, production would have fallen – obviously that hasn’t happened.
ABCanuck, you make a very interesting point when you point out the lack of connection between job loss and production. I was looking at CNRL’s 2015 Annual Report which says CNRL reduced capital spending by $3.4 billion and operating costs by $1.1 billion but still managed to increase production by 8%. CNRL has not laid off any employees. Instead it asked them to take a pay cut of up to 10%. That tells me there was an awful lot of waste during the boom and companies that spent like drunken sailors got caught while others with a more disciplined approach figured out how to weather the storm (to continue with the seafaring motif).
Loved it…I wonder if the orange is the new blue reflects on Lougheed and his policies which are similar to the NDP but just almost 40 years earlier.
Roy, none of the parties are acting like we expect them too, well, except the Wildrose I guess. No wonder everyone is confused about the colour of their banner!
delightful recognition of the lighter side of politics – even in Alberta!
Thanks David…I’m pleased that a sitting MLA appreciates a little levity. All the best. 🙂