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Harper trying to steal Rathgeber's thunder


  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 01, 2014 06:00 am

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, local residents should forgive Prime Minister Stephen Harper for brazenly propositioning St. Albert voters this week through a major funding announcement.

While the announcement of $190,000 in funding through the Canada Arts Presentation Fund to enable the Friends of the Northern Alberta International Children's Festival Society to present the 33rd and 34th Northern Alberta International Children's Festival was greatly appreciated, especially by the dedicated non-profit groups involved, the presentation involved some perhaps unintended comedy and an unwanted attempt to politicize the event.

Having Conservative Party representatives make the presentation, rather than local St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber, was a joke, but a reminder that savvy politicians like Harper try not to hold grudges when there are votes involved.

The Conservative Party representatives may have given the impression that their party made the grant money possible; nothing could be further from the truth. Brian Storseth, MP for Westlock-St. Paul, announced the grants in St. Albert on behalf of Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover.

Funny, because those two haven’t been working to get the grants approved, although at least one of them was more than happy to stand in front of cameras and receive the accolades. The fact of the matter is this money would have come through for the children’s festival regardless of who the MP was and even what party affiliation they had.

Also, Rathgeber told the Gazette this week that $350,000 in summer employment grants will be coming to St. Albert, and he and his staff have been working on that since last November.

St. Albert’s MP is an independent. If Rathgeber had been a member of Harper’s caucus, it would have been him making the announcement rather than Glover and her errand runner Storseth, giving the impression that Harper is hard at work for the people of St. Albert. Don’t be mistaken; the only goal for Harper in this instance is votes for the Conservative Party in St. Albert.

Senators formerly known as Liberal

Was it really that surprising that this week federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau sacked all 32 of his Liberal senators, crying all the time “I don’t play political games,” and “it’s all for the good of the country?”

No. Obviously Trudeau plays little political games, because last fall the NDP made a motion in the House to abolish partisan politics in the senate. Trudeau voted against it. Did he have a change of heart over the Christmas holidays? No.

The federal Liberals were all in favour of partisan politics in the senate when their party was the beneficiary, and are now opposed because they’re on the short end of the stick. But give Trudeau his due. The senate move put his face on the front page of every newspaper in the country. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.


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