By Roger Currie
The end of May has turned out to be a most interesting time in Canadian politics, especially in the west. Stephen Harper spent most of his youth in Toronto. In parliament, he has represented a Calgary riding, and he chose Vancouver to bring down the curtain on what remained of his political career.
At 57, you have to somehow think that we haven’t heard the last of him. Who knows, perhaps his former parliamentary colleague Brian Pallister has a job in mind for him in Winnipeg. The Angus Reid folks tell us that barely a month after his Manitoba PC’s won a record majority at the polls, Pallister is already the second most popular premier in Canada. Only Brad Wall in Saskatchewan scores higher in that rather strange popularity contest.
Brian’s predecessor, Greg Selinger of the NDP, was consistently at the bottom of that poll. Even though they were next door neighbours in Confederation, he and Brad Wall had very little contact. Safe to say that has changed, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the two premiers maybe sharing a box at Taylor Field when the Blue Bombers clash with the Roughriders in the Labour Day Classic.
Possible topics besides football might be telephones and liquor sales. Pallister is all in favour of Bell taking over MTS, and Wall’s government suddenly has the only phone company in Canada that’s not controlled by the major players.
Greg Selinger thought it was a major move in public policy when he brought booze and gambling together in a single crown corporation, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. In Saskatchewan, Brad Wall is moving quickly to turn the business of alcohol over to the private sector.
It has long been argued by some tall foreheads that Manitoba and Saskatchewan would probably work quite well as a single jurisdiction, perhaps with the capital in Moosomin or Dauphin? Hey, stranger things have happened in the world of politics. Five years ago, who could have possibly predicted that the NDP would be running Alberta?
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Roger Currie is a writer, storyteller, voice for hire, observer of life on the Canadian prairies, and can be heard on CJNU 93.7FM in Winnipeg.