Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Else Could I Do?

In an absolutely bizarre story I somehow missed last week, three of my favourite people in Alberta got tied up in...well...words almost fail to describe it. The only thing missing from this story is a Rob Anders cameo.

On Tuesday, [Craig] Chandler showed CBC News an e-mail written to him by Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson.

[...] the columnist also wrote two separate articles leading up to the nomination vote supporting Chandler's rival Jonathan Denis.

[...]

The e-mail to Chandler dated Oct. 22 reads: "Sorry about how things have turned out. I got an urgent call from the Premier's Office asking me to back Jonathan. What else could I do?"

Chandler said the e-mail proves Stelmach's office was trying to meddle with the outcome in Calgary-Egmont.



In fairness, Stelmach's office has denied making the phone call and, unless he's taking tips from Vladimir Putin, they can probably be taken at their word. Regardless, Paul Jackson confirms he wrote the e-mail and, in doing so, admits that he'll write whatever the Premier's office asks him to. Welcome to Alberta.

Paul Jackson went on the CBC Eyeopener last week to try and explain himself and what followed was probably the funniest interview I have ever heard in my lifetime [and while I'm hesitant to link to no-libs.com, I can't find it on the CBC page and the interview is just so absolutely amazing that I had to]. It should be mandatory listening for anyone who has ever read a Paul Jackson column.

Ken Chapman chronicles Jackson's various contradictions quite effectively here. Among Jackson's highlights:


"I never said I'd support Chandler - I wouldn't vote for Craig Chandler if he gave me a million dollars"

"I've never in my life supported Craig Chandler."

But...wait a minute...if you go to Craig Chandler's site, you can see video of Jackson pre-phonecallfromPremier'soffice saying:


"we need Craig Chandler and people like him in elected office"


Now, Jackson explains himself by saying, gosh, Craig asked me to emcee his fundraiser because no one else would do it and, you know, I was trying to be polite. If this is the case, I can only hope that, for his sake, Paul isn't asked to emcee Chandler's upcoming "Democracy Denied" fundraiser because then he'd have to accept, and once again sing Chandler's praises.

More on that fundraiser in a second, but first, my favourite exchange from the eye opener interview:

Jim Brown: "How do you think this incident will affect your credibility as a columnist"
Paul Jackson: "Mr. Chandler has ruined my career after 43 years"

I only hope that Jim Brown was asking Paul Jackson about his "credibility as a columnist" as a tongue in cheek joke...


Oh, and for all of you "supporters of democracy and freedom" out there lamenting "the day democracy died in Alberta", Craig is hosting a fundraiser on January 31st because:

On Saturday December 1st , Democracy was Denied, as Premier Stelmach and the PCAA executive decided to ignore the democratic process and give Craig Chandler the boot. What Premier Stelmach has done is a blatant attack on democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.

If you care about freedom of speech, freedom of religion and democracy, then you need to attend the Democracy Denied Dinner on Thursday, January 31, 2008. This is not just about Craig Chandler, but is about what we want Alberta to be. Come and meet members and candidates from the Alberta Alliance, the Wildrose Party, Independents and many from the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party who are organizing to insure that Ed Stelmach is not supported in his next leadership review.



Belated hat tip for the CBC article on this to The Greatest Political Organizer Ever In The World

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24 Comments:

  • I think the underlying story here is that a political reporter would not consider it strange that they'd receive a call asking them to not endorse a candidate.

    By Anonymous AP, at 2:56 AM  

  • Such calls have become routine. Just think of the recent episode reported by the G&M’s John Barber who received a phone call from the PMO discrediting an academic on the subject of seat distribution because he did not agree with the government’s proposal. Dingwall’s daughter was another case, and more….. routine these days.

    By Blogger Loraine Lamontagne, at 6:21 AM  

  • This is routine stuff. It's called "spin".

    By Blogger Simon, at 8:33 AM  

  • This is not "routine stuff". I'm surprised that even needs to be said.

    Political columnists are supposed to write what they actually think, not just take their marching orders from the government. If they are just going to write what the government wants them to, their columns should be labelled "propaganda" rather than "opinion".

    By Blogger Justin Socie, at 8:37 AM  

  • Earnscliffe was riddled with ex-CBC types. There was sort of a direct line from Paul Martin's spin machine to the CBC. WK used to complain about it all the time.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 9:46 AM  

  • calgarygrit,

    What you appear to have omitted in your post is Jackson's admission that he now doesn't think that the Premier's office called him. In fact, someone called, said they were from the Premier's office, and despite the fact Jackson did not identify the voice, he automatically assumed it was true.

    For a "journalist with 43 years of experience" I would think the least one would do is identify one's source first.

    More likely I think is Jackson was looking for a way out, and got caught up in his own lies.

    By Anonymous Not Paul Jackson, at 10:04 AM  

  • That quote is out of context. Here is the full quote:

    "we need Craig Chandler and people like him in elected office LIKE WE NEED A HOLE IN THE HEAD."

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:27 AM  

  • What would Tom Olsen do? Hmmm.

    By Blogger Raymaker, at 11:09 AM  

  • Is Alberta a third world country?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 11:25 AM  

  • That's an interesting definition of spin from Simon. He’d fit in great in the Alberta Public Affairs Bureau.

    I'm often flabbergasted that the province that seems to produce so many federal Conservatives pushing for democratic reform, is ruled by provincial PCs who have absolutely no sense at all what democracy means.

    By Blogger Matt Grant, at 11:43 AM  

  • Great story Dan, and great scoop. You have an amazing ability to find the stories and provide such insight. How do you find all the stories that you find? You must either have incredible research abilities or great sources....please tell, the masses await knowledge of your secret....

    By Anonymous TGPOEITEW, at 4:02 PM  

  • foot-in-mouth-disease.

    Paul Jackson
    Eric Margolis

    two SUN writers on par with
    Steve Simmons (sports)
    Gerry the Radio Guy (his life)

    and about as interesting as the Comics page.

    is this the best "scandal" going on in Alberta?

    Te Premier's Report Card is a bigger Laffer.

    By Blogger art, at 5:42 PM  

  • Nah, Stelmach's doing a great job. We know because Stelmach says so.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:12 PM  

  • "we need Craig Chandler and people like him in elected office LIKE WE NEED A HOLE IN THE HEAD."

    Ha!

    I would pay to have someone say that to a group of Chandler acolytes, just to watch the reaction...

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 8:13 PM  

  • Ed Stelmach sure looks like monkey after handling this situation the way that he did.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:18 AM  

  • Jackson is known for (among other things) virulent homphobia.

    Perhaps he would be more tolerant if it was explained to him that it isn't genetic or a choice - we just all got calls from the premier's office.

    How pathetic - it's rare I find myself siding with Chandler on anything, but Jackson had no credibility to lose. He has always been a bought and paid for shill. Chandler just proved it beyond all doubt and was only able to do that because Jackson is even more stupid than he is corrupt.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 9:46 AM  

  • Fran in Medicine Hat remarks: When Paul admitted that he didn't "recognize the voice" of the now "mystery caller" from the Premier's Office -- but in fact did do what the caller asked (i.e. write a column supporting Denis) it may indicated a couple of things. Firstly, with over 200 tax-payer paid government employees working to "spin" the news - it's pretty tough to recognize all of their voices. Secondly, this type of request likely is a regular occurance for political columnists in Alberta. Paul's career may indeed deserve to be in the toilet - but I suggest it is his own doing - rule No. 1 - never put in writing (his apology to Chandler) that the Premier is leaning on you! The bullying and control-freak tactics of this PC Alberta Government have not changed from the Klein era. One might be able to argue that indeed they are worse, as Stelmach struggles to control the slide in the polls and the blunders of his inept "inner circle" of rural rubes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 PM  

  • Ah, yes Fran... the eventual nose-upturn against the "rural rubes".

    ... And you are from Medicine Hat, a beeming metropolis known for having large deposits of methane. Must be quite lovely in the summer. Paris or Med Hat, where should I go on my next vacation?

    As for "this type of request likely is a regular occurance for political columnists in Alberta", the insertion of the word "likely" does not absolve your responsbility to try and provide proof of your allegations.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:04 PM  

  • You know...I'm really liking Alberta again.

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  • Fran in Medicine Hat remarks: When Paul admitted that he didn't "recognize the voice" of the now "mystery caller" from the Premier's Office -- but in fact did do what the caller asked (i.e. write a column supporting Denis) it may indicated a couple of things. Firstly, with over 200 tax-payer paid government employees working to "spin" the news - it's pretty tough to recognize all of their voices. Secondly, this type of request likely is a regular occurance for political columnists in Alberta. Paul's career may indeed deserve to be in the toilet - but I suggest it is his own doing - rule No. 1 - never put in writing (his apology to Chandler) that the Premier is leaning on you! The bullying and control-freak tactics of this PC Alberta Government have not changed from the Klein era. One might be able to argue that indeed they are worse, as Stelmach struggles to control the slide in the polls and the blunders of his inept "inner circle" of rural rubes.

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  • In fairness, Stelmach's office has denied making the phone call and, unless he's taking tips from Vladimir Putin

    By Anonymous Long Distance Movers, at 12:39 PM  

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