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, 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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