Tuesday, April 11, 2006

 

Run Calvert Run

Saskatchewan Premier Lorne Calvert, one of the most physical unassuming men to lead a party, province or PTA, has a knack for bad timing. He is like the guy who chooses to announce his engagement at a wake. He is the guy in the back of a photo who nobody knows why they are there, but everyone assumes someone invited.

The recent events tell the whole story:

March 2006

While the rest of the country's eyes were on Iraq for news of the dramatic rescue of two Canadian hostages, Calvert was in Ottawa for his first one-on-one sit-down with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

February 2006

Calvert lined up a meeting with United States Vice-President Dick Cheney in Washington. The problem that time was that a few days earlier, Cheney had shot his friend in the face while hunting and had yet to talk publicly about it. At Calvert's news conference after the meeting, the only thing reporters wanted to know was whether Cheney had said anything about the shooting.
May 9, 2005

Calvert went to Ottawa with designs on meeting then Prime Minister Paul Martin on the issue of equalization. The only problem was that the Liberal minority government was in danger of crumbling on a budget vote the following week and Calvert had only brief contact with Martin. The premier camped out for a while, but ended up leaving town four days later without the deal he wanted.

Sept. 11, 2001

Calvert, having just won the Saskatchewan NDP leadership in January of that year, travels to Ottawa to push then Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien for drought aid. He was midway through a breakfast with the former PM when officials informed them that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York.

Calvert's high-level meetings are so often trumped by larger events that some reporters are jokingly called him the Forrest Gump of premiers, after the movie character that unwittingly stumbled into some key moments in history.

Calvert, just to prove his is part innocent and part clueless countered with a question. "Is that a compliment?"

Folks, Calvert is in Montreal lobbying for more money for Saskatchewan on equalization - read fiscal imbalance. Or as Andrew Coyne, Andrew Potter and others refer to it "beggers with bulging wallets." It is a tad odd to go, cap in hand, begging after delivering one of the biggest spending / tax cuting budgets in Saskatchewan history.

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