Demonstrating her strong media connections again, last Friday Danielle Smith appeared as a guest on the radio show of her former colleague Charles Adler. After apparent complaints from her leadership rival's supporters, Mark Dyrholm also appeared as guest on the Charles Adler this past Monday. It was somewhat amusing to see how comments made by former MLA Mark Norris, a former Cabinet Minister in Ralph Klein's government, seemed to force both candidates to focus on Edmonton. This focus seemed to make both candidates hot under the collar, but their reactions were could not have been more different. Reacting to Norris' comments on 'the Calgary oil patch, Calgary-centric group', Smith made a sharp rebuke which seemed to suggest that an Edmontonian could not understand the plight of 'the guys in the Calgary office towers who are making those investment decisions '. During most of her interview, Smith zealously defended the interests of the Calgary oil patch. (I have recorded a partial transcript of Danielle's interview which can be read below and you can also listen to her exchange with Mark Norris online on the web site linked below.)
During the second interview on Monday, the Smith-Norris exchange was replayed by Charles Adler on his program for Mark Dyrholm to listen to and respond to. Since the exchange was a good length of time, the result was that there was only time for one person to call in on the program while Mark was a guest. Dyrholm's response to Mark's statements was that the former MLA was overly concerned with 'certain parts of Edmonton where Alberta does have a little bit more of a left leaning'. He elaborated later in the program when he emphatically stated that, 'We don't need a separation often between Edmonton and Calgary. I mean, I guess I said something when I took my shot at Mark Norris..I know there are some amazing conservatives up there that are supporting us and we need them to stand up and support their Reform roots.' And surprisingly, the interview suddenly ended with Dyrholm paying tribute to the many Reform-minded conservatives in Edmonton who may currently feel underrepresented in the party. (I have recorded a partial transcript of Mark's interview which can be read below and you can also listen to his response to Mark Norris on the web site link below.)
Partial transcript of Smith's interview on the Charles Adler show on Friday, July 10, 2009 at 2:00PM from 38:58 to 41:28 -
Mark Norris: "...so to hear comments like the Calgary oil patch, Calgary-centric group is saying that this isn't going to work is absolute nonsense."
Danielle Smith: "Well, Mark's from Edmonton so he's not spending much time with the guys in the Calgary office towers who are making those investment decisions."
Mark Norris: "Why would you say that?"
Danielle Smith: "Well, and he's just wrong. I mean the natural gas royalty framework is so onerous there absolutely has been a chilling effect on investment here [in Calgary]. We can even see this. I mean look at the drilling numbers. They went down down by half even before the New Royalty Framework was implemented when oil and gas prices were very high because of the uncertainty. We know they made a mistake because they've already had to make five major adjustments to the New Royalty Framework [since] when it was first implemented. And the people I'm taking to are saying it's still not enough. They're saying they're looking at Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Even look at the Frasier Institute Report, they did a major survey of investment climates for the petroleum sector and guess what province came out number one? The province that came out number one was yours, Charles. It was Manitoba. And guess which province came out last? It was Alberta. So I don't think what Mark's saying holds any water. There's a ton of changes that still need to be made to the New Royalty Framework. And frankly, this government doesn't have the will to admit it has made a mistake and to make those changes so we can get business investment coming back to this province.
Mark Norris: I don't even know where to start. I wasn't raised in an environment to say people are just wrong. I mean that's the problem with politics today. If that's where your guest is headed then absolutely no support will come. But the reality is that when Lougheed made the changes the exact same comments were made and if she does some research she'll find the exact same quotes from the oil patch. Dividing Edmonton and Calgary is the oldest trick in the book and it's pathetic to be quite honest. And the reality is that this has always been driven by price, always. And when I was in government we had a stumble in 2001 after 9/11 [and] we overcompensated and the bottom line was that once prices hit again you won't hear a peep from anybody in Calgary, or [?], or Fort McMurray, or Drayton Valley. This government is trying as hard as it can in my estimation to react to global changes and to think we're some kind of island unto ourselves is nonsense. And the reason Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba have risen is because they've all copied the model we've put in place ten years ago.
Partial transcript of Dyrholm's interview on the Charles Adler show on Friday, July 10, 2009 at 2:00PM from 51:34 to 52:05, and from 53:22 to 54:08 -
Mark Dyrholm: So actually Mark Norris is just a little too focused on certain parts of Edmonton where Alberta does have a little bit more of a left-leaning. And he is unaware of just how livid real small-c conservatives are in this province because they remember our Reform history. We're fiscal, we're social conservatives and we want those things that were set up in Reform and we want them going on in Alberta so that we can be the place we used to be. And we want the Alberta Advantage back.
In response to Charles Adler's question if the Wildrose Alliance can form the official opposition in the next provincial election:
Mark Dyrholm: I think we can absolutely do it next time and it's because of the coalition we've put together. I bring a great campaign team. I've been involved in over fifteen electoral campaigns [and] we need that strong team. We also need my business organization having been vice-president of Calgary's biggest small business group the Progressive Group for Independent Business and we need that coalition between Reformers. We don't need a separation [that is] often between Edmonton and Calgary. I mean, I guess I said something when I took my shot at Mark Norris...I know there are some amazing conservatives up there [in Edmonton] that are supporting us and we need them to stand up and support their Reform roots.
To listen to the broadcast of the above transcript of Danielle on the Charles Adler show, listen to Friday, July 10, 2009 at 2:00PM from 38:58 to 41:28
To listen to the broadcast of the above transcript of Mark on the Charles Adler show, listen to Monday, July 13, 2009 at 2:00PM from 51:34 to 52:05, and from 53:22 to 54:08