Friday, December 07, 2007

Is Dr Oberg Really Reconsidered and Perhaps is NOT Running for Re-election?

I hope Rick Bell of the Calgary Sun is right that Dr. Lyle Oberg has decided not to run in the next election. He has been running his own political and policy agenda for way too long and he has damaged the PC brand in so many ways...not to mention Premier Stelmach.

Being kicked out of caucus by the caucus itself would have been enough of a message for a mere mortal. But because Oberg felt he was somehow above the rest. By recklessly insinuating the rest of them were hiding "skeletons" without any substantiation was the last straw for me.

Running for the leadership after that was little more than hubris. Undertaking to disclose his campaign contributors and still not doing so after full year has elapsed doesn’t add to his credibility or to his suitability for public service.

I give Dr. Oberg credit for one thing. He picked a damn good independent expert panel to review the royalty regime. The mandate was too narrow but the people were great. The Premier quickly took over control of the royalty file and put Oberg on the shelf.

Good thing too because at the end of the day Oberg couldn’t even leave that matter well enough alone and his inappropriate comments cast a doubt over the royalty review implementation. By Oberg saying there would be backroom tweaking of the deal between government and industry has put Stelmach's credibility back a step - or two. That was just as polls were showing the citizens of Alberta were starting to trust and respect him. I can't believe that this undermining of the Premier was not entirely intentional by Dr. Oberg.

Stelmach appointing Dr. Oberg to his Cabinet was an obvious act of "keeping your enemies closer." I hope Rick Bell is right. It is time to cut Dr. Oberg loose Mr. Premier, and while you at it take a second look at his ally Guy Boutilier. He is the Lyle Oberg Mini-Me and has also proven time and time again that he is not adequate for your Cabinet. He should be told that now and then let him decide if he wants to pack it in now too.

One of the criticisms I have had of Premier Stelmach’s office is the lack of a son-of-bitch in their ranks. Klein had Rod Love and Peter Elzinga…different styles but both were very effective at delivering bad news to MLAs and Cabinet Ministers when needed. If Oberg goes, I may have to re-evaluate my assessment of Stelmach’s crew in that regard. If Oberg goes someone in his office would have taken this bull by the horns.