Strange bedfellows

Publication YearIssue Date 

Earlier this week, I heard a little something on the radio which once again confirmed a little theory of mine. It was a news update. Directly after mentioning Prime Minister Chrétien will not be cutting taxes this year, it went on to say Premier Ralph Klein will not either. Coincidence, you say? I disagree.

You see, neither of them will ever admit it, but Klein and Chrétien are really secret pals. Yes, secret pals.

Before you dismiss this notion, think for a minute. When you think of Ralph and Jean, what instantly comes to mind? Their public animosity, distrust, dislike and opposition to each other. But let's not be fooled. These two need one another.

Klein needs Chrétien to be the big bad bogeyman from Ottawa who just wants to steal our wealth. Why? So the valiant King Ralph can be the defender of our riches and the champion of the prairies.

Chrétien needs Klein to be the backwards redneck upstart from the West who just wants to destroy health care and impoverish the Eastern provinces. Thus, the valiant King Jean can defend medicare and champion the federalist cause.

Perhaps you are not yet convinced.

Then notice how the Liberals basically roll over in Alberta elections both federal and provincial. Furthermore, notice how Klein subtly encourages the division of the right in federal politics by supporting the Canadian Alliance instead of the federal wing of his own party. Not to mention, Stockwell Day was a hand-picked member of Klein's own cabinet.

But, you protest these things merely indicate they are political enemies, not secret pals. This, dear reader, is where you are mistaken. Klein and Chrétien are not on opposite ends of the political spectrum; rather, they are so close they overlap.

Klein was elected on a mandate to slash taxes and stimulate the economy. Chrétien promised to eliminate the GST and create "jobs, jobs, jobs." Klein balanced the books and is paying down the debt. Chrétien balanced the books and is paying down the debt. Klein cut spending on social programs. You know who cut transfer payments to the provinces--payments which are generally spent on social programs.

Of course, I'm not saying that Chrétien and Klein are without differences--that would be ridiculous. The tall, thin Chretien's logo is a red L, while the short, stout Klein's is a blue PC. Similar in substance yet not in appearance, the two are as different as Pepsi and Coke, or as Abbot and Costello. In essence, they remain the same.