Braid: Manning's e-mail blooper exhibits rising use of public cash for partisan achieve

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This political blooper could be slapstick humorous if it wasn’t so costly.

The very first thing Preston Manning did together with his report on COVID-era response was flip it right into a marketing campaign weapon.

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On the day his large report went public, he shopped it round to Alberta Conservative MPs as a potential supply of ammunition towards the NDP and Liberals.

The blunderous exception among the many e-mail recipients was George Chahal, a Calgary Liberal MP, who gleefully handed the message on to the media.

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Manning was paid $253,000 from the general public purse for chairing the Public Well being Emergencies Governance Overview Panel.

Plus bills.

The 5 different panellists, together with former Justice Jack Main and educational Jack Mintz, had been modestly paid by comparability, gleaning bills and commonplace committee remuneration. (That is vaguely outlined however runs as much as a number of hundred {dollars} per day of labor.)

The total heft of the UCP authorities swung behind the examine. Departments had been ordered to offer info and assist. Route and hyperlinks to the premier’s workplace got here from the highest of the civil service.

This was an enormous operation with a lush paycheque for the highest man and loads of surrounding bills.

The panel was supposed to offer a high-level view of how the federal government would react to the following pandemic. A conservative tilt was anticipated, after all.

Manning created and led the Reform celebration and was Canada’s Official Opposition chief.

The panel outcomes had been crazy in some methods, particularly the decision for extra opinions on science.

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We all know that Premier Danielle Smith has promoted different cures previously. Manning gave her a transparent subject to formally respect nearly any opinion.

Manning additionally concluded, no shock right here, that the federal government and cupboard ought to have full management over any well being measures imposed throughout a pandemic.

The report is a boat-anchor model of what Smith was saying lengthy earlier than she launched Manning’s panel.

Nonetheless, folks had a proper to know what was prone to end result — a slew of authorized adjustments to reinforce freedom and reject “authoritarian” tendencies.

That’s what I used to be naively considering as I learn the report on Nov. 15; at about the identical time, in all probability, that Manning was sending his e-mail to the MPs.

When it arrived, courtesy of Chahal, I may hardly consider my eyes.

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Manning’s first transfer is to weaponize his report as a possible bunker-buster for the following federal election.

“If the response of the Liberal/NDP coalition to the 2020-2023 COVID disaster ought to turn into an election problem in 2024, there could also be some materials on this report that could possibly be utilized by the CPC,” he wrote.

Candidates may use it to say what ought to have been finished, and what could possibly be finished within the subsequent disaster.

“A few of its content material can also be helpful in attacking the report of the Liberal/NDP coalition on this space,” wrote Manning.

He goes on to say, “there could be actual benefit in creating a better sensible relationship in Alberta between the UCP and the CPC.

“They want your assist for a few of their initiatives — similar to selling and implementing the suggestions of this report — and you would use their lively assist in your re-election in 2024.”

He suggests a joint job power to implement these concepts.

They may all sit across the marketing campaign campfire studying his wonderful platform doc, bought together with your cash.

Danielle Smith on reforming Alberta's health-care system
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith. David Bloom/Postmedia

It’s all fairly shameless, however not fully totally different from the $7.5 million being spent to advertise an Alberta pension plan, on the identical time one other $1.8 million is lavished on a panel that’s alleged to be finding out whether or not folks need it.

Smith had no downside in any respect with Manning’s partisan use of his report (our report). He was free to do his personal communications, she mentioned.

There was not less than some reluctance to make use of public cash for such nakedly political functions.

These days look like gone.

Don Braid’s column seems repeatedly within the Herald

X: @DonBraid

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