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Alberta Legislature Equalization

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It looks like the Edmonton Journal has finally picked up on the story that Premier Ed Stelmach and Finance Minister Lyle Oberg are still on different pages when attempting to determine where the Alberta Tories stand on the equalization issue.

EDMONTON – In the ever-delicate dance of federal-provincial relations, Premier Ed Stelmach and Finance Minister Lyle Oberg are having trouble determining who gets to lead.

Both men insisted Thursday they are not out of step with each other on how the Harper Conservatives should fix the so-called fiscal imbalance.

“I’m telling you, there’s no rift,” the premier said Thursday.

However, each lists a different priority on the issue, and lines up with different allies.

Although some would say that this is part of a larger strategy of softening the blow when one-half of the Alberta Tories don’t get what they want from federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget (due to be released on Monday), I tend to think that nearly ANY other strategy would be better.

It hasn’t been uncommon for Lyle Oberg to deliver a message extrememly different than his boss – which lends credence to Don Braid’s observations in today’s Calgary Herald – but in terms of optics, if a Premier and a Finance Minister continue to publicly disagree on an issue that they feel is this important, it doesn’t exactly send out images of a greatly united Alberta PC caucus and cabinet (which may or may not be the case).

On a more legislative note, over 20 peices of legislation have been introduced by the Tories and Liberals in the first week of the Spring 2007 session of the Alberta Legislature.

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