While water flood levels of the South Saskatchewan river rose around Medicine Hat and heavy rain continued to pour, Premier Ed Stelmach was leaving for a European vacation. In a recent interview on My96fm radio, Premier Stelmach fumbled his way through an explanation of why he and his wife left to vacation in Portugal as the flooding disaster in southeastern Alberta intensified. (Click on the link below to listen to the interview and skip to 1:17 point in the interview).
Listen to the radio interview with Premier Ed Stelmach
I do not begrudge the Premier for taking a vacation, but there are significant symbolic reasons why political leaders show up at disaster areas. Dispatching cabinet ministers to view the damage is not enough. It is a political problem that Premier Stelmach still has not visited the affected areas of southeastern Alberta. As Don Braid wrote, people affected by disasters notice when their elected leader does not even showed up to see it with through his own eyes. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has already made a number of trips to the affected areas on his side of the provincial boundary.
This is not the first time that an occupant of the Premier’s Office has been away on leisure while Albertans were waiting for leadership. Premier Ralph Klein went on a fishing trip while Mad Cow Disease was causing Alberta farms to be put under quarantine in 2003 and former Premier Don Getty was discovered to have been “working out of the office” at a golf course during the height of the Principal Group collapse in 1987.
Premier Stelmach’s absence has been noticed and is producing some harsh criticism from the Albertans in this region who have overwhelmingly voted for the PC Party since the mid-1970s.
14 replies on “premier stelmach vacationed in europe while medicine hat was treading water.”
Sad that the radio host needed to ask Stelmach three times to apologize and he didn;t even sincerely apologize. Sad that it was so hard for Premier to admit that they screwed up.
Get on one of your taxpayer funded planes and come to Irvine. Len Mitzel has earned his keep here by saying sorry. Now prove to us that YOU care enough to take time out of your vacation schedules to see the disaster that real Albertans are living.
Brad Wall is the kind of leader we need in Alberta.
Why did it take the government so long to respond? Flooding in the spring in Alberta is a relatively regular, predictable event. Why does the program for disaster relief take the provincial government so long to kick in. The immediate needs are predicable and so the money should flow quickly. Unfortunately the politicians need to have their say and get their hands in to it so they can maximize their coverage. It is not anyone’s fault but the process needs to be examined so it gets the needed relief out as quickly as possible. Sometimes a small amount, as Sask. did, in the short term can do wonders for the spirits of the people affected by the disaster, who are often in a state of shock.
Maybe begrudge ain’t the right word but I’ stung by his foreign summer holiday.
For the time you’re the leader of the province suck it up and travel the province. No Mexico in the winter… no Portugal in the summer. Cypress Hills… Banff… Rose Bud.
Have the gonads to make a committment and spend your holiday dollars in the province.
I’d be impressed by a Premier who stayed around and led by example.
If he’s got Alberta’s business in foreign lands I want him to go and represent us.
If he’s taking a holiday… I want him to take it here.
Brad Wall is the kind of leader Alberta needs if it wants to continue its massive streak of deficits. Brad Wall has been good for two things. Being the puppet of the Conservative party of Canada and bringing in the second biggest deficit in the provinces history based purely on his governments incompetence. If Alberta wants him, take him!
He could care less about the people of Alberta, it’s all about him and what he can do for himself. This is just another example of that.
What a joke. Vacations are planned and the Premier’s entitled to one just like anyone else.
What a joke. Vacations are planned. Klein or Stelmach are entitled to vacations just like the rest of us.
No one said he wasn’t entitled to a vacation; just not when there’s an emergency. And I still stand by the fact that provincial politicians would be well-served keeping themselves in the province. One of those lead by example sorts of deals.
You would think a Premier who is down in the polls would spend his summer hitting provincial parks and meeting with real people instead of ditching for Europe.
This blog should be retitled “The I hate Ed Stelmach blog”.
Amelanchier, I might take this opportunity to inform you that the vacation package that Mrs. Stelmach purchased for her and her husband supports an Alberta charity with every nickel spent on it. Although they didn’t spend their time in Alberta, they supported it’s citizens wholeheartedly.
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