Ask a Liberal or New Democrat (and, in Alberta, there's hardly much difference) about Premier Ed Stelmach's address last night and they'll say he fell flat on his face. Graham Thomson says it too... but I usually lump him in with the Opposition anyway.
What I saw, though, was far from it.
Ed Stelmach isn't the world's most inspiring orator. Everyone knows it, no one should be surprised by it. People looking for flash and style in last night's televised address should have flipped some fashion show.
That said, the Premier wasn't as flat and boring as the left would have you believe. He came across as sincere... something that the snake oil salesmen in the opposition continually fail to do.
What I was looking for, and what I hope Albertans were also looking for, was substance. That I found in spades.
The text of the Premier's speech was inspiring and encouraging.
He spoke of his vision of a more open and transparent government and outlined the steps already taken.
He spoke of protecting the land we as Albertans have inherited from our ancestors.
He spoke of the importance of a sound and practical environmental vision that strikes the balance between development and conservation.
He spoke of the need to review government policies from time to time and reminded us that it was HE who commissioned the Royalty Review Report.
The line that I enjoyed the most, though, came towards the end. Maybe its because i've been in BC too long, but I almost broke out in goosebumps when the Premier described Alberta as "a province where government gets out of your way — and where you can keep the fruits of
your hard work."
I think the Premier has laid out his vision for Alberta. Its not fancy and its not flashy, much to the chagrin of some.
It is well-thought out, it is thorough, and it is sincere.
Most importantly, it is a vision that has the best interests of Albertans in mind. That's something that those who continue to build Alberta will appreciate more than anything.