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Monday, January 14, 2008

Premier's Ukie roots a source of media fascination in Alberta

This article kind of made me wonder what's with the Alberta media's fascination with Premier Stelmach's Ukrainian farm pioneer roots...

Last week, Ralph Klein came back from the political graveyard and basically taunted Ed Stelmach to hit him with his best shot.

Heck, the former premier - whose mantra once was "That was then, this is now" - even gave Steady Eddie all the reason in the world to take a poke. ...

But other than a few coded messages about the province being "no longer on auto- pilot," Stelmach's handlers have stayed away from fingering Klein. ...

One of the most bizarre things about Stelmach's first year is the goofy strategy to suppress the Stelmach Story.

Instead, voters in Calgary - where the "undecided" factor is the dominant political unknown - only know about a guy in a suit who utters sleep-inducing speeches and talks like a bureaucrat.

They know nothing of the boy whose mother tongue is farmhouse Ukrainian because that's how he talked to Baba and Gido. ....

Not being an Albertan, I have to wonder how much of Klein's ethnic background the media was curious about, and felt the public had a right to know?

But apart from that, I suppose it's natural to want to know more about one's premier. There's just one thing. Premiers are a tad different from attention-seeking celebrities who bore the world with their every personal detail. Premiers have provinces to run ... and gosh darn it, there's just too much work to do and too many policies to explain to taxpayers for indulging in navel-gazing and personal anecdoting with members of the media.

Yes, I appreciate that it's easier and more fun to report on a premier's personality than on his policies... which explains why newspapers are inexorably descending to the level of the tabloids. (Thank you Mr. Black. May you rot in a maximum security jail.)

OTOH, I do find it rather nice that someone in the media (finally) seems to view Ukrainian Canadian farmers with a measure of respect as well as interest.

Quite refreshing, actually.

Full article here.

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