Tuesday, March 14, 2017

--Alberta has spent millions over the years to keep Alberta rat free. Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman doesn’t think it’s working. On Monday, she accused Wildrose of “spending a lot of time with sewer rats.” The uproar that followed — including her apology — likely guarantees that she’ll never utter those words again. It’s equally possible that Wildrose will never stop saying them.---------Julie Ali · University of Alberta It is curious to me that Ms. Hoffman made such a patronising comment. I mean I am pretty sure this is the way that most politicians think about voters but to have this opinion expressed to us is surprising. Does power go to the heads of politicians like an aphrodisiac --so that even such a practised politician like Ms. Hoffman would talk the way she really thinks? Or does Ms. Hoffman think that voters are really so contemptible that we would rehire her even knowing how she really thinks about us-the ordinary people of Alberta? I encourage Ms. Hoffman to consider what happened to the last political party that told us to look in the mirror in Alberta. Employers rarely like to be told by employees the hard truths of life -that we--the people are indeed sewer rats and the political hires are the oil monarchs in control of the public bank. Like · Reply · 2 mins

#AlbertansAreSewerRats---better sewer rats than entitled politicians.
It wasn't really clear who Sarah Hoffman was talking about, which gave the Wildrose its opening to say the slur was aimed at all its members, and conservatives in…
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Don Braid: Wildrose not likely to let Alberta deputy premier forget crass sewer rat insult

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Don Braid | March 14, 2017 11:34 PM ET

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NDP minister says Wildrose followers are "sewer rats."

Alberta has spent millions over the years to keep Alberta rat free. Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman doesn’t think it’s working.

On Monday, she accused Wildrose of “spending a lot of time with sewer rats.”

The uproar that followed — including her apology — likely guarantees that she’ll never utter those words again. It’s equally possible that Wildrose will never stop saying them.

After Hoffman issued her insult, the Opposition virtually adopted Alberta’s most despised creature as the official party animal.

You have to figure both sides have gone a little crazy.

Hoffman answered a question from Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon by saying: “We focused on hard hats. They’re spending a lot of time with sewer rats.”

David Bloom/Postmedia

David Bloom/PostmediaAlberta Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman

Ouch. You could hear the intake of breath from the government benches. Hoffman later said the remark was off-the-cuff, but it seemed scripted. She doesn’t usually speak in rhyming couplets.

It was stupid and crass, precisely the kind of insult the NDP always accused conservatives of trading in.

Then Nixon rose Tuesday to give a member’s statement, which turned into a free-verse fusion of the sewer rat and the maligned Wildrose voter.

“If the senior at the A&W in Sundre is a sewer rat,

“If the rig worker from Peace River is a sewer rat,

“If the mom and dad in our cities . . . are sewer rats,

“If the over two-thirds of Albertans who hate the carbon tax are sewer rats.

“Then I’m proud to stand with them . . .

“If that makes us sewer rats, according to the NDP, then so be it!”

Nixon said “sewer rats” five times after Hoffman said it once, and made a lot of connections she never hinted at.

Her remark appeared to be aimed at people like the Wildrose on Campus types who put out an email, under an invented name, saying “Feminism is cancer.”

But it wasn’t really clear who she was talking about, which gave the Wildrose its opening to say the slur was aimed at all its members, and conservatives in general.

Related

Hoffman violated a prime rule of smart politics — insult your opponents if you like, but never insult the voters.

Remember Hillary Clinton’s reference to Donald Trump’s basket of deplorables? It may have annoyed enough fence-sitters to help her lose the U.S. election.

But while Hoffman was being clumsy and foolish, you really have to wonder about Wildrose suddenly rebranding itself as the party of the oppressed rat.

The Norway rat is so despised in Alberta that governments have kept it out for nearly 70 years. On the southeastern border with Saskatchewan, we have deployed rat rangers with poison and even shotguns.

The MD of Bonnyville, by bizarre coincidence, is right now asking people to come up with a name for a stuffed rat on display in the public works building. It’s there to educate people on keeping rats out, not as a political mascot.

So it’s odd — OK, just plain weird — to see the official Twitter account of the Wildrose caucus, (@TeamWildrose), say “retweet if you’re a proud Alberta #SewerRat.” It shows a meme of a rat that loves small government and balanced budgets.

Where are they going with this — a name change to Wildrat Party?

AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty ImagesYou really have to wonder about Wildrose suddenly rebranding itself as the party of the oppressed rat, Don Braid writes.

There’s deep-seated anger behind this episode. NDP ministers and MLAs, especially the women, have been subjected to corrosive abuse.

Remember Sandra Jansen’s first speech as a New Democrat last November? She became a national story when she didn’t just say that people were being abusive. She read out what they actually said.

“What a traitorous bitch . . .

“A disgrace to Alberta . . . dead meat . . . fly with the crows and get shot.”

The New Democrats genuinely believe the Wildrose aid and abet this sort of hatred. There have been moments — especially during the Bill 6 revolt in the countryside — when that was close to the truth.

But today, the irony is that when conservative leaders such as Brian Jean condemn hateful speech, as he did immediately after the “feminism is cancer” comment, they draw abuse from people who call them sellouts to political correctness, and scorn from New Democrats who don’t believe a word they say.

Maybe it’s just as well that Alberta’s sewer-rat episode descended into farce. Sometimes, laughing is healthier.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Calgary Herald


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Julie Ali ·
It is curious to me that Ms. Hoffman made such a patronising comment. I mean I am pretty sure this is the way that most politicians think about voters but to have this opinion expressed to us is surprising.

Does power go to the heads of politicians like an aphrodisiac --so that even such a practised politician like Ms. Hoffman would talk the way she really thinks? Or does Ms. Hoffman think that voters are really so contemptible that we would rehire her even knowing how she really thinks about us-the ordinary people of Alberta?

I encourage Ms. Hoffman to consider what happened to the last political party that told us to look in the mirror in Alberta. Employers rarely like to be told by employees the hard truths of life -that we--the people are indeed sewer rats and the political hires are the oil monarchs in control of the public bank.
LikeReply2 mins
Mary Dee Thompson ·
This NDP government has been insulting the citizens of AB since they came to power. I don't think this was a slip from Hoffman, I believe it's how many of the NDP view Albertans.
UnlikeReply81 hr
Lorne Harvey ·
no this is how she feels. now she gets nasty comments but that goes with the political game. joe biden said he never made a disparaging remark about the tea party since he knew where they were coming from. the ndp lost their way years ago. my uncle helped found the ccf which became the ndp., he later quit and became conservative. they used to be a party of the working person now its the party of progressive elitists who despise working people. 250 000 unemployed in ab rachel and justin do nothing. ei rate going down only because people are losing it.
UnlikeReply257 mins
John Law ·
Obviously not a wise choice of words. Maybe something like Pierre's "fuddle fuddle", or some of Ralph's less than stellar comments when he was a little "full"!
LikeReply1 hr
Lorne Harvey ·
lets not forget ndp deb drevers homophobic comments. or rachel saying if you dont like the c02 tax you can walk.
LikeReply11 hr
Earl Pembroke
"A basket of deplorables" those "sewer rats" are - but I think they "bite" too.
LikeReply21 hr
Julie Ali ·
And they vote out political parties who don't respect us.
LikeReplyJust now
Richard Olson ·
Works at Retired
Are they ready this year or will the same gong show play out. What do rats do when fire comes they run and squeal like little girls.
LikeReply23 mins
Jason Troy ·
The woman is 300lbs. I'd hardly let whatever she says bother me.
LikeReply21 hr
Lorne Harvey ·
this is a nasty vile comment. im wrp by the way.
LikeReply1 hr
Prague Ivan
Really stupid! Can you try to "think" for yourself?
LikeReply48 mins
Jason Troy ·
I'm not making apologies, she clearly does not respect her self enough how as Albertans can we expect her to respect us which her and her party clearly do not. Her obesity is as harmful as alcoholism or drug abuse.
LikeReply140 mins
Anita James
Well well well do the Whinney cons need a little cheese now??? .. .. ..ha ha ha
LikeReply1 hr
Leslie Maconochie Kruger ·
Always love to read insipid comments made by someone with a fake profile 
LikeReply31 hr
Lorne Harvey ·
well your comments about bush harper and israel. nasty stuff...
LikeReply11 hr
Jay Morris
Anita, no cheese left....
Hoffman are it al.
LikeReply233 mins
Robin Banks
Jay Morris There's been an alarming increase in pig swill thefts over the last couple years as well.
LikeReply225 mins
Kirk Lamirande
Awwww...ratties are so adorable! 
LikeReply11 hr
William Gerula ·
I'm a sewer rate but feminism is still cancer.
LikeReply22 mins
Julie Ali ·
What a dumb comment. Cancer is cancer. Feminism might be threatening to you but it is not cancer. If you have experienced cancer you would not equate it with anything but the horror it is.
LikeReply1 min
Bryan Warkentin ·
The only rats are the Dippers...
LikeReply31 hr
Anthony Bennett ·
That's about all they have to cling to.
LikeReply1 hr

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