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A head shake for a handshake purposely gone wrong: why do we care?

Posted on February 22, 2023 by Sunny South News

Recently many levels of media have been ostracized for not covering stories or being flat-out biased. We in the media are either accused of being unabashedly right wing, i.e. Convoy supporters (Rebel Media or PostMedia) or are Liberal lovers and Justin Junkies (hello there CBC).

Some of the criticism is warranted in the sense some media members are being more advocative or they just repeat what is told to them by whatever advocacy group or particular branch of government is dealing with them.

There was much ado about nothing recently when  the major talk in Canadian media was about an awkward handshake between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a viably irritated Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

It all started with the Canadian premiers meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about health care spending. Quick, what is the first thing you think about the meetings last week? Not the fact that it Smith expected Alberta will get $518 million in new funding. Nope, it was Handshake-gate. I couldn’t possibly do it justice writing about it as there were social media posts dedicated to not only commented on what it meant but break down the actual handshake in super slo-motion replay, almost frame by frame.

While many including myself expressed a resounded “who cares?”, it received a lot of media attention.

There are a lot of theories. Danielle Smith, having worked in media understands how it operates and what the public will consume. It was like she purposely threw a smoke bomb of an insignificant action causing a tizzy of debate about something so trivial. For example, the same week as Handshake-gate, there were other happenings such as her Feb. 10 walk and talk cameo into a camera with the federal parliament buildings lurking in the background. The 2:36 minute video talks about how she has been walking around in Ottawa and feeling nostalgia including talking about how Canada was founded.

“Many years ago the indigenous people of this land and those that came from across the world united to tame an unforgiving frontier ensuring prosperity for future generations. It was their duty to support one another as neighbours and build this country together developing democratic institutions that would yield and stable government.”

Apparently, this was a controversial statement (sarcasm off). I guess genocidal policies by Canada’s forefathers, residential schools were skimmed over.

Or how about the cases of her hinting at corporate welfare as she stated on her own private radio show on QR-77 Calgary that she does not want to lose the Calgary Flames because the Saddledome is to old and small and threats of moving have been whispered because a new arena has not been constructed… yet. The Saddledome is the oldest arena in the National Hockey League and is overused (NHL, AHL, NLL, WHL). However, those teams are owned by a consortium of private businessmen which formed Calgary Sports and Entertainment. Private group. Private profits. However the expectation is for various levels of government to foot the bill.

After chatting with the Quebec premier, Smith said that Quebec City wants back in the NHL.

“I do not want to see the Quebec Flames, I can tell you that much,” she said during her radio show. “So we’ve got to make sure that we do what we can to keep that team here.”

Sniff, sniff… smells like corporate welfare to me. How much will this cost taxpayers provincially seems to be the obvious question.

However, within chat rooms people are jealous that she doesn’t have a local radio broadcast.

As citizens we need to hit the tougher issues but because a handshake looked icky, everyone is up in arms.

Why don’t we look into the petroleum industry and the corporate welfare there.

It has been reported that the government is giving oil companies from a pool of $100 million to address inactive wells which haven’t produced since 1980. The Alberta Energy Regulator says there were AER, there were 463,926 total wells in the province in 2022, with 18 per cent of the those inactive, 19.2 per cent abandoned and 28.8 per cent reclaimed. On the surface, the new program sounds like a good idea to help the environment except it is like giving parents giving a bunch of teenagers money to clean up a trashed house after a wild weekend party. There are pros and cons but there are loopholes for those who know how to use them.

Whether you or pro or against UCP, these are issues we need to be looking at… not whether our Premier needs etiquette or handshake lessons. Media, opposition and as residents, we all need to be more demanding of answers.

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