Alberta Premier Alison Redford and provincial Finance Minister Doug Horner
Credits: IAN KUCERAK/QMI AGENCY
One thing that is true in life is that it isn't fair.
This is especially true in politics.
Jim Dinning was the favourite in 2006 to become premier. But a compromise candidate won the Tory leadership.
Same with the federal Liberals when Stephane Dion won because the Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff camps had such disdain for each other.
Ric McIver probably had a good shot at becoming mayor, until someone convinced Barb Higgins to run.
And even last fall during the Tory leadership race, I'm sure there were plenty of Gary Mar supporters crying "It's just not fair," quietly in the background after Premier Alison Redford stepped to the podium.
Fairness and politics can be mutually exclusive concepts at times.
So I was surprised to see Finance Minister and President of the Treasury Board Doug Horner, he from a lengthy political lineage, accusing our Rick Bell of asking a question that, well, just wasn't fair.
It's not fair, he suggested, to ask the man that controls the purse strings how the premier is going to live up to her balanced budget pledge, and honour a whole bunch of new promises made during the election, if the prices of oil and natural gas stay down.
You'd think this would be a no-brainer to ask of Alberta's money man.
And you'd think it would be on the minds of many Albertans, even as the province is projected to lead in growth, a sagging price of oil, even for a few months, can hammer our bottom line.
It's pretty basic math. The budget sets out the price of oil for the year, and then the government hopes the projections are right.
While the Klein Tories were accused of lowballing oil prices for political gain, the Redford Tories have been accused of the opposite.
It may not be fair to suggest, as the Wildrose Party has been, the premier is going to have to raise taxes.
After all, they promised not to. Take it for what it's worth.
But it's not like this is an issue that should have taken the Tories by surprise.
When they passed their budget, the opposition hue and cry was that this is Alison in Wonderland.
It's far too rosy a projection, for oil prices, we were told.
And the week of the leaders debate during the election, the price of natural gas dropped to a decade low, leading analysts predict most election promises were doomed.
And with oil nearly $20 off provincial budget projections, it's worth asking what happens when the bottom falls out.
It's especially worth asking when we're talking about a government that is preaching top-flight public services, limited cuts, no tax hikes, all while being fiscally prudent.
"We need to have a discussion about how do we pay for the things we need and want and then want to build and how do we do our savings and investments so we can continue to do this for our grandkids? That's where I see my mandate," Horner told Rick Bell.
So while the question may not be fair to Mr. Horner, one wonders how he will complete his mandate, and meet new spending promises and so on.
Fairness shouldn't come into play.
Someone in his position should expect such questions, and not be so worried whether it's fair of us to ask them.
After all, it's far less fair to Albertans to have a government not held to account.