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Alberta Diary

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David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. His 1995 book, A Poke in the Public Eye, explores the relationships among Canadian journalists, public relations people and politicians. He left journalism after the strike at the Calgary Herald in 1999 and 2000 to work for the trade union movement. Alberta Diary focuses on Alberta politics and social issues.

Alberta 'Kudatah' plan expires with a whimper as George Clark is abandoned by his erstwhile friends on the right

| February 20, 2016
George Clark

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Abandoned by the mainstream conservative politicians and professional right-wing agitators who had befriended him, George Clark and a half dozen or so supporters watched their dream of a magical constitutional coup d’état to replace Alberta's NDP Government end yesterday with a whimper, not the bang they'd been dreaming of, in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Calgary.

Give the man some credit, though. He was game to the very end. If a notarized petition couldn't topple the government in 15 minutes as he'd promised early last month, then he'd downsize the #kudatah, as one of his followers famously spelled it, to a mere hijacking.

That's right! Clark's supporters will all now join the NDP, take it over and kick Premier Rachel Notley right out of office!

Meantime, Clark, a construction contractor who for a spell seemed to have concluded he was Alberta's answer to Joan of Arc, is still vowing one of these days to take his petitions to the Queen in London if he keeps being ignored by the premier and the lieutenant-governor here in Edmonton. He appears not to have explained how he'll get past security, but, in fairness, it's been done before.

Yesterday's parking lot announcement prompted literally hours of hilarity on social media, with Albertans of all political stripes joining the mockery. "Its a polite, Canadian version of the #Oregonstandoff," said a typical Tweet, "less actual poop, same crazy shit #kudatah."

Not only was there no sign of those Wildrose MLAs who had helped out with the petition signing back in the day and no more supportive social media messages from Progressive Conservative Leader Ric McIver, there wasn't even a story about the poor guy yesterday evening on Rebel Media, whose "journalists" used to stick to Clark like white on rice.

Presumably it finally dawned on all of them just how nutty Clark was starting to sound -- and thus why it probably wasn't a winning political strategy for the Wildrose or the PCs to hitch their wagon to his particular star. I suspect the Wildrose Party's staff in particular gave their MLAs a brisk talking to about the company they were keeping and advised them to get off the crazy train before it was moving so fast they'd have to wait for the next station.

The very few reporters who showed up at the Westbrook Mall parking lot in Cowtown's southwest reported the hastily organized announcement took even less time than the change in government Clark promised to deliver with his notarized petitions.

Clark and his remaining supporters must have decided to strike before their iron cooled completely, unexpectedly moving up the coup d’état date from the original plan from March 8 when the Legislature opens.

It remains to be seen whether the NDP now gets the 400,000 new members on an unlikely crusade for change that Clark hopes to deliver, or just the seven or eight still sticking with him. The party probably shouldn't budget for a big run of new members' donations.

Indeed, many of Clark's sometime followers may be furious at him for turning them into objects of ridicule.

As U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson famously advised, "Son, in politics you've got to learn that overnight chicken shit can turn to chicken salad."

Unfortunately, as Clark and his coup d’état plotters have just learned, that transformation can happen the other way too.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

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