Have I got this right? Jim Prentice, who had to have an early election that nobody else wanted to get a mandate for his supposedly transformative budget, is now busy transforming said budget because of things he’s heard on the campaign trail? Seriously?http://bit.ly/1Hg9hLS

This just in: Prentice’s PC Party has flip-flopped on its budget provision cutting the charitable tax donation credit while leaving the political tax donation credit intact.

Prentice, said his party’s press release, “has reconsidered the reduction to the charitable donation tax credit in the budget, and a PC government will maintain the previous rate.”

On its own, this is probably not a bad idea. But if it doesn’t tell you our Progressive Conservative Premier is hearing the same things from his high-quality professional polling that the rest of us are getting from the flaky demon-dialler and online panel polls that are being given away to the media, I don’t know what the heck will!

As a commenter on yesterday morning’s AlbertaPolitics.ca post said, “the wild twists, the daily changing of the message, wildly firing away at different targets on all sides” all suggest Mr. Prentice and his PCs realize “they are in a fight for their lives.”

“I’ve said during this campaign that leadership is about difficult and sometimes unpopular choices,” Mr. Prentice tried to explain in his press release. Really, we’re not making this up!

“But hearing from Albertans during this campaign, it’s become clear that the choice was more than simply unpopular. Rather, Albertans have told me it was seen as contrary to our values as Albertans,” the press release rambled on.

Just asking, but why is Prentice even our premier, not to mention running for a big radical mandate, if he doesn’t understand our values as Albertans? Too long in Ottawa?

The premier’s press release then tried to blow off this morning’s sudden change of course as “a small change, but an important one” — an effort that is fair to describe as sucking and blowing at the same time.

It’s more significant than small, though, because it shows the PC Party’s desperate desire to go against the overwhelming will of Albertans and seek an immediate mandate for “fiscal discipline,” “a realistic plan,” “unpopular choices” — all phrases pulled from this morning’s press release — was pure baloney.

Anyway, it sure appears as if it was all about the strategy cooked up by his high-priced strategists, who by the sound of it aren’t actually all that good. They make it seem as if the PCs aren’t done yet with the flip-floppy ways of Alison Redford and Ed Stelmach, the premier’s two predecessors in his job.

As Dean Bennett of the Canadian Press asked in a Tweet yesterday, “when @JimPrentice says running on budget, q now is which budget: orig budget, amended budget or budget that could be changed after #abvote”?

Good question. One can only hope that this means the budget it still open on issues that really count, like adequate funding for health care and public education.

As for needing an election right now, it’s too late to get the premier to change his mind about that — although you have to wonder if he wishes he could!

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

David J. Climenhaga

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga is a journalist and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. He left journalism after the strike...