Do the schmoozing or prepare for losing

We hear last week that United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney and a few of his buddies are headed to India for a trade mission.

It may seem strange on the face, especially when one knows that Kenny leads no elected government. India, however, is a world economic power and in a decade or so will overtake China as the world’s most populous country. It seems only to make a lot of sense you would want to trade with a country with so many people and so much buying power.

But if you were the Indian government and business leaders, and you had the same opinion as High Prairie town council, you wouldn’t meet with Kenney.

You see, town council has adopted the attitude they won’t meet with non-elected officials because it is viewed as partisan politics. Perhaps it is. Kenney has little power when compared to the elected New Democrats who call the shots.

Big Lakes County does not share that view. Councillors are very visible at functions of all political stripes. Call it schmoozing, call it buttering up, call it whatever you want.

But also call it good business. Very good business.

Suppose Kenney does win the next election. Town council’s snubbing of any potential party – as they have done in the past – could come back to haunt them. Revenge is not the Lord’s sole domain.

People and politicians have long memories. Yes, they do remember who supports them, especially in good times and bad. Years ago, it was always good business to saddle up to Ken Kowalski, known for his numerous favours to friends.

For the potential premier of Alberta to attend a local “meet and greet” and not have any political leaders attend is a slap in the face.

And how does it look if Kenney is elected, and the same leaders who snubbed him before, suddenly line up at the latest schmoozefest seeking favour with the new boss? What would anyone think about a person who ignores you, then kisses your ass when you become important?

Meeting with the bigger bosses is a necessary evil for local politicians. Schmoozing is part of the game. An effort must be made to garner favour with the big boys and girls, the ones who control much of the financial strings.

Next year, Alberta has its election. Many politicians will be making stops in High Prairie seeking support and meeting with councils to hear their concerns. It is important our elected officials meet with all these people.

Big Lakes County has long recognized this. It is time town council reconsiders what they are doing, or risk ruffling the feathers of a future premier of Alberta and his party.


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