In a bid to persuade U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney to visit northern Alberta’s oilfields this fall, Premier Ralph Klein told him a high-profile trip would help Republicans win votes from Americans worried about buying oil from unstable countries in the Middle East.
Klein’s unusual venture into U.S. election-year politics came amid separate appeals for a joint Canada-U.S. energy task force to help accelerate Canadian exports of oil.
"It might be good for American politics, and for the Republican party in the U.S., for the vice-president to visit," Klein said following a 30-minute meeting with Cheney in his West Wing office at the White House.
Let's forget the fact that Klein is stepping all over the constitution with his "intrusions" into federal jurisdictions, he is also betraying the basic tenets of diplomacy. How would Klein react if John Kerry showed up in Alberta and lent his support to the Liberals? No matter what the individual preference, governments don't overtly back a particular political party in another nation. Klein is effectively interferring in American domestic politics, an obvious no-no. Klein can be excused for his mistake, afterall foreign relations isn't really part of his portfolio.
Klein's obsession with a Cheney visit to the oilsands, reads like an eager student anxious to impress his tutor. American money is already pouring into the oil patch, it's not like the tar sands aren't on the radar. Cheney's visit would have no practical application, other than ego gratification for Klein. Klein's stupid commentary on the American election could backfire, if, as expected, Democrats gain greater control in the fall. This fact is exactly why government's hesitate in forming overt opinions on another nation's internal politics. Klein shows his lack of sophistication once again.