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Bob Layton: Are political ‘optics’ ruling the day in Alberta?

Bob Layton: Are political ‘optics’ ruling the day in Alberta?
WATCH: In this week's editorial, Bob Layton examines the issue of optics. In politics, they call it optics, or appearances — how something looks might not be the full measure of what it really is.

Ed. note — This commentary has been updated to note that Bill 22 has now passed and Bill 207 was rejected at committee on Thursday. 

Have you ever been on the way to do or say a particular thing and then thought how it might not look good to certain people? Your intentions were honourable, but you backed off.

In politics, they call it optics, or appearances — how something looks might not be the full measure of what it really is.

READ MORE: Alberta government to release Blue Ribbon Panel’s findings on how to climb out of deficit

When the Alberta United Conservative Party hired the so-called Blue Ribbon Panel, led by a former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister, that had good inclusive optics to some.

Others thought it was just a way of having someone else take the blame for what was to come.

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READ MORE: Notley wants election commissioner Lorne Gibson to speak

The optics in Alberta are flowing fast and furious now, despite any spin. It has to do with Bill 22, now passed, fires the province’s election watchdog. The election investigator, Lorne Gibson, is being sacked by the investigatee.

How did it look, seeing Rachel Notley getting herself expelled to make a point?

Fireworks in Alberta legislature as Notley booted over Bill 22 comments
Fireworks in Alberta legislature as Notley booted over Bill 22 comments

Then there’s Bill 207, which, to some, had the appearance of restricting certain medical care and abandoning patients. MLAs voted down the bill at the committee level on Thursday.

Did the party consider or care how it might appear to have Premier Jason Kenney out of the country while all this was going on?

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Do your optics come through a Conservative blue or NDP orange lens? Is Alberta’s UCP government now out of control, or is it being politically crucified, based on optics?

Let me know how you see it.

Bob Layton is the news manager of the Corus Edmonton group of radio stations.