For those that have yet to see the latest news in the world of Thomas Lukaszuk, I encourage you to read this. To keep the story succinct, Lukaszuk responded to a tweet by Dr. Ian Urquhart of the University of Alberta’s Department of Political Science, in drawing a diagram indicating that Urquhart’s “comfort zone” lies outside the “where the magic happens” zone. To make matters worse, Lukaszuk misspelled Urquhart’s name in the tweet and left any hint of formality far out of the equation.
As we speak, Lukaszuk’s tweet is being shared around Facebook and Twitter, with the Arts Squared blog (mentioned above) publishing a post by Dr. Laurie Adkin of the University of Alberta. This is all important, because it provides Albertans with a clearer understanding about Lukaszuk’s personal conduct in public settings. What I hope to do is contribute to this discussion, in outlining three things that Lukaszuk should do, as of 12:32 am on May 5.
1. Apologize to Dr. Urquhart. The first step in remedying this situation is apologizing to the target of the tweet himself, Dr. Urquhart. It doesn’t matter how this is done, whether it is through a tweet, an open letter or a phone call to the professor. Though something in-person is a sign of integrity, any sort of apology is needed at this point in time. Lukaszuk should be sincere in his apology, offering more than a “mistakes were made” acknowledgement.
2. Apologize to Albertans. Since March, Lukaszuk has earned a negative reputation as the man behind the higher education budget cuts. Obviously, Lukaszuk should never have to apologize for the cuts, as long as he is able to defend them with some degree of logic. Politics are sometimes dirty, and we are bound to disagree on many critical issues. But this series of tweets is a disgrace to our province. As a proud Albertan, I’m ashamed that my Deputy Premier and Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education shows such a marked lack of respect toward a professor that has undergone several months of excruciatingly difficult decision-making. Simply put, we should expect such childishness from a five-year old in elementary school that bullies classmates out on the playground when the teacher-supervisor is out of eye sight.
3. Lukaszuk should resign. If Lukaszuk resigned today, he would regain some of my respect. In cutting higher education funding, Lukaszuk has hurt Alberta’s future prosperity. His consistently unimpressive comments in the media, however, are what suggest that he really does not think before he speaks.
This new set of tweets represents the tipping point. Lukaszuk has crossed the line, and has damaged the credibility of the Government of Alberta. Lukaszuk’s tweets are not only a reflection of himself, but of his party, the government and the more than three million citizens of Alberta. In attempting to embarrass Dr. Urquhart, Lukaszuk mostly brings shame to himself. Most importantly, he hinders the incredible things that Albertans accomplish on a daily basis.
The next twenty-four hours thus serve as a telling assessment of our Deputy Premier’s character.