MLA’s tourism push with mushrooms and bikinis

Sometimes, as you troll through newspapers looking for something to tweak your fancy, you stumble onto an article asinine enough to make you say aloud “How stupid is that?”
Judge for yourself.

Sometimes, as you troll through newspapers looking for something to tweak your fancy, you stumble onto an article asinine enough to make you say aloud “How stupid is that?”

Judge for yourself.

Edmonton Mill Woods MLA Carl Benito has big plans; beautiful plans, if you will, that will put Alberta on the map for something other than plundering the natural environment. The Tory backbencher sees an opportunity to create serious tourism dollars while simultaneously promoting the province in international markets.

Benito envisions the Alberta Advantage becoming a bikini bonus.

You got it. The MLA’s big vision for Alberta is a beauty pageant.

He pitched it to Cindy Ady, the province’s Minister for Tourism, Parks and Recreation. She, while not squashing the idea like a bug, acknowledged Benito’s vision with sufficient political-ese to suggest we’re not likely to see it come to pass.

“There’s no end to the good ideas, actually, that are out there of ways to get exposure. The question is: how do you strategically pick them, and how, once you’ve strategically chosen, do you ensure that it actually works?” Ady said in an interview with the Edmonton Journal.

“So if you were to say a beauty pageant is a good idea and I was to say to you, ‘You know, we’re looking at the countries that you’re interested in as new markets,’ what would be the best way for us to show them our country in a way that would make them say, you know, not only ‘Someday I would like to go there,’ but actually pick up a phone and start to investigate or go online and start to investigate? That’s the trick in tourism.”

To give Benito his due, at least he’s thinking of ways to prop this province up without dredging up hectares of topsoil to get at the same old dragon we’ve been chasing for decades. But come on, Mr. Benito. Really? This is moving Alberta forward?

So if the odds of this ever becoming a reality is remote, why does it even warrant discussion? Simple. Carl Benito has something in common with Saint Jude – success at the long shot.

In March 2009, the MLA tabled a bill asking his peers to designate the Red Cap the official mushroom of Alberta.

It passed.

Maybe there’s something in those mushrooms.

-T-Mac