With friends like these….

In 1999, Al Hogan used his rag the T&T to wage war with former Premier Camille Theriault – running daily stories about the toll highway and other issues. I know this because the only time I ever saw the man was in an editorial board session where he all but said that he personally brought down Theriault.

In 2003, he again used the T&T to bolster the Tories and Premier Lord by almost completely avoiding the major issues of the day.

Since 2003, he has been rabid in his support of the Premier castigating those who would criticize him (who can forget his editorial after the recent Saint John by-election loss where he spoke directly to the Premier and told him to forget the ‘petty’ Saint Johners).

Now, in 2006, it would seem he is using all this ‘goodwill’ with the Premier to advance his own private agenda. Last week he warned that if the Premier didn’t offer deep cuts to the gas tax, he [Lord] would be faced with peril on election day. So, Premier Lord cut gas taxes by 4.5%.

Today, Hogan’s We Say had a similar warning: Announce formal plans for a cardiac catheterization lab in Moncton or else – was the tone.

Now, I have not talked to one person other than Al Hogan who thinks a cath lab is a top priority. Only Al Hogan.

But he wants to use the election to call in a personal favour.

Let’s see if Premier Lord acquiesces.

My guess? Premier Lord will announce, formally, a new ‘cath lab’ within two weeks.

He can’t afford to anger the mighty Al Hogan.