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Alberta Diary: Miraculously, no one trampled as Tories race for Alberta Legislature’s exits

Alison Redford crashes through the Alberta Legislature. Below: Frightened and relieved, Alberta Progressive Conservative MLAs race from the vicinity of the Legislative Building in Edmonton yesterday; Nostradamus; Moses. Actual Alberta politicians and legislative architectural renderings may not appear exactly as illustrated.

It must have seemed a little like the panic scene in post-war Japanese monster movie at the Alberta Legislature yesterday. Only in this flick, the shadow cast by Godzilla looked suspiciously like that of Alison Redford.

Fortunately, no one seems to have been seriously injured in the rush for the exits.

After two years with Ms. Redford at the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: PS, Tories love you! Is Alison Redford leading predators away from her party? Or what?

The now-famous cell-phone camera shot of Ms. Redford dining with her daughter at Lulu California Bistro in Palm Springs, grabbed from the Internet.

VICTORIA, B.C.

Truth be told, former premier Alison Redford is not the first Alberta cabinet member to just say to hell with it and take a few days off in a sunny spot after a major political setback.

It’s a mild irony that the last one I’m aware of who did the same thing had just been kicked out of cabinet by Ms. Redford.

Now, the former cabinet minister in question was presumably fortunate in landing (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Electoral math is calculus, not arithmetic, so 15 more Tory defectors won’t necessarily bring down Alison Redford’s shaky government

Alberta Premier Alison Redford and her crack team of Tory political strategists consult the Billion Dollar Brainiac, the Alberta government’s carbon- and vote-capture supercomputer, to figure out how many members must remain in her shrinking caucus for the party to survive a non-confidence motion. Actual crack Alberta political strategists may not appear exactly as illustrated. Just ignore the note that says “Bon Voyage.” Below: MLAs Steve Young, Edmonton Riverview, and Matt Jeneroux, Edmonton-South West.

The assumption of just about everyone in the Punditocracy, the Commentariat, the Blogosphere and the Media Bloviarchy here in Alberta is that if Premier (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Payment of $45,000 travel bill by Alberta Premier raises as many questions as it answers

There will be no more scenes like this aboard Government of Alberta aircraft, thank you very much! Actual Alberta cabinet ministers and cabin crew may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: a screenshot of Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s news conference yesterday.

Fresh from her public relations triumph in Edmonton’s Churchill LRT station Tuesday, Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced yesterday she has personally paid back the $45,000 cost of her trip to South Africa in December, and that of the young aide who went along with her.

“My hope is that we can now get back to the work Albertans asked (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: High-speed rail in Alberta: a terrible idea that just won’t go away

“Modern high-speed passenger trains are not pushed forward on billowing sails…” Although, when we’re done paying for a multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail link between Edmonton and Calgary, this may be how many of us have to get around if we fancy using public transit. Below: William Cornelius Van Horne and the typical high-speed rail advocate – apparently they’re both baaaaaaack!

The Van Horne Institute? The Van Horne Institute? As in William Cornelius Van Horne, late of the Michigan Central Railway, the Chicago and Alton Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Cuba Railway Company?

Well, whooo, whooo, whoooooo-oooo better to advocate (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The little government that grew: Alison Redford shuffles deckchairs on her cabinet

After her change of heart, Alberta Premier Ebenezer Redford, top left, accompanied by Speaker Gene Zwozdesky in his ceremonial robes, watches as some of the members of her cabinet sit down for an unexpected dinner of Christmas turkey. Actual Alberta Progressive Conservative movers and shakers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: actual deck chairs on the actual Titanic; a Tweet from one of the child labourers on Premier Redford’s communications staff.

Well, it’s one way to keep your more restive conservative caucus members from running across the floor of the House to join the Wildrose Opposition, I guess.

Alberta (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: CBC journalist Charles Rusnell: slaying Alberta’s Tory dragon, one scandal at a time …

Your blogger with CBC investigative reporter Charles Rusnell. Below: Edmonton-Manning MLA Peter Sandhu; Mr. Sandhu with Alison Redford in a Tory Party photo grabbed from the Daveberta.ca blog. The photo-bomber is Calgary-Fort MLA Wayne Cao.

You’d think it would be easy to run a petroleum-soaked, cash-rich jurisdiction like Alberta, but a day seldom seems to pass out here on the western edge of the Great Plains without our governing Progressive Conservative Party suffering another pratfall or embarrassment.

But how many Albertans know that so many of these scandals bedevilling our permanent governing party have been uncovered by the same (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Ms Soapbox’s Great Adventure—Off to the Leg (it rhymes with “edge”)

Last week Ms Soapbox was introduced to the Legislative Assembly by Liberal MLA, Laurie Blakeman, the oldest (as in longest-serving, not age!) opposition MLA. Ms Blakeman noted that Ms Soapbox was a lawyer but said the House wouldn’t hold that against her. Ms Soapbox stood to receive the “traditional warm welcome” of the Assembly. The MLAs thumped their desks and waved, warming the cockles of Ms Soapbox’s heart!

The Caucus Meeting

When Liberal MLA, Dr David Swann, invited me to attend a Liberal caucus meeting I leapt at the chance. In less than 10 minutes

. . . → Read More: Susan on the Soapbox: Ms Soapbox’s Great Adventure—Off to the Leg (it rhymes with “edge”)

Alberta Diary: Close enough for government work: Alberta Tories manage to hold their centre-right turf

Finance Minister Doug Horner preps Albertans for yesterday’s budget. Actual Alberta finance ministers may not appear exactly as illustrated – but that’s the trick, isn’t it? Below: The real Doug Horner.

All in all, I guess, you could make a good case this was a pretty lousy budget.

It’s deeply confusing, as without any doubt the Alberta government intended, and there are a couple of real disasters lurking in its pages – got kids in post-secondary education, anyone?

But in the aftermath of the Alberta Budget Speech read this afternoon by Progressive Conservative Finance Minister Doug Horner, who was wearing

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Close enough for government work: Alberta Tories manage to hold their centre-right turf

Alberta Diary: Alberta budget primer: when they say ‘tough decisions,’ they really mean … ‘decisions that will be tough on you’

Typical Albertans await tomorrow’s budget aboard the Good Ship Richest Place on Earth. Alberta may not actually be as damp as illustrated. Below: Premier Alison Redford. Why is this woman smirking?

Oh, we’ll squeeze you till the pips squeak, Premier Alison Redford seemed to be promising Albertans yesterday, as we nervously awaited the provincial budget that is to be brought down, possibly in flames, this afternoon.

Well, we’re all really looking forward to that out here in the pothole-riddled Richest Place on Earth, I can assure you!

This is different, of course, from the promises Ms. Redford was promising back

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta budget primer: when they say ‘tough decisions,’ they really mean … ‘decisions that will be tough on you’

Alberta Diary: Taxpayers and students have a right to know what’s happening at Athabasca University

Athabasca University from the air, with the town of Athabasca in the background. Below: Former VP Academic Margaret Haughey, President Frits Pannekoek and former VP IT Brian Stewart.

What the heck is going on at Athabasca University?

It was revealed to the university’s faculty earlier this week that four senior administrators have left the on-line correspondence university based in the town of Athabasca, 145 kilometres north of Edmonton.

They are:

Margaret Haughey, Vice-President, Academic Brian Stewart, Vice-President IT and Chief Information Officer Murray Walford, Associate Vice-President Finance Dietmar Kennepohl, Associate Vice-President Academic

The university’s spokesperson, John O’Brien, refused today to

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Taxpayers and students have a right to know what’s happening at Athabasca University

Alberta Diary: Who leaked Alberta’s budget details? And who plugged the leak?

Some of the members of Alberta’s Treasury Board are pictured above. While not exactly as illustrated, they are all suspects in the leakage of budget details, in the office, with an email to the Calgary Herald. Below: Columnist Don Braid, detective Sherlock Holmes and Treasury Board President Doug Horner.

It’s a whodunit, a little like the one about the dog that didn’t bark.

Why didn’t the Calgary Herald create a huge front-page brouhaha when its columnist Don Braid ferreted out some pretty startling facts about Alberta’s March 7 budget?

Certainly, that’s what most newspapers would have done if their trusted

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Who leaked Alberta’s budget details? And who plugged the leak?

Alberta Diary: Khan, Cusanelli canned: Alberta premier sacks two rookie ministers in wake of poll

Steve Khan, eyed suspiciously by a fox. Below: Richard Starke, Christine Cusanelli, Richard III and Thomas Lukaszuk.

Right on the heels of a new poll suggesting a decline in support for the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta, Premier Alison Redford announced a mini-shuffle of her cabinet yesterday, sacking a couple of rookie ministers who for different reasons had turned out to be liabilities.

Coincidence? I think not.

The telephone survey of Alberta public opinion conducted from Jan. 14 to 20 by Leger Marketing was covered by most media and commentators as if it were good news for Ms. Redford’s PCs.

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Khan, Cusanelli canned: Alberta premier sacks two rookie ministers in wake of poll

Alberta Diary: ‘Leading thinkers’ to set Alberta’s new economic course lickety-split – and you’re not invited

Premier Alison Redford eyeballs an uninvited visitor to the province’s economic summit. Without the password, you’re not getting in. Below, Premier Redford and Deputy Premier Tom Lukaszuk present their bona fides at the door. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below them: The premier’s communications director, Stefan Baranski.

In just 10 days, “Alberta’s leading thinkers, key industry, non-profit and academic leaders, Members of the Legislative Assembly and passionate citizens will gather together for a spirited discussion on Alberta’s future.” You’re not invited.

The government announced yesterday in a terse yet effusive press release that the economic

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: ‘Leading thinkers’ to set Alberta’s new economic course lickety-split – and you’re not invited

Alberta Diary: Great Plains Politics 101: Why everything new in Alberta’s Legislature must be old again

Perfesser Dave with Gene Zwozdesky, a.k.a. Mr. Speaker, the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature, with that rara avis, a recent Alberta Throne Speech. But not the one for March 5, 2013. Quick quiz: Why is that? Below: Alberta Premier Alison Redford in a screen grab from last week’s “State of the Province” address.

If you’re wondering why on March 5 Alberta’s MLAs are not returning to a new session of the provincial Legislature, there is an explanation.

We have lately been informed by House Speaker Gene Zwozdesky – who should know, after all – that Alberta’s MLAs

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Great Plains Politics 101: Why everything new in Alberta’s Legislature must be old again

David Climenhaga's Alberta Diary: Choosing a Speaker for Alberta: Your chance to vote … sort of

Your blogger with yet another of the candidates to be called Mr. Speaker, the dulcetly mellifluous Gene Zwozdesky, looking none too thrilled about this photo opportunity in Speakerly garb.

I have been surprised by the amount of interested generated by my post suggesting there is a three-way or possibly four-way race for the job of Speaker of the Alberta Legislature, now that Ken Kowalski has retired.

Readers will recall that the four named here are: Laurie Blakeman, Liberal MLA for Edmonton-Centre Robin Campbell, Progressive Conservative MLA for West Yellowhead Wayne Cao, PC MLA for Calgary-Fort Gene Zwozdesky . . . → Read More: David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary: Choosing a Speaker for Alberta: Your chance to vote … sort of

David Climenhaga's Alberta Diary: Calculating the odds in the race for Alberta’s Legislative Speaker

Your blogger with Robin Campbell, Ken Kowalski’s possible replacement as Speaker of the Alberta Legislature. Below: Laurie Blakeman, Gene Zwozdesky, and Wayne Cao with you-know-who.

JASPER, Alberta

Just when you thought it was safe to go out of the house again, there’s another election!

But you don’t get to vote in this one, even though it’s pretty important to Alberta just the same.

Next on the agenda for the Alberta Legislature: the 87 newly elected MLAs need to elect a Speaker to preside over their … er … deliberations.

Sounds routine, but in a funny inside-baseball way, the Speaker’s job

. . . → Read More: David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary: Calculating the odds in the race for Alberta’s Legislative Speaker

Five of Five: Alberta Legislature: Scumbags, Holodomor and Property Rights

There was a debate in the Legislature today (29 Nov 2011) regarding landowner property rights. There is no doubt that at least 4 of the bills passed in the Stelmach era went too far by removing basic landowner rights, eliminating public consultation and removing the appeal process.

Wildrose MLA Paul Hinman was talking in circles about the evils of these bills, when he veered off into an analogy

The Roundhouse: Busy week in Alberta Politics!

Following the move by Dave Taylor to the Alberta Party yesterday Premier Ed Stelmach has just announced that he will not be seeking re-election, and will be stepping aside as Alberta’s Premier. The move by Mr. Taylor was already something of a tremor in Alberta politics, giving as it did the rapidly growing Alberta Party its first MLA. Mr. Stelmach’s decision is an earthquake, however.

Links:

The Premier’s remarks – http://alberta.ca/blog/home.cfm/2011/1/25/Premiers-comments

The Enlightened Savage’s Comments – http://www.enlightenedsavage.com/2011/01/ed-stelmach-to-resign-as-premier.html

The Premier’s decision is a game-changer. First and foremost it means that the PC party will be having

. . . → Read More: The Roundhouse: Busy week in Alberta Politics!

Five of Five: Life is Bigger than Politics

News was released today that former Alberta Premier Ralph Klein is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is a horrible disease that has no cure and robs the body and brain of oxygen. It doesn’t have good outcomes.It got me thinking… . . . → Read More: Five of Five: Life is Bigger than Politics

The Roundhouse: Alberta Politics Overview – December 2010

If you are a blogger interested in Alberta politics recent months, and this past month in particular, have been filled with an embarrassment of riches. I am finding it difficult to actually finish posts, as there are so many topics worth writing about that even the low-hanging fruit is overwhelming. If only I got paid for writing here, eh? However, one of the more common conversations I’ve been having recently is about the ‘state of the game’ in Alberta politics. How badly have the Progressive Conservatives been hurt by recent events? Has the Wild Rose Alliance stalled or is it

. . . → Read More: The Roundhouse: Alberta Politics Overview – December 2010

The Roundhouse: Representative Independence versus Caucus Control

Behind all the Sturm und Drang engendered by Dr. Raj Sherman’s letter, comments and subsequent removal from the PC caucus there are several stories. The specifics of what happened and why are known only to those involved, and I won’t speculate. There is a good post at the Enlightened Savage about which line Dr. Sherman crossed: http://www.enlightenedsavage.com/2010/11/paging-dr-sherman.html The basic outlines can be found here: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Sherman+suspended+from+Conservative+caucus/3867417/story.html

It is important to note that Dr. Sherman has been suspended, as opposed to Mr. Boutillier who was simply expelled. What requirements have been communicated to Dr. Sherman for

. . . → Read More: The Roundhouse: Representative Independence versus Caucus Control

Straight Outta Edmonton: Stand With Fort Chipewyan at the Alberta Legislature

Stand With Fort Chipewyan will be at the Alberta Legislature today presenting Premier Ed Stelmach an open-ended, round trip ticket to Fort Chipewyan, Alberta so he can listen to residents directly about their health concerns. The ticket was purchas… . . . → Read More: Straight Outta Edmonton: Stand With Fort Chipewyan at the Alberta Legislature

The Roundhouse: The Public Accounts Committee and the casual abuse of power

Politics here in Alberta is certainly lively, both in ways that the rest of Canada will envy, like the recent profusion in parties and movements, and in ways less good, like today’s stupidity in the Public Accounts Committee of the Alberta Legislature…. . . . → Read More: The Roundhouse: The Public Accounts Committee and the casual abuse of power