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Alberta Diary: Enough with the fantasy Wildrose was Alberta’s best opposition, already! It’s baloney!

And then there were five: The Wildrose caucus back before it experienced civil war, desertions and mass defections, including that of its leader, the woman in red above. Below: former NDP leader Brian Mason and current Leader Rachel Notley; effective Liberal MLAs David Swann and Hugh Macdonald.

One of the more irritating byproducts of mass defection by the Mudville Nine and two of their caucus colleagues who rejoined the Tory Mothership a few days earlier has been the outright wholesaling of the nonsensical claim the Wildrose Party was the most effective opposition Alberta has ever known.

Jen Gerson and Jesse (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Hatched in secret, today’s expected mass Wildrose defection to PC benches, brings party to a pathetic end

The captain of the RMS Wildrose and her officers slip quietly away from their sinking ship in the darkness. Actual Wildrose leaders may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson. Both are expected to be rewarded for abandoning ship with cabinet posts in PC Premier Jim Prentice’s government.

As of today – even before we are certain of everything that has happened in the last 48 hours or what will happen in the next 48 – we can be confident of this: the Wildrose Party is finished.

I do not mean (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Insufficient data, bad planning and so-con overreach help explain Prentice Government’s gay-straight-alliance gong show

Led by Premier Jim Prentice, members of the PC cabinet try to get away from the issue of gay-straight alliances in Alberta schools. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice, Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman and caucus rebel Thomas Lukaszuk.

The spectacular incompetence exhibited by the Prentice Government in its effort to curry favour with social conservatives by scuttling an opposition MLA’s private bill to protect gay-straight peer support groups in Alberta’s schools is breathtaking, reminiscent of the Redford Government’s lowlights.

This is “new management”?

Late yesterday, Premier Jim Prentice tried to press the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Bill 10 gong show’s bungled effort to pander to PC Party’s worst elements proves Jim Prentice is no political superman

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, as he appeared to almost everyone until yesterday, except there are no ships here in Alberta, which is why we need all those pipelines. Below: Education Minister Gordon Dirks; humiliated PC MLA Sandra Jansen, official sponsor of Bill 10; and Liberal MLA and Bill 202 sponsor Laurie Blakeman.

If the gong show that erupted yesterday over the Progressive Conservative government’s bungled effort to pander to its troglodytic social conservative faction by roadblocking LGBTQ students’ rights illustrates anything, it is that Premier Jim Prentice is not the political superman we imagined, before whom all must bow.

It (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: ‘Balancing’ rights? Just what rights are being balanced here? The Prentice Government’s Bill 10 is a disgrace

Premier Jim Prentice, with pointer, instructs his Progressive Conservative caucus on how they will vote on Bill 10. Actual docile PC caucus members may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice and Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman as she blows the whistle on homophobia in Alberta schools.

Last week, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice tried to frame Bill 10, the hastily cobbled-together response to Bill 202 that we’ll get to read moments before it’s introduced this week, as an effort to balance the rights of LGBTQ students with those of parents and school boards.

Bill 202, Edmonton-Centre MLA (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Tories are swinging right, paradoxically because of the implosion of their right-wing brethren in the Wildrose Party

Family values: Not so long ago they were all swinging left, but now the Progressive Conservative caucus of Premier Jim Prentice is swinging right. Getting ready to launch, from left to right, new PC caucus member Kerry Towle, Mr. Prentice, new caucus member Ian Donovan, and an unidentified former Redford Government cabinet minister. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice, NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman.

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman and Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark were onto (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Collapse of rickety Wildrose coalition of market fanatics and religious fundamentalists could be bad-news/good-news story for Alberta’s NDP

A recent meeting of the Wildrose Party Legislative caucus. Actual members of the official Opposition party may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith.

Monday’s bombshell that the rickety coalition of ideological market-perfection fanatics and social-conservative religious fundamentalists called the Wildrose Party was coming unstuck may turn out to be a bad-news/good-news story for Alberta’s New Democrats.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith’s big problem – other than the fact she appeared to have been completely out of the loop last week about the upcoming defections of MLAs Kerry Towle and Ian Donovan – (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The bloom is off the (Wild)rose – Opposition Leader Danielle Smith assailed by doubts, dissent and departures

Are the wheels falling off the Wildrose bus, which may or may not look exactly as illustrated any more? Below: Beleaguered Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, Taber-Warner-Cardston MLA Gary Bikman and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson.

These may be happy days for the Progressive Conservatives under Premier Jim Prentice, but the bloom is definitely off Alberta’s Wildrose Opposition.

Just weeks ago seen as a sure bet to be the province’s next premier, Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith is today buffeted by an embarrassing scrap between her party’s social conservatives and socially progressive members over LGBTQ rights, troubled by questions about her (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Liberal Leader Raj Sherman may have scored ‘own goal’ as Elections Alberta investigates donations to his party by firms he owns

If this is your own goal, there may be something wrong with your game! Below: Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman and Edmonton billionaire Daryl Katz.

Call it the Alberta Political Advantage.

Reports of illegal and questionable political donations have dogged Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government for years. These included contributions made by such public institutions as municipalities, colleges, universities, and health regions, as well as iffy “bulk contributions” organized by well-heeled private citizens who were friends of the PC Government.

Now it would appear it’s not just the PCs.

Leastways, the Edmonton Sun and the Calgary Herald both reported late yesterday (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: No change! No change! Jim Prentice’s ‘new management’ is offering the same old Tory stuff

New management … same old owner. It’s all about marketing. Below: Jim Prentice and Fred Horne, advocating the same health care policies.

Sustained, uninterrupted privatization of health care, a senior official dumped for daring to speak out about political interference in her supposedly independent work, thousands of dollars in illegal donations to the good ole Tory Dynasty now led by Premier Jim Prentice …

All this and a Speaker who doesn’t understand or care about his impartial role in the Legislature. … Plus a national mission to build pipelines to all points of the compass!

This is new management? Sure (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta may be under ‘new management,’ but we’re getting the same old bait ’n’ switch tactics in health care!

Premier Jim Prentice and Health Minister Stephen Mandel, both PC candidates in the Oct. 27 four-seat mini-election, at yesterday’s “Bed Blocker” news conference in Edmonton. Below: NDP candidate Dr. Bob Turner and Liberal Candidate Dr. Donna Wilson, RN, both running against Mr. Mandel, ex-mayor; Seniors Minister Jeff Johnson; and AHS CEO Vickie Kaminski.

Unelected Premier Jim Prentice and his appointed Health Minister Stephen Mandel held a news conference in Edmonton yesterday afternoon to demonstrate they’re doing something decisive about Alberta’s embarrassing “bed blocker” problem and, no doubt, aid both their by-election campaigns on Oct. 27.

“Bed blocker” is an uncomplimentary (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Plot summary for a zombie policy apocalypse: Return of the Living Bed Blockers, Nightmare on Alberta Avenue, Part IV

Even though we know the prescription for curing the “bed blocker” problem, it’s unlikely Alberta can escape the revenge of the conservative zombie policy makers, shown above. Actual Progressive Conservative and Wildrose policy makers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Zombie policy enablers Jim Prentice and Danielle Smith; ER physician Dr. Paul Parks.

The “Bed Blockers” are back. Health Minister Stephen Mandel (unelected) used the term, so it’s official.

Actually, it’s a lot like a horror movie that never ends out here in Alberta. Just when you think it’s safe to settle down on Elm Street and get the (Read more…)

In This Corner: Political grab bag time.

And now, in lieu of a real blog of connected thoughts, here are some disjointed thoughts on matters political …

• The leadership race for the provincial New Democrats is even more of a snoozer than the PC leadership coronation of Jim ‘Don’t Blame Me’ Prentice. There are three candidates in the running. One is some guy I have never heard of, and see no need to get to know. The other two are two colorless sitting MLAs, David Eggen and Rachel Notley, both from Edmonton (Edmonton produces NDP leaders the way Calgary produces PC leaders, which is to say (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Welcome to Alberta, where, baby, these are the days of miracles and wonders…

Conservative political leaders distribute loaves and fishes, part of the school lunch program planned for the hundreds of new schools that will be popping up overnight out here in Alberta. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Premier Jim Prentice, Opposition Leader Danielle Smith and Education Minister Gordon Dirks, all of whom we can have faith will deliver.

It is no longer a metaphor when we say Alberta’s conservative politicians are performing miracles and wonders.

Leastways, yesterday, Premier Jim Prentice announced his intention to perform an actual, literal miracle – to create 230 new (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: NDP leadership debate was amicable, but it ignored the elephant in the progressive political room

Candidate Rachel Notley addresses the crowd of New Democrats Thursday night during the Alberta New Democratic Party’s final leadership debate in Edmonton. Candidates Rod Loyola, in the middle, and David Eggen, at left, are visible in the background. (Photo by Olav Rokne.) Below: Mr. Eggen, Mr. Loyola and 2012 federal NDP candidate Nathan Cullen, who advocated co-operation among progressive political parties.

Listening to the Alberta NDP’s final leadership debate Thursday night in Edmonton, one could almost imagine there was total unanimity about everything among the province’s New Democrats.

Indeed, there was complete unanimity among the three candidates – in (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: NDP and Liberal candidates’ with similar appeal in Edmonton-Whitemud don’t make progressive voters’ job any easier

The NDP and Alberta Liberals fight it out in Edmonton-Whitemud. I’ll leave it to readers to determine who’s just been demasted. Below: Liberal candidate Dr. Donna Wilson (CBC photo) and NDP candidate Dr. Bob Turner.

The reasons are perfectly clear and quite understandable, but it’s depressing nonetheless to see Alberta’s provincial Liberals and New Democrats fighting so bitterly for a few scraps from the table at which the Tories and the Wildrosers get to dine.

But how else can we explain the spectacle of our province’s two progressive parties with only nine Legislative seats between them battling it out in (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The Amazing Race, Alberta Political Edition: can the Tories find their missing mojo?

Opposition party members prepare to run against the Progressive Conservative candidates, uncertain why they are being made to race with sacks on their feet while the Tories aren’t. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. New faces below: The NDP’s Jennifer Burgess; the Tories’ Mike Ellis.

Premier Jim Prentice called a news conference yesterday morning in Calgary and announced, as widely expected, that he and his two likewise-unelected cabinet ministers will run in by-elections to be held within the shortest time frame legally possible.

Unexpected was that Mr. Prentice himself would run for the Progressive Conservative Party in (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The best candidates aren’t necessarily the best candidates in important Edmonton-Whitemud by-election

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith introduces her party’s Edmonton-Whitemud candidate, Tim, Grover, at a news conference in the riding yesterday. Below: NDP Candidate Dr. Bob Turner, Mr. Grover again, and former Edmonton mayor, unelected health minister and PC candidate Stephen Mandel.

In the race to knock off an unelected health minister whose main qualification is that he’s a former elected mayor, it’s a commentary on the state of Alberta that a distinguished hematologist, oncologist and medical school teacher stands far less of a chance of pulling off an upset than a young entrepreneur whose businesses are not even named in his (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Calgary’s new ‘Band-Aid’ schools: just the thing for a government suffering the death of a thousand cuts

Temporary structures like the army huts in the background, built in 1939 and ’40, were still in use when this shot was taken at the just-formed University of Victoria circa 1963, and a few of them are still in use today. Below: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, Wildrose education critic Jeff Wilson and Liberal education critic Kent Hehr.

So we can probably all see how this one is going to roll out: Premier Jim Prentice announced four new “starter” public schools in under-served Calgary suburbs today. That’s just Calgary.

Today or tomorrow, if he likes, he can announce four more in (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Just as things were looking up a bit for foundering PCs, Alison Redford showed up again

Alison Redford contemplates which way to turn as she leaves behind a trail of devastation, toward the capital city’s new Sky Palace Hotel, left, or toward Edmonton’s High Level Bridge, right. Actual former premiers and the landmarks they threaten may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Ms. Redford; Tory leadership candidates Jim Prentice, Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver.

Just when things were starting to look a little better for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government, Alison Redford blundered back onto the provincial scene like the monster from low-budget a 1950s horror flick.

So suggests the latest version of a regular (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Maybe it’s time to state the obvious: promises aren’t enough for Alberta Tories to win back any progressive votes

Tory leadership front-runner Jim Prentice on the campaign trail. Below: Former premier Alison Redford; Education Minister, though presumably not for long, Jeff Johnson; leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk.

Perhaps it’s time to just come right out and state the obvious: If Tory leadership front-runner Jim Prentice wants even a few of Alberta’s badly burned progressive voters to give his so-called Progressive Conservative Party their consideration one more time, he’s going to have to do more than make promises.

There’s one big reason for this: Alison Redford.

Back in 2011, when she was running for the leadership of the Alberta PC Party, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Wildrose Party remains far in the lead despite entry of Jim Prentice to Progressive Conservative leadership race, new poll says

The Wildrose Party with Danielle Smith holding the reins appears to continue to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservatives handily. Actual Alberta politicians and astonished onlookers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: PC leadership candidates Jim Prentice, Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver, none of whom seems to be making much difference to their foundering party’s fortunes, and the real Ms. Smith.

The latest version of a regular Alberta poll, which was conducted in late May, shows the Wildrose Party far in the lead with 41 per cent of committed voters.

Significantly, the arrival in the Progressive Conservative leadership race of (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Tiny Alberta Progressive Parties need to get their act together

TweetWhat do the Alberta Liberals, New Democrats, Alberta Party and Green Party have in common? None of these parties will form government after the next election. As Albertans prepare for another electoral showdown between two conservative parties – the long-governing Progressive Conservatives and the opposition Wildrose Party – many non-conservative voters and voters looking for an alternative […]

Susan on the Soapbox: The Alberta Federation of Labour’s Litmus Test for Alberta’s Opposition Parties

“Sometimes telling the truth hurts…and it will hurt here.”—Rob Anderson, Wildrose MLA at the Alberta Federation of Labour Conference in response to a question about the legal right to strike*

The Alberta Federation of Labour held a two day conference this weekend in Calgary. Ms Soapbox was extremely fortunate to receive an invitation to hear Rob Anderson (Wildrose), Deron Bilous (NDP) and Dr David Swann (Liberal) speak at a panel on “Alberta Political Parties’ Vision for Labour and Working People.”

Mr Anderson

Apparently, the Progressive Conservatives were also invited but Premier Hancock was busy and none of the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Scrappy and strong-willed, Brian Mason punches above his weight

TweetBack in the mid-2000s, when I worked for the Alberta Liberals, Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason was a constant source of frustration for my colleagues and I. Each week, I was amazed at how the leader of the tiny perfect NDP could consistently earn so much press and scoop away the media attention deserved by of my party’s Official […]