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Alberta Diary: Redford-Hancock Government moves ahead with plan to gut public sector pensions

Alberta Environment Minister Robin Campbell, right, in one of the rather undistinguished jackets that are causing such a brouhaha in the provincial Legislature this week. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Doug Horner, below, is moving to attack the pensions of 300,000 Alberta public employees and no one is paying much attention. Below him, NDP Leader Brian Mason, who opposes his plans, and former prime ministerial chief of staff Nigel Wright. But you’ll have to read to the bottom if you want to know what Mr. Wright has to do with this story.

Alberta Finance Minister Doug Horner gave notice yesterday that the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Should the Alberta NDP accept corporate donations?

TweetWith vibrant progressive campaigns winning on the municipal-level in Calgary and Edmonton, it is difficult to understand why there is not be a progressive party, or even a non-conservative party, able to compete on the provincial-level in Alberta. Alberta’s progressive political parties are being left in the dust by the large fundraising machines of the […]

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: If Alison Redford won’t voluntarily step aside, Alberta’s Tories are likely finished

Alberta Premier Cruella de Vil brings some of her rebellious MLAs to heel. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: High-profile caucus rebel Donna Kennedy-Glans; Stephen Mandel, former mayor of Edmonton and about the only person who could unseal the Alberta Tories’ doom at this late hour.

The departure yesterday morning of Donna Kennedy-Glans from the Alberta Progressive Conservative caucus makes it pretty obvious the message is sinking in with disaffected PC MLAs that casting Alison Redford as Premier Cruella de Vil and then putting her on double-secret probation may not have been the most astute strategy (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Understanding Alberta’s 2014 budget: the deviltry’s in the details

Budget 2014: let the good times roll. Life’s great nowadays if you’re a Tory insider in Alberta – like these happy political staffers from the Premier’s Office. Actual political advisors to Premier Alison Redford may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Former Premier Ed Stelmach as he counted up ways he could save money; Ms. Redford.

Another million dollars for the Premier’s Office?

Now that’s interesting!

As in Pravda back in the day in that other one-party state, the name of which escapes me at the moment but which you’d think was still around judging from the chest-thumping 1960s-style rhetoric (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Phone poll suggests NDP MLA testing waters for leadership bid?

TweetIs there an undeclared race underway to become leader of the Alberta NDP? An interactive voice response poll calling Albertans on February 11 suggests there just might be. The automated phone poll conducted by the Toronto-based Research House began with innocuous questions aimed at gaging opinions about the current Progressive Conservative government and other political party leaders, […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: What a year 2014 has been in Alberta politics!

Tweet This year was a tumultuous time in Alberta politics. What does 2015 have in store for Albertans? December 20, 2014 Story by: Dirk Pranter, Edmonton Journal-Sun Building the next Alberta With the new year just weeks away, speculation is rampant Albertans could go to the polls early next year, less than four years after the last provincial […]

Alberta Diary: Strange political bedfellows are conjuring more than entertainment in Alberta

A poster advertising last night’s NDP-Wildrose leaders’ debate at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Below: Odd couple Brian Mason and Danielle Smith, captured in electrons by Dave Cournoyer of the Daveberta.ca blog.

Alberta New Democratic Party Leader Brian Mason and Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith debated each other at the University of Alberta in Edmonton last night.

According to those who were there, their verbal jabs were highly entertaining. “Ms. Smith and Mr. Mason playfully sparred over issues facing the energy sector, pipelines, the economy, post-secondary education, health care and public services,” wrote blogger Dave Cournoyer, who (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The Six-Point-Four-Billion-Dollar Question: will the Redford Tories drop their budget balancing act?

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi talk to reporters with the swollen Bow River and Calgary’s skyline in the background. (Photo from Ms. Redford’s Facebook page.) Below: U.S. Republican contender Mitt Romney; Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford.

It is not unreasonable, in a purely academic sort of way, to recognize that no major natural event happens without political consequences.

As Mitt Romney, the now nearly forgotten Republican candidate in last November’s U.S. election lamented not long after he was soundly beaten by President Barack Obama, “obviously, a hurricane with (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Negotiating with Alberta’s PC government? Better bring witnesses!

Wildcat strike scene, grabbed from AUPE’s website during the strike. Below: AUPE President Guy Smith, Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.

Advice to anyone who tries to negotiate a deal with Alison Redford, Thomas Lukaszuk or any member or official of their government: take witnesses with you, and make sure you also bring a tape recorder.

You might want to bring a piece of paper, a pen, a Bible and a notary public as well. One-on-one meetings ending in “handshake deals” with these people? I don’t think so!

In what surely is one of the most outrageous Alberta news stories of the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Ironies abound in Alberta’s agitated politics as Alison Redford cranks up the postage meter

How Albertans should see Progressive Conservative and Wildrose policies and procedures. Below: The clever Wildrose Facebook attack on PC Premier Alison Redford’s faintly unsavoury taxpayer-funded mail out, which makes it look a little worse than it really is.

Am I the only one who sees irony in the leader of Alberta’s ultra-conservative Wildrose Party working up a full head of steam because the merely very conservative government of Premier Alison Redford plans to mail a colourful budget brochure to every household in the province – at taxpayer expense, of course?

After all, the Wildrose Party of Danielle Smith is effectively (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Premier explains Alberta politics to children: ‘Opposition Leader, what big teeth you have!’

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, right, meets Opposition Leader Danielle Smith, left, while on her way to announcing a new school opening. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Premier Redford, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith.

Once upon a time, while Alberta’s premier was telling fairy tales to impressionable children, some of her senior officials were spinning fairy stories of their own.

Actually, this all happened yesterday.

The premier told a group of Grade 1 students at an Edmonton school library a story about a good princess named Alison, who built schools (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Jennifer Ditchburn reports that the Harper Cons are making ample progress in their goal of removing Canada from any list of socially-developed welfare states, as Canada has dropped from being the world’s leader in the UN’s Human Development Index to a position outside the top 10 countries by that measure.

- Peter Penashue’s resignation in the wake of a campaign financing scandal will open up plenty of lines of discussion – as well as an opportunity to flip a seat into opposition hands. But let’s ask another question arising out of his stepping

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Alberta Diary: Alberta still needs a “city party” – a role the New Democratic Party could fill

Typical Alberta Progressive Conservative Party members. Or, wait, are those Wildrose members? Alberta’s rural elite may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel. Where’s the NDP when we need them?

Here it is 2013, the Earth is about to become an urban planet, and the Progressive Conservative Government of Alberta and the Opposition Wildrose Party are locked in a titanic battle to win the hearts and minds of conservative rural voters.

What’s wrong with this picture?

City folks? As far as both parties are concerned, we’re

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta still needs a “city party” – a role the New Democratic Party could fill

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: Two polls show how, and maybe why, Alberta’s Tory coalition is crumbling

Weakened but still standing: The mighty Tory edifice. Don’t panic. This is a metaphor! Below: Alberta Premier Alison Redford.

It’s interesting to juxtapose the results of two new polls on related but different topics that were released yesterday – a Think HQ poll of Alberta voter intentions and an Environics poll of Albertans attitudes about taxes and public services.

The results of the former were published in the afternoon by CTV; the results of latter were released in the morning by the Alberta Federation of Labour, for which the survey was done.

If you believe them, the Think

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Two polls show how, and maybe why, Alberta’s Tory coalition is crumbling

Alberta Diary: Are Alberta’s cannily incompetent Conservatives quietly awaiting a ‘Bitumen Gusher’?

Everybody should be as happy about Alberta’s “Bitumen Gusher” as these two guys, your blogger and former Finance Minister Ron Liepert. Below: AUPE’s chart of the price differential between Alberta bitumen and West Texas Intermediate crude. Below that: The Alberta government’s chart showing its natural resource revenue projections to 2022, prepared for last month’s Economic Summit. Obviously there’s no cause for panic.

Have things really changed all that much for Alberta since then-energy minister Ron Liepert predicted in early 2012 that the province was on the verge of a “Bitumen Gusher” of unprecedented magnitude?

One just hates to endorse the

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Are Alberta’s cannily incompetent Conservatives quietly awaiting a ‘Bitumen Gusher’?

Alberta Diary: Renting seniors’ beds is a formula for failure – and it’s time for Alberta to stop doing it

Fresh air and yogurt might have helped these guys live to be 160, but if they’d lived in Alberta, instead of Russia, where could they afford to sleep? Below, seniors care in Calgary, back in the day, before oldsters all carried tennis racquets, rode bicycles and looked like fashion models, only with white hair.

Do you remember that promise by the Alberta government to build 3,000 seniors’ beds? It turns out they only planned to rent them!

The problem with renting beds from private companies, of course, is the same as with any form of privatized medicare: it ends up

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Renting seniors’ beds is a formula for failure – and it’s time for Alberta to stop doing it

Alberta Diary: A Tale of Two Provinces: B.C. NDP and Wild Rosehip Tea Party show why opposition matters

Razzle-dazzle, sis-boom-bah, balanced budgets, rah-rah-rah! Danielle Smith and the Wild Rosehip Tea Party yell squad cheers for Alison Redford’s Tory team’s worst plays on the field. The actual Alberta opposition may not be quite as illustrated. Below: Ms. Redford and B.C. Premier Christie Clark. Why are these two premiers smiling?

British Columbia and Alberta, Canada’s two westernmost provinces, have lots in common.

Both have economies that rely heavily on volatile natural resources, well-educated, diverse and generally socially progressive populations, and Westminster-style parliamentary legislatures in beautiful old buildings.

Both are also governed by irresponsible neoconservative coalitions with misleading names that

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: A Tale of Two Provinces: B.C. NDP and Wild Rosehip Tea Party show why opposition matters

Alberta Diary: Welcome to Wildrose Alberta! What do you mean they didn’t win?

OK, the National Post got a little overheated with this election-day photo of Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith. But, really, what’s the difference? Below: Premier Ernest Manning and Premier Alison Redford, bookends in Alberta’s endless conservative governing dynasty.

In April 2012, spooked by the dangers posed by a far-right Wildrose government, progressive voters in Alberta abandoned the parties they supported by the thousands to vote for Premier Alison Redford’s Conservatives.

What they got when they walked away from the New Democrats, the Alberta Liberals and the Alberta Party, it turns out, was a Wildrose government.

By this, of course, I don’t

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Welcome to Wildrose Alberta! What do you mean they didn’t win?

Alberta Diary: Despite a lot of distraction, illegal political donations still stink up Alberta

Political culture in Alberta? Maybe not exactly as illustrated, but it’s still a problem for the Redford Government if Albertans see it that way. Below: O. Brian Fjeldheim.

OK, we’re all enjoying a nice quiet Family Day long weekend. This gives us an opportunity to look back at the interlocking illegal political contribution eruptions that until recently plagued the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta Premier Alison Redford.

The past couple of weeks have been a busy time for Alberta political commentators, with daily events that might have been a scandal in some places, but somehow just didn’t make the grade

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Despite a lot of distraction, illegal political donations still stink up Alberta

Alberta Diary: Four-day school scheme shows Tories view Fort McMurray as not much more than a work camp

Public School District students await dismissal for the week on a Thursday afternoon in Fort McMurray. Actual students may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Edmonton-Calder NDP MLA David Eggen; former Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Guy Boutilier.

And where, the good people of Fort McMurray should be asking themselves today as Canadians scratch their heads at the idea of four-day school for children in the Alberta oil sands boom town, is Guy Boutilier now that they really need him?

Mr. Boutilier, as readers with long memories may recall, was the Conservative MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo who was kicked out

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Four-day school scheme shows Tories view Fort McMurray as not much more than a work camp

Alberta Diary: The Progressive Conservatives and Alberta’s government: one entity, indivisible, under God?

Participants in today’s Alberta Economic Summit solemnly await Premier Alison Redford’s arrival at Calgary’s Mount Royal University. Many are called but few are chosen, and they may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Stefan Baranski, Charles Rusnell and Stephen Carter.

As befits an almost exclusively political event, criticism of today’s Alberta economic summit by the Opposition Wildrose Party prompted a harsh and highly partisan riposte by the Redford Government.

A news release issued yesterday on government letterhead over the name of Stefan Baranski, Premier Alison Redford’s communications director, accuses Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith of a “deliberate misinformation campaign” against the

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: The Progressive Conservatives and Alberta’s government: one entity, indivisible, under God?

Alberta Diary: Redford government floats risky scheme to impose contract on teachers

An Alberta Teachers Association member gets ready to give an important lesson to the Redford Government. Alberta teachers may not be smiling quite as broadly as illustrated if the government imposes a contract on them by legislation. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson.

Trapped in a no-deficit, no-tax-increase cage of its own devising, with few ideas and a budget looming on March 7, the government of Premier Alison Redford has floated the idea of using legislation to impose a salary cap on Alberta’s teachers.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson has been shopping this brainstorm around to the province’s school boards to see

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford government floats risky scheme to impose contract on teachers

Alberta Diary: Uh-oh! Premier Alison Redford wants to have a ‘conversation’ with us

Fireside chats? Alberta Premier Alison Redford as she’ll likely see herself while softening up the province’s citizens for the March 7 Budget Speech on CTV tonight. Below: Ms. Redford as Albertans may see her. Below that: the real Ms. Redford; Conference Board Chief Economist Glen Hodgson.

Oh dear. Premier Alison Redford wants to have a “conversation” with us tonight.

Daddy’s new job at the convenience store doesn’t pay as much as the old one. We’re all going to have to tighten our belts a little, and that means you kids too. We’ve had to cancel the snow clearing service –

. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Uh-oh! Premier Alison Redford wants to have a ‘conversation’ with us