Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

Alberta Diary: So much for ‘leading by example’ – Alberta Tories’ 3-year pay freeze for top civil service executives melts like ice cream on a hot day

Ice cream on a hot day – melts almost as fast as an Alberta Tory management wage freeze! Actual PC promises of “leading by example” may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Finance Minister Doug Horner, nowhere to be seen yesterday; leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk, bemoaning the decision last night.

Senior Alberta government managers had to be rejoicing yesterday – and presumably resolving to update their lapsed memberships in the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

Leastways, word leaked out yesterday to us in the Hoi Polloi that the government’s three-year freeze on civil service executive salaries, which began amid great fanfare (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: Opposition attack on Tory leadership frontrunner Jim Prentice a measure of how deeply Alison Redford wounded her party

“Diamond Jim” Prentice, at right, in a strategy session with Alberta Premier Dave Hancock, as described by the provincial NDP and seen by the Wildrose Party. Below: the real Mr. Prentice and former premier Alison Redford.

If you’re looking for a yardstick with which to measure the truly spectacular failure of the short, unhappy reign of Alison Redford over Alberta, just consider the last few days as experienced by Jim Prentice.

Mr. Prentice, of course, is the front-runner in the race to become Ms. Redford’s permanent replacement at the helm of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative dynasty, which has ruled Alberta (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Opposition hoping for a sequel to Air Redford… Air Prentice

TweetThe long-summer of 2014 has begun in Alberta politics. With little substantial policy ideas to dispute or debate, Alberta’s opposition parties have set their sights on Progressive Conservative leadership front-runner Jim Prentice (if this continues, Thomas Lukaszuk and Ric McIver are going to start feeling left out). Hoping to tie Mr. Prentice to frequent-flying former Premier Alison Redford […]

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…)

Alberta Diary: Missing: Any discussion of what drove the Hancock Government’s Bill 10 attack on legally enforceable contracts

A system of contracts that can be enforced and adjudicated by an independent and disinterested court like this one is one of the key features of civilized society. This is a picture of the court used by a significant number Canadian law firms to illustrate their web pages. Actually, it’s the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan. But, unlike all those coruscating Canadian legalists, I took this picture myself. Below: Premier pro tem Dave Hancock talking to the media about an entirely different controversial issue; historian Alvin Finkel.

Amid all the brouhaha in recent weeks over (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Who wants to be leader of the Alberta NDP?

TweetWhile most political chatter in Alberta is focused on how big Jim Prentice’s victory will be on the first ballot of the Progressive Conservative leadership vote on September 6, there is another race about to begin – the race to become the leader of the Alberta NDP. At his press conference announcing departure, outgoing NDP […]

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 […]

Alberta Diary: A Tale of Two Leaders: His was the best of exits, hers was the worst

Retiring Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason with your blogger’s introduction-to-journalism class in 2011: he was witty, passionate and persuasive, a big part of why the Alberta NDP continues to draw young supporters in significant numbers. Below: Mr. Mason with Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who has also retired from politics; in a typical pose at a party social; and in another typical pose, proving Alberta’s weather was never too cold for a speech from Brian Mason.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it (Read more…)

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