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Alberta Diary: Alberta Diary is closed, but, like Gen. MacArthur, we (I) shall return…

Yeah, we’re closed, but we don’t plan to be closed for long. Below: Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Below him: Alberta Diary’s crack research staff scouring the Internets, looking for blog ideas and royalty-free illustrations to go with them. This may come as a surprise to readers, but actual Alberta Diary researchers may not appear exactly as illustrated.

I had a friend who travelled to Portugal many years ago. Or maybe it was Brazil. Whatever, she brought back a poster torn from a lamppost that proclaimed (in Portuguese, I presume), “Fear Not! O Globo is back on the stands!”

Here in (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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Politics gets NIMBY in the Edmonton-Whitemud by-election

TweetThe phrase “all politics is local” has been used many times to describe voters who might shy away from trying to restructure health care or environmental policy but are passionate about potholes or saving the park down their street. This phrase appears to be particularily reflective of the Edmonton-Whitemud by-election, where former Edmonton mayor and appointed Health […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The NDP are Ready for Rachel… are Albertans?

TweetWith 70% of the 3,589 votes cast, Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley was selected as the next leader of Alberta’s New Democratic Party. Ms. Notley defeated Edmonton-Calder MLA David Eggen, who earned 28% of the vote, and union activist Rod Loyola, with 2%. Ms. Notley is an articulate and passionate advocate for social issues in Alberta and I […]

Alberta Diary: New Democrats yesterday were ready for Rachel – can Albertans reach the same conclusion?

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, about to be interviewed by the media, moments after her victory speech in Edmonton yesterday. Below: Three scenes from yesterday’s NDP leadership convention, one of Ms. Notley’s buttons, her father, Grant Notley.

Rachel Notley’s campaign buttons asked: “Are you Ready for Rachel?”

There was never much doubt Alberta’s New Democrats were ready for Rachel, and they proved it yesterday by overwhelmingly choosing the scion of this province’s second-most-famous political dynasty as leader of their party in voting at Edmonton’s Sutton Place Hotel.

This has been clear since former leader Brian Mason announced his intention (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: As soon as the NDP picks a new leader today, the party’s focus should turn to Edmonton-Whitemud – here’s why

Your blogger with Edmonton-Whitemud NDP candidate Dr. Bob Turner. Yeah, I support the NDP. Live with it! Below: Retiring NDP Leader Brian Mason, Health Minister Stephen Mandel, Alberta Liberal candidate Donna Wilson and NDP leadership frontrunner Rachel Notley.

After today, when the Alberta New Democratic Party has at long last chosen a leader to replace the retiring Brian Mason, she (or he) needs immediately to turn her (or his) attention to the Oct. 27 Edmonton-Whitemud by-election.

That’s because, if the buzz from some conservative-leaning campaigners is to be believed, there’s a sense on the doorsteps of the suburban Edmonton (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta NDP use strange voting system to select new leader

TweetOn October 18, 2014 Alberta’s New Democratic Party will choose a replacement for retiring leader Brian Mason, who has held the position since 2004. The three candidates seeking the leadership are Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley, Edmonton-Calder MLA David Eggen and Edmonton-Ellerslie candidate Rod Loyola. This is the Alberta NDP’s first foray into a one-member, one-vote system […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: By-Election Round-up: 11 days until the mini-election

TweetThere are now eleven days left until voters cast their ballots in four provincial by-elections on October 27. Prentice a no-show in Calgary-Foothills He is the Premier of Alberta and he does not have a seat in the Legislature, but Jim Prentice was the only Calgary-Foothills by-election candidate to skip last night’s all-candidates forum organized by the Edgemont Community Association. Noting the high-profile […]

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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Sources: MLA David Xiao disqualified from federal Conservative nomination

TweetA Progressive Conservative MLA is appealing a decision by a Conservative Party of Canada committee to disqualify him as a nomination candidate in the newly created Edmonton-West federal riding, according to reliable sources. It remains unclear why the committee chose to disqualify Edmonton-McClung MLA David Xiao, who announced his entry into the contest in March 2014. If Mr. Xiao’s […]

Alberta Diary: Happy Thanksgiving! Would the Tories praising our health care system please stop trying to privatize it!

Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital waaay back in the day. Below: The modern Mis, the one in Edmonton’s west end that after 45 years is falling apart. Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel.

Happy Thanksgiving! With a case of a “potential contagious illness” in an unidentified Edmonton hospital last night, I guess we can be thankful we have a public health care system, even if it faces a serious funding crisis and is housed in crumbling facilities.

This, at any rate, is the party line from Conservative federal and provincial politicians as they keep to keep us from panicking about the emergence of, (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Yellowhead federal by-election called for November 17

TweetProviding a distraction from the four provincial by-elections currently being held in Alberta, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that federal by-elections will be held in Ontario’s Whitby-Oshawa riding and Alberta’s Yellowhead riding. The Yellowhead by-election is triggered by the resignation of five-term Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Merrifield, who was appointed by Premier Jim Prentice […]

Alberta Diary: On those Wildrose attack ads: they can hardly say Jim Prentice has ‘no plan’

The harshest of the three Wildrose Attack ads. Just let Youtube play, and you can see the Wildrose Party’s other two current attack ads plus its single positive spot. Below: A screen shot from one of the spectacularly ineffective 2006 No Plan ads attacking then premier Ed Stelmach. The full ads, unfortunately, have been removed from Youtube. A scene from another of the 2014 Wildrose ads.

I’m not at all certain the Wildrose Party’s TV ads attacking the governing Progressive Conservative candidates in the upcoming Alberta “mini-election” are going to work as intended.

The three negative TV ads depict Premier (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Despite statements by former premier and health minister, AHS has dropped its objection to paying full severance to fired CFO Allaudin Merali

Fred Horne and Alison Redford, back in the day. (CBC photo.) Below: Former Alberta Health Services senior vice-president and CFO Allaudin Merali; former Capital Health Region CEO Sheila Weatherill.

Alberta Health Services has thrown in the towel on a key point of the legal dispute with Allaudin Merali and offered to pay its fired executive vice-president and chief financial officer the full severance agreed to in his contract.

“AHS has acknowledged that it will pay the severance required by the Employment Contract once the Plaintiff has complied with the obligations imposed on him by the Employment Contract,” AHS says (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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Can the opposition win any of the 4 by-elections?

TweetCan the opposition parties win any of the four provincial by-elections being held on October 27, 2014? The by-election votes will take place in four urban constituencies that were considered safe for the Progressive Conservatives in the 2012 election. With a change in provincial leadership and a volatile political environment, these by-elections do provide opportunities for the opposition parties […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Today in History: Alison Redford sworn-in as Premier of Alberta

TweetOn October 7, 2011, Alison Merrilla Redford stood in front of a large crowd of her peers and power-brokers in the Legislature Rotunda as she was sworn-in as Alberta’s 14th Premier. Having won the October 1, 2011 Progressive Conservative leadership contest with 37,101 votes to 35,491 for second-place Gary Mar, Ms. Redford became Alberta’s first woman Premier […]

Calgary Grit: Don Iveson will stand the test of time

Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor not a politician!

Naheed Nenshi has built a reputation as Canada’s coolest mayor, at least among young progressives. He’s big on the Twitter. He’s hip (by politician standards). He’s funny (by politician standards). He shatters the (unfair) stereotype of Calgary as Canada’s redneck wasteland.

However, Nenshi may have competition from Calgary’s rival city.

While Calgary broke barriers by electing Canada’s first Muslim mayor, Edmonton broke barriers last fall with the election of Don Ivesion – Canada’s first openly Nerd mayor.

I crossed paths with Iveson a few times when I was at the University of (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Remember where you heard it first: privatizing the Alberta government air fleet in haste was a lousy business decision

A flight steward welcomes well-connected passengers aboard a chartered government of Alberta flight sometime in the near future. But don’t worry about it. You’ll never know if Alberta’s privatized air services are not exactly as illustrated because there will be no accountability. Below: Premier Jim Prentice, the business guru who came up with this scheme; Edmonton Journal political columnist Graham Thomson.

Alberta’s mainstream media seems to have discovered at last that selling off the government’s air fleet to expunge the embarrassment of Alison Redford’s premiership is not necessarily an astute business move, and is most definitely unfair to the 27 (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The magic of Tory reinvention. A new era for Alberta.

TweetAs the Progressive Conservatives brandish their new slogan, “A new era for Alberta,” many Albertans might be confused about which political party has been in power for the past 43 years. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an era as “a long and distinct period of history.” If we were to apply the geological time scale of the Earth […]

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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta politics this week: Health Ministers, By-Elections and Troubled Waters Ahead

TweetBANFF – Stepping onto the national stage for the first time since he was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Health, Stephen Mandel met with his provincial and federal counterparts this week in Banff for the annual Health Ministers meeting. Mr. Mandel co-chaired the meeting, a role his predecessor, Fred Horne, had planned to fill. The ministers are said […]

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…)