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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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Are the wheels falling off the Wildrose bus?

TweetA short few months ago, it almost felt inevitable that the Wildrose Party would sweep into a majority government at the next election. They were up in the polls and the long-time governing Progressive Conservatives looked corrupt, broken and battered. But over the past few weeks, it appears the Official Opposition is stumbling into disarray. Leader […]

Politics and its Discontents: WildRose Revisited

The other day I wrote a post about the Wildrose Party’s retraction of its definitive equal rights clause that covered almost every conceivable individual. Although leader Danielle Smith had enthused the day before about its inclusiveness, when party delegates voted it down, she quickly changed her tune, saying that the more generic substitute was better.

In this morning’s Globe, Gary Mason offers his own view on what many see as a regressive step for Wildrose, and what he calls yet another ‘bozo eruption.”: The change was important for a political institution that is still viewed suspiciously in some (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The least interesting part of Legislative Session: The Throne Speech

TweetEvery year, political watchers gather at the Alberta Legislature for the pomp and circumstance of the Speech from the Throne, hoping to get a glimpse of a political agenda. And every year they are sorely disappointed at the Throne Speech’s lack of detail. Yesterday’s Throne Speech, delivered by elderly Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell, was unremarkable, […]

Politics and its Discontents: Perhaps They Forgot (In)Alien(able) Rights?

The Edmonton Journal reports the following story about the Wildrose Party: Wildrose members on Saturday voted down a “definitive statement” on equality rights, one day after leader Danielle Smith trumpeted the motion that had been adopted by the party last year.

Perhaps its specificity offended some of the party’s ‘less progressive’ members? Delegates at the Wildrose annual general meeting in Red Deer voted 148 — 109 to reject a proposal to make policy a motion adopted last year defending the rights of all people, “regardless of race, religious belief, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Two political general meetings in one weekend: Wildrosers conduct gloomy post-mortem while PCs flirt with characteristic hubris

Steady as she goes! Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, centre, works to keep party stalwarts, on either side, on the right course, which would be not too far to the right, of course. Alberta Premier Prentice, at the wheel above, tries to get the earnest Wildrosers to take a wrong turn. Actual Alberta conservative party leaders, supporters and their political vehicles may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice and the real Ms. Smith.

Both of Alberta’s right-wing parties held general meetings this weekend – the ever-ruling Progressive Conservatives in Banff and the so-far never-ruling Wildrose Party in (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Why libraries – and library users – need their librarians and other library workers to be union members

Maureen O’Reilly, president of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union, speaking in Toronto last weekend. Below: Renowned author Margaret Atwood on an Alberta union picket line, circa 2000, Doug Ford and his Brother Rob.

Doug Ford? Doug Ford? Who is Doug Ford again?

I think he’s Rob Ford’s brother?

OK. Who is Rob Ford?

Didn’t I say back in the summer of 2011 that Margaret Atwood – and, by contrast, we all know who Ms. Atwood is – was the best thing that ever happened to Doug Ford?

Mr. Ford, in case you’ve forgotten already, was the former Toronto (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta Politics Roundup – Eve of Fall Sitting

TweetFall Legislative Session November 17, 2014 will mark the start of the first legislative session for new Premier Jim Prentice, Health Minister Stephen Mandel and Education Minister Gordon Dirks. The 43-year old governing Progressive Conservatives have promised to introduce new laws focusing on property rights and ‘ending entitlements’ for their MLAs. This will be Rachel Notley’s first session as […]

Alberta Diary: Revolving door still spinning at Alberta Health Services executive suite in wake of $3-billion ‘Sonic boom’

Former Alberta Health Services VP and interim co-CEO Rick Trimp, who left the massive health care agency on Halloween, in a screen grab. Below: AHS CEO Vickie Kaminski, blogger and political candidate Susan Wright, Health Minister Stephen Mandel and former health minister Fred Horne.

Rick Trimp, who most recently was Alberta Health Services’ vice-president of province-wide clinical supports, programs and services and before that was briefly the organization’s interim co-CEO, doesn’t work for the massive provincial health services agency any more.

That much we know. Everything else is murky.

Mr. Trimp became interim co-CEO responsible for population, health and province-wide (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Prentice victory lap to leave Redford legacy in the dust at Banff PC AGM

TweetPremier Jim Prentice is warming up for a victory lap as Progressive Conservatives loyalists gather at the posh Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel for the party’s annual general meeting on November 14 and 15, 2014. Mr. Prentice will join the convention basking in the glow of an impressive first two months as Premier and four recent by-election wins as […]

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s big problem is the same as Russia’s – so what’s Stephen Harper doing about it?

Keep those wells a-pumpin! Keep those oil prices low! Squeeze those Russkies! Uh … just a minute. … isn’t that bad for Alberta’s many varieties of Conservative? Below: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mr. Harper’s hero, Margaret Thatcher.

The Globe and Mail, tireless cheerleader for the Harper Government, was gloating Monday about the impact falling oil prices, a declining Ruble and the bite of Western sanctions are having on Russia, which, the Report on Business rejoiced, is being pushed toward the brink of recession.

Woo-hoo! That’ll teach those Russkies to try to keep NATO (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Limping Alberta Liberals face more financial troubles

Tweet Did Liberal leader Raj Sherman break Alberta’s political donations limits when making donations to his own party? The Calgary Herald is reporting that Dr. Sherman may have exceeded the $15,000 limit for donations three times in the past four years and donated double the limit this year through corporations he controls. The questionable donations were […]

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: Business arising from the minutes: Unionized St. Albert workers sign deal; CTF Alberta director suddenly departs

Toronto’s once notorious Rochedale College, now a perfectly respectable apartment building. Below: Outgoing Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt and the King’s Noodle Restaurant (grabbed from TripAdvisor).

TORONTO

It was my intention, since I am away from Alberta on business, not to file an Alberta Diary post this evening. Truth be told, Friday night and Saturday are the week’s worst times for readership anyway, as those readers with a life tend to be off living it.

Still, my iPhone gonged portentously when I exited my Air Canada flight from Edmonton here in the Ford Bothers’ hometown tonight with two (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: There’s no better time than right now for non-union employees of the City of St. Albert to look for union protection

St. Albert’s 2013 civic election campaign was pretty dirty, as the illustration above, grabbed from an anonymous blog during the campaign, illustrates. Since those kind of tactics seemed to work, the next one, in October 2017, is likely to be dirtier still. Below: St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse, Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA Doug Horner.

ST. ALBERT, Alberta

If you’re a front-line administrative or library worker employed by the City of St. Albert, you should be thinking seriously about joining a union. Now. Here’s why:

Cast your mind back to the rhetoric and tactics of a number of candidates in this (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Sleepy Yellowhead by-election set for November 17

TweetA big Conservative win is inevitable in this rural Alberta riding When recently resigned Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Merrifield was appointed by Premier Jim Prentice as Alberta’s Representative in Washington D.C., many political watchers in Alberta were caught by surprise. It was known that the MP was spending an increasing amount of time lobbying American politicians in the Capitol and I […]

Alberta Diary: Said to be sought as candidate by Wildrose Party, ‘tax watchdog’ spokesperson’s intentions are for the moment unclear

CTF Alberta spokesperson Derek Fildebrandt last summer at the Legislature in Edmonton. Below: Premier Jim Prentice and political blogger Dave Cournoyer.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith is “working hard” to recruit Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta spokesperson Derek Fildebrandt as a candidate for the next provincial general election in the Calgary-Bow riding, Daveberta.ca blog author Dave Cournoyer reported yesterday.

“Mr. Fildebrandt is an outspoken critic of the PC Government and has targeted Premier Jim Prentice with FOIP requests dating back to his time in Ottawa,” Mr. Cournoyer wrote, citing “rumours” that he said have been circulating for some time.

If it (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The Annals of Irony: Those alleged Wildrose caucus recordings and Danielle Smith’s 1999 school board ‘opposition research’ escapade

A mean note found in a trashcan or a coffee cup and reassembled. Actual mean notes found in actual trashcans may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Former Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin, Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith, former Calgary Herald editorial page editor Peter Stockland, former Calgary Liberal candidate and public school trustee Jennifer Pollock, former CBE chair Teresa Woo-Paw, now a PC MLA.

There is a certain irony in Opposition Leader Danielle Smith’s distress this week at the thought someone might have recorded meetings of the Wildrose Party’s Legislative caucus.

That someone, according to Ms. Smith, was former (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Look who’s running in 2016: Alberta Election nominations

TweetWith the four provincial by-elections over, the focus will soon turn back to nominating candidates to stand in Alberta’s next general election. The next election is scheduled to be held sometime between March 1 and May 31, 2016, but can be called earlier if premier requests the Lieutenant Governor to issue a writ of election. The Wildrose Party and the […]

Alberta Diary: Conservative parties squirm as fired AHS executive triumphs over government, controversial MLA quits opposition caucus

This just in from Alberta’s two conservative parties. Below: former Alberta Health Services CFO Allaudin Merali, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, MLA Joe Anglin (CBC Photo), Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, former health minister Fred Horne.

Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservative Party and its Opposition Wildrose Party, in addition to sharing an identical right-wing ideology, face a similar problem this morning, a situation and a person each party would very much like to see go away as quickly as possible.

In each case the circumstances have the potential to embarrass each party seriously enough with voters to impact its chances in the next (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: What Civil War? Wildrose MLAs rally behind Danielle Smith

TweetIn a move designed to quash any further internal party dissent, Wildrose MLAs rallied around their leader yesterday by unanimously requesting their party’s executive committee cancel a leadership review that Danielle Smith requested last week. The sign of caucus unity came shortly after Sundre-Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey MLA Joe Anglin announced he was leaving the Official Opposition Caucus to sit as […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Joe Anglin fires opening shot in Wildrose Civil War

TweetCiting a “civil war” within the Wildrose Party, MLA Joe Anglin has decided to leave the Official Opposition caucus to sit as an Independent MLA. Mr. Anglin said in a Facebook message posted this morning that he did so in advance of today’s caucus meeting, where leader Danielle Smith was expected to introduce a motion […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Wildrose leader faces Rocky [Mountain House] challenges and leadership review

TweetReacting to her party’s poor results in four provincial by-elections held this week, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith announced that she will face a leadership review at her party’s annual convention on November 14 and 15, 2014 in Red Deer. This is a smart move by the official opposition leader, as a solid approval rating will silence her […]

In This Corner: Winners and losers on byelection night

Now that the mini-referendum for Jim Prentice is over, let’s study the entrails (disgusting image, I know) to discern the winners and losers of the night.

WINNER: The PCs and Jim Prentice

The other parties will find all sorts of good things to say about how they fared, but this was objectively a bad news night for almost everyone. They will say it was no surprise that Prentice won in a safe Tory seat, and that Stephen Mandel won in Edmonton’s only safe Tory seat. But if voters really want to send a message to a government, they do it (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Wildrose needs to be more than the Anti-Redford Party

TweetPCs sweep four by-elections, NDP and Alberta Party make gains Disgraced former premier Alison Redford gave Albertans a convincing reason to vote Wildrose, but Danielle Smith‘s official opposition needs to find a new strategy to defeat Premier Jim Prentice‘s Progressive Conservative. This appears to be the case as Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives celebrate their candidates victories in four Alberta by-elections held yesterday. […]