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Alberta Diary: Ric McIver Progressive Conservative leadership campaign lurches to life as Hancock Government sends mixed signals

Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver, shown on his extremely uninformative campaign website. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson and newly appointed Jobs, Skills, Etc. Minister Kyle Fawcett.

Ho-hum. After days of virtual silence, former infrastructure minister Ric McIver made the first official appearance of his campaign for the leadership of Alberta’s geriatric Tory dynasty at an Edmonton old-folks’ home yesterday morning.

Judging from the poor-quality CBC live-feed of the event, Mr. McIver’s heart wasn’t quite in it. But maybe I’m projecting – people keep telling me not to under-estimate Mr. McIver, so I won’t – but he sure looked like (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Post-fight analysis: Round 1 to Jim Prentice as Wildrose comes out swinging over debt remark

Jim Prentice and Wildrose champion Rob Anderson square off in Round 1, as members of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce look on. Actual scenes from Alberta political discourse may not appear exactly as illustrated. Judge Dave gives Round 1 to Mr. Prentice. Below: The real Mr. Prentice and the real Mr. Anderson.

Well, it’s hard to know for sure, but I’d say the first open policy scrap between Jim Prentice, Progressive Conservative Premier Apparent of Alberta, and the Wildrose Opposition yesterday morning went to Mr. Prentice.

Leastways, by most accounts Mr. Prentice managed to sound like a grownup when he (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Thomas Lukaszuk throws his hat in the ring – although which ring is open to debate

Self-described anti-establishment Alberta PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk in a jaunty self-mocking portrait with your blogger. Below: Tory heir apparent Jim Prentice in another weirdly Joe-Clark-like pose found on the Internet; candidate Ric McIver.

Thomas Lukaszuk visited Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock yesterday morning to resign as Alberta’s labour minister and became a candidate for a portfolio in Premier Designate Jim Prentice’s cabinet.

OK, that’s kind of a mean way to describe what is officially a run for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party in which Mr. Lukaszuk could theoretically knock off Mr. Prentice or the only other (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: OK, Jim Prentice really loves Alberta … but can Alberta love Jim Prentice?

Jim Prentice officially announcing his candidacy yesterday. Is it just me, or is there the faintest air of Joe Clark about the man? Below left: Mr. Prentice surrounded by some of the usual suspects in Edmonton today, from a photo snatched from the PC Party’s Twitter feed. Below right: Alison Redford back in October 2012 – look for some familiar faces in the background yesterday…

Banker, lawyer and former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice launched his leisurely jog to the leadership of the province’s Progressive Conservative Party and the job of Alberta Premier No. 16 yesterday morning by telling anyone (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Chutzpah Alert! Premier Dave Hancock explains why Sky Palaces and similar uproars are nothing but ‘distractions’

Alison Redford’s planned rooftop apartment, high atop the Federal Building in Edmonton. The Alberta Legislative Building is visible in the background. Actual secret places of the modern world may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: A shot of the actual Sky Palace under construction.

I don’t know about you, but I sort of admire the colossal cheek of the Hancock Government – which is exactly the same in most respects as the Redford Government – when it claims that all its recent troubles are nothing but One Big Distraction.

Last week, Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock visited my town, St. (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Finance Minister Doug Horner meekly throws his support to heir apparent Jim Prentice

Alberta Progressive Conservative Party activists surround leadership candidate Jim Prentice at a recent $500-a-plate fund-raising dinner in Edmonton. Finance Minister Doug Horner is visible immediately to Mr. Prentice’s right. The painting in the background illustrates Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. Actual Progressive Conservative Party members may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The actual Mr. Horner, Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver, sort-of candidate Thomas Lukaszuk and Edmonton New Media Awards Co-Founder Brittney Le Blanc.

Another qualified and long-expected candidate for the post of the first permanent post-Alison-Redford leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party has meekly thrown his support to the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Tracking Alberta MLA endorsements in the PC Leadership race

Tweet  In party leadership races, endorsements by sitting MLAs can be a double-edged sword. Endorsements can lend credibility to candidates and individual MLAs own local political networks to the campaign. Large numbers of endorsements can also signal to rank and file party members where their party’s establishment is lining up. But MLA endorsements are not always a […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Is the Jim Prentice Juggernaut unstoppable?

TweetHe is a leadership candidate backed by long-governing party establishment. He has chased away his potential rivals. He has experience in both the federal cabinet and the corporate sector. He is a respected party insider. He has a track record as a moderate conservative and can raise significant amounts of money for his party. The […]

Alberta Diary: And then there were two … decline of the Alberta Tory leadership race mirrors decline of Progressive Conservative Party

Hail the conquering hero … now starring Jim Prentice, above. Actual Progressive Conservative Enlightened Beings may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Non-leadership contenders Ken … Ken, we hardly knew ye! … Hughes, Doug Horner, Diana McQueen and Jonathan Denis.

And then there were two…

Ken Hughes, the former minister of municipal affairs and energy and the first candidate to enter the 2014 race to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, has pulled out of the contest, bowing to the inevitability of a Jim Prentice coronation.

For his part, Mr. Prentice, the Calgary banker and former federal politician, continues to play (Read more…)

In This Corner: Alberta: Land of milk and money.

Alberta is truly a land of wonders. For example, I wonder what kind of thinking went into giving whopping six-figure salaries to public servants?

Alberta is awash in examples of staggering salaries — and jaw dropping severance packages — given to government higher ups.

Let’s start up north, Fort McMoney way.

Glen Laubenstein, chief administrative officer for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (basically Fort McMurray), suddenly quit his job recently. This is surprising, in that Laubenstein had a base salary of $433,015, with an additional $100,000 in expenses. Fort McMurray mayor Melissa Blake, who presumably was in on approving (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Miraculously, no one trampled as Tories race for Alberta Legislature’s exits

Alison Redford crashes through the Alberta Legislature. Below: Frightened and relieved, Alberta Progressive Conservative MLAs race from the vicinity of the Legislative Building in Edmonton yesterday; Nostradamus; Moses. Actual Alberta politicians and legislative architectural renderings may not appear exactly as illustrated.

It must have seemed a little like the panic scene in post-war Japanese monster movie at the Alberta Legislature yesterday. Only in this flick, the shadow cast by Godzilla looked suspiciously like that of Alison Redford.

Fortunately, no one seems to have been seriously injured in the rush for the exits.

After two years with Ms. Redford at the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Workers Compensation Board poised to give back more than $500 million to employers

Alberta Workers Compensation Board officials ready shipments of money to send back to employers. Actual WBC staff may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk and now-official Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver, who gave up the K in his first name for the benefit of all Albertans.

The Alberta Workers Compensation Board is poised to give back more than half a billion dollars in employer contributions thanks to an unexpectedly good year for its asset-liability management activities.

Leastways, so says a slide prepared for a meeting the month before last of the Industry Task Force Association, (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The All-Calgarian PC Party leadership race

TweetAnother Calgarian has entered what has been, at least so far, an all-Calgarian Progressive Conservative leadership race. Announcing his candidacy in the contest to become the next PC Party leader and premier, former Infrastructure minister Ric McIver declared he would bring a “common-sense new approach to replace insider, establishment thinking, with new common-sense thinking.” The first-term MLA and former three-term […]

Alberta Diary: Finance minister’s joint news conference with civil service union leader sure looked like a total climb-down

AUPE President Guy Smith, left, and Finance Minister Doug Horner on the podium together at yesterday’s news conference in Edmonton. Below: NDP leader Brian Mason as he spoke to reporters moments afterward.

There’s no question, after a year of something approaching total warfare between the Government of Alberta and its civil service union, it was unnerving to see Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith and Finance Minister Doug Horner sharing the same podium at a joint news conference yesterday morning.

The backstory for the public? Former premier Alison Redford is gone, taking her war on public employees with (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Pension bill delayed as Hancock softens ground for next PC Party leader

TweetIn another move suggesting the spring sitting of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly could end within days, it appears that the passage of the Progressive Conservative Government’s controversial public sector pension law – Bill 9: Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2014 – will be delayed until the fall sitting later this year. The opposition filibuster of the pension bill ended yesterday when the […]

Alberta Diary: Calgary mayor hands Alberta PCs a ‘Get Out of Jail Card’ on public service pensions

Alberta Premier pro tem Dave Hancock, who does not appear exactly as illustrated, of course, pictured on a Get Out of Jail Free card given him today by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Below: Mr. Nenshi and the real Mr. Hancock.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi handed Alberta Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock a Get Out of Jail Free card today.

It may not seem that way at first blush, but when Mr. Nenshi wrote Premier Hancock assailing Finance Minister Doug Horner’s Alison-Redford-era legislation allowing the province to gut Alberta public sector pensions, he did the government a huge favour.

Bill 9, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Doublethink, Alberta Tory style … Sorry, really, but who’s this Alison Redford person?

Former Alberta premier Alison Redford, left, confronts a frightened Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock. Below: A frame from the lost video clip of Ms. Redford’s part in the video tribute to Alberta’s past Tory premiers. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated.

MONTREAL

Official Alberta Progressive Conservative Party Position No. 1: Alison Redford is the sole cause of all the PC Party’s problems. Now that she’s gone, everything in Alberta is hunky-dory again.

Wait!

Official Alberta Progressive Conservative Party Position No. 2: Alison Redford was never premier of Alberta. It was a hallucination or something. An undigested bit (Read more…)

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: Four-year, 6.75% AUPE tentative agreement ends threat of open war between civil service union and Hancock Government

If not cordiale, at least entente. Alberta Premier Dave Hancock and AUPE President Guy Smith celebrate their tentative contract agreement yesterday. Actual Alberta public figures may not appear exactly as illustrated. (I freely admit stealing this idea from Daveberta.ca.) Below: Jim Prentice, Mr. Hancock and Mr. Smith.

The threat of open warfare between Alberta’s government and its largest union over the contract for unionized civil servants ended yesterday, after the ruling Progressive Conservative dynasty, nervously awaiting the coming of latest supposed saviour, appears to have sued for peace.

Pretty obviously, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees won, although, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: PS, Tories love you! Is Alison Redford leading predators away from her party? Or what?

The now-famous cell-phone camera shot of Ms. Redford dining with her daughter at Lulu California Bistro in Palm Springs, grabbed from the Internet.

VICTORIA, B.C.

Truth be told, former premier Alison Redford is not the first Alberta cabinet member to just say to hell with it and take a few days off in a sunny spot after a major political setback.

It’s a mild irony that the last one I’m aware of who did the same thing had just been kicked out of cabinet by Ms. Redford.

Now, the former cabinet minister in question was presumably fortunate in landing (Read more…)

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Even The X Premier Of Alberta Wants The Fuck Out Of Alberta

She’s fled South to Palm Springs, and I’ve been to Palm Springs, and I’ve been to Lethbridge this time of year, and frankly who can blame her?  The comments on the facebook page of the guy who found her there are really quite judge-y.   But think upon this, Albertans.

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta Tories waiting for a Jim Prentice coronation

TweetCould the snoozer that has become Alberta’s Progressive Conservative leadership race risk becoming a coronation if former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice jumps into the race? Necessitated by the resignation of Premier Alison Redford on March 19, the race to choose the next leader of Alberta’s 43-year long governing PC Party has so far drawn little interest from serious […]

Alberta Diary: Thanks to Tom Lukaszuk’s memo, Albertans know it wasn’t just Alison Redford with the entitlement problem

Members of the Alberta government’s Public Affairs Bureau spin a good yarn in response to freedom of information requests filed ages ago by Alberta journalists, opposition politicians and other busybodies. Actual government propaganda officials may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, Information Commissioner Jill Clayton and Finance Minister Doug Horner.

VICTORIA, B.C.

Albertans owe Thomas Lukaszuk a small gesture of thanks for illustrating it’s not just Alison Redford who had the problem with entitlement.

Surely it’s a sense of entitlement that drives the attitude, all too typical among members of Alberta’s still-ruling Progressive Conservative elite, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Waiting in ambush for PC leadership candidate Ken Hughes: the ghosts of health care disasters past and present

Back in the day when Alberta Health Services was still full of promise, AHS board chair Ken Hughes, above left, got his instructions from health minister Ron Liepert, right. Mr. Hughes is now a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party and Mr. Liepert is a candidate for Parliament. So far, though, Mr. Hughes is the only candidate for the leadership! Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: the real Mr. Hughes and Shiraz Shariff, the last Alberta politician to beat Mr. Hughes in a fair fight.

VICTORIA, B.C.

Unless some brave outsider (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: In one day, the ground shifts in Alberta politics in ways unexpected, sometimes uplifting, sometimes troubling

On March 23, Lewis Cardinal became the first nominated federal NDP candidate in Canada for the expected 2015 election. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Yesterday he stepped aside in the face of undisclosed health problems. Below: Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson.

What a strange day it was yesterday, at times uplifting, at times profoundly depressing, and at times just disorienting.

In the morning, Alberta suddenly dropped most aspects of its official homophobia. This less formal kind will continue to longer for a spell, of course, but as an issue for most Albertans it’s done like the family’s (Read more…)