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daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Can Wildrose survive Rob Anders? Can floor crossers survive PC Party?

Initially turned away by Wildrose Party officials, controversial Conservative Member of Parliament Rob Anders has asked the Wildrose Party for a “waiver” to run for the party’s leadership. Having lost bids for federal Conservative nominations in Calgary-Signal Hill and Bow River last… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Who will stop the Jim Prentice juggernaut?

The past few months have been a sobering reminder that it foolish to underestimate the staying power of Alberta’s 43-year long governing Progressive Conservatives. A year ago the scandal ridden PC Government appeared to be on the verge of collapse. And now,… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Election Alert! PCs set March 15 nomination deadline!

The Progressive Conservatives gave hints today that they could be preparing for a Spring 2015 provincial election. Reported by the Calgary Herald and confirmed by sources close to this blogger, the PC Party has set a deadline for candidates to be nominated… Continue Reading →

Susan on the Soapbox: Alberta Needs Charlie Hebdo

Wednesday’s massacre of eight journalists, five of whom were political cartoonists, at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo unleashed a torrent of “We are Charlie Hebdo” editorials across the world.

Newspapers fell all over themselves in an effort to demonstrate solidarity with the slain cartoonists—but they had a concern. Was it enough to simply describe Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons or did they have to reprint examples of the magazine’s work?

Some reprinted the cartoons, others did not, arguing that reprinting an offensive cartoon would be disrespectful to Muslims.

In both cases publishers reassured themselves (and us) that when it came (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Wildrose Staffers land jobs with PC Caucus

TweetWhile some staffers working for the Wildrose Official Opposition Caucus lost their jobs when leader Danielle Smith and 8 MLAs crossed the floor to the Progressive Conservatives before Christmas 2014, at least three former opposition staffers appear to have landed jobs working for the governing PC Caucus. Appearing on the Government of Alberta staff directory with job titles “Caucus Staff … Continue reading Wildrose Staffers land jobs with PC Caucus

Susan on the Soapbox: When Politicians Lie…er, Misspeak Themselves

“How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.”—Political joke.

Politicians don’t lie. They misspeak, they overstate, they understate. And the press distorts, takes out of context, twists, exaggerates or does something equally heinous to what they’ve said. Poor dears.

Over the past few months Premier Prentice and ex-Leader of the Official Opposition, Danielle Smith, have been moving their lips a lot. It ain’t pretty, but are they lying?

What is a political lie?

Smart politicians avoid political lies by resorting to politician-speak—the language of un-communication. For example, any sentence that starts with “let me (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Who will be the next leader of the Wildrose Party?

TweetAfter 11 of the party’s 16 MLAs crossed the floor to the Progressive Conservatives in November and December 2014, the Wildrose Party has been thrown into chaos. Left without its most public faces, most notably former leader Danielle Smith, the party will choose its next permanent leader sometime in the next year, likely between the months … Continue reading Who will be the next leader of the Wildrose Party?

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Top 10 moments in Alberta Politics in 2014

TweetIn my nearly ten years writing about politics in Alberta on this blog, 2014 was easily the most exciting. The sheer number of scandals, controversies, fumbles and resignations made for new content on a daily basis. If I had the time and resources, I could have easily written three or four posts a day for most of … Continue reading Top 10 moments in Alberta Politics in 2014

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: What a year 2015 has been in Alberta politics!

TweetDecember 29, 2015 Column by: Dirk Pranter, Provincial Affairs columnist, Edmonton Journal-Sun Tories re-elected for 14th time A snap mid-Summer election returned Jim Prentice’s renamed “Conservative Party of Alberta” to its fourteenth term as government. In an unexpected twist of fate, Finance Minister Danielle Smith was defeated in her home riding by Wildrose Party leader Randy Thorsteinson. But don’t feel sorry for … Continue reading What a year 2015 has been in Alberta politics!

Alberta Diary: Alberta, I give you Alison Redford, Person of the Year for 2014!

Former premier Alison Redford at the moment of her leadership campaign victory in 2011. Former opposition leader Danielle Smith in a typical campaign pose last summer.

Back in the mists of time, or rather, Time, there used to be a regular December feature called “Man of the Year.”

That was amended to “Person of the Year” in the 28th year of Progressive Conservative rule here in Alberta, and no doubt many in that party are still upset by the change, being symptomatic, as it were, of that other kind of PC they so love to disparage.

Other (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: A Dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2015

TweetAs 2014 reminded us, politics can be an extraordinarily unpredictable and forecasting the future can be a tricky business for political pundits. Aside from the obvious choice of Premier Jim Prentice, here is a list of a dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2015. Rob Anderson (Airdrie): The outspoken rookie MLA left the PC Caucus in 2010 … Continue reading A Dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2015 →

Alberta Diary: Enough with the fantasy Wildrose was Alberta’s best opposition, already! It’s baloney!

And then there were five: The Wildrose caucus back before it experienced civil war, desertions and mass defections, including that of its leader, the woman in red above. Below: former NDP leader Brian Mason and current Leader Rachel Notley; effective Liberal MLAs David Swann and Hugh Macdonald.

One of the more irritating byproducts of mass defection by the Mudville Nine and two of their caucus colleagues who rejoined the Tory Mothership a few days earlier has been the outright wholesaling of the nonsensical claim the Wildrose Party was the most effective opposition Alberta has ever known.

Jen Gerson and Jesse (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Jim Prentice revealed as Hayek ‘disciple’; Heather Forsyth to lead Wildrose rump; Preston Manning says he’s sorry … and more!

A crowd of typical Albertans reacts to the news Danielle Smith and most of her caucus have gone and joined Premier Jim Prentice’s PCs. Below: Mr. Prentice; neoliberal saint Friedrich Hayek; Preston Manning, who is really, really sorry he didn’t counsel a vote or something; interim Wildrose Leader Heather Forsyth; and new Tory MLA Gary Bikman.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think the most interesting news tidbit yesterday was that Heather Forsyth will become the new “Wildrump” leader, Preston Manning’s peculiar apology for accidentally uniting the right, the government’s sneaky tuition fee increases, or even the poll (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Never mind the Mudville Nine: Nothing has changed, nothing ever will, that is all!

“Your health. Our promise.” It’s March 1, 2013, and then-premier Alison Redford announces plans to build a new cancer treatment facility in Calgary to replace the grubby and overcrowded Tom Baker Cancer Centre. (Photo grabbed from Metro Newspapers.) But that was then. This is now. Below: Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel; the Tom Baker facility in northwest Calgary.

As Danielle Smith might have said, were she still the leader of the Opposition, “nothing has changed!”

On Friday, mass media were uncritically reporting the “reasons” the new cancer hospital promised to Calgary on which construction was supposed (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Danielle Smith Betrayed the Wildrose; Jim Prentice Betrayed the Rest of Us

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” —Abraham Lincoln

Premier Prentice gave every member of his caucus a copy of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals. No doubt to help them “decide” whether to let Danielle Smith, the leader of the Opposition, and eight members of her Wildrose caucus join the Progressive Conservative government.

The absurdity of the situation escaped his dimwitted caucus.

Mr Lincoln

The book describes Abraham Lincoln’s relationship the three men in his own party who challenged Lincoln for the Republican presidential nomination. After Mr Lincoln (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Could the Wildrose collapse mean an early 2015 election?

TweetThis week’s defection of nine Wildrose MLAs to the Progressive Conservative Caucus has drastically impacted Alberta’s electoral map. The governing PCs now hold 72 of 87 electoral constituencies with the remaining opposition consisting of 5 Wildrose MLAs, 5 Liberal MLAs, 4 New Democrats and 1 Independent MLA. The mass-floor crossing could increase the likelihood of an early … Continue reading Could the Wildrose collapse mean an early 2015 election? →

Alberta Diary: Blogger Brian Mason explains why Jim Prentice, ‘Alberta’s first Wildrose premier,’ is preparing to call a snap election

Former NDP leader Brian Mason in a couple of typical poses, above and below. I’ll bet you didn’t know he was a terrific political blogger too!

Jim Prentice is Alberta’s first Wildrose premier and he will soon call a snap election to ensure he can push forward a Wildrose program of using temporarily low oil prices as justification to roll back public sector salaries, attack pensions, reintroduce health care premiums and lay off nurses and teachers.

This sharp and credible warning comes from someone who should be better known as a political blogger than he is, a shrewd analyst of (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: On The WRP Collapse

Much has been made of the WRP’s collapse in Alberta this past week.  Everything from speculation about the role of various people, to Ms. Smith more or less admitting that she was being undermined by the Social Conservative rump of the party.  

Back when the WRP was just getting itself going, and Ms. Smith was a mere candidate for the leadership, I had thought that the WRP was going to follow the same trajectory that Preston Manning’s Reform party had back in the 80s.  Start off with some reasonable, if unrealistic dreams about a more open, democratic government; (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On representative units

Does anybody remember which particularly prominent political pundit went far out his way to trumpet the idea that basic unit of political legitimacy is the caucus – to the point of repeatedly advocating a legislated requirement that a caucus vote override the decisions made by the whole of a party’s membership?

I ask only because he seems to have been replaced with a far more reasonable impostor.

By the majority-of-caucus standard set under Michael Chong’s Reform Act (or the stronger forms suggested by Andrew Coyne among others), the decision of a majority of Wildrose Party MLAs to join up with (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Tory resistance to Wildrose interlopers? Don’t believe it! Here’s why Danielle Smith will soon get her cabinet post

Preston Manning joins the sales team for the new, new, newly united Wildrosey Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. Actual beloved godfathers of the conservative movement may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Manning smiling benevolently, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice in a Joe-Clark-like moment, former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith when she was still pretending she thought the Prentice PCs were evil, and former federal Liberal Conservative cabinet minister David Emerson.

Don’t worry, Danielle Smith will soon be deputy premier of Alberta or occupy a similarly influential post.

Likewise, Rob Anderson will be finance minister or something (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Danielle Smith’s conduct and the mass Wildrose defection must be seen as character issues

Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith with her new boss, Premier Jim Prentice, at yesterday’s news conference announcing the defection of the nine Wildrose caucus members to the Progressive Conservative Party. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Below: Another shot of the pair in an informal moment at the start of the news conference.

It’s a character issue.

Certainly the recent conduct of the leadership of the Wildrose Party, which this afternoon culminated with the desertion of most of its key elected officials to Premier Jim Prentice’s ruling Progressive Conservative caucus leaving their loyalists and supporters in the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Has the Wildrose Party outlived its purpose?

TweetAnyone already cynical about politics in Alberta will have their views reinforced with yesterday’s announcement that Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and eight of her party’s MLAs have abandoned their role as the Official Opposition and joined the 43-year governing Progressive Conservatives. After a five hour meeting of the PC Caucus at Government House, Premier Jim Prentice and Ms. Smith walked […]

In This Corner: Wildrose rollover a betrayal of epic proportions.

Q: What do World War II France and the Wildrose Party have in common?

A: They both rolled over.

At least the French were facing the Nazi Germany army, and almost certain destruction. The only thing the Wildrose was facing was losing the next election. Not quite the same thing, but they rolled over just the same.

You can describe the defection of nine Wildrose members to the Progressive Conservatives in any number of ways — opportunism, cowardice, naked political ambition, whatever — but the one that really sticks is betrayal.

The last betrayal in Canadian politics of this magnitude (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Albertonia Report: The Wild Hog Party Goes Down Squealing

It could only happen in Alberta, the land of cowboy Steve and not so Big Oil, Canada's Banana Republic.Where the leader of the opposition, after attacking the Con government for five years, and trailing them in the polls by only five points.Has suddenly decided that if you can't beat them, you should join them.And is apparently leading half her Wild Hog Party back to the trough. Read more »

Alberta Diary: Hatched in secret, today’s expected mass Wildrose defection to PC benches, brings party to a pathetic end

The captain of the RMS Wildrose and her officers slip quietly away from their sinking ship in the darkness. Actual Wildrose leaders may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson. Both are expected to be rewarded for abandoning ship with cabinet posts in PC Premier Jim Prentice’s government.

As of today – even before we are certain of everything that has happened in the last 48 hours or what will happen in the next 48 – we can be confident of this: the Wildrose Party is finished.

I do not mean (Read more…)