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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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Insiders will pretend to be outsiders in the PC leadership race

Tweet Former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel is not running for the PC Party leadership Former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel announced yesterday that he will not run for the Progressive Conservative Party leadership. Mr. Mandel was seen as a great hope by many Edmonton Tories, who believed him to be the outsider who could breath some fresh […]

Alberta Diary: Wildrose tells Craig Chandler to get lost; Tories might be smart to do the same

Craig B. Chandler in a portrait snatched from his Facebook Page. Below: Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith’s brisk communication to Mr. Chandler.

GRANDE PRAIRIE

If Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party leaders were smart, they’d quickly find a way to send the same message to Craig B. Chandler he just got from Opposition Leader Danielle Smith.

On April 10, Ms. Smith, concerned Mr. Chandler was suggesting he was just the guy to bridge the gap between her Wildrose Party and the foundering Tories, Tweeted to him: “Your views & how you express them are wrong for Wildrose and Alberta. I would never (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…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Tories on public service pensions: ‘We lied. So what are you gonna do about it?’

As Tory leadership candidates Thomas Lukaszuk, standing, and Doug Horner look on, Alberta Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock tries out the barrel in which the next leader of the Progressive Conservative Party will lead their caucus over the falls. Actual Tory premiers and would-be premiers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: International Affairs Minister Cal Dallas and Alberta Tory dynasty founder Peter Lougheed.

They may have skidded their most disastrous leader, but the brain trust now running Alberta’s foundering Progressive Conservative Government has made it abundantly clear they intend to press ahead with their scheme to demolish the progressive (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: If Albertans can’t trust actuary’s conclusions, why did AHS hire the same firm? Hint: it’s not the firm you can’t trust

The Alberta Health Services computing division, figuring out how much they spend on consultants this quarter, hard at work. Actual Alberta health bureaucrats may not appear exactly as illustrated.

LETHBRIDGE

It was interesting, surely, to read the Wildrose Party’s revelation yesterday that Alberta Health Services had spent close to a quarter of a billion dollars on consultants for such services as communications advice, executive coaching and fine arts expertise in a mere 18 months in 2012 and 2013.

But it was revealing, too, in a small way, to take a peek at whom some of the favoured consultants were on (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Municipal Affairs Minister Ken Hughes quits Alberta cabinet – presumably to run for PC leadership

Half-confirmed Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ken Hughes, on the night in 2011 Alison Redford won the party’s leadership. Well, that was then and this is now, as the appalled looking unidentified passerby sensed to have sensed. Below: Doug Horner. Anyone else?

Alberta’s Municipal Affairs Minister quit his cabinet post yesterday, by the sound of it because he intends to run for the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party.

If that’s the reason for Ken Hughes unexpectedly showing up in one of the back rows of the Legislature’s latest seating chart – he didn’t give a lot of notice that (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Tales from the Tory crypt: Apres Alison le deluge

Tory leadership non-candidate Jim Dinning with your blogger, back in the day. Below: Former premier Ed Stelmach and non-candidates Ted Morton and Gary Mar.

If we were to speak for former Alberta premier Alison Redford today, here is what we would say: “Apres moi le deluge!”

There is plenty of fight left in the Alberta PC Party. The trouble is, it is all directed inwardly, at other Tories.

On everything except the policies that must be changed to save the party, Alberta’s crumbling 43-year-old Progressive Conservatives dynasty is disunited, playing out its increasingly bitter rivalries in public.

Given that, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: A mystery that won’t go away: Why do Alberta patients still face such long waits for lung surgery?

A horse with a silver blaze, curried mutton and a dog that did nothing in the night-time helped Sherlock Holmes get to the bottom of a mysterious death. Will it take a legendary detective to uncover the problem with lung surgeries in Alberta? Below: Dr. Verna Yiu; Dr. Raj Sherman; Dr. Ciaran McNamee.

Scotland Yard Detective: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

Sherlock Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

Detective: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

Holmes: “That was the curious incident. (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: PC finances: looks like Armageddon for Tories and Wildrose Apocalypse for the rest of us

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith, on horseback, gazes at all that remains of Alberta’s once-mighty Alberta Progressive Conservative dynasty. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear quite so metaphorically. Below: PC Party Executive Director Kelley Charlebois.

We can probably thank former Alberta premier Alison Redford for breaking the spine of the 43-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in this province. For, after not quite two and a half years of her leadership, broken it appears to be.

If you want proof this is so, look no further than the lamentable financial condition in which the party finds itself today.

We already knew (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Premier Dave Hancock needs to apply his leadership candidates’ rules to secretive cabinet committee

A rare shot of a meeting of the Alberta government’s secretive Public Sector Resource Committee in session. Actual Alberta policymakers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Premier Dave Hancock with former premier Alison Redford, back in the day, photo grabbed from Daveberta.ca.

OTTAWA

Is the Redford-Hancock Government’s Public Sector Resource Committee a cabinet committee, or merely a committee made up mostly of cabinet ministers?

This may sound like a technical and wonkish question, but it is actually an important one that needs to be dealt with by Alberta Premier Dave Hancock in his role of temporary custodian of (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Advice to Dave Hancock: sweet words won’t be enough for Alberta’s unhappy civil servants

Your blogger with Alberta’s newest premier, Dave Hancock, not so long ago. Below: U.S. presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

What a difference a few days can make! One leaves the province with one premier in power, figuratively bellowing threats at the civil service, and returns less than a week later to find another one, whispering sweet nothings in the same public employees’ ears!

Well, that’s not quite fair. Whomever Alison Redford was bellowing threats at last week, it wasn’t likely the Alberta civil service any more. In her mind, I suspect, she reckoned she’d already sorted (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Harper endorses Rob Anders and more nomination updates

TweetWith Dave Hancock being sworn-in as the 15th Premier of Alberta and speculation running rampant about who will replace him in four to six months, I thought now would be a good opportunity to provide a quick update about nominations for federal election candidates in Alberta. Calgary-Signal Hill In what could be a deciding factor in one […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Tories hope for a Hancockian era of stability

TweetOn March 20, 1989, Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives were re-elected with a majority government but Premier Don Getty was defeated by voters in his Edmonton-Whitemud constituency. It was a stunning embarrassment for the then 18-year governing PC Party. Twenty-five years later, on March 20, 2014, Alberta’s still-governing PCs selected Edmonton-Whitemud MLA Dave Hancock to serve as Premier […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: 8 candidates who could run for the leadership of the Alberta PC Party

TweetWith yesterday’s announcement by Premier Alison Redford that she will resign on March 23, 2014, the Progressive Conservative caucus will need to select an interim premier and the PC Party is required to hold a leadership contest to select a new leader. Deputy Premier Dave Hancock and Agriculture minister Verlyn Olson have been rumoured as potential choices for interim […]

Alberta Diary: A very Albertan coup: Alison Redford fell victim to her own hubris, as well as that of her Progressive Conservative Party

Alison Redford announces her resignation moments after 6 p.m. yesterday while Deputy Premier Dave Hancock looks on grimly in the background. Below: Mr. Hancock, the man thought most likely to become the PC Party’s interim leader and premier, as the crisis played out last week.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, who resigned moments after 6 p.m. yesterday, fell victim to her own hubris and that of the party she led.

In the next few days and weeks, we are certain to hear two competing narratives emerge to explain what happened to Ms. Redford’s short, unhappy premiership, which began when (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: 4 ways out of the PC leadership crisis

Tweet The increasingly public struggle between Premier Alison Redford and a group of disgruntled MLAs in the Progressive Conservative Party continues this week. Following Monday’s announcement by Calgary-Varsity PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans that she would sit as an Independent MLA, two more PC MLAs are publicly considering leaving. Edmonton-South West PC MLA Matt Jeneroux mused […]

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: Tory caucus rebellion threatens Alberta premier? Nobody here but us chickens!

Alberta Premier Alison Redford departs Government House in Edmonton at 11:32 yesterday morning, all alone. No one else came out and the door quietly closed behind her. Then her security detail whisked her away in a big, black SUV. Below: Deputy Premier Dave Hancock blathers on, mostly about nothing in particular. Below him: Calgary-Foothills MLA Len Webber, from his federal campaign website, who says he’ll now sit as an Independent.

Alberta Premier Alison Redford looked so grim when she came out the door of Government House in Edmonton yesterday morning and climbed into the back of her big black security (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Anti-Redford coup fails to materialize at PC MLA meeting

TweetA rumoured coup d’etat within Alberta’s Progressive Conservative caucus failed to materialize yesterday as government MLAs gathered at Government House to discuss Premier Alison Redford‘s future. Cancelling all public appearances and media events for the day, including the premier’s trip to Regina to participate in the New West Partnership meeting, PC MLAs cloistered themselves in […]

Alberta Diary: The End is at Hand! Sure looks that way for Alberta’s PCs, anyway…

Members of the Alberta Tory caucus consider the latest poll results as they prepare for the 2016 provincial election. Actual Alberta Progressive Conservative MLAs may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Dave Hancock … leadership potential at last.

OTTAWA

It’s probably still possible for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party to crawl back from the abyss – if you believe in miracles – but it’s increasingly hard to believe they can do it with Alison Redford at the helm.

Even viewed from the nation’s exceedingly quiet capital, the numbers in the Leger poll published this morning by the Calgary Herald are not (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Fresh meat and Alberta politics

TweetFresh meat Last week, he was publicly criticizing Premier Alison Redford for her over-priced $45,000 trip to South Africa (see below) and faced a threat of expulsion from the Progressive Conservative caucus. This week, coincidentally, Edmonton-Riverview PC MLA Steve Young faces a new set of revelations dating back to his time as a Sergeant with the Edmonton […]

Alberta Diary: Will Alison Redford fire Thomas Lukaszuk? She needs to, but don’t count on it happening!

Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, at right with Premier Alison Redford, argues with Deputy Premier Dave Hancock, in white suit and goofy glasses, about whether or not to appeal the court injunction against the use of Bill 46. Finance Minister Doug Horner is on the far left. Actual Alberta cabinet ministers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below right: Mr. Lukaszuk not exactly as he appears. Below left: Mr. Lukaszuk exactly as he appears.

In any normal business, Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk would be finished.

After the pummelling the government of Premier Alison Redford took on Friday from a (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Valentine’s Day injunction all but massacres Redford Government’s credibility in fight with Alberta Union of Provincial Employees

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith at the union’s news conference in Edmonton yesterday. Below: Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

Mr. Justice Denny Thomas of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench did not merely accept the arguments of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees when he slapped an injunction on the Government of Alberta yesterday, indefinitely suspending a law that could have forced 22,000 civil servants to live with a contract imposed on them by legislative fiat.

He delivered a withering denunciation of what his ruling suggested was the deceptive, dictatorial, and dishonourable way the government of Premier (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Upstairs, downstairs in Alberta explained by Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk: ‘We’re dealing with different job descriptions’

Furious Alberta civil service “oranges” protest high-handed Tory “apples” during their illegal st**ke of 1980. Below: Provincial Treasurer Lou Hyndman in 1976; Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, no longer missing in action.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose!

After a spell during which he appeared to be missing in action, Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk resurfaced in the news columns Thursday to offer the opinion humongous salaries paid to well-connected Tory retainers in the nosebleed seats of the civil service are a meaningless distraction from the serious business of ensuring we all live within our means.

Given what he (Read more…)