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Alberta Diary: Could Ric McIver still win the Alberta Tory leadership race? Actually, yes, he could!

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. All the money’s on Jim Prentice – but is it the smart money? Below: Ric McIver, Jim Prentice, Jim Dinning and Gary Mar.

CALGARY

Could Ric McIver actually win the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race?

Or, to put that another way, could Jim Prentice lose?

Maybe that seems like a theme for a political science fiction story to you. After all, Mr. Prentice – the former banker, corporate lobbyist and federal cabinet minister – is the choice of the PC establishment.

What’s more, he’s now backed by 49 of 59 PC Members of the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta Tories hold the World’s Most Boring Leadership Race

TweetIn 53 days, members of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party will vote to choose their next leader and the next Premier of Alberta. Unlike previous PC leadership races, where Albertans of all political-inclinations were excited to participate in the vote to directly choose the next Leader of the Natural Governing Party, there does not appear to be any sign […]

Alberta Diary: Once a Tory leadership front-runner, Gary Mar reaches out from Asia to haunt Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives

Brian Mulroney, right, famously responds to the claim made by John Turner, left, that he had “no option” but approve Pierre Trudeau’s patronage appointments. Below: Gary Mar in 2011.

Advice to Jim Prentice: If, in some future pre-election leaders’ debate someone asks you about Gary Mar’s 2013 compensation package, don’t say: “I had no option.”

In fact, that would be true if Mr. Prentice were to say it. Ditto Ric McIver, the second- or third-runner, depending how you calculate it, in the 2014 version of the Progressive Conservative Party leadership race.

As for Thomas Lukaszuk, he was in cabinet (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Wild Rose Country no more? What are we gonna call this place if the Alberta Party starts soaring in the polls?

Alberta Minister of Licence Plates Doug Griffiths poses with some of the versions of Alberta’s plates considered by provincial officials before they settled on the three finalists unveiled yesterday. Below: Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen, centre, examines a licence-plate-making facility on a recent government trip to Minnesota. Below that: The real Doug Griffiths and his sidekick Jonathan “Dep’uty Jono” Denis, the chief lawman of the territory.

So here’s my question: If it were the Alberta Party instead of the Wildrose Party breathing down the necks of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives, would they change the name of the province?

Yesterday, elected (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Happy Canada Day from the prime minister of Canada and the premier of Alberta, channeled by Perfesser Dave

Oooooh! Happy Canada Day, Canadians. Enjoy yourselves. Prime Minister Steve Harper and Premier Dave Hancock wish they could be here with you and Perfesser Dave. Below: Mr. Hancock and Mr. Harper … Happy-Happy!

Happy Canada Day!

Perfesser Dave, here, the political predictions guy, speaking on behalf of my friends Stephen Harper and David Hancock, who weren’t available to talk to you last night.

Both of them were really, really busy getting ready for Canada Day today, but I know they would want me to let you know they hope you have the best Canada Day holiday ever! And they hope (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The Redford legacy haunts Prentice Tories

TweetMost people rely on TripAdvisor or call a travel agent to book hotels for overseas trips, but it is alleged by intrepid CBC investigative journalists that former Premier Alison Redford dispatched a staffer to visit hotels and restaurants in advance of her trips to India, China, Switzerland, Washington, and Toronto for a cost of nearly $330,000. It is not […]

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…)

Alberta Diary: Cone of Silence descends over deeds of Tory leadership candidate Jim Prentice’s secret agents, real or imagined

An unidentified person, left, said to be close to undeclared Tory leadership candidate Jim Prentice, waits for the Cone of Silence to descend over his discussions with a member of Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith’s inner circle, also unidentified, at right. Actual unidentified anonymous political agents may or may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: a journalist interviews Tory leadership frontrunner Jim Prentice, at left, who is expected to reveal to Albertans what he actually looks like soon, maybe today.

Like those Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki men from Russia allegedly crawling all over Ukraine and stirring up nothing but trouble, secret agents (Read more…)

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…)

Alberta Diary: Missing: Any discussion of what drove the Hancock Government’s Bill 10 attack on legally enforceable contracts

A system of contracts that can be enforced and adjudicated by an independent and disinterested court like this one is one of the key features of civilized society. This is a picture of the court used by a significant number Canadian law firms to illustrate their web pages. Actually, it’s the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan. But, unlike all those coruscating Canadian legalists, I took this picture myself. Below: Premier pro tem Dave Hancock talking to the media about an entirely different controversial issue; historian Alvin Finkel.

Amid all the brouhaha in recent weeks over (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Aging long-shot ‘blockhead’ candidate knocks off huge Journal political team to capture Yeggie political category award

Yeggie winning blogger David Climenhaga with a familiar-looking Albertan. What was her name again? Below: The same guy with some other political types who look faintly familiar.

When the podcast site for the Edmonton Journal’s entire 11-member political affairs team was nominated for one of this year’s Yeggies, the annual awards created last year “to recognize and celebrate outstanding social media content creators in the Capital Region,” the local newspaper made a fairly big deal of it.

After all, this is YEGville, and the Yeggies highlight “some of the amazing talent we have here in Edmonton.” So fair enough (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: 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…)

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: 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: 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…)