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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: Rob Anders loses by a nose in Signal Hill as Cowtown Cons make the best of a bad choice

Lost by a nose … but what a nose! A 22-year-old Rob Anders in 1994, heckling an Oklahoma politician. Below: Calgary Signal Hill nomination victor Ron Liepert; Mr. Anders as he looks today.

There was blood in the water of the Bow River as it flowed through Cowtown last night.

After a while, it became clear the metaphorical blood had been shed by the ever-embarrassing Rob Anders, who at a mere 42 years of age had served an excruciating six terms as the Reform, Alliance and Conservative Member of Parliament for the Calgary West riding, which will soon cease to (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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: PC Party leadership race off to a very slow start

TweetNineteen days have passed since former Premier Alison Redford announced her resignation and not one candidate has officially announced their intentions to enter the race to become the next leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives. But there is at least one unofficial candidate, maybe. Municipal Affairs minister Ken Hughes made the strange move of resigning from […]

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: Tory MLAs, reporters, right-wing ideologues take aim at Alison Redford for PC Party’s woes

The Alberta premier’s personal airship ties up alongside the Sky Palace Official First Minister’s Residence, high atop the former Federal Building in Edmonton. Actual official accommodations may not appear exactly as illustrated, even in the blueprints. Below: Former premiers Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach.

OTTAWA

Everyone is piling onto Alison Redford now, a phenomenon we can expect to continue for a few days or even weeks as three things happen.

First, journalists who were working on stories started during the former Alberta premier’s final days in power are going to want to get them filed and published as quickly as (Read more…)

Calgary Grit: Redford has no one to blame but herself

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No one, least of all politicians, likes to admit just how big a role outside forces play in one’s political success – and failure. Strong MPs are defeated when the national campaign goes south. Unexpected issues derail the best laid plans. Competing interests from within will undermine even the most successful leaders.

That’s largely what happened to the last two Alberta Premiers. Ralph Klein saved the PC party from certain defeat in 1993, won 4 majorities, and eliminated the debt. His party showed its gratitude with a 55% leadership review.

All his successor did was increase the size of their (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: It was only a matter of time. Ruthless Tories force Redford to quit.

TweetIt was only a matter of time. After a short 898 days as Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford announced today that she plans to resign as premier and leader of the Progressive Conservatives on Sunday, March 23, 2014. After facing months of controversy over travel expenses and weeks of turmoil in her caucus, Ms. Redford […]

Alberta Diary: The Ides of March: Alison Redford under ‘friendly fire’ from coup plotters in her own caucus

Premier Alison Redford and an aide, at right, look on as Progressive Conservative caucus coup plotters try to remember if the signal to make their move is “Toga! Toga! Toga!” or “Tory! Tory! Tory!” Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Rumoured Redford replacements Gary Mar, Stephen Mandel and Jim Dinning.

It’s less than a week until the Ides of March and signs are now plentiful an attempt to topple Alberta Premier Alison Redford is under way.

By all accounts the coup plotters come from within the premier’s own Progressive Conservative Party. They are (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Understanding Alberta’s 2014 budget: the deviltry’s in the details

Budget 2014: let the good times roll. Life’s great nowadays if you’re a Tory insider in Alberta – like these happy political staffers from the Premier’s Office. Actual political advisors to Premier Alison Redford may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Former Premier Ed Stelmach as he counted up ways he could save money; Ms. Redford.

Another million dollars for the Premier’s Office?

Now that’s interesting!

As in Pravda back in the day in that other one-party state, the name of which escapes me at the moment but which you’d think was still around judging from the chest-thumping 1960s-style rhetoric (Read more…)

Calgary Grit: Turbulence

Back in 2008, myself and a couple of young Liberals launched “Edspedia.ca“, a mock website to poke fun at some eyebrow raising travel expenses by members of the Ed Stelmach cabinet. The list included Mark Norris’ $50,000 Vegas vacation, and Rod Stevens Hawaiian stop-over to “study their gambling system”.

If I hadn’t received a cheerful letter from the Expedia lawyers back in 2008, now would be a good time to launch “Redspedia.ca”, because Alison Redford is facing a barrage of criticism over her travel expenses.

The controversy started with a $45,000 flight back from Nelson Mandela’s (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Flights of fancy: 11 days to the Ides of March and the knives are already out for premier

Alison Redford’s party awaits the Alberta Premier’s arrival before boarding their Government of Alberta aircraft. Actual Alberta big shots may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Pompeia, the wife of Caesar, who divorced her; and Marie Antoinette, who didn’t say “let them eat cake” but came to a bad end anyway.

OTTAWA

What goes up must come down, we used to say, and that adage appears to include both Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s in-flight fancies aboard the government’s aircraft and the first-class compartments of commercial airliners and her entire political career.

Who would have thought it would be airplane rides (Read more…)

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: Another PC MLA abandons Redford for the Harper Tories

TweetAnother Progressive Conservative MLA is about to jump into the federal arena. Edmonton-McClung PC MLA David Xiao will announce this week that he will seek the Conservative Party nomination in Edmonton-West. An email circulated to Conservative supporters in Edmonton says that Mr. Xiao will make the announcement at 10 a.m on Tuesday March 4th, 2014 at […]

Alberta Diary: The Airline Ticketgate saga continued… Alberta’s Redford Tories, forever young, now have Young forever

Former Progressive Conservative Whip Steve Young gets ready to give it to his premier and party leader at yesterday’s caucus meeting in Edmonton. Actual unrepentant Tory MLAs may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The actual Mr. Young, apparently yelling something; his friend Wildrose MLA Ian Donovan; Premier Alison Redford’s executive assistant, Brad Stables.

After yesterday, it looks as if Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s government can now adopt a new motto: “Forever Young.” Or maybe that should actually be, “Young Forever…”

Regardless, it appears that if he wishes, Edmonton-Riverview MLA Steve Young can be part of her caucus (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Back to the future with Guy Boutilier: a run to be Fort Mac’s MP looks to be in the cards

Guy Boutilier in his Wildrose caucus office in Edmonton back in 2009. Notice Ralph Klein peering over his shoulder. Below: Other Fort Mac politicians Brian Jean, the Conservative Crossword King, and Mike Allen, a saxophonist, in his St. Paul Police mugshot.

Guy Boots, Member of Parliament?

Why not? When you think about it, Guy Boutilier – nowadays he pronounces Guy in the French way, Ghee, and Boutilier in the English Way, Boot-a-LEER – is one of Alberta’s most successful politicians.

At least, he was until he wasn’t.

But now he’s lookin’ good again, and with a federal by-election likely to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: High-speed rail in Alberta: a terrible idea that just won’t go away

“Modern high-speed passenger trains are not pushed forward on billowing sails…” Although, when we’re done paying for a multi-billion-dollar high-speed rail link between Edmonton and Calgary, this may be how many of us have to get around if we fancy using public transit. Below: William Cornelius Van Horne and the typical high-speed rail advocate – apparently they’re both baaaaaaack!

The Van Horne Institute? The Van Horne Institute? As in William Cornelius Van Horne, late of the Michigan Central Railway, the Chicago and Alton Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Cuba Railway Company?

Well, whooo, whooo, whoooooo-oooo better to advocate (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Fear & Loathing in Calgary Signal Hill: rumble on the right breaks out in Calgary

Your blogger in 2011 with Ron Liepert, Alberta’s former Worst Provincial Cabinet Minister. Below: Calgary West Member of Parliament Rob Anders, Canada’s worst MP, with his friend and supporter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Coming soon to the new federal riding of Calgary Signal Hill: fear and loathing on the campaign trail.

Come with me on a savage journey into the heart of Alberta’s never-ending Conservative nightmare: Alberta’s former Worst Provincial Cabinet Minister is about to challenge Canada’s undisputed Worst Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the redistributed southwest Calgary federal riding!

In the corner (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: If the deputy premier wants free speech for Ukraine so badly, why is he attacking it in Alberta?

Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk in the Rotunda of the Alberta Legislature. Note, in the background at left, Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith. Below, a recent Twitter message from Mr. Lukaszuk, an inveterate and confrontational Tweeter, who thinks your free speech rights are a matter of LOL and #wink.

Last weekend, Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk was in Edmonton’s Churchill Square enthusiastically demanding free speech and recognition of other fundamental rights for citizens of Ukraine.

Premier Alison Redford’s second in command told his listeners he recalled being in Kiev in 2004, observing the Orange Revolution: “Never again should there (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Wildrose to PC MLAs: It’s not your fault, your party left you. Come on over.

Tweet The Wildrose Caucus has released a flashy new YouTube video encouraging Progressive Conservative MLAs to join the Official Opposition. The video begins with two former PC MLAs making the pitch to cross the floor. “I was nervous when I first did I, but I have to tell you, it is so much better over […]

Alberta Diary: No surprise, Alberta PCs endorse Alison Redford with the traditional 77% Solution

A couple of political pundits try to explain to Alberta Premier Alison Redford, centre, why the 77 Per Cent Solution may not be a good thing after all. Actual Alberta premiers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Note that the previous reference has nothing to do with illegal drugs or Rob Ford. Below: Ed Stelmach, Clint Dunford and Ralph Klein.

The members of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party – whoever they may be at this particular moment in history – endorsed Premier Alison Redford yesterday to the tune of 77 per cent.

What good will come of that, you wonder?

“Why (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Celebrating 42 years in power, PC Party expected to back Redford

Tweet This “teaser” video released before the Progressive Conservative Party Annual Meeting focuses on “trust.” There was no mention of the ‘Socred Retreads‘ in Premier Alison Redford‘s speech to Progressive Conservative Party faithful last night. Unlike her speech to her party’s annual general meeting in November 2012, Ms. Redford took no partisan thrusts at the […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: FAQ: Alison Redford faces PC Party leadership review

TweetHundreds of supporters of the long-governing Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta will gather in Red Deer on November 22 and 23, 2013 to attend to the business of their annual general meeting and conduct a review of Premier Alison Redford leadership. Why does a leader who nineteen months ago led her party to its 12th […]

Alberta Diary: More chaos at top of Alberta Health Services: CEO out after 1 month; 2-headed replacement found

Is this the management model in the Alberta Health Services executive suite? Actual Alberta health ministers or AHS administrators may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: AHS Administrator John Cowell, ex CEO Duncan Campbell, new co-CEO Brenda Huband and new co-CEO Rick Trimp (no relation).

This just in! Alberta Government replaces Alberta Health Services CEO …. again!

The revolving door to the AHS executive suite is now spinning so quickly somebody’s going to get hurt. Unless, that is, everybody stays calm….

Now, it’s true that Duncan Campbell, who was put in the top job at AHS just 30 days (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Nomination races begin for federal election 2015

TweetThere are 705 days until Monday, October 19, 2015, when the next Canadian federal election is scheduled to be held. With less than two years until Canadians choose who will serve as Members of Parliament and with new electoral boundaries coming into effect at the next election, candidates across Alberta are preparing to seek party […]