The European refugee crisis continued unabated this week, and the numbers are staggering. For example, Germany has announced that it will accept 500,000 refugees. Every year. For several years. Germany is a big country, with 81 million people, but a half-million refugees every year for several years is an awful lot of people, particularly if those people don’t speak your language or share your customs. It’s almost as if Germany is trying to make up for some past misdeeds. The refugee crisis has become one of the dominant issues of the Canadian election campaign, with the NDP and Liberals trying (Read more…)
So, have you received your bribe yet? Stephen Harper’s utterly shameless federal Conservatives are in the process of giving away $3 billion in tax dollars to “hard working Canadian families” (is there any other kind of Canadian family?) in the form of monthly cheques for families with kids. The benefit cheques are larger than usual due to changes the Conservatives introduced last fall – $160 a month for children under 6, up from $100, and a new payment of $60 a month for seven- to 17-year-olds, regardless of family income. The cheques, going to roughly 3.8 million families, (Read more…)
The big non-news in Edmonton this week was the announcement that the area surrounding the new arena, previously known by the rather prosaic ‘arena district’, has been renamed Ice District. (Apparently, it is just ‘Ice District’, not ‘The Ice District’, according to the pretentious PR hacks behind this rebranding.) The Ice District (sorry) name was dreamed up by none other than Daryl Katz, the Oilers owner and arena co-owner. The grand plans for (cough, cough) Ice District include high rises with 1,000 units, 1.3 million sq. ft. of office space, a luxury hotel, restaurants, theatres, etc. Katz and (Read more…)
“The folks over there think it’s totally appropriate for a single mother of two or three to have to work 70 hours a week in order to earn a living wage. I say to you that they’re just wrong, and that’s why we are changing the minimum wage in Alberta.” That’s Rachel Notley indulging in a flight of hyperbole in the Legislature last week, defending her government’s decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2017. This, in a nutshell, is the NDP’s rationale for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Because of all those thousands (Read more…)
Connor McDavid, wearing the surprisingly bold Edmonton Oiler travelling suit.
OMG! OMG! OMG! Connor McDavid is an Oiler! Connor McDavid is an Oiler! Connor McDavid is an Oiler!
Sigh. Poor Connor. The hopes of an entire city are apparently resting on his muscled shoulders.
This city’s infatuation with the Edmonton Oilers reached a crescendo not seen since the Oilers last made the Stanley Cup finals a decade ago when the team drafted Connor McDavid — a “generational player”, so the experts say — at the NHL entry draft. “He’s Ours”, the Edmonton Journal gushed. Thousands paid to watch the draft (Read more…)
For the third week in a row, Deborah Drever reigned as Alberta’s most talked-about NDP MLA. Or, more to the point, Alberta’s most talked-about former NDP MLA.
The last straw.
Drever finally shamed Rachel Notley to the point that she was kicked out of caucus, setting a possible world record for shortest and worst political career. After a couple of weeks of embarrassing photos (she was just a young person! defenders cried), an Instagram graphic she posted picturing Jim Prentice and Ric McIver as gay was finally too much for the politically correct NDP. Calling it “homophobic” (actually, the (Read more…)
TweetIn the great rush to relocate the Edmonton Oilers to Daryl Katz‘s new downtown arena district, there appears to have been little serious thought or planning focused on what to do with the professional hockey team’s long-time current home, Rexall Place. Located north east of downtown on the Northlands Exposition Grounds, Rexall Place is an aging facility and, unlike the […]
The Montreal Canadiens in 1912-13. Now the highest-taxed hockey players on the continent, they’re still the best and likely to stay that way. Below: Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas; U.S. anti-public-health-care fruitloop and Canadian Taxpayers Federation ally Grover Norquist.
For a while now it’s seemed as if the so-called Canadian Taxpayers Federation has been adopting the modus operandi of the Fraser Institute – cherry-picked data, conclusions contrary to the evidence presented and dubious claims stated as facts in a frenetic stream of press releases.
Well, you can hardly blame them. The media treats each of the (Read more…)
I don’t know about you, but I know exactly what I was doing on the evening of Nov. 10th, 1974, exactly 40 years ago Monday.
My ‘I was there’ certificate to the first Oiler game at Northlands Coliseum.
I was at a hockey game. Not just any hockey game, mind you, but the very first hockey game ever played in the Edmonton Coliseum, or — to use the exact description used on the Edmonton Oilers Award Certificate that I have saved to this day — the “Magnificent New Coliseum”. Those of you who remember ‘Wild’ Bill Hunter, the man who (Read more…)
A few weeks ago, a nice young man came to my door, offering a three-month subscription to the Edmonton Sun for $30. I know the Sun essentially sucks, but I figured, hey, $30 for three months of a newspaper. What’s the harm?
After about a week, I contemplated cancelling my subscription and getting a refund. After three months of having this daily right-wing screed darkening my door, I can tell you without contradiction that I will never, ever spend so much as a dime on the Edmonton Sun again. And this comes from a lifelong newspaper reader, someone who loves (Read more…)
So here I am, basking in the late September sunshine, relishing a 27C day. That can only mean one thing — it’s hockey season!
Oh God, no! Didn’t it just finish last month? Or does it only seem like it?
I’ve actually grown to kind of hate the National Hockey League. I hate the grossly inflated size of the league. I hate the way the league has attempted to graft hockey onto any geographical area and arena that will have it. I hate its random, nonsensical approach to discipline for violent acts. I hate the fact the hockey season is (Read more…)
Former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and PC leadership candidate Jim Prentice, obviously pleased to be in one another’s company, at a news conference yesterday in Edmonton at which Mr. Mandel endorsed Mr. Prentice. Below: The other Tory leadership candidates, Ric McIver and Thomas Lukaszuk, and New Democrat MLA Rachel Notley, who is expected to declare her candidacy to lead the Alberta NDP soon.
If there was any real news from yesterday’s news conference atop the Chateau Lacombe Hotel in downtown Edmonton, at which Progressive Conservative former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel endorsed Progressive Conservative future Alberta premier Jim Prentice, it was (Read more…)
All we want are the facts, Ma’am. A couple of investigators hired by Alberta Chief Electoral Officer O. (for Olaf) Brian Fjeldheim prepare to go through the files of friends, relatives and employees of billionaire Daryl Katz who may or may not have donated money to the Redford Tories. Actual Alberta detectives may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Mr. Fjeldheim and Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson.
Alberta media are portraying the return to the news this week of three pre-Christmas political scandals as a tsunami of trouble for the governing Tories of Premier Alison Redford.
In fact, serial news
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: A tsunami of Tory troubles? Naw, the Alberta universe is unfolding as it should…
An Alberta Labour Relations Board official suddenly realizes how the world works, and immediately rules in favour of the employer. Application of the law in Alberta may be pretty much exactly as illustrated.
All but forgotten amidst the rejoicing about the tentative end of the National Hockey League lockout reached during the Feast of the Epiphany on Sunday was the truly remarkable epiphany that occurred to the Alberta Labour Relations Board at the beginning of this unusual hockey season.
This is a pity, because while the behaviour of the ALRB is well known and understood to we few who toil
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Eureka! Labour relations in Alberta explained by, of all things, NHL hockey!
The Great Leap Forum: what Edmonton’s luxurious new ice hockey palace could look like with a little gesture of internationist solidarity from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Communist Chinese friends. Conceptual art by Dave Cournoyer used with permission.
It’s a moment of such perfect convergence that it’s astonishing Alberta’s Wildrose Party, which last week proposed paying for professional sports arenas through the risky tactic of encouraging vulnerable citizens to gamble, didn’t think of it.
I speak, of course, not of the imminent return of the National Hockey League but of the strategy used to good effect by the Communist government
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: With the NHL back on the ice, why not let Chinese taxpayers subsidize Canada’s billionaires?
Imagine the millions we can scoop up from the foolish and the intoxicated! Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith extemporizes on the advantages of using gambling to subsidize billionaires. Below: Drugstore and hockey billionaire Daryl Katz; former Wildrose candidate Pastor Alan Hunsperger.
It was almost a relief yesterday when Danielle Smith, leader of Alberta’s right-wing Wildrose Opposition, announced the scheme her party had come up with to finance the millionaires and billionaires of professional hockey through the use of … wait for it … keno!
Alert readers will recall that the Wildrose Party stands against all tax increases but in favour of
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Wildrose rink lotto scheme: a new tax on the prodigal and the poor
Ah, politics. It has the potential to inspire, and an even greater potential to inspire derisive laughter or fits of rage. Here, for your reading and enraging enjoyment, are my choices for the top 10 political blunders of 2012, local edition.
1. Allan Hunsperger and the ‘lake of fire’
In the April provincial election, the upstart (they were always called ‘upstart’) Wildrose party appeared to be on the verge of doing the impossible — toppling the PC dynasty. The public seemed ready to put aside its concerns about the far-right bent of the party to finally turf the exhausted 41-year
. . . → Read More: In This Corner: The year in political bloopers.
Caesar repudiates Pompeia: “You’re outta here!” Below: Danielle Smith and Alison Redford.
The Wildrose Party strategy for defeating the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Alison Redford when the next election rolls around in 2016 is a variation of the right-wing party’s plan when it came close to winning earlier this year: paint the PCs as corrupt and themselves as the only viable uncorrupted alternative.
As a result, we can expect to see a lot more implications and inferences in the Legislature’s Question Period like the attack Monday by Opposition Leader Danielle Smith on Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz’s ability
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Fair or not, Opposition targets Katz donation(s) as symbol of Tory sleaze
The bending of election rules by the provincial Conservatives isn’t new. It’s a regular affair by now. Kevin Taft’s lawsuit against Elections Alberta, the ongoing debacle of large union and corporate donations, and the disproportionate sway that the oil patch has on Albertan democracy, are not new. Daryl Katz is just one more tick on [...]
Drug store billionaire Daryl Katz, right, discusses his plans for a new Edmonton hockey arena with a representative of the Alberta government. Since Wild West hockey barons may not appear exactly as illustrated, a photo of the real Mr. Katz is shown below. (CBC Photo, circa 2008.)
Look, people, this here is the Wild West. If a billionaire wants to buy an election, why the heck shouldn’t he? Isn’t that what the Alberta Advantage is supposed to be all about?
Seriously, folks, that’s just the way we do things out here in Wild Rose Country, and if you don’t
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Welcome to Alberta’s Wild West, where the market sets the value of your vote
So the arena deal is dead, at least in its present form.
Good riddance to bad rubbish. Daryl Katz has shown that he is not a man the city should be in business with, so let’s wash our hands of this whole sordid mess and consider ourselves lucky.
So what went wrong here?
Well, I believe that Katz deliberately scuttled this deal. How else can you explain it?
He had a sweetheart deal so sugary, it could give accountant diabetes. He got a building and all the revenue from it for about $100 million or so. It was a wonderful
. . . → Read More: In This Corner: Could it be that Katz sank arena deal because he wants to unload the Oilers?
Members of the NHLPA wait around for their Sui Generis Alberta employers to obey the law. Alberta hockey players may not appear exactly as illustrated – for one thing, they wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the stove.
Since the regular season of the National Hockey League was supposed to start yesterday, but won’t be starting anytime soon, let’s take this opportunity to pay tribute to the remarkable efforts of the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
The vision of the ALRB is “the fair and equitable application of Alberta’s collective bargaining laws,” and don’t feel you have to take my word for
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: NHL and NHLPA in labour relations face off: no penalties for Alberta employers caught offside
On Saturday, Daryl Katz paid for full-page ads in the Edmonton newspapers to apologize for his handling of the arena controversy. My sources deep within the Katz Group (a pharmacist I know at a Rexall Drugs) had access to the first draft of the apology letter, written by Katz himself. Boldface portions were removed before the ad went to press, on the advice of his new public relations firm, McMann and Tate. Here it is:
The people of Edmonton, Northern Alberta, half of Red Deer, and Oiler Fans Everywhere, Except The Ones Who Only Watch the Oilers on TV
. . . → Read More: In This Corner: Original draft of Katz apology letter revealed.
Hello, Seattle! On behalf of the citizens of Edmonton, I’d like to welcome you to the cast of As The Oilers Turn, a continuing soap opera that has been a fixture for Edmonton audiences for many, many seasons.
As The Oilers Turn has captivated Edmonton audiences since it was first created by former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. Under Pocklington’s direction, ATOT reached its zenith (pronounced zen-ith here, not zee-nith) when Pocklington brought in the city of Houston to play the role of a vixen, a sexy city that came close to consummating a marriage with the Oilers. Eventually, Houston
. . . → Read More: In This Corner: Sexy Seattle joins cast of As The Oilers Turn.
Mayor Stephen Mandel professes to be baffled by what Oilers owner Daryl Katz wants in the ongoing agony that is the arena negotiations.
“I can no longer define what Mr. Katz is asking for or what he’s not asking for,” a deeply frustrated mayor said on Tuesday, after Katz gobsmacked city council with a new list of demands, including a $6 million a year subsidy which Katz apparently believes he can get through casino money. (Ignore for a moment that the allocation of casino money is a provincial matter, not a civic matter. Let’s not concern ourselves with legalities here.
. . . → Read More: In This Corner: What does Katz want? Try everything.