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Alberta Diary: Strap on your seat belts? Jim Prentice’s cabinet is more like a drive down memory lane

Jim Prentice prepares to be sworn in yesterday. Below: Health Minister Stephen Mandel and social media gadfly Olav Rokne.

Things were going to change in Alberta so much once his capable hands were on the steering wheel, Jim Prentice warned us, that we’d better make sure we’d strapped on our seatbelts!

Well, he might have given us a mild scare as he motored through the political equivalent of a yellow light yesterday afternoon by appointing a couple of unelected, well-off, older, gentlemen to his cabinet.

These two fellows may or may not turn out to be a matched set (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Jim Prentice appoints another Pipeline Focused Cabinet

TweetAs he prepared to be sworn-in as the 16th Premier of Alberta at Government House today, Jim Prentice aimed to project the image of a leader who is in command and in control of the situation. And today’s tightly controlled cabinet shuffle achieved that goal. Unlike previous cabinet shuffles, the news around today’s appointments were […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Prentice tells Albertans to strap on their seat belts

Tweet“After two weeks with me as the premier, there will be no doubts in anyone’s minds that this a time of renewal and a time of change. Put your seat belts on.” – Jim Prentice speaking with Roger Kingkade and Rob Breakenridge on September 9, 2014 on News Talk 770. Wearing your seat belt while […]

Alberta Diary: Cabinet making in a shallow talent pool: what’s Alberta’s Jim Prentice going to do?

The Alberta Tory talent pool in 2014. Shallow, and not much fun for the guy in charge. Actual Alberta PC leaders may not appear as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Jim Prentice. Main photo grabbed from the Internet.

Never mind the transition team. What about the cabinet?

It’s not just a question of who will be in Alberta Premier Select Jim Prentice’s minimalist new pre-general-election Progressive Conservative cabinet – Ken Hughes, c’mon down! – but who won’t be.

It’s also a question of who gets stiffed, regionally speaking: Calgary, Edmonton, or the countryside – which has already gone over to (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: As lacklustre PC leadership race winds down, by-elections are on the horizon

TweetWith one day left before the vote, Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ric McIver’s campaign took to the radio airwaves, attacking frontrunner Jim Prentice for being “an insider.” It was an strange move for Mr. McIver, as the general public appears largely disinterested in the contest and the deadline to purchase memberships has already passed. While […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Tracking Alberta MLA endorsements in the PC Leadership race

Tweet  In party leadership races, endorsements by sitting MLAs can be a double-edged sword. Endorsements can lend credibility to candidates and individual MLAs own local political networks to the campaign. Large numbers of endorsements can also signal to rank and file party members where their party’s establishment is lining up. But MLA endorsements are not always a […]

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…)

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: 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: Allaudin Merali files suit against Fred Horne, Alberta Health Services for breach of contract, defamation

Health Minister Fred Horne: target of defamation, breach of trust, loss of income suit by former Alberta Health Services CFO. Below: Allaudin Merali.

Allaudin Merali filed a statement of claim today in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench against Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne.

“The statement of claim includes claims for a breach of contract, defamation and loss of income,” Mr. Merali said in a carefully worded email sent to media and bloggers.

Since the former Capital Health Region and Alberta Health Services CFO’s expense account became a cause célèbre and a political embarrassment to the (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: Payment of $45,000 travel bill by Alberta Premier raises as many questions as it answers

There will be no more scenes like this aboard Government of Alberta aircraft, thank you very much! Actual Alberta cabinet ministers and cabin crew may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: a screenshot of Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s news conference yesterday.

Fresh from her public relations triumph in Edmonton’s Churchill LRT station Tuesday, Alberta Premier Alison Redford announced yesterday she has personally paid back the $45,000 cost of her trip to South Africa in December, and that of the young aide who went along with her.

“My hope is that we can now get back to the work Albertans asked (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Small changes may signal glimmer of awareness of trouble ahead among rank and file Tory MLAs

Members of Alison Redford’s brain trust plan the latest hashtags in the Twitter war with AUPE … No! Wait! That’s Bob MacNamara telling LBJ about his plans for the war in Vietnam! What the hey? Below: That rude info-graphic; Red House Chief of Staff Farouk Adatia; White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Opposition political operatives in Alberta spent an entertaining weekend poking through the entrails of the Progressive Conservative government’s Sunshine List, noticing cool things to mention like the fact Premier Alison Redford’s chief of staff earns $144,000 a year more than the guy who does the same thing (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Deputy Health Minister Janet Davidson’s compensation: glaring omission in Alberta Sunshine List coverage explained

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne with Janet Davidson shortly after he announced her appointment as Deputy Minister in September 2013. Below: Service Alberta Deputy Minister Jay Ramotar; Lord Black of Crossharbour in his role as honourary lieutenant colonel of the Governor General’s Foot Guards.

And the top paid Alberta civil servant is … not even on the media’s Top Ten List from the government’s so-called Sunshine List of 2013 civil service salaries!

Just for the record, Alberta’s top paid civil servant is Janet Davidson, deputy minister of health and an Officer of the Order of Canada, with a spectacular annual (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: About those 620,000 missing patient files: the timing’s interesting but the accountability’s a bigger deal

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne: He’s outraged about those 620,000 missing patient files. Below: Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton. She’s looking in to it. Now, everyone go back to sleep.

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne claims to be outraged he’s only just learned the personal health records of 620,000 Albertans were on a laptop computer that disappeared, presumably stolen, in Edmonton last September. And well he should be.

But no one in a position of responsibility seems all that concerned that the records – which included names, birthdays, health card numbers, billing codes and diagnostic codes of enough patients to fill (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: A dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2014

TweetBecause politics is unpredictable, forecasting the future can be a tricky business for pundits, but here is a list of a dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2014. Manmeet Bhullar (Calgary-Greenway): An up and comer in the PC ranks, Mr. Bhullar was rewarded for his time as the competent Service Alberta minister with an appointment […]

Alberta Diary: Fred Horne’s flu-jab count: thoughtful response to a health problem or quick fix to a political crisis?

Albertans line up for flu shots at Bonnie Doon Mall in Edmonton yesterday. Actual vaccination lines may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Heath Minister and de facto Alberta health Services chief executive Fred Horne.

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, who nowadays doubles as the unofficial chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, held a news conference in an Edmonton drugstore yesterday and told the respectfully gathered media that not enough Alberta health care workers are immunized against influenza.

Indeed, he claimed, only an alarming and startlingly precise 46 per cent of them have had the flu jab!

A drugstore (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s 13 most under-reported political news stories of 2013

Another aircraft takes off from Fort McMurray International Aerodrome loaded with CO2 captured from Alberta’s Athabasca bitumen sands. The gas will be stored in the basements of Russian buildings as part of a deal worked out through the province’s $2-billion “carbon capture” program. Actual Alberta carbon capture boondoggles may not operate exactly as described. Below: A Lethbridge student continues studying as hydraulic fracking operations take place next to her school; why is this doctor smiling? Hint: He runs a Family Care Clinic.

Soon it’ll be 2014 and the mainstream media can get back to doing what it does best: panicking (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: A serious question for Albertans: Is the Redford Government out of control?

Whose House is it? In Alberta, not yours! Public service union members tried to enter the Alberta Legislature yesterday to protest Bills 45 and 46, and soon found the doors barred. Below: Some more of the 400 or so people who braved the coldest spot in Edmonton for an impromptu rally organized by public service workers yesterday.

Albertans got a first look at the Redford Government’s suspiciously timed public employee “restraint” legislation yesterday – which effectively bans meaningful collective bargaining in the public sector and allows the province to impose agreements by fiat.

Many of them, of course, won’t (Read more…)

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…)

Alberta Diary: 70%? 66.9%? 55.9%? 50%+1 good enough for Alison Redford this evocative weekend

Alison Redford, ready for her endorsement vote tomorrow, as rendered by Edmonton artist William Prettie. Below: former Canadian prime minister Joe Clark, late U.S. president John F. Kennedy, both of whom figure in this blog post about Alberta politics for some reason.

Was it insularity and tone deafness, or Machiavellian cleverness, that led the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party to time the opening of the convention that includes Premier Alison Redford’s leadership review to coincide with the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination?

Or is 50 years long enough that it’s just a weird coincidence that was (Read more…)

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: Hope and Debt

TweetThe political battle between the Wildrose opposition and long-governing Progressive Conservatives continued today as the Legislative Assembly resumed for the fall sitting. Debt was the biggest issue of the day. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith jumped at the opportunity to make light of comments Premier Alison Redford made that compared the government’s decision to accept debt financing […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Wildrose can grow from Tory seeds of doubt

TweetDo you drain a Lake of Fire or do you dam it? Whatever it takes, Wildrose Party activists are expected to moderate the tone of their policies at their weekend policy convention in the booming central Alberta city of Red Deer. A delicate and sometimes shaky coalition of libertarians and social conservatives (among other groups), […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta politics last week

TweetAfter spending some much needed time relaxing in beautiful British Columbia, I returned to Alberta this week and noticed some of the political stories that occurred during my absence. Here are some of the top political stories from last week that caught my attention: Political games in High River Buckling under the pressure of constant […]