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daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: #abvote Google Hangout with Wildrose leadership candidates

It has been a rough seven months for the Wildrose Party of Alberta. After losing four by-elections in September 2014, the party was decimated when eleven Wildrose MLAs, including leader Danielle Smith, crossed the floor to the governing Progressive Conservatives…. Continue Reading →

Calgary Grit: A Beginner’s Guide to Alberta Politics II

Blogging has been sporadic of late, but with Alberta barrelling towards an election, now is likely a good time for another Alberta Politics FAQ. When will the next Alberta election be?

Alberta’s fixed-ish election date legislation calls for a vote between March 1st and May 31st, 2016. Prentice, being a true reformer at heart, has said he will respect this. Really?

Ha ha. No, of course not. Most expect an election call to immediately follow the March 26th budget.

Alberta’s fixed election date law has proven to be about as binding as Alberta’s balanced budget law. So who’s going to (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: #abvote Google Hangout with MLA Laurie Blakeman

It has been a banner month for Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman. At the start of last week, the Progressive Conservative government did a 180 degree flip to endorse Ms. Blakeman’s bid to allow students to create Gay-Straight Alliances in Alberta schools. By… Continue Reading →

Susan on the Soapbox: Laurie Blakeman Takes a Symbolic Step…in the Wrong Direction

Crikey!

On Friday Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman announced that she’ll be running as a candidate for the Liberals, the Alberta Party and the Greens in the upcoming election…

…and on Sunday Ms Soapbox announced to her dad that she’d joined the NDP. He swears he’ll never speak to her again.

While I applaud the efforts of progressive MLAs and party leaders to cooperate I fail to understand how Ms Blakeman’s decision gets the progressives anywhere.

As journalist Graham Thomson points out this isn’t a merger of the Liberals, the Alberta Party and the Greens and it’s not a (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Maverick MLA Laurie Blakeman accepts Liberal, Green and Alberta Party nominations

Fresh from her big victory in Alberta’s Gay-Straight Alliances debate, Edmonton-Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman announced this morning that she has accepted the nominations to be a candidate for the Liberal Party, Alberta Party AND Green Party in the upcoming provincial election. With these three nominations, she hopes to… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Alberta Politics Roundup: Bill 10 and the short #ableg session

The Alberta Legislature returned for what is expected to be short sitting before an expected Spring election. With the provincial budget scheduled to be tabled on March 26 and the last major round of Progressive Conservative candidate nominations being held on March 28,… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Candidate nomination update on International Women’s Day

In recognition of International Women’s Day, today’s candidate update focuses specifically on the total number of women nominated to run for Alberta’s political parties in the upcoming provincial election. Women make up the majority of our population, but they rarely come even… Continue Reading →

Susan on the Soapbox: A Modest Proposal for Cooperation Among Progressives in Alberta

“I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection” — Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal (1729)

Relax. Ms Soapbox’s modest proposal does not involve devouring children in order to ease Alberta’s economic problems. It builds on an excellent cooperation strategy proposed by Elizabeth May, leader of the federal Green Party.

But first, a little context.

Alberta’s “scare ‘em to save ‘em” premier is expected to call a snap election this spring. Progressive voters of all political stripes fear they’ll be crushed by the Conservative juggernaut. They’re madly galloping off (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Alberta Politics Round-Up: Redford and the Opposition

An investigation into former Premier Alison Redford‘s use of government airplanes has been closed and no charges will be laid, the RCMP announced yesterday. In 2014, Premier Dave Hancock and Justice Minister Jonathan Denis asked the RCMP to investigate findings made… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: PC MLAs follow Prentice command to cut Auditor General budget

Progressive Conservative MLAs sitting on the Standing Committee for Legislative Offices voted last week to deny a request from Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff to reinstate more than $200,000 in funding cut in Dec. 2014. At the same committee meeting,… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Who will stop the Jim Prentice juggernaut?

The past few months have been a sobering reminder that it foolish to underestimate the staying power of Alberta’s 43-year long governing Progressive Conservatives. A year ago the scandal ridden PC Government appeared to be on the verge of collapse. And now,… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: So long Liberalberta! Raj Sherman calls it quits.

All four main political parties will have new leaders going into the next election after today’s announcement by Liberal leader Raj Sherman that he is resigning as leader and will not seek re-election as the MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark. Like the Wildrose Party, who… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Will Liberal wild card spoil NDP gains in Edmonton?

TweetTwo polls released in the final weeks of 2014 could give an indication of the direction Alberta political might take in 2015. The polls show Jim Prentice‘s Progressive Conservatives dominating in Calgary and rural Alberta. And with Wildrose Party support in decline across the province, Mr. Prentice could be tempted to call an election sometime in early 2015. The polls … Continue reading Will Liberal wild card spoil NDP gains in Edmonton?

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Top 10 moments in Alberta Politics in 2014

TweetIn my nearly ten years writing about politics in Alberta on this blog, 2014 was easily the most exciting. The sheer number of scandals, controversies, fumbles and resignations made for new content on a daily basis. If I had the time and resources, I could have easily written three or four posts a day for most of … Continue reading Top 10 moments in Alberta Politics in 2014

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: A Dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2015

TweetAs 2014 reminded us, politics can be an extraordinarily unpredictable and forecasting the future can be a tricky business for political pundits. Aside from the obvious choice of Premier Jim Prentice, here is a list of a dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2015. Rob Anderson (Airdrie): The outspoken rookie MLA left the PC Caucus in 2010 … Continue reading A Dozen Alberta MLAs worth watching in 2015 →

Alberta Diary: Enough with the fantasy Wildrose was Alberta’s best opposition, already! It’s baloney!

And then there were five: The Wildrose caucus back before it experienced civil war, desertions and mass defections, including that of its leader, the woman in red above. Below: former NDP leader Brian Mason and current Leader Rachel Notley; effective Liberal MLAs David Swann and Hugh Macdonald.

One of the more irritating byproducts of mass defection by the Mudville Nine and two of their caucus colleagues who rejoined the Tory Mothership a few days earlier has been the outright wholesaling of the nonsensical claim the Wildrose Party was the most effective opposition Alberta has ever known.

Jen Gerson and Jesse (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Government communications staff learn only this week of huge shakeup set for Monday at Public Affairs Bureau

Worried Public Affairs Bureau staffers wait for more information on the shakeup affecting their jobs, which takes place Monday. Actual government of Alberta communications specialists may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: PAB Deputy Chief Martin Kennedy and top agent of change Richard Dicerni.

The Alberta government’s long-controversial Public Affairs Bureau is hours away from a significant restructuring by the Prentice Government.

The massive structural change, which will reduce the PAB to a shadow of its former self and scatter most communications staffers throughout government departments, takes effect on Monday.

All but about 40 of the 200-plus employees of the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The accountability ship has sailed, Bill 2 notwithstanding; Premiers Jim Prentice and Ralph Klein compared

A pensive Ralph Klein, maybe thinking about his worst political mistakes. Below: Jim Prentice and Alison Redford, also Alberta premiers. Premier, you’re no Ralph Klein!

Accountability legislation?

Oh, well … that changes everything!

All sarcasm aside, people, I think that ship has sailed, actually …

Bill 10, legislation designed to make it hard to form gay-straight alliances in schools, having turned into an embarrassing flop that won’t go away, Premier Jim Prentice yesterday introduced Bill 2, a law that in the words of the headline on the government’s news release, “aims to improve accountability and restore trust with (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Insufficient data, bad planning and so-con overreach help explain Prentice Government’s gay-straight-alliance gong show

Led by Premier Jim Prentice, members of the PC cabinet try to get away from the issue of gay-straight alliances in Alberta schools. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice, Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman and caucus rebel Thomas Lukaszuk.

The spectacular incompetence exhibited by the Prentice Government in its effort to curry favour with social conservatives by scuttling an opposition MLA’s private bill to protect gay-straight peer support groups in Alberta’s schools is breathtaking, reminiscent of the Redford Government’s lowlights.

This is “new management”?

Late yesterday, Premier Jim Prentice tried to press the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: A timeline of Alberta’s Gay-Straight Alliance debate

TweetIt is sometimes amazing how quickly one political issue can transform and dominate the debate. This week’s raging debate about allowing Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) in Alberta schools has twisted and turned so many times, it has become difficult to figure out who is in and out of the closet on this issue. Wikipedia defines a Gay-Straight […]

In This Corner: Why are the PCs so afraid of gay teenagers?

Premier Jim Prentice has gotten off to a pretty impressive start as the latest star of the longest running series in Canadian political history, Alberta Dynasty. He did a lot of little things right, like cancelling the ill-conceived plan to change our license plates and grounding the provincial fleet of airplanes. He did the usual big picture announcements, promising 1,487 new schools, or something like that. The voting public gave him a robust vote of confidence by going four-for-four in byelections, and just for fun he picked up a couple of Wildrose members, practically by accident. The Wildrose seems to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Bill 10 gong show’s bungled effort to pander to PC Party’s worst elements proves Jim Prentice is no political superman

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, as he appeared to almost everyone until yesterday, except there are no ships here in Alberta, which is why we need all those pipelines. Below: Education Minister Gordon Dirks; humiliated PC MLA Sandra Jansen, official sponsor of Bill 10; and Liberal MLA and Bill 202 sponsor Laurie Blakeman.

If the gong show that erupted yesterday over the Progressive Conservative government’s bungled effort to pander to its troglodytic social conservative faction by roadblocking LGBTQ students’ rights illustrates anything, it is that Premier Jim Prentice is not the political superman we imagined, before whom all must bow.

It (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: ‘Balancing’ rights? Just what rights are being balanced here? The Prentice Government’s Bill 10 is a disgrace

Premier Jim Prentice, with pointer, instructs his Progressive Conservative caucus on how they will vote on Bill 10. Actual docile PC caucus members may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice and Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman as she blows the whistle on homophobia in Alberta schools.

Last week, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice tried to frame Bill 10, the hastily cobbled-together response to Bill 202 that we’ll get to read moments before it’s introduced this week, as an effort to balance the rights of LGBTQ students with those of parents and school boards.

Bill 202, Edmonton-Centre MLA (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Lessons Prentice Learned at Harper’s Knee

Somewhere between the time that Premier Hancock stepped down and Premier Prentice ascended to the throne, the PC caucus turned into a bunch of sniveling crybabies. Not to worry, Mr Prentice will save the day with a maneuver befitting his mentor, Mr Harper.

Apparently the Liberal’s Bill 202 wedged the PC caucus between a rock and a hard place.

Bill 202 obligates schools boards to let students form gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and eliminates the right of parents to pull their kids out of classes on religion, sexuality and sexual orientation.

The PC caucus was afraid that if they voted against (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: An Open Letter To Jim Prentice

Dear Mr. Prentice,

In responding to MLA Laurie Blakeman’s Bill 202 as you did, you have just thrown LGBT students under the political bus AGAIN.

Let me be abundantly clear here.  Clause 11.1 one of the Alberta Human Rights legislation does not “protect” the rights of anyone.  It creates an environment where teachers are afraid to talk freely about sexuality that isn’t straight “missionary position heterosexual”.

By allowing for a “conscience exemption”, you force teachers to go running to parents for “permission” to  talk about these topics.  Guess what?  That sends a message to students that being LGBT is (Read more…)