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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…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: What if politicians could stop school kids from starting clubs?

TweetWhat does it look like when a politician tries to build his credibility among social conservative voters? We found out this week when Premier Jim Prentice sideswiped Edmonton-Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman’s private members bill – Bill 202: Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act, 2014 – that would allow students to form Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) […]

Alberta Diary: Maneuver to derail Alberta gay-straight alliance bill shows Prentice Tories will tolerate bullying for political gain

Laurie Blakeman, veteran Alberta Liberal MLA for Edmonton-Centre, flanked by a couple of her friends at the 2014 Edmonton Pride Parade. Below: Premier Jim Prentice and Education Minister Gordon Dirks.

By choosing yesterday to put the right of citizens to use their religious beliefs as an excuse for bigotry on the same level as the right of citizens not to be victims of bigotry, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and his Progressive Conservative Government chose to tolerate, if not encourage, anti-gay bullying in schools.

Sorry, but that’s just the way it is.

No matter what’s in Mr. Prentice’s promised amendments to (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Tories are swinging right, paradoxically because of the implosion of their right-wing brethren in the Wildrose Party

Family values: Not so long ago they were all swinging left, but now the Progressive Conservative caucus of Premier Jim Prentice is swinging right. Getting ready to launch, from left to right, new PC caucus member Kerry Towle, Mr. Prentice, new caucus member Ian Donovan, and an unidentified former Redford Government cabinet minister. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Prentice, NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman.

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman and Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark were onto (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The bloom is off the (Wild)rose – Opposition Leader Danielle Smith assailed by doubts, dissent and departures

Are the wheels falling off the Wildrose bus, which may or may not look exactly as illustrated any more? Below: Beleaguered Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, Taber-Warner-Cardston MLA Gary Bikman and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson.

These may be happy days for the Progressive Conservatives under Premier Jim Prentice, but the bloom is definitely off Alberta’s Wildrose Opposition.

Just weeks ago seen as a sure bet to be the province’s next premier, Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith is today buffeted by an embarrassing scrap between her party’s social conservatives and socially progressive members over LGBTQ rights, troubled by questions about her (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The least interesting part of Legislative Session: The Throne Speech

TweetEvery year, political watchers gather at the Alberta Legislature for the pomp and circumstance of the Speech from the Throne, hoping to get a glimpse of a political agenda. And every year they are sorely disappointed at the Throne Speech’s lack of detail. Yesterday’s Throne Speech, delivered by elderly Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell, was unremarkable, […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta Politics Roundup – Eve of Fall Sitting

TweetFall Legislative Session November 17, 2014 will mark the start of the first legislative session for new Premier Jim Prentice, Health Minister Stephen Mandel and Education Minister Gordon Dirks. The 43-year old governing Progressive Conservatives have promised to introduce new laws focusing on property rights and ‘ending entitlements’ for their MLAs. This will be Rachel Notley’s first session as […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Limping Alberta Liberals face more financial troubles

Tweet Did Liberal leader Raj Sherman break Alberta’s political donations limits when making donations to his own party? The Calgary Herald is reporting that Dr. Sherman may have exceeded the $15,000 limit for donations three times in the past four years and donated double the limit this year through corporations he controls. The questionable donations were […]