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Alberta Diary: As soon as the NDP picks a new leader today, the party’s focus should turn to Edmonton-Whitemud – here’s why

Your blogger with Edmonton-Whitemud NDP candidate Dr. Bob Turner. Yeah, I support the NDP. Live with it! Below: Retiring NDP Leader Brian Mason, Health Minister Stephen Mandel, Alberta Liberal candidate Donna Wilson and NDP leadership frontrunner Rachel Notley.

After today, when the Alberta New Democratic Party has at long last chosen a leader to replace the retiring Brian Mason, she (or he) needs immediately to turn her (or his) attention to the Oct. 27 Edmonton-Whitemud by-election.

That’s because, if the buzz from some conservative-leaning campaigners is to be believed, there’s a sense on the doorsteps of the suburban Edmonton (Read more…)

Calgary Grit: Don Iveson will stand the test of time

Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor not a politician!

Naheed Nenshi has built a reputation as Canada’s coolest mayor, at least among young progressives. He’s big on the Twitter. He’s hip (by politician standards). He’s funny (by politician standards). He shatters the (unfair) stereotype of Calgary as Canada’s redneck wasteland.

However, Nenshi may have competition from Calgary’s rival city.

While Calgary broke barriers by electing Canada’s first Muslim mayor, Edmonton broke barriers last fall with the election of Don Ivesion – Canada’s first openly Nerd mayor.

I crossed paths with Iveson a few times when I was at the University of (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Premier Prentice Fast Tracks Flood Mitigation

It started with another “feel good” press release.

On Wed Sept 24, 2014, Premier Prentice announced that he was proceeding with two flood mitigation projects. He’ll divert the Highwood River to protect High River and create a dry reservoir in the Springbank area to protect Calgary.

Then it all went pear-shaped.

“Don’t Damn Springbank”

The residents, businesses and community organizations in Springbank, Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows roundly condemned the Springbank dry reservoir project.*

Mr Prentice

They rejected Mr Prentice’s assertion that it was better than the original proposal pointing out that one community should not be destroyed to (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta Politics Catch Up: Pipelines, Planes, Cities and Rob Anders

TweetSpending a few days in another province can sometimes give you a different perspective on important national issues. Spending the last week in British Columbia served as a good reminder to this political watcher about how emotional the debate around pipelines and the Oilsands are in Alberta’s neighbouring province. While I am sure opinion is divided in B.C., I lost […]

Alberta Diary: Let’s hear a big welcome for Preston Manning, a fresh new voice in Canadian satirical writing!

Preston Manning admonishes the Children of Alberta for abandoning the principles of Social Credit. Actual right-wing patriarchs may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Manning and, speaking of patriarchs, the sainted Ernest Manning, Ron Paul, the crazy uncle of the American right, and Ukip Leader Nigel Farage.

“Cancer and lightning go where they want. So does political corruption.” — JAMES LEE BURKE, Wayfaring Stranger, 2014

In all the brouhaha over former Alberta premier Alison Redford’s appalling misuse of airplanes and architecture, there haven’t been many light-hearted moments.

Thank God, then, for Preston Manning, patriarch of the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Could Ric McIver still win the Alberta Tory leadership race? Actually, yes, he could!

Ladies and gentlemen, place your bets. All the money’s on Jim Prentice – but is it the smart money? Below: Ric McIver, Jim Prentice, Jim Dinning and Gary Mar.

CALGARY

Could Ric McIver actually win the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership race?

Or, to put that another way, could Jim Prentice lose?

Maybe that seems like a theme for a political science fiction story to you. After all, Mr. Prentice – the former banker, corporate lobbyist and federal cabinet minister – is the choice of the PC establishment.

What’s more, he’s now backed by 49 of 59 PC Members of the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Source: MLA Kent Hehr to run for Trudeau Liberals in Calgary-Centre

TweetPolitical Calgary is abuzz with rumours that popular MLA Kent Hehr will seek the Liberal nomination in the federal riding of Calgary-Centre. Reliable sources say that Mr. Hehr has gone so far as to request nomination forms to become an official nomination candidate for the federal Liberals. Mr. Hehr would be a star candidate for the […]

Calgary Grit: Politicians in Cowboy Hats

For a brief history of Stampede fashion, you can read the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 round-ups – or “100 Years of Bad Photo-Ops“

This week’s pilgrimage of politicians to the Stampede was met with less fanfare than some years gone by. This wasn’t the first rodeo for any of the party leaders, and ever since the leather vest incident, wardrobes are vetted by dozens of staffers and stylists. So there were few surprises and few opportunities to ridicule.

And, let’s be honest, everyone was there for the (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Johnson, Anglin, Nenshi and Butler. Who said Alberta politics is dull in the summer?

TweetPremier Dave Hancock is standing behind Jeff Johnson, even after the Information and Privacy Commissioner ruled that the embattled education minister broke Alberta’s privacy laws by sending a direct message to the personal email addresses of thousands of teachers during their contract negotiations. In any other job, breaking the law would likely be cause for […]

Alberta Diary: Ric McIver needs to explain his longstanding connections to the ‘Progressive Group for Independent Business’ and its beliefs

Found on the Internet, apropos of nothing in particular, Ric McIver and friend. Below: Craig B. Chandler of the Progressive Group for Independent Business.

Up to now, Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Ric McIver has quite successfully flown under the radar about his ideological beliefs.

Indeed, very little has been written about what makes Mr. McIver tick – and almost nothing at all about what he believes, and therefore what he would do in office.

His official biography is uninformative, as is his Wikipedia entry. Neither provides any hint about his economic or philosophical views beyond his party affiliation – and (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Master of survey spinning takes potshot at poll showing Jim Prentice far ahead in Progressive Conservative leadership race

Stephen Carter, back in the day, looking very pleased with himself. Below: Former Carter clients Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Alison Redford. Below them: Pollster Janet Brown.

What would happen if a new poll put Thomas Lukaszuk in third place in the Tory leadership race?

Oh, wait! The former labour minister is in third place. But then, there are only three candidates.

According to a public opinion poll published yesterday by the Calgary Herald, frontrunner Jim Prentice is running so far ahead it’s all likely to be meaningless anyway, notwithstanding the apparent flaws of the survey.

The Herald reported that (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: And then there were three (white men)

TweetAs the deadline for candidates to enter their names (and $50,000 fee) in the contest to become the next leader of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Association came to a close yesterday, three politicians have put forward their names – bank vice-president and former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice and former provincial cabinet ministers Ric McIver and […]

Calgary Grit: 10 Years of Blogging

Happy Trails

Back when I first sat down to rant about politics on May 15th 2004, I never expected I’d still be doing this over 3,000 posts later. The blog has outlasted 3 Liberal leaders, been through 4 federal elections, and documented my involvement on a handful of losing leadership campaigns. During that time, Bart Ramson turned into Dan Arnold, I moved to Edmonton, finished school, and became a “Toronto Grit”. Shortly thereafter, Naheed Nenshi became mayor of Calgary and Rob Ford became mayor of Toronto. Go figure.

Nenshi and Ford have provided me with bountiful amounts (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Missing: Any discussion of what drove the Hancock Government’s Bill 10 attack on legally enforceable contracts

A system of contracts that can be enforced and adjudicated by an independent and disinterested court like this one is one of the key features of civilized society. This is a picture of the court used by a significant number Canadian law firms to illustrate their web pages. Actually, it’s the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Manhattan. But, unlike all those coruscating Canadian legalists, I took this picture myself. Below: Premier pro tem Dave Hancock talking to the media about an entirely different controversial issue; historian Alvin Finkel.

Amid all the brouhaha in recent weeks over (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Pension bill delayed as Hancock softens ground for next PC Party leader

TweetIn another move suggesting the spring sitting of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly could end within days, it appears that the passage of the Progressive Conservative Government’s controversial public sector pension law – Bill 9: Public Sector Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2014 – will be delayed until the fall sitting later this year. The opposition filibuster of the pension bill ended yesterday when the […]

Alberta Diary: Calgary mayor hands Alberta PCs a ‘Get Out of Jail Card’ on public service pensions

Alberta Premier pro tem Dave Hancock, who does not appear exactly as illustrated, of course, pictured on a Get Out of Jail Free card given him today by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Below: Mr. Nenshi and the real Mr. Hancock.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi handed Alberta Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock a Get Out of Jail Free card today.

It may not seem that way at first blush, but when Mr. Nenshi wrote Premier Hancock assailing Finance Minister Doug Horner’s Alison-Redford-era legislation allowing the province to gut Alberta public sector pensions, he did the government a huge favour.

Bill 9, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig responds to the CCCE’s tax spin by pointing out what’s likely motivating the false attempt to be seen to contribute to society at large: Seemingly out of the blue this week, the head honchos of Canada’s biggest companies, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, put out a media release insisting that their taxes are not too low.

This defensive posture — who mentioned murder? — reveals they fear others may be slowly catching on to the massive transfer of wealth to the richest Canadians that’s been going on for the past (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: Good advice for Alberta New Democrats from Quebec: this time, make it easy for voters to support you

Ray Guardia, one of the key architects of the federal NDP’s 2011 breakthrough in Quebec, at yesterday’s closing session of the Broadbent Institute’s 2014 Progress Summit in Ottawa. Below: Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman.

OTTAWA

Here’s a tip for Alberta New Democrats from one of the principal architects of Jack Layton’s historic 2011 Quebec campaign: don’t tell voters they’re stupid because they’ve been voting Tory for 43 years.

Ray Guardia was too diplomatic, of course, to put it quite like that in a panel discussion yesterday on winning progressive campaigns during the final session of the Broadbent Institute’s 2014 Progress Summit (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: New poll shows Albertans love their Big City Mayors

TweetThe same poll that showed former Premier Alison Redford with a 75% disapproval rating also showed urban Albertans have huge confidence in the leadership of their big city mayors. Previously unpublished questions from the same poll conducted by Marc Henry‘s ThinkHQ and provided to daveberta.ca showed Edmonton mayor Don Iveson and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi with […]

Autonomy For All: Nenshi: Right About LRTs, Wrong About Ideology

Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi visited Toronto last week and made some sensible comments about LRTs.  He also made some mushy and poorly reasoned comments about ideology, his ideas are popular, but fundamentally wrong and beliefs like this actually hinder progress on issues people care about.  You cannot wish away ideology.  It doesn’t go out of style because it is simply how you view the world, and how you think a better world can be made.  Here’s what he said: “Here’s the thing: nobody cares about those old labels of left or right and liberal and (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Municipal Voters: Partisan Intervention is Coming Your Way

Did you mistakenly think that the Manning Centre’s attempt to bend the 2013 Calgary municipal election to more “conservative” was an aberration?  You would be quite wrong.

The author of the Metro News article is considerably more charitable than I am about the matter – but then again, he was in Ottawa, not Calgary and didn’t necessarily see the full breadth of the effort on the part of the angry right wing to twist the election. When right-wingers from across the country huddled in Ottawa last weekend for the Manning Networking Conference, they understandably had their eye on the (Read more…)

A BCer in Toronto: Five keys to political success from Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s chief of staff, Chima Nkemdirim

I attended a panel on political best practices this afternoon at the Liberal Party of Canada 2014 biennial in Montreal, and one of the speakers was Chima Nkemdirim, chief of staff to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Describing himself to cheers as a Calgary Liberal, which isn’t always an easy thing to be (I speak from experience as a Liberal BCer), Nkemdirim shared best practices, tips and lessons from Nenshi’s two successful campaigns for mayor – the first of which began with the candidate literally polling at 0 – including these five keys to political success. All Politics is Local (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta cities, province fly the Rainbow Flag for Sochi Olympics

TweetDefying the stereotypes of Alberta as a conservative backwater, Rainbow Pride Flag are flying outside of city halls in Edmonton, Calgary and St. Albert and the Alberta Legislature today in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Russia. The a small but powerful gesture is a sign of support for a community that has become the target […]

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Cal Wenzel Hasn’t Got A Leg To Stand On

I didn’t think much of Wenzel’s allegations when he filed his lawsuit.  After reading the statement of defence filed by Naheed Nenshi today, I don’t think Wenzel has much to work with.

Perhaps the most damaging to Wenzel’s case is a series of tweets by Wenzel’s supporters referring to him as “The Godfather” – before the interview in which Nenshi allegedly defamed Wenzel by referring to him as “The Godfather”.

I think more concerning than the lawsuit itself (which is truly “pass the popcorn” political theatre) is the response of Alberta Justice regarding alleged funding irregularities in the (Read more…)