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Alberta Diary: Alberta Tories on public service pensions: ‘We lied. So what are you gonna do about it?’

As Tory leadership candidates Thomas Lukaszuk, standing, and Doug Horner look on, Alberta Premier pro tempore Dave Hancock tries out the barrel in which the next leader of the Progressive Conservative Party will lead their caucus over the falls. Actual Tory premiers and would-be premiers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: International Affairs Minister Cal Dallas and Alberta Tory dynasty founder Peter Lougheed.

They may have skidded their most disastrous leader, but the brain trust now running Alberta’s foundering Progressive Conservative Government has made it abundantly clear they intend to press ahead with their scheme to demolish the progressive (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Say what? After 36 years, secret Alberta Tory slush fund comes to light

Senior Alberta Progressive Conservative Party officials and guards remove election campaign funds from the vaults of the “Tapcal Trust.” Actual PC party officials may not appear exactly as illustrated: Below: PC Party Executive Director Kelley Charlebois; Public Interest Alberta Executive Director Bill Moore-Kilgannon.

So, there’s this law in Alberta that allows the ruling Progressive Conservative Party to have a possibly huge and definitely secret slush fund, but makes it illegal for any other party to do the same thing.

What’s more, the fund’s been around for at least 36 years and no one’s uttered a squeak of protest, presumably (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Tales from the Tory crypt: Apres Alison le deluge

Tory leadership non-candidate Jim Dinning with your blogger, back in the day. Below: Former premier Ed Stelmach and non-candidates Ted Morton and Gary Mar.

If we were to speak for former Alberta premier Alison Redford today, here is what we would say: “Apres moi le deluge!”

There is plenty of fight left in the Alberta PC Party. The trouble is, it is all directed inwardly, at other Tories.

On everything except the policies that must be changed to save the party, Alberta’s crumbling 43-year-old Progressive Conservatives dynasty is disunited, playing out its increasingly bitter rivalries in public.

Given that, (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: PC finances: looks like Armageddon for Tories and Wildrose Apocalypse for the rest of us

Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith, on horseback, gazes at all that remains of Alberta’s once-mighty Alberta Progressive Conservative dynasty. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear quite so metaphorically. Below: PC Party Executive Director Kelley Charlebois.

We can probably thank former Alberta premier Alison Redford for breaking the spine of the 43-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in this province. For, after not quite two and a half years of her leadership, broken it appears to be.

If you want proof this is so, look no further than the lamentable financial condition in which the party finds itself today.

We already knew (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Tory MLAs, reporters, right-wing ideologues take aim at Alison Redford for PC Party’s woes

The Alberta premier’s personal airship ties up alongside the Sky Palace Official First Minister’s Residence, high atop the former Federal Building in Edmonton. Actual official accommodations may not appear exactly as illustrated, even in the blueprints. Below: Former premiers Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach.

OTTAWA

Everyone is piling onto Alison Redford now, a phenomenon we can expect to continue for a few days or even weeks as three things happen.

First, journalists who were working on stories started during the former Alberta premier’s final days in power are going to want to get them filed and published as quickly as (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta Premier Dave Hancock needs to apply his leadership candidates’ rules to secretive cabinet committee

A rare shot of a meeting of the Alberta government’s secretive Public Sector Resource Committee in session. Actual Alberta policymakers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Premier Dave Hancock with former premier Alison Redford, back in the day, photo grabbed from Daveberta.ca.

OTTAWA

Is the Redford-Hancock Government’s Public Sector Resource Committee a cabinet committee, or merely a committee made up mostly of cabinet ministers?

This may sound like a technical and wonkish question, but it is actually an important one that needs to be dealt with by Alberta Premier Dave Hancock in his role of temporary custodian of (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Advice to Dave Hancock: sweet words won’t be enough for Alberta’s unhappy civil servants

Your blogger with Alberta’s newest premier, Dave Hancock, not so long ago. Below: U.S. presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

What a difference a few days can make! One leaves the province with one premier in power, figuratively bellowing threats at the civil service, and returns less than a week later to find another one, whispering sweet nothings in the same public employees’ ears!

Well, that’s not quite fair. Whomever Alison Redford was bellowing threats at last week, it wasn’t likely the Alberta civil service any more. In her mind, I suspect, she reckoned she’d already sorted (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: If Alison Redford won’t voluntarily step aside, Alberta’s Tories are likely finished

Alberta Premier Cruella de Vil brings some of her rebellious MLAs to heel. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: High-profile caucus rebel Donna Kennedy-Glans; Stephen Mandel, former mayor of Edmonton and about the only person who could unseal the Alberta Tories’ doom at this late hour.

The departure yesterday morning of Donna Kennedy-Glans from the Alberta Progressive Conservative caucus makes it pretty obvious the message is sinking in with disaffected PC MLAs that casting Alison Redford as Premier Cruella de Vil and then putting her on double-secret probation may not have been the most astute strategy (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Worst political strategy ever: Alison Redford put on probation by Tory party big shots

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, as her party used to see her. (In the background, an ecstatic Thomas Lukaszuk.) Sad to say, this is another example of actual politicians not appearing exactly as illustrated. Below: Alison Redford, as Cruella de Vil, the way her party sees her now. Below her: Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, grimly emerging from Government House on Friday.

Do the backroom leaders of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party seriously expect the province’s voters to re-elect as premier a leader in whom they obviously have no confidence?

I mean, c’mon people, talk about the lamest (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The Ides of March: Alison Redford under ‘friendly fire’ from coup plotters in her own caucus

Premier Alison Redford and an aide, at right, look on as Progressive Conservative caucus coup plotters try to remember if the signal to make their move is “Toga! Toga! Toga!” or “Tory! Tory! Tory!” Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Rumoured Redford replacements Gary Mar, Stephen Mandel and Jim Dinning.

It’s less than a week until the Ides of March and signs are now plentiful an attempt to topple Alberta Premier Alison Redford is under way.

By all accounts the coup plotters come from within the premier’s own Progressive Conservative Party. They are (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The End is at Hand! Sure looks that way for Alberta’s PCs, anyway…

Members of the Alberta Tory caucus consider the latest poll results as they prepare for the 2016 provincial election. Actual Alberta Progressive Conservative MLAs may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Dave Hancock … leadership potential at last.

OTTAWA

It’s probably still possible for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party to crawl back from the abyss – if you believe in miracles – but it’s increasingly hard to believe they can do it with Alison Redford at the helm.

Even viewed from the nation’s exceedingly quiet capital, the numbers in the Leger poll published this morning by the Calgary Herald are not (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Can the Redford Government Survive Until 2016?

It’s unfortunate it’s illegal to say the word “str*ke” in Alberta, or you could write a great caption for this image. To be on the safe side, we’ll just stick to asking: “Can the Redford Government survive until 2016, or whenever the next provincial election is held?” Below: Alberta Premier Alison Redford; Soviet era prognosticator and dissident Andrei Amalrik, who predicted the fate, if not quite the date of the fate, of the Soviet Union. (Bowling image created by Luanne Climenhaga.)

With tip of the ushanka to Andrei Amalrik, we have to ask: Can the Redford Government survive (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: Fear & Loathing in Calgary Signal Hill: rumble on the right breaks out in Calgary

Your blogger in 2011 with Ron Liepert, Alberta’s former Worst Provincial Cabinet Minister. Below: Calgary West Member of Parliament Rob Anders, Canada’s worst MP, with his friend and supporter, Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Coming soon to the new federal riding of Calgary Signal Hill: fear and loathing on the campaign trail.

Come with me on a savage journey into the heart of Alberta’s never-ending Conservative nightmare: Alberta’s former Worst Provincial Cabinet Minister is about to challenge Canada’s undisputed Worst Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the redistributed southwest Calgary federal riding!

In the corner (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The little government that grew: Alison Redford shuffles deckchairs on her cabinet

After her change of heart, Alberta Premier Ebenezer Redford, top left, accompanied by Speaker Gene Zwozdesky in his ceremonial robes, watches as some of the members of her cabinet sit down for an unexpected dinner of Christmas turkey. Actual Alberta Progressive Conservative movers and shakers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: actual deck chairs on the actual Titanic; a Tweet from one of the child labourers on Premier Redford’s communications staff.

Well, it’s one way to keep your more restive conservative caucus members from running across the floor of the House to join the Wildrose Opposition, I guess.

Alberta (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Hell freezes over in Alberta: Right-wing Wildrose Party sides with unions, sort of, over unconstitutional Tory bills

AUPE President Guy Smith, left, with Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson on the steps of the Alberta Legislature last night. Below: Part of the crowd … the pots and pans start to come out.

With blizzard conditions prevailing throughout most of Alberta today, it was still a surprise when the right-wing Wildrose Party issued a news release supporting the province’s largest union and promising if it is elected it will undo much of the damage done by the Redford Government’s unconstitutional Bills 45 and 46.

Talk about the proverbial strange political bedfellows!

There (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Is it time to take our pots and pans into Alberta’s freezing streets?

More than 1,000 union members and their supporters gathered at the Alberta Legislature last night to continue protests against the Redford Government’s Bill 45, which as well as attacking unions assaults Albertans’ Charter-guaranteed right to free speech. Below: Unexpected speaker Joe Anglin; a red square from Quebec. Make it black, pin it on, leave it there till Redford’s gone!

Is it time to take our pots and pans into Alberta’s freezing streets?

Don’t laugh! This may be Alberta, but there’s a growing consensus across all parts of the political spectrum that the lying liars of the Redford Government have to (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…)

The Ranting Canadian: It’s not really about the crack, or at least it’s…

It’s not really about the crack, or at least it’s not all about the crack. The crack-centred Rob Ford jokes, skits, songs and Internet memes certainly have been entertaining, but Ford’s recent crack use is but one of the many reasons he is hopelessly unqualified to be mayor of the largest city in Canada.

It’s about the lying, the cover-ups, the hypocrisy, the unpunished crimes, the nepotism, the football charity bribe scheme, the blatant disregard for the rules, the pilfering of expensive government resources for personal benefit, the bigotry and discrimination, the bullying, the back-room deals, the promise-breaking, the unexplained (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Are rats abandoning a sinking Alberta Tory ship? The evocative departure of Doug Elniski

Doug Elniski, back and centre, always the tallest guy in the room, at Alison Redford’s side on Oct. 2, 2011. Below: Kirk Patterson aboard Silk Purse somewhere, by the look of the clipping snatched from his Facebook page, in Japan; the ingenious Sir Winston Churchill.

My university friend Kirk Patterson, who is alone aboard a sailboat called Silk Purse somewhere along the coast of Japan, has been sending entertaining dispatches via Facebook reporting hopefully that the rat plaguing him may finally have abandoned ship.

I suggested to Kirk – who had been planning to circumnavigate the island but has (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s Wildrose Party strategists plan to have drained the Lake of Fire by Sunday

Explaining the new rules to the Wildrose Party’s many social conservatives. Wildrose political strategists may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Social conservative pastor and former Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger preaching; the late Oscar Wilde being the life of the party.

To paraphrase Johnny Cash, they fell into a burning Lake of Fire, they went down, down, down and the flames went higher. And it burned, burned, burned … the Lake of Fire!

Well, you can bet on it, the Lake of Fire ain’t ever again gonna consume Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose Party.

The Lake of Fire, of course, was (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Strange political bedfellows are conjuring more than entertainment in Alberta

A poster advertising last night’s NDP-Wildrose leaders’ debate at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Below: Odd couple Brian Mason and Danielle Smith, captured in electrons by Dave Cournoyer of the Daveberta.ca blog.

Alberta New Democratic Party Leader Brian Mason and Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith debated each other at the University of Alberta in Edmonton last night.

According to those who were there, their verbal jabs were highly entertaining. “Ms. Smith and Mr. Mason playfully sparred over issues facing the energy sector, pipelines, the economy, post-secondary education, health care and public services,” wrote blogger Dave Cournoyer, who (Read more…)

The Ranting Canadian: This clip from the movie Tommy Boy is almost a re-enactment of…

This clip from the movie Tommy Boy is almost a re-enactment of a typical scene from Rob Ford’s life. Here are a couple more Ford-like clips from Tommy Boy: clip1 and clip 2, and here are six ways the fictional character Tommy Callahan (played by Chris Farley) differs from the real-life disgraced mayor of Toronto.

1) Tommy graduated from college, after seven years and with barely passing grades, but graduated nonetheless.

Robby flunked out of the political science program at Carleton University and later gave a BS excuse that he did so to help his druggie (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Evil twins: Alberta Progressive Conservatives assail Wildrosers, and vice versa

This is not a photograph of Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Alberta Opposition Leader Danielle Smith. For one thing, these two are far too friendly with one another. But you get the point I’m trying to make, I’m sure. Below: The real Ms. Redford and the real Ms. Smith.

I’ll admit I laughed out loud when I read in the Calgary Herald that Alberta Premier Alison Redford had accused her far-right opposition, the Wildrose Party, of being an organization ready to break any rule to win.

Not that I doubt Ms. Redford for a moment on this one, which she (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: CBC journalist Charles Rusnell: slaying Alberta’s Tory dragon, one scandal at a time …

Your blogger with CBC investigative reporter Charles Rusnell. Below: Edmonton-Manning MLA Peter Sandhu; Mr. Sandhu with Alison Redford in a Tory Party photo grabbed from the Daveberta.ca blog. The photo-bomber is Calgary-Fort MLA Wayne Cao.

You’d think it would be easy to run a petroleum-soaked, cash-rich jurisdiction like Alberta, but a day seldom seems to pass out here on the western edge of the Great Plains without our governing Progressive Conservative Party suffering another pratfall or embarrassment.

But how many Albertans know that so many of these scandals bedevilling our permanent governing party have been uncovered by the same (Read more…)