Walter Sobchak, played by John Goodman, explains some of the harsh realities of life to the Dude and other characters from The Big Lebowski. In Alberta, when we crave this kind of frank talk, we listen to MLA Joe Anglin, the Wildrose representative for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. Below: The real Joe Anglin and the real Danielle Smith.
There will be no sequel to The Big Lebowski, say the filmmaking Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan.
But don’t get bummed out, man. The sequel – to the Dude’s friend Walter Sobchak, anyway – is living large, right here in Alberta.
This province is, (Read more…)
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…)
Members of the Wildrose Party try out their new robo-calling technology, which should avoid future problems with the CRTC. Right-wing Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Wildrose Party Executive Committee President David Yager.
You don’t have to agree with Alberta’s right-wing Wildrose Party to admire the skill with which it stick-handled yesterday’s revelation it had been fined $90,000 by the federal broadcast regulator for a series of improperly identified robo-calls made to voters during the 2012 election campaign.
Compared to the federal Conservative Party’s blundering response to its various recent troubles, it seems mildly astonishing the two (Read more…)
Wildcat strike scene, grabbed from AUPE’s website during the strike. Below: AUPE President Guy Smith, Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk.
Advice to anyone who tries to negotiate a deal with Alison Redford, Thomas Lukaszuk or any member or official of their government: take witnesses with you, and make sure you also bring a tape recorder.
You might want to bring a piece of paper, a pen, a Bible and a notary public as well. One-on-one meetings ending in “handshake deals” with these people? I don’t think so!
In what surely is one of the most outrageous Alberta news stories of the (Read more…)
How Albertans should see Progressive Conservative and Wildrose policies and procedures. Below: The clever Wildrose Facebook attack on PC Premier Alison Redford’s faintly unsavoury taxpayer-funded mail out, which makes it look a little worse than it really is.
Am I the only one who sees irony in the leader of Alberta’s ultra-conservative Wildrose Party working up a full head of steam because the merely very conservative government of Premier Alison Redford plans to mail a colourful budget brochure to every household in the province – at taxpayer expense, of course?
After all, the Wildrose Party of Danielle Smith is effectively (Read more…)
Alberta Premier Alison Redford, right, meets Opposition Leader Danielle Smith, left, while on her way to announcing a new school opening. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Premier Redford, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith.
Once upon a time, while Alberta’s premier was telling fairy tales to impressionable children, some of her senior officials were spinning fairy stories of their own.
Actually, this all happened yesterday.
The premier told a group of Grade 1 students at an Edmonton school library a story about a good princess named Alison, who built schools (Read more…)
“’Ave you got a leesence for your minkey?” An investigator for Elections Alberta pauses momentarily in his probe of political donations made to the Progressive Conservative Party by seeing-eye monkeys. If you don’t get it, I can’t help you. Actual Elections Alberta investigators by now have likely been transferred back to plain clothes. Below: Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, retired Chief Elections Officer O. Brian Fjeldheim and drugstore billionaire Daryl Katz.
In Alberta, lawbreakers must be punished, and they will be punished – unless, of course, they happen to be supporters of the ruling Progressive Conservative Party.
So, the government (Read more…)
“Post-secondary collective bargaining,” Alberta style. Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk and a post-secondary employer negotiator rig the deck, foreground, while a faculty association negotiators ponder what’s just happened. Actual Alberta bargaining teams may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Lukaszuk, former advanced ed minister Steve Khan.
As is well known, Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has sent a letter to the boards of all of Alberta post-secondary institutions instructing them on what their bargaining position and final wage offer must be in negotiations with their faculty associations and staff unions.
The position can be summed up in (Read more…) phrase, now frequently heard on college and university campuses throughout the province, “Zero, zero, zero.”
Oh, wait – and I mean that literally – after three years of nothing you can ask nicely for a 2-per-cent raise. If you’re lucky, and unlike Athabasca University your institution’s . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Has Alberta pioneered an unlegislated ban on collective bargaining?
Alberta Premier Alison Redford, second from right, with Environment Minister Diana McQueen and Culture Minister Health Klimchuk, watch as Deputy Premier Tom Lukaszuk celebrates the Progressive Conservative Party’s victory on this day last year with a sip of champagne. Actual PC cabinet members may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: the real Premier Redford, swearing the oath of office.
Today is the first anniversary of Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s unexpected but comfortable election victory.
If you follow Alberta politics, you’re bound to have been reading a lot of stuff lately about how unpopular Ms. Redford is just now and how (Read more…) really has no reason to celebrate.
“There is no cause to party,” the Edmonton Journal’s political columnist wrote gloomily, recommending against her drinking anything more expensive than Baby Duck.
He, like everyone else at the moribund local rag and its similarly declining Postmedia counterpart in Calgary, . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Never mind the pundits: Alberta Premier Alison Redford has plenty to celebrate today
Chuck Strahl listens to a participant in the Manning Centre conference in Ottawa in March. Below: Manning Centre founder and figurehead, Preston Manning.
Should Chuck Strahl be able to serve simultaneously on the board of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, a partisan political organization tied to the ruling Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other provincial conservative parties, and on the apolitical Security Intelligence Review Committee?
The SIRC is supposed to be, in the words of its website, “an independent, external review body which reports to the Parliament of Canada on the operations of the Canadian (Read more…) Intelligence Service.”
“Parliament has given CSIS extraordinary powers to intrude on the privacy of individuals,” the website explains. “SIRC ensures that these powers are used legally and appropriately, in order to protect Canadians’ rights and freedoms.”
Mr. Strahl is a former Reform Party, Canadian Alliance and Conservative . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Is Chuck Strahl’s dual role on the Manning Centre and security committee appropriate?
Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, right, helps Premier Alison Redford get ready to face Opposition questions about Alberta Health Services expense accounts. Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Health executives Michele Lahey, Sheila Weatherill, Alison Tonge.
The clueless ineptitude of the Redford Government dealing with Alberta’s continuing health system expense account brouhaha is matched only by the belligerence of the Opposition in portraying the situation as an outrage and a scandal.
Since mainstream media now routinely refer to the matter that way – “Redford, opposition trade barbs over Alberta Health Services expense scandal,” is how the (Read more…) Journal headlined the story yesterday – it’s fair to say the opposition strategy is working.
Whether it’s in answers to questions in the Legislature, management of issues by Premier Alison Redford’s newly hired phalanx of former Ontario spin doctors, the juvenile quality of a stream of . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford Government just can’t seem to stop fumbling health care expenses frenzy
Representatives of Edmonton region municipalities discuss regional planning issues at a recent meeting. Actual municipal reps may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths; Ralph Klein with Steve West.
The foundations of the regional planning crisis that prompted a frustrated Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths to threaten Edmonton-area municipalities with forced amalgamation were laid by the destructive policies announced by premier Ralph Klein’s sidekick Steve West back in 1993.
On Oct. 7 of that year, Dr. West, the Vermilion veterinarian and MLA who acted in a variety of portfolios as Mr. Klein’s minister of dismantling (Read more…) services, marched to the front of a meeting of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and proclaimed that the government would be pulling the plug on the province’s internationally respected system of regional planning.
The great minds of the Klein government didn’t like it because they’d decided . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Blame Ralph Klein for Redford Government’s messy regional planning crisis
Typical Alberta Progressive Conservative Party members. Or, wait, are those Wildrose members? Alberta’s rural elite may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel. Where’s the NDP when we need them?
Here it is 2013, the Earth is about to become an urban planet, and the Progressive Conservative Government of Alberta and the Opposition Wildrose Party are locked in a titanic battle to win the hearts and minds of conservative rural voters.
What’s wrong with this picture?
City folks? As far as both parties are concerned, we’re
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta still needs a “city party” – a role the New Democratic Party could fill
Finance Minister Doug Horner preps Albertans for yesterday’s budget. Actual Alberta finance ministers may not appear exactly as illustrated – but that’s the trick, isn’t it? Below: The real Doug Horner.
All in all, I guess, you could make a good case this was a pretty lousy budget.
It’s deeply confusing, as without any doubt the Alberta government intended, and there are a couple of real disasters lurking in its pages – got kids in post-secondary education, anyone?
But in the aftermath of the Alberta Budget Speech read this afternoon by Progressive Conservative Finance Minister Doug Horner, who was wearing
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Close enough for government work: Alberta Tories manage to hold their centre-right turf
Typical Albertans await tomorrow’s budget aboard the Good Ship Richest Place on Earth. Alberta may not actually be as damp as illustrated. Below: Premier Alison Redford. Why is this woman smirking?
Oh, we’ll squeeze you till the pips squeak, Premier Alison Redford seemed to be promising Albertans yesterday, as we nervously awaited the provincial budget that is to be brought down, possibly in flames, this afternoon.
Well, we’re all really looking forward to that out here in the pothole-riddled Richest Place on Earth, I can assure you!
This is different, of course, from the promises Ms. Redford was promising back
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Alberta budget primer: when they say ‘tough decisions,’ they really mean … ‘decisions that will be tough on you’
Weakened but still standing: The mighty Tory edifice. Don’t panic. This is a metaphor! Below: Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
It’s interesting to juxtapose the results of two new polls on related but different topics that were released yesterday – a Think HQ poll of Alberta voter intentions and an Environics poll of Albertans attitudes about taxes and public services.
The results of the former were published in the afternoon by CTV; the results of latter were released in the morning by the Alberta Federation of Labour, for which the survey was done.
If you believe them, the Think
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Two polls show how, and maybe why, Alberta’s Tory coalition is crumbling
Everybody should be as happy about Alberta’s “Bitumen Gusher” as these two guys, your blogger and former Finance Minister Ron Liepert. Below: AUPE’s chart of the price differential between Alberta bitumen and West Texas Intermediate crude. Below that: The Alberta government’s chart showing its natural resource revenue projections to 2022, prepared for last month’s Economic Summit. Obviously there’s no cause for panic.
Have things really changed all that much for Alberta since then-energy minister Ron Liepert predicted in early 2012 that the province was on the verge of a “Bitumen Gusher” of unprecedented magnitude?
One just hates to endorse the
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Are Alberta’s cannily incompetent Conservatives quietly awaiting a ‘Bitumen Gusher’?
Neocon Icarus Tom Flanagan (appropriately covered, thank goodness) at right, falls to earth after flying too close to the sun. Preston Manning hovers nearby. The flameout of actual neoconservative avatars may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Health Minister Fred Horne, Education Minister Jeff Johnson, and retired judge John Z. Vertes, who are the people this post is really about.
Even word that Tom Flanagan, the Icarus of Canada’s neoconservative movement, had flown too close to the sun and was coming down to earth in flames was not enough to save Alberta’s crisis-prone Progressive Conservative government from more pain!
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Despite neocon flameout distraction, Redford Tory bumbling dominates Alberta news
Freddy Lee Morton, in happier times, with your blogger. Below: Firewaller Tom Flanagan; the entire separatist 2001 Firewall team (grabbed from the National Post).
Freddy Lee “Ted” Morton, the worst premier Alberta never had, was back in the pages of the Calgary Herald the other day, bloviating at length about the need for brutal attack on public service salaries because this province’s frequently fluctuating principal revenue source has gone and fluctuated again.
Alert readers will recall Dr. Morton describing himself as “every liberal’s nightmare, a right-winger with a PhD.” He was also the owner of the mysterious “Frederick Lee”
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: ‘Freddy Lee’ Morton, the journalistic sequel: We’ve already seen this horror movie, thanks!
Razzle-dazzle, sis-boom-bah, balanced budgets, rah-rah-rah! Danielle Smith and the Wild Rosehip Tea Party yell squad cheers for Alison Redford’s Tory team’s worst plays on the field. The actual Alberta opposition may not be quite as illustrated. Below: Ms. Redford and B.C. Premier Christie Clark. Why are these two premiers smiling?
British Columbia and Alberta, Canada’s two westernmost provinces, have lots in common.
Both have economies that rely heavily on volatile natural resources, well-educated, diverse and generally socially progressive populations, and Westminster-style parliamentary legislatures in beautiful old buildings.
Both are also governed by irresponsible neoconservative coalitions with misleading names that
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: A Tale of Two Provinces: B.C. NDP and Wild Rosehip Tea Party show why opposition matters
Political culture in Alberta? Maybe not exactly as illustrated, but it’s still a problem for the Redford Government if Albertans see it that way. Below: O. Brian Fjeldheim.
OK, we’re all enjoying a nice quiet Family Day long weekend. This gives us an opportunity to look back at the interlocking illegal political contribution eruptions that until recently plagued the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
The past couple of weeks have been a busy time for Alberta political commentators, with daily events that might have been a scandal in some places, but somehow just didn’t make the grade
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Despite a lot of distraction, illegal political donations still stink up Alberta
Alberta’s perpetually mismanaged boom-and-bust economy makes homelessness worse, as hopeful immigrants flock here in hopes of a better life, and find nowhere to live. At least this guy has warm boots. Below: Dr. Stan Houston and Dr. Mat Rose.
Welcome to Alberta, the Richest Place on Earth, where body lice are showing up on residents of homeless shelters, an affliction normally associated with Third World refugee camps.
Earlier this week, University of Alberta infectious diseases specialist Dr. Stan Houston warned colleagues in an email of “a very powerful health indicator of the kind of poverty we are seeing (and creating)
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Edmonton’s homeless shelters home to body lice, ‘refugee-camp-like conditions’
Public School District students await dismissal for the week on a Thursday afternoon in Fort McMurray. Actual students may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Edmonton-Calder NDP MLA David Eggen; former Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Guy Boutilier.
And where, the good people of Fort McMurray should be asking themselves today as Canadians scratch their heads at the idea of four-day school for children in the Alberta oil sands boom town, is Guy Boutilier now that they really need him?
Mr. Boutilier, as readers with long memories may recall, was the Conservative MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo who was kicked out
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Four-day school scheme shows Tories view Fort McMurray as not much more than a work camp