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
Participants in today’s Alberta Economic Summit solemnly await Premier Alison Redford’s arrival at Calgary’s Mount Royal University. Many are called but few are chosen, and they may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Stefan Baranski, Charles Rusnell and Stephen Carter.
As befits an almost exclusively political event, criticism of today’s Alberta economic summit by the Opposition Wildrose Party prompted a harsh and highly partisan riposte by the Redford Government.
A news release issued yesterday on government letterhead over the name of Stefan Baranski, Premier Alison Redford’s communications director, accuses Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith of a “deliberate misinformation campaign” against the
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: The Progressive Conservatives and Alberta’s government: one entity, indivisible, under God?
A bitumen processing plant near Fort McMurray, back in the day. Below: An actual bitumen bubble.
The government of Alberta is “desperate” to get the province’s bitumen resources to market, as its media echo chamber relentlessly informs us.
And it says it’s equally desperate to pop the “Bitumen Bubble,” the alliterative but misleading term Premier Alison Redford has coined to describe the price differential between bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands and easier-to-refine lighter crude from the United States or the North Sea.
But, given that, the Redford Government sure was quick to disavow the conclusions of its own officials when
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: The real reason upgrading bitumen in Alberta ‘doesn’t make sense’
The Alberta Progressive Conservative position on negotiations with the doctors explained. Yes, we’re just as confused as you are. Below: AMA President Michael Giuffre. Premier Alison Redford.
Every day, it just gets weirder and weirder.
The day before yesterday, we’re told, Alberta Premier Alison Redford waded into her health minister’s already strangely muddled negotiations with the province’s physicians to state that the only way the docs will get a raise is if the province goes back to charging health care premiums.
What’s more, she said in an impromptu news conference in Calgary, there’s no way that’s ever going to happen.
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford to docs: There’s no raise, and you’re not getting it!
An Alberta Teachers Association member gets ready to give an important lesson to the Redford Government. Alberta teachers may not be smiling quite as broadly as illustrated if the government imposes a contract on them by legislation. Below: Education Minister Jeff Johnson.
Trapped in a no-deficit, no-tax-increase cage of its own devising, with few ideas and a budget looming on March 7, the government of Premier Alison Redford has floated the idea of using legislation to impose a salary cap on Alberta’s teachers.
Education Minister Jeff Johnson has been shopping this brainstorm around to the province’s school boards to see
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Redford government floats risky scheme to impose contract on teachers
Steve Khan, eyed suspiciously by a fox. Below: Richard Starke, Christine Cusanelli, Richard III and Thomas Lukaszuk.
Right on the heels of a new poll suggesting a decline in support for the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta, Premier Alison Redford announced a mini-shuffle of her cabinet yesterday, sacking a couple of rookie ministers who for different reasons had turned out to be liabilities.
Coincidence? I think not.
The telephone survey of Alberta public opinion conducted from Jan. 14 to 20 by Leger Marketing was covered by most media and commentators as if it were good news for Ms. Redford’s PCs.
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Khan, Cusanelli canned: Alberta premier sacks two rookie ministers in wake of poll
Who’s in change here? Progressive Conservative MLAs get ready to supervise the work of an Alberta Health Services medical team while Alberta voters look on. Health officials, physicians and electors may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: AMA President Dr. Michael Giuffre; a space invader
Is the increasingly bitter fight between Alberta’s government and the province’s physicians just about money? It’s said here it’s more about who gets to control the health care system.
If you need evidence for this assertion, look no further than the fact just two and a half months ago Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Is Premier Alison Redford’s bitter fight with the docs about money, or control?
Premier Alison Redford eyeballs an uninvited visitor to the province’s economic summit. Without the password, you’re not getting in. Below, Premier Redford and Deputy Premier Tom Lukaszuk present their bona fides at the door. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below them: The premier’s communications director, Stefan Baranski.
In just 10 days, “Alberta’s leading thinkers, key industry, non-profit and academic leaders, Members of the Legislative Assembly and passionate citizens will gather together for a spirited discussion on Alberta’s future.” You’re not invited.
The government announced yesterday in a terse yet effusive press release that the economic
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: ‘Leading thinkers’ to set Alberta’s new economic course lickety-split – and you’re not invited
Alberta Premier Alison Redford beseeches the Almighty for higher petroleum prices as Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson looks on. Actual Alberta politicians may not be exactly as illustrated. Below: Social democratic men of God J.S. Woodsworth (Methodist), Tommy Douglas (Baptist) and Stanley Knowles (United).
So what’s with the Redford Government’s receding horizon on tough decisions, d’ya think?
You bet they’re going to make some tough decisions. That’s for sure! The premier said so in her pretentiously titled State of the Province Address Thursday night. Again and again. So just you wait.
Heck, the finance minister was saying it for
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Postponing the Day of Reckoning, Alberta-style
Fireside chats? Alberta Premier Alison Redford as she’ll likely see herself while softening up the province’s citizens for the March 7 Budget Speech on CTV tonight. Below: Ms. Redford as Albertans may see her. Below that: the real Ms. Redford; Conference Board Chief Economist Glen Hodgson.
Oh dear. Premier Alison Redford wants to have a “conversation” with us tonight.
Daddy’s new job at the convenience store doesn’t pay as much as the old one. We’re all going to have to tighten our belts a little, and that means you kids too. We’ve had to cancel the snow clearing service –
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Uh-oh! Premier Alison Redford wants to have a ‘conversation’ with us
They kissed us once. Will they kiss us again? Alas, in Alberta right now, there’s no way to be cert- cert- certain. Alison Redford chats with a typical Alberta voter last spring – although, Alberta politicians and their supporters may not turn out to be exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Ms. Redford, Finance Minister Doug Horner.
Here in 14 words is the conundrum that faces the Progressive Conservative government of Alberta Premier Alison Redford: you can be progressive, or you can be conservative, but you can’t be both.
So which is it?
The problem that confronts Ms. Redford’s PCs
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: The Redford Tories’ conundrum: Progressive reason versus Conservative passion
All we want are the facts, Ma’am. A couple of investigators hired by Alberta Chief Electoral Officer O. (for Olaf) Brian Fjeldheim prepare to go through the files of friends, relatives and employees of billionaire Daryl Katz who may or may not have donated money to the Redford Tories. Actual Alberta detectives may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Mr. Fjeldheim and Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson.
Alberta media are portraying the return to the news this week of three pre-Christmas political scandals as a tsunami of trouble for the governing Tories of Premier Alison Redford.
In fact, serial news
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: A tsunami of Tory troubles? Naw, the Alberta universe is unfolding as it should…
The Great Leap Forum: what Edmonton’s luxurious new ice hockey palace could look like with a little gesture of internationist solidarity from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Communist Chinese friends. Conceptual art by Dave Cournoyer used with permission.
It’s a moment of such perfect convergence that it’s astonishing Alberta’s Wildrose Party, which last week proposed paying for professional sports arenas through the risky tactic of encouraging vulnerable citizens to gamble, didn’t think of it.
I speak, of course, not of the imminent return of the National Hockey League but of the strategy used to good effect by the Communist government
. . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: With the NHL back on the ice, why not let Chinese taxpayers subsidize Canada’s billionaires?