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Alberta Politics: By ignoring Ed Stelmach, the oiligarchy and the ideological right overreached and lost plenty

PHOTOS: Ed Stelmach in the premier’s office at the Alberta Legislature. Below: Preston Manning, the Godfather of the Canadian right; Stelmach’s finance minister, Ted Morton; New Democrat political strategist Brian Topp. Ed Stelmach, the last good premier the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party managed to elect, spoke up yesterday about the tactics used by his party […]

The post By ignoring Ed Stelmach, the oiligarchy and the ideological right overreached and lost plenty appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: On fitting results

It will be some time yet before we see how Rachel Notley translates the Alberta NDP’s election triumph into policy. But we have had a chance to see Notley’s response to frivolous attacks on the NDP’s newly-elected MLAs – and she’s had absolutely the right reaction so far in not letting those attacks undermine elected representatives: Premier-designate Rachel Notley says she doesn’t see Drever’s Facebook photos as a big problem for the NDP.

“I think transition and the challenges that come with transition are what happens when governments change, which is something that happens in normal, healthy democracies,” Notley said.

(Read more…)

Alberta Politics: With Lieutenant-Governor Donald Ethell, in frail health, set to retire, PM must choose replacement with care

PHOTOS: Lieutenant-Governor Donald Ethell prepares to read the Speech from the Throne in November 2014. Below: Mr. Ethell again and past lieutenants-governor Lois Hole and Norman Kwong. Photos from the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor.) More significant change is coming to Alberta’s government in the wake of last week’s election of Premier Designate Rachel Notley’s New […]

The post With Lieutenant-Governor Donald Ethell, in frail health, set to retire, PM must choose replacement with care appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Despite his huge unintended favour to the NDP, U of A chair Doug Goss needs to step aside

PHOTOS: Doug Goss chairs the notorious news conference at which five prominent Edmonton businessmen assailed the New Democrats as amateurs and patronized Albertans about their need to start “thinking straight” mere hours before the May 5 election saw the NDP crush the Tories he supported. Below: Construction company CEO John Cameron and Alberta Premier Designate […]

The post Despite his huge unintended favour to the NDP, U of A chair Doug Goss needs to step aside appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Working across the aisle

Among the other lessons learned from Alberta’s recent election, let’s point out one more with implications for the federal scene.

While the main opposition parties recognized that they were too far apart in their general policy orientation to justify a formal coalition, both the NDP and the Wildrose Party were happy to point out some of the areas which were ripe for cooperation as part of their criticism of the governing PCs.

In other words, neither tried to pretend that there was no room to discuss post-election cooperation, nor to claim that some areas of disagreement or personal differences rendered (Read more…)

Alberta Politics: Tune up this spring with something new … Alberta’s PCs can find renewal and purpose as something completely different!

PHOTOS: UFA fuel stations today dot Alberta, giving hope to the remnants of the once mighty PC Party’s membership, who could transform the former political entity into something like this. Below: A shifty looking premier John Brownlee, who led his government to an unhappy end, and premier Jim Prentice, who did the same thing, although […]

The post Tune up this spring with something new … Alberta’s PCs can find renewal and purpose as something completely different! appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Cowichan Conversations: Rafe: Notley should change electoral system following Alberta NDP win…no, seriously

This post by Rafe Mair was originally published in the Common Sense Canadian

 

Rafe Mair

Somehow, the day after it happened, the election of the NDP in Alberta doesn’t seem quite as

Read more…

Progressive Proselytizing: Alberta NDP would have won 26 seats if PC and Wildrose merged

The question for the federal scene coming out of the historic NDP wave election in Alberta that saw them jump from four seats to 53, a solid majority, is whether anything close to this is reproducible on the federal scene. The major difference between the two is that federally only the Conservatives represent the right wing (shhh dear Liberal bashers) while in Alberta there is the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party.

One crude estimate is to see what would have happened if the PCs and the Wildrose had indeed joined into a single party. Assuming the votes work out (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On rebuilding projects

I’ll have plenty more to say about last night’s resounding Alberta NDP election victory in posts to come. But for now, here’s a quick take on what comes next for the PCs.

I had earlier wondered whether the PCs might effectively take a majority-or-bust position in contrast to the other parties.

Going into last night, the NDP and Wildrose Party each had reason to draw something positive out of winning, say, 20 seats and/or a role as the Official Opposition. And that may have implied some willingness to put resources into achieving those outcomes even if it meant falling short (Read more…)

Alberta Politics: Pinch me! Am I dreaming? Canada’s ‘most conservative’ province elects an NDP majority

PHOTOS: Rachel Notley, Alberta’s premier-elect, smiles at 1,000 or more of her supporters last night in an Edmonton hotel ballroom. Below: Two more views of Ms. Notley during her victory speech. Well, how d’ya like them oranges? Alberta New Democratic Party, 53 seats; Wildrose Party, 20; Progressive Conservative Party, 11; Alberta Liberal Party, 1; Alberta […]

The post Pinch me! Am I dreaming? Canada’s ‘most conservative’ province elects an NDP majority appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Alberta Politics: Zombie Confidence Fairy finally rears its head as the 2015 Campaign of Fear gets up steam in Alberta

A group of five prominent Edmonton businessmen with ties to the Prentice Progressive Conservative Party tried to talk some sense into us crazy Albertans yesterday about voting NDP during a news conference in the Melcor Developments’ boardroom in downtown Edmonton. From left to right: John Cameron, Paul Verhesen, Doug Goss, Ashif Mawji and Tim Melton. […]

The post Zombie Confidence Fairy finally rears its head as the 2015 Campaign of Fear gets up steam in Alberta appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Failures of imagination and arithmetic

Colby Cosh’s latest includes this explanation as to why he wants to write off the party which holds a strong lead in Alberta’s polls: The province-wide NDP numbers, whichever set you prefer, are conceptually hard to translate into large numbers of seats outside Edmonton. Former Calgary alderman Joe Ceci, running for the NDP, is thought to be strong in his old stomping ground of Calgary-Fort, as is Shannon Phillips in university-influenced Lethbridge West. There is bound to be a third name on this list—a name no one knows yet. Some shrewd, hard-working NDP candidate is knocking on the last door (Read more…)

Alberta Politics: A vote for the NDP is a vote for change; a vote for the Wildrose Party is a vote for the same old Tory dynasty

PHOTOS: Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. Below: Premier Jim Prentice, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, neoconservative godfather Preston Manning. With five new polls yesterday showing Alberta’s New Democrats approaching minority government territory and the “ooga-booga” fear campaign against the NDP beginning in earnest, perhaps it’s time for Albertans who urgently want to rid our province of […]

The post A vote for the NDP is a vote for change; a vote for the Wildrose Party is a vote for the same old Tory dynasty appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Accidental Deliberations: Swing batta swing

Needless to say, the range of potential outcomes in the Alberta election (along with the continued flow of news battering the Prentice PCs as they try to regain some type of footing) has made for a fascinating campaign. But it’s worth pointing out that single polls and seat projections may miss important parts of the picture – meaning that the actual state of the race is far less certain than it might appear at first glance.

Take for example this important explanation of Election Almanac’s methodology: Election Almanac uses a proportional swing model for its projections based on the latest (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Oops!

It seems that a candidate for Alberta’s Wildrose party, Rick Strankman, has made a bit of a faux pas, one that he blames, as politicians are wont to do, on a volunteer: A Wildrose candidate was forced to apologize and retract a poster Thursday that called on party supporters to bring their wives’ pies to a meet-and-greet.

The poster encouraged constituents in Drumheller-Stettler to attend an “old fashioned pie auction” next week and “BYWP (Bring Your Wife’s Pie!!)”

Meanwhile, rumours abound that Strankman has hired a new campaign manager:

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The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Brian Jean: WildRose’s Second Lake Of Fire?

Newly minted WildRose party leader Brian Jean is running around the province trying to drum up votes like every other politician in Alberta these days.  His latest “fear” seems to be that the PCs are going to start sliming his party.

“I think they’ll even claim our ethnic candidates areracist. I wouldn’t be surprised.” 

The interview is over but a couple minutes later Jean phones back. He wants to add something. 

He says the PC run the same kind of playbook as the federal Liberals tried on Stephen Harper. Remember, Jean served in the Harper government, as (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Now we’re just haggling over the price

Others have rightly wondered whether the Wildrose Party’s new promise to make floor-crossing MPs pay a price to the party will be enforceable at all. But it’s also worth examining how it might affect MLAs’ decision-making – with the result potentially being the exact opposite of what Brian Jean intends.

Previously, the bar to Wildrose MLAs crossing the floor was a moral one: the promise, to constituents and party alike, that MLAs would resist the temptation to join another party. And while that bar may have failed to stop Danielle Smith and others from breaking their promise, it certainly seems (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the sudden disappearance of Danielle Smith and her fellow Wildrose Party defectors offers a case in point of the dangers of forgetting that politicians ultimately answer to the public.

For further reading…- CBC reported on the actual deal between Smith and Jim Prentice here, while Darren Krause reported on Smith’s nomination defeat. And CBC examines Wildrose’s bounce back in the polls as it elected a new leader.- Don Braid notes that Smith was warned about some of the dangers of crossing the floor at the time, while Andrew Coyne sees a bait and (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta, I give you Alison Redford, Person of the Year for 2014!

Former premier Alison Redford at the moment of her leadership campaign victory in 2011. Former opposition leader Danielle Smith in a typical campaign pose last summer.

Back in the mists of time, or rather, Time, there used to be a regular December feature called “Man of the Year.”

That was amended to “Person of the Year” in the 28th year of Progressive Conservative rule here in Alberta, and no doubt many in that party are still upset by the change, being symptomatic, as it were, of that other kind of PC they so love to disparage.

Other (Read more…)

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: Jim Prentice revealed as Hayek ‘disciple’; Heather Forsyth to lead Wildrose rump; Preston Manning says he’s sorry … and more!

A crowd of typical Albertans reacts to the news Danielle Smith and most of her caucus have gone and joined Premier Jim Prentice’s PCs. Below: Mr. Prentice; neoliberal saint Friedrich Hayek; Preston Manning, who is really, really sorry he didn’t counsel a vote or something; interim Wildrose Leader Heather Forsyth; and new Tory MLA Gary Bikman.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think the most interesting news tidbit yesterday was that Heather Forsyth will become the new “Wildrump” leader, Preston Manning’s peculiar apology for accidentally uniting the right, the government’s sneaky tuition fee increases, or even the poll (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Never mind the Mudville Nine: Nothing has changed, nothing ever will, that is all!

“Your health. Our promise.” It’s March 1, 2013, and then-premier Alison Redford announces plans to build a new cancer treatment facility in Calgary to replace the grubby and overcrowded Tom Baker Cancer Centre. (Photo grabbed from Metro Newspapers.) But that was then. This is now. Below: Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel; the Tom Baker facility in northwest Calgary.

As Danielle Smith might have said, were she still the leader of the Opposition, “nothing has changed!”

On Friday, mass media were uncritically reporting the “reasons” the new cancer hospital promised to Calgary on which construction was supposed (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Blogger Brian Mason explains why Jim Prentice, ‘Alberta’s first Wildrose premier,’ is preparing to call a snap election

Former NDP leader Brian Mason in a couple of typical poses, above and below. I’ll bet you didn’t know he was a terrific political blogger too!

Jim Prentice is Alberta’s first Wildrose premier and he will soon call a snap election to ensure he can push forward a Wildrose program of using temporarily low oil prices as justification to roll back public sector salaries, attack pensions, reintroduce health care premiums and lay off nurses and teachers.

This sharp and credible warning comes from someone who should be better known as a political blogger than he is, a shrewd analyst of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On representative units

Does anybody remember which particularly prominent political pundit went far out his way to trumpet the idea that basic unit of political legitimacy is the caucus – to the point of repeatedly advocating a legislated requirement that a caucus vote override the decisions made by the whole of a party’s membership?

I ask only because he seems to have been replaced with a far more reasonable impostor.

By the majority-of-caucus standard set under Michael Chong’s Reform Act (or the stronger forms suggested by Andrew Coyne among others), the decision of a majority of Wildrose Party MLAs to join up with (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Danielle Smith’s conduct and the mass Wildrose defection must be seen as character issues

Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith with her new boss, Premier Jim Prentice, at yesterday’s news conference announcing the defection of the nine Wildrose caucus members to the Progressive Conservative Party. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Below: Another shot of the pair in an informal moment at the start of the news conference.

It’s a character issue.

Certainly the recent conduct of the leadership of the Wildrose Party, which this afternoon culminated with the desertion of most of its key elected officials to Premier Jim Prentice’s ruling Progressive Conservative caucus leaving their loyalists and supporters in the (Read more…)