Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

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: Back to the future? Private-client opinion polls said to show big shift toward Alberta’s Wildrose Party

The future belongs, the future belongs, the future belongs to us… Peter Lougheed preaches to the converted in Calgary not long before the 1971 provincial election. After 42 years and counting, is there really another seismic shift under way in Alberta, or just more blundering by pollsters? Below: Mr. Lougheed not long after the 1971 election; Premier Harry Strom graces a Social Credit election poster from the same election campaign; Premier Alison Redford last year.

Tout le monde political Alberta is abuzz with rumours of new private polls that show a significant shift of voter support away from the Progressive (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Dunderdale’s departure relocates Redford deeper in premiers’ popularity sub-basement

Getting to know you… Getting to know all about you. Not necessarily a good thing with certain dancing partners! There’s just no way actual Canadian premiers, no matter whom they’re dancing with, ever look this good! Below: unpopular dance partners Alison Redford, premier of Alberta, Greg Selinger of Manitoba and all-but-departed Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland.

Well, she’s not quite hit Rock bottom.

But thanks to the departure announcement yesterday by the premier of the Rock, Alberta Premier Alison Redford is now in a dead heat to be Canada’s second least popular premier.

With a pallid 31-per-cent approval rating, Ms. Redford (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Battles in the ’Burbs: Independent St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber eyes formation of party as fund-raising vehicle

Independent MP Brent Rathgeber with machine gun, looking as if he could use some closer supervision, takes aim at the CBC. (Joke.) And, yes, that is Jack Layton with the other one. Below: Teddy Roosevelt. (That’s enough politicians with firearms! – Ed.)

ST. ALBERT, Alberta

Edmonton-St. Albert Member of Parliament Brent Rathgeber – who since decamping from the federal Conservative Parliamentary caucus last June has become the Canadian media’s favourite Independent MP – has floated the idea of setting up his own political party.

When he’s not lecturing Canadians on the need to run the CBC as (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: NDP-Grit coalition to defeat Rob Anders? Unlikely! This is a Tory civil war

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, left, glares at Rob Anders, far right (as it were), Canada’s Worst MP, as challenger Ron Liepert, centre, with an unidentified vole who is not authorized to speak on the record, look on. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated, but pretty much. Below: The real Rob Anders, asleep on the job.

It’s hard to fault Rob Anders for framing his intramural opponents in the new Calgary Signal Hill riding as a conspiracy of Liberals, New Democrats and Red Tories.

After all, it’s a well-established fact that nothing frightens Calgary voters quite as (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 Top 13 from 2013: Alberta Diary borne ever upward on wings of far-right loons

Ron Paul, the crazy uncle of the American right, surrounded by grinning acolytes at the 2013 conference of the Manning Centre for Undermining Democracy in Ottawa. Putting Dr. Paul here worked before, so maybe it’ll work again! Below: For New Year’s Eve, we show Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who says he doesn’t drink alcohol, hoisting a doublethink cocktail. Below him, Deepak Chopra, the exercise guru from Canada Post. And below him, put there as a service to the public, Deepak Chopra the New Age guru. Thanks to Alberta Diary, you now all know the difference!

The midwinter holidays equal (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s 13 most under-reported political news stories of 2013

Another aircraft takes off from Fort McMurray International Aerodrome loaded with CO2 captured from Alberta’s Athabasca bitumen sands. The gas will be stored in the basements of Russian buildings as part of a deal worked out through the province’s $2-billion “carbon capture” program. Actual Alberta carbon capture boondoggles may not operate exactly as described. Below: A Lethbridge student continues studying as hydraulic fracking operations take place next to her school; why is this doctor smiling? Hint: He runs a Family Care Clinic.

Soon it’ll be 2014 and the mainstream media can get back to doing what it does best: panicking (Read more…) - Alberta politics: What a year 2014 has been in Alberta politics!

Tweet This year was a tumultuous time in Alberta politics. What does 2015 have in store for Albertans? December 20, 2014 Story by: Dirk Pranter, Edmonton Journal-Sun Building the next Alberta With the new year just weeks away, speculation is rampant Albertans could go to the polls early next year, less than four years after the last provincial […]

Alberta Diary: Shining you on: Alison Redford calls for a little selective sunshine on civil service salaries

The scene in February 2014: CBC investigative journalist Charles Rusnell pores through a list of senior Alberta civil service salaries as horrified deputy ministers and university professors look on. Actual Alberta public employees may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Associate Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transformation Don Scott, left, with some guy his party would just as soon you forgot about. (Image grabbed from the Internet from I wonder what the yellow gloves are for?

Have the calls Alberta’s Progressive Conservative MLAs are getting from modestly paid unionized civil servants, furious about having their salaries frozen (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: Resolving ‘Tobaccogate’ – Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion … but not necessarily in Alberta

Where there’s smoke, ummm…. there’s smoke. Got that? Actual Alberta government tobacco lawyers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson.

The astonishing thing about yesterday’s ruling by Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner exonerating Alison Redford in the “Tobaccogate” affair is not that Neil Wilkinson concluded no wrong was done when the premier helped make a decision to award her Ex’s law firm $10 billion worth of business.

Heck, for all I or any other Albertan knows maybe there really are only two or three law firms actually capable of doing the work, and maybe Mr. Wilkinson was (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: Redford Government set to impose wage freeze on public employees, blowing winning coalition to smithereens

The state of public service labour relations in Alberta, circa some time this afternoon. Premier Alison Redford, in black, is visible standing at right. Below: Alberta civil servants’ likely response to the government’s plan. Actual events in the near future may not appear exactly as illustrated, especially the part with all the gob hats. Below that nonsense: Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.

The Redford Government is expected to introduce legislation later today to impose a three-year wage freeze on public employees like the civil servants and health care workers who saved Premier Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative Party from all-but-certain destruction (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…)

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: Disillusioned by Tory hard line, one union’s ad campaign suggests tilt toward Wildrose

“The Alberta Way,” a hard-hitting 30-second TV spot from the province’s largest union, attacks the Redford Government’s broken promises and hard-right policies. It will go into heavy rotation on Monday. Below: Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith; PC Environment Minister Diana McQueen.

Never mind for the moment which of Alberta’s right-wing parties has the worse ideas about climate change, grudging support for the Opposition Wildrose Party is beginning to bloom in surprisingly progressive places.

Maybe calling it support puts it a little too strongly, but there’s a dawning sense in many progressive quarters in Alberta that a Wildrose government led by Opposition (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 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…)

Alberta Diary: Minister’s F-Bomb illustrates the lamentable state of Alberta’s political discourse

A cheerful looking Doug Griffiths, back when he was running against Alison Redford for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. Below: Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith.

Many of us were asking ourselves yesterday afternoon if Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths had really dropped an F-Bomb on the Wildrose Party?

Well, now we know he did, and, from the perspective of the government of Premier Alison Redford, it can’t be a good sign.

For one thing, it shows the Wildrose Opposition is getting right up the Progressive Conservative government’s collective nose, which is exactly what you want to be doing (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Ontario’s by-elections: potentially a perfectly acceptable result for Premier Kathleen Wynne

Ontario Conservative Tim Hudak’s Vandal horde sacks Rome Upon Lake Ontario, the media narrative for last Thursday’s Ontario by-elections that was sensibly ignored by the province’s voters. Below, Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. Was she taking a page from the Book of Alison Redford, also below?

One can read too much into any by-election result, I suppose. And it’s particularly dangerous for a commentator from far away to divine profound truths from the results of an election to which he paid scant attention until the final tally appeared on the Internet.

Still, maybe distance lends an opportunity to see the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: The Six-Point-Four-Billion-Dollar Question: will the Redford Tories drop their budget balancing act?

Alberta Premier Alison Redford, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi talk to reporters with the swollen Bow River and Calgary’s skyline in the background. (Photo from Ms. Redford’s Facebook page.) Below: U.S. Republican contender Mitt Romney; Calgary talk show host Dave Rutherford.

It is not unreasonable, in a purely academic sort of way, to recognize that no major natural event happens without political consequences.

As Mitt Romney, the now nearly forgotten Republican candidate in last November’s U.S. election lamented not long after he was soundly beaten by President Barack Obama, “obviously, a hurricane with (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Expect Joe Anglin – potential problem for Danielle Smith – to be in for a talking to

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…)

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…)