Saturday, March 31, 2012

Could 1 single tweet be the final nail into the Alberta PC coffin?

The tweet: “If @ElectDanielle likes young and growing families so much, why doesn’t she have children of her own?  #wrp family pack = insincere” – Amanda Wilkie, "Executive Assistant to the Executive Director of the Office of the Premier (Southern Alberta Office)". March 30, 2012 (via Twitter).

The response:

March 31, 2012 (Calgary, AB): Today Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith issued the following statement in response to comments made by a Staffer in Premier Redford’s Calgary office regarding the Wildrose Family Pack.
“In the last day the question has been raised about why I don’t have children of my own.  When David and I married in 2006 we intended to have children together. After a few years we sought help from the Calgary Regional Fertility Clinic. I appreciated the support and assistance of the caring staff as we went through tests and treatments, but in the end we were not successful.
“I consider myself very fortunate to have a terrific stepson, Jonathan, David’s son from a previous marriage.  I am also blessed to have grown up in a large family with four siblings who have given me the opportunity to be the auntie of 5 terrific nieces and nephews: Emily, Sam, Chloe, Seyenna and Logan.
“Family is very important to me and I consider this to be a very personal matter. I will not be commenting on it further.”


Say goodbye to the positive campaign: Redford:“We’re working really hard to make it a positive campaign & we’re going to keep doing that." as there is no spinning that one anymore and the PCs might want to think twice about the "scary" "angry" Wildrose meme they are using as well.

After the poor last few weeks the PCs had and now this, which will be covered by ALL the media, there will be no recovery.

It's over.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Redford flip flops again. Desperation on committee pay issue boils over.

Premier Redford has flip flopped again on the committee pay issue as she announced today that PC MLAs on the infamous no-meet committee MUST pay back all the money they were paid.

A sad history of Redford's so called "real life leadership" on the issue:

Story breaks March 8th and Redford claims she that she was unaware of the situation: "I did not know," she said  “This, to me, is a ridiculous situation. It isn’t the way Albertans want politicians to be paid."  "It is not right"

March 9th: The truth comes out and she gets caught in a lie when we learn that she sat on that very same committee from Oct 09 until Feb 2010.

March 11th: Avoiding any leadership, Redford says that it is up to each individual member of her caucus to give back money they were paid for being on a committee that failed to meet for 39 months. It’s a personal decision,”  She will NOT make anyone pay the money back.

March 12th: The first big flip flop as Redford changes her mind and announces that it is no longer is a personal decision and  that pay for committee work has been suspended for Tory members.

Also worth noting is that Redford called opposition MLAs giving the money back a "stunt"   "I find it terribly interesting that a number of people in this house, who today have come up with a convenient stunt to try and polarize an issue, are people who were fully aware of what they were receiving for payment and did nothing about it until today, we will do exactly what I've committed to doing, which is to have an independent commission make a recommendation to not only how government members are paid, but all members in the legislature.

March 20th: Under pressure PC MLAs ( but not all of them) announce that they will be giving back pay from no-meet committee, but only 6 months worth, the time which Redford was Premier. On which Redford said "I can't revisit the past,"

March 26th: Writ dropped and election called. PC use smear poll to find out why they are losing voters by the thousands.

March 27th: Redford goes all revisionist history and says that: "And I say again, I was the first person to identify (the committee) as an issue, and as soon as I became leader I took steps to correct it."  This in spite of her not knowing a thing about the committee back on the 9th.

March 29th: Redford flip flops on her flip flop and orders her MLA's to return the money. Forgetting that there are PC MLAs from that committee who will not ever pay back a single penny. (Snelgrove and Prins anyone?) and that she really does not have the authority to make these changes.  Its a Hail Mary but I believe the public won't buy it and will see it for the desperate political stunt that it is. 

March 30th: Dissension in the ranks. Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Richard Marz is not too happy with the way the Premier has handled this and questions why she should pay back some of the 30% (34% actually) that Redford voted to give herself in 2008.

Which brings up the question: If Redford's cabinet gets $3,500/month in lieu of committee pay, why shouldn't they return some of it?


PC MLA Genia Leskiw on the no-meet committee:

Previous posts on the no-meet committee can be found here and here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Redford's PC's, illegal donations, the culture of corruption and the rules written to hide it all.

I have written before on a couple of specific incidences of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives being on the receiving end of illegal donations and how Redford tried to spin it by blaming the donors rather than her own party for cashing the cheques, but with new revelations this past week and with Elections Alberta revealing that they had found 23 instances of illegal donations and have opened 73 files on the matter, it is time to revisit the issue again and shine more light onto the culture of corruption created by the ruling PCs and the rules which they wrote to hide it all from YOU.

The latest from Elections Alberta: 'Alberta’s chief electoral officer has found 23 cases where improper donations to political parties and constituency associations were made by municipalities and other public bodies.'
'Elections Alberta also reported a significant jump in cases that have been reviewed or are under review. There are now 73 files, compared to 53 cases two weeks ago.'
'All public cases known to have been referred to Elections Alberta for investigation have involved the ruling Progressive Conservatives.'

This type of thing has been going on for years in Alberta politics. It is a symptom of a one party state and is what happens when ANY party has unlimited majority power for over 40 years with the PC's being the beneficiary of the culture of corruption they have created by instilling the idea that in order to get provincial grants/money one has to play the game and contribute to the long ruling PCAA. Think I am kidding or going over the top on this?  Well perhaps you might want to read about what happened openly at a political forum in Rimbey Alberta back in October 2010 before passing judgement:

Mayor Dale Barr and his incumbent councillors had to answer at an election forum Oct. 6 for attending Progressive Conservative party functions with taxpayer’s dollars.  “I would like to know how you would have thought, for one second, that it was okay to take money out of my pocket and support the political party of your choice?” Levi Blackmore asked. 

Barr explained the town has to spend money to make money. Attending these functions benefited the town; and Rimbey attended them because other municipalities were also attending the Premier’s Dinners and golf tournaments to become friendly with government members." 

In the last three years Rimbey has gotten approximately $15 million in additional funding that wasn’t coming our way. You figure it out from the dollars that were spent on theses functions, it works out to .05 per cent. That’s a fifth of one per cent was spent to get over $15 million worth,” added incumbent Wayne Clark.

Unbelievable. A mayor and a councillor publicly say that using tax dollar to attend partisan PC functions is an investment because that is how it is done in Alberta!  If that isn't the smoking gun to prove a culture of corruption exists in our one party state, I don't know what would be.   (But just in case here are a couple of links to recent events of the PC's putting their foot down on those that dare question the PC party:  AUMA Fiasco, Holy Family Catholic School Division, and do I really need to bring up intimidation of our doctors and nurses?)

The rules on political donations are clear so there is no need to go over them again but here is something that I bet few Albertans are aware of: Elections Alberta is explicitly forbidden by legislation from revealing any details about these investigations including who made the donation, which party received the money, who was found at fault and how much they’ve been penalized for breaking the rules. In other words, the legislation written by the PC's and which is now protecting the PC's from public scrutiny, prevents you, the public, from finding out who broke the rules, and the worst part is that Premier Redford is 100% in support of this nonsense! Redford said the laws are about “maintaining the integrity and independence” of the Chief Electoral Officer, What a load of tripe from Redford!  I can understand why it is not a good idea for Elections Alberta to discuss unproven allegations or even investigations in progress but there is no reason, other than to protect politicians, that the results of these investigations should ever be kept secret from Albertans, the ones that all of government, including Elections Alberta are here to serve. Sorry Premier, but hiding the facts from Albertans is not real life leadership, not even close. 

Before I wrap this up I would like to touch on one last thing and that is Redford's spin on this entire matter. As I wrote back in January, Redford and the PCs have taken to blaming the donor rather than her party, who happily took the money and cashed the cheques, in a sad attempt to deflect and make themselves look better.

Redford: "and we are going to have no part in any kind of practice or procedure that would suggest that that was acceptable." and "Municipal leaders, who are also elected by their communities, have a responsibility to follow the rules. There is no doubt that auditors who are in place understand the rules, and I fully expect that everyone who is elected and fully engaged in auditing should understand the rules well enough to make sure that these things aren’t happening."

All sounds well and good but how can she explain it when PC party members Steve Christie, the current PC candidate for Lacombe-Ponoka who also happens to be the Mayor of Lacombe as well as past(?) president of their local PCAA board, and Carol Lund, president of the Athabasca-Redwater Conservative riding association and Athabasca University’s University Secretary, responsible for its policies, including conflict of interest, both were responsible for illegal donations making their way to the PC party.

Christie: (claimed $500 for a Progressive Conservative fundraiser as a municipal expense) “As past president of the Lacombe-Ponoka PC association, I definitely knew the rules,” he said. “It’s definitely there in black and white and my signature is on it.”

Lund: (personally signed off on several requisitions for Tory fundraisers, including for the Athabasca-Redwater riding association. Lund also actively recruited university executives to attend these functions.)
BTW: CBC has done a great job following the money from Athabasca University to the PC's and it is well worth the time to check out the actual paper work here

Now what was it Redford said again about elected officials and those responsible for auditing knowing the rules and the PC's not having any part in anything that would suggest that this type of thing was acceptable?

For all of our sakes this tired party and the culture of corruption which it sowed and reaped the benefits of  has to go, and go soon. Albertans deserve so much better than this.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fun and games in Alberta politics leads to some serious questions ...

As Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk tweeted early this morning: "We are such an interesting province for politics." in reference to the Rob Anderson parking lot incident that seemed to not only consume the PC cheerleaders who are desperate for anything at all to talk about, but for our media as well who were all over the story and it was fun and games in Alberta politics. But when the dust settled some serious questions emerged. 

Who tipped off the media?

Recreating the timeline from media reports here is what we know:

The incident occurred Tuesday night at approx 7:30 PM in the parking lot at the Alberta Legislature.

On Wednesday the incident was known to the press who then spoke with Anderson about it.

But who tipped off the press?

This from The Edmonton Sun: "Solicitor-General Jonathan Denis said Wednesday he was aware there had been a parking issue. "I had heard outside that Mr. Anderson had an issue with parking in the premier's parking spot,"

This from the CBC: 'Solicitor General Jonathan Denis says Anderson was the aggressor in this case, according to the report filed by the sheriff.'   

This from the Edmonton Journal: 'Solicitor General Jonathan Denis informed media Wednesday morning about the incident,...'

Now isn't that interesting. Our Solicitor General, Jonathan Denis who is in charge of our Alberta's Sheriffs, apparently was the one who informed the media. But why would he do so? What made this event so special that it was even brought to the attention of the Solicitor General in the first place, considering no charges were laid or fines issued, and even if it was brought to his attention was it appropriate or common practice to tip off the media about details which IMHO should have been confidential?

While I doubt that I we will get any answers to those questions, as it appears to be just some of those Alberta political games being played where someone has a gotcha moment over an opponent, buried in the Journal story is this very interesting line that calls for more than just a simple answer:

'... the sheriff said in her incident report, obtained by the Journal.'

Yes, you read that right. The Sheriffs incident report, that we know from media reports that the Solicitor General had himself read, was somehow obtained by the Journal from someone within the building which not only houses the Alberta Legislature, but also the offices of the Solicitor General who has ministerial responsibility over our Alberta Sheriffs.

So now a more important question:

Minister Denis, are you planning to investigate who leaked the sheriffs incident report to the press and how such a leak occurred under your very nose from within the building in which you work?

This is not fun and games anymore.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wildrose TV ad debuts

"It's time to put Albertans first."

Or you can watch it here or here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Under pressure, Premier Redford orchestrates her own "stunt" on committee pay.

The Wildrose gets results!

In a total reversal of her previous position it was announced earlier today that that Premier Record would be forcing the PC MLAs who sat on the infamous no-meet committee, that Redford herself sat on but didn't even know, to pay back the money they were paid for being on the committee that has not met since November 17, 2008. But only for the last 6 months, which happens to be the same amount of time that Redford has been the PC leader; I guess taking 'money for nothing and the cheques for free' wasn't a problem before October.

While not the first flip flop on this issue for Redford this one is going to be much harder to spin due to her previous attempts at damage control, which have apparently failed badly.

When asked on March 11 if she was going to make her MLAs refund the money she stated that she would not and that "It's a personal decision." if they wanted to refund the money.

And in the Alberta Legislature she had these, now empty, words:  "I find it terribly interesting that a number of people in this house, who today have come up with a convenient stunt to try and polarize an issue, are people who were fully aware of what they were receiving for payment and did nothing about it until today, we will do exactly what I've committed to doing, which is to have an independent commission make a recommendation to not only how government members are paid, but all members in the legislature."

Wow. A total flip flop from the Premier who has said on many occasions that she is honest and stands by her word. Those internal polls must not be going exactly the way that Stephen Carter said they would.

Related: I wonder what PC MLA Karen Kleiss has to say now?

Previously from Kleiss:

Don Braid on the refund fiasco here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Representatives of all 7200 Alberta doctors call for a proper health inquiry.

Representatives of all 7200 Alberta doctors call for a proper health inquiry.

"In a strongly worded statement that accuses the government of “stonewalling” and brushing over an “inconvenient truth” on the eve of an election, physician representatives of all 7,200 provincial doctors are calling on Albertans to bring in a “tsunami of change” and demand a public health inquiry into the issue of physician intimidation."

Having written the terms of  reference so narrow that it is all but impossible for an inquiry to even consider looking at bullying and intimidation in healthcare, it is clear that Premier Redford is trying to whitewash the entire thing.

Who are you going to believe? Redford or our physicians?

I know who I trust more.

Bring on the tsunami.

Update: Corbella: MLAs paid nearly 1 million dollars after 14 minutes of work.

'And yet Prins, who is paid $18,000 a year to chair the standing committee on privileges and elections, standing orders and printing, was quoted in Friday’s Herald saying: “I have done nothing wrong. Why would I give money back?”
It’s an outrageous statement and highlights his overblown sense of entitlement.'

Braid's latest on the mighty tsunami election battle.  (Love the picture of Redford they used)

PC supporters. Please tell me again why I should vote for them?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Redford's Healthcare inquiry: It's a whitewash.

The Terms of Reference are out for the planned healthcare inquiry and even though I am not a lawyer it is quite easy to see that in-spite of what the Premier promised and later tried to spin, the healthcare inquiry has been handcuffed into ONLY looking at queue jumping and ONLY queue jumping that "is occurring." (For all you other non lawyers please note the tense of the word occurring.)

Read the Terms of Reference your self here.

Pursuant to section 17 of the Health Quality Council of Alberta Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council orders that a public inquiry be held concerning the possibility of improper preferential access being given to publicly funded health services and, specifically, the terms of reference for the inquiry shall be to consider:

1.  Whether improper preferential access to publicly funded health services is
    occurring;  and

                        2.   If there is evidence of improper preferential access to publicly funded health services
                            occurring, make recommendations to prevent improper access in the future.

Not even close to what Redford promised (link now dead but see bottom of this blog), not anywhere near the way she tried to spin it, and not what Albertans expected or deserve.

It's a whitewash. 

The judge has NO choice or leeway to expand or go beyond these instructions PERIOD, any claims that the judge can investigate anything other than what is listed in these terms is quite simply BS.

Our Premier is a lawyer and was also our justice minister; she not only knows exactly what the terms of reference mean, she also had a big hand in writing them and an even bigger hand in spinning them to the public.

And sadly most Albertans won't have figured it out until long after the election. Which was the PC plan all along.

Updated with the article linked to above. ( if media wouldn"t delete their articles there would be no need to reproduce them in full, which I now feel I have to do just to prove I am not making stuff up.)

What Alison Redford has said about need for a health-care inquiry

Calgary Herald

Published: Friday, March 02, 2012

- Redford leadership campaign news release on June 7, 2011:
Alison Redford, in light of growing accusations of political interference in the health-care system, has called for a judicial inquiry.
The inquiry will focus on charges of political interference into the provincial health system.

"Dr. Duckett, in his address on May 5th, stated outright that before his tenure as CEO of the AHS, people of the 'political class' were accustomed to being granted higher access in the system than those who were not as connected," stated Alison Redford, candidate for leader of the PC party.
"This statement, when combined with earlier allegations of a culture of intimidation, has provided an impetus to call for an independent inquiry."
"My call for an inquiry is about finding out the truth and putting a stop to practises that go against my personal and political values ..."

- In the legislature Nov. 21, 2011, in response to a question about the alleged intimidation of one doctor concerned about a health-care facility closure in Calgary:
"Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to see that, in fact, if someone does have concerns with respect to doctor intimidation, they would be prepared to come to an inquiry. The legislation will be tabled in the house today to ensure that that can happen."

- Speaking to reporters in Calgary on Feb. 24, 2012:
Herald's Don Braid: "You said when you made your statement in the summer about the inquiry that it should - you're talking about political interference, I believe you refer to that and intimidation. Are you going to make both of those issues part of the inquiry?"
Redford: "It has to be."

- Redford at a March 1 news conference:
"I, in my heart, believe and know that the commitment that I made last June is the commitment that we honoured this week. I want to make sure that we've dealt with queue jumping in the health-care system and last summer, I made a commitment to have an independent judicial inquiry with respect to that....
"I have not backed down one bit from what I said that I would do."


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alison Redford: Lawyer, former justice minister and now Premier of Alberta...

Alison Redford: Lawyer, former justice minister and now Premier of Alberta and she still didn't know that the Alberta ethics commissioner has no ability to investigate Gary Mar’s controversial fundraiser!

It was Redford who last Friday suspended Mar from his Asia job without pay, and then turned the matter over to the commissioner.

In a TV interview Tuesday morning, she patted herself on the back for acting in the proper matter.

By late afternoon Neil Wilkinson threw the mess back at her. The rules written for him by the PC majority do not let him peer into Mar’s fundraising event.


I am not Gary Mar's biggest fan, not by a long shot, but honestly I am not sure what Gary Mar actually did to bring down the wrath of Redford on him in such a public fashion.

I know that he held a fundraiser to help pay off his $260,000 debt from his leadership run, but don't all politicians do that? Fundraisers are as common in politics as politicians are so what was the big deal?

Whether or not the invitations named him as Alberta's Asia envoy doesn't seem like to big a deal to me because he IS Alberta's Asia envoy if it says so on the invitation or not, and I really don't see much of a difference between what he did and what Premier Redford has been doing with any of her Premiers Dinners that she has held.

I guess we will have to wait and see but one thing for certain is that Premier Redford has it out for Gary Mar.

Remember, she is a lawyer and EVERYTHING that she says is done is a very calculated manner. She has used 'lawyer speak' to weasel her way around her promises on a healthcare inquiry and a fixed election date, parsing her words very carefully every time she speaks, but with Mar she went before the cameras and basically called his actions wrong and sent the ethics commissioner after him ( which we now know has no authority to do) rather than deal with it it a calm reasonable manner and wait for some facts before flying off the handle and tossing Mar under the PC campaign bus.

Why she did so remains unknown but considering how she has downplayed almost everything that has looked bad for the PC's so far, her going public with the accusations against Mar suggests that she is gunning for him.

Update: April 19th 2012:  Dave Rutherford is saying that Gary Mar has been cleared of any and all allegations against him. It seems that this report has been on Premier Redford's desk for a number of days and has not been made public.  I wonder why.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Redford flounders on committee pay issue.

Thursday: News breaks on a committee that has not met since 2008 but yet pays MLAs $1000 per month. Redford responds that she was unaware of the situation: "I did not know," she said  “This, to me, is a ridiculous situation. It isn’t the way Albertans want politicians to be paid."  "It is not right"

Friday: We find out that Redford was not as unaware as she claimed when we learn that she sat on that very same committee from Oct 09 until Feb 2010.

Sunday: Redford said it is up to each individual member of her caucus to give back money they were paid for being on a committee that failed to meet for 39 months. It’s a personal decision,
Monday: It is no longer is a personal decision as Redford says that pay for committee work has been suspended for Tory members.

What a disaster this has been for the PC's. More of the entitlements that they voted for themselves get exposed to the light of day and a leader doing damage control who changes her story/position almost daily. And if the polls are any indication Alberta voters, who now are starting to pay more attention due to the upcoming election, are not finding the PC's and Redford's reactionary damage control very attractive.

Here is something to think about: The standing committee on privileges and elections was a category B ( MLAs paid per meeting) back in 2007 but the PCs changed that in 2008 making it category A ( meaning that MLAs get paid just because) Coincidentally 2008 was also the year that the Chair, PC MLA Ray Prins, last called the committee to meet.   Odd isn't it.

Want a good laugh. Read the minutes of the last time the standing committee on privileges and elections met back on November 17 2008  8:07AM.

Some highlights: 

Prins (Chair): Right. Following this motion, they’ll be approved by
the chair. If we didn’t do that, you wouldn’t be able to see them till
the next meeting, which could be 20 years from now.
Okay. All in favour of that motion?

Mr. Liepert: Well, I just want to get on the record that I find those
comments rather amusing considering the fact that this is as open
and transparent a way to discuss changes to the democratic process
– are you suggesting that we do it behind closed doors? I think this
is quite telling, Mr. Chairman.

Prins: Thank you.
If there are no further comments, I just want to add one more
comment myself, and that is that the final report back to the
Legislature from this committee will be tabled in the House as soon
as it can be put together, probably later this week, and we’ll look
forward to that.

We do have a motion to adjourn on the floor, so without further
comment all in favour?

Hon. Members: Agreed.

The Chair: Then we’re adjourned. Thank you very much.


The committee adjourned at 8:21 AM and has not met since. The pay cheques though continued.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Redford's misleading attack ad. Where did the PC's get their numbers from?

Have you heard the PC attack ad against Danielle Smith and the Wildrose yet?

BTW: It is the very first time in PCAA history that they have EVER named an opposition party or its leader in an ad. Take a listen:

Quite a piece of work isn't it. Pure fear mongering that not only is a total misrepresentation and fabrication of the Wildrose position on impaired driving (more on this later) but they also used a number that cannot be found in any research, study, academic work or from any government agency; 300.

"Since 1998 300 Albertans have been killed by drivers who blew 0.08 or less."

Putting aside for a moment the ludicrous wording that 300 deaths were caused by ANY driver who blew less than 0.08, including the vast majority who had absolutely NO measurable amount of alcohol in their system,which would make the number much higher, the 300 number it turns out is the work of one solitary journalist.

The ruling PC's who have the resources of an entire government at their disposal, as well as Transport Canada information and others, decided not to use any government statistics/research and instead decided to use those of a journalist who said of the 300 number "the estimate is my own". Yes, an estimate!  Since I don't want to turn this into a dueling numbers thing I will just leave it by saying what should be obvious; the PCs didn't like what they found looking at their own governments data and went number shopping instead to find what they were looking for to fit their political motives, in this case the attack ad. If you want to look more at some numbers that actually came from a reliable source, Alberta Transport, take a look at this recent blog post from Rob Harvie at Searching for Liberty.

But the story doesn't get better for the PC's. Their campaign chair, Susan Elliot of deleting Facebook posts fame, did an interview the other day in which as Dave Rutherford described it; "Susan Elliot in fact was not telling the truth in the interview.Torquing the story, cranking it up. And she is now the spokesperson for the PC party."  Dave was being kind. Speaking as the voice of the PCAA, Elliot flat out lied in order to mislead Albertans for political purposes and in defense of a bad law that was written to pander for votes after a tragedy on Alberta roads. And now these lies will taint every other claim that the PC's will make in the upcoming election because if they will lie about this, they will lie about anything and probably everything. WTG Campaign Chair!

You can listen to the interview here:

I don't know about yourself but I hate being lied to and we can see the PCs have already shown that they are more than happy to do just that so they can remain in power and have more time at the taxpayer funded trough.

This is going to backfire on the PC's big-time. A desperate attempt to mislead the very people that they claim to represent into again casting a ballot for their party made worse by the fact that they are treating us like idiots who can't see through the easily proven lies and spin.

It is like Redford and the PC's don't think we are worthy of the truth.

Enough is enough. Redford and the PCs have to go; Albertans deserve better than this.

h/t to Rob Breakenridge, Colby Cosh, Matt Solberg.

Related: This is not the first time that the PC's have lied about Bill 26.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Alison Redford "Real life Leadership" or not...

It is painted on the side of the PC Campaign bus in big letters along side a picture of Alison Redford and reads "Real life Leadership". It is the campaign slogan with which the PCAA are going to run on in the upcoming Alberta provincial election.

But what does it mean, and more importantly has Alison Redford's leadership decisions lived up to her lofty sounding slogan so far?  The first answer to the first part is a bit difficult. The answer to the second part though is not. Not even close.

Like most campaign slogans 'real life leadership' sounds meaningful but it's just vague enough that applying any solid definition to it is nearly impossible. It has the buzzword 'leadership' in it which sounds good to the ear and it has 'real life' in it as well, which is also sounds good because that is where we all happen to be at the moment, but it also becomes meaningless fluff for that same reason as there is no other alternative to 'real life'. Zombies and the afterlife excluded.  I guess it is better than the laughable 'change from within' that I still see added to twitter hashtags now and again but it in the end it remains just as meaningless. But lets leave out the fluff for a minute and concentrate more on the slogan buzz word, the one that is supposed to make us feel comfortable when ever we hear it, leadership.

Alison Redford has been our premier now for exactly 6 months / 5 days and has had to make many decisions in that role and her role for 4 yrs previous as a cabinet minister under Ed Stelmach. But so far I have not seen much in the way of what I would consider to be real leadership from Redford on many issues and on others her record clearly shows the opposite, a distinct lack of leadership.

During the Stelmach period it is clear that she was just another nodding head at the cabinet table, agreeing with everything her boss proposed, be it royalty reviews, power lines, property rights, as well as the mess that was made in healthcare. I won't dwell on this period as Redford was not the one who made the final call but now that she has decided to revisit many of these Stelmach decisions it is clear that she did not agree or had some doubts with them, and it is worth noting that she showed little leadership by not speaking out at the time while in her role at the cabinet table.

Redford's leadership record also has not been stellar during her short time in the big office as premier, and on some rather important issues a troubling trend has emerged as she seems to want to pass off the difficult decisions that she is expected to make onto others. Be it her decision to hold a limited inquiry into healthcare, that was promised would deeper into the systems problems rather than just limiting focus specifically on queue jumping, or MLA pay where she promised to accept the judges recommendations (including if a pay raise is recommended) rather than just making the call herself. There seems to be a pattern of passing the buck and now it seems Redford is going to be doing the same on committee pay.

I think that most people are aware about the situation with the 'standing committee on privileges and elections' which has not met since 2008 and where 21 government and opposition MLAs have been paid $1,000 a month to attend non existent meetings. It is a joke and it has upset a lot of Albertans who are tired of politicians at the trough forcing Redford to speak out on it in an effort at damage control.

Redford: “This, to me, is a ridiculous situation. It isn’t the way Albertans want politicians to be paid." she said; "It is not right" Adding that she was unaware of the situation with the standing committee on privileges and elections, "I did not know," she said Thursday, calling it "disappointing".

Sounded like she was going to step up doesn't it? Caught unaware of what was going on she came out and expressed her displeasure at the situation, but there is one small problem with that.

Redford herself was on that committee and collected that $1000/month for not doing anything at all.

Yes, the same committee that she claimed she had not known about on Thursday, was in fact a committee the Alison Redford was sitting on from Oct. 28, 2009 until February 2010!

Unbelievable is one word for it and I can think of a few other choice words as well, but I will tell you what does not come to mind after hearing Redford talk about this, and that is "leadership".  Sorry Alison but we expect our premier to be able to make not only the tough decisions but also the no-brainers as with this committee and we don't elect people to punt to others when the responsibility is their own and they have the ability and opportunity to do the correct thing now.

That is not leadership. Real life or otherwise.


Some other questionable Redford leadership: Loading up her cabinet with failed PC leadership contenders, questionable appointments to party positions and to the Alberta Asia Trade office, to name a few.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Alberta PC campaign is running scared and after yesterday it is clear why.

Former Ralph Klein COS Rod Love wrote in a blog posting titled "Three weeks of hell":
 I haven’t been in government for a while, but I sure know a bad few weeks when I see it.
And the question a lot of provincial Tories are asking themselves is:  WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN EDMONTON??? (Be sure to read the entire post. It is an eye opener and a good primer on what is wrong with the PCs)

I wonder what Mr. Love has to say about the disaster that Wednesday was?

A recap:

First up we found out that their has been a government committee where 21 members have been receiving $1,000/month to sit on a committee that has not met since 2008. The money spent has cost Alberta taxpayers $261,000 over the past year alone.That is bad enough but to make matters worse PC Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Genia Leskiw sounded almost foolish when she answered questions, or tried to, on the matter.  You seriously have to listen to this nonsense.

Next up we learned that patronage is still alive and well within the PCAA as already failed candidate for Calgary-Hawkwood and money man for Redford's leadership campaign, Farouk Adatia was appointed as the PC candidate for Calgary-Shaw.  With the recent shenanigans in Calgary-West with former AHS superboard head and Redford pal Ken Hughes, I am surprised that they would be so blatant with this appointment, but when it comes to arrogance the PCs are second to none.

And finally we have what has to be topper of the day and confirmation that the PC's are running scared as news broke of the PC ad campaign, which as Don Braid noted "The Tories haven’t done anything like this before – not ever, not once in the long period since they were elected on Aug. 30 1971" directed squarely at the Wildrose where they purposely misrepresent the Wildrose position on Bill 26 and fear monger purely for votes. And all of this after PC Campaign Manager Susan Elliot  claimed that they would not run attack ads.

The PC spin on this is unbelievable. They want us to think that they are so concerned about impaired driving that they decided to run political ads on it but yet DO NOT plan on implementing the law until September. The fact that Premier Redford promised that the law would be in place by Christmas of 2011 has of course been completely forgotten in their attempt to again use this as a political wedge to their advantage.

The PC for the first time in 40 yrs are running scared and judging by their failed record on health, electricity, the budget, along with Redford's many broken promises, and mishandled communications (this in spite of recently doubling the communications staff in the Premiers office) it is easy to see why. They are in trouble and they know it.   As I noted last week, we can expect them to lash out even more and the nastiness to increase as the reality of their situation becomes more apparent . Which probably means tomorrow because no one is buying their BS anymore.

A bit on Bill 26. It is flawed legislation for a number of reasons:

The legal limit in the criminal code is 0.08.

Police become the judge and jury and can take your license and seize your vehicle without appeal or due process at the roadside.

It does nothing to improve enforcement of existing law and in fact may do the opposite as limited police resources will now be tied up dealing with people who are not doing anything illegal.

If existing law, including losing your license for 1yr, heavy fines and insurance increases, are not deterring drunk driving, how can one expect that another piece of paper will manage to do so?

Put simply it is bad law written to make the Redford government appear that they are doing something about a serious issue. Having them delay it until September (so they have something to use against the Wildrose?) puts all of their spin about it being a safety issue into the BS pile.

A comment made on this blog a while back sums it up nicely: The PC's argument for Bill 26 seems to be that we are not currently catching enough impaired drivers so lets lower the limit and create even more.

Think about it.

And think about it again when you are at the ballot box.


Update: Some related reading.

Searching for Liberty has a interesting look at the real numbers.< good job with this one.

It's our money.

The PC's are a well oiled machine.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Is the Redford government in breach of the legislature with budget ads?

Right now on almost every radio station in the province ads are playing touting what 'Budget 2012' WILL do for Albertans.You probably have heard them yourself, and with the amount of tax dollars they are spending for saturation, you have probably heard them more than once. ( Herald story on 425K spent on budget ads)

But the thing is that budget 2012 is not yet passed into law and although it probably will pass there are NO guarantees that it will and as far as everything that I know about our parliamentary system assuming future actions of any parliament/legislature is in itself a breach.

I am not sure if 'breach of legislature' is the correct wording but terminology aside I think a case can be made that Redford's government has breached the privilege of the Alberta Legislature and its members by running advertisements on a budget that has NOT yet passed into law or received royal assent. (Does the fact that the budget may not pass, slim but indeed a possibility, elevate these ads to possibly be misleading advertising?)

A recent example from Ottawa illustrates this nicely. Back in December the CPC put up a web site entitled "" (notice the past tense) and put out ads saying that the gun registry was "almost gone". It should be noted that these were from a political party and NOT the government, as is the case with Redford/PC budget ads, and the issue was brought up as being a breach of privilege.

"“The government, and that includes the Conservative Party, cannot misinform the public that a bill has passed when in fact it’s not passed,” said Mr. Bryant. “And it’s contemptuous of Parliament because it presumes a parliamentary result before there’s been a vote.”

Here is Kady O'Malley from the CBC wrote on the subject. Of note is a ruling the Speaker made back in 1989 when the government of the day ran ads on the GST before it was passed into law. Fraser warned that he would "not be so generous" if such a controversy presented itself in future.

While I doubt that Speaker Kowalski would actually find the PC's to be in breach over this obvious attempt to use tax payer dollars to campaign on something that is not even law, it does speak to a problem we in Alberta have with regards to advertising and political games so close to an election. Something the now Premier spoke out herself against back when she was running for PC leader.

"It is about playing politics and whether it's a real advantage or not there are many people who perceive it to be an advantage," Redford said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"It's the way that politics used to be done, and nothing in our campaign has been about the way that politics used to be done.

"Redford said she would commit to calling an election in March 2012 and every four years from that date. She said Albertans are supportive of the idea and that several other provinces already use the same model.

"They understand the issues that are coming. They don't believe any political party should have even if it is a theoretical upper hand in managing the political agenda and then picking the date accordingly," she added."

But now that she is won the job we can see that nothing at all has changed and her party continues to play games and use taxpayer money to promote the PC party.

This is not doing politics differently, this is doing it exactly the same as it has been done for 40 years under PC rule and to make matters worse we still don't know the "fixed election date"yet!

Quick Update: I asked Kady O'Malley if there was a follow-up to her piece linked to above.

AA: @kady Off topic but was there ever a follow up to this: FYI Happening right now in AB:

Kady: @Albertaardvark I've been following that - seems to me at the very least could be a point of privilege in your leg. (Is it sitting atm?)

AA: @kady Yes it is currently sitting.

Kady: @Albertaardvark The relevant precedent for your speaker would seem to be Fraser's ruling re: GST ads placed by the Mulroney govt.

AA: @kady That is what I too was also thinking. Now the question is, will it be brought up in the #ableg? Thanks.

Friday, March 02, 2012

31,000 contacts to Election's Canada on Robo Calls. I think I, and the NDP, might know why.

It was all over the media this morning. Reports of 31,000 complaints* to Elections Canada on Robo Calls. (*While it was clarified that it was 31,000 contacts and not complaints, the media ran with it often repeating the "complaints" line rather than the fact that they were contacts and not complaints)

What you didn't hear about from our ever vigilant media is just where those 'contacts' may have came from.

Take a look at this page from and take a good look at the number of "messages sent" to Elections Canada.  See something interesting?

8 hrs after the 31,000 number appears it now reads upward of 36,000. ALL of which have been sent to Elections Canada and if you read the wording of the email that will be sent when you click, it is definitely not a complaint of robo calling. 

Oh and while you are there be sure to look at their about page. It looks like what you might find on a list for an NDP strategy meeting.

Tuesday Mar 06 Update:

 Ezra Levant comments on the numbers. Note the Elections Canada quote where they use "contacts" and how many media outlets used the word "complaints". Even my local radio station used 'complaints'. But why?  Where did this meme start and why didn't anyone bother to check the rather short Elections Canada statement against the copy?

Brian Lilley same subject but digs deeper into the ties.

Google search for: '31,000 "complaints" to elections..." yields 31,430,000 results!  ALL of them factually wrong!

More intimidation/threats from Redford's PC's

There will be consequences if you dare criticize the Redford government.

From the Edmonton Journal:

“In order for your community to have the opportunity to receive a new school, you and your school board will have to be very diplomatic from here on out.”

In the Feb. 9 letter, Goudreau warns Betty Turpin, superintendent for the Holy Family Catholic School Division, that criticism of the government could imperil her district’s chances of funding for a new school.
“I advise you to be cautious as to how you approach future communications as your comments could be upsetting to some individuals. This could delay the decision on a new school,” states the letter from the Dunvegan-Central Peace MLA. He does not say who “some individuals.” might be. 

Read the letter yourself:

Turpin Letter

From doctors advocating for patients, Linda Sloan and AUMA, and even school boards doing their jobs, intimidation and threats seem to be the PC way. 

Let's fix that come election time.