Three investigations kick-off 2013 in Alberta politics.

Despite winning a large majority in last spring’s provincial election, Alberta’s long-governing Progressive Conservatives had a rough ride in the media and on the floor of the Assembly last year. If Tory MLAs hoped for a reprieve in 2013, they may be disappointed.

Starting off the year are three investigations that are direct results of political scandals and controversies from 2012:

Queue-Jumping Investigation

After a disappointing start late last year, the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry continued this week with testimony from former Capital Health CEO Sheila Weatherill.

Fred-Horne-Alberta
Fred Horne

Today, former Capital Health Board Chair Neil Wilkinson (now Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner) and Health Minister Fred Horne will be questioned. On Friday, Calgary Flames team doctor Jim Thorne and former Alberta Health Services chairman Ken Hughes (now an MLA and Energy Minister) will be appear as witnesses before the inquiry.

Anyone looking for a Watergate-type scandal that directly connects politically-influenced queue-jumping to the Premier’s office will likely be disappointed.

Elections Alberta investigates billionaire’s donations to PC Party

Global Edmonton:

“…retired Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ernest Marshall has been appointed Director of the investigation, and Don Vander Graaf and Dave Davies have been retained as independent investigators.”

Daryl-Katz
Daryl Katz

Elections Alberta will investigate a large donation allegedly made by pharmaceutical industry billionaire Daryl Katz, owner of the Edmonton Oilers, to the Progressive Conservative Party during the 2012 election. Mr. Katz is alleged to have made a $430,000 donation to the PC Party by funnelling funds through his family and employees. Under Alberta’s elections finance laws, maximum individual donations during an election period are limited to $30,000.

While to election finance laws introduced last year by Justice Minister Jonathan Denis allow for more disclosure of donors, the new laws did not further restrict the amount that an individual or corporation can donate to a political party.

Ethics Commissioner investigates tobacco conflict allegations

Premier Alison Redford Alberta
Premier Alison Redford

Ethics Commissioner Mr. Wilkinson will investigate alleged conflict-of-interest in a decision by the government to award a lucrative tobacco lawsuit contract to a firm where Premier Alison Redford‘s ex-husband works as a lawyer.

The official decision to choose the firm was made after the Premier had resigned as Justice Minister in 2012, but the recommendation of which law firm to choose was made during her tenure in the position.

——-

Communications shift

Jay O’Neill, Director of Communications for Premier Redford is leaving his position. Globe  & Mail journalist Josh Wingrove noted on Twitter yesterday that over the last few months, along with Mr. O’Neill, four other staff have departed from Premier Redford’s communications office at the Assembly (Mr. O’Neill, Nikki Booth, Kim Misik, Tammy Forbes, Tracy Balash).

While it is difficult to speculate whether these departures were voluntary or not, it does appear that the Premier’s office may be taking steps to improve its communications and issues management strategy (especially in light of the investigations noted above).

8 thoughts on “Three investigations kick-off 2013 in Alberta politics.”

  1. Dave, besides the Comms people, who else has left the Premier’s office since the election? Where have they all ended up?

  2. Dave, rest assured, the flatulence of Pee See Politics will continue party wide, collective selective amnesia. The culture of corruption is wide and deep in the Toreez. Everyone that runs as an MLA and is currently running knows what is required of them to maintain silence and the continued grip of ignorance on the minds of Albertans. Everyone associated with the Toreez knows exactly what they are getting involved in and what they are willing to do and have chosen to ignore the truth and look the other way. Mind you its not too hard to do that, 40yrs of propaganda is a little hard to get rid of.

    This deficit is artificially created. The very rich keep profitting, while the middle class suckers keep eating up the losses from huge deficits, all coming in the form of new taxes, or severed public services.

    Is it any reason why queue jumping and physician intimidation has occured? Its a huge symptom of a cabal of insiders who are pulling the strings, who have no sense of transparency and no sense of ethics, morality, nor a sense of what is just and true.

    This party has lost its marbles, its moral compasss and its ability to run a profitable business honestly. They all deserve to be fired, like underperforming employees.

  3. These so called “scandals” are becoming mundane and to say the least, very boring. Maybe its time to move on.

  4. How much has money been pissed away so far in the “scandal of the century cue jumping” dreamed up by the “theres a boogieman” behind every conservative. If this garbage is all the WRP can conjure up they should stick to schoolboards and rodeos, the Leg is a little to advanced, and the scope of a 40 billion dollar company called Alberta is way beyond Danies comprehension. By shutting down the business of Alberta for these petty “scandals” , and the ever so compliant, can we help start a fight media, including Danies speed dial friend Rutherford, the clowns are making a proud province look like a weekend at the ranchmans, grow up. And Profit, there would be no deficit if we did not have to give 12 billion dollars to the rest of Canada including the 8.5, to the billion dollar welfare baby Quebec

  5. Bartinski, don’t kid yourself or be under any false self made delusions. We have a trillion dollar economy, we should be bathing in surpluses. The true cause is the lack of strong financial discipline and kur-ruption of this Scandal plagued party. Yes, it is absolutely kur-rupt. Yes it is. Daniel, Raj and Brian are NOT responsible for the deficit, or the transfer payments. The Tory party of AB made the deals with the Feds. YES it was a Tory premier that made a deal with the Feds during the NEP crisis, it was NOT the Libs, the NDP or anybody else. The Torees are wholly and fully responsible utter drunkard mismanagement of a Trillion Dollar + Economy. We are the wealth engine of Canada, and North America, we have built little to stability and value in our system, saved nothing, can barely pay our bills and continue to debt finance. Just put things into a little perspective. Something truly stinks, mass level,regardless of transfer payments, 40 billion budget is peanuts compared to the trillion dollar economy. Don’t you even try to tell me this is Quebec’s fault or Wildrosers’ fault. We are selling raw logs, and buying back refined product at higher prices. Refineries in the U.S. are refining our logs and making the true profit. We have unwarrantingly low royalties and a non-progressive tax structure. Even if we made modest, like 1 to 2% incremental changes in taxes and royalties, we are still the best place to do business and we could easily balance the books and pay the bills.

    The whole blame lies squarely with the kur-rupt drunkards in office. Where’s the money? Trillion dollar economy, no savings, more deficit. Quebec is NOT the culprit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>