Category Archives: Bridget Pastoor

alberta politics notes 2/24/2010

– As Bill 1, the Alberta Competitiveness Act is this sessions flagship piece of government legislation. With all the focus on “competitiveness,” has anyone wondered what happened to the Premier’s Economic Strategy Committee that was announced last summer? (their website has not been updated since July 2009) The committee included former Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan, former MP David Emerson, and former Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge.
– Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier announced that he will not be seeking re-election in October. Bronconnier was first elected as Mayor in 2001. Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel has yet to make his electoral intentions public.
– Alberta could hold its fourth Senate election since 1989 along-side the municipal elections this October.
– Edmonton City Council approved the Municipal Development Plan this week. Councillor Don Iveson has posted some remarks on his blog.
– Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor scored a win for the Liberal Opposition this week when the Assembly approved her motion to “…urge the Government to establish an independent Commission to review the current salaries and benefits for Members of the Legislative Assembly…” It is important to note that as this was a Private Member’s Motion, it is non-binding.
– Facing charges of cocaine-possession and drunk-driving, former Edmonton-Strathcona Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer is expected to plea-bargain when his case reconvenes in March.
– In my previous post, I mentioned the low-voter turnout in the 2008 provincial election. Here is a map showing voter turnout in ridings across the province (only 4 out of 83 ridings had a turnout larger than 50%).

bill 44 debate an all-nighter.

The debate over Bill 44 is going late into the night at the Alberta Legislature. You can follow the debate online through video or by following the Twitter hashtags #ableg and #bill44.

So far, Opposition Liberal and NDP MLAs Laurie Blakeman, Kevin Taft, Brian Mason, Bridget Pastoor, Kent Hehr, David Swann, and Rachel Notley have spoken against Section 9 of Bill 44 (the controversial education opt-out), and Calgary-North Hill PC MLA Kyle Fawcett has spoken in support of the Bill as it is.

I have pledged to buy lunch for and write nice things about the first PC MLA to rise and speak against Bill 44 as it currently stands. Earlier today, Premier Ed Stelmach pledged to allow the PC caucus a free vote on tonight’s/tomorrow morning’s vote.

UPDATE: It’s now 8:01am on Wednesday May 27 and after having been whipped in line for a month, no PC MLA took advantage of the last minute ‘free vote’ they were awarded on Bill 44 amendments. I keep my lunch money.

While they didn’t succeed in getting their amendments to Bill 44 passed, congrats to opposition MLAs Laurie Blakeman, Kent Hehr, Rachel Notley, and Kevin Taft for their particularly well-spoken and colourful contributions to last night’s/this morning’s debates.

On another point, I wonder if any other provincial legislature watchers in Canada have a Twitter hashtag as active as #ableg?

PlayPlay

week in review: wildrose to northumberland clog dancing.

Guards at Government House barred Official Opposition leader David Swann, NDP Leader Brian Mason, and Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor from attending an announcement by Health Minister Ron Liepert this week. The Edmonton Journal’s Trish Audette reports that Premier Ed Stelmach will be having a chat with Cabinet Ministers next week about that incident.

David Climenhaga is speculating that Canadian Federation of Independent Business Director Danielle Smith could be the next leader of the Wildrose Alliance. Current leader and former MLA Paul Hinman has announced his intentions to leave the position in June.

Aaron Braaten has written an insightful post on the recent AIMCo. investment in Precision Drilling.

– MLA Bridget Pastoor waded into the Edmonton City Centre Airport debate this week. While most of the debate to this point has depended on anecdotal evidence supporting the closing or continued operation of the airport, the City of Edmonton is expected to release a comprehensive report in June.

Northumberland fact of the week: traditions include clog dancing.

no debate on public debate amendment [re: bill 18 & tilma].

They stood up to vote against it, but no PC MLA spoke up to explain why they opposed Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor‘s March 18 amendment to remove Section 5 of Bill 18: Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement Implementation Statutes Amendment Act, 2009. In its current form, Section 5 will allow Cabinet Ministers to suspend or modify sections of the TILMA Act without seeking the approval of or having to deal with public debate in the elected Legislature.

Six opposition MLAs rose to speak in support of the amendment, while thirty-one PC MLAs, including Cabinet Ministers Iris Evans, Dave Hancock, Jack Hayden, Doug Horner, Heather Klimchuk, Fred Lindsay, Luke Ouellette, Alison Redford, Rob Renner, Lloyd Snelgrove, Ron Stevens, and Gene Zwozdesky didn’t make a peep before defeating the amendment 31 to 6.

UPDATE: MLA Laurie Blakeman raised concerns about this section of Bill 18 earlier in the week:

this mushroom better be on our new licence plates.


Ladies and Gentlemen, MLA Carl Benito, representing the simple people of Edmonton-Mill Woods, introduced Motion 502 on the floor of the Legislative Assembly yesterday:

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the government to introduce amendments to the Emblems of Alberta Act to designate Leccinum boreale, also known as northern roughstem or red cap, as the official mushroom of Alberta.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to rise and introduce Motion 502. I acknowledge that there are pressing economic issues that currently exist; however, this motion is important to my constituents and 2,500 Albertans who have chosen this mushroom to be designated as Alberta’s provincial mushroom emblem.

MLAs rising to speak to the motion included Neil Brown, Rachel Notley, Jonathan Denis, Genia Leskiw, Doug Elniski, Evan Berger, and Bridget Pastoor.

It passed.

pastoor ponders joining pc caucus?

According to Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid, Lethbridge-East Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor is considering crossing the floor to the PCs. Braid quoted Pastoor as saying:

“I think things are in flux and we need some major changes in this province. We need democratic reform, whichever side of the house it comes from.”

I agree with this statement, but with a 72 MLAs, I have a difficult time believing that even a moderate democratic reform measure could pass through the institutional inertia of PC caucus. Ask Ken Allred.

UPDATE: A quote from Pastoor in a Liberal news release today:

“I will not cross the floor. I support Dr. Swann’s commitment to democratic reform.”

suiting up for spring session #4: laurie blakeman v. ken kowalski.

Get ready for the clash of two very different political worlds as two of Alberta’s arguably most opposite MLAs vie for the Speakers chair.

In the right corner, you have incumbent Ken Kowalski. As previously mentioned, after 29 years in the Legislature Kowalski is returning for his 9th term as the Tory MLA for the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock area. Kowalski is also the type of rural conservative who campaigns for re-election on hard hitting points like “while human beings can create laws, the laws of God must take precedence” (which is totally appropriate for someone who has been the Speaker of the Assembly since 1997…).

In the left corner, you have the challenger, Laurie Blakeman. Blakeman is the Alberta Liberal MLA for the very urban downtown constituency of Edmonton-Centre. Returning for her fourth-term in the legislature since 1997, Blakeman is tough, outspoken, and a strong advocate of the arts, GLBTQ issues, and women in politics. Blakeman is probably the closest to an anti-thesis to the type of rural politics that Kowalski practices that you can find.

Though it won’t be a surprise when the 71 members of the Tory caucus jump to vote for the good old boy when Ed Stelmach and Kowalski give them the signal, Blakeman will be challenging Kowalski with the express intent of opening new horizons for women MLAs. Bridget Pastoor (Lethbridge-East) will be joining Blakeman in challenging the Tory majority by running for Deputy Speaker.