Tag Archives: Richard Marz

UCP MLAs Jason Nixon (L) and Ric McIver (R) on The McIver Report.

It’s not quite Wayne’s World and it’s not quite The Mercer Report. It’s The McIver Report.

Photo: UCP MLA Jason Nixon (left) and UCP MLA Ric McIver (right) as the host of The McIver Report.

I was surprised to discover this week that Ric McIver, the United Conservative Party MLA from Calgary-Hays and former Calgary Alderman, is the host of a TV show which is recorded in a basement studio at a private residence in the town of Olds. The McIver Report is broadcast on CATV1 and ONET Channel 55 in central Alberta.

Wayne Campbell

Wayne Campbell (Source: Wikipedia)

Are you wondering why an MLA from suburban south east Calgary would host a TV show in Olds, which is located 100 km away from his constituency?

I sure was.

Speaking to McIver on the phone this week, he told me that he was randomly approached by company owner Fred May “a couple of years ago” with an offer to host a show. He couldn’t remember the exact dates or how many shows he has hosted, but there have been a few.

McIver described the show as “a fun thing” he does in a volunteer capacity every now and then between trips from Calgary to the Legislature in Edmonton.

Even though the show is recorded for a community television station in a basement studio, it’s not quite Wayne’s World, and despite the name, it’s not quite The Mercer Report either.

Guests on McIver’s show have included 2017 Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Byron Nelson, tax lawyer Arthur Olson, and UCP MLA Jason Nixon, who represents the central Alberta district of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. The Olson and Nixon episodes are available to view for free on the CATV1 website, while the others appear to be located on a Video on Demand site.

Rick Mercer (Source: CBC)

Rick Mercer (Source: CBC)

The McIver/Nixon interviews are what you would expect a conversation would be like when two UCP MLAs sit down to talk about politics in Alberta. The interview is slow-paced, friendly, and peppered with typical UCP claims about NDP economic mismanagement, the carbon tax, rural alienation, and a parting partisan pitch.

“We need Albertans to help stand up with us and help us fill the coffers,” Nixon said about UCP fundraising in the sixth segment of the McIver/Nixon interviews. “Now we’re going to need help from Albertans to make sure we have a big enough war chest to face the NDP,” Nixon continued in an awkwardly placed fundraising pitch.

You can watch the episodes available online and judge for yourself, but we should encourage our MLAs to use different communications tools available to them. Though I suspect there is a danger that some unsuspecting grandma in Carstairs or Cremona might tune in believing this it to be a ‘fair and balanced’ public affairs program. McIver basically presents what could be an MLA local newspaper column in video format. Only, he’s not the local MLA.

McIver told me that a similar program, called “The Marz Report” was hosted by former Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Richard Marz until his retirement in 2012. It is still not clear to me why the current local UCP MLA, Nathan Cooper, is not the host of the show.

For all the effort that goes into producing The McIver Report, I was mostly surprised that McIver and the company have not tried to promote the show on social media, where it might reach a larger audience, including McIver’s constituents in Calgary-Hays.

Note: McIver asked if I would be interested in being a guest on his show. I told him I would be interested if I we could make our schedules work.


Mini-Cabinet Shuffle

Brian Malkinson Danielle Lariviee (Photo credit: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Brian Malkinson and Danielle Lariviee (Photo credit: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

Premier Rachel Notley made some minor changes to her cabinet in a shuffle yesterday.

Two New Democratic Party MLAs not seeking re-election in next year’s provincial election were shuffled out of cabinet. Now former Service Alberta Minister Stephanie McLean and Associate Health Minister Brandy Payne will return to the backbenches when the Assembly resumes in the fall.

Calgary-Currie MLA Brian Malkinson takes over McLean’s role as Minister of Service Alberta, and current Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee takes the additional role of Minister of the Status of Women. Larivee was appointed to cabinet in 2015 and has been seen as a rising star in Rachel Notley’s cabinet.

rookie photos of alberta mlas retiring in 2012.

With an election expected to be held in the next few months and a new Premier setting a new tone, many long-time and not-so-long-time Members of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly have decided that now is time to retire or look for greener pastures.

The nineteen MLAs not seeking re-election are former Premier Ed Stelmach, Ken Kowalski, Iris Evans, Ron Liepert, Mel Knight, Barry McFarland, Janis Tarchuk, Richard Marz, Lloyd Snelgrove, Rob Renner, Hugh MacDonald, Kevin Taft, George Groeneveld, Dave Taylor, Harry Chase, Broyce Jacobs, Ken Allred, and Art Johnston. Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Johnston were defeated in nomination contests in their constituencies.

Rumours circulating suggest that other long-time MLAs are also considering retirement, including Yvonne Fritz and Dave Hancock.

The departures are not limited to MLAs. Yesterday, Liberal Communications Director Brian Leadbetter announced that he will be leaving after a year in the position.

Some of the retiring politicians have spent a decade or more in office, so before the writ is dropped I thought it would be fun to take a look at what some of them looked like in their younger years in office.

Ed Stelmach, MLA for Vegreville-Vermilion (1993-2004), Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (2004-2012), Premier (2006-2011)

Ed Stelmach, MLA for Vegreville-Viking (1993-2004), Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville (2004-2012), Premier (2006-2011)

Ken Ken Kowalski, MLA for Barrhead (1979-1993), Barrhead-Westlock (1993-2004), Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (2004-2012) MLA Barrhead

Ken Kowalski, MLA for Barrhead (1979-1993), Barrhead-Westlock (1993-2004), Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock (2004-2012)

Iris Evans 1997 and 2012

Iris Evans, MLA for Sherwood Park (1997-2012)

Rob Renner, MLA for Medicine Hat (1993-2012)

Rob Renner, MLA for Medicine Hat (1993-2012)

Barry McFarland, MLA for Little Bow (1991-2012)

Barry McFarland, MLA for Little Bow (1992-2012)

Kevin Taft, MLA for Edmonton-Riverview (2001-2012)

Kevin Taft, MLA for Edmonton-Riverview (2001-2012)

Janis Tarchuk, MLA for Banff-Cochrane (1997-2012)

Janis Tarchuk, MLA for Banff-Cochrane (1997-2012)

Hugh MacDonald, MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar (1997-2012)

Hugh MacDonald, MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar (1997-2012)

Richard Marz, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (1997-2012)

Richard Marz, MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (1997-2012)

in alberta politics, what once was old is new again.

Premier Alison Redford is expected to introduce new fixed-election date legislation in the postponed fall sitting of the Assembly, expected to sit in late November. In 2009, I wrote:

“In April 2008, St. Albert PC MLA Ken Allred introduced a Private Member’s Bill, Bill 203: Election Statutes (Fixed Election Dates), in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta that would have created fixed-election dates in our province. The Bill received very little public debate in the Legislature and was opposed by MLAs in the PC caucus, including Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Richard Marz, who argued to the media that fixed-election dates would allow public sector unions to strike in conjunction with elections.

In May 2008, Marz introduced a motion that “Bill 203, the Election Statutes (Fixed Election Dates) Amendment Act, 2008, be not now read a second time but that it be read a second time this day six months hence.” Marz’s motion was passed when 36 PC MLAs (including Allred) out-voted 5 opposition MLAs.”

Now it is November 2011, the Progressive Conservatives are still in office, Premier Ed Stelmach is gone, Premier Redford is in, Mr. Marz is retiring, Mr. Allred is being challenged for the PC nomination (and may retire), and Alberta might get fixed-election dates.

The Alberta Liberals announced with a gleeful media release this week that Alex MacDonald would be joining their caucus staff as a part-time strategist. Political watchers may remember Mr. MacDonald as the Chief of Staff to former Edmonton Mayor and Liberal Party leader Laurence Decore in the 1980s and early 1990s.

A seasoned strategist, Mr. MacDonald is said to be the man behind Mr. Decore’s infamous ‘debt clock’ that helped launch the Liberals into Official Opposition status in the 1993 election (and their best showing since the 1917 election). While the addition of Mr. MacDonald may boost their roster, it eats into the narrative that Tory MLA-turned-Liberal leader Dr. Raj Sherman is promoting about the birth (or re-birth) of the “new Liberals.”

Also biting into Dr. Sherman’s “new Liberals” narrative is the nomination of five former one-term MLAs as his party’s candidates in five potentially winnable constituencies – Mo Elsalhy in Edmonton-McClung, Bharat Agnihotri in Edmonton-Ellerslie, Weslyn Mather in Edmonton-Mill Woods, Rick Miller in Edmonton-Rutherford, and Bruce Miller in Edmonton-Glenora. Some of these are good candidates, but certainly not new.

A new face in the next election, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has floated in conservative political circles since the 1990s and two of her party’s four MLAs have been in the Assembly for more than a decade. The “nascent” or “rookie” Alberta Party has existed in various forms since the 1980s and their leader Glenn Taylor ran for the NDP in the 1997 election.

Refusing to believe that new will ever be old or old will ever be new, the New Democrats have put a fresh face on an veteran politician. NDP leader Brian Mason has a fresh face – at least for the short-term – as he has shaved his mustache for Movember to raise awareness about prostate cancer. Mr. Mason has told the media that his trademark cookie-duster will return, meaning that once again, old will be new again.

NDP leader Brian Mason sans mustache

The new face of Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason (sans mustache).

alberta candidate nomination update – october 2011 (part 3).

I have updated the list of candidates who have been nominated or declared their intentions to stand as candidates in Alberta’s next provincial election expected in 2012. Please email comment below or email me at david.cournoyer@gmail.com if there are additions to the list.

Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock: CUPE activist Trudy Grebenstein is seeking the NDP nomination scheduled for November 14, 2011. Ms. Grebenstein previously contested the NDP nomination in Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater on September 21 and was defeated by Mandy Melnyk.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake: Many-time NDP candidate Luanne Bannister is seeking the NDP nomination on November 16. Ms. Bannister has previously stood as an NDP candidate in the 2004 election in Cardston-Taber-Warner and in the 2008 election in Drayton Valley-Calmar.

Calgary-FortJeevan Mangat has been nominated as the new Wildrose candidate in Calgary-Fort. Mr. Mangat replaces previously nominated candidate Bob McInnis, whostepped down for personal reasons earlier this year. Also contesting the nomination wasDalton Dalik.

Calgary-Hawkwood: Previously nominated in Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill, Collin Anderson is now seeking the NDP nomination in Calgary-Hawkwood. In the 2008 election, Mr. Anderson stood as the NDP candidate in Calgary-North West.

Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill: Replacing the previously nominated Mr. Anderson (see above) is Anne Wilson who is seeking the NDP nomination scheduled for November 10. Ms. Wilson was the NDP candidate in Banff-Cochrane in the 2008 election.

Cardston-Taber-Warner: The NDP have nominated Barbara Eng-Bonthoux as their long-shot candidate in this deep rural south constituency. In the 2008 election, NDP candidate Susan Sirias earned 190 votes out of the 9,505 votes cast.

Edmonton-Centre: The NDP nomination originally scheduled for last week has been postponed. The candidate expected to be nominated was Nadine Bailey, who had stood as the federal NDP candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont in the recent federal election.

Edmonton-Whitemud: Julia Necheff has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate. Ms. Necheff is a former reporter with Canadian Press and writer for Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta.

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: The Progressive Conservative nomination to replace retiring MLA Richard Marz is scheduled for November 26, 2011. Declared candidates include Darcy Davis, Al Kemmere, and William Stevenson. The NDP have nominated Kristie Krezanoski as their candidate.

Red Deer-South: On November 3, 2011, the Alberta Party is expected to nominate Serge Gingras as their candidate.

Rocky Mountain House: Jocelyn Stenger is expected to be nominated as the NDP candidate at a meeting scheduled for November 17, 2011. Ms. Stenger is currently employed in the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood constituency office of NDP MLA Brian Mason.

St. Albert: Recently retired Canadian Forces Major Jeff Wedman is seeking the PC nomination in St. Albert, challenging incumbent PC MLA Ken Allred. Mr. Wedman recently retired as Deputy Commanding Officer of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton. Mr. Allred was first elected in 2008 after defeating Liberal MLA Jack Flaherty by 2,805 votes.

Stony Plain: Alberta Federation of Labour staff member Linda Robinson is seeking the NDP nomination scheduled for November 1, 2011.

Vermilion-Lloydminster: Many-time NDP candidate Ray Stone is seeking his party’s nomination on November 16, 2011. Mr. Stone stood as his party’s candidate in Vermilion-Lloydminster in the 2004 election and as the federal NDP candidate in Vegreville-Wainwright in the 2008 and 2011 elections.

alberta candidate nomination update – september 2011.

I have updated the list of declared and nominated candidates standing in the next provincial election.

Airdrie: The Airdrie City View is reporting that former Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce is volunteering for Gary Mar‘s PC leadership campaign, adding to the speculation that she may seek the PC nomination to challenge Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson.

Janis Tarchuk, PC MLA Banff-Cochrane, Alberta

Is Janis Tarchuk hanging up her hat?

Banff-Cochrane: Transport worker Jamie Kleinsteuber has been nominated as the Alberta NDP candidate in this mountain constituency. Incumbent PC MLA Janis Tarchuk is being tight lipped about whether she will seek re-election. Ms. Tarchuk was first elected in 1997 and served in cabinet until she was dropped from cabinet in 2010.

Calgary-Currie: Alberta Party MLA Dave Taylor has announced that he will be retiring at the next election. This is not a complete surprise, but it is not good news for the new party, who will lose their only incumbent MLA at the next election. Mr. Taylor was first elected as a Liberal in 2004 and left that party to sit as an Independent in 2010. He joined the Alberta Party in 2011.

Calgary-Mackay-Nose HillCollin Anderson has been nominated as the NDP candidate in this north Calgary constituency. Ms. Anderson ran in the recent federal election as the NDP candidate in Calgary-Nose Hill and in the 2008 provincial election in Calgary-North West. has served in positions with Telecommunications Workers Union and the Calgary & District Labour Council.

Calgary-McCall: Depending on who you believe, the Wildrose either disqualified them for breaking the nomination rules or they quit, but candidates Deepshikha Brar, Khalil Karbani, and Braham Luddu are no longer eligible to run for that party. Candidate Grant Galpin appears to be the only candidate left standing.

Drumheller-Stettler: Hanna Town Councillor Chris Warwick has withdrawn his nomination for the Wildrose candidacy in this constituency. Candidates Dave France, Rick Strankman, and Patrick Turnbull remain declared in the nomination contest,.

Edmonton-Castle Downs: Former pharmaceutical employee John Oplanich is the nominated Wildrose candidate in this north Edmonton constituency. Mr. Oplanich ran for Edmonton City Council in 2010, placing third in Ward 3.

Edmonton-McClung: Varscona Theatre executive director John Hudson has been nominated as the Alberta Party candidate in this west Edmonton constituency.

Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MLA Rachel Notley

NDP MLA Rachel Notley

Edmonton-Strathcona: NDP MLA Rachel Notley is expected to be acclaimed at a nomination meeting planned for October 11. Vancouver-Kingsway NDP Member of Parliament Don Davies is the guest speaker.

Lethbridge-West: Candidates Shannon Phillips and James Moore will face-off in a contested NDP nomination meeting on September 11.

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: The race to replace retiring Progressive Conservative MLA Richard Marz is on. Mountain View County councillor and former reeve Al Kemmere has announced his candidacy to seek the PC nomination. Mr. Kemmere is also a director for the Association of Alberta Rural Municipalities and Districts.

Also seeking the nomination is William Stevenson, who has been endorsed by PC leadership candidate Ted Morton and Wild Rose Member of Parliament Blake Richards.

St. Albert: Former St. Albert alderman James Burrows is the nominated Wildrose candidate. Liberal Party activist Alex Bosse is seeking his party’s nomination.

Sturgeon-St. Albert: Linda Robinson, co-chair of the Indigenous Peoples caucus of the NDP, is seeking her party’s nomination in this constituency. Ms. Robinson works for the Alberta Federation of Labour.

after months of campaigning, the pc leadership race officially begins.

All six candidates expected to enter the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership contest successfully filed their nomination papers, meeting yesterday’s deadline. With less than 70 days left before Alberta’s four-decade long governing party chooses its next leader, and Premier-designate, Doug Griffith, Doug Horner, Gary Mar, Ted Morton, Rick Orman, and Alison Redford will participate in a number of officially hosted open forums.

July 21: All-Candidates Forum in Vermillion
July 28: All-Candidates Forum in Grande Prairie
August 11: All-Candidates Forum in Fort McMurray
August 18: All-Candidates Forum in Medicine Hat
August 25: All-Candidates Forum in Lethbridge
September 1: All-Candidates Forum in Red Deer
September 7: All-Candidates Forum in Calgary
September 15: All-Candidates Forum in Edmonton

Advanced voting for the first-ballot will commence on September 13 and regular voting on September 17. If no candidate receives 50%+1 on the first-ballot, then the three candidates with the most votes will contest a preferential second-ballot vote October 1. If no candidate earns 50%+1 on the second-ballot, the second choice votes from the third place candidate will be redistributed among the final two candidates.

The list of MLA endorsements of PC leadership candidates is being continually updated. Recent changes include the addition of Rocky Mountain House MLA Ty Lund and Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Richard Marz, and Whitecourt-Ste. Anne MLA George VanderBurg, who have endorsed Mr. Mar. I have also removed Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Broyce Jacobs‘ endorsement of Dr. Morton, after receiving conflicting reports that he was also supporting Mr. Mar. It is also expected that Calgary-Shaw MLA Cindy Ady may soon endorse Mr. Mar.

Over the next few weeks, I will be taking a closer look at what MLA endorsements actually mean for the leadership candidates and how deep the PC Party membership has been in many of the constituencies these MLAs represent.

alberta candidate nomination updates – july 2011.

Airdrie – Former City of Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce told the Airdrie Echo that she has been approached to run for the Progressive Conservative nomination. Ms. Bruce served two-terms as Mayor before being unseated by Peter Brown in October 2010. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Creative Airdrie. The constituency is currently represented by Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson.

Banff-Cochrane: Former Rockyview School District Trustee Trudy Hauser was acclaimed as as Wildrose candidate, which is not sitting well among some Wildrose supporters in the constituency. The group, including interested candidate Paul Rugglestold the Cochrane Eagle that they felt the nomination selection was ‘closed-door process.’

Lee Easton Calgary Buffalo Alberta Party candidate

Lee Easton


Calgary-Buffalo: Mount Royal University Professor and recent Alberta Party leadership candidate Lee Easton is seeking his party’s nomination in this downtown Calgary riding. Seeking the Wildrose nomination is the former host of 770AMs Calgary Today Mike Blanchard.

Calgary-Klein: Jeremy Nixon defeated former separatist leader Cory Morgan for the Wildrose nomination.

Calgary-Mountain View: Outgoing Liberal Party leader David Swann was nominated as his party’s candidate. Dr. Swann was first elected to represent the constituency in 2004 and was handily re-elected in 2008.

Edmonton-Manning: Catholic School District Trustee Cindy Olsen was nominated as the NDP candidate.

Lethbridge-East: Kent Prestage was nominated as the Wildrose candidate. Mr. Prestage was the campaign manager for former Lethbridge MP Rick Casson and made an unsuccessful run for the Conservative Party nomination when Mr. Casson retired earlier this year.

Innisfail-Sylvan LakeKerry Towle defeated Rod English to become the Wildrose candidate. Penhold Town Councilllor Danielle Klooster has been acclaimed as the Alberta Party candidate.

Ken Lemke Stony Plain PC candidate Election

Ken Lemke

Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills: Carstairs-based accountant William Stevenson is the first candidate to enter the nomination contest to replace retiring PC MLA Richard Marz. The PC nomination contest is expected to attract a crowded field.

Stony Plain: Two candidates have stepped up to retiring PC MLA Fred Lindsay. Town of Stony Plain Mayor Ken Lemke was the first to enter the nomination contest to replace Mr. Lindsay, who has represented the constituency since 2004. Constituency Manager Lorna Wolodko entered this week. Arlin Biffert is the nominated Liberal candidate.

Wetaskiwin-Camrose: Camrose County Councillor Trevor Miller defeated Tim Essington and Orest Werezak to become the Wildrose candidate. Mr. Werezak was the Wildrose Alliance candidate in Battle River-Wainwright in 2004 election and was the Federal Liberal candidate Crowfoot in the 2000 federal election.

Click here for a full list of nominated and declared Alberta provincial election candidates.

alberta politics notes 6/17/2011

Marz and Lindsay retiring
Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills PC MLA Richard Marz announced that he will retire when the next provincial election is held. Mr. Marz was first elected in 1997, defeating Liberal MLA turned Social Credit candidate Don MacDonald with a 19% margin of victory.

Stony Plain PC MLA Fred Lindsay also announced that he will be retiring at the next election. An MLA since 2004, Mr. Lindsay was rewarded for his early support of Premier Ed Stelmach‘s leadership candidacy with an appointment to cabinet as Solicitor General in 2006. His loyalty only took him far until January 2010, when he was shuffled out of cabinet to the Tory backbenches. He soon after publicly mused that he might run for the Wildrose Alliance in the next election.

PC leadership contest
Alison Redford released her social policy strategy. Gary Mar has a new ride. Ted Morton was wooing potential supporters at the Conservative Party of Canada convention in Ottawa.

Opposition Parties take a Municipal Focus
Alberta Party leader Glenn Taylor released his party’s municipal policy brief this week in the wake of Mayor Naheed Nenshi‘s call for a Charter for the Cities of Calgary and Edmonton. Outgoing Liberal leader David Swann reaffirmed his party’s position endorsing the municipal charter.

RCMP respond to NDP letter
The RCMP have responded to a letter from NDP MLA Brian Mason asking for an investigation into accusations of politically influenced queue-jumping for medical procedures. According to Sergeant Tim Taniguchi: “It has been reviewed and the matter has been referred to our Edmonton commercial crime section which is going to look into it further to see what further steps are needed.

Kowalski going to pasture?
Calgary politico David Heyman wrote about rumours that Assembly Speaker and Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC MLA Ken Kowalski may retire after a very long (long, long, long) 32 years in politics.

Heyman goes Wildrose
Speaking of Mr. Heyman, it appears that he is now working as a campaign advisor to Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith. Mr. Heyman was until recently working in Communications roles in Premier Stelmach’s Calgary Office and for Energy Minister and Calgary-West MLA Ron Liepert. The former Calgary Herald Reporter was also a supporter of Calgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA Kent Hehr‘s early-aborted Mayoral campaign in 2010.

Alexander beats Blanchard
Roy Alexander defeated popular QR77 Radio Host Mike Blanchard for the Wildrose Alliance nomination in the new constituency of Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill. The Wildrose Alliance are expected to announce high-profile candidates in Banff-Cochrane and Lethbridge-East within the next few weeks.

What polls are good for
A new poll showing the Wildrose Alliance catching up to the PCs? Take a closer look a the source.

alberta politics notes 11/11/2010

Alberta Party Conference in Red Deer
The upcoming Alberta Party policy conference in Red Deer is getting attention from the political class, including provincial Tories who are nervous about the links between the new party and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi‘s campaign team. On the Saturday evening of the conference, Mayor Nenshi’s Campaign Director and Chief of Staff Chima Nkemdirim and campaign Communications Coordinator Richard Einarson will be participating in an political discussion panel (which will also include Mayor Stephen Mandel‘s Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager Patricia Mistuka, Councillor Don Iveson‘s campaign manager Chris Henderson, and the new Mayor of Grande Prairie Bill Given).

No room for good ideas?
Proving that the current political climate in Alberta is not always friendly to thought-provoking ideas, Battle River-Wainwright PC MLA Doug Griffiths is feeling a lash back by the political establishment within his party and the opposition. After trying to start a public discussion about how a provincial sales tax could  reduce government dependency on natural resource revenue, Mr. Griffiths became the target of his own colleagues who shot down his idea at the recent PC Party convention and by the Wildrose Alliance, who have used Mr. Griffiths’ comments as a fundraising-focused attack campaign.

Maybe it is something about Battle River-Wainwright, because this is not the first time an idea coming from that constituency was shot down by the political establishment. At the 2008 PC policy convention, that constituency association brought forward a motion supporting fixed elections dates. The motion passed at the policy convention and was soon after introduced as a private members bill (Bill 203: Election Statutes (Fixed Election Dates)) in the Assembly by St. Albert PC MLA Ken Allred.

Mr. Allred’s private members bill was attacked by Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills PC MLA Richard Marz, who claimed that the creation of fixed election dates would allow public sector unions to schedule strikes near election dates (because as all Albertans know, it is those evil public sector Unions who have been standing in between the PC Party and majority governments for the past forty years… oh wait…). The fixed election dates bill was tabled to be discussed six months later. Two years later, the bill remains tabled and there is no sign that any debate will reassume.

On a similar note, Edmonton-McClung PC MLA David Xiao hopes to start a discussion on mandatory voting in Alberta. While the idea probably has enough merit to deserve the opportunity to be debated and fully discussed, it is likely doomed to reach the waste bin of ideas to combat electoral disinterest.

Liberal Environment Policy
Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman released the Liberal Caucus environment policy yesterday, which includes a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions by 2017 and a provincial groundwater inventory and water quality monitoring program.


Water
The fight over access to fresh water may be one of the next big fights on the political horizon as Premier Ed Stelmach has said that new water storage will need to be created in Southern Alberta to help increase industrial development.

As part of a country-wide speaking tour, Council of Canadian chairperson Maude Barlow was in Edmonton in October and warned against the creation of water markets that could open the sale fresh water from Alberta to corporations and overseas markets. Ms. Barlow believes that water should be held in a public trust and has outlined her beliefs in a new book, Blue Covenant: The Global The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.

the rural alberta advantage.

While speaking to the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties this week, Premier Ed Stelmach confirmed the obvious when defending his government’s decision to increase the number of constituencies in the next election: it was in order to preserve the existing number of rural constituencies in the Legislative Assembly. This decision continued the over-represention of rural Alberta ridings in the Assembly, despite rapid growth in the urban centres.

With a few exceptions, the PCs have been able to rely on non-competitive electoral districts in rural Alberta since wiping out the Social Credit rump in 1975. Over the past 39-years, the PCs have relied heavily on rural politicians as a “farm team” to replenish their ranks of rural MLAs (some now include Premier Stelmach, and Ministers Jack HaydenIris EvansRay DanylukLloyd SnelgroveMel Knight, and MLAs Wayne DrysdaleBroyce JacobsRichard Marz, and Len Mitzel).

The PCs have dealt with competitive elections in the two major urban areas (Edmonton and Calgary), but the threat of a Wildrose insurgency across Alberta would be cause for great concern and is likely the reason behind Premier Stelmach’s posturing over rural over-representation.

electoral boundaries mashup.

Earlier this week, I posted the poll-by-poll results from the 2008 provincial election for Calgary and Edmonton, and (once again thanks to reader Alan Hall) posted below are the 2008 results superimposed over the proposed boundaries from the interim report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission. A listing of the interim ridings with the 2008 results and margins are also posted below. If the political environment continues to change before the expected 2012 election, the past electoral results could mean very little, but until that time, these maps provide an interesting view of the previous election and what could be in 2012: