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Alberta Politics

Alberta politicians betting on the Stanley Cup

Harmless fun or shameless stunt? Does it matter?! Go Oilers!

As hockey fans pour into Rogers Place tonight to watch the Edmonton Oilers face the Florida Panthers in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, their focus will be on the rink. Most fans probably won’t be giving much thought about what their local or provincial politicians think about the game (as long as they are cheering for the home team).

Playoff season in Alberta is exciting and it also means that politicians have jumped on the Oilers bandwagon with the long-held tradition of making public bets with politicians from the city or state of the opposing team. Whether you believe it’s a shameless media stunt or just harmless fun, there’s no stopping them.

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Alberta Politics

NDP MLA Shannon Phillips stepping down, opening Lethbridge-West by-election

I usually share Daveberta newsletters later in the week, but with MLA Shannon Phillips announcing her resignation yesterday, I wanted to share my thoughts earlier this week. Enjoy!

Shannon Phillips is smart as a whip and tough as nails but after nine years in the Alberta Legislature, she is stepping down as the NDP MLA for Lethbridge-West.

Read the rest of the column on the Daveberta Substack

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Alberta Politics

Why Kathleen Ganley is running for the Alberta NDP leadership

Calgary NDP MLA Kathleen Ganley joins the Daveberta Podcast to share why she is running to replace Rachel Notley as leader of the Alberta NDP.

Subscribe to the Daveberta Substack to listen to the interview.

 

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Alberta Politics

Danielle Smith’s big win

Losing Calgary was the plan Smith shared with Rick Bell months before the 2023 election

Danielle Smith has never been interested in building a big tent political party.

It was October 2022 when Smith landed in hot water with United Conservative Party MLAs from Calgary when she told Postmedia columnist Rick Bell that she would be okay with her party losing half its seats in that city.

Fast forward seven months and that’s what happened when Smith’s UCP were re-elected on May 29, 2023.

Read the rest of the column on the Daveberta Substack

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Alberta Politics

Say hello to the Calgary NDP

Alberta NDP membership sales surged in Calgary, leaving Edmonton in the dust

The Alberta NDP announced last week that the party’s membership list has surged to 85,144 members in the race to replace party leader Rachel Notley. And the largest group of Alberta NDP members are now in Calgary.

How the times have changed.

Read the full column on the Daveberta Substack.

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Alberta Politics

Controlling Everything Everywhere All At Once

NDP’s Oscar-winning film inspired catch phrase captures the UCP moment in Alberta politics

“Danielle Smith wants to control everything, everywhere, all at once…”

In the middle of the weekly chaos of Alberta politics, a catch phrase inspired by an Academy Award winning film has captured one of the driving themes of Alberta politics today.

Danielle Smith wants to control everything. Pensions, police, health care, schools, local councils. Any dollar spent anywhere in the province, and any decision made by anyone. Everything,” NDP MLA Kyle Kasawski first said in an April 29 press release.

Kasawski is the rookie MLA from Sherwood Park who became the opposition’s sole Municipal Affairs critic when co-critic Sarah Hoffman joined the NDP leadership race earlier this year.

While Municipal Affairs can sometimes be a sleepy file, on both the ministerial and critic side, it has been front and centre over the past month as Premier Danielle Smith and Minister Ric McIver rein in municipal and university funding agreements with the federal government and expand the provincial cabinet’s power to fire locally elected officials and overturn municipal bylaws.

Read the rest on the Daveberta Substack.

If you want full access to all Daveberta columns and episodes of the Daveberta Podcast, please consider signing up for a paid subscription.

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Alberta Politics Daveberta Podcast

“We win by being more New Democrat, not less,” says NDP leadership candidate Gil McGowan

Longtime labour leader joins the Daveberta Podcast to explain why he’s running for the Alberta NDP leadership

Labour leader Gil McGowan joins the Daveberta Podcast to share why he’s running to succeed Rachel Notley as leader of Alberta’s NDP.

The full interview with Gil McGowan is available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack

McGowan was first elected as President of the Alberta Federation of Labour in 2005 and is an outspoken advocate for working Albertans, especially when it comes to the impact of the incoming energy transition on the province’s workforce. He has been one of the most vocal critics of the United Conservative Party government’s plan to withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan.

The Daveberta Podcast is hosted by Dave Cournoyer and produced by Adam Rozenhart. This episode was recorded on April 30, 2024 in comfort of the fully-furnished bank vault-turned-podcast studio in the basement of the Homestead building in beautiful downtown Edmonton.

The full interview with Gil McGowan is available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack

New and recent episodes of the podcast are available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack. Sign up for an annual or monthly subscription to listen to the whole episode.

Extra! Paid subscribers can also read a federal nomination update accompanying today’s podcast about former Enoch Cree Nation Chief Billy Morin being acclaimed as the federal Conservative candidate in the new Edmonton Northwest riding.

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Alberta Politics

Danielle Smith’s UCP comes down hard on Alberta’s municipalities

Changes will send chills through municipal councils and create a lot of grief for MLAs

One of my goals when I moved Daveberta over to this Substack newsletter in 2022 was to take a different approach to writing about Alberta politics. For 17 years I published, sometimes, almost daily commentary on Alberta politics. Now, being on this site gives me a chance to take a breath, observe, and not feel like I need to rush analysis of what’s happening on our province’s political scene.

With that in mind, it has been very interesting to watch over the past week how Premier Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party government has unrolled its suite of changes to municipal governance and local election laws, and responded to the loud backlash from municipal leaders.

The UCP has spent a lot of political capital and government resources in its ongoing jurisdictional fights with the federal Liberal government in Ottawa, but Smith’s sovereignty agenda isn’t limited to challenging the powers of the federal government. This week’s Bill 20, Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act and last month’s Bill 18, Provincial Priorities Act are aimed at removing decision making powers from Alberta’s locally elected leaders and increasing the powers of the provincial government.

The drastic changes to the Local Authorities Election Act and the Municipal Government Act introduced by Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver gives the provincial government sweeping powers to overturn municipal bylaws and increased powers to remove locally elected municipal mayors, councillors, and school board trustees.

Changes also include legalizing corporate and union donations to municipal candidates and introducing a formal structure for political parties in municipal elections in Calgary and Edmonton.

It’s hard to imagine how most of these changes would improve municipal government or municipal elections, or that there is even broad support for some of these changes (there isn’t).

Read the rest on the Daveberta Substack.

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Daveberta Podcast

Why Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse is running for the Alberta NDP leadership

Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse joins the Daveberta Podcast to share why she is running to succeed Rachel Notley as leader of Alberta’s NDP and why she feels so passionately about protecting and conserving Alberta’s headwaters, strengthening childhood education, and defeating Premier Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party in the next election.

The Daveberta Podcast is hosted by Dave Cournoyer and produced by Adam Rozenhart. This episode was recorded on April 29, 2024 in comfort of the fully furnished bank vault podcast studio in the basement of the Homestead building in downtown Edmonton.

The full interview with Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse is available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack

New and recent episodes of the podcast are available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack. Sign up for an annual or monthly subscription to listen to the whole episode.

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Alberta Politics

Danielle Smith’s Fundraising Machine

A special weekend episode of the Daveberta Podcast

It’s rare that I send out a newsletter on the weekend but I thought subscribers would enjoy listening to a new episode of the Daveberta Podcast we recorded this week.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode of the Daveberta Podcast, including:

  • Premier Danielle Smith’s recent packed leader’s dinner fundraisers in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer and Bonnyville.
  • how the Alberta NDP leadership candidates are leaning into digital advertising on the Meta platform and what this might say about their campaigns.
  • how federal boundary changes are impacting the electoral map in south east Edmonton (I’m calling it the Mill Woods Shuffle) and former Progressive Conservative MLA Naresh Bhardwaj’s campaign for the Conservative nomination in the new Edmonton-Southeast riding (I’ve updated the list).
  • how electoral boundary commissions work in Alberta (one of my favourite topics).

The full episode of this Daveberta Podcast is available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack.

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Alberta Politics

Alberta First in Red Tape

“FINAL NOTICE. PROPERTY REPOSSESSED FOR SALE (Effective April 1st, 2024).

Anyone walking by Government House in Edmonton’s posh Glenora neighbourhood on April 1 might have noticed a white paper sign attached to the grand mansion-turned provincial government conference facility.

The sign was put there by Edmonton City Councillor Michael Janz, and as far as April Fools’ Day jokes by politicians go, it was pretty good – and it made a good point.

The Government of Alberta currently owes the City of Edmonton around $60 million in unpaid property taxes that have accumulated since 2019. That’s a point that Janz first wrote about in a December 2023 op-ed in the Edmonton Journal and that Mayor Amarjeet Sohi raised in a public letter to Premier Danielle Smith this week.

Read the rest on the Daveberta Substack.

If you want full access to all Daveberta columns and episodes of the Daveberta Podcast, please consider signing up for a paid subscription.

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Alberta Politics Daveberta Podcast

Why Naheed Nenshi is running for the Alberta NDP leadership

Nenshi shares his thoughts on Rakhi Pancholi’s endorsement and what it means to be NDP in 2024

He’s a household name in Calgary, Alberta, and across Canada, and now he’s running to become the next leader of the Alberta NDP. Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi joins the Daveberta Podcast to share why he jumped into the race to replace Rachel Notley.

Since Nenshi entered the race on March 11, the NDP has seen the size of its membership double from around 16,000 to more than 30,000, a factor that likely played a big role in convincing rising political star Rakhi Pancholi to bow out of the race and endorse Nenshi.

We must move forward to offer a positive alternative to the UCP that Albertans can enthusiastically support in the next election. And I believe that means uniting behind the next leader, Naheed Nenshi,” Pancholi said in her surprise endorsement of the now perceived frontrunner.

In this episode of the Daveberta Podcast, we sit down with Nenshi to discuss Pancholi’s endorsement, what it means to be an Alberta New Democrat in 2024, his time as mayor of Calgary, growing up in Red Deer, empathy in politics and much more.

The Daveberta Podcast is hosted by Dave Cournoyer and produced by Adam Rozenhart. This episode was recorded on March 26, 2024. The Daveberta Podcast was the 2020 winner in the Outstanding News & Current Affairs Series category in the Canadian Podcast Awards.

The full interview with Naheed Nenshi is available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack.

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Alberta Politics

What Danielle Smith said she wouldn’t campaign for in the 2023 election

Smith said she wouldn’t campaign on an Alberta Pension Plan and police force, but it looks like that’s what we’re getting.

I want to focus on the lede from this widely shared Canadian Press story published on March 5, 2023:

United Conservative Leader Danielle Smith says she won’t be campaigning on some of her party’s more contentious ideas — sovereignty legislation, a provincial police force and an Alberta pension plan — ahead of the May 29 election.

The reason why this story is notable is because of how much of the re-elected UCP’s political agenda today focuses on those three things Smith specifically didn’t want to talk about during the campaign.

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It’s not unusual for parties that form government to back away from campaign promises or even implement policies they didn’t campaign on at all. But it feels a little more unusual for a party leader to implement policies she said she didn’t want to talk about during a 28-day election campaign that happened less than a year ago.

It was a shameless and cynical move, because despite Smith saying she didn’t want to campaign on those issues during the election, it was clear the UCP was going to move forward on pensions, police and sovereignty if they were re-elected.

Read the rest on the Daveberta Substack.

If you want full access to all Daveberta columns and episodes of the Daveberta Podcast, please consider signing up for a paid subscription

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Alberta Politics

Here comes Naheed Nenshi

He’s the candidate NDP activists will loathe and NDP voters will love.

The countdown is on.

Former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is set to enter the Alberta NDP leadership race on Monday, March 11.

Nenshi hasn’t publicly said he’s interested in the race. He’s been busy promoting the novel Denison Avenue by Christina Wong and Daniel Innes on CBC Radio’s Canada Reads 2024 this week. Instead, his intentions are being telegraphed through political back channels.

Nenshi left office in 2021 after 11 years as mayor of Alberta’s largest city and barely skipped a beat before jumping back into the punditry that helped vault him into the mayor’s office in the first place. He’s thoughtful, well-spoken, entertaining, and thrives in the political fray. He’s a champion of civic engagement and was named the World’s Best Mayor in 2014.

Read the rest on the Daveberta Substack.

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Daveberta Podcast

Why Sarah Hoffman is running for the Alberta NDP leadership

The former health minister shares her plans for health, climate, and housing

NDP MLA Sarah Hoffman joins the Daveberta Podcast to talk about why she is running for the Alberta NDP leadership and her plans for health care, climate, and housing.

We discuss Hoffman’s experiences as Minister of Health and chair of the Edmonton Public School Board, the NDP’s challenges in rural Alberta, the party’s focus on Calgary and it’s relationship with the federal NDP. We also chat a bit about the possibility of former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi entering the race to replace Rachel Notley.

The Daveberta Podcast is hosted by Dave Cournoyer and produced by Adam Rozenhart. This episode was recorded on March 1, 2024.

New and recent episodes of the podcast are available to paid subscribers of the Daveberta Substack. Sign up for an annual or monthly subscription to listen to the entire episode.