Alberta Politics

alberta politics notes 8/14/2010

– A sad so-long to the authors of the Edmonton Journal’s Capital Notebook blog. Legislature Press Gallery reporters Archie McLean and Trish Audette are moving on to bigger and better things. They will be missed. Good luck!
– After three-terms in the Legislative Assembly, former Liberal leader Kevin Taft has announced that he will not seek re-election in Edmonton-Riverview when the next election is held.
– The Pembina Institute says Imperial Oil is being allowed to break rules about tailings for its new Kearl oilsands plant.
– Landowner groups gathered in Red Deer on August 10 for the first ever conference on landowner rights. The United Power Transmission Area Groups hosted the conference which was attended by more than a dozen groups from across Alberta. The main topic of the conference were the legislative frameworks that have reduced or eliminated landowners’ rights in regards to transmission lines.
– The new Alberta Party will be holding its annual general meeting in October in Red Deer.
– The lobbyists behind the Envision Edmonton group are offering cash for signatures for a petition to stop the phased closure of the City Centre Airport. Chris Labossiere broke this news on his blog yesterday.
– Alberta Health Servcies CEO Dr. Stephen Duckett has published a bizarre post on his blog this week taking the Edmonton Journal to task for something they published over a year ago.
– Federal voting intentions in Alberta from the latest Angus-Reid poll: Conservative (61%), Liberal (13%), NDP (13%), Green (13%). Dan Arnold has a good overview of August poll results.
Michael Cormican has been nominated as the federal Liberal candidate in Lethbridge.
Naheed Nenshi has released a new video outlining his plan if elected as the next Mayor of Calgary. Mr. Nenshi has also provided some solid responses to Barb Higgins and Alderman Ric McIver‘s “policy framework” and “visions.”

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.

8 replies on “alberta politics notes 8/14/2010”

I am not a resident of Edmonton but I am confused on a few things.

1. What difference does it make if “volunteers” are paid to collect signatures. The people who sign the petition are only supporting the right of the people of Edmonton to decide the issue not the politicians. Why is there so much animosity towards participative democracy? Since you are on the Board of the Alberta Party I thought you would embrace the ultimate “Big Listen” on this issue.

2. Why is there a need for the canvassers to educate people on the issue, that is for later during the discussion of the issue if there is even a plebiscite. People can support the concept of a plebiscite but still want to shut down the airport. The “volunteers” are only getting signatures, not casting ballots for people.

3. The biggest issue to me is why are the five finalists competing to devise the master plan for redevelopment of the airport from outside of Alberta, four from outside of Canada – Sweden, Vancouver, Netherlands, Kansas City and England? Each are being given $50,000 to refine their submissions. Isn’t there a company in Edmonton or at least Alberta capable of this? Why are they being paid to submit their proposal when common business protocol is that the expense for submission of a proposal is at the expense of the bidder?

4. I a not a member or supporter of the Wildrose Alliance but why, according to your mayor, must Danielle Smith and those from outside of Edmonton stay out of the issue but the development planning companies are from outside of Edmonton? Isn’t that a touch ironic? Calgarians are told to be quiet but those who will lay out the “master plan” aren’t even from Alberta, isn’t that hypocritical?

I did not mean to say you were on the Board of the Alberta Party but rather that you seem supportive of the Alberta Party. I apologize for my error.

JD: Thanks for the comment.

The difference is that “volunteers” are no longer “volunteers” if they are paid for their time and service.

I support participative democracy. I also support representative democracy. I believe that our elected City Council made a smart decision in voting for the phased closure of the CIty Centre Airport.

As for the finalists, I am less concerned with where their head offices are located and more concerned with their ideas for redeveloping the Airport lands. There aren’t many urban areas that have the kind of opportunity that our city does by redeveloping these lands inside the City core. Take Garrison Woods as an example (as mentioned in Naheed Nenshi’s video). Let’s look out of the box (and beyond our city limits) to see what’s out there! 🙂

JD Galt, the five finalists are either already partnered with local firms or will be shortly. To answer your question of why Alberta firms are not in the lead is simple. They are really not capable of the task. We simply do not have large planning/architecture firms with an expertise in urban development. Local firms are needed as partners to provide context and local knowledge but that is essentially the extent of their capabilities.

It is also common for design competitions of this sort to offer the finalists a payment to refine their submissions. It takes an incredible amount of work to create a proposal with the kind of depth that is being requested. They were not paid for the vision statement that won them a place among the finalists. They are now being asked to actually do work. They should be rewarded for this in some form. That said, the four firms not awarded the contract will undoubtedly lose money on the venture. This method of competition was used by both the Cantos Music Foundation for their new museum and the City of Calgary for the Saint Patrick’s Island Bridge to point out recent examples in Alberta. Remember, they are not being paid to tell us how much they will charge to do work (as happens in the kind of bids you refer to), they are being paid to actually work on fleshed out designs that can be compared.

Naheed Nenshi offers absolutely no constructive comments against McIver or Higgins. Clearly he’s in this only for himself as he has no platform other than his own ambition.

The two Nenshi pieces linked there were responses to other candidates’ proposals. They are supposed to be negative attacks and not constructive comments. His policies are outlined elsewhere and easily amount to the most detailed platform of any of the candidates for mayor of Calgary.


I do not know your professional background but in my experience in the business world the standard practice on requests for proposals stipulates that all costs for creation of a proposal is the responsibility of the bidder. The cost incurred are a cost of doing business. Our business is constantly in bid situations and we bear the significant (and comparable to this situation) cost of creating our exceptionally detailed and cost guaranteed proposals. Perhaps it is simply the difference between government and free enterprise.

I am also disappointed that you don’t feel that any of the Alberta firms are up to the task. My experience in business is that many people, especially government people underestimate the creativity, professionalism and expertise we have in Alberta. A major development like this could turn an Alberta firm in to a world class player instead of taking a back seat to primarily foreign companies. As we seek to expand the global reach of Alberta based businesses outside of the energy industry we need to support Alberta companies. If the project goes ahead as planned we need to bring Alberta businesses to the forefront.

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