Alberta Politics

alberta politics notes 8/26/2010

– Finance Minister Ted Morton is not ruling out the idea of a Provincial Sales Tax for Alberta. Premier Ed Stelmach says it will not happen as long as he is in office. The Government of Alberta remains in a $4.7 billion deficit.
– Over 500 people packed a hall in Vegreville to voice their opposition to the construction of new electrical transmission lines. Although he is the MLA for this area and was invited to the meeting, Premier Stelmach declined to attend.
– Michael Walters is the new Executive Director of the Alberta Party. Mr. Walters previously served and excelled in his role as Lead Organizer for the Greater Edmonton Alliance from 2004 to 2010.
– Former City Councillors Michael Phair and Patricia Mackenzie have written an excellent opinion-editorial in the Edmonton Journal explaining why they believe redeveloping the City Centre Airport lands will benefit Edmonton.
Reboot 3.0 is scheduled for November 5 and 6 in Edmonton.
– Jeffrey Coffman is seeking election to Lethbridge City Council. Mr. Coffman previously served as an Alderman from 1995 to 1998 and later as Chief of Staff to MLA Ken NicolBridget Mearns, daughter of Lethbridge-East Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor, has announced her campaign for Lethbridge City Council. Also in the running is long-time conservative activist and college professor Faron Ellis.
– What motivated Wildrose leader Danielle Smith to jump to the defence of a failing private health clinic?
– Quebec Conservative MP Maxime Bernier has recaped his summer visit to Edmonton and his encounters with Wildrose leader Ms. Smith and Edmonton-Strathcona Conservative candidate Ryan Hastman. Mr. Bernier’s former colleague Ken Epp is now the vice-president of the Strathcona Wildrose Alliance association. Mr. Epp represented the Elk Island and Edmonton-Sherwood Park constituencies from 1993 to 2006.
– Michael Butler has been acclaimed as the federal Liberal candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont. Mr. Butler has ran twice for the NDP in 2008, federally in Mill Woods-Beaumont and provincially in Edmonton-Rutherford. The riding has been represented by Conservative MP Mike Lake since 2006 after the retirement of long-time Liberal MP David Kilgour.

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.

17 replies on “alberta politics notes 8/26/2010”

Thx for the plug for Reboot 3.0 Dave. It is going to be focused on what individuals, groups, political parties and Reboot itself can and should do to revive progressive political principles into Alberta’s political culture.

The hard turn to the right by the PC government in response to the rise of the Wildrose is narrowing the political perspectives and options in Alberta.

RebootAlberta is about creating a space and place for progressive thinking Albertans to respond personally and politically as they see fit.

Art, I think I read that Alberta actually has to have a plebiscite to bring in a PST. If that’s the case, you don’t have to do anything but wait for the vote.

As I previously posted in the Edm. Journal comments forum, we do not need a regressive sales tax. What we need is to scrap the flat tax (which isn’t really all that flat) in favour of a modest progressive income tax system, in which ability to pay dictates one’s tax rate.

Unfortunately, most Alberta voters are too politically immature to accept such a system. They want to have European-level public services, but pay US-style taxes. Problem is, you can’t get something for nothing.

Read Ed’s lips: No PST! Phew, I guess we can all breathe easy, like we did just before the last election when Stelmach vowed that “a Progressive Conservative government will never put Alberta back into a deficit position”.

I note with interest that Michael Butler has been chosen by the federal Liberals in Edmonton Mill Woods-Beaumont. Last year when the Democratic Renewal Project attempted to win the Mill Creek NDP to the idea of cooperation provincially among Liberals, NDP, and Greens, Butler helped lead the NDP charge against cooperation.

Butler rejected the Liberals completely at the time and saw no similarity between them and the NDP. Now he says that the Liberals better reflect his values.

I wonder what those values are. And why did the Liberals choose a candidate who is rather inarticulate and was regarded as a lax campaigner by the NDP both provincially and federally?

I think that the answer lies in the ironies created by a refusal of these parties to work together, either provincially or federally in Alberta. Divided they can only rarely come up with good candidates since good candidates don’t want to waste their time on unwinnable constituencies. In the name of giving voters more choices, the parties sometimes put themselves in the position of providing no choices at all, just names to put on a ballot.

The Mill Woods seat has been Liberal before and could be again, but not without some sort of alliance of progressive voters behind a credible candidate. Not in the next federal election, it seems!

The political naivety of Mr Finkel and the DRP is once again on full display. Mill Woods – Beaumont was only ever a Federal Liberal seat because of the incumbent, David Kilgour, who was originally elected as a Mulroney Conservative. His status in the community helped him to win increasingly narrow victories after his decision to take an anti-GST stance and become a Liberal. To suggest that in 2010 even a strong Liberal candidate would compete well against our Conservative MP Mike Lake is laughable and just not realistic. We live in a province where only 1 opposition MP resides, and she won a narrow victory in the most “progressive” neighborhoods the whole province has to offer.

Any gains the DRP schemes may offer at the provincial level do not exist at the Federal level. The ridings are too large and the plurality of Conservative votes is too strong.

“They want to have European-level public services, but pay US-style taxes.

Not sure where you got this impression, but the United States doesn’t have a flat tax.”

And Alberta doesn’t have European-level public services.

Most Edmonton federal seats at one point or another have been won by Liberals or NDs. Decima polling suggests that over 90 percent of those planning to vote for one of those parties or the other would vote for a merged party, which suggests that a coalition candidate would do just as well.

While Kilgour’s personal popularity was important, it wasn’t everything. Jack Horner was a popular Tory as well, and when he switched to the Liberals, his constituents did not follow.

A recent poll showed that 13 percent of Albertans planned to vote Liberal federally, 13 percent Green, and 13 percent NDP. In FPTP, all their votes will be wasted votes.

I should note however that the DRP is not working to get the federal parties to work together, though I mentioned the organization to make a point regarding Michael Butler. And for reasons different than Neal, I also predict that the opposition parties will not carry any more seats in the next federal election in AB than they did last time. I hope that Linda Duncan can retain her riding, but I suspect that she can’t. The federal Greens are willing to support her if the NDP will decline to run a candidate against Elizabeth May. But the federal NDP won’t consider any pre-electoral alliances and presumably pretty much writes Alberta off, the anomaly of Linda Duncan notwithstanding.

Don’t always (or even often) agree with Alvin Finkel, but his posts are not too wordy. Sometimes it takes more than a sound byte to articulate complex thoughts.

Alvin: While Kilgour’s personal popularity was important, it wasn’t everything. Jack Horner was a popular Tory as well, and when he switched to the Liberals, his constituents did not follow.

Isn’t this a blow against your position? It shows that sometimes even being a popular incumbent isn’t enough to overcome the anti-Liberal/pro-Conservative views of Albertans.

jay: And Alberta doesn’t have European-level public services.

You’re right, most of their health care systems are far better than ours. We should make ours more like theirs, by allowing more private sector involvement. 😉

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