Alberta Politics

alberta politics notes 9/11/2010

– Residents of Sherwood Park are rightfully angry to discover that their long-promised hospital is not actually a hospital. Councillor Jason Gariepy had his computer access and blackberry service cut off after he sent an email criticizing a Strathcona County media release. The release quoted Strathcona County Mayor Cathy Olesen praising the County’s two PC MLAs Minister Iris Evans and Dave Quest. Councillor Linda Osinchuk, who is challenging Mayor Olesen, is less pleased.
– In a 2004 interview with the Edmonton Journal, Minister Evans listed bringing “a 24-hour emergency medical care facility to Sherwood Park” as the first of her top three priorities. Since that time, she has served as Minister of Health and Minister of Finance.
Alberta Health Services has re-announced the opening of 132 beds in Calgary this week. The beds were originally announced on June 25, 2010.
– Premier Ed Stelmach joined Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Quebec Premier Jean Charest, and federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice for dinner with US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week. The Pembina Institute‘s Marlo Reynolds met with Speaker Pelosi the next day.
– It is official. The Fall Sitting of the Alberta Legislature will begin on October 25.
Canadian Rockies Public School Trustee Esmé Comfort has written an excellent letter in the Rocky Mountain Outlook about why school trustee work is important for community. The Public School Boards Association of Alberta has also published an excellent letter about the importance of trusteeship and the democratic process.
– NDP MLA Rachel Notley believes that public school fees would be less if the government stopped funding private schools.
– The Wildrose Alliance has released their Education policy.
– An MLA committee conference call caught some comments by Calgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA and Mayoral candidate Kent Hehr about fellow Mayoral candidate Barb Higgins.
– Earlier this week, Mr. Higgins’ campaign manager Donn Lovett shoved Naheed Nenshi supporter Stephen Carter at a campaign event. Mr. Lovett apologized after word of the altercation spread on Twitter.
– Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel launched his website, Twitter, and Facebook campaign.
Rod Love is now lobbying on License Plate Branding.
Elections Alberta is currently recruiting Returning Officers and Elections Clerks in seven constituencies for the next provincial election.

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.

10 replies on “alberta politics notes 9/11/2010”

I have been following the Sherwood Park story. Now was Councillor Gariepy really that abusive to county staff in his email (that he claims to have later recalled)? Does anyone have a copy of it somewhere? How bad was it that the administrator felt he had to “teach him a lesson” by stripping him of his access credentials?

Can a staffer or employee actually do this to his boss?

Or was the lesson Gariepy needed to be taught one about never daring to question the Tory government or criticize the local MLAs? Did Singleton act on his own or was he “encouraged” to do so by somebody?

The people of Sherwood Park and Strathcona County have a choice in the next election:

Option 1: Send a message that they no longer trust a government that repeatedly breaks its promises (since 1999 or before), or

Option 2: Vote Evans and Quest back in again and reinforce the entrenched Tory belief that no matter what the government does, Albertans (the few who vote at least) will still put them in charge.

Gariepy is not Singleton’s boss. He is a member of the body that is Singleton’s boss. He has no authority whatsoever to unilaterally dictate the activities of municipal staff, unless it is as a voting participant of said body at a duly constituted meeting of Council.

That said, Mo, it’s an interesting question as to what option the fine folks of Sherwood Park will pick. Using your present employment situation vis a vis the Henday overpasses as a comparator, I would not really hold my breath for “option 1” if I were you.

OK, BWS, let’s see if I follow correctly. Are you saying that the fact that despite my advocacy and lobbying to get the overpasses built at Callingwood and Lessard roads and Cameron Heights Drive, the voters in McClung still opted for a Conservative who “promised” them to finish the job?

That could be true of course with some, but not all voters. Some actually still remember clearly that those overpasses should have been built and done with when another Conservative Member was in, former Economic Development Minister Mark Norris (2001-04).

When I came in, I at least tried to make it an issue in the Legislature with letters, petitions, budget debates and question period exchanges. I can tell you it wasn’t even on Luke Ouelette’s radar. Same with the need for new schools west of the Henday. I am hoping I’m not kidding myself in believing that my lobbying got at least one planned school moved from Meadowlark to McClung. I know for a fact McClung’s current MLA will try to take credit for this, that and the other thing, and that’s expected, naturally, but he’s in for a rough ride this time around.

I view my one term as short, yes, and I feel I had more to offer, yes, but overall a fulfilling and rewarding period, and stuff is actually getting done which is a positive for McClung and Edmonton’s west end in general.

My main peeve however is how the Conservatives have mastered the ability to convince people, be it subtly or overtly, that if you vote opposition, funding dries up. You vote government, money flows and things get built.

Some people do buy this argument but they forget it’s “their money!” And if that myth isn’t a myth and in fact true, what does that say about this government?

I am not holding my breath with respect to Sherwood Park but miracles do happen sometimes and every 3 or 4 decades or so, Albertans do indeed “turf the turkies.”

While it is strictly true that Mr. Gariepy is not really Mr. Singleton’s boss, as BWS suggests, that is actually beside the point. What is the not beside the point is that we see here an example of an employed bureaucrat taking it upon himself to discipline an elected representative. That is an affront to democracy. The only people who have the right to discipline an elected representative is the body to which he was elected, or the voters at large. This is why we have a tradition of parliamentary privilege in this country. The principle applies equally to municipal councillors as well as to MLAs or MPs.

What we see here is the tail wagging the dog. What we also see here is the pervasiveness of the attitude that it is dangerous to criticize the Tory provincial government.

What’s the funniest thing about this is that Jason Gariepy used to be part of the Tory government’s Public Affairs Bureau. At one point, Pearl Calahasen elevated him to comm director for Aboriginal Affairs.

Thanks for the comments Mr. Elsalhy…now let’s see if I follow correctly: your main peeve is that voters are too gullible and stupid to see how great you and your party are? That the current MLA took credit for stuff you did…before he got elected? That McClung’s endorsement of Xiao and rejection of you was because its residents really, really, truly agreed with what you did but decided to buy the snake oil anyway? Sounds like elitism to me…and more importantly, to the electorate. Witness defeat in last election, next election, et cetera.

Elitism coupled with incompetence, that is. Not only have you consigned yourselves to being eternal Opposition, but you as much admit failure at even that. “The evil Conservatives have greater message voodoo than we do”…which means what, exactly? That you’re ineffective, incompetent, or wrong? Pick one, and try to do it without the tired old “the Public Affairs Bureau and Satan are dancing around a Bible fire and seducing the masses with mind controlling chicken entrails” bit.

Seriously, how long is the old “we don’t get why you’re so stupid as to not appreciate us more” plank going to stay in the Liberal platform?


I wasn’t blaming the voters, nor was I saying I was great. I just wanted to highlight the game the Tories play and are so good at. Voters are not stupid or gullible but with massive war chests and tools like the Public Affairs Bureau (that you mentioned) at their disposal, the Tory message reaches more people, and virtually unopposed. Add bullying (can’t speak out against ’em) or scaring people (your playground or community hall building won’t be funded if an opposition MLA is elected) and you see what happens.

I was never accused of being an elitist. As a matter of fact, I have always advocated humility and hard work as the two most important things for a politician to be successful/liked.

And if you want me to comment on my loss in 2008, and that of many Liberal incumbents (and NDP [Martin & Eggen] and Alliance [Hinman] for that matter), the main reason in my opinion was the honeymoon then newly minted Premier Stelmach enjoyed going into March 2008. Some people vote for the party leader rather than the candidate on the ground as you very well know. And it is absolutely true as well that the Liberal election strategy could have done many things differently or better, and we lacked money. And perhaps it’s also true I personally needed to do more locally as well.

I read something once here on this blog and I agree with it. It goes something like “Stelmach could have remained Premier with 42 seats in 2008. He didn’t need to get 72!” You get a different dynamic, a different level of debate and discussion, and frankly a different degree of accountability when you have a good size opposition. With a 72-11 landslide, it’s easy to get arrogant, lazy and complacent. If anyone is elitist, it’s the Tories who think they’re invincible.

The reason the overpasses got built (not completed yet mind you and only 2 out of the 3 Mo mentioned) and the timing of them getting built when they are has less to do with the provincial government or David Xiao and a lot more to do with the federal stimulus program. It’s federal money basically. Slow down and read the large signs on the Henday and you can find that out. Perhaps we should thank Rona Ambrose, or perhaps we should blame her for giving Xiao a lifeline which he’ll sure use, lol.

Why did BWS draw Mo into a debate over his performance or electability? Mo’s remarks are bang on where it comes to the tactics the PCs use to stay in power and discourage/discredit any and all opposition. Broken Wing’s hostility and sarcasm is in itself an example of such tactics.

Elsalhy was a good MLA and if one liberal didn’t need to lose, it was easily him. And yes he lost in 2008 but was one of very few returning MLAs whose vote actually crawled upward.

Now let’s take the discussion back to where it started. Do the Tories bully and intimidate or not? Are they accountable for their promises or not? Is it time for a regime change or not?

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