Alberta Politics

alberta politics notes 8/05/2011

Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Alison Redford
Alison Redford

1. Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Alison Redford announced that she would raise monthly payments from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program from $400 to $1,588 and doubling the allowable income earned for participants. Wildrose communications director Brock Harrison criticized the announcement on Twitter, claiming it would be too costly. The Liberals and NDP have called for increases to AISH funding for years.

During the 2004 provincial election, then-Premier Ralph Klein was criticized for claiming that there was rampant abuse in the program. He then told the media that “severely normal” people do not want to talk about AISH.

2. Gary Mar attempted to grab headlines about Edmonton’s recent streak of murders by criticizing the Safe Communities Initiative, initiated by Premier Ed Stelmach and former Justice Minister Redford. Ms. Redford rebutted Mr. Mar’s criticism of the Safe Communities Initiative by listing statistics showing Youth Crime in Calgary down by 25% and that crime in Canada is at its lowest since 1973.

For more facts debunking Edmonton’s claim to fame as “Canada’s Murder Capital”, see

3. While Ms. Redford and Mr. Mar are two candidates most likely to be branded as Calgarians, southerner Ted Morton is has picked up support from six MLAs in the Edmonton area, including some who have deep connections to their cultural communities (which can produce significant amounts of sold memberships).

4. Former President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers David Manning has been appointed as Alberta’s Representative in Washington DC, replacing Mr. Mar, who left the position to seek the PC leadership. Mr. Manning’s appointment comes as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas continues to cause controversy south of the border.

5. Outgoing Liberal leader David Swann raised concerns about Mr. Mar’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) friendly health care policy and one of Mr. Mar’s leadership campaign’s largest donors Dr. Kabir Jivraj. Dr. Jivraj is the former Chief Medical Officer of the Calgary Health Region and is the founder of AgeCare, a for-profit corporation that provides long-term care for senior citizens.

Read more Alberta Politics Notes.

14 replies on “alberta politics notes 8/05/2011”

I’m wondering if Brock Harrison would like to try to live on $1188 a month, the current aid amount. – AISH people have been treated like garbage by this government and sounds like it would be just as bad or worse if WRA had a say.

Typical snarl reaction from the WRA types. Let the little people look after themselves, I’m alright jack. WRA/tinpot partiers will always use the clip that we can’t afford it.

Brock Harrison’s comments show just how out of touch the WRA is. The WRA pursues its own extreme agenda without consulting constituents. They should represent the people as opposed to their own ideology.

Sorry folks but Brock did not say “it would be too costly” and there is nothing “extreme” about asking questions. He merely questioned where the estimated $180 million spending increase would come from. Previous commentors should be less afraid of open debate.

WRP made one suggestion that the “allowable income earned for participants” be increased, encouraging recipients who are able, to get more involved in their communities and their own well-being. Obviously additional issues must be addressed but let’s resist starting a mud-slinging war of words when opposing ideas are presented. Solutions will come from open unrestricted discussion around the issues.

The WRA wrote the book on “mud slinging” wars. Solutions don’t come by instigating anger or from extremist policies like the WRA’s.

Dave, claiming Brock criticized the announcement for being too costly is a stretch at best. I think the pressing concern was the lack of scrutiny over the convenient mistake in the Herald where Redford’s proposal was estimated to cost $15 million. Mr. Carter later corrected the number on Twitter to be $180 million, which is a more appropriate figure.

Though I agree that AISH funding should be increased, which is something the Wildrose has committed to doing though they aren’t included in your post, spending commitments of this size should be scrutinized (especially if the numbers don’t add up). We need to be conscious that every extra dollar committed in this race is being borrowed from our dwindling savings.

I assume your commentary on the Wildrose Tour will be in next week’s political notes?

Hi Dave,

With respect, those were not my words. We just wanted some clarity on what were some fuzzy numbers.

With 42,000 AISH recipients at $4,800 more per year is roughly a $200 million budget increase. The Redford news release did not contain a cost estimate. A news article was unclear on the cost, and reported that Redford said it would add $15 million to the program’s cost. We were only looking for clarification, which Redford’s campaign subsequently provided. The cost reported was actually $15 million/month – a $180 million annual increase.

Also, it’s not unreasonable to expect from someone who wants to be Premier a costed plan for how she will afford such an increase.

It’s also not unreasonable to expect from someone (Brock Harrison) who works for someone who wants to be Premier (Danielle Smith) to learn from Ralph Klein’s past comments on AISH. Just shows you how extreme the WRA really is with staff and a leader like this.

If you want to see dishonesty just look at the WRA’s negative style, American type of campaigning. No thanks. I’m voting for Raj Sherman who at least doesn’t stoop to these levels.~

Regarding announcement from Alison Redford promise to increase AISH payments – they are presently $1.188 a month, not $400. The $400 is the amount that is 100% non-deductible for employment income.

Again, the Wildrosers have shown their immaturity – they’d rather argue on the internet than actually get things done.

Seems the Wildrose’s new, new, new, crew aren’t all they’re cracked up to be with the polling numbers in the tank like they are.

Thanks for the update, Dave, especially the the link to the hilarious Totally worth the read.

In unrelated news, this is one of the first times that I’ve been sympathizing with the WRP on comment board flame wars. There’s some hilarious irony in the WRP being slagged for “mud-slinging” and “extremism” in 5 different posts when their commenters have been pretty rational here. Not saying they always are, just that they take the reasonableness prize today.

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