Danielle Smith Dave Taylor David Sands Ed Stelmach Edwin Erickson Gene Zwozdesky Jerry Toews Jim Gurnett Joe Anglin Ralph Klein Ron Liepert Tom Olsen

upside-down week.

Shuffling the deck.

Long-time Government spokesperson Jerry Bellikka replaces Tom Olsen as spokesman for Premier Ed Stelmach (Olsen now becomes Alberta’s Olympic Spokesperson in Vancouver). Former MLA Jim Gurnett replaces Jerry Toews as Chief of Staff at the NDP caucus. Instead of laughing at satire, PAB blogger David Sands leaves Twitter altogether. Taking a more open approach to the media than his predecessor, Health & Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdeskys cell phone number is now showing up on Government media releases.

Not your father’s NEP

With new Energy Minister Ron Liepert‘s mandate to reclaim PC dominance over energy sector support from Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Alliance, the Liberals do not want to be left out. Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor is leading his party’s 180-degree policy change from their previous position that resource royalties are too low. On the policy change, Mount Royal University Professor Bruce Foster told FFWD:

“It seems as if the Liberals didn’t take the lead on this or didn’t distinguish themselves and now they’re playing catch-up,” he says.

Calgary Grit has more.

Alberta Party of Alberta

Former deputy leader of the now-defunct Alberta Green Party Edwin Erickson is now leader of the Alberta Party. In the last election, Erickson placed second with 19% of the vote against Tory Diana McQueen in Drayton Valley-Calmar. Erickson and Joe Anglin led the fight against Bill 50 and Erickson had publicly mused about creating the Progress Party of Alberta. The Alberta Party has existed in a number of forms since 1986, but has never been competitive (highest support: leader Mark Waters earned 1,200 votes in Calgary-Currie in 1993).

Ralph University

Olds College has re-named their Community Learning Centre after former Premier Ralph Klein and not everyone in Olds is enamoured with the decision.

David Sands Ed Stelmach Public Affairs Bureau Tom Olsen

honesty is the best policy.

After reading the ridiculous/hilarious comments by Tom Olsen (Premier Ed Stelmach‘s Press Spokesperson) in regards to the infamous Northumberland beach photos, I was dreading that I once again felt the need to write about the importance of our elected officials and their partisan employees being responsible and mature in how they communicate with citizens.

I didn’t have much of a problem with the actual photo controversy. I can imagine that after sifting through thousands of photos, it wouldn’t be difficult to make that kind of a mistake. My issue was with the immediate response that came from Premier Stelmach’s spokesperson. Instead of using the honesty required to defuse what amounted to a non-issue, Olsen’s response was to automatically attempt to spin the issue.

Earlier tonight, I was happy to witness a rare moment in Alberta politics. In a post written by David Sands on the Government of Alberta’s $25 million re-branding blog, the Public Affairs Bureau admits to the photo screw up.

While neither the Government Blog writers or the Public Affairs Bureau are composed of the individuals Albertans have elected to fulfill the responsibilities of government (and to take responsibility for the actions that occur under their watch), it’s important to recognize the significance of baby steps. As much as I enjoy the sport of lambasting the shady government communicators, I give kudos to the unelected officials in the Public Affair Bureau for taking responsibility where thier political masters did not.

Honesty is the most effective way to build trust, and both honesty and trust are something that we see too little of in our politics these days.