Alberta Oil Sands Linda Duncan Rob Renner Michael Ignatieff Stephane Dion

while ‘crisis’ envelops ottawa, canadians have landed in poznan.

As the ongoing political drama in Ottawa continues to unfold with Stéphane Dion‘s second (and near third) resignation, and Michael Ignatieff’s coup d’parti of the Liberal Party of Canada over Dominic LeBlanc and Bob Rae, there isn’t much media attention being paid to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP14) being held in Poznan, Poland.

Representing the Government of Alberta is a delegation led by Environment Minister Rob Renner, who is expected to be joined by Calgary MP and Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice later this week. Also from Alberta, as part of the 26-member Canadian Youth Delegation (CYD), are Pembina Institute Policy Advisor Alex Doukas of Calgary and Christel Hyshka of Edmonton. You can follow CYD updates from Poznan over twitter at @CYDPoznan.

(UPDATE: Edmonton-Strathcona MP and NDP Environment critic Linda Duncan is also part of the Canadian delegation at the Poznan Conference)

Rumour had it that Premier Ed Stelmach might be attending, as it appeared the Government of Alberta had sent a point person to the City of Poznan a full two weeks ahead of the conference to “arrange things for the delegation” (which seems like a lot of effort for Renner).

The debate over CO2 storage and Carbon Capture (CCS) is being reported as a hot topic at the conference. Though the debate surrounds its use in Coal plants and transportation, I wonder if Minister Renner is feeling any heat over the recently released government report concluding that CCS would not be effective in Alberta’s oil sands. Research in CCS technology has focused on coal and transportation emission, contradicting speeches made by Stelmach during his trips across Canada, the United States, and Europe that the $2 billion tax-payer investment in CCS would green the oil sands.

Alberta’s oil sands continue to be the fastest-growing source of CO2 in Canada and are set to increase from 5% to 16% of total emissions by 2020 under current expansion plans.

Closer to home, the Oil Sands Tailings Conference 2008 is being held from October 7-10 in Edmonton. For those of you who forgot about northern Alberta’s toxic lakes after 500 ducks took a swim earlier this year, the Pembina Institute projects that by 2020, the oil sands will ‘create enough tailings ponds to fill 400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools—that’s a surface area five times that of Sylvan Lake.

Albertans should also take note of a meeting today between former United States Vice President Al Gore, President-elect Barack Obama, and Vice President-elect Joe Biden to discuss the new administration’s environmental agenda. With a new administration in Washington D.C. taking over in January 2009, Albertans should be prepared to embrace the kinds of change in our environmental policy and oil sands extraction practices that may need to happen to adapt to the market realities of new energy and environmental policies south of the border.

Alberta Oil Sands Stephane Dion

blogging blackout until the end of the week. that’s a full lid. thank you very much.

In order to catch up with life, school, and work, I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging this week. Here are some links to satisfy your fetishes:
Litfest 2008 was excellent. I hope to post more on this later.
– When 33% of Newfoundlanders vote Conservative and 25% of Saskatchewan voters cast a ballot for the NDP, but neither of these groups are represented in the House of Commons, it’s pretty clear that something isn’t working. Political hacks can have rhetoric-filled debates for or against electoral reform until they’re red in the face, but the reality is that Canadians’ votes aren’t being reflected in the results and citizens are opting out of the system in droves. The status-quo isn’t working.
Stephane Dion is moving on, but the Liberal Party of Canada will need a lot more than a new leader to become a national party again.

Alberta’s Oil Sands will pollute Great Lakes, report warns. As if Ontario, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, and Ohio need our help polluting the Great Lakes… (h/t Solve Climate)
– The bizarre story of how Edmonton Oilers organization doesn’t tolerate bloggers in their press box. More here and here.
Latte-sipping Conservatives? (h/t AGRDT)
– You can be forgiven if you didn’t notice that the Fall session of the Alberta Legislature is underway, most of the important decisions get made in closed door cabinet meetings anyway…

And for anyone who’s ever been part of a leader’s tour…

Alberta Oil Sands Stephane Dion

stéphane dion pre-campaigns in edmonton.

“…as much culture as a bowl of yogurt.”

That is how Federal Liberal leader Stéphane Dion described the amount of culture in Stephen Harper‘s Conservative Party following recent cuts to arts and culture funding. Dion was pre-campaigning in Edmonton yesterday and made an afternoon stop at the University of Alberta. This being Alberta, I was surprised to be packed in a 250 person lecture theatre filled with Albertans wanting to catch a glimpse of a Federal Liberal (with over 200 people listening from outside). Dion gave a short and quick stump speech which focused generally on the Green Shift, which is what I expect his upcoming campaign speeches to resemble — short and green.

The hour-long question and answer period was worth attending and included a wide-range of questions including an student affordability question from U of A Students’ Union Vice-President (External) Beverly Eastham, to which Dion replied that students would be very pleased when the Liberal’s released their Post-Secondary Education policy during the campaign (we shall see…). Other questions covered a broad-range of issues including Darfur, Afghanistan, climate change, affordable housing, free trade, culture funding, and education.

I found Dion’s response to a question about the Athabasca/Fort McMurray oil sands a little confusing, as I believe that he suggested that the oil sands could become sustainable. I’m not a scientist, but I’m fairly sure that a heavily exploited non-renewable natural resource does not easily fall into the “sustainable” category (but Dion did promise lots of research funding for the University of Alberta to make it so…).

On a final note, I very much enjoyed the two of militant young Campus Conservatives who were handing out anti-carbon tax sheets outside the event and donning their yellow anti-Dion t-shirts (they almost fit in with the Greenpeace Stop the Tarsands campaigners, who were there in force).

Stephane Dion Stephen Harper

good grief.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m not involved in federal politics.

Then I’m reminded.

Good grief.

(link from Allie)

Also, it appears that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives already have a majority.

Ed Stelmach Stephane Dion

stelmach tory revitalization? ask stephane dion.

There may have been some young folks at this weekend’s Alberta PC convention in Calgary, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a new crew steering the S.S. Stelmach. You don’t have to look too far to see that it’s still the same stodgy crew running the show.

There are currently 61 Progressive Conservative MLA’s in the Legislature and with 42 of those have been re-nominated (19 of the 42 re-nominated Tories have sat in the Legislature for a decade or more), it’s going to be hard to make the case that the Alberta PC’s are going through a 1993 Ralph Klein-style reinvention.

With Ed Stelmach failing to stand up for Albertans by compromising on resource royalties and continuing to refuse to fire Energy Minister Mel Knight after Auditor General Fred Dunn singled out Knight’s Department of Energy for failing to collected billions of dollars in natural resource royalty revenues owed to Albertans, it’s clear that it’s business as usual in the halls of the Tory government.

With the likes of Lyle Oberg, Lloyd Snelgrove, Ray Danyluk, and Luke Ouellette running the show, a close look will reveal the same old stodgy Stelmach Tories.

Similar to the Liberal Party of Canada under Stephane Dion, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives failed to realize that simply changing your leader doesn’t equal revitalization in the minds of voters. Like Dion’s Federal Liberals, the Stelmach Tories have embraced institutional mediocrity and have clearly not begun to undertake the road to revitalization and re-branding that occurred under two previous 1990’s-era leaders.

Kevin Taft Stephane Dion Victor Doerksen

monday mornings…

Just some quick links for your Monday morning reading…

– Sheila Pratt had an interesting article on Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft this weekend.

– It looks like Ken Chapman had the scoop on Red Deer – South Tory MLA Victor Doerksen’s retirement.

– I’m not sure how many people saw Stephane Dion’s interview on Sunday’s CTV Question Period, but it seriously had to be one of the worst media interviews that I’ve seen any politician do. Dion is leaving a lot to be desired, but obviously has time to work on his communication skills before the next federal election.

– It’s an ALL ALBERTA western showdown in Calgary Grit’s ‘Best Premier‘ competition. Peter Lougheed v. Ernest Manning.

ATM-fees Jack Layton Stephane Dion Stephen Harper University of Alberta


I’m starting to get the hang of this “new blogger” and “new template,” but feel free to drop some suggestions in my inbox if you have thoughts on how I can make this blog even better than the best blog ever it already is.

A couple of updates and thoughts…

Last week, Federal NDP leader Jack Layton swung through Edmonton. I was lucky enough to be part of a three-on-one meeting with Mr. Layton that afternoon. It was a good meeting, interesting disucussion, but he looked like he had been up since 5am (which was probably the case).

Afterwards, Layton spoke to a large group at the U of A and I think he did fairly well doing the question and answer thing. Layton’s jaunt through Edmonton followed Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion‘s stop at the U of A campus a week ago. I can’t remember the last time Prime Minister Stephen Harper stopped by the University of Alberta…

Though my good friend may have mocked Layton’s recent anti-ATM fee announcement, I actually don’t think it’s a bad idea (I don’t think it’s going to be the next election’s “wedge issue,” but I surely don’t appreciated getting gauged $1.50 everytime I use a non-credit union ATM).

And finally, I seem to have missed the second anniversary of this blog back on January 20. Two more years! Two more years

David Swann Federal Liberals Federal NDP Jack Layton Stephane Dion University of Alberta


I’d like to draw some quick attention to some new additions to the amazing blogroll to your right, they include the Enlightened Savage, The Prairie Wrangler, and thoughts interrupted, as well as Calgary Mountain View MLA David Swann’s new blog.

Also, I’m working on some exciting template changes that are going to blow your mind!

As well, last week I attended a luncheon for Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion at the University of Alberta‘s Campus St. Jean. The room was packed to the brims, Dion’s speech was good, and I was impressed with his self-deprecating humour. It’s always nice to see politicians who don’t take themselves too seriously.

I’ll be looking to see how serious Federal NDP leader Jack Layton takes himself when he jets through Edmonton later this week.

Cabinet Shuffle Stephane Dion Stephen Harper

canadian shuffle.

Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first major cabinet shuffle since winning a minority government last January.

Though Prime Minister Harper denied that this move was in preparation for a Spring election, it’s a little hard to believe that an election isn’t on the minds of everyone in political Ottawa at the moment. It should be interesting to see how this new cabinet configuration shapes up against Liberal leader Stephane Dion‘s new front bench critics.

Cabinet changes included…

Rona Ambrose from Environment Minister to Intergovernmental Affairs.
John Baird: from president of the Treasury Board to Environment Minister.
Rob Nicholson: from House leader to Justice Minister and Attorney General.
Vic Toews: from Justice Minister to president of the Treasury Board.
Monte Solberg: from Immigration to Human Resources and Social Development.
Peter Van Loan: from Intergovernmental Affairs and Sport to Government House Leader and Democratic Reform minister.
Diane Finley: from Human Resources to Citizenship and Immigration.

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Alberta Tories Ed Stelmach Federal Liberals Jim Dinning Stephane Dion

premier-designate ed stelmach.

Saturday December 2, 2006 was a very bad day for political frontrunners.

We saw Stephane Dion ride from fourth place on the first ballot to defeat frontrunners Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae at the Federal Liberal leadership convention in Montreal.

We also saw Ed Stelmach ride from third place on the first ballot of the Alberta PC leadership race to overwhelm both frontrunners Jim Dinning and Ted Morton on the third ballot.

I did make it out to the Alberta PC leadership party at the aviation centre and I can say it was quite an entertaining peice of political theatre. As with the Federal Liberal race, I did enjoy seeing the frontrunners go down in a blaze of glory. (and I’ll give a shout out to Duncan, Allie, and Blake who were all there).

So, what does an Ed Stelmach led-PC Party mean for Alberta’s political scene?

– Ed Stelmach is the first Alberta Premier from rural Alberta since Social Credit Premier Harry Strom from 1968-1971. Will Ed Stelmach take the Tories the root of Social Credit…
– This race very much manifested itself into a Northern Alberta/Edmonton (Stelmach) v. Calgary (Dinning) & Southern Alberta (Morton).What affect does this have on Tory support in urban Alberta? In southern Alberta? Calgary?
– Can Ed Stelmach appeal to Edmonton and Calgary voters? Does Stelmach’s victory bode well for Kevin Taft’s Alberta Liberals?
– What happens to Ted Morton? It was Ted Morton’s supporters who pushed Ed Stelmach over the top on the third ballot (to the effect of 28000 for Ed Stelmach to 4000 for Jim Dinning).
– What happens to Jim Dinning and the Calgary crew? Jim Dinning was Calgary’s candidate…
– What does Ed Stelmach stand for? This isn’t a personal attack, just a legitimate question. Ed Stelmach’s policy positions on this campaign were not exactly the most well developed. We shall wait and see…

I will have more thoughts on “What now?” later this afternoon…

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Federal Liberals Stephane Dion

…is a vulnerable position.

Being presumptive nominee that is. Random.

Stephane Dion has been selected as Federal Liberal leader over Michael Ignatieff.

Disaster averted?

Canada Liberals choose Stephane Dion as leader

MONTREAL, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Canada’s official opposition Liberals on Saturday unexpectedly chose former Environment Minister Stephane Dion as their new leader despite political shortcomings that could hinder his chances in an election expected next year.

Dion, in fourth place after the first round of voting, beat former Harvard academic Michael Ignatieff on the fourth and final ballot at a Montreal leadership convention. Dion won by 2,521 votes to 2,084.

Will we see another presumtive nominee defeated tonight?

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Gerard Kennedy Stephane Dion

dion pulls ahead.

So, I’m sitting around watching CPAC‘s coverage of the Federal Liberal leadership convention.

Jean LaPierre is being interviewed. I wondered what happened to him.

They are getting ready for the third ballot. Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff, and Bob Rae are on the ballot. I was disappointed that Gerard Kennedy was knocked off the second ballot, but it’s not overly surprising because he was fairly close to Dion for the third-fouth place position.

Here are the live third ballot resutls….

Michael Ignatieff – 1660
Bob Rae – 1375
Stephane Dion – 1782
Total – 4817
Needed to win – 2410

Stephane Dion pulls ahead on the fourth ballot. It’s a Dion-Ignatieff showdown…

Very interesting turn of events…

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Federal Liberals Gerard Kennedy Michael Ignatieff Stephane Dion

that other leadership race.

The Federal Liberals are chosing their leader this weekend. Though I was mysteriously left off the Edmonton Strathcona ballot during the delegate selection meetings, I had decided months ago that I would sit out this Liberal leadership convention.

Though I support Gerard Kennedy for the Federal Liberal leadership, finances and interest level had a lot to do with my lack of Montreal presence this December weekend. I think Kennedy would do well as leader. When I met Kennedy this summer I wasn’t overly impressed by the speech he delivered, but when I was able to talk with him one-on-one I was very impressed at the types of ideas we talked about. He is a fresh face for the Federal Liberals with actual elected political experience in government and in opposition. Something that will benefit the Liberals greatly in the next election.

Of the other candidates, I don’t mind Stephane Dion.

Michael Ignatieff is interesting, but hasn’t impressed me during this campaign (or when I met him), and continues to rub me the wrong way.

I find the Bob Rae phenomenon to be the most interesting though. He has a train car worth of political luggage, but continued to surprise me with high level quality supporters such as Ralph Goodale. So, I’m puzzled. He’s intellegent and articulate, but what would happen if he won? Would the Liberals implode and lose all their seats in Ontario? Probably not. The unpopularity of Mike Harris‘ Government is fresher in the mind of Ontarians and former Harris-era Ministers Jim Flaherty and John Baird cruised to Federal victory in January 2006. Could Rae do the same?

This said, I think there is potential for it to be a while before I again become actively involved with the Federal Liberals.

Hopefully whoever is chosen as Leader will do their best to bring the Liberal Party of Canada back to Canadians. Hopefully they can pose a compeditive challenge to the Conservative minority in what will most likely be a Spring 2007 election.

As I do have many friends at this convention, I will direct you to their blogs for their on-site commentary: Gauntlet, CalgaryGrit, and Nic.