Danielle Smith Ed Stelmach Harry Strom Jim Dinning Joe Clark Linda Duncan Paul Martin Rahim Jaffer Ralph Klein Ross Harvey Stephen Harper

the top 10.

With the second round of voting in the Top Alberta Political Moment of the Decade contest now underway, here are some brief descriptions of the top 10 moments to vote for:

Vote – 2000: Thousands of Albertans protest the passage of private health care Bill 11. Albertans raised a massive protest against government plans for private health care and private hospitals. Opposition to Bill 11 is remembered for the the spontaneous nightly vigils at the Legislature. The government passed an amended version of Bill 11 that actually inhibited private health care more than it facilitated it.

Vote – 2001: Ralph Klein berated the homeless in a late night visit to a mens shelter in Edmonton. Long-known for his enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, Premier Ralph Klein’s late night visit to the Herb Jamieson Centre changed how many Albertans viewed the Premier’s vice. Klein publicly apologized and pledged to stop drinking.

Vote – 2004: Ralph Klein declared fiscal debate erased, making Alberta the first debt free province in a decade. At his July 12 Stampede Breakfast, Premier Klein declared Alberta to be ‘debt-free.’ The pursuit of erasing the provincial debt became the defining goal of the government in the 1990s and early 2000s. As the Chief of Staff to the President of Daveberta said, “the language of our elections and our politics is shaped around deficits and spending in a way that isn’t present in other politics.”

Vote – 2005: Gay marriage becomes legal in Alberta. Alberta began granting marriage licences to same-sex couples on July 20, upon the granting of Royal Assent to the federal Civil Marriage Act. After promising to continue opposing same-sex marriage, Premier Klein announced Alberta would would reluctantly recognize same-sex marriage, but promised new legislative protection for anyone who opposed it on moral or religious grounds.

Vote – 2006: Calgary MP Stephen Harper became Prime Minister of Canada. On January 23, Calgary-Southwest MP Stephen Harper led the Conservative Party to defeat the Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Paul Martin to form the first Conservative government since 1988. As the first Prime Minister from Alberta since Joe Clark, Harper’s election shifted the power dynamic in Alberta politics, making it more difficult for the provincial government to criticize the boogeymen in Ottawa.

Vote – 2006: $400 Ralphbucks cheques mailed to every Albertan. An embodiment of short-term vision of a government with unprecedented financial wealth, the $400 Prosperity Bonuses were mailed to every Albertan. This represented $1.4 billion (or 20%) of the $6.8 billion surplus and was criticized by many Albertans as a pointless giveaway (but few actually refused the cheques).

Vote – 2006: Ralph Klein received 55.4% approval in the PC leadership review. After 14 years in the Premier’s office and leading the PC party to four majority governments, low approval from convention delegates forced an early retirement for the man who dominated and defined Alberta politics since 1992.

Vote – 2006: Ed Stelmach defeated Jim Dinning in the PC leadership contest. On December 2, former Finance Minister and Calgary’s favourite son Jim Dinning was unexpectedly defeated by 13-year MLA and former Lamont County Reeve Ed Stelmach. Stelmach became Alberta’s first Premier from rural Alberta since Harry Strom in 1971.

Vote – 2008: Linda Duncan defeated Rahim Jaffer to become the second-ever NDP MP from Alberta. On October 17, Linda Duncan was elected as MP for Edmonton-Strathcona, defeating four-term Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer by 436 votes. The first NDP MP elected in Alberta was Edmonton-East MP Ross Harvey in 1988.

Vote – 2009: Danielle Smith was elected leader of the Wildrose Alliance. Recent polls have shown major short-term growth in Wildrose Alliance support since Danielle Smith was elected leader on October 17, but it may be too soon to tell what long-term effect she will have on Alberta’s political scene. Smith is a former Calgary Board of Education Trustee and Director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Categories hilarious domain name pranks Stephen Harper

And to think that some Tories were pissed off at me for owning and directing to a wikipedia biography of a former Premier.

I yield to

It appears that someone in Ottawa forgot to renew a domain name

Note: You might not want to click the link if you are on a work computer.

(thanks to reader D.P. for this link)

UPDATE: The Globe & Mail have picked up this story: Harper not master of his own domain.

Stephen Harper

from twitter on the harper tape.

Thoughts from twitter on the Harper tape.

phendrana: Query: Don’t the Liberals want a majority? I’ve heard the tape a dozen times and see nothing there. #elxn41

ChromeSushi @phendrana This tape is the last piece of evidence I need to complete my thesis that political party leaders want to form a government.

It’s Harper’s outdated rhetoric about left-wing judges that bothers me.

Senate Reform Stephen Harper

i sense a lack of sincerity.

At the best of times, I have a really hard time taking federal politics in this country seriously. On the issue of Senate reform, I believe that it’s time we all stopped pretending that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is sincerely interested in reforming Canada’s Upper Chamber.

Stephen Harper on September 7, 2006:

“As everyone in this room knows, it has become a right of passage for aspiring leaders and prime ministers to promise Senate reform – on their way to the top. But once they are elected, Senate reform quickly falls to the bottom of the Government’s agenda. Nothing ever gets done.”

CBC News on August 26, 2009:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to name eight new members to the Senate as early as Thursday, and the appointments will include loyal and long-serving Conservative advisers…

(Thanks to a long-time reader for providing the Harper quote)

2009 Throne Speech Alberta Oil Sands Barack Obama Les Brost Michael Ignatieff Preston Manning Stephen Harper Twitter

show me a throne speech that isn’t long on promises and short on details.

Alberta’s Throne Speech 2009. Long on promises, short on details, as Throne Speeches always are. Check out David Climenhaga‘s take.

Preston Manning is in today’s Globe & Mail calling for a sustainable energy security strategy for North America. has been launched to raise awareness of the environmentally damaging effects of the oil sands before President Barack Obama‘s 5 hour Ottawa visit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on February 19.

Edmonton’s Twestival hit the front page of the Edmonton Journal this morning.

In a recent poll, new Federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was viewed more positively than negatively in every province except Alberta across all age and gender groups.

– More evidence of the continued implosion of the CanWest media empire. I was sad to hear that the Calgary Herald will be letting go many of its freelance writers, including political writer Les Brost.

– There’s some interesting ongoing debate on the state of Liberal politics in Alberta in one of my previous posts.

2009 Federal Budget Jim Flaherty Michael Ignatieff Stephen Harper

canada’s 2009 liberal budget.

Imagine that, Stephen Harper, Canada’s 10th Liberal Prime Minister?

After taking a glance at the 2009 Federal Budget released this afternoon, I’ve come to the conclusion that if didn’t know much about Canadian politics, I wouldn’t have a hard time believing that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

And though it was presented by Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the increased spending, tax-cuts, and bailout funding for declining industries made it easy to imagine that this budget could have been presented by past Liberal Finance Ministers John Manley or Ralph Goodale.

Partisan gender-bending aside, it’s not difficult to understand why the NDP and Bloc Quebecois are opposing the budget, but it may be more difficult for Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to effectively oppose it.

A weakness Ignatieff may be able to grab onto is the funding of municipal infrastructure development, of which many projects are set up on a 1/3, 1/3, and 1/3 funding arrangement between the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments. This will pose a challenge to many municipalities who cannot afford the 1/3 (or are located in provinces unwilling or unable to provide their 1/3 of the funding). This afternoon on CBC Newsworld, Flaherty suggested that in certain cases, the Federal Government could provide up to 1/2 of the funding in order to fill the gap.

A positive solution to this problem would be for the Feds to provide a loan financing or transfer program for municipalities in these situations (I’m not competely sure that one does’t already exist).

Here is a short list of some points in Budget 2009 that caught my eye:

$12 billion infrastructure building program (including new and accelerated funds)

$225 million over the next 3 years for broadband to unserved communities. According to University of Ottawa Professor Michael Geist, Australia has committed $4.7 billion to a similar project.

$28.6 million over the next two years to the Canada New Media Fund, and $14.3 million annually thereafter.

$30 million to community newspapers and magazines (not known how much will go to CanWest)

National Securities Regulator: The Conservative Government will be moving forward with willing provinces (8 provinces, minus Alberta and Quebec) in creating a new National Securities Regulator.

– Up to $2 billion to support deferred maintenance and repair projects at Post-Secondary Institutions

Some Alberta Related:

$130 million for twinning of Trans-Canada Highway through Banff National Park

$37.6 million for Mackenzie Valley Gas Project (environmental assessments, coordination, and Aboriginal consultations).

$81 million over the next two years for program management and additional assessments of federal contaminated sites, which may include Edmonton International Airport.

– Provincial-Federal Cost-sharing priority project: Telus World of Science in Calgary.

– No funding for the twinning of Highway 63 to Fort McMurray.

Word Count:

Budget Document: Action (300 times), Tax (1,031), Spending (133). (h/t @mastermaq, @cbcnews).

Budget Speech: Economy (29), businesses (27), recession (17), tax relief (15), stimulate (12), hope (1) (h/t the Hook)

Mike Soron has created an entertaining wordmap of the budget speech.

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.

Alberta Tories Ed Stelmach Lyle Oberg Stephen Harper

the alberta equalization contradiction.

As Nic has pointed out, the media has picked up on the equalization contradiction that I posted about earlier this week.

The Globe & Mail reported today:

OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach’s office is overruling his Finance Minister and declaring that the province still opposes a controversial revamp the Harper government has planned for Canada’s equalization formula.

It is a blow to Ottawa’s hopes that opposition is dying down over a proposed new method of calculating federal payouts to poorer provinces, expected to be unveiled in Monday’s federal budget.

The move also could strain relations between the Harper government and Mr. Stelmach’s regime, federal Conservatives warn.

I’m sure there will be more than one media outlet waiting to see what both Premier Ed Stelmach and Finance Minister Lyle Oberg each individually have to say about the equalization plan federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty lays out in his budget next week.

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

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.

Senate Reform Stephen Harper

reforming canada’s senate…

A number of things have been going on over my brief sejourn from the blogging world.

Senate Reform… Prime Minister Harper has put forward a Bill C-43: The Senate Appointments Consultations Act, Senate reform package which would allow Senators to be elected through preferential elections.

I don’t oppose Senate reform, but I do have unanswered questions about some of the outcomes, mostly because I don’t think many Canadians have thought about “what are the political concequences of having an elected Senate?”

I agree that the appointed Senate which Canadians currently have is an antiquated and archane method of chosing an Upper House, but it’s more the consiquances of an elected Senate that I’m interested in. Reforming the Senate could completely redefine Canadian politics and has the potential to remove power from the House of Commons. Not to mention that I’m not sure the Senate as a House of Parliament will be any more effective if it became elected (*cough*a la House of Commons*cough*)

The eight year term which the Tories propose seems like a number drawn out of a hat, it’s alot better than “for life” but still quite random. Will a Senator be allowed to run for re-election? Should Senators be elected through a province-wide elections or through large district elections? (Will Ontario elected 24 Senators from Toronto?)

I’m very interested to see how a move like this will effect the power of the provinces on a national scale, who will be the voice of the Provinces in Ottawa? As most proponants of Senate reform and Triple-E Senate reform would say, having an elected Senate would give the provinces a better voice in Ottawa. But would it? Would Senators displace Premiers as the voices of the Provinces in Ottawa? Would Senators be federal politicians representing their province in Ottawa or provincial politicians representing their Provincial government in Ottawa? I’m sure there are some Premiers who may not like one of the results…

Also, would political parties collect public funding from the votes their recieve from Senate elections similar to what they recieve in House of Commons elections? $1.75 per vote?

If anyone would care to take a stab at answering or if you have any other questions, pop them in the comment box…