Alberta Party Conference in Red Deer
The upcoming Alberta Party policy conference in Red Deer is getting attention from the political class, including provincial Tories who are nervous about the links between the new party and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi‘s campaign team. On the Saturday evening of the conference, Mayor Nenshi’s Campaign Director and Chief of Staff Chima Nkemdirim and campaign Communications Coordinator Richard Einarson will be participating in an political discussion panel (which will also include Mayor Stephen Mandel‘s Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager Patricia Mistuka, Councillor Don Iveson‘s campaign manager Chris Henderson, and the new Mayor of Grande Prairie Bill Given).
No room for good ideas?
Proving that the current political climate in Alberta is not always friendly to thought-provoking ideas, Battle River-Wainwright PC MLA Doug Griffiths is feeling a lash back by the political establishment within his party and the opposition. After trying to start a public discussion about how a provincial sales tax could reduce government dependency on natural resource revenue, Mr. Griffiths became the target of his own colleagues who shot down his idea at the recent PC Party convention and by the Wildrose Alliance, who have used Mr. Griffiths’ comments as a fundraising-focused attack campaign.
Maybe it is something about Battle River-Wainwright, because this is not the first time an idea coming from that constituency was shot down by the political establishment. At the 2008 PC policy convention, that constituency association brought forward a motion supporting fixed elections dates. The motion passed at the policy convention and was soon after introduced as a private members bill (Bill 203: Election Statutes (Fixed Election Dates)) in the Assembly by St. Albert PC MLA Ken Allred.
Mr. Allred’s private members bill was attacked by Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills PC MLA Richard Marz, who claimed that the creation of fixed election dates would allow public sector unions to schedule strikes near election dates (because as all Albertans know, it is those evil public sector Unions who have been standing in between the PC Party and majority governments for the past forty years… oh wait…). The fixed election dates bill was tabled to be discussed six months later. Two years later, the bill remains tabled and there is no sign that any debate will reassume.
On a similar note, Edmonton-McClung PC MLA David Xiao hopes to start a discussion on mandatory voting in Alberta. While the idea probably has enough merit to deserve the opportunity to be debated and fully discussed, it is likely doomed to reach the waste bin of ideas to combat electoral disinterest.
Liberal Environment Policy
Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman released the Liberal Caucus environment policy yesterday, which includes a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions by 2017 and a provincial groundwater inventory and water quality monitoring program.
The fight over access to fresh water may be one of the next big fights on the political horizon as Premier Ed Stelmach has said that new water storage will need to be created in Southern Alberta to help increase industrial development.
As part of a country-wide speaking tour, Council of Canadian chairperson Maude Barlow was in Edmonton in October and warned against the creation of water markets that could open the sale fresh water from Alberta to corporations and overseas markets. Ms. Barlow believes that water should be held in a public trust and has outlined her beliefs in a new book, Blue Covenant: The Global The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water
Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.