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Friday, June 30, 2006


I'm out of town for the weekend so...


albertai politikal

Here's somewhat of an Alberta political roundup....

- Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals e-Bay adventure is continuing with the current bid at $1,400 on the Liberal Health Care book that Ralph Klein threw at a Legislative Page. All money raised will go to the Edmonton Emergency Youth Shelter.

- Crazy right-wing Tory backbencher Ted Morton launched his campaign for the Alberta PC leadership this week. In his opening speech, Morton attacked front-runner establishment candidate Jim Dinning - saying that Dinning's under-30 taxbreak idea will not only:

"bankrupt the province, but it would lead to the kind of top-down policy process that has produced some of the worst public policies since joining caucus — polices like the Interim Metis Harvesting Agreement and the prosperity bonus cheques.”
Morton also thinks that Albertans should be beware of Stephen Harper and his Ottawa Conservatives...
Alberta Tory leadership candidate Ted Morton says he fears Alberta’s wealth will be used to appease Quebec despite the change to a Conservative government at the federal level.
- Speaking of Jim Dinning.... yesterday, he declared he didn't believe in Private Health Care. Sure, Jim, and in the 1992 PC leadership race you didn't believe in Ralph Klein either... it still didn't stop you from being his Finance Minister for 4 years...

- Former Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock launched his leadership campaign this week with his K-12 platform which includes innovative ideas such as "Government should walk the talk" and "Aggressively attack illicit drug use and sales in and near schools."

Though Hancock's policies remain somewhat vague, I do like this one: "Deal with the unfunded liability issue for teachers' pensions." But then again, I'd like to know his definition of "deal with."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

american V: a hundred highways.

American V: A Hundred Highways - 4th of July, 2006.

In the months leading up to his passing on September 12, 2003, JOHNNY CASH had been recording new material with producer Rick Rubin. On July 4, 2006, American V: A Hundred Highways, the all-new Johnny Cash album taken from those sessions, will be released on the American Recordings label through Lost Highway. It will include the last song Cash ever wrote, "Like the 309".

I am very very looking forward to picking this up on July 4.

"These songs are Johnny's final statement. They are the truest reflection of the music that was central to his life at the time. This is the music that Johnny wanted us to hear."
- Rick Rubin

prose and politics.

There is some very interesting and startling stuff going on in the American Post-Secondary Education system. From today's Inside Higher Education:

Prose and Politics

As college officials, higher ed policy wonks and other interested observers digested a draft report released late Monday by the federal higher education commission, some of them focused on ideas that should have been included but weren’t. Others analyzed the report’s political prospects. But again and again, virtually all of them returned to the paper’s “tone” — which partisans of higher education found distasteful (or worse) but others suggested was purposely designed to create a sense of public urgency about the problems facing academe and the country.

The report from the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education was prepared by the panel’s writer and several outside consultants, under the direction of Chairman Charles Miller. The document raised the hackles of many college officials who perceived it as giving short shrift to the many strengths of American higher education and emphasizing (or even exaggerating) its problems. The 27-page report describes colleges in one place as “risk-averse, frequently self-satisfied, and unduly expensive,” and characterizes higher education leaders as having an “unseemly complacency about the future.”

Miller and the panel’s staff had been planning on keeping all of the commission’s written work under wraps until it delivered a final report to Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in September, but they decided only over the weekend to make the draft public after concluding, they said, that federal law required them to release it.
Read the rest here...

(Cross-posted at Ponies & Pachyderms)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

i'm not pointing fingers, but...

...Tim Horton's and McDonald's are featured fairly prominently on this list.

The Alberta Federation of Labour has released a list citing resturants in Alberta that have taken advantage of Alberta's new employment regulations allowing them to employ 12-14 year olds.

The AFL attained the "Safety Checklist for Adolescent Employees in Restaurant and Food Industries" forms after having to FOIP them.

Monday, June 26, 2006

name that person!

Well? Any guesses?

the book that ralph threw now on ebay!

The book that Tory Premier Ralph Klein threw at a Legislative Page has been placed up for bid on eBay!

As I first mentioned here, the Alberta Liberal Health Care Policy book has been signed by Kevin Taft, the Alberta Liberal Caucus, and hundreds of Albertans (including yours truly) before being put up for bid. Here is part of the description on eBay:

You are bidding on a book which played a major role in a political embarrassment for Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta. You may remember that in March of this year, a Legislative Page was assaulted by the premier, when he angrily threw a book which struck her, during a session of the Legislature.

The book, "Creating a Healthy Future - Our Plan for Public Health Care" by the Alberta Liberal Opposition, was carried to the Premier, in response to charges by the premier that he had not seen any good policy regarding health care which was better than his own badly explained "Third Way". The book struck the page as she was walking away from Mr. Klein's desk. That actual book, suitably autographed, is now offered for sale here - with the proceeds going to support the work of the Edmonton Youth Emergency Shelter Society.

As of this morning, the bid is up to $182.00 - place your bids!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

class of 2000 in the forefront.

(Cross-posted at Ponies & Pachyderms)

On November 7, 2006, 33 seats in the United States Senate will be up for grabs as those Senators last elected in 2000 are up for re-election.

At this point, the United States Senate is composed of 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats, and 1 Independent. Out of the 33 contested seats, 17 are Republican, 14 are Democrat, and 1 is an Independent (former Republican Seantor Jim Jeffords of Vermont).

To continue to hold the majority, the Republicans need to win 50 seats. For the Democrats to attain a majority, they need to win 7 (7 Republican, or 6 Republican and the 1 Independent).

According to the United States Senate 2006 Elections entry on wikipedia:

The market-based outcomes of an independent public trading exchange suggests as of June 7, 2006, that the most vulnerable Republican seats are Pennsylvania, Montana, and Ohio, respectively and are likely to switch control. In addition, the same market suggests that in Rhode Island and Missouri, the chance that the Republicans will keep the seat is less than two out of three. For the Democrats, two seats (Minnesota and New Jersey) fall below the two-out-of-three threshold of safety, but are still deemed likely by the public market to be retained by the Democrats.

The entry also notes that a number of Senators will be retiring - including Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton (D), Tennessee Senator Bill Frist (R), Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords (I), and Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes (D).

Noteable incumbents planning on running for re-election include Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut), Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), George Allen (R-Virginia), Conrad Burns (R-Montana), Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island), Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), John Ensign (R-Nevada), Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), and Jim Talent (R-Missouri).

What will happen? We'll just have to wait and see (meanwhile, make sure to keep an eye on sites like Politics1 and the Daily Kos for current US political goings on...)


Saturday, June 24, 2006


Some interesting developments from the Republic of Yemen...

Yemeni Pres. To Run For Re-Election
Reverses Earlier Decision Because Of Popular Pressure

SAN'A, Yemen, June 24, 2006
Ali Abdullah Saleh. (AP)

(AP) Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared Saturday that he intended to run for another term in September's presidential polls, saying that he had caved in to popular pressure to reverse his decision of last year.

Saleh, who has ruled since 1978, said last July that he would not seek another seven-year mandate because he wanted to open the way for the peaceful rotation of power.

Saturday's announcement was the second time Saleh changed his mind about an earlier promise not to run, having done so in 1999 — the first time he faced a direct vote.

"I comply with the people's pressure and upon the people's desire, I will in run the coming polls," Saleh told tens of thousands of cheering supporters in San'a.

Read the rest here.

say it ain't so, harrison!

The other night, I made the unfortunate mistake of renting the film Firewall staring Harrison Ford, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Paul Bettany. I seriously can't describe how much I disliked this film.

I'm a fairly big Harrison Ford fan, and count the Indiana Jones trilogy as my favorite film trilogy, but not only did Firewall's storyline present a weak plot and uninteresing characters, but the final scene presented the sour icing on the cake - I really wish someone could explain to me what the deal was with the abandoned log cabin on the lake?!?

And what was the best line in the film? Twas was a nobrainer:

Janet Stone (Rajskub): What are you doing?
Jack Stanfield (Ford): Going to get my dog!

On my film list for the near future:
- Good Night and Good Luck
- The American President

I'd like a sampler, please.

Back in Edmonton. Post coming soon.

It's really nice outside.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the michael ritter scandal chronology.

This blog has seems to have become a one-stop-shop for information dealing with former Edmonton "lawyer," Chief Consel to the Alberta Legislative Assembly, business owner, philanthropist, and international man of financial skullduggery Michael Ritter. For the information of all daveberta readers and interested suspects, here is a chronology of all Michael Ritter related posts on this blog.

Feel free to comment and discuss.

The list will be updated as new posts are added.

Very Bad Men "The Man Without a Conscience" - Tonight (April 15, 2008)
Ritter Loses Appeal (December 11, 2007)
Michael Ritter scandal documentary (November 10, 2007)
Michael Ritter gets ten (November 1, 2006)
Where Ritter put the money (October 28, 2006)
Ritter pleads guilty (October 28, 2006)
One week left for Ritter (October 21, 2006)
Ritter gets Six (August 3, 2006)
Ritter Guilty of Passport Charge (August 2, 2006)
Fate on a Passport (August 2, 2006)
Clear as Mud. (August 2, 2006)
Ritter fails "to establish an air of reality" (July 31, 2006)
More Michael Ritter Scandal Action (July 9, 2006)
Col. Ritter in the Boardroom with the Ponzi Scheme (July 5, 2006)
The Western Standard on Ritter (June 21, 2006)
I'm sure Belize is nice in June. Ask Adam D'Orleans... err, Michael Ritter (June 20, 2006)
More Michael Ritter Madness (April 26, 2006)
The Michael Ritter Scandal Continues (April 25, 2006)
Summertime in Belize (April 24, 2006)
Michael Ritter Scandal Update (December 20, 2005)
Gordon gets 42 months for $43 billion (October 14, 2005)
Jailhouse Blues for Ritter (October 2, 2005)
The Michael Ritter Saga Continued (Sept 24, 2005)
Who let the Ritter out? Who? Who? Who? Who? (Sept 15, 2005)
When Visa Isn't Enough: The Michael Ritter Story (Sept 14, 2005)

Here is a Michael Ritter scandal timeline provided by the Edmonton Journal on October 28, 2006.

March 1, 2001: Michael Ritter's financial services company, Newport Pacific Financial Group, hires Paul Hoag as its vice-president. Five months later, Newport hires Hoag's wife, Susan Edwards, as office administrator.

Jan. 28, 2002: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is granted a temporary restraining order against J.T. Wallenbrock, a Los Angeles-based trust company accused of selling unregistered securities as part of a massive pyramid fraud scheme.

July 11, 2002: Hoag and Edwards tell Ritter they want out of Newport and raise concerns about the company's relationship with J.T. Wallenbrock and its owner, Larry Osaki.

July 15, 2002: Hoag, according to Ritter, asks for a severance payment of $600,000. Ritter refuses.

August 2002: Hoag and Edwards file complaints against Ritter and Newport with the Alberta Securities Commission, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the RCMP.

September 2002: Jeremy Carter, Ritter's executive assistant, asks Hoag to return two highly confidential files Ritter believes Hoag has taken.

Oct. 9, 2002: Ritter and his lawyer, accompanied by several Edmonton police officers, execute a civil-court search on the home of Hoag and Edwards. They seize boxes of documents allegedly taken from Newport. Ritter then sues Hoag, Edwards and two other Newport employees for $40 million, alleging a conspiracy to undermine the company and steal its clients. The lawsuit is sealed by court order, allegedly to protect Newport's clients. The former employees later countersue for $1.5 million, claiming wrongful dismissal, harassment, theft and abuse of process.

December 2002: RCMP raid Ritter's office and home, searching for evidence implicating him in the pyramid scheme and the laundering of $43 million US that Wall Street energy trader Dan Gordon had stolen from his employer, Merrill Lynch.The raid doesn't come to light until The Journal obtains the search warrants three months later.

Feb. 26, 2003: The Journal and other media outlets are successful in unsealing Ritter's lawsuit. It contains sensational allegations that he was involved in helping perpetuate a massive and fraudulent pyramid scheme in California after it was shut down by the SEC. It is also alleged Ritter fabricated parts of his resume, including his legal credentials. In a news conference, Ritter denies all the allegations and claims he is the victim of a "drive-by smear campaign" by disgruntled employees.

March 19, 2003: A judge issues an order freezing two private airplanes, a condo and an Oilers skybox, which RCMP allege were bought with money laundered by Ritter on behalf of Gordon.

Sept. 10, 2003: Ritter files a $300-million lawsuit against James H. Donell, the Los Angeles receiver hired by the SEC to handle the dismantling of J.T. Wallenbrock. The lawsuit alleges Donell used his website to connect Ritter and a company he set up in Belize called Village Capital Trust to criminal fraud.

Oct. 8, 2003: Osaki, the owner of J.T. Wallenbrock, is arrested and charged with operating a $270-million US pyramid scheme. An affidavit filed with the arrest alleges Ritter helped Osaki keep the scheme operating after American authorities had shut it down.

Oct. 28, 2003: RCMP arrest Ritter after he is indicted in Los Angeles on charges of securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, criminal contempt and other charges in relation to the pyramid scheme. Ritter is released on $250,000 bail and denies the charges. Carter, his executive assistant, is also charged. American authorities say Ritter could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Feb. 7, 2004: After pleading guilty in New York, Gordon tells American authorities that Ritter did not conspire with him to launder the stolen money.

Feb. 28, 2005: Carter pleads guilty to helping the pyramid scheme continue.

March 22, 2005: Osaki pleads guilty to operating the pyramid scheme. He is sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Sept. 9, 2005: The RCMP charge Ritter in connection with the theft and money laundering of $43 million US stolen by Gordon. Ritter is denied bail.

Jan. 23, 2006: The RCMP charge Ritter with breach of recognizance for obtaining a Belizean passport under an assumed name in violation of his previous bail conditions. Edmonton lawyer Casey O'Byrne is charged with aiding Ritter to breach the recognizance. O'Byrne denies the charge.

July 30, 2006: The Court of Queen's Bench rules against Ritter on a crucial legal argument in his fight to avoid extradition to the United States.

Aug. 30, 2006: Ritter is sentenced to six months in prison for breach of recognizance.

Oct. 20, 2006: Ritter agrees to plead guilty to two new charges in Edmonton to avoid extradition to the U.S. He agrees to plead guilty to stealing $10.5 million US from Gordon and to helping perpetuate the American pyramid scheme.

Oct. 27, 2006: Ritter pleads guilty. The Crown and defence recommend a sentence of 10 years, to be served in Canada.

inconveniently out of town.

I saw An Inconvenient Truth last night and as a result Al Gore has gone up 3.9 points in my book.

I'm in Calgary today and tomorrow for meetings, so I'll comment on how awesome Al Gore's movie is this weekend (maybe? hopefully?).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

the western standard on ritter.

From the Western Standard...

The mandarin, the mogul and the missing millions

Kevin Steel - June 19, 2006=

He went from the legislature to a high life of private jets and caviar parties. They feted him as a brilliant lawyer and philanthropist. Only when the cops came looking for millions in laundered, stolen cash, did Edmonton's elite discover who Michael Ritter really was.

"Everyone was hiding their true identities." When Michael Ritter wrote those words to Larry Osaki in August 2002, he knew what he was talking about. Ritter was a man who knew all about how to hide a lot of things, which is why Osaki had tracked him down in the first place. Osaki needed someone who knew how to get a lot of money out of the U.S., and out of the reach of Securities and Exchange Commission authorities who were closing in on his illegal pyramid scheme. Ritter was going to help him relocate his Ponzi scheme somewhere where they couldn't reach it. Osaki also wanted Ritter to ensure that all the foreign employees knew enough to keep quiet in case they were ever subpoenaed by police, to plead the fifth if they had to. "Will do, Larry," assured Ritter in an e-mail, adding that it wasn't likely that would happen anyway, since all the employees would be operating under fake names: "Everyone was hiding their true identities."
Read the rest here...

As well, here is the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta document (United States of America v. Ritter, 2006 ABQB 398) documenting the Crown's request to Honourable Madam Justice J.B. Veit that Ritter's lawyer, Sid Terrabain, be removed as his counsel.

Click here for the complete Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

i'm sure belize is nice in june. just don't ask adam d'orleans... err, michael ritter.

I couldn't find an interweb link for this story, but this story was in today's Edmonton Journal:

Lawyer admits signing Ritter's name change and passport papers
Edmontonian charged with laundering $43 million US

Charles Rusnell
The Edmonton Journal
Tuesday, June 20, 2006

EDMONTON - While Michael Ritter was under a court order not to apply for another passport, the high-profile Edmonton businessman changed his name in Belize and successfully applied for a Belizean passport under his new name, a court heard Monday.

The applications for Ritter's name change and his new passport were signed by his friend, lawyer Casey O'Byrne.

In testimony, O'Byrne acknowledged signing Ritter's name change application. But he said he had not read the document and didn't know it was for the tiny Central American country of Belize, where Ritter is also a citizen, until he was contacted by the RCMP months later.

O'Byrne was subpoenaed to testify in Ritter's trial for breach of recognizance, a charge that carries a penalty of up to two years in jail. The Edmonton lawyer also has been charged with aiding Ritter to breach that recognizance.

Under the law, none of O'Byrne's testimony in the Ritter case can be used against him in future legal proceedings.

The charges against Ritter and O'Byrne stem from an order by a judge in October 2003. Ritter, Alberta's former chief parliamentary counsel, had been indicted in the United States for his alleged role in a $250-million US Ponzi scheme, in which money from later investors is used to pay earlier ones.

To gain bail, Ritter signed a recognizance and agreed to surrender his passport, not try to get another one and not to leave Alberta. The wealthy businessman also put up $100,000 in cash, and $150,000 worth of security in his house.

O'Byrne shared the same law firm as Sid Tarrabain, Ritter's lawyer in the extradition case. O'Byrne told the court he helped Tarrabain on the case, including signing, but not preparing, the documents related to Ritter's recognizance.

O'Byrne said that in March 2005, Ritter told him the case against him in the U.S. was falling apart and he wanted to get his financial trust business going again.

Ritter, according to O'Byrne, said he needed to travel to Toronto and wanted O'Byrne's legal assistance to change his name to get a new driver's licence.

Ritter obtained a Belizean passport in the name of Adam d'Orleans. The Mounties learned of the passport from an employee of Ritter's company, Newport Pacific, who found a scanned image of the passport on Ritter's office computer.

Police and the Crown have contended Ritter wanted the new passport and new identity so he could flee serious charges in the U.S. and Canada. The Americans are seeking Ritter's extradition for his alleged role in the Ponzi scheme. In Canada, he faces several charges related to his alleged role in laundering $43 million US, stolen from a brokerage firm by a Wall Street trader.

Ritter has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He has been in custody since his arrest Sept. 9, 2005. The trial was adjourned and is expected to resume sometime in the next two weeks.

Click here for the complete Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology...


Independent MLA and Alberta PC leadership candidate Lyle Oberg is launching his campaign to lead the caucus that voted to sack him!

Along with these spify invitations, Oberg has also relaunched his Obergerffic website - (as opposed to the burgeoning "" campaign)

I also discovered Dr. Oberg's Obergasmic website, "Oberg for Alberta Business Leaders Golf Tournement."

If this is any indication, I'm looking forward to the "Oberg for Farm Families," "Oberg for Working People," "Oberg for starving and debt-ridden University Students," and the ever so popular "Oberg for Albertans on AISH" campaigns...

Monday, June 19, 2006

oil fever.

Oilers fever swept Edmonton over the past month - and our team played great in the Stanley Cup play-offs - the final series in particular. Though they weren't able to make the Stanley Cup an Edmonton reality tonight - the Edmonton Oilers brought themselves back from a 3-1 series to Game 7! Good work, guys! You did awesome!

And of course, congrats to the Carolina Hurricanes in offering to take care of Lord Stanley's Cup for the next year - we'll be asking for it back in 12 months. ;-)

On a side note, the bar I watched Game 7 at was picking up a satellite feed from Atlantic Canada and showed at least two Pizza Delight commercials every commercial break... Pizza Delight must have spent their entire advertizing budget on the Stanley Cup final series...

And finally, we shall see if Whyte Ave survives the night - the kill-joycopter is flying low tonight...

al gore is hot stuff.

I got this email from an old friend yesterday. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm planning to...

Hi everyone,

I know lately some of you have been receiving e-mails from me about climate change and this movie that just came out called "an inconvenient truth" starring Al Gore Jr..

I just saw the movie and felt extremely moved to change from being a pseudo-environmentalist to taking the everyday choices that I make involving climate change seriously. I urge all of you to please see this movie because it is highly informative and has no poltical bias. It clears up the many misperceptions provided by small groups of people feeding misinformation to the public and shows us that even as individuals, we can make a change.

This movie is currently playing at the Garneau which opened on June 16th. The following is a weblink to a page about the movie and some interesting information,

Thanks for the read and please take it seriously.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

let's go oilers!


Let's bring it home, guys!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

the west wants change.

I thought this was interesting...

The West wants change

The Ottawa Citizen
Tue 13 Jun 2006
Page Name: Editorial
Column: Andrew Cohen

CALGARY - In the high summer of 1971, there was a historic election in the province of Alberta. The Social Credit party had been in power since 1935 and was seen as the Natural Governing Party. But something was going on here.

The formidable Ernest Manning had resigned as premier in 1968, giving way to Harry Strom. It was an orderly, bloodless succession that seemed to assure the government's re-election. Mr. Manning had been premier from 1944 to 1968, offering what historian John J. Barr calls "a cautious financial conservatism and a cautious social reformism" that led him to oppose the universal healthcare program introduced by Lester Pearson in the mid-1960s.

The Conservatives, led by a rugged lawyer named Peter Lougheed, didn't seem much of a threat. Although he had been elected to his seat in the legislature in 1967 with the largest majority of any candidate, he was joined by only five other Conservatives.

Yet the earth opened in Alberta in the election of 1971. Mr. Lougheed promised a regime of change that a tired government of 36 years could not match. He was articulate, intelligent and energetic. The Conservatives said the Socreds had had their day. Albertans gave Mr. Lougheed 49 of 75 seats.

That was 35 years ago. The Conservatives have been in power in Alberta now almost as long as the Socreds had been then. But this time it is the Conservatives who are tired, divided over their leadership and direction and pressed by a spirited opposition led by a popular leader.

Are we on the cusp of a generational watershed here? Could history repeat itself in Alberta?

Maybe. It depends on the depth of the public's desire for change, the appeal of a new Conservative leader, and how the Liberals position themselves in the new political firmament.

Mr. Lougheed was the nemesis of eastern Canada and Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whom he battled over the constitution and energy. But when he left in 1985, Mr. Lougheed was widely respected as an honourable advocate of his province's interests. In leadership, it has been downhill ever since for Alberta.

Mr. Lougheed was succeeded by the feckless Don Getty, who showed he did not have stature of his predecessor in the constitutional negotiations at Meech Lake in 1987. Mr. Getty was followed by Ralph Klein, who represents the descent of politics. He is vain, vulgar, mercurial and petulant. His response to the province's budgetary surplus was to issue every Albertan a cheque for $400. It is said that Mr. Lougheed thinks Mr. Klein is an embarrassment, and won't be sorry to see him go this autumn.

The favourite to succeed Mr. Klein is Jim Dinning, the former provincial treasurer who has been out of politics for years. Mr. Dinning would bring experience and credibility to the job, but it won't be enough to save the Conservatives if Albertans are shopping for something else, as they were in 1971.

At one time this province worried about having too little money: Now it worries about having too much. Managing oil revenues, balancing competing claims on the public purse, re-positioning Alberta in Confederation, dousing the persistent brushfires of alienation -- these will be the challenges facing the new premier of one the wealthiest jurisdictions in the world.

Everyone knows Alberta is surging. Developers are throwing up office towers and building subdivisions, creating suburbs in search of a city. The price of the average house in Calgary is said to be rising by $500 a day. Calgary hums with a vitality unimaginable to cities of similar size and means.

Yet for a province awash in wealth, why are hospitals still crowded, why are neighbourhoods without schools, why are social services uneven, why is the environment an afterthought? Why was homelessness up 49 per cent in Calgary between 2002 and 2004?

A column in Avenue, an impressive, glossy magazine in Calgary, dreams of the city as the next Florence. There are no great cathedrals here, of course, but the idea that money can create something grand and enduring on the Prairie is worthy.

The Liberals see an opening. In Kevin Taft, they have a smart, aggressive leader, a former entrepreneur and policy analyst who has written widely on social and political issues. Like Mr. Lougheed in 1967, he won more votes in his last election in 2004 than any other candidate in the province; he also doubled the party's seats in the legislature to 16 of 83, elected three representatives in Calgary and is reducing the party's debt.

The Liberals, who gathered on the weekend to talk about their vision of Alberta, want a broad, open, progressive province, an exemplar on the environment and an innovator of social programs. They want this to be an influential, respected player in Canada, not a small, resentful one, and they appear to be striking a chord with a changing electorate.

An election is expected here within two years. The man to watch is Kevin Taft.

Andrew Cohen is a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University.

Friday, June 16, 2006

keeping track of the alberta tory leadership race.

Check out Daveberta's thoughts on the First-Ballot of the Alberta PC leadership race...

For interests sake, here is a who's-who list of who in the Alberta PC caucus is supporting who in the Alberta PC leadership race.

I think I have all of the declared supporters listed, but feel free to email me at if you've heard something I haven't. I'll try to keep the list as updated as possible.4
2006 Alberta PC caucus/leadership race support:

Total declared support:
Jim Dinning - 36 MLA's
Ed Stelmach - 9 MLA's
Lyle Oberg - 3 MLA's
Mark Norris - 2 MLA's
Ted Morton - 1 MLA (Alberta Alliance MLA Paul Hinman);
Victor Doerksen - No Declared MLA Support
Dave Hancock - No Declared MLA Support
Gary McPherson - No Declared MLA Support

Undeclared - 8 MLA's

MLA List

Jim Dinning Supporters -34 MLA's
Cindy Ady, Calgary-Shaw (Jim Dinning)
Moe Amery, Calgary-East (Jim Dinning)
Neil Brown, Calgary-Nose Hill (Jim Dinning)
Wayne Cao, Calgary-Fort (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Mike Cardinal, Athabasca-Redwater (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Harvey Cenaiko, Calgary-Buffalo (Jim Dinning)
Hon. David Coutts, Livingstone-Macleod (Jim Dinning)
Alana DeLong, Calgary Bow (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Heather Forsyth, Calgary-Fish Creek (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Yvonne Fritz, Calgary-Cross (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Gordon Graydon, Grande Prairie-Wapiti (Jim Dinning)
Doug Griffiths, Battle River-Wainwright (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Denis Herard, Calgary-Egmont (Jim Dinning)
Mary Anne Jablonski, Red Deer-North (Jim Dinning)
Art Johnston, Calgary-Hays (Jim Dinning)
Ronald Liepert, Calgary-West (Jim Dinning)
Rob Lougheed, Strathcona (Jim Dinning)
Thomas Lukaszuk, Edmonton-Castle Downs (Jim Dinning)
Ty Lund, Rocky Mountain House (Jim Dinning)
Richard Magnus, Calgary-North Hill (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Gary Mar, Calgary-Mackay (Jim Dinning)
Richard Marz, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Barry McFarland, Little Bow (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Greg Melchin, Calgary-North West (Jim Dinning)
Len Mitzel, Cypress-Medicine Hat (Jim Dinning)
Frank Oberle, Peace River (Jim Dinning)
Ray Prins, Lacombe-Ponoka (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Rob Renner, Medicine Hat (Jim Dinning)
Dave Rodney, Calgary-Lougheed (Jim Dinning)
George Rogers, Leduc-Beaumont-Devon (Jim Dinning)
Shiraz Shariff, Calgary-McCall (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Ron Stevens, Calgary-Glenmore (Jim Dinning)
Janis Tarchuk, Banff-Cochrane (Jim Dinning)
Hon. George VanderBurg, Whitecourt-Ste. Anne (Jim Dinning)
Len Webber, Calgary-Foothills (Jim Dinning)
Hon. Gene Zwozdesky, Edmonton-Mill Creek (Jim Dinning)

Ed Stelmach Supporters - 9 MLA's
Ray Danyluk, Lac La Biche-St. Paul (Ed Stelmach)
Hon. Iris Evans, Sherwood Park (Ed Stelmach)
Mel Knight, Grande Prairie-Smoky (Ed Stelmach)
Fred Lindsay, Stony Plain (Ed Stelmach)
Hector Goudreau, Dunvegan-Central Peace (Ed Stlemach)
George Groeneveld, Highwood (Ed Stelmach)
Hon. Luke Ouellette, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake (Ed Stelmach)
Lloyd Snelgrove, Vermilion-Lloydminster (Ed Stelmach)
Ivan Strang, West Yellowhead (Ed Stelmach)

Lyle Oberg Supporters - 3 MLA's
Hon. Guy Boutilier, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo (Lyle Oberg)
Hon. Pearl Calahasen, Lesser Slave Lake (Lyle Oberg)
Hung Pham, Calgary Montrose (Lyle Oberg)

Mark Norris Supporters - 2 MLA's
Carol Haley, Airdrie-Chestermere (Mark Norris)
Hon. Doug Horner, Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert (Mark Norris)

Ted Morton Supporters - 1 MLA
Paul Hinman, Cardston-Taber-Warner - Alberta Alliance Leader

Undeclared - 9 MLA's
Tony Abbott, Drayton Valley-Calmar (Rumoured Ted Morton supporter)
Hon. Denis Ducharme, Bonnyville-Cold Lake
Hon. Clint Dunford, Lethbridge-West
LeRoy Johnson, Wetaskiwin-Camrose
Hon. Ralph Klein, Calgary-Elbow
Hon. Ken Kowalski, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock Hon. Ty Lund, Rocky Mountain House
Hon. Shirley McClellan, Drumheller-Stettler

Updates: September 29, 2006 to reflect 7 MLA endorsements for Ed Stelmach.
October 7, 2006 to reflect six new MLA endorsements for Jim Dinning.
October 11, 2006 to reflect leadership candidate Alana DeLong's endorsement of Jim Dinning and Paul Hinman's endorsement of Ted Morton.
October 28, 2006 to reflect MLA Mel Knight's endorsement of Ed Stelmach.
November 3, 2006 to reflect MLA Rob Lougheed's endorsement of Jim Dinning.
November 8, 2006 to reflect MLA Ivan Strang's endorsement of Ed Stelmach, and Pearl Calahasen and Guy Boutillier's endorsement of Lyle Oberg.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Yesterday, Tory Advanced Education Minister Denis Herard appointed failed Edmonton Riverview PC candidate Fred Horne to the Governing Council of Athabasca University. Only one more indication that the sky is the limit for political patronage opportunities if you invest in an Alberta PC membership...

As well, apparently the sky is also the limit for Jim Dinning supporters interested in becoming Alberta's next Minister of Agriculture... any bets on which Tory MLA's were promised what?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

notley quick on the draw.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

In my previous post regarding the retirement of NDP MLA Raj Pannu, I noted a rumour that lawyer and labour activist Rachel Notley would be running for the NDP nomination in Edmonton Strathcona for the next election (I originally noted the rumour back in January).

Well, with the floodgates barely open, it looks like her candidacy for the nomination has been confirmed (with my rumour noted on her site).

UPDATE: It seems that a clever webmaster has discovered that I have prematurely announced Ms. Notley's candidacy.

As such, her site has been taken down until the official announcement is made. Even though I did have the foresight to see this coming and captured screenshots and copied her announcement speech and press release (dated June 16), I'm really not cruel enough to post stuff like that (this early in the nomination game).

So, you'll just have to wait until Friday to see what she has to say...

June 16 Update...

Ms. Notley's site has been officially launched, along with this little note in the news section of her website...
Liberal blogger Daveberta wins the prize as the first observer to note Rachel’s Candidacy. Dave noted Rachel's cadidacy back on January 12th and on June 14th. In his June 14th posting, he argues that the riding is now a wide open contest with the retirement of Raj Pannu.

Kudos to Daveberta for cleverness and moxie. In Daveberta's second June 14th post, he caused this webmaster to scream panicked obsenities when he found Rachel's development website and linked to it! A quick trip to the ER for treatment with the defibrillator helped calm me down.

raj retiring.

Edmonton Strathcona NDP MLA Raj Pannu announced today that he will not be seeking re-election in the next general election. Pannu has served Edmonton Strathcona since first being elected in 1997 and was the leader of the Alberta NDP from 2000 to 2004.

I like Raj Pannu. He's a hard worker and is passionate about bringing social justice issues to the forfront in Alberta politics (he's also my MLA). Though some people liked to argue that it wouldn't be true, I've long predicted that the 70+ MLA would not seek re-election.

In my mind, this opens Edmonton Strathcona up as a key battleground between the three-main parties in the next election. Since 1997, Pannu's personal popularity has gained him support from many traditional non-NDP voters and has more than definately been the cause of many high-profile Liberals and Tories declining to run against him.

As for high-profile candidates that may run in Stathcona, here are some potentials...

Liberal - Don Fleming, Ben Henderson, (and I think Nic would make an awesome candidate!)

NDP - Rachel Notley, Larry Booi

PC - Eric Young, Kim Krushell, Janet Riopel

As for past Edmonton-Strathcona election results, here you go...

Gordon Wright, ND- 6,696
Philip Lister, Lib- 4,237
Jack Scott, PC- 3,724

1990* By-Election
Barrie Chivers, ND- 4,927
Nadene Thomas, Lib- 2,252
Eric Young, PC- 1,512
Betty Paschen, Grn- 424
Robert Alford, SC- 224

Al Zariwny, Lib- 6,542
Barrie Chivers, ND- 5,121
Don Grimble, PC- 4,071
Patrick Ellis, SC- 460
Betty Paschen, Grn- 253
Ben Toane, NLP- 108
Noami Rankin, Com- 47

Raj Pannu, ND- 4,274
Mary MacDonald, Lib- 4,214
John Logan, PC- 4,096
John Forget, SC- 552
Myles Kitagawa, Grn- 236
Eshwar Jagdeo, NLP- 47

Raj Pannu, ND- 6,998
John Logan, PC- 4,749
Jim Jacuta, Lib- 1,944
James Lakinn, AFP- 136

Raj Pannu, ND- 7,430
Shannon Stubbs, PC- 2,256
Steven Leard, Lib- 1,850
Adrian Cole, Grn- 287
Jeremy Burns, AA- 275
Kelly Graham, SC- 162

kennedy kennedy kennedy.

For those of you who haven't noticed, I've put up a Bloggers for Gerard Kennedy icon on the sidebar because, as I'm sure is obvious by now, I'm supporting Gerard Kennedy for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

dinning call.

Looks like Mr. Jiminy Dinning is going to be keeping himself busy over the next while.

Any bets that his platform will look anything like this?

Hints says so...

tory minority in ns.

CBC has declared a minority Tory Government in Nova Scotia...

PartyElectedLeadingTotalVote Share

PC leader Rodney MacDonald was re-elected in Inverness with 70%.
NDP leader Derrel Dexter was re-elected in Cole Harbour with 59%.
Liberal leader Francis MacKenzie was defeated in Bedford with 34%.

Here were the results from three years ago...

PartyElectedLeadingTotalVote Share

PC leader John Hamm was re-elected in Pictou Centre with 54%.
NDP leader Derrel Dexter was re-elected in Cole Harbour by 55%.
Liberal leader Danny Graham was elected in Halifax-Citadel with 33%.

ns results rolling in...

According to CBC, these are the results that are rolling in...

PartyElectedLeadingTotalVote Share

PC leader Rodney MacDonald and NDP leader Derrel Dexter have both been re-elected, but Liberal leader Francis MacKenzie is trailing in Bedford.

lord tunderin' jesus, vote!

Pardon the stereotype, but the Nova Scotia Provincial Election is today!

Monday, June 12, 2006


Dear loyal daveberta readers,

It is with my sincere hope that you learn to enjoy the following random selection of photographs from my recent expedition to the netherworld known as "Ontario."

Most Sincerely,


A retirment home for old lawyers and businessmen.

Flying high at Canada's National War Museum.


And I thought it was a beard...


Freshly squeezed in Toronto.

Designer models now open? Suggestive advertizing? Methinks so...

The forces of daveberta roll across the Urals...

Small green men.

I *heart* Lake Ontario.

No introduction needed. GO OILERS!

place your bids early...

Alberta Liberals cashing in on Klein's legislative toss

Edmonton -- An infamous piece of Alberta's political history is being put on the auction block.

The Alberta Liberal Party has announced plans to sell on eBay the copy of their health-policy booklet that Progressive Conservative Premier Ralph Klein hurled at a 17-year-old legislative page earlier this year.

The 63-year-old Premier later apologized for the outburst, which garnered national attention.
They even toured it around Alberta for people to sign. My signature is on page 7...

(props to CG for the news linkage...)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

chicken robots everywhere...

Check out this video on Pig v. Swine... too funny...

on the horizon.

The Alberta Liberals held their Policy Convention & AGM yesterday. It was interesting to see all the different types of discussion going on - there were four main discussion sessions based on the Alberta Horizon's documents that the Liberal Caucus put together - Social Development, Democratic Reform & Governance, Economic Sustainability, and Environmental Protection & Enhancement.

It's really amazing to see how far the Alberta Liberals have come under Kevin Taft's leadership over the past two years.

Two years ago, the Alberta Liberals were a broken and battered party facing an election with a $1 million debt and only three incumbents. Now, the Alberta Liberals are organizing, the money is rolling in (after two years, their debt is now down to $600,000), they have 16 MLA's, 21 candidates nominated, and a ton of people showing up to their policy conventions.

It's also quite funny to hear that Alberta PC Leadership candidate Jim Dinning has to raid the 2004 Liberal campaign platform in order to find good ideas. Way to be innovative, Jim...

Friday, June 09, 2006

findlay in edmonton.

Yesterday afternoon, I met Federal Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall Findlay during her stop in Edmonton on her cross-Canada bus tour.

Not knowing much about Findlay before-hand, I was very impressed about her ideas and thoughts on Canada, Federal Politics, and the Liberal Party.

Unlike many leadership-type events, this event was more of a discussion than pontification. I felt she was really interested in getting Canadians and Liberals to have a national discussion on hard-hitting issues like the environment, urban issues, and Afghanistan and Canada’s commitment abroad. Had I not only had 2 hours of sleep in the 36 hours before the meeting, I probably would have engaged more deeply in the conversation.

She’s no doubt a long-shot in that race, but I do hope she runs for a seat in Parliament in the next election. I get the feeling that she would be a dedicated Minister or a fireball of an Opposition Critic.

On another note, Kevin Taft and the Alberta Liberals will be holding their Policy Convention and Annual General Meeting this weekend in Edmonton. I will be sporatically attending and checking out the policy discussions.

Tonight, the guest speaker at the opening reception of the Convention is Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. Though I won't be able to make it tonight, I hear there will be nearly 400 delegates attending from across Alberta. It's clearly an exciting time on the Alberta political scene.

hands in my pockets...

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there, but for the past week I've had the "Hands in my Pocket" (click here to listen to a preview of the song) song from a Capital One commercial stuck in my head. It's a clever commercial with a catchy theme song, but wow is it annoying...

The song is performed by Canadian artist Jim Guthrie. According to wikipedia...

He records both as a solo artist and as the guitar player for Islands. He used to be in the band Royal City until they disbanded in 2004.

He was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario, and currently lives in Toronto.

Guthrie first made a name for himself by releasing a series of self-produced cassettes, and subsequently released albums on Three Gut Records. He was nominated for a Juno Award for his album Now, More Than Ever.
On a related note, Rick Mercer put out a great parody of the commercial.

Hands in my pockets, hands in my pockets, hands in my pockets...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

alberta: where opportunity smells like mediocracy?

Yesterday, Alberta's Advanced Education Minister Denis Herard, released the results of the Tory Government's year-long consultation process on post-secondary education. The process, titled A Learning Alberta, was created to review Alberta's post-secondary education system following Tory Premier Ralph Klein's statement in his 2005 State of the Province Address that...

"By the time post-secondary students head back in September 2006, Alberta will define a new tuition policy for the 21st century. It will be the most affordable, entrepreneurial, and affordable tuition policy in the country. We will do whatever it takes to make sure money isn't a barrier to attending Alberta's post-secondary institutions."
As groundbreaking as his promise sounds, the lacklustre recommendations of the review clearly do not deliver on the Premier's promise to Albertans.

What the 24-page report recommends is the continuation of the status quo - keeping Alberta's post-secondary tuition levels at 2004/2005 levels, the exact same level that Alberta students have been paying since the Premier made his promise a year ago.

For the past year, students have been advocating for a substantial and real tuition rollback. The most affordable tuition in Canada is Quebec, at $1900 per year, Newfoundland is next with $2,606. At 2004/05 levels ($4,536 plus other fees at the U of A) Alberta will still exceed even the national average of $4,214 the national tuition average.

The shadowy wordsmiths of the Public Affairs Bureau may be calling the recommendation a "rollback," but it's clear that the Tories may be opting for the second definition of the word...
roll·back (rōl'băk') pronunciation

1. A reduction, especially in prices or wages, to a previous lower level by governmental action or direction: a price rollback; a rollback of military supplies.
2. A turning back or retreat, as from a previously held position or policy: hoped for a rollback of support for the opposition's proposed legislation.
The Province of Alberta has an incredible opportunity to create an amazing post-secondary education system - I just wish we had a government with the will to step up to the plate and seize that opportunity.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

toronto: le lame.

Well, I'm still at this conference in Toronto... stuck in an Über-lame plenary session on by-laws... wow, am I bored at this point. I really really could not care less about conference bylaws...

I realized this morning that I haven't blogged anything about the Stanley Cup and the Edmonton Oilers. The game last night was pretty disappointing. Sad to see that Rollie is out for the series.

Let's hope they can pull it together in Game 2.

May the Lord have mercy on our souls.

still very displeased.

Omer is, that is.

third-armed man.

I thought this was pretty crazy...

Monday, June 05, 2006

daveberta vs. the gta.

Well, I'm still here in Toronto for a conference.

Though the conference began with a pretty rough start in the first plenary session yesterday, I think things are slowly getting slightly smoother as the conference progresses.

Though I haven't really found the sessions all that useful, I've found it extremely positive for me to be able to meet with my peers from around Canada and engage them in conversation and idea sharing. That has been beneficial.

I went to a party on a boat on Lake Ontario last night - though it may sound Über-lame, two bottles of wine and four pints of beer later it wasn't that bad...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"we don't have enough chairs"

Daveberta in Toronto and a conference update...

- Omer is very displeased.
- It cost me $60 to get a cab from Union Station to the conference centre.
- Ikea overload.
- Drinking in Ottawa is fun. The trainride the next morning was not so much fun.
- It rains in Toronto.

More updates soon...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

daveberta still in ottawa.

As mentioned in my previous post, I visited Parliament Hill and took in today's Question Period from the Members Gallery.

There's nothing like actually visiting QP in person to reaffirm the beleif that the entire exercise is pointless.

Random Liberal MP: Mr. Speaker, four months of Conservative arrogance is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in [insert issue here]. Conservative arrogance is tearing this country apart!

[insert jeers, rude remarks, standing ovation, etc]

Random Tory Minister: Mr. Speaker, thirteen years of Liberal corruption is forcing us to cost taxpayers billions of dollars in [insert issue here]. Liberal corruption almost tore this country apart.

[insert jeers, rude remarks, standing ovation, etc]

Random Liberal MP: Mr. Speaker, David Emerson, David Emerson, David Emerson, Tory arrogance, Kyoto accord...

[insert jeers, rude remarks, standing ovation, etc]

Random Tory Minister: Mr. Speaker, Liberal corruption, Liberal corruption, Liberal corruption, Joe Volpe recruiting kindergarteners...

But seriously folks, it's a really beautiful room. It's just unfortuante that it's always filled with politicians... ;-)

daveberta live in ottawa.

Yep. I'm here.

Went to QP at the HOC today (lingo...)

More comments soon.

Oh yeah, it's freaking hot here.