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Sunday, April 15, 2007

spring sunday.

Let me preface this post by reflecting that even though Spring in Edmonton has had a few noteable false starts this year (snow last week and snow two weeks before that) it actually feels like a nice fresh Spring day this morning. As allergy season sets in for us unlucky ones, let's hope that Summer comes soon.

This weekend's Public Interest Alberta conference was interesting. I spoke at the Post-Secondary Educaiton discussion breakout sessions and found that there was some good conversations, but I most enjoyed attending the Cities discussion breakout session. The Cities sessions was hosted by Amarjeet Sohi - 2004 Edmonton City Council candidate in Ward 6, Jim Gurnett - Executive Director of the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, and Janice Melnychuk - Edmonton City Councillor from Ward 3.

I've found myself beoming more interested in Municipal issues over the past year (being involved in lobbying City Councillors and presenting to Council Committees). Much of the discussion surrounded the need for more affordable housing, better public transit, and more regional cooperation between the Capital Region's 22 Municipalities. I think I may write another individual post on this issue.

I also had a very interesting conversation with Tyson Slocum, who is a Director with Public Citizen's Energy Program in Washington DC. Public Citizen was a consumer advocacy group set up by Ralph Nader in 1971. Our conversation ranged in topics, but it stemmed from his speech to the conference delegates when he mentioned that the energy industry in the United States spends over $500,000,000 lobbying politicians and decision makers in Washington DC. That number simply blew me away. If you can even survive when competing against a budget that size your group must be amazing, but if you can survive AND be a political player at the same time - that shows how strong your organization really is.


downtown edmonton said...

Speaking of the public interest, Dave I'm surprised that you haven't blogged about how the Alberta PC's and NDP voted against the Alberta Liberal Bill that would have created an Arts Endowment and PSE Endowment.

Shame on the PC's and especially the short-sighted Brian Mason NDP.

The Arts need that money and now they won't get it.

I hope the Arts Community in Edmonton remembers who stood up for them in the Legislature come next election. I'll do my part to remind them.

Anonymous said...


I'm not surprised that the NDP would shoot down an idea like that. It just goes to show you that being 'left' and being 'progressive' are sometimes mutually exclusive qualities.

I remember meeting with Brian Mason a number of years ago while he was a city councilor and we talked (I talked) about the need for more funding for Edmonton's arts community. It was a pretty useless meeting.

Needless to say, I no longer support the NDP in Alberta.

Art said...

Anon's comments are pretty dumb. I mean, obviously there is no reason to oppose any arts funding, anywhere, at anytime. Right? Doesn't matter that the Liberals have proposed about a thousand different endowment funds.

But that makes them progressive and left, even though they voted against hard emission caps about a week ago. Something that do doubt has nothing to do with the fact the Alberta Liberals are crawling up the leg of big oil to raise money these days.

But the future of our planet doesn't matter does it? We can wait until 2012 to impose emissions reductions (as per Alberta Liberal policy). We've got lots of time, first lets make a tonne of money from the oil, then worry about the impacts later. Everybody will still think we're progressive since we support an arts endowment.

Glad you've made such a 'progressive' choice anon.