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Saturday, May 05, 2007

losing a fight.

Alberta's Tories are holding their annual convention in Edmonton this weekend and I'm sure it will be less exiciting than last year's convention.

As the Tory convention is going on in Edmonton, the waves of discontent continue to spill out on to the front pages of the Calgary dailies as Mayor Dave Bronconnier continues his massive assault on the rural-based Tory government of Premier Ed Stelmach. On the affordable housing issue, I think Bronconnier is clearly in the right. This is a province-wide issue that requires provincial leadership, not scattered municipal projects.

Graham Thomson has some interesting commentary on how Stelmach has shot himself in the foot over the affordable housing issue:

But then some Calgary journalists began poking at Stelmach. Why was he so upset with the story of one Edmonton woman? Didn't he realize Calgary tenants have been hit by huge rent increases for months?

That's when Stelmach unwittingly unholstered the gun and took aim at himself.

"I wasn't aware of anybody getting a $1,000 increase," he said. Bang.

The Calgary journalists were gobsmacked. They have been writing stories about Calgarians being hit by $1,000 rent increases since last August. There have been so many of those stories that journalists have stopped reporting on them and have moved on to heartbreaking tales of tenants being gouged by $2,000 a month rent hikes.

And here's Stelmach saying he's not aware of what's going on in Alberta's largest city. He tried to look compassionate but ended up looking clueless.

If Calgarians thought the new premier was too much of a northerner before, they must be thinking he's from Inuvik today.

This will only add to Stelmach's troubles in Calgary. For weeks, he's been hammered by Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier who feels betrayed by the new provincial budget. Bronconnier says there are so many strings attached to municipal grants the city is effectively hog- tied when it comes to spending money on necessary projects such as LRT expansions.

The Stelmach government, says Bronconnier, obviously doesn't understand the city's issues.

Bronconnier is wildly popular in Calgary. Stelmach is not.
Does this remind you of something?

Stelmach's position on affordable housing was made even more confusing when he did a complete 180 on his government's position on rent controls (See: May 3 and flip to May 5).

I don't know about you, but all this tension will sure make the upcoming by-elections in Calgary Elbow and Drumheller-Stettler interesting and leaves the opportunity open for Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals to make more inroads into Calgary.

5 comments:

docsanchez said...

I worried this might happen to Stelmach. Being the "nice guy" isn't enough to run a province. He had better start opening his eyes (or hire some better advisers) or he'll soon see the party crashing in around him. I think he can do it but his start is less than glamorous. If things continue in this direction he'll have to turn into a complete prick to get things (including his party) back under control. And that would ruin the one thing we're told we like about him.

Anonymous said...

I like Stelmach but I have to agree that his performance as Premier has been pretty dull and embarassing. He's going to have to pull up his bootstrings if he wants to recover from his first 5 months of stumbling.

Tony said...

Hey, in advance I'm sorry if this is a bit off topic, I was looking for a contact form and didn't see one.

Anyway, a while back I got kind of pissed off flipping between the O'Rielly Factor and Democracy Now, not so much because the had such completely different views, but rather because they both claimed to be objective. So I started coding a website that would allow people to be called out on biased opinions, where the community would decide which ideas get the most recognition. Well, after 6 months of work, today I’m finally launching it: VocalNation.net

Anyway, I’m placing the control of this site, and control of the debate, largely in the hands of those who read this message. I'm starting things off by just picking a handful of conservative and liberal blogs to mention this on so that it will at least start off with a good balance of opinions from either side. After that, I guess it'll be the side with the strongest arguments that'll take control dictate what direction the conversation goes. May the best side win.

Oh yeah, if you remove this for being off topic, can you please at least let me know so I can add another blogger in your place it keep it balanced?

Thanks,

Tony Trupp
Founder & Lead Programmer
VocalNation.net

Anonymous said...

The messaging around the rent control issue and the feud with Mayor Bronconier over the municipal funding deal has been completely botched. The Premier has been hung out to dry out by his advisors in the Premier's Office. Whoever advised the Premier to say that the first time he had heard of rent increases of $1,000 was when he heard about a case in Edmonton, recognizing that there has been numerous cases in Calgary over the past yest, should have been fired. This was simply inexcusable and left the impression that the Premier did not know what has been happening in Calgary, which is bogus. I am opposed to rent controls and a more effective research of what happended in Alberta in the mid 1970s and in Ontario would have made it clear that rent controls are a simplistic and knee jerk reaction.

On the roll-out of the municipal funding deal, this entire conflict could have been avoided if there had been constant communications between the Premier's chief of staff and the Mayor's chief of staff. This is what Chief's of Staff are requiored to do. They are the fulcrum and are there to protect the Premier.

The other issue is the complete lack of support of the Calgarty Tory MLAs, with a few notable exceptions, for the budget and defending the Premier on the rent control issue. In the past, Premier Klein has been able to cover up for their ineffectiveness. Now that Klein has retired, their ineffectivness is very apparent. Is it any wonder than any of this closest Dinning supporters are not in cabinet. I suggest that most of them join their flawed hero Jim Dinning and retire before the next election so that more qualified people can contest the Tory nominations in Calgary. If I were the Premier, I would have the entire lot of them on the carpet.

Anonymous said...

The messaging around the rent control issue and the feud with Mayor Bronconier over the municipal funding deal has been completely botched. The Premier has been hung out to dry out by his advisors in the Premier's Office. Whoever advised the Premier to say that the first time he had heard of rent increases of $1,000 was when he heard about a case in Edmonton, recognizing that there has been numerous cases in Calgary over the past yest, should have been fired. This was simply inexcusable and left the impression that the Premier did not know what has been happening in Calgary, which is bogus. I am opposed to rent controls and a more effective research of what happended in Alberta in the mid 1970s and in Ontario would have made it clear that rent controls are a simplistic and knee jerk reaction.

On the roll-out of the municipal funding deal, this entire conflict could have been avoided if there had been constant communications between the Premier's chief of staff and the Mayor's chief of staff. This is what Chief's of Staff are requiored to do. They are the fulcrum and are there to protect the Premier.

The other issue is the complete lack of support of the Calgarty Tory MLAs, with a few notable exceptions, for the budget and defending the Premier on the rent control issue. In the past, Premier Klein has been able to cover up for their ineffectiveness. Now that Klein has retired, their ineffectivness is very apparent. Is it any wonder than any of this closest Dinning supporters are not in cabinet. I suggest that most of them join their flawed hero Jim Dinning and retire before the next election so that more qualified people can contest the Tory nominations in Calgary. If I were the Premier, I would have the entire lot of them on the carpet.