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Friday, November 16, 2007

unfunded resolution in alberta?

- After a bizarre year of seemingly picking fights with the Alberta Teachers' Association, it looks like there finally might be some resolution to the long-smoldering teachers unfunded pension liability issue.

Yesterday, the Tories announced that they will be investing $6.4 billion to deal with the issue. I haven't any details of the deal, but this is a long-standing issue that has been on the mind of a lot of Albertans for a long time. Hopefully this issue will be resolved so that the government can now deal with the other critical issues facing Alberta's education system.

- I attended session in the Alberta Legislature yesterday afternoon and have two main observations...

1) It was a little rich of Ed Stelmach to praise Stephen Harper's electoral redistribution that gives Alberta five more seats in the House of Commons while at the same time 2/3's of Alberta's population is represented by under half of the seats in the Alberta Legislature.

I also noticed that Drayton Valley-Calmar Tory MLA Tony Abbott boisterously cheered the disparity when Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft pointed out urban Alberta's underrepresentation in his response to Stelmach.

2) The bizarre contradictions that Ed Stelmach and disgraced Energy Minister Mel Knight continue to make regarding Auditor General Fred Dunn's allegations that the Tory Government failed to collect up to $6 Billion in royalties over the past 7 years due to mismanagement and gross incompetence.

In Question Period yesterday, it was pointed out that on November 7, Ed Stelmach told The Canadian Press that as a Minister in Ralph Klein's cabinet, he was never made aware that reports from the Department of Energy recommended that Alberta’s royalties be increased.

Here is where the contradictions begin...

Stelmach to CP: “In the time that I was around the Cabinet table…there was nothing coming to me...”

Mel Knight in the Legislature: Knight said he couldn’t release internal documents itemized by the Auditor General in his review of royalty rates because of “legislative protection with respect to some information that’s provided to the Cabinet."

How can a document both not exist and be secret at the same time?

I think Stelmach may need to get someone other than Tom Olsen to write his talking points.


Anonymous said...

Settling the unfunded pension liability is a good thing. It's just unfortunate that it took the Conservatives 10 years to finally admit that it needed to be dealt with.

Nastyboy said...

The Alberta tax-payer, or the Alberta government for that matter, didn't screw up the ATA pension so why should we bail them out?

Anonymous said...

Ed's chalked up another big policy win by resolving the teachers share of the unfunded liability. He's followed through on almost all of his commitments and shown the ability to listen to his policy wonks (Dave Hancock). He is still brutal at public speaking and perhaps he always will be, but he has some quality candidates lining up throughout the province. It's really hard to believe that the Liberals have any momentum at this point. Ed will probably take a similar # of seats in the spring election as he has now.

The ultimate proof? Liberals like Dave have already started making excuses. "Waaah! Waaah! The rurals have too many seats."

Find a way to win some of those seats instead of complaining about it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I keep asking, what the Liberal position is on royalties. Taft's comments that how we get to the 20%bottomline as recommended by the Panel needs to be worked out is a cop-out and you know it Dave.

Anonymous said...

"The ultimate proof? Liberals like Dave have already started making excuses. "Waaah! Waaah! The rurals have too many seats.""

That's not an excuse for anything. It's a fact that rural Alberta is overrepresented.

Anonymous said...

Voted conservative all my life. I am not voting conservative again until they finally come up with something more sustantive than buying off the special interests. Eddy the farmer and his merry band of vote shoppers don't deserve to remain in office. I can't even bring myself to listen to them any more. The biggest thing the conservatives have going for them is the libs and the ndp.

Anonymous said...

Stelmach is a moron, simply put but Kevin Taft is a bigger moron......I don't want to vote for the PC's if it means taft winning by a split vote between the pc's and the Alliance. But it's hard for me to simply vote for the lesser of two idiots. Bring back least he had some form of thought process

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I think Eddie is starting to find his feet. The pension issue is just the latest example of him striking the right note.

In contrast the Libs are looking more and more amaturish every day.

As the Calgary Sun political columnist wrote:
the Liberals are all thumbs with a lack of political timing leaving us wondering if the Three Stooges are on their payroll

Don Braid and Neil Waugh wrote similar things this week. Graham Thompson generally just ignores the Liberals, but when he does turn to them, it's usually pretty ugly.

The fact is - Taft is blowing it. There has been no better chance to knock off the Tories in a generation, and the Liberals are down in the polls from the last election.

Dave, as a Liberal party employee, I know you can't say this out loud, but I can't imagine Liberals are too happy with the way things are going.

Anonymous said...





Anonymous said...

'artie', I'm not sure I see your point.

Columnists will ebb and flow in their commentary, it's the nature of providing commentary.

Second, I was at Cathie Williams nomination meeting in Egmont the other night and I didn't see anyone who wasn't happy about Liberal prospects in Calgary. With quality candidates like Cathie Williams and Michael Robinson stepping up, it's not going to be an easy ride for some Calgary PC MLAS.

I don't know where the other parties are, but as far as I can see there are only two parties actually trying to win votes in Calgary - the Liberal and Tories. Taft and Stelmach are the only two visable choices.

Anonymous said...

partisan bickering isn't any good for Alberta.

Stelmach attacks Taft.

Taft attacks Stelmach.

Mason attacks Taft.

I'm voting green.

Allie Wojtaszek said...

Ed Stelmach is a leader - and it bugs you that he has actually followed through on his promises and has been able to get things done. It shows me that he will run on a platform in the next election that I can trust he will carry out if and when he wins a mandate from the Albertan voters. Just because someone isn't the strongest public speaker doesn't mean he's not a leader - leadership is much, much more.

I know this blog has become a partisan communications tool, so I am hardly surprised to see all of the banter I read here... but communications is also more than patting yourseves on the back as much as possible and pointing fingers. For example, the comment about Liberal prospects being great since the mood at "Cathie Williams nomination meeting in Egmont the other night" was good - unless there were THOUSANDS of people here I doubt this is any indication at all. I think the real indication is how much the Liberal message has been floundering - they know they are in trouble.

And finally, as a conservative tax payer there is certainly elements about UFL I don't neccessarily like on a reactionary basis - but as an educated resident of Alberta with children in the school system who need good, happy and new teachers - I recognize that this not only needed to be done but also was the best thing to do. Anyone who thinks otherwise should find out the history of the pension fund and what happened to it before spouting off comments about "their money" being used to "bail teachers out." That shows a massive lack of understanding.

So, there's my two cents worth today, Happy Saturday everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hey allie - chill out and take a pill.

Partisan banter aside, I don't just find Ed Stelmach's public speaking skills lacking - it's that I don't have a clue what he stands for. It seems like he and his crew just stand for winning another majority and extending the tories 30+ government.

I don't see anything inspirational and worth voting for in Stelmach. The nice guy shtick will only take him so far.

I'm not a liberal and Taft isn't the most charismatic fellow but I will be voting for the liberals because it's time for a change.

Anonymous said...

I don't think there were thousands of people at Raj Sherman's nomination either.

It must mean he's not going to do very good (and he's a Federal Liberal AND Provincial Conservative!).

Anonymous said...

"Ed Stelmach is a leader - and it bugs you that he has actually followed through on his promises and has been able to get things done."

What vacuous drivel. Allie's usually smarter than this sort of empty rhetoric--it seems that partisan politics brings out the worst in too many of us. Yes, Stelmach's done a good job on the teachers' pension file. But, honestly, the answers he's giving in question period and the way he's running this government show that it's still the same ball game. Stelmach's an improvement over Ralph Klein, but the only way things will change in this province is to have a change in government.

P.S. Artie--if you're going to use the Calgary Sun or the likes of Neil Waugh as your markers of how well political parties in Alberta are doing, you're missing a big part of the picture.

Anonymous said...

Rick Bell is hardly a right wing champion. Nor is Don Braid. Even Waugh will occasionally write nice things about non-Tories if they perform well.

The fact is that three columnists from three different papers all slammed the Liberals this week, essentially calling their performace useless.

You can write them off but a) these are the people watching the parties closely, and b) these are the people telling voters what's happening. Their opinion matters, and if they are saying Taft is blowing it, it's going to be that much harder for Taft to gain ground in the election.

Allie Wojtaszek said...

Thank you Anonymous for pointing out my "vacuous drivel." At least I believe in my comments enough to put my name to them.

If you really think that Ed Stelmach is running the government in the same way as Ralph Klein then I will assume you actually don't know what you are talking about.