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Sunday, February 10, 2008

lawn signs and debate.

This morning, a week into the 2008 Alberta Election campaign, I saw my first PC lawn sign - belonging to David Doward in Edmonton-Gold Bar. Doward is running against Alberta Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald (who has about a 10 times more lawn signs out in Gold Bar). In 2004, Hugh MacDonald was re-elected with the second largest margin of victory in the province and earned 62% of the vote.

The date of the Leaders Debate will be at 6:30pm on Thursday, February 21, 2008 and will include Tory leader Ed Stelmach, Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft, Wildrose Alliance leader Paul Hinman, and New Democrat Brian Mason.


Anonymous said...

Having worked as sign manager in the 2004 campaign, I was impressed how the PC opponent's sign placements consistently violated city bylaws. I also noticed that in other parts of the city.

My thought was this: either they have volunteer's that were never briefed on the bylaws, or they order them to ignore them. Pretty frustrating to see dirty tactics like that.

Anonymous said...


Does this mean that Hugh MacDonald has 10 signs out in Gold Bar? If you have only seen one David Doward sign and Mr. MacDonald has 10 times more lawn signs ...

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts - for support rather than for illumination." ~Andrew Lang

daveberta said...

Troy, I guess that logic would work if there's only one neighbourhood in Gold Bar that has lawn signs.

I was making an observation, not providing a statistical analysis.

Man, I think some people need to lighten up a bit...

Anonymous said...

The same Troy Watson who posted that last comment is an admin on the facebook group "Progressve Conservative Association of Alberta".

As of 3:17 he sent out a message to all group members stating:

"If you have a moment in the next 9 hours, please vote on the question on Dave Cournoyer's website and let him know that we care ... thanks, my fellow PCs."

Silly PC. You and your weak leader won't be happy March 3rd.

kenchapman said...

Hey Dave - if you have only seen one PC lawn sign so far, I am a bit worried about you. I think you may have to get out more.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:18,

At least I am proud of my leader and I don't hesitate to sign my name, which happens to be Wason and not 'Watson'.

It is also nice of you to be a member of our 'silly' group. Did you at least vote?

And, Dave, I must say I am feeling rather happy today and quite light. This is probably why I felt so inclined to invite so many of my friends to your blog to vote.

Since you have become a celebrity for your 15 seconds of fame, I felt it necessary to show my like minded colleagues where the future of the Alberta Liberal Party lies ... I'll let them pass their own judgement.

And, by the way, I agree with Ken, it wasn't much of an observation ... let alone a statistical analysis.

Have a great day and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ken and Troy - however Dave, the signs might not be where you are looking. Try looking in locations that don't comply with city bylaws, and I'm sure you'll find much more.

Anonymous said...

Really Dave... the partisan comments are starting to be a little bit much. Daveberta was better when you were talking about the facts with slightly less bias. Your first PC sign? Really?

Anonymous said...


I would have to agree with you, some city by-laws are not always followed by enthusiastic supporters of the PC Association of Alberta, regardless of constituency. Even I admit to placing signs outside of their allowed locations, but surely you aren't suggesting that Liberals are holier than thou? That they would never stoop to such low-brow methods of politicking?

I'm sure most of Dave's zealous fanboys would be shocked to hear such nonsense. Gosh, Jonathan, squatting by Grits is considered to be a god-given right in Alberta irrespective of the rules. Ain't that true, Dave?

daveberta said...

Troy - thanks for the love. It warms my heart to know that that Tories out there are spending their time voting in my blog polls rather than door knocking.

Thanks, buddy ;-)

daveberta said...

Ken - Maybe I should get out more, but having been around Riverview, Strathcona, Gold Bar, and Mill Creek I just saw my first one this morning. I went out to Morinville today and there are no shortage of giant Ken Kowalski signs out here...

Anonymous said...


Let's put it this way. As sign manager, I was in charge of knowing where every sign was placed - that was exactly my responsibility....most were on residential property. The ones that were on public property I made sure conformed with the guidelines.

So, I can say with confidence that there were no violations from our end in that constituency.

As a member of that candidate's team, I felt it vitally important to do my job correctly and legally as I was a representative of that candidate. If our opponent had done the same, that would have been a level playing field. He also used a demon-dialer automated service maligning our candidate.

The best part was, that despite all of this, he was defeated.

I'm not sure what you were implying, but we in fact followed the rules. As for PC candidates, it's not really city bylaw violations that get me - it's the way they behave once elected. But it makes sense....if you're going to run dirty campaigns, that's probably the way you'll roll when you're MLA.

BR said...

I love how its the Tories that are being accused of running dirty campaigns when Election 2008 started off with a couple of Liberal candidates (Nancy Cavanaugh and Aman Gill) claiming that their PC opponents supposedly told them they should be staying at home with their families instead of running. They didn't have the conviction to come out and say it publically, but instead chose to whisper it to a CBC journalist.

I also find it ironic that the "Tories are dirty campaigners" allegation comes on the thread from a post that mentions Hugh MacDonald, a man who chose to drag an MLA's good name through the mud by accusing them of spreading hate literature without once seeking clarification from the other member.

Yeah... a real stand up crew of people you've got on the Liberal ticket there, Jonathan.

Anonymous said...

Tsk, tsk, Dave ... you, of all people, should know that not all campaigning is done on the street. It is done on the phone, in the coffee shops, on the blogospheres, etc.

I'm beginning to worry that you are believing a wee bit much of your own press, Sir. My graduate advisor always stressed that we should not fall in love with our own prose. Perhaps, that is what has happened in this instance. You are the über-blogger (READ: Celebrity) that we love to read and as an 'aspiring' writer you should feel grateful that anyone is paying attention at all to your partisan meanderings.

This just in ... Tory candidate aims for yellow jacket.

"You have to give Progressive Conservative candidate Leah Lawrence points for effort.
Ms. Lawrence, a self-described engineer, economist and community activist, is hoping to unseat popular Liberal incumbent David Swann in the riding of Calgary-Mountain View, one pedal at a time.

The Lawrence campaign was spotted today braving the cold, snow and ice by touring the affluent inner city riding on a bike outfitted with orange and blue PC Alberta-branded sandwich boards.

You have to wonder what's next for the wannabe MLA: Getting voters to the polls by rickshaw?"

~ Dawn Walton

I guess, the Progressive Conservative candidates are door-knocking and, from the looks of things, Jonathan, are not placing signs anywhere illegal unless wearing sandwich boards contravenes the Alberta Elections Act.

Anonymous said...

Well, you guys changed my mind, the Liberals are in fact a dirty bunch.

I'm going to switch to a party where Tony Abbott compares Belinda Stronach to a prostitute, and then attempts to assault Rick Miller afterwords. It might be the same party where Gary Mar gave a friend $400,000 of tax dough to do .... what now? And another MLA tossed crumpled bills and cursed out homeless individuals.

I'm sure I'll feel a lot better rolling with this bunch. Thanks, guys!

Anonymous said...


Please, Sir, the discussion began with an innocent sanctimonious comment on your part and now I am sensing a wee bit of bitterness in your writings.

Perhaps, we should agree that unsavoury acts have been perpetrated by all parties [well, maybe not the Greens] in the heat of election battle and that no one party in this province is morally superior to the other.

Anonymous 5:08 put it straight, we should be discussing "the facts with slightly less bias." Maybe we should stick to the issues and discuss how all of us can make this province a better place to live for all Albertans.

The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta is looking forward to debating the future of this province and, hopefully, we can avoid such puerile discussions about 'old & tired' parties and the need to change on that basis, the aspersions upon the Premier's oratory skills, or the one-sided attacks upon the character of some candidates.

Bring your best leadership, platforms, ideas and people to the street and let's see what you got. I'm all for democracy ... let the best party win. But don't tell Albertans that they have been ignorant during the past 37 years and that they should change for the sake of change. That is demeaning to them and demeaning to you.

"When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change."
~ Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland (1610?-1643)

Anonymous said...

Just got home. Hugh MacDonald certainly does own the streets in Gold Bar but the NDP's Christina Gray is everywhere here in Mill Woods.

Anonymous said...

Hey Troy:

What is your boss trying to hide by not making the tougher conflict of interest laws applicable until after the next election? Please explain


Anonymous said...

Hey Troy:

What is your boss trying to hide by not making the tougher conflict of interest laws applicable until after the election? Is that part of Change that Works? Please explain in detail.


BTW: Where is Ed on Monday, Feb. 11?

Anonymous said...

The PC campaign is such a joke, it's actually making me laugh.

Take today for example. Go to the PC website right now and it has the following.

Breaking News:

Progressive Conservatives care for Alberta Seniors.

This is breaking news? As in they didn't care about seniors before now, or we just couldn't tell that they cared?

Hahaha, either way it's some of the stupidest stuff I've ever seen. This is what happens when a party of dinosaurs meets the information age.

I'll almost be sad after March 3rd when Ed's gone. The province will be better off but I'll have fewer daily laughs.

Anonymous said...


To pretend that we can just look at this situation from February 2008 onwards is wishful thinking. Premier Klein was leader for half of my life, and caused many excruciating moments where I was embarrassed of his actions and that of the governments.

During Klein's tenure the government itself was radically changed: it morphed into something more secretive, meddling, centrally controlling and absolutely adept at keeping the PCs in power. The line between government business and party business was trampled into dust.

So how exactly am I supposed to take that out of the equation? I can only imagine the lines of patronage that have developed over so many years. We can agree that most politicians are guilty of poor behaviour....and that the only thing they really fear is losing their seat. Alberta's monoculture has become so entrenched that outside of Edmonton, winning a Tory nomination is a de facto victory for becoming an MLA.

Klein did not just damage public service and assets, he scored some telling blows against democratic practice. I don't think he even understands democratic practice as he mused aloud about the need for Opposition or even sittings of the Legislature.

So I'm just supposed to forget this all ever happened and give Mr. Stelmach the benefit of the doubt? If this party is ever going to reform meaningfully, they need time on the sidelines.

I'm really not sure how that is demeaning. It absolutely factors into my assessment of the PC party of February 2008.

Jerry Aulenbach said...



The same Troy Watson who posted that last comment is an admin on the facebook group "Progressve Conservative Association of Alberta".

As of 3:17 he sent out a message to all group members stating:

"If you have a moment in the next 9 hours, please vote on the question on Dave Cournoyer's website and let him know that we care ... thanks, my fellow PCs."

Silly PC. You and your weak leader won't be happy March 3rd.
Sunday, February 10, 2008 3:18:00 PM"

A-Why remain anonymous? Are you trying to hide the fact that you're some ultra top-secret Liberal mole who has infiltrated the inner workings of the PC party by joining a FaceBook group?

B-So what? I think it's great that someone like Troy Wason has thought it important enough to call for support, and obviously people have responded (at time of writing, the polls on the website vote were AL:18, Green:0, NDP:17, PC:52, EDs:13, WRA:4). By the way, thanks to Dave C for this site. It's a great forum for anyone to share views.

C-Let's talk about Edmonton Golf Bar. Could part of the reason that Hughie's had it so long possibly be that the PC candidates have been anythign but stellar in recent elections? I think so. Check out David Dorward, the current runner. Yes, I'm a volunteer, and friend, and yes, if you search my FaceBook profile, you'll see that I'm also on the PC group, so don't feel that you have to proclaim that non secret too.

D-Are signs effective? I don't know for sure what purpose they serve, and how elections would be different without them. Perhaps they influence the sway vote leading up to the election day which party to choose ("hmm, I see a lot of signs for X, so they must be good. I'll vote for X"). I really don't know. What I do know, is that Edmonton Gold Bar is changing-big time. Want some real statsitcs? (by the way, Dave C, your observation of 1 DD sign is valid, at this point Hughie has pots more signs up. Could it be that he's had over a dozen years to gain support-perhaps. I hope he would have lots of signs up for that reason alone). Anyway, the stats. Here's David's report after speaking with people in one apartment building: "38 not home 27 Conservative commit 7 Undecided 3 Liberal". Sure, the whole riding may not be the same, but that is indicative of what's happening in not only this riding, but Edmonton.

E-Can't wait until 3 March!


Brian Dell said...

Just what ARE the rules for placement on public property, anyway?

Just trying to save myself one of a gazillion items on the "to do"list...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Jim,

I'm not sure what you are implying by my 'boss', but I can assure you that I am the sole proprietor of my own companty and abide by my own business ethics.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if you understand the political system and how it works in a democratic country, but let me try to explain. As a duly elected public servant the Premier of Alberta works for all of us. Thus, I'm positive if you would like to ask him that question yourself I'm sure the Premier would be more than happy to give you an answer as he has always shown an eagerness to talk to the shareholders of Alberta, which you and I can be said to be counted among the number.

From my understanding the Premier is traveling across Alberta for the next 21 days talking to the people he serves and seeking to get a further mandate from those same people. If your question continues to bother you to any degree, my suggestion would be to attend one or many of the public gatherings and make further enquiries. I'm sure that you are a polite individual and he would be more than happy to answer your question. I'm not sure the answer will suffice, however, as I gather you are of a different political persuasion and have already made up your mind that he is wrong, but the process should make you more aware that he is available to speak to all Albertans regardless of political stripe.

With an open mind you may also create a dialogue and realize that he is not the devil incarnate and merely an individual who is putting his civic pride ahead of personal. As Premier Stelmach has said on more than one occasion during the campaign: "Governance is a priviledge, not a right."

Next time, perhaps, you can give your full name Jim and we can continue the conversation without anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Face it Troy Wason:

Ed Stelmach is the Stephane Dion of Alberta. He is not a leader.

He did the equivallent of punching your best friend in the face with the royalty review and he expects Albertans to vote for him?

Not a leader.

Anonymous said...

"Ms. Lawrence, a self-described engineer, economist and community activist,"

How do you become a "self-described engineer?" Either you're an real engineer or you are not an engineer.

daveberta said...

wow. all I wrote was that I saw my first PC lawn sign today... a little defensive I see?

Anonymous said...

If the Wild Rose Alliance and NDP are allowed to be part of the debate why shouldn't Green leader George Read? The greens placed ahead of the NDP and Alliance in a lot of races in 2004 and did better than the NDP in the summer bielections.

Anonymous said...

Re: why not the greens?

Question - If the Wild Rose Alliance and NDP are allowed to be part of the debate why shouldn't Green leader George Read?

Answer - Because the Green Party did not win a single seat in the last Legislative Assembly.

And it's a good system for the media to use. It keeps the debates from becoming an exercise in pointlessness, with 10 or 20 leaders of fringe parties tying up all the valuable air time. People want to hear from the leaders of parties with a reasonable chance at winning seats (i.e. past winners).

Don't like it? Go help the Greens win at least one seat and watch the debates next time.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:30:00 PM

In 1997 both the Social Credit Party and the NDP had no seats and were allowed to be part of the debate. The Socreds hadn't had a seat at the point for over 20 years. The Greens should be allowed in.

Jerry Aulenbach said...

Speaking of signs, I wonder if they'll ever be outlawed due to concerns of environmental waste. Nobody ever voted for a sign. It would be kind of cool, as it would force us to use other methods of persuasion, like this kind of online forum.


Anonymous said...

Good comments, Jerry Aulenbach; it's nice to see someone bringing the conversation away from some of the sanctimonious chatter we saw above (I'm looking at you, Troy Wason...)

Lewis Cardinal didn't use signs in the recent municipal election here in Edmonton and almost got elected on a tough slate. As people increasingly shift to non-traditional channels for information gathering, it'll be interesting to see if we see less signs during election. They certainly are wasteful, but there is a certain satisfaction, I think, in brazenly advertising your politic leanings to your neighbours that you just can't get online...

Anonymous said...


Sanctimonious chatter?

I trust you haven't looked in the mirror of late? I've read your blog and from what I have seen you might want to rethink the polemical strategy of accusing others of being morally superior while remaining aloft in your own self-righteous smugness.

On the other hand, I do agree with your position with respect to the shift from main stream media to that of the new social media. I'm not sure that we will ever see the end of traditional forms of the political campaign, but there will definitely be a solid movement away from signage, brochures, tv ads, etc. towards interactive conversations and community building that we are seeing more and more of today.

I applaud the many bloggers (yourself, Ken Chapman, Dave Cournoyer, Blake Robert, etc.) for providing two-way interaction on political issues and for the most part keeping the conversation civil if not partisan. As a veteran of many political battles I expect difference of opinion and certainly relish debate with opponents of different political philosophies. I look forward to crossing paths with you in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Tory Wason:

Could you provide some specific examples of the "polemical strategy of accusing others of being morally superior while remaining aloft in your own self-righteous smugness?"

A lot of the comments you've made in this stream seem pretty unverifiable. It sounds like someone is hiding behind their own verbosity.

Anonymous said...

I think we may be making more out of this than it needs to be, really.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say I've never placed a sign inappropriately, but do you think that there might just be a chance that how someone places a sign might not necessarily be indicative of how they will run the province, country, planet, galaxy, or universe? I mean, in the grand scheme of things, is this the truly defining debate of this campaign?

Perhaps we should move on to the next topic - I think this can be resolved like so:

Dave: Gosh, I saw my first PC Alberta sign today - Hugh has ten times that amount!

PC's: Dave! Buddy! We've got signs everywhere - don't worry, be happy!

Libs: We'd better put up more signs (legally, of course)

PC's: Gasp! We'd better put up more signs too (clearly, legally as well).

There - debate resolved. Happy Campaigning.

Anonymous said...

Troy, I have yet to hear back from you. I'm curious how to hear how the last 37 are of no consequence.