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Thursday, January 22, 2009

alberta politics this week.

1) With inspiration from Barack Obama and Malcolm Gladwell, Jason Morris at has some thoughtful insights on Alberta's political environment.

2) Oil Sands Smog. An Environment Canada study obtained under the Access to Information Act predicts that sulfur dioxide will rise by up to 34 per cent by 2017 and nitrous oxides will rise by up to 24 per cent. Are you ready for acid rain in Fort McMurray?

3) While Chief Electoral Officer Lorne Gibson has called for increased transparency and accountability in party leadership races, Kent Hehr is asking Minister Alison Redford why Alberta Justice isn't investigating 16 violations of election finances rules uncovered between 2006 and 2007 (including at least one violation committed by his party).

4) How are Alberta's financial and economic prospects, Premier Ed Stelmach? Good, really bad, not as bad as I told you 24 hours ago, and rosy depending on which day of the week it is.

5) Good luck and safe travels to Journal reporter Archie McLean on his trip to Afghanistan. You can follow Archie's Afghan tour at Assignment Afghanistan.


Matt Grant said...

Stelmach's economic outlook seems to be a little too linked to the volatility of oil prices; perhaps that because he's done absolutely nothing to ensure our economy is capable of withstanding these fluctuations.

The most important line in the "rosy" article: "Stelmach seemingly acknowledged the government will be in a technical deficit". That's because Ed's a big spender without a real plan. Oh, and he didn't save. There's prudent fiscal responsibility for you.

Sean S. said...

Actually, most of the acid rain will fall on N. Sask. but that's just being picky.

Anonymous said...

So Stelmach is (a) a big spender and we should have saved more, or (b) Stelmach is following Ralph Klein and not spending enough on health and education.

I forget. Does the Opposition alternate their critiques based on the day of the week? Henceforth, Mon/Wed/Fri is Big Spender, Tues/Wed/weekends is Dispassionate Fiscal Hawk.

It wasn't long ago that Stelmach was criticized for talking about how volatile Alberta's revenue stream was as a reason for why we should be careful in immediately deleting sources of revenue like healthcare premiums (versus a phased approach). And it was pretty easy to advocate how the PC gov't should have paid off the accumulated teacher's pension liability long ago when oil was north of $60 and headed nowhere but up. Or how doctors needed to be paid more, or we were going to lose all of them (they got their increase recently).

Maybe David Swann and Brian Mason have a hidden buy-1-get-1-free coupon which allows them to provide more services for Albertans while also spending less (and thereby saving more). Else how do they rationalize their critiques?

I wonder if Mason (and Swann I suppose) are as giddy about advocating a moratorium on oilsands/tarsands/bitumen sands development now that projects are being cancelled and deferred in the face of pure economic reality. I presume Mason might be a little more reflective (those were some good union jobs), but Swann probably isn't bothered at all.

Anonymous said...

Acid Rain in Ft.McMurray? lol... I guess the large population of Newfoundland skilled trades that live up north will be used to the rain. Oh wait... I guess most of them were asked to "stay home" following the slowdown/scale backs announced after Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Stelmach's changing positions does little to ensure investor and market confidence in Alberta.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

tjk: All the politicians were wrong. No one planned properly and the Premier is not doing an effective job of convincing Albertans that we can get through these economic times with his conflicting statements.

Albertans will get through bad economic times despite poor leadership, not because of it.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Alberta! When times look tough, and the Opposition criticizes the gov't (which is, after all, the job of an Opposition) you will still get a large number of Albertans blaming... The Opposition! i.e. Anonymous.

It is perfectly logical to criticize the gov't for being a big spender and a fiscal hawk at the same time. Big spending is wrong without a plan. Being a fiscal hawk when it comes to important and enduring programs -- i.e. affordable post-secondary -- this is also wrong.

Both are fair targets for the Opposition. Keep it up, opposition.

Anonymous said...

Sean S. said "Actually, most of the acid rain will fall on N. Sask. but that's just being picky."

Prevailing winds.

Anonymous said...

I was actually going to say the same thing about prevailing winds. The crap is blown directly east. Worry not about sulfur and nitrogen. We have the technology to reduce those emissions dramatically...and they already have. All oil production has emissions...

Anonymous said...

Yes, Dave, I agree. The Justice Minister should investigate. Perhaps she should start with the $97000 plus dollars given by Roger and Phyllis Holmes (and Roger's companies) to the Alberta Liberals in the 2008 campaign. The numbers below are taken from the Libs' final 2008 election financial statement on Elections Alberta's website.


In case you didn't know it, Dave, and why would you, Roger owns the companies above. Not sure what Phyllis does for a living, but it must pay well. Between Roger and Phyllis, they accounted for about twenty per cent of the contributions raised by the ALP during the writ period.

Now, you may say, that Roger's companies contributed the maximum, and there is no violation. I would say that under Section 1(3) of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, "corporations that are associated with one another under Section 256 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) shall be considered a single corporation for the purposes of this Act..."

Go Alison. And just think Dave, there might be another headline it it for you. You're welcome.