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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

alberta politics notes 3/09/2010

- Jokes about politicians ducking responsibility usually aren't literal. Premier Ed Stelmach first denied seeing the widely covered photos of the now infamous oil-covered Syncrude ducks. His communications armada then changed the story, claiming that the Premier misunderstood the question and has seen the photos. Next question: How do you feel?
- Edmonton City Councillor Don Iveson shot back at Minister Luke Ouellette over the neutered Green Trip Fund. Premier Stelmach originally promised $2 billion for the fund in 2008, but it was later cut back to $520 million over three years. Since 2007, the City of Edmonton has made major investments into improving and expanding the capital city's transportation infrastructure.
- The United Nurses of Alberta have opened negotiations with Alberta Health Services. UNA entered negotiations with a reasonable short list of proposals addressing key issues for nursing in Alberta. Alberta Health Services responded with a full proposal document that included an unprecedented number and scale of rollbacks (Transparency Alert! I am employed by UNA).
- AHS CEO Stephen Duckett versus Minister Gene Zwozdesky and Premier Stelmach on "pay for performance" and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre? Is Dr. Duckett trying to get fired? Who is steering the ship? It has certainly put Don Braid in a tizzy.
- With Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier on his way out of the Mayor's Office, can Calgarians expect a Ric McIver - Naheed Nenshi showdown? Will former Calgary-Nose Creek MLA Gary Mar return from Washington DC to take a run for the job?
 - Liberal MLA Kent Hehr running for Mayor might be an inside joke, but how about his counterpart Dave Taylor? Word on the street is that the Calgary-Currie MLA and former radio star is growing tired of playing second fiddle to Liberal leader David Swann. Taylor was thrown a bone when he was tapped to launch the new Liberal energy policy in January, but rumor has it that Taylor's organization has been constantly challenging Swann and that the situations is tense inside the Liberal caucus. Confrontation may come to a head at the May 2010 Liberal Party convention.
- A battle is shaping up for the federal Conservative Party nomination in Lethbridge. Nomination candidates include Jim Hillyer and Mark Switzer are seeking their party's nod. Conservative MP Rick Casson has represented the riding since 1997 and was re-elected in 2008 with 67% of the vote.
 - Former Edmonton-Strathcona MP Rahim Jaffer
pleaded guilty to careless driving in an Ontario court, but charges of cocaine possession magically disappeared. Mr. Jaffer was sentenced to a $500 fine.
 - I was interviewed by Edmonton Journal editor
Sheila Pratt for a feature article that was published this part weekend on Reboot Alberta. The article also features comments from Ken Chapman, Shannon Sortland, David Maclean, NDP MLA Brian Mason, and Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald - who accused to the group's participants of being "elitist." Andrew McIntyre rebutted Archie McLean's suggestions that Reboot Alberta could become a debate society. I ask: would a real debate society be a bad thing?


Anonymous said...

Taylor for Mayor in Calgary and Taft for Mayor in Edmonton.... should make things interesting and they will both impress.

Chester J said...

"Rumor has it that Taylor's organization has been constantly challenging Swann and that tensions in the Liberal caucus are tense"

What, is this Tiny Perfect Blog now? Just printing rumors? What a load of crap. At least give ONE example, if you can.

Anonymous said...

I think I speak for everybody in Calgary when I ask: who the heck is Naheed Nenshi?

Alnoor Kasaam's poorer, lesser known cousin?

daveberta said...

Chester J: Fair enough comment, and maybe I left my comment a bit too ambiguous. I still do have friends in the Liberal Party, and they still do talk with me. Tension among MLAs in the Liberal caucus is nothing new.

daveberta said...

Anonymous 11:15pm: Naheed Nenshi is an Associate Professor at the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal University and he writes a regular column in the Calgary Herald. He is involved with the Better Calgary Campaign ( and ran for City Council in 2004.

I have known Naheed for a couple of years and am excited that people have mentioned his name as a potential candidate. I think that he could help elevate the debate around the serious issues facing Calgary (urban sprawl, transportation issues, infrastructure, budgeting, etc). It could be an interesting race...

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's rumor that Taylor's boy Donn Lovett has been a thorn in Swann's side.

But there ARE some interesting rumors out there.

I have heard Hugh MacDonald asked David Swann to step down and that Bridget Pastoor is playing footsie with the Alliance.

You can also hypothesize that Kent Hehr may be interested in the Alberta Party since his former campaign manager is one of the chairs.

But don't leave us in suspense! If there's more to it than Lovett, dish the dirt on Taylors coup. Tony Sansotta? Corey Hogan? Barry Davidson? Inquiring minds want to know!

Arlen's Spectre said...

I think Anon 11:31 is just David Swann fishing around to see how screwed he is.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in the Alberta Party doesn't even have any screws left, let alone loose.

Unlike Daveberta, I don 't have inside sources or perspective on these people, but common sense says that tensions are likely to be high in that caucus. Taylor running for mayor is likely I think. Much more likely than a coup of the Liberal leadership. Let's face it, Calgary mayor is a more powerful and interesting position, and Taylor comes across as somebody who gets bored easily and who likes the idea of being powerful.

Taft for Edmonton mayor. I hadn't thought of that possibility, but it's intriguing. He flailed around pretty ineffectively as opposition leader but might do decently in civic politics.

And Pastor for the Alliance. That would be really funny. How confused about her own beliefs and policy preferences would she have to be to make that jump? Or how coldly miscalculating?

Hehr, Taft, Pastor, Taylor on their way out. MacDonald demanding the resignation of Swann... Sounds like the liberals are imploding.

Bruno Gerussi's medallion said...

Again, Dave Taylor's ambitions greatly outweigh his work ethic. Running for mayor will require him to wake up before 11 a.m. and put in a work day longer than a couple of hours.

He has become the Jim Dinning of the Alberta Liberal Party. He wants everything handed to him on a silver platter.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Naheed Nenshi!

An Associate Professor at a second rate University who was also a failed candidate in 2004's municipal election and did work with a group nobody has ever heard of? Where do I sign up?!?!

Anonymous said...

The comments here are very interesting. I'd love to see Taft take a run for Edmonton mayor. He'd surely make a good moderately progressive alternative to Mayor Mandel and his Katz driven arena-agenda.

I can see Pastoor to the Wild Rose being a good fit for both. Pastoor locks in the chance to finally be a minister should the WRA prevail in 2012 and the WRA will receive bonafides as being "centrist" enough to attract someone like Bridget in the first place. She'd make a great Health critic and one day Health minister.

Yalew said...

Hugh MacDonald calls the Reboot crowd "elitist?" It's going to cost $300.00 to go to the Liberal Party convention in May.

$300 is a bit rich for most Albertans, Hugh.


Anonymous said...

To clarify, it's $300 to go to the Liberal Convention, but the actual decision making happens the Sunday of the convention at the AGM, and that is free.

Berry Farmer said...

Did anyone see my my screws? I seem to have lost them. Last time I checked, they were loose.

Archie McLean said...

Hi Dave,

Nothing wrong with a debating society, if that's the goal. But I do wonder if Reboot can sustain itself without a little more action -- judging by the blog posts, some folks are already getting antsy.

-- Archie

Crescent Heights Guy said...

The great thing about anonymous con-bot chatter is that you can take all the BS they write about Dr. Swann and the Alberta Liberal Party and know it’s actually about their own party. Losing MLAs? That would be the conservatives. Losing popular support? That’s the conservatives. Unpopular, out-of-touch leader? Ed Stelmach.

Here’s a rumour for you. I’ve heard that half the Tory caucus is considering leaving the Legislature and heading for civic politics. Can you say, “Yvonne Fritz for Mayor of Calgary?” You can’t deny that she isn’t thinking about it.

Dr. Teeth said...

UNA Reasonable short list = 8% pay raise when everyone else is getting cut back.
I love how nurses are above any form of criticism! When in doubt, cry to the press!

Anonymous said...

Tensions in the Liberal Caucus are tense? Really?

Is lunchtime at the Liberal Caucus for lunch too? Do they discuss things during discussions at the Liberal Caucus?

Sloppy, Dave! ;)

daveberta said...

Anonymous 11:25: Good catch. Thanks for pointing it out. Cheers, Dave

Anonymous said...

Yalew @ 11:18, and how much do rich people pay to attend the PC Convention or that of the Wildrose?

Also, if you're really interested and can't afford it, the ALP has a program in place to subsidize the fees for a percentage of the attendees.

Anonymous said...

Infighting within the liberal caucus has been the norm for years.

Both Pastoor and Elsalhy were asked to cross the floor before the 08 election.

Kang attempted to cross the floor since being elected as well.

MacDonald and Blakeman feel completely left out. Taylor can't stand the bumbling directionless Swann.

All that this bunch needs is a laugh track and they'd be hilarious... wait they already did that remember that marvelous youtube video.

Resign yourself to non party status now Liberals and do yourselves a favour.