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Thursday, March 31, 2005

when politicians get desperate

This is what happens when a politician gets desperate to save his own skin.

Makes me wonder how this guy could get elected and re-elected four times in a row.

Only in Alberta. Only in Calgary. Bizarre.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

seriously folks...

I keep on thinking that I am going to wake up and say "woah, what a weird dream. Thank goodness that would never happen in real life!"

I'm going back to bed.

my maple leaf

On a non-political note, last weekend, I did something that I had planned to do for the past five years.

Five years ago, I spent some time traveling across Europe (it was my second time there) and had the privilege of visiting Vimy Ridge. Vimy Ridge being the location of a major battle fought by Canadian troops in the First World War.

Any Canadian who has the chance to visit the massive monument, the preserved trenches, and scattered cemeteries with rows and rows of white tombstones, walks away feeling differently about life. I know that I had a hard time describing my feelings to my friends and family back in Canada when I got back – it was an emotionally charged and exhausting day. For me, it was a life changing experience to visit such a historic Canadian site.

The reason I brought this up is that when I was there, I collected a maple leaf from one of the hundreds of maple trees which were planted there. Since my return to Canada, my Vimy Ridge maple leaf has been kept safe in my 2000 edition of the Canadian Encyclopedia and then between two sheets of wax paper. This weekend, while at my parents house for Easter dinner, I collected my maple leaf, brought it back to my apartment, and framed it.

So, now, after five years, my Vimy Ridge Maple Leaf is proudly displayed on my living room wall.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I like it alot.

I love it when this happens, a positive article in the Edmonton Sun!!!

election anyone?

well, I hope not. Not in the mood one bit!

why can't these guys just get along???

for those of you interested in some elections of the provincial flavour, the BC Election Prediction Project website is up and running in preparation for May 17.

The current predictions are (currently in the Legislature):
BC Liberals - 33 (73)
BC New Democrats - 19 (3)
BC Greens - 0 (0)
Democratic Reform BC - 0 (1)
Other - 0 (2)
TOTAL - 79

Monday, March 28, 2005

my picks

Continuing on a lower post - I thought I would place some predictions for the rest of the vacant Senate seats...

My picks are:

New Brunswick (1)
Ray Frenette, Liberal Premier 1997-1998 (so says the Globe & Mail)

Prince Edward Island (1)
Stompin' Tom Connors, Canadian Music Icon (I think this would be cool.)

Quebec (3)
Carole-Marie Allard, former Laval Liberal MP (2000-2004)
Nathalie Rochefort, former Liberal MNA (my fun pick)
Daniel Johnson, former Liberal Premier 1994-1994

Manitoba (1)
Lloyd Axworthy, former Winnipeg MP (1979-2000) & AWESOME Foreign Affairs Minister (My pick - I LIKE LLOYD!)

British Columbia (1)
Mike Harcourt, former Mayor of Vancouver, and NDP Premier 1991-1996
David Haggard, former President of the Allied Workers of Canada, and 2004 Fed Liberal Candidate

PS> I have nothing but pure intutition to base these predictions on...

thank goodness!

It's about time!

16 vacant seats = 9 new Senators?

Is anybody wondering why Prime Minister Martin appointed 9 new Senators when there are 16 vacant Senate seats?

There are still vacant seats in New Brunswick (1), Prince Edward Island (1), Quebec (3), Manitoba (1), and British Columbia (1) = 7 Senate seats which are still vacant...

Just wondering if anyone else thinks this is a little weird.

Canada's 9 new Senators
(Name - Province (Party))

Jim Cowan - Nova Scotia (Liberal)
Romeo Dallaire - Quebec (Liberal)
Lylian Dyck - Saskatchewan (New Democrat)
Art Eggleton - Ontario (Liberal)
Elaine McCoy - Alberta (Progressive Conservative)
Grant Mitchell - Alberta (Liberal)
Robert Peterson - Saskatchewan (Liberal)
Nancy Ruth - Ontario (Progressive Conservative)
Claudette Tardif - Alberta (Liberal)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What's a Stephen Harper???

Well, tonight I'm going to post some comments about the federal Conservative Convention. I don't usually blog about federal politics, but for your enjoyment, I will make an exception.

I watched a bit of the CPC Convention this weekend via my laptop on CPAC (I don't watch TV and hence don't have cable). I was able to catch Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's speech to the Convention on Friday night and some of the policy sessions.

As usual... I have some thoughts about it...

1) "Promises made, promises broken" - Well, for those of you who don't get it - during Mr. Harper's main speech he harped back to the federal Liberal Convention a couple of weeks ago when Prime Minister Martin boasted the slogan "Promises made, promises kept" a ridiculous amount of times. Seeing as how I thought the Liberal version of the slogan was hokey enough, I found the Conservative version equally annoying (but I'll give them points for semi-cleverness).

2) Jane Taber of the Globe & Mail wrote an interesting article this weekend about the blossoming relationship of young love between Conservative MP's Peter Mackay and Belinda Stronach. Interesting article. It had me wondering, what is going to happen when Ms. Stronach becomes Prime Minister, will Mr. Mackay be in her cabinet? I think it could make for some interesting cabinet meetings.

3) Youth-Wing - I heard that the delegates at the convention voted down a motion to create a youth-wing within their party. One of the arguments against this motion which I heard were that some youth didn't want to be relegated to a "sandbox" in the party... I found this interesting. Now the CPC has a group of young MP's and I think this is great, but I would think that an official institutionalized youth-wing should be fundamental in any political party. As a younger person involved in political organizing (albeit for a different and much better political party), I do find it interesting... I think I may write more about this later...

4) Elsie Wayne - As lovable a Grandma figure as she looks, this former St. John MP still has a voice that can send shivers down my spine. As much as I disagree with pretty much everything she says and stands for, I kind miss seeing (no... hearing) her on the news.

That is all for now.


D : )

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Dear Paul Jackson: Part II

Two days ago, I wrote another letter to Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson. This time, my letter was in response to Mr. Jackson's column Left in the Cold, which anyone with common sense should take issue with.

At first I thought that the ending may have been a little harsh, but I remain firm that I find Paul Jackson to be a very entertaining columnist.

Here it is...

'March 14, 2005

Dear Mr. Jackson;

I am writing this email in response to your column ‘
Left in the Cold,’ published in the Calgary Sun on March 14, 2005.

I would first like to let you know how glad I am that you have decided to take the advice of my previous email and consult some “history books” when writing your most recent column. As you probably discovered, it is not a difficult or strenuous task. I encourage you to continue doing it!

I do have some questions about your most recent publication though. In this column, you state that the Liberals were punished during the 1921 Provincial election for an unspeakable deed which you wrote “was so terrible I can't even write about it here”. I agree, there is no doubt they were punished by voters (going from 34 seats to 15), but so too were the Conservatives (who lost all 19 of their seats in that election). So, based on your logic, the Conservatives must have also done something very bad. Please enlighten me.

Following your refusal to publish these unspeakable misdeeds of the former Liberal Government, you ask your readers to ask their great-grandparents for the answer. But, for the many Albertans like myself, who never had the privilege of knowing my great-grandparents, I would very much like to know what these horrendous events were (as I am unable to find them in my ‘history books’). I encourage you to write extensively about the evil misdeeds of former Premiers Alexander Rutherford, Arthur Sifton, and Charles Stewart, so that all Albertans (most probably whom have never heard of the three) will have the opportunity to be enlightened by your knowledge of political issues and events in Alberta from 1905 to 1921.

This aside, I find it very encouraging that you, the associate editor of the Calgary Sun, have decided to base your current political observations and opinions on events that occurred over 80 years ago. It is a very reverse avant-guard tactic. How chic of you, Mr. Jackson!

In conclusion, I would like to let you know that I am a weekly reader and find your columns to be quite entertaining, especially as a comic relief to the most serious and credible political columns of the Globe & Mail, La Presse, and the Toronto Star (and of course, Rick Bell).

Keep up the good work!


David ******
Edmonton, Alberta

cc: Mr. Rick Bell
Ms. Licia Corbella
Mr. Guy Huntingford'

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

cool vid

Check out this great Star Wars vid. Thanks to holtopia for the linkage.

new poll, old poll

In the spirit of keeping daveberta up to date and interesting, I have changed the poll.

The results of the first 'unresponsible polling' poll are:

‘Who will be the next Premier of Alberta?'
SpongeBob SquarePants - 43%
Ted Morton - 17%
Jim Dinning - 13%
Mark Norris - 9%
Kevin Taft - 9%
Dave Hancock - 4%
Gary Mar - 4%
Stockwell Day - 0%
Iris Evans - 0%
Brian Mason - 0%
Total Votes - 23

Monday, March 14, 2005

Dear Paul Jackson: Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a letter to Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson regarding one of his columns about newly elected Calgary MLA's Dave Taylor, David Swann, and Harry Chase. I've posted my letter and a link to the column, so you can also read it.

First Letter

'March 2, 2005

Dear Mr. Jackson,

Yesterday, I read your column “Taylor-made” published in the Calgary Sun.

Though I am very glad to see that you are impressed by Mr. Taylor, I take issue with your comments regarding Mr. Swann and Mr. Chase.

In the column, you stated that “[m]y preconceived ideas of David Swann and Harry Chase proved bang on, though. Simply put, on every issue whether Kyoto or health care, Swann and Chase are utterly out-of-touch with the average Alberta voter.”

Now, you may not agree with the type of politics or policies which Mr. Swann and Mr. Chase support, but to say that they “are utterly out-of-touch with the average Alberta voter” seems to be a pretty bold statement. Perhaps they are out-of-touch with the average Conservative voter (probably because they are Liberals), but considering that less than 50% of Albertans voted in the last election, it would seem to me that it would be very hard to clearly define what the opinions of the “Alberta voter” are. I highly doubt that the majority of Albertans have a monolithic unified stance on every issue. In fact, I would dare say that many Albertans have many different opinions on many different issues.

As the MLA’s for Calgary Mountain View and Varsity, it is not their mandate to be in touch “with the average Alberta voter,” but to be in touch with the average Mountain View and Varsity voter.

Also, your comment that “the provincial Liberals haven't been a force in Alberta politics since the First World War” is just blatantly false. In the 1955 election, Harper Prowse led the Alberta Liberals to an astoundingly large opposition for the time against Ernest Manning’s Social Credit Government.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the Alberta Liberals were on the verge of forming government. You may remember the 1989 provincial election which saw Ralph Klein nearly defeated by Liberal Candidate Gib Clark in the Calgary Elbow riding. In 1993, the Alberta Liberals, led by Laurence Decore, received 39% of the popular vote across Alberta and elected 32 MLA’s (compared to 44% and 61 seats for the Klein Tories). So, the statement that “the provincial Liberals haven't been a force in Alberta politics since the First World War” is just plain incorrect.

I hope that in further columns, you will not only take an objective journalistic look at your column, but also consult historical facts (All of the historical information I provided in this email can easily be found either on the internet or your local library).


David ******
Edmonton, Alberta

cc: Mr. Rick Bell
Ms. Licia Corbella
Mr. Guy Huntingford'

Read the column here!

As of 12 days later, I've received no response from Mr. Jackson or the Calgary Sun.

(I've just written another letter to Mr. Jackson and will post it soon.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

all funked up

well, what do you think about the overhaul?

New colours.
New header.
More funk?

funk it up

Ignore the last post please... i'm back... i never really left...

I decided that I wanted to "funk" up my blog a bit, the funky '897' above is the result... once I finally figure out HTML, then watch out...

Now... to politics...


Rich Vivone, the publisher of Insight into Government suggests that the PC Leadership race to replace Ralph Klein would be a little more interesting if 3 new people would join.

The names Vivone suggests are:

- Former Reform Party Leader Preston Manning.
- Current Finance Minister & Drumheller-Stettler MLA (since 1987) Shirley McClellan (awful, awful picture...).
- Calgary Southeast Conservative MP Jason Kenny.

I must say, I agree with Vivone. The current race, though it may have the potential to be nastily entertaining, looks pretty boring. Woo hoo. Jim Dinning... (insert extreme sarcasm here)

I get the feeling that Mr. Dinning is going to be the 'Paul Martin' of the Tory Leadership race - the former Finance Minister who 'tamed the budget' and 'will reinvest in our province' - the 'it's time to do politics differently' establishment candidate. (Plus, a minority government would do Alberta good!)


The 26th Session of the Alberta Legislature continued this week with Premier Klein and Transport Minister Lyle Oberg ducking and dodging opposition questions about the Governments privately owned fleet of airplanes. According to Oberg, Ministers, who are all free to use the planes, operate on the honour system when filing in the flight logs.... no accountability, no transparency...only the honour system....

It got even more interesting this week when Liberal Opposition Leader Kevin Taft questioned whether the Government was using the planes to jet corporate lobbyists around the province.

According to Taft's Press Release:

"information obtained from the government’s flight manifests which details one R. Love flying from Calgary to Edmonton and Edmonton to Fort MacMurray on March 29, 2004. These flights were taken the same day as a press conference about the Fort MacMurray oilsands railway service in Fort MacMurray.

Rod Love was working as a consultant at the time for the Athabasca Oilsands Transportation Corporation. His primary role was lobbying the government to invest over $300 million into the project."

Of course, this is referring to Premier Klein's longtime political advisor and current Chief of Staff, Rod Love.

Wow, who knew that being Premier of Alberta meant you could fly your buddies around in taxpayer funded planes?!?!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Be back soon

taking a break from posting for a bit, hope to post more soon.

D : )

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

wagging the dog...

wow, does this suprise anyone???

I know you're watching!

Today, at the risk being showed up by another wonderful blog (click here), I've added some new features to daveberta (consider it my centennial gift to you!).

One of the new features I've added is what I call 'unresponsible polling' (on the sidebar). I plan to change the topic every couple of weeks. If you have any good ideas for new polls, feel free to email me and let me know! Vote early and vote often!

Also, I've added a new 'counter' to my website. So, I know that you're watching! (or not watching :P)

For those of you interested in hearing about last weekend's Federal Liberal Policy Convention in Ottawa:
Nic at GoPolitical, and CalgaryGrit both have some great stories. Enjoy!

D :)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

my geek factor

okay... some of you may disagree with this...

You are 9% geek
OK, so maybe you ain't a geek. You do, at least, show a bit of interest in the world around you. Either that, or you have enough of a sense of humor to pick some of the sillier answers on the test. Regardless, you're probably a pretty nifty, well-rounded person who gets along fine with people and can chat with just about anyone without fear of looking stupid or foolish or overly concerned with minutiae. God, I hate you.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at

Saturday, March 05, 2005

tory rural caucus rules the roost

The first session of the 26th Alberta Legislature began last week with a showing of the deep split within the Rural and Urban MLA's in the Tory Caucus.

March 1 - MLA's from all parties acclaimed rural Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Ken Kowalski as the Speaker. But suprise came when the majority Tories dumped incumbent Deputy Speaker and urban Calgary McCall MLA Shiraz Shariff in favour of rural Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills MLA Richard Marz.

March 3 - The majority rural Tory Caucus denied the lone Alliance MLA, Paul Hinman, the permission to make a statment in the Assembly (All MLA's who are not members of the governing party or the Official Opposition require the unanimous concent of the Legislature in order to make statements, which is usually agreed to). The Liberal and ND Caucuses along with some members of the Tory caucus voted in favour of allowing Mr. Hinman to speak, but the loud shouts of "nay" from the majority rural Tory drowned out any "yea" sayers. It seems they are pretty committed to keep him from speaking in the House - to the detrement of the voters of Cardston-Taber-Warner, who elected him.

The strength of the rural Tories was bolstered following last November's provincial election, when Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals routed the Urban Tories in Edmonton, Lethbridge, and 3 downtown Calgary ridings.

Tory Urban/Rural Split

Pre-2004 Election (73 Tory MLA's)
Rural MLA's - 36
Urban MLA's - 37

Post-2004 Election (62 Tory MLA's)
Rural MLA's - 32
Urban MLA's - 28

It seems like this could just be the begining of a nasty show-down between the 'city tories' and 'country tories' leading up to the expected leadership race to replace 13-year leader Premier Ralph Klein. Two of the rumoured front-runners in the race include the very urban former Calgary MLA and current Transalta Power Executive Jim Dinning; and the right-wing former 'Senator-in-waiting' and current MLA for Foothills-Rocky View Ted Morton (Morton ran on the slogan 'More Alberta, Less Ottawa).

Final Note - I attended the first Question Period of the new Legislature last Thursday and I'd like to thank Edmonton Rutherford MLA & Liberal Finance Critic Rick Miller for the kind introduction. Thanks Rick!

vote, stupid!

for all you U of A students out there - Student Union Elections are on Wednesday, March 9 & Thursday, March 10 - POLLING STATIONS ALL OVER CAMPUS! VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!!!!!!

Check out info on ALL the candidates and the Health Plan Referendum HERE!!!!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

3rd all nighter of the week

well, this is looking like it's gonna be my 3rd 'all nighter' in a row this week.... can'

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

most bizarre...

and the winner of the 'most bizarre thing I saw this week award' is...

Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day by the Young Conservatives of Texas....


i had to post this - it's from NATO's Public Diplomacy Division website - very cool interactive map! found it during my research on eastern european security issues.

taking a break...

taking a break from paper writing... almost done the one on regional and domestic security issues in Eastern Europe... another one due next week on John Locke and property rights... can't wait until they are done....

going to the first QP of the new Legislative session tomorrow afternoon. looking forward to it, should be fun to watch... I can't wait until Ted Morton says something crazy! it's only a matter of time and when he does - it will be posted on daveberta!


D : )

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Opposition 21 / Gov't 62

Well, the new session of the Alberta Legislature began today with the election of a new Speaker. I haven't heard, but it was expected that long long long long time Tory MLA Ken Kowalski would be acclaimed as Speaker. Kowalski, who was elected the same year dirt was invented, is the current MLA for the riding of Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock.

This session will see a new beefed up opposition ready to take on the Tories! Kevin Taft and the Liberal Official Opposition have 16 members (3 incumbents & 13 rookie MLA's), Brian Mason's perpetual third place New Democrats will be bringing 4 MLA's (2 incumbents, 1 rookie, & a former MLA). Also joining the Legislature for the first time will be the Alberta Alliance, represented by Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Paul Hinman.

Let's hope the opposition gets under the Tories skin!

This new Legislature has 21 Opposition members (out of 83 seats - the Tories hold 62 seats).

Alberta's new opposition MLA's are:

Liberal Caucus
Bharat Agnihotri - Edmonton Ellerslie
Dan Backs - Edmonton Manning
Laurie Blakeman - Edmonton Centre*
Bill Bonko - Edmonton Decore
Harry Chase - Calgary Varsity
Mo Elsalhy- Edmonton McClung
Jack Flaherty - St. Albert
Hugh MacDonald - Edmonton Gold Bar*
Weslyn Mather - Edmonton Mill Woods
Bruce Miller - Edmonton Glenora
Rick Miller - Edmonton Rutherford
Bridget Pastoor - Lethbridge East
David Swann - Calgary Mountain View
Kevin Taft - Edmonton Riverview*
Dave Taylor - Calgary Currie
Maurice Tougas - Edmonton Meadowlark

ND Caucus
David Eggen - Edmonton Calder
Ray Martin - Edmonton Beverly Clareview
Brian Mason - Edmonton Highlands-Norwood*
Raj Pannu - Edmonton Strathcona*

Alberta Alliance Caucus (of one)
Paul Hinman - Cardston-Taber-Warner

*Incumbent MLA's.