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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

ndp university

Come the end of December/beginning of January (when we have time), we plan to put on our policy analysis hats and dissect some of the federal election promises.One policy area close to our hearts (and résumé), post-secondary education policy, was the highlight of today's NDP campaign.

Jack Layton announced today that his party plans to "restore what he estimates was $4-billion in cuts to post-secondary education made by the Liberals in the 1990s" by "scrapping the corporate tax cuts the Liberals announced in this fall's fiscal update."

This call by Mr. Layton, not surprisingly, jives with the Canadian Federation of Students' "Restore the Four" campaign... imagine that... what a coincidence...

Mr. Layton wasn't clear on where in the system the $4 billion investment would be directed: Federal-Provincial Transfer, student debt relief, scholarships, grants, research, etc?

Though it's not as nice as the $7 to $8 Billion PSE transfer promised by Prime Minister Paul Martin during the 2004 Great Canadian Job Interview in St. John's, it seems a positive commitment to post-secondary education in Canada.

Thoughts? Opinions?

goldie vs. iggy

Tory MP Peter Goldring and friend.

Edmonton East Tory MP Peter Goldring, above (with the gun), launched an attack yesterday against Etobicoke-Lakeshore Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff. Mr. Goldring accused Ignatieff of being “arrogant and ill-informed” for comments he wrote in his book Blood and Belonging. The comments were regarding the Ukraine.

Mr. Goldring was quoted as saying "I know how sensitive Ukrainians are to those who would support in any way the behaviours and attitudes of their former Russian oppressors."

According to the Toronto Star, Dr. Ignatieff believes he has been wrongly maligned by a group of Ukrainian-Canadians seeking to derail his federal election campaign in a west Toronto riding.

Now, we haven’t read the book, so we really can’t defend or denounce Dr. Ignatieff either way, but we remain quite skeptical. Perhaps if the attack had been launched by another Tory, say… James Rajotte, Rona Ambrose, Jim Prentice, or just about any other Tory MP maybe we wouldn’t roll our eyes. But for those of you don’t know, Mr. Goldring, an ardent advocate of Canadian expansion in the Caribbean, has been known to sit on the silly side of the Conservative caucus (here's our favorite).

Mr. Goldring forgot to mention that Edmonton East Liberal candidate, Nicole Martel, is from a Ukrainian family. How long will it be before Mr. Goldring accuses Ms. Martel of collaborating with the Russians? :-P

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

paul martin's emo.

100% props to Ainge from Lotusland for this.

day 1: the wrath of mother nature.

Well, it's snowing in Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton - that must mean that Paul Martin wasn't the only one who didn't want an election. Looks like God and Mother Nature didn't want an election either. ;-)

Anyway... back to more serious business... it was announced this morning that the election has been set for January 23, 2006.

- Anne McLellan has her campaign office up and running today in the Edmonton Centre riding. It's located downtown in the old McDonald's building on 117th Street and Jasper Avenue. Anne's in for a tough fight with Tory challenger Laurie Hawn, but her campaign team is more than definately up for the challenge.

- It looks like the Federal Liberals are having some difficulty finding candidates to nominate in Alberta. Last we heard, among others, they still hadn't nominated a candidate in the Edmonton Leduc riding. It wouldn't surprise us if the NDP placed second to the Tories in some of the ridings the Liberals have yet to nominate candidates in. Also, the NDP and Green parties seems to be in a bit of a scramble to nominate or appoint candidates in some Alberta ridings. If one is to believe the party website, one would think that the NDP has actually lost candidates in some rural ridings (ie: Westlock-St. Paul).

- The CBC has their CanadaVotes2006 site up and the Globe & Mail also has their Decision 2006 election site up.

*UPDATE*: More candidate updates for our 2006 Edmonton candidates list.

- George Hodgson has withdrawn from the Liberal nomination race in Edmonton Strathcona. This leaves Ellen Schoeck and Andy Hladyshevsky to duke it out in the Dec 5 nomination meeting.

- It seems that Paul Wallace is no longer the Green candidate in Edmonton East.

Monday, November 28, 2005

"okay shredder! prepare to be turtle-ized! hehe!"

A little bit of pre-writ day fun.


Take the quiz: "Which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle are You?"

You've been described as 'the brains' of your family or group of friends. You're the natural born, 'Mr. Fixit'. You're also considered the most reserved, preoccupied with your own little thoughts and ideas. But that doesn't mean you don't hang with your family and friends! But, you still find it easy to get lost in your own thoughts...daydreaming often. You'd rather talk things out than fight. You long for a day when there's nothing but peace in the world, and when you can finally rest with your own thoughts. Violence is something the world could completely live without. One of your labels may be, 'true to blue friend'. You're strong at heart and powerful at mind.

iggy on war.

For those of you interested, here's a video lecture of Etobicoke-Lakeshore Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff.

Only 35 minutes left for Jack Layton to try to make another deal with the Liberals. ;-)

the sound a falling government makes is "thump"

Tune in! 3 pm Edmonton time is when live coverage of "non-confidence vote: part 2" is to take place. It should be a fun showdown! We've never seen a federal government fall! (THUMP!)

Good luck to all those involved in campaigns across the country. Play nice and have fun! :-)

We plan to have mostly Edmonton related campaign updates/gossip (for national coverage, we're sure CG will have his share of insight).

btw, we were in a cab last night with a driver who couldn't stop telling us some of the more offensive racist jokes we've heard in a long time. Slightly more disturbing that he was telling us them in the first place...

And finally, thanks to the half-dozen daveberta readers who emailed us commenting on the new template! We're glad you like it (and we love fan mail! [insert inflated ego here]) :-P

Sunday, November 27, 2005

got a hitch in y'r giddyup?


In preparation for Tuesday's expected federal election call, we've decided to make up a list of Edmonton ridings and their candidates so far... (let us know if we've missed anyone!)

We'll keep updating the list as more candidates are declared, nominated, appointed, or turfed.


EDMONTON CENTRE (2004 results & map)
Laurie Hawn - Conservative
Lyle Kenny - Marjuana Party
Donna Martyn - NDP

Anne McLellan - Liberal
David Parker - Green

EDMONTON EAST (2004 results & map)
Trey Capernhurst - Green
Arlene Chapman - NDP

Peter Goldring - Conservative
Ken Kirk - Marijuana
Nicole Martel - Liberal

David Vanzella - CAP
(*UPDATE* Nov 29 - According to the Green Party website, Paul Wallace is no longer their candidate)

EDMONTON LEDUC (2004 results & map)
Jim Jacuta - Liberal
Ben Pettit - Green

James Rajotte - Conservative
Marty Rybiak - NDP

(2004 results & map)
Kate Harrington - Green
Neal Gray - NDP

Amarjit Grewal - Liberal
Mike Lake -

(2004 results & map)
Ken Epp -
Laurie Lang - NDP
Lynn Lau - Green

Ron Symic - Liberal

(2004 results & map)
Rona Ambrose -
Brad Enge -
John Lackey - Green
Jason Rockwell - NDP

(2004 results & map)
Stanley Haroun - Liberal
Peter Johnston - Green
Mike Melymick - NDP
John Williams - Conservative

EDMONTON STRATHCONA (2004 results & map)
Linda Duncan - NDP
Dave Dowling - Marijuana

Andy Hladyshevsky - Liberal
Rahim Jaffer -
Cameron Wakefield - Green

Saturday, November 26, 2005

our qp adventure.

This past wednesday, we visited the Alberta Legislature and watch some Question Perioding. Here's a quick recap of our observations from the visitors gallery... (though they're definately not as exciting as some of our previous Legislature experiences)

(OPENING SCENE: Beautiful +14C day in the City of Edmonton)

1:00 pm - Leave work at the University, catch the train to Grandin station.

1:10 pm - Get off the train at Grandin station.

1:15 pm - Meet up with our friend Ms. Jane on the front steps of the Leg.

1:19 pm - Bump into Rick Miller in the elevator. We have a quick chat.

1:23 pm - Stand in line to get our QP pass... there are about 5000 school kids in the rotunda. crazy. Donna Martyn and Mr. Sharma are in line ahead of us. Dan McLennan is also in line.

1:30 pm
- QP starts. Mr. Sharma crosses party lines and sits beside a Liberal (us). Way to go, Anand! ;-)

1:40ish pm - Laurie Blakeman introduces us. Very nice.

1:41 pm - Premier Klein is on his cross-Canada "Torpedo Stephen Harper" Tour, so Finance Minister Shirley McClellan is running the show... man does she have a boring voice...

1:42 pm - Liberal leader Kevin Taft asks the first question.

1:43 pm - Alliance MLA Paul Hinman is here. Sitting all by himself. The ND's are there too. Brian Mason is quieter than his usual "QP bull dog" self. But he does make some good heckles.

1:45 pm - It looks like Ted Morton is playing paddy cake... wha? either that, or he has a Juba song stuck in his head.... crazy right-winger...

1:47 pm - We notice that Dave Hancock is still in his "grey hair period" (as opposed to his
previous brown and black periods).

1:49 pm - Aboriginal Affairs Minister Pearl Calahasen is reading the Hill Times.

1:50 pm - Education Minister Gene Zwozdesky scoffs at an opposition question about hot lunch programs in schools. St. Albert Liberal MLA Jack Flaherty yells at Zwoz and looks like he's going to get up and deck him. For a 74-year old, Flaherty sure has alot of energy.

2:00 pm - Banff-Cochrane Tory MLA Janis Tarchuk is signing Christmas cards. Lucky for her, her seatmate Rob Lougheed is MIA. So she uses his chair to pile her cards.

2:05 pm - QP continues. The opposition asks decent questions, but the Tories give boring answers. They know the media isn't paying attention to QP while Klein is on tour. We're bored. Time to bounce. Adios.

2:10 pm - On our way out, we bump into Agriculture Minister Doug Horner. Have a nice chat with him in the rotunda.


Friday, November 25, 2005

buy nothing day.

Can someone explain to us a couple things about Buy Nothing Day?

1. Why does it fall on a Friday?
2. Does beer count? Because... it's Friday... and it's been a long long week.

We're sitting in SUB finishing off a book review and 5 guys dressed in drag just walked by...

Also, this weekend, we will have the full report of our exciting adventure to the Alberta Legislature this week...

Highlights include...
... MLA's signing Christmas cards.
... an update on Dave Hancock's hair colour.
... a certain leadership candidate playing paddy-cake.
... and much much more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

fyi. (pronounced: fwy)

After a quick MSN chat with a friend of official importance, we were reminded that this blog (the one you're reading now), has been nominated for some fairly hefty non-monetary awards. Those being that of the Canadian Blog Awards.

As much as we'd like to mock them as the "Canadian Nerd Awards" or the "Get a Life Awards," it would be unfair to judge everyone based on a couple of blogs.

We've been nominated in the Best Blog and Best Personal Blog categories.

Here are the voting instructions as posted by Robert at MyBlahg.

"Tentative Timetable
Thursday November 24th - Wednesday November 30th: Round One voting.
Friday December 2nd, 12pm EST: Round One results will be announced.
Saturday December 3rd - Friday December 9th: Round Two voting.
Sunday December 11th, 9pm EST: Round Two results will be announced.

Voting Instructions
You may vote once per day. To vote, click on a category header to open it and then make your selection. Repeat with each category until you've made all your selections and then submit your vote.

Note: It's not required that you vote in each category, but you must make all your selections before you submit your vote."

So, as you can see, voting begins tomorrow, so if you likey what you see, *go here* and vote early and often.

(We shall post our endorsements later this week)

awwww... isn't that cute!

Doesn't it look like Warren K has a tiny crush on our good friend CG?

"November 21, 2005 – The Calgary Grit is one of the best bloggers in Canada, and not simply because we usually agree with each other. He’s one of the best because he’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s a terrific writer. And when you meet him – as I did, at the March 2005 Ottawa Liberal convention I attended as a delegate, no less – you will be depressed by how young he is. He made me feel 100 years old, in fact."

"November 23, 2005 - Once again, I cannot improve upon what is being written by Calgary Grit - a young guy who, I hasten to point out, is doing better research/commentary, for free, than what we see out of a lot of the MSM based in Ottawa these days. Amazing."

That's cute. :-)

"in every phrase, you must say eh"

Slightly dated, but entertaining none the less...

Reform Party Rag...

"If you were Indian before, you're not like that anymore..."

Politicans Halloween Party...

"...Chretien and Mulroney did the tango with each other, and Joe Clark was a flirting with someone elses mother."

The Best Summer Job I Ever Had...

"...the best summer job I ever had was as the Yukon PC leader!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

5 day recap.

It's been a really really busy week here in the life of daveberta....

With all the talk of a federal election in the midst, we're not sure from which magic hat we'll pull out the time to get involved... though we've made it no secret that we're less than pleased with the current Liberal government (or Prime Minister Martin for that matter), we do hope to help out in some fashion (how ever limited) with some local campaigns (namely those of Anne McLellan in Edmonton Centre, and Nicole Martel in Edmonton East).

But truthfully, we've become quite tired of entire 'partisan' politics thing. Perhaps it's the lopsided incest of Alberta's political environment/34 year-old Tory government that we find ourselves smothered by. It really doesn't matter what party is in power, if they've been in power for 34 years, they're going to be as incestuous as the current Alberta bunch.

Anyway, enough politics for now, here's a quick recap of the last week...

Last Thursday, on the eve of finishing a kickass research paper on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the BHP Diamond Mine EA process, we had the unfortunate unluck of knocking ourselves fairly hard on the head. HUGE gash, lots of blood everywhere, etc.

we spent 5 hours waiting in the waiting room at the ER at the U of A Hospital. All sorts of exciting ailments over there... This one lady had a broken bone poking out of her skin! It was crazy/cool. After the said 5 hours of quality time with 50 or so other Edmontonians, they finally cleaned us up and glued our head shut (though the bleeding had stopped by that point).

Friday evening, after taking the afternoon off of work to sleep... we joined 8 of our terrific friends in seeing the movie, Walk the Line. If you haven't seen it yet, we recommend you head directly to your nearest film house and purchase a ticked without haste!

Johnny Cash rocks.

Saturday... after a very enjoyable evening, we met up with former-US Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Paul Cellucci, who was in town talking about his new book. Paul (or Paulie, as he’s known on the streets of south Boston) was good for 3 or 6 pints of Guinness and some chat. Though we tend to disagree with him on most issues, we were definitely able to get some insight into his perspective, which was interesting.

Sunday.... papers....

Monday.... papers....

Today.... papers....

Tomorrow.... question period at the Alberta Legislature! (expect a full report later this week (including an update on TED MORTON WATCH).

all is not happy in toryland?

(Intro Song- Don Henley's Dirty Laundy)

From what we can tell from this anonymous blog, all is not well in the mighty Tory EDA of Edmonton Mill Woods-Beaumont.

So unhappy was this local Tory that he (or she) has set up a blog and begun seriously criticizing Tory organizers in Edmonton, including Mr. Will McBeath and Mr. Vitor Marciano, regarding some aspects of Tory candidate Mike Lake's campaign and the nomination race which chose him.

We're not sure what this guys deal is, or if any of the allegations are true, but he sure sounds like a bit of a nutter... an entertaining one though.

(Edmonton Mill Woods-Beaumont is currently represented by Liberal-turned-Independent MP, David Kilgour, who was narrowly re-elected as a Liberal in 2004. Mr. Kilgour, who has represented this area of Edmonton since 1979 as a Progressive Conservative (1979-90), Liberal (1991-2005), and Independent (1990-91, 2005-), is not expected to seek re-election in the next election.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

hinman elected alliance leader.

Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Paul Hinman was elected leader of the Alberta Alliance Party this weekend at their convention in Red Deer.

Hinman, the only AA MLA in the Alberta Legislature, was easily knocked off fellow right-wing crazies Marilyn Burns, David Crutcher, and Ed Klop (Klop was endorsed by former leader Randy Thorsteinson - with endorsements like he's an "incredibly nice guy" and he "grew up on a dairy farm," we're stunned Klop didn't win with a landslide...) .

Here are the results...

1st Ballot
Paul Hinman - 485
Marilyn Burns - 244
David Crutcher - 211
Ed Klop - 188

2nd Ballot
Paul Hinman - 584
Marilyn Burns - 312
David Crutcher - 236

3rd Ballot
Paul Hinman - 626
Marilyn Burns - 387

It seems that Red Deer was a hot spot for right-wing fringe politicians this weekend as the Alberta Social Credit Party also held it's convention this weekend...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

nerd alert.

Saturday night... too tired to do any-thing...

with 2 out of 142 polls reporting, Jim Green is leading Sam Sullivan 947 to 358 in Vancouver's Mayoral Election.

You can see live results here.


Sam Sullivan - 61,543
Jim Green - 57,796
James Green - 4,253

We call *shenanigans* on the part of James Green.


uhg. It has been a traumatic and busy couple of days.

Thursday: 5 hour wait in the Emergency Room. Lots of blood included.
Friday: Walk the Line! "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash"
Saturday: Former US Ambassador Paul Cellucci

When we get the energy, we'll write up a post.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

something about new zealand.

It's very interesting how many hits we've been getting under the search word "Peter Kruselnicki."

Is this what the Tories meant back in the 199o's when they would always use New Zealand as a model of how Alberta should operate? ;-)

See here, here, here, here, and here to see what we're talking about.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

alberta bizarro world continued...

More weirdness coming out of Alberta's right-wing columnists... first Lorne Gunter... this time, Tom Olsen from the Calgary Herald isn't slamming the provincial Liberals... weird...

"Liberal scattergun takes shots at premier wannabes
The Calgary Herald
Wed 16 Nov 2005
By: Tom Olsen

Kevin Taft chose the scattergun approach, standing up in the legislature and letting loose with a spray of figurative bullets.

Five Tory ministers were the targets within Taft's first five questions, starting with the three cabinet ministers who want to be king -- Lyle Oberg, Dave Hancock and Ed Stelmach.

This opening day of the fall session wasn't about health care at all. Instead, the official Opposition Liberals trained their guns on the Tories' budgeting process -- which, truth be told, doesn't exist in any real sense.

The government spends billions of dollars. By happy circumstance, it has billions extra. So it spends billions more.

Taft went straight to Oberg, probably the first time the infrastructure minister has fielded the first question on the first day of a session.

"Can this minister tell us how far over budget his department is so far this year?" said Taft.

Oberg was nonchalant, first assuring the legislature his department was right on target, then acknowledging an extra $400 million in spending. Not sure how the two square.

Next up was Hancock, with a question Taft prefaced with "fiscal hawks turning into fiscal turkeys."

The advanced education minister, freshly coiffed and trimmed down as befits a premierial wannabe, used a lot of words to run down all the things the province has done in education lately.

Then it was on to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Stelmach, a guy who seems to be about everybody's second choice for next Tory leader.

Asked Taft: "Can this minister tell the assembly if his department is on target to finish the year on budget?"

Eddie ran through some stuff his department is doing, but no one really cares. It's not like he's building universities or hospitals. ..."


We think we may have a small case of whiplash.... we actually don't disagree with one of Mr. Lorne Gunter's articles... wow... Mr. Gunter as you may know, is a right-leaning columnist at the Edmonton Journal who's articles are usually waaaaay off the mark (in our books, of course).

In today's article he criticizes the Klein Tories...

Clips the article...

"Arrogance of Klein Tories as bad as the Liberals'
What possessed our Premier to say extra revenues are nopne of our business?


It was infuriating this week to watch federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale use the House of Commons finance committee to launch the federal Liberals re-election campaign with insincere promises of tax cuts, most of which won't kick in until 2010 or 2011. ...

But it was more enraging to hear Alberta Premier Ralph Klein insist any money his government receives over and above the revenues projected in its annual budget belong to the government and are no concern of the opposition or the legislature. Whether he realizes it or not, when Klein says that he is also saying they are no concern of voters and taxpayers, either.

Yet clearly they are very much our concern.

You may feel it is only fair that oil and gas companies pay royalties on the non-renewable resources they pump from under this province. After all the resources do not belong to them, they are public. But that doesn't mean the resources are owned by the provincial government, either.

Alberta's resources are the property of Albertans. We merely elect governments to manage them on our behalf. That is an enormous power to give to a tiny group of people. So we elect an entire legislature to hold the government to account.

It is not enough that we voters can turn the government out every three or four years. For there to be effective accountability, the opposition must be able to scrutinize and publicize government actions on an ongoing basis, even if we don't particularly like what the opposition has in mind.


Opposition is right

But when the opposition leaders are right, they're right. And both Liberal Leader Kevin Taft and NDP boss Brian Mason were spot-on this week in their criticism of the Klein government's unsupervised, unaccountable spending spree.

In its budget last spring, the Klein government outlined plans to spend $25.8 billion this year, for a province with just 3.3 million residents. That is already $7,800 per man, woman and child, far and away the highest spending level of any government in the country, federal or provincial.

Still, Alberta is likely to have revenues this year approaching $35 billion. So, since the budget, and since the legislature was last in session, the Klein government has pledged to spend an additional $7 billion -- nearly a third more than planned -- all without additional legislation, or debate, or even so much as a question answered in the legislature.


And just what are the Tories so preoccupied with in this fall sitting that they haven't time to answer questions about the surplus? Well, there's an act to clean up ambiguous wording in Post-Secondary Learning Act, some "minor changes" to the Police Act, a bill to let unborn babies sue their parents for negligent driving, a ban on criminals making money off the notoriety of their crimes and an act to foster "a spirit of community and good relations among current and former MLAs."

Busy, very busy.

So when Taft says "If the premier thinks he can spend taxpayer dollars at his whim, it really is time for him to go," and Mason says, "Mr. Klein is getting to the point where he thinks he's entitled to absolute power in this province," they're both right.


Klein's Tories announce $7 billion in spending (twice as much per capita as Goodale), then get mad when anyone suggests they might want to let the opposition question them about it.

That's every bit as appallingly arrogant."

graham thomson's blog

We've just discovered that our favorite Edmonton Journal columnist, Mr. Graham Thomson, has a blog!

Check it out here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

blog meme meme meme meme meme meme.

It has come to our attention that Calgary Grit has tagged us in another elaborate blog meme scheme...

The rules are:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

So... from February 17, 2005...

"For those of you in Alberta - Happy Family Day long weekend!"

Not exactly the most exciting post, but pleasant none the less. We were on the eve of our second apartment move of the year (there turned out to be another one 6 months later). Also, as you might notice, this post was posted in our pre-pluralistic singular days. Ah, what a crazy youth this blog did have. :-P

Now... we tag...


kruselnicki in trouble?

It seems Premier Ralph Klein's Chief of Staff, Mr. Peter Kruselnicki, has become part of some controversy related to his recent work in New Zealand.

From the New Zealand Herald:

"Commission under attack over CYF head's contract
By Ruth Berry

The State Services Commission's handling of outgoing Child, Youth and Family head Paula Tyler's contract is under fire on all fronts.

The Herald understands she blames the commission for her early departure.

Ms Tyler recently announced she would leave just 18 months into her three-year contract, prompting the National Party to complain she should refund part of the $70,000 spent recruiting her.

State Services Commissioner Mark Prebble said her contract made no provision for repayment of the costs in the event she left early.

Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday that she was concerned about the agreement.

"I think the contract should have been tighter. I think everyone appreciates that helping people relocate may well be part of the package, but I would have thought it should be tied to seeing out the term." She expected that contracts would be better drawn up in future.

But a source told the Herald Ms Tyler believed the commission should take responsibility for her departure as it had failed to uphold a commitment it had made to find her partner a suitable job.

Peter Kruselnicki was a senior bureaucrat in Alberta, Canada, and one-time Deputy Minister of Finance.

The $70,000 included two return airfares between Canada and New Zealand to enable him to seek employment opportunities.

He was finally made a visiting fellow at Victoria University's public administration faculty.

The Herald's source said the job was essentially a sinecure and not at all the type of senior state sector position he was qualified to do and which the pair had been led to believe would be found for him.

The commitment had been informal but in good faith and Ms Tyler had expected it to be honoured.

Tired of "fiddling his thumbs", Mr Kruselnicki had opted to return to Canada to work for Alberta Premier Ralph Klein."


Monday, November 14, 2005

the smell of a 20 dollar bill.

Soon, we may be $20 richer.

Mr. Bullerwell, we take cash and personal cheques only.

And to quote...

"And there's no way you're getting your $20. To quote my personal hero Paul Wells:

"No election before the New Year. There will be no election before the New Year. Tell yourself. Learn to love the idea. Learn to hate it. I don't care. But deal: no election before the New Year.""


only four days until...

...walk the line.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

85.71 cups.

According to the Death by Caffine Calculator:
85.71 cups of Brewed Coffee + daveberta = Death
(Props to Chris for the linkage)

tory dynasty.

This lovely article was 100% lifted from last week's edition of SEE Magazine.


Immediately following the release of Justice John Gomery’s first report on the sponsorship scandal, Premier Ralph Klein said he would be tossed out for similar behaviour in Alberta.

"I would be hung," Klein told reporters. The comment, coming from a politician who has publicly defended former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, drunkenly thrown money at the homeless, and given detractors the middle finger, raised more than a few eyebrows.

Klein isn’t the only member of his caucus with a colourful history. Conservative scandal gets public attention year after year, touching multiple cabinet portfolios, and tarnishing the most luminous Tories. Here are a few of the regime’s greatest hits from the last three years.

2005: Worst land deal deal ever

Earlier this year, ethics commissioner Donald Hamilton cleared Environment Minister Guy Boutilier of influencing an Alberta Social Housing Corporation decision to sell 231 acres of Fort McMurray land for affordable housing to the Timberlea Joint Venture Consortium. The consortium got the land at a price set for 158 acres. Not only was the deal sweet, but beneficiaries include Boutilier’s personal friend Tim Walsh, and other individuals who NDP critic Ray Martin says have contributed $14,000 to Boutilier’s campaigns since he became an MLA. To top things off, the $35,000 per acre price was based on 1990 land values. The government lost at least $2.5 million in potential revenue on the sale.

2004: Mar’s totally excellent misadventure

Alberta opposition leaders tore into Health Minister Gary Mar for awarding $400,000 worth of untendered contracts to his former executive assistant Kelly Charlebois. In a stunning parallel to the federal government’s sponsorship contracts, Mar had no record of any work performed by Charlebois for the money. Mar cancelled the contracts after considerable media attention, but the government never reformed their policy to allow contracts under $100,000 to
be awarded without tender, even if multiple contracts are awarded to one person or company over a short period of time. No reforms of contract tendering limits
came about in the wake of the fiasco, and Mar was allowed to keep his cabinet

2003: FOIP - Fuck Off, It’s Private

Just days before Christmas, Alberta Finance Minister Pat Nelson announced the settlement of a multi-million dollar legal dispute between West Edmonton Mall, Alberta Treasury Branches (ATB) and former ATB superintendent Elmer Leahy. Leahy had overseen the questionable approval of $353 million of loan guarantees for the financially troubled mall, and was later accused of accepting bribes to move the deal forward. Leahy turned the tables on his accusers at the ATB, swearing Ralph Klein, as economic development minister, ordered him to make the deal happen, along with then-deputy premier Ken Kowalski, and former treasurer Jim Dinning.

Then NDP leader Raj Pannu was steamed to discover details of the settlement were sealed in court. Subsequent Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) requests for information about the settlement were rejected. All documents had been given to the ATB, which enjoys an exemption from FOIP legislation. Government losses on the deal were never disclosed, although the ATB was reported to have estimated $115 million was sunk on the deal. Dinning is now a front-runner in the lurking Tory leadership race."

Saturday, November 12, 2005


If you're ever looking for another way to procrastinate (and we know you are), check out newsfutures. It's a virtual stockmarket for predicting news events and it's really really adictive.

Also, we went to the Remembrance Day cemeonies at the University of Alberta Butterdome yesterday.

We have more to post soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Today's Inside Higher Education has a story about bloggers in academia...

"Dissent is a way of life in the blogosphere; comments and barbs get traded, and feelings potentially hurt, every day. But one such discussion among three academics has escalated to the point that at least two of them have hired lawyers to try to resolve the dispute.

Paul Deignan is a 41-year-old mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate, with master’s degrees in math and mechanical engineering, a background in military intelligence and a wife and three kids.
Read the rest here...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

cellucci does e-towne.

Mr. Argeo Paul Cellucci, former American Ambassador to Canada, will be speaking in Edmonton on Saturday, November 19 at the Royal Alberta Museum. He'll be speaking about his book "An Unquiet Diplomacy." It should be interesting to see what Mr. Cellucci has to say. We think we may go and check it out.

Tickets are available at one of our favorite Edmonton bookstores: Audrey's (on 107th Street and Jasper Ave).

blog of the week: ponies and pachyderms

This week's new "blog of the week" is the awesome American politics blog run by a bunch of hosers: Ponies & Pachyderms.

10 points to anyone who can guess what the title means (we had to google it).

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

old glory robot insurance.

...check this lovely commercial out. Too funny.

(props to mr. face for the linkage)

edmonton strathcona

Well, it seems Jack Layton and his NDP Caucus will no longer be supporting the good ship Martin, which may mean a winter election in 2005... perhaps we will still win our bet with Mr. Bullerwell and be $20 richer come New Year's Eve...

This left us wondering what will go on in our newly adopted riding of Edmonton Strathcona (we were previously in Edmonton Centre, represented by Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan).

Candidate-wise, it looks like Mr. Rahim Jaffer will be running for the Conservatives again (he has represented Edmonton Strathcona under the Reform, Canadian Alliance, and Conservative banners since 1997).

For the NDP, environmental lawyer Ms. Linda Duncan is their candidate of choice. As some of you may remember, the more controversial Mr. Malcolm Azania was the NDP candidate in Strathcona last time around.

The Liberals are in the midst of a 3-way contested candidate race with former U of A Secretariat Director Ellen Schoeck taking on fraud investigator George Hodgson, and lawyer Andy Hladyshevsky. It should be an interesting nomination race. We know both Ms. Schoeck and Mr. Hodgson and the're both very nice people. We don't know Mr. Hladyshevsky, so we can't really offer any sort of opinion on him.

No word on who the Greens have nominated or yet to nominate.

Though we're fairly sure Mr. Jaffer will be re-elected, he won't be getting the pleasure of our vote. We're really not sure who we're going to vote for yet. Time shall tell.

For those of you interested, the last couple of elections in Strathcona went like so...

2000 Federal Election
x-Rahim Jaffer, CA - 23,463
Jonathan Dai, Lib - 17,816
Helene Narayana, NDP - 8,256
Gregory Toogood, PC - 5,047
Ken Kirk, MP - 814
Kesa Rose Semenchuk, AP - 299
Kevan Hunter, M-L - 164

2004 Federal Election
x-Rahim Jaffer, CPC - 19,089
Debby Carlson, Lib - 14,057
Malcolm Azania, NDP - 11,535
Cameron Wakefield, Grn - 3,146
Dave Dowling, MP - 519
Kevan Hunter, M-L - 103

Monday, November 07, 2005

crazy nutter.

If you haven't already (and I'm willing to bet most of you haven't) read this article about Dr. Aubrey de Grey from the October 28 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, here it is...

"If you wish to be a prophet, first you must dress the part. No more silk ties or tasseled loafers. Instead, throw on a wrinkled T-shirt, frayed jeans, and dirty sneakers. You should appear somewhat unkempt, as if combs and showers were only for the unenlightened. When you encounter critics, as all prophets do, dismiss them as a idiots. Make sure to pepper your conversation with grandiose predictions and remind others of your genius, lest they forget. Oh, and if possible, grow a very long beard.”

and the lord said...

...let their be snow. And there was snow. In Edmonton. And it was cold.

btw, did anyone else watch the new Family Guy episode? HOLY SMOKES! Osama Bin Laden video bloopers? The Stewie - Bin Laden battle? Are they allowed to say "death to America" on TV? Because they said it like 20 times. It was too funny.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

dvd expasion,

Bought four new DVD's this weekend:

- Garden State
- The Bourne Supremacy
- Ghostbusters I
- Ghostbusters II

Saturday, November 05, 2005


ahhh. Saturday morning... ug.... afternoon...

It's fairly cool outside. Almost winter, but not quite. Feels like -30C, but it's really only -7Cish.

We're on the tail end of our fluishness. Thank goodness. It's amazing what a good sleep and 4 litres of orange juice can do.

Also, we started reading the book Jarhead today. Apparently they're making a movie of it. But apparently the movie has been fairly sanatized from the book version. After we finish the book, we may move on to the movie version and write a review.

We watched the War Room the other night. HOW COOL. For those of you who don't know about it, it's a documentary on the 1992 Clinton Campaign focusing on Misters James Carville and George Stephanopoulous. Props to Mr. Spence for lending it to us.

Also saw The Big Lebowski for the first time last night. Following the movie, we were asked our opinion of it. We told our fellow viewers (ici, ici, ici, et ici) that we would sleep on it, and we're proud to announce that the verdict is good. It was an enjoyable production.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

happy halloween, dave hancock.

Well, it appears official. We have collected some sort of sickness. Feels like a flu, but the jury is still out. Sleep is needed for tonight.

And btw, from the REALLY WEIRD category of Alberta politics (which just happens to be the largest category), we were shocked and awed at the stunning change in the appearance of Advanced Education Minister and Tory Leadership hopeful Dave Hancock.

See what we mean...

This was Hancock after the November 2004 Election


this is Hancock Now - HOLY SMOKES!

Happy Halloween?

'grade a' alberta bs.

Premier Ralph Klein from yesterday's Edmonton Sun...

"I know that in this province, the buck would have stopped with me," Klein told reporters yesterday after the Gomery Commission report exonerated the prime minister of direct involvement.

Klein said that considering the magnitude of the scandal, he "would be hung" if his government squandered hundreds of millions of Alberta taxpayers' dollars.

"If they couldn't track me down, I would have to find a place far enough away in the world to hide," he said. "This kind of thing is not acceptable to Alberta people."


"They seem to get away with this kind of thing in Ontario and to some degree in Quebec," he said. "I guess the people there will vote for the devil they know rather than the devil they don't know."

So says the guy who constantly downplays the reports of and ignores his own Auditor General...

*cough*bullshit* cough*


It's around midnight and we're sitting in SUB trying to finish writing a stupid paper on Canadian trade issues with the United States in the early 1900's. Big question... WHO CARES?

This will be our 3rd "all nighter" in a row. We are freaking tired. Brain is mush...

We can also feel a sickness coming upon us. We think it may be the bird flu. uhg.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

fall session

We hope you all enjoyed yesterday's Gomery Day festivities. We sure did.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programing.

Cut to set of Channel 17 Broadcast News

News Anchor: "Good Morning and thank you for joining us."

"In today's bizarre news feature, the Alberta Legislature will be meeting this fall to pass what is commonly known in other provincial juristictions as 'legislation,' and participate in a even more bizarre ritual known as 'Question Period.'"

"Our investigative reporters were not able to determine what shape or form this 'legislation' will take, but local officials are warning parents to bring their children in before dark and keep their animals in the safety of their back yards. If you see this elusive legislation, please contact your local police deparment immediately."

"It is also being reported by an anonymous source within the Legislature that the fall session, which begins on November 15 and will run for two or three weeks, is starting just in time for the rural Tory MLA's to bring their wives into the city for some Christmas shopping on the taxpayers tab."

"We will keep you updated as this story unfolds."


(End Scene)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

chretien time.

We're sitting here watching the Chretien press conference. And we've learned a number of things...

1. Jean and Aline Chretien like music. So does Michel Béliveau.

2. He really doesn't like Paul Martin. Or Jean LaPierre. Or Stephen LeDrew. Or Stephen Harper. Or the NDP. He just about slagged everyone.

3. He's either really really smart, or insane. The press conference was so random. Balls? Invading the United States? Wha?

4. Jean Chretien is WAAAAY more entertaining than Paul Martin.

12:30 gomery recap.

arg. We should have been spending the morning writing papers, but instead we found ourselves sitting in front of the television watching CBC Newsworld's coverage of the Gomery Report.

Watching QP right now.

As for the press conferences...

Jack Layton's press conference was interesting. He now needs to be fairly careful in what he decides to do. He called the Liberals corrupt, so can he now save face if the NDP continues to prop up Mr. Martin's minority government or will the NDP move to topple the Liberals.

Stephen Harper didn't do a bad job. His press conference went well in our opinion. He was calm and not overly angry, which looked good.

The Prime Minister's press conference wasn't bad. He mentioned the Liberal Party as little as possible. He also had a good game for the most part, but we could tell he was getting tired come the end. He was starting to bumble by the end. We doubt Mr. Martin got very much sleep last night. He did fairly well in not answering questions about Jean Chretien, referring them to the Gomery Report. Gagliano=BANNED. $1.14 Million refunded...

Former Prime Minsiter Jean Chretien's press conference is going to be held at 5pm eastern time (3pm Alberta time). That one should be interesting...

and... can someone explain to us why is Jean LaPierre in Cabinet, again?



bo bomery.

Last night, on Halloween, we joined around 100-200 University of Alberta students on the annual Trick or Eat event, collecting donations for the campus foodbank in the neighbourhoods around campus (Belgravia, Windsor Park, Garneau). It was alot of fun and felt like being a little kid again! Our group alone collected about 3 bins of food! Also... lots of candy!

We thought about dressing up as our favorite Whitehouse character, Scooter, but we didn't think anyone would get it. So, we dressed up as a business student instead. ;-)

Also.... our advanced copy never showed and Johnny G. wasn't answering his cell, so....

gomery gomery bo bomery banana fana fo fomery. fee fie fo fomery... GOMERY!