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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

welcome to the government of canada... er... ministry of truth...

Props to Jason from Gauntlet who did a little digging in response to my post "propaganda peice" about the new Conservative Government's "make-over" of the Government of Canada website into a press release generator for Conservative Party of Canada.

For those of you who may have had doubts about this allegation, check out the links Jason has provided in the comment section of that post:

Compare these archives of the Government of Canada site with these archives of the Liberal Party of Canada site.

There's no question that the current situation is vastly different. Vastly.

When Harper said he had a problem with Liberals covertly using government resources to support their party's political objectives, I thought the operative word was "government." Evidently, it was "covertly."

As long as you're brazen about it, it's OK.

more michael ritter madness!

I started the movie script for a Michael Ritter scandal made-for-TV-movie last night. I'm thinking of casting Christopher Walken in the lead role.

You can't make this stuff up!

'Everything I had known for five or six years wasn't true'
Charles Rusnell, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2006

EDMONTON - Prominent Edmonton businessman Michael Ritter told the young staff of his trust company he was the victim of a conspiracy by police and the government -- and some of them believed it.

"I honestly believed the RCMP were out to get him because he had been very public with his criticism of the government in Alberta," Patrick Mitchell testified in provincial court Tuesday.

But Mitchell, a former employee at Newport Pacific and a close friend of Ritter, said he began to have serious doubts after he attended Ritter's bail hearing Sept. 9, 2005, and heard the case laid out by Crown prosecutor Greg Lepp.

Mitchell turned to the RCMP for answers.

"I just wanted to know what was true," Mitchell told the court. "I felt like I didn't know anything. Everything I had known for five or six years wasn't true."

Mitchell would eventually provide Sgt. Marjorie Maier of the RCMP commercial crime unit with a printout of a passport from Belize in the name of Adam d'Orleans, which contained Ritter's photo. The printout became instrumental in helping the RCMP secure a search warrant to seize Ritter's computer and charge the former chief parliamentary counsel of the Alberta legislature with breach of recognizance. A judge had earlier ordered Ritter to turn in all his passports and to not obtain any more.

Mitchell is one of the main witnesses in Ritter's trial on that charge, which carries a penalty upon conviction of up to two years in jail.

It's one of a string of sensational charges Ritter faces. In Canada, he faces several charges related to his alleged role in laundering $43 million US stolen from a brokerage firm by a Wall Street energy trader. The United States is seeking Ritter's extradition for his role in a $250-million US Ponzi scheme, in which money from later investors is used to pay earlier ones. Read the rest here.

Click here for the complete Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

the michael ritter scandal continues...


Ex-Alta. official faked law degree
Legislature lawyer did not graduate, court told
Charles Rusnell, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Tuesday, April 25, 2006

EDMONTON - Michael Ritter, Alberta's former chief parliamentary counsel, fabricated aspects of his academic credentials and never graduated from the law program at a London, England, university as he claimed.

The stunning revelation came during testimony Monday by an RCMP officer in Ritter's trial for breach of recognizance.
Ritter is accused of failing to turn in all his passports, as ordered by the court, and of securing a Belizean passport using an alias. Police and prosecutors say Ritter, a prominent Edmonton businessman and arts philanthropist, wanted the passport and the new identity so he could flee charges in Canada and the U.S.

The charges include laundering $43 million US for a Wall Street energy trader and helping perpetuate a $250-million US Ponzi scheme, in which the money from later investors was used to pay earlier investors. Ritter has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is fighting extradition.

Dressed in a dark grey suit and white shirt with no tie, and shackled in leg irons, Ritter showed no emotion Monday as Sgt. Marjorie Maier of RCMP Commercial Crime testified that Scotland Yard, at the Mounties' request, checked out Ritter's academic credentials in England.

Maier said Scotland Yard reported that Ritter did not graduate from the London School of Economics, did not intern at the House of Lords, and was not accepted as a member of Gray's Inn, one of four institutions in London whose members comprise the bar of England and Wales.

Despite this, Ritter served as Alberta's chief parliamentary counsel from 1987 to 1992 and was by several accounts extremely capable, even drafting legislation that was adopted by other provinces. Read the rest here...
See the entire Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology.

Monday, April 24, 2006

summertime in belize.

Looks like our favorite former-Chief Parliamentary Counsel of the Alberta Legislature is still having fun...

Bail breach trial hears false passport charge
Edmonton Journal
Published: Monday, April 24, 2006

Former Alberta chief parliamentary counsel Michael Ritter went on trial today for breaching his bail conditions by applying for a passport under a false name.

He is accused of applying for a passport in March of 2005 under the name Michael Philippe d’Orleans after being required to surrender his passport as a condition of his bail.

Ritter faces trial in the largest money-laundering cases in the province’s history.

He is accused of conspiring with Wall Street energy trader Dan Gordon to launder $43 million US, which Gordon had stolen from the Merrill Lynch brokerage firm. Gordon was sentenced to 42 months in prison and he repaid the money.

Ritter, 48, is also charged with fraud in a $290 million US “Ponzi scheme,” where money from later investors is used to pay
earlier ones, giving future investors the mistaken appearance the investments are sound.

At a bail hearing in 2003, he was ordered to surrender all his passports, including one from Belize, which does not have an extradition treaty with Canada.

RCMP say they later learned Ritter, allegedly with the assistance of his lawyer Casey O’Byrne, had obtained a Belizean passport under an alias.

Click here for the complete Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology...

propaganda peice.

Seriously folks, at what point did the Government of Canada main website become a propaganda page for the Conservative Party of Canada?

If I wanted PMO press releases shoved down my throat, I'd go to his site, not the main Government site.

inside the movie theatre.

I saw Inside Man on Friday night.

It was a good movie. Somewhat intelligent.

The fast paced story was complemented by the great cast (Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, Willem Dafoe, Clive Owen, Christopher Plummer). Jodie Foster's character was the most interesting, I'm not even sure how to describe it.

I wasn't sure if I liked the movie until about after half-an-hour into it. I would recommend that you see it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

fun with edmonton city council.

Tuesday, I went to the City of Edmonton's Transportation and Public Works committee meeting. It was actually not as boring as it sounds as a tonne of Councillors showed up to hear the presentation that morning (those there included Councillors Michael Phair, Jane Batty, Kim Krushell, Terry Cavanagh, Janice Melnychuk, Ed Gibbons, Karen Leibovici, Linda Sloan, Bryan Anderson, and Mayor Stephen Mandel).

On another note (unrelated to the presentation I went to), Edmonton City Council operates under the Ward system, with two Councillors for each of the six wards. The City of Edmonton is currently reviewing this system and are accepting public input in the process. Here are the options they are considering:

Essentially there are two questions on the table.

  1. Should the number of Councillors be increased from 12 to 14?
  2. Should each ward have single or dual representation?

Out of these questions come four possible choices:

  1. The current six wards with two Councillors per ward
    • Average 118,732 people per ward
  2. 12 wards with one Councillor per ward
    • Average 59,366 people per ward
  3. Seven wards with two Councillors per ward
    • Average 101,770 people per ward
  4. 14 wards with one Councillor per ward
    • Average 50,855 people per ward

Based on 2005 census data

Thursday, April 20, 2006

38-years later.

Thirty-Eight years ago today, Pierre Elliot Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada after suceeding Lester Pearson as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

say 'no' to cilantro!

Thank goodness someone agrees with me on this one.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

on the topic of "old hat."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shocked millions today as he single-handedly challenged the popular culture of our verbal lexicon in using the vintage 1890's term "old hat" in describing the issue of International Trade Minister David Emerson's crossing-the-floor from the Liberals to the Conservatives two weeks after the last election....

Emerson protests ‘old hat,' Harper says
Globe and Mail Update

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Tuesday continuing protests over the defection of former Liberal David Emerson to his Tory cabinet are getting “old hat” and suggested Vancouver voters are now becoming more comfortable with the move.

Mr. Harper made the comments to reporters after delivering a speech in Burnaby, B.C., touting the Conservative government's child-care program.

“The same ten people every time,” Mr. Harper said. “You know, it's kind of getting old hat, isn't it?”
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, reportedly last used by William Ewart Gladstone, here are the definitions from
1. out of fashion; "a suit of rather antique appearance"; "demode (or outmoded) attire"; "outmoded ideas"

2. repeated too often; over familiar through overuse; "bromidic sermons"; "his remarks were trite and commonplace"; "hackneyed phrases"; "a stock answer"; "repeating threadbare jokes"; "parroting some timeworn axiom"; "the trite metaphor `hard as nails'"
So, I guess this means that the Triple-E Senate and Parliamentary Committee Reform are old hat as well...

It is widely suspected that the Prime Minister's Office has hired The Slingshot: the Great British Magazine for Young Chaps, as Mr. Harper's in-house media consultants.

On a completely unrelated note, check out this Llama clip (props to s.b. for the Llama linkage)

(Are Llamas becoming old hat at daveberta?)

board up the windows!

Someone tried to break into my house 10 minutes ago.

They tried to break open the back door.

I heard a bang and went to see what it was.

They saw me.

They ran.

I called the Police.

Now I'm left wondering if he'll come back when I leave.

the daveberta accord.

Oh loyal readers of everything daveberta, by the end of the summer, I pledge to have this song memorized from United States to Sudan!

"United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru
Republic Dominican, Cuba, Caribbean, Greenland, El Salvador too
Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Guyana and still
Guatemala, Bolivia, then Argentina, and Ecuador, Chile, Brazil
Costa Rica, Belize, Nicaragua, Bermuda, Bahamas, Tobago, San Juan
Paraguay, Uruguay, Suriname, and French Guiana, Barbados and Guam

Norway and Sweden and Iceland and Finland and Germany, now one piece
Switzerland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Turkey and Greece
Poland, Romania, Scotland, Albania, Ireland, Russia, Oman
Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Cyprus, Iraq and Iran
There's Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, both Yemens, Kuwait and Bahrain
the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, and Portugal, France, England, Denmark and Spain

India, Pakistan, Burma, Afghanistan, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan;
Kampuchea, Malaysia, then Bangladesh, Asia, and China, Korea, Japan
Mongolia, Laos, and Tibet, Indonesia, the Philippine Islands, Taiwan
Sri Lanka, New Guinea, Sumatra, New Zealand, then Borneo and Vietnam
Tunisia, Morocco, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Botswana
Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland, Gambia, Guinea, Algeria, Ghana

Burundi, Lesotho and Malawi, Togo, the Spanish Sahara is gone
Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Liberia, Egypt, Benin and Gabon
Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and Mali, Sierra Leone and Algiers
Dahomey, Namibia, Senegal, Libya, Cameroon, Congo, Zaire
Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Rwanda, Mahore and Cayman
Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Yugoslavia,
Crete, Mauritania, then Transylvania, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Malta and Palestine, Fiji, Australia, Sudan!"
(According to the Wikipedia post on the song, by Yakko from the Anamainiacs, some of the irregularities include missingn counties and regions named (instead of countries).)

Monday, April 17, 2006

oh valencia. sweet valencia.

This would be an interesting conference to go to...

“Governing Universities in the Knowledge Society”

27-28th, April, 2006

Organized by the Generalitat Valenciana and the Institutional Management
Higher Education (IMHE) Programme, OECD.

Venue: Conference room, Botanical Garden, University of Valencia,

Language: English and Spanish (with simultaneous translation)

Knowledge and the global society are generating profound change in the context of universities which are faced the world over with the need to change their internal structures and, in the case of public institutions, their relationships with public authorities.

On one hand, universities are calling for a fundamentally new type of arrangement
with society, whereby they are responsible and accountable for their programmes, staff and resources, while public authorities focus on the strategic direction of the system as a whole. In an open, competitive and ever-changing environment, autonomy is a pre-condition for universities to be able to respond to society’s changing needs and to take full responsibility for their responses. The majority of universities feel that national regulations do not currently allow them to implement the changes required for the future.

On the other hand, empowering universities effectively to make and implement
decisions requires leadership teams with sufficient authority and management capacity, considerable time spent in the office and wide-ranging experience. New ways of university governance are needed to develop effective autonomy and to run universities efficiently in the current changing environment. Success in implementing new ways of university governance will probably be linked to the success of institutional outputs in the new knowledge society.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

notorious distractions.

For those of you looking for some distracting reprieve from the onslaught of final exams, here are some notorious distractions that will provide your mind with some of the entertainment it desires...

- The Shining - a great parody trailer.

- Are you feeling GREAT?

- Yakko Warner and the countries of the world (I'm going to memorize this song by the end of the summer).

- The new trailer for X-Men 3: the Last Stand has been running for sometime now. It looks like a pretty sweet production.

- Anyone remember the mid-1990's kids cartoon "Dino-Riders?" If so, you can nerd it up on their website...

- And finally, a BIG SHOUT OUT to my good friend Amika Schodie, who sent me an email last night from the beautiful Greek island of Naxos. After a year stint of living in the UK, she's now on a cross-continental journey across Europe for the next couple months.

Here is a great quote in her email about Athens:

"it is really cool to be surrounded by so much history but the city itself is kinda dirty and creepy. and there's a garbage strike on so it's stinky too! but the area around the markets and restaurants and ruins is really cool, it's very greek!!"

(You can thank/blame chris-face for the links to most of these links)

Friday, April 14, 2006

say hello to lyle the llama!

Please say hello to Lyle the Llama, a new addition to the daveberta experience.

my pet!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

our genitalia democracy.

This found its way into my email box this week...


Millions of Canadians suffer from electoral dysfunction, a serious condition when untreated!

You probably know the symptoms. You cast your vote in every election. But frequently you fail. Your vote elects no one to represent your views in
Parliament. To make matters worse, one party can win 40% of the votes, but gain 60% of the seats and 100% of the power.

There is a cure already in use in more than 80 other democracies.

A good dose of proportional representation – a fair voting system – is all it takes.

If you or someone you love has experienced the symptoms of
electoral dysfunction, don't delay. Learn about the cure!
Free public forum at Westwood
Sunday, April 30, 7:30 pm
11135 - 65 Ave
Doug Baillie, of FairVote Alberta, an organization advocating proportional
representation, will tell you everything you need to know.
Hosted by the Social Justice Committee of Westwood Unitarian Congregation 434-5819
I guess when all else fails, use a penis joke...

thursday morning rush.

Those of you in Edmonton will know what I'm writing about when I say that the weather has been beautiful this week! Spring/Summer is finally here!

A couple things for this week...

- A new edition of Policy Options, a publication from the Institute for Research on Public Policy is out.

- The Alberta NDP Caucus has revamped their website - check out the superhero poses of the 4 New Democrat MLA's. The new format is quite an improvement from their former caucus website, which was a little difficult to navigate.

- Bizarro world... the Edmonton Sun's editorial board has positive things to say about Kevin Taft and the Alberta Liberals...

While we certainly would not agree with the direction of everything up for discussion in Taft's Alberta Horizons pamphlets, we are happy that the Grits are trying to get political debate in this province off life support and inject some vitality into provincial affairs.

The Alberta Liberals may not have all the answers, but at least the party is asking the right questions. Good for them.

- She's a DeLongshot - Calgary Bow Tory MLA Alana DeLong is pondering a run for the Alberta PC Leadership... Alana who?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, Republic Dominican, Cuba, Caribbean, El Salvador...

Some people may think THIS is slightly dated.

But I'm at least two years behind on these sorts of things.

apparently accountability is overrated.

I spent part of my afternoon yesterday hanging out at the Alberta Legislature including a trip to Question Period. Props to my MLA, Dr. Raj Pannu, for the kind introduction to the Assembly.

I was really disappointed that Lyle Oberg, the newly Indepenent MLA for Strathmore-Brooks, didn't show up to sit in his brand new seat behind Alberta Alliance MLA Paul Hinman.

Aside from my Oberg disappointment, I did get to watch the following interaction between Calgary Currie Liberal MLA Dave Taylor and Deputy Premier Shirley McClellan highlights one of the main differences between the Alberta's Conservative Government and their Tory cousins in Ottawa.

Government Accountability

Mr. Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today the federal Conservatives in Ottawa are introducing a bill to improve government accountability and openness, but the Conservative government of Alberta refuses to do the same for the people of this province. Alberta has a system of grants, contracts, and land sales that’s out of control, no mechanism to bring it under control, and a taxpayerfunded propaganda bureau to continuously remind citizens to just keep moving, that there’s nothing to see here. My questions are to the Deputy Premier. Will she support an all-party legislative committee to make recommendations to strengthen the statutory authority of the Auditor General so that he can follow the money to the end recipients?

Mrs. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, there’s absolutely no need to do that because the Auditor General today has that authority. The Auditor General in this province is an officer of this Legislature, and he has the authority to follow the money right to the end and, in fact, has done so on a number of occasions. So I think the question is quite redundant.

Mr. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, he doesn’t have the same authority as the federal Auditor General.

Again to the Deputy Premier: given the clear failure of this government to protect whistle-
blowers at the Alberta Securities Commission from retribution, when will this government introduce legislated whistle-blower protection for public-sector employees?

Mrs. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, in reference to the Alberta Securities Commission and whistle-blower rulings, that has already been done and has been in place for some time now. As far as an overall government policy we’ve made it very clear over and over and over again that no one who brings forward a valid concern will have any adverse repercussions at all.

The Speaker: The hon. member.

Mr. Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again to the Deputy Premier: when the feds are cracking down on the lobbying industry, why is this government allowing it to flourish behind closed doors? Why won’t she acknowledge a problem exists?

Mrs. McClellan: Well, Mr. Speaker, a rather obtuse question at best. However, whatever he might be referring to, contributions that are made to political parties here are a matter of public record if that’s the part he’s talking about.

Mr. Taylor: I’m talking about lobbyists.

Mrs. McClellan: People that come to meet ministers in ministers’ offices: that’s an occurrence. I suppose you could suggest that everyone who passes these doors, whether they come to see the opposition or the government or the third party or the fourth, et cetera, would be a lobbyist. I’m not sure exactly what he’s framing the word “ lobbyist” around.

Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that there is no behind closed doors as far as we’re concerned. People who come into our offices are met. They usually discuss matters of mutual interest but certainly matters of interest to them, and I would be against anything that would preclude the public from coming and meeting with government to express their interests or their concerns.
So, I guess the answer is: It's none of Albertan's business which lobbyists are taking Ministers out for lobster and martini's.

Monday, April 10, 2006

an april 10th coincidence? I think not.

April 10th is the birthday of both Steven Seagal AND Haley Joel Osment.

Is Haley Joel Osment a younger Steven Seagal who was brought to the future by timetraveling ninja space monks? Or is Steven Seagal really Haley Joel Osment who came back from the future to prevent the rise of the machines??

Or are they both from the future, just different times? Osment brought to the present by the timetraveling ninja space monks and Seagal coming back years later?

Or, is Osment really a younger clone of the future timetraveling Seagal - cloned by the timetravelling ninja space monks in the present in order to eventually bring Osment back to the future to continue the battle against the machines while the real Seagal remains in the past trying to stop the rise of the machines?

If one found out about the other, would the space time continum collapse?

Will the machines come for them?

Or... are THEY machines?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

save a cowboy, hang a horse.

Driving down the Queen Elizabeth II Highway on the way to Canmore on Friday, we passed a Semi that had the following painted on its side:

Born a farmer
Raised a trucker
Always a redneck

Bring Back Capital Punishment
"Hang the Bastards!"

citizen daveberta.

I just got back from what I can only describe as a wonderful reinvigorating weekend. More specifically, I spent last weekend at a Public Interest Alberta conference in Canmore discussion social policy with people from across Alberta.

It was wonderful to spend the weekend deep in discussion with other like-minded Albertans interested in keeping progressive public interest issues at the forefront of the minds of Albertans. I, not surprisingly, sat on the Post-Secondary Education taskforce working group with participants from CAFA, ACIFA, ABTC, NASA, and the AGC. (All fun people!)

It was really interesting to see all different types of Albertans from all different backgrounds converge a brainstorm ideas on how we can make Alberta a better place to live for all Albertans, not just the special interest groups that currently control the Alberta government.

As well, the nights festivities were fun. :-) I'll make sure to put up some pictures soon...

On a different note, Jason over at has done a wonderful job at liveblogging the Liberal Party of Canada leadership convergence in Edmonton this past weekend. Federal Liberal leadership candidates Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findlay, Michael Ignatieff, Scott Brison, etc were all there hobnobbing. Also, make sure to check out the Idealistic Pragmatist for a recap of Kennedy's visit to the U of A Campus on Friday.

Though I'm sure the Edmonton Liberal lovefest was fun, I think I much preferred going to the mountains and discussing real public policy issues and advocacy strategies in a non-partisan productive environment. It was great.

Also, Metric is awesome.

PS. I've never seen Citizen Kane and don't have any idea what the picture is referring to. Anyone care to explain?

Friday, April 07, 2006

michael ignatieff and his unrivaled collection of scandanavian credit cards.

Well, I'm off to the lovely town of Canmore to take in a weekend of majectic mountains and social policy discussions at a Public Interest Alberta conference. It should be fun and I'll give you an update when I get back.

As I will be missing the hoards of Liberal Leadership candidates who will be making their way to Edmonton at the Liberal Party of Canada in Alberta AGM this weekend, please check out Gauntlet, who will be attempting a live-blogging weekend of Liberal leadership fun!

Have a great weekend!



PS. Ignore the title, it doesn't really mean anything. I was just feeling mildly creatively funny at the time. Obviously, I didn't suceed.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

kennedy in edmonton.

This popped into my email account this morning.

Liberal leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy will be talking to students this Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 in LC101 (law centre - see link for a map) at the U of A. This is a great opportunity for youth to network and meet with a man who could very well be Prime Minister of Canada within the next few years.

Kennedy is a former U of A student and founded the Edmonton food bank in 1983. He has over a decade of elected political experience, most recently as Ontario Education Minister.

If you can attend, please RSVP to

I won't be able to make it, as I'm going to lovely Canmore for the weekend, but any daveberta readers go, make sure to comment and let me know how it went.

le cabinet shuffle: davebertan reflections.

Thoughts on yesterday's cabinet shuffle...

- PC leadership candidate Dave Hancock's replacement in the Advanced Education portfolio is Calgary Egmont MLA and Education and Employment Standing Policy Committee Chair Denis Herard. The jury is still out on Minister Herard.

- Keen watchers will have noticed that Hancock's abdication from cabinet leaves Edmonton with one less voice in cabinet. As much as I'm not surprised that they picked Herard (I actually predicted it!), I'm still surprised that Klein decided pass of the Edmonton region for a new Minister. This means that Alberta's capital city now only has one MLA at the cabinet table (Liberal-turned-Tory Education Minister and Edmonton Mill Creek MLA Gene Zwozdesky).

Then again, with the only other "real" Edmonton choice for cabinet being Edmonton Castle Downs MLA Thomas Lukaszuk, Denis Herard doesn't look that bad.

- After 16 years of wilting in the backbenches, Little Bow MLA Barry McFarland has finally made it to cabinet! Albeit, as an Associate Minister (which sounds suspiciously like something that's created for MLA's the Premier doesn't feel are up to the job of being a "real" Minister).

McFarland was originally elected in a March 2, 1991 by-election, in which he narrowly defeated Liberal Donna Graham by 262 votes.

- Moved from one obscure portfolio to another was banished former-Health Minister Gary Mar, who was shuffled from Community Development to Intergovernmental and International Affairs.

- Also shuffled was ancient Minister Ty Lund (more affectionately known as "Forest Stump" by former Redwater Liberal MLA Nick Taylor during Lund's tenure as Minister of "Environmental Protection" in the early-1990's). Lund has represented the riding of Rocky Mountain House since 1989 and has been a fixture in Klein's cabinet since 1994.

- Emerging from the far depths of the Tory backbenches are Whitecourt - Ste. Anne MLA George VanderBurg as Government Services Minister and Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Denis Ducharme as Community Development Minister.

VanderBurg was first elected in 2001 following the resignation of Tory warhorse Peter Trynchy. Ducharme was first elected in 1997, unseating one-term Liberal MLA Leo Vasseur.

Though it is yet to be seen how much faith the people of daveberta will have in George VanderBurg, I am pleased to see that Mr. Ducharme has finally made it in to cabinet. As the head of the province's Francophone Secretariat, I hope he will be successful in bringing Franco-Albertan issues to the cabinet table.

- Final thoughts, all three of the new Ministers are known as strong Klein loyalists. I wouldn't predict that any of them will make very many waves in cabinet. Though, I suppose after the Oberg affair, Klein wants to get back to auto-pilot.

- So, for those of you keeping score (and I know I am),

Rural Alberta = 1 new Minister (score!)
Calgary = 1 new Minister (score!)
Edmonton = minus 1 Minister (ouch)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

klein shuffles his cabinet.

In the wake of three Ministerial resignations, Premier Ralph Klein has shuffled his cabinet today.

This move shifts around some current Ministers, while also bringing in a couple backbenchers into the fold.

It looks like June 1th just turned into April 5th...

Here is how the new cabinet shakes out (changes are italizied):

Ralph Klein (Calgary-Elbow) - Premier, President of Executive Council, Chair of Agenda and Priorities, Vice-Chair of Treasury Board, Minister responsible for the Public Affairs Bureau.

Shirley McClellan (Drumheller-Stettler) - Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, Chair of Treasury Board, Vice-Chair of Agenda and Priorities Committee.

Ron Stevens (Calgary-Glenmore) - Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Iris Evans (Sherwood Park) - Minister of Health and Wellness

Ty Lund (Rocky Mountain House) - Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation (Moved from Government Services)

Gary Mar (Calgary-Mackay) - Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations (Moved from Community Development)

Clint Dunford (Lethbridge-West) - Minister of Economic Development

Gene Zwozdesky (Edmonton-Mill Creek) - Minister of Education

Greg Melchin (Calgary-North West) - Minister of Energy

Mike Cardinal (Athabasca-Redwater) - Minister of Human Resources and Employment, and Minister Responsible for Personnel Administration Office

Guy Boutilier (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo) - Minister of Environment

Heather Forsyth (Calgary-Fish Creek) - Minister of Children's Services

Victor Doerksen (Red Deer-South) - Minister of Innovation and Science

David Coutts (Livingstone-Macleod) - Minister of Sustainable Resource Development

Pearl Calahasen (Lesser Slave Lake) - Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Gordon Graydon (Grande Prairie-Wapiti) - Minister of Gaming

Rob Renner (Medicine Hat) - Minister of Municipal Affairs

Luke Ouellette (Innisfail-Sylvan Lake) - Minister of Restructuring and Government Efficiency

Harvey Cenaiko (Calgary-Buffalo) - Solicitor General & Minster of Public Security

Yvonne Fritz (Calgary-Cross) - Minister of Seniors and Community Supports

Doug Horner (Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert) - Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

Denis Herard (Calgary-Egmont) - Minister of Advanced Education (New to cabinet)

Denis Ducharme (Bonnyville-Cold Lake) - Minister of Community Development (New to cabinet)

George VanderBurg (Whitecourt-Ste. Anne) - Minister of Government Services (New to cabinet)

Barry McFarland (Little Bow) - Associate Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, and Minister Responsible for Capital Planning (New to cabinet & a newly created position)

resign for leadership day!

Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock has resigned from cabinet today in order to fully concentrate his time on running in the Alberta PC leadership race. No word yet on who his replacement will be.

Following the resignations of Lyle Oberg and Ed Stelmach, this is the third cabinet resignation in the past month.

Afar, Ontario Education Minister Gerard Kennedy has resigned from Dalton McGuinty's cabinet to run in the Federal Liberal leadership race.

UPDATE: Rumour has it that Denis Herard will be the new Minister of Advanced Education.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Premier Klein has announced that this September, he will submit a letter to his party asking for a leadership convention to be held. Whether he will stay on as Premier after September or appoint an interim Premier is yet to be seen.

More analysis soon.

day of pontification.

Happy Day of Pontification!

11:30am (Edmonton Time): Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's "decision" speech (can be seen on CBC Newsworld)

1:30pm (Edmonton Time): Speech from the Throne in Ottawa (also can be seen on CBC Newsworld)

Monday, April 03, 2006

the grassroots are out of touch with the grassroots.

Does that mean that the grassroots are now the establishment?

From Maclean's

Alberta Tories say delegates against Klein out of touch with grassroots


EDMONTON (CP) - Should Ralph Klein stay or should he go? Alberta's premier is mulling over his options after his Progressive Conservative party gave him a lukewarm 55 per cent support in a leadership review on the weekend in Calgary.

He has promised to reveal his decision by the middle of this week.

As Klein confers with advisers, senior government members were suggesting that delegates who voted against his leadership on Friday night are out of touch with the party's grassroots.
Read le rest ici...

in defence of ralph klein.

After receiving a majority mandate from party delegates at this past weekend’s Alberta PC convention in Calgary, Ralph Klein now has the mandate to stay and complete his two-year retirement schedule.

Though 55.4% may not be a strong mandate in some political circles, surely it can't apply to Alberta’s very own oil Sheik.

As someone who has earned his political capital one bottle of Baby Duck at a time at the St. Louis Hotel to bringing his party back from the grasp of Death’s cold claws, Klein now has a clear mandate from a majority of party members to stay and complete the mandate he earned in November of 2004.

What could those 45.6% of delegates been thinking they showed up on Friday night to vote against their glorious leader? Were they mesmerized by the siren calls of leadership beauties Jim Dinning, Lyle Oberg, and Ted Morton? Or was Preston Manning gracefully swooning delegates behind the scenes?

After 14 years of governing Canada's oil province with an iron fist and a sealed wallet, the least Klein could give Albertans is an entertaining 2-year touchdown period.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

warning! faulty political product!

warning! faulty product!

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Alberta PC Convention delegates, of Alberta, has announced a recall of Ralph Klein, Alberta PC leader. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

The electrical connectors in the political machine can erode, posing a fire hazard.

The product has E50, E55, E70 or E75 printed in large type on the front panel and model number 12941, 13035, 13085 or 13088 printed on the bottom of the political machine. This machine grinds complex policy ideas into rhetoric, pressure brews, stops automatically, and disregards parliamentary procedure. It can also dispense hot air for trial balloons and hot steam to froth and steam milk.

Consumers should stop using the recalled political machine immediately, and consult alternative producers to arrange for a free wire replacement.

the morning after & mark norris, leadership candidate inc.

This is a perfect example of what happens when a politician stays around past his best before date. As a non-Tory in Alberta, I am happy to see that 45.6% of delegates at the Alberta PC convention agreed with me that it was time for Klein to go. He was arrogant, visionless, and out of touch.

Allie has a couple posts up this morning live from the convention with her reaction.

Klein is expected to hold a press conference this afternoon to announce his future.

It should be interesting to see what the leadership candidates do from now... is the June 1st deadline for Ministers to resign in place? How will this effect Dave Hancock? I'm sure Jim Dinning is pleased.

Speaking of leadership candidates, what's up with Mark Norris'? The Edmonton Journal is reporting that he is collecting a monthly salary of $10,000 from private donors in his run for the Alberta PC leadership...

[Cal] Nichols and other Norris friends incorporated GLG Consulting (for Grassroots Leadership Group) on Dec. 29, 2004.

So far it has collected $10,000 each from almost 120 "founders," for a total of about $1.2 million.

Norris, president of GLG and its "founders group," sends donors a personal thank-you letter. And the company mails an invoice for $10,000, plus $700 GST, to contributors or their companies.

Norris and Nichols said the donors are free to claim the business expense as a tax deduction.

Asked if they've found a way to make leadership donations tax deductible, Nichols said, "Yep. We are transparent. We have nothing to hide."

But U of C political analyst David Taras was shocked by the arrangement.

"Wow, I've never heard of that," he said. "It's like he's a political trust fund baby. It sounds like a leadership campaign being run as a business. It's hard to know whether they're being really smart or really stupid.

"It takes your breath away -- talk about a politician being sponsored by private individuals."

Can I buy a stock in Mark Norris Inc?

klein gets 55% support in review!

Super blogger Allie is blogging that Premier Ralph Klein has received 55% of delegate support at the Alberta PC Convention and leadership review in Calgary.

After leading the Alberta PC's to 4 massive majority governments, he has been very strongly shown the door.

I'm expecting he'll announce his quick retirement plans at a press conference tomorrow morning.

"Ding dong, the king is dead..."