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Monday, July 31, 2006

ritter fails "to establish an air of reality."

More movement on the Michael Ritter front as Court of Queen's Bench Justice Joanne Veit wrote in her decision of last week that the court should not routinely interfere with a ministerial order to allow extradition proceedings to go ahead.

The best quote from Madame Justice Veit's decision can be found in Paragraph 5 of the ruling where she says that:

"unless Mr. Ritter is able to establish an air of reality to an alleged Charter breach or demonstrate that the Minister’s decision is deeply flawed from the perspective of natural justice, his rights of disclosure are limited to the actual extradition issues..."
Here's the full story from the Edmonton Journal...
Ritter loses key decision in extradition battle
Judge denies request for gov't correspondence
Bill Mah, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Monday, July 31, 2006

EDMONTON - An Edmonton businessman and former legislative legal adviser fighting extradition to the United States to face criminal charges involving a $250-million US pyramid scheme has suffered a legal setback.

An Alberta judge is denying Michael Ritter's request to order the federal justice minister to turn over correspondence between the ministry and provincial and federal prosecutors.

Ritter and his lawyer want to see documents relating specifically to the government's decision to allow U.S. extradition proceedings to continue after charges against Ritter were laid in Canada.

The former Alberta chief parliamentary counsel wanted the court to stay the extradition process or strike the minister's decision to proceed if the federal government refused to disclose the documents. He argued it was "unjust and oppressive" to defend himself against fraud and theft charges in Canada while at the same time defending against extradition proceedings, all while in custody.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Joanne Veit wrote in her decision of last week that the court should not routinely interfere with a ministerial order to allow extradition proceedings to go ahead.

"On its face, there is nothing irrational or unjust in the minister's decision to confirm the authority to proceed," Veit wrote, referring to the federal minister's approval for the extradition process to go ahead.

The minister's approval was issued in January 2004. She went on to write that there is no link in law between Ritter's domestic and U.S., charges.

The United States is trying to extradite Ritter to California to face criminal charges laid in October 2003 for money laundering, obstruction of justice and fraud in a case allegedly involving a $250-million US pyramid scheme in which money from later investors is used to pay earlier ones. Ritter has strongly denied any wrongdoing and is fighting extradition.
Check out the entire Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology.

batman of the trailer park.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

rain in edmonton.

Happy Sunday evening, folks!

It was a decent weekend. Saturday was warm and I went to the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market for the first time in a while. I used to go every Saturday last summer, but I just haven't gone very many times this time around. I really enjoy going there, lots of neat people and neat tables. I always pick up some bagels when I'm there. Multigrain bagels.

I bumped into Kevin Taft when I was at the market and had a nice chat with him and his wife, Jeanette. Kevin's been busy on a summer cross-Alberta tour. I also saw Senator Tommy Banks on my walk there.

Saturday night was a party in celebration of Roman's exile to Africa. ;-) (good luck, Roman!)

It poured rain pretty hard today. About three inches I think.

Friday, July 28, 2006

silly conservative kanigget esquire.

I was going to post a response to this little propaganda peice, but THIS pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject matter.

Period. Type.

ADDITION: Speaking of silly people... Paul Wells has the dirt on Paul Mart... er... Don Jim Dinning...

no title.

I was pretty disappointed to see this:

Ottawa poised to axe scholarships
Esteemed Fulbright program at risk
Tory senator calls decision `calamitous'
Jul. 28, 2006.

OTTAWA—The Harper government is poised to cancel federal funding for Canadian international academic programs, including Canadian participation in the Fulbright program, one of the most prestigious international scholarships.

The Treasury Board issued a decision on June 21 saying that instead of extending funding for academic relations at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for five years, it would do it for only one.

This means that $13.5 million in funding for international academic relations programs will expire on June 21, 2007.

Programs at risk include: $5 million for Commonwealth Scholarships; $600,000 for the Fulbright Foundation; support for the Canada-China Scholars Exchange Program; a program encouraging Mexican students to study in Canada; and all funding for Canadian studies programs abroad.

Treasury Board officials would not comment yesterday on the reasons for the decision.

However, Treasury Board President John Baird, a former Ontario cabinet minister, has in the past stressed the importance of keeping the federal government out of areas of provincial responsibility, and education falls under provincial jurisdiction.
Stengthening Canada's international position will take much more than simply increased Canadian Forces funding and hard stances taken on controversial world issues, it's also about reaching out and exchanging ideas, understandings, and personal experiences on an individual and academic level.

If Stephen Harper's Conservative government truly wants to strengthen Canada's position abroad, important public diplomacy and academic programs such as study-abroad and the Fullbright Scholarship are key.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

ann coutler is gay.

A couple of things...

- Ann Coulter thinks Bill Clinton is gay because he has a lot of hetrosexual sex. Makes perfect sense to me.

- Political convention extraveganza! Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals had a sucessful policy convention in June, the Alberta Greens had their convention the same weekend, the Alberta New Democrats will be having a convention in October, and the Alberta PC's will be having their leadership convention in November(ish). Not that this is huge news, political parties have political onventions, but just a note.

- Political guru Ken Chapman has started a blog. Chapman is close with the Dave Hancock Campaign for the Alberta PC leadership and was also a campaign strategist for former Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan in Edmonton Centre. Thanks to Allie for pointing me towards Ken's blog.

- CalgaryGrit is having an amazing summer contest. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

oberg leaves the dog house.

The Alberta PC Caucus has allowed former Infrastructure & Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg to rejoin their noble ranks today.

After being very very publicly sacked and booted from the Alberta PC Caucus in March, Oberg was forced to humilitatingly sit as an Independent MLA behind Alberta Alliance MLA Paul Hinman in the Legislative Assembly.

Oberg, a candidate in the Alberta PC leadership race, will most likely be swept from one deep and dark corner of the Legislature to another as he will most likely dwell with the deepest and darkest corner of the backbenches of the Tory Caucus.

nutjobs did apply.

Following up from my Separatist Party of Alberta post yesterday, here's part of a rant from the clearly dillussional Alberta Republicans.

As I clearly enjoy making fun of these silly people, please feel free to read this incredibly ridiculous rant....

The Road To Alberta
By: Alan Clark

People have told me that I must impress on my fellow Albertans that independence is nothing to fear. "Let them know that Alberta will be the same tomorrow as it is today." Well that may be but not if I had my way.

Canada, more than any other country, is grounded in Marxist fundamentalism. Surely, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and even America to a certain degree have their share of socialist planning. But those countries have long histories and vastly more experience than Canada. They have all known periods of great liberty. The greater the liberty, the greater the nation. It's no coincidence that the last two great powers, the United States and Great Britain before her, were the greatest libertarian nations of their time.

Canada's formative years were at the height of socialist fundamentalism. Our system of government could have been written by Karl Marx himself. Every aspect of a Canadian's life is planned by the government. From the cradle to the grave. You are born in a government owned hospital. Delivered by a government employed doctor. Parked in a government subsidized day care. Educated in a government funded school by a government employee. The weight of your cereal box is scrutinized by government as is the printing on the box. The radio you listen to comes via government controlled airwaves from a station which has government approval to broadcast. The books you read are vetted by a government censor. Your job is regulated by government agencies. Notwithstanding the genocide of the Jews, there is simply no functional difference between being a Canadian and being a German under Hitler.

Monday, July 24, 2006

only nutjobs need apply.

It looks like the crazies running the Separation Party of Alberta are looking for a new leader to lead them on their crusade to free Albertans from our now Alberta-based oppressive Federal government... only nutjobs need apply....

Weirdly enough, I found the Separation Party logo on Battle River-Wainwright Tory MLA Doug Griffiths website... maybe he's shopping around?

national ice cream month.

Yes, that's right. July is the Official American month of Iced Cream:

Proclamation 5219—National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, 1984
July 9th, 1984

By the President of the United States
of America

A Proclamation

Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food. Over eight hundred and eighty-seven million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States in 1983.

The ice cream industry generates approximately $3.5 billion in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens. Indeed, nearly ten percent of all the milk produced by the United States dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, thereby contributing substantially to the economic well-being of the Nation's dairy industry.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 298, has designated July 1984 as "National Ice Cream Month," and July 15, 1984, as "National Ice Cream Day," and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of these events.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month and July 15, 1984, as National Ice Cream Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eightyfour, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.


[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:32 a.m., July 10, 1984]

Sunday, July 23, 2006

a 5$ democracy.

From yesterday's Edmonton Journal, here is the breakdown of how the Alberta PC leadership race is going to work. Notice the part that says "No rules on how much money can be raised, or any disclosure of donors..."


When campaign begins: Most leadership candidates have been unofficially campaigning for years, but the PC party will officially fire the starter's pistol in September, once Premier Ralph Klein hands in his resignation letter

Who can run: Any party member who files nomination papers by late September, along with signatures of 500 fellow Tories and a $15,000 non-refundable deposit (although some figures could change before official start)

Who can vote: Anybody who buys a $5 PC Association of Alberta membership. Must be Canadian citizen, 16 years or older, and have lived in Alberta for at least six months

How vote works: On first ballot, each party member selects one candidate. If nobody gets a clear majority, the top three contenders advance. On second ballot, members mark their first two choices. If no clear winner emerges on first choice, counters tally the second-choice picks of the person who finished last. Eventually, a new leader is crowned

When is the vote: The first and second ballots will be held on either Nov. 18 and 25, or Nov. 25 and Dec. 2

Campaign finance rules: No rules on how much money can be raised, or any disclosure of donors.

First ballot in 1992 race:
Nancy Betkowski - 16,393
Ralph Klein - 16,392
Rick Orman - 7,649
Doug Main - 5,053
John Oldring - 2,798
Lloyd Quantz - 1,488
Ruben Nelson - 1,250
Elaine McCoy - 1,115
Dave King - 587

Second ballot in 1992:
Ralph Klein - 46,245
Nancy Betkowski - 31,722

(Third-place Orman withdrew)

Friday, July 21, 2006

west edmonton frozen in the summer...

Wow, I know it's been a while since I've been to the westend of Edmonton, but jeez, when did it enter a glacial period?

all quiet on the ignatieff front.

As mentioned by my good friend Bart, it seems that only one of the 11 Federal Liberal leadership candidates has yet to comment on the current Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon.

Most surprisingly, said candidate is none other than international scholar and intellectual Mr. Michael Ignatieff...

I find it very interesting that Canadians have yet to hear from such an authority figure on international issues. I'm sure Mr. Ignatieff has an opinion on the current situation. Is it because his campaign doesn't think that Canadians will like his answer? Maybe. Maybe not.

But these are the sort of issues that Mr. Ignatieff is going to have to get used to answering if he wants to be Leader of the Official Opposition and eventually Prime Minister of Canada.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

klein gone fishing.

Good lord...

This summer's legislative session, originally slated to begin Aug. 30, will now start Aug. 24. The Conservatives announced the session last week in order to approve spending on education, schools and a new remand centre.

Klein cancelled an official trip to Asia to attend the session, but asked that it be changed so he could go fishing at a private lodge he co-owns near Prince Rupert, B.C.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

why are we picking sides?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to take the position of strongly backing Israel in the current Israel-Hezbollah ( -Lebanon? -Syria? -Iran?) conflict is startling to me. Why is the Canadian Government picking sides in this conflict?

I agree that Israel, like any state has the right to defend itself, but why on Earth would Harper want Canada to get involved in such a long-standing conflict like this one?

A long-standing conflict in which everyone involved is in the wrong to some degree.

And a conflict that has the potential to escalate very quickly.

I believe Harper made the wrong decision - the Canadian Government should be calling for a ceasefire on all sides.

Not surprisingly, Harper's stand strongly echo's the right-wing party line from Washington D.C. where U.S. President George W. Bush is backing the Israeli attack on Lebanon. The Bush administration is also refusing to call for any sort of ceasefire in the conflict.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

going to lebanon?

For those of you interested in vacationing in the lovely Lebanese Riviera, I wouldn't advise it at this point in time. But just in case you don't follow my advice, according to an Edmonton-Calgary-Frankfurt-Beruit flight, care of Air Canada and Luftansa, will cost you upwards of $3,700 Canadian Dollars (one-way).

I find it surprising that Expedia is acutally still selling flights to Beirut seeing as how the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport was bombed by Israeli Missiles the other day.

What an awful situation. Let's hope for peace soon.

(Check out Lebanese Bloggers, a site I found on Idealistic Pragmatist's blog)

(Also, check out this article from The New York Times which speculates on Israel's strategy - props to Brad's Brain for the link)

exciting adventures.

Here are some interesting reports that have come out recently....

- From the Institute for Research on Public Policy comes two reports on political partisanship:
The Shifting Place of Political Parties in Canadian Public Life by Kenneth Carty of the University of British Columbia and Are Canadian Political Parties Empty Vessels? Membership, Engagement and Policy Capacity Dr. Lisa Young from the University of Calgary.

- From the UK-based Demos comes a new report:

Attempts to reform public services will only succeed if they focus on the experiences of service users and become more ‘customer friendly’, according to a new report from the think-tank Demos. The report, The Journey to the Interface argues that reform of schools, hospitals and other public services have focused too much on competition and contestability, at the expense of the experience of users.

Monday, July 17, 2006

back with a vengence.

Following my triumphant return to Edmonton last Friday, I have a couple of things to say about Lethbridge:

- It's windy.
- The Lethbridge Lodge is very nice.
- The people in Lethbridge are better looking than the people in Calgary ;-)
- The University of Lethbridge has a nice campus (and a very very long hallway).
- It's windy.

There also seems to be a semblance of political diversity in this fine southern Alberta municipality... Here are the results from the two Lethbridge ridings in the 2004 Provincial General Election (results from Elections Alberta)...

Lethbridge East
Bridget Pastoor, Alberta Liberal - 5,338 (41%)
Rod Fong, Alberta PC - 4,703 (37%)
Brian Stewart, Alberta Alliance - 1,472 (12%)
Gaye Metz, Alberta NDP - 606 (5%)
Erin Matthews, Alberta Greens - 360 (3%)
Darren Popik, Social Credit - 252 (2%)
(turnout: 48.4%)

Lethbridge West
Clint Dunford, Alberta PC - 4,411 (41%)
Bal Boora, Alberta Liberal - 3,639 (33%)
Mark Sandilands, Alberta NDP - 1,357 (12%)
Merle Terlesky, Alberta Alliance - 913 (8%)
Andrea Sheridan, Alberta Greens - 385 (3%)
Scott Sawatsky, Social Credit - 375 (3%)
(turnout: 45.5%)

Just for fun, when you combine the total party vote between Lethbridge East and Lethbridge West, here's what the results look like:

Alberta PC - 9,114 (38%)
Alberta Liberal - 8,977 (38%)
Alberta Alliance - 2,385 (10%)
Alberta NDP - 1,963 (8%)
Alberta Greens - 745 (3%)
Social Credit - 627 (3%)

from the ol' coots gallery.

Here's a letter from the disgruntled ol'coot letters section in Sunday's Edmonton Journal. I think this senior Alberta really missed the mark on what she should be advocating for. It sounds like her beef is the Alberta Old Age Pension Program rather than everyone else who isn't her.

The future is now

Putting surplus money away for future generations is the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. My future is right now.

I am 80 years old and my only source of income is the old age pension. I need all the help I can get right now, so if Albertans have no use for a rebate cheque, send it to me.

I will make good use of it buying food, gasoline, heat, electricity and clothing.

Jeane McDonald, Stony Plain

Sunday, July 16, 2006

tales from parliament hill.

I found this the other day, though it's a little dated, it's slightly weird in an enjoyable sort of way...

anyway, if you're interested, here are the Tales from Parliament Hill.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

blown away by lethbridge.

Make no mistake, Lethbridge is a windy city.

Things in Lethbridge are going well. I had a great tour of the University of Lethbridge today (which included a walk down "the longest hall in the world" in their University Hall - yes, it was really really long).

On another note, it's nice to see that after setting his mind on closing down the Alberta Legislature for the next year, Premier Klein has decided to have a fall sitting of the Assembly:

The legislative assembly office sent out a notice today saying the second session of the 26th legislature will resume at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
This unexpected session will come at a particularily vulnerable time for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, who will be quickly approaching a leadership race of their own in the last months of 2006. It should be interesting to see how much control the fairly lame-duck Klein dynasty will have on the PC Caucus at that point.

This unexpected fall session will also give Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals, the NDP, and the Alberta Alliance a chance to bring up the issues that matter in Question Period (albeit a short one).

It will also give dejected former-Tory-now-Independent MLA and still-Tory leadership candidate Lyle Oberg a chance to reapply to join the caucus he wants to lead (yes, it is messed up...)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

that's what she said.

I'll be gone to the wonderful City of Lethbridge until Friday. I'll think about posting if I get the chance...

Until then, here's some random stuff to tie you over the daveberta withdrawl...

- Props to Sam for addicting me to another wonderful thing.

- The Daily Canuck is the new blog of the week!

- oh Zidane...

jim dinning: a man with a plattitude.

For anyone up for some entertaining rhetoric, feel free to check out the Alberta PC leadership front-runner Jim Dinning's "on the issues" page. The page features some extremely rivitng policy statements. Here are some examples of Jim Dinning's strong vision of leadership...

Jim Dinning on Edmonton:

"I know from the 19 years I lived in and raised my children in Edmonton between 1977 and 1997. I know that Edmonton is uniquely different than the rest of Alberta. Different history. Different geography. Unique spirit. A one-of-a-kind community mindedness."
Jim Dinning on Voter Apathy/Democratic Reform:
“The best way elected officials can connect with their voters is to deal with the issues that count and show results. People want to see change as a result of their engagement in the political process ... real change ... not window dressing, not superficial posturing, not sound bites. That’s true whether it’s in provincial, federal, local politics, or in education or health care.”
Jim Dinning on Alberta's Public Service:
“Alberta needs a public sector that is non-partisan ... that’s capable of serving any political party that Albertans choose to put in office. A public sector that gives unbiased advice rather than second guessing what the politicians want to hear. A public sector that understands their job is to put forward the best ideas ... the best policy proposals ... then implement whatever decision their elected leaders and representatives and boards of governors or directors choose to make."
Wow, I must say, what innovative and ground-breaking policy statements : Albertans don't like political window-dressing, Edmonton has different geography than other parts of Alberta, and a non-partisan civil service is a good thing. (calling theses policy statements is stretching it quite a bit)
Rumoured future Team Dinning policy announcements include:

- the colour blue is uniquely different from the colour green. That's a difference, and that's unique.
- the FIFA World Cup was in Germany this year, and that's unique. Different results and unique history.
-the weather in the summer is warmer than in the winter, and that's uniquely different.

Wow, I'm really glad we have political leaders like Jim Dinning who are talented at pointing out the perfectly obvious...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

not soon enough.

And Albertans gave this guy four majority governments.

But during this so-called summer of love, Mr. Klein seems to have a bad taste in his mouth.

"There's an old saying in politics, anyone dumb enough to run for the job is probably too stupid to have it," he said of the seven people vying to succeed him.

"I often wonder why they want this pressure. Why they want all the media attention. Why they want this," he added as a crush of reporters closed in around him.

"You get a lot of free dinners, but after that you get sort of tired, especially when you quit drinking and then it's no fun at all. I don't know why they would want to do it other than the power and the glory I guess and the free dinners and the very few perks that go along with it."

After almost 14 years as Premier with some highs (his tenure saw the elimination of the provincial debt) and some lows (his drunken visit to an Edmonton homeless shelter), Mr. Klein reflected on the job he'll soon be quitting.

"I wake up in the morning and I say 'Why am I here?' and it's because I'm not all there."

Reporters laughed. His political aids looked aghast.

And he couldn't be leaving soon enough.

Monday, July 10, 2006

students in exile.

From Inside Higher Education...

Student Government in Exile

It’s hard to be a student leader if you’ve been suspended or expelled. And leaders of the student government at the State University of New York at New Paltz think that’s entirely the point.

The president of the student government and his vice president (himself a former president) were suspended and expelled from the university this month, on charges that they harassed the director of residence life. The students are threatening to sue the university if the punishments are not revoked. But what may separate this incident from most is that the students videotaped the encounter with the residence life director, and the video, which they have posted online, (at WikiPaltz) appears to back their contention that they never endangered the college official.

The dispute started this spring after Justin Holmes and R.J. Partington III were elected president and vice president. Both of them had previously been involved in student government and had criticized the university’s enforcement of drug laws. Many activists at New Paltz are involved in the movement to decriminalize certain drugs and have accused the administration there of enforcing drug laws while ignoring more pressing student safety concerns. Some students went so far this spring as to suggest that students create a militia to protect one another, but most say that they were just trying to make a point about safety priorities and did not literally plan to arm themselves. (The university has said that it has no choice but to enforce drug laws and that it takes safety seriously.)

Read the rest here...

(1000% props to interlocutor for passing on this awesome story)

i've seen everything...

Patrick Stewart is brilliant.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

more michael ritter scandal action.

This June 19 Provincial Court of Alberta decision managed to slip by me.

As some of you know, the Provincial Court deals with most criminal matters, leaving things like fraud and extradition to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.

In this case, former Parliamentary Counsel for the Alberta Legislature Michael Ritter asked the Provincial Court to find that his constitutional rights, namely section 8 of the Charter which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and also section 7 which guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. The event in question was the police seizing his computer, which led to the discovery that he had applied for a Belizean passport under a false name, in contravention of a previous court order.

The judge in his case decided his rights had not been breached, and that all evidence as a result of the computer seizure is admissible as evidence in an eventual trial.

Other interesting parts of the June 19 decision:
-Paragraph 30: the judge noted that Ritter's company (although he claims not to own the company) Newport has "failed."
-Paragraph 36: the judge notes that Ritter is "not a lawyer."

Happy reading!

Check here for the entire Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology

Saturday, July 08, 2006

get rhythm, alberta.

Kind of a recap of the last week...

- The Alberta Liberals scored $1,400 for the Edmonton Youth Emergency Centre this week when they auctioned the Liberal Health Policy book that Premier Klein threw at a 17 year-old legislative page this spring. Also, Liberal leader Kevin Taft is taking the summer to tour Alberta communities.
- I attended Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton's BBQ Picnic this week in the federal riding of Edmonton Strathcona. It was well attended, but like most partisan-flavoured political events was overwhelmingly dominated by grey-haired individuals (I think I'm going to write a post about this topic at some point). Among those attending were fellow Edmonton blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, the Alberta NDP caucus, and 2004 Edmonton Strathcona federal candidate Linda Duncan.

Friday, July 07, 2006


This is too bizarre...

Russian blogs and Internet message boards have been awash with chatter since June 28, when Channel One, Russia's largest broadcaster, showed Mr. Putin strolling past the golden domes and white stone of an Orthodox church inside the Kremlin grounds.

The President paused at a gaggle of tourists, and he seemed struck by the presence of a shy boy.

He grasped the fair-haired child by the arm, squatted in front of him, and asked his name.
"Nikita," the boy answered.

Without further conversation, Mr. Putin quickly pulled up the boy's white tank-top and planted a kiss on his belly. Then he stood up, and brusquely walked away.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

klein has time for power.

Following Tory Premier Ralph Klein's ridiculous personal attack on Al Gore:

"I don't listen to Al Gore in particular because he's a Democrat. And not only that, he's about as far left as you can go."
I was reminded that he had an evening worth of time put aside for another high-profile Democrat with very close ties to Gore in Edmonton last March? He even had pictures taken with him (along with Tory MLA's Cindy Ady and George VanderBurg) and gave the introduction speech at the Rexall Place.

How likely do you think it is that Klein would be singing a different tune had Gore been allowed to become President after winning the 2000 US Presidential election?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

klein v. gore & american politics 101.

Tory Premier Ralph Klein once again proved to the world that his knowledge of American politics is limited to assumptions and jiggerypokery. Today, Klein called former US Vice-President Al Gore "about as far left as you can go," which is just plain wrong.

Here is the story:

"I don't know what he proposes the world run on, maybe hot air," Klein told reporters Tuesday. "I don't listen to Al Gore in particular because he's a Democrat. And not only that, he's about as far left as you can go.

"The simple fact is America needs oil. They need gas. And unless he can find some other source, fine."

Klein has stirred controversy in the past by rejecting scientific data suggesting industrial pollution is one of the leading causes of global warming.

He has even said global warming trends that occurred millions of years ago may have been caused by "dinosaur farts."
Not only are Klein's comments embarrassingly bush-league and uninformed, but they again point out his near complete lack of knowledge about American politics.

I would suggest that Klein, or one of his hundred minions in the Public Affairs Bureau, simply check out the Wikipedia entries on Gore and global warming (source: Internet). Then he might not have to resort to cheap personal attacks when he disagrees with someone - especially when he is supposed to be representing Albertans in foreign capitals.

col. ritter in the boardroom with the ponzi scheme...

I'm clearly behind in my Michael Ritter relate posts.... here is a story from the Edmonton Journal on July 1st...

Ritter didn't breach court order: lawyer
Charles Rusnell, Journal Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, July 01, 2006

EDMONTON - Edmonton businessman Michael Ritter made no serious attempt to hide the fact that he changed his name and obtained a Belizean passport under his new name while he awaited an extradition hearing on charges he took part in a $250-million fraud scheme.

This is proof, his lawyer told court Friday, that Ritter did not intend to breach a court-ordered recognizance that he not obtain another passport.
"Mr. Ritter, like Col. Mustard, has left clues all over the place so the police can go around and pick them up," lawyer Robbie Davidson told court on the final day of Ritter's trial for breach of recognizance, a charge that carries a penalty of up to two years in jail.

The charges against Ritter stem from an October 2003 order. Ritter, Alberta's former chief parliamentary counsel, had been indicted in the United States for his alleged role in a $250-million US Ponzi scheme, in which money from later investors is used to pay earlier ones. He had been arrested by RCMP on behalf of American authorities.

To gain bail, Ritter signed a recognizance in which he agreed to surrender his passport, not to get another one and not to leave Alberta. The wealthy businessman also put up $100,000 in cash and $150,000 worth of security in his house.

On Friday, Davidson focused much of his summation on Ritter's interaction with Casey O'Byrne, the lawyer who helped him get out of jail on bail. In earlier testimony, O'Byrne acknowledged helping Ritter get released. He also admitted signing Ritter's name-change application, but said he didn't read the document and thought it was for a name change in Canada, not Belize, where Ritter is also a citizen. O'Byrne also conceded his signature appears on Ritter's passport application, but he insisted he had no recollection of signing the document or discussing it with Ritter.

Davidson argued that O'Byrne knew the terms of Ritter's recognizance and if there had been a problem with him changing his name and obtaining a new passport, he should have told Ritter.

Crown prosecutor Greg Lepp offered a much different theory to the court. He said Ritter conspired with O'Byrne to get the Belizean passport so he could flee if his extradition became imminent.

Lepp said Ritter did not think he would get caught, and he did only after one of his employees discovered a scanned copy of the Belizean passport on Ritter's office computer and turned it over to the RCMP.

He noted that when a judge had ordered Ritter to turn in his passports, he surrendered his Canadian passport but did not tell the court about another passport from Belize he held in his own name. He had to turn that passport in to get yet another Belizean passport, this one in the name of Adam d'Orleans.

The judge is expected to issue his ruling sometime in August.
Check out the complete Michael Ritter Chronology...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

red state?

Our glorious and beloved Premier has been speaking in public again... (from the Vancouver Sun)

Can Canada's oilsands save the U.S. Republicans from defeat this fall in mid-term congressional elections?

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein thinks so and said as much during a private meeting Wednesday with U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney.

In a bid to persuade Cheney to visit northern Alberta's oilfields this fall, Klein told him a high-profile trip would help Republicans win votes from Americans worried about buying oil from unstable countries in the Middle East.

Klein's unusual venture into U.S. election-year politics he called Alberta Canada's only Republican ''red'' province came amid separate appeals for a joint Canada-U.S. energy task force to help accelerate Canadian exports of oil.

''It might be good for American politics, and for the Republican party in the U.S., for the vice-president to visit,'' Klein said following a 30-minute meeting with Cheney in his West Wing office at the White House.

''It would be politically wise for him to travel to the oilsands.''
And Cheney's response?
According to Klein, Cheney ''said that he would try'' to reschedule.
Calling Alberta Canada's "only Republican red province" is flawed in many different ways - calling Alberta Canada's more conservative province is quite more accurate.

In Michael Adams' "Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada, and the Myth of Converging Values," social additude survey's taken in all of North America's regions found that attitudes and values held by Albertans were less traditional and more "liberal" than the United States most "liberal" region - New England - suggesting that though Alberta is Canada's more conservative province it is far from being a "Republican red province."

I would predict that if (*heaven forbid*) Alberta were an American state, we'd probably float between moderate Republican and Democratic governments (as opposed to the type of hardcore Christian social conservative Republicans documented in Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas").

As for Dick Cheney's junket to Fort McMurray helping the Republicans in November's mid-term elections, I don't think most Americans would even care (not that it's likely the Democrats will actually take back the Senate in November 2006 - see the Swing State Project).