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Thursday, November 30, 2006

debate? how about mini-put?

The three last remaining Alberta PC leadership candidates standing - Ed Stelmach, Ted Morton, and Jim Dinning - had it out tonight in a televised debate. Now, one might say,:

"Daveberta, you're a keen observer of the albertus politicnus. What did you think of the debate?"
Well, my answer to that question is that I didn't watch the debate.

I spent my evening having a blast at West Edmonton Mall's Glow-in-the-Dark Mini-put! If you haven't been, I do recommend. It's quite fun.

From what I can tell about the debate, it wasn't exactly exciting (I may be wrong?).

Jim Dinning went on the attack against Ted Morton. This isn't overly surprising as Dinning has been in desperate-attack mode against Morton since only receiving 30% support on last Saturday's PC leadership vote. All you have to do is watch and listen to Dinning to feel the sense that he's extremely desperate to save his political future and pull off a win. Check out this video of Dinning's rally speech to supporters earlier this week to see what I mean.

Though I'm really at a loss as to predict what the results of Saturday's vote will be, it should be interesting to see how much support Ed Stelmach has been able to gain over the past week. He seems like the only of the three to have some sort of momentum...

As for the other candidates, I will have my final pre-second/third ballot up tomorrow.

john cleese, the mla for fort mcmurray-wood buffalo.

Larry Johnsrude posted a bizarre transcript of an Alberta Energy Utilities Board hearing starring Alberta's Environment Minister Guy Boutilier who was not answering questions as a Minister, but only as an MLA...

Here's a portion of the transcript, I encourage you to read the rest, bizarre, monty pythonesq...

Judge for yourself. The following is an excerpt from an exchange between Boutilier and Don Mallon, lawyer for the Mikisew Cree First Nation:

Q (Mallon). I'm going to talk about the paragraph where you look forward to fishing with your grandson, and today you said granddaughter, but I gather from what you said today and what it says in the following paragraph that you don't have a
grandchild yet, or am I mistaken?

A (Boutilier). Actually my wife and I don't have a son or daughter yet, but we're in the process of privately adopting, so as a follow-up to our adoption, we expect to have grandsons and granddaughters.

Q. All right. So I'm going to assume that your grandson is precocious. And has become a river ecologist, a river biologist. And your son advises you as the Minister of Environment that the Athabasca River system's ecosystem is in danger of imminent collapse and that you and he are not going to be able to fish in that river anymore. And the reason for it is that the flows are too low and that we're removing too much water. Now, the responsibility that you have, which is an absolute responsibility, then, is to protect the river, right?

A. It's important to recognize that I'm here as MLA, I'm quite prepared to answer any question, but not as Minister of Environment.

Q. Well, I'm sorry, sir, you don't get to pick and chose who you are one minute and who you are not the next. You are the Minister of the Environment.

A. Right.

Q. And I'm asking you, sir, that as the Minister of Environment, is it not appropriate, if that ecosystem is in danger, to reduce or completely stop the withdrawal of those flows for the period of time that it takes in order to allow that system to get back to square one?

A. Mr. Chairman, I am here today as the MLA representing the region and citizens.

Q. And we know that Alberta Environment is the protector of the environment in this province.

A. Yes, I'm here today, though not as Alberta Environment but as the MLA.
Read the rest...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

the more things change...

A couple of thoughts...

- I can't wait until the Alberta PC leadership race is over with and I can start blogging on something else (I *could* completely ignore the race, but it only started to get interesting 3 days ago...)

- Former Lyle Oberg supporter and MLA for Calgary Montrose Hung Pham has endorsed Ted Morton... Lethbridge West Tory MLA Clint Dunford has endorsed Jim Dinning.

- It will be very interesting to see what type of internal termoil manifests itself if Ted Morton wins the race. With one supporter (who's first choice was Lyle Oberg) from his caucus collegues, it's going to be a fairly awkward first caucus meeting after next Saturday if Morton pulls it off. I get the feeling it's going to be a little awkward anyway considering the amount of support Morton's team pulled on the first ballot.

- Lyle Oberg. What happened to the 10,000 Tory memberships the Alberta Building Trades Council whole-sale purchased from his campaign? Will they show up to support Ed Stelmach?

- On a non-Tory leadership note! One of this blog's favorite MLA's - Edmonton Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman - had a great quote in Tuesday's Gateway on the topic of women in politics:

“There’s an idea out there that somehow women are delicate flowers—people are snickering already—that somehow we can’t hack it and that we are broken by this, and frankly, that’s just bullshit,”
Way to tell 'em, Laurie!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

flip flop morton.

This came in my inbox this afternoon....

"We need leaders need to make decisions, not flip flop and dither when they're faced with a tough decision." --Jim Dinning

LOL @ Dinning trying to paint Morton with the "flip flop" label.

tuesday hawking.

There's been some good breakdown of the potential outcomes of next Saturday's Alberta PC leadership second ballot. As I've said before, a lot will depend on how many memberships can be sold this week and how well defeated candidates like Dave Hancock, Lyle Oberg, and Mark Norris can retain the support of supporters and direct them to support Ed Stelmach.

Also, it should be interesting to see if the 36 MLA's who are supposedly supporting Jim Dinning actually get out and sell PC memberships this week (we're all looking at you Barry McFarland...).

I wouldn't be surprised if large portions of Lyle Oberg's support and Mark Norris' rural support went to Ted Morton on the second ballot. But, because of the PC membership sales this week it will be fairly difficult to track this.

Ted Morton is definately the anti-establishment candidate in this race. If you're a Tory and you want things shaken up, I'm pretty sure Ted Morton is your man. Ed Stelmach may have "integrity," but I still can't name one thing he did after being a member of the PC Cabinet and Caucus for 13 years. And I think I've made my thoughts on Jim Dinning fairly clear in the past.

I'll have more of my thoughts in the next couple days, but until then I'll direct you to Duncan's breakdown on the probabilities of the preferential second ballot.

Also, I was impressed with Green leader Elizabeth May's second place good showing of 25% in last night's London-North Centre by-election. Considering Liberal Glen Pearson was only elected with 34% and Conservative Diane Haskett placed third with 24%, it should be interesting to see how this will effect future Green support across Canada. It doesn't do anything bad for their legitimacy...

And finally, the Federal Liberals are holding their leadership selection this upcoming weekend. Who will win? Michael Ignatieff? Bob Rae? Gerard Kennedy? I guess we'll see, but to tell you the truth, other than reading the weekly pdf edition of the Hill Times than arrives in my mailbox weekly, I haven't been spending any large amount of time paying attention to Federal politics...

UPDATE: Will has some thoughts on Jim Dinning's speech yesterday...

it's cold outside.

Edmonton: Windchill -40C

It's really really cold!

Monday, November 27, 2006

"ed who?" has mo' as mark norris throws it.

Mark Norris has endorsed Ed Stelmach in the second-ballot of the Alberta PC leadership race.

It seems like the anybody-but-Jim Dinning-and-Ted Morton candidate has materialized in full force.

More insightful commentary to come in the near future.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

delivering votes for ed stelmach.

Ken Chapman has a good breakdown of how well PC MLA's delivered in support from their ridings for the PC leadership candidate of their choice. Here is part of Ken's Ed Stelmach breakdown:

The overall score of stars and slackers is about 50/50 for Ed's Team. The big time performers were Ray Danyluk from Lac La Biche St. Paul who turned out whopping 73% of the total 1730 voters for Ed. Next was Luke Oullette from Innisfail Sylvan Lake who turned out a more than respectable 51% of the total 1726 voting members for Stelmach.
You can check out the first-ballot PC MLA endorsements here.

oberg goes stelmach.

Looks like Lyle Oberg just held a press conference and endorsed Ed Stelmach.

If I were Jim Dinning, I'd be worried.

ménage à trois: jim dinning, ted morton, ed stelmach.

The results of the Alberta PC Party's internal party selection are a bit surprising. A party divided is what is apparent.

In retrospect, I clearly underestimated how much support Jim Dinning would get with 10-years of planning, 36 MLA's and the Calgary Mafia supporting him, a new hair-do, a pair of contact lens, and the control of many of the internal party mechanisms. Geez, even Paul Martin could pull it off...

Ted Morton clearly performed a little better than I had expected in a way. I knew his support was solid and committed; I just wasn't sure how large it was and how close he would be to Jim Dinning. The so-con vote showed up. The ghost of Reform is back.

Months ago I was predicting that Ed Stelmach would make second or third place in this race. And then he fell off the radar. Apparently, he must have been busy selling PC Party membership in rural Alberta. As Larry Johnsrude reports, the Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville poll results showed an Ed Stelmach-2,461 to Jim Dinning-144 split in Stelmach's riding (detailed riding-by-riding results can be found here). But even with Dave Hancock's endorsement last night, Ed Stelmach remains "Ed Who?" for many Albertans. Will Ed Stelmach stay on for the second-ballot? Will he make a deal with Ted Morton or Jim Dinning? Is Ed Stelmach the Rick Orman of the race?

Speaking of Dave Hancock's endorsement of Ed Stelmach and their Northern Alliance, it should be interesting to see if Mark Norris joins this coalition of the non-Jim-and-Ted Club. It may not be too unlikely to see Lyle Oberg endorse Ted Morton in the meantime. Victor Doerksen will probably park his votes with Morton.

But the question lies, how much support does an endorsement actually create? As this is not a delegated leadership race the members voting in this selection are not stuck in a large convention hall or hotel with a world of peer pressure pushing them around. It should be interesting to see how strong the internal campaign mechanisms of each leadership candidate's campaign are and how much of this structure will stay alive or transfer over to the endorsee.

In the time between now and the Tories second ballot next week, expect to see each of the last three old-white men standing to be promise-making and selling their $5 memberships at every street corner.

Also, while I was at the Edmonton Forum I asked a member of the PC Party Executive Committee what would happen if no candidate got more than 50% + 1 on the second ballot. She didn't have an answer. This seems like something that should be planned for...

As much as a political geek I am, I find it very concerning at how much main stream media attention the results of this internal party leadership selection are getting - the same, if not more, than an actual legitimate and franchised General Election. Many media folks and blogger-types seem to be getting these two very very different things confused.

The Alberta PC Party leadership selection is not an exercise in democracy. So don't pretend like it is.

dinning v. morton + kingmaker stelmach

Care 'o The One Party State...

First Ballot Results Thanks to the Invisible Hand, who is liveblogging the results from Calgary, here are the final totals:

Dinning 29,470
Morton 25,614
Stelmach 14,967
Oberg 11,638
Hancock 7595
Norris 6789
Doerksen 873
McPherson 744
Total: 97,690

Looks like I may have been a little off on my predictions. I'll be interesting to see the final verified totals tomorrow morning. I'll promise more analysis then.

Snarky comments, thoughtful observations, and rude remarks welcomed.

UPDATE: Larry Johnsrude has reported that Dave Hancock has endorsed Ed Stelmach in order to form a "Northern Alliance" (not to be confused with the other Northern Alliance). If this is true then I'm not totally shocked by Hancock's decision to support Ed Stelmach over Jim Dinning as Dinning's campaign has not exactly been the most gracious gang of frontrunners around the block.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

jim dinning in the lead.

How is this surprising?

Jim Dinning, Ted Morton jump into lead in first-ballot voting for
next Alberta premier

Dean Bennett, Canadian
PressPublished: Saturday, November 25, 2006

CALGARY (CP) - The race to replace Premier Ralph Klein as leader of Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party was shaping up as two-man battle in early vote returns Saturday.

Former Alberta treasurer Jim Dinning and backbencher Ted Morton were within about 800 votes of each other but racing away from Ed Stelmach and Lyle Oberg, who were battling for a distant third by the time 20 per cent of the votes had been counted.

None of the candidates was close to the 50 per cent plus one majority needed for a first-ballot win. If no one receives the 50 per cent, the top three finishers will move on to a second ballot next Saturday that would see voters rank the candidates in order of preference.

Looking forward to seeing the results tomorrow morning...

daveberta's thoughts on the Alberta PC leadership race: first-ballot day edition.

I had hoped to get this post out yesterday, but in honour of my sitting in a warm room sipping hot coffee and reading the New York Times online as Tories across the province are out in the cold shuttling their members to the Alberta PC leadership polls, here are my thoughts on the race for the leader of the Alberta PC Party on selection day...

1) The weather outside is frightful. The weather should play a huge role in the turnout. It is cold in Edmonton with a wind-chill and similar weather across Alberta.

2) The weather factor should affect the committed v. Tory-come-lately member voter turnouts across Alberta. As I mentioned before, I believe this will play a substantial role between the candidates and their type of supporters. As I've stated before, I believe Ted Morton's supporters are more committed to show up to the polls than Jim Dinning supporters. That said, Jim Dinning's supporters may simply just overwhelm those of the other candidates due to sheer numbers.

3) Organization or lack thereof. There were some huge problems with the advanced polls this week leaving candidates like Dave Hancock waiting in line for hours. Gary McPherson blamed Alberta PC Party organizers. Others blamed it on candidate Lyle Oberg's busing in hundreds of folks from Edmonton's ethnic communities. There has already been complaints about lack of organization and unethical acts by various leadership camps during today's selection vote.

4) Turnout. Because there are no rules regarding when anyone can by a Alberta PC membership and vote (well, you can just show up and pay $5 to vote at the polling station), it is hard to say how many members will actually show up and vote. Though at the beginning of this race Jim Dinning, Ted Morton, and Mark Norris all declared that they would sell around 100,000 memberships, I'd be surprised if there were more than 80,000 people who showed up to vote on the first ballot.

5) Rural v. Urban. This may play a huge role in who gets their support out. I think it's safe to say that Lyle Oberg, Ed Stelmach, and Ted Morton are drawing a large amount of their support from rural Alberta. Turnout from these supporters will largely depend on road and snow conditions out in the country. Urban voters may have an easier time with shorter distances to travel and municipally plowed roads.

Rural Albertans played a huge role in Ralph Klein's 1992 PC leadership victory over Nancy Betkowski, so it should be interesting to see if after Klein's negative infrastructure cuts to rural communities if rural Albertans are inspired to participate in this internal party leadership selection. Interestingly, Jim Dinning was the Chair of Nancy Betkowski's 1992 PC leadership campaign.

6) What are Alberta PC members looking for in their new leader? If they are looking for the status quo, they will go with the Jim Dinning gang and his 36 MLA caucus support. If they are looking for someone to shake up the way the Tory Government operates, they should probably vote for someone like Ted Morton. If they are looking for someone to lead a completely dysfunctional Tory Government, they should probably vote for someone like Lyle Oberg...

7) To watch... if no candidate takes it on the first ballot it should be interesting to see who drops out and endorses who... only three candidates may make it to the second ballot set for next weekend. Membership sales are allowed to continue between the two ballots.

How bitter will the candidates and their camps be after the first ballot? The ideological so-con v. red tory and establishment v. non-establishment divide in this race has been evident from the beginning and threatens to tear the Tories apart from the inside. Will the Calgary corporate mafia shut out the reform grassroots base? It should be entertaining to watch.

8) My predictions... In placing my predictions, I must say that as mentioned above, it is extremely difficult to predict due to the lack of rules surrounding membership sales, so here is my best shot for predicting the first ballot in the Alberta PC leadership selection...

Jim Dinning - 39%
Ted Morton - 19%
Lyle Oberg - 14%
Mark Norris - 11%
Ed Stelmach - 10%
Dave Hancock - 6%
Gary McPherson - 1%
Victor Doerksen
- 1%

This said, a Jim Dinning win on the first-ballot would not surprise me a bit.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"This is not an exercise in democracy, even though it mimics the process"

Graham Thomson hit it right on the mark.

Leadership candidate Gary McPherson has said those organizing the race couldn't run a two-car funeral procession. It's more than a little disconcerting to think they're in charge of the process to choose our next premier.

Understandably, there were plenty of upset Tories waiting in line on Monday. But none were angrier than those back at the headquarters of the various leadership campaigns who smelled a rat.

They blamed the Lyle Oberg campaign for using the advance poll as a sneaky way of busing in hundreds of supporters to the convenient downtown location rather than having them make their own way to the regular polls scattered throughout the city on Saturday. Those who voted in the advance poll had to sign a statement declaring they couldn't make it to the Saturday poll.

The other campaigns muttered darkly about Oberg abusing the rules.

Rules? What rules? When it comes to rules, the Tory leadership race is the Wild West without the sheriff. There are almost no rules and even less policing.

What Oberg did was simply get out his vote -- and that's what this race is all about: selling memberships and getting those members out to cast a ballot. Oberg, dismissed on more than one occasion by critics and pundits, is once again proving himself more resilient than Methuselah.

There are other complaints popping up about dastardly deeds in the desperate last days of the race. Various leadership camps are muttering about how other campaigns are buying up $5 membership cards and giving them away free to people, whether those people asked for them or not.

However, there's no rule against buying memberships and giving them away.

If Tories are upset by too few rules or no enforcement of those rules they have no-one to blame but their own party. This is a Tory-run, internally-organized party affair.

This is not a general election. This is not an exercise in democracy, even though it mimics the process.

Aliens from Mars or from Tory party headquarters might argue it's democracy. After all, it is a one-person, one-vote system where the ballots are cast in polling stations and then counted to determine the winning candidate. This race also has all-candidate forums and campaign buttons and plenty of media coverage.

But this is not democracy in action.

If it is democracy, it's the type practiced in the old Soviet Union where people were allowed to vote but all the candidates came from the Communist Party.

In this Tory leadership-race version of democracy, the only candidates are Conservatives. ...

Let the Tories have their vote.

Then let Albertans as a whole pass judgement on the Tories' choice -- in the next general election, when we exercise our democratic right.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"he's gonna give it all"

A bunch o' stuff...

- Jim Dimming has set up a new campaign website... wait a minute... (props to DH for the linkage)

- Following Ted Morton's new hit single, Jim Dimm...nning has released a new single. Which I have to say will give Kevin Federline a run for his money... it's really that awful... and 5 minutes long... shouldn't these guys be busy selling memberships? Here's c-lo thoughts...

This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard, the maraca is useless, the song lacks even folksy charm, let alone any passion and the lyrics are terrible... Please tell me this is not on his website. This is reason alone to not vote for him.

90 seconds in I'm thinking "when will this end". I am now approaching the 4:00 minute mark.... who wrote this torture!!!!!

And they wonder why homicides are going up!!!!!

If this goes over five minutes... I swear to god....

Praise the heavens!!!! It ended... just before the 5:00 minute mark coincidentally....
- I attended a Women in Politics seminar at the U of A tonight. Speakers included MLA's Laurie Blakeman and Weslyn Mather and former MP Anne McLellan.

- Senator Hillary Clinton's Election Campaign spent $31 Million - including $13,000 in flowers and $27,000 in valet parking...

- and finally, I'll have my uber-Alberta PC leadership race predictions up on Friday... what will they be? Tune in on Friday...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

yee haw. scorin' morton points!

Though this is a bit of fun gimick on the part of Ted Morton Alberta PC leadership campaign, I think a little part of me died when I first heard it...

vietnam. ever so briefly.

On another note, I thought this was quite interesting...

In 2000, tens of thousands of Hanoi’s residents poured into the streets to witness the visit of the first American head of state since the end of the Vietnam War. Mr. Clinton toured the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature, grabbed lunch at a noodle shop, argued with Communist Party leaders about American imperialism and sifted the earth for the remains of a missing airman.

On Saturday, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, conceded that the president had not come into direct contact with ordinary Vietnamese, but said that they connected anyway.

“If you’d been part of the president’s motorcade as we’ve shuttled back and forth,” he said, reporters would have seen that “the president has been doing a lot of waving and getting a lot of waving and smiles.”

He continued: “I think he’s gotten a real sense of the warmth of the Vietnamese people and their willingness to put a very difficult period for both the United States and Vietnam behind them.”

Yep. Nothing like the warmth of an armoured Presidential motorcade...

Monday, November 20, 2006

backs out.

Edmonton Manning MLA Dan Backs is no longer a member of the Official Opposition Alberta Liberal Caucus.

I've heard various shifty rumours about his involvement in the Tory leadership race in the past couple months and Backs has always been an odd fellow, so I'm not sure I'm totally surprised by this action.

In making the announcement, Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft said, “This has been a difficult decision. Dan has made valuable contributions.”

“However, teamwork is key to being an effective Opposition, and I believe that this decision will allow our Caucus team to function better.”

I'll see what I can do about offering more comment later today...

UPDATE: Does anyone find it interesting that this post generated a lot more discussion and comments than my previous post about Peter Lougheed endorsing Jim Dinning?

peter lougheed.

Peter Lougheed's endorsement of Tory Dauphin Jim Dinning means something. Right?

- Will Peter Lougheed's endorsement effect the PC leadership race in any big way?
- Does this put Dinning over the top on the first ballot?
- What does this do to Red Tory candidate Dave Hancock?
- What happens if Dinning takes it on the first ballot?
- Will this increase the low interest in the leadership selection?

More comments on this in the near future - along with my predictions on the Alberta PC leadership selection, the after-effects, a new challenge for the Alberta Liberals, NDP, and Alliance, and what happens next in Alberta's political scene...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

it's all about power.

I spent most of Saturday at the Parkland Institute's Power for the People conference at the University of Alberta. The speakers were fairly interesting and covered topics surrounding Alberta politics, energy, the tar sands, etc. I have some notes and will post them up soon.

Interesting speakers I've seen so far:
John Ralston Saul, Jim Cardinal, Mark Lisac, Gillian Steward, Lindsay Telfer, and Dr. Gordon Laxer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

daveberta is the best blog.

Yep. That's correct. I'm a fairly modest fellow, but I have to say that daveberta is my favorite blog to read on a daily basis.

So, it appears that someone has nominated daveberta in the 2006 Canadian Blogging Awards for Best Blog and Best Progressive Blog (a slightly broad term). During last year's 2005 Canadian Blogging Awards, this blog was awarded 2nd place in the BEST PERSONAL BLOG category (which seems non existant this time around).

So, if you should so feel inclined, I would encourage you and your loved ones to hop on over and VOTE FOR DAVEBERTA under the BEST BLOG and BEST PROGRESSIVE BLOG categories.

stand up for canada and demand better from canada's new government.

I thought this was probably a more appropriate title for my previous post...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the voice.

From Tuesday's intro to The Current on CBC Radio One...

It's Tuesday November 14th.

The federal government has committed $80 million dollars to safeguarding urban transit systems against terrorist attack. The money will be spent primarily on new surveillance cameras and communications equipment.

Currently, expect the cameras to pick up the following images: under-funded downtowns, pot-holed streets, ailing infrastructure.

(voice horrified, amazed) My God, the terrorists have already STRUCK...

This is the Current.
Let's all remember this when the election rolls around!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

daveberta's take: the alberta pc candidate forum in edmonton.

Check out Daveberta's thoughts on the First-Ballot of the Alberta PC leadership race...

As I mentioned earlier today, I spent a good portion of yesterday evening lurking through the crowd at the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership forum at the Mayfield Inn in Edmonton.

Though there were a ton of folks there, the energy levels were fairly subdued for such a high profile political event (no standing ovations or raucus supporters). I was pleased to see that Public Interest Alberta’s Seniors Task Force was there in full force with a demonstration set up at the back of the hall. Also, fellow blogging types Duncan, Allie, Nic, Alex, and Will there. I also chatted with Mark Lisac and said hi to Graham Thomson and Steve Patten.

I was also able to collect a significant amount of political swag while cruising the gauntlet of candidates tables – including “Oberg for Alberta” and “I’m Supportn’ Morton” t-shirts and buttons from almost every leadership camp (I missed Ed Stelmach’s table, I think it may have been sitting quietly at the back of the cabinet room…). So, 10 chickens for the person who can collect me a commemorative Ed Stelmach leadership campaign button…

Anyway… to the less substantive part of the evening…

As soon as the opening speeches began, it was clear that the candidates for the Tory leadership were carrying overly tailored messages about how great Edmonton was and how important it is to make sure that Edmonton is still the capital/becomes the capital again. With all this pro-Edmonton talk, it should be interesting to see what is talked about in the Tories upcoming Calgary forum. Also, with the exception of Ted Morton, most of the agreed on most issues confirming the recent news headline "Widespread Agreement Dominates Leadership Debate."

Here are exerts from my rough notes...

Opening Speeches
Dave Hancock - He is from Edmonton.
Ted Morton - He is a champion of the middle class.
Mark Norris - He “get’s it.”
Gary McPherson - Something about a horny toad (I’m lost in explaining this).
Jim Dinning - Thinks Edmonton is great and wants a new deal for cities (sound familiar?).
Victor Doerksen - He talked about putting a value on water.
Lyle Oberg - He wants 10-year term limits for the Premier and loves Edmonton.

On to the questions…

Topic: Seniors
Ed Stelmach - Has a special place in his heart for seniors.
Mark Norris - His parents are seniors, so "he get’s it" (he talked about his parents a number of times during the evening).

Topic: Teacher’s Pension Liability
Ted Morton – Fire weak teachers.
Mark Norris – Blamed the Alberta Teacher’s Association.
Jim Dinning – Alberta is not debt free.

Topic: Young Offenders Act
Ted Morton – blamed the Federal Liberals. More crown prosecutors needed. Adopt Canadian Alliance and Reform Party justice policies.
Mark Norris – No time for talk.
Jim Dinning – I agree. “We’re gonna getcha.”
Lyle Oberg – Fundamentally against the Young Offenders Act!
Dave Hancock – His opponents should catch up with the times, the Young Offenders Act was replaced 5 years ago… (bamn! 5 points for Dave Hancock)

Topic: Edmonton.
Jim Dinning – Edmonton is great! Something about nuggets of gold in Edmonton’s ethnic communities.
Lyle Oberg – Renovate the Legislature grounds. Supports a Premier’s residence in Edmonton (like a Governor’s Mansion?).
Victor DoerksenNanotechnology is great!
Ed Stelmach – I agree, Edmonton is great. Something about research and technology.
Dave Hancock – Edmonton is great! I live in Edmonton! Renovate the Royal Museum.
Ted Morton – Edmonton is the capital! A Premier’s residence is needed.
Mark Norris – Vote for me! I’m from Edmonton! (and it is great!).

Topic: Open and Accountable Government
Dave Hancock – Open up the Legislature, make the policy process more public.
Ted Morton – Federal Liberals are evil. I love Stephen Harper.
Mark Norris – I released my campaign contributions! (-5 points for being off topic).
Jim Dinning – Listen to what the people want and report back in six months (what?).
Lyle Oberg – Term-limits.

Topic: Post-Secondary Education
Ted Morton – I taught at the University of Calgary. Move up post-secondary institutions. I like endowments!
Mark Norris – Re-legislate tuition, increase spaces, 20% of student debt remitted if you stay in Alberta.
Gary McPherson – RESP’s.
Jim Dinning – Fill up the $3 Billion Access to the Future endowment (private-public matching contributions), withdraw Alberta out of the Canada Student Loan Program.
Victor Doerksen – Athabasca University is good.
Lyle Oberg – Increase 30,000 spaces, free tuition for elite achievers, and Student debt for everyone!
Ed Stelmach – more co-op programs.
Dave Hancock – Free tuition for first year, tax credits, new spaces.

Topic: Will you run in the next election?
Lyle Oberg – Yes. Regardless of what happens. Public service is a commitment to Albertans.
Ed Stelmach – If he doesn’t get a kick in the butt by his constituents.
Dave Hancock – Yes.
Ted Morton – Yes.
Mark Norris – Yes. He got kicked in the butt last time around in Edmonton McClung (by Liberal Mo Elsalhy)
Gary McPherson – Intends to run.
Jim Dinning – Gary McPherson would be a great MLA. Yes.
Victor Doerksen – Will make that commitment sooner to the next election.

Closing speeches...
Dave Hancock had the best closing speech, he was fiery and on the attack (his shots at Ted Morton were particularly enjoyable). If he had this much energy 6 months ago, I think he could be one of the frontrunners today. Unfortunately, he ran out of time and had his microphone cut off.

Mark Norris had a decent end speech, though his overall performance was high on rhetoric and low on actual substance (again, he brought up his parent’s from Pigeon Lake at least 6 or 7 times during the forum).

Ted Morton was typically himself. Ideological, hates Liberals, right-wing, and negative. Brought up Stockwell Day and the Canadian Alliance a number of times. A lot of shots were fired at the Calgary backroom boys and corporate types (Jim Dinning).

Jim Dinning was what I expected. If I were his staff, I would keep him as far away as possible from as many of these forums as possible. The longer he speaks at these events, the more people are going to realize how shockingly boring he is. The dauphin of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives is not as sparkling as the spin doctors would like you to think.

I tend to agree with Nic that Lyle Oberg’s momentum for 2nd place looks like it’s slowing down. His performance was quite lackluster.

Ed Stelmach. Ed Stelmach. I hate to say it (because I actually like Ed Stelmach), but I hardly remember a thing he said. He blended in to the crowd and was easily forgettable. Though I tend to think he’ll do better than most people think.

Best Part of the Evening Award
The teleprompter and the typos. “Ed Stem-cell.” Priceless.

Overall, there was very little substance or new ideas thrown around during the forum.

I was truely bored for the most part.


I spent two hours last night lurking through the crowd at the Alberta PC leadership forum in Edmonton. No time now, but I'll post my thoughts and analysis later today.

Until then, feel free to check out Duncan and Nic's afterthoughts.

Monday, November 13, 2006

hard hitting issues like "if you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?"

It's November 12 and I find myself already getting excited for Christmas. I've quenched this thirst with a healthy listen of the fine holiday music I've loaded on my iPod.

I've been enjoying my new investment in the West Wing Series Box Set. I haven't seen some of these episodes in years and it's great to watch again.

I'm going to be making a sneak appearance at the big broo-haha Alberta PC leadership candidate’s forum tonight in Edmonton so I'll let you all know my thoughts on it. It's really been bothering me on how much attention this race has been getting in the local media – which is fairly close to the same amount of media given to a general election (full page articles in the daily newspapers). Not to mention that the articles which are actually on issues are positioning pretty much every issue facing Albertans as "PC leadership race only," not recognizing that the 53% of Albertans who didn't vote Tory in the last election are dealing with these same issues.

It’s also fairly embarrassing that the daily dedicated pages are starting to include such hard hitting journalism as "If the Tory leadership candidates were dogs, what kind of dogs would they be?" and "what is your favorite food?"

As the snow continues to fall and we get deeper and deeper in to the winter dark, I'm sure I'm not going to be the only politico who is going to sigh a breath of relief when that race is over with and we can seriously start debating “real issues.”

Saturday, November 11, 2006

je*d* bartlet is my homeboy.

For those of you wondering where I've been over the past few days of bloglessness bliss, I've been focusing my non-work related energies on enjoying my most recent purchase: THE COMPLETE SERIES BOXSET OF THE WEST WING.

Yes, that is correct, I, daveberta have purchased what can only be described as some of the seriously most incredible television ever to hit the shelves of Best Buy. I'm watching the series from beginning to end... still in the first season...

Ohhh. If only real politics could be like the Bartlet Whitehouse...

On another note, the Alberta PC leadership candidates will be grilled on the Arts at a forum on Monday at 12noon in front of the CBC Offices in Edmonton City Centre. Though Alberta is the richest province in Canada, it stands in the back of the line when it comes to funding for the arts. The future of Alberta's arts communities is a very important issue and I am planning to be there to watch the candidates get grilled!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I just watched five minutes of Nancy Grace on CNN. The topic was...

Kevin Federline and Britney Spears
Nancy goes inside the Britney Spears divorce battle. Can her soon to be ex get custody of the kids? What about the pre-nup? Nancy breaks it all down. Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Headline News.
I think I just killed 500 braincells...

ralph klein, peter mackay, same old story.

I'm not going to qualify this video with much of a response, other than it was a typically classless remark from our soon-to-be former Premier. And I'll leave him with the same comment I left with Mr. MacKay.

Note the cheering.

carol off in edmonton!

Yep, Carol Off will be in Edmonton speaking at the U of A Students' Union's Revolutionary Speaker's Series on Monday, November 13!

Carol Off will be speaking about her new book "Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet."


Carol Off, CBC investigative reporter and writer
Revolutionary Speaker Series
Monday, November 13th at 7 PM (doors at 6:30 PM)
Horowitz Theatre, Students' Union Building
Tickets: $10 ($8 Students), available at Ticketmaster, Earth General Store, SU InfoBooths

I'll be there, so I hope you can make it out as well!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

slightly off the mark across the union.

I'm sure I was not alone last night as many politicos from across Canada watched the glory of democracy in action as the mid-term election results rolled in from across the Union to the South. On Monday, in prep for last night, I laid down some bold predictions for some of the major races in the U.S. Senate up for grabs. Let's see how my clairvoyance faired in the 2006 mid-terms...

(My predictions) v. reality. - according to

House of Representatives
Democratic - (225) 229
Republican - (210) 196
10 seats undecided

Thoughts: I may not have been too off in the end, but I clearly underestimated/overestimated the Democrats/Republicans (or something). It should be interesting to see how America's first-ever woman Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leads the new Democratic majority over the next 6 months before the Presidential bids spin in to high gear. Also, Democratic Representative-elect Keith Ellison is the first Muslim to serve in the United States Congress.

Republican - (50) 49
Democratic - (48) 49
Independent - 2 (caucusing with the Democrats)

Thoughts: Ironically, this was my original prediction weeks ago. But for some reason, I was convinced that George Allen would hold on in Virginia. Also, it should be interesting to see how the Democrats deal with the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings of Robert Gates' following Donald Rumsfeld's post-election resignation. Senate committee chairpersonships should be interesting to watch as well.

Here are some of the serious races in the Senate with (my predictions) v. reality...


x-Jon Kyl (R) - (56%) 53%
Jim Pederson (D) - (42%) 44%

x-Joe Lieberman (I) - (51%) 50%
Ned Lamont (D) - (43%) 40%
Alan Schlesinger (R) - (6%) 10%

Ben Cardin (D) - (57%) 54%
Michael Steele (R) - (43%) 44%

Amy Klobuchar (D) - (62%) 58%
Mark Kennedy (R) - (38%) 38%

Claire McCaskill (D) - (49%) 49%!!
x-Jim Talent (R) - (48%) 48%!!

Jon Tester (D) - (50%) 49%
x-Conrad Burns (R) - (48%) 48%

New Jersey
x-Robert Menendez (D) - (52%) 53%
Tom Kean Jr. (R) - (48%) 45%

Sherrod Brown (D) - (53%) 56%
x-Mike DeWine (R) - (47%) 44%

Bob Casey (D) - (55%) 59%
x-Rick Santorum (R) - (45%) 41%

Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D) - (53%) 53%!!
x-Lincoln Chafee (R) - (47%) 47%!!

Bob Corker (R) - (52%) 53%
Harold Ford Jr. (D) - (48%) 47%

x-George Allen (R) - (51%) 49%
James Webb (D) - (49%) 50%

x-Maria Cantwell (D) - (57%) 58%
Mike McGavick (R) - (43%) 39%

So, overall I don't think I was completely off target (at least only by a couple of percentage points...). Thoughts?

lone pine koala sanctuary...

This may be slightly random, but you have to check out the TV commercial on the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary website. It's really fun.

Can't you just imagine the parts of the commercial they cut out - when the Koala's attack the family as they happily eat their lunch...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i *heart* bill clinton.

This is great...

ted morton v. kevin taft 2008?

This is for all of you political "what-if" speculators...

No room for Reds in Morton's Tories
Tom Olsen, Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2006

If you're worried about the state of democracy in Alberta, elect Ted Morton. Not because he has a package of refreshing democratic reforms -- all the contenders in the Tory leadership race have that.

Nope, elect Ted because if Morton wins the race to lead Alberta's Progressive Conservatives, there will be a Red Tory exodus from the party.

The constituency which Morton derides as "liberal lite" will look for another political home. They'll find it, maybe, in a new centrist conservative party, or perhaps with Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals, who will make themselves more palatable by tightening up on the fiscal restraint.
Olsen continues...

Liberal boss Taft, by contrast, says a win for Morton is a victory for Alberta's Grits.

"There would be a larger opposition in the legislature, absolutely," said Taft. "And it would be led by Ted Morton."

Monday, November 06, 2006

daveberta calls the US mid-terms.

So, the U.S. mid-term elections are tomorrow and in celebration of the greatest democracy ever to exist on this fair planet of ours, I'm going to lay down some solid hard predictions on some of the Senate races up for grabs tomorrow on Tuesday the 7th of November this 2006.

My predictions:

House of Representatives
Democratic - 225
Republican - 210

Republican - 50
Democratic - 48
Independent - 2 (Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, and Bernie Saunders in Vermont)

Here are some of the serious races in the Senate with my predictions...


x-Jon Kyl (R) - 56%
Jim Pederson (D) - 42%

x-Joe Lieberman (I) - 51%
Ned Lamont (D) - 43%
Alan Schlesinger (R) - 6%

Ben Cardin (D) - 57%
Michael Steele (R) - 43%

Amy Klobuchar (D) - 62%Mark Kennedy (R) - 38%

Claire McCaskill (D) - 49%
x-Jim Talent (R) - 48%

Jon Tester (D) - 50%
x-Conrad Burns (R) - 48%

New Jersey
x-Robert Menendez (D) - 52%
Tom Kean Jr. (R) - 48%

Sherrod Brown (D) - 53%
x-Mike DeWine (R) - 47%

Bob Casey (D) - 55%
x-Rick Santorum (R) - 45%

Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D) - 53%
x-Lincoln Chafee (R) - 47%

Bob Corker (R) - 52%
Harold Ford Jr. (D) - 48%

x-George Allen (R) - 51%
James Webb (D) - 49%

x-Maria Cantwell (D) - 57%
Mike McGavick (R) - 43%

How far am I close or off the mark? I'm looking forward to finding out tomorrow night!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

mark norris meets daveberta.

Just as Michael Ignatieff did last week, on Friday Alberta PC leadership candidate Mark Norris had the opportunity to meet me. It was an interesting encounter at Hudson's near the U of A Campus. Mark Norris was having a very well attended hockey night at the bar, which I unintentionally stumbled upon.

For those of you not familiar with Mark Norris' political history, here's the skinny. In 1992, Norris was a key top-player in Ralph Klein's Alberta PC leadership campaign against then-Nancy Betkowski. Nine years later in 2001, Norris ran against and defeated then-Alberta Liberal leader Nancy MacBeth (formerly Betkowski) in Edmonton McClung.

From 2001 to 2004, Mark Norris was Alberta's Economic Development Minister, a position in which he grew a substantially noticeable ego. In 2004, Norris' team ran a slow and lackluster re-election campaign in Edmonton McClung. Norris was defeated by Liberal Mo Elsalhy. Now, with no seat in Alberta's Legislative Assembly, he's running to be leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.

So, now my thoughts... Norris is a campaigner. No doubt. He's homey and he's doing a decent job in trying to mirror Ralph Klein's campaign style and mannerisms and he's fairly good at it. I actually had a decent five minute chat with him and I surprisingly didn't disagree with all of what he had to say.

Now to one of the more interesting parts of the evening (other than the giant Hummer with Mark Norris' face on the side). When I first approached Norris, I overheard a nice conversation he was having with what appeared to be some large members of Edmonton's Polish community (or the "Polish mafia" as they referred to themselves). There was a lot of talk about Dinning's apparent support within "the Polish mafia," "Church blah blah blah" and "who's gonna take out Lukaszuk?"

It may just be me, but I don't think they were talking about taking Lukaszuk out to Dairy Queen...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

jim dinning likes firetrucks?

I think Jim Dinning might have just made his YouTube debut... I can't tell...

I know it's been said that Canadian political techniques tend to be 5-10 years behind the Americans, but can anyone explain what the heck that was?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

michael ritter gets ten.

This speaks for itself. Michael Ritter has be sentenced...


Disgraced Edmonton businessman Michael Ritter admitted full responsibility for his multimillion-dollar crimes in a farewell speech en route to prison yesterday.

Ritter, 49, was handed a 10-year sentence by provincial court Judge Elizabeth Johnson, who accepted a joint submission recommended last week by Crown and defence.

Ritter thanked the lawyers involved as well as his family and friends and said he was deeply sorry for his actions.

"I do indeed have a conscience and I do carry an enormous amount of guilt which I cannot fathom will ever go away," said Ritter. "There's no question I feel deeply embarrassed and humiliated."

The judge acknowledged Ritter's loss of reputation in Edmonton, where he was known as a generous patron of the arts, but said he was "the author of his own misfortune."

Ritter's one-man show is over. Prison awaits - by Paula Simons at the Edmonton Journal
Former government adviser jailed 10 years for pyramid scheme - Globe & Mail
Canadian Tied to Merrill Fraud Gets 10-Year Sentence - Bloomberg
Edmonton man gets 10 years in massive scam -

Click here for the complete Michael Ritter Scandal Chronology.