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Thursday, February 22, 2007

thursday update.

A couple of things...

- I presented to Alberta's Affordable Housing Task Force yesterday afternoon in Edmonton. The committee will be traveling Alberta to listen to Albertans thoughts and recommendations on how to solve the affordable housing crisis until February 28. Task force members include MLA's Len Webber (Calgary Foothills), Bruce Miller (Edmonton Glenora), and Ray Martin (Edmonton Beverly-Clareview) and Edmonton City Councillor Karen Leibovici. See here for the hearing locations and dates.

- Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft delivered an alternative Speech from the Throne Tuesday night at the Royal Museum in Edmonton. Fresh from the release of Taft's new book Democracy Derailed, last nights event was a packed affair with hundereds of Albertans crowding the theatre to hear what Taft had to say. It was a positive speech and gave Taft the oppurtunity to present his team of MLA's and candidates along with a positive vision for Alberta's future. Taft also focused on the need for action to be taken on environmental issues in Alberta.

Though it will be an uphill battle for the 15 MLA caucus, Taft outlined the Alberta Liberal Caucus' legislative agenda for the upcoming Spring Session which will include a number of Bills including a Sustainable Communities Act, a Consumer Advocate Act, a Child Care Accountability and Accessibility Act, a Restriction on School Fees and Fundraising Act, and legislation that would strengthen water resource management, review gaming in Alberta, require health impact assessments for major government initiatives, and reverse laws designed to hide the results of internal audits for 15 years.

It's a very interesting twist in Alberta politics how the Alberta Liberals are attempting to turn the tables on the seemingly disorganized Stelmach Government in terms of presenting a strong and united vision for what road Alberta should take.

- Looks like Quebec is off to the polls on March 26.

- I'm off to the wild border city of Lloydminster for the day today (hopefully those rowdy Saskatchewanites won't be too much of a worry).


Anonymous said...

Yea, nice plan. Taft's policy on the environment doesn't reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one gram.

It takes money out of our pockets (gas rebates scrapped) and puts it into the hands of energy companies.

I know Liberals want to pretend Taft is the next Lougheed, but do they have to be as ineffective as the Tories on saving the planet?

Anonymous said...


Another victim of corpspeak. Oh, the humanity!

Or, is that like genuflected?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting to present to the committee. I think it is really working well, despite the misrepresenting headline article in the Globe&Mail today about "public access".

However, I don't get the reference to "seemingly" disorganized Stelmach government. The Stelmach government is starting to work on the priorities established by the leader. For example:

Housing Task Force - Working. With representation from the other parties too, I must say. Karen Leibovici is a past Liberal MLA, so really the Libs are getting a two-fer.

Royalty review - Under way. Panel selected. Not staffed with a bunch of oilpatch CEOs either. If Brian Chavez-Mason is the only one complaining loudly, I'd say it is a good line-up.

Lobbyist Registry - First bill to be tabled in spring session.

I could go on.

Let's not forget that although the Tories have been in power for years, this truly is a change in government. Most people under 35 (and I am one of them) don't really know what a change in the Premiership involves - because the last change was 14 years ago. Staff needed to be hired, a new cabinet selected, etc.

Seems like things are moving along pretty well to me. I would also take exception to your comment about the contrast of the Liberals presenting a strong and united vision. Seems like it is just Taft speaking. Easier to unify 15 MLAs than the 60+. And Eddie didn't kick anyone out of caucus.

Anonymous said...

"Let's not forget that although the Tories have been in power for years, this truly is a change in government."

HAHA. Lay it on, anonymous.

After 35 years, it's all the same cronies. It's like the Federal Liberals x 3! 3 times as many cronies! 3 x as much inaction!

daveberta said...

" ...presentated????"

As you can clearly see, niles, the post was posted at 7:07Am this morning. It is not so much corpspeak, as much as too early on a Thursday morning speak...

Also, anonymous, I haven't seen much caucus unity with the PC's lately. The curfuffle between Hancock-Snelgrove-Lund a couple weeks ago could be a sign of more to come once the Legislature begins to sit and those 38 Dinning & Calgary Tory MLA's decide that they don't enjoy the view from the backbenches...

Anonymous said...

So in a comment where I mention the Housing Taskforce, the Royalty Review, and the Housing Registry as things the Stelmach administration has already progressed on, the one retort you come up with is the Lund "let me smoke in bed" crybaby episode? Could be a sign of more to come, or could just be the the railings of a few former "untouchables" finding themselves less so under a new boss.

How about Taft's party unity? Sounds like there is no small amount of dissent within the greater Alberta Liberal establishment about his continuing to run that party.

Anonymous said...


I think Dave's point is that this is the least caucus/party unity we've seen in the PC caucus in years. I've been a PC member since 1996 and I haven't heard they types of negative things against our leader ever. I know a dozen people and a couple MLA's who have absolutely no interest in helping a Stelmach-led Progressive Conservative Party.

Was the media spat between Hancock, Snelgrove, and Lund a big deal? Absolutely. It's a microcosm of a larger split within the conservative movement within Alberta. This has to do with Stelmach's quiet over the past 3 months, it has to do with giving Calgary the shaft in Cabinet, it has to do with Stelmach backing down on the $5,000 fundraiser, and it has to do with the fact that over half of Alberta PC MLA's DID NO SUPPORT STELMACH and for a large part are now sitting on the outside.

The royalty review is something that should be happening anyway and the affordable housing task force is a reaction to a long ignored problem. It's not the ingenious of special Ed that has given us these actions. It's something that the opposition and many Albertans have been calling for years.

Most of Stelmach's actions have been no brainers. The questions is, can he lead?

Anonymous said...

I think Taft's ideas are spot on. Let's get some direction on this sinking boat of gold before we all drown.

Anonymous said...

You forgot one, Stelmach hired Tom Olsen and Paul Stanway. That should count for something, but I haven't seen Stelmach in the media any more than before.

Anonymous said...

better than you think,

"I think Dave's point is that this is the least caucus/party unity we've seen in the PC caucus in years. I've been a PC member since 1996 and I haven't heard they types of negative things against our leader ever."

Hold on there. There was only one leader since 1996, and at the end, there were a significant number of party members - and MLAs - sticking knives in his back once they knew he was on his way out. Klein did rule caucus with an iron fist in the earlier years; hence the complaint that caucus was irrelevant. If by involving caucus more, some disagreements are now made public, well I think that (within limits) that is a price to pay.

"I know a dozen people and a couple MLA's who have absolutely no interest in helping a Stelmach-led Progressive Conservative Party."

Wow, 14 whole people. I believe that, even though Jim had an obvious edge in MLA support (because he was working to this goal for 6 years and arm-twisting in caucus), most of those MLAs are now onside. And if a few are not, well that is something they will deal with. They will either move on, or move out. The more important thing is that on the second ballot, one guy had more votes than either of the two challengers (even before counting second preferences), and that guy is now sitting in the Premier's chair.

Actually, I happen to know a number of people (more than 14)that are interested in helping a Stelmach government win the next election. People that were not there before, and would not be under a different leader.

Calgary did not get shafted in cabinet. There was nothing sacred about 7 before, and if you were going to cut the size of cabinet, some were bound to go. Calgary has 4 now (Melchin, Stevens, Liepert, and Morton - yes, he counts). I think that in a twisted sort of way, Dinning should be glad that he doesn't have to keep promises to 38 MLAs in a cabinet that was going to shrink from 24.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested if anyone has the answer to these questions. The Alberta Liberals want to fund the $350 million overrun for the Calgary south hospital, they want to put more money into the environment, they want more money for affordable housing, they want to put more money into child care,they want to reduce the reliance on school fees, but their entire budget plan, called Alberta's Opportunity, is predicated on holding spending at the rate of population growth. The mathematics don't add up. In order to keep per capita spending constant, health care spending would have to be reduced from its current annual growth rate of 10% to around 4%, education from 6.5% to 3%, while the rest of spending would have to be frozen or even reduced. Can anyone tell me what the Liberal plan is to get there?

Anonymous said...

A good start would be: Not massively subsidizing the horseracing industry.

How about increasing royalty rates? A 1% or 2% increase would make a world of difference.

This is stuff that should be properly funded in the first place but due to 15 years of Klein bumbling and mismanagement, Alberta's infrastructure is falling apart at the seems.

Anonymous said...

Dave - where can we see your presentation to the Task Force? I was at the evening session in Edmonton.

I have helped the Town of Hinton with their presentation so have bee away for over a day in Hinton.

I will get you a copy of what a smaller town sees as challenges for affordable housing if you are interested.

daveberta said...

Ken - I'll email you a copy of the presentation on Monday. I hope Hinton was nice! How was the turnout? The turnout during the Edmonton Afternoon session was in the hundreds. I heard Ft. McMurray was nearly empty (the hearing that is). Odd...

Anonymous said...


Eliminate $65 million for funding the horsing race industry. I agree. Increasing royalty rates is a revenue measure. Eliminating the infrastructure deficit would arguably take another $3 billion beyond what is contained in the Capital Account. So my question remains, how are the Alberta Liberals going to contrain spending to approximately 2% per year so that they can build up a $120 million Heritage Fund? I believe Albertans deserve an answer. Over to you Dr. Taft.

Anonymous said...

Taft has said a lot more than Stelmach in the past three months. What has our illustrious Premier been up to?

Over to you, Mr. Stelmach.

Anonymous said...

I didn't ask for a change of subject, I asked for an answer to my question.

As an Albertan interested in how we manage the challenges of growth in a fiscally responsible manner and save a portion of our non-renewable resources for our children and grandchildren, I believe I am entitled to a detailed response, not a flippant brush-off.

But perhaps, sadly, that's the way politics is played today. Just change the subject. Attack your opponent.

Anonymous said...

No, anonymous 5:26/5:51 is right to ask the question. The Liberals have been very good about putting out individual policies recently but need to put them all together.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, anonymous 12:10.