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Saturday, April 28, 2007

windy calgary.

Well, it's been a very busy week in the life of daveberta. I'll be away from the blogging world over the next week, so expect double the fun when return.

I'll leave you all on a couple of windy Calgary notes with this, this, and this.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

walk for darfur.

A good friend of mine who is crazy - but passionate - asked me to post about this walk he's doing...

Hey Everyone,

This Sunday, April 29th, Churchill Square, 5-7pm!

Help stop a Genocide!

Rally for the people of Darfur!

Walking from Calgary to Edmonton, 20 people have marched, to raise awareness and demand that action be taken to bring an end to the slaughter of innocent people in Darfur.
Speaking in schools, universities, on radio and television and arriving at Churchill Square at 5pm this Sunday to call on Governments to take swift action to halt the Genocide.

Let your voice be heard!

Join us, for the people of Darfur.
For more info, go to

From the shoulder of Highway 2 northbound,

Daniel Eggert

out yonder.

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, I hope I haven't disappointed my loyal readership (you know who you are... Anand!). It's been a busy week as I wrap up one job and am on the brink of transitioning to another.

Here's a roundup of stuff that caught my eye over the past week:

- I was sad to see that Michael Phair will not be seeking re-election in Ward 4 this Fall. Phair is one of Edmonton's strongest City Councillors and I was happy to be able to vote for him in the last election.

- The court trial fallout of the Ward 10 scandal is wrapping up in Calgary. An investigation into a scandal surrounding Calgary’s municipal elections revealed there was, “an organized but unsuccessful attempt to stuff ballot boxes.” This led to Alderman Margot Aftergood admitting her campaign team requested 1266 mail-in ballots and had them sent to a mailbox rented by her husband, David Aftergood.

David Aftergood, his brother-in-law and three other members of her campaign team—including two brothers of PC MLA Hung Pham were charged for violating the Alberta Elections Act.

Yesterday, David Aftergood was found guilty of one charge.

- This scandal makes me sick to my stomach. What do we expect to acomplish over there if this is how we're opertating.

- Gore stands up Stelmach. So much for THE DAYS.

Monday, April 23, 2007

baby-steps for democracy in alberta.

Last week, the Alberta Legislature moved to create four new all-party committees that are to review legislation referred to it from the Assembly, review regulations, and other issues referred to them.

Though this is a normal sight for most parliamentary democracies, this is something new in Alberta and will hopefully shift more power from the closed-doors of Cabinet to the elected Legislative Assembly. This said, it's still too soon to tell how much of an impact these committees will have on Legislative Alberta. Hopefully they will prove to be more effective than their broad committee names...

Here's a list of the committee membership:

Standing Committee on Community Services (11 Members)
Chair - Cindy Ady (PC-Calgary Shaw)
Deputy Chair - Weslyn Mather (Lib-Edmonton Mill Woods)
Tony Abbott (PC-Drayton Valley-Calmar)
Dan Backs (Ind-Edmonton Manning)
Jack Flaherty (Lib-St. Albert)
LeRoy Johnson (PC-Wetaskiwin-Camrose)
Art Johnston (PC-Calgary Hays)
Rob Lougheed (PC-Strathcona)
Thomas Lukaszuk (PC-Edmonton Castle Downs)
Raj Pannu (NDP-Edmonton Strathcona)
Shiraz Shariff (PC-Calgary McCall)

Standing Committee on Government Services (11 Members)
Chair - Harvey Cenaiko (PC-Calgary Buffalo)
Deputy Chair - Mo Elsalhy (Deputy Chair)
Moe Amery (PC-Calgary East)
Neil Brown (PC-Calgary Nose Hill)
David Coutts (PC-Livingstone-Macleod)
Alana DeLong (PC-Calgary Bow)
Heather Forsyth (PC-Calgary Fish Creek)
Richard Marz (PC-Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills)
Brian Mason (NDP-Edmonton Highlands Norwood)
Bridget Pastoor (Lib-Lethbridge East)
George VanderBurg (PC-Whitecourt-Ste. Anne)

Standing Committee on Managing Growth Pressures (11 Members)
Chair - Clint Dunford (PC-Lethbridge West)
Deputy Chair - Dave Taylor (Calgary Currie)
Victor Doerksen (PC-Red Deer South)
Denis Herard (PC-Calgary Egmont)
Ray Martin (NDP-Edmonton Beverly Clareview)
Bruce Miller (Lib-Edmonton Glenora)
Ray Prins (PC-Lacombe-Ponoka)
Dave Rodney (PC-Calgary Lougheed)
George Rogers (PC-Leduc-Beaumont-Devon)
Len Webber (PC-Calgary Foothills)
Gene Zwozdesky (PC-Calgary Mill Creek)

Standing Committee on Resources and Environment (11 Members)
Chair - Denis Ducharme (PC-Bonnyville-Cold Lake)
Deputy Chair - David Swann (Lib-Calgary Mountain View)
Pearl Calahasen (PC-Lesser Slave Lake)
David Eggen (NDP-Edmonton Calder)
Gordon Graydon (PC-Grande Prairie-Wapiti)
Doug Griffiths (PC-Battle River-Wainwright)
Paul Hinman (AA-Cardston-Taber-Warner)
Ty Lund (PC-Rocky Mountain House)
Rick Miller (Lib-Edmonton Rutherford)
Len Mitzel (PC-Cypress-Medicine Hat)
Frank Oberle (PC-Peace River)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

elect ben henderson!

Ben Henderson, Edmonton City Council candidate for Ward 4, is having a BBQ fundraiser next weekend.

Ben came very close to being elected in 2004 (coming within striking distance of defeating incumbent-Councillor Jane Batty. Making Ward 4 one of the closest races in the 2004 Edmonton City Council election).

The Elect Ben campaign will be launched with the Second Annual First BBQ of the Season to be held Sunday April 29th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Rossdale Community Hall, 10135 – 96 Avenue. Food and drinks will be provided. There will be door prizes, a silent auction, and a 50-50 draw.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by phoning 428-1913, sending an e-mail to, or at the door.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

drumheller-stettler by-election.

Today is the day that the Alberta Tories will chose their candidate to replace former Finance Minister Shirley McClellan in Drumheller-Stettler. There are three candidates running to carry the Tory banner:

- Jack Hayden, farmer and former President of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (1998-2005).
- Norman Storch, Hanna-area farmer.
- Leona Thorogood, an accountant from Stetter.

The Alberta Liberals have nominated local farmer and former County Councillor Tom Dooley.

Other nominated candidates in Drumheller-Stettler include Socred Larry Davidson, Alberta Aliance candidate Dave France, and Alberta Green Jennifer Wigmore.

UPDATE: Jack Hayden has been nominated.

band-aid budget 2007?

Tory Premier Ed Stelmach and Finance Minister Lyle Oberg unveiled the 2007 Alberta budget Thursday afternoon. Yours truly was there to take in the show.

Having received a nice invitation from Advanced Education & Technology Minister Doug Horner, I was privileged to sit in the Government Members Gallery to watch the budget announcement. In a random occurrence, I sat beside and had a really good conversation with Edmonton Police Chief Mike Boyd.

I have mixed feelings about this budget. It was nothing awe inspiring or amazing but seems to be an attempt to deal with some of the backlog and problems accumulated over 13 years of Tory mismanagement under the now defunct-Ralph Klein regime.

In total, the announced 2007 budget totals over $33 billion. The largest budget ever seen by Albertans.

Here are some of my reflections...

The nearly 40% increase in infrastructure funding for the infrastructure deficit was summed up well by Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft: "This is the price of bad management".

After years of only focusing on debt repayment while allowing Alberta's infrastructure to languish for 13 years, the $18 billion in announced capital spending seems to be an attempt to heal this scar. This problem is going to need a lot more than band-aids, it will need suchers. The $18 billion will point Alberta in this direction.

An increase in the Education Tax Credit from $450 a month to $600 a month for post-secondary students. Considering that most students don't earn enough money to claim the tax, this won't have much of an effect on enrollment. If the Stelmach Government's objective is to increase enrollment, especially among under-represented groups, continuing the failed policies of yesterday that encourage student indebtedness while doing nothing to reduce the upfront costs represents a lack of vision.

There was also a large increase in student finance funding. The devil will be in the details whether this will be an innovative change, or just creating new and exciting ways for students to get into debt. Sources say that there will be more student finance announcements early next week.

Out of the $400 million going to Alberta's municipalities, $100 million of that is earmarked for affordable housing projects. Though this $100 is a substantial committment to creating more affordable housing in Alberta, this is a problem that requires provincial leadership under a province-wide strategy in dealing with this fast growing issue.

Oberg announced a 16% increase in tabacco taxes declaring that "smoking kills!"

The 3% budget increase for K-12 Education and the unilateral decision to tie $25 million of funding for the Alberta Teachers’ Pension liability to labour peace put forward by Education Minister Ron Liepert’s looks to me like posturing for a bigger fight. Look for an ATA-Tory showdown this year.

Alberta Liberal leader Kevin Taft:

“This budget may sustain the PC party up until the next election, but it won’t sustain this province in the long-term,” says Taft. “It’s a fire alarm budget. This government is racing around putting out political fires but not making the province safer in the long term.”
Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier:
""For the past four to five months, I have certainly been singing the praises of the new premier and his government," Bronconnier said. "I took the man at his word, privately and publicly, that this is what would take place. "This budget constitutes a half-kept promise."
NDP MLA David Eggen:
"“Teachers across the province will see this as a provocation,” said Eggen. “This government has neglected the unfunded liability in the Alberta Teachers’ Pension Plan, for years. Now they’re trying to leverage that neglect to get teachers and school boards to give up their right to collective bargaining.”
Alliance MLA Paul Hinman:
"We need a true conservative budget, not a phoney conservative budget."
And finally, thank goodness Graham Thomson is back. Thomson put it well in his Friday column:
"What many agree on is, this is a budget trying to right the wrongs inherited from the Ralph Klein years. In that sense, it is a budget that talks of the future but is a victim of the past.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

can you say 'by-election?'

From yesterday's Orders-in-Council.

O.C. 197/2007
April 18, 2007

The Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints the following persons as returning officers for their respective electoral divisions for the purposes of or in connection with elections, enumerations and plebiscites under the Election Act:
(a) Jean Minchin of Calgary as the returning officer for Calgary Elbow;
(b) Doreen E. Nixon of Byernoore as the returning officer for Drumheller Stettler.
Also, I'll be posting my thoughts on today's Alberta budget tomorrow.

budget day!

It's budget day in Alberta and I'll be at the Alberta Legislature this afternoon to report what's what in Ed Stelmach's first budget as Alberta's Tory Premier.

for the love of...

For those of you interested in this sort of thing, here's a breakdown of the financial statements of the Alberta PC's, Alberta Liberals, and Alberta NDP from 2006.

The individual contribution data isn't yet available on the Elections Alberta Electoral Finance, but hopefully it will be up soon.

Though the individual contribution breakdown will give us a better idea of where the contributions are coming from, looking at the raw numbers shines a light on some interesting trends.

First, the Tories were still dominant in the money section. This is no surprise. The Alberta PC's form the current government and have a well established fundraising base in corporate Alberta. Being the last year of the Ralph Klein dynasty, 2006 was an exiciting year for the Alberta PC's with the attention and funds garnered from their leadership race, this is what I'm assuming a large part of the 1374% increase in "other sources" is about (membership sales, leadership candidate deposits, and the aparatus of this activity).

Second, Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals raised over a million dollars last year. This is quite significant since I believe the last time the Alberta Liberals raised over a million was in 1993 (twelve years of inflation aside, it is still nearly 20% higher than their 2005 fundraising numbers, which is a significant sign of growth). The Alberta Liberals have also made a significant dent in their debt (a leftover from their disaterous 2001 election campaign) and have suceeded paying off over $350,000 in just two years.

Third, though the Alberta NDP were only able to raise half of what the Alberta Liberals raised, the NDP continue to attract more contributions from less than $375 crowd than both the Alberta Liberals and Tories. I see this as significant for a number of reasons. Most significantly, when the Federal Liberals introduced Campaign Finance reform before Prime Minister Chretien retired, the Conservatives benifited greatly from having a broadly developed base of supporters who contributed smaller amounts of donations in larger amounts. That said, I'm not convinced that Alberta will see any significant campaign finance reforms before the next election (the numbers also show the NDP running a deficit and an increasing debt).

The Alberta Alliance failed to submit their financial contribution data by the deadline. Does this mean they will be deregistered? I'll have to find my copy of the Alberta Elections Act and read up...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


As someone who spends close to 90% of my time on a university campus, I am shocked and shaken by the shooting deaths at Virginia Tech University. I've been trying to put my feelings and thoughts into words over the past couple days of reflections, but I'm finding it difficult to do so.

A university is a place of higher learning. It's a place where students and academics should feel a safety of thought, discussion, and person. This shooting underminds that.

It was a horrible event and my thoughts are with the families, friends, students, and staff of Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, Virginia.

Monday, April 16, 2007

change in the midst of heady economic times.

I'm out of town right now, but I thought I'd post this exerpt from Don Martin's column in today's National Post... Alberta Liberals see hope of dethroning Tories

Convincing Albertans to sweep out the Conservatives after 10 majority governments, in the midst of heady economic times, may sound excessively ambitious. But talking to Mr. Taft, now marking his third anniversary as leader,
the possibility seems less remote.

Ralph Klein counted on strong support from two of either Calgary, Edmonton or rural Alberta for a safe re-election. But the Liberals' Edmonton stronghold is being bolstered by gains in Calgary and rising support in the rural south.

"When I became leader three years ago, the Alberta Liberal Party was a train wreck," admits Mr. Taft. "It was financially bankrupt, and there was almost no functioning organization. It's always an uphill climb for the opposition in Alberta, but I have no doubt we're climbing and we'll continue to climb. It's quite exhilarating."

It should be noted that Mr. Taft is several logs short of great oratorical fire, but he's got Mr. Stelmach beat in articulately synthesizing ideas, and his policy perspectives sound more visionary and cosmopolitan.

"We are at a crossroads. If we get it right, it's unbelievable what we could do for Alberta and this country and in some ways the world. We need to build a place where people want to come here for more than a job but a quality of life," he says.

"But look at the ghost towns from the silver rush in B.C. or those from Saskatchewan in 1926 when that province had the highest per capita income on the planet because of the wheat boom.

That's our future if we get it wrong.

"And there's a real risk we'll get it wrong if we don't change government."

Such talk doesn't seem to preoccupy Ed Stelmach, who is still finding it hard to believe he landed the best job in Canadian politics.

"To be the CEO of the province of Alberta at a time with so much potential ..." he pauses to search for words "... sometimes when I put my head on my pillow at night I want to pinch myself."

Well, he'd best not fall asleep on the job. That Albertans are waking up and warming to the possibility of electing a non-Conservative government is perhaps the most jarring consequence in the transition from King Ralph to Honest Ed.

Also, this was a fun story.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

spring sunday.

Let me preface this post by reflecting that even though Spring in Edmonton has had a few noteable false starts this year (snow last week and snow two weeks before that) it actually feels like a nice fresh Spring day this morning. As allergy season sets in for us unlucky ones, let's hope that Summer comes soon.

This weekend's Public Interest Alberta conference was interesting. I spoke at the Post-Secondary Educaiton discussion breakout sessions and found that there was some good conversations, but I most enjoyed attending the Cities discussion breakout session. The Cities sessions was hosted by Amarjeet Sohi - 2004 Edmonton City Council candidate in Ward 6, Jim Gurnett - Executive Director of the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, and Janice Melnychuk - Edmonton City Councillor from Ward 3.

I've found myself beoming more interested in Municipal issues over the past year (being involved in lobbying City Councillors and presenting to Council Committees). Much of the discussion surrounded the need for more affordable housing, better public transit, and more regional cooperation between the Capital Region's 22 Municipalities. I think I may write another individual post on this issue.

I also had a very interesting conversation with Tyson Slocum, who is a Director with Public Citizen's Energy Program in Washington DC. Public Citizen was a consumer advocacy group set up by Ralph Nader in 1971. Our conversation ranged in topics, but it stemmed from his speech to the conference delegates when he mentioned that the energy industry in the United States spends over $500,000,000 lobbying politicians and decision makers in Washington DC. That number simply blew me away. If you can even survive when competing against a budget that size your group must be amazing, but if you can survive AND be a political player at the same time - that shows how strong your organization really is.

Friday, April 13, 2007

thank goodness for the weekend.

A little bit of a local roundup...

- Ken Chapman has written a good post on the reality of the Mountain Pine Beetle's infestation into Alberta's forests and the effects this is having on the communities and economies in these areas.

- Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid has shed some light on the mysterious disappearance of "Bill 2" from the Alberta Legislative order paper.

"This week's favourite Liberal target is a contract awarded to Bob Maskell just days after he was defeated as a Tory MLA in the 2004 election.

Maskell has supplied invoices, and it's evident that he has done serious work on an Aboriginal Education Showcase planned for May.

But a defeated politician still got a government job almost instantly. The casual assumption that there's no problem with this is exactly what the Liberals are talking about.

As the days wear on, it's hard not to suspect a connection between the Liberal assaults and the government's mysterious disappearing conflict of interest legislation.

This was supposed to be bill 2. Weeks ago, a Tory MLA told me with absolute certainty that it would be introduced March 26.

It hasn't appeared yet, even though bills 3 through 30 are on the table. bill 2 remains nothing but a gaping hole in the list.


Well, you can imagine what would happen if the bill outlawed behaviour the Liberals have already revealed, but the government has defended."
- I'll be attending Public Interest Alberta's annual conference this weekend. Changing Alberta: Pursuing the Public Interest will feature speakers such as Tony Clarke form the Polaris Institute, Annie Kidder - Executive Director of People for Education, Tyson Slocum - Director of the Public Citizen's Energy Program in Washington DC, and Monica Lysack - Executive Director of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. I will also be participating as a member of the panel during the Post-Secondary Education sessions.

moving pictures.

And now for something completely different: a new feature.

Check out the fun moving picture links on the sidebar.

This week's feature: The West Wing. Also known as the greatest television program known to man (at least from seasons one through four).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the spring of soundwave.

I'm glad to see that my good friends Soundwave (left avec moi) and Steve Dollansky are getting such broad attention from the blog-o-sphere for their knockout punch debate during the March 2007 U of A SU elections.

Here are some of the blogs that have spread the word...

Phendrana Drifts
Colby File
Terra Incognita
Summer's Daydream
Rhymes with Tyler
Damn you Paras
Pierre Trudeau Is My Homeboy
Calgary Grit
Joey Coleman at

Word has it that Soundwave is going to challenge Justin Trudeau in Papineau in the next federal election...

the next pm.

Justin Trudeau's yet to be born child is set to become the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Prime Minister according to party insiders. "It's a 2040 track to 24 Sussex," a source close to the womb was quoted as saying.
Congrats to Justin and Sophie. But seriously, am I the only one who's getting a little tired of all the Trudeau-hype?

Monday, April 09, 2007

in the land of oil.

Come and listen to a story about a man named...

The Calgary Sun is reporting that Alberta PC MLA's have received over $1,000,000 in extra salary for Government Members committee work over the past year on top of their MLA base salary of $74,000. Here's a list of some PC MLA's and their extra collection:

- Ray Danyluk - $47,132
Youth Secretariat
Advanced Education Comm.
N. Alberta Dev. Council
Court Workers Program Review

- Doug Griffiths - $46,998
Standing Committees of the Legislature
Agenda and Priorities Comm.
Adv. Education Comm.
MLA Task Force to launch Rural Development

- Carol Haley - $47,496
Standing Policy Comm.
Treasury Board

- Denis Herard - $47,106
Comm. on Workers Compensation
Alberta Mental Health Advisory Comm.
Standing Policy Comm.

- Ron Liepert - $40,381
Standing Policy Comm.
Trade and Transp. Comm.
Local Authorities Election Act Review
Regulatory Review Steering Comm.
Public Affairs Bureau Review
Alberta Film Commission

- Rob Lougheed - $48,872
Standing Policy Comm.
Council of Status of Persons with Disabilities
MLA AISH Review Comm.
Treasury Board

- Richard Magnus - $42,666
Standing Policy Comm.
Alberta Economic Development Authority
Treasury Board

- Ivan Strang - $42,407
Standing Policy Committees
Endangered Species Conservation Comm.
Treasury Board

- Len Webber - $40,500
P.I. and Security Guard Review
Healthy Aging and Continuing Care Comm.
Task Force on Continuing Care Standards
Alaska-Alberta Bilateral Council

You can take a look at all Government MLA committee appointments here.

This pointed out, I don't believe that we pay our elected officials enough. With the current base salary looking like so...
MLA Indemnity - $49,836.00
MLA Tax Free Allowance - $24,918.00
(Total) - $74,754.00

...and MLA's expectations to attend many upon many functions in their ridings and communities during their terms, the $24,000 tax free allowance disappears very fast. This said, I don't think loading PC MLA's with committee work or extra perks available only to Government Members is the solution to this problem. I would be very interested to know what type of work many of these committees have produced and if this work is actually worth the extra salary only available to Alberta PC MLA's.

On a completely different note, the floundering Alberta Alliance held it's AGM last weekend and elected a new executive headed by a familiar face. Randy Thorsteinson, founding leader of the Alberta Alliance and former leader of the Alberta Social Credit Party, is back as President. Thorsteinson left the Alberta Alliance leadership following his defeat against Innisfail-Sylvan Lake PC MLA Luke Ouellette in the 2004 provincial election. Cardston-Taber-Warner (and lone) Alliance MLA Paul Hinman was elected leader shortly thereafter.

october 14, 2008 alberta federal election candidates.

Following up from my 2006 candidates list, here is a list of nominated Alberta candidates running in the October 14, 2008 Canadian Federal Election.

Last updated on October 3, 2008.

I will try to keep this list as updated as possible, so if you have knowledge of candidates that should be added feel free to post below or email me at

Christian Heritage - John Broekema
Conservative - Lee Richardson
Green - Natalie Odd
Independent - Antony Tony Grochowski
Liberal - Heesung Kim
NDP - Tyler Kinch

Canadian Action - James Kohut
Conservative - Jim Prentice
FPNPC - Doug Dokis
Green - Eric Donovan
Liberal - Doug James
Libertarian - Jason McNeil
Marxist-Leninist - Peggy Askin
NDP - John Chan

Communist - Jason Devine
Conservative - Deepak Obhrai
Green - Nathan Coates
Liberal - Bernie Kennedy
NDP - Ian Vaughn

Conservative - Devinder Shory
Green - Abeed Monty Ahmad
Independent - Roger Richard
Liberal - Sanam Kang
Marxist-Leninist - Daniel Blanchard
NDP - Vinay Dey


Conservative - Diane Ablonczy
Green - Tony Hajj
Liberal - Anoush Newman
NDP - Stephanie Sundburg

Conservative - Jason Kenney
Green - Margaret Chandler
Liberal - Brad Carroll
NDP - Christopher Willott

Christian Heritage - Larry Heather
Conservative - Stephen Harper
Green - Kelly Christie
Liberal - Marlene LaMontagne
Libertarian - Dennis Young
NDP - Holly Heffernan

Canadian Action - Tim Cayzer
Conservative - Rob Anders (Vote out Anders)
Green - Randall Weeks
Independent - Kirk Schmidt
Liberal - Jennifer Pollock
Marxist-Leninist - Andre Vachon
NDP - Teale Phelps-Bondaroff

Conservative - Kevin Sorenson
Green - Kaity Kattenbach
Liberal - Sharon Howe
NDP - Ellen Parker

Christian Heritage - Margaret Saunter
Conservative - Laurie Hawn
Green - David Parker
Liberal - Jim Wachowich
Libertarian - Savannah Linklater
Marxist-Leninist - Peggy Morton
NDP - Donna Martyn

Conservative - Peter Goldring
Green - Trey Capnerhurst
Liberal - Stephanie Laskoski
NDP - Ray Martin

Conservative - James Rajotte
Green - Valerie Kennedy
Liberal - Donna Lynn Smith
Libertarian - Garet M. Wood
NDP - Hana Razga

Christian Heritage - George C.Y. Lam
Communist - Naomi Rankin
Conservative - Mike Lake
Green - David Allan Hrushka
Liberal - Indira Saroya
Libertarian - Tyler Beckett
NDP - Michael Butler


Conservative - Tim Uppal
Green - Nina Erfani
Liberal - Rick Szostak
Independent - Jimmy Ford
NDP - Brian LaBelle

Conservative - Rona Ambrose
Green - Wendy Walker
Liberal - Chris Austin
Libertarian - Wade Racine
NDP - Barb Phillips

Conservative - Rahim Jaffer
Green - Jane Thrall
Liberal - Claudette Roy
NDP - Linda Duncan
Marxist-Leninist - Kevan Hunter

Christian Heritage - Nathan Reeves
Conservative - Brent Rathgeber
Green - Peter Johnson
Liberal - Samir Sleiman
NDP - Dave Burkhart

Christian Heritage - Jake Strydhorst
Conservative - Brian Jean
FPNPC - John Malcolm
Green - Dylan Richards
Independent - Shawn Reimer
Liberal - John Webb
Libertarian - Tim Moen
NDP - Mark Voyageur

Christian Heritage - Geoff Capp
Conservative - Rick Casson
Green - Amanda Swager
Liberal - Michael Cormican
NDP - Mark Sandilands

Christian Heritage - Marc Slingerland
Conservative - Ted Menzies
Green - Jared McCollum
Liberal - Isabel Paynter
NDP - Stan Knowlton

Christian Heritage - Frans VandeStroet
Conservative - LaVar Payne
Green - Kevin Dodd
Independent - David Patrick
Independent - Dean Shock
Liberal - Beverley Botter
NDP - Wally Regehr

Canadian Action - Edwin (Ed) Siggelkow
Conservative - Chris Warkentin
Green - Jennifer Villebrun
Liberal - Liliane Maisonneuve
Libertarian - Melanie Simard
NDP - Adele Boucher Ryhms

Conservative - Earl Dreeshen
Green - Evan Bedford
Liberal - Garfield Marks
NDP - Stuart Somerville

Conservative - Leon Benoit
Green - Will Munsey
Liberal - Adam Campbell
NDP - Raymond Stone

Christian Heritage - Sip Hofstede
Conservative - Brian Storseth
Green - Aden Murphy
Liberal - Leila Houle
NDP - Della Drury

Canadian Action - Shawn Mann
Conservative - Blaine Calkins
Green - Les Parsons
Liberal - Rita Dillon
Libertarian - Mike Heath
NDP - Tim Robson

Conservative- Blake Richards
Green - Lisa Marie Fox
Liberal - Jenn Turcott
Libertarian - Patrick Dobbyn
NDP - Jeff Horvath

Canadian Action - Melissa Brade
Christian Heritage - John Wierenga
Conservative - Rob Merrifield
Green - Monika Schaefer
Liberal - Mohamed El-Rafih
NDP - Ken Kuzminski

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

answer the question!

Yesterday afternoon, Assembly Speaker and Tory MLA Ken Kowalski ejected Edmonton Ellerslie Liberal MLA Bharat Agnihotri from the Alberta Legislature for refusing to apologize for asking the following question of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture Minister Hector Goudreau:

Mr. Agnihotri: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier, Minister of Finance, Minister of Health, Minister of Sustainable Resource Development all have secret donors to their leadership campaign. Can this minister assure this House that groups receiving this special treatment are not secret friends of top Tories?
Agnihotri probably could have asked a less loaded question, but I shudder to think what Albertans outrage would feel like had this happened to a Conservative MP in Ottawa asking a similar question to a Federal Liberal Minister. Here’s how Kowalski justified his decision:
Speaker: The question from the hon. Member for Edmonton-Ellerslie, the first one, which wasn’t dealt with, basically says, “If a group cannot raise matching funds up to $10,000, it will be considered on a nonmatching basis. However, documents tabled in this Assembly show that this government is breaking its own rules.” Well, that wasn’t even contested. There were no rules that were broken.

…political party matters are not the subject of the question period. Then the question: “Can this minister assure this House that groups receiving this special treatment” – now, the question is: what special treatment? – “are not secret friends of top Tories?” Boy, if that isn’t innuendo, you know, I must have just arrived. I’ve been here 28 years, and this is blatant innuendo.
It seems to me that two main forces collided during this moment: a poorly worded and loaded question, and a harsh ruling by the Speaker (who is also one of the most partisan Tory MLA’s in the Assembly). I think it's quite fair to say that the Speaker went way too far in this ruling. The simplist way to defuse this question would have been for Minister Goudreau to utter one word in response to Agnihotri's question: no.

But let’s look at the root of Agnihotri's question: should internal party and leadership race finances be a matter of public transparency and accountability?

On the Federal level, it is very much a matter of public accountability – both endorsed by the Federal Liberals through their electoral financing legislation and through Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government’s Accountability Act. It’s unfortunate that Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party/Government disagrees with their federal cousins on this issue, because it is an issue of transparency and accountability – something that Premier Ed Stelmach even likes to talk about championing.

On Monday, Elections Alberta released their annual political contribution numbers:
The list of companies donating to the Tories dwarfed that of any other party in Alberta.

Energy and power giants listed include: EnCana ($10,775), TransCanada PipeLines ($12,650), Imperial Oil ($10,000), Nexen ($11,400), Atco Group ($10,650), Talisman Energy ($10,000), Suncor ($7,650), Enmax ($7,925), and Syncrude ($4,250).

Federal legislation passed last year bans contributions from corporations and unions, and caps individual donations at $1,000 to each political party. Ethics watchdogs argued the same should be introduced in Alberta.

"Donations are a means of influence," said Duff Conacher, the co-ordinator of Ottawa-based Democracy Watch, arguing donations should be disclosed as they're made to parties, rather than once a year.

"If you want to prevent corruption and waste, then you want to have a system of very restricted donations and full disclosure."

The NDP received many large union donations totaling several thousands of dollars, which helped generate party revenues of about $625,000. The Alberta Liberals, who received several donations from the oilpatch, last week reported revenues of more than $1 million in 2006.
Though we are able to see contributions to political parties - and see how incredibly large these donations are - Albertans do not have the transparency and accountability in seeing the political contributions in the races that choose their leaders. This leaves Albertans with no transparency or accountability in the races that will decide who will potentially be Alberta's Premier.

This lack of transparency and accountability leads back to the idea behind the question asked by Mr. Agnihotri: how do Albertans know that undisclosed donors from the PC Leadership campaign aren’t receiving special treatment through this program? Or any other program for that matter?

Monday, April 02, 2007

sweet sweet calgary.

Dan and I drove to Calgary this weekend to spend some time with +200 fellow politicos at the Alberta Liberals election readiness convention.

It was a good weekend and was probably one of the best organized Alberta Liberal conventions I've been to since I started going to these things way back in 2000. It was a good chance to meet with MLA's, candidates, and other volunteers from across Alberta. Other than the training sessions, there were some good speeches from Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft, Mount Royal College Political Science Professor Keith Brownsey, and other MLA's- rallying the troops, etc.

I also had the chance to meet both Liberal candidates nominated to run in the upcoming by-elections: Craig Cheffins from Calgary Elbow and Tom Dooley from Drumheller-Stettler.

In Calgary Elbow, Craig Cheffins - former President of the Lakeview Community Association and Work Experience Coordinator for the Bachelor of Applied Justice Studies program at Mount Royal College - will be facing PC candidate Brian Heninger - longtime President of Heninger Toyota - and it's shaping up to be a fight with both candidates having a chance of taking this riding.

Other nominated candidates include Alberta Green Party leader George Read and Trevor Grover - sacraficial lamb from the Social Credit Party.

Calgary Elbow will be a litmus test to gauge rural-based Ed Stelmach's curb appeal in Calgary. This comes only months after Stelmach's near shut out of the Jim-Dinning-loyalist-Calgary-Tory caucus from his cabinet in December.

In Drumheller-Stettler, Liberal candidate Tom Dooley - rancher and former County Councillor - has been nominated. As for the Tories, municipal consultant Jack Hayden is making his move. Other nominated candidates in Drumheller-Stettler include Socred Larry Davidson and Alberta Green Jennifer Wigmore.

This riding was Shirley McClellan's stronghold for 20 years - which she won in a by-election in 1987 following the death of longtime Tory Minister Henry Kroeger. Though it's much more likely that Calgary Elbow will be the more competitive race, weirder things have happened - in a 1992 by-election, Liberal Don MacDonald was elected in the Tory strong-hold of Three Hills a landslide with 26% margin. Even if the Liberals don't win in Drumheller-Stettler, a strong second place finish in a deep rural riding like this one would boost momentum for Kevin Taft's Liberals in rural Alberta.

With both major parties putting up a full court press for these seats it should be an exciting summer!

rabid partisans.

Idealistic Pragmatist has a good post on her feelings towards partisanship and a recent visit to Edmonton by NDP MP Nathan Cullen.

I share many of IP's feelings towards blind rabid partisaness.