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Thursday, January 31, 2008 governing myself accordingly. day 23.

I've been asked by a number of readers for an update on the fiasco that became public 23 days ago. So, by popular demand, here is an update on the continuing legal saga of and my accused misappropriation of Ed Stelmach's personality.

As I have previously written, Premier Ed Stelmach's Chief of Staff Ron Glen called me on the evening of January 9, 2008 asking if there might be a way to amenably resolve this issue. Understandably, I was a little surprised to get a phone call from the Premier's Chief of Staff, so I told Mr. Glen that I would return his call in a couple of days after I took some time to weigh my options. On January 11, 2008, I returned Mr. Glen's call and left a message on his voice mail (Mr. Glen was in Ottawa with Premier Stelmach at the First Ministers' Conference). My call was quickly returned by Mr. Glen's assistant who assured me that she would try to set up a phone meeting between myself and Mr. Glen to discuss a resolution to the domain name issue.

This began what can only be properly described as a game of "phone tag" which ensued over the next week. Mr. Glen had an uncanny ability to return my phone messages while I was in classes and had my cell phone turned off (I am a full-time student at the University of Alberta). Each time Mr. Glen left a message on my voicemail, I returned his call and left a message on his (I was surprised that no one seemed to pick up the phone in the Premier's Office). Then, roughly two weeks ago, Mr. Glen didn't return my call, which was bizarre considering that I had indicated that I was interested in resolving this situation.

As it's been almost two weeks since Mr. Glen or a representative of Ed Stelmach has attempted to contact me, I can only assume two things:

a) They have found Ed Stelmach's personality.
b) They are acting like nice guys because of next week's impending election call.
I'm sure Albertans across the province would be happy if "a" were the answer, but I can't help but be concerned that they still haven't withdrawn the threat of a lawsuit against this blogger.

It seems as if the moment the media coverage began to die down on this issue, Ed Stelmach's representatives went silent on the issue, leaving me with the very real concern that Premier Stelmach and his crew are putting on their nice guy faces until after the election when they could follow up their threat and slap me with a lawsuit. Even with cyber-law experts from Michael Geist to David Hicks and Cameron Hutchison having pointed out the shaky legal ground that Premier Ed Stelmach is standing on, the Premier still hasn't withdrawn his legal threat towards me. And even after Edmonton-Riverview PC candidate Wendy Andrews assured me on the evening of January 23, 2008 that she was going to contact Mr. Glen to see if he was going to return my call, I still haven't heard back from Mr. Glen.

You can read the full coverage of the continuing fiasco below:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

building schools where children live.

- An Alberta provincial general election call is expected within days - a February 4 or 5 writ drop following the Speech from the Thone is what most pundits are pointing towards. In preparation for the 2008 Alberta Election, I am planning to highlight and profile (as well as make some bold predictions) some of the 'hot races' in constituencies across Alberta. I'm making a list of 'hot races' to cover, so if you have any suggestions or ideas, shoot me an email at

- Calgary Grit has a good run down on Ed Stelmach's 20-year capital plan which commits to continue projects that are already under construction and to build schools where children live (rather than where they don't live...).

- Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft was in Ontario yesterday speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto about his plan to transform Alberta into a Western Economic Tiger and how other provinces can take part of Alberta's oil-boom wealth. Taft announced the Alberta Liberal plan to replace natural gas rebates with incentives to encourage energy efficiency. Providing incentives for energy efficiency is smart long-term strategy, but the optics of announcing the replacement of natural gas rebates while it's -54C outside might not make fans of short-term thinkers.

Kevin Taft will be delivering his Alternate Speech to the Throne tomorrow night on the University of Alberta campus.

- Today's Edmonton Journal editorial has an interesting take on Ed Stelmach's bizarre posturing at the recent Premier's Conference in Vancouver and asks the question: "Would the real Ed Stelmach please stand up?" Perhaps someone really did misappropriate Premier Stelmach's personality...

- Coming soon... an fiasco update...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the biggest day in the campaign - vote

Friend --

Barack Obama won an overwhelming victory in South Carolina on Saturday.

People came out in record numbers and voted for change. Now, after four early state contests, Barack has the most votes, the most delegates, and the most diverse coalition of supporters we've seen in a long time.

But this is no time to rest -- the stakes are even higher tomorrow in the final days of the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards.

On January 30, 2008 at 11:59PM, voting in the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards will come to an end.

We have exactly one day to make this campaign count. Make sure to vote for right now to help Dave compete on the biggest day of the campaign:

Here are a few details about

- 180 Facebook members have joined the campaign facebook group
- 86% of readers are from Canada
- 43% of Canadian readers are from Edmonton, 24% are from Calgary.
- 8% of readers are from the United States. Barack Obama is from the United States.
The clear lesson we can learn from South Carolina in the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards is that voters are ready to bring America together and solve the problems that matter to ordinary Americans.

This election isn't about race or gender, income level or education level.

It's about the past and the future.

The moment to act is now. We're campaigning from Alberta to Nova Scotia, from Saskatchewan to Ontario. Your vote right now is more important than ever. Please vote for today:

Thank you for your support,


calgary-montrose a victim of a culture of litigation?

To expand on a topic broached in a post yesterday, if recent legal actions by the Tories are any indication, the Calgary-Montrose Progressive Conservative Constituency Association may be a victim of a culture of litigation in Alberta's current governing party.

I'm pretty sure that I'd be mighty pissed if I were a member of a political party who's legal agenda generated news articles like:

This of course is in regards to the recent victory of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association over a group of its volunteers in the east Calgary constituency of Calgary-Montrose.
The provincial Progressive Conservatives have won a prolonged court battle against some of their own members, a ruling that further muddies when or if the Tories will nominate a candidate in the riding of Calgary-Montrose.

But the decision also leaves several volunteers of the local riding association on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills and could result in foreclosures on their homes.
Because of the legal battle (and probably with the distraction of potentially losing their homes because of the PC Party) the Calgary-Montrose PC constituency executive has yet to hold a nomination meeting, but has scheduled a meeting for February 9 in the wake of Ed Stelmach's threat to appoint a candidate of his choosing in Calgary-Montrose if the constituency association didn't act.

With current Calgary-Montrose MLA Hung Pham declaring that he will not seek re-election, Calgary-Montrose is without a PC candidate. Pham, first elected in 1993, earned the dubious title of the MIA MLA for his less than perfect record of attendance in the Alberta Legislature. Unlike his record of attendance in the Alberta Legislature, Pham didn't hide his feelings about the matter in a recent letter:

MLA Hung Pham won't seek a fifth term as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Calgary-Montrose, blasting his own party on the eve of an election for lying, making "poor decisions" and taking "dishonourable" actions.

In a letter to his constituency board last weekend, the Tory backbencher scolded the party for doing nothing to help local volunteers with their huge legal bills -- and accuses the party of having "lied" about its role in constituency politics.

He questioned how the party handled "millions of dollars" of its own funds.

With an Alberta provincial election call only days away, it appears that all is not well on the good ship S.S. Stelmach.

Monday, January 28, 2008

who's your candidate, alberta?

With an provincial election potentially only a week away, Albertans are stepping up to stand for election in constituencies across the province. Here's an update:

Calgary-Montrose - Hung Pham has been the Tory MLA since 1993, but he's not the nominated Tory candidate. The Alberta Progressive Conservatives have succeeded in defeating a group of Calgary-Montrose PC volunteers in a controversial lawsuit stemming from the 2004 Calgary-Montrose PC nomination scandal. What is it with these guys and lawsuits?

Edmonton-Glenora - It looks like Brian Mason's NDP may have lost a candidate. Where did he go? NDP candidate and U of A Engineering Professor Brian Fleck has been removed from the list of candidates on the NDP website. Fleck's website now forwards to the website of Edmonton-Whitemud NDP candidate Hana Razga. Edmonton-Glenora Alberta Liberal MLA Bruce Miller narrowly defeated ND candidate and former ATA President Larry Booi in 2004.

Edmonton-Strathcona - Edmonton-Strathcona candidate Tim Vant was joined by Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft as he was nominated as the Alberta Liberal candidate at a packed nomination party last Thursday. Vant is a the owner and manager of popular Edmonton-Strathcona restaurant Fiore's Italian Cantina. Vant is a lifelong resident of the Edmonton area and a staunch supporter of Edmonton’s arts community. Three-term NDP MLA Raj Pannu is not seeking re-election.

Red Deer-South - Former Red Deer Public School Trustee Diane Kubanek has been nominated as the Alberta Liberal candidate. Kubanek will face-off with rookie Tory candidate Cal Dallas. Four-term Tory MLA Victor Doerksen is not seeking re-election.

Strathmore-Brooks - Arno Doerksen was nominated as the PC candidate to replace retiring Tory Finance Minister Lyle Oberg. Doerksen defeated Mara Nesbitt and Don Weisbeck in the second ballot of Tory voting.

Wetaskiwin-Camrose - The Alberta Greens have nominated their Elections Coordinator Midge Lambert. Watch for a strong push by the Greens in Central Alberta constituencies such as Ponoka-Lacombe and a hand full of Calgary constituencies.

The full list of nominated provincial election candidates can be found here.

blizzard and deep freeze in edmonton.

The weather on the morning of January 28, 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

Temperature: -31C
Temperature with the windchill: -47C


don't forget to vote for!

Just a quick Monday morning reminder that final round voting in the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards will be open until January 30 at 11:59PM PST. Don't forget to vote for in the following categories!

Best Blog

Sunday, January 27, 2008

alberta not civilized - tory minister.

With a provincial election call potentially less than 10 days away, both of Alberta's main political parties are presenting their ideas and plans for the future. As a fan and follower of the arts community in Edmonton (and more specifically L'Unitheatre and the Varscona Theatre) I took notice of when both the Alberta Liberals and Tories made arts and culture announcements this week.

On Wednesday, Kevin Taft's Alberta Liberals announced of a new policy titled Fuelling an Alberta Renaissance: Policies to Invigorate Arts and Culture in Alberta, proposing some key changes to how the Alberta Government interacts and provides support to Alberta's struggling arts community. Ed Stelmach's Tories followed their lead with an Arts announcement two days later. Much like Ed Stelmach's environment announcement earlier in the week, the Stelmach Tory arts announcement was short on substance and big on pictures.

I heard through a media source in Calgary that at the media scrum following the announcement, Ed Stelmach struggled to answer the straight forward question of "who are your favorite Alberta artists, Mr. Premier?" (couldn't even name Corb Lund?).

As if it wasn't indicative enough of the Tory Government's attitude towards the arts that the Premier had a hard time naming an Alberta artist, but I was blown away when I read Peace River Tory MLA and Tourism, Parks, and Culture Minister Hector Goudreau's speaking notes from the policy launch:

"We can build a civilized society that aspires to excellence and beauty..."
Wow. Thanks, Hec.

Friday, January 25, 2008

the importance of firearm safety.

On a lighter/more serious note, this is why firearm safety is very important (and why some people shouldn't be allowed near guns...)

alberta's green plan: what's the point?

After taking a look at the recently released Alberta Tory green plan, it's pretty clear that only a trained monkey (or the staunchest Tory partisan) would be running to the front lines to defend and promote it as the great green hope of the Province of Alberta. Here's what I've gathered from a look at the report released by Ed Stelmach yesterday:

1) Alberta will allow greenhouse gas emissions to rise until 2020 (for another 12 years).

2) Alberta will deliver a 14-per-cent cut in emissions over 2005 levels by 2050 (something for Ed Stelmach to celebrate at his 99th Birthday party!)

3) The Tories will create a council of government and industry officials to to study studies which have been studied by government and industry study groups before before, which they will use to create a new study.

4) Ed Stelmach's Tories like pretty pictures, because this document is 70% pretty pictures.

5) The announcement also mentioned future investment in wind and solar power, but failed to mention anything about the Tories recent love-in with Nuclear power and the controversial proposed Nuclear power facility in Peace River. Why was this left out?

6) And lastly, it says quite a bit about the Stelmach Tories' green plan when Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is taking a stronger stance on climate change...

Alberta's greenhouse gas targets lag far behind the federal government's commitment to cut emissions 20 per cent below 2006 levels by 2020, and 60 to 70 per cent by 2050.

Ottawa plans to stop the rise of greenhouse gas emissions within five years, whereas Alberta is looking at 12 years.

If you're going to the job seriously, why bother at all? Today's Edmonton Journal editorial said it all:

The government's vague announcement sets weak long-term targets, proposes little concrete action and calls for yet another industry-government council to figure out how to build a carbon-capture-and-storage network.

Alberta can and should be a leader in fighting climate change, instead, our Tory government has chosen quiet complacency and mediocrity. Maybe this is what happens after 36-years in power?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

in the finals. vote

There is something happening in the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards.

Change is what's happening.

A week ago when we entered this race, no one imagined that we'd accomplish what we did in first round of voting in the Awards.

We were able to bring to the FINAL ROUND of voting!

We are about to enter the most decisive period of this campaign. We need to act immediately to build up our organization to compete in final round that began yesterday.

This is why VOTING in the final round of the Canadian Blog Awards is so important. With the polls open until January 30th, 2008 at 11:59 PM PST, it is important that you VOTE for (not in the following categories:

Because of you, this campaign is closer and more competitive than anyone imagined.

And with your support, will go all the way in the FINAL ROUND of the 2007 Canadian Blog Awards.

Thanks again.

Govern yourself accordingly,


PS: Show your support by VOTING for and joining the vote for in the 2007 canadian blog awards! group on Facebook.

i'm part of the 45.5%.

Yes, a poll is a poll, but polls tend to become a little more interesting to look at when they're released 10 days before an expected election call:

Tories: 32%
Alberta Liberals: 18%
NDP: 7%
Wildrose Alliance: 6%
Greens: 3%
Undecided: 26.6%
Not voting: 7%

Gov’t Should Be Re-Elected: 34.5%
I would prefer a change in gov’t: 45.5%
Graham Thomson has an interesting take on this poll in today's column.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

they didn't have a plan.

You know it has to be election-related when the Alberta Tories start putting serious money into post-secondary education. I have no desire to highlight the pre-election goodies that will be dolled out by the Stelmach Tories. Rather, I think it is important to point out an extremely bizarre comment from University of Alberta Board of Governors Chair Brian Heidecker. When asked about the cash infusion, Governor Heidecker - a well-known and connected Tory-supporter and former Tory candidate - responded:

"Being 100 years old means a lot of deferred maintenance."
Actually, no.

The U of A being 100 years old [and doing a piss poor job of taking care of public infrastructure] means a lot of deferred maintenance.

It's about properly maintaining the public infrastructure so that the generator in university *Building Z* that was meant to last 30 years actually lasts 30 years (and not only 10 or 15 years). It's about not only taking past investments into public infrastructure seriously, but taking current public funds and taxpayers dollars seriously. It's about having a plan.

With roughly half-a-billion dollars in deferred maintenance at the U of A alone, it's clear that the those in the University of Alberta administration and in the Tory Government charged with the responsibility of maintaining the public infrastructure in Alberta's post-secondary sector haven't been taking that responsibility seriously.

They didn't have a plan.

it's time for late-night public transit in edmonton.

Yesterday morning, I co-presented a presentation to Edmonton City Council's Transportation & Public Works Committee on the hot issue of 24-hour/late-night transit service in Edmonton. The debate over late-night expanded transit service has drawn attention in the media and in interesting places like's “Expand Edmonton's Transit Service to 24 hours!” group (which now has over 2 700 members).

In addition to myself and my fellow co-presenter, nine presenters including Bryan Saunders, the Transit Riders' Union of Edmonton, the Old Strathcona Business Association, and NAITSA presented their support of expanded transit service (you can take a look at the Transit Riders' Union of Edmonton presentation here).

With ten City Councillors in attendance at the committee meeting (including committee members Bryan Anderson, Ben Henderson, Ed Gibbons, Kim Krushell, and Councillors Don Iveson, Amarjeet Sohi, Tony Caterina, Karen Leibovici, Dave Thiele, and Jane Batty) it is clear that Edmonton City Councillors are taking this issue seriously.

Here's part of the presentation that I co-presented...

Making Edmonton a more student- and youth-friendly city through late-night public transit

Presentation to Edmonton City Council Transportation & Public Works Committee (January 22, 2008)

With over 160 000 post-secondary students (including over 60 000 full time post secondary students) living in Edmonton attending NAIT, Grant MacEwan College, the University of Alberta and other institutions, the addition of late-night transit service would help make Edmonton a more student and youth-friendly city.

A large number of students already depend on ETS for their transportation to and from work, home, and school. With the introduction of the Universal Bus Pass in September 2007 for students at Grant MacEwan College and the University of Alberta, we can only expect that as the U-Pass program continues, more students will depend on public transit for their transportation needs.

Because of cost, many students don’t live in the University-area or within walking distance of the U of A. Students working late-night part-time jobs in the restaurant/hospitality industry as well as students working in industrial parks would benefit from late-night transit. Students in the Faculties of Nursing and Medicine who are completing late-night residencies and training in hospitals and medical centers across Edmonton would also benefit from late-night transit. As many students don’t own or have access to cars and because of the rising cost of post-secondary education, the option of taking a $15, $25, or $40 cab-ride is an expensive luxury for many students.

With the recent addition of 24-hour study space in the Students’ Union Building on the University of Alberta North Campus, the addition of late-night transit routes would help students access this space later at night throughout the school year and exam periods without having to worry how to get back to their side of the city.

As of 9:16 pm on Monday, January 21, 2008, the group “Expand Edmonton's Transit Service to 24 hours!” on the popular online social networking site had 2,535 members. This highlights the wide-interest that the prospect of late-night or 24-hour transit has sparked among students and young Edmontonians.

We propose keeping main routes running for Late-night service as well as late-night LRT service on a half-hourly schedule. The completion of the south track of the LRT to Southgate Mall and Century Park LRT stations will open up the option of late night transit to students living in the south end. Transit service changes such as these will help make Edmonton a more student and youth-friendly city.
The debate on 24-hour/late-night public transit in Edmonton will be continued at the June 10, 2008 meeting of the Transportation & Public Works Committee. If you support the idea of 24-hour/late-night public transit in Edmonton, contact Mayor Stephen Mandel and your City Councillors to let them know!

As Edmonton grows, these types of public transit questions are only going to become more critical to making Edmonton a smarter and more efficient city.

Monday, January 21, 2008

candidate nomination updates.

I've updated the list of nominated Alberta provincial election candidates. Candidate updates include:

Alberta Liberals:
Patricia Robertson in Banff-Cochrane
Herb Coburn in Foothills-Rockyview
Augustine Ebinu in Grande Prairie-Wapiti
Bal Boora in Lethbridge-West.

Alberta Greens:
Kevin Mahoney in Calgary-North Hill
George Read in Calgary-North West
Sean Maw in Calgary-Varsity
Cameron Wakefield in Edmonton-Riverview
Valerie Kennedy in Edmonton-Whitemud
Stephen Lindop in Leduc-Beaumont-Devon

wrap enters stage right.

The Wild Rose Alliance Party (WRAP) was formed this weekend with Paul Hinman as their leader. With only 3 or 4 weeks to organize and nominate candidates, I think it's a little too tell what sort of an effect the merger (or reuniting) of the Alberta Alliance and Wild Rose Party will have in the next election. I'll try to post something more in depth on this in the near future.

Calgary-Egmont Take Two: Paul Jackson-endorsed Jonathan Denis defeated Vicki Engel and Don Middleton in the Progressive Conservative nomination. In December 2007, Denis was defeated by Craig Chandler for the Calgary-Egmont Tory nomination before Chandler was booted from the PC nomination by Ed Stelmach and the PC executive for his extreme views. Denis will face off against former Calgary Catholic School District Chair and Alberta Liberal candidate Cathie Williams, and now-Independent candidate Craig Chandler.

Friday, January 18, 2008

don't sue me bro.

Good grief...

Web war between political parties

Two Liberal candidates, for the next provincial election, have had their domain names purchased by an apparent Tory supporter.

When you go to and users are redirected to the Conservative party website.

CTV News has learned that Andrea Kirby, for the
Kirby Financial Group, purchased the domain names. Kirby did not return CTV’s calls, or emails, asking about the purchase.

This latest development comes as the premier threatens to sue a former Liberal communications worker who purchased the domain name

Kent Hehr says he will not be suing anyone over the matter. In fact, he says he appreciates the attention being drawn to his campaign.

killed in a blogging accident.

Something a little more light hearted for a Friday morning...

Thursday, January 17, 2008 governing myself accordingly. day 10.

Well, it's been 10 days since the fiasco began last week and I'm still surprised that it's still getting the media attention that it is. As I'm in and out of classes at the University of Alberta this week, I seem to be unintentionally playing a game of phone tag with one Mr. Ron Glen (who's .ca domain name is apparently still available...).

It's been a little quieter this week, which is good because I have now had a chance to catch up on the reading that I didn't get done last week because of I'm looking forward to things dying down a little so I can concentrate on my courses before the expected provincial election begins in February (two new interesting classes I'm taking include POLS 419: Politics of the Canadian Constitution and HIST 460: Water History: Local, National, and Continental).

Here is some of the media coverage from this week:

- Is Stelmach made of Velcro or Teflon? (Graham Thomson in the Edmonton Journal)
- Stelmach's legal threats against blogger spawn backlash (Globe & Mail)
- Web-savviness not PC's domain (The Gateway)
- Stelmach's seeming lack of foresight unsettling (Letter to the Gateway)
- Will the real Ed please stand up (Calgary Sun)
- I was on CBC Radio's Search Engine radio show which aired this morning.

And to echo the Edmonton Journal's editorial "Tuppence for a smile," I think some people might need to take a breather and lighten up a bit...

Appropriation of premier's name for website an invasion of privacy
The Edmonton Journal
Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Re: "Tuppence for a smile," Editorial, Jan. 11.

The Journal calls the controversy over the website "a truly magnificent prank"? Horse manure.

How about invasion of privacy -- with an ulterior motive? Cournoyer sets up the domain, worsens the problem by pointing it to an Internet article about former Social Credit leader Harry Strom name, and then suggests that Stelmach should have registered his name first.

Cournoyer did not outsmart anyone. His actions have done nothing to enhance the Liberal party of Wilfrid Laurier and Louis St. Laurent.

Stelmach carries the very responsible position of premier. I expect he does more work in a day than Cournoyer has done in the last year. Stelmach concentrates on important issues and already has addressed teachers' pensions and royalties, among other issues.

I am an emeritus professor at the University of Alberta. My position has been debased by Cournoyer's actions, as he is a U of A student.

There are some jobs to be done: Kevin Taft should throw him out of the Liberal party. The president of the U of A should take away his student registration. Who can teach him some manners?

D.J. Laurie Kennedy, Edmonton

alberta online poll results.

In other news, yesterday's 630 CHED online poll asked readers and listers who they were going to vote for in the next Alberta provincial election... it may be just an online poll, but here are the results...

Liberal 42.62%
PC 41.46%
NDP 4.69%
Other 11.21%

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

no plan for alberta.

As has been written about numerous times over the past couple days, a group calling themselves "Albertans for Change" have released a series of attack ads aimed at Ed Stelmach in the run up to the expected February/March provincial election. I've had a number of thoughts on this topic over the last couple days.

It should be interesting to see how Albertans react to these attack ads. Albertans aren't usually exposed to such advertising in their living rooms, so is this a sign to come for the next election? It's disappointing that the two groups who seem to be behind Albertans for Change, the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Alberta Building Trades Council, didn't roll out the ads more publicly. I think this may have given some people the idea that they were trying to hide who they were (which I don't think they were).

On the subject of the ads themselves... I'm not exactly their biggest fan, but I don't think I'm their target audience. It will be interesting to see how they play out in defining Ed Stelmach as Premier (as attack ads have helped to define another political party leader). A year into his term, Ed Stelmach is still struggling to define himself and there are no shortage of Albertans (including Albertans for Change) who are racing to beat him to the punch.

On this topic, this email ended up in my inbox yesterday...

Graham Thompson's and Jason Fekete's articles in Tuesday's Edmonton Journal caught my eye. In particular I was taken by the outrage of Stelmach's spokesman Tom Olsen. He accused the ads' sponsors of "firing from the shadows" and urged them to release the full cost of their campaign and who was funding it.

In the spirit of openness that seems like a reasonable request to make.

In exchange, perhaps Mr. Olsen could give us the names of the contributors to Mr. Stelmach's leadership campaign. As Albertans recall, Mr. Stelmach promised he would divulge the names of ALL his contributors. Instead he has held back the names of 80 persons who prefer to remain anonymous. Why? Is there something to hide? Are there people on that anonymous list who received plum government appointments or contracts during Mr. Stelmach's time as Minister?

I'm not saying there are.The problem is we just don't know.

Mr. Stelmach and his public relations team work hard to create the image of an honest down-to-earth politician. Revealing the names of the mystery donors would add some much-needed substance to that image.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

the first daveberta podcast.

Last weekend, my buddy Ryan Heise and I sat down and recorded the first of what will hopefully be many (or at least more than one) podcast hosted here on (not Not surprisingly, we talked about recent events in Alberta's blogging world.

It's a little rough around the edges, but even Ira Glass' first show on This American Life was a little rough... feel free to have a listen to the appropriately named Govern Yourself Accordingly podcast from Enjoy!

vote - canadian blog awards.

Hey folks, it's that time of year again and this blog has been nominated in a number of categories for the Canadian Blog Awards. If you've enjoyed what you've read here, feel free to pop over and vote for (not to be confused with in the following categories:

Best Blog
Best Blogosphere Citizen
Best Political Blog
Best Progressive Blog
Round One voting will be open until January 21st, 2008 11:59 PM PST. Final Round voting will start on Wednesday January 23rd.

You can also join the vote for daveberta in the 2007 canadian blog awards group on facebook.

peter lougheed at the university of alberta.

Former Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed will be speaking at the University of Alberta tomorrow.

Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture - The Honourable Peter Lougheed: Is Canadian Federalism Working?

The Honourable Peter Lougheed PC CC QC will deliver the Merv Leitch QC Memorial Lecture on the topic, “Is Canadian Federalism Working?”

The lecture will take place on Tuesday, January 15, 2008, from 12 noon to 1 pm in Law Centre Rooms 231/237. A light lunch will be served.
It should be an interesting talk and I'm planning on checking it out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

it's about rep-by-pop.

With an Alberta provincial general election predicted to be only weeks away, I thought it would be important to put a little more attention on the issue of representation in the Alberta Legislature. To be specific, this is the issue of representation by population. Representation by population is a pretty simple concept that is taught in elementary social studies classes (or at least was when I went to elementary school), but the people who draw Alberta's constituency boundaries may have missed that lesson at school.

According to the list of electors from the November 2006, here are the constituencies with the lowest number of registered voters:

Dunvegan-Central Peace - 15,142 voters
Peace River - 18,007 voters
Lac La Biche-St. Paul - 18,674 voters
Lesser Slave Lake - 19,553 voters
Bonnyville-Cold Lake - 19,602 voters
Cardston-Taber-Warner - 19,615 voters
Now, take a look at the two Edmonton and Calgary constituencies with the lowest number of registered voters:
Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood - 26,170 voters
Calgary-Montrose - 24,519 voters
This means that the 15,142 voters in Dunvegan-Central Peace have the same representation in the Alberta Legislature as the 24,519 and 26,170 voters in Calgary-Montrose and Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. It also means that the 15,142 voters in Dunvegan-Central Peace have the same representation in the Legislature as the 37,529 voters in Calgary-West and 37,613 voters in Edmonton-Whitemud (the two most populated constituencies according to Elections Alberta).

Now, I understand the argument behind the existence of these less populated rural constituencies (and why Dunvegan-Central Peace was given special consideration to have less than 75% of the provincial average) - because it's more difficult for an MLA to represent a vast less populated vast rural constituencies - but when it comes down to it, fence posts don't vote, people do. It's about equal representation for Albertans (the first part of the Triple-E).

I'm not saying that the people of Dunvegan-Central peace aren't of the utmost quality, but I wouldn't blame voters in Calgary-West and Edmonton-Whitemud if they became a little confused as to why 1 vote in Dunvegan-Central Peace's is worth more than double a vote in their constituency.

Now, we're nowhere close to having rotten boroughs, but the question of equal representation in Alberta between urban and rural Albertans is a critical question that needs to be addressed. After Edmonton lost one seat in the 2003 Electoral Boundary Review, I hope that both the Mayors and Councillors of Edmonton and Calgary will be ready to fight for fair representation when the next boundary review comes along.

But with three of the six least populated constituencies being represented by Ministers in the current Tory government, I wouldn't blame cynics for not believing that this type of constituency distribution will end anytime soon...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

edmonton journal podcast.

Just over a week ago, I sat down and chatted with Edmonton Journal’s Legislature Reporter Archie McLean as part of the first edition of the Lej Out Loud podcast. Ken Chapman and I were lucky to be the first guests of the podcast in which we discuss the political blogging scene in Alberta.

Congrats to Archie and thanks for having us on!

Also, in case you haven't yet read it, check out Graham Thomson's column from today's Journal.

24-7 transit for edmonton?

In case anyone missed it, Kerry Diotte had an interesting column on the idea of 24-hour transit in Edmonton.

Coun. Karen Leibovici, who asked administrators to prepare one of the two reports, is cautiously supportive of extended service.

"We're becoming more and more of a 24-7 city," said Leibovici. "We need to start looking at it," she said. "But the biggest problem is cost. Perhaps we don't have to run all night or even until 3:30 a.m.

"Maybe we can do a pilot project on Whyte Avenue or extend service for one extra hour."

Yes, there are many options.

Maybe we could afford it if we cut little-used routes and keyed on busier ones - or stopped using tax money to fund new routes to distant suburbs.

Do we need smaller buses on some routes? Or could we have fewer stops so buses get to destinations faster, thus encouraging more people to use the system?

Those options too, would help pay for extended hours.
I think there are some pretty valid points in exploring the idea of 24-hour routes for Edmonton Transit (or potentially an hourly or half-hourly LRT run after 1am). Though I believe there tends to be too much focus on the Whyte Avenue bar scene when talking about 24-hour transit service, I do think that it could be an interesting place to conduct a pilot project.

I've even heard of an idea that would have buses running down Whyte Avenue after closing time delivering bar patrons to destinations east and west of Whyte Avenue to designated taxi pick up areas (perhaps the Bonnie Doon Mall parking lot to the east and the Jubilee Auditorium or Lister Hall Parking lots to the west). Though there would be a number of issues to work out (bus driver safety and "bus cleanliness" being two), it would successfully cut down the conjestion on Whyte Avenue before and after closing time.

As Edmonton grows, these types of public transit questions are only going to become more critical to making Edmonton a smarter and more efficient city.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 governing myself accordingly. day 3.

Well, I've spent the last three days governing myself accordingly on this issue and Here's a bit of an update of what's going on...

As was reported in the newspapers today:

Stelmach's chief of staff, Ron Glen, called Dave Cournoyer on Wednesday in search of a resolution to the fight over the domain name Glen had heard Cournoyer might be amenable to settling the issue if he got a call from the premier.
Now, I'm still a little confused about who exactly I'm dealing with. Let me try to work this out:

1) Right before Christmas, I receive a letter from a lawyer representing Premier Ed Stelmach threatening me with litigation for misappropriating Premier Stelmach's personality by owning

2) January 8 - The Premier's Office refuses to comment or become publicly involved with the issue. Alberta Progressive Conservative Executive Director Jim Campbell comments on it, saying the domain issue is theirs.

3) Afternoon, January 9 - I receive an email from the Premier's lawyer saying that he is still waiting to hear from me or my legal representation.

4) Evening, January 9 - I receive a friendly phone call from Ron Glen, the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Premier (which didn't want to comment or be involved with the issue the previous day), asking if there might be a way to amenably resolve this issue.

Understandably, I was a little surprised to get a phone call from the Premier's Chief of Staff. I know that Mr. Glen is a good friend and long time adviser to Premier Stelmach, but I can't help but be a little confused about who is handling the issue on their side of things.

Like I've said before, this has always been something that probably could have been resolved a lot quieter by a friendly email or phone call and not through a threatening legal letter (it's kind of like shooting first and asking questions later). This said, I've never been interested in personally or financially profiting from this, so I will be taking a couple of days to weigh my options.

Here is some recent stories from bloggers and in the news about this story...

- Stelmach the bully in this web prank (Graham Thomson at the Edmonton Journal)
- Province threatens Cournoyer (The Gateway)
- Premier of Alberta threatens to sue blogging uni student for registering a domain with his name in it (BoingBoing)
- Premier Stelmach seeks truce over domain name spat (Edmonton Journal)
- Political Analysts tell Stelmach to 'back off' on domain name dispute (Calgary Herald)
- Expert expects preem to lose domain lawsuit (Edmonton Sun)
- Premier defends efforts to control internet address (Canadian Press on CBC Edmonton)
- Edmonton Sun Letter to the Editor
- Davberta punk's Premier Ed. I love it! (Ken Chapman)
- (Everybody has to live somewhere)
- Hard not to feel some sympathy for the Premier (David Climenhaga)
- Ed Stelmach threatens lawsuit over domain name (Ben Co.)
- Not an HRC issue, but blogger may be sued (timeimmortal)
- Alberta Premier vs Alberta Blogger (
- Alberta Premier threatens to sue blogger over cybersquatting ( The Agenda)
- On making Ed Stelmach look stupid (Cowboys for Social Responsibility)
- Unless you live under a rock (Alberta Tory)
- Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach vs. blogger (Alice the Camel)
- Craig Chandler bids for Stelmach's domain name (La Revue Gauche)
- Hey Ed your domain is available (La Revue Gauche)

The Premier was also questioned about during his press conference this morning before he left for the First Ministers' Conference in Ottawa.

Here's a bit of a rundown of some of the political movement on the Alberta scene...

- The list of Alberta Provincial election candidates has been updated as Alberta Liberals have nominated Dick Mastel in Cypress-Medicine Hat and Dale D'Silva in Calgary-North West. For the New Democrats, former City Council candidate and two-time Edmonton-Manning candidate Hana Razga will be running in Edmonton-Whitemud against Tory Health Minister Dave Hancock and Alberta Liberal Nancy Cavanaugh. The NDs will also be running Mel Kraley in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.

- The Battle for the Calgary-Egmont PC nomination is raging on. Don Middleton vs. Vicki Engel vs. Jonathan Denis. The victor will take on Alberta Liberal Cathie Williams, Independent-turfed-Tory Craig Chandler, Green Party Leader George Read, and New Dem Jason Nishiyama.

- Kudos to Elections Alberta for their swanky new website, it's a great improvement compared the previous design.

- Jimmy Ford will be running as an Independent candidate in the next Federal election in the riding of Edmonton-Sherwood Park.

- The campaign south of the border gets more interesting as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has ended his bid as a candidate in the Democratic race. I'm still betting on Mike Huckabee for the Republican nod... the daveberta conspiracy.

I don't think you really become a 'someone' in Alberta politics until an Edmonton Sun columnist accuses you of being part of an organized conspiracy.

Similar to the vast left-wing conspiracy behind the youthful non-partisan well-organized campaign machine of now-Ward 5 Edmonton City Councillor Don Iveson, I've been accused of being part of a conspiracy by Sun columnist Neil Waugh.

Well, Neil, you called a spade a spade and caught me red handed. I am part of a vast conspiracy. In fact, I've been a full participant in many vast conspiracies in my years. Here's a list to get you started on your next column...

- The Global Warming Conspiracy
- The Watergate Conspiracy
- The Apollo Moon landing hoax
- The Black Helicopter Conspiracy
- The assassination of Arch-Duke Franz Ferdiniand
- The Reptilian Humanoid Conspiracy
- The Roswell UFO Conspiracy

I'm also a member of the Bohemian Club and Skull & Bones, and am the sinister mastermind behind New Coke.

uniting the right in alberta?

I've always had a bit of a fascination with the non-Progressive Conservative political right in Alberta and the future merger of the Wild Rose Party and the Alberta Alliance into the superparty Wild Rose Alliance is no exception.

I think it will be quite interesting to see the impact that a merger between these two parties will have in the next election. One of the quirks of Alberta politics seems to be the far-right's inability to keep organized between elections only to coalesce in time for the election period.

In the 2004 election, the Alberta Alliance, led by Randy Thorsteinson, ran a full slate of 83 candidates. Though the majority of Alberta Alliance candidates didn't come even close to victory, a few finished with strong second- or third- place finishes. Only Cardston-Taber-Warner candidate Paul Hinman (and now leader) was elected while Thorsteinson was unable to topple Tory MLA Luke Ouellette in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. With former Tory Broyce Jacobs once again challenging Hinman in Cardston-Taber-Warner, the Alliance leader Paul Hinman's chances of re-election are questionable.

Of course, a couple of questions still remain about the Alliance-Wild Rose Unite the Right initiative such as... will they have time to register with Elections Alberta as a formal party or will they run under an unofficial slate? Will they really have time to organize candidates and campaigns before the next election? Will they hold a leadership race or will Alliance Leader Paul Hinman take the reins as has been suggested? What role will Craig Chandler and his merry band of supporters play in this new party/alliance?

Here's a look back at some of the past-ventures of the non-PC far-right in Alberta electoral politics...

Alberta Alliance (83 candidates) - 77,466 votes (8.7%)
Social Credit (42 candidates) - 10,998 votes (1.23%)

Alberta First Party (16 candidates) - 8,851 votes (.87%)
Social Credit (12 candidates) - 5,361 votes (.53%)

Social Credit (70 candidates) - 64,667 votes (6.84%)

Confederation of Regions Party of Alberta (12 candidates) - 3,556 votes (.36%)
Social Credit (39 candidates) - 23,885 votes (2.41%)

Social Credit (6 candidates) - 3,939 votes (.47%)

Confederation of Regions Party of Alberta (6 candidates) - 2,866 votes (.40%)
Heritage Party of Alberta (6 candidates) - 601 votes (.08%)
Representative Party of Alberta (46 candidates) - 36,656 votes (5.14%)
Western Canada Concept Party of Alberta (20 candidates) - 4,615 votes (.65%)

Alberta Reform Movement (14 candidates) - 6,258 votes (.66%)
Social Credit (23 candidates) - 7,843 votes (.83%)
Western Canada Concept Party of Alberta (78 candidates) - 111,131 votes (11.76%)

(Also, has anyone registered, or do we need to go through this again...)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008 governing myself accordingly. day 2.

First, I'd like to thank everyone who has commented, left phone messages, or sent emails of support (or disapproval for that matter). I've been trying to govern myself accordingly, but this story has been keeping me pretty busy since yesterday. I have classes this afternoon and evening, so I will try to start responding to emails after that.

I'd also like to thank Rob Breakenridge, Dave Rutherford, Ron Wilson, Jim Brown, and CityTV Edmonton's Breakfast Television for having me on their shows to talk live about the this issue.

Second, I have yet to hear from Premier Ed Stelmach or the lawyers representing him. The threat letter from Premier Stelmach's lawyer was the first time I was contacted and I haven't heard anything since their imposed deadline passed.

Third, here are some interesting links to bloggers and reporters covering this story:

- "I don’t know where Ed Stelmach’s personality is but I didn’t take it" (Calgary Grit)
- Stelmach threatens to sue blogger (Edmonton Journal & National Post)
- Alberta Premier threatens to sue over domain name (CBC)
- Lawyers for Premier threaten to sue blogger who owns (Canadian Press)
- Stelmach threatens to sue over web address (Front page of Calgary Herald)
- Lawfirm says blogger stole Stelmach's personality (Edmonton Sun)
- Alberta Premier to blogger (Globe & Mail)
- Alberta have a lot of lawyers or something? (Abandoned Stuff by Saskboy)
- Premier of Alberta sues Alberta blogger (Grandinite)
- A cybe-bully? (Jafo's Journal)
- The Electronic Battleground (Ken Schmidt)
- "Lame and Childish" (Thought...interrupted by typos
- tort of misappropriation of personality? (Cameron Hutchison on the U of A Law Blog)

Also, I was understandably surprised to find some support in what I thought would have been an unlikely place:

Ed Stelmach vs (Ezra Levant at the Western Standard Shotgun blog)

Fourth, I plan to return to regularity scheduled blogging soon. As you can imagine, I have a lot to say about this.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

premier ed stelmach threatens to sue alberta blogger over

Right before Christmas, I received a letter in the mail from Tyler Shandro, a lawyer from the Calgary-based law firm Walsh Wilkins Creighton LLP, representing Alberta Premier Edward Stelmach.

This letter was sent to me regarding my ownership of the domain name, which I purchased for approximately $14.00 on April 4, 2007 (four months after Mr. Stelmach became Premier of Alberta). The letter accuses me of interfering with and misappropriating Ed Stelmach’s personality (I’m really not sure where Ed Stelmach’s personality is, but I certainly didn’t take it).

The letter also states that because there are advertisements placed on this blog, Premier Stelmach “is entitled to the amount he would reasonably have received in the market for the permission to use his name.” This makes me wonder how much the owners of a local Edmonton business paid to use Premier Stelmach’s personality last Halloween or how much Rick Mercer paid to use the domain name of another Alberta political personality.

For the majority of the time I have owned, I have had the domain name forward to this blog. A week before I received the letter from Premier Stelmach’s lawyer, I changed the forwarding to the wikipedia biography of another Alberta Premier (who also probably would have not thought to register his domain name).

The letter requests that I:

(a) make arrangements with my service provider by December 21, 2007, to ensure that the Website no longer forwards to the blog; and
(b) make arrangements to with my service provider and/or registrar to have the Website registered in their client's name.
(c) govern myself accordingly (I added this one).

If I chose not comply by their imposed deadline, the letter states that they “have been instructed by our client to commence litigation.

As someone who has never shied away from criticizing the 36-year old Progressive Conservative government, I have always faced harsh criticism from those who don’t appreciate the views espoused on this blog or agree with my political beliefs. I accept this reality.

Though I am still surprised that the +150 staffed Public Affairs Bureau failed to complete the simple task of registering a $14.00 domain name, I am even more surprised that Premier Ed Stelmach’s first reaction in this situation was to threaten to sue an 24-year old blogger and debt ridden University of Alberta student. As a born and bred Albertan, I do not take well to threats from politicians. Therefore I will be seeking advice from legal counsel on how to proceed with this threat.

Monday, January 07, 2008

between $1.3 billion and $2.8 billion in "uncaptured economic rent."

Good morning. Here is an update...

- A censored provincial government report shows that Albertans weren't necessarily getting their fair share in royalty rates...

Alberta Energy told the provincial government in 2004 that the province was missing out on billions of dollars in resource revenue, newly released documents show.

In a 2006 report, the department estimated that since royalty rates were capped at certain price levels, Alberta had lost between $1.3 billion and $2.8 billion in "uncaptured economic rent" for natural gas alone in 2003 and 2004, or between $700 million and $1.4 billion a year.

The department's cross-commodity resource valuation team called on the government to "increase conventional oil and gas royalties to restore Alberta's fair share at high prices."

- The newest kid on the right-wing block of Alberta politics is strolling around the corner... two of Alberta's right-wing political parties are setting the stage to merge. The Alberta Alliance and the Wild Rose Party have announced their intentions to join forces in an attempt to storm the right-wing gates of Alberta's political spectrum. Enter the Wild Rose Alliance.

- The Stelmach Tories are attempting to forge a new day in post-Craig Chandler nomination Calgary-Egmont. It looks like two main candidates have stepped up to the place. Vicki Engel and Don Middleton are lining up to face former Calgary Catholic School District Chair Cathie Williams who is running under the Alberta Liberal banner and now-Independent candidate Craig Chandler.

- Also, Canada had a political leader even half as charismatic as Barack Obama, it would be a gigantic improvement over our current Canadian political leaders. I'm excited to watch the New Hampshire results tomorrow night!

Friday, January 04, 2008

chris samuel - canada's next great prime minister.

Wednesday night, Chris Samuel - Canada's Next Great Prime Minister and his supporters from across Canada held a Democracy Party at the University of Alberta. The event, which rivaled Barack Obama's Iowa victory party, was an epic event filled with entertainment and fierce political drama and debate than any political watcher would revel in. Here are some clips of the improv event and testimonials from Chris Samuel supporters.

Chris Samuel Canada's Next Great Prime Minister Challenge (Clip 1#)

Chris Samuel Canada's Next Great Prime Minister Challenge (Clip 2#)

Chris Samuel Canada's Next Great Prime Minister Testimonials

Thursday, January 03, 2008

obama's word of the day: change.

I haven't really focused too much blogging on the American Presidential nominations, but with the Iowa caucuses happening today, I thought I'd post this lovely video from the Washington Post...