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Monday, December 14, 2009

the top 10.

With the second round of voting in the Top Alberta Political Moment of the Decade contest now underway, here are some brief descriptions of the top 10 moments to vote for:

Vote - 2000: Thousands of Albertans protest the passage of private health care Bill 11. Albertans raised a massive protest against government plans for private health care and private hospitals. Opposition to Bill 11 is remembered for the the spontaneous nightly vigils at the Legislature. The government passed an amended version of Bill 11 that actually inhibited private health care more than it facilitated it.

Vote - 2001: Ralph Klein berated the homeless in a late night visit to a mens shelter in Edmonton. Long-known for his enjoyment of alcoholic beverages, Premier Ralph Klein's late night visit to the Herb Jamieson Centre changed how many Albertans viewed the Premier's vice. Klein publicly apologized and pledged to stop drinking.

Vote - 2004: Ralph Klein declared fiscal debate erased, making Alberta the first debt free province in a decade. At his July 12 Stampede Breakfast, Premier Klein declared Alberta to be 'debt-free.' The pursuit of erasing the provincial debt became the defining goal of the government in the 1990s and early 2000s. As the Chief of Staff to the President of Daveberta said, "the language of our elections and our politics is shaped around deficits and spending in a way that isn't present in other politics."

Vote - 2005: Gay marriage becomes legal in Alberta. Alberta began granting marriage licences to same-sex couples on July 20, upon the granting of Royal Assent to the federal Civil Marriage Act. After promising to continue opposing same-sex marriage, Premier Klein announced Alberta would would reluctantly recognize same-sex marriage, but promised new legislative protection for anyone who opposed it on moral or religious grounds.

Vote - 2006: Calgary MP Stephen Harper became Prime Minister of Canada. On January 23, Calgary-Southwest MP Stephen Harper led the Conservative Party to defeat the Liberal Party led by Prime Minister Paul Martin to form the first Conservative government since 1988. As the first Prime Minister from Alberta since Joe Clark, Harper's election shifted the power dynamic in Alberta politics, making it more difficult for the provincial government to criticize the boogeymen in Ottawa.

Vote - 2006: $400 Ralphbucks cheques mailed to every Albertan. An embodiment of short-term vision of a government with unprecedented financial wealth, the $400 Prosperity Bonuses were mailed to every Albertan. This represented $1.4 billion (or 20%) of the $6.8 billion surplus and was criticized by many Albertans as a pointless giveaway (but few actually refused the cheques).

Vote - 2006: Ralph Klein received 55.4% approval in the PC leadership review. After 14 years in the Premier's office and leading the PC party to four majority governments, low approval from convention delegates forced an early retirement for the man who dominated and defined Alberta politics since 1992.

Vote - 2006: Ed Stelmach defeated Jim Dinning in the PC leadership contest. On December 2, former Finance Minister and Calgary's favourite son Jim Dinning was unexpectedly defeated by 13-year MLA and former Lamont County Reeve Ed Stelmach. Stelmach became Alberta's first Premier from rural Alberta since Harry Strom in 1971.

Vote - 2008: Linda Duncan defeated Rahim Jaffer to become the second-ever NDP MP from Alberta. On October 17, Linda Duncan was elected as MP for Edmonton-Strathcona, defeating four-term Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer by 436 votes. The first NDP MP elected in Alberta was Edmonton-East MP Ross Harvey in 1988.

Vote - 2009: Danielle Smith was elected leader of the Wildrose Alliance. Recent polls have shown major short-term growth in Wildrose Alliance support since Danielle Smith was elected leader on October 17, but it may be too soon to tell what long-term effect she will have on Alberta's political scene. Smith is a former Calgary Board of Education Trustee and Director of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.


Breakenridge said...

Still shocked Linda Duncan made the second round. Hardly a game changer, and unlikely anyone will really care in 30 years.

Disco Stu said...

Who was more important this decade: Linda Duncan or Anne McLellan. Did McLellan not do it for the progressives the same way?

calgarygrit said...

Yeah, the Duncan one is a head scratcher.

I voted for Steady Eddie's win, since it was exciting at the time and may prove to be a game changer. But some of those Klein moments are certainly worthy.

Anonymous said...

It was mentioned before that the NDP staff are actively telling their members to come and vote for Duncan, hence her success. Apparently winning non-scientific web polls is the new NDP strategy. I'm sure their members are happy to be paying the organizers for such valuable work.

Jeff J. said...

The Linda Duncan one is a joke and should be removed from the list, it shouldn't even be in the same book, let alone the same paragraph.

Remove it, and class up the vote.

Art said...

Jeff J. - Obviously some people disagree. Is this your attitude towards political candidates you don't support? Remove them and 'class up' the list?

Personally, I think the stinker is the 'debt free' nonsense. First of all, the province was/is so drenched in oil and gas that a room full of monkeys could have balanced the budget.

Secondly, the 'debt free' mark was largely an accounting trick - done at the expense of billions in deferred infrastructure that we still haven't made up yet. Paying off the mortgage while the roof and foundation are caving in isn't a big accomplishment in my books.

Disco Stu said...

I'm actually serious with my question about McLellan as her reign was before my time in the province. Obviously she was really helped by vote-splitting, but she was also a very powerful cabinet member and incredibly well respected in Ottawa. She have any legacy of that now?

Jeff J. said...

Actually Art, economists have demonstrated (conclusively I might add) that had the gov't in the 1990's kept on the same track they were going on before Klein, that even with the surpluses we've had we would have ended up with a $60 billion dollar debt to date. So your monkey's argument doesn't hold water. So nice attempt.

And a 4 year stint for an NDP MP to be elected may be considered a HUGE event for a few people, but all we are asking for is a little perspective. I'm sure to you there is nothing more important than your little world around, so by all means continue living in your bubble.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Linda Duncan in Copenhagen right now on her own mission because she's not part of the delegation? Shouldn't an Alberta MP stand up for our province and for the hundreds of thousands of us who work in the oil sector?

Perhaps Ms. "Moment of the decade" can take off her rose colored glasses and start doing something for her own province instead of embarassing herself and trying to embarass her country.

Zork. said...

No, Duncan is part of the official Canadian delegation as is Jack Layton. The Canadian delegation is massive.
I know the provincial NDP is pro oil sands development (or are they pro tar sands development?) but does anyone know the Fed NDP? Or do they care about the oil workers with kitchen tables, but not the fat-cat bosses?

Pete said...


Economists have never conclusively demonstrated anything. It's not exactly an exact science.

Perhaps if we collected royalty rates at, say, the middle of the pack instead of near the bottom among the world, we might have been able to pay down debt without letting all of our schools and hospitals get dangerously run down.

Anon 12:25 demonstrates why Linda Duncan's election is significant - because it shows that not all Albertans swallow the Conservative kool-aid. Your opinion on the tar sands is not universal in this province. Some of us would like to clean it up a little - rather than have the rest of the world shut it down on us.

Anonymous said...

What about Ed Stelmach's record-breaking victory for a first Premier - 72 / 83 seats?

Anonymous said...

This poll is bullshit.

No offense to Linda Duncan as I do respect her as an MP, but her win is nothing compared to the CPC defeating the "natural governing party" in 2006, the merger of the CA and PC's, Ed Stelmach winning the PC leadership and then the election, or Ralph Klein subsequently losing his handle on the PC leadership.

Why don't we start voting en masse for the Green's second place finish in the Wildrose riding as the biggest political moment of the decade.

Art said...

It's important to some of us because it shows not all Albertans are Conservative.