Saturday, April 29, 2006

Van-Kingsway, THIS is why we wanted your MP

To all those who criticized my defence of the Emerson appointment, I offer a humble "I told you so".

Anyone who suggested that other senior Conservative MPs could have easily taken on the role of Trade Minister, I trust they stand corrected.

This deal is a good one for Canada. Perfect, no... but when making a deal of this magnitude, I don't suspect one side should anticipate complete victory over the other.

Overall, though, the positives well outweigh the negatives. In fact the only two groups who seem to be raising any ire about this deal are the Liberal Party of Canada and the Bell Globemedia chain (who are, usually, one in the same).

Kudos to the Prime Minister, Minister Emerson, Ambassador Wilson, and the plethora of public and private sector minds who help make this a reality.


Completely unrelated, but has anyone else noticed that the Provinical Government has made practically zero news in the last few weeks? Its a little disconcerting, if you ask me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Stay tuned

Hello from sunny Kelowna!

My folks' new house is amazing and I can't wait to spend more time out here, but for now I must shift my focus homeward for the next few months as I prepare to make the move westward myself.

Its been fun setting up a new (and much larger) home, sort of like watching the first episode of a TV series that has changed settings (think Rhoda from Mary Tyler Moore or Frasier from Cheers). The people here are really quite friendly and the pace is generally more enjoyable, exactly what my parents need and deserve after all these years in McMurray.

For my part, i'll start winding things down back home over the next couple of months. I'll have to step down from the boards I sit on, all of which I will miss terribly.

The biggest departure for me will be from my seat of the Provincial Executive of the PC Party of Alberta. I have sat around that table in a few roles now for more than 3 years, all of which have been an enriching experience.

My departure, though, will provide me with an opportunity to express some views more candidly than I am able to as a member of the executive. I have tempered many of my comments related to the PC Party of Alberta not because we are under any kind of "gag order", but rather out of respect for my fellow executive members and the party in general (not to mention learning a lesson a few years ago about how NOT to say things when you have a title).

But after May 6, I will no longer have a title with PC Alberta. I will be submitting my resignation so that the party will have ample time to pick a new Regional Director for Northeastern Alberta prior to the commencement of the Leadership Race. I know its a bit early to step aside, but I don't want to see my region left without representation during the race simply because I wanted to hang on a little longer.

So after May 6, those of you who had asked for a little more "spice" in my comments will be rewarded...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Movin on

Good morning from beautiful Jasper, Alberta!

Today marks day two of a two-day roadtrip to Kelowna with my Dad. Dad, of course, can't drive yet, so he's just enjoying the scenery from the passenger's seat. We're on the road taking their extra Cadillac, new computers, and a U-Haul full of Christmas decorations to their new home in the Okanagan.

I'll admit that it was a little bizarre emptying out an entire attic of stuff and loading it into a trailor, never for it to return to Fort McMurray. Moving is not a new concept for me, i've done it 7 times since 1999. But for my parents, this is their first move in a quarter-century.

Change is a funny thing that does different things to different people. I tend to be more of an embracer of change, but I was unsure how my folks would feel about their slow move to BC. Seems, though, that they're as excited about it as I am about my impending move to Vancouver Island.

Fort McMurray has been a great place for all of us to work, live, and play. But even then, now is the time for a change of scenery... for my folks to finally enjoy the fruits of their hard labour, and for me to finally get a piece of paper that will make me legitimately employable.

What makes the respective moves easier, I think, is that we won't be strangers in our new homes.

Mom and Dad came to Fort McMurray 30 years ago along with a number of other folks who I have collectively come to know as the "Manitouwadge Refugees" (Manitouwadge is a small town in the middle of nowhere in NW Ontario). The "refugees" are all getting ready to retire and, from the looks of it, they'll all be living within about 20 minutes of each other in the Kelowna area.

In my case, I fell in love with Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of BC several years ago and have made a point of going back quite frequently. On those trips (mostly of a political nature), I have made so many great friends that i'm confident in saying that i've got more friends in BC than I do in Fort McMurray (where my social circle consists almost exclusively of acquaintances).

There are plenty of reasons that i'm looking forward to the moves to BC and i'll be thrilled when we're finally out there full time.

For now, though, i'm just glad to have the trip started.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A very looooooooong weekend

I don't really have any substantial comments to make of late, but knowing that so many of you readers are out there compells me to give you something... so here goes, in random order:

1. I'm bored. 3 days off in Fort McMurray can mean a lot of things, but most often it means you head out of town. Since I was gone for the latter half of March, though, that doesn't seem plausible. There are some things to do here, but precious little that can be done alone. Hence, this weekend is a good reminder of why i'm moving in September.

2. GO BARONS! The M.O.B. are just one win away from clinching the AJHL championship and moving on to the Doyle Cup (between the top teams of the AJHL and BCJHL respectively).

3. I think Stephen Harper kicks ass. It would seem that the majority of Canadians think so too.

4. I read Graham Thomson frequently and disagree with him almost as frequently. If there was any doubt that he is a pawn for the Alberta Liberal Party (and one of the only people who finds Kevin Taft "visionary"), it is plain as day in his latest blog post. What worse is that, after reading the document, I am even more convinced that the Alberta Liberal Party is nothing more than a B-team conglomeration of wannabes.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A worthy editorial

I saw Michael Hall, Managing Editor of the Fort McMurray Today, at lunch this afternoon. He made a little request to have me link to the blog that their newspaper has set up to reprint editorial content (which doesn't appear on their main website).

Conveniently, I happened to wander over to their humble little blog and found an editorial worth passing along:

The points made are bang-on. Even as an armchair parliamentarian (its like an armchair quarterback, but way geekier), i've been bemoaning things like the removal of dredging services from the Athabasca River as a prime example of how little consideration we get from Ottawa.

Hopefully our representative in the Nation's Capital will heed the advice in this editorial.

Hopefully, too, we have seen the last of the days when our representative has been confused about everything ranging from the allocation of funding to his opinion of the Prime Minister to his responsibilities as a Parliamentary Secretary.

We live in the single most economically important riding in this country... we need no less than a rock-solid and 100% focused voice in Ottawa.

Hat Tip: Larry Johnsrude

I'm a little slow off the mark here, but a friendly hat-tip to Larry Johnsrude of the Edmonton Journal who link to this humble little blog from his blog.

Seems that Larry was paying fairly close attention to those of us who tried blogging live from the PC Alberta Convention a few weeks ago.

In the spirit of the hat-tip, i've added some new links on the right side of your screen to some of my daily blog reading. I suspect i'll be adding to it as my addiction to the blogosphere increases.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Renewal, blogger style

In my cybertravels, i've come across an interesting new blog that talks about the renewal/leadership race of the PC Association of Alberta.

Its a team blog, which i'm guessing means that more than one person is posting to the site. The catch is everyone is anonymous so the conversation could be a lot more candid.

Like anything that's anonymous, it should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, its more e-entertainment for cyber-poli-newssurfers like yours truly.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Back to reality

Alright, i'm finally back in McMurray and have settled back into (relatively) normal life again. Time then for another round of the exceptionally popular this and that:

Final thoughts on the Leadership Review vote:

Its too bad that Ralph has to go this way. Blame for the result can be placed in many hands on either side of the equation. Either way, it's done and now we move on with picking a new leader.

The Preston Question:

The possibility of a Manning candidacy changes everything in this race. It realigns loyalties and certainly changes the tone of the race. I, personally, am quite torn by it all. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Manning and believe that if we ignore some of the big ideas he speaks about, we do so at our own peril. The question is, will he be embraced as the man who can save our party from electoral oblivion, or is he just a slightly younger Ed Schreyer trying to clamour back into the limelight. I have yet to answer that question for myself.

New Provincial Cabinet Members:

Congrats are in order to Denis Ducharme, Denis Herard, George VanderBurg and Barry McFarland, all of whom get to precede their names with "Honourable" as of 3:30pm Thursday. I know 3 of these 4 gentlemen reasonably well, and am very excited to see their exceptional talents being put to use at the cabinet table. While i'm not necessarily a fan of a 25-member cabinet, if we have to have one i'm sure glad these guys are there.

Stupid Cabinet Factoid #1:

Advanced Education shifted from D.H. to D.H. (Dave Hancock - Denis Herard).

Stupid Cabinet Factoid #2:

Of the 4 new Ministers, 2 of them are Denis. Both spelled the francophone way (because they're both francophone).

Stupid Cabinet Factoid #3:

Both of the new Minister Denis' wives are named Rose.

The Paradox that is me:

Last night I went to a live taping of The Vinyl Cafe, a wonderful show on CBC Radio 1. It was a fantastic evening... if you ever get the chance to go see Stuart McLean and this show live, DO IT.

Tonight, I shift from the artsy, CBC-esque crowd at Keyano Theatre to Thickwood Heights Arena to cheer on my beloved Fort McMurray Oil Barons as they battle for the AJHL championship. My sister's boyfriend is from Camrose, whose Kodiaks we are playing in this round. He was, in fact, the one who informed me that our two teams would be playing each other... ... I have since called to express my condolences for their impending slaughter at the hands of the mighty Oil Barons.

And finally, the best line this week from federal Question Period:

In response to a question regarding the "seduction" of David Emerson to cross the floor and become the Conservative Trade Minister...

Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper: "Mr. Speaker, I don't think i've ever been accused of seducing anyone, not even my wife."

Mrs. Harper, incidentally, was sitting in the gallery at the time.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Deer in the headlights

This post's title sums up the look on my face and the face of many of my fellow conservatives this morning.

A lot of us knew that last night's vote on Premier Klein's leadership wasn't going to be the resounding success that it has been in the past. We all knew that the Premier had a number of critics present this weekend.

But I don't anyone can sincerely tell you, regardless of how they voted, that they expected a 55-45 split.

The result leaves a lot of questions unanswered. We as a party are reflecting on that all over this convention this morning. That said, the fundamental question that needs to be answered can only be answered by the Premier himself.

As we wait for that answer, some will be happy and some sad. For my part, I remain in complete and utter disbelief.