Friday, June 30, 2006

The Coastal adventure begins...

Tomorrow morning I will set off for British Columbia just as I have done dozens of times before.

What's different this time is that when I return to Alberta, it will be as a BC resident... complete with BC driver's license, BC plates, and keys to my harbourview apartment.

It will be quite a shift for this lifelong Albertan, and one that i'm greeting with mixed emotions.

What is certain, though, is that the trip is going to be a blast.

Blake's Pacific Northwest Honda Express will be making stops in Jasper, Kelowna, Okanagan Falls, Seattle, Port Angeles, Victoria, Anacortes, Spokane, the Crowsnest Pass, Claresholm and Calgary... it looks something like this:

My guess is that this trip will reinforce what I love most about both Alberta AND the Pacific Northwest.

I'll try and blog from the road (not literally, mind you) and maybe throw in a picture or two.

'Till then, its BC OR BUST!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shameless plug

I got an email this morning from one of my favourite people on God's green earth.

My buddy Ryan Smith has just had a website launched to promote the businesses that he and his mother operate.

Ryan is a who who I expect to have a very long association with, both political and otherwise, so i'm more than happy to plug his website.

So on the off chance you ever need an auctioneer, a horse, or a good meal in Claresholm, Alberta, you're gonna wanna head on over to

Tell 'em Blake sent ya!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A bifecta of comment

Hey y'all!

I'll apologize once again for the lack of blog consistency, life sometimes gets in the way of the internet.

A few things to talk about of late:

  • A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS go out to my cousin Jackie and her new husband Blake (as if the name alone isn't reason enough to love the guy). Jackie and Blake got married north of Edmonton this weekend and the whole event was just a ball. It was a real Alberta wedding, complete with hot rods, campers, and beer. One of the greatest parts was that nearly all of the Robert side of the family drove or flew in for the wedding. Since the last time we were all together was for my Grandmaman's funeral, it was really great to have everyone together for a happy occaision (and we know she was looking down on us all with a great big smile). It was the first family wedding in 13 years, so the whole thing was new for many of us. Anyway, here's to many happy years together for Blake and Jackie Trithart!

  • DINNING'S VISIT TO MCMURRAY WAS AWESOME. Although busy, I think we really managed to get Jim plugged into all of the issues that are going on here in the Oilsands Capital of the World. It was also a real priviledge for me to get to spend that much time one-on-one with someone I so deeply respect and admire. More than ever, I am dissapointed that I won't be around to do more to help Jim become Premier of this great Province. I know, though, that he will do a simply supurb job if Albertans chose to place their trust in him as I have.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Here we go!

Today, my friend Jim Dinning officially launched his campaign to become Alberta's next Premier. I'm proud to stand with him.

Some I have talked to privately will know that I have been somewhat cynical about this whole race for the past little while. Perhaps it was the fact that the race was "on", but not really "on" that caused some impatience, or perhaps it was the fact that i'm moving in a few months and all of the things associated with that simply veered my attention elsewhere.

Whatever the case may be, I am once again excited about this race.

And, more importantly, I am reminded why I chose to back Jim in the first place.

I look forward to an Alberta where fiscal discipline will mean something... where spending won't grow at the astronomical rates we have become accustomed to... where 30% of oil and gas revenues will be put into our "rainy day" Heritage Fund... and where said Fund won't be touched unless its ACTUALLY "raining".

I look forward to an Alberta where Health Care is an issue that is tackled pragmatically, not ideologically... where vague machinations about third ways are replaced with a plan to get greater value for taxpayer dollars in the public system... where private delivery of public service is welcomed when practical... and where smoking is banned in public places to improve the lives and the health of all Albertans.

I look forward to an Alberta and a PC Party where democracy mean something... where those who are paid to lobby government can be identified as such in the interest of transparency... and where election campaigns are not run without a platform.

I look forward to an Alberta where innovation is embraced and encouraged... and where filling the current and anticipated labour shortage is a top-of-mind priority, not an afterthought.

I look forward to an Alberta led by Premier Jim Dinning.

If you think you'd like to see this kind of Alberta, join the team!

PS. If you're a Fort McMurray reader, he'll be in town on Monday, June 19th. Send me an email to if you're interested in meeting Jim.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What you are about to read may shock you...

My MP has recently been in the news for comments he made at a parliamentary committee last week. I provide the story as a backgrounder:

Maritimers don't need bus fare to Alberta, says MP
Last updated Jun 9 2006 11:08 AM MDT
CBC News

A Conservative call to help workers from the Maritimes move west has provoked the ire of Liberal MPs, who say Ottawa should instead be creating jobs where they live.

Tory MP Brian Jean set off the row Thursday when he said the government should develop a strategy to relocate unemployed Atlantic Canadians to Alberta, either temporarily or permanently.

His northern Alberta riding includes Fort McMurray, which some Newfoundlanders refer to as their own province's third-largest city because so many of them are working there.

Jean told the parliamentary committee on human resources development that Ottawa should make it easier for job seekers from the east to move to his job-rich province.

New Brunswick MP Jean-Claude d'Amours called Jean's suggestion "unacceptable," and said East-coasters are not cattle to be herded from one part of the country to another.

"We are a big country and I think it's not by taking a group of persons from one area to another that we will solve any problems," d'Amours said.

Nova Scotia MP Geoff Regan and New Brunswick MP Andy Scott also condemned Jean's comments.

Regan said the suggestion was insulting, while Scott said Atlantic Canadians need investment in their local economies, not bus fares out West.

Conservative MP Peter MacKay, who is responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, accused the Liberals of distorting the truth, and insisted that his party has no policy on relocation.

With its booming oil industry, Alberta has been a job magnet for Atlantic Canadians for many years.

The westward migration has been especially pronounced this year, with the fishing industry suffering particularly from a dearth of workers.

"[Fishermen] are having trouble rounding up a crew because people are on their way to Alberta," Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers union, told CBC News this week.

Newfoundland and Labrador's current unemployment rate is 14.8 per cent, while Alberta's is 3.4 per cent.

Well I say hear hear, Brian!

Frankly, the noises coming from the diaper-clad Liberal benches (hat tip to Amy for the term diaper-clad) are absurd.

I'm sorry, but I don't believe that its government's duty to create employment on such a scale... it is government's duty to stimulate the conditions where gainful employment can be created. I'm not talking about ACOA-esque programs where you pay people to dig a ditch, then fill it back in again, i'm talking about targetted tax relief and the like so that small and emerging industries can be given a chance to grow.

What Jean-Claude D'Amours, Geoff Regan, and the rest of those sorry Reds need to realize is that Canada is a big country and we should all be in this for the greater good. If there are good paying jobs in one part of this country, and under- or unemployment in another, it stands to reason that we should encourage CANADIANS to take those jobs.

Brian Jean is not exposing an secret Conservative plan to drain the population from Atlantic Canada. He is, in fact, highlighting an opportunity for Canadians (rather than foreign workers) to come to our region and make a great living for themselves and their families, and help build Canada's economy in the process.

Brian is standing up for Canada, and i'm standing behind him 100%.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

On the upside, this rain will be like my winters from now on

UPDATE: Hat tip to Warren Kinsella for linking to my mention of ... its point number 4 in this post.

Greetings from rainy Hinton, Alberta where I am overnighting enroute to Kelowna with a U-Haul full of my parents' stuff.

Another round of catching up is in order, so here goes.

First, I want to pay my respects to the late Scobey Hartley. Scobey wore many hats... oilman, philanthropist, party volunteer and fundraiser, and, most importantly, family man.

I had the priviledge of knowing Scobey Hartley in his role with the PC Party of Alberta. When I was President of the PC Youth, I had no stronger supporter than Scobey Hartley. When I made my rather public departure from that role, Scobey was my staunchest defender. He was always willing to listen when you needed to bitch about something, and offer advice when you needed it.

Scobey Hartley passed away this week at the age of 75. He has touched the lives of many people in many ways. I extend my deepest condolences to his family, and my sincere thanks also to his family for sharing him with us.

Second, anybody who thinks Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not win a majority in the elections is sniffing glue. Not only does he lead a government that is delivering on their promises... not only is he steadfast and vigilant in the face of a terror threat... but he is also an animal lover.

How could you NOT vote for this guy?

Third, as I write this i'm watching the rerun of today's federal Question Period. Belinda Stronach just got up to ask a question.

Not only does she sound like crap, but she looks like crap. Perhaps her totally cool Prada handbag with her totally cool makeup was left at the Chateau Laurier.

Fourth, back to the terror thing. You all need to visit and show your support. The bad guys can't win if we fight back.

More news to come from Victoria this weekend...

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Youth for Joe Volpe

I hate this man. He represents everything about the Liberal Party of Canada that I and so many other Canadians despise.

Which is what makes THIS website so very, very funny.