Thursday, October 12, 2006

Good thing I moved to avoid all this, isn't it?

There's a lot of news vis a vis the leadership race that I need to catch up on. Here goes:

  1. ALANA DELONG QUITS RACE. While this doesn't seem to have surprised anyone, myself included, my reaction is somewhat mixed. Its unfortunate that Alana won't be on the ballot because it would have been nice to have a woman in the race, particularily since we have so many qualified women within the ranks of the PC Party of Alberta. It was probably a smart move on Alana's part, though, given that staying in the race would have cost her a lot of time and money for what likely would have been little in return. As a Dinning supporter, i'm pleased to see that she has chosen to join our ranks. With Alana onboard, this now means (as Daveberta's list shows) that every Calgary PC MLA with the exception of Hung Pham is backing Jim.
  2. ALBERTA ALLIANCE LEADER ENDORSES TED MORTON. This is a bizarre story. Myself and William were having a conversation about the PC Leadership with Paul Hinman this summer at the PNWER summit in Edmonton. Not surprisingly, Paul expressed a strong preference for Ted Morton to become Premier. It isn't uncommon for opposition MLAs to have a personal preference in another party's leadership race... Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor once told me that she her heart was with Dave Hancock. It would be quite another thing, though, for Bridget to come out and endorse Hancock openly, and to encourage members of her party to buy memberships and support him. I'm not denying that cross-party membership purchases aren't happening, but Paul Hinman and the Alliance are certainly being more open and explicit about it than one would expect. Hatrock's post on renewingtheonepartystate suggests similarities between the Morton-Hinman alliance (no pun intended) and the necessity of the merger of the Canadian Alliance and PC Party of Canada. I, for one, disagree with the notion that the Alberta Alliance is as relevant a political force as Hatrock and others would have you believe. Paul Hinman is a nice fellow, but sometimes his judgement gets the better of him.
  3. POLL SHOWS VIRTUAL THREE-WAY TIE. A poll conducted by the Progressive Group for Independent Business shows that Ted Morton and Lyle Oberg are tied for first place at 17.2%, with Jim Dinning close behind at 16%. Ken Chapman does a much better job debunking this poll than I can, but there are a couple of points worth repeating. First off, i'd like to know how the PGIB obtained a complete PC Alberta membership list? I sat on the PC executive as Youth President for almost 2 years without being able to obtain a list of only the members which I represented (youth). My guess is that they put together a smattering of old lists from PGIB-friendly sources, in which case the objectivity of the sample is brought into question. Second, as Ken points out, the geographic distribution of this poll is sketchy at best. While its true that regions are not equally weighted in a one member-one vote system, the poll cannot claim to be very reflective of the mood of PC supporters across the province. Before the Mortonites get on me for dismissing the poll simply because it puts Morton ahead of Dinning, let me say this: in this race, there will be all kinds of polls that will be dismissed for all kinds of reasons by all kinds of people. The only two polls that matter are on November 25th and December 2nd, and I don't think any team (mine included) is being presumptuous about the results.
  4. LOUGHEED PREFERS DELEGATED CONVENTION. Peter Lougheed is a man whom I deeply respect and admire. On this issue, though, he's wrong. While a one member-one vote does not create the drama or suspense of a delegated convention, it is a far more democratic and a far less messy affair. Delegated conventions are more prone to manipulation by either ex-officios or organizers with a partisan stance (I speak from experience), while one member-one vote removes most of the influence from those forces. It is not a flawless system, especially given the overall lack of checks and balances in place for this particular vote, but it IS a far better way of choosing our new Premier.

Friday, October 6, 2006

A re-discovery

Stroll on over to Doug Griffiths' new website and re-discover why I remain convinced that this guy can be Premier of Alberta someday.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Just when I thought I was done for the day

Jim has officially filed his nomination papers and announced the addition of 6 MLAs to the team.

Welcome to Greg Melchin, Ron Stevens, George VanderBurg, Wayne Cao, Janis Tarchuk, and Doug Griffiths!

These are huge additions to the team. I have worked alongside all 6 of these MLAs and let me tell you that they are VERY much in touch with their constituents. Their endorsements bode well for the campaign and for the future of Alberta under Premier Jim Dinning.

Its all happening now, isn't it?

I came out of class this afternoon to discover that there's a lot going on in the world today. I'll try to deal with the ones that stood out for me in an orderly fashion.


Ontario's slimeball Premier has lashed out at the federal government saying that they better not dare try to drag his province's auto industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Dalton, along with Buzzard Hargrove, has warned that the feds better not "unduly impose greenhouse-gas emission reductions on the province of Ontario at the expense of our auto sector".

So Dalton, who in the past has tried to play up an image of being Captain Canada, thinks that Ontario, hub of this country's antequated manufacturing sector, shouldn't have to play by the same rules that everyone else plays by.

Tough cheese, Dalton. If Alberta is going to go along with Minister Ambrose's plan, you had damn well be prepared to pull your weight and do the same. Its about time that Ontario did just that.


Much to the chagrin of some of my more ideologically conservative friends, I am not uniformly against organized labour. Our family owned a business that employed a number of members of both Ironworkers Local 720 and Operating Engineers Local 955. Our dealings with both these organizations were pleasant, professional, and mutually beneficial.

Additionally, I know that, while the NDP claims to speak for organized labour, individual union members in Alberta often have a variety of political viewpoints and do not necessarily support one political party en masse. Given their independence as citizens, I believe it is perfectly acceptable for them to excerise a democratic right to join a political party and have a say in its affairs.

I have an issue, though, with thousands of pre-paid memberships are being distributed to members of any organization (be it unions or otherwise) on the condition that they support a certain candidate.

This very allegation has been leveled against the campaign of Dr. Lyle Oberg in today's Edmonton Journal.

Organizations have the right to publically encourage their members to get involved in a party (as the ATA and Alberta Medical Association have done), but they cross the line when they offer free memberships to those who back their chosen candidate.

The Alberta Building Trades Council and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades should cease the distribution of Oberg-friendly memberships and instead encourage its members to choose a candidate who best reflects their values.

The Oberg campaign also needs to do a better job of distancing themselves from these tactics. If they don't, one could wonder when we'll start to hear about the dead rising from the grave to buy memberships or Dr. Oberg being told that he isn't "Albertan" enough.

And that's a scene no one in this party wants to see.


Whoever leaked this story should be fired, along with whomever came up with the stupid idea in the first place.

Thanksgiving break is coming none too soon for the Government caucus, methinks.

Monday, October 2, 2006

This and that

A couple of things.

First, Ted Morton was in my hometown last week to release a policy on worker safety. As you all know, I am not a supporter of Dr. Morton. I am, however, happy to see him raise this issue. You can read more about it, as well as my response, here on Larry Johnsrude's blog.

Second, there are some disturbingly ill-advised comments in this article with regards to health care (hat tip to the team at renewing the one party state for bringing it up).