Friday, November 30, 2007

Your brief attention once more, please

Given that i've only recently revived this blog, i've tried not to post more than once in a single day. However there are a couple of things i'd like to draw to your attention and seeing how they have nothing to do with Calgary Egmont, I figured i'd avoid lumping it in with whatever my next post may bring.

First, and I meant to do this in my last post, sincere best wishes to fellow blogger Daveberta who celebrated his birthday on Friday. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you should be a regular reader of Dave's as well. Our viewpoints differ on pretty much everything, but we get along famously and, more importantly, we both have an inexplicable passion for Alberta politics.

And, as a special birthday present for Dave, i'm going to say something nice about the CBC.

There were two extraordinarily well-done pieces on The National tonight that I want to pass along in case you missed them.

The first was a mini-doc profiling some of very interesting players in the fight against AIDS in Vancouver. Given that tomorrow is World Aids Day, its timeliness is profound.

The second is the latest installment of Rex Murphy's Point of View. Not only does he nail the rationale behind the federal government's rejection of Kyoto, but he (hopefully) gets us all thinking about what really needs to happen at the upcoming UN Climate Change chinwag in Bali.

Finally, a quick note for those of you who are going to be on the prowl for news from tomorrow's PC Alberta Executive meeting as it relates to the situation in Calgary Egmont. I will make every endeavour to post whatever information I have in a timely manner. Please be aware, however, that i'm currently in Kelowna with my family and may not be at the keyboard with lightning speed. You can, of course, count on a full analysis from my point of view by day's end (unless, of course, I don't get any word about what goes down).

One down, one to go

I got word of this last night, but didn't want to post anything until I could link to it.

Kudos to the Calgary Egmont PC Association for having the fortitude to make this decision. These are the people who work day-in and day-out with our party in Calgary Egmont... they're the ones who really represent what we stand for.

Also, note the desperate spin...

"I think the board felt that perhaps I was a little too controversial at this point and they needed someone who was more neutral, as they put it, so we agreed that I should step down," said Crutcher who has defended Chandler's right to represent the party.

Newsflash: Its not really an agreement when two-thirds of the board votes to boot you out.

One down, one to go.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Heroes, Criminals, and Holy Terrors

On today's agenda...


First, and most importantly, you all need to sign this petition.

Some background:

Constable Chris Garrett was killed in Ontario in the line of duty protecting the lives of his colleagues and civilians. His fellow officers waited to apply for a medal of valour from the Governor General until the trial of his killer was finished to ensure a fair trial. His killer was convicted and the application was sent off to the GGs office. Where it was promptly denied because it was too long after his death. There is a petition circulating online for Canadians to sign to pressure the GGs office to reconsider. Please follow the link to sign the petition.

This brave Canadian deserves better than a bureaucratic runaround.


Speaking of runarounds, it seems that Karlheinz Schreiber wasn't ready to talk after all... then promptly started to answer questions.

The latest spin in this intricate web is that the deal he made with former PM Brian Mulroney was for $500,000 not $300,000 as has been so widely reported.

I suspect there will be a number of contradictions, clarifications, and re-fabrications as this saga continues to unfold.

I'll admit that i'm neither a staunch defender or critic of the former PM. But I do have to wonder why so much credibility is being given to Mr. Schreiber, a convicted criminal?


My patience is growing very thin surrounding this whole uproar in Calgary Egmont.

I understand that this debate is going to be heated with some logical arguments on both sides. What drives me nuts, though, are the radical and highly charged statements that are coming from certain individuals and organizations. Namely, Concerned Christians Canada.

Jim Blake, a spokesman for the group founded by Craig Chandler, said recently "This is not an issue of Craig Chandler being an intolerant person, it's a party that's saying we don't want people of faith in our party that are going to speak their values in any way, shape or form, even if it's not in the political forum."

What utter nonsense! People of faith are no longer welcome in PC Alberta?

I look at our caucus and I see many people of faith who are darn proud of it, too. A quick glance at PC caucus bios and you will many people who are active members of their Churches, some who have served in leadership roles within their faith community... even a Reverend!

The issue is not whether people of faith are welcome in PC Alberta. The answer to that question is a clear and resounding "yes". The issue is whether or not people who take their views to an extreme that warrants intervention from the Human Rights Commission are welcome.

The answer to that question should be clear to you, me, the PC executive, and the Premier.


Quickly before I go, one of the best lines i've heard in Alberta Question Period in a long time. It was delivered by Energy Minister Mel Knight in response to yet another accusation from Liberal Energy Critic Hugh MacDonald that Alberta is "secretly" planning to export power to the United States:

"Perhaps the member wants to climb a pole someplace and watch the
electrons. They can go both directions."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Odds and Ends

UPDATED with results from Calgary North West!

The hotline from Calgary North West informs me that technology worker and community activist Lindsay Blackett has won a competitive race against law enforcement officer Vince Caleffi. This was the last of the big races in Calgary and, given the population of the riding, had a very impressive turnout.

Some people have suggested that the ghost of Frank Bruseker (former Liberal MLA for the riding) may yet rise and see this riding fall to the Liberals in the election. Something tells me that ain't gonna happen.


Congratulations are to be extended to Robin Campbell, winner of last night's PC nomination in the constituency of West Yellowhead.

Mr. Campbell is currently the head of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers and has been a staunch supporter of PC Alberta (and Ivan Strang) ever since the government took a stand in support of the Cheviot mine. In an interview at the time of his announcement, Campbell said "we understood that the PCs supported us and helped us keep our jobs. That goes a long way with us, and it goes a long way with me.”

Sounds to me like he's very much in touch with the people of West Yellowhead. I'm sure he'll make a fine MLA.


Finally, a few brief words about the ongoing saga in Calgary Egmont.

The PC Alberta executive, a body to which I was elected 3 times, will be meeting this weekend to decide the future of Craig Chandler as the party's candidate in Egmont. I can completely understand the position in which the executive has been placed.

My best advice to PCAA exec members is to carefully consider the ramifications of allowing someone with a history of remarks that are contradictory to the party's Statement of Principles to be a representative before and during an election.

In many ways, the horse has already left the barn when it comes to the media frenzy surrounding this story. No matter how PCAA proceeds, it will be news and will result in some very intense scrutiny. What needs to be weighed is which group we should be more concerned about accomodating... Chandler's supporters or a broad cross-section of the Alberta public who are still undecided voters?

One more thing. Speaking of Chandler's supporters, I wish this man would go away. Mr. Crutcher is not reflective of the average PC Alberta member, nor does he have much of a history in the party.

He was thrust into the spotlight when elected President of Calgary Egmont as part of a takeover attempt in the lead up to the nomination. Mr. Crutcher can huff and puff about the party and its processes all he wants, but I don't think he has much credibility in the party or amongst the general public.

Should he chose to resign if the PCAA decision isn't to his liking, I think your average Alberta Tory would welcome the move.

Monday, November 26, 2007

An update from Edmonton

Thanks to a few handy sources, I am able to tell you tonight that former Liberal and Conservative MLA Andrew Beniuk has won the PC nomination in Edmonton Highlands-Norwood over up-and-comer T.J. Keil.

T.J. is to be commended for throwing his hat into the ring and for signing up enough new members in a short period of time to make this a race.

Mr. Beniuk also deserves congratulations and good luck... he'll certainly need it going up against Brian Mason.


Briefly in other nomination news, Eugenia Leskiw won the PC nomination in Bonnyville-Cold Lake over the weekend. From the limited news sources available, I can tell you that Ms. Leskiw is a long-time teacher in the area and is very active in the Ukrainian community. If successful in the election, Ms. Leskiw will take over from retiring MLA Denis Ducharme.

Also, I will be on the lookout for info as to who won tonight's PC nomination in West Yellowhead to replace retiring MLA Ivan Strang.

Both Ducharme and Strang were top-notch MLAs who were well respected both in and out of the legislature. Their successors have big shoes to fill (quite literally in the case of Ivan Strang).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More nomination news

Of the 5 races going on this weekend, i've managed to get conclusive info on the winners in 4 of them (everywhere except Bonnyville-Cold Lake).

In Grande Prairie-Wapiti, former MD of Greenview councillor Wayne Drysdale will carry the PC banner as MLA and former Gaming Minister Gord Graydon retires. Mr. Drysdale appears to have an impressive and well-diversified background. I'm confident he will be an excellent representative for his constituents.

In Athabasca-Redwater, businessman Jeff Johnson won the nomination (reportedly thanks to an impressive turnout at the advance polls). As I have said earlier, Jeff comes from some of the finest political stock in the province. I know that his dad, retiring Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA LeRoy Johnson has much to be proud of and that his mom Dianne, who lost her battle with cancer last year, is looking down on him with the same pride. I look forward to meeting Jeff and watching him at work for the people of Athabasca-Redwater. Kudos also to my friend Monty Bauer who ran a supurb campaign and has every reason to finish this race with his head held high.

Edmonton-Ellerslie has chosen Naresh Bhardwaj as their candidate in the next election. Naresh was our candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods in 2004 and ran what was probably the most above-board race against new Liberal candidate (and now MLA) Weslyn Mather. After the election, Naresh was elected to serve as the Southeast Edmonton Regional Director on the PC Executive. I wish my former executive colleague all the best as he works to unseat one-term Liberal MLA Bharat Agnihotri. Mr. Agnihotri's most notable accomplishment to date has been getting himself thrown out of the Chamber for failing to understand the rules of Parliamentary decorum.

Finally, Lethbridge West PCs have chosen former City Alderman Greg Weadick to replace Clint Dunford when he retires at the end of this term. As you know, I was rooting for friend Justin (JC) Penny in this race. His youth, enthusiasm, and unique perspective on issues would have served the people of Alberta well. I certainly hope this defeat won't dampen his enthusiasm for the party, we still need voices like his to help shape our future.

Speaking of youth and enthusiasm, let me introduce you all to T.J. Keil. T.J. is a fellow young conservative who is running in tomorrow's PC nomination in Edmonton Highlands-Norwood. This riding is, as you probably know, home to Alberta's top socialist, Brian Mason. T.J. will be facing former Liberal/PC MLA Andrew Beniuk. I have nothing against Andrew, but its time for some new blood in this party.

The fact that T.J. is showing such spirit and enthusiasm in the face of what will be one of the toughest seats for our party to win is exactly why I support his efforts 110%. Someone with the kind of drive that T.J. brings is precisely what many of our constituency associations need.

So if you or anyone you know lives in Edmonton Highlands-Norwood, grab $5 for a PC membership, head on down to the Alberta Avenue Community League Hall (9210 - 118th Avenue) anytime between 5 and 8pm, and give an aspiring MLA a chance.

And, if you do head down, say hi to Constituency President Parker Hogan... he's one of the most solid Flames fans in Edmonton.

Enjoy the Grey Cup folks... go Bombers!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Taylor crosses the line

Before I get back into the nomination business, there's something that came up earlier in the week that i'd like to address...


On Monday, Alberta-i'm-not-a-liberal-i-just-hate-Stephen-Harper-Liberal Deputy Leader and former radio blowhard Dave Taylor was leading the charge in Question Period. Rather than the usual "Mel Knight must resign" line of questioning, the Alberta-liberals?-where?-Liberals were going on about affordable housing and rent controls.

In his second supplemental question, Taylor, who sometimes fancies himself as Fort McMurray's MLA, brought a recent report on youth homelessness in Fort McMurray into his preamble. Here is the question in its entirety:

Mr. Taylor: This is so important, and the results of not having a home can be devastating. A new report on youth homelessness from the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo reveals that somehomeless youth in that area are so desperate that they are trading sexual favours for a place to sleep. Fort McMurray has beenpleading for help from the province for years to deal with growth pressures, and this, Mr. Speaker, is the government’s answer. To the Premier. No more rhetoric; no more saying you’re doing a job, because you’re not. What are you going to do right now to fix the housing problems in Fort McMurray so children don’t have to trade sex for shelter?
The Premier was at a loss for words at this outrageous statement, as was I. Naturally, I was intrigued by this highly explosive statement... and my ears always perk up when I hear "Fort McMurray" anyway, so I decided to investigate.
With little effort, I was able to find a complete copy of the report Mr. Taylor referenced HERE. The contents certainly show that things need to be done to address the issue. In yesterday's Fort McMurray Today, I was pleased to read that the process of addressing youth homelessness in Fort McMurray started long before the Comrade from Currie brought it up in the Legislature (unfortunately, the links aren't archived).
What I found most interesting was that nowhere in the report was I able to find specific reference to "sexual favours" or "trading sex for shelter".
The report does talk about a percentage of homeless youth "providing favours for a place to stay". It does not, however, define "favours" as being sexual in nature.
This is not to say that this behaviour is not occuring, but it also does not indicate that it IS occuring.
For Dave Taylor to read things into this report that are not, in fact, there is more than just typical opposition sensationalism. Its irresponsible.
If Taylor had made these claims on his radio show, there would be clear grounds to haul him in front of the CRTC or the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to explain himself.
Sadly, Members of the Legislative Assembly are immune from prosecution based on comments made on the floor of the Legislature.
He'd better be careful, though, about what he says beyond those walls.
On the nomination front, congratulations to Mr. Verlyn Olson, the next PC MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose! Olson won a close race against Wynn McLean, edging him out 918 to 743.
Based on the congratulatory statements on their respective websites, it appears that both gentlemen are truly class acts and are a credit to their community and to our party.
As promised, i've done some digging on the other races coming up this weekend. The one I was able to find the most on was the hotly contested race in Grande Prairie-Wapiti to replace retiring MLA Gord Graydon.
This race has attracted an impressive slate of 5 nominees. While few of them seem to have websites, I was able to get a snippet on each of them thanks to the archives of the Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune.
Vying for this open seat are Trenton Perrott, Jack O'Toole, Wayne Drysdale, Mike Frey, and Tammy Day.
From the little one can learn from a newspaper article, i'd say these are all fine individuals. Of the 5, though, i'd go with Jack O'Toole. I've met Jack at a number of PC functions and he's always been a fine ambassador for the people of Grande Prairie-Wapiti.
Given that I have family in this riding, i'll be watching this race closely.
Finally, in nomination news, it seems that the Alberta-no-the-liberal-is-silent-Liberals are once again becoming a home for PCs who don't take losing in their own party so well.
Aside from being a former Edmonton Catholic School Trustee, Ms. Cavaliere was also recently a contestant in the PC nomination for Edmonton Meadowlark. She was in the race right up until it became clear that there was no way she could sell enough memberships to win the race, at which point she quit.
Of course, the official spin is that she didn't find the party to her taste. Interesting. I wonder if she felt the same way when she was attending PC functions or door-knocking for former MLA Bob Maskell?
Amazing what a free ride to the ballot will make a person say, isn't it?
Ms. Cavaliere will face off against emergency physician Dr. Raj Sherman... the guy who sold enough memberships to win the race she quit.
The Edmonton Meadowlark race is an open one after one-term MLA Maurice Tougas decided that he'd rather be back writing his gossip column at the Edmonton Examiner.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nominations everywhere!

Its another busy week in the Alberta PC party as the slate of candidates for the next election is nearing completion.

Last night in Calgary Mackay, Social Worker Teresa Woo-Paw beat Community Activist Marnie Marr for the right to replace Gary Mar as the PC candidate. I, admittedly, don't know a great deal about these women personally. I checked out both their backgrounds and who was supporting whom, and came to the conclusion that I still don't know who I would have voted for. Party members had two excellent choices on their hands. Congrats to Ms. Woo-Paw on her victory, and to Ms. Marr for throwing her hat in the ring. I hope both of these exceptional women remain involved in the party for many years to come.

Tonight, PC members in Wetaskiwin-Camrose will choose their standard bearer to replace retiring MLA LeRoy Johnson. LeRoy was a very able MLA and quite possibly the nicest man ever elected to the Alberta Legislature. He has served his constituents with the highest level of honour and integrity for the past 10 years and has every reason to look back on his career with pride. In terms of candidates running to replace LeRoy, I have only been able to find out about one person running, Verlyn Olsen. Mr. Olsen seems to be an excellent candidate but, in the interests of fairness, I would have liked to hear about who else is running. I guess we'll know about any other candidates if one of them wins tonight!

Looking further down the road, we'll see contests this weekend in Athabasca-Redwater, Bonnyville-Cold Lake, Lethbridge West, Grande Prairie-Wapiti, and Edmonton Ellerslie.

Of these 5 races, there are two which I am particularily interested in.

Athabasca-Redwater was one of the constituencies I represented during my term on the PC Alberta Executive Committee. With long-time MLA Mike Cardinal set to retire, PC members will choose between Monty Bauer of Redwater, Jeff Johnson of Athabasca, or Richard Dubetz of Smoky Lake.

If I had a vote, it would go to Monty Bauer. I had the chance to talk with Monty on several occaisions during my term on the executive and was always impressed by his straight talk and sincerety. Monty is also part of a younger generation who, much like myself, grew up in PC Alberta. For someone who still qualifies as a "young guy", he sure brings a lot of historical knowledge to the table.

To be fair, I will say that I know a few people who are supporting Jeff Johnson and, after some research, I will say that he also seems to be a worthy candidate for the position. My searches for information on Mr. Dubetz haven't turned up any substantive information.

The other race i'm watching this weekend is in Lethbridge West. With Clint Dunford stepping down at the end of this term, Justin (JC) Penny and Greg Weadick are lined up to compete for the nomination. My support is 110% with JC.

JC is the kind of person we need more of in the Legislature. As another member of the under-40 crowd, he brings a much-needed perspective that has been lacking in Edmonton. He's a former student leader who understands what post-secondary students are facing today (and, more importantly, that there are institutions OUTSIDE Edmonton and Calgary). He has experience working on behalf of Albertans in Ottawa as a Senatorial Assistant. He's a committed member of our party who is well known beyond his hometown in Southern Alberta. Most importantly, he's just a damn good person who listens carefully and has a passion for helping people. If that doesn't qualify you to be an MLA, I don't know what does.

Between now and Saturday i'm going to do some digging and try and find out about some of the folks running in the other races this weekend. If you've got any info you'd like to send along, its always welcome at

Before I go, a couple items from the federal world:

-I have long been supportive of more "Blake" in conservative politics in Alberta. With that in mind, I was pleased to hear about Blake Richards, the man who will be filling Myron Thompson's shoes as the Conservative candidate in the federal riding of Wild Rose. I don't know the man, but he certainly seems to be an excellent candidate.

-Three cheers to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson for introducing measures to crack down on drugs and the despicable thugs who sell them. Naturally, this is going over like a lead balloon in parts of British Columbia (including the one in which I live). What the spineless drug-addict apologists fail to understand is that we need MORE prosecution of drug pushers, not less.

Reading this article, I was appalled to find that fewer than 1 in 7 criminals who are charged with growing pot ever see a prison. I have to pass by the results of a lax attitude towards illegal drugs every day and am continually baffled that there are so many leaders in BC communities who want to make these drugs even more available.

Its enough to drive a guy who still has some common sense right out of the province...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The albertatory drops in

On my way back to the left coast, I made an impromptu stop in Calgary. Surely, it doesn't take much to bring me back to a city I so dearly love, but I dropped in for a very important reason.

Seven years ago at the PC AGM in Calgary, I met a young and ambitious lawyer (only a few years my senior) who had recently moved to the Stampede City from Regina. We became friends very quickly and have shared many good times as active conservatives over the years. We have been keenly aware of each other's ambitions of public service and, naturally, very supportive of them.

I am speaking of my friend Jonathan Denis who was contesting the PC Alberta nomination in Calgary Egmont. I know first hand how nerve-wracking the nomination process can be for a candidate and I wanted to be there for support and, hopefully, to celebrate.

As has been reported, Craig Chandler was the victor of the Egmont nomination. The results were, out of a total of 1670 ballots cast:

Craig Chandler - 945
Jonathan Denis - 485
Rick Smith - 227

Jonathan and his campaign team worked tirelessly in their cause and have every reason to be proud of their efforts. They spoke of a positive and inclusive vision and managed to attract a wide array of new members to our party. And, although I will not share the percentage, I was amazed at the number of people who honoured their committment to vote for Jonathan. If I had had the turnout of ID'd supporters that he did, I would be a Member of Parliament.

Much like my friend Mr. Denis, I will take the high road and congratulate Mr. Chandler on his victory. Speculation of what his candidacy will mean for our party is something that I will stay away from for the time being.

In the meantime, I tip my hat and say bravo to Jonathan for the supurb fight he put up.

Briefly in closing, I was very pleased with the results of the other nominations I was watching over the past week. Bill Donahue, Kyle Fawcett, and Arthur Kent will all get the chance to carry the PC torch in the next election. To them I also extend my sincere congratulations and look forward to watching their respective campaigns take shape.

More on the upcoming nominations tomorrow... stay tuned!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I should really get a personal odometer...

So remember how I said I wasn't going to blog for the next few days? Well the advent of wireless at your average highway-side inn has made a little more possible.

I just wanted to quickly post a thank you to everyone who offered birthday wishes today. Given that I spent the entirety of my birthday in a car between Wisconsin and Ontario, it was nice to return to Canada to so many emails, facebook messages and voicemails.

I've been on the highway since Wednesday helping a friend move from Medicine Hat to Peterborough. Its been a fun drive, thankfully free of any nasty weather or major delays... we've truly been blessed with a wonderful trip that i'll have some more reflections on when I get home.

Before I go, congratulations to Bill Donahue who will be taking on Laurie Blakeman in Edmonton Centre! It seems like the Edmonton Centre crew is really ready to get at it and I wish them nothing but success in returning a rational voice to the Capital Seat. Also, polls have been closed in Calgary North Hill for almost 2 hours. I have yet to find any news, but i'm hoping that i'll be able to congratulate Kyle Fawcett on a nomination victory in my next post!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taft's favourite food? Crow a l'orange...

I remain relatively away from the blog... but someone forwarded this to me and I just had to share it with you (again, sans hyperlink... sorry):

The ridiculousness of Kevin Taft and the Alberta-liberals?-i-thought-they-were-extinct-Liberal caucus continues.


Also came across this piece of excellent news:

Many congratulations to the Premier, Minister Liepert and ATA President Frank Bruseker for getting this deal done. This is a win-win situation and all involved deserve a pat on the back.

Neil Waugh also gets the quote of the year from Liberal Finance Critic Rick Miller who says "this means our policy platform just got a page shorter."

That's a big problem to the supposed government in waiting, given the holes that exist in what's left of the rickety document they call a platform.

I'm looking forward to this election... wonder how many Liberal MLAs are thinking the same?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Back at the keyboard, however briefly...

Good morning friends!

My apologies for being away from the blog these past few days... real life tends to remove us from the blogosphere from time to time. Unfortunately, it will continue to do so until this weekend.

In the meantime, I leave you with a few things to chew on (sans hyperlinks... I don't know why):

Don Braid nails it re: Kevin Taft in his column in this morning's Calgary Herald. The righteous indignation of Taft and his Alberta-who's-a-liberal?-Liberal caucus is getting pretty unbelieveable. Debunking the opposition has always been a noble cause, in my opinion. If more journalists start calling the Liberals on the things they say and do, look for Graham Thomson to start spinning extra hard for the ALP.

There are also a number of PC nominations this week that I have particular interest in:

-Tomorrow night, the Edmonton Centre PC members will choose their candidate to take on drama queen extraordinaire Laurie Blakeman. Bill Donahue is my guy in this race... he's personable, articulate, and has the breadth of experience to take on the wicked witch of Rossdale.

-On Friday, the Calgary North Hill PC Association will also be choosing a candidate to replace retiring MLA Richard Magnus. North Hill is a hard-working, middle class riding that would be ably represented by Kyle Fawcett. Kyle is a fellow former PCYA member and, more recently, a Calgary school board trustee. Kyle is one of the many exciting young faces looking to shake things up at the Legislature. I hope the folks in Calgary North Hill seize that opportunity.

-Also on Friday, members in my old stomping ground of Calgary Currie will choose their weapon against Alberta-i'm-not-a-liberal-but-i-hate-Stephen-Harper-Liberal incumbent Dave Taylor. The best choice here, clearly, is Arthur Kent. The star power and credibility that Mr. Kent brings to the race are undeniable. And, given that Dave Taylor once said that he understood why some animals eat their young after speaking to me on his radio show, I look forward to his early retirement from politics.

-On Saturday, my very good friend Jonathan Denis will be vying to replace outgoing MLA Denis Herard in a hotly contested race in Calgary Egmont. I remember when Jono first came to Alberta and knew then that he was someone with a bright future in our party. Like Kyle Fawcett, Jonathan Denis is someone who will change the face and tone of the Alberta Legislature. We need more of them.

Races are also happening this weekend in Calgary Buffalo, Lethbridge East, and Livingstone-Macleod. I'm not really up to speed on the candidates in those races, but look forward to learning more about those who will be chosen to carry our torch in the next election.

Again, best of luck to Bill, Kyle, Arthur, and Jonathan. I'll have some follow-up thoughts for you in the next post on Saturday night/Sunday morning, as well as musings about more big nominations happening next week.
Good morning friends!

Apologies for my absense these past few days. Apparently, real life continues outside the blogosphere. Unfortunately, it will continue to distract me from regular postings on the blog until this weekend.

In the meantime, here are a few things to chew on (for some reason I can't insert hyperlinks, so the full URLs are included instead.

Don Braid gets it right in this morning's Calgary Herald ( Kevin Taft is full of hot air, and the media needs to start calling him on it. If this trend continues, watch for Graham Thomson to spin extra hard on behalf of the Liberal comm shop.

There are a number of very important (to me, anyway) PC nominations coming up this week...

In Edmonton Centre, i'm hoping that Bill Donahue ( will earn the right to carry the torch against incumbent Liberal Laurie Blakeman.
Good morning friends!

I apologize for my absense the past few days, life apparently does exist outside the blogosphere.

Unfortunately, real life will keep me away from regular postings on this blog until the weekend.

Until then, however, let me give you a few things to chew on:

Don Braid gets it right in this morning's Herald. Kevin Taft is full of hot air and people in the media are finally taking notice. Look for Graham Thomson to start spinning extra hard on behalf of his buddy Taft.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New Premier. Annoying Writers. Hopeful MLAs.

Three things I want to talk about today, team:

First, many sincere congratulations to Saskatchewan's new Premier, Brad Wall! I heard Mr. Wall speak at a Sask Party youth convention 6 years ago and was very impressed by him. His ascention to the leadership of his party came as no surprise, nor did his victory last night. With Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party at the helm, our friends in Saskatchewan can look forward to their province playing an equally important role in the growing western economy.

Now if only we could do something about Manitoba...


Moving right along, i'm considering the notion of never reading a newspaper columnist again. I know you're probably all tired of hearing me bitch and moan about them (certain ones in particular), but it needs saying.

Once again I find myself supremely annoyed after reading Graham Thomson this morning. From his accounts, you'd believe that the entire Tory caucus scurries under their desks or out of the room whenever the great Kevin Taft or a member of his government-in-waiting starts to speak. I realize that I have my own bias, but Graham stretches the truth way out of line... even by his standards.

I'd like to find a Tory MLA who isn't as happy as I am when Energy Minister Mel Knight gets up to answer a question posed by Kevin Taft or Hugh MacDonald. I've said it before and i'll say it again... there is no one inside the Legislature better qualified to run the Department of Energy than Mel Knight, period.

Graham Thomson should consider himself very lucky that only an extraordinarily miniscule percentage of Albertans actually watch the provincial question period... otherwise, his readers might know just how full of crap he is.

Don Braid is also back at it again. In his case, though, its more journalistic cynicism rather than outright opposition spin.

This morning he is waxing on about how Premier Ed Stelmach's government is trying to "fix everything at once". How interesting. The same press gallery who complained for so many years that Ralph Klein had everything on autopilot is now complaining that we have a Premier and a government who want to get things done. You just can't win, folks.

The subject of the column doesn't really surprise or bother me. What is really starting to piss me off, though, is the tone of the column. Its a tone that has been apparent from a number of other big city columnists. Its a tone that scoffs at the fact that the Premier is "just a farmer".

Well excuse me.

I didn't realize that people who are involved in the industry that built this province in the first place aren't qualified to run the province (for the record, I KNOW that most Albertans, rural AND urban, don't feel this way).

I'd like to know just exactly what these "city slickers" think farmers do?

Farmers have to be responsible stewards of their land, often land that has been passed down through multiple generations.

Farmers have to follow very tight timelines for the seeding, tending, and harvest of their crop... AND they often have to carefully manage crop rotations.

Farmers have to ensure that their equipment is always kept in working order.

Farmers have to manage all of this with relatively scarce financial resources.

In addition, farmers are primary contributors to the lives and livelyhoods of their communities.

In my eyes, a farmer is equal parts biologist, historian, engineer, mechanic, accountant, and community activist.

If you ask me, having all these things rolled into one person more than qualifies them for the job. Shame on those who can't see past the coveralls and boots to think otherwise.


Finally, i'd like to tell you about some folks who have won PC Alberta nominations to run in the next provincial election. This is something i'll probably do on a fairly regular basis. Today I want to introduce you to two fine gentlemen running in the Capital Region.

Dave Quest is someone I had the pleasure of working with on the PC Alberta Provincial Executive Committee. He's an energetic, outside-the-box thinker who has always shown great dedication to the people of his community. As the PC candidate in Strathcona (not to be confused with Edmonton-Strathcona) he will be looking to replace the very able Rob Lougheed who is retiring. Rob was a great MLA for the area and leaves big shoes to fill, but i'm quite confident that Dave is the right man for the job.

Challenging Dave from Alberta-liberals?-where?-Liberal Party will be Jon Parsons Friel, a man who wears a sunflower on his lapel and, according to his website, is still seeking the leadership of the party.

To the north and west of Strathcona is St. Albert, where long-time PC volunteer and former city councillor Ken Allred won the nomination. Ken beat out now-former St. Albert Mayor Paul Chalifoux and community activist Frances Badrock in a hotly-contested race. Ken is a hard worker who knows the ins and outs of St. Albert better than anyone. Ken was a staunch supporter of former MLA Mary O'Neill and is well-suited to step into her former role.

Ken will be taking on Geriatric Jack Flaherty from the Liberals. A first-term MLA, Mr. Flaherty is so proud to be an Albertan that his website says that his favourite place to spend time is in another province.

That's all for now, team. Enjoy your Thursday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Back in the country with a few things to declare...

Hello faithful readers!

After an enjoyable journey to New York i'm exhausted and happy to be back in my own bed. I had planned on photoblogging the trip, but it wasn't in the cards. Rather than give you the post-mortem here, all my photos are up on facebook. If you're on facebook and not yet one of my friends, feel free to add me.

Its been pretty busy while i've been away. Rather than go into great detail about a great many things, here's some stuff that caught my eye:

This guy, it seems, still sucks. No surprise there. Watch for these guys to keep trying to spread even more distance from these guys. Also, watch for more incredulous attempts to emphasize the supposed distance to be blown out of the water thanks to things like this.

Perhaps I will collect them and publish "How to Alienate Your Base for Dummies".

Prime Minister Harper was in my hometown of Fort McMurray on Monday! This is big news since we haven't had a Prime Minister visit since Chretien in1996. Its excellent that the PM got a chance to see the oilsands first hand and hear from community leaders. The Municipality's communications shop, though, gets low marks for allowing the Mayor's comments to be trumped by the MP's mother in the CTV story.

The Alberta Legislature is back in session and one of the two groups of socialists in the house apparently have an agenda. Should be fun watching that crumble to pieces. In addition to trying to defend their Johnny-Come-Lately position on royalties, their Energy Critic is also supposedly going to be standing up for rural Albertans with respect to Bill 46.

This is the same MLA who is also the Agriculture Critic (I didn't know they did much farming in Edmonton-Gold Bar) who tried to shame hard working farmers who get a farm fuel rebate and suggested they have their names listed on a website, similar to the way pedophiles are in some jurisdictions. Defending rural Alberta my ass...

Speaking of the Alberta-no-liberals-here-Liberal Party, it seems that someone has some pretty sour grapes about Larry Johnsrude's new gig. I've already expressed my thoughts that its sad to see Larry jump on with Gilligan and his Crew, but I respect him nonetheless.

Well Graham Thomson, his former Edmonton Journal colleague and the guy I thought would be a shoo-in for the job, has a column today that reads like something straight from the Liberal talking points file (somewhere in a deep, dark corner of the Leg. Annex).

Cheer up Graham. If you're still itching to give up the cloak of journalism and come out of the proverbial ideological closet, i'll bet these guys would hire you. Upon close examination you'll find their policies eerily similar and their electability on par with Alberta's other socialist caucus.

It's good to be home :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Its like they made this book just for me...

Greetings from the Big Apple!

After a long overnight journey across the sky, I have arrived in one of the greatest cities in the world.

Picture posting and photoblogging will come later... once the day is done, perhaps.

In the meantime, I see in the news that Larry Johnsrude is the new Communications Director for the Alberta Liberals.

Tories get their media hacks from the Herald and the Sun, the Liberals get theirs from the Journal... such an accurate reflection it hurts.

Seriously, i've got a lot of time for Larry. He was always objective in his coverage and really made a point of discussing a variety of interesting things on his blog. I'm sorry to see him leave the blogosphere and a bit bewildered as to why he'd sign on with the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

Nonetheless, I wish him well and look forward to the Liberal spin which he will inevidably produce and I will inevidably try to shoot down.