Friday, December 7, 2007

Retirements, Redundancies, and Relocations

Rumours are starting to swirl about a possible announcement by Finance Minister Lyle Oberg that he has decided not to seek re-election in the upcoming election.

Rick Bell's column (linked above) suggests that this may be the result of the good Doctor being taken to the proverbial woodshed one too many times. Ken Chapman also takes a critical look at the member for Strathmore-Brooks in his latest post. I suspect we'll be reading more about this in the days ahead.

If it IS true that he's leaving, there could be any number of reasons. Lyle has been splitting his time between family in Brooks, family in Sherwood Park, and his duties as a Minister. That takes a toll on anyone and it could well be that he's simply choosing to get out to cut down on that strain. Of course, the woodshed argument is entirely possible, too.

One thing is for sure, Lyle doesn't have much of a poker face.

Whatever the reason for a departure may be, it'll be pretty obvious from his demeanour at this anticipated announcement.


Of all the areas of public policy that I find myself caring about, the most boring is probably issues surrounding license plates.

Ever since I was a child, i've had some bizarre interest in plates (as well as an uncanny knack for remembering people's plate numbers). I started thinking a few years ago that I can't ever remember the Alberta plate looking any different than it does now and that perhaps it was time for a change.

Imagine my joy, then, when Service Alberta Minister Lloyd Snelgrove announced that his department was going to begin a consultation on the future of the Alberta license plate.

(Hard to believe I can't get a date, I know...)

One item in the consultation, which you should all take a few minutes to do, ponders a return of the front license plate.

I think this is a colossal waste of money.

Prudish defenders of bureaucracy, though, are lining up in favour.

In a recent blog post, Graham Thomson details a speech given by Liberal MLA Mo Elsalhy during the marathon sitting of the Legislature. The post is a good reminder that Graham Thomson is the best unpaid spin machine the Liberals have, but that's another matter.

In his speech, Mr. Elsalhy justifies the need for a return to a two-plate system by explaining that places like BC have cameras that can identify a vehicle and determine if the owner is wanted for any number of things from a crime to child support arrears. This kind of a system alerts the police and allows them to stop the vehicle a little further down the road.

I actually don't think this is a particularily bad idea. And the cost of $100,000 as quoted by the Liberal member isn't at all unreasonable.

Here's the thing, though:

The camera is pointed at oncoming traffic to capture front plates in BC, right?

If we implement a similar system, couldn't we just turn the cameras the other way to capture the rear plates that we already have?

More brilliance from your Liberal "Shadow Ministers", folks.


Finally, a note about the labour shortage in Alberta.

Federal Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg, himself a top-notch Albertan, was in Calgary to speak to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and addressed the shortage and the actions that the feds are taking to address it. His comments were obviously important and well-received, given that they got coverage in two separate stories in today's Calgary Herald here and here.

The labour shortage is something that has gone past being an issue of exceptional job security and more into a crippling burden on employers.

Alberta remains the place where the maverick, can-do, get-er-done spirit goes a long way to building a promising future. Its something I have always believed and that grows ever stronger as those who promote that kind of thinking continue to find great success in Alberta.

And so, friends, I have decided that my BC experiment will soon be drawing to a close.

By the end of January I will once again be a proud resident of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Flames: Calgary, Alberta.

Living on Vancouver Island has certainly opened my eyes to a different way of thinking and a different way of life. While I can certainly appreciate where the residents here are coming from, it just isn't for me.

I will look forward to visiting the many friends I have made here on a regular basis, and in turn look forward to hosting them in what I believe is the greatest city in Canada.

I'll admit that, over the last few years, i've been somewhat of a modern-day gypsy. There are few who know me who wouldn't say i'm a traveller at heart. I love being on the road or in the air, heading to destinations old and new to see their sights and meet their people first hand. I don't expect that spirit to change in me anytime soon.

But even the most frequent travellers always know, in their heart, where home is.


  1. Hopefully Lyle will be replaced by my favourite former SE Alberta mayor Don Weisbeck.
    I'll say it before and I'll say it again. Monte rocks.

  2. This is good news for the Wildrose Party which just sent in its 6000 signatures to become an official party today.

    If Don Weibeck decides to run for the Wildrose he will be a shoe in.

  3. Very sorry to hear that the outspoken and intelligent Dr. Oberg won't be seeking re-election. Hopefully he won't be forced to "resign" immediately from cabinet early next week.

    I wonder if Rev. Abbott and his family might consider relocating to Strathmore-Brooks?

  4. herb,
    According to the press, and despite your innuendo, Oberg isn't resigning from cabinet. And he isn't bemoaning differences with the Premier as a reason for leaving. I have to note he is showing some class here.

    Based on your previous posts, you obviously have a high opinion of yourself. Why not grant us citizens the benefit of your wisdom and run for office?

  5. Good that you're coming back! Too bad you're not coming to Oiler Country.