GETTING THINGS DONE
Shameless theft of federal campaign slogans aside, it was nice to see the Premier start the campaign off on the right track with a major announcement on Health Care.
This announcement builds on the recent announcement of major investments in health sciences research in Alberta. This is clearly a priority for the Premier and our party. Given that Albertans continue to rate health care as a top concern, I suspect they'll be pleased with the PC's committment and forward-thinking on this issue.
MEANWHILE IN "MAYBE WE SHOULD GET WORKING ON THAT" LAND
Liberal Leader Kevin Taft today announced that he would change the resource royalty formula to go easier on natural gas producers and harder on the oilsands. We all know that Kevin Taft and the Liberals want to re-increase royalties, but this new scheme seems confusing. So confusing, in fact, that even Kevin himself admits he doesn't really know how to tweak royalties to his satisfaction.
He also suggests that the lower rates for natural gas companies would only be "until the storm passes" and that "it means going a little harder on the oilsands". These would be the same oilsands that are already in the process of renegotiating their royalties.
And what of these temporary lower rates for gas producers? Who decides when the "storm" passes? What will their rates become when said storm passes? This seems to breed uncertainty and is particularily ironic given that he announced it as part of the Liberals' "Calgary Agenda"... a city that places some importance in stability and predictability in the oil and gas business.
JUST WHEN I THOUGHT HE HAD GONE AWAY...
... Graham Thomson comes storming back with his column for Team Red in the Edmonton Journal. In a column entitled "Tories stumble out of the starting gate", Graham starts off by remarking that the Tories inadvertently created controversy by calling the election on the 3rd anniversary of the tragedy at Mayerthorpe.
Controversy, that is, in the eyes of certain media types. Real people, including the Mayor of Mayerthorpe, don't think its an issue.
Conveniently, he forgets about the disastrous start that the Liberals had. Perhaps that wasn't in the memo from the Liberal war room/phone booth.
Either way, its awfully early to be grasping at straws.
AL GORE INVENTED IT... YOU'D THINK LIBERALS WOULD BE BETTER AT IT
Dan Arnold over at the Calgary Grit takes a shot at the PC's internet game because a spokesperson couldn't remember the term "social networking" off the top of her head.
If I were the Liberals, I would be less worried about a spokesperson's web-savvy and more concerned about their own lacklustre website.
The election has now been on for well over 24 hours and we've seen only a minor change in the layout of the Liberal's homepage.
They're still missing info on some of their candidates. Hard to make an informed choice with no information, don't ya think?
The pictures across the top change every time the page is refreshed and don't identify the caucus members' whose photos come up on the banner. Last time I checked, candidate photos aren't on the ballot.
They seem to rely heavily on youtube videos of Kevin Taft... as if hearing Kevin speak is going to inspire voters to mark a ballot for the Liberals.
And the scheme is generally uninspiring and particularily sad since Brian Mason and the NDP have managed to come up with something MUCH better.
I, of course, am very impressed with the PC Alberta campaign website. The clean, modern look, the plethora of easily-navigable information, and the connections to the aforementioned social networking are signs that this isn't your parents' PC campaign anymore.
Incidentally, i've also been impressed with a number of individual PC candidates' websites. Namely, the websites for Rob Anderson (Airdrie-Chestermere), Wendy Andrews (Edmonton Riverview), Kyle Fawcett (Calgary North Hill), Diana McQueen (Drayton Valley-Calmar), Raj Sherman (Edmonton Meadowlark), Greg Weadick (Lethbridge West) all caught my eye for one reason or another.