Alberta Politics Canadian Politics Politics

It’s all about PCs


Why tDave 07here must be an election this spring

About three years ago I met a doctor who had sat on a board that decides which dangerous offenders can safely be released into the community, after having served their time. Prisons are crowded in Alberta and understandably, the government wants to release criminals as quickly as possible. But safety is paramount, and all too often we read stories about criminals being released and then going on to reoffend, sometimes with tragic results.

This particular doctor consistently made his decisions based on community safety rather than expediency, with the result that he had his hospital privileges taken away for 11 months. I spoke with him shortly after he got them back and he agreed to give us an on camera interview about his experience. Just days before the interview was scheduled, he emailed me saying that his lawyer had advised him not to do anything that might upset the PC Government or Alberta Health Services (AHS). The interview was cancelled. That’s clearly doctor intimidation. A few months later, when an “open” inquiry was scheduled to examine our healthcare system, including excessive lineups and doctor intimidation, the PC government instructed the inquiry to leave out doctor intimidation.

There is a small community in southern Alberta that until 3 years ago had a nursing home for elderly people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It was operated by local people under the direction of AHS. In the spring of 2012 the facility was inspected by the provincial government, and it passed with no significant problems. Later in the spring there was a provincial election, and, very unwisely as it turned out, the community did not elect the PC party candidate as their MLA. Two months later with no consultation, and no credible reason given, the facility was shut down.

I visited the community shortly after, and people were understandably upset. We arranged to conduct on camera interviews, but when I returned a few weeks later, no one would talk to me. Lesson learned. In Alberta if you  go against the PCs, you’ll pay.

Last year I made several trips to Manyberries, a tiny hamlet of about 40 citizens an hour south of Medicine Hat in southeastern Alberta’s ranching country. As you’re driving across the rolling, empty prairie from Medicine Hat to Manyberries, you see a strange sight. It’s the steel towers of a major transmission line, appearing out of the east, and then going south towards  Manyberries, then west again, and then who knows where? This power line, built by PC cronies, appears to be going from nowhere to nowhere in an area where cows vastly outnumber people.

Who knows why? Actually, who cares? Well you should, because by law, you, your children and grandchildren are going to pay for it. But the company that built it is guaranteed a 9% return on their investment, so they don’t care if the transmission line is needed or not. Actually, if you were guaranteed a 9% return on an investment, paid for by taxpayers, would it matter to you?

Alberta has a law that schedules a spring election every four years. The last election was 2012 so the next is due in the spring of 2016. A few months ago Premier Prentice said he would abide by the law. Then last week he said that an election would be called at a time when it is in the best interests of Albertans. Could I suggest it would be in the best interests of Albertans to have a government that follows the law?Prentice

But unfortunately for the law, an election a year early is in the best interests of the PC party. The Wildrose Party is essentially leaderless; the Liberals are leaderless, and the oil price drop hasn’t taken full effect. So now is the best time to extend their control another four years into the future. Because if the PCs were ever to lose power and a new government had the mandate to expose the intimidation, incompetence, collusion, and cronyism, it would be the end of the PC party, and it’s octopus-like grip on Alberta.

It’s actually very simple. The PCs must do whatever it takes to ensure that they stay in power, so, there will be an election this spring.



Premier Jim needs a mandate?


It appears that Albertans are heading for a 2015 spring election. Leaving aside the fact that the law states that an election isn’t due until the spring of 2016; WHY? Our Premier says he needs a mandate to deal with the grim reality that oil prices have collapsed. A significant portion of Alberta’s economy is based on what happens in the oil patch and so it is critically important that the Premier and the government know that they are authorized by Albertans to deal with whatever comes up.

They don’t know this already?

After Alison Redford resigned in disgrace in the spring of 2014, Jim Prentice was the successful candidate to succeed her as leader of the Progressive Conservative party and he became the premier in waiting. The PCs already had an overwhelming majority but they added to it when two members of the opposition joined the PCs.

Then last October he and his party swept four by-elections, including his own riding, and he became premier, in fact. This left the PCs with an even more overwhelming majority, and clearly, an unfettered mandate to run the province as they deemed necessary.

Then a few weeks later, offering who knows what incentives and for no obvious political reason other than to ensure even more absolute PC control of the province, the PCs managed to gut the official opposition by enticing the majority of their remaining members to cross the floor and join their party.

Let me interject that I have not heard one shred of even mildly compelling evidence to justify what the Wildrosers did. When the federal Progressive Conservative Party  united with the Reform Party to form the Conservative Party of Canada, the reason was that with a centre-right party, and a somewhat farther right party competing with each other, it was obvious that a left wing party would permanently be in control of Canada. But there is not the slightest need to; “unite the right”, in Alberta, where the chances of a left-wing party ever taking over approach zero.

More critically, in a parliamentary democracy, any ruling political party or leader – no matter how benign – needs a strong opposition to hold them to account. Alberta’s PCs have been in power for 43 years, and the critical areas of provincial governance that they are responsible for, healthcare and education to name two, are in disarray. If we ever needed a strong opposition, it’s now!

But back to the election: why would Premier Prentice need a more clear mandate than he already has? Is he actually suggesting that, absent an election he’s not sure if Albertans expect him and his party to deal with the low oil price crisis?

No, if Jim Prentice calls an election it will be proof that he and his party still believe that the primary function of the PC Party of Alberta is to ensure that they remain in power. Whatever it takes.

What do you think? I really appreciate your feedback; and if you think having a conversation around this issue is important, please pass this link on to your friends and let’s get them involved.

Next blog: Reasons that staying in power is so crucial to the PC Party and their “Family.”


I am not Charlie Hebdo

I’m not Charlie Hebdo.
For the past week, the Paris based satirical magazine, whimsically named “Charlie Hebdo,” has been on a roll. The magazine’s usual print run is about 60,000 copies; this week in cooperation with numerous other publishing firms, it intends to run 1 million copies. Ever since Muslim terrorists slaughtered several of its journalists and cartoonists, as well as several Jewish patrons at a delicatessen, politicians, newspaper pundits, and millions of the general public have been saying: “I’m Charlie Hebdo.”
Well I’m not. I’m not against satire, even vicious, distasteful satire. But some of the satire run by Charlie Hebdo magazine goes far beyond good taste; venturing well past legitimate satire into the realm of outrageousness for outrageousness sake. When you take satire to that point, it becomes pointless.
So no, I’m not Charlie Hebdo. But I will do everything I can and support every other effort in any way that I can to ensure that Charlie Hebdo and others of its ilk can continue to publish whatever garbage they decide to, provided they don’t call for violence against their targets. Because if I don’t support them, who is going to support me when my right to defend and act upon my own beliefs comes under attack? Some in our society are intent on expunging every trace of religion – especially Christianity – from public life. I’m a Christian, so freedom of speech and freedom of religion are important to me. At the very least, I would like to be tolerated.
Tolerance is not affirmation of, or support for, things you find distasteful or obnoxious. Tolerance is being willing to put up with someone or something that you vehemently disagree with, or find distasteful or obnoxious. Because, for sure, your ideas or lifestyle are distasteful or obnoxious to someone else.
So I am perfectly willing to tolerate publications like Charlie Hebdo. I support their right to publish. And I deplore the depraved mentality that justified killing its staff, simply for being offensive.
But don’t call me Charlie.