Alberta Politics: Wildrose reaction to proposed raise for front-line health workers illustrates the party’s rightward shift

PHOTOS: Rob Anderson, on the right, the Wildrose Party’s finance critic under Danielle Smith, at a rally supporting public sector workers in 2012. With him are AUPE President Guy Smith, left, and Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann, centre. Below: The Wildrose Party’s intemperate current finance critic, Derek Fildebrandt, Ms. Smith, and premiers Ed Stelmach and ...

Alberta Politics: With Lieutenant-Governor Donald Ethell, in frail health, set to retire, PM must choose replacement with care

PHOTOS: Lieutenant-Governor Donald Ethell prepares to read the Speech from the Throne in November 2014. Below: Mr. Ethell again and past lieutenants-governor Lois Hole and Norman Kwong. Photos from the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor.) More significant change is coming to Alberta’s government in the wake of last week’s election of Premier Designate Rachel Notley’s New ...

Alberta Diary: Be careful what you ask for! Jim Prentice walks away with the Wildrose political play book

Premier Jim Prentice. Below: Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith and former party strategist Tom Flanagan, this time on the button. As the expression goes: be careful what you ask for! You might just get it. There is irony – perhaps even bitter irony – in what newly minted Alberta Premier Jim Prentice managed to do ...

Alberta Diary: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice plucks the low-hanging fruit – now for the hard stuff…

If getting rid of SAM wasn’t that easy, imagine what the green eggs and ham are going to be like! Above, Premier Jim Prentice with the licence plate Alberta won’t be dumping after all. (CBC photo) Below: The typical Progressive Conservative, not necessarily exactly as illustrated. It’s one thing to let a couple of pieces ...

Alberta Diary: In one day, the ground shifts in Alberta politics in ways unexpected, sometimes uplifting, sometimes troubling

On March 23, Lewis Cardinal became the first nominated federal NDP candidate in Canada for the expected 2015 election. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Yesterday he stepped aside in the face of undisclosed health problems. Below: Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson. What a strange day it was yesterday, at times uplifting, at times ...

Alberta Diary: Advice to Dave Hancock: sweet words won’t be enough for Alberta’s unhappy civil servants

Your blogger with Alberta’s newest premier, Dave Hancock, not so long ago. Below: U.S. presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. What a difference a few days can make! One leaves the province with one premier in power, figuratively bellowing threats at the civil service, and returns less than a week later to find ...

Alberta Diary: The flight log: Alison Redford would be better off if she’d paid attention to sensible Alberta Public Service vehicle use policy!

Thinking of bringing your friends and relations along? Don’t bring them in the government truck, Mr. Civil Servant! OTTAWA “Good afternoon,” began a recent email from an assistant deputy minister to government employees of the humbler sort who don’t get to travel first class to faraway places but who may need to use a Government ...

Alberta Diary: Women hit by Redford Government’s pension cuts entitled to ask: ‘What are we? Chopped liver?’

Finance Minister Doug Horner and Alberta Premier Alison Redford attempt to skate around opposition to their planned cuts to public service pensions. Points have not yet been awarded for the maneuver. Actual Alberta politicians may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Mr. Horner as he slipped past media and uninvited union leaders at ...

Alberta Diary: Will Alison Redford fire Thomas Lukaszuk? She needs to, but don’t count on it happening!

Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, at right with Premier Alison Redford, argues with Deputy Premier Dave Hancock, in white suit and goofy glasses, about whether or not to appeal the court injunction against the use of Bill 46. Finance Minister Doug Horner is on the far left. Actual Alberta cabinet ministers may not appear exactly ...

Alberta Diary: Valentine’s Day injunction all but massacres Redford Government’s credibility in fight with Alberta Union of Provincial Employees

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees President Guy Smith at the union’s news conference in Edmonton yesterday. Below: Alberta Labour Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. Mr. Justice Denny Thomas of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench did not merely accept the arguments of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees when he slapped an injunction on the Government of ...

Alberta Diary: With free expression under assault in Alberta, where’s ‘free speech advocate’ Ezra Levant?

So-called free-speech advocate and celebrity commentator Ezra Levant. Below: Free-speech opponent Alison Redford, Canada’s answer to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, shown below her; that Voltaire guy; nearly forgotten Tory political strategist Stephen Carter. Where’s Ezra Levant now that we need him? Mr. Levant, after all, is frequently billed as Canada’s foremost “free speech advocate,” although ...

Alberta Diary: Alberta’s 13 most under-reported political news stories of 2013

Another aircraft takes off from Fort McMurray International Aerodrome loaded with CO2 captured from Alberta’s Athabasca bitumen sands. The gas will be stored in the basements of Russian buildings as part of a deal worked out through the province’s $2-billion “carbon capture” program. Actual Alberta carbon capture boondoggles may not operate exactly as described. Below: ...

Politics and its Discontents: Now Here’s An Interesting Idea

At a time when workers’ rights are under constant attack, dangerous, Draconian, Orwellian and unconstitutional measures have been passed in Alberta that not only strip away the arbitration rights of public servants, but also limit their freedom of speech. First, to the ‘less contentious’ of the two bills recently passed by Alison Redford’s Conservative government. ...

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: The Assault On Organized Labour In Canada

In Alberta, the Redford Government just passed one of the most offensive and blatant attacks on labour that we have ever seen.  It is uniquely focused on the civil service unions in the province, but that does little to ameliorate the degree of wrong that Bills 45 and 46 represent to Alberta’s workers. In Saskatchewan, ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Redford and Mandela: Hypocrisy and Hope (Part 2)

“He would continually bring people back to the table.  That was his greatest strength”—Ms Redford on Nelson Mandela* Sadly, Ms Redford never learned how to bring “people back to the table” here in Alberta.  So she resorted to the meat hammer—ramming through Bill 46 for force a “settlement” on the AUPE in order to abort ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Redford and Mandela: Hypocrisy Meets Hope and Learns Nothing

The Redford government’s capacity for hypocrisy knows no bounds.  In the same week that Redford’s PC government passed two corrosive pieces of anti-labour legislation, Ms Redford reflected on what she’d learned as a young lawyer working with Nelson Mandela to reform South Africa’s legal system. Nelson Mandela “He taught me that the best advice comes ...

Alberta Diary: Resolving ‘Tobaccogate’ – Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion … but not necessarily in Alberta

Where there’s smoke, ummm…. there’s smoke. Got that? Actual Alberta government tobacco lawyers may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson. The astonishing thing about yesterday’s ruling by Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner exonerating Alison Redford in the “Tobaccogate” affair is not that Neil Wilkinson concluded no wrong was done when the premier ...

Alberta Diary: If the deputy premier wants free speech for Ukraine so badly, why is he attacking it in Alberta?

Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk in the Rotunda of the Alberta Legislature. Note, in the background at left, Wildrose Opposition Leader Danielle Smith. Below, a recent Twitter message from Mr. Lukaszuk, an inveterate and confrontational Tweeter, who thinks your free speech rights are a matter of LOL and #wink. Last weekend, Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas ...

Alberta Diary: Hell freezes over in Alberta: Right-wing Wildrose Party sides with unions, sort of, over unconstitutional Tory bills

AUPE President Guy Smith, left, with Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann and Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson on the steps of the Alberta Legislature last night. Below: Part of the crowd … the pots and pans start to come out.  With blizzard conditions prevailing throughout most of Alberta today, it was still a surprise when ...

Alberta Diary: A challenge for the Redford Government: use Section 33 of the Charter to impose your unconstitutional laws

Queen Elizabeth II signs the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982 as a smiling PM Pierre Trudeau looks on. Now null and void in Alberta? Below: The Charter, premiers Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein from an old news shot found on the Internet, looking suitably appalled. Here’s a challenge for the Redford Government: ...

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Alberta Bills 45 and 46

Others have spoke very eloquently about the problems with Bills 45 and 46. What I want to bring to readers’ attention is how the Redford Government is abusing not just legislative procedure, but democracy itself. It is not unusual for this government to limit debate on bills.  What is unusual is to introduce a motion ...

Alberta Diary: Is it time to take our pots and pans into Alberta’s freezing streets?

More than 1,000 union members and their supporters gathered at the Alberta Legislature last night to continue protests against the Redford Government’s Bill 45, which as well as attacking unions assaults Albertans’ Charter-guaranteed right to free speech. Below: Unexpected speaker Joe Anglin; a red square from Quebec. Make it black, pin it on, leave it ...

Alberta Diary: A serious question for Albertans: Is the Redford Government out of control?

Whose House is it? In Alberta, not yours! Public service union members tried to enter the Alberta Legislature yesterday to protest Bills 45 and 46, and soon found the doors barred. Below: Some more of the 400 or so people who braved the coldest spot in Edmonton for an impromptu rally organized by public service ...