Alberta Politics: Will deficit hysteria finally pave the way for a sensible Alberta sales tax? Ummm … don’t count on it

PHOTOS: Never mind the political stuff, this is the Heidelberg-Königstuhl State Observatory, where astronomer Max Wolf discovered the Minor Planet Climenhaga in 1917. Below, not in the order in which they appear: Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci, British Columbia Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, B.C. New Democratic Party Leader John Horgan, and Professor Wolf himself. Judging from ...

Alberta Politics: Silence on the right and in the media about NDP role as Alberta adds an impressive 20,000 full-time jobs in March

PHOTOS: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who is not getting any credit for her economic successes from the Opposition or the media. Below: Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci; Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall; and University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe (CBC photo). Alberta added an impressive 20,000 full-time jobs in March, according to Statistics Canada, suggesting the ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: Not many surprises in Alberta’s stay the course budget

There were few surprises when Finance Minister Joe Ceci stood to table the New Democratic Party’s third budget since forming government in 2015. What I expect were strategic leaks over the past week revealed some popular highlights included in the budget, giving the government some positive media in the days before the budget was released. ...

Alberta Politics: Despite Opposition demands, Alberta NDP says no to risky conservative ideological experiments in its 2017 budget

PHOTOS: Finance Minister Joe Ceci. Below: Interim Progressive Conservative Ric McIver showing off his Three Stooges tie, the sale of which puts the gross in Gross National Product; Opposition Leader Brian Jean; and Alberta Liberal interim Leader David Swann. “Admit it, Alberta, after yesterday afternoon’s Budget Speech was read by Finance Minister Joe Ceci, you ...

Alberta Politics: When the celebrated Mr. K. performs his feat on Saturday … what will Brian Jean do?

PHOTOS: Wildrose Leader Brian Jean. Below: Progressive Conservative leader-presumptive Jason Kenney, former PC leadership candidate turned NDP MLA Sandra Jansen, NDP Finance Minister Joe Ceci and a very large sewer rat, political affiliation unknown. Could Wildrose Party Leader Brian Jean beat Progressive Conservative leader-presumptive Jason Kenney for the leadership of Wildrose 2.0, or whatever the ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: Looking ahead to the Throne Speech and Spring Session

Similar to last week’s third quarter fiscal update delivered by finance minister Joe Ceci, this week’s Speech from the Throne will mostly focus on political messaging and managing public expectations. Along with the pomp and circumstance that will drape the Legislature as Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell reads the throne speech on March 2, 2017, the government will present its narrative ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: Ten Alberta MLAs to watch in 2017

Despite its past reputation, Alberta politics has become extraordinarily unpredictable over the past decade. This makes forecasting the future a very tricky business for political pundits. As is tradition on this blog, each December I sit down by the open… Continue Reading →

Alberta Politics: Topp spin: Alberta premier’s departing chief of staff gives his final report to media with an eye to history

PHOTOS: Brian Topp, Premier Rachel Notley’s departing chief of staff. Below: Mr. Topp’s replacement, John Heaney; Jim Rutkowski, appointed Principal Secretary in the premier’s office; he replaces Anne McGrath, who becomes executive director of the Premier’s Southern Alberta Office in Calgary; and former southern office ED Bob Hawkesworth. It would be fair to say Brian ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Air Horn Politics

“We’re all seriously suffering from a kind of Trump derangement syndrome…he uses up so much of the oxygen and it’s like having…a big air horn installed in your head and you just can’t get away from it.”— Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer Prize winning creator of Doonsbury   Sadly, Albertans have their own version of air ...

Alberta Politics: Albertans hear the same old same old as fast-food restaurant owners grow hysterical over minimum wage

PHOTOS: Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray, who is sticking to her guns on the provincial government’s plans to raise the provincial minimum wage to $15 by 2018. Below: Notable fair wage campaigners, Joe Ceci, finance minister of Alberta; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the United States; and Karl Marx, philosopher, economist and journalist. Fast-food restaurant ...

In This Corner: Stuff Still Happens, week 26: Oiler fans say, ‘What the Hall?’

It’s summer here in the Great Green North, the brief respite from the snow and cold and ceaseless hockey talk. Or at least that’s supposed to be the way it goes. While there are no reports of winter weather, hockey news just never goes away. This week, the obsessive fan base of the Edmonton Oilers ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: What new laws did Alberta’s NDP government pass in Spring 2016?

The Spring session of the Alberta Legislature ended yesterday after forty-days of debate. The evacuation of more than 88,000 Albertans sparked by the wildfires in Fort McMurray dominated the attention of our political leaders during this session. In response to the wildfire… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: Honouring a great Edmontonian with Michael Phair Park

It was a sunny day and there was a great turnout to honour a great Edmontonian at the dedication ceremony for the new Michael Phair Park on 104 Street north of Jasper Avenue in downtown Edmonton. A strong advocate of urban… Continue Reading →

Alberta Politics: NDP moves to rein in Tory patronage and boondoggles at Alberta’s many boards, agencies and commissions

PHOTOS: NDP Finance Minister Joe Ceci on the day he was sworn in. Below: The full list of agencies to be amalgamated or eliminated by the government in the first round of its “ABC” review; NDP Environment Minister Shannon Phillips; and Tory health minister Fred Horne, way back in the day. In yet another example ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: One year ago today the NDP won in Alberta. The next day hell froze over.

The attention of most Albertans this week is rightfully focused on the wildfires that are raging through northern Alberta and the more than 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray who have fled to safer ground in the south. It is a… Continue Reading →

Alberta Politics: If you were secretly relieved by yesterday’s NDP Alberta budget, you weren’t alone …

PHOTOS: Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci addresses the media during a lockup early yesterday afternoon in Edmonton before reading the 2016 Budget Speech to the Legislature. Below: CFIB Alberta spokesperson Richard Truscott, Edmonton-Centre MLA David Shepherd and author and environmentalist Naomi Klein. Admit it, Alberta, after yesterday afternoon’s Budget Speech was read by Finance Minister ...

Alberta Politics: Postmedia’s symbiotic relationship with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation fails to offer much illumination

PHOTOS: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s misleading “debt clock” trailer back when Alberta’s debt wasn’t $10 billion. Now it isn’t $17 billion. Below: CTF Alberta Director Paige MacPherson, telling Okotoks Online that 44,000 teachers should all be handed a big pay cut (Okotoks Online photo); Parkland Institute Research Manager Ian Hussey and tight-fisted Alberta NDP Finance ...

Alberta Politics: Premier Rachel Notley introduces six new cabinet members … pretty flawlessly

PHOTOS: Premier Rachel Notley introduces her expanded, 19-member (that is, 18 full + 1 associate member) cabinet to the media at Government House yesterday morning. (Photo by Dave Cournoyer, used with permission.) Below: New cabinet members Christina Gray, Richard Feehan, Brandy Payne, Marlin Schmidt, Ricardo Miranda and Stephanie McLean, all from their official portraits. Introducing ...

Accidental Deliberations: Compare and contrast

One option in responding to a precipitous decline in commodity prices which has exposed a province’s overreliance on resource extraction is to work on developing an economy which isn’t so vulnerable to predictable shocks: Ceci said his main focus is to stabilize public services and invest in infrastructure that will help diversify the economy when the ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: A Rookie Crew: Eleven Alberta MLAs to watch in 2016

The past few years in Alberta politics have reminded us that politics can be an extraordinarily unpredictable and forecasting the future can be a very tricky business for political pundits. Aside from the obvious choices of Premier Rachel Notley, Finance… Continue Reading →

Susan on the Soapbox: Five Resolutions for Rachel Notley

Ms Soapbox’s first round of New Year’s resolutions for a politician (Alison Redford) were ignored, but she’s a persistent soul and will try again. This time she’s prepared five resolutions for Premier Rachel Notley. Stay the course on your climate change policy (and all your energy related policies for that matter).     Ignore Wildrose leader Brian ...

daveberta.ca – Alberta Politics: What new laws did Alberta’s NDP Government pass in 2015?

The fall session of the Alberta Legislature ended last week and MLAs will now spend the next few weeks working in their constituencies until the Assembly returns in early 2016. The Assembly passed nine pieces of legislation introduced by Alberta’s… Continue Reading →

Alberta Politics: Big Tobacco’s doubtful claim high taxes encourage cigarette smuggling finds support on Alberta’s Wildrose benches

PHOTOS: Young cigarette smokers in 1910. The tobacco industry and its friends on the Opposition benches think high tobacco taxes are a problem. Below: Wildrose Party Finance Critic Derek Fildebrandt, an advocate of this view; NDP Finance Minister Joe Ceci, whose Bill 4 will enable higher taxes on tobacco. It looks as if Wildrose Finance ...

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: Putting protection of sexual & gender minorities back on the agenda at provincial school boards meeting

Amid allegations of financial misspending and a lack of transparency, representatives from sixty-one elected Public, Catholic, and Francophone school boards from across Alberta will gather at the fall general meeting of the Alberta School Boards Association on November 15, 16 and… Continue Reading →

daveberta.ca - Alberta Politics: What about Bob? Hawkesworth swoops into top political job.

Former Calgary alderman Bob Hawkesworth has been appointed Executive Director of Premier Rachel Notley’s southern Alberta office at the McDougall Centre in Calgary. A press release sent out on Nov. 7 states that Mr. Hawkesworth will be responsible for “the… Continue Reading →