Monday, October 09, 2006

Anything Goes

With Super Weekend behind us, I intend to look a bit more at the Alberta PC leadership race over the coming days. The Globe has an excellent run down on the wild west lawlessness associated with the race. Say what you will about the federal Liberal race, but if any of these PC candidates come even close to running a campaign as ethical as Joe Volpe's has been, they would be going miles above and beyond the "rules" laid down for the race. Among the highlights:

-No spending limits. Jim Dinning will spend more on his leadership bid than any federal Liberal leadership candidate (in a province 1/10th the size of Canada).

-No limits for corporate or union donations or requirement to disclose donors. Hello special interest money!

-Candidates are allowed to buy membership forms themselves and give them to people for free. Yes, you heard that one right. I'm not sure if the candidates are allowed to vote for these people they sign up but I don't see why not.

22 Comments:

  • I know! It's positively American.

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 8:49 AM  

  • Wow, I wouldn't have thought Dinning would need to spend close to that much money... amazing. Are all provincial campaigns that high-rolling?

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:20 AM  

  • JBG,

    I can guarantee you NB Lib and PC leadership races are won with a couple thousand dollars and a smile haha.

    I'm sure AB is such a highly contested expensive race because the PRIZE is so big. You wouldn't find that same kinda prize anywhere else I think.

    Alberta is a constant beacon of light for the East Coast. Students flock to the province with the promise of 75k jobs and luxury lifestyles. Over here, the mere mention of Alberta is like "Shangrila".

    My point is that nobody would care if the rules are illegit, questionable or ethical. When the money keeps rolling in, you don't ask how.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 10:25 AM  

  • Can we mention to this any Alberta Reformer/Conservative who criticizes "corruption" in Ottawa?

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 1:21 PM  

  • Josh,

    I always do, but you may feel free to join me. It's quite clear that the Alberta PCs make the Liberals at their very *worst* look pure as the driven snow. And don't even get me started on entitlement...

    By Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist, at 2:03 PM  

  • Although Dinning will spend more money then any Liberal leadership candidate, he will still be spending under what the Liberal spending cap is.

    Can we mention to this any Alberta Reformer/Conservative who criticizes "corruption" in Ottawa?
    Certainly you can, and certainly they will be pissed about it.

    I know! It's positively American.
    Go ef yourself.

    It's quite clear that the Alberta PCs make the Liberals at their very *worst* look pure as the driven snow. And don't even get me started on entitlement...
    Huh? When have Albertan PC's been jailed for stealing from the taxpayer? When have they given 60,000 government dollars in paper bags? Who was it that said "I am entitled to my entitlements". Actually, name one thing that the Alberta PC's have done that the Liberals did not do worse of.

    By Blogger Brad, at 3:50 PM  

  • Can someone talk about corruption in Alberta politics? Apart from spending big bucks on campaigning. Is it a problem where the big bucks come from, or is there more?

    Living beyond the mountains, I only know I can't stand the sound of Mr. Klein's voice and look forward to life without it!

    By Blogger Penny, at 4:14 PM  

  • I think that once you have a more competitive political system in Alberta you will have more honesty. I think the fact there was no serious opposition to the Liberals in the 90s is partly why some got arrogant and started doing some corrupt things.

    And I agree with idealistic pragmatist that this is positively American. What is ironic is while the Tories bitch and complain about the corruption of the Liberals, they have no problem endorsing the Republicans who are ten times as bad and some to condone it by their own. It is essentially do is I say, not as I do.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 7:21 PM  

  • The really amazing thing abou the campaign is that you are allowed to give away memberships right until the close of voting on the second runoff election date.

    All you have to do is fill in the membership form handed you by the candidate outside the polling station and you are fine to vote.

    In the last battle between Ralph and Nancy, Nancy forgot about this and seems to have stopped giving away memberships between the first and 2nd day of voting. The result: Ralph Klien gave away more memberships in the interim and won!

    By Blogger yyclaw, at 7:46 PM  

  • "No spending limits. Jim Dinning will spend more on his leadership bid than any federal Liberal leadership candidate (in a province 1/10th the size of Canada)."

    As others have alluded to, this is probably because many people believe that being premiere of Alberta is a more desirable position than being prime minister of Canada.

    If anyone ever questioned the size or importance of Calgary's business commmunity, the ungodly sums spent by Dinning and company should straighten you out.

    By Blogger mclea, at 8:17 PM  

  • In Today's National Post, there is a story about the leadership race to replace Ralph Klein. It's an interesting read - to see how attitudes are changing in the province.

    One of the article's closing comments I thought was profound:

    "The retired political commentator who lives in Victoria and is a long time oil and gas investor said they are cow-towing to special interest groups, like the increasingly powerful environmental lobby."

    Why oilmen pine for Klein

    By Blogger The Anonymous Green, at 8:26 PM  

  • I really don't know why the Conservatives are even bothering to have a "vote". They are already well connected to the Amerikan Republikans and their electronically "rigged" voting machines, so that Dinning and his backers, (such notable "neocons" as Tom Long and Rod Love) should simply buy off the vote counters, just like the Bush Bros. did in Florida.

    Like North Korea, Alberta is a "one party state". The "party" controls the media (ever listen to Dave Rutherford recently) and people in increasing numbers do not even bother to participate in these public spectacles.

    Someone here asked where all the money was coming from. That is really easy to answer, just trace it back to the Houston Oil Barons that plan to keep pumping oil out of Alberta until the Athabasca River runs dry.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 11:53 PM  

  • basket and the foul wrote.

    "If anyone ever questioned the size or importance of Calgary's business commmunity, the ungodly sums spent by Dinning and company should straighten you out. "

    The Calgary Business Community may be the wooden dummy, but its the Houston Oil Barons that are pulling its strings.

    These Amerikan "neocons" do not respect their own citizens, so what on earth makes you think that they give a tinker's damn about how Canadians living in Alberta feel about democracy in their own Province?

    In my opinion, we have an "illegal immigration" problem in Calgary. And its most certainly not Mexicans or hard working Americans.

    By Blogger Joe Green, at 11:59 PM  

  • cg,
    i agree with your post on the ab conservatives, but find your jab at volpe inaccurate and petty. should kennedy win the race, i sincerely hope the same people who threw mud at volpe dont put knives into kennedy's back.

    By Blogger ktr, at 12:06 AM  

  • system is guaranteed to give you the result you want. Just get it and

    By Blogger fellista, at 11:26 AM  

  • You guys all forgot one particular aspect of this leadership - out-of-jurisdiction corporate funding. Dinning has been fundraising in B.C. (and probably Ontario). Imagine the reaction to (not to mention illegality of) Ignatieff fundraising in the U.S. ;-)

    penny,

    The leadership politics is small stuff compared to the rest of what goes on here. Alberta has one of the least open governments in the country, and for most of Klein's reign has had a toothless auditor general (though Dunn is starting to find his spine). The leg sits far less often than it used to, with the government preferring to legislate (and spend) through orders-in-council. The result of this disrespect for democratic institutions is inevitably corruption.

    Interesting Story

    From above:
    "Had the sponsorship scandal occurred in Alberta, it is likely it would never have come to light."

    Now, I would never suggest using a Parkland Institute report as a primary source in building an argument... Most of the stories out there are old (like Trynchy's driveway paved by taxpayers or the MagCan / Bovar loan guarantees) or haven't been vigorously pursued (consulting fees paid to Rod Love, no cooling off period for high-level advisors lobbying their former ministries,...)

    But perhaps Dinning could be pushed to comment on where he was when Albertans were getting the shaft from the electricity utilities during deregulation.

    By Blogger paleking, at 11:46 AM  

  • "What is ironic is while the Tories bitch and complain about the corruption of the Liberals, they have no problem endorsing the Republicans who are ten times as bad and some to condone it by their own."

    Nice red herring. If you have nothing original/intelligent to say, bring up the Republicans.

    When did this supposed "endorsement" happen?

    News flash: This isn't the United states... and if it was, many of us (Tories) wouldn't even be Republicans.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 2:07 PM  

  • Toronto Tory - If that's true, the party should put its money where your mouth is and end buying memberships for others, unlimited anonymous corporate donations in this leadership race. And they should stop allowing Harper muzzle his *elected* cabinet, MP's, like Bush does his *appointed* one. I could go on, but these are the most current and most offensive to Canadian democracy.

    By Blogger Gavin Neil, at 7:40 PM  

  • Joe Green can ef himself too. I wonder what these guys do that make them think they are more Canadian then any Albertan.
    And the PC party, Ralph especially hardly controls the media. Ever read Rick Bell? The Edmonton Journal? And the percentage of journalists that are anti-Ralph in the Calgary Sun and Herald is much higher then the percentage of Albertans who are anti-Ralph.

    And where is all this talk of Alberta PC party corruption? Who is it that was corrupt? What Liberals got to understand is just because you say it, doesnt mean its true, which is also the case with America somehow mysteriously controlling this race.

    And they should stop allowing Harper muzzle his *elected* cabinet, MP's, like Bush does his *appointed* one. I could go on, but these are the most current and most offensive to Canadian democracy.

    Gavin, I guess you jumped into the "if you dont have anything intelliigent to say, mention the Republicans" point that TT just mentioned. And Harper muzzles his cabinet just as much if not less then Chretien or Martin did.

    By Blogger Brad, at 2:50 AM  

  • gavin, according to your profile, you live in Toronto. Based on my personal experience, people in Toronto give far less than a rat's a$$ about Alberta, so why on earth would you care about our politics (other than to slam them).

    Klein did not fork provincial cash into a program to buy votes (probably because he didn't have to) on any major issue.

    The ONE "conflict of interest" issue I'm aware of was the result of his WIFE having 5,000 shares in some company or other an making money off it (probably oil & gas). As I was living in BC shortly after Vander Zalm left office under a massive (either $9 million or $90 or 9 billion...something like that) cloud, all I could do was... LAUGH. Because, of course, that was just after (or before, I've lost track) BINGOgate. Oh, and let's not forget the heartwarming experience of turning on the news and seeing the RCMP raid the home of your premier based on graft ($ for casino licenses - Clark (NDP I believe)).

    When you have a REAL premier (one that actually does what he says he will, without getting charged for criminal action), I'll listen to your rants about Ralph et al. And yes, I recognize I'm quoting BC politicians to an Ontario kinda-guy, but who came before McGuinty - Rae? Davis? yeah, right.

    Case in point. Your mother is a raving ... pick one ... alcholic / drug addict / psycho from hell. You're okay with your brother/sister commenting on it, but when the neighbor kicks in, you kick a$$.

    F*ck off about Ralph. Until such time as you have a real mayor (one that accomplishes more than photo opps) and a real premier (one that actually accomplishes things for your province), you are worse than a whiner, you are... words fail me.

    Miles lunn: "I think that once you have a more competitive political system in Alberta you will have more honesty."

    Obviously, you're unaware of the political history of Alberta. It has ALWAYS BEEN "my way or the highway" - for reasons known only to God, we only vote in massive majorities of one (1) party - ever - in our history. This is not a Klein phenomenon. It is highly unlikely that Alberta will ever see a "more competitive" political environment. I'll put money on it.

    I'll also put $ on the PCs not winning this round (nor the *shudder* Liberals).

    By Blogger Candace, at 3:02 AM  

  • Ah, yes, let us all bask in the wondrous corruption-free one-party system of Alberta. Let us not forget that Clark (exonerated) was premier of a province in which the major media outlets consistently display an anti-NDP bias, and which is otherwise known for more eccentric - not to mention polarized - politics.

    Perhaps when Alberta has a premier who doesn't plagiarize his essays for an Athabasca course and who would never, ever drunkenly berate homeless people, much less preside over utterly botched hydro deregulation, you will be in a position to deflect any criticism of Ralph and the PCs.

    As for the notion that Alberta will ever remain dominated by the PCs or some other single party, this is no more than an artifact of the electoral system. If Alberta had anything close to PR, there would have been many a minority government. Let us consider these results:

    Liberal - 32 seats - 392,899 votes (39.73%)
    NDP - 0 seats - 108,883 votes (11.01%)
    PC - 51 seats - 439,981 votes (44.49%)

    Why, look at that - the NDP and Liberals won more votes combined than the Tories, and the Liberals alone were within five percentage points of them. When did this happen, Candace? Hint: Ralph was around for it.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 10:28 AM  

  • The Liberals will eventually find themselves in 3rd place in Alberta.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 1:05 PM  

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