Monday, May 12, 2008

Electoral Change That Works...For Ed Stelmach

There are at least a dozen things Ed Stelmach could do to clean up politics in Alberta. So what has he chosen to change?

Fixed election dates? A citizen's assembly? More open FOIP rules? Campaign spending limits? A ban on corporate donations? A cap on individual donations? A more powerful auditor general? Independent ROs? More government resources for opposition MLAs?

Nope. Instead he's gunning for a ban on third party advertising during campaigns - the one change that will actually help him (after the Albertans for Change ads attacked him last campaign).

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18 Comments:

  • Fantastic idea by Stelmach. By third party, he means anything that isn't from the Alberta PC.

    I'm proud that Alberta is moving at a quicker pace than Communist China in providing meaningful electoral reform.

    By Anonymous Rob C, at 10:19 PM  

  • I am surprised they would betray their conservatives roots like this!

    By Blogger Kyle G. Olsen, at 11:02 PM  

  • 1. Ask Stephen Harper what fixed election dates has done to his reputation as a champion for democracy. A dumb idea that gets you nowhere with voters.

    2. Citizens Assemblies are, in actuality, a distortion of democracy. You pick a group of random and uninformed voters, round up a group of academics who are sold on a certain concept, and you lock them up together for a few months. The result is what happened in Ontario: A citizens assembly that voted 94-6 to change the electoral system and an electorate that rejected it with overwhelming authority.

    I also liked this:

    ""Alberta has the best provincial premier in government that secret money can buy," Conacher quipped."

    For a guy who supposedly loves democracy, he sure doesn't think much of a guy who half the province voted for.

    He, like the media and other bitter observers of provincial politics in Alberta, should wake up and realize Ed Stelmach is the premier because half a million Albertans want him to be premier.

    That's democracy.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 12:27 AM  

  • Never mind the number who voted against Stelmach, but who'll stand up for those who were so impressed that they didn't vote at all? That's a silent majority that should be stuck having Stelmach as a dinner date for the next four years!

    By Blogger burlivespipe, at 2:40 AM  

  • Actually, about 20% of the province voted for Stelmach...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:35 AM  

  • "Actually, about 20% of the province voted for Stelmach..."

    That, too, is democracy. It's not perfect.

    And I meant half of the ballots cast. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 10:42 AM  

  • The 20% for Stelmach is not the key issue. The fact that 60% of Albertans didn't bother to vote is the larger concern.

    To assume they are content is folly. To presume they are uninformed is unlikely. To presume they are disinterested in government as a means to a common good is closer to the truth.

    I think Albertans are retreating to self-absorbed individualism and away from common-cause mutual benefit as an operating principle and value driver. Not good news for a cohesive and progressive society.

    By Blogger Ken Chapman, at 11:03 AM  

  • less rules the better.

    fixed election dates? don't hurt municipal elections/politicians, also lowest voter turn-out. if you don't vote for those closest to home, then what does CG (in TO) expect.......

    By Blogger art, at 12:00 PM  

  • To me its surprising that the NDP and the Liberals could potentially be on board with this as suggested by the article.

    Its also sad that a group of students wrote letters to Ed Stelmach demanding electoral reform and this is what they're getting. This is truly a bad day for Democracy in Alberta.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:11 PM  

  • yeah, so...

    http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=538a1849-a85e-44f6-8eb8-768f139da6cc

    MLA delays fixed election dates
    The Edmonton Journal
    Published: 2:30 am

    EDMONTON - Fixed election dates will eventually become reality in Alberta, says the St. Albert MLA who introduced a bill proposing them in the legislature.

    But Tory Ken Allred said the government needs more time to study the idea and voted to delay his own private member's bill for six months.

    "Fixed election dates will be a fact in Alberta at some point in time, even if this bill is eventually defeated," Allred said before the vote.

    Elections are currently held whenever the government wants within a five-year period. Allred's bill, introduced late last month, would have seen municipal and provincial elections take place on an alternating basis every two years on the third Monday in October.

    The federal government, as well as British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, all have fixed election dates.

    By Blogger daveberta, at 2:02 PM  

  • Observation:

    Severely restricting third-party advertising was written into law for federal elections by Liberal governments.

    Historically, those conservatively inclined have opposed this, and those progressively inclined have supported this.

    So you are criticizing Stelmach for the "progressive" policy he wants to introduce?

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 5:06 PM  

  • And well, the implicit anti-Ukrainian ads run by Albertans for Change DID backfire.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 5:11 PM  

  • Stephen Harper would love to get rid of third-party advertising restrictions federally, and would probably if he could do so, because the Conservatives can out fund raise the Liberals, and would be able to outspend the Liberals by setting up third party cutout groups like they do in the States to run the advertising.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 5:16 PM  

  • Clinton wins West Virginia by 40% points. Shocking?

    Why did Indiana not give her the same margin? Perhaps, because this community was voting against Obama, not for Clinton. Obama has been dogged by this kind of prejudice.

    "I'm kind of still up in the air between McCain and Hillary," said Jason Jenkins, 32, who cited information from a hoax e-mail as a reason to spurn Obama.
    "I'll be honest with you. Barack scares the hell out of me," he said. "He swore on the Koran."

    NY Daily News May 7th

    And, Clinton has been pandering to anti-Obama prejudices in the late stages of her campaign.

    There have been suggestions that Obama supporters should help the losing contender by donating to pay her $20m debt. How many Obama supporters are going to do that?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:16 AM  

  • jimtan, the folks that think Obama is a secret muslim certainly aren't all that inclined to listen to Hillary Clinton.

    there is a HUGE difference between West Virginia and Indiana. West Virginia is Appalachia hillbilly coal-mining country. It is really part of the south (based on the accent, and the fact that they were a slave state - although they seceded from the rest of Virginia to remain in the union). However, unlike most of the south, it has a very small black population. There are not a lot of college students, plus it is one of the oldest states in the country. It isn't so much that West Virginia is too conservative for Obama either (Indiana is a redder state than WV). Clinton is the candidate of the OLD left (economic equality), Obama is of the new left (self-actualization and post-material values).

    Contrast with Indiana - while a "rust belt" state, Indiana's economy has done relatively well over the past few years. It is number 5 in biotech in the US, has a large college student population (as a proportion of the overall population) and far more African Americans than West Virginia. Plus, 20% of Hoosiers get Chicago t.v.

    The parts of Indiana that are like West Virginia (the southern counties, apart from Monroe county and the counties containing Evansville) - Appalachian hill country - had West Virginia-esque margins.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:13 AM  

  • "jimtan, the folks that think Obama is a secret muslim certainly aren't all that inclined to listen to Hillary Clinton."

    Perhaps! But, Clinton is playing the race card. Love her accent and working class credentials.

    It won't be forgotten.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:42 AM  

  • Obama gets the vote of 90% of African Americans, and Clinton is playing the race card? The thing I like absolutely the least about Obama is the way his campaign has dismisses many legitimate concerns about him by implicitly implying that those who hold such opinions are racist.

    Clinton probably shouldn't have said that only she can win whites explicitly, but surely Obama's ability (or lack thereof) to win over working class whites is relevant to an assessment of his candidacy. If Obama is going to do worse among working class whites than John Kerry (or indeed, Dukakis), how is he going to make up the ground in key battleground states? With African Americans (80-90% of whom already vote Democrat)? Now a more reasonable argument stresses Obama's edge among independents, but even this is sketchy. The thing is that you could be to the left of Nader and still be an independent (or you could be a new voter who just hasn't registered with any party). Looking at moderates is far more relevant as a gauge of swing voters, and Clinton beats Obama on that score handily (she also wins among Conservatives).

    PS: Clinton isn't the only candidate with a fake accent (sometimes - the last few primaries she has used her real, upper midwest accent). Obama, despite being raised by a Kenyan father, white mother (and a "typical white person" grandmother) in Hawaii and Indonesia, somehow sounds like a bad Martin Luther King impersonator in his speeches (but not in debates - there he sounds pretty Chicago, which makes sense I suppose).

    PS: CG - this is what happens when you talk about Alberta politics! Everything goes to hell.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:56 PM  

  • "Everything goes to hell"

    The only one going to pieces is you!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 5:29 PM  

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