Monday, February 18, 2008

This Week in Alberta Politics - Week 1901 of Tory Reign

On the Web

-from the makers of come
-Kevin Taft: The Next Alberta

-Straight Outta Edmonton counts down the top songs of 1971
-Taft responds to RO scandal on Youtube
-Daveberta Youtube round-up
-Four Strong Winds asks how to fix democracy in Alberta

Blog Watch

I didn't think it was possible, but whoever is doing Ed Stelmach's campaign blog has managed to capture the mind numbing boringness of Ed in written form! My favourite entry is from February 12th - I'd say it's prime fodder for the cliche-o-meter.

On the other side, you have former journalist and Calgary Fish Creek candidate Laura Shutiak, who has managed to put together an entertaining blog that sheds some light on what life on the campaign trail is like. I'll also give Arthur Kent credit for putting together a walk and talk daily video blog.

Ad Watch
The PCs keep rolling out the "Ed chats with bad actors" ads, while Imagine Alberta talks education.

The Continuing Saga of Perry Mason
"Say my name" is quickly becoming the NDP leader's campaign theme.

Quotes of the Week

"The opposition says, 'a 37-year-old government -- time to kick them out.' Marie has been with me for 34 years -- I don't plan to kick her out."
-Ed Stelmach

"[Stelmach was such a QP disaster that] it got to the point where you didn't ask him questions because you just felt bad for him."
-Kevin Taft

Topics I'd Like to see Banned from the Campaign
Ed Stelmach's conception

Actual Quote from Ed Stelmach Podcast with Tom "Say no to Calgary" Olsen

TO: "Generally speaking, what is their response when you explain your plan on whatever the issue is?"

ES: "uhh, what's, when I have an opportunity to talk to individuals and talk about our plan, communicate to them what we have in our plan, a very bold plan to cover all of these issues, many have a much better understanding of what's in the plan and know that it's going to work for them and deal with many of the issues that they may be facing individually in many issues."

Reason why the PCs will probably still win this thing

In Drayton Valley, Frances Meston, 56, co-owns Big West Farm and Ranch with her husband. The store sells everything from cowboy hats to gates for drilling sites. "This royalty thing, it hasn't helped anybody," she said.

But for all the angst and anger it's created, Ms. Meston still supports the Tories. She always has. In fact, the mother of two grown daughters couldn't imagine an Alberta without the Conservatives in charge. "No, and definitely not the NDP," she said with a chuckle.

Policy Watch

The Liberals came out with two policies which both make practical and political sense. $1,000 off tuition is something all students can relate to, while Taft's "cities charter" got this response in a Herald editorial this morning:

Liberal Leader Kevin Taft has skillfully positioned himself as king of the concrete jungle, with an election promise to give Edmonton and Calgary their own charters.

Raising the provocative idea of more municipal autonomy strategically shows Taft as a leader who gets the needs of Alberta's cities, where two-thirds of the population reside.

The Week Ahead
All eyes are on the leaders debate this Thursday. This is make it or break it time for the four party leaders and might very well decide the election. And, as luck would have it, I've figured out the chanel shifting on my cable box so I'll be able to watch and live blog it this Thursday!

I'd also expect the first public polls of the campaign to be released either Tuesday or Wednesday.



  • So the first polls are coming out later this week then?

    I don't live in Alberta, Just keeping track of whats going on there.

    By Blogger huffb1, at 6:43 p.m.  

  • Wow, I really wish Ed Stelmach's campaign blog had a comments feature. That would certainly spice it up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 p.m.  

  • Dan, nice to see you believe everything you read whilst living in the centre of the universe.

    I did notice that you failed to mention to your loyal readers the comments made by Don Braid of my local newspaper. What was it again? Oh, yeah ...

    "An observer on windswept Olympic Plaza had to feel a touch of sympathy for Liberal Leader Kevin Taft."

    "There he was, announcing his heart out to a crowd of about 15 people -- staff members, Liberal candidates, one alderman, a party diehard and a few journalists."

    Obviously, the leader of the official opposition is having difficulties inspiring the people of Calgary. I know, I live in the heart of the downtown core and I agree with Mr. Braid ... Taft's message is falling on deaf ears. On the other hand, the mainstream media is doing their best to aid and abet the Alberta Liberal Party and still Albertans are not listening.

    I'm not sure, however, the political strategy of telling Albertans that they have not been politically astute for the past 37 years is a good idea. But, hey, what do I know, I was alive when the Social Credit was in power.

    Anyway, keep up the good work ... I do love a good partisan bashing now and then. Who knows maybe one day you and I will get off the cheap seats and make our run as well.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:04 p.m.  

  • I'll see your Ed Stelmach conception and raise you a completely gratuitous discussion of Paul Hinman's virtuous sex life.

    He and Wilde have been together for four years, although Hinman -- who is divorced -- doesn't want people to get the wrong idea about their relationship.

    "I've only been married once and I've only been with one woman," said Hinman, who is a Mormon. "We both very much believe that an intimate relationship should be shared by people who are married."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 p.m.  

  • naheed - well...I guess it's good to see Hinman getting some media attention...

    troy - If the Liberals don't gain ground in Calgary this election then, yes, I'll conceede that you were spot on right. However, even partisan PCs concede they're gonna lose at least a handful of seats there.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 8:42 p.m.  

  • I can't imagine an Alberta without the PCs either. How else will we find our election staff?

    By Blogger Glen, at 9:26 p.m.  

  • "I can't imagine an Alberta without the PCs either. How else will we find our election staff?" ROFLMAO

    Somewhat seriously, why do we bother? How many millions is this election going to cost? And to what end, so that Taft can pretend he's more relevant than Mason because ALP will have... 24% of the seats instead 19% versus the NPD's 7% instead of 5%?

    And I wouldn't count on the ALP getting more seats anyway. How "liberal" is a plan to remove a subsidy (eg the gas rebate)? What about the seniors on fixed income? What about the poor? And haven't the feds already put a retrofit/green program into place?

    Jeez. When the PCs can outdo the Liberals on something that ... lieral, ya gotta wonder.

    An irrelevant and weak opposition is just that.

    Don't get me wrong. I'd love a new gov't or at the very least, an opposition that had relevance (like a difference of only 5 or so seats). But Taft is probably not the guy to make either happen IMHO.

    By Blogger Candace, at 12:31 a.m.  

  • “But Taft is probably not the guy to make either happen IMHO.”

    Well, why don’t you join up (any party) and make a difference? Unless, you like living in a third world country?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:05 a.m.  

  • Albertie is hardly a "third world country", grow up.

    Politics everywhere has a problem of attracting someone to stir the imagination. Obama-mania? Puhleeze.

    The Grits had a great chance with Laurence Decore. Too bad Sheldon Chumir couldn't carry on.

    Nobody in Alberta trusts the Liberals coz of Trudeau, Lalonde, Turner, Chretien, Martin......

    By Blogger Unknown, at 2:40 p.m.  

  • "Well, why don’t you join up (any party) and make a difference?"

    Well, to start, I've ripped up my AB PC card. I'd volunteer for the WRA candidate but doubt I could keep a straight face explaining why a 21 yr old would be better than the incumbent (non-PC), so I'll probably just send him some cash instead...

    And it's not 3rd world when they are elected, repeatedly. It's just AB politics as usual.

    By Blogger Candace, at 3:10 p.m.  

  • "Albertie is hardly a "third world country", grow up."

    And, you're going to demonstrate maturity to us?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:35 a.m.  

  • “And it's not 3rd world when they are elected, repeatedly. It's just AB politics as usual.”

    I’ll give you the courtesy of a short but careful reply. Perhaps, orcs (like Art) might learn something.

    Great civilizations are successful because they have integrated societies. In the ancient world, these civilizations were authoritative while a common identity was forged over centuries. In modern societies, democratic political institutions and processes maintain a civil society. The media creates a common identity over a few generations.

    Modern societies create a great deal of freedom. There is freedom from fear because of the rule of law and the possibility of political power. The idea of a one-party one-ideology state is repugnant because it is not integrative.

    By comparison, third world societies are often authoritative and exclusive.

    Tribal society functions on the basis that ‘might is right’. The majority tribe runs the place for the benefit of the majority. The minority tribes have big grievances and little recourse. In modern times, they have become very keen on elections because they always win.

    This is a tribal mindset,
    “But for all the angst and anger it's created, Ms. Meston still supports the Tories. She always has. In fact, the mother of two grown daughters couldn't imagine an Alberta without the Conservatives in charge. "No, and definitely not the NDP," she said with a chuckle.”

    Therefore, the presence of elections (in Alberta) is not an indicator of democracy. The nature of society is exclusive.

    Conversely, the lack of regime change is not a sign that democracy has failed.

    I have cited Japan as an example of Asian democracy. The LDP has formed every government but one since 1955. They don’t respect human rights, nor do they have time for plurality. Women are not equal, and the social safety net is limited.

    Nonetheless, Japanese society tends to be equitable and consensual because of the structure of their society. And, the rules they impose on themselves. No LDP President (and Prime Minister) can serve more than two terms.

    Therefore, Japan despite its flaws (from a western POV) is a modern success story. Whilst, Alberta has been headed in the other direction under the PC and good olde Ralph Klein.

    That’s why the ALP has been cracking its head against a mindset that accepts one-party one-ideology dominance. Many people cannot imagine a better or different society.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:18 p.m.  

  • Is it just me, or is Kevin Taft getting more photogenic? He's starting to, as they say, "look" like a leader.

    WOW, that Stelmach blog really *is* Dullsville. What are they thinking?

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 3:08 p.m.  

  • "WOW, that Stelmach blog really *is* Dullsville. What are they thinking?"

    That it's an accurate reflection of the man?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:18 a.m.  

  • A great deal of worthwhile data for me!

    By Anonymous the sex toys, at 2:08 p.m.  

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