Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Not so long ago Premier Stelmach engaged a personal attack on Brian Mason with his comments of he would take the word of a nurse before a bus driver any day. Seems personal to me. In my opinion we have a huge amount of jackasses in our Legislature posturing only for political gain instead of representing the constituents, the only real commitment in my opinion. If you have ever taken time to watch question period I see very little that is intelligent as far as questions or answers, although I have to say the arrogance of our ministers by far exceeds the opposition.
The opposition are not the only ones that seem to get attacked for taking a position on certain issues. Kyle Fawcett was shut down immediately for his criticism of the premier and the job he was doing. Unfortunately Kyle backed down and apologized, although I am not sure what for. Rob Anderson questioned Lloyd Snelgrove on some of the budget numbers and whether we could control our spending to inflation and population growth. Snelgrove gave Anderson an embarrassing shellacking with his responses basically telling him to sit down and shut up. I know that Anderson's constituents put this policy proposal in place for the AGM, so this must have been a humiliating experience for him as well as demean his constituents in the riding.
The opposition every once in a while will pose some intelligent question only to be met with snarky, demeaning responses. In all fairness the majority of the time they are criticisms rather than questions, something the Wildrose party's MLA Paul Hinman has yet to grasp as well. I support this party but do believe we can be so much more effective. I wonder if MLA's used the respect Grant Notley did when he was with the NDP if the ministerial responses would still be arrogant. I hold our MLA's to a higher standard than what is provided to us, as they need to come up with solutions. Our opposition is not there to simply oppose everything, rather offer up alternative solutions and provide another viewpoint on issues pertaining to Albertans. I am fairly confident that the views of Albertans do not change from riding to riding that much.
All in all the Liberal site is simply political posturing and does not help our health care system in the least. If the Liberal party truly wants to improve things use some courtesy and provide an alternative solution to problems. If the Stelmach government doesn't listen and get into trouble like with the H1N1 offer another solution at the time to improve service as the public will see that you are a party that knows what it takes to make the improvements Albertans expect. If you truly believe you are looking after Albertans to the best of your ability with the site, so be it.
To the PC government- quit with the arrogance-you need all the help you can get. Demeaning your own backbenchers and opposition is not only getting old, it is getting noticed. You can't look after Alberta's needs if you are not open to criticism and other ideas. You have much more to be concerned with than the Liberal's website.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Wildrose Alliance launched a MLA pay and perks panel to evaluate the pay for MLA's and try and bring it out into the open. Shortly after the PC party launched a review of their own, unfortunately they did not get it right. There was no more transparency than before the review which made it a waste of time and money.
The royalty competitiveness review is also a new damage control effort being thrown out by the Stelmach government that the Wildrose launched a task force on. I am not too sure a review is required again as the ridiculous amount of changes in the royalties since the NRF was implemented proves, beyond a doubt, the Stelmach regime did not get it right. The other parties contended the NRF did not go far enough, and the Alberta Alliance at the time was the only party that heeded the warnings of our energy sector. Since then Alberta's economic engine stalled and pushed investment money elsewhere, and I am not sure with the current government the level of trust required to draw it back will be possible.
A cabinet shuffle has also been rumoured after a number of poor decisions made by the ministers. Whether we look at our children's and youth services, health and wellness, seniors and community supports, energy, environment, all the way to culture and community spirit the GOA has successfully managed to miss pissing off no one in Alberta. Earlier this year Ed made a number of Calgary appointments as assistants to ministries in an attempt to stop the bleeding of support.
Ed Stelmach's tories may not be able to repair the parties fall in popularity by the 2012 election. In an interesting article by Don Braid today he brings up the question of defectors again to the Wildrose Alliance and the ability of Stelmach to keep his backbenchers happy. Personally I do not think the Wildrose would be wise to allow floor crossing, unless the MLA's truly believe they would be looking after the constituents best interests by doing so.
Albertans main concern is our health care system. Ron Liepert has had to bungle his way through with this portfolio and I am sure once all the cuts to it are made he will be replaced as minister. I think there will be further wage freezes and cuts before we see a shuffle here happen, then when Liepert is replaced the Stelmach tories will try to make themselves out as heroes by doing so. I would imagine with the deficit we will see Iris Evans position change as well.
The Alberta PC party knows it has serious problems and absolutely need to make changes if they intend to remain in power. 2012 is not that far off and they have a huge amount of work to be done to re-establish themselves as trustworthy. I do not underestimate their ability to do so or they would not have remained in power as long as they have, the question I think is can they do it with Premier Stelmach?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I would like to take the time to wish my readers a Very Merry Christmas and holiday season. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year!
In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank.
People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'
Monday, December 21, 2009
Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) budget cuts were announced last week by about 11 million dollars. Minister Mary Anne Jablonski is in charge of this and decided to post a blog here. The cuts may be warrented in this portfolio when you look at the fact that we increased spending by 20% to support an increase in need of only >2%. The problem however is the fact that no notice was given to the these groups that rely on the budgeted numbers.
In $600 million funding to this, it appears about $43 million dollars is paid out between the province and the PDD regional executive boards. I could dive very deep into the reports and find areas to cut spending without affecting the front line, but what for, that is the job of the highly paid ministry. Near as I can tell they need look no further than their own back yard.
The Annual report can be found here.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Chima Nkemdirim, co-chair for Renew AB, has a much different view on what kind of Alberta than I would like to see. I definitely have have different views of who I would have in power in AB. Chima worked under Kent Hehr in buffalo for the Alberta Liberals. This wasn't the shock to me rather the statement he made Calgary-based lawyer Chima Nkemdirim: “Kevin Taft is the one leader who recognizes the unmatched potential of this province and has an action plan for reaching that potential. I’m convinced that Kevin Taft and the Alberta Liberals are ready to govern.” Yikes!
Many of the people that have chosen to support this cause have made statements on what they believe the Wildrose stands for, complained on the lack of policy, and questioned the intentions of it's leader. While the Wildrose can not pass any new policies until the next AGM their policies are not vague in comparison to Renew AB, really what party could not come up with these. It is unclear who is behind this movement and what they stand for, but from where I see things so far, the Liberal deserters have started to move. I would caution anyone looking to really take a hard look at what the agenda behind this really is. A vague policy, no openness on who is behind it, and who chairs it is enough to scare me away. They want to be ready for the next election, good luck.
Friday, December 11, 2009
This doesn't shock me at all, however what does shock me is the direction of the Reboot/Renew movement Ken has formed. I thought maybe new, although a more left movement would try and differentiate itself from what exists. When I look at the definition of what being a progressive person is through his eyes, this is seeming far from that type of movement.
Here is what it claims to be about, and I quote "This is not the place to debate right versus left perceptions of politics. This is not the place to personally slag politicians or personalities. This site might break news but it will undoubtedly make news." Sounds good eh. Not so fast lets look at the most recent post from Mr. Chapman. Couple of contradictions here:
"So much more needs to be known and understood about the Wildrose Alliance and in particular their social and environmental policies, principles and values."
"...WAP forms the next government you will be delegating decisions to fundamentalist, traditionalist and social conservative values throw-backs of a bygone era."
I do not think that Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Alliance has branded itself as of yet, other than we are building a fiscally responsible government. I support this fully. The Wildrose of the past is what it is, Past. The new Wildrose which has went from 1000 active members to over 14000 active members will define the party at the next AGM. This has to wait until then due to the Party bylaws binding it's policies to be set by it's members. Using the last election platform is ridiculous. Calling us a bunch of So-cons is hilarious considering who won the leadership and her stance on divisive issues, beating out both of the socially conservative hopefuls by 7 to 1.
Seems to me Mr. Chapman thinks he knows and understands it all. The Wildrose is nothing what Ken cracks it up to be and undermines Albertans that are engaging and getting involved in a party that they will have a place in forming. Kind of confirming that the people that are supporting the Wildrose at the moment are not welcome in this progressive party. A very unwise move. I do hope that the Reboot AB takes off, gets it's 8000 signatures, develops sound policy, and defines itself. It is a very long hard road that will require huge amounts of money to implement. People such as the ones criticizing the Wildrose will also criticize this new formation, make no mistake about it. Will it be so bold as to decline it's corporate donation side if and oil company name is on the cheque? Will it accept only "Green Money"? Will it stop people at the door from joining if they are too conservative for it's liking? How many will be allowed to join if their views are not "towing the line"? All questions regarding the Wildrose will also be pointed to Reboot so remember that as you move forward.
I am not slamming Ken and the Reboot movement, in fact quite the opposite. I feel anyone willing to step up and stand up for what they believe is a great thing to be commended. There has been good discussion and new ideas brought forward, there is also much discussion that is left to be desired. This will happen in anything political where if you intend to form government, you will have a diverse group with a different view on the best way forward. These are important considerations to make if a new movement is planned-Remember you are branding your party now before you have members. Good luck to you all-I do wish you the best in your movement.
From where I stand right now Reboot is more of the same.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
We already committed $2B to CCS to our government preferred companies in Alberta, why not look at other options such as eliminating coal generated power and using our abundant supply of natural gas, it is cleaner burning and has a way smaller environmental footprint than a mine. The reason we do not have more generation going this route is simple, it is not cost effective in comparison. I touched on this with Mel Knight at the PC AGM this year, which he confirmed coal was cheaper by far. When I pointed out the difference in royalties between coal and natural gas, and if the royalties charged for power generation were equal, it would be comparable in cost. Pretty simple way to clean up pollutants at no cost to our government, because the royalties would be the same as if they burnt coal. Mel said it would simply never happen. Oilsand producers are working frantically to clean up their emissions, as much as the public thinks they don't care, they understand the importance of emissions as well as the public relations that come along with it. Micro generation, geo-thermal, and the many other new technologies available can also make AB a leader in the world stage for environmental improvements. Allowing our fate to be held in the hands of Global leaders for me is not an option.
Danielle Smith, thank you for looking out for us. This move not only differentiates your party from the same old thing, but show that you are a confident leader willing to put the province above your own political gain. Health care once you decide to roll out your platform is another of the subjects political parties are afraid to tackle. Lets face it the minute a party mentions Health Care Reform, we as Albertans go on the defence claiming any changes will wreck our system. Well everyone I hate to burst your bubble, but our health care is not adequate nor is it sustainable. I hope for once a party will stand up and make the difficult but necessary changes to improve our system and ensure it will be available for many years to come, the same old tired PC tinkering is killing it.
The PC party is pulling out all the stops to try and stop the bleeding form their party. Release of the "Fiscal Four" now grown to the "Save the Party Seven" is simply a stunt. All of a sudden the PC party comes up with 10% of their party that disagree with the direction? Hahaha, how stupid do you think Albertans are? These are not new MLA's that have come into the party with a goal of improving things, thay are the same members that have been there since the last election. The same members that voted on the fiscal bills, Bill 44, Bill 19, Bill 50, bill 36, horribly ran the children's and youth services, failed on the H1N1 roll out, made AB an unfavorable place to invest, changed laws to enable deficits, gave themselves huge pay raises, pay themselves for caucus meetings, and run a record deficit! If they think that by not showing up to vote on the issues as with Bill 50 it makes them hold the GOA accountable, they are wrong. The media may like the idea of these tactics, some of the public may buy in as well, but most Albertans see through your job saving measures.
I for one am tired of these games the PC Government plays, and you? PC Kool-Aid anyone?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
There is surely no denying there is an environmental impact to whatever we as humans do, but to what degree is what we need to figure out. The time frame that this science was compiled in is not enough to convince me of the real numbers a science should generate, however after climate gate our scientist will receive alot more skepticism. Being that the oilsands are a surface oil, there was not testing done prior to development, and a short time frame for tests leave me less than convinced at the degree of impact they have.
This brings me to the next topic being the Copenhagen talks. The main focus is on global warming and the GHG emissions. We as a country are expected to commit to reducing them, based on what is what I would like to know. If we are to believe Dr. Schindler on his Oilsands report, should we also not trust his judgement on GHG and global warming? Here is his comment " everyone knows global temp has been flat for 10 yrs" on Rutherford on Dec 8. So what is the intended goal? CO2 is necessary for life, is there too much? After all greenhouses pump it in because it makes the plants thrive. We use it in Cola, sandwich and meat packaging, etc.. Would I sign a binding agreement based on this unproven theory? Never, and I hope our government doesn't either until we have proper information, agreed upon by proof, not a bunch of people looking for funds for their universities gain.
Once again Mason and Dr. Swann are quick to jump to conclusions . Mason alleging Smith is a denier of climate change, Dr. Swann wanting to ensure we follow the lead of the Obama government doesn't show much leadership to me.
"The science isn't settled," Smith said. "If we're going to embark on this path, we've got to be darn sure that the science makes sense." Forward looking is something that has lacked in our GOA for far too long.