Saturday, March 15, 2014

Alberta's 'anti-bullying' Minister Sandra Jansen provides a side show on a very busy day, but we all missed something.

What a crazy day in Alberta politics Friday March 14, 2014 turned out to be. A day when news that former Alberta Health Services executive Allaudin Merali is suing AHS and Health Minister Fred Horne for $6 Million dollars, which would normally be a huge front page story, is lucky to make it to page 5 in any Alberta paper tomorrow.

What happened today:

Premier Redford continues to be under siege.  (not new today but continues to be a hot story)

We had Doug Griffiths, Minister of Service Alberta, Tweeting out subtle tweets on Redford's leadership.

We had a PC riding association President openly call for Redford to resign.

We had another Minister, Thomas Lukaszuk, Tweeting out a defense of Len Webber, the PC MLA who will now sit as an independent and caused quite the fire storm by saying that Redford was "not a nice lady" among other things, and later Lukaszuk Tweeted out a defense of electricians in response to another Minister's comments on national TV. (more on that later)

We had a 'bar fight' among Alberta MLA's.

And to end the day we had news that the Executive Director of the PCAA, Kelley Charlbois, of $400,000 for verbal advice to Gary Mar fame, is no longer in his role with the PC party.


Keep in mind that most of this took place within a 6 hour window!  The Alberta advantage exists even in political news I guess as the day seemed to get crazier as it went on with the comments I eluded to earlier by Minister Sandra Jansen topping the crazy with the fire storm they created, and the buried lede that most people missed.


Watch Jansen's comments for yourself  here.
 http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=307697&binId=1.1201914&playlistPageNum=1 


Here is the comment that set off the fire storm.  Jansen:  "I would say right now, you know,  if Len had such a problem with what he perceived as bullying, he should perhaps reconsider his decision to step into federal politics. Maybe he should go back to being an electrician."

The backlash was immediate. Twitter lit up with the negative response to what Jensen had said concentrating on what was a shot not only a Len Webber but perceived to be a shot at electricians in general in that somehow the job is in some way lesser than a politicians. It was ugly, but Jansen's electrician comment was not the worst part about what she said.

Yes the electrician comment was stupid, newsworthy, and deserved to be called out, but from the responses/reports that I have seen it seems that everyone was so focused on the electrician bit that we all missed the big story.


Let me explain and have some fun with this at the same time. Lets look at her comment again but this time
lets substitute other people, places etc into the 'blanks' and see if you think the same way about what she said.

Original quote (with underlined areas indicating 'blank' area to insert your choices): I would say right now, you know,  if Len had such a problem with what he perceived as bullying, he should perhaps reconsider his decision to step into federal politics. Maybe he should go back to being an electrician.

Go ahead. Give it a try as I did in the following examples:

I would say right now, you know, if your kid had such a problem with what he perceived as bullying, than maybe he should perhaps reconsider going to that school.

If brown people have such a problem with what they perceived as bullying, than maybe they should perhaps reconsider coming to this country and go back to where they came from.

I could go on but I think you get my point.



What an absolutely abhorrent thing for a so called Anti-bullying Minister to say to a victim of bullying. To tell anyone, it doesn't matter who, that if they do not like what they perceive as bullying (what does that mean anyway?) that it is THEY (the victim) who should alter their lives, remove themselves from doing what they want to do, and go do something else if they don't like being bullied. Bullied at work, quit your job. Bullied at school, move schools, etc.

What an utterly ridiculous thing to say.Ever.


I am not in the habit of doing this, because I realize people do make mistakes and I have been known to say some pretty stupid things myself, but the fact that Jansen did say what she did shows that she is clueless and has no idea how to do her job and she needs to immediately apologize, step aside and resign as Minister.







Thursday, March 13, 2014

The ugly truth behind Premier Redford's decision to pay for her South Africa trip.

Yesterday Alison Redford did what she has said for over a month now that she would not do. She paid back nearly $45,000 for the costs associated with her trip to South Africa to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela.

 For over a month the Premier has steadfastly claimed that the expenses were government business and that she would not be paying back the money. She even went so far as to tell us what we were thinking on the matter, that we (Albertans) were ready to forgive her and that we were ready to move on from this matter.

Was she ever wrong. Albertans were not ready to move on from this and in fact the outrage continued. Even the tried and true PC method of waiting it out or waiting for the next screw-up to take over headlines so Albertans forget about the previous one didn't work. Although it may have worked had the next 'screw-ups' not also involved the Premier's questionable use of the government air fleet; the issue continued to simmer and the outrage over the incident(s) continued among the electorate.

But what changed yesterday. What was it that made Premier Redford do a complete about face and pay back the money that for over a month she absolutely refused to do.

It wasn't the outrage level from thousands of Albertans who were angry about the waste of tax dollars by the Premier. That has been pretty much constant throughout so that did not change

No, the difference was not the thousands of Albertans upset over this but rather it was just 18 - 20 Albertans, who also happen to be PC MLAs within her caucus who voiced their outrage over the incident, that made the difference.

The fact of the matter is that Alison Redford could not have cared less about what thousands of Albertans thought about this. Their (our) opinions meant nothing to her because there is nothing that we can do about it for at least 2 years until the next election, but she does care about what 20 very specific Albertans think because they can do something about it today.

It is all about self preservation for Alison Redford and what those 20 people thinks matter to her more than the opinions of thousands of Albertans.

And that is the ugly truth.




Monday, March 03, 2014

Minister Tim Uppal to run for the CPC nomination in Edmonton Millwoods.

The Honourable Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism will soon be announcing that he is running for the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the newly formed riding of Edmonton Millwoods.


You heard it here first.  

MAP  

The current MP for Edmonton-Millwoods-Beaumont, Mike Lake, announced that he will seek the CPC nomination in Edmonton-Wetaskiwin where he now lives thanks to where Elections Canada decided to draw a line across the current riding. With Tim running in Edm-Millwoods, this now leaves the newly redrawn riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan up for grabs with no incumbent running.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Warren Kinsella: ten reasons why Trudeau’s Senate move is a bad one.

If you have not read Warren Kinsella's latest.

You really should do so.

 Now. 

 >  >  >   http://warrenkinsella.com/2014/02/in-sundays-sun-ten-reasons-why-trudeaus-senate-move-is-a-bad-one/




 You can thank me later.

How dumb is Justin Trudeau’s Senate stunt? Let us count the ways.
There are ten.
One: it won’t really fool anyone. To great fanfare, the Liberal leader announced Wednesday morning “there are no more Liberal Senators.” A couple hours later, 32 Senators emerged from a meeting to declare that (a) they are still Senators and (b) they are still Liberals.
- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2014/02/in-sundays-sun-ten-reasons-why-trudeaus-senate-move-is-a-bad-one/#sthash.fmSHEWeB.d
How dumb is Justin Trudeau’s Senate stunt? Let us count the ways.
There are ten.
One: it won’t really fool anyone. To great fanfare, the Liberal leader announced Wednesday morning “there are no more Liberal Senators.” A couple hours later, 32 Senators emerged from a meeting to declare that (a) they are still Senators and (b) they are still Liberals.
- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2014/02/in-sundays-sun-ten-reasons-why-trudeaus-senate-move-is-a-bad-one/#sthash.v67e4gz0.dpuf
How dumb is Justin Trudeau’s Senate stunt? Let us count the ways.
There are ten.
One: it won’t really fool anyone. To great fanfare, the Liberal leader announced Wednesday morning “there are no more Liberal Senators.” A couple hours later, 32 Senators emerged from a meeting to declare that (a) they are still Senators and (b) they are still Liberals.
- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2014/02/in-sundays-sun-ten-reasons-why-trudeaus-senate-move-is-a-bad-one/#sthash.v67e4gz
How dumb is Justin Trudeau’s Senate stunt? Let us count the ways.
There are ten.
One: it won’t really fool anyone. To great fanfare, the Liberal leader announced Wednesday morning “there are no more Liberal Senators.” A couple hours later, 32 Senators emerged from a meeting to declare that (a) they are still Senators and (b) they are still Liberals.
- See more at:
How dumb is Justin Trudeau’s Senate stunt? Let us count the ways.
There are ten.
One: it won’t really fool anyone. To great fanfare, the Liberal leader announced Wednesday morning “there are no more Liberal Senators.” A couple hours later, 32 Senators emerged from a meeting to declare that (a) they are still Senators and (b) they are still Liberals.
- See more at: http://warrenkinsella.com/2014/02/in-sundays-sun-ten-reasons-why-trudeaus-senate-move-is-a-bad-one/#sthash.v67e4gz0.d

Friday, January 31, 2014

Justin Trudeau abandons Alberta as he kicks out the only Alberta voices from the Liberal caucus.

On Wednesday Justin Trudeau, in what some have referred to as a 'bold' move, kicked out the only Alberta representatives, Senators Grant Mitchell and Claudette Tardiff, from the caucus of the Liberal Party of Canada. According to Trudeau: "I no longer want to have a relationship as a leader to these people, and they are no longer part of my party"
 
So with no elected Liberal MPs and now with no Liberal Senators, when the Liberal caucus gathers together to discuss issues or formulate policy etc, Albertans will no longer have anyone in the room to represent or speak for them.  How can this be considered a good thing to do for either the people of Alberta or the Liberal Party?

It isn't, and having no one in the caucus room to speak on behalf of 3.7 million people from a province which is considered by some to be the 'economic engine of Canada' is not 'bold', it's a half baked, short sighted, political stunt.



While we are on the topic of Alberta and the senate; something else has been bothering me about Justin Trudeau's plan and future Alberta Senators

In Alberta we vote and choose who we want to represent Alberta in the senate. If there is to be some type of panel or committee choosing who will be appointed to the senate, will they respect the choice of Albertans and select those who have been chosen in fair democratic elections?  This 'panel' of elites, choosing other elites to help govern us based on who knows what criteria, are supposed to be independent (which also means unaccountable) why would they be under any obligation to actually do so?

Could guidelines be written for the 'panel' saying that those who are elected in provincial senate elections must be the choice of this panel?  Yes, but how likely would it be for a Liberal government to write
any type of law/guidelines etc for any such panel which would be supportive of the election of Senators considering that the Liberal Party has been against senate elections for years and which they could never win because Liberal Senators can no longer exist? It seems very unlikely that they would and if respecting the choice of Albertans wouldn't be included in such rules/guidlines, what would?



What a mess. Trudeau's plan seems to be creating more questions than it does to be giving us any real answers or solutions.

Who would choose this panel? Who would make up the panel?  What powers would they have? What of the process? And as written above. What about Alberta's duly elected Senators in waiting?

Many questions. With more being asked everyday as people start see the reality of Trudeau's plan. Questions which Mr. Trudeau needs to answer. Questions which Mr. Trudeau needs to answer soon, long before the next election.


So be 'bold' Justin. Answer the questions. Canadians deserve the answers.








Related links:

Devastating rebuke, in the Toronto Star no less, of Trudeau's plan and his trampling of the Liberal Party constitution.

JT's senate plan: 'A breathtaking confusion of stupidities'

More from the the Toronto Star here and here

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Deceit in Alberta. Redford drops Steve Young from cabinet.

Edmonton Riverview MLA Steve Young was dropped from a cabinet spot by Alison Redford last week because of an incident which had occurred years ago while he was a constable with the Edmonton Police Service.

The parallels between the actions of Alison Redford and Steve Young are amazingly similar but one is much worse off than other is today. One is seeing the underside of the PC bus after they lost their job which was  publicly promised to them just a week ago while the other is driving that bus with no consequences (yet); even though both parties have done pretty much the same thing.



Young was accused of deceit under the Police Act for lying to his supervisors about his role in an incident when he denied that he had used a taser on a suspect.

Redford as Minister of Justice makes the decision on which legal firm to retain for Alberta's planned tobacco lawsuit but denied that she had made the decision.



When confronted with evidence ( Young's own incident report) He initially obfuscates ( 'This is crazy, that's brutal, that's absolutely brutal. Like talk about full disclosure. This is, this is ... unbelievable in my mind. That is dirty hands, I just can't believe that.') but to his credit, acknowledges the evidence and accepts that he did use the taser.

When confronted with evidence (memo) Redford for the better part of a year continues to deny her direct involvement (  'That doesn't change the fact that I did not personally make that decision.') but eventually reality takes hold and she not only acknowledges making the decision but has the arrogance to boast about doing so. ("It outlines that I did everything that a Minister would be expected to do in serving the public interest, and did so in a forthright, objective and unbiased manner.")



Young is subsequently cleared.

Redford is subsequently cleared.*



*Yes and no. Young was cleared of 'deceit', Redford was not.

While Redford was cleared of any violations of the conflict of interest act (which is the right the call as ex-spouses are not listed in the Act & it would be impossible to find anyone guilty of something which was not against the rules!) she has not been 'cleared' of other issues related to her actions on this file. In fact the Ethics Commissioners report makes a very good prima facie case that Alison Redford misled the Alberta Legislature, and the people of Alberta.

To put it simply; what the Premier said was not true. She did make the decision. This is now established fact.

Here is part of the Ethics Commissioners ruling on Redford's role: "I find it is entirely appropriate that a Minister, charged with the authority and responsibility for a final decision on a matter, exercise that authority to render a decision."  


It doesn't get any clearer than that.



 

To be continued...

Monday, December 02, 2013

Alberta Government found in contempt of the Legislature, but did the speaker overstep his authority after making the ruling?

A short time ago the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature, Gene Zwodesky, found a prima facie case of breach of privilege against the Government of Alberta for a mail-out it sent to all Albertans which made the following statement:

"Public sector employees,including teachers,doctors and government managers - as well as MLAs - are leading by example with multi-year wage freezes because it's the responsible thing to do for our province."

The offending parts of the statement, the words "as well as MLAs" + "multi-year wage freezes" as the mail-out occurred before the legislature, and in particular the Member Services Committee, had made any such decision on the pay of MLAs, and it is disrespectful to any parliament/legislature to ever assume that any decision will be made before it actually has been made.

Without going into the details on whether this was or was not disrespectful (it was/is) what happened following his ruling has me wondering if the speaker overstepped his authority and may himself be disrespecting the Alberta Legislature.

( Will fill the following with actual quotes when Hansard is available) Following his ruling the Speaker offered a chance for the Government to speak on the matter. The Deputy Premier rose to speak and was quickly shut down by the Speaker saying that he and the legislature were expecting an apology and not excuses or questions. The Deputy Premier then made an apology, the Speaker accepted it and declared that the matter was "concluded".

By convention in parliaments all around the world, including our federal parliament in Ottawa, the speaker's role in matters such as this is to decide if there is a 'prima facie case' that privilege was indeed breached, as Zwozdesky did, but once this has been determined their role in the matter ends. Look no farther than Ottawa for recent findings of contempt and the process following the ruling of the Speaker.

The Speaker does not decide any penalties, punishments or try to predict what actions the legislature may or may not take on the breach and certainly it is not up to him/her to decide for themselves that a simple apology is enough to conclude the matter. .

To do so is just as disrespectful to the legislature, by making assumptions on what the legislature will decide/not decide, as the original mail-out did.

I am not an expert on parliamentary procedure so if you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Here are some comments from someone much more knowledgeable on the subject than myself:

Please read the Alberta Legislature Standing Orders: http://t.co/AsPjciC579  and the relevant rules used in Ottawa here.


 








A touch of irony. If the rules end up being followed and this matter does get before a legislative committee, that committee would be none other than the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing. More famously known as the "no-meet committee."  A history of Premier Redford and the No-meet committee.

.