Thursday, November 29, 2012

Premier Redford digs herself deeper. Denies she's lied minutes after those lies were exposed

Alison Redford stood before the cameras earlier today and said that she stands behind her words yesterday that it was not her who made the decision as to which legal firm would get the contract for litigation against the tobacco industry. The only problem is that minutes before government documents were revealed that indeed prove that it was Alison Redford who did make that decision.

Link to Premier Redford's brief presser ( not the first one that was cancelled 17 minutes before it was scheduled, but another one that she was forced to hold due to the criticism for cancelling the first: Media availability Nov 29.

Link to CBC article with the damning documents ( be sure to read all 7 pages at bottom of page) CBC Story.

Dec. 21, 2010 email: "Hi Barb, can you confirm with Jeff and modify as needed — get the letters to the losers confirmed and ready to go. You can sign for me. Speak to Lorne about the winners and the timing with the letters."

Dec. 22, 2010, departmental email states: "Attached are the scanned signed memos that have just been emailed to the unsuccessful candidates." Those memos contained a letter signed by Sprague titled, "Letter to unsuccessful party," which states: "I regret to advise that your proposal was not successful."

Jan. 13, 2011, briefing note, assistant deputy minister Sprague states: "Shortly before Christmas, Minister Redford selected the International Tobacco Recovery Lawyers (the Jensen consortium)."

A July 5, 2012, email from Justice spokesman Dan Laville to CBC states:
"On December 14, 2010, then justice minister Alison Redford determined that TRL consortium [sic] provided the best 'made in Alberta' litigation plan. The decision was communicated to the consortiums and law firm shortly thereafter."

Be sure to read see copies of the originals at the CBC article linked to above!  7 pages that prove Alison Redford lied and misled the Alberta Legislature and all Albertans.

If Redford would have simply went with the 'this was not a conflict of interest' argument she might have been fine, but she didn't do that. Instead she chose to go with the 'I didn't make the decision' route and now it is coming back to bite her and forever taint her in the eyes of Albertans.

This is going to stick.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The apology, Wildrose AGM, prostate health and more.

An end of the week roundup of what I have been following in the political world over the last few days.

The apology:

I don't know; maybe it is because I have long held the belief that an apology should come from the person and not their handlers ,but somehow I am just not feeling it.  It was nothing other than pure political theater that exposes just how fake his self titled 'non divisive' campaign really is.

Deer in the headlights look as Trudeau is asked not about his Alberta bashing but why he said Canada would be better off with a Quebec PM.   (Watch it yourself: approx 4 min mark of this CBC video)

Linda Duncan said it well: "He (Trudeau) insulted ALL Albertans, not just the conservative Albertans."      Yes, that Linda Duncan.

The media reaction has been more interesting including a CTV British Columbia reporter tweeting her 'luv'.

This video of perhaps the most unprofessional thing I have seen from the Parliamentary Press Gallery. How Jason Kenney ever kept his cool I will never know.  (If you have not seen this video it is a must watch)

The media's bizarre reaction to SUN News, who broke the story, is perhaps the most confusing to understand. The press seem to be pissed off at Sun News for what essentially is that the rest of them didn't do their damn jobs and find this 2 yrs ago when it was hidden away was shown on television! The failure is theirs, not Sun news' for doing their job and finding something that was hidden in plain sight. But as Dean from BC Blue mentioned over the weekend: "You would first have to believe that the Quebec media thought anything wrong with what Trudeau said."    Ha!

This certainly is a lot of fuss to make over an "out of context smear". Isn't it?

The Wildrose AGM:

Posting couple of links on this but for a very good overview Cory Morgan does a great job here.

And from the 'professional media', who were actually allowed into the Wildrose AGM as opposed to the recent PC AGM, we have:

Don Braid in the Herald 

and Rick Bell in the SUN for your reading pleasure.

I should note that while I was at the Wildrose AGM, that it was only for a brief couple of hours late on Saturday afternoon. Contrary to popular belief I am not a card carrying member and only dropped in after learning that well known NDP activist Lou Arab was going to be in attendance. If they let Lou in, they would let anyone in. Okay, that is not 100% true. I did check with an organizer and got green light to attend.

It was nice meeting up with a few old friends, meeting new ones and putting faces to names of many others. The future of the Wildrose looks bright.

Which brings me to prostate health.

Lou was sporting quite the dapper mustache which reminded me that November is prostate awareness month, also known as Movember, please take the time to make a donation for a very worthy cause.

The Argonauts win the 100th Grey Cup.

I knew the horse wanted in. I just didn't know that 'in' meant in as the Stampeder offensive coordinator.

Enjoy your week.

Late additions:

Rob Ford loses his job as Toronto mayor.

Mark Carney gets a new one as head of the Bank of England.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk swings and misses on illegal donation allegation.

Alberta Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk was back in the muck yesterday as he put forward what could only be called a incredibly weak allegation that Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson attempted to solicit funds from Olds College.

So weak in fact is the allegation that he isn't even going to follow his own advice which he offered numerous times over the past week while Premier Redford dodged questions answering questions in the Alberta Legislature to take any such allegations of wrong doing to the Chief Electoral Officer so they may be properly dealt with. Something you know that he would do in a heartbeat if there was something actually there. In fact in an interview with the Edmonton Journal Lukaszuk changed his tune on the original solicitation allegation and  instead went with an even weaker one that 'Anderson made use of government resources for his partisan activities, since the college office staff who handled the letter are paid with taxpayer dollars.'  For a guy trying hard to deflect from the at least 50 known incidences where the PC party received possibly hundreds of thousands in illegal contributions, worrying about the cost of handling a single letter, which they must do multiple times each and every day at any college, is more than just weak it is completely asinine.

Let's look at the evidence.

The front page of the letter sent to Tom Thompson, President of Olds College and a constituent of Anderson's, at his office. Note the salutation is addressed to an individual 'Dear Tom' and not 'Dear Olds College', the organization which Thompson works for, as that would be soliciting funds from a prohibited organization and probably be in violation of the Election Act.
Now the issue has been raised that the letter should have been mailed to Thompson's home and not his office but that is a red herring because if the allegation is soliciting funds from a prohibited organization, does it really matter if the President of that organization receives the letter at his office or his home? It is addressed to a person who happens to be President no matter where they may open up that letter and the 'solicitation' certainly doesn't change depending on the location it was opened either. 

Also in this day and age of cell phones how easy is it to obtain someones home address if they are not listed in the phone book or in the case of municipal politicians, towns and cities also being a prohibited group, may be unlisted for security or many other reasons. It is simply easier to obtain someones work address than it is their home address but the bottom line is that the invitation was sent to an individual and not the prohibited organization for which they may work. If it ever does become illegal to send out invitations to people based on their employer, I suspect that future Premier's dinners will become very lonely affairs.

But all of this is really moot because included in this so called evidence is a copy of an internal memo from an Olds College VP who was forwarded the letter to review and which reads in part as follows (highlighting mine)

Thanks for your January 18, 2012 forwarding of correspondence from the MLA for Airdrie-Chestermere to President Thompson for advice as to dispensation or response.

This letter is an invitation to purchase and attend a partisan fundraising event. We are obliged to adhere to Olds College Administrative policy A24 (attached) which precludes Olds College employees from using College monies to attend. Tom ought not to attend the expense of the College but would be free to do so at his own expense.

And there you go. Per Olds College policy and Alberta Elections law President Thompson may attend as long as it is his money used and not that of Olds College. So much for Lukaszuk's smoking gun when it is that very gun that shoots down his own allegation and clears both Thompson and Anderson of wrongdoing.

Nice try Thomas but there really is nothing here. Now if you do want to see an example of a political party actively seeking donations from colleges and universities I suggest you read the following linked story from Charles Rusnell of the CBC to see how the pros solicit tens of thousands.


and be sure to check out all the internal links such as this one, being that you seem to be such a fan of letters, documents and such.  It is a real eye opener and you may recognize a few name too.