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.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Alberta PC's hold their convention this weekend and why Premier Redford should be worried.

"I really haven't given it any thought," Redford said Wednesday after reporters asked her about the vote coming up at the Progressive Conservative party's annual general meeting in Red Deer.

Aside from the ease which Redford seems to be able to say falsehoods like this with a straight face, which I will get into a bit later, her ridiculous statement ( it is impossible that she has not given it any thought) along with her faithful minions out in the media trying very hard to lower expectations in advance of the vote ( “So, frankly, in my mind anything in the 50s (per cent) is good, anything in the 60s is a success and anything in the 70s is absolutely a triumph.”) it is quite clear that Redford is indeed worried about the vote on her leadership and there are good reasons why she should be.

Her poll numbers with the public have been tanking ever since the election and if not for a slight uptick due in most part to the Alberta flood they would be near record low levels and the reasons why are obvious. Numerous broken promises and the fact there are few (groups or people) left in Alberta who her government has not pissed off in some way. Doctors, pharmacists, teachers, nurses, students, and public employees have all battled Redford and her government; closing the Mitchener Center and the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in Carmangay, debt & deficits when promised surpluses and savings, obfuscating budget numbers, illegal donations to the PC party, large severances for bureaucrats and fighting FOIPs on the information after promising more transparency and the Privacy Commissioner had authorized the release, the Katz cheque, the petty partisan politics, and daily headlines about AHS being an absolute mess (in more ways than can be listed here) and what Redford's cutbacks have done in post secondary education has made her very few friends. 

But that is the general public, not the PCAA members.

Her support amongst her own party has never been that stellar; yes they united to fight and win an election, but her relationship with much of the party has been rocky from the beginning. In 2011 when Redford won the PCAA leadership vote she had the support of only 2 caucus MLAs,  one of which was herself. This changed after the first vote where Redford picked up an additional 4 from the PC caucus (today one of those 4 is now a proud card carrying member of the Wildrose), while Gary Mar had the support of 27 MLAs at the start of that race and picked up another 7 from caucus after the first ballot of a leadership race that had nearly 66,000 fewer PC members voting than during the 2006 leadership race which chose Ed Stelmach  (78,176 vs 144,289). I can write with certainty that not even all of her own MLAs will be voting in favour of her leadership in Red Deer this weekend (don't ask because I am not telling) and while that doesn't say much about how the rank and file membership will vote, it does suggest that it is not as rosy in PCAA land as Redford's team would like everyone to believe. Which might explain Redford's recent charm offensive.

While charm offensive might not be the best word, hiding the facts offensive might be a better choice, Redford has been working hard to improve her numbers. The numerous signs painted in 'pc colours' and sporting Redford's name have been popping up all over the province recently being the most obvious example but delaying or hiding reports ( AHS Q1 wait time report is now over 80 days late and the Q2 report is due in less than 10 days), the ethics ruling on Redford and the tobacco lawsuit (remember what I said about falsehoods and a straight face) and even the PCAA backing off their plan to take a cut of donation made to individual riding association, also look to have all been done to help out the premier win her leadership vote. Timing is everything as they say.

Will it work? Who knows, but when when expectations have been set low (50% +1), I suspect that she will make the threshold; although I am not sure how having up to 49.9x % of your own party voting against you could be called a victory in any sense of the word.

Although... "The leadership campaigns would begin overnight in cabinet and caucus even with a vote in the mid-60s," says one party veteran, who will not be identified for fear of banishment.

 Bonus: Alison Redford, the person who said that she has not given the PCAA leadership review "any thought", made a video for that review. 

I love the line that Albertans can "trust what we told them."   It takes a special kind of person to be able to say something like that when nearly everyone is aware of their well documented broken promises; and that person is Alison Redford who does so with out batting an eye.

Monday, November 04, 2013

CPC Convention 2013: Was the Media locked out? Not really.

The CPC 2013 convention this weekend in Calgary was nothing short of a fantastic experience. For those that believe an individual can have no effect on politics/government, you obviously have never been in a room with a thousand other people of diverse backgrounds from across the country discussing policy and setting the future course of a political party before. It is grassroots at it's finest and if you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend it. I am not going to get into the policy stuff today, (you can see those for yourself on the CPC website when it gets posted or check out Kady O'Malley's coverage here if interested) but rather I am going to discuss a favorite subject of mine, the media, and their ever continuing narrative of being locked out by the CPC.

For those that are buying into the media complaints of being locked out or as some have put it, the CPC "holding its conventions in Stalag Luft 17" ask yourself a couple of questions:

Q: What happened at the convention that was not covered by the media and you did not find out about?

To my knowledge, aside from the workshops which should be kept media free IMHO, the convention was  was well covered by the numerous press in attendance. The meat and potatoes of any convention is policy and the final plenary sessions were extremely well covered. Look no farther than Josh Wingrove's twitter feed from the weekend or as linked to above, Kady O'Malley.  And we all know the amount of coverage the PM's speech received, including the stories written on it before he had even delivered it. The fact that you know what happened at the convention is proof in itself the the media were not really locked out.

Q: Can you provide me with the name of any member of the media who could not obtain a delegate quote?

I doubt you can because the truth of the matter is that the media could and often did talk with delegates. The media was everywhere in Calgary. They were at the the only entrance to the BMO, occasionally in the foyer, always available in the hallway towards the north east end of the building, inside the hospitality suits (drunken delegates do make good sources for dirt), in Hall D at plenary, and even in my hotel elevator ( I had more CPAC people in the elevator with me at one point on Saturday than they had in Ottawa)   I myself was asked for comment by the media about 15 times over the course of the weekend, which may be higher than average due to my habit of wandering around more than most, but I don't know of any who were not approached or if they did want to offer their opinion to media, were ever unable to do so.

I wrote earlier that the workshops should be kept media free and I do believe that to be for the best. Having media in the room is not only a distraction, it makes some people very nervous knowing that what they may say on a particular policy etc may end up on the nightly news. This is really not very conducive to discussions where you want everyone to be able to voice their ideas and opinions openly and freely, which is what conventions are really all about. Delegates were NOT there for the media and really should not be bothered by them while they are trying to do their work. 

While I do see the media's point that they would like more access; of course they would as it makes their job much easier and who wouldn't want that, and I am sure they would like to sit in the PMO for meetings too but that is not very realistic. Could you imagine the chaos if the close to 300 accredited media from 60 outlets had free rein in the BMO Centre during the entire run of the convention? It would be an absolute zoo, where you could in theory have had more media in a workshop than there were delegates in the room.

Could more have been done for access? I am sure there could have been but to compare the convention to a Nazi POW camp or say that it was the way they do it in unsavory countries is not only wrong, it is just plain silly and makes them look like whiners.

Just to show that I am not all about bashing the media, I will offer up a couple of shout outs and stories from CPC13.  A shout out to Stephen Taylor ( is he media?) who I finally had the pleasure to meet in person and who gave a social media presentation at the Manning Centre. He is sort of responsible for unleashing this blog upon the world and I am grateful for the opportunity.  To the reporters that I had long talks with at the convention and in the hospitality suites, thank you all. I know we are opposite sides on the blog and on Twitter at times, but it was a pleasure meeting and speaking with you in person. I would get into more details on the hospitality suite conversations but drunken conversations between blogger/delegate and media are kept strictly off the record, including which of us were drunk! ;-)  And for that story I promised, although this may get me into trouble with the readership, I actually praised the CBC's Kady O'Malley while speaking with the Minister who was responsible for the CBC up until this past July, James Moore, much to the chagrin of bystanders. True story and she does deserve the praise for the job she does and how open she is, although somewhere in Calgary someone may be still missing a coat.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Calgary's Mayor Nenshi loves social media. He just isn't too good at it.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi doesn't like it when people re-tweet something that is critical of him.

Nenshi takes a cheap shot at Alan Hallman:

He gets called out on it by "Conservative Hippy":

Sheila Gunn Reid (SGR) re-tweets it in it's entirety and without edit. Mayor Nenshi attacks SGR and not the actual author of the tweet. (BTW: Sheila was not the only one to re-tweet that tweet, but she was the only one Nenshi went after)


Nenshi acknowledges that it was not SGR who wrote the tweet and doubles down with another uncalled for shot on SGR.

Calgary's mayor looks petty and hilarity ensues:

As does the truth:

You mean that this isn't the way that all big city mayors act on the eve of an election?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Who says local politics is boring? Porn and plagiarism, Edmonton votes 2013.

 Updated (see bottom of page)

Yesterday a small bombshell was dropped into the Edmonton municipal election race when news broke that ward 11 candidate Harvey Panesar was involved in the adult entertainment business. This after running with a family friendly platform and using his daughters in a campaign video. Panesar has confirmed to local reporters that his signature was on the contract and that he was involved but it seems that his attempt to spin this issue has a few big holes in it and the story has changed from one day to the next.

Yesterday Panesar said that he backed out of the deal as he had second thoughts about profiting from porn.

Today it appears* that Panesar is claiming that he didn't find out what the movie was about until later and when he did, he backed out.

The first explanation given yesterday does seem reasonable. He could have had second thoughts on the deal and did walk away from the contract but new information has come to light that Panesar was allegedly involved in producing at least 2 XXX adult films in another deal which had nothing to do with the contract that sparked this controversy.

His second explanation is much more concerning for a couple of reasons. First is that the contract in question makes it very clear that XXX adult material was involved. From the actual contract: (some names redacted and highlighting mine)

...will jointly own the MMA television
network “Aggression TV” and the MMA/XXX television network “Juiced TV"

'All parties will be afforded Executive Producer credits on all Aggression TV and Juiced TV
original series with the exception of existing projects (ie; Boy Nexxt Door, Make Me a Porn Star,
Tight, etc.). Creator credits will be given to the party most responsible for the concept of any
given project. Of current Aggression TV projects, all mash-ups including “Extreme Aggression:
Down But Not Out”, “Extreme Aggression: Killer Knock-Outs” and “Extreme Aggression: Super
Submissions” will be credited as created by (redacted), (redacted) and Harvey Panesar.
“Make Me a Fighter” will be credited as created by (redacted) and Harvey Panesar.
“Aggression”, “The Cage” and “Fighting Words” will be credited as created by (redacted).
Of current Juiced TV projects, “Ultimate Porn Fighter” and “My Canadian Cousin” will be
credited as created by (redacted) (or applicable screen name).'

It seems clear to me what would be involved but in the off chance that Panesar did sign the contract without actually reading it; I would say that admitting to doing so may be worse than being involved in the making of porn. I mean is it really a good idea to elect someone to city council who signs things without reading them?

To be clear: The adult entertainment industry is legitimate business and whether you agree or not that it should be, it doesn't change the fact that it is. That being said if one is involved in the industry they should own it 100% and not try to hide it or claim afterwards that they were unaware of what they were getting into. Let the people know the truth and the public can make their own decisions whether or not to give you their vote. Keeping it hidden or trying to spin the story with flimsy excuses after the fact does not exactly build the trust of the electorate.Nor should it.

Another story from Edmonton votes 2013 that has to be mentioned deals with plagiarism. Local Ward 6 candidate Melinda Hollis was caught cutting and pasting an article to her blog which was written by the Fraser institute without proper attribution of the source. (she has since changed the original posting (pdf) at least 2 times with the first laughably adding a line at the end which read "some material taken from" and the second where she more properly attributes the source and provides a link.)

 What makes this more than just a story of a self proclaimed academic plagiarizing the work of others (and this was as clear cut as one can get) was her response when she was exposed.  Her tweet which read: “You have about as much value to me as a piece of S__T under my shoe. I owe you nothing.”  in response to Kikki Planet (friend of the blog =) and the person who uncovered the plagiarism) shows why basic media training is essential for anyone planning to run for office.

You can read a good run down of the Hollis affair, including her trying to claim the "S__T" line from her tweet did not mean what we all know it means, here at Gigcity.ca

What a self inflicted disaster this is and like with Panesar, it is always better to come clean and admit error when caught than to obfuscate and try to cover it up. A good lesson for anyone running for elected office.

Who said local politics was boring?

*Update: Brenton Driedger whose tweet I linked to above did not speak with Panesar himself and was paraphrasing a colleague who had spoken with him so it unclear if Panesar did say that 'he didn't find out what the movie was about until later and when he did, he backed out' or not. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Wendy Butler, President of the Liberal Party of Canada in Alberta, please call your office.

Because there may be a message for you from Team Justin and Liberal HQ.

What a piece of work.

But this is not the first time Wendy has shown her 'liberal tolerance'.

Remember this is the president of the Liberal Party of Canada in Alberta!

And there are more where that came from, actually her twitter feed is filled with hate and intolerance, but you get the idea.

Let's hope that her phone is indeed ringing and that Justin 'doing politics different' Trudeau does the correct thing and rids the Liberal Party of types like this because she is doing her party the opposite of proud.

Friday, September 06, 2013

What happened in High River is going to end badly for someone within the RCMP.

In a letter to Alberta's official opposition Wildrose Party, an official with the RCMP says officers did what they felt was necessary but "did not take operational direction from any elected officials or public service employees to enter in private homes"  (link)

Read that last part again: The RCMP "did not take operational direction from any elected officials or public service employees to enter in private homes"

That is quite the admission. The RCMP entered locked private homes without a warrant and seized personal property ( This is not about guns. The property seized, had it been computers or even vacuum cleaners, is irrelevant) on their own without direction from any elected official or public service employee.

Unfortunately for the RCMP the only law in Alberta that would allow them or anyone else to undertake such extraordinary actions is the Alberta Emergency Management Act (AEMA  (read the entire act for yourself) and the act very clearly states that such actions must be authorized by someone who is an "elected official or public service employee."*

Powers of Minister in emergency:
19(1) On the making of the declaration and for the duration of the
state of emergency, the Minister may do all acts and take all
necessary proceedings including the following:
h) authorize the entry into any building or on any land,
without warrant, by any person in the course of
implementing an emergency plan or program;

c) acquire or utilize any real or personal property considered
necessary to prevent, combat or

alleviate the effects of an

emergency or disaster;

It reads 'the Minister may authorize' something, not 'the Minister automatically does authorize'. There are no extraordinary powers given directly to the police anywhere in the act and in fact the word "police" is nowhere to be found in the act, and any such powers available to the police require that the Minister authorize their use. Without that authorization, there are no special powers. Also note that it says 'any person'. The Minister may authorize, the fire dept, the postman or even his crazy Uncle to do any of those things listed in sec 19 as he (they) deem necessary, it does not have to be the police and in fact there are very good reasons why the word 'police' was omitted from the AEMA and why they were not given any specific powers.

Note also that in the AEMA is the requirement for a paper trail which it seems the RCMP do not have.

Proof of authorization
If the Minister authorizes a person to carry out a power or duty
of the Minister under this Act as the Minister responsible for this
Act or as a local authority and the authorization
(a) is made in writing,
(b) purports to be signed by the Minister responsible for the
Municipal Government Act
or the Minister responsible for
the Special Areas Act, and
(c) states that the person named in it is authorized under this
section to carry out the power or duty set out in the
written authorization,
that written authorization or a copy of it shall be admitted in
evidence as proof, in the absence
of evidence to the contrary, of
that person’s authorization to carry out the power or duty without
proof of the signature or official character of the Minister.
RSA 2000 cD-13 s3;2007 c12 s4;2010 c5 s2

It is this simple. Warrantless entry and property seizures require written authorization and either that written authorization from someone who is allowed to do so exists or it does not exist. If it does, let's see it.

Somebody screwed up big here and while many want to blame the Redford government for this, it appears that the RCMP are responsible for the mess in High River and I suspect that it will not end well for somebody in the force. Heads will roll.

Not that the Redford government has much to be proud of on this file by having this happen under their watch and now by desperately trying to downplay the entire gun grab and divert attention away from themselves by claiming the opposition are playing politics and scare mongering. Redford's bizarre attempt in the face of facts to create an alternative reality and Minister Doug Griffiths use of the F-bomb yesterday show just how worried the PCs are about this issue and unfortunately also shows that they would rather continue play political games by downplaying the incident and dismiss the legitimate concerns of Albertans all to protect their own skins. There is little in their actions to date to be proud of and even though the RCMP look to be at fault here, the attempt by the PC's to make this political rather than worrying about possible breaches of law against the people of High River doesn't make them look any better than the RCMP here.

*The act reads "the Minister" but in the case of a local declaration of emergency as was the case in High River (the local state of emergency was declared in High River on June 19, 2013 at 7:04AM) the 'local authority' in this case the mayor and council have the same authority as the Minister with regards to authorizing the extraordinary powers listed in section 19.


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Alison Redford's alternate reality on the High River gun grab should concern us all.

Undisputed Facts: The RCMP forced their way into locked homes in High River Alberta during the recent  flood causing various amounts of property damage to those homes in the process. According to the RCMP themselves: "there were about 1,900 reports of damage caused by entry during the flood."

But in-spite of these well documented and undisputed facts, Premier Alison Redford has come out with an alternate reality from what did happen in High River, and is claiming that she was unaware of any property damage that was caused by the RCMP forcing entry into hundreds(?) of locked homes.

Alison Redford: “The leader of the Opposition has to stop sensationalizing these issues. Seizure of guns and destruction of property? So we now have the leader of the Opposition saying that the RCMP destroyed property during what was the worst natural disaster in Alberta’s history?

"I don't buy that. I think it’s about time the Opposition, including the leader of the Opposition, tried to come up with some forward-thinking solutions instead of preying on people’s fears and frustrations, because that’s not how we build Alberta.”

Wow, there is so much here that I don't know where to begin so let me get to the point.

That statement from Alison Redford was nothing other that a pile of Baranski inspired political bullshit! 100% partisan political theater with the added bonus (lucky us) of treating the electorate as idiots by having Premier Redford lie to our faces.

A bit harsh?

Ask yourself these questions:

How is this even possible?  How can it be that the Premier of Alberta is unaware that the RCMP destroyed property, intentional or not, while entering locked dwellings?

It isn't possible. Alison Redford is not incompetent and not an idiot, she is not living in an alternate reality and she has not lost her mind nor was it taken over aliens. She knows.

Is there a single person aside from Premier Redford who believes that no property damage occurred as a direct result of the RCMPs actions in High River?  Anyone?

There are none. Property damage happened and has been well covered and documented. The Premier knows this as well.

So with all of this do you really think the Premier believes this?

She doesn't.

It was a calculated lie wrapped up in a partisan attack on the Wildrose with Redford playing politics with the floods by trying to scare Albertans away from 'team angry' (Wildrose) by saying they are playing politics with the flood and expecting YOU to 'buy it' just because she said it.

This isn't fiction. This isn't an alternate reality. This is how the Premier and the PC party play politics in Alberta. I would say that is is a new low but after you use kids for partisan props and lie to them, there is absolutely nothing that you will not lie about or anyone you won't lie to for partisan gain.
This does concern me and I hope it does you, and to borrow a phrase: this is not how we should be 'building Alberta'.

We deserve better that this.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Confessions of a negligent blogger.

If you had not noticed, which I am sure most of you who are taking the time to read this have, this blog has not been very active lately; in fact it has been basically dark for over a year. While I could take the easy way out and simply blame someone something else (twitter) for the for the lack of content here; the blame rests squarely upon myself.

I do apologize for this and will try to put up more content on a more regular basis when the legislative sessions start up again in the fall and may try something a bit different a few times over the summer ( a period which this blog normally goes dark) with some link dumps w/ some brief commentary.

Now some more confessions and some back story.

I had been reading other blogs (a lot) during the run up to that campaign and discovered them to be the best source for information and commentary on the stories I found most interesting but more importantly they were timely. Yes the 'information/news' was available on the websites of the MSM, but the blogs filtered out the important from the fluff, found the hidden nuggets missed and offered up commentary on the information at what seemed like blazing speed at the time that the MSM in print or even television could not match.(Even the content of the political shows was discussed on the blogs, sometimes in real time)

I have always had an obsession with politics and government in general but for myself that interest has not necessarily been with the policy aspects of it. For me that obsession has been with campaigns, political messaging and most importantly the spin used by politicians and governments at every level.

I own 2 cats. (Hey, it takes a real man to admit that and I never said all the confessions would be political in nature = )

I hate being lied to and I hate it more when it comes from politicians and governments who are supposed to be working for us; but what really sets me off is politicians/governments thinking so little of my (or that of the general public) intelligence that they think they can get away with it all by trying to bullshit us with spin. This is probably the biggest reason why I first started this blog in January 2006 during the federal election campaign.

I do blog anonymously but in reality it is more pseudonymous now than anonymous as there are many people on all sides of the political spectrum as well as in the media who know my not so secret identity.  There are a couple of reasons why this came to be with the first being that it was almost the norm when this blog started in 2006 (there are many examples) and the other being the type of work I am in. I do not work for a political party or directly for government but I certainly deal with them as well as unions and others who may not agree with my non job related 'conservative' views and frankly it wasn't worth the potential grief then and still isn't. I believe that it is the words and thoughts that matter not who wrote them, as the media who have used my stuff (both credited and not) do not seem to have issue with it and besides, if I told you my name was Bob Smith would it really make a difference? (unless they were out for some type of revenge)

I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. ( Okay I didn't do this but those are some of my favorite Johnny Cash lyrics)

I currently tweet much more than I blog. It is less time consuming and the real time aspect of twitter makes it  nothing short of amazing and it allows comment, be it only 140 characters, directly to those involved. For a political news junkie, nothing is better.

I believe in small government and them being fiscally responsible with our money.

I do not hold a party membership card for any provincial party but I do hold one for a federal party.

I do like cheese and I am a die hard Oiler fan.

So with that it is now time to end this little confession session and go mow my lawn; I hope to see you around more often in the future.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Did the RCMP seize guns under authority of Alberta's Emergency Management Act before it was in force?

*updated. See bottom of page.

June 28, 2013 Alberta Government news release:  (note the first line. highlighting mine)

" In response to a request from the mayor, the Alberta government has declared a provincial state of emergency in the Town of High River and will assume responsibility for emergency operations, programs and services.

"The disaster in High River has been overwhelming. That’s why we are taking this unique and unprecedented step," said Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Mayor Blokland and his administration have done outstanding work dealing with this situation, but it has become clear to both the mayor and me that the tasks ahead require significant resources and expertise. The province is ready to step in and provide that and build on that as necessary."

"Given the scope and scale of this disaster, I have decided the best course of action for getting the people of High River back into their homes as soon as possible is for the province to take charge of the coordination and implementation of emergency operations," said Emile Blokland, Mayor of High River.
Effective immediately, Rick Fraser, Associate Minister of Regional Recovery and Reconstruction for High River, will assume responsibility and control of emergency operations in High River. He will be supported by an official from the Alberta Emergency Management Agency and other provincial and town employees. They will assist Fraser with all necessary plans and programs and link into the provincial operations centre.
“We understand residents’ frustration, however it is critical we focus on the recovery and rebuilding process, therefore all emergency orders must be followed for health and safety reasons,” added Griffiths.
Our government was elected to keep building Alberta, to live within its means and to fight to open new markets for Alberta’s resources. We will continue to deliver the responsible change Albertans voted for."

*It couldn't have been the mayor or other local authority either because according to Sec 18-1 of the Alberta Emergency Management Act  a State of Emergency can only be declared by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and has to be published or announced publicly.

Part 2
State of Emergency 
Declaration of state of emergency
18 (1)
The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, at any time when
the Lieutenant Governor in Council is satisfied that an emergency
exists or may exist, make an order for a declaration of a state of
emergency relating to all or any part of Alberta.

And other than the release at the top of the page I have not found anything else that says it occurred before June 28th 2013.

So if no State of Emergency, which gives the police the extraordinary powers listed under Section 19, was declared before today, under which law or authority did the RCMP enter private residences and seize personal property?

If you have an answer be sure to let me know because right now I am not seeing it.

*Update: Got to eat some crow on this one as the AEMA does give section 19 powers to municipalities when they declare a local state of emergency, which in this case was done on June 19, 2013 at 7:04AM.
This does bring up other questions as to how and when this can occur ( can they do so on a whim or is their some provincial oversight?) and should local authorities be given such sweeping Charter of Rights limiting powers, but those can wait until this entire subject is brought up in the Alberta Legislature. And you know it will be.

H/T @Resedico

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Watch as Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne does an epic flip flop on AHS executive bonus pay.

June 2013: Fred Horne fires the entire AHS Board for their refusal not to be arms length from the PC government and do what they are told. (although they did exactly what they were told and did "reconsider its decision to pay executive bonuses." Horne just didn't like their decision.)

March 2013:  “Regardless of how people feel about the decision of the AHS board, I don’t think anybody would want me or a colleague to interfere with the terms of their employment they’ve agreed to. It’s a decision for the AHS board,”

“I don’t have the authority to interfere with someone’s contract of employment.”

“We’ll take the appropriate time as government to look at what they’re planning to do, ask questions and (ask) for clarification,” said Horne.

“It’s important to recognize it’s difficult times, it’s tough choices. When people make those tough choices, we need to be there to support them."

Read the story and watch the video here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Alberta PCs try to play cheap political games and again fail miserably.

While Albertan's watch government services being cut all around them, including cuts to health care, education and just about everything one can think of, the PC government of Alison Redford has decided to take time away dealing with these problems and running Alberta to play cheap political games in an attempt to smear the official opposition Wildrose.

National Post. Jen Gerson: Alberta PCs try to distract from their own misdeeds by inflating Wildrose robocall ruling.

Edmonton Journal. Graham Thompson: Wildrose shouldn't be tarred with Pierre Poutine brush.

Edmonton SUN Lorne Gunter: Alberta Tories are creating hysteria out of Wildrose robocalls.

Another failure of the PC spin machine.

BTW: I do have to commend the way the Wildrose have handled the situation.

While the PC's turned on their smear machine by making wild accusations, spreading outright lies and making ridiculous demands for a CRTC report not yet released,  and using (it always does) tax payer funded Government of Alberta resources (see RT's) to do so; the Wildrose stepped up and did the right thing.

The Wildrose cooperated fully with the CRTC investigation right from the beginning and when news broke a week ago of the fine they not only paid the $90K but also quickly apologized and asked Alberta's Chief Electoral Officer to investigate. After the complete CRTC report was released had even more to say including the leader Danielle Smith saying that she was "embarrassed" (a word we have never heard or are ever likely to hear used by Premier Redford) by what had happened as well the party released the scripts of the calls in question.

It is easy see why the PC government of Alison Redford would want to try and distract the public from what is going on around them. After promising the moon to get elected last year, including balancing the budget and increased spending for almost every government ministry, the total failure of the PC's to keep those promise and the devastating cuts that we got as a result of that failure, is not something that they want on the minds of Albertans. But with all that going on; wouldn't their time be better spent dealing with the problems their broken promises and surprise cuts are causing rather than playing politics and trying to smear the Wildrose?

If history is any indication we already know the answer; it is clear that Alison Redford and the PC's will stoop to anything to try and score cheap political points.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Since criminals, drugs, politicians and videos are all the rage lately...

May I present a video that you can actually see for yourself (unlike the one you have been hearing so much about lately) of Marc Emery saying he smoked pot with Justin Trudeau.

And it won't cost you $200,000 to see either!

Warning NSFW


Monday, May 06, 2013

Alison Redford. How low can she go?

 No, I am not referring to her poll numbers, which are going lower every day for reasons which are quite obvious, I am referring to 2 recent photo-ops where she decided it was appropriate to turn official Government of Alberta events into partisan campaign events where for good measure she decided that it was okay to lie to the children in attendance.

Last Wednesday in Calgary and again on Thursday in Edmonton, Redford went out of her way to attack the opposition in front of young children there to see the Redford in her role as premier and in both instances told the children in attendance a blatant lie so over the top that it should make your head spin and your stomach a little queasy knowing she deliberately did so.

“We know we can’t stop building and that’s why we reject the opposition’s build-nothing approach,"

“I wouldn’t let them off the hook by simply saying they don’t want to invest in the future through schools,”

“They don’t want to build hospitals and they don’t want to build roads and they don’t want to invest in bridges or water.”

"Redford told the children — and the parents and dignitaries seated behind them — that while her government is committed to building things, her opponents are not."

The opposition will build "nothing". No roads, schools, clinics, buildings...  nothing! An utterly ridiculous statement that the facts and common sense defy. Perhaps our premier should have asked those kids what the meaning of the word 'nothing' is because she clearly does not know.

None of this should be surprising as the Alberta PC's have long ago lost sight of the line between party and government but what makes these occurrences different is that she decided to do so in front of young kids who were there, and who probably had no other choice but to attend, to see Redford as a representative of their government and not a representative of the PCCA holding a partisan campaign style event which their parents paid for with their taxes.  And she did so, lies included, with the Minister of Education and what looks to be every Calgary PC MLA in attendance at her side cheering and approving her lies to school kids.

They all stood by, in fact they all applauded, and let the Premier lie to children.

Now that is low on anyone's scale.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

When is a "long standing policy" at the CBC not really a policy at all? When it involves Justin Trudeau.

So CBC ran Justin Trudeau's latest ad during the broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night.

Nothing wrong with that, right?

Flashback to 2009

"OTTAWA, June 4 (UPI) -- Canada's cash-strapped public broadcaster is refusing to run the Conservative party's attack ads on the leader of the Liberal party.

The ads that accuse Michael Ignatieff of "just visiting" Canada after 34 years out of the country are airing on all other networks in the country, but the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. declined, saying it contravened a longstanding policy, the Canwest News Service reported.

CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said the refusal wasn't a political statement.

"We'll only accept political advertising like that when there is an election campaign on," he told Canwest. "We have generally pretty strict guidelines."  (highlighting mine)

Federal broadcast law stipulates all broadcasters must allocate time for political campaigning and advertising, but only after an election has been called, the report said.
Ignatieff said earlier in the week he didn't want to bring the Conservative minority government down with a non-confidence vote any time soon, but that he was under mounting pressure from fellow Liberals."

So when is a 'long standing policy" at the CBC not really a long standing policy?

When it involves Justin Trudeau.

Way to go CBC!

Update: As noted in the comments. A great way to voice your concern/displeasure/etc is to email the cbc ombudsman. It does work as this 2010 example: http://thealbertaardvark.blogspot.ca/2011/04/albertaardvark-1-cbc-0-scott-reid-and.html shows. It was with a  different Ombudsman, but oddly enough the current Ombudsman, Esther Enkin, makes an appearance.

h/t Kate from SDA. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

CBC covers for Justin Trudeau's "excluded" comment.

Justin Trudeau: “Now, we don’t know now if it was terrorism or a single crazy or a domestic issue or a foreign issue. “But there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded. Completely at war with innocents. At war with a society. And our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from?”

CBC: "Boston bombing suspects were social, but isolated" (please read the story where the author gives their opinion that these clowns "may have felt socially isolated" even though the story lists many example of how they were not)

I know it is not nearly the same type of cheer leading that the Toronto Star does on a regular basis but considering the hubbub over Trudeau's comments and that this story was published under politics it certainly is an interesting choice of words that CBC used for their headline don't you think.  

UPDATE: CBC radically edits the original story. Kills headline, quote about feeling socially isolated removed and basically rewrote the entire piece which originally had a striking similarity to something the NY Times ran

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Confirmed: AHS paid for health executive to go to US for second opinion.

Yesterday the Wildrose Party raised questions about a $7,233 expense claim for a 3day trip to the Mayo clinic in Rochester Minnesota made by a former Alberta Health Services senior executive.  Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith alleged in the legislature Lahey billed taxpayers for medical treatment abroad, circumvented Alberta’s Out-Of-Country Health Services Committee and jumped the queue for health-care treatment.

The PCs went into full spin mode in the Alberta Legislature trying to dismiss the allegations even though they had no idea of what happened.  Watch Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk as he says that the expenses “probably are legitimate.” calling the suggestion that taxpayers paid for private care for a health executive “irresponsible and wrong.” even though he had nothing factual to back up his statements. (misleading the house?)

Also of note were Premier Alison Redford's comments where she used her favorite catch all line to spin bad news "It did happen in the past." as if anything that 'happened' could have possibly taken place somewhere else but in the past. I can't blame her for trying to use the line though as it makes great cover for everything from outrageous AHS expenses to her own (now broken) election promises from last year. They all were in the past so....

Flash forward to today and it turns out that the allegations were correct and that AHS did pay the expenses for Lehey to go to the Mayo clinic, but not for treatment, as can be allowed in certain circumstances but you do have to jump through AHS hoops to do so, but for a second opinion!

Wow, way to show confidence in the health system you are running AHS. You know, the one that the rest of us have to use because our bosses won't cover our expenses to circumvent the system like AHS clearly did in this case.  Keep up the good work AHS and keep earning those 'at risk' bonuses.

I can't wait to see how Redford's PCs will try and spin this one but given their history I suspect they will again try to lay blame and smear the Wildrose for doing their jobs by bringing up such waste to our attention and asking questions in the legislature.

Wildrose Press release from April 16th.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ralph Klein 1942-2013

I have been searching for the right words to write to express what the Klein family and Alberta lost yesterday with the passing of Ralph Klein and almost a full day later I still can't come up with anything truly worthy of the man and his legacy. So instead I will link to some of the many wonderful articles written about the man who wanted only to be called Ralph and say thank you for all that he did for this province and say a big thank you to his wife Colleen and the Klein family for sharing him with us. You were one of a kind Ralph and you will be missed.

Gunter: We lost a great Albertan.

The Globe and Mail: Canadians remember Ralph Klein as tributes pour in.

Sun: Ralph Klein was one of us.

Corbella: Just call him Ralph, the peoples premier.

Thompson: Impossible not to like Ralph Klein.

Calgary Herald: We loved him.

Stockwell Day: Ralph Klein was genuine, kept his word.

Calgary Sun: Remembering Ralph

Colby Cosh: The deceptive shape of a shadow.

and a couple that pay tribute to the man and note just how far off track Alberta has gone since Ralph retired in 2006. 

Flanagan: Deficit and debt fighters of today should learn from Ralph Klein.

Braid: Klein's debt fighting legacy at risk.


Rest in peace Ralph, Alberta missed you even before you were gone.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Alberta Budget 2013. A few thoughts.

  1. Render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
  2. Bewilder (someone).
It has been 3 days since the Alberta Budget was handed down and I still can't figure out what the actual numbers are. But that wasn't a mistake, that was the intention of the Redford budget 2013-14 and I am clearly not alone in that belief.

Graham Thompson called it "arguably the most opaque, obscure and cynical budget yet delivered in Alberta."

Don Braid wrote: "translating this one (budget) is like trying to decipher the Inca alphabet (clue: they didn’t have one.)"

and Derek Fildebrandt from the Canadian Tax Payer Federation tweeted: "I have never seen an attempt to obscure facts and numbers from the public as blatant and serious as this."  (perhaps this is why they tried to keep him out of the lockup)

It is a mess. Nobody can peg an actual deficit and having Doug Horner unsure about the meaning of the word deficit and a Premier who is actually claiming that we don't have a deficit is clouding the matter even more for the average Albertan trying to get a handle on what the hell happened.

The bottom line is as Horner says “we’re in a deficit.”  including an almost $500 million dollar operating debt of which Redford promised just 4 months ago "We will continue to ensure that our operating budget is balanced." and we will be $17 billion in debt by the year 2016. That is if you assume their numbers are correct and the PC track record has not been good in that regard and now Redford has had to break almost every election promise that she made not even 1 year ago.

Oh and fair warning to those that are not happy with Premier Redford about this because apparently if you were one of those who believed Redford's promises of a balanced budget and no debt, that she used to win the election, prepare to be called names and mocked if you believed her or if you believe in such extreme ideologies as honesty or fiscal responsibility for now and the future.

With a fiscal record so bad and now with a trail of broken promises it is easy to see why Redford and the PCs have attempted to obfuscate with their budget to throw the public off the reality of the situation but unlike other years they really had no choice this time; their hand was forced as there is no longer an easy way to hide their incompetence . No longer can the PCs rely on the Sustainability Fund to cover for their fiscal incompetence as they did 5 previous times running deficit budgets; the PCs drained the once near $18 billion dollar fund to almost zero and the jig is up.  Oddly enough that Sustainability Fund which has covered the PCs for the last 7 years was started by Ralph Klein, that same Ralph Klein that progressive conservatives including Redford herself have been slamming lately for being fiscally irresponsible by balancing our books and getting us out of debt and of course giving us that PC butt saving Sustainability Fund.

While I am on Ralph here is one of the laws his gov't wrote and was law in Alberta until the PCs rescinded it in 2008:  "actual expense for a fiscal year shall not exceed actual revenue for that year." 

A far cry from what is in Redford's 2013-14 budget, or at least I think so. It is so hard to tell.

So as we await the start of week 1 of the budget showdown in the legislature, I look forward to not only the great debate but also finding out what heck that thing actually said and what it means to Alberta.

BTW the often politicized Provincial Affairs Bureau, the ones that spin for the government and now on a regular basis flat out attack other political parties for partisan purposes, got an increase in funding.  They may claim otherwise because of the creative bookkeeping trick of rolling 2 budget 2012-13 line items together, killing one of them but using that inflated total to claim that there was actually a cut this year, but the truth is the PCs taxpayer funded propaganda arm is this year getting nearly 17 million dollars to spin you when last year they were given a budget of 15 million

So if your local hospital or school has been delayed or if you have already been told that there is no money to give you a wage increase this year, take heart that the PCs consider you so important that they are spending even more money this year to tell you just how good that they and their policies are.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Politicizing Flanagan.The Alberta Edition.

One would expect that the Liberals and the usual crowd of Harper haters would try to politicize Professor Flanagan's comments on child porn for partisan reasons but would you expect so called conservatives to do the same?

Well welcome to Alberta where some conservatives in the PC party have done exactly that and it is making them look silly in the process.

First up Justice Minister Jonathan Denis who on the Rutherford Show today, or as the Alberta Government likes to refer to it; "Wildrose radio", had this to say:  

"Interesting comments from the Wildrose today, hey". ( Note how Denis changes the topic and instigates the smear) I also think the Wildrose has some explaining to do because you know, if you go back, he has been publicly described as a mentor, trusted confident, tenured close personal friend, guided Miss Smith's entire political career ( reading from talking points or just a great memory for old quotes?); I think this goes to more of the core of the party than she would let on."  

There is no way to call this other than what it is; a blatant and calculated attempt to smear an entire political party because of its association to an individual. An utterly ridiculous assertion  made even more pathetic because it was made by someone who also has an association with the same individual. Yes it is true, the same person that Denis used for his smear attempt is the same one with which he coauthored an op-ed piece in the Ottawa Citizen withHypocrisy thy name is Jonathan Denis

Since we are on the topic of campaign managers Susan Elliot, the PC campaign chair in the last election and who has a previous history of attacking conservatives, decided to also get into the act by tweeting this smear nonsense:

"Did Danielle know before the 2012 election when she hired Flanagan? 2009 story: themanitoban.com/2009/11/flanag #ableg #pcaa #abpoli"
Yes, because everyone knew about Flanagan's 2009 comments before today, which is why we heard the PCs use them against the WRP during the election. Oh wait, we didn't see the PC's use those comments did we. (and you know we would have had they in fact known about them) So in other words Elliot is 'upset' that the WRP didn't know about comments that neither the PC party, their operatives or her had any idea had existed before today. Seems logical to me. Not.    More like just another example of how the PC's will say and do anything to stay in power.

There of course were others as well. My friend Stefan Baranski had to get his smear attempts in and the ableg Twitter feed was awash sock puppet accounts with 2-10 followers as well as some of the usual WRP haters who were busy smearing away. Including a certain attention seeking one who gave a textbook example of smear (and possibly libel), blamed someone else, was proven wrong, played the hurt bunny routine rather than admit she was wrong, and even though she claims to be against hate, bullying, lowering the political discourse etc etc went straight into the gutter   (you know, all the stuff she claims to be against) in an attempt to smear someone else. As the kids say on the Twitter it was an #epicfail.

Typical and expected from this crowd of haters but from conservatives who will be crying next week about how the Wildrose are bottom feeders and are lowering the political discourse in Alberta, not so much. 

But that is now how 'conservatives' in Redford's PC party like to operate.

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Leading by example" Premier Redford's history on MLA compensation.

This past Thursday the Premier announced, on Twitter no less, that MLA pay and their housing allowance would be frozen. Ignoring the fact that this type of thing is decided by what is supposedly an independent committee who Redford has said of in the past that it was NOT her "role to direct the members of the committee to do anything.", which is not in the least bit true as you will see in examples below, the PC spin team are trying to play this as 'leading by example'. So ignore the impropriety of  announcing on Twitter what a committee would do in the future and lets concentrate on Redford's record on MLA compensation and leading by example.

Elected in March 2008 and in cabinet when the PC's, in a closed door cabinet meeting, gave themselves a 34% wage increase where Redford's salary went up $42,000, to $184,000, and the Premier's by $54,000, to $213,450 (making Stelmach the highest paid Premier in Canada). This raise coming just months after MLAs gave themselves a 4.7% increase in their pay.

Leading by example: There is no record of Redford speaking out against either pay increase.

Resigned from cabinet in Feb 2011 but continued to accept her MLA pay cheque while running for the PCAA leadership which she won in Oct 2011 and was subsequently sworn in as Alberta's 14th Premier a week later.

The Justice Major report. In January 2012 retired Supreme Court Justice Major began his review of MLA compensation which would be presented to the Legislature in early May 2012, conveniently timed for after the provincial election. While an independent look into pay and perks should be considered a good move, Redford's handling of it was just the opposite.

 Leading by example:  Redford: "I’m not going to dither. What he says, will go. Whatever Jack Major says is what we’re going to do. I’ve been very clear on that." Without having any idea what the report contained Redford is on the record numerous times saying that she would "implement the Major Report recommendations on MLA compensation" sight unseen (who does that?) and even went so far as to chastise the other leaders in the televised leaders debate for questioning the idea of implementing a report which nobody had any idea of what was written in it.  

And what happened when the report did come out? Redford did in fact dither and she did not accept all the recommendations, doing exactly what she promised numerous times that she wouldn't do.  Also of note the government did say they were going to implement recommendation # 15 of the report but it turns out that too was just another broken promise and MLA's will continue to set their own pay in the future.


The no-meet committee (NMC). Perhaps the best example of Redford's poor record on the MLA compensation file was her dismal handling and multiple flip flops during the infamous no-meet committee fiasco where MLAs were paid thousands for being on a committee which had not met in 39 months.

Leading by example:
March 8: Story breaks and the public is outraged while Redford claims that she "was unaware" of the situation.

March 9: It is revealed that Redford sat on that very committee.

March 11: Redford says "It's a personal decision." if PC MLAs want to refund the money or not.

March 12: Redford calls opposition MLAs returning pay from the NMC a "convenient stunt to try and polarize an issue".

March 20: PC MLAs under fire from the public say they will return 6 months of NMC pay. Questioned why only 6 months worth, Redford replies "I can't revisit the past,"

March 26: The writ dropped and the election called.

March 27: Redford tries some revisionary history and says: "And I say again, I was the first person to identify (the committee) as an issue, and as soon as I became leader I took steps to correct it." (see 'unaware' March 8th)

March 29: Under immense public pressure and with the election possibly in the balance Redford finally does the right thing and orders PC MLAs to return all of the NMC money or be removed from the PC caucus: “Any MLAs who do not, will not have a place in our Progressive Conservative caucus,

Sept 25?: The PC caucus passes the hat to collect the remaining money owed from the NMC. Meaning that at least some of the 39 PC MLAs who were ordered to repay the NMC cash did not do so as it required 61 PC caucus members to pay $2,700 each to cover the short fall. Contrary to Redford's promise no PC MLA was ever removed from caucus for not delivering on Redford's flip flop promise.
(related blog posts with links)

Transition pay & RRSPs: In spite of promising an end to transition pay for MLA's during the election, a motion to bring it back was put forward at the Member Services Committee (MSC) by the PC Party whip Steve Young (For those who do not know it is the party whips job to make sure that party MLAs follow the party line) who clearly tweeted that his motions in committee were done on behalf of the PC caucus! Leading by example!

Links: Alberta MLAs move to enrich retirement pay.    Alberta Tories revisit transition allowance.
Links from after the fallout: Young says he misunderstood Premiers marching ordersWhip back peddles.
Tories scrap new transition allowance.

Remember in the first paragraph where I quoted Redford saying it was not her role to tell the Member Services Committee (who decide compensation) anything?  If that was true why on earth would the PC members on the 'independent' MSC withdraw their motion which all 6 of them voted in favour of  and had spoken out in favour of (see links) immediately after Redford said it was a non starter? So much for independence and please ignore how Young tweeted that his motions were that of the PC caucus because if you don't it makes the rest of the PC spin pretty much unbelievable.   In the end the transition pay motion was made to dissapear (it had too as the public would have none of it) but you and I as taxpayers will now pay 100% for MLA RRSP's up from the previous 50%.

A pay freeze after a pay raise. While it was a prudent move to freeze MLA pay it would have been better if Redford (or the independent, ya right, MSC) had done so before they raised MLA compensation in November 2012.

Now I know the PC's will swear up and down that they had a pay cut but the fact is that after the 2012 election MLA compensation was $145,000/yr ( $134K salary + $11K in RRSPs) per the Major report recommendations accepted by the MSC but was raised to $156,000/yr ($134K salary + 22K in RRSPs) in November 2012.  To use any other base figure purposely ignores Redford's election campaign promises which every PCs ran on to end committee pay transition allowances. They won running on those promises so now to use them to claim a pay cut is disingenuous at the very least.  I half expect some PC spin doctor to claim the Premier Redford has taken a 1 million dollar pay cut because that is what former Premier Stelmach received in transition pay and which Redford now cannot. It is the same flawed reasoning which the PCs use daily to claim that the poor dears actually received a pay cut.  Ridiculous but that is how Redford and the PCs lead by example.