Sunday, September 13, 2009

Leftover random thoughts on the Calgary Glenmore by-election.

A collection of random thoughts that never quite made it to full blog commentary.


On the NDP:

Not sure why they bothered. An appointed candidate, with no visibility or support. Perhaps Travis pegged it best.



On the SC & Independent (also ran SC):

Both very comical. Toni might actually have a slim chance of coming out ahead of Len.




On Avalon Roberts;

Impressed that Avalon recognized me and approached me at debate to introduce herself.

Campaign manager is top notch fellow.

Too bad they couldn’t decide what to call us; neo-con, right wing, too conservative.

They realized too late in game they had two opponents.

David Swan overheard saying to a Hinman volunteer; “Paul is a good guy. He deserves to win and looks like he might take Glenmore.” I am still pondering this one. Does he not support another Dr. in the Leg? Have they done some polling to show this? Or is he just blowing sunshine up you know where?



On Diane Colley-Urquhart:

Premier Ed Stelmach didn’t go door knocking with the PC candidate. Likely best thing he could have done for Diane Colley-Urquhart. Rick Bell seems to agree.

From everything I have been able to gather DCU door knocked an average of four hours a day. If this map is any indication she couldn’t have covered more than 50% of the constituency.
 
Speaking of pictures; this one makes you go WTF???   Rule #1 of a campaign; “Don’t let the candidate touch the money.” That’s why Elections Alberta mandates candidates have CFO’s. It leads to speculation. The next picture is worthy of captions.  Gentleman contributor; “Really, for $600.00 you will do that for me?”

I wonder if she still is feeling the sting from one of her key volunteers jumping ship midway through the campaign to join a Wildrose Alliance Leadership candidate’s team.

Will Diane’s supportive hugging sessions continue on Election night?

Her number one supporter Jonathan Denis has been eerily quiet since the debate.

There are more, but I've likely said too much already.
As the saying goes; keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.



On Paul Hinman;

I make no bones about my admiration of Paul’s dedication and his ability to lead or serve as an MLA. I could point to many examples of this, but perhaps the most defining moment during the campaign came on Friday, August 28th. That was the day Paul learned of the sudden passing of his brother-in-law. It was the day CTV called him for an on camera interview - - and he agreed. I think that speaks volumes and adds more insight to the man than I can ever attempt to accomplish.

Sadly, it was also the same day our campaign manager learned of the passing of his father. I cannot begin to describe the strength they have each demonstrated to the team. Two of the finest men I am privledged to call friends.


Good luck to all candidates on Monday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

DCU - Decline Comment Urquhart; comments - finally !!

Tonight we attended the all candidates’ debate for the Calgary-Glenmore by-election. It was very well attended and attendees were packed in like sardines. As I understand it the Raging Grannies couldn’t get in due to the number of people.

The audience was largely liberal leaning and asked very good questions.
Len and Toni seemed very comfortable with the fact that they are not considered contenders in this and they both demonstrated great use of humor.

Paul responded to the questions asked, of course I think he did a good job. He got some great chuckles from the crowd when he read a quote from Ed Stelmach using Hinmans’ campaign slogan.

“When Stelmach was asked if it would be a reflection of his government if Conservative candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart loses the byelection, he said without speculating they would wait to see the results.

If she loses, we’ll look at the results of the election and see what the message is.


The questions directed at Diane Colley-Urquhart clearly were plants. So much so that she started nearly every response with “….{insert name} I have know you for XX years,…..” yadda yadda. I swear I saw Jason Fekete roll his eyes at one point. It was so blatantly obvious.

A couple of questions that they thought would corner Paul backfired when he very ably and succinctly responded to them.

Diane skirted around a few questions. She clearly does not understand the difference between being working in City Hall and in the Legislature. She kept comparing what she does in council to what she would be able to do in the Leg. She stated several times that she would continue to fight for the residents. Well that sounds all well and fine, expect at the Provincial level she is “in” a party; one that doesn’t take kindly to those who speak up for their constituents.

One question to Diane though stole the night and is a must see for every Calgary-Glenmore resident.

An attendee from the front row, who was obviously frustrated with Diane Colley-Urquhart skirting the “party” question, posed a Yes or No question;

“Are you willing to put your (PC) membership on the line and sit as an independent if the needs of the riding (constituency) are in variance with the political Party (PC) line?"

You can see her answer for yourself.




So there you have it another trained PC seal in action. I will give her kudos for being honest; for being up front that it really doesn’t matter what the constituents want or need; Stelmach and his PC dictatorship will rule.

DCU – "Decline Comment Urquhart" - Part Trois

It's like a gift that just keeps on giving..... We can now add Macleans Magazine to "Decline Comment Urquhart's" black-balled list.

The failure of a name Tory like Colley-Urquhart (who, oddly, would not permit Maclean’s to accompany her door-knocking) would be a black mark against the Stelmach regime not unlike that left by the Calgary-Elbow by-election two years ago, which sent an Alberta Liberal to the leg (the loss would not be as symbolically potent, however: Elbow was Klein’s old riding). Standing at his door in Calgary-Glenmore, Pete, the landscaper, says he plans to vote for Paul Hinman, the Wildrose Alliance Party candidate (and still its leader pending a leadership race). Hinman is capitalizing on the Tories’ fiscal woes with a campaign to “Send Ed a Message.”

Diane Colley-Urquhart, would not permit Maclean’s to accompany her door-knocking!!

I have never heard of a candidate turning down an opportunity like this. It is an chance to put your best assets on display. Interaction with the constituents is the prime function of an MLA. The door step is where the election is won or lost.

What was she afraid of? That they would not find a favourable reception? That they would be hard pressed to find someone who would openly say they were voting for the PC's?

Is she worried that they might see the little group hug her team does when she gets dissed at the door? Would that lead to the question of how she might handle that in the Leg? Who is going to be there to give her the reassuring hug? Denis? Fritz?

This just in....
A blogger gets shut out!!!! Another Jeremy added to the list.

Here is the list as it now stands:

- Anyone commenting on her blog.
- Interested followers on Twitter.
(Probably just limited to me, but who knows.)
- Fast Forward Magazine - Jeremy Klaszus
- CTV
- CBC
- Calgary Sun
- Macleans Magazine
- PolitiCalgary - Jeremy

Part one can be found here and part deux here.

Tonight should be interesting, or will the community be snubbed as well?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stewie - All grown up

How Stewie gets his exercise. Looks like Cory gets a little bit too. LOL




This is Stewie when we first got him in March 2008, then he was about 10 weeks and 8 pounds.

Next photo, taken tonight on same spot on the couch. He is one year, eight months and about 60 pounds now.  We are pretty confident he is full grown now.


This past weekend, chillin at Paul Hinman's campaign office.

Will it really happen?

PC candidates here in Alberta historically do not take part in public forums. They seem to have every excuse under the sun. Such as; there's a scheduling conflict, not all the other candidates are participating, there are too many candidates participating, etc, etc.


This week it looks like we might actually get a chance to witness this rare phenomenon.



Might be worth a drive south.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The sign thief - part 2

As mentioned yesterday a couple of our volunteers witnessed an attempt theft of a sign, one that had been stolen twice before. They also tried to videotape it.

The homeowners who were the victims have seen the video and do not recognize the individual, yet we are quite certain he lives in the area.

I met with the Liberal team yesterday and they had received a call that a number of signs had been dumped in someone's backyard and that was within about a block of the Palliser location. I also went to the PC campaign to see if they had any information to add to the story, but they were closed yesterday.


In the video there is no clear image of his face. He is about 16-18 years old, fairly tall and his mode of transport that evening was a skateboard.
 
It is unlikely that he can be identified by this video, but perhaps it will serve as warning to others. Volunteers take their roles seriously and don't take kindly to delinquents tearing down their efforts.



Here are a couple screenshots.


The skateboard is quite long and fairly pointed on both ends.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

DCU – "Decline Comment Urquhart" - Part Deux

Thanks to Princess for commenting on my first post regarding DCU – "Decline Comment Urquhart".

She has pointed out we can now add the Calgary Sun to the growing list of group Diane Colley-Urquhart has shut out.

Conservative candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart was not available for comment.

The list now includes:

- Anyone commenting on her blog.
- Interested followers on Twitter.
(Probably just limited to me, but who knows.)
- Fast Forward Magazine
- CTV
- CBC
- Calgary Sun

Editted 6:30 PM to add:

I dropped by  both the Liberal office and  DCU's office this afternoon to discuss an issue affecting all the candidates. Unfortunately, DCU's was closed. Had a chat with Liberal team they were friendly and helfpful.

Willful Damage to Campaign Signs

I know I hear the groans; it is not an exciting topic. However, based on a call from volunteer this morning I think we may have an interesting story on our hands.

I want to preface this with the fact that I do NOT subscribe to the notion that campaign teams do this to one another and I will explain why in a bit. I also want to give some background for readers who are less “politically involved”.

Vandalism and theft of signs happens, it’s a fact of life. The extent of it though seems to vary from election to election. When I ran in Calgary-Elbow in 2007 my campaign experienced very little. In 2008 we had several occurrences that I wrote about here and here.

Yesterday I did a stint in Paul’s campaign office and signs were a hot topic among the volunteers. Partly because the requests keep coming in and they have been working very hard to get them all completed. There a number of people helping with this, I estimate there is a core group of about six who regularly spend every day and weekend (after working full-time jobs) placing signs. Like this young man’s dad.


More and more they have been noticing an increase in signs knocked down, graffiti covered and occasionally gone all together. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not just Paul’s signs, it is happening to all candidates across the board. I just happen to be privy to the inside stories coming from Paul’s campaign.

There are two reasons why I don’t point a finger to the other campaigns and I also quickly discourage others from doing so.

The first is the cost, signs are not cheap. Paul has had to re-order signs twice (thankfully due to popularity, not destruction), a final shipment was picked up just this past Friday.

The second is the volunteers. These people put in countless hours away from family and without remuneration. They construct frames; they drive their own large trucks around on their own dime, most work full-time jobs.

I think all candidates and campaign managers understand these aspects and what goes into this part of a campaign. They understand the cost and they most definitely understand the value of volunteers. Whether you have 15 or 50 they are your backbone of support and truly their time is precious and best spent elsewhere.

The very fact that one of Avalon’s volunteers picked up one our damaged signs and then called us to retrieve it speaks volumes and supports my belief in this.

I guess one could list a third reason… that is just plain ILLEGAL I see that as a “given” and like to believe all candidates are at least above breaking the law.

This brings us to the story; yesterday volunteers shared this unique case to me. (Note: I might be off by a day or so either way these dates).

On August 28th they received a request from a supporter in Palliser for a 4 X 4 sign to be placed on their lawn. The following day it was installed; a two (one sided) signs back to back with three wooden stakes driven into the ground to hold it in place.

Monday, August 31st, the office gets a second call from the supporter. The sign is gone. Not damaged, not broken off at that stakes, but completely gone.

The sign is replaced as it was previously installed, albeit the stakes are driven in a bit further.

Thursday, September 3rd another call from the supporter. It has been stolen yet again. Needless to say the resident is quite upset that someone would come onto their property, not once but twice within five days and steal something right out of their yard.

One has to wonder what goes through a thief’s mind. Do they think they can influence an election outcome by removing a sign? Hardly. Do they think the candidate will be upset by this type of thing? Again, not likely they have far better things to do.

By this point the volunteers are also incredibly ticked that someone could have such little regard to all their hard work. countless hours and the invasion of one of our supporters’ private property; never mind the wasted money on signs that just disappear.

Now I wasn’t privy to the conversation, but as I understand it an agreement was reached between a couple of volunteers and the supporter. The sign would be replaced one more time and volunteers would keep an eye on it.

So it was placed a third time.

This morning I get word from a volunteer that they witnessed the third attempt to steal this sign, not only that; they have video of him fleeing the scene!!!!!!!!!

I have since spoken with this very loyal supporter. I will be picking up the video today and then meeting with the supporter to show it to them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Invite to bloggers of all stripes

I would like to invite Bloggers and Tweets of all political stripes to attend the Wildrose Alliance Leadership Convention in Edmonton October 17 at the Holiday Inn Convention Centre.

For just $30.00 (same price members will pay) you can have lunch, mix, mingle and be there first hand when the results come in!!

You can register online here. Then drop me an email with your blogs URL and I will add a link to your blog on my Executive Director’s blog. (Your real name will NOT be revealed.) I will also provide you with the discount code for accommodations at the centre.

Edited to correct: (Your real name will NOT be revealed.)

Clearly, I wasn't very clear. LOL

You have to register in your REAL name. Your BLOG name will appear in the list on my official WAP blog. It is your option to have your real name appear there also. And as Ken Chapman has pointed out it will add hugely to your credibility.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Diane Colley-Urquhart’s flip flop

Decline Comment Urquhart 'errr Diane Colley-Urquhart is adamantly claiming she has not changed her mind regarding her aldermanic position. Yet, her very own words tell a very different story.


Diane Colley-Urquhart, August 5, 2009


Very clearly she states she is taking a “leave of absence”. The Wiki definition:

Leave of absence (LOA) is a term used to describe a period of time that one is to be away from his/her primary job, while maintaining the status of employee. This term is in contrast to normal periods away from the workplace, such as vacations, holidays, hiatuses, sabbaticals, and “working from home” programs, in that they are considered to be exceptional circumstances, rather than benefits. Generally such an arrangement has a predefined termination at a particular date or after a certain event has occurred.

Diane Colley-Urquhart, in today’s Calgary Herald:


Colley-Urquhart said her decision to stay on as alderman was made after consulting colleagues and advisers. She said she'll pay back the aldermanic wages that she earns during the campaign period.


“Stay on as alderman” is quite different than “leave of absence”.

Both times she refers to “discussing or consulting others”. Which begs the questions; is she getting “advice” from multiple sources or are they the same ones who are changing their minds? If so, why doesn’t she stand up to them? Or is it Diane who is changing her mind?

Either way, it boils down to; at best very poor optics and at worst (IMO) unethical behavior.

In fact if Diane Colley-Urquhart were nearly anyone else at City Hall she would be in breach of their “Conflict of Interest Policy.”

It very clearly states that employees take a “leave of absence”
Federal and Provincial Elections:

• An employee will be entitled to a leave of absence without pay during candidature for a provincial or federal election or by-election.

The catch is:

SCOPE / EXCEPTIONS

This policy applies to individuals employed by the City, including those on contract, but not including elected officials.

So there you have it; one set of standards for the peasants and another for the lords.

Shouldn’t our elected offices be held to an even higher standard? Even it is not “written in” to their policies; can they not “lead by example? Perhaps I am just asking a bit too much.


Hat tip to FFCanuck at Blogging Tories for bringing the Conflict of Interest document to my attention.

I should also note you will not find Diane’s comments on her blog as she has since deleted them. In fact she has deleted every comment from every post on the blog and no longer allows comments.


It would appear Diane Colley-Urquhart took my “advice”.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Things that make you go 'Hmmm?"

First I must thank the receptionist at Diane Colley-Urquhart's office; because you really can't buy coverage like this;

CTV News tried to talk to PC candidate Diane Colley-Urquhart about Alberta's current financial situation and whether the growing deficit was having an impact on her campaign. We were told she was too busy to speak to us.
Priceless.

That leads us to what makes you go "Hmmm?" At the 1:47 minute mark of the video we get a very clear shot of the front of Diane Colley-Urquharts campaign headquarters. The windows are completely covered; that is 100% covered.

At the same time we have this in the news;

Last fall, Swinton commissioned a replica of a Michelangelo Sistine Chapel scene, using the same material applied to bus windows so that people can see out of the store. He says the company that did the work didn't tell him it would require a permit from the city.

Acting on a complaint, planning development and building approvals staff visited the site and told Swinton he would have to either remove the art or apply for a development permit.

John Purdy, the city's chief development control planner, said the permit was rejected because the sign takes up 100 per cent of the window. The land use bylaw allows for 30 per cent of the window to be covered.

Clearly we have two individuals who have violated the bylaw, yet only one has to answer to City Hall.

Editted to add:

Thanks to all who sent me photos of Diane Colley-Urquharts campaign office.

From the outside, screen shot from video:




From the inside:

Photo removed at the request of the Facebook owner.
(Editted: Sept 5. 13:52)