Thursday 19 February 2009

A Sad Day for Democracy in Alberta

February 19, 2009
For Immediate Release

The firing of Chief Electoral Officer Lorne Gibson shows that the Stelmach government continues to practice politics as usual, rather than deal openly and honestly with the democratic deficit in this Province.

"Mr. Gibson was a dedicated professional hired by the PC's to take on a tough task. When he did his job and made recommendations to improve democracy and fairness that the PC's didn't like, they fired him" says Wildrose Alliance leader Paul Hinman. "Further, they blame Mr. Gibson for their own failings such as neglecting to implement electoral reform that they themselves had promised."

Hinman says the move showcases the need for real electoral reform in Alberta, reforms that can make the government more accountable while putting more responsibility into the hands of citizens where it belongs.

"Mr. Gibson worked very hard and put a lot of time and thought into his electoral reform recommendations to the government, including 100 made in 2006, none of which the PC government acted upon," Hinman says, "And though it paid lip service to his advice, not only has the government not taken any action, it's now trying to ensure its interference in the democratic process can continue. For example, the PC Party should not be selecting Returning Officers nor should it be up to the government to determine if potential electoral fraud should be prosecuted. That should be in the hands of the Chief Electoral Officer."

The Wildrose Alliance supports Mr. Gibson's call for appointing non-partisan returning officers, instead of having to use representatives of the Conservative party. While the Conservatives may have competent and fair-minded people among their ranks, it is just plain wrong to rely on partisans to ensure free and fair elections.

Once again, with this issue, the Stelmach government does not inspire confidence in its competence or credibility. "This government assured Albertans, including Mr. Gibson, that it was not going to have an early election – and then it sprang one on them at short notice," points out Mr. Hinman.

The Chief Electoral Office was unable to run a proper election because Stelmach never gave them proper notice, so they didn't have the lead time to perform such basic but vital tasks as performing an enumeration or training Returning Officers. They never had time to recruit Returning Officers either due to the government's own lack of response to Mr. Gibson's requests. The PC's then blamed Mr. Gibson for not notifying the Government for their lack of response to his requests – a basis for his firing. "This is an indication that the Stelmach government either didn't want a free and fair election or that it simply continues to flail about incompetently."

In order to bring reform to the democratic system and increase voter participation, the Wildrose Alliance agrees with Mr. Gibson's calls for fixed election dates, putting the power to appoint Returning Officers in his hands, and implementing methods to make voting more convenient and efficient.

"A democratic government must work for the people, not the other way around," reminds Hinman. "Democratic Reform is required in the Province to increase voter participation and transparency. The Stelmach government refuses to act on their own hand-picked expert's advice after blocking electoral reform time and time again. The Wildrose Alliance government believes it is time for change and asks Albertans to consider the plight of democracy and fairness in Alberta next Election."

Paul Hinman
Wildrose Alliance leader
Phone: 403 393-2003

Wednesday 18 February 2009

What a dark day for Alberta

I cannot begin to tell you how disgusted I am with our government representatives today.

Specifically this group.


Mr. Leonard Mitzel (Chair)
Mr. Ty Lund (Deputy Chair)
Mr. Manmeet Singh Bhullar
Mr. Robin Campbell
Mr. Fred Horne
Mr. Thomas Lukaszuk
Mr. Richard Marz
Mr. Len Webber

That's all for now....check tomorrows' papers for more.

Saturday 14 February 2009


Today is an anniversary of sorts. It is the fifth Valentines that I have not been able to spend with the love of my life. Considering we have only known each other five years, we are working on a perfect record.

Those who know us know that Cory and I are separated by many, many miles several times during the year and usually for months at a time. Inevitably, always on Valentines.

We do however find ways to keep up the communication even through various electronic challenges. Below is an example of this. It is a YouTube video link Cory sent to me, a few days ago.

And this is my Valentines Day response video.

I love you Cor. Come home soon. Come home safe.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Quite an Interesting Day

I attended the Alberta Speech from the Throne today. You can watch or listen to it here. Be prepared though, it is a long one. I tried, unsuccessfully, to find the transcript. I did find this one from March 2007; I suspect the site will be updated in due course. Interesting to note the 2007 one is 9 pages of text and today's was 14; no wonder Mr. Kwong pointed out the great length of it.

Perhaps Mr. Stelmach thinks more means better. Despite its length it had little to offer. He missed many points that the CFIB clearly understands are necessary.

Sadly I did not get to meet Mr. Stelmach. After doing a few media interviews, he quickly left the reception. Kudos to those MLA's who did stick around to meet the public.

Meanwhile, outside the Leg a prairie wildfire is starting. Not to worry though; sometimes you need a good fire to clean out the dead wood.

Lastly, I would like to extend a thank you to the MLA who made it possible for me to attend. It is greatly appreciated....and not to worry, I won't name you......;)