Monday 1 November 2010

View From the Other Side - Part 6.1

This comment was left by an anonymous reader regarding the Part 6 post. I felt it deserved an expanded response.

Jane, as one who was at the PC AGM and heard that same line from the Premier, you omitted the fact that he emphasized that there is existing legislation that prohibits the imposition of a sales tax without the issue going to a referendum. He also stated the obvious when he expressed doubts that Albertans would approve such a tax in that vote.

I don't think that the facts and a full disclosure of the context of his comment left any confusion at all.

In this case the context is neither here nor there. If the Premier had stayed true to his earlier comments his response would have sounded something like this;

“This is an item that will be discussed and voted on by our members later today and I prefer not to influence those discussions. I would like to point out though, that here in Alberta we have legislation that prohibits the imposition of a sales tax without the issue going to a referendum. If our members are in favor of this our government will insure it comes forward on referendum.”

In my opinion the whole tax discussion from MLA Doug Griffiths and Premier Ed Stelmach over the past days was part of their communications strategy. I can imagine how the conversation went.

Strategist: “Ed we need to get some positive headlines that we resonate with the average Albertan.”

Ed: “Okay. Do you have something in mind?”

Strategist: “Yes. We will float a PST tax balloon.”

Ed: “Didn’t we already do this?”

Strategist: “Yes. And it worked, but we didn’t get nearly enough mileage out of it. It only got headlines from the CBC.”

Ed: “I don’t think I can ask Ted to go down that road again.”

Strategist: “You’re right. How about his PA, Doug Griffiths?”

Ed: “Hmmm. Yes. Yes, I like that. He’s due to take one for the team, him and his fiscal five or four or whatever that frat house thing was. BIG mistake, boys. They were trying to copy me you know. I was part of the "deep-six"; do you remember that? We had the craziest hospitality suite at the ‘93 convention.”
* hardy laugh *
"And we had these great little lapel pins. They were green bow ties. Where did that go?”
* Premier goes off in search of his old lapel pin. *

This time round it did play out much better for them. I’m not sure if the timing of it coming just prior to the AGM was planned, but it did afford them much better coverage than the sleepy days of summer.

The sad reality about motions that do pass at the PC AGM’s is that most will never see the light of day as legislation. And even though they are democratically voted on, they can be vetoed by the Premier.

Case in point:

A resolution introduced at the Alberta Progressive Conservative Convention on Saturday argued that sophisticated and well-financed environmental organizations and special interest groups are having success in attempts to redefine Alberta's image in "extremely negative" terms.
It says Alberta's efforts to counter "nefarious public relation campaigns" have been ineffective and both industry and government must work together to come up with a new strategy to turn the tide of public opinion.

"Unless you've been living on another planet you've probably heard all sorts of comments about Alberta's oilsands industry which is really part of the backbone of our economy. We think it's very important to engage industry and government," said Stephen Hope, a delegate from the riding of Calgary Shaw who introduced the resolution.

"The purpose of the collaboration is to create and develop a new and effective image of the province that will be the basis of countering these smear campaigns."

The vote in favour of the resolution was unanimous.

But Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach told delegates he is satisfied with the strategy currently in place and that he has no intention of replying in kind to the negative campaigns.

The motions didn't say anything about launching an "in kind" campaign. Likely those are his own words and thoughts. But they did clearly express they aren't satisfied with the current strategy. Here is the full wording of the resolution:

Whereas, highly sophisticated and well financed environmental organizations and special interest groups in Alberta and beyond, including Greenpeace, Corporate Ethic International and Forest Ethics, are currently experiencing success in their attempts to redefine Alberta’s image in extremely negative terms or worse for the purpose of denigrating the important development of Alberta’s oil sands. It is apparent that the Government of Alberta’s recent branding efforts (”Freedom to Create. Spirit to Achieve”) are ineffective in countering such elaborate smear campaigns that are intended to damage Alberta’s economy now and into the future; therefore

Be it resolved that, the Government of Alberta through appropriate government departments collaborates with representative organizations of Alberta industries whose businesses that have been or are being harmfully affected through nefarious public relation campaigns smearing the image of Alberta. The purpose of the collaboration is to create and develop a new and effective image of the province that will be the basis of countering the smear campaigns. Additionally, external experts in the field of communications relative to this issue should be engaged to assist in the process. Ideally, Alberta’s new image should be multi-dimensional and any copy lines simple but Memorable; and therefore

Be it further resolved that, such collaboration begins immediately to counter inaccurate and misleading information, false statements and dubious claims portraying Alberta’s environmental record in the worse possible manner.

It’s refreshing to see that even PC members don’t like our new cumbersome branding. In theory the “big tent” party is a cross section representative of Albertans, yet many of the ideas coming out of this weekend will fall on deaf years.

Saturday 30 October 2010

View From the Other Side - Part 6

During the morning media session Premier Stelmach was asked his position on a motion that would be going before the delegates this afternoon. He answered it very diplomatically and in my opinion the way a most leaders would. He explained he would rather not give his personal position and leave it to the members to decide. He went on to say, when a leader either speaks in favor or against it may sway the membership. This is paraphrased, but conveys the nature of his position.

During the lunch hour Q & A with members, he was asked about talk of a sales/consumption tax. This is also a motion in the afternoon policy session. He gave his very strong position on it stating; "There won't be a sales tax in Alberta as long as I'm premier". In less than two hours he went from not wanting to comment on resolutions up for debate, to giving a full, definitive opinion on one.

It might not seem like a huge deal, but it’s these variances that cause confusion and reduce confidence. Ed is not alone in this; I’ve seen similar fumbles by nearly all the leaders.

View From the Other Side - Part 5

Premier Ed Stelmach responding to questions from media this morning.

He appeared very comfortable and much more at ease than during his speech last night.

Lunch today will include a Q & A with the Premier & Caucus for the attendees. This will be followed by an afternoon of concurrent policy resolution sessions.

View From the Other Side - Part 4

Just a quick list of other coverage to start your day.

Stelmach happily revving up election engine

PC’s annual general meeting starts with a song

Braid: Ed's Tories rise to peak of false optimism

This last one includes a great quote from Don Braid;
"....the Tories have perhaps gone from the pit of doom to the peak of false optimism."

View From the Other Side - Part 3

The theme for the 2010 PC AGM is “TeamPC”. There are hints of this within the handouts, the décor and in the Leader’s Address. In the main reception area there are hockey jersey’s honoring past PC premiers, behind the stage there are very simple banners with “TeamPC” and of course in the party colors.

They really remind me of this…….

... except the stripes are vertical.

Edited to add new photo. Thanks Joey.

I will give the PC’s credit for the décor and staging; it’s simple, functional and likely reasonably priced.

The Audience

During the Premier Stelmach’s Leader’s Address there seemed to be several people throughout the crowd who started banging their “fan-fans” at key points. These very well could have been very dedicated supporters, but I got the sense it was somewhat staged. One of the individuals was behind me, pacing the back of the room and in between his enthusiastic moments he saw fit to chat with other people. The individuals directly around me were much more subdued.

The Delivery

I’ve seen Premier Stelmach speak a few times over the years and I haven’t seen the changes I expected to see. He just doesn’t seem comfortable up there and appears more to be “reading” than “sharing” a vision. I don’t envy anyone who speaks to a large group; it’s one of the things I hate to do myself. Even though I don’t relish the thought of public speaking, many people have told me how much I changed in just five months of campaigning recently. Our Premier has had over two years and likely has resources, maybe even coaches available to him.

I don’t know if Premier Stelmach writes his own material, but if he doesn’t I believe that might be part of the issue. At one point during my recent campaign, someone else wrote some script for me. I found I couldn’t deliver it as written; it just wasn't the way I would say it. I ended up rewriting it. I kept the base content, but added my own personality and spirit to it.

He did have one moment where he clearly was adlibbing, during which he was definitely more comfortable and personable. If he could capture that and apply it to all of his presentations, they would have far more enthusiastic supporters.

The Content

Premier Stelmach spoke at length about environmentalists attacking us and how Alberta isn’t being treated fairly by Ottawa. At one point he said (regarding the activists); “Nor will we give them what they want, which is attention.” It would seem to me if you use nearly 400 words on the topic during a speech you know the media is covering extensively … you are giving them attention. As for the Ottawa comments; it reminded me of the King Ralph days, when he would rattle his saber, but at the end of the day nothing changed. Also he didn’t take it to the next logical step… the How. How are they going to fix the disparity? How are they going to stop the intrusions on provincial jurisdiction?

Twice during the address, he referred to the massive majority won in 2008. They seem to rely on this as if time stopped on that day; as if there has been no political change in Alberta since that day. What he didn’t address was; what are their chances of doing that again? More than one Calgary PC MLA has shared concerns with me about their chances next time around. If I’m hearing surely the members and brass within their own party are hearing it. Perhaps this is one area that is just too sensitive for the Premier to publicly admit is an issue.

Premier Stelmach also declared the following;
“…. I am proud to announce our Party is embarking upon the most democratic engagement process for policy development in the history of any political party in our province. The process will encourage input of grassroots Party members and individuals who share our values through constituency and regional forums. The end result will be a comprehensive PC Policy Blue Paper that will form the foundation for the next platform and ultimately help set the direction for the future of our province. And in the coming weeks, we will announce our co-chairs of the Platform Development Process.”
Right now it’s lacking in details, but on the surface it sounds like what the Wildrose Alliance has been doing all along. And truthfully, I actually thought the PC’s had a fairly democratic process in place for those who wanted to be involved. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Further reading on the speech:

Alberta premier in fighting form

Stelmach takes aim at detractors

Friday 29 October 2010

View From the Other Side - Part 2

Today there were two other bloggers in the media room. Alex writer of The Roundhouse and Joey aka The Enlightened Savage. I highly recommend reading their coverage of the PC 2010 AGM as well. It's due to Joey's involvement that I've been granted the freedom to report on this event. Joey, I will have to find a way to get back at you errr, thank you.

I would like to thank Don Braid, Graham Thomson and the other (real) media members welcoming me into their realm. Even though we (bloggers) are in their midst, our reporting of the events will be distinctly different. Bloggers tend to have a bias and in some cases even a partisan view. You will see evidence of this in my subsequent posts.

Tonight's reception had several tables; each had about three constituencies represented. This was a great idea; you could head to the appropriate table to meet the MLA and/or CA representatives. I was surprised by the number of people I recognized, but even more surprised by the number of people who know who I am. I chuckled to myself when I overheard one person say to another; "Isn't she with the Wildrose? Why is she here?"

One of the people I bumped into was Sean Chu. Even though we recently ran against one another, we have a great deal in common. (Including losing...) We shared post-election stories and we are both still recovering from the effects of a long campaign.

Side notes:

Food at reception was top notch.
Media room is spacious, enough plug-ins today, but think we will be short tomorrow.
Beverage service was provided to media; although it seemed to have been a last minute thing rather than planned.

Next up: Premiers speech

View From the Other Side - Part 1

I've decided to call this series "View from the Other Side". As background for new readers; I have a long history with the Wildrose Alliance Party. I sat on their Provincial board for over four years as CFO and Executive Director.

Needless to say, it came as a bit of surprise when a member of the PC AGM Organizing team contacted me and asked that I attend as an Accredited Media blogger. So it is that a partisan Wildroser has ended up in the midst of “TeamPC”.

At 4:30 today I attended business meeting of the PC AGM. It was likely the shortest of these I’ve ever been too. (Even the Alberta Party had a longer one with only 99 members back in Oct 2009) It should be noted, this doesn’t cover the policy resolution portion; which will fill the day tomorrow. By my estimation there were about 250 in attendance.

This meeting had reports from the President, Treasurer and PCYA President.
The following are items I felt noteworthy.

President, Bill Smith reported they have had some positive polling results and perhaps some will now be able to sleep better. An internal survey revealed the greatest concern of members was a need for more communication from the party. New memberships fees will be introduced in 2012; $10.00 for 1 year, $25.00 for 3 year and $40.00 for 5 year. (Hmm looks familiar..LOL) He touched briefly of the Election Readiness session for tomorrow. (This is only session that media is not allowed to attend)

Treasurer, Ron Renaud gave a recap of last year’s financials. Given this was public information back in April, there wasn't much new on this front.

PCYA President, Riley Georgsen (this is youth wing of party), reported they have had success online both on Facebook and Twitter. One of their biggest challenges has been gaining members. But they are quite pleased that members are not leaving anymore. According to Riley they have about over 100 youth attending this AGM.

The meeting went onto ‘new business’; which there was none. Next would normally be speeches for those seeking positions on the board; however Bill Smith advised all positions had been acclaimed. Thus the meeting was closed, not even 20 minutes after it had started.

Next on tonight's agenda---
6:00 - 8:00 Constituencies Reception
8:00 Leader's Address

Unusual weekend

Today and tomorrow I will be at the PC AGM. I've attended other party's AGM's as an observer before, but this is the first time as Accredited Media. (New media = blogger).  And the first time I've been to a Progressive Conservative one.

I will be Tweeting throughout the two days. You can follow me at @Jaanikka and the Twitter hashtag for the event is #pcagm.

Also open to suggestions for the name of series of posts to come out of this weekend.  Suggestions so far:

Sleeping with the Enemy
Behind Enemy Lines

Not sure enemy is right word. The PC's after all are our governing party and even I will admit they've done some things right.... Sshhhh.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Some days......


I  had to share this amazing video. Even if you have never been separated from a loved one for an extended period of time you will be moved by it.

Love you hun.
Will see you soon.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Grandson # 2

Introducing our second grandson. He arrived yesterday on the Holiday Monday, weighing in at 7 lbs 12 oz.

Sunday 1 August 2010

Calgary Economic Development Mayoralty Forum

This is a cross post from my campaign blog. Please go to answer the poll question.

Today we have prime example of a branch of the City of Calgary failing to meet expectations of openness and transparency. Calgary Economic Development (CED) will be hosting an all candidates Mayoralty forum. Sounds good .... until you discover it is completely private. Behind closed doors, not even media is allowed in. You can see Dave Dormer's piece on this in today's Calgary Sun.
I believe CED has been a worthwhile endeavour by the City. In fact I listed it as "City Council’s most important contribution to Calgary’s economic well being over the last three years"; when I answered the Vote Calgary survey.  However, I feel this step of holding a closed-door meeting will be a dark mark on their record.
I'd like to get a sense of what others think and have created a poll (on the right). This obviously is completely unscientific and for interest sake alone.

Monday 14 June 2010

Ward 4 Calgary candidate list grows by one today.

Good morning to my regular followers and welcome to others who might happen to find this page.

This morning I have announced my decision to run as an Aldermanic candidate in Ward 4 in Calgary.

My campaign site is now up and running here.

You can also check out the a new blog I have created to share my thoughts as things progress during the campaign.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Thank you Capital Notebook

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my blog has been added to the "Alberta Political Blogs" list at the Capital Notebook.

The Capital Notebook is "the" political "go to" section of the Edmonton Journal. Much like the "Inside Alberta Politics" of the Calgary Herald.

The list has some amazing bloggers; daveberta, Enlightened Savage, Ken Chapman and Calgary Rants....just to name a few. I will do my best to keep up with the pack.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

I might be having “crow” for lunch on Wednesday.

Four weeks ago I wrote a somewhat critical commentary on the PC’s “Cabinet Tour”. It appears one paragraph in particular has come back to haunt me. At that time I wrote:

For the average Albertan, there is zero chance you will get a face-to-face with one of these Ministers. Nor for the media get a chance to ask questions or see them interact with constituents. To date it looks as though they are meeting with local elected individuals and/or handpicked individuals.

Well I recently received an invitation to attend a luncheon with the Honourable Ted Morton, Minister of Finance and Enterprise.  He will be making a stop here in Calgary – North Hill and meeting with other local business people (like myself). I have graciously accepted the invitation.

This has left me in an unusual position though as I reflect on what I wrote a month ago in reference to who exactly would be attending these generally “hush, hush” meetings.

I do consider myself “an average Albertan”. I was born in Drumheller, raised on a farm near Strathmore and have spent all of my adult life in Calgary. I have raised my children here. I explored different career paths before starting my own business and now employ other Albertans.

Some might say; “Well, you are one of the ‘handpicked’ individuals.” And yes, there may be some truth to that; in so far as I did get the invite directly from my MLA, Kyle Fawcett. But in reality, me and my business are a very small minnow in the big sea of Calgary. Kyle certainly could have reached out to far bigger fish to meet with the Minister.

Kyle could have also kept the group to those who are close to him or at least “PC friendly”. I’m sure the possibility of me blogging about this crossed his mind when he sent the invite. I know Kyle is aware of my past connection with the Wildrose. And if Mr. Morton remembers; the last time we dined with him and his daughter; I was the CFO of the party and my husband was the VP of Policy.

It will be interesting to see if the group at lunch tomorrow is a diverse cross section of Albertans and determine just how much crow I might have to eat.

Thursday 20 May 2010

I love my dog SSOOOO much

I had a good scare last night. I won't go into the details, but I want to share my new admiration for our English Bulldog Stewie.

There are times when he can be a bit of pest. He is normally pretty lazy and laid back.

But last night he truly stepped up to the plate, revealing a side of him I have never seen before. He protected our home and more importantly, me!

Here is a clip of the brave little guy having some fun with his daddy.

If the video is not displaying properly, you can right click and select "watch on YouTube".

New blogger on the block

Just a quick note to share a new blog I have added to my favorites list. The Civilized Coup. So far he/she has just a few entrys, but looks like they may be interesting to keep an eye on. You can also follow the CC on Twitter.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

.... And the Liberals say the Wildrose is scary !

This past weekend, Warren Kinsella advised the Alberta Liberals to

………….. paint Premier Ed Stelmach as tired and out of touch and Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith as new and scary.

And David Swann was quick to follow the advice in his keynote speech at the Alberta Liberal party AGM:

Albertans who know that the Tories are fading and that the alternatives are just scary.

Come on guys, what's so scary? It's not like we have horns or carry a pitchfork.

Now that might be scary.

Oh wait, who's this guy?

Allow me to introduce you to Scott Robb. He is the founder of Darkside Collective Ministry International. He doesn't have horns or a pitchfork either, but I bet you he wishes he did. He did after all get his "666" tattoo on June 6, 2006.

He is a Satanic Priest. I'm cool with that. I happen to know other men of the cloth who might also be considered slightly unorthodox. But let's face it some would find this downright SCARY.

I was quite amused to discover in his bio he is a member of both the Liberal Party of Canada and the Alberta Liberal Party. Not surprised, but amused.

By now of course you're wondering why I'm researching Satanic Priests. Well, it's all Dave Cournoyer's fault. He was the one who alerted me to the fact that this little Liberal Devil is running for Edmonton City Council.

Now that IS scary.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Liberal Convention...........sshhhhh

Being involved in politics can turn you into a nerd on so many levels. You might be a “policy wonk”; spending hours researching and then even more hours re-wording your resolutions to get them just right. Or maybe you are more of a “campaign geek”; you analyze past data, collect new data, everything you do leads to that one big day. Perhaps you are a government “process junkie”; you watch (or attend) the Legislature frequently and hate the fact that, here in Alberta, you will have to forego your “fix” for six months.

Possibly you are a like me, a “party animal.” No, no, not the same party animal I was 30 some years ago. A political party animal is one who thrives on the inner workings of the political vehicle. You enjoy so many things the general public doesn’t see. You take pleasure in milestones that never see the light of day; you suffer setbacks, which thankfully also don’t see the light of day. You get to giggle or cringe as you read the media's interpretation of the things that are in the lime light.

Probably though, one of the most satisfying aspects of being a party animal, is meeting the actual people (members and supporters) who form what your party is all about. They are what give you life. They share their wisdom, their time and their money. Members do this throughout the year, behind the scenes and generally away from the peering eyes of the public.

Once a year however your members will gather at an AGM. Often there is a packed agenda. Policy wonks will finally see their creations debated and voted on by members. Campaign geeks will likely take part in election readiness sessions and share their wisdom. The process junkies will rub elbows with MLAs and hope it’s enough to carry them over till the Leg sits again. New Executive Boards are elected to carry you through the next year and often there is a leadership review.

It’s the one chance you get each year to demonstrate to members the progress you have made and to celebrate all the small victories of the past year. It’s also when the media can get an intimate look at a party, beyond the Leader and the MLAs.

I, along with support from many volunteers; have had the pleasure (or is it onerous task) of planning several of these events in the past. Attendance is in brackets.

2006 AAP AGM (75 +/-)
2007 AAP AGM (75 +/-)
2007 AAP Policy Convention (50 +/-)
2008 AAP / WRP SGM (165)
2008 WAP AGM (150)
2009 WAP AGM (225)

Naturally I’ve been drawn to watching how the other parties handle their AGMs. When the PC’s had their 2009 one, last November the media was Tweeting about it, bloggers were posting their perspective and there were plenty of articles in the various papers. The average Albertan had no problem finding information on it.

This weekend the Liberals (the official opposition) are holding their AGM and finding information on this has been as hard as…. well as hard as finding a Liberal in Alberta.

So far there have been a few Tweets, a couple of them confirming attendance at about 200. On Friday my new Liberal buddy, Vincent St. Pierre also blogged that they were expecting 200.

From what I’ve been told 200 delegates are showing up from all around Alberta (only 25 short of the Progressive Conservative’s policy convention a while back), so it is going to be very interesting and very fun.

Once again he is fabricating information. First he is comparing the Liberal AGM & Policy Convention to a PC convention that was strictly for Policy. (Apples and oranges) Regardless, the number at the PC Policy event was report to be 500; that would be 300 more, not 25.  A more accurate comparison would be the PC AGM which had nearly 1200.

Or he could just substitute “Progressive Conservatives” with “Wildrose Alliance” and it would indeed be a factual statement. He tweeted that he would blog last night, so far nothing for me to dissect.

As for actual media articles the count is at two. First from Archie McLean on the Warren Kinsella wisdom delivered to the assembly. I guess no one filled Kinsella in on the Glenmore by-election. And the second, from the Edmonton Journal as well, an editorial.  “Diss the media”; great advice….Not.

In Alberta it is incredibly hard to reach the average citizen. Even the PC’s struggle with communication and they have unlimited resources at hand. Your choices are limited by money, volunteers and your message. Not many parties can afford full page ads in every paper; nor does every party have a troop of volunteers in every constituency.

That leaves you with your message and who delivers that? For the most part it is via the media. A lot of people start forming their opinions of political parties on what they read and see in the media. It’s that coverage that prompts them to the next steps; looking at your website, going to a local meeting, joining and on and on. Regardless of whether the media agrees or disagrees with you; they have the power to reach many Albertans and get them thinking.

Edited to add: Dave Cournoyer has also blogged on this.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Cut too deep perhaps

Looks like my dissection of Liberal Vincent St. Pierre might have cut a bit too deep.

I invited him to respond to my previous post, since commenters were interested in hearing from him. Including the Honorable Mayor of Hinton !!!

This was his response:

I'm waiting for a few more people to make blogged responses before I fire a returning salvo. ;) So far it has only been you. :_(

Tuesday 11 May 2010

How to dissect a Liberal blogger.

One of the keys to successful blogging is to use FACTS to support your position. Facts are what give you credibility. Have I been caught with my pants down (or is it skirt up)? Sure I have. Everyone makes mistakes.

The thing is, if you are going to open your mouth, (or take to the keyboard) you better be sure what comes out is based in truth. As the saying goes: “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt.”

This brings us to Vincent St. Pierre’s blog entry today. I am reposting it here in its entirety (in red) with my responses (facts) interspersed.

The Wildrose isn’t tough enough.

Their media outreach has been lousy this spring. So has their outreach.

And their claim to be “ready to govern”? Doubtful.

In the Legislature they have been almost silent, in the streets almost invisible, and on the airways simply not there. Movements solely around a specific leader, with no basic organization or organizational strength, tend to collapse quite quickly as soon as they arise.

Here is a video collection from Rob Anderson, one of the Wildrose MlAs, so one third of the “silence” in the Legislature.

This is the Wildrose 2010 calendar of events. Does it look empty? Are they invisible on the street and lacking organization? Last I heard they had gone from 15 organized CAs to over 70 in the past six months.

A look at the Liberal calendar reveals 5 events from January to May 2010; conversely the Wildrose Alliance has 47.

Airways? I have heard Danielle Smith, Rob Anderson and Paul Hinman several times on the Rutherford show. And I understand they have also been on CBC, but I haven’t heard those personally. I will let readers root these out on their own.

Unless of course by airways he meant flying. Then no, they rarely fly.

The Wildrose Alliance, at least their elected MLAs, haven’t even been showing up to press conferences and meetings. Shirking their duties and giving up on free and easy opportunities to get attention.
This one that makes me go, huh? The Wildrose has had at least six pressers since the beginning of the year and put out more than 20 press releases.

In fact they took a bit of heat (comical heat) over the last one.

 This compared to the five listed on the Alberta Liberal website over the same time period.
And the Wildrose’s fundraising? Less than the Alberta Liberal Party in 2009. The Wildrose also has less than the Alberta Liberal Party’s membership tallies, too.
If you look at purely the “annual” fundraising of the Liberals, yes they raised slightly more than the Wildrose. However, there is much more to this picture. It should be noted that the Liberals were actually down from 2008 and the Wildrose was up from the previous year.

In 2009 the Wildrose had a leadership race; many supporters were shifting their contributions to those efforts or waiting to see the outcome. Most of the fundraising on the Wildrose side came in the final quarter, after the leadership race, as opposed the Liberals who had all year to seek donations.

Plus there was also a by-election where Paul Hinman’s fundraising was nearly double the Liberal candidates. On the party side, the Wildrose exceed the Liberals by $15,000.00.

All of this is looking purely at the “revenue” side of things. If we look at the year-end bottom line, the Wildrose ended up on the positive side with $196,000.00 and the Liberals in the hole by $89,500.00.

Full information available at Elections Alberta.

Now to those membership numbers. According to the Liberals annual financial statement membership fees amounted to $8505.00. With membership fees at $5.00 each that equals 1701 members for the entire year. The Wildrose put out a press release early in October 2009 with a membership total over 11,670. That works out to the Wildrose outnumbering the Liberal support base by nearly 7 to 1. I suspect it is actually over 8 to 1 now.

The Wildrose also hasn’t had any luck whittling off support from the federal Conservative party. Partisans federally are still wary of the Wildrose and are still holding their bets, and my instinct says that the Wildrose will never be able to tap into those resources there, both human and in expertise.
Not sure where to start with this one. Why would we want to “whittle” support from the Feds? It’s not like we are going to get floor crossers from them. For the most part their supports are “conservative” and are likely to vote that way provincially. The Wildrose finally gives them a conservative choice on the ballot.

As to tapping into those like minded people, it is not much of a stretch to guess this is going on. If Mr. St. Pierre was paying attention he might have already seen evidence of this on some of the constituency boards….or he could have just looked at our Executive Director, Vitor Marciano.

The crossing of the floor of two PC MLAs is not a measure of anything, now. Anderson was a firm Morton leadership supporter and Forsythe has ambitions. With Morton as finance in the PC government all the Mortonites will not flip over to the Wildrose–the leaking of MLAs to the Wildrose stopped with that decision by Ed Stelmach. It’s moot.

This is purely an opinion and I am quite happy to let the Liberals continue to believe this.
The Wildrose’s battle with the Progressive Conservatives on oil royalties is also moot in that Albertans who care about the economic environment of Alberta will notice that before an election is called the economy will improve. By 2012 the royalties fiasco will be long over, long solved, and, with that, the anger against the Progressive Conservatives will just be as long gone.

Wow, Vincent you don’t even read newspapers do you?  They have all but been reversed due to pressure from the WAP.
There’s something to be said about relying on anger and public vitriol to base a party on, too. Members and the public tire of anger. Albertans even more so–we can be pissed for a while but, eventually, we come around to the “then what?” The Wildrose hasn’t provided a “then what” answer yet and the time has passed for it. Their attempt to channel anger to change has, for the most part, been negligible and the public will realize this soon enough. A hefty round of applause should be given to the media who, through their efforts, channeled the outcry against the Tories.

Anger is merely what gets people involved, gets them to take that next step of being active and aid in the growth and development of a party. Something the Liberals haven’t been able to do for decades.

But back to the Wildrose–their numbers are soft. Their support is soft. The anger will run out, their answers will never arise, and their electoral chances will never be more than a seat or two. I actually have a bet with one of my friends (a Wildroser, in fact) that the Wildrose will not receive more than four seats come 2012. We’ve bet beer on it. And, from my assessment of the facts, I think I’m going to win.

A beer! One whole beer? What is that worth? About 5 loonies at a pub perhaps. That’s a pretty strong commitment there Vincent. I will see your beer and raise you. How about we go for a two-four? No wait, I don’t drink beer and since I am going to win, let’s make it a magnum of Baileys.

Side note: You may have noticed that I disabled the comments on this post. The reason is because I know some Wildrosers follow my blog and like to comment on it. (The only time I get comments is when I comment on the Wildrose, too.)

I actually highly doubt Wildrosers follow your blog. It is far more likely people are finding it through Google or Twitter, like I did. Otherwise true followers would be commenting on everything you spew.

This should also give you a clue that the people commenting are finding the Wildrose more interesting to discuss as opposed to the fractured Liberals.
I want those special, active individuals to start blogging and create that institutional toughness vis-a-vis their soap boxes within the blogosphere to assist the Wildrose. Trackbacks are enabled.

I have never posted on your blog, as mentioned I only just discovered it. I have had my soap box (and some would say Wildrose soap box) going since February 2008 when I ran as a Wildrose Alliance candidate.

Do I have “institutional toughness”? Frick, I’m not even sure I want to have that!

A very successful blogger once told me; “If you end up in a debate with another blogger; the goal is not to sway the other bloggers position; it is to influence your readers’ opinion.” I would add, at a minimum it should engage the reader enough to “think”.

Want a good laugh?

Check out Liberal blogger, Vincent St Pierre's post today; "The Wildrose isn't tough enough".

It is so full of holes it is hilarious. I double checked the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st.

I will blog on this more later.

He has turned off comments, but feel free to comment here.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Tuesday 4 May 2010

David Swann; Hip or not so much?

Dr. David Swann, leader of the Alberta Liberal Party tweeted this today.

What do you think? Is this a lame attempt to be "in" with the youth of Alberta? Does he know what it means? Does he even do his own tweeting?

Log your thoughts by voting on the poll to the right or post a comment.

BTW: this post is meant to be fun. :)

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Stelmach: Alberta’s Seinfeld, but we’re not laughing.

Seinfeld was a successful “show about nothing”. It’s becoming clear for average Albertans the “Cabinet Tour” is the “tour about nothing”.

It was first announced April 22 and at that time the schedule only had dates and general areas of where the Ministers would be. At that point I thought; “Okay, that’s understandable. It takes time to book venues, give media advance notice, line up advertising, etc.”

Here we are nearly a week later and I am faced with the fact that the venues and times are not going to be released. How can I be so sure of this? Let’s look at a couple of clues.

There is a Facebook a group called the “The PC Discomfort Tour 2010”. Connie Jensen posted an email response she got when she inquired as to the details.

“Logistics”??? We don’t need to know how they are travelling or what hotel they are staying at!! Just simple venues and times.

Today Don Braid reports that the Highwood PC Constituency Association wasn’t even advised of their own MLA being in town with other Ministers. One could write this off as punishment for the letter they issued in March.

So I sent an inquiry to my MLA’s office this morning asking:

Do you know where I can find the locations and times for the Cabinet tour?

I have deleted the responders’ name, as I actually like the people in Kyle’s office and this situation is not their making. This was the response:

No, sorry Jane. We aren't given advance notice of where they will be. I think the idea is that it's a surprise, perhaps to avoid media attention. I'm not sure.


This really falls into the WT*? column.

So we have Minister’s offices that will not release the “logistics”; they are not advertising in newspapers, the government isn’t sharing the information with their own Constituency Associations and they are not even informing their own MLA offices????

For the average Albertan, there is zero chance you will get a face-to-face with one of these Ministers. Nor for the media get a chance to ask questions or see them interact with constituents. To date it looks as though they are meeting with local elected individuals and/or handpicked individuals.

All of this is quite contrary to what Stelmach touts in his YouTube video.

“… hear directly from Albertans.”

Well, okay they are Albertans, but these are people they can (and should) meet with anytime.

In the video he also claims;

.....because when you are in the capital city, especially in the Legislature building, you don’t get a chance to see people on their own turf.

Huh?? They have a “constituency week” every 3 to 4 weeks for just that reason; to go back to their constituencies and “see people on their own turf.” In the first four months of 2010 the Legislature was in session less barely 30 days and out over 45. (Weekends excluded)

This tour has nothing to do with meeting with average Albertans. It is smoke and mirrors. They are publicizing a façade of a tour, when in fact they doing the things these ministers and MLA’s should be doing all year long. They then post pictures after the fact as if it is something new and of value to Albertans.

There you have it; the “Stelmfeld Tour about Nothing.” There is no punch line and no one is laughing.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Vacation begins

Just a couple of photos of our journey so far.

We spent the first night in Jackpot, Nevada and awoke to this.....

After about an hour of terrible winter driving, the conditions improved and we made our way down to Caliente. We stayed the night there and headed out in the morning on a secondary hwy #317. In reality it is a gravel road and despite signs warning it was closed we went ahead anyway.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Sure is quiet................

As you might have guessed I’ve eagerly been awaiting the launch of the Alberta Party’s website. If you click on the header on their site it clearly says; “starting March 1st” This was further confirmed when they met with Dave Cournoyer.

I realize things can happen and there might be a very logical reason for the delay. Actually this is one of the reasons I signed up for their newsletter; to be kept abreast of developments. I have yet to hear from them; not even a standard, automated welcome note.

So I went in search of information from those involved. The Renew Alberta website has not been updated since the original announcement on February 19th. The Alberta Party’s leader has not blogged since the same date. The most recent interim leader made a few comments on Feb 24.

I also checked Twitter for #renewab, @albertaparty; searched “the big listen”. Nadda. Zip. Zilch.

*** crickets ***

Thursday 25 February 2010

More food for thought

An anonymous commenter has brought up the question of the validity of the Leadership of the Alberta Party.

After reading the real constitution of the Alberta Party, they left a comment in this post.

Reading those pages I dont see any reference to a leader.

An interesting observation.

Edwin Erickson (the Leader of the Alberta Party) and I have tweeted to one another this morning and I have asked him his thought on my earlier entry, but no response so far.

Edwin Erickson a little infatuated perhaps?

At around 10:30 PM (yesterday now) I noticed a new member on Twitter, WAPwatch. At first I thought it might be my old internet friend resurrected. But alas, it is not. My old nemesis would have been a little bit smarter and I would not have been able to figure out the real identity so quickly.

Here are two screen shots taken at the same time. You will see the first posts of WAPwatch. (made at 8:23 PM. according to Tweetdeck)

And here you will see his followers. (Note: I have blocked out the other follower from the screenshot at their request, as they are no longer following)

You will note that the first follower, Edwin Erickson started following WAPwatch a full four hours before the first tweet. Before even one Tweet with any hash tags was posted.  The only way he could have known about the account and started following it before any tweets, was if he (or a cohort) created it.

Since then Edwin Erickson, I mean WAPwatch has been going through all of my followers and has started to follow them.

I suspect by morning WAPwatch will also be following everyone I am following.  Interesting that he chose pink for a background color. Presumably to lead one to believe it was a woman. Or maybe Edwin really does like pink.

Editted to add:
Joanne points out in the comments that this timestamp is of his last Tweet. And I stand corrected; I took it to be the follow time. Nonetheless, clearly he was the first on the bandwagon of this unusual twitter'er. I see this morning the following list is a mirror image of those following me.

Edited to add:
You will no longer find me on his list as I have now blocked him. I recommend my family do the same.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

A Black Cloud Over the Alberta Party

In my last installment regarding the Alberta Party I outlined the three steps to rescinding or amending party bylaws under the Society Act. I dropped a couple of hints in that posting and I suspect they will have caused either the Alberta Party or the Renew Alberta group to do a bit of homework. As such the information in today’s entry should not come as a huge surprise to them.

I will preface this also with: This is not an unusual situation, in fact I have been through similar experiences with two other parties. As well I have heard that this once happened to the PC’s many years ago.

As a recap here are the three points in the Society Act regarding changing bylaws.

Rescission, etc. of bylaws

(1) The bylaws of a society shall not be rescinded, altered or added to except by special resolution of the society.
(2) No rescission or alteration of or addition to a bylaw has effect until it has been registered by the Registrar.
(3) If the Registrar is of the opinion that a bylaw is not in accordance with the application for incorporation or that it contains anything contrary to law, the Registrar shall refuse to register it.

When it came to #2 I wrote:

Hhmm, okay we’re going to have to presume they have filed the resolution with the Society’s Registrar and that brings us to the third requirement.

As everyone knows one should never presume or assume anything. So I went to my local registry office and requested the appropriate searches and received the documents. For now I am only going to post the relevant sections.

This first one is a summary of all the submissions to the Registrar since 1998.

You will see generally each year they have filed their Annual Return and Audited Financial Statement. These along with a list of current directors are the basic requirements to keeping the non-profit society active. You will note they filed changes to the directors on Oct. 4, 2008 and again on June 5, 2009. The most recent activity has been two change of address; Sept. 2 & Dec 2, 2009.

There are two things that really stand out as “missing” on this. The first is that we know they elected new board members at the Oct 2009 AGM. When I look at the list of directors, the new ones are not registered. (I won’t be posting that document as it has everyone’s home address on it.)

The second thing is there is no mention of Bylaws or Special Resolutions being submitted as required by the Act. To illustrate what it would look like here is a portion of the same report from the WAP.

I also received a copy of the bylaws on record with the Registrar, but they were dated August 1985. I thought surely there had been some update or amendment since then. I emailed the registry office and asked if there was a more recent copy of the bylaws, perhaps they missed sending me a couple of pages. (There were over 60 pages, so it was possible). This is their response.

No changes to the bylaws have been filled.

What does this mean you ask? Well, it means the Alberta Party is still operating under their original bylaws (constitution) they filed in 1985 and not the one they circulated at the 2009 AGM. (The one I have posted)

As we already know from 15(2) of the Society Act:

No rescission or alteration of or addition to a bylaw has effect until it has been registered by the Registrar

Unfortunately, it also means the October AGM was not valid. In the bylaws that are in effect the quorum requirement is as follows:

My head count at the meeting was 37. Of that 2 of us were observers and 2 were children of one of the members. In Charles' letter to me he says it was 40% of the membership. 40% would be 40 people. At the meeting they reported the total membership in good standing was 99. I am not going to split hairs over whether it was 33 or 40 people; the fact is it wasn’t the required 50 people.

With the meeting being invalid, it means any resolutions passed are also invalid. In order to get their desired resolutions past they will have to have a meeting of members and meet the quorum requirement as per the above. If their membership numbers are now up to 500, they will need to have 250 people at the meeting.

Then they will have to "actually" file the Special Resolutions and they become effective once the Registrar approves them. And as I mentioned in my previous entry; I highly doubt they will approve a resolution that contravenes the Society Act itself.

There might be one silver lining to this black cloud though. They don’t have any policies! The bylaws in effect don’t mention policies or even make reference to how they would be developed.

They do however have principles:

Looks like there might be a couple in there the Renew people could get behind.

I will be posting the full text of the bylaws, but will blank out the names of the original signators. If any member of the Alberta Party or the Renew Alberta group would like the full report (that I paid for LOL) from the registry search, I will gladly email it to you. You can find my email address in my blogger profile.

The REAL Constitution of the Alberta Party