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. :)