Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Celebrating the demise of Sun News Network?

In watching the Sun News Network (SNN), Herbal Magic appeared to be one of the major sponsors--appealing to the stay-at-home parent considering a weight-loss program.  I hear that another popular herb gave actually gave you the munchies, so I'm not really sure how these herbs worked to make you lose weight.

I find myself, and perhaps you too, watching less and less TV news.  That is, unless some major calamity strikes, I am spending more time watching Netflix and PVR'd shows, including sports, for entertainment, skipping commercials.  My news gathering is primarily online from Google News and Twitter, including any video linked to a major news network.  Radio news is my medium for the morning and in the car.

Like newspapers, TV as we knew it, is kind of dying a slow death to the digital age.  And while the freedom of the Internet with net-neutrality is now being put into question by governments and big-corporations, it is more important than ever before to prevent them from taking it over.  Big mainstream media OWNS TV, newspapers, but are also the major Internet and phone providers in this country.  There are smaller outlets, but competing for sponsor dollars is difficult in a smaller market.  All that said, TV still dominates the living rooms and dinner tables and political campaigns live and die based on the live emotion of TV.

I've recently had chats and online discussions regarding SNN going off-air after about four years of production.  "Good riddance" was an exclamation I read often.  How selective are we, to celebrate the demise of a media outlet when opinion disagrees with our views.  Don't see me hoping for the demise of Evan Solomon's show on CBC although I often am at odds of things he's spouted when watching, wait, reading and viewing videos online.

Nay! What we should be celebrating IS the array of opposing views out in media-land, rather than a single state-run TV propaganda machine coupled with an increasing corporate monopolistic media conglomerate.  Celebrate independent thought--don't dismiss it, I say.  It is often the tactic to shut down discussion

It's funny. I often hear lefties saying we need to defend the little guy over government cutbacks and big corporate takeovers, all the while smiling when the CRTC prevents a start-up TV network from being included in the carriage packages offered by, you guessed it, the big corporate media outlets.

That event alone triggered the beginning of the demise of SNN as they were then unable to gain a wider audience to secure needed sponsorship for revenue.

I had friends at SNN--yes some former Conservative Party staffers--hard-working people who strongly believed in their views for a better Canada.

At the start, I visited their seemingly rag-tag offices in downtown East Toronto and stood in Ezra's bookshelf-strewn studio, which, I learned, had a TV camera that was controlled remotely from another room. Neat, I thought.  Now, these assets will have to be sold off.

Ezra Levant, host of The Source, and as shrewd as many think, he certainly grabbed the attention of the Canadian punditry from a vast array of ideologies, stirring controversy, with his brand of defending freedom.

He, along with Brian Lilley, and Charles Adler, all provided a flair in a media crusade against nanny-state bureaucrats, while flouting common-sense idealism and conservative-libertarianism.  David Akin, a respected journalist in his own right, gave the network legitimacy.  While Adler has his ongoing radio show, Levant and Lilley are currently searching and eyeing for new platforms to continue the battle--likely Internet-based.

At a time when Trudeau politicos believe that cozying-up to extreme global terrorists in our backyard with hugs and sunshine will provide rainbows and fluff-based security, at least there was a loud voice in media-land calling out and holding a potential PM to account on this topic while other outlets floundered.

Now that the Sun News Network is off-the-air, that's one less TV outlet in the Canadian media challenging the opinions of the mainstream media and leftorinos.

In fact, no one else was doing it on TV, and now that voice is gone from that powerful medium.

For you, the viewer, take note, whether you agreed with the approach or style or opinions or views of the cast on SNN is not the point of this debate.

The point is that at least you could decide to watch and listen, to change the channel, or turn off the TV and maybe try some of that "herbal magic".

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Alberta Political Drama? Who'd a thunk?

Let's summarize what has happened in the past few months in Alberta politics, shall we?  Let me see if I have this right.  It's so confusing and difficult to keep track, which is why it's important we reflect on recent history.

PC Leadership Race

  1. PC leadership race is a snoozefest for the most part with Thomas Lukaszuk as the dark horse.
  2. During the race, the Jim Prentice campaign gives out free PC party memberships, but nothing really comes of it.
  3. Jim Prentice easily wins the PC leadership and is anointed Premier of Alberta.  The voting system is put into question, but nothing really comes of it.
  4. Prentice appoints unelected people to cabinet, including former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel to health.

NDP Leadership Race:

  1. MLA Rachel Notley, daughter of former Alberta NDP leader Grant Notley, wins the NDP leadership.  Party easily unites behind her.  Continued strong messaging on a range of issues.

Four By-Elections:

  1. In November, then Wildrose leader Danielle Smith lambasted the Prentice gov't for a multitude of things, but nothing really comes of it.
  2. Four by-elections campaigns occur and the Wildrose campaign team spends a pile of money on TV attack ads right against Jim Prentice and the PCs, but nothing really comes of it.
  3. The Prentice PCs win all four by-elections.

Wildrose falls apart:

  1. Wildrose team members resign. 
  2. Danielle Smith offers to resign as leader.  Wildrose caucus stands "100%" behind her.
  3. At a party policy convention, the Wildrose Party membership votes basically against the Charter of Rights.  
  4. Two Wildrose MLAs cross the floor to the PCs.  Danielle Smith calls them cowards.
  5. Wildrose is depleted of funds.
  6. Backroom negotiations continue to ensue between PCs and Wildrose MLAs, including Smith!
  7. A few weeks later, Danielle Smith, Rob Anderson, and a pile of other Wildrose MLAs cross the floor to the PCs.  The Wildrose are left leaderless with four remaining MLAs. 
  8. Hard and soft Wildrose supporters are mighty pissed off.  Danielle Smith posts reasons on her Facebook page and the large majority of replies are negative toward her.
  9. Wildrose staff aren't paid wages because of a lack of funds.  Private fundraising for them ensues.  But then some get hired on with the PCs anyway.  Sigh.
  10. Heather Forsyth remains and put on as interim leader but will not run again.

Alberta Party?

  1. Interest in the Alberta Party and Greg Clark increases with a good showing in the by-elections.

Prentice envelopes the Wildrose?

  1. Smith explains she believes conservatives need to unite behind Prentice who has now matched the Wildrose on policy and of a threat from the progressive-left.  Really?  Lame.
  2. Former Reform Party leader Preston Manning apologizes for not recommending the Wildrose have a grassroots vote to "rejoin" the PCs.  What?  Oh, so you WERE involved.  
  3. Rob Anderson announces he's not running again because of family.  Then explains it's because of death threats. So really, no point in crossing was there.
  4. Oil prices drop dramatically, massively affecting the provincial budgets and the Alberta economy in general.
  5. Prentice discusses that the flat tax is unfair and also talks about a sales tax.  Sigh.  How's that "policies are the same" talk now, Danielle?
  6. Prentice goes to Arizona and buys a rare $50,000 Ford Thunderbird at an auction. Media latch on, but nothing comes of it.
  7. A pile of PC MLAs, many prominent Stelmach/Redford gov't cabinet ministers, leadership candidates and a former interim premier announce they are not seeking re-election, including Fred Horne, Doug Horner, Dave Hancock, Ken Hughes, and Doug Griffiths.
  8. Danielle Smith apologizes for not knowing how mad Wildrose and Alberta voters would be for her floor-crossing.
  9. Prentice says his MLAs are united.  Not hard to do when most PCs aren't running again.  But does anyone recall how much Danielle Smith railed against then Edmonton Mayor Mandel over the arena and other funding things?  
  10. Rumours swirl that the provincial election will be April 28.
  11. Despite all the progressive PC MLAs not running again, Prentice has to explain that he's been a progressive conservative his whole life and is not implementing far-right policies.

Liberals?  Where?

  1. Liberal leader Raj Sherman announces stepping down as leader immediately--likely from internal pressure.  
  2. Stalwart Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman considers her options for becoming interim-leader and running for leader.

NDP Strike Back

  1. Edmonton-Beverly NDP MLA Deron Bilous gets married to my ex-girlfriend in Mexico.  Yes, you read that right. And yes, I am very happy for them.  Deron is an excellent MLA and his wife is a fantastic person.
  2. Leader Rachel Notley reminds everyone that the NDP is not interested in merging with the Liberals. 
  3. Former Brian Mason announces he's most certainly running again.  Good.  At least there's some stability and high-quality opposition to the gov't.

Wildrose Leadership Race?

  1. Recently ousted Calgary federal Conservative candidate Rob Anders (by a former provincial PC cabinet minister nonetheless) writes a three page letter to the Wildrose executive explaining why he should be the new leader of the Wildrose despite party executive saying he could not in public media.  Even if he did run, would the remaining Wildrose membership vote him in?  Not likely.
  2. No other announcements for leadership yet.  Or any?  Like the Reform Party, is the Wildrose done?
  3. Speaking of which, believe it or not, but The Reform Party of Alberta was recently started by former Alberta Alliance guy Randy Thorsteinsonsenesensenson. 

Snap Provincial Election-Ready?

  1. Jim Prentice strikes back at the opposition parties saying they should always be ready for a snap election.  That's cheap, Jim.  You gut one of the parties then expect them to be ready all of a sudden.

Party Leader Summary

  1. Progressive Conservative -- Former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jim Prentice.  Elected by his membership by giving out free memberships.  Then elected as an MLA in by-election.
  2. Wildrose -- Former PC and current Wildrose MLA Heather Forsyth as interim-leader.
  3. Alberaliberal -- Nobody.  Likely Laurie Blakeman.
  4. New Democrats -- MLA Rachel Notley elected by party membership.
  5. Alberta Party -- Greg Clark elected by party membership.
So really, the only current leader to have been elected in a general election and properly by party membership without scandal is Rachel Notley.

Admit it, all the other parties, including the PCs are all unstable and have been unstable for years, except for the NDP.

The NDP have a prime opportunity here to move to the middle like Jack Layton did in the last federal election and announce some bold tax rebate policies geared directly at the middle class.  Oh, wait, did I just hear federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair just announce the same thing?

Hint hint Rachel.  This is your time to shine when everyone else has mud on their face.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Alberta by-elections a test for Prentice

Tonight, four Alberta by-elections are happening. Without getting into much of the details of each candidate, I'm going to predict who wins and why.


Knowing that they might lose the riding, the PCs strategy was to appoint an unelected cabinet minister and then make him run. That candidate is former Saskatchewan urban affairs minister, Gordon Dirks.

Also running is Alberta Party leader Greg Clark.  He's certain to pull progressive and liberal protest votes, but it won't be enough to take it with the party not having much of any history there.

Hatrock Prediction -- Wildrose candidate Rt.-Col. John Fletcher takes this one from the PCs.  Why? It's Alison Redford's former riding and is the best place to plop your anti-PC protest vote.


Newly minted premier Jim Prentice has made several cookie cutter decisions since taking power after the low-voter turnout PC leadership race with only 17,000 votes to try and show he's different than the past.  Despite the tradition of opposition parties allowing party leaders to run unopposed, that's not happening this time.

Hatrock Prediction -- As much as it would be interesting to see Prentice lose and the Wildrose have been campaigning hard, but so have the PCs, and riding residents tend to vote for said premiers, save former premier Don Getty in the late 80's.


With no incumbent, this one is really up for grabs.  Good candidates from all parties, but it's the Wildrose with the best chance to take it based on past election history.

Hatrock Prediction -- With anti-PC protest votes split among progressives and conservatives, allowing the Wildrose to shoot up the middle, Wildrose candidate Sheila Taylor, a public school trustee, edges out PC Mike Ellis, a Calgary policeman,

Edmonton Whitemud

Former, popular three-term Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, and recent health minister appointment has seen the Wildrose release attacks against him regarding supposed mayoral campaign donations being donated to the PCs and $67k of mayoral city budget paying for Oilers tickets. The PCs have seemingly been able to diffuse with Mandel saying he'd pay everything back if allegations are true. The big announcement that the gov't plans to open a whole pile of new hospitals, while encouraging, Albertans have also heard of these promises before from the PCs.

Hatrock Prediction -- Edmontonians trust Mandel for the most-part and certainly don't mind seeing him involved provincially and at the cabinet table on Edmonton's behalf.  Nothing sticks and so Mandel easily wins this one.

Prediciton Summary:
PCs take two - Prentice and Mandel get in.
Wildrose take two - Fletcher and Taylor win.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The APPrentice - PC Alberta version

CALGARY SUN PHOTO -- 2009/03/27 -- Alberta environment minister Jim Prentice listens to Attorney General Alison Redford as she speaks to media in the Calgary Remand Centre gymnasium on Friday, March 27. Government officials were officially announcing legislation aimed at reducing 'credit for time served'
Lyle Aspinall/Sun Media

We now have a new rookie premier.  Next provincial election, we should all have our own version of the show "The Apprentice" called "The APPrentice" or "Alberta PC Prentice".

The PC Party of Alberta, amidst expense scandal after scandal under the Redford regime, in order to change its wool for the third time, felt that steamrolling a former federal Conservative cabinet minister into the premier's chair would mark a new era in how this party runs the province.

Really?  A party that covets democracy so much finally realized that citizens from other party stripes would buy memberships en masse to vote and have their liberalish candidate win on subsequent run-off ballots was not something they wanted to repeat.  Can't have too many candidates run, but not too few to make it not look like a race, you know.  Oh, how we miss the exciting party leadership convention format (which worked, by the way).

So let's look at the PC leadership election, itself mired in controversy, and then pick apart the new cabinet.  Fun times ahead!

In the leadership "race", 23,386 votes were cast.  Prentice won on the first ballot with 17,863 votes, Ric McIver got 2,742 and Thomas Lukaszuk got 2,681.

But looking back to the party's leadership race in 2011, 59,359 votes were cast on the first ballot and 76,186 votes on the second ballot's first round.

The vote difference on the first ballot between the 2014 and 2011 races is 35,973 votes.  That's a 61% drop.  It was said more people attend Edmonton Eskimo games than the number of voters here.  And then, about the same number of people who attend Edmonton Oilers games voted for Prentice.

Let's admit that this is not a lot of people in a province of 4 million.  And let's also admit that interest in the PC Party has dropped off significantly.  So much so that Prentice cannot claim in any way shape or form that he has a mandate from the people.

The race saw Prentice handing out free memberships.
The vote was a sham in itself.
There are reports that while many people were able to vote twice, many were not even able to vote.

Oh, and some have said that because Prentice won by so much, it didn't really matter.  Really?  Is that the level of argument that party democracy has come to?  They can't even run a leadership race for only 23 thousand people, and you think they can still run a province.

If you're not convinced that nothing has or will change with this party and how they run the province, then let's move on to the recently appointed cabinet, shall we?

Two, not one, but two cabinet ministers were appointed from the citizenry and not from the elected MLAs in the PC or any other caucus.  While perfectly legal, is it right?  One is former Edmonton mayor, Stephen Mandel (who we all know was a Liberal) appointed as health minister, and the other is Gordon Dirks, a former pastor and Saskatchewan Conservative MLA appointed as the education minister.

Dirks himself was known to be associated with evangelical Christian groups with strong views on LGBT marriage and women's rights.  So it's funny, you know, the reason why Redford was able to have the PCs pull ahead at the last minute in the last election to win over Danielle Smith's Wildrose Party, was because of one Wildrose candidate named Huntsberger who also had strong views on gays.  So now where is the media calling out Dirks?  Heck, where are the current PC supporters who cried a fowl of Huntsberger, but now silent on one of their own?  Quite convenient, I'd say. Hypocrites on the other hand.

And wait! I should make that three cabinet ministers without a riding.  Can't forget about Jim Prentice himself as premier, can we?  Yes, I understand that's how this stuff works sometimes, but he's now also appointed himself as aboriginal relations minister, because you know, that's what he did in the federal government, so it's okay then, I guess.

Why is this important to mention?  Is it a big deal?  If the premier doesn't call an election soon, then essentially we have unelected people running the government who cannot be held to account by the opposition caucuses in the legislature because they are not members of the legislature.

Yes, this is a much smaller cabinet than Redford's, but let's not forget that the majority of the ministers were in the previous government too and most importantly THAT THEY ARE ALL FROM THE SAME SCANDAL-RIDDEN PARTY!

I also can't wait to hear what is dug up from the past when David Dorwood ran against Stephen Mandel for mayor of Edmonton. You know, his new fellow cabinet member?  I'm guessing something about tax and spend, oh and Dorwood wanting to keep the municipal airport open where Mandel had council already made the decision to close it.  I wonder what Dorwood thinks about all the new big towers going up in Edmonton because the airport was closed to allow for taller towers.  I wonder.

Then there's Prentice himself, who left some questions behind for us when he was a minister in the Harper government.  He now announces that the government jets are for sale to supposedly end the culture of entitlement.

I hope more facts and questions come to light for voters to see that this government is not under new management by any means.  For 43 years we've been duped into believing this zebra has changed its stripes, or that this pig's lipstick new colour all of sudden makes the pig different.

For you hard or soft NDP supporters, progressives from the liberals, disenfranchised PCs, or Alberta Party-goers, you have a real chance to hold the balance of power next election.  Admit that the NDP has been the only real stable progressive choice and that they have a home for you now under Brian Mason, and especially when Rachel Notley wins their leadership race.  There's no home for you in the PCs anymore, unless you ignore the numerous scandals, and their turncoat blatant disrespect for teachers and public employees. Don't forget that.  Stop voting PC already.

After 43 years, no matter who the leader is now, next election, it's time for us all to move forward without them and vote them out.

Or in the case of our new show "The APPrentice" - we need to tell them "you're fired".

Albertans deserve better.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Do the PCs think we're stupid? Alison Redford resigns as a PC MLA

"See! There's no one on that plane, Dave."  (not actual quote)
Premier Dave Hancock with former premier Alison Redford, who stepped down during this legislature session, in a FILE PHOTO. (EDMONTON SUN/File)
One minute you're flying around on a plane with your daughter and only a few people on it while looking forward to your new Premier's Palace on top of the refurbished Federal Building in Edmonton, then the next you're told to step down or more allegations will surface, and soon, of what we already knew, the auditor general reports you've really really been abusing your flight expenses, and staffers were making up people to be on those flights.

Oh, but you thought there were always more people on those flights.  Riiight.

No longer will Alison Redford, now known as the worst premier in Alberta's history (Canada too?), have her name and face on the side of the party bus.  She's been thrown under it.   No longer premier and now no longer MLA (not like she was showing up anyway), and now the RCMP are going to investigate.

Such is life in the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

What perfect timing too though, eh?  They should thank Redford for this nice distraction.

Nice distraction?  From what?  What do I mean?

Let us not forget how this party built up a coalition of ATA and AUPE folks to vote for them and Redford in the last election by promising money and stuff only to have them turn around and stab them in the backs by freezing their wages and benefits.  But then. THEN! Then just a couple weeks ago, these PCs quietly turn around again and GIVE THEMSELVES THE VERY SAME RAISE those employees were to get.

Did you vote for the PCs last election?  Nice going.

PCAA president, (who cares what his name is), then says it was Redford's "personal choices that led to her demise".

Was it really?  Do you really think we're that stupid?  Did any of you do anything to stop it while it was happening?  And while it was happening, how did you not know?  Seriously, Doug Horner, how did you not know?  You're the provincial treasurer.  Are you that incompetent too?  You must be since the province has been mired in deficits and debt for many many years now, yet our population and tax base have increased well over other provinces.  Not only that, but Albertans are working longer hours than before.

Don't let the PCs fool you.  Don't let leadership "newcomer" Prentice, McIver or Lukazuk convince you it's going to be different under their watch.  It's not just about Redford's "personal choices".  It's the entire culture of entitlement of that party and total disregard for taxpayer's money and voting support.  The wink wink.  The nudge nudge.

It's the same party that allowed school boards and towns to pay for party fundraising dinners without any accountability on these illegal donations.

It's the same party that's been in government for 43 years.

It's the same party that elected Alison Redford as leader.

It's the same party that just might think we're stupid and won't notice.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Duffy Senate Expense Scandal - The RCMP Report

Despite the overblown rhetoric from the opposition and media, this article speaks for itself and why I continue to defend the Prime Minister regarding the Mike Duffy Senate Expense Scandal.

From the RCMP Report...

"The evidence I have viewed suggest that the Prime Minister was informed by his staff that they were working on a plan to have Senator Duffy repay expenses," concludes Corporal Horton on page 70, but "I have seen no evidence to suggest that the Prime Minister was personally involved in the minutiae of these matters." And then, a page later: "I am not aware of any evidence that the Prime Minister was involved in the repayment or reimbursement of money to Senator Duffy or his lawyer."
Read the article about the entire issue here:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What Justin Trudeau said...

I honestly fear if this guy gets in, what he'll do to f-up the economy where so much progress has been made since the economic crisis.  He has no clue how an economy works.  Let's look at some real intelligent things he's said over the past several years, shall we?

"Canada isn't doing well right now because it's Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn't work...I'm a Liberal, so of course I think so, yes. Certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec. There was Trudeau, there was Mulroney, there was Chrétien, there was Paul Martin. We have a role. This country, Canada, it belongs to us." -Interview in French on the Télé-Québec program Les Francs-tireurs, November 2010
So Canada isn't doing well in 2010, it belongs to Quebec, Albertans control all communities in Canada including the socio-democratic agenda, and Paul Martin stood the test of time?  Ok, got it.  Wow.

"I always say that if, at a given time, I believed that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper, and that we were going against abortion, that we were going against gay marriage, that we were moving backwards in 10,000 different ways, maybe I would think of wanting to make Quebec a country," he said. "Oh yes, absolutely. If I no longer recognized Canada, I know my own values very well." - Radio-Canada interview, February 14, 2012
Well, we're not going against abortion, gay marriage, or backwards, especially economically.  But this blogger has no issue of Quebec being a separate country like Trudeau appears to want despite national progress.

"I voted to keep the firearms registry a few months ago and if we had a vote tomorrow I would vote once again to keep the long-gun registry. However, the definition of a failed public policy is the fact that the long-gun registry is no more. . . . The fact is, because it was so deeply divisive for far too many people, it no longer exists." - Toronto Star, December 3, 2012
What the..?  So you'd vote again to keep a failed, deeply divisive policy?

"But there is no question that this happened because there is someone who feels completely excluded. Completely at war with innocents. At war with a society. And our approach has to be, where do those tensions come from? ...But we also need to make sure that as we go forward, that we don't emphasize a culture of fear and mistrust. Because that ends up marginalizing even further those who already are feeling like they are enemies of society." -April 2013
So here he's trying to sympathize with the Boston terrorists by saying "there's no question"?  Wow, he's some kind of sociologist here, isn't he?

"There's a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime." - November 8, 2013 
Admiration? Basic dictatorship?  It allows them to turn their economy around?  Have you seen the huge ghost cities, the massive human rights violations?  Your dad was buddies with the murdering commie Castro, it's no wonder you have an affinity for Communist China.

And thankfully, these types of quotes and thoughts aren't the beginning.  He appears to not have the intelligence to be leader of a party, let alone an entire country.

Quotes from:  http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/archives/sunnews/straighttalk/2013/11/20131112-150823.html
Picture from: http://canadiantruths.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/justin-trudeau-wants-a-world-government/ (may not be original source)

Monday, October 21, 2013

I voted for the smartest person

Don Iveson.  Folks from all ideologies seem to be rallying around his positive campaign. It's not the rallying for me but the positivity and optimism that I also feel about this great city that has all the potential. I don't just want a steward, a manager, or a nit picker, but a real thinker, who applies common sense. 

Diotte had my vote but his campaign got off the rails not once but many times. As an armchair political strategist, there were just too many things that went wrong and it indicated to me that if one can't manage and get their own campaign message on track, how about city?

Campaigns matter.  Leibovici's appeared  to be too well funded and the shots of negativity from her camp did not sit well with me. Don's was funded by developers too but it's also big time grassroots.  Most of my politico friends from every federal and provincial party here around my age group were actively on his team and giving big endorsements. It was all positive and good energy.

Don's stance and vote switch on the arena deal matched my view exactly. 

He's the only councillor to spearhead small business initiatives and knows how to bring everyone together from all viewpoints.  And the only one with the foresight to bring sewers and drainage to be a forefront issue.

He's also a strong family man and that means something to me, even though I'm single.

And you know what?  Calgary can't be the only city to have a young, hip mayor. We need an articulate, smart champion for Edmonton to show to those people and businesses who are thinking about moving here can see us as modern, intelligent, exciting, and relevant city.

In my view, Iveson is the best of the candidates that truly represents Edmonton and me.


Seriously. Go to candidate websites, read their policies and views, and then vote. Edmonton had a 33% turnout last time and I suspect it will be a bit more being that there are more candidates running and we get to select a new mayor.

So where am I at?  In the last day, my support has bounced around all three mayoral candidates.  I've never been this torn about voting in my whole life. It's usually crystal clear to me.

The Issues:

These issues that I'm considering and that have different weighting and priority for me and they're not listed in any particular order. I'll put who I think has the advantage on the issues.

  • Downtown. I live, work, and play downtown and I've seen the great progress over the last six years and it's very exciting. Being a huge Oilers fan, I'm excited about the new arena project and especially the location and how closely it's connected with the business core (two blocks from my office) and 104 Street Promenade.  Street patio and food truck deregulation has been fantastic.  The urbanization plans for West-Rossdale are very exciting too.
    Advantage:  none, as all projects are moving ahead and all supported one thing or another.
  • Drainage. While we still need more affordable middle-class housing downtown to slow the continued urban sprawl.  That said, our sewers and drainage are taking a toll with the massive influx of new condos and people to downtown. Major upgrades need to happen.
    Advantage:  Iveson.
  • Taxes. Will they ever not go up?  I know how some of the city managers work building empires within the bureaucracy and how backwards budgeting is.  A serious full audit needs to be done here but it'll have to come from council and a strong fiscally-minded mayor.
    Advantage:  Diotte, Leibovici.
  • Debt. We're playing catch-up and thankfully, interest rates are low.  Better to borrow and spend now then later when costs are more than the interest we're paying now.  Wish we did this back in the 90's.
    Advantage:  Iveson.
  • LRT.  Edmonton used to lead the way for cities under a million.  Calgary is way ahead of us.
    Advantage:  Iveson, Leibovici.
  • Capital Region provincial tax distribution.  The City of Edmonton is getting screwed by the size of the surrounding cities and their use of our city without paying taxes.
    Advantage:  Leibovici, Iveson.
  • Attracting business, jobs, and people.  This is a big priority and core to the economy.  Edmonton has lots of jobs out there, but we're actually lacking skilled people for many industries.  Post-secondary schools, industry, the province and city need to do more and work together more here to ensure we have the right graduates who can easily transition into the skilled workforce.  This area requires a lot of vision.
    Advantage:  Iveson.
  • Roads and infrastructure.  Advantage:  Diotte.
Campaign grades, experience, vision and perceived ideology:

  • Kerry Diotte:  C-
    • "Diotte or Detroit"?  Bad bad bad idea. Anti-arena type TV ad at local business was also not smart which gave it a negative feeling campaign.
    • 3 years on council, city beat journalist for over 20 years. Knows the city well.
    • Libertarian-conservative
  • Don Iveson:  A
    • Positive, upbeat, and feel-good... folks from all ideologies working on campaign.
    • 6 years on council
    • Best vision
    • Progressive-liberal
  • Karen Leibovici:  B-
    • Dull campaign despite lots of money.  Signs and advertisements everywhere.
    • Many years on council, as an MLA, and president of Canadian Municipalities
    • Blue-liberal

My vote:

Well, I thought this exercise in getting this all down would help.  It only confused me more.  I've got about 4 hours to decide.  I wonder how many voters will not vote because of the difficulty in the decision.

Do I go with my gut, my brain, or my gut brain?  Do I stick to my ideology or go off?  Does ideology even matter when most of all, you need the ability to build consensus?

So I think I'll have to have a couple Guinness and decide because right now, I can't.

But please vote!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Edmonton Civic Election 2013 - A look at the 3 main mayoral candidates

I'll be honest, I haven't paid as close attention to this race as I should.  Why?  Because I'd be satisfied with any of the three mayoral front-runners leading this city over at least the next six years.  Now why do I say that?  I don't dislike any of them.  I liked at lot of their work on council.  They each have distinct positive qualities that are appealing and some drawbacks.  I think a big drawback for all of us is we're not going to see two of them on council for the next three years.  I'm leaning toward one of these candidates but having a closer look at another.

Let's also keep in mind that I've lived in Edmonton my whole life, have travelled to many cities in the U.S. and have seen how things are done and not done well as far as roads, taxes, transit, services, building a downtown core, drawing business and growing an economy, etc.

Anyway, let's look at the three candidates now from MY view (in alphabetical order):

Kerry Diotte
- Knows this city from a grassroots view
- King of the pothole issue -- a major issue
- Anti-arena deal from a taxpayer view, but not anti-arena
- Strong fiscal conservative
- Anti-bike -- he's got good points on the value here with our weather
- Anti-bike -- he lost the bike vote, oh no!
- Perceived as fully anti-arena
- Campaign stunts are too gimmicky and lame - "Diotte or Detroit?" Anti-arena TV commercial at Blue Plate fiasco. Seriously? Who approved those?
- Didn't seem to work well with others on council
- Even Lorne Gunter isn't supporting him

Don Iveson

- Although a family man for a while, perceived as youthful and energetic
- Articulate and has vision
- Only candidate to really talk about sewers and drainage in downtown and surrounding area as a major infrastructure issue.
- Very smart politically
- Too fiscally progressive/liberal. I see him as similar to Nenshi in Calgary.  He doesn't seem like the kind of mayor who'd put his foot down hard on tax increases.  Also, what I've seen in Alberta is a strong political movement of progressives taking over civically. 
- Maybe should have stayed on council

Karen Leibovici 
- Supposed fiscal-hawk
- Tonnes of experience in provincial and civic politics
- Former President/Chair of Canadian/Alberta Council of Cities something or other (look it up yourself)
- Woman - Yep, I'm saying it. She wouldn't be the first though.
- Liberal, but a blue-liberal
- Not all that inspiring
- Huge backing from developers who are funding her campaign with lots of cash. This means influence buying and it stinks.

I think Karen will win with about 40-45%. I said it from the beginning.  Don will get 30-35%, Kerry 20-25%, and the rest to other side candidates.  That said, I think Don probably has the best grassroots ground team that have been with him for many years now and haven't left.

Notable Councillor Candidates off the top of my head:

- WARD 6 (Downtown):  Dexx Williams - former policeman.  He's currently got my vote for this ward.  His policy is very thorough and smart.

- WARD 11 (Southeast):  Mike Nickel - businessman. He's back. He's got experience. He knows a lot about the city's finances and where efficiencies can be made.  And let's not forget, he was a big promoter and coordinator of LRT expansion BEFORE it was a really sexy issue.  His TV commercial is very good.

So there you have it, folks.  Maybe more on this later if anything comes up.