Saturday, May 22, 2010
They are our bravest and our best. Never forget that.
EDIT: CBC News is reporting that the attackers have been successfully repelled. There are casualties within the NATO Forces, however the nationalities and specifics of the injuries are not being reported at this time.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I am, however, back to the grind, Nation... and that includes getting back on the blogging horse.
Summer is a time that many politicos dread, because of the usual lack of anything to cover after the legislatures dismiss... pancake breakfasts abound, and there's the usual "swing through Alberta in July" tour that federal leaders make, but other than that, summer is usually pretty tame, politically.
THIS summer, I think, will be FAR from boring.
On the immediate horizon, we have the Wildrose Alliance AGM coming up on June 25th and 26th. Now, not a lot of people have been paying attention to this just yet, but I don't think it's overstating the fact to suggest that this very well may be the party's "make or break" moment. They have released a booklet of the policy resolutions that they have had submitted from all over the province, and the party membership will vote to either accept or reject the resolutions as official WAP Policies.
THIS, as they say, is when they separate the wheat from the chaff. The membership of the WAP is either going to show itself to be a collection of even-minded folks with an understanding of the nuance required to govern a 21st-century Alberta... or they won't. As much as any MLA, any Leader, or any Executive Director, the Wildrose membership itself is going to show us, this summer, whether or not this party has a legitimate chance at governing.
The long-awaited battle for the soul of this new party is upon us.
And I think we'll all be watching to see how it turns out.
This is not to suggest that the WAP AGM is the only political event going on this summer... let's recall that in July the Electoral Boundaries Commission will release its final report on the recommended boundaries and names for Alberta's 87 provincial constituencies. The report is non-binding, however it's at their own peril that MLA's would tinker with the final recommendations before codifying them as law. The new boundaries would not officially take effect until the next provincial election, however as nomination races begin to take place (and as the Wildrose and the Alberta Party work on establishing 83 - no, make that 87 - constituency associations), many constituency associations will be working off the maps they see in July from the EBC.
Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the municipal election "silly season" will be upon us this summer as well, with the "heavy hitters" doing their opposition research, stumping and mud-slinging while the lower-profile candidates (or candidates in lower profile races) struggle to get any sort of coverage at all. If only Calgarians and Edmontonians had a place they could go to for local analysis of their municipal races...
There will also be big news coming from the Enlightened Savage this summer. Trust me - you won't want to miss it. ;)
Nation, I think we're all familiar with the old curse "may you live in interesting times".
Summer 2010 is going to be interesting, indeed.
Please fasten your safety belt.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Alberta needs to hold senatorial elections this fall. Whether in conjunction with the municipal elections (which makes the most financial sense) or separately, they NEED to happen.
I'll admit I'm a little confused about the "party nominees" thing in relation to Alberta senate elections - I mean, if a Wildrose nominee gets elected senator-in-waiting, and the Prime Minister appoints that nominee to the Upper Chamber in Ottawa, does that senator sit as a "Wildrose Alliance" member of the Canadian Senate? I think PROBABLY not... but then, we DO still have a Progressive Conservative in the Senate, representing a party that ceased to exist federally years ago, so you never can tell...
At any rate, that debate is secondary to the larger fact that the public, and the people who have won these races in the past, are all calling for new senatorial elections. The Government of Alberta needs to find a way to walk this issue back and announce they're holding elections - or, alternatively, just take a page out of Ralph's playbook, get up in front of a podium, and say "We screwed up. You took us to task and we heard you - elections are going ahead this October".
Either way, it needs to happen.
A refusal to hold the elections now, in a display of flagrant disregard for public sentiment and the expressed wishes of those who have already been given a mandate by the public to serve in the Senate, looks less like policy and more like hesitation to face the voters.
Voters in Alberta will forgive a lot of things, provided a public servant has the stones to stand up and apologize for the mistake.
The one thing they won't forgive is a politician - or a government - that looks like it doesn't care what they have to say.
Do the right thing, gang.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Senior Calgary-Westologist Kirk Schmidt is reporting via Twitter that the Anders slate has been elected to the CPC EDA Board of Directors.
I'm seeking confirmation on this, but it may be hard to come by at 4 am. It's the only news I've heard either way about the results, though, for what that's worth.
-E.S., wondering about the line of succession for the blog if I don't pull through - does it go to Jane?
UPDATE: The Calgary Sun is confirming Kirk Schmidt's report. The Anders slate has been elected by the Calgary-West Conservatives.
I expect word next week about whether the "Our Calgary West" people will be pursuing the party over reported voting ireegularities (which, having not been present, I can neither confirm nor deny). You'd think, though, that if there was any riding in the country where the CPC would try to run an AGM 100% by-the-book, without any mistakes or faux pas, it'd be Calgary-West after the year they've had - right?
Saturday, May 8, 2010
An individual's name was left off the ballot even though they were properly nominated and someone who was not nominated was on the list. People who lived in the riding were marked as living outside of it and only 3 people out of riding names can be marked out of your 30 or the ballot is spoiled.
I spoke with the individual who's name was left off, many of you probably know him, Josh Traptow, and he has indicated that he is not happy with this and will be speaking with party lawyers, the RO Sam Magnus (National Councilor for Saskatchewan) as well as the EDAs President Michele Austin to see why this happened and, perhaps appeal the results.
Stay tuned for when the results are announced!
Minutes from the previous AGM are being read.
2:30 - Election of the board of directors
3:15 - Ballot boxes sealed
3:30 - Guest speaker
4:00 - Reports
4:15 - Voting result announcement
4:20 - Motion to adjournment
Rob also shook Donnas hand which was a change from last year.
Apparently to get a ballot they have to give you sicker with Anders and Harper on it so they "know how many people are voting" which to me is a bunch of BS.
The SfaD, who may or may not reveal their true identity (up to them) will be posting directly to this blog via e-mail from their mobile device for the remainder of the day. It is my hope that hearing about the goings-on at this controversial meeting directly from someone in attendance may offer a bit more clarity than if I were to take what I was hearing and try to pass it along, as third-hand information. It also offers the chance for the millions of members of the E.S. Nation to get real-time updates from the meeting, without waiting for me to get around to posting updates.
Tomorrow, the true Enlightened Savage will be back in the saddle. Until then - enjoy the change of pace, and keep an eye on this space (I know that *I* will) - things are about to get hot in Calgary West!
- E.S. (the real one)
Friday, May 7, 2010
I found this on a print-out in a gutter. Subsequent conversations have verified its authenticity.
Dear (name withheld)
I'm writing to you today, because I know that you are a true Conservative.
This might be the most important letter that I have written to you, so please read it entirely.
During the past few years, we have made Calgary West a bastion of Conservatism. Together, we have defeated strong Liberal challengers and lent support to successful Conservative candidates across the country.
But now we are facing a new challenge.
I need you to come to the Bowness Sportsplex on Saturday May 8 at 1:00 pm, so that you can participate in the Annual General Meeting with Guest Speaker Ezra Levant.
During the past year, a group of dedicated liberals purchased memberships in the Conservative party. Their goal is to take over our local Board of Directors, so that they can nominate a closet liberal.
After the last election, Jennifer Pollock (the defeated Liberal candidate), urged her supporters to buy memberships in the Conservative party, in order to create a "rainbow coalition".
Their goal is to take over our local board of directors, so that they can nominate a closet liberal to run under the Conservative banner in the next election.
We cannot let this happen.
On Saturday, May 8, I need you to come to the Bowness Sportsplex and vote for a board of directors who are true Conservatives.
Registration begins at 1:00. Upon registration, you will be given a Slate with a picture of myself with Prime Minister Harper. Beneath this picture, will be a list of the 30 true Conservatives who are running for the Board of Directors. Make sure to vote for all 30 candidates.
Where: Bowness Sportsplex - 7809 - 43 Ave NW.
When: Saturday, May 8.
Time: 1:00 - 3:00 pm.
* Make sure to bring a piece of Photo ID, such as a drivers license.
If you have any further questions, please call 403-370-5811
Rob Anders, MP Calgary West.
Where to begin?
I guess we could start with "Beneath this picture, will be a list of the 30 true Conservatives who are running for the Board of Directors."
Awesome... so, Rob Anders is the arbiter of what constitutes a "true Conservative"? Anyone who wants to run for the Board of Directors for the CPC's Calgary West EDA who didn't approach the Don and make an offering at the altar of Reagan first has already had their Conservative bona fides stripped by Anders. If you're not on his list, you're not a true Conservative. How nice. Does he at least give you a fake Pinocchio nose as a parting gift?
Then of course, there are his 2 references to a "closet liberal" challenger to his nomination.
That closet liberal?
Donna Kennedy-Glans, who has been in the business of defeating the federal Liberals since 1981, when Rob Anders was 8 years old. A dyed-in-the-wool Progressive Conservative Party of Canada member from the days when the entire point was to crush the "Trudeau menace".
How very liberal of her - opposing Trudeau, supporting one of the parental parties that joined to form the Conservative Party of Canada and trying to crush the federal Liberal party for all those years.
All she's missing, clearly, is a red scarf and a dog named after a failed environmental treaty.
I'm not going to go on and on about Rob, because I'm pretty sure most of you who didn't already know my thoughts on Anders will probably have guessed them by now. I'll just leave you with this:
This "the only true believer is the one who agrees with everything I say" mentality isn't worthy of a party that lays claim to the legacy of the big tent Canadian conservative movement over the past hundred and forty years. It's a slippery slope from "the only true Conservative is the one who supports me!" to "the only true Canadian is one who believes what I say" and "the only true citizen is an Aryan one" (that last example might be from a different context - but it's the same slope).
In a world that is becoming increasingly co-operative and nuanced - do we really want to see Rob Anders' vision of what constitutes a "true Conservative" validated?
Your call, CPC members in Calgary West. Show up, vote, and live with the results.
The rest of us will be watching.
"Hehr should resign his seat as an MLA to run!" goes the loudest cry. Slightly quieter, hoping to be taken more seriously as a "moderated" opinion, is the insistence that "he should at least take a leave of absence!".
Here's the thing...
Kent Hehr shouldn't do EITHER of those things at this point - and very probably, neither at ANY point.
Let's imagine Kenny Ware, cab driver. Kenny, like most of the cab drivers I know, thinks he's got a lot of solutions for what ails our society. So he decides to run for Alderman in the upcoming municipal election. Kenny's boss calls him into the office the next day and says... what? "I want you to quit working for us if you're looking for another job"? Or, even better, "I want you to keep working for us, but we won't pay you as long as you're looking for other work"?
Are you KIDDING me?
Kenny would sue the pants off his boss - and he'd win.
The insinuation that people are making about Hehr is that's he's either unwilling or unable to separate that work that he does in political circles as an MLA with his efforts to obtain another political job - that of Mayor. They figure that he should move to avoid any semblance of impropriety, and resign his Legislature seat while running for another office. This is the same sort of logic that Ralph Klein used when declaring that anyone who wanted to run for the PC Leadership to replace him should first resign from cabinet, if they were a member.
The PROBLEM with this approach is that the proponents of this action want their target (in this instance, Hehr) to basically admit that he either lacks the ability or the scruples to not do his own thing while on company time. "You're all right, I'd compromise my position as MLA for Calgary-Buffalo while working on my own mayoral campaign. That's the kind of guy I am. Vote for me in October!". These kinds of determinations - about whether you can trust Kent Hehr to be honest on his timesheet - are up to the voters, not the critics.
Of course, there's a lot of irony in that these calls for Hehr to resign are coming mainly from the right - the same people who have watched for YEARS as "their" candidates for mayor have collected the salaries they were paid to be Aldermen, all the while positioning themselves for a run that they've known they were making for a LONG time, regardless of when they decided to let the rest of us in on it.
My favourite irony about this situation, though, has to be that a lot of the people calling for Hehr's resignation as MLA for Calgary-Buffalo are members of the Wildrose Alliance. The same party that trotted out the "we don't want the people of this riding to be without representation in the Legislative Assembly" excuse to rebut calls for by-elections when they accepted 2 members who crossed the floor from the Progressive Conservatives.
One of those crossers claimed to have been mulling the floor-crossing since the summer 6 months' prior, during which time they were pulling in an extra $1500 per month to chair a Category A committee of the Legislature - money that, had they shown the sort of "courage of conviction" that WAP supporters now expect of Kent Hehr and resigned from the PC's 6 months earlier, they never would have received (as they wouldn't have been chairing the committee). The same goes for the other floor-crosser, who was receiving extra pay to be a member of the PC-only Treasury Board while feathering their nest and preparing (quietly) to cross the floor at an opportune time.
The fact that Hehr is being open about his intentions doesn't mean that we get to expect things of him that we didn't of the others. If you're looking at making a move, whether it be public or private, that's your business. If you let it affect your job performance, that's OUR business, as your boss, the voters.
At this point, Kent Hehr has missed not one day of work in the Legislative Assembly since announcing he was running for Mayor.
Until and unless he starts to do so, he should be extended the same benefit of the doubt that the floor-crossers received from their own supporters back in January.
They argued then that Rob and Heather were fully capable of doing their jobs as Government MLA's on the Treasury Board (open to PC MLA's only) and as chair of the Standing Committee on the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund Act (job as Chair open to PC MLA's only) while planning a dramatic floor-crossing to the Wildrose Alliance, which they had already decided to support weeks or months earlier.
If that's true - if the private and non-publicized decision to leave the PC's, and in fact work AGAINST the interests of the PC's, didn't compromise their ability to do jobs that only PC MLA's were allowed to do... then how does Kent Hehr deciding he wants to be Mayor of Calgary compromise his ability to work on behalf of the constituents of Calgary-Buffalo?
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
If we don't expect Joe and Ric to step down, to avoid the appearance of collecting their Alderman salaries while working for their own advancement... if we don't expect Rob and Heather to resign and run as WAP candidates in a by-election, to answer for their decision to accept bonuses available to them ONLY as PC MLA's even after they had decided to cross the floor... then we can't expect Kent Hehr to leave the residents of Calgary-Buffalo without representation, and Hehr himself without a paycheque, just because he's applying for another job.
WE, those who make politics a part of their daily lives by choice, don't get to make that decision for Kent.
The voters among Calgary's one million residents do, this October.
And, if he's unsuccessful, the voters of Buffalo get their say about the move in 2012.
But it's their call, as the 40,000 people paying Kent's salary... not ours, as partisans.
(This post cross-posted to CalgaryPolitics.com)
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Now, of course we knew the WAP would have to come up with a candidate for a possible by-election should Hehr be successful in his bid for the Mayor's chair... but most Poli-watchers were under the strong impression that Danielle would only consider Calgary-North Hill, her home riding, for her first run as MLA.
If there's fire behind this group's smoke - does that lend some credence to other rumours that had Smith running in a Calgary-Fish Creek by-election should the incumbent step down, as has been theorized since the floor-crossing at the beginning of the year?
ALL that said, though, I think it's a real problem that we have such a hard time attracting female leaders of our community into the political realm, to put their names on a ballot.
Now, there are literally HUNDREDS of ways in which women (or men, for that matter) can make a positive difference in our communities without ever appearing on a ballot - or without any of us even hearing their names. Volunteering with community organizations, taking a leadership role on the local Block Watch, even something as simple as writing a letter to a local official or signing a petition can make a real difference. But the most obvious and visible way to push for change in your community is to run for office - and of the announced mayoral candidates thus far, we have six men - Connelly, McIver, Hehr, Lord, Hughes, Kassam (don't worry if you missed Alnoor's first announcement, he'll do it again on May 13th, and then again and again until someone notices) - and no women.
As in, it looks like no women even want the job.
We NEED women in positions of authority and power, Nation. Not just because they make up half of the population - but because they bring a perspective that, for all of our good intentions, men simply CAN'T. That doesn't mean by any stretch that a female candidate is automatically better or worse than a male counterpart - it just means that she's DIFFERENT - and it's this lack of difference in our declared mayoral candidates thus far that has me worried.
Make no mistake about it - men can represent women in government, and women can represent men. This isn't about percentages, or ability. It's just about perspective. If we had 10 declared candidates for mayor and each and every one was a 50 year-old white woman with a lifetime's experience in oil and gas, I'd be just as concerned about the lack of difference in our choices, and in their personal perspectives.
Now, our mayoral candidates to this point are quite different from the example I just laid out... certainly, Paul Hughes and Ric McIver are, to say the least, quite different from one another. Kent Hehr is a born and raised Calgarian, while Alnoor Kassam brings the valuable perspective of someone who crossed an ocean and fled oppression to make a fresh start here. But we're STILL missing a valuable perspective in this race, and it's one I'm hoping that some of our female civic leaders hear the call to provide it.
Where's Diane Colley-Urquhart? She's been conspicuously absent while the men have been jockeying around to be perceived as the front-runner, but DJ Kelly of CalgaryPolitics.com and The Best Political Team in the Blogosphere (TM) has reported that 2 sources have DCU renting advertising space for a mayoral run. Here's hoping it's true.
Diane is NOT the only leader we have in this community without "Y" chromosomes, however. There are other bright lights out there who could take a run at this, from Donna Kennedy-Glans and Leah Lawrence to Cathie Williams.
Nation, I'm confident that as time goes on we're going to see a lot of women come forward to run for city council or school board trustee. These are critical positions with no less responsibility than the mayor (some would say MORE), and we certainly owe every candidate, man OR woman, our thanks for having the courage to stand and be counted. But when you look at the candidates for what is inarguably the highest-profile job in this city - seeing no female faces is, as the youth say, "weak sauce".
Diane? Donna? Leah? Cathie? Others?
Your city needs you.
This post is cross-posted at CalgaryPolitics.com
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Kent Hehr, Liberal MLA for Calgary-Buffalo, announced today his intention to seek the office of Mayor for the City of Calgary.
This seems a little unexpected to many - I have to admit that I was made aware of the "98% certainty" of Hehr's decision last week, however even then I was totally unaware of the immediacy of that decision being announced. This sounds like Kent was trying to get his announcement out before someone else who appeals to the same demographic - Dave Taylor, perhaps? - could get the drop on him and steal his thunder.
One of Hehr's primary arguments in favour of his candidacy is his perception that choosing a mayor who has been on the current council would result in a great deal of baggage coming with the new mayor. Certainly, the sniping that we've seen among council members isn't likely to change with one of the current bunch just switching chairs and getting to hold the gavel - but, we all know that the new mayor isn't going to be the only change on council... not by a LONG shot.
Bob Hawkesworth won't be on council, unless it's as mayor. Ditto for Joe Connelly. And for Ric McIver. And possibly for others as well... they can't ALL be mayor, which means there will be new faces and a new dynamic in council chambers come late October.
If Hehr is successful in his bid to become Mayor of Calgary, he will of course have to resign his seat in the Legislative Assembly - which, while not "safe" for the Liberals electorally, is certainly safer than some others (Currie/Killarney, for example). The Alberta Liberals will have to move quickly after the civic election to find a suitable candidate to replace Hehr in the ensuing by-election, as Hehr's resignation as MLA for Buffalo would be a full 17 months before the next provincial election is expected. Likewise for the PC's, NDP, and the Wildrose Alliance. David Swann is probably a little worried about this, but even HE was wearing the "Hehr for Mayor" buttons that were making the rounds on the Liberal benches as a joke this past March - whoops.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again - I like Kent Hehr. He's got common sense - an uncommon trait in a lawyer and politician. He's principled. He's one of the hardest working politicians I've ever seen. He's a young face (40 years old) in what is a business usually reserved for the "55-and-up" crowd. It was a point of aggravation to me that we found ourselves on different sides of the provincial political divide - and I think he'd make a hell of a good mayor (not that he's the ONLY one who would - but still).
Suddenly, this isn't seeming like such a bad idea, huh?
(Tomorrow, we talk about the biggest thing MISSING from this year's mayoral race at this point.)
This post is cross-posted to CalgaryPolitics.com
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Yes, The Enlightened Savage has gotten on-board the Empire Avenue express.
Empire Avenue, for the uninitiated, tracks your social networking "footprint", and assigns a share price to the level of influence that you exhibit through such things as blog posts, Tweets, Facebook postings, and more.
You can get more information, or sign up, at empireavenue.com
If you need an invitation to sign up (I did - big props to BRITL for the hook-up!), you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, email, snail mail, cell phone, carrier pigeon or via smoke signals.
And when you DO sign up - buy SAVAGE. The stock price is headed for the moon - strap yourself on to this rocket before it gets too high to reach! ;)
(Note for Stephen's sake: That'll be especially true if they determine value on a "words-per-blog-post" basis)
- E.S., also known as "Microsoft in April 1986"
This old guy has certainly kept my feet to the fire since he started blogging - and now he's running 2 blogs and contributing to CalgaryPolitics.com as a member of The Best Political Team in the Blogosphere (tm) - so keep up the good work, you old codger, you!
As for the rest of the Nation - I'll be back at it soon, I promise. We've got a lot to talk about. :)
(unrelated EmpireAvenue data: EAVB_JLDFQMUXFD )