Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Pork in Alberta


Just arrived back in Calgary from the Sultanate of Oman. I was out of Canada since September 5th and during my travels visited Indonesia and Kazakhstan, all for business. However, all are Muslim countries so I was craving a little pork when I arrived in Calgary.

Thanks to the current political environment in Alberta it did not take much time to overdose on pork.

We had the appointment of Gary Mar to the position of Alberta Trade Commissioner to Asia. One can argue this move from a political perspective;
1. Mar was qualified and had experience given his stint as the Alberta Envoy in Washington. A position he handled with reasonable success.
2. Gary's family is of course of Asian decent and one can argue this adds to the ability to understand the clients.
3. With Mar is this position it makes it damn difficult to criticize the new leadership.

Wow, that pork tasted good.

Now for the pork overdose!

Sources tell me that the next appointment will be Rick Orman to replace Gary Mar in Washington as the Alberta US Envoy.

Let's see them explain this pork to the people of Alberta. Alison supposedly represents change, a departure from "the old boys network".

How will they explain the appointment of Orman to this post;
1. Finished a distant 5th in the PC Leadership, just ahead of "ole what's his name".
2. Mediocre MLA for the Tories, 1986-1993.
3. Mediocre Energy Minister, 1989-1993, I believe we were in a recession in Alberta at the time.
4. Mediocre businessman, 1993-present.
5. Sorry, forgot the most important issue, a good looking man.

All the necessary pre-requisites to becoming the recipient of a large pork barrel position in Washington.

"Go Alison"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Dust Begins to Settle on Alberta Politics

Time has passed, the sky has not fallen, and we have a woman Premier.

Coming from a family with a strong matriarchal head, a strong wife and four brilliant daughters, I for one applaud the decision made by the PC Party.

After all, Newfoundland saw the light as did British Columbia. I believe woman leaders will understand the needs of the citizens from the social side of the political equation and if Alison is true to form; she will balance the fiscal side as well.

Of course, there will be detractors questioning every decision including the lame left but unless they can show constructive alternatives no one will give them much attention.

No the path forward is for Alison to decide, she will make or break her future not the opposition or the media. She needs to handle tough decisions with precision such as the Gary Mar appointment. See the link;

This scribe believes Mar was a good appointment, politically coloured but the right credentials. These will be the decisions that she needs to stay tough with, prove that the right decision can be made and defended.

I am looking forward to the future under Alison's leadership. Time will tell if I am to optimistic.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Democracy Speaks in Alberta

Like a number of political observers I was pleasantly surprised by the election of Alison Redford as the new Leader of the PCs in Alberta and now the Premier of our Province.

A moderate, a woman, a person who repeatedly attacked her own Party's performance or dare I say lack of performance?

The future of Alberta looks bright from Oman.

A woman leader is just what we need at this stage in our development.

New Tory Leader

Congratulations Alison!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Don Braid - Donn Lovett in drag

Don, thank you for reviewing the blog and agreeing with my assessment; no fall election, by-election and on with setting a direction that speaks to Albertans;

Bill Kaufmann is still dreaming of a white Christmas and a fall election;

What do you think

My prayers are with Alison and her mother.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gary Mar and I agree on no fall election

As I blogged earlier and now it appears substantiated by the Mar Campaign, there will not be a fall election in Alberta.

Furthermore, if Gary is able to set the 120 day agenda outlined in this release, he will speak to Albertans in a language that Albertans understand and have been looking for from the opposition parties in this Province.

I have been saying long and loud since October 2009, when I attempted to get the Alberta Liberal Party to move to the Centre; If you speak to Albertans about the issues that Albertans want to discuss you will have their attention and their vote.

Albertans, rural or urban, all economic classes, male or female all want the same things; A well-functioning, accessible public health care system, accessible education at high standards to make Albertans competitive globally, security of the home.  These are common values we all share in Alberta. They make us moderate, caring, accepting people.

Mar seems to have captured.that sense and along with the majority of Albertans, I trust he will deliver the promise.

I am  optimistic as always, but watching with the reality of having been in politics way to long.

First step, October 2nd, 2011.

If we believe in the plan we need to get Mar elected!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wake Up Canada - A View From Afar

Hello from The Sultanate of Oman

I have been watching as the Harper Government takes it's new found neo-Conservative, social-Conservative majority out for a test drive with the introduction in Parliament of the omnibus crime bill.  We are wading in  unemployment, markets in the toilet, Canadian dollar dropping and Harper shows us the crime bill.

Further to this, our international reputation has never been as weak as it is now in those parts of the world I frequent, the Middle East and South-East Asia.  Witness the world's re-action to the Harper  statement concerning the Palestinian issue at the last G8 meeting.  It's as if Bush is still in power in the US and our Government is trying to see how far up their butt they can stick their head.

For the record, Canada is in a 30 year plus decrease in violent crime.  Never mind that the folly of this initiative has been a colossal failure in the US and other right minded countries.

After Harper tells us how afraid of ourselves we should be and gives us the crime bill to make us feel secure tightly locked in our homes he will march out the next neo-Conservative, social-Conservative item on his agenda, either giving back the guns by removing the gun registry or taking away political opposition voices by stopping the funding of Opposition Parties in Parliament.

Nothing will phase Harper and his toadies, John Baird and Jason Kenney.  Yes it's the religious and political hypocrites with the influence on their master.  Moderates such as Peter MacKay are told to sit in the back of the room, keep quite and vote for and when they are advised to do so.

Lest we forget, Harper and his henchmen were the authors of the infamous Alberta firewall letter of 2001, see the link  The letter was a bid to build a neo-Conservative wall around Alberta, he now feels he has the tools to do this to Canada.

More to come.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Alberta PC Leadership Race

Hello from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

I own a small oil & gas service company in Oman ( and that takes my attention but I am missing my political fix and have been participating in and otherwise watching with re-newed interest the outcome of the PC Leadership race.

Prior to my departure on September 4th, 2011 I had been working through Mr. Ed Tam to support Gary Mar for the Leadership. I feel I need to state that up front because obviously I am a little biased.

I chose to work with Mar having left the Alberta Liberal Party in October of 2009 because they could not define themselves as Centrists in Alberta and therefore did not represent me any longer. Having worked closely with Dave Taylor, I moved to the Alberta Party trying to find a fit politically. This has caused some frustration due to lack of organization and other difficulties. However, I still maintain my membership and my foot in the door.

I met Gary Mar after he announced his intentions to seek the Leadership. The follow-up meeting allowed me to dialogue and get answers to my concerns with Alberta politics in general and PC politics specifically. I was convinced to support Gary and started the task of getting him elected, more importantly for me was to ensure that Alberta maintained a moderate leadership.

That leads me to the thoughts I have from a review of the initial results and what I believe will be the outcome of the Leadership race.

First let me say that people should see the first vote results as a move to the Centre in Alberta politics. Tory voters chose the 3 moderate candidates (so-called Red Tories) including a woman in 2nd place. This flies in the face of the perception from the rest of Canada that we are a bunch of back water conservatives, guns cocked, woman in the kitchen, etc...

Here is the outcome scenario;

Leadership hopefuls who did not make the cut will endorse Mar.

Mar wins the October 2nd vote convincingly.

He changes out the Cabinet in a clean sweep. Not to say all Ministers will be removed but changes are desperately required,

Mar calls Danielle Smith requests she re-join the family, she refuses, still he is seen to be opening up to Wildrose.

He then arranges a time to make an economic statement.

A by-election will be called because either Dave Hancock (destined to the Bench) or Teresa Woo Paw (don't know what they will do here) resigns and a seat is available.

Mar governs for several months to show Alberta what his Government will look like and to convince those who departed for the right that they need to re-think their choices.

May call a June election, most likely a fall, October vote.

From the voice of politics.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Homelessness not an issue during Stampede

He's Back!

After being away from the site since February for a number of reasons I found an urgency last evening to get back in the saddle.

The issue is homelessness and the attitude of the Calgary media to stay away from such issues during the Calgary Stampede because their owners don't want negative stories during the 10 days of a spending spree in Calgary. Apparently homeless people do not exist during the Stampede.

They refuse to cover the Cross Canada Tour by Mark Horvath.

I need to explain the concern; first, read the following background. road trip keeps getting bigger continuing to be a catalyst for change in the fight against homelessness. Communities have rallied to house people experiencing homelessness and others have created housing programs, a farmer donated land that is now being used to help feed low-income families , and miracles that cannot be explained continue to happen. Last year, YouTube allowed to curate their homepage for a day, that one day resulted in 1.6 million people touching homelessness that would have never rolled down their window at an exit ramp.

Thanks to Calgary Homeless Foundation and Community Action Committee goes international traveling extensively throughout Canada. The road trip then returns to United States and continues from Maine through the Midwest and back to Southern California.

This year our friends at Pierce Family Foundation have donated a $10,000 matching grant. That means that every dollar donated will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000. Your donations will immediately double resulting in more impact to fight homelessness. Our friends at Razoo created this website for online donations and for you to “ride along” on the road trip. The site includes a live “Dash Cam” and real-time Google map so it’s almost like you are in the passenger seat. Make sure to bookmark and visit often as we travel Canada and the United States.

Then go to the website to see first hand;

If you agree with me that the media should be covering this issue call your media outlet and let them know how you feel.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leaderless Politics - Alberta

We are at a crossroads in the history of politics in Alberta.

Who would have imagined as they woke from their New Year's stupor that a few weeks down the road we would see;

1. The Alberta Party entering the Legislature via the new Alberta Party MLA, Dave Taylor.
2. The Progressive Conservatives would be leaderless.
3. The Alberta Liberal Party, leaderless for years, would now make it official.
4. The NDs, good boy, stay where you are, we'll let you have the 2 seats.
5. The strongest leader in Alberta politics is Danielle Smith.

This is the day we are supposed to pay tribute to Dr. David Swann and as an individual one can do that willingly.

However, as the Leader of the Opposition in Alberta he was an unmitigated failure leaving the Party in ashes. I once commented that Swann was so politically naive that he could not see his way and therefore could not hold a political thought or conversely, he was so calculating that he was willing to re-build the Liberal Party in his image no matter that only 6 members were standing when he was finished. I think the latter may be the case.

The winds of change are blowing. As my daughter Kate watches first hand from her house in Dahab in the Sinai, Egypt I m envious of here for being so close to change while as a parent also concerned about her safety, nonetheless she is witnessing history.

In Alberta over the next few weeks albeit a little less important on a world scale, we will watch history unfold in Alberta politics.

See you all February 14th when I return from the Sultanate of Oman.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alberta Political Landscape Has Changed

In my most recent comment on Alberta politics I said the following;

The Alberta Party needs to dramatically increase their efforts if they hope to make an impact on the Alberta Political scene. If they do hope to be a credible alternative they will have to plan for the next election, not the upcoming one. The caveat here is the Nenshi Campaign for Mayor in Calgary. Can the Alberta Party create the enthusiasm that was created for Nenshi and make a remarkable surge? And so it goes….

Well it appears they have dramatically increased their efforts.

The acquisition of Dave Taylor is a tremendous boost to the new kids on the block, now they need the "Nenshi Effect" and no telling what can happen.

In the last few days during intense negotiations in support of Taylor's move I became invigorated, felt like a kid again back in the 60's, I hope it lasts.

For the record, I am a Dave Taylor supporter, I know him, I trust him and I will help him as he requires.

I trust all of this will lead to a change in Alberta politics, God knows we all need and deserve it.

To the stars and beyond!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Great Moments in Apple History

The Beginning—From the very beginning the ancients were truly enamoured with fruit. Apart from milk and honey, fruit is nature's only pleasure laden natural food. From the beginning apples have been associated with love, beauty, luck, health, comfort, pleasure, wisdom, temptation, sensuality, sexuality, virility and fertility. Stories and traditions about man's origins connect him to a garden of paradise filled with fruit trees. The stories are essentially the same whether it be the Semitic Adam, the Teutonic Iduna, the Greek Hesperides, or the Celtic Avalon, man's idea of paradise centers on an abundance of cultivated fruit, its sensual irresistibility and the consequential calamity of its seduction.

In Greek mythology, Gaia, or Mother Earth, presented a tree with golden apples to Zeus and his bride Hera on their wedding day. Guarded by Ladon, a serpent who never slept, the apple tree was in the garden of the Hesperides, daughters of the Evening Star. These golden apples became involved with many tales of love, bribery and temptation ranging from the abduction of Helen of Troy to the defeat and marriage of Atlanta. The sexual and romantic connotations of the apple were powerful reasons why apples came as dessert at the end of the meal. They not only tasted heavenly and were good for digestion but were regarded as a cunning transitional aphrodisiac for the pleasures that followed. Is it any wonder that apples became the most sought after fruit on earth? They have taken their rightful place in the pleasure gardens of the wealthy throughout the world in spite of the almost instinctive knowledge that eating them may lead one to a life of chaos and destruction.

8,000 B.C.—Nomadic hunter/gatherer societies invent agriculture and begin to "settle" in places throughout the "fertile crescent" from the Nile through the Tigris and Euphrates, the Indus, and Yellow River Valleys. As both trade and military expeditions begin among these earliest civilizations, dessert apples quickly spread from the forests of their origin in the Tien Shan mountains of eastern Kazakstan throughout the "civilized" world. Each settlement seeks to embellish their "paradise" or pleasure grounds with the most tempting apples of the forests. Previously isolated gene pools from some of the 25 distinctly different species of apples found throughout the world are now brought in contact with each other and gene transfer among apple species occurs. Agriculturalists are charmed. Naturalists are alarmed.

6,500 B.C.—Remains of apples are found among excavations at Jericho in the Jordan Valley and dated to this time period.

5,000 B.C.—Feng Li, a Chinese diplomat, gives up his position when he becomes consumed by grafting peaches, almonds, persimmons, pears and apples as a commercial venture according to "The Precious Book of Enrichment", part I, chapt. 4. Agriculturalists are charmed. Naturalists are alarmed.

2500 B.C.—Dried apple slices are found on saucers in the tomb of Queen Pu-Abi at Ur near Basara, in Southern Iran, linking royalty to the irresistible seduction of apples.

1500 B.C.—A tablet found in northern Mesopotamia records the sale of an apple orchard by Tupkitilla, an Assyrian from Nuzi, for the significant sum of 3 prized breeder sheep. Hittite Law Codes specify a three shekel penalty for anyone allowing a fire to destroy an apple orchard.

800 B.C.—Homer's Odyssey recounts the memory of his fruit orchard to his aging father:

"12 pear trees bowing with their pendant load,
and ten, that red with blushing apples glow'd". . .

and later tells about how King Tantalus was "tantalized" by the unreachable "fruit over his head: pears, pomegranates, sweet figs, apples and juicy olives".

401 B.C.—Greek historian and essayist, Xenophon is so inspired by walled fruit gardens throughout the Persian empire that he establishes one on his own estate in Greece. He then proceeds to coin a new Greek word from the Persian pairidaeza, or walled garden, later becoming the Latin paradisus, and finally the English paradise.

323 B.C.—Theophrastos describes 6 varieties of apples and discusses why budding, grafting, and general tree care are required for optimum production and says seeds almost always produce trees of inferior quality fruit. Agriculturalists are charmed, naturalists are alarmed.

200 B.C.—Latin emerges from a localized dialect in Central Italy to a full and precise language still used in biology, law, medicine, and religion. The Latin "Fruor" meaning "I delight in" is the source of our word "fruit".

100 B.C.—Roman poet Horace notes that Italy has nearly become one big fruit orchard and the perfect meal begins with eggs and ends with apples. Apples moved west with the rise of the Roman empire as the Romans adopted the apples and orchard skills of the Greeks and Persians before them. They proceeded to carry apples to the far reaches of the Roman Empire including continental Europe and the British Isles where previously only crab apples were known. They even created a deity of the fruit trees, the goddess Pomona. Like the Persians and the Greeks, the Romans and many cultures since have responded to the basic human longing for a time and place where men and women are free from the battle with nature for food and shelter. This place is normally symbolized by a garden of paradise and pleasure complete with fruit laden trees featuring apples.

50 B.C.—Cicero, author, statesman, and philosopher urges his Roman countrymen to save their apple seeds from dessert to develop new cultivars. Agricultuaralists and naturalists concur.

50 A.D.—J.M. Columella, a Spaniard living in Rome, an early fruit tester and stickler for quality noted that each fruit seedling was a new and unique cultivar "none to be kept for a long time unless approved by experiment", an otherwise post-Linnean conclusion. To illustrate his point he adapted a verse from Virgil:

It serves no end their* numbers to describe,
The man that's fond of this laborious task,
With equal ease, may learn how many sands,
By western winds are tossed in Libyan plains.
(*i.e. seedling cultivars)

79 A.D.—Pliny the Elder in his Natural History describes 20 varieties of apples.

200 A.D.—Famous Greek physicians living in Rome, Galen and later Hippocrates, recommend sweet apples with meals as aids to digestion and sour apples only for fainting and constipation.

400 A.D.—Saint Jerome, founder of Monasticism, tells his monks to spend more time grafting and budding fruit trees "to escape sloth and the devil".

650 A.D.The Koran, codified by Caliph Utman hails fruit as a sublime gift of God.

900 A.D.—A sacred Shiite drama is written by a secret society of Moslem purists featuring the death of Mohammed in which he inhales eternal life by inhaling the scent of an apple an angel had brought him. Curiously, many centuries earlier, Aristoteles was said to have kept death away by holding an apple and inhaling its life sustaining fragrance. Finally and consciously he drops the apple thus releasing his soul.

1100 A.D.—The Medical School of Salerno teaches the therapeutic value of apples with regard to disturbances of the bowels, lungs and nervous systems.

1240 A.D.—Albertus Magnus of Cologne, bishop, naturalist, and influential philosopher, agonizes in his De Vegetabilibus over whether a fruit tree has a soul. Albertus' then novel philosophy is that the only way to advance knowledge of nature is by searching for nature's hidden principles rather than by relying on the writings of others, however venerable. Discarding the scholastic concept of fruit as a ready-made product of creation, Albertus held that cultivars developed from wild forms, centuries before Darwin draws similar conclusions about the origin of species.

1470 A.D.The Fall of Man, a painting by the popular and highly respected Hugo Van Der Goes, in clear detail of both leaves and fruit, depicts an apple tree in the biblical Garden of Eden complete with Adam and Eve and the Devil. Thereafter artists everywhere choose apples for the Garden of Eden, even though the apples were no doubt borrowed from a similar creation story in Greek mythology, causing apple demand among illiterate Christians to plummet. Among learned Christians, e.g. in the monasteries and royal courts, apples continued to flourish.

1618 A.D.—William Lawson of Yorkshire, writes A New Orchard and Garden, the first book in the English language about the practical aspects of apple growing. He is more often quoted on his sensual observations. "All delight in orchards". "For whereas every other pleasure fills some one of our senses, and that only with delight, this makes all senses swim in pleasure". "What can your eyes desire to see, your ears to hear, your mouth to taste, your nose to smell that is not to be had in an orchard, with abundance of variety." Two mottos appear on the title page; "Skill and paines bring fruitful gaines" and "No man is an island". Lawson who believed orcharding offered the best of business and pleasure had a profound influence on the Lynd family of Yorkshire.

1665 A.D.—Sir Isaac Newton watches an apple fall to the ground and, wondering why it fell in a straight line, is inspired to discover the laws of gravitation and motion.

1751 A.D.—Carl Von Linne, founder of organized Botany, revealed his contempt for horticulture when he said "All our fruit trees are a result of Man's interference and, therefore, unworthy of the attention of even the lowliest botanist". Agriculturalists groaned. Naturalists applauded.

1790 A.D.—Thomas Andrew Knight of England begins the first controlled apple hybridization program for apple improvement. Agriculturalists are charmed and naturalists are alarmed.

1904 A.D.—"An apple a day keeps the doctor away", proclaimed J.T. Stinson in an address to the St. Louis Expositon.

1929 A.D.—Edward Bunyard, author of "The Anatomy of Dessert", comments on apples and the 6th sense "the crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days".

1945 A.D.—An apple breeding program is initiated jointly at Purdue and the University of Illinois using F2-26829-2-2 the largest and highest quality apple known at the time to have resistance to the big three diseases of apples, fireblight, scab and powdery mildew. It came from a brilliant, out of the box, cross made by Dr. C. S. Crandall at the Univ. of Ill. earlier in the 1900s who crossed Rome with Malus floribunda 821, a pea sized crab apple that was highly resistant to all the major diseases of apple.

1988 A.D.—The great Alar controversy arises while toxicology experts on both sides argue. Apple growers are caught in the middle as apple demand falls to zero and the media rushes to report one sensationalized story after another about harmless, nearly non existent chemical residues on apples. Perception overrides reality and the U.S. apple industry goes into a steep economic decline. It is the year of peak apple production for Lynd Fruit Farm Inc. at 240,000 bushels. The consequential losses were enormous.

1989 A.D.—Researchers at Cornell University used a "gene gun" to successfully transfer an anti-bacterial gene from a Cecropia moth to a fireblight susceptible apple tree. This gene transfer from an animal to a plant enabled the tree to develop its own fireblight resistance and trees made from buds or graft wood from this tree also had blight resistance. Bio-tech as demonstrated could save the apple industry and consumers millions of dollars. Agricultualists are charmed. Naturalists are alarmed.

1993 A.D.—The world's first large scale commercial planting of naturally disease resistant apples is planted at Lynd Fruit Farm, on Morse Rd., Pataskala, Ohio. The trees then known as HER4T16 are later elevated to "Co-op 38" and finally named Goldrush. It is the first large scale application of the breeding program begun early in this century at the University of Ill. Agriculturalists and naturalists applaud.

1995 A.D.—Mitch Lynd named Apple Grower of the Year by the American Fruit Grower Magazine and the U.S. Apple Association from over 9,000 apple growers in the U.S and Canada.

1998 A.D.—Mitch Lynd and co-founder Ed Fackler start the Mid West Apple Improvement Association, a group dedicated to breeding disease resistant late bloomers to naturally escape fire blight, scab, powdery mildew, cedar apple rust and late spring freezes thus reducing the use of fungicides, antibiotics, and orchard heating. Agriculturalists and naturalists applaud and chemical companies cringe. Land grant colleges of agriculture are in a bind because increasingly their funding comes from pesticide manufacturers instead of the people through taxation and charitable giving.

2000 A.D.—Researchers at the University of California discover powerful new anti-oxidants in apples.

With the assistance of Mitch Lynd

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alberta Politics May Get Interesting

Hello from Oman. I have been watching the Alberta political scene for several months from afar, having arrived in the Sultanate of Oman the 24th of October last year.

I prepared some comments for your edification and am prompted to publish now based on the recent comments by Ken Chapman on the matter of Raj Sherman (

Therefore, while I want to discuss the action or inaction of all of the provincial political parties, I will also be commenting on Ken Chapman’s piece.

First, allow me to reference those who feel the need to do a little research.

On October 21st, 2009 in my Blog, Donn to Dusk ( I wrote The Future of Alberta Politics – One Person’s Opinion ( In this piece I discussed the political Centre in Alberta Politics and the advantage of capturing that ground.

Then on February 3rd, 2010 I wrote, The Liberals Have Their Chance to Make It Right (Centre ( Essentially what they needed to do to capture the centre and failed.

Both of these suggested that Albertans by-and-large exist in the political centre. This may explain why we only see a 40% voter turnout; at present, no party represents the views of the majority of Albertans.

So let’s discuss the current status of the various political parties.

Progressive Conservative Party (PCs)

The PCs exist in a world best described as follows;

Imagine the older couple living in the mansion on the hill with servants preparing their meals and cleaning the house. They are always having guests to dinner to discuss matters of concern only to them. After the meal the men retire to a room to drink a little brandy, smoke a cigar and discuss the power they hold. The women retire to another room to sip sherry and discuss matters that, in fact, the men neither understand nor really care about, perhaps healthcare, education, etc…

Sometimes people appear on the lawn and raise their voices, while disturbing to the people in the house, as long as they do not break things or crap on the grass, they are tolerated. This is the political opposition in Alberta.

So the reality is, the Tories are out of touch with what Albertans care about, have an entitlement thought process and are ill-prepared to fight any real, organized and serious opposition. This is reflected in recent polling and in the accurate reflections of Janet Brown and her seat projection model. Presently, the PCs are on the cusp of majority and minority, with the Wildrose in opposition.

Wildrose Alliance Party (WAP)

In keeping with the mansion scenario WAP started out as a protest Party, jumping up and down on the lawn and screaming that the PCs were not in touch with the people albeit those people on the far right. Having learned the futility of that behavior WAP is beginning to understand the discussion of the Centre, where most Albertans live.

Therefore, Wildrose, having effectively captured support in the more right-wing rural constituencies is now in mind to moderate their appearance in order to capture support in the urban centres. Once again, the way to capture the support of Albertans is through the Centre.

In my estimation, this is a major trend to watch in the coming months leading to the next provincial election.

Alberta Liberal Party (ALP)

Once again, the ALP protested on the lawn of the mansion after they actually discovered where the PCs lived. However, they were more concerned about whether the water they were drinking came from a tap or was the awful bottled water so dramatically bad for the environment to discuss what Albertans really cared about.

They also spent more time trying to arrange the timing on the lawn with their friends from the New Democrats rather than examining what Albertans wanted to talk about.

One member of the ALP figured out if he talked to Albertans about matters they wanted to discuss, they would engage. Once he figured this out, he also figured out The Alberta Liberal Party would never get to that point and decided to sit as an Independent.

Recently, the ALP dismissed their mouthpiece but unless substantial communication changes are made their future is bleak,

New Democrats (NDs)

When the NDs go on the lawn to protest, they scream so loud no one understands what they are saying.

They have a firm grip on the left, not interested in moving off that position and one can argue that of all the parties, they are true to their support base. They do not appeal to a significant number of Albertans to make a major change in their status.

Alberta Party (AP)

The Alberta Party is work in progress and it will be interesting to see what they become when they grow up.

At present, they are too new to cause any major disruption in Alberta politics more than the writings of the pundits lacking anything else to say. Frustrated Liberals have moved to the Alberta party leaving the ALP with a membership base of 2 or 3 thousand members. Since the Alberta Party membership seems to be only a few hundred, my sense is that Liberals are still looking for an alternative.

The AP has a long way to go and any person getting involved needs to have the time, energy and inclination to build a new party in Alberta, not an easy task.

Where are we headed and what will happen between now and March 2012, the expected timing for the next provincial election.

The Tories will struggle with who they are and what to do to maintain power. Their Achilles heel is healthcare. Fix it or fight the next election on healthcare. I am not convinced they can recover.

Wildrose will continue to attempt to moderate their party to appeal to the urban voters while not upsetting the rural support they have managed to capture, an interesting balancing act and the major show for the view of the political junkie in Alberta. The easiest way to achieve moderation is to bring Raj Sherman in Edmonton and Dave Taylor in Calgary into the Party.

Will they be successful? Time will tell!

The Alberta Liberal Party is on life support. The dumping of the Communication Director is a step in the right direction. The next major decision needs to be; change the Leader, either physically or otherwise so from the perspective of Alberta voters the leadership understands what it is that Albertans want to discuss. Personally, I am not holding my breath.

The New Democrats want to be called when all changes are complete, they are fine and no changes required from their side.

The Alberta Party needs to dramatically increase their efforts if they hope to make an impact on the Alberta Political scene. If they do hope to be a credible alternative they will have to plan for the next election, not the upcoming one. The caveat here is the Nenshi Campaign for Mayor in Calgary. Can the Alberta Party create the enthusiasm that was created for Nenshi and make a remarkable surge? And so it goes….

Now to Ken Chapman: Any direct comments from Ken’s piece will be highlighted.

Ken states the obvious up-front, this is a non-scientific sampling of 174 self-selecting anonymous people. I suspect even more so the respondents are Alberta Party supporters grasping at the notion that Raj may join them.

From here we see the next obvious step, attack your enemy as being the worst possible thing that could happen to Alberta and Albertans. Hence his comment, The Wildrose is a political force with a core of supporters. The Wildrose is a political force with a core of supporters. My sense is their protest support is as deep as a dime and there is a lingering mistrust that pervades them. They have a history and we are not sure what they really stand for anymore. We are cautious about what the strong social conservative element might do to Alberta, once in power.

He then goes on to add the following; Look at Bill 44 that targeted homosexuals and teachers as an example of social conservative influence on politics and policy. In this case this was a Bill coming from the very party that Ken belonged to for many years; however let’s try to make it appear that this was a Wildrose initiative.

Although there is little evidence to support this Wildrose position on healthcare Ken adds, despite protest to the contrary, no thoughtful observer of the Wildrose Alliance Party could conclude that they would not also privatize health care...once in power. They are not stupid. Ken, if in fact, you believe they are not stupid why you would suggest WAP would move to privatize healthcare if Albertans do not support the initiative is a tremendous leap?

Then he jumps to the conspiracy theory approach by suggesting that, they will campaign on a middle of the road policy platform but their behind-the-scenes brain trust is pure Stephen Harper.

Now we can discus Chapman’s wooing of Raj Sherman to the Alberta Party. Initially he defeats his own argument by stating that as for the NDP, you can't fix health care with influence alone, you need power. So to extend this thought Ken must believe that the Alberta Party will form the next Government, I suggest not. To continue to defeat his argument Ken makes the following comment, The Liberal Party is a definite option for Raj to consider. Ken, if power is what Raj needs why would he align himself with the ALP?

Now to his rationale for Raj joining the Alberta Power; The Alberta Party is new. In fact it is so new that it is just now forming constituency organizations all over the province, and is just starting its leadership process. He adds, by joining the Alberta Party he can shift public attention, trigger some imagination and bring a new meaning to political participation in our province. What he really suggesting is that Raj Sherman can spend all of his energies building a new party and forget about his initiatives in healthcare.

Then back to the comments about the Devil; The Ayn Rand inspired, Libertarian influenced Wildrose Alliance Party conjures some serious suspicions about their real political intentions and where they would take us if they had power. Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my or the ever popular paranoid argument that the sky is falling.

Finally Chapman suggests; So what is Raj Sherman going to do? My advice is stay independent for a bit and go out and talk to Albertans as a non-partisan. Great suggestion but how does he do this if folks like you publically make the case he is joining the Alberta Party, huh?

Now I get to make suggestions. Ken and I agree on initial timing, Raj Sherman and Dave Taylor should remain as Independents, co-operate on issues where they can and seen to be above the fray of nasty politics. However, as we get closer to the next election consideration needs to be made with respect to joining a political party. At this time it’s a matter of Let’s Make a Deal.

Will they stay as Independents, join the Alberta Party and continue in the oblivion of Alberta politics albeit feeling the warmth of waving at the windmill or will they succumb to the opportunity to make a difference within Government and join the Wildrose. Time will tell!

One Person’s Opinion