Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2014 Days 19 and 20

Speederbike presents
Are late for turkey dinner
Pizza is your fate
Imperial bus
Swoops down to observe barrel
Confused as builder

Friday, December 19, 2014

Danielle Smith: Secret Liberal

Back in November 2006, I was almost a year into my six-and-a-half year tenure with the Alberta Liberal Caucus, then the Official Opposition. On November 30, the caucus held a Christmas open house. I took photos and the images languished in a folder for almost a decade.

But yesterday, my computer, which shuttles through my photography folder, randomly chose the above image, out of thousands of photos stretching back to the 1940s, as my wallpaper.

Hey, wait a minute, I thought. That woman on the left talking to Wade that...Danielle Smith? At an Alberta Liberal function?

Click on the photo for a full size image and decide for yourself if that is indeed a young Smith. Of course even if it is Ms. Smith, there's nothing nefarious about her presence at an Alberta Liberal Caucus event; it was, after all, an open house. But it does tickle my funny bone to imagine how hardcore right-wingers would react if they took this image out of context and decried Ms. Smith as a closet liberal, consorting with the likes of Bill Bonko (seen at right).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lego Advent Calendar Haiku 2014 Days 17 and 18

Haiku passed over
Wildrose defection was huge
Politics over toys
General Reikann
Wants a mug of hot cocoa
Cop offers handcuffs

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Dark Day for Democracy in Alberta

Today Alberta's Leader of the Official Opposition, along with 8 other Wildrose MLAs, crossed the floor to join the governing Progressive Conservatives. In engineering this cynical ploy for power, both Smith, Prentice and their supporters have shown utter contempt for fundamental democratic principles.

To the best of my knowledge, never before in a parliamentary democracy has any Leader of the Official Opposition abdicated their responsibility with such blatant disregard for common decency.

And yet I place more of the blame on the governing PCs. With a comfortable majority, there was absolutely no reason they should have been party to this. A responsible government founded on principles of respect for voters and the common good would have understood that a strong opposition is good for the province. But Jim Prentice and his supporters proved today that they simply cannot abide opposition. This should anger and terrify anyone who cares about good governance.

I consider myself a democratic socialist, and yet today my greatest sympathies lie with the hundreds of thousands of Albertans who voted for the Wildrose party in the 2012 election. Betrayal is a hard word, but betrayed they were. Should one more Wildrose MLA join the government caucus - and rumors are flying that this will happen soon - then the Alberta Liberals will likely form the Official Opposition once again, despite losing that status in 2012. That outcome flies completely in the face of what voters chose in 2012, and as many readers know I worked for the Alberta Liberal caucus for six and a half years. Despite that, I would be appalled were Raj Sherman to become Leader of the Official Opposition again under these circumstances, even though I consider him a good man with the best interests of Albertans at heart.

(And yes, Raj crossed the floor as well - but he left the government caucus on a matter of true principle, and moved from government to opposition. However else you can characterize that move, it certainly wasn't an obvious grab for power.)

There's one more frightening possibility: perhaps the Premier suspects that Alberta's economy will worsen considerably - so much so that having a viable opposition extant during an economic collapse could actually set the stage for the end of the PC dynasty. In that scenario, this cynical maneuver actually makes sense. And if this supposition proves true, then Albertans should prepare ourselves for hard times indeed, especially if we care about public education, public health care, the arts and the vulnerable.

Even if that dark scenario doesn't come to pass, today Jim Prentice and Danielle Smith told voters that elections don't matter. When the next election comes I sincerely hope Albertans will prove them wrong.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014