Saturday, May 31, 2008
Now will they do the same for the lowest paid people in our work force? I am talking about the working poor who work in the social service sectors. What about paying a livable wage and benefits to those folks who take care of our developmentally disabled citizens, our at-risk and troubled children and our frail and fragile senior citizens who work in the not-for-profit community based service provider agencies.
Mr. Premier, during the election you never mentioned wage hikes for elected people. However you did promise to narrow the wage gap between these people and the equivalent work done by Alberta's civil servants. True more money has been put towards staff retention efforts but it is ad hoc and one-time band-aids. A more systemic and long-term commitment to closing this gap is required if people are going to stay in the social services sector.
So far with your government's union settlements and signing bonuses and increased staff benefits, the gap is wider than ever - even with the ad hoc one-time payments. What is worse, some PDD Boards have been very slow to get into the hands of agencies and employees. So much for crisis control and urgency.
I believe our elected representatives should be paid well, very well in fact. After all they are potentially more important to our well being and long term quality of life than hockey players who can make millions of dollars a year and they have about the same shelf life as a politician.
Now Alberta has pony up and honour, respect and compensate the “little people” who do the difficult and often dirty work we need done to care for the most vulnerable in our society. Quit the delay and the deflection of the issues Premier Stelmach. Pay the working poor in community based agencies a wage that can support a family. You do it for unionized employees why not the rest of the people who work in the sector in non-profit community based agencies?
Maybe that is the message the Progressive Conservative government is sending these folks. Perhaps your government is saying they should “join a union” and pick a fight if they want to be treated fairly and with respect. I hope that is not the message you intend to be sending these working poor. What else can they do to get the attention, respect of government. Remember the responsibility to take care of the vulnerable Albertans serviced by these workers is ultimately the government's.
These people need a significant raise, just like you and your colleagues just got sir. They need enough money and benefits to live in our expensive Alberta. Is it too much for such workers to expect to be financially secure enough to to actually enjoy the so-called " Alberta advantage?"
Congratulations on your raise Mr. Premier. It was the right thing to do. Now take that same philosophy one step further and show the same concern for the working poor who are doing some of the most important and most thankless (next to a politician) jobs in our society.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Looks like Fort McMurray had to pick up the production of the Canada Day events because of lack of volunteer capacity as well.
This is not unique to Fort McMurray. In Edmonton some 15 festivals banded together this year to run a volunteer recruiting event. The life-work balance in Alberta is way out of whack. Some will take pride that Albertans work the hardest and longest in Canada. Not me. The Alberta pace of growth and the stresses it is causing on individuals, families and now communities is not part of the success story of the economy. I think the economy should be there to serve the neds society and make it better for everyone, not the other way around and only serve the few at the top of the socio-economic food chain.
The use of GDP to measure our success is not only useless it is dangerous. We need a more comprehensive and balanced approach to measure success and progress in ourselves, our communities, if not society and the world The movement toward Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) is a much more appropriate tool than GDP to see how well we are doing as a society.
What makes life worthwhile in terms of well-being, be it financially, professionally, personally, environmentally and in our social and civic lives all need to be considered now in how we our measure progress.
I strongly recommend people read Mark Anielski’s book “The Economics of Happiness” for some better understanding of this GPI concept. That is if you can find the time to read a book these days.
They have voted 6-5 to recall Mulroney for June 12th. The issue is not going away and Harper's delays and excuses about calling the inquiry are shewing away at his integrity and accountability.
The former PM refused to appear at an early recall because the inquiry was supposed to be around the corner. It is not happening – at least not so far and not very fast. So the MPs on the Ethics Committee are tired of waiting and want to know if there was more to the Mulroney-Schreiber relationship.
The Siemens bribery trial in Germany, one of Schreiber’s alleged clients/funders will bring a new twist to an already sorry, sand and sordid story. The Ethics Committee vote to recall Mulroney was 6-5 and I imagine the Cons were against the recall. They are good at using their little book of committee tactics and political tricks to try to protect Harper more than Mulroney. Harper is reported widely to have consulted his mentor Mr. Mulroney on the Cons strategy to win over the hearts and minds of Quebecers. Mulroney is consedered to be the source of the Harper positioning by implying support for the soft nationalist strategy in Quebec.
First Mulroney and now Bernier – both Quebec based political embarrassments for the Harper Cons. It gets better, or worse, depending on your POV. Consider Harper’s obvious support for the falling star, the ADQ Mario Dumont and concurrently snubbing Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest, a man whose star is on the rise now. Harper should be looking to Charest for advice and mentoring on how to successfully lead a minority government and get stuff done.
That snub of Charest was just another of the classic political cow pies the brain trust in the PMO has deftly stepped into. Now they just can’t seem shake the political consequences off its shoe in the province of Quebec.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The man is all about tight command and control by the PMO. He applies it to everyone in the Harper government. The default talking point of every Conservative in Ottawa is to reference the sponsorship scandal. That is an old storyline that Canadians have moved beyond. However it is trotted out every time as the answer to any criticism directed at the Cons political, governance and statesmanship gaffe and shortcoming.
This centralized micromanaging and macro messaging control is Harper himself is bound to run its limits and try the patience of the voter. The sponsorship scandal as the Harper Cons answer to all issues is past frustrating, was never funny and now shows just how futile the Harper Cons are at real governing.
I love this African proverb and often think of it when I reflect on Mr. Harper as our pro tem PM. "If want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others." I like to add, if you want to do both you better transform the culture and find consensus. Tranfixing on dictating from the top will not go fast or far.
The Harper minority government has run its course. Unfortunately the Dion alternative is not seen as viable either. It is time for a different political approach and a different kind of person in politics. Given the nature of the job and the little upside for citizens to actually run for office, we may have ot wait a long time for that kind of change to occur.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
My friend (but no relation) Jason Chapman did this video as part of a project we worked on together with Vince and Dale as part of our Leadership Edmonton experience.
We are a generation apart but of one heart. I am so glad to see there are protest songs and the power of images and music still available to influence authority - and is still alive in some souls.
Thanks Jason. I hope readers of this Blog absorb and reflect on your work.
Harper promised the inquiry last November and has found excuses to delay taking action. The time for excuses is past according to Gomery.
Gomery was also not amused that the Prime Minister delegated the determination of the scope of such an inquiry to a private citizen when it is the central role of good government to determine such things. Paul Martin had the strength of character to call a broadly based sponsorship inquiry. Many will suggest the inquiry results cost Martin his political career, for sure his place as Prime Minister.
Harper's firing of Bernier this week was justified and the right thing to do. It also helped Harper solve the problem that was about Bernier's proven incompetence. But he was Harper's most popular Quebec minister and the Cons need Quebec to win the next election. Bernier's prervious blunders were minor compared to his five month long Cabinet security breach.
That one instance aside, there is no indication Mr. Harper is made of the same stuff and Mr. Martin when it comes to his mentor Mulroney and the cloak and dagger dealing of Mr. Schreiber.
Harper's insouciance on this ethical issue is further evidence that it is time for him and his government to go. That looks like it will not happen until the next fixed election date comes up in November 2009. Too bad!
This a regular column I participate in for Alberta Venture magazine focused on ethical issues in business.
I would be interested in reader feedback on the issue discussed.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The continuing saga of proposals for the Alberta provincial governments to impose limitations on free speech during elections has been reviewed in a Calgary Herald editorial today. I have previous postings on this unnecessary and dangerous policy proposal, here, and here and here.
The Looming Fed-Prov Showdown on Environment:
A year ago former Alberta Premier Lougheed mused that a looming constitutional crisis between the governments of Canada and Alberta over environment jurisdictions and standards gets a boost today from Jeffery Simpson in the Globe and Mail today. Lougheed is recently quoted as saying his earlier suggestion that this constitutional dust up will be 10 times more volatile than the National Energy Program was a bit extreme. Maybe not. Time will tell.
Siemans Slush Fund and Bribery Trial:
Newspaper reports note that Siemans has been investigated for bribery charges in a dozen countries and were fined the maximum of 1 million Euros for bribes in 77 cases between 2001 and 2004. Sieman's was part of recent the testimony in the Schreiber/Mulroney affair. PM Harper has promised an inquiry into those dealings but has yet to deliver. Time to get going on this Mr. Harper.
Monday, May 26, 2008
He played with the Quebec sovereigntist’s “nationalists” sentiments a while back and got a dead cat bounce for a bit. He even got cozy with Mario Dumont of the right wing ADQ and intentionally snubbed the Quebec Prime Minister Jean Charest when he was suffering as the leader of a minority government. That has all changed recently. For Harper to realize his dream of a majority right wing government he needs Quebec or Ontario. Looks like Quebec as cooled to the ADQ and Mr. Harper’s friend Mario Dumont.
The blogger Paulitics gives a very comprehensive and interesting account of the shifting sentiments in Quebec. He is worth a read for sure if you are concerned about the future of a unified Canada. The Harper Cons friends, the ADQ, are in free fall. What will that to do Harper's prospects in Quebec in the next election?
The recent Quebec bye-elections are another reason why Harper has to be cooling if not quivering about facing the Canadian electorate any time soon. Quebec has figured him out, Ontario has as well and Atlantic Canada never did like him. The west is now more competitive – except for Alberta of course. But if Harper, the Albertan, keeps taking on personal advisors from the old Ontario Harris government and snubs the Alberta boys who made Ralph Klein and coached Mike Harris, you have to wonder how long they will stay “loyal” to Harper's cause.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
This time the MSM has followed up and exposes the inconvenient truth about Stephen Harper's political style. Promising in 2004 to eliminate GST on gasoline over $.85 a litre but now it is hovering round $1.28 a litre Harper says there no need to fulfill the prior POLITICAL promise because it would make little difference on overall prices anyway. There was no need to make such a pointless and purposeless political promise in the first place Mr. Harper. Oh, I forgot for a moment, there as an election to win - at all costs, including making disingenuous promises.
The GST tax cut he did promise and make also has little impact on prices or the taxes Canadians pay. With gasoline prices up dramatically and inflation starting up, the 5% GST staying on – my guess is Canadians are paying the same dollar amount of GST at the end of the day anyway.
Open, accountable, transparent government be damned...this man is all about raw power. A Cabinet shuffle is in the offing...heads will roll. Intimidation dominates caucus and the principle of representative government will take another body blow from this Prime Minister. Expect he will move to further gather and centralize all the political power he can muster - in himself.
Wasn't it Plato who suggest the best way to govern was with a benevolent dictatorship? Harper is half way there but benevolence is not within his character qualities. What we see now is a "good" as Harper's statemanship can get.
Canadians belief in Harper has moved in 18 months. It has gone to lets give him a chance, to ok he is a message manager but not a governor, to why is he such a bully, to is that all there is, to I wonder what is going on with this guy, to oh oh - he is not very trustworthy to...ok enough is enough, what the hell is really going on here?.
Time to make a change Canada and give someone with a better sense of the country as a whole, who has proven intellectual integrity and with principles moral courage, like Stephane Dion, a chance to govern. However, lets wait for an election in late 2009 - for events to unfold for Dion and to unravel for Harper.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Further to the previous post on Clinton's assassination comments about Bobby Kennedy - Keith Olbermann has obvously made up his mind about her position, the appropriateness and the motivation behind her comments.
He provides a litany of examples of the inherent violence of the American political culture. Says Clinton should know better and can't be forgiven for this comment.
Bobby Kennedy Jr. has already endorsed Hillary Clinton http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22024587/
...and is quoted in the New York Times helping her with damage control over the comments about his father.
Watch this video of the now famous recent Editorial Board comments of Hillary Clinton and judge for yourself what her motivation and meaning was.
What was behind her referencing the Bobby Kennedy assassination during the nomination process?
Was it an appropriate and worthy reason for her contining to campaign for the Democratic nominiation?
Was she stating that event as a merely historical fact? Or was it in reference to a possibility that she sees as justification for her continuing because tragedies happen? Or is it about something else entirely?
Is this comment being blown out of proportion or is it a measure of the desperation of Clinton's campaign?
I have been wondering where the heads and heart of youth today is at given everything that is going on.
As a product of the 60's - tame as I was - I can't believe there is so little protest going on in campuses these days...when the times are so similar-ish.
The fellow in this video gives me hope. He makes me think I have been looking for protest in all the wrong places.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
There is a lot more meat in this document and policy process that I will have to read and reflect on before I comment further. I see this as a great day for Alberta with the release of this draft. It impacts every one of us and ought to be as catalytic for public engagement as the Hunter Royalty Review Panel document was last fall. Now the real work begins!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
There are similar musings in Alberta to do something akin to this limitation on third party advertising at election time. Not good.
People are not stupid. They can make informed judgments. In the Internet age limiting third party advertising in elections is a silly and ineffective “solution” that abuses power and adds to political cynicism.
In a time when everyone is potentially a publisher, limits on traditional advertising for third parties is only going to extend and expand the other more effective media like You Tube, the Blogosphere and social networks. Limits like this will only make the "perceived problem" caused by third-party advertising worse. The networking power of the world wide web is enormously more powerful at informing and influencing public opinion and changing voter behaviours than a billboard or brochure will ever be.
Free speech is not free. It must be protected, promoted and used responsibly. That duty to ensure freedom of speech falls on governments and every freedom loving citizen. Premier Campbell's limitiation on freedom of speech in BC is wrong headed and this law needs to be repealed.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Sources tell me Bernier actually noted in certain documents calling his former biker girlfriend his “spouse” so she could travel internationally with him on the taxpayer’s dime. A classy guy – all the way.
Canadians indicate in poll results that they are unsure if they like Stephen Harper as a person. Surely this rudeness and slight underscores a personal character flaw in Mr. Harper as a person. This incident is a minor issue in the more complex context of running the country, but it serves as example of the kind of man Stephen Harper is. It makes you think about just how worthy Stephen Harper is, as a person, to serve and represent us in this most powerful and important office in our country.
As for me, I think such incidences of political and personal pique ought to resolve any disquiet in the minds of Canadians about how Stephen Harper ought to be perceived. We have seen him perform as a bully and as a miscreant and as an obfuscator. And now we see just how small minded and petty he can be. Stephen Harper has proven himself not to be a leader and he did not have to spend millions of partisan advertising dollars to substantiate that fact for us.
The Harper Cons have gleefully accused Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario of being a “small man of Confederation.” Prime Minister Harper’s actions here, and there are others, make him look absolutely diminutive as a man. We ought view this event as an opportunity to question if Stephen Harper has the qualities of leadership and the qualities of character to serve the Confederation and Canadians well enough.
I agree with him and tried to say so in an earlier blog post. I think it is a mistake to limit third party advertising in election campaigns. Instead I think those who engage in such freedom of speech activities have a duty to be open, transparent and accountable for their actions.
The reforms I suggest are, first, don’t let such proselytizers hide behind screens like “Albertans for Change” when they are in fact the Building Trades Council and the Alberta Federation of Labour. The sponsors of the messages have to state clearly and precisely who they are.
Next we need to consider if they should be registered under the new Lobbying legislation if they undertake such activities in election times. This new law is coming to Alberta eventually. Why does it take so long to draft the regulations and proclaim this Act anyway Mr. Premier?
And lastly perhaps the sponsors should be required to file, in advance with Elections Alberta, a budget indicating what they intend to spend, where and when in such campaigns and this information should be public. I am not so sure on this last thought but the information would help Albertans judge if some special interest group was trying to buy our attention with advertising instead of persuading us based on the merits of their positions.
Political advertising is very effective in the States but not as embedded nor as effective in the Canadian political culture. Americans seem to think the more something is advertised the better it must be. Canadians think if you have to heavily advertise something, there must something inherently wrong with it. My belief is that paid political advertising has a place but it is not the way to win elections. Paid political advertising at the party level is essentially the price you have to pay for being boring or irrelevant. It gets attention but it is not very effective at influencing opinion and is will not ensure the voter behaviour ou want either.
Word of mouth is much more effective in gathering real political support that actually shows up and votes. That is still best done by old fashioned door knocking and face time with citizens. The next most effective way is Word of Mouse. That is an emerging technique using the connective power of the Internet and viral potential of social networking for electronic “door knocking.”
Friday, May 16, 2008
I think this elimination of regional governance in health care has been coming for quite some time. It may be the health area is the proving ground for a new governance philosophy in Alberta. A taskforce looked at the governance of all agencies boards and commission a while ago and made some important and strong reform recommendations. The thrust of the findings was these groups together spend about half the provincial budget and the government better ensure they align with the GOA Business Plans and goals.
Apparently a rookie MLA asked Caucus who his constituents would call if they had a complaint about health services. Other MLAs answered in chorus “YOU!” Right on! That is exactly who citizens should be talking to if their government funded facilities and services are not meeting needs. It is government who has to resolve these issues and the provincial politicians have to have first hand information if they are going to understand and appreciate the situation.
The way I see it the beginning of the end of Health Authorities started with the fiasco around instrument sterilization in St. Joseph’s hospital in Vegreville, the Premier’s riding. Then Health Minister Dave Hancock “accepted the resignations” of the board of the authority and then he put his Deputy Minister in charge of running the hospital and the region on an interim basis. The problems were clean up, people were screened for possible infections and the entire region was reviewed from an operational perspective.
The chronic incapacity of the Calgary Health Authority to live within its budget and for them to perpetually press the government for bail out money worked under Klein but not anymore. Then the media stunt about money designed to embarrass the Premier over immediate demands for emergency cash was the last straw. I believe the fate of any continuation of the Klein era regional governance and management model in the health sector was sealed.
My observation is that some of these boards, not just in health, were formed in debt and deficit era to save money, take power from bureaucrats and to be more representative of local needs. They were political appointees but power devolved to the administration and the boards became buffers between the politicians and citizens. Not a sustainable democratic governance philosophy.
There are services government is obligated to provide to citizens. The Alberta government set up various regional authorities with appointed boards and then delegated its public interest obligation to them. Government’s obligation to provide services in areas like social services, children’s services, persons with developmental disabilities are other some examples of a delegated ( some say abdicated) governance philosophy.
It would not be surprising if some of these government responsibilities were re-centralized again. The provincial board in the persons with disabilities area was abolished a couple of years ago but the regional boards remained. There is a government level review now over service needs in the developmentally disable sector – not just nice to haves. Expect a report in June.
Insufficient public funding of community-based agencies in the developmentally disability sector has made it impossible for them to recruit and retain qualified staff. It would not surprise me if a recentralization into government happened in this sector too.
These regional boards may disappear overnight like the Health Authorities. The government may move to direct service delivery and contract with community based provider agencies – or even absorb them back into government over time too? There are arguments both ways but unless there is enough funding to compensate staff to provide services the governing philosophy is moot. The government will be inheriting much of the responsibility as service providers revise downwards the program offerings to pay staff at government rates to fit the budgets provided. Some others may close down altogether leaving the government to create needed services internally.
All we can do now is stay attuned to the happenings in the legislature.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Tidbits from Hansard:
Monday May 12, 2008
The following question and answer yesterday was interesting considering the human cost of wildfires in Alberta. Worth noting is 40% of wildfires are caused by human activity. The fire that recently threatened Kelowna was caused by a guy throwing a lit cigarette out of his vehicle.
Mr. Xiao: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My next question is to the
Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. Fire safety is a
concern for the summer months, whether you are at home or on a
vacation in the great Canadian outdoors. With the May long
weekend rapidly approaching, can the minister explain what this
government is doing to minimize the human cost of wildfires in
Alberta that can threaten towns and our communities?
Dr. Morton: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you for that important
question. With the May long weekend approaching – you’re
absolutely right – prevention of wildfires is a high priority. Forty
per cent of all the forest fires in Alberta have a human cause. Our
department, Sustainable Resource Development, has developed a
group of educational materials called FireSmart. They’re available
on our website. They’re for cottages, homes, and also campers.
They’re also on the new respect the land web page that we’ve talked
about before, and also they’ll be handed out by our staff at the
various entrances to parks and campgrounds this long weekend.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
The election reform we need to restore citizenship and participation in Alberta’s democratic process is not going to be achieved by putting a limitation on free speech. The contest of how to correct the system so far sees Stelmach’s trial balloon of limiting third party election spending and the Alberta Federation of Labour’s counter punch of demanding big business donation bucks are taken out of politics too.
The story line is there is too much political muscle vested in special interests like labour and business. Those big money guys are the problem. Why? Because they can buy influence via paid advertising in the election process. I don’t buy that. I also don’t buy that political parties should be the only serious players in politics at election time. If any group has too much power over the process it is the political parties, not business and labour.
The problem with our lack of political engagement in our democracy is not about who has and is exercising monetary muscle. It is more about that what is being said at elections. What problems being presented in platforms. What solutions are being offered by the political class. For the most part the content and context of elections are not meaningful to the population.
Political parties try not to lose elections rather than win them. They play super safe by doing pointless polls, run obtuse focus groups, then media train the personality out of the leaders by shrink-wrapping them into a message bubble so they will be politically safe. Elections are supposed to be about choices and consequences. Instead of making election politics about practical purposes and people they become personality contests focused on tactics, gaffes and shallow media events.
There are some changes that need to be made in the election process that deals more with openness and transparency of who exactly is trying to buy influence over me. People who show up and think about the issues and how to cast their vote are not stupid. Those who don’t bother to get informed or to vote effectively abdicate their democratic rights to those who do vote. As a result the no-shows have made a decision that they don’t want to count in the future political direction and decisions that impact their lives. So be it but paid advertising is not likely to change the opinions much less the behaviours of the pathologically disengaged “citizen.”
The solution for that democratic dilemma is not the elimination of third party advertising or abolition of certain financial support sources for elections. I would be trying to expand both elements and also be encouraging individual donations and citizen political participation as a way to get political parties and leaders to become more open to new ideas.
We need more candidates who are able to be bolder, braver and come forward with more engaging and meaningful policy promises. they need to be able to clearly articulate a relevant practical political platforms they intend to keep. I think if there is going to be a focus on election reform, it is not so much about how free speech is being exercised but to ensure we know who exactly is “talking” to us to influence our vote.
The AFL gambit of not disclosing that they were behind the anti-Stelmach TV ads hurt the NDP who could have used the money. It also hurt the Liberals who got caught in a backlash because they were presumed to be the source of the ads and they got blamed because for many Albertans they were seen to be in bad taste and too negative. The irony is, as Gunter points out, that while Stelmach may be trying to limit such ads, he actually benefited significantly from the AFL negative TV ads at the end of the day.
There is some positive, serious and significant election reform going that will not likely get front page headlines because it is not deemed to be newsworthy. It is the recent Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta effort to amend and fix its own leadership selection process. It is one of the most open and democratic processes in the country today but still needs improvement. I suggest this effort is a more important and meaningful step at significant political reform.
The Alberta Liberals and NDP are poised for leadership changes as well. They might we well advised to look at their own party processes and shortcomings before they jump into any exercise or bandwagon to limit free speech masquerading in the guise of enhancing our democracy.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Our government does not know where 41000 at large deportees are and they presume they left Canada when we rejected them status and because they must be honourable folks.
Now tell me again just who is not a leader?
Politicians who are that naive, lack a modicum of judgment and are self-delusional are not fit to govern.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
One that struck me was Kevin Taft's speech in reply to the Budget. He puts the petroleum wealth of Alberta in terms of how much there is for each Albertan. Our total reserves may be second to Saudi Arabia, which I would dispute - the Saudi's have not really updated reserve estimates for decades. Kevin Taft put reserve comparisons in per capita terms. Here is an excerpt from his speech on April 23rd:
Dr. Kevin Taft Alberta Liberal Leader - MLA Edmonton Riverview
"Alberta’s petroleum riches are even more impressive when measured against Alberta’s small population; on a per capita basis Alberta has 51,900 barrels of recoverable oil reserves, tops in the world. In other words, for our small population, per capita we have the largest oil reserves
in the world. Second is Kuwait, then the United Arab Emirates, and then Qatar. Saudi Arabia, which we always assume is incredibly wealthy in petroleum, actually ranks fifth on a list of petroleum wealth per capita. Alberta ranks first."
"I think that’s something we should all remember when we’re weighing out how we manage this
wealth. Now, that’s just oil reserves. If you add in natural gas reserves, our wealth rises even higher. Natural gas reserves are almost 57 trillion cubic feet, and there’s perhaps another 500 trillion cubic feet of coal-bed methane. So we have here staggering wealth."
Iris Evans in a recent speech to the Edmonton Glenora and Riverview PC party faithful noted this "managing our future, savings and long term investment policy" is going to be the focus of her time as Alberta's Minister of Finance. By the looks of it Albertans will need a new mind set to think long term. Adopting a Genuine Progress Indicator model of measuring real growth - not just GDP would be a great place to start a change of mind set.
Even the Petroleum Services Association's Soucy says he remains optimistic, though he concedes energy-sector players have to adjust to "new realities" if the industry wants to maintain its social licence to operate. (emphasis added)
"Things are much more positive than they were in the fall," he said. "It's just going to take some time.
"Face it, you have to be optimistic if you're going to drill a hole in the ground and hope to get something out of it.
"It's always a risk, but you still have to be positive. That's what makes this industry work."
Saturday, May 03, 2008
The fact is Calgary serves a population that is more urban, educated, wealthier, younger, white collar, less distributed and perhaps more culturally homogenous than Edmonton. I accept that latter point may be disputable given the recent immigration wave that came to Calgary. These are indicator of better health conditions and outcomes. For sure they indicate a better and healthier population than exists in the Edmonton region.
The Capital Region Health Authority in Edmonton serves an older, poorer, less educated, more industrial blue collar and culturally diverse population. That industrial based economy is prone to accidents that tend to be more serious than white collar worker paper cuts. Edmonton has a more dispersed population too, serving the north where we find all the Alberta development and related danger form accidents and social breakdown. All this indicates Edmonton will be a more expensive and difficult health care system.
The Calgary Health Authority can’t ever seem to manage its budget. It has perpetual deficits and the Calgary solution is to automatically run to the province for more money – and Klein always obliged. I can remember one year when Calgary ran a $70m deficit and the Capital Region Health Authority ran a $17m surplus. There were no unusual Calgary specific higher health demand circumstances that year. Go figure!
Come on Calgary. This perpetual self-absorbed Toronto wanna-be attitude and the over the top hubris about being better than Edmonton is childish. Surely the talented private sector brains down there can do better. If they insist they are better than the Capital City of Bureaucrats who makes up Edmonton why can’t they simply do it?
Calgary, as we are constantly told by Calgarians and their media, is where all the management and financial talent exist in the province. Just look how “smarter” they ended up being about the impact of the royalty review…surely they weren’t bluffing about something so important to the entire province. Surely they can get that kind of talent to serve on the Calgary Health Authority. Maybe then the Calgary Health Authority can actually do a better job of providing quality health care for Calgarians and provide top value for taxpayer dollars too. Give the superior attitude that is always spouted down there, this ought to be a slam dunk – wouldn’t you think?
Friday, May 02, 2008
Lets get this research fast tracked! This is exciting and newsworthy stuff - and on a global basis - especially given how the toxic tailing pond duck deaths went viral around the world.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Anyone who want to get re-elected or requires a natural resource lease and a social license to operate those resources had better take this new Alberta attitude to heart. The public is watching and they are not impressed.