Reboot Alberta

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What Are the Politics Behind the Stelmach Budget

The fiscal narrative around the Alberta budget has been written and yes the results were very different than what was projected in the trial balloons the Stelmach floated in the lead up. The potential return to the massive versus brutal cuts of the early 90s was floated as a possible fiscal reaction by the Stelmach government to cover an extrapolated $2B revenue shortfall. This political messaging was done as part of its continuing quest of the Stelmach government to out flank the Wildrose Alliance Party on the right. But it never materialized in the Budget, much to the astonishment of almost every Albertan. In fact what happened is Premier Stelmach reasserted his own progressive personality.  He applied some sound Keynesian fiscal principles in response to the recession and the expressed priorities of Albertans over health and education concerns.

I will deal with the politics behind this Budget in this blog post. The Budget numbers are important but what motivates the government politically when it builds a Budget is just as important. It all adds to the volatile political culture in Alberta these days. The new Budget represents a positive shift in the attitude and approach of the Stelmach government. Stelmach has shown with this Budget that he is no longer trying to emulate the Wildrose Alliance Party. Stelmach is actually isolating the WAP, putting it out there all by itself on the extreme right of the political spectrum.

The WAP has been controlling the political and media agenda in the province for months now. Stelmach has been chasing them from behind thinking he had to be more right wing and reactionary than the WAP to win the confidence of Albertans. The Stelmach government signaled with this Budget that they are not going to let that happen anymore. Stelmach has given a strong indication that he is prepared to pursue a balance between fiscal prudence in response to the reality of the recession and at the same time ensuring that social services are sustained while bolstering health and preserving education supports. The use of the Stability Fund monies to do this is the exact right move at the right time and for the right reasons. That is why the fund was set up in the first place and it is time to use the money.

There is still a blind spot in the Stelmach government over responsible revenue policy. The most obvious shortcoming is the lack of serious attention to charging reasonable royalty rates with a long term view instead of pandering to the unfounded threats of conventional oil and gas sectors. The return of commodity prices and the return of oilsands projects show that energy development is shifting away from the conventional business as it should.

Here is my take on what happened politically over the last few months as the Stelmach government found its way to the recent Budget.


The political strategy for Stelmach for months now has been to try and outflank the Wildrose on the right. The by-election loss, with their candidate coming in third in the former Deputy Premier’s riding, spooked the Stelmach brain trust. , The acceptance of the myth that the royalty review somehow caused the decline of drilling activity, while ignoring the collapse of commodity prices and new easier energy plays in Saskatchewan and northeastern BC, added to the anxiety. All this saw the Stelmach government move beyond appeasement of the conventional energy business into capitulation to their threats and demands. They walked away from rational decision-making about reasonable royalties five times since they accepted the Royalty review recommendations. With the so called “competitiveness review” to be released “in draft” in March they are apparently poised to capitulate again.

The rise of the “smart, intelligent and media savvy” Danielle Smith and her convincing win of the leadership of the WAP (she won 75% of the votes) made life even worse for “Unsteady-Eddie.” That was only one of the mocking taunts that the good old-boys in the conventional energy sector have been spouting in Calgary about the Stelmach government. Then add the reality of the potential for a serious revenue shortfall from commodity price meltdown and the Stelmach government was on the hunt for $2B in program cuts going into the 2010-11 Budget deliberations.


Transitioning out of the fear factor of the WAP touting the need for smaller, meaner and leaner government, even in a recession, the Stelmach government took a run at the health care, education social services sector. The announcement of hospital bed closures in Edmonton and Calgary plus the ham-handed handling of proposed Alberta Hospital transfers and closures of psychiatric beds added to the distaste and distrust of the public policy and governing philosophy of the Stelmach government.

The approach in the education sector was at least more collaborative and inclusive where school boards were asked to use accumulated surpluses to help make up for anticipated funding shortfalls. The use of the arbitration process in the ATA pension settlement agreement to determine the amount owing by the province to the pension fund was also seen as a more enlightened policy approach than the dictatorial demands the province tired to apply in other sectors.

The province extrapolated annual revenue shortfall of some $2B based on the presumption of low energy commodity prices continuing into the next budget cycle. The then tried to use that presumed shortfall to pressure and intimidate community based social service providers dealing with vulnerable Albertans into returning funds for services already paid for, provided and pursuant to contracts not grants. That dictatorial and intimidating approach was based largely on inaccurate and misleading information provided to politicians who were all too eager to assert their political power over groups while at the same time forgetting about their legal duty to provide these necessary services to vulnerable citizens. They tried and succeeded to get some not-for-profit volunteer based agencies to capitulate but in doing so the government has actually threatened the safety and security of people like children at risk, and persons with developmental disabilities. They also showed a chintzy and mean-spirited side by withdrawing of personal items and toiletries from institutionalized mental patients all done for a saving of only $70k annually.

This lack of caring and compassion by the government caused some in the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors to stand up and push back by refusing to accept claw-back demands. The Regional PDD Boards in many cases made career-limiting innuendoes and other fiscal threats to the leadership and management of these agencies trying to force compliance with the government’s demands. The agencies hung together and organized meetings with MLAs to tell them the facts of the matter, including that there were legally binding contracts with the government for these services that were negotiated last year at the insistence of the province. That the information the MLAs had in briefing notes about agency costs and where funds were going to serve vulnerable citizens was inaccurate and misleading. It got to the point that it was suggested that the province would be better advised to investigate its own administrative and service spending if they wanted to see where there was real waste.


The provinces pressure on agencies mounted but so did public support. The PDD agencies in Calgary held a mock bake sale “selling” muffins for thousands of dollars and the proceeds to be “donated” to assist the Stelmach government meet its statutory obligations to the people in the province with developmental disabilities. A bottle drive rally was held in Edmonton that brought out 1300 citizens to demonstrate and protest. They brought recyclable bottles and cans with messages to the Premier to drive home the mean-spirited attitude the province was showing towards the most vulnerable citizens in our society. The bottle drive raised $1000 and organizers collected thousands of letters to the Premier to be hand delivered to him at the legislature. The citizens trying to deliver them were denied access to the building. The Speaker upon hearing about that in Question Period recently asked opposition MLAs for a letter detailing why peacefully protesting citizens were denied access to their Legislature to carry out their protests. One can almost smell democracy returning to the air in Alberta again as citizens re-engage in the politics of our time.

The Whitemud Citizens Forum on Health Care rally in early January drew over 550 citizens to protest the health care situation for seniors too. The rally was organized by a few citizens who became frustrated with the lack of attention the government was paying to the issues. This rally was undoubtedly a key to the turnaround in attitude of the Stelmach government to health care funding and policy approaches shown in the recent Budget. So many upper-middle class Albertans showing up to protest in the riding where the Stelmach government had enjoyed its widest margin of victory in the election less than a year ago sent a clear message that people were fed up and not going to stand for any indifference or deceit from its government any more.

It is clear that one of the best ways to get the attention of the Stelmach government is to stand up, stand out and protest against bad politically motivated public policy pronouncements. Regular readers of this blog have heard me say many times that the world is run by those who show up. In Alberta you have to show up and stand up for what you believe in and that can make all the difference in how our government responds these days. Merciless and mean-spirited politicians are elected by good citizens who do not show up to vote.


The 77% support for the Stelmach leadership at the November 2009 AGM was seen as a reprieve for the Premier but it put him on a short leash too. He said in his speech at the PC Party gathering that he “got the message” and he promised changes would come. Then everything just stayed the same with the Premier’s office now taking on even more of centralized top-down command and control stance in using the political and policy levers of power. MLAs were getting restless and quietly grumbling about the centralized political control by unelected staffers in the Premier’s office. With a Cabinet shuffle in the offing they choose to keep their discontent below the surface.

But in early January there was the loss of two PC MLAs floor crossing to the WAP both of whom decried the centralized power in the Premier’s office controlled by unelected staffers. There were anonymous media sources spreading rumours about the possibility of many more PC floor crossings to the WAP. This rumour became more plausible as it got repeated and amplified. It all tended to gives the WAP even more credibility and media attention. The Premier fast tracked his Cabinet Shuffle to stem the tide of a possible erosion of Caucus confidence. The gambit worked, at least for now, as the arch-conservative Ted Morton, got the job he wanted as Minister of Finance. This Cabinet appointment added fuel to the suspicion that the Stelmach government was going to return to the massive and brutal cuts of early Klein days and Morton would lead the slashing and burning with the Premier’s blessing.

The Cabinet shuffle was otherwise pretty inconsequential and did nothing to change the image and fortunes of the Stelmach government as tired and out of touch. The punditry and media saw them as still trying to show they were more neo-con than the conservative fundamentalism of the WAP. While this was going on, the grumbling old boy conventional oil and gas sector in Calgary started to work on developing an energy policy for the WAP. Suspicions rose that the WAP energy policy would see the rights of Albertans as resource owners ignored and relegated to being policy takers of decisions that would be made in boardrooms behind closed doors. The coziness of the conventional energy sector to controlling political power would then be complete and run by the tenants and not by the legislators by the duly elected representatives of the people of Alberta.


Progressives and moderates in the province saw that the only political choices Albertans were being offered were variations on neo-con policy agendas that would gut government and reduce citizens to servants of the old-school energy sector economic forces that were supporting the WAP and abandoning the PCs. Reboot Alberta was born in reaction to this rapidly rising right wing trend in the Alberta political culture. Again it was set up by a small group of independent and individual citizens as a way to revitalize and restore a progressive voice in Alberta politics.

The Reboot Alberta social movement met for the first time at the end of November. In less than 90 days has become a gathering place for most of those Albertans who are concerned about the direction and destination of the province. The Reboot Alberta website ( has generated lots of traffic and lots of postings from individuals who are keen to share thoughts and ideas about how Alberta can start to live up to its potential once again.

There is a study being done by Reboot Alberta about what values moderates and progressives in Alberta want to see applied by Alberta’s provincial politicians as they make various political and policy decisions that impact the lives of ordinary citizens. The survey results will be released at Reboot2.0, the next gathering of Reboot supporters in Kananaskis Feb 26-28. Early indications from the study show that the people joining the Reboot Alberta movement are very active Influentials and Cultural Creatives. This will be a potent citizens based social movement and will have an impact on public policy approaches now and in the future for sure.

The Reboot Alberta movement is evolving around four Theme Streams that are all moving forward concurrently. They are supported by individuals who want to change the existing parties and institutions to be more progressive from the inside. There are some who believe we need fundamental democratic reform in voting, electoral policy and political culture in the province. Others believe there needs to be more influence on politics and public policy from the not-for-profit and voluntary sector to balance off the power of big business in political and policy decision making. Still others believe there is a need for a new progressive-centrist political party to balance off the trends to the reactionary right shift that WAP is fostering.

The idea of a new political party is alive and moving forward through another citizens based group who call themselves Renew Alberta. They are in the process of organizing and gathering signatures needed to petition Elections Alberta for new party status.


The Stelmach government reaffirmed itself as still having a potential to be both progressive and conservative with this Budget. There is a lot to applaud and to criticize in the document but overall it shows a shift away from running scared of the WAP and a return to the starting line of being a socially progressive and fiscally prudent government. The effect of this shift in attitude of the PC government will be to marginalize the WAP on the extreme fundamentalist conservative right and to show that they are far from being ready for primetime political power. The rise in WAP “support” has been more of a revolt against the PCs and a rejection of the other conventional parties as a viable option but as a way to send a message that citizens are upset with the status quo.

There is no doubt that political change is in the air. What form it will take is yet to be determined. There is a restlessness and restiveness in the land known as Alberta these days. It is touching many people in many aspects and goes to the core of our sense of being Albertan. Volatility is the new normal in the Alberta political culture. It will be interesting to see if progressives and moderates return to participation in the political culture of our times and add to the volatility. Will politics become relevant and cool for them again? I think many aspects of the new Budget will set the stage for an even more emboldened and engaged progressive citizen’s movement. They have seen what it takes to exert influence on their government, stand up, stand out and take action. I expect they will start to use their new found self-assurance to make even more meaningful differences in setting the agenda and policy direction for the province.

The rise of the WAP all of a sudden made politics interesting in Alberta. They offer no new insight or policy options, merely variations on tired and old political power themes. The rise of Reboot Alberta as a group of Influential and Culturally Creative progressives who are becoming engaged in a concerted social movement aimed at making Alberta live up to its potential as a civil society will make our politics actually fascinating. Progressives’ working respectfully and collaboratively is where the real revolutionary and transformative forces for political and public policy change will come from. The new political reality of Albertans is that they are rejecting the tedious and pointless posturing between left and right politics. They are ready to move forward as a more progressive society that lives up to its potential and where Albertans can be proud to be Albertan once again.

If you are interested in the Reboot Alberta movement you can participate at
You can register for Reboot2.0 there too. If you come to Reboot2.0 you will find like-minded progressive citizens who are intent on making a difference in how Alberta is governed.


  1. Justin Archer1:37 pm

    Ken - in addition to the two parties and one movement you mention in this blog, there are two other political parties in Alberta that are viable avenues for citizens to invest their time and energy if they'd like to become involved in Alberta's political processes.

    Those are the Official Opposition Alberta Liberals, and the Alberta NDP. In fact, the Alberta Liberals in particular represent many of the same values expressed by the Influentials and Cultural Creatives that you refer to in this post, who you only seem to associate with the Reboot movement. I'm not sure why you choose to overlook the contributions of these two parties to Alberta's political landscape, because I know you are aware of them, but I thought I'd better point out the omission here for the benefit of your readers.

  2. David S3:08 pm

    This analysis misses one point - there are substantial cuts in government employment (400 some people in Service Alberta alone). Unfortunately, there is the misconception that government jobs are fat. In fact, many gov't jobs are filled by professionals with significant education and life experience. Cutting these people in order to build "infrastructure" belies an underlying belief that low-wage, less-educated people are the desired citizens. The idea of cutting gov't employees to give incentives to private business means more of the same preference for giving taxpayer money to business friends who then hire 'cheaper'people. There is a hollowing out of the professional-educated class that so much effort was expended in attracting. Not one year ago, the Alberta government was heavily recruiting with promises of valuing employees and making positive contributions. At the first sign of trouble, we find out how much dedicated employees are really appreciated. Many gov't employees have spouses in other "desirable" occupations (e.g. research, innovation, medicine) but undervaluing the one partner's contribution makes it much more likely the whole family will look elsewhere for opportunity.

  3. Anonymous3:09 pm

    As always, a number of acute insights. However, I strongly disagree that Stelmach "fast tracked" the Cabinet. "Mismanaged" is a more apt verb. It should have occurred within 48 hours of the end of the fall sitting. Instead it was, it was off, it was on ....
    And for some economists, "sound Kynesian" is an oxymoron.

  4. Thx for the elaboration regarding the fact that Liberals and the NDP also are part of the political culture in Alberta Justin.

    What is astounding to me is that given the recent shift to the right of the PCs and the rise of the even more rightwing WAP that the other two conventional parties have not been able to capitalize on that politically.

    I have not seen any polls to indicate trends for more or less support for the other opposition parties. One would think they would be doing such polling themselves and touting the results if political opinions were shifting towards them.

    The Democratic Reform Movement that some Liberals and New Dems are pursuing seems to me to be merely trying to slice the shinking political participation pie differently with strategic voting. Isn't that just dealing with symptoms of citizen cynicism and not resolving the reasons for it in the first place?

    I know some DR people are comoing to Reboot2.0 and I would not be surprised to see some Liberal MLAs showing up as citizens, not as politicians.

  5. Anonymous4:41 pm

    Your analysis is good, up to to a point. 2 billion dollar revenue shortfall, pressure to review royalties, the rise of the Wildrose, bed closures, claw-back demands, cabinet shuffles, mass protests, and some red tories, big "L" liberals and political babes in the woods met to talk about their feelings.
    Hm, one of these things is not like the other!
    :) Carry on Ken, I appreciate your insights...

  6. Anonymous5:18 pm

    Ken, I have to agree with the comments on the Liberal and NDP Parties, they have missed so many opportunities to point out the PC's failings I would have to consider them and I know of many who join me in this, as no shows on the Alberta political scene.
    Alberta is badly in need of a shakeup, New people, new ideas, new direction. I believe this means a New Party.

  7. Anonymous5:52 pm

    Just one comment. How does one run a "deficit" when you have $17B in your savings account? Going back to analogies from Ralph's days, when the government could speak to ordinary Albertans in a way they could understand, "All we are doing is moving some money fom our savings account to our chequing account. Now we shouldn't borrow for operations but maybe for infrastructure just as you would take a mortgage out to build a house.

  8. With respect to Justin, and to the values of the Liberals, & the NDP, has it not been proven that everyone who might support them already does? Otherwise they would be seriously on the move by now, given the political climate. Nope, in typical Alberta fashion, it will be a shiny new movement that will do the job... and soon, I hope. I am excited about the potential possibilities offered by ReBoot. Two thumbs up, Ken!

  9. Anonymous9:48 pm

    Mr. Chapman,

    In your comments you derided the Wildrose Alliance as "meaner", "reactionary", "fundamentalism" and "extreme" the tone of which seems to contradict your comments about "Progressives’ working respectfully".

    Frankly, the mean spirited attacks don't seem

    By the way I won't be voting for the Wildrose Alliance and am not involved with the party, I just abhor pretentious hypocrisy.

  10. Anonymous6:06 am

    Ken, I agree with you, it is a clever political document, and I think starts to set a better tone for the government. However, as an economic document, the devil will be in the detail and we will have to wait and see the extent to which this budget really represents a meaningful change in direction for the Stemach government


  11. Anon at 9:48 - my comments are not mean spirited at all. They are merely my considered personal opinion based on the factual history and current attitudes expressed by the WAP and the two parties that merged to create it.

    Calling a spade a spade is hypocracy, it is free speech. It ignore the implications of the WAP having power over us not helpful in understanding what political alternatives the WAP offers us. What makes them worthy to be granted our consent to govern us?

    What values do you believe should be applied by our elected representatives when making laws and public policy that impact our lives and define us as a people?

    Extremely harsh economic policy and even harsher social fundamentalism without any serious concern for sound environmental policy don't align with what most Albertans want form government.

    The possibility of people with that approach to governance gaining power due to public indifference to politics is giving rise to movements like Reboot Alberta.

    Citizens of Alberta are coming to realize that they can't take our liberal democracy for granted any more when disengagement from the responsibility of citizenship could create that disturbing and damaging political situation by default.

  12. Good Post Ken,
    We all know your thoughts of Wildrose, but however we all think that we represent mainstream Alberta. You analysis of Wildrose is of course your opinion to which you are entitled. Reboot, Renew etc.. may serve the purpose for many people, but it is not for everyone. There are no bad ideas, which is something that if you truly want to promote a better Alberta you will have to accept. If you honestly believe Wildrose offers nothing, you are no better than any other partisan. Just my thoughts.

  13. Very insightful comment Alberta Altruist - as Paul Simon said in "The Boxer" - "...a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest..." He also said "...we squander our resistance for a pocket full of mumbles, such are (political???) promises..."

    I think society is very complicated and I like that. We need to avoid using KISS as an operational paradigm.

    I do not want to leave the impression the WAP has "nothing to offer" I just think what they offer is simplistic and disregards so much evidence that is contrary to the fundamental ideology of many proponents...especially social conservatives.

    I think the WAP has already accomplished a lot, not the least of which is to wake up progressives and moderates to the fact we can't take our democracy and values for granted anymore.

    As for partisanship, I prefer citizenship as my operating principle. I have found conventional political parties to be too much like recruiting and creating sheep. Other perspectives and points of view are discouraged and even punished. You have to align with the orthodoxy or you create trouble and trouble makers must be discouraged. I know that first hand.

    I like GB Shaw's comment that if it was not for the unreasonalbe man there would be no progress. Political parties who insist on top down command and contol where the leader presumed is all powerful and knowing - they stifle democracy and can't condone dissent.

    Keep your comments coming AA. We differ on many things and align on others. I always appreciate your contributions to the conversation on this blog and on Twitter.

  14. Justin10:35 am


    I guess I've been sort of annoyed/disappointed since I first learned of Reboot Alberta, and its cousin Renew Alberta, because I think the whole concept is well intentioned but misguided.

    I'll try and explain why without sounding like a crotchety old buzz-kill:

    There is a large group of people in Alberta who share what in very broad terms could be considered a progressive worldview. These are the sort of people who tend to be Democrats in the United States and often identify with the Liberals or the NDP in Canada. Their values tend to be similar on issues of important public policy such as the environment, education, the arts, helping the vulnerable, encouraging enterprise, and others. While they don't agree on everything, they can probably agree on enough things that they could comfortably all vote for the same political party, though in Alberta they don't.

    There are many other people in Alberta who don't fall into the broad group of progressives. Their world view is such that it prevents them from ever aligning with the progressive voting block. Instead, they will always look for a more conservative alternative.

    For many years there has been one viable party representing the conservative side of the spectrum, and collecting the majority of conservative votes, while two parties have fought for support on the progressive side. For the first time in a long time, there are now two viable conservative parties vying for the support of their ideological constituency. This creates a new opportunity for the progressive block which has not existed previously.

    On the federal level in Canada, a similar situation in recent history led to 13 years of peace and prosperity under the Liberal governments of Chretien and Martin.

    One would think that at this time, progressives would pull together and seize the opportunity to finally generate some electoral success.

    But we're not.

    The Liberals and the NDP can't or won't work together, and now the Reboot movement is siphoning the time, excitement and energy of young, active progressives down a rabbit hole of good intentions. In my view, a true Reboot of Alberta would be a change to a progressive government, which, paradoxically, is made less likely by the plethora of new movements dividing the critical mass of progressive support.

    I'm sure Reboot is fun. I like a good lefty love-in as much as the next person, I really do. But if people are serious about changing the government, I think that they should join the Alberta Liberal Party and get to work. The values are exactly the same as those expressed by Reboot and Renew supporters!

    I just don't get how we need to go and reinvent the wheel at a time like this when finally there's an opportunity for success. Who knows how long it will last for, maybe only one election. Do we really want to blow our shot talking about post-partisanism when we all know that the political system is set up in a partisan way?

    Just my two cents.

  15. Hi Justin. Reboot is not a lefty-love in. It has people involved who belong to or advise all the political parties in the province. It is more centrist than left.

    It is a group of engaged citizens who are grappling with what it means to be a "progressive" in a 21st century Alberta too. If you go to the Reboot site you will see all the posts done by various individuals on that topic under "What is a Progressive."

    I know some DRP folks are coming to Reboot2.0 and hope you do too. I expect some MLAs will be coming too but just as citizens - not electied officials. Everyone comes to Reboot as a citizen not as an authority or office holder.

    Hope you are planning to come too. You clearly have lots to contribute to the conversation about Alberta living up to its potential

  16. Anonymous2:06 pm

    I want to touch upon some of the comments made about your post, Ken.

    I was at Reboot 1 and will be at Reboot 2. The reason - I believe in democracy. I believe in the old saying, "You get the government you deserve." I certainly did not agree with everything and everyone at Reboot, but I do agree - fundamentally -- with one of the basic premises that I say in action in Red Deer. It is that this is our province, and we have a say, in the manner of a democratic society, in the way it is governed. Whether PC, WAP, Liberal or NDP, I believe it is imperative that we, the citizens, be heard. Certainly we entrust elected officials to represent us, and our ultimate determination of whether they are doing that is at election time. But as any good manager knows, you don't talk about performance every four or five years. It should ideally be an ongoing dialogue. And we had our saw on many issues - health care, education, supports for people with developmental disabilities.

    The optimism I have now is that the citizens of this province are being more vocal, are challenging decisions, and ultimately that is good.

  17. Anonymous7:09 pm

    Nobody's talking about the deep cuts to housing. Who's in charge of this idiocy?

  18. Anonymous1:09 am

    You can be fiscally responsible without being branded as fundamentalist, mean spirited or socially conservative.

    The way you try to misbrand Danielle Smith is amateurish.

  19. I agree Anon at 1"09 am - this Budget does exactly that. It brands Stelmach as fiscally responsible without being fundamentalist, mean spirited or socially conservative. It leaves the latter territory to the WAP.

    As for Danielle, only time will tell if she is able to change that image and reality of the WAP and its advocates. My money says the socons and fiscal fundamentalists in the WAP win that battle.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. I removed my last post because it was a grammatical embarrasment. Yikes.

    What I wanted to say to Justin was that while I don't disagree with him when he says all progressive thinking Albertans ought to be working together, I think doing so under the Liberal banner is chasing a lost cause here in Alberta.

    Most people in this province--for one reason or another--self-identify as 'c'onservatives. They just can't get passed the monicker 'L'iberal or the idea of being a 'l'iberal.

    Rebranding as progressives is one way around a label that simply is unsellable to most Albertans.

    Sadly, much of our politics today is about bumper stickers and sound-bytes. Create all the rational policy all you want; if you can't sell it to voters because of your name, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

    I know there are some (perhaps many) within the Liberal Party of Alberta who feel the same way.


  22. Make no mistake about it, by the time the 'whole numbers' gets divided up by individual Ministries into specific service delivery streams the cuts will be that much more magnified. Cuts will be applied disproportionately based on the strength of the various personalities involved as opposed to any real strategic plan. That in part is why rural like to vote for the MLA that will likely be in Government, because they fear being abandoned otherwise.


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