Posts Tagged ‘Alberta’

The marriage of Alberta’s Alt-right.

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Can you not just visualize Stan Laurel, in the person of Brian Jean, saying to Oliver Hardy, in the person of Jason Kenney, “Well here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten us into.” The mess they are into is a new provincial party in Alberta that could earn the enmity of the rest of Canada. It is an extremist version of a United Conservative Party of Alberta that few decent Albertans will want to support.

Former MP and former leader of Alberta’s Conservative Party, Jason Kenney has led Alberta’s once powerful Conservatives into a marriage with the Conservative offshoot Wildrose Party. It is a marriage without principles. It is a marriage without niceties. It is nothing more than a disgusting grab for power. It is so blatantly dishonest that it could make Donald Trump blush.

And yet nobody misses the similarities to Donald Trump’s policies. This is a party that is defiant on climate change. It wants to dig and use more of Alberta’s coal, not less. It is vehement about there being no cap on tar sands exploitation. It wants more pipelines. It will get rid of all carbon taxes. And it will cut Albertans’ taxes no matter what.

Instead of learning something from the roller coast ride that Alberta has taken on the price of oil, this party only believes in fossil fuels. They are ostriches serving the bidding of tar sands’ companies.

Brian Jean is the Member of the Legislature for Fort McMurray—Conklin and knows first hand of the best wishes and support from the rest of Canada during the fire storms of last year in that part of Alberta. Yet, he told Conservatives after the vote that their new provincial party will “send a message to all of Canada that Alberta is done apologizing for our industries and our way of life.”

That is not just a straight forward ‘Up yours’ to environmentalists and other concerned citizens.  Brian Jean and Jason Kenney have no understanding of God’s word to Moses that one should sock some away during the good years so that you can survive the lean years. They are mean and vindictive zealots who take their bitterness out on those members of society least able to speak for themselves. Please do not let these men speak for all Albertans.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

 

Lies. And Trudeau-Trump lies.

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

You have come to expect it in the daily reports from the American White House. You know that the man in the White House tells lies. You just do not expect it from the guy in charge in Ottawa.

And you already knew that the guy in charge at the White House does not give a damn about the environment. You are more conflicted by the guy in Ottawa. This guy says he wants to save the environment and makes a big show of it. And then he approves doubling the Kinder Morgan pipeline over the Rockies to pump diluted bitumen to an ocean port. And he is a cheerleader for President Trump approving TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to the Texas Gulf.

Of course, there is nothing new about the guff that Trump spews for the American news media. He even believes there are American jobs to be had. He had Russ Sperling, president of TransCanada Corporation in his office for the announcement. Sperling would have tripled the number of jobs created by that pipeline to get more bitumen to that Texas port. Hell, he might consider putting Trump’s grandmother on the payroll if that would help.

But it is not going to pave the way past all those environmentalists in the American Midwest who are digging their own trenches for the coming Keystone Wars. This question is not resolved by a long shot. Trump can try to call out the Nebraska National Guard if he likes but Keystone is going to have to run over a lot of environmentalist barricades on its way to the sea.

Trump appears to be drinking his own bath water though when he uses the usual untruths about Keystone. The American jobs Trump was going on about will be fleeting and if the entire line from Alberta to Texas involves as many as 400 maintenance jobs, it will be generous.

But by no stretch of the imagination will Alberta tar sands bitumen make North America self sufficient in ersatz oil. Nor will bitumen-based synthetic oil be cheaper. The greedy bastards who want to pipe the bitumen down the line will hardly be happy until the price of crude oil again hits the US$80 mark. And if we really tried to use bitumen-based oil to supply North America, we would all be knee deep in bitumen slag from trying to refine so much bitumen into synthetic oil.

It seems to be common knowledge now that Donald Trump usually does not know what he is talking about. What is Justin Trudeau’s excuse?

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Could Chantal Hébert be so diabolical?

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Is it whimsy or a diabolical intent? Is Toronto Star political guru Chantal Hébert really that devious? She recently proposed that Rona Ambrose, the federal interim leader for the Conservatives as the ideal person to step in and take over the reins of the combined provincial Conservatives in Alberta.

That is a wonderful proposal and we should all get behind it. Maybe we could excuse New Democrat Rachel Notley for not participating but Conservatives and Liberals can appreciate the irony. It would be justice writ big.

First of all, it would relegate that blow-hard Jason Kenney to the position of second fiddle. That is the most he deserves. And what would really feel good would be the fact that a woman put him in his place. After what happened to the women in the Alberta Conservative leadership race and the way they were treated by Kenney’s supporters, he deserves to be walked on by a lot of very sharp high heels.

And surely nobody is going to shed a tear for Wildrose Leader Brian Jean. Where the Hell is he taking that bunch of malingering malcontents? While we might have had a lot of sympathy for the Wildrose leader last year during the wildfire in his electoral district, it is time to face the facts. He would be taking on far more than he could chew to fight Kenney for the combined party leadership. He would need a lot of help to take on Stephen Harper’s go-to guy.

And we would strongly advise anybody to not take on Jason Kenney down some dark alley. He has probably never heard of the Marquis of Queensbury’s or any other rules of engagement.

But the suggestion of getting Rona Ambrose to challenge both Jean and Kenney for the combined conservative leadership is delicious. Rona is far tougher than either and she has proved it in her handling of the Conservative Party of Canada since the 2015 rout in parliament. She calls it as she sees it and she has kept the Liberals’ feet to the fire in an otherwise docile House of Commons.

And while we all know that polls taken today will be meaningless down the road, an Ambrose versus Notley battle for Alberta might just be a fair fight. What would make it even more interesting would be the resurrected Alberta Liberal Party with the fallout of progressive conservatives from a more right-wing Conservative Party.

We all need to face the facts that the days of narrow-minded Alberta-centric governments is coming to an end. All of us, as Canadians, have a responsibility to the entire country. We have to live together and build together. We have to care together. We have to share responsibility for our environment. It builds our future.

-30-

Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Lessons to be learned in Alberta.

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

The May 5 provincial election in Alberta is unfolding as anticipated. With pundits panicking, reporters rebelling, it will only be the final poll next Tuesday that will tell the real story. And in this cautionary tale of political progress there are entrails to be read that can foretell the political future of other provinces if not the country.

The funniest stories of the current campaign are the ones that have editors’ lower jaws hitting their desks as they read of the possibility of a New Democrat majority in the Alberta Legislature. Before there is a serious up-tic in heart failure in Alberta, it is important to remember that when reporters are unable to report, they speculate. The only good stories these days from the province are of all the fun New Democrat Leader Rachel Notley is having at the other parties’ expense.

And, you have to face the fact that Jim Prentice’s campaign style is like dull piled on dull. The guy tries to act suave without necessarily being able to pronounce the word. Rachel Notley is dancing rings around him. Could you imagine what Ontario New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath could do to Premier Kathleen Wynne if Horwath just had a sense of humour?

If you have any serious concerns about the continuing dynasty of the Alberta Conservatives, you might take heed to the recent Alberta Conservative budget. Prentice let ideology supplant good sense when he left Alberta with the lowest business tax in Canada. He is being seriously criticized for that in Alberta of all places. It goes to show you how times are changing.

There are some salutary thoughts in this criticism. The only cheerleaders for Joe Oliver’s recent federal budget are the advertisements that use taxpayer money to promote the Conservative Party. What those ads are buying is a great deal of cynicism. The blowback is hurting Conservatives first and all politicians second.

It is far too early to forecast anything other than the Alberta election at this time but all parties need to pay heed.

The Alberta Liberals could easily be cleared entirely from the provincial slate. That is a poor start on this fall’s federal election.

Wildrose has no justification other than to embarrass the Conservatives. They are losers.

It will be good to have Rachel Notley as Leader of the Opposition in the Alberta Legislature. It is like choosing a life-mate. If you have to have someone to nag you, it can be a better experience if the person is good looking and smart.

-30-

Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

The Morning Line: Alberta 2015.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

The May 5 provincial election in Alberta is something of a wake up call as Albertans shake themselves from the Tar Sands dream. It was probably the recent Prentice austerity budget more than anything else that told people that times are changing. There is no question but Albertans need to adapt to reality. There is just is no way they will like it.

In producing a Morning Line for this election you start by ignoring all the polls. Albertans lie to pollsters. They have been lying to them since the days of Bible Bill Aberhart. And if you had voted for Aberhart and his funny-money Social Credit, you would also have lied about it.

The only reality in this election is the 40-year record of the Longest Continuing Progressive Conservative dynasty. Prentice will not win the election with any rhetoric, he will just quietly accept the honour. The facts are that Albertans feel they have no choice. And they are hardly the type of people to take chances.

Progressive Conservative Party – 3 to 2

The only interesting question in the Alberta election is which party will come second. Rachel Notley and her New Democrats could be the comers. Notley has the political credentials and the trust that can make her the opposition leader. The provincial Liberals are lying low, waiting for the federal election and leaving the field open.

New Democratic Party – 5 to 1

And that leaves ‘what’s his name’ and the Wildrose Party. This situation is probably the hardest to read. The Wildrose is in disarray, lacking strong leadership or rational platform. It is difficult, even in Alberta, to be more right-wing than the Progressive Conservatives. It is too easy to think of Wildrose as a pale copy of the American Tea Party or the radical right of the federal Conservatives. Frankly, it looks like Jim Prentice’s strategy has hurt Wildrose more than him. It will be interesting to see the size of the rump that Wildrose will have in the Legislature after the election.

Wildrose Party – 12 to 1

To be fair, we should give a figure on the Alberta Liberal Party. The problem is we have never seen a situation where a mainstream party fails to nominate candidates in virtually every riding. A partial list is tantamount to surrender.

Alberta Liberal Party – 20 to 1

-30-

Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

Alberta stumbles as the Hair’s empire crumbles.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

There are at least a couple ridings in Alberta that could attract some smart Liberals for the federal election. Voters in that province are not stupid you know. They might also like to send a message to the Prime Minister after what he has helped to do to the province’s economy. The message is simply: Bye-bye Hair.

Canadians are inclined to forget much of what the Hair has done to this country over the past nine years. The effect of that bad stewardship has had an even worse effect on the province that gave him its 100 per cent support. That the Hair’s hopes were hollow is an understanding that came later to the West than the East.

But the voters can hardly send a message via Alberta’s provincial Conservatives in the Alberta election that could be held soon. The basic problem with that is that there is not much provincial opposition. The Wildrose Party has hardly recovered from the loss of a leader and most members who decided that being part of the government was more fun than being the opposition.

And they are still puzzling over the Prentice government promising in last week’s budget that the province can save $160 million on health care just through cutting excess spending and other efficiencies. That is a typical claim of Conservative politicians. If they can do that then some people should be fired for the misspending that was taking place before this budget. You would have to work far harder than those people usually work to misspend $160 million.

The only mistake by Prentice and his finance minister was in not including business in sharing some of the tax increases. This was more an ideological stance than any concern about the level of corporate taxes in Alberta. Alberta already has the lowest provincial corporate taxes in Canada. And, of course, there was no hint in the $5 billion deficit budget of there being a provincial sales tax.

But there are still many Albertans whose sense of entitlement has been shaken. When you take candy from children, they try to retaliate. Premier Jim Prentice might be right to get to the provincial election fast. It is like the theory of pulling off the band-aid quickly. If he can get it over with quickly, under the radar, he can leave the Hair to take the blame.

-30-

Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me