Of course there is room for cuts.

 I wonder what the Stelmach deficit will really total by the end of the fiscal year? At the rate that it is escalating, it is looking likely that we will be $10 billion in the red by the time the year is finished. Iris and Ed’s fiscal predictions have proven to be utterly worthless and off the mark by as much as $15 billion in a one year period. It is frightening to think of what these clowns will do to our province with a few more years to mismanage us.

 The voices of the status-quo apologists are dwindling as most people with any degree of fiscal common sense have migrated to the Wildrose Alliance Party. These people have learned that to try and repair the tired old Progressive Conservative machine is a lost cause.

 Still, there are a dogged few who try to make excuses for the freespending ways of the Stelmach government. It is sad to see them smugly state to critics “Well, where would you cut?” as if that is some sort of knockout blow dealt to critical comment. A better question is; where to begin?

 Virtually every department has had massive increases in expenditures despite Albertans seeing little indication of benefits from this spending. The reason to put it simply is that the spending has been directionless and money is being outright pissed away. Bureaucrats are raking in millions in bonuses from Ed Stelmach while displaying gross incompetence in the spending of hard-earned Albertan tax dollars. What incentive is there for these parasites to improve performance? Firing is one of the best things these people can think of happening to them considering the multi-million dollar golden handshakes that Ed likes to give to senior civil servants.

 Special Ed and others have trumpeted that we are in the midst of an infrastructure deficit. This is a sidelong (and rather sad) way to try and blame our fiscal shortcomings on the previous administration.

 Lets assume that this infrastructure is indeed critical. Does that mean that we can’t cut the spending on it? NO!

 A regular reader of this blog (an rare breed indeed) passed on a couple stories to me that really help demonstrate the efficiency being displayed in the construction of Alberta infrastructure. The contrast is striking and I don’t doubt that hundreds of other projects can be compared similarly.

 Wal-Mart announced a few months ago that they will be constructing a giant store in Calgary’s Southeast. The store will be 185,000 square feet and will be the largest of it’s kind in Calgary. The projected cost of this project is about $11 million dollars.

 Now recently, the province of Alberta and the city of Calgary proudly cut the ribbon on the opening of a new police station in the Ramsey district. The station is 36,000 square feet and cost $19 million to build.

 Now I do understand that there are different needs between these types of facilities but come on, look at that spread in costs. I don’t doubt that Wal-Mart will be installing top of the line security that will rival the police station along with administrative space. I am sure that there are many things that the retail facility will need that the police station would not.

 I see that Canadian Tire is building a store along with a Work Warehouse and other shops in Canmore Alberta. That project is projected to come in at around $11 million dollars. This is in one of the most expensive property areas with the most expensive labor in the province.

 There is plenty of room for cost-efficiency folks and we need not eschew much infrastructure in order to save money. The first step would be to investigate and find out why government funded projects cost twice or more  as much to construct as comparable ones in the private sector. Such an investigation would mean that senior civil servants, unions and contractors with a government relationship and sense of entitlement would likely get their backs up. Alas, our current government will never have the courage to take this on.

 We have all sorts of room for spending cuts people. What other departments are wasting money? Who else is bleeding the taxpayer?  We need people in the legislature with the knackers to ask these questions and demand answers.

 ht to Max for the heads up.

Incapable of learning a lesson.

 While Special Ed petulantly refuses to welcome Alberta’s latest member to the legislature, Diane Colley-Urquhart is displaying why she earned “also-ran” status and was blown away in the by-election and displaying that she has not a clue why.

 Here is one quote from Colley-Urquhart post-election:

“”I have no comment on the Wildrose Alliance party. I don’t know much about them at all,”

 OK so lets get this straight, after 28 days of campaigning you still don’t know much about the winning party. Wow, way to campaign with an informed plan. Your myopic ignorance of electoral trends served you well Diane.

 From further into the piece:

“She added she didn’t know why a majority of voters in the byelection gravitated toward the party, choosing it instead of the long-ruling Tories and the established Liberals. She suggested reporters ask voters.”

 How profound! Diane, listen to yourself. You had a month to ask the voters and clearly you did not. In your arrogance you told the voters rather than actually listened to them. Now you are essentially blaming the voters for not choosing such a great candidate as you feel you are.

 Diane you are the Queen of acclamation. I suspect that in a year from now you will not be given a free ride as you have in past municipal elections. If you continue to pout, you will not learn anything from this electoral experience and may very well find yourself completely unemployed in a little more than a year. You have no government job to hedge your electoral bets in the municipal elections, I suggest that you spend this year studying why you were so soundly defeated in what was considered a safe seat for you.

 No need to thank me for the advice Diane. 🙂

Special Ed lays down the law.

 Guy Boutilier performed the worst sin imaginable in Ed Stelmach’s caucus; he dared to speak up for his constituents. For the crime of showing a backbone and acting on behalf of the people who entrusted him with their vote, Boutilier has been kicked out of the P.C. Caucus. No hearing, no defense and no appeal.

 You can always tell when the government is doing something distasteful. The government always does these things late on a Friday night in hopes that it will blow over on the weekend when people are not paying attention. Eddie’s main man Tom Olson (Tom moves his hand and Ed’s mouth moves) certainly was involved in the timing of this decision at least. Stelmach is not media savvy enough to have chosen such a time for this move all by himself. I suspect that despite these efforts, this will not simply go away.

 When Ralph Klein kicked Oberg from caucus, Klein at least let the entire caucus discuss the issue. This incident speaks worlds about the dictatorial nature of Stelmach. Caucus was to meet this Tuesday where other party MLAs could have at least discussed the fate of Guy. Ed took the initiative however and unilaterally kicked Boutilier out in order to avoid having people speak in favor of Guy actually having done his job.

 The PCs are less democratic then ever and this rather proves it. Anybody who actually wants a voice in the legislature that represents their constituency had best either have an opposition MLA or move to Vegreville.

 Not much point in having constituencies when it is clear that Stelmach calls all the shots.

 It is critical that individual MLAs be allowed to represent their constituents. Otherwise we may as well simply elect one person as dictator. Only the Wildrose Alliance Party has policy demanding free votes and the protection of MLAs. I think that a man such as Boutilier who stands by his principles in favor of his constituents would make a nice addition to the party.

Begone foul critics!!


 Special Ed Stelmach seems to be dedicating much more time to trying to shut down critical comment than actually governing. That is rather apparent in his shameless breaking of provincial law and posting a record deficit.

 Stelmach set the precedent when he fired Lorne Gibson (head of elections Alberta) for Gibson’s having dared question the government on electoral procedures and submitting a long list of recommendations. Now Stelmach is setting his sights on Auditor General Fred Dunn.

 While the Progressive Conservatives could afford a 20% increase in funding for the Executive Council and their Ministry of Truth, they could not afford any increase for the Auditor General thus Fred Dunn had to shelve 27 of 80 planned audits for next year.

 The warning through funding did not get through to poor Fred it appears. He still thinks he is supposed to do his job and he has dared to be critical of the provincial government. One would think that is the role of an auditor, but clearly that is not the case in Ed’s world.

 Stelmach’s lapdog on the treasury board (Snelgrove) is outright ordering Fred Dunn to quit poking his nose into government business.

 Yes, even the Auditor General dare not question the actions of government. It is pretty clear that Fred Dunn is on the road to being fired as Gibson was. Doubtless an Auditor General will be found and appointed who will realize what side his bread is buttered on and we will nary hear another critical comment on Stelmach’s government again.

 The lack of respect for democracy and critical comment by our provincial government has moved beyond being simply distasteful and into the realm of the frightening.

Trying to polish a turd.

 Yes I think the saying about the futility of polishing a turd is quite appropriate as we see Iris Evans somehow managing to table a record deficit budget and telling us it is “a good news story”. Geeze Evans, I shudder to think what you would consider a bad news story. In light of the Progressive Conservative’s astoundingly terrible fiscal management, I suspect that Evans will have to disclose a bad news budget within a year.

 I had the opportunity to go to the legislature and watch this travesty of a budget in person yesterday. Rest assured, the turd looks no more shiny when observed in person.

 The first order of business in the legislature was to sheepishly table a new version of the “fiscal responsibility act”. The reason for this of course is that the current budget is illegal. Sadly, when government breaks the law, they simply re-write the law. Sheepish is really not enough, the members of the Progressive Conservative government should all hang their heads in shame.

 The PCs are trying to present this as a budget of restraint. They have reduced the increased spending to match that of population growth plus inflation. That spending model is what fiscally wise people have been telling government to follow for over a decade. Sadly Special Ed is a decade late in figuring it out. Last summer we were projecting a surplus of almost $9 billion. In less than a year we are facing going almost $5 billion into the hole.

 The government is patting itself on the back for the fiscal restraint being shown. Reducing an increase is not an example of fiscal restraint, reducing spending is!


 Yes Evans is gazing into a crystal ball. You see, part of the budget is pure speculation. While the government is already admitting that they are spending $4.7 billion more this year than they are earning, they are sort of quiet about there being another $2.2 billion in revenue required to make their spending commitments. Essentially the government is praying that oil will massively spike in price in the next few months. If this spike does not occur, the real deficit is close to $7 billion.

 How much faith can we have in the prognostication powers of the government? Well considering the idiots were off on their projected revenue by over $10 billion over a period of some eight months or so, I must say that I am not terribly confident.

 The issue is not too complex. Our problem is not a sagging world economy or low commodity prices (though that does not help), our problem is that the government has been spending money like drunken sailors for over a decade.



 It does not take an economist to look at the above image and realize that Alberta has been on a collision course with deficit for years. Many voices from the Taxpayers Federation to the Fraser Institute to the Canadian Federation for Independent Business have been pointing this trend out to Stelmach for years. Stelmach blindly and idiotically ignored those voices and continued to piss away the hardearned tax-dollars of Albertans.

 How must it feel for those PC MLAs who sat in the legislature in the 90s? Those MLAs who endured the complaints and pressures to spend as Alberta tightened her belt and ended deficit financing? How does it feel to go so swiftly and deeply back into deficit after all that work guys? I watched the PC seals in the legislature pounding their desks in applause as Evans tabled that document which will place the burden of payment on our children. Can you guys really sleep at night? Have you any shred of principle left?

 This is the sad outcome of a government that has been in power for almost 40 years. There is no principle, there is no vision. The government exists for the Progressive Conservative Party’s interests. The interests of Albertans were discarded years ago. There will be no healing for this sick administration. They are entrenched, visionless and parasitic. The government takes no path aside from what they view as the path of least resistance. In cowardice they have bent to every spending demand and we now are all paying the price.

 Alberta needs to sweep this lost government from the legislature. We are prone to doing that every few decades. It is clear that such a housecleaning is more than in order now.

 The Wildrose Alliance Party is promoting fiscal responsibility and is wisely planning for Alberta’s future. Meetings are being held across the province and growth in the party is unprecedented. Despite the fast growth of the WAP, it will still be a tough and uphill battle to unseat a government that feels they are in power by divine right. It cannot be stressed enough how much Albertan’s need to shed their traditional apathy and to get involved. People need to work to make change. The campaign for election 2012 must begin now if we are to make change in Alberta. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it, they will not.

 If things are left as they are, we will be leaving a sad and shameful legacy to future generations in this province. To have so much potential wasted is intolerable.

Don’t question the King!!

 It is pathetic seeing the PC lapdogs twisting, turning and generally refusing to answer in what was a blatant assault by their party on the democratic process in Alberta.

 Question period in the legislature is of limited use at the best of times, but it is worthwhile to pop in for a look to see how the government arrogantly refuses to answer legitimate questions from the opposition.

 Which part of Gibson actually doing his job annoyed King special Ed Stelmach?

 Was it the finding of 11 electoral violations and recomendation for legal followup that irked His Highness?

 Was it Gibson’s questioning of the clear impropriety of having the Progressive Conservative Party handpick each and every returning officer in the province?

 Perhaps it was Gibson bringing light to Eddie’s lie regarding fixed election dates as documented here.

 It could be any of the other 100 and some recommendations that Gibson presented to Emperor Ed in trying to increase democracy in Alberta. Eddie arrogantly dismissed all of the recommendations of course.

 I suspect that it was a mix of all the above reasons. The biggest sin that Gibson committed was to try and do his job. Gibson remained impartial and refused to lick the feet of Mr. Ed. For doing his job Gibson was promptly fired.

 We can be assured that the next Chief Electoral Officer will do whatever the PC party tells them if they want to keep their job. There is no role in the civil service where impartiality and protection from government interference is more important than that of the Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta. The Alberta Progressive Conservatives led by Special Ed Stelmach have now compromised the integrity of that critical posting. We can likely look forward to further drops in electoral turnout as cynicism grows in the Alberta electorate.

 It must be difficult for PC MLAs to sleep at night. I know some of them had ideals at one time. Their silence is certainly deafening now.