Friday, September 21, 2012

Alberta Ethics Commissioner Says, "He's Within the Family"

This has really got my goat.   Alberta Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson waved defeated PC MLA Evan Berger to take a $120,000 position at Alberta Agriculture where he was previously Ag. Minister just four months after being defeated. According to Wilkinson it was all above board because,get this, "he's within the  family, the government family."

There is supposed to be a cooling off period for all former cabinet ministers before they take any position  within the government.

Wilkinson apparently donated to both Jim Dinning's  and Ed Stelmach's leadership runs in 2006 and supported Dave Hancock in the latest PC leadership race that took place a little over a year ago.

Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw has come out swinging. 
"The premier should be intervening on this because anyone with an ethical gene in their body should know this doesn't pass the smell test," Saskiw said of Wilkinson's comments.

"If she's promising a fresh, new government, she has to review everyone in senior positions, and probably replace them."

Normally there is a one year cooling-off period before former cabinet officials can accept contracts from departments they had significant dealings with.

Along with his recent comments, the fact Wilkinson donated to Jim Dinning and former premier Ed Stelmach in the 2006 leadership race, and backed Dave Hancock in the subsequent leadership campaign won by Redford, shows he is too close to the Conservative Party to serve impartially as ethics commissioner, said Saskiw.

"The problem here is we don't have anyone who is independent or non-partisan because this PC government sets up a system where you basically have to be their lapdog," he said. "This guy is clearly an insider.

"He considers himself and (Conservative) MLAs to be insiders who are family."He is obviously not committed to upholding the separation between government and political parties, which is fundamental to parliament democracy, and he seems to believe as long as you're family you can do no wrong, so what else is he turning a blind eye to?"
It also seems our dear Premier, Nanny Redford was unavailable for comment.   Gee, I wonder why! 
Neil Wilkinson is clearly a partisan PC lacky.  He is not qualified to hold an important position as Ethics Commissioner. That position requires an objective non partisan to sit in that chair.   He should resign or be fired!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Now This Is The Way To Do It

 Amid all the kerfuffle over the Alberta PCs and their spending entitlements and no accountablity, Wildrose is setting the example.   Leader Danielle Smith has traveled to the US where she will be touring for the next 21 days.  She has posted her expenses on the Wildrose website. and in great detail right down to a $6.74 breakfast sandwich at the airport concession even though none of the costs will be billed to the Alberta taxpayer.

If you didn’t read the press release for this trip, no doubt you might be wondering, who’s paying for this trip? Here’s the answer. The costs are covered by the US Department of State, and they estimate the expense at $9,080 US for the 21-day program. With politicians’ travel expenses very much in the news lately, I thought you’d be interested in knowing my expenses as we go.
I have always said that international travel is an important part of the Premier’s job and, as Official Opposition Leader and International and Intergovernmental Affairs and Aboriginal Relations Critic, I think it is a necessary part of my job too. My criticism has not been the about the fact that the Premier and her ministers are taking international trips, it’s the eye-popping price tag associated with them. You’ll notice this trip budgets out at about $432/day, whereas most ministeral trips lately have been costing in the range of $2000/person/day (or more). Here are my expenses so far:
$549.59    Coach Flight Ottawa to Washington
$60.00      Baggage Charge
$40.51       Taxi from Ronald Reagan National Airport to Hotel
$32.00      Dinner in the Hotel Restaurant, Chartwell Grill
$682.10  Total to Date
The hotels we are staying at are nice, clean, safe and moderately priced. I’ll post the room charge after I check out of each hotel and get the bill. In the meantime, here are  some pictures of the hotel I’m staying at in Washington so you can check it out for yourself:

Churchill Hotel, Washington, DC
A Typical Room at the Churchill Hotel
UPDATE: Someone tweeted that they wanted me to post the expenses from the Ottawa leg of the trip too. I’m happy to comply in the interest of transparency, but keep in mind none of these costs are being paid for by Alberta taxpayers.
$329.83    Economy Flight Calgary to Ottawa
$21.00      Baggage Charge
$354.82    Lord Elgin Hotel (2 nights @ $157/night+tax)
$11.24       Internet access
$35.00     Taxi to Ottawa Airport
$6.74        Breakfast sandwich and coffee at Airport Concession
$758.63   Total for trip to Ottawa
I took a cab with fellow conference attendee John Carpay to the Lord Elgin Hotel and he kindly picked up the cost. Also, meals and refreshments were included at the conference, so I incurred no additional costs there. Hope that helps fill in the gaps.
Now that's the way to do it.   Alison Redford, take note!

Friday, September 14, 2012

In Case You Missed It

Brian Lilley conducted a one on one interview with PM Stephen Harper last night on his show Byline.  For those of you who missed it, it was a fantastic one.  It was very substantive, informative and no gotcha's from Lilley like there is when the media party interviews our PM. They touched on various issues such as the economy, and foreign affairs primarily the chaos right now in the Middle East.  For those of you who missed it, enjoy.

When comparing PM Harper with President Obama this is what Brian Lilley says that the PM is the adult in the room.
 Comparing the two men based on their actions and not their words can only lead to the conclusion that when Harper and Obama meet, Harper is the adult in the room.
Trading Harper for Obama wouldn’t be good for Canada, but it might be good for the rest of the world.

Canada is blessed to have such a strong grown up leader right now, especially when you compare us with the rest of the world.   For all of you haters, get with the program. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pat Martin Wants You To Donate To His Cause


Pat Martin is  appealing to the public to help him out with his defense fund. He has set up a website to take the donations.  He was sued by Racknine who he accused of being involved in the Robot call fiasco.   He wants $250,000.   He gave a weak kneed apology but Racknine is going through with the lawsuit anyway.
 An NDP MP is turning to the Internet to cover his legal bills in the face of a lawsuit for wrongly accusing an Alberta company of electoral fraud.
Supporters and friends of Pat Martin are trying to raise $250,000 after the Winnipeg MP was sued for comments he made about the 2011 election robo-calls scandal.

Anyway, why is it up to the public to help defend Pat?  After all it's he who spouted off those the accusations against Racknine.

I 'm glad Racknine is going ahead with the suit.  Loud mouth Martin needs to learn a lesson.   This time it seems he's shot his mouth off once too often  

I don't know about you but I will be anxious for the outcome of the suit.  Looks good on him! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

PM Harper To Be Honoured


 I must say we should all be proud of our Prime Minister.   He is to receive a prestigious award as "World Statesman of the Year."
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being hailed as “World Statesman of the Year” by an American organization that previously feted Jean Chretien, British prime minister Gordon Brown and and Korean president Lee Myung-bak.
The award, for his work as “a champion of democracy, freedom and human rights”, comes from an organization called the Appeal of Conscience Foundation,
The organization paying tribute to Harper was founded in 1965 by Rabbi Arthur Schneier. Its website says the Foundation has worked on behalf of religious freedom and human rights throughout the world.
 The heads of the Harper haters are probably exploding as we speak.   Why can't they just accept that fact we are currently governed by a Prime Minister that is doing a good job working on behalf of all Canadians?  Yes even including them who hate him, making sure the economy is stable, that they all have jobs, that the streets are safe for their children and that they have the freedom to  spew their hate. 

Just look around at most parts of the world, I think we should all be grateful and count our blessings. 

God bless PM Stephen Harper and his family and God bless CanadaCongratulations Mr.  Prime Minister! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Alberta PCs Thinks We're Stupid

 Premier Alison Redford and Deputy Premier Doug Horner at Government House in Edmonton. 

On Thursday, Finance Minister Doug Horner presented us with the latest fiscal update.  It does not look good. We are headed for a massive deficit.  In Alberta, there is absolutely no reason we should be in deficit period full stop. What makes matters worse is that they are refusing to release the details.  We wouldn't understand it.  We wouldn't get it.   In other words, we are stupid.

“We didn’t do a technical briefing, because the reality is if we have to do a technical briefing for (journalists), how do we expect that Albertans are going to understand what I am telling them?
“I want Albertans to understand (that) the first-quarter results are based on actual-to-budget, just the way they would do at home or in their businesses, and that’s the way we are going to report.”
Come on do they really think we're that dumbSeems so.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says  that the PC government could be breaking the law.

So much for Nanny Redford's "This is not your father's PC party" and the promise of openness, transparency and accountability.

By the way, Nanny Redford doesn't seem worried.