A Tale of Two Strategies (okay, one strategy and one gong show)

Congratulations to all of you for surviving the Smith government’s first session in the Legislature. It started on Nov 29 and ended on Dec 15 and it felt like an eternity.

Smith has been premier for two months. she sat in the Legislature for 15 days and already she’s created more chaos than Hurricane Fiona.

Tempting though it may be to rage about the Sovereignty Act, or the fact that roughly half of the UCP MLAs are in cabinet, or that Smith quietly appointed Tracey Allard the new parliamentary secretary of civil liberties (she’s responsible for free speech on campus, property rights, the rights of the unvaccinated, and something to do with federal laws on gun ownership and online news), we won’t.

Instead we’ll step back and ask ourselves what Smith has in store for us in 2023. What’s her strategy? Does she have one other than yelling at Ottawa every chance she gets?

Smith and Notley

Smith’s Strategy

It appears that Smith’s strategy, indeed her very existence as premier, is derived from the Free Alberta Strategy (FAS), that wacko document penned by Rob Anderson, Barry Cooper, and Derek From.  

So let’s see what the kind folk at FAS have in store for us in 2023.

In an email sent out last week they congratulated themselves on a job well done. “In 2022, our Free Alberta Strategy swept a new Premier to power, our Sovereignty Act swept through the Legislature, and our agenda for Alberta swept across the country.”

In 2023 they will pursue their remaining priorities, including:

  • An Alberta Revenue Agency to collect provincial taxes, with the ultimate goal of a single tax return where Alberta collects all revenues and remits what we owe to Ottawa
  • An Alberta Pension Plan that would guarantee every retiree the same benefits as the CPP at a lower cost, or even more benefits at the same cost.  
  • An Alberta Police Service which would be more focused on Alberta’s priorities (public safety, rural crime, gang activity, theft, not federal priorities like gun confiscations, covid fines and environmental regulation enforcement).

Smith is aligned with these priorities having already tasked Finance minister Toews to review and provide recommendations on the first two agenda items and Justice minister Shandro to work with the minister of Public Safety & Emergency Services to finalize the decision on the Alberta Police Service.

It’s important to note that the business community, you know, those folks who actually drive the economy, do not appear to be on board with Smith’s strategy.

Right from the start people like Deborah Yedlin, the head of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, condemned the Sovereignty Act. One can only imagine the Chamber’s reaction when Smith dutifully delivers on FAS’s expectation of legislation creating Alberta regulated banks and financial institutions, an Alberta unemployment insurance scheme, a provincial tax court, and banning federal judicial appointments.

Notley’s strategy

While Smith and her FAS backers have been busy trying to create a sovereign nation within (or perhaps outside) of Canada, Rachel Notley has been laying the foundation for a return to a “stable, no surprises government” that’s focused on growing the economy and providing strong public healthcare and education.

Last week she addressed a crowd of 375 at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. The event was sold out in 72 hours and had a waitlist.

In it Notley laid out the NDP’s Competitiveness, Jobs and Investment Strategy which promises:  

  • an Alberta’s Future Tax Credit targeting emerging sectors like critical minerals, clean technologies, etc
  • expanding the Alberta Petrochemical Incentives Program to include for example,  recycled plastics, end products and partial upgrading,
  • consulting on expanding the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (which now includes projects like the Northern Corridor and the Lindbergh Co-Gen facility) to include energy projects of a smaller scale and other sectors
  • establishing a Regulatory Performance Fast Pass (like a Nexus card) for companies with a proven track record for compliance and adding experienced staff (“navigators”) to fast track approvals in sectors like clean energy, agriculture, life sciences and advanced manufacturing, and
  • repealing the Sovereignty Act which creates instability and uncertainty

Notley’s speech emphasized the fact that Alberta’s economy is changing and Alberta must be willing to collaborate in order to be ready to meet the future.

Yedlin said Notley’s speech was well received.

No one stomped out in disgust when they heard words like “emerging sectors” or “clean technologies” or “recycled plastics” and most importantly no one pushed back on Notley’s promise that an NDP government would repeal the Sovereignty Act.

As Yedlin put it, “Everybody in the room is very, very focused on certainty and stability.”

It would appear that the UCP government’s strategy of waving an angry fist in Ottawa’s direction and threatening to leave the country if Ottawa doesn’t yield simply doesn’t cut it, notwithstanding what Barry Cooper, or Rob Anderson, or Derek From (did I miss anyone…oh yes, their lackey Danielle Smith) think.

This bodes well for the May 2023 election.


This entry was posted in Politics and Government and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to A Tale of Two Strategies (okay, one strategy and one gong show)

  1. Jim McPhail says:

    No doubt that Notley is a smoother, saner politician than Smith. As a climate activist, Notley worries me more. She is a staunch Fossil Fuel supporter and uses skilled greenwashing via the misunderstood terms such as “clean energy,” “renewable hydrogen,” “essential CCS/CCUS,” and “sustainable biomass,” for example, to fool most of the public. Her stated Fossil Fuel plans will prevent effective climate action under her possible premiership.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      Mr McPhail:

      Protesting Rachel Notley’s environmental credentials is a classic case of perfection being the enemy of good. Alberta voters will be faced with a stark choice in May: a sensible, stable, rational government that can walk and chew gum at the same time in terms of supporting the Alberta workforce while at the same time working to gradually and incrementally diversify the economy away from oil and gas extraction — or an extremist whackadoodle government that will chase away business investment and double down on this sovereignty nonsense.

      Remember, in order to begin the transformation of Alberta from being a one-industry province — which, in fact it really isn’t, but that’s what you’d think if you only paid attention to the UCP — the Notley-led NDP has to get elected, and in order to do that, it can’t be too far ahead of public opinion when it comes to support for the fossil fuel industry. If it is too aggressive in greening the economy, it will lose the election — then all of us will be the losers.

      • Jerrymacgp: well said. You absolutely nailed it!
        While I understand that some people think Notley is moving too slowly, if she moves too quickly the NDP will never form government. I think it’s important to note that all of the pillars of the NDP’s competitive strategy support diversification and renewable energy, and (this is the critical part), her strategy was well received here in Calgary, the epicenter of the fossil fuel sector. This is remarkable.

      • Carlos says:

        I agree with you Susan that Notley’s program on renewal energy is a success and despite the UCP it continues to accelerate. At least we can save one industry from the destroying hands of the current government.

    • Jim, as you can tell I’m with Jerry on this one. I do believe the tide is turning even in the fossil fuel (FF) sector. I was talking to a retired FF executive the other day. I asked him what he thought about Alberta’s future. I expected a tirade about environmental activists trying to shut down the oilsands, and while he did mention that, he went on to say Alberta’s future was bright because it had abundant renewables (sunlight, wind) as well as hydrogen and critical minerals. I’ve known this man for 15 years. This is the first time I’ve heard him say anything positive about renewables. Looks like we can teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes a little while.

      • Jim McPhail says:

        Did you ask what colour of hydrogen? Fossil Fuel companies are making out like crazy, hiding how they can continue their production while pretending it’s sustainable. I attended a webinar today where one Green expert was run over by 2 FF types who minimized any issues using natural gas and got away with it.

      • Jim McPhail says:

        Susan sorry for my hasty reply a few minutes ago. Adding counterviews:
        There is much reason for FF companies to be positive.
        * Minister Wilkinson is a staunch FF advocate, as we saw before Guilbeault moved into the portfolio. He continues to back them domestically and on the international stage, including –
        * Supporting proposed enormous $Billions in continuing to subsidize them to develop CCS/CCUS technology while not having to account for where the $$ goes.
        * CCS/CCUS have never been shown to be successful at scale. EOR is touted as leading the way while increasing the O&G GHG’s. And try to find any studies showing that the injected carbon does not make its way back to the atmosphere.
        * FF companies are still expanding production and building new infrastructure, even coal, claiming CCS/CCUS negate their GHG’s. And much of the public is buying this line. The IEA is clear that FF new production must be stopped immediately and BAU has to change to decrease production immediately.
        I’d be optimistic too as a FF exec with our “Green” Federal political party in power let my colleagues and write the laws, policies and regulations governing my activities and the Opposition is panting to sell the farm for us. Then we have the provincial governments at our beck and call. Sweet!

    • Tina Dmytryshyn says:

      She is not a fossil fuel supporter but she is smart enough not to bite off the hand that feeds Alberta. Rachel l knows we have to go slowly but surely toward renewable energy and to provide incentives along the way.

  2. Mm says:

    FAS does a lot of sweeping. They must be preparing for a future career of sweeping. FAS reminds me of another acronym, but that is neither here nor there.

    • Mm: yes FAS is fond of grand rhetoric. They are delighted “one of the the centrepieces” of their plan has been implemented. They believe Bill 1 is a good bill. they think it was simply an oversight that Smith filled it full of Henry VIII clauses giving Cabinet the power to make laws behind closed doors. They are so naive, they think they can control Smith, but they can’t and in the end Smith will go down and she’ll take them and the UCP down with her.

  3. Rob Ballantyne says:

    Am I wrong in thinking Danielle Smith is unsurping the role of the CIA in destabilizing Canada and making the Federal Government’s job of “good governance” harder and harder? Do we have to remind her that her job is to “add” to Canada rather than to “add” to the US ownership of Alberta? Sheesh.

    • Carlos says:

      I do not think you are wrong at all.
      I am sure she has much more in common with the Trump lunatics than anything else in Canada.

    • Rob and Carlos, I agree with you both. The Opposition asked Smith to confirm that she would never call a referendum on separation (this is one of Barry Cooper’s favourite talking points. He told CBC that if Canada fails to respect Alberta then Alberta will call a separation referendum and it’s “in” or “out.”) In response to the question Smith said “I am not a separatist” (reminded me of Nixon saying “I’m not a crook”) but she did NOT say she wouldn’t call a referendum on separation.
      And why anyone would think Alberta would be better off as the 51st state in the great U.S. of A. is beyond me.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. Danielle Smith any the UCP are getting worse and worse, as time goes by. They are burning bridges, instead of building them. They are more interested in fighting, and aren’t interested in doing what’s best for Alberta. I still don’t see the Sovereignty Act succeeding. I’ll share some more fitting music. This is in my music collection. It is a Don D. Robey and a Joe Veasy composition, Further On Up The Road, and is from Eric Clapton’s live album, Just One Night, released in 1980. I did see Eric Clapton live in 2007.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. This is from Cat Stevens, and it is his own composition, released in 1967, The First Cut Is The Deepest. This is also part of my music collection.

  6. Paul Pearlman says:

    We have the 3 Musketeers and their mouth piece who only opens it to change feet. Leading us to the promised land of the unknown no Alberta Premier has ever won a fight with Ottawa and I’m sure they won’t win their fight either! So MerryChristmas to all 2023 is going to be very interesting for all of us Albertans as for every month the Clowns are in power it might take years to repair.

    • Paul the premier who actually won a fight with Ottawa was Peter Lougheed. The law prof Al Lucas did a short piece on how Lougheed secured economic protection for Alberta by using a carefully developed legal and political strategy to get section 92A into the Constitution.
      The irony is that Barry Cooper, who couldn’t hold a candle to Peter Lougheed, derides Lougheed’s accomplishments and instead threatens to burn the place to the ground as a way to bend Ottawa to his will. It’s sad.
      Here’s a link to the Al Lucas piece: https://ablawg.ca/2012/09/27/peter-lougheeds-section-92a/

      • Paul Pearlman says:

        Thank you Susan, I always feel Premier Lougheed is in an entirely different category than all of those who followed him. I will read the piece you sent along with your answer. I often comment more out of frustration than KNOWLEDGE!!!

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. It is from 1968. Jeff Beck is doing a version of Greensleeves (also known as What Child Is This?). This is from 1968, and is also in my music collection. I did see Jeff Beck twice live, and met him. Along with Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck is one of the former Yardbirds guitar legends.

    • Dwayne, these were lovely picks. I especially liked Greensleeves.
      I still can’t get over how many of these amazing musicians you’ve actually seen live. You must have spent your entire youth on the road. Lucky you! 🙂

  8. Carlos says:

    Something is very wrong with any system that allows a separatist premier to be elected by 0.1% of the population of a province through the back door.
    That is not democracy and I hope that once we are back into a more reasonable time we think about ways to fix a decrepit political system instead of banging our heads against the wall every time something crazy like this happens.
    Daniele Smith is the premier of extremists and not the rest of us. She has a severe case of mental delusion and needs to step aside and allow regular people to run this province. She will continue force feeding us with her sick vision of politics and life in general and there is only one way to fight delusional force.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: Danielle Smith is driven by her ego, and by a very small ultra right wing base. It’s not helping Alberta. If apathy sets in, as we have seen in the by-election where Danielle Smith got elected, or such as when the Alberta PCs were in power for all those years, it’s not going to help. Until electoral reform happens in Alberta, look what we are stuck with.

    • Carlos I agree with you, something is indeed terribly wrong with our system that Smith has been allowed to do what she’s done.
      As Dwayne says we’re stuck with this system and we have to combat apathy and exhaustion to ensure she’s not elected by a greater proportion of the population in May 2023 because we all know that if she gets even 40% of the vote she’ll declare “the people” have given her a mandate and she’ll go hog wild.

  9. Janna says:

    1. Kenney’s strategy consisted solely of yelling at Ottawa every chance he got so she’s just following in his footsteps.
    2. Business does not run the economy, people do. Consumers do. Big business will pull out of AB but we could do fine regardless if consumers can afford to keep the economy going.
    3. I’m not confident Albertans will vote out the UCP. So many of us seem to think we’ve been hard done by for decades. I’m so disappointed.

    • Janna. I agree. I’d add to your #1 that Kenney used the Fair Deal Panel to ingratiate himself with the far right. It gave air time to whiners and snivellers and created expectations that Kenney’s government would solve everything if it just did what the whiners and snivellers wanted. His government accepted some of the Fair Deal Panel’s recommendations and parked the rest as unworkable or simply ludicrous. The whiners and snivellers got rid of him and the Free Alberta Strategy people are using the Fair Deal Panel’s input as a blue print for a “sovereign” Alberta. If we don’t boot Smith and the UCP out in May 2023 we’ll be stuck in the muck for a long time.
      Frankly, some of us will say enough is enough and move to a saner province.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      Speaking of Alberta being “hard done by”, did you see this? “Federal equalization payments to Manitoba jump by $577 million”. Alberta’s constantly wailing on about equalization, but will they be wailing about Manitoba getting over half a billion more than last year? My guess is … crickets, because Manitoba isn’t Québec. I’ve long felt that Alberta’s resentment of equalization — aside from not being based on facts or an accurate understanding of who pays into it — is really rooted in a resentment of Québec and of francophones in Canada. It goes as far back as people complaining about French on their cereal boxes in the 1960s. It’s hate, pure and simple.

      https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/12/19/federal-equalization-payments-to-manitoba-jump-ndp-say-use-it-for-health.html (sorry if it’s paywalled… )

      On CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-millions-equalization-transfers-1.6691730

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        jerrymacgp, I wouldn’t characterize Albertans’ feeling toward Quebec as hate; maybe in the ‘60s, but not for a long time now. Envy—yes, especially among the Free Alberta Fantasists and Take Back Alberta (to the 1800’s) mob. The noisy separatists among us have, I believe, become jealous of Quebec’s ability to “get stuff from Ottawa.” That’s not so very true anymore, but (like the mantra “Oil = Alberta”) it’s powerful propaganda.

        As for Manitoba—the government is Progressive Conservative, even though the Premier, Heather Stefanson, hasn’t won a general election since she became party leader (just like Queen Dannie). Smith isn’t going to call attention to either of those facts.

        Even worse, Alberta now has a budget surplus. Mostly, it’s because of Putin’s illegal war driving up global oil prices. Partly, it’s due to the end of Ralph Klein’s excessively generous “1% royalty while building” tax breaks for bitumen companies. Even for Queen Dannie, it’d be a stretch to demand money from Ottawa while protesting payments to fellow-Cons in Manitoba—and spending like a drunken sailor in a pre-election binge.

      • My guess is you’re right jerrymacgp. Barry Cooper summed it up this sentiment nicely on CBC when he was asked whether he really believed Albertans would be better off outside of Canada. He said there was no question. We’d have pipelines to the coast and “We also wouldn’t have to pay Quebec all the transfer payments. And if you don’t think that is something that appeals to Albertans…you underestimate the redneck quality of a anti-Quebec sentiment in the province. And it’s not it’s not anti-French, it’s anti-Quebec. One province has taken a huge amount of money from Alberta. And guess what? They’ve never said thank you.”

        They’ve never said thank you? To whom? To all the Canadian taxpayers from BC to PEI to the NWT, from across the country who pay federal taxes which are then divvied up by the federal government of the day and allocated into many different buckets including the equalization payments bucket?

        To say that Cooper doesn’t understand how equalization works would be an understatement.

  10. Ingamarie says:

    Let’s all work to that end…ie: The coming spring election. We’ve been knocking on doors, and there is a real appetite out there for genuine discussion….and very little of the nastiness that we encountered in past years. Yes, there are committed conservatives, but they identify as such and are for the most part polite if not cordial.

    Those of us who like to discuss issues on sites like this, need to take the conversations outside now. Alberta isn’t out of the ‘entitled woods’ yet….and the desire to stay inside, comfy and exceptional hasn’t completely gone away, even under a Danielle Smth.

    After all, she is just the culmination of years of exceptionality thinking. She’s the kind of politician you get when you reduce politics to being ‘all about me and mine’. There is a bigger and broader world out there…….even in the countryside I expect it is manifesting. Let’s all join the opposition and take to the streets, get out the vote, and start the real work of preparing Alberta for the 21st Century, already well underway outside the Alberta fantasy state.

    And many thanks to Susan for revealing where these BIG Alberta pipedreams come from. Why am I not surprised….Friends of Science who don’t bother to read Science! We’ve already paid for that crew.

    • Ingamarie: thank you for this uplifting comment. I’m hearing similar things from other NDP candidates I know. They say the mood on the doors is very different from what they faced in the past.
      I’d just like to add that if some of our readers can’t go doorknocking anymore, there are other activities they could do to support the movement for change, including making regular donations to the party.

  11. Sharon says:

    Thank you for this and merry Christmas and happy holiday to all. I am hopeful, that come election time, the Unhinged Clown Party and Dodo Danielle will get their lumps of coal. No, Barry Cooper, it isn’t rocket science, people want a strong Alberta that is part of Canada. Those conservatives who are loathe to vote NDP need to be reminded Peter Lougheed and Rachel Notley think a lot alike….

    • Sharon, I liked your reference to Barry Cooper’s “rocket science” comment. For those who didn’t see it in Gary Mason’s column in the Globe & Mail, a retiree wrote to Barry Cooper asking Cooper how he ever imagined Smith could lead Alberta into the future. Cooper replied by email saying, “Don’t you get it? I want out as do many of my fellow citizens. If she won’t do the job we’ll get someone who will. It ain’t rocket science.”
      Mason couldn’t believe Cooper would express such separatist views and followed up with him. Cooper confirmed that if Canada won’t deal with Alberta’s grievances, there is only one option–a provincial vote on separation. “It ain’t rocket science.”

      • Carlos says:

        They come up with all kinds of weird referendums but lever the correct ones.
        Who the heck is Barry Cooper and who cares he wants out?
        Cooper can dream whatever he wants but if he wants out he can easily do it and move to the US for example. I am sure he will find a niche for his extreme ideology there.
        Barry is a citizen just each one of us and he does not get to pick what he wants to do with Alberta. Unless of course we are silly enough to allow him to.

      • Ingamarie says:

        Someone should look into Cooper’s PhD….where the heck did someone with his quirky take on reality get qualified to teach at a university? What does it mean to operate an organization called Friends of Science, when you refuse to ‘get’ basic climate models, or keep sticking your head in the sand when extreme weather around the world keeps proving you an ignoramus???

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Hi Sharon. The Free Alberta “Strategy” document says Anderson and From are both lawyers (Anderson is a civil litigation lawyer, so we might want to temper our criticism. Maybe.) Cooper is a political scientist, and whether that includes a degree in law, I don’t know. None claim to be constitutional lawyers.

      I’d like to know two things: 1) how many constitutional lawyers are there in Canada, and 2) how many agree with Cooper’s interpretation of the Constitution? I suspect the answers are 1) a lot, and 2) next to none.

      • Carlos says:

        Why would we temper our criticism? Do we have to now be afraid of a lawyer with extreme political views? I think that as a lawyer he should temper what he puts out as strategies that are unconstitutional. Not the other way around.

        We are in deep doodoo if we have to be hiding from extreme ideology lawyers in Canada. That will be the day we cease to be a democracy.

        I am surprised that the Layers Association does not say or do anything about their members. Do they not have the responsibility to keep their members following the law?

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Well, Carlos, I’m the careful sort who’d rather watch from the sidelines. I’m not keen to defend myself against a SLAPP suit. If it comes, it comes, but I won’t give ’em an excuse.

      • Sharon, Ingamarie, Mike, Carlos, you’ve raised some really interesting issues here.

        Just to clarify. I’ve checked Derek From’s LinkedIn profile. He lists constitutional law as one of his areas of practice. However I note that the only two people speaking out about the Free Alberta Strategy are Rob Anderson and Barry Cooper. From is strangely silent.

        Barry Cooper is a political scientist, he does not have a law degree. When he says things like Pierre Elliot Trudeau duped “Saint Peter” (Lougheed) into signing off on the Constitution because Trudeau knew that by “turning all this stuff over to the Supreme Court of Canada for final interpretation, you’d get a legalisation of politics” Cooper is saying the SCC are a bunch of Liberal hacks. This is patently untrue and insulting to every justice who’s ever sat on the SCC.

        I fully understand where Mike is coming from when he talks about tempering his criticism. I think it’s important not to slander and libel people because (1) none of us wants to be sued and (2) ad hominem attacks are not effective arguments. Having said that we all have to vent sometimes, as long as we’re venting with real facts, I’m good.

  12. Dave says:

    Other than yelling at Ottawa, which does have some appeal with Alberta voters, the rest of Smith’s strategy seems to be things that will cost us money and voters do not really want. Is anyone in Alberta (other than the separatist crowd) really wanting a provincial police force, a provincial pension plan or separate tax system? Nope.

    Perhaps all the yelling and the constitutionally doubtful legislation will distract voters enough from the rest of her dubious agenda, but I doubt it. Kenney thought holding a meaningless referendum on equalization would satisfy the right wing, but it accomplished nothing and just showed his ineffectiveness.

    So what is the solution for the UCP now? Shout louder and try more outrageous things. Yeah that will work with the delusional crowd who still think hydroxycloroquine is a reputable medical cure, but not so much with all those who are not already on team crazy.

    • Carlos says:

      Well it certainly looks like they all overdosed on hydroxychloroquine.

    • Ingamarie says:

      In short, the next decade is ours to lose.

    • Good points Dave. As you said, the majority of Albertans don’t want their own police force, their own pension plan, their own unemployment insurance system, and their own banking system, all of which will cost them billions of dollars. Dollars that would be much better spent shoring up our healthcare and education systems and other social programs.

      I’ve seen some polls that say UCP supporters care about the cost of living above all else, whereas NDP supporters’ priorities are health, education, and social programs. Seems to me pointing out that the UCP will spend billions on programs that do nothing to reduce the cost of living, but will result in a decrease of Albertans’ quality of life would be a no-brainer.

      But then again, I’m not an ideologically driven UCP supporter.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Dwayne, there was some coverage of this at the time (April 2020)—but nothing to indicate it was this bad. The reports said the federal government said, “No” and essentially tossed CAPP’s wish list in the recycle bin. So of course, Jason Kenney, that stalwart supporter of all things oil except responsibility, gave ‘em what they wanted.

      From the Narwhal article: “Denhoff, the former deputy minister, had reservations not just about the list of requests, but the structure of the committee. ‘The entire core operations committee is four lobbyists and a political chief of staff,’ he said. ‘It’s just unbelievable.’ ”

      No it isn’t. Not in Oilberduhstan, it isn’t.

  13. Linda says:

    I don’t suppose we can ‘Free Alberta’ from the UCP before May 2023? Legally, that is. I can only hope Albertans in general realize the UCP needs to be removed asap. I’d add that if the UCP does retain their hold on power & manage to get their mitts on Albertan’s CPP $ I for one will be making tracks to another locale.

    • Linda, the only way to “free Alberta” from the UCP is to throw them out of power in the next election. The big question is when will that happen.

      Smith has been premier for roughly two months. In that time she had to walk back her plan to give Cabinet the power to make new law behind closed doors because, apparently, the UCP caucus didn’t like it.

      She had to appoint Tracey Allard as the champion of property and civil rights because the UCP caucus wasn’t happy when Smith failed to amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to protect the so-called rights of the unvaxxed.

      And now the Sovereignty Act, that Act that was going to shield Alberta from Ottawa, is being challenged by the Onion Lake First Nation on constitutional grounds. Smith boasted she’d welcome a court challenge from Trudeau, instead she got one from a Treaty 6 First Nation.

      That’s three missteps. How many more will caucus and the party (now run by Take Back Alberta) tolerate before they say she has to go? And when will they pull the pin?

      • Linda says:

        Hi Susan. A lot going on which is more than cause to vote the UCP out of office. The authors of the FAS, for instance, are not as per the internet actual currently elected MLA’s. So folks who were not elected representatives are creating policy. Isn’t that the job of our elected representatives? Is the idea to blame any problems from said policy on the subcontractors who came up with these ideas in the first place? “Not our fault people, we were given bad advice”. The UCP may or may not decide to remove Smith as leader. That doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility of creating this mess in the first place.

  14. Carlos says:

    Well I could not post this as an answer to Susan’s comment on what Danielle Smith is doing without any mandate but it simply did not post so I am trying at the root level rather than a reply.

    She goes hog wild with 0.1% never mind 40%.
    She will sell the province to the lowest bidder.
    We are not stuck with this system. We are stuck with politicians that keep this system for their convenience. They all want a majority and so they will not change this decrepit process.

    What is about this rule that allows a leader of any party to take over a premiership if the previous leader quits? That is bizarre to say the least and should be changed immediately. You want to be premier? You should call an election and present your views, clearly and without any ifs or buts.

    What she is doing is to game the system to her advantage and I am not sure what is the doubt about what is going on? Is it that hard to understand that Danielle Smith is gaming the system? So what are we waiting for to change this? We do not have the courage to stop this loophole? Where is the NDP? where is the Liberal party? where are all the politicians and committees that deal with these political processes? Are we all admitting we like this because it allows us to cheat? Are we that idiotic? We do not care anymore?
    It has been done forever? Well change it. Not that hard. Just CHNAGE IT and while in the process take a deep look into the whole political process and change what will make the system an appropriate one for the 21 century instead of the 19th. Democracy is not a dead beast, it evolves and for the better.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Hi Carlos. I really wish we could fix this mess, preferably retroactively to May of 2019. Resetting to September 2021, when Kenney faced down a caucus revolt, would be almost as good. But…”(Sadly:) I’ve looked into the reset button. (Choking up:) The science is impossible!”—“Megamind,” Dreamworks Animation, 2011.

      I think the problem is less the system than the current players. Danielle Smith isn’t the only premier without a popular mandate; Heather Stefanson of Manitoba is in exactly the same position. Heck, in 1935, the Social Credit Party of Alberta was so sure they’d lose the election, they didn’t HAVE an official leader! The party had to beg the founder, William Aberhart, to take the job (he refused at first). Look how that ended….

      No, our problem in Oiberduh (now “Oilberduhstan” thanks to Smith and her backers) is that Smith pushes the limits to the breaking point. She’s over-enthusiastic, under-educated and far too suggestible. Worse, she has a whim of iron and no sense of self-restraint. Whatever half-baked idea she likes becomes her reality. Worst of all, she’s a willing sock puppet for a handful of far-right, “it-ain’t-fair” entitled crybullies.

      The good news, for us anyway, is that Smith isn’t immune to public pressure. As evidence, she’s sort-of apologized for various gaffes. The best evidence is the way the UCP caucus chopped out the Henry VIII clauses from the Sovereignty Act. Smith seems not to have fought too hard. (BTW, Tyler Shandro must have signed off on Bill 1, but I suspect Barry Cooper wrote the first draft.)

      For a quick review of how we got into this mess, here’s a new analysis. Lots of interesting links to follow!

      Can we change it? Yes, BUT. The Westminster parliamentary system is based on both law and tradition. So yes, but not until we elect a government with a strong interest in changing the Westminster system. Then we have to learn how MUCH can be changed by a provincial government. We could demand changes to the unwritten Constitution, and maybe get our way quickly. Maybe. Changing laws is harder, but doable. Changing the written Constitution is way harder—the federal government, plus provincial governments representing at least 60% of the national population, must approve. That’s a very high bar to clear.

      I agree, wholeheartedly, the current chaos is intolerable (and I don’t even own a business). For now, we’re stuck with the rules and our best option is to change the party in power. Changing the system itself will have to wait. Sorry, buddy, but it’s the only game in town….

      • Carlos says:

        I agree with most of what you said and without any doubt this is your best sentence

        ‘She’s over-enthusiastic, under-educated and far too suggestible. Worse, she has a whim of iron and no sense of self-restraint. Whatever half-baked idea she likes becomes her reality. Worst of all, she’s a willing sock puppet for a handful of far-right, “it-ain’t-fair” entitled crybullies.’

        I think this is the best definition of Danielle Smith I have seen so far lol

        I do not think that it is as difficult to make incremental changes to our political system as you suggest. I think the greatest obstacle is our own political under educated consumer society that seems to not even understand that the health of our society depends more and more on decisions made by informed citizens and not just consumers. The world is pathetically sick and we need to evolve if we are going to survive.

        Not sure made much sense but this is why we talk.

      • Mike and Carlos, I see three problems with our system.

        (1) the first past the post system allows politicians with less than 50% of the vote to govern, this is wrong.

        (2) the FPTP system (unlike other systems like proportional representation for example) is a winner take all system. Consequently the winner doesn’t have to negotiate with the other parties to stay in power. There is nothing to stop them from foisting their stupid policies on the people because while the Opposition can complain and suggest amendments they have no power to stop the government.

        (3) our existing system is a combination of written laws and unwritten norms and conventions. Decent politicians adhere to both. Others, like Smith and Trump blow through them like wet tissue paper. This has come as a great shock to decent moral people. We have to wise up. It’s time we realized that unscrupulous people will undermine written laws and simply ignore or blow up unwritten norms and conventions. The only way to protect ourselves from such politicians is to ensure they never make it into public office. (I keep coming back to Trump reciting “The Snake” (a woman takes a freezing snake into her home, it recover and bites her, filling her with poisonous toxin, the snake justifies its actions by saying she knew it was a snake when she took it in).

        We know who these people are, we can’t risk putting them into power under our existing system of governance.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Hi Carlos and Susan. Sorry my reply’s been a bit delayed, but I’m glad to say we pretty much agree with each other. Heck, if it wuz just us three runnin’ things, it’d all be good, right?

        Carlos, you’re right that change can be quick, but it’s quickest when rival political parties keep swapping in and out of power. I’d not like that, mostly because of the chaos of “Yes we can!” “No you can’t!” fighting that we see so often in the US. Real reform is much harder, darn it, because it means changing the system rather than political agendas.

        And boy, are you right that we need “decisions made by informed citizens”! The problem, as you know, is where citizens get information. Danielle Smith is well-read and (as Susan has informed us) willing to learn. The trouble is that poisonous politics can lock people into intensely tribal “us vs. them” mindsets. Hence, Trumpies in the US and the Free Alberta Fantasists/ Take Back Oilberduh mobs here.

        Right now, it looks likely that Smith’s erratic, facts-don’t-matter approach to politics will see her booted out, and Rachel Notley returned to the premier’s office. We’ll see how fast things can change. If we get more progressive than regressive decisions, the whole province will win. (Smith and Cooper, the founders of Alberta Grievance Unlimited, won’t believe it. My ulcer bleeds for them.)

        OK! I feel better. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Let’s all enjoy all that we can over the holidays.

  15. Jcurrie says:

    Susan..I left a long comment yesterday mainly about the CPP. It never was posted and wonder if you got it or there is a problem on my end. Thanks JCurrie

    • Jcurrie: I’m afraid I don’t see your comment from yesterday anywhere. I went into the admin section of WordPress to see if it got stuck because it contains links, but it’s not there either. Very strange. WordPress may have had a hiccup, God only knows, I just found out on the weekend that a regular subscriber is no longer getting my posts, and he may have to re-subscribe. Anyway, if you still have your comment on your system somewhere please feel free to repost it. Hopefully it will come through this time. Thanks.

    • Carlos says:


      Just so you know I have these problems very frequently. I found that the best way to deal with it is the following:

      1) Avoid replies in replies
      2) Copy your post every single time before you post
      3) if it fails just put a different beginning sentence on it and try again at the root or the direct posting , not a reply. If you do not change it sometimes it complains that is repeated, although it never shows up
      4) If all of these fail I suggest you use a different browser. Sometimes it works better with Chrome and other times with IE or Edge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s