Monday, November 20, 2006

Dan Backs Gets the Boot from Liberals

No Longer a Happy Family: Backs (bottom right, wearing hat) with former Liberal colleagues endorsing federal Lib Gerard Kennedy

EDMONTON - Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft will hold a news conference today to announce his new caucus of 15 members - one short of yesterday's total.

Edmonton Manning MLA Dan Backs has been removed from caucus effective immediately.

Speculation is rampant that Backs riled party brass with a series of news releases that didn't jibe with Liberal policy at best, and was in direct contradiction at worst.

A release earlier this month from Backs on housing and homelessness called for the Government to immediately raise the minimum wage rather than institute land-banking, fund affordable housing or institute rent guidelines, as the Alberta NDP have been demanding for months.

The release is very different from the Liberal caucus version of the housing strategy, finally released last week, as it actually argues against affordable housing spending.

Backs' full release is below.

Any and all reference to this particular Dan Backs release has been removed from the Alberta Liberal Caucus website, along with many others. Interestingly enough however, many materials remain.

Backs was first elected in Edmonton Manning in 2004.

Original Dan Backs News Release - November 9, 2006

Alberta Liberal HRE Critic Dan Backs Calls for Action on Alberta Minimum Wage

Edmonton - Alberta Liberal Human Resources and Employment Critic Dan Backs released the following statement today urging the provincial government to increase the minimum wage to assist the working poor in Alberta::

"The Alberta Tories are fiddling while Albertans freeze. We need a living wage for Albertans so that they can actually pay rent and damage deposits, to have a home and pull themselves up. In the meantime we should at least have a minimum wage increase.

The last raise was 14 months ago, there has been only one raise in this new millennium and we are in the midst of a boom where rents are rising through the roof. I participated in the homeless count in Edmonton last month. The new phenomenon of the working homeless has at least part of its cause in a too low minimum wage.

Numerous U.S. States just passed initiatives to raise their minimum wage a couple of days ago. The Canadian federal government just came out with a report calling to raise the federal minimum wage. HR Minister Mike Cardinal said in the August sitting of the Legislature that his department would move on the minimum wage. There are far too many reasons for action - why is the province waiting?

I would hope that the department is not going to wait through the winter just because the Tories are picking a new leader. It's cold outside. If Alberta has to suffer that sort of arrogance from the Conservatives, they should all be thrown out in the next election.

Why are we still among the lowest in Canada when we are obviously the most prosperous part of this country?

We just saw Ralph Klein throw $16 million of taxpayers money into subsidized housing to help with homelessness and it is overdue. But decent wages are the best solution.

It also makes sense, if we are not going to scare away the unskilled from coming here from other parts of Canada, to give them some comfort that they might be able to pay their bills with a decent minimum wage when they arrive.

Alberta should raise the minimum wage quickly, and there should be a mandatory annual review and increase. It's there for MLA's and Ministers. It's only fair and Alberta Liberals have been calling for this for years.

Alberta is a high cost jurisdiction that shouldn't be compared to cheap rent areas in other parts of Canada."


For more information contact:

Dan Backs, HRE Critic
(780) 994-0000


10 Responses to "Dan Backs Gets the Boot from Liberals"
  1. Anonymous said...
    November 20, 2006 at 2:19:00 p.m. MST

    That caucus is falling to pieces.

  2. Tom M. said...
    November 20, 2006 at 4:51:00 p.m. MST

    Did you know that Dan Backs was actually laid off from the Operating Engineers Union? They poured money into his campaign, but a couple iof guys I work with say he was kind of lazy, shiftless bastard. Anyway, maybe he'll join the Tories.

  3. Alf said...
    November 20, 2006 at 8:51:00 p.m. MST

    The fact Taft did this without giving Backs a warning (something he admitted to in the press conference) doesn't speak well to his leadership style. Backs may be a bafoon, but you don't drop an MLA without trying to salvage the situation.

  4. C. Rains said...
    November 20, 2006 at 11:19:00 p.m. MST

    At least when Oberg was canned from the PC caucus, the blood-letting was in public. This, who knows what happened?
    If what Alf wrote is true, then this whole sh*t show is more about Taft's control of caucus than Dan Backs' work ethic. Taft can't control one loose cannon MLA who back-talks and instead has to FIRE him? Dude, weak.

  5. Maurice said...
    November 21, 2006 at 10:35:00 a.m. MST

    Why does a leader have to WARN a SITTING MLA that he'll get kicked out if he doesn't behave properly. By that I mean getting his facts straight in the Leg. Returning phone calls from constituents. Stop ogling strippers at Chez Pierre.

    Backs has had two years to step up from being a useless union hack to at least try to be a mediocre MLA.

    He wasn't up to the job. The caucus thought he was an idiot. The caucus staff were always on the receiving end of his rageoholic sh*t fits. He was a disgrace, and everyone in caucus and the party knows it.

    So Kevin Taft fired the idiot. He's the boss. Why shouldn't he fire Backs' toothless ass? Why?

    At the very least the move should be a shot across the bow to Bharat Agnihotri to pull up his socks and start behaving like an adult.

    And why is everyone so surprised when a leader acts like, you know, a LEADER! What's Taft supposed to do? Sit around in a circle with everyone, hold hands and talk about their feelings and emotions. What crap!

    My opinion of Taft has risen 100 per cent in this case by identifying a problem and acting on it without dithering around like some other Liberal leader whose name escapes me.

    And all you anonymous NDP losers making comments on your flat-screen monitors at CBC Radio and the Edmonton and District Labour Council about Taft losing control...get back to work.

  6. alf said...
    November 21, 2006 at 12:34:00 p.m. MST

    Wow Maurice - I thought the CBC was a Liberal institution :) How's life at the caucus office?

    This isn't NDPers raising questions about Taft. Read Graham Thompson's column in today's Edmonton Journal. Is that kind of ridicule what leaders strive for in making 'strong' decisions?

    Or check out Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald's comments (I think they were in the Sun), he didn't seem too pleased that they couldn't work it out - or is he a NDPer from the CBC or Labour Council too?

    In answer your question, a leader has to warn an MLA so that he/she doesn't lose political capital (elected MLAs) without at least giving the MLA the chance to change things. That's what I'd want in a boss, and it's sure as hell what I want in a leader.

  7. Maurice said...
    November 21, 2006 at 1:00:00 p.m. MST

    Graham Thompson is the laziest columnist in Canada and Hugh MacDonald is the most vicious back stabber in the Legislature. Both well known facts.

    So you think that a man who has been ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE should be allowed to behave like a buffoon, and receive countless warnings. That says a lot about you and your NDP friends. "Let incompentence reign forever. Hallejulah!"

    Taft had a decision to make. He could either let this moron continue to poison the caucus and staff with his demagoguery, or he could kick him out of caucus before he could do any further damage to the Liberal brand. Not much of a choice, in my view.

    BTW, Backs still has his job as an MLA. It's up to the voters to fire him. We'll see what they think in the next election.

    Can anybody think of anything Dan Backs has contributed to Alberta in his 2 years as an MLA? I mean, besides calling people Nazis? Just askin'.

  8. Anonymous said...
    November 21, 2006 at 1:42:00 p.m. MST

    Any truth to the rumour Backs was working for Norris and that's what relly cheesed Taft off.

  9. Anonymous said...
    November 21, 2006 at 8:00:00 p.m. MST

    Nah, i'd bet money it was Oberg. Also, this "Maurice" is quite the angry Liberal. Wonder why he/she seems to intent to show themselves as a Liberal staffer?

    Also, I think your comments about Graham Thomson are unfair. But the ones about the flat screen monitors are genuinely hilarious. Keep posting, Maurice.

  10. Jeff S. said...
    November 27, 2006 at 10:28:00 p.m. MST

    Goddamn NDP media! I hate those biased socialist scumbags!

    Maurice is on to something here... there is a direct correlation between the flatness of your monitor and the size of the Lenin bust in your corner CBC office.

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