Thursday, October 29, 2009

Send Ted Morton to the Senate


You gotta hand it to the Progressive Conservatives - they really know how to waste taxpayers' money.

Pretty simple bill, really. It just amends previous legislation so that Albertans can vote for a "senator-in-waiting," and that person will dutifully wait their turn to "be chosen from among persons whose names have been submitted by the government of the province to which the vacancy relates."

In other words, this isn't a real election. The person with the most votes might get appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Harper. Bert Brown, has be granted this honour.

The last Senate race cost taxpayers about $3 million dollars for 714,709 ballots cast, or $4.20 per ballot.

Premier Ed Stelmach should save taxpayers' money and ask, no, get down on bended-knee and beg Prime Minister Harper to appoint one of Alberta's legions of "senators-in-waiting."

He's got quite a list to choose from: Betty Unger, Link Byfield, Cliff Brietkreuz...a veritable smorgasbord of old Tory warhorses too old to take to the battlefield, but too young to be put out to pasture.

We here at the Alberta Report would think its hight-time Ted "Master Blaster" Morton was called up to Canada's Upper Chamber.

Not only would this save money, it also might save some of Alberta's few remaining grizzly bears.

Also, Stelmach could get rid of a potential rival for the Tory helm.

It all adds up. Save money, save wildlife, save Ed's skin...send Ted Morton to the Senate.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alberta Liberals admit, then prove, irrelevance


News item #2 - Alberta Liberals prove irrelevance by launching on-line attack ads against party with one (1) seat in the House.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peter MacKay admits Incompetence

"Rick Hillier, when he was Chief of the Defence Staff, says he kept his political masters fully informed about the harsh conditions of detainees in Afghan prisons, even though Prime Minister Stephen Harper and cabinet ministers claim they were told nothing," reports the Globe and Mail today.

Mr. Hillier wrote about this in his new book, "A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War."

Former Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier knew about the possible abuse and torture of Afghan detainees because he received, and read, reports from former diplomat Richard Colvin, according to MacLean's.

Hillier dutifully passed these reports on to Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay, in the Globe and Mail article, says: "There are hundreds if not thousands of documents, reports, memos, advice that come through all departments. The fact that one report or a series of reports weren't read by a minister or a deputy minister shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone."

There you have it: the Defence Minister doesn't have the time, the patience or ability to read "one report or a series of reports" that Afghan detainees turned over to local authorities risked being tortured.

What else has the Defence Minister missed on the Afghanistan file? Are there other reports from military commanders in Afghanistan that are gathering dust on the Minister's desk?

Peter MacKay should resign as Defence Minister for such profound incompetence.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Afghan Detainees could be Federal Election Issue

Golly, I hope Chris Alexander, Canada's former ambassador to Afghanistan, gets nominated for the federal Conservatives in Ajax-Pickering.

If he does, maybe some light will be shed on what the Harper government knew, and when they knew it, on the possible torture and abuse of Afghan detainees.

Mr. Alexander was in Afghanistan in May 2006 when Richard Colvin, another Canadian diplomat, warned the Conservative government that there “serious, imminent and alarming” problems with the surrender of Afghan detainees to Afghan officials and jailers.

The Conservative government denied (and continues to deny) knowledge of torture or abuse of Afghan detainees handed over by Canadian troops to Afghan officials.

Hon. Helena Geurgis, Rahim Jaffer's better half, affirmed that the Harper government knew nothing about these allegations on May 1, 2007:

"Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member has specific evidence for these allegations we would be happy to receive it. I do not know why he would continue to hold onto it if he had something that our brave Canadian men and women and the Afghan police have no evidence of whatsoever, with no specific evidence to support any of these allegations."

So either the Harper government or former diplomat Chris Alexander are incompetent, or they don't care. Or both.

If Mr. Alexander wins the Conservative nomination, he'll be forced to either tow the party line and side with Harper's version that they knew nothing, or he'll defend the word of one of his diplomatic colleagues.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Carbon Capture Bamboozle


As far as "truthiness" in press releases goes, this one by the federal and Alberta governments on spending $865 million on the Shell Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a doozy!

Let's count the truth-stretching, shall we?

1) "The most viable emission-reducing technology for fossil fuels is carbon capture and storage." - Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, "the world has to find ways to both produce and consume oil and gas more efficiency, because consuming fossil fuels accounts for 80 per cent of the emissions created from fossil fuels..."

Doesn't it follow that if we reduce consumption, we'd reduce emissions? Wouldn't that be the most viable "technology"?

Also, if CCS is so "viable," why is the technology still being developed (see the next quote by Mel Knight)?

2) "A key goal of Alberta's provincial energy strategy is to achieve clean energy production through leadership of technology development." - Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight

"Clean energy production," eh? Wasn't there something in the Edmonton Journal just today about reducing environmental oversight on some tar sands developments? "Streamlining the approval process" is a wonderful coded phrase in the lexicon of both governments.

3) "The Government of Alberta and Government of Canada should be commended for their leadership and vision on advancing deployment of CCS." - Graham Boje, HSSE & Sustainable Development Shell Canada

Yeah! That's right! Oh...that was "commended." I thought he said "condemned."

Carbon offsets currently cost between $2.75 and $33 per tonne to buy. If this CCS scheme works (remember, it might not), these offsets will cost about $48 per tonne over the 15 years Alberta has committed to fund the project.

Public dollars to fund offsets for a consortium of private companies using an unproven technology. Nice.

Even nicer: every dollar that Shell and their buddies spend on the CCS is deducted from the oil sands royalties they have to pay the Alberta government (see page 4-4 on "Cost Rules" on conducting research), which in turn helps them pay for an unproven technology using tax dollars.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Amazing Kreskin offers to read Campbell's mind


The Amazing Kreskin offers to read the premier's mind
by Rebecca Aldous - The North Shore Outlook

(with links by the Alberta Report Editorial Collective)

It's on Gordo.

One of the world's most recognized mentalists has offered to use his talent to determine whether B.C.'s premier planned the Harmonization Sale Tax before the provincial election.

"It's a formal offer," The Amazing Kreskin says.

Kreskin is confident he can weed the truth out of Gordon Campbell.

It's no biggie, the 74-year-old has been reading people's thoughts since he was nine – back when his name was George Kresge.

It all started with a simple game involving a red beanbag.

His Grade 3 teacher in his hometown of Montclair, N.J., asked a classmate to leave the classroom while the remaining children hid the beanbag.

When the girl returned, she had to find it and her fellow classmates were only allowed to help her with the directions "hot" and "cold."

Little Kresge didn't get a turn. Eager to play he begged his brother to conceal a penny in his grandparents' house.

Once his brother had done the deed, Kresge climbed the basement stairs, went through the kitchen, passing his grandmother and the old coal stove, and walked straight into his grandparents' bedroom. There he climbed up a big maroon chair and, on his tippy toes, reached for the penny on top of the curtain railing. It was no problem, he recalls.

The problem was his brother had not once called out the words "hot" or "cold" and his Greek grandmother was now convinced Kresge had the devil's eye. It was only a matter of minutes before all his relatives heard the tale.

By the age of 12, Kresge was reading thoughts full-time and became know as "The World's Youngest Hypnotist."


"I realize this is not the way to relate with people," Kreskin says. "I don't do this in everyday life or otherwise people couldn't and I couldn't stand myself."

His talent is one reason Kreskin is drawn to the isolation of night. He does most of his thinking during the dark hours and sometimes his jogging too, Kreskin says.

It's unadulterated and empty.

Although Kreskin believes his skills can't be taught, he thinks there are other people in the world who share them. But as schedules get crammed with more deadlines and events, less people have the time to discover their talents, he says.

It's a shame, Kreskin continues, as there is so much in life worth slowing down for, things that even his talent can't dissect. Love is one, he points out.

"The human mind is an amazing instrument," Kreskin says.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Senator breaking Conflict of Interest Code?

Us here in the Alberta Report bunker were rather amused when Prime Minister Steve Harper appointed a motley crew of partisan hacks and former has-beens to Canada's Senate.

It seems like only yesterday when PM Harper was promising, "Reform that will make the Senate more democratic. More accountable."

Nevertheless, hypocrisy and promise-breaking aside, it looks to us like one of Harper's appointments may be breaking the Senate's Code of Conflict rules.

Remember Doug Finley, the National Campaign Director for the Conservative Party? Harper appointed him Senator back in September 2009.

Senator Finley has said that he'll stay on as the Conservative Party's campaign director even after his appointment.

The Senate's Code of Conduct, Section 8, states, "a Senator shall not act or attempt to act in any way to further his or her private interests, or those of a family member, or to improperly further another person's or entity's private interests."

There's no doubt that the Conservatives are preparing for an election. Every two-bit party in Canada must be preparing at a time like this.

If Senator Finley's still the campaign director of the Conservatives, there's no doubt that he's "attempting to further a private entity's interests" (the Conservative Party's) while he's a Senator.

The Alberta Report Editorial Collective will file a complaint with the Senate Ethics Officer if we get 20 comments on this article...we promise.
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