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Interesting how the CONs distorts that facts.

1) They do not get permission to publish copyrighted material, and taking

a picture from a person's Webiste does contribute to the such.

2) Debate on the 'homosexual rights' - Clarification, we need precise definition not

an unlimited blanket as we have now. Could pedophiles get these rights. Explicitness please!

3) Please read the Bible on Homosexuality. I will be happy to provide quotes.

4) You do not mention Dan Banks vying for the Conservative Nomination. Also, the Liberal

association, my successor, not me said for vying for another party's nomination, your

membership has been revoked.

5) NO statements has been made by me when I was President of the Edmonton Manning Liberal Association.

6) As for debate, edm.general have too many kooks, even Terry PEarson looks reasonable.

Rom CTV Edmonton - NDP Brian's Mason predict Stelmach Majority


Tories to form majority: Mason

Sonia Sunger, Updated: Sun Mar. 02 2008 18:38:00 News Staff

NDP Leader Brian Mason is predicting Premier Ed Stelmach will win big when Albertans go to the polls Monday.

"I think the reality is that the Conservatives are headed to another majority government," Mason told CTV News during a campaign stop Sunday in Edmonton.

Liberal Leader Kevin Taft was quick to pounce on Mason's comment and used it as a platform to grab NDP votes.

"If Brian is already conceding last place, that's not good enough," said Taft while standing outside a Sikh temple on Sunday. "If New Democrat voters want change, vote for the Alberta Liberals."

Premier Ed Stelmach welcomed Mason's comment and thanked him for the vote of confidence.

"Maybe he'll buy lunch if it's true," said Stelmach.

Mason made the comment to try to convince voters his party, and not the Alberta Liberals under Kevin Taft, would be the best opposition.

"What we need now is a strong group of NDP MLAs who can be trusted and counted on to stand up to the Conservatives on issues that are important to the ordinary families of this province," he said.

Mason pointed to the Tory's fundraising success for giving that party an upper hand in the campaign.

"Let's not forget the Conservatives went into this campaign with $4 million in the bank," said Mason. "Money talks in an election and if you have a lot of money, it really gets you a lot of mileage."

Mason, a former Edmonton Transit bus driver, spent the day on a whistlestop tour of Edmonton, making appearances at numerous campaign offices across the city.

At dissolution of the legislature, the New Democrats held four seats, the Liberals had 16 and the Tories had 60. The Wildrose Alliance held one seat, one seat was held by an independent and one seat sat vacant.

With files from Scott Roberts

end of quote. Personally if the NDP does not have the drive for government, then come over to the Liberals; it's time for a change to see Ed and Brian retire! Brian the defeatist does it again!

Calgary Sun - Alberta Post-Klein


Sun, March 2, 2008

Alberta votes Monday after campaign that focused on change from Klein era

UPDATED: 2008-03-02 13:42:39 MST


Undecided voters hold power: analysts NDP leader urges Alberta voters to elect his party as strong opposition Tories show Calgary the love

EDMONTON — Like Monty Python’s fabled Dead Parrot sketch, it started with an argument over what is and what isn’t.

But after 28 days of assertions from all sides about the need for change, Alberta’s election campaign will likely end with something less than completely different.

In Monday’s provincial election voters will decide whether to give Progressive Conservative Premier Ed Stelmach his first mandate as leader and his party its 11th consecutive majority. While the Alberta Liberals are confident they can steal some seats, most observers figure the party in power for nearly 37 years is far from finished.

“There is a reluctant support for the status quo,” said Chaldeans Mensah, a political scientist at Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan College.

“The voters have not been given a credible reason to make a dramatic change.”

It began on a bizarre note, when Stelmach broke the unwritten rule of not using public money to promote partisan political business when he launched his campaign inside the legislature.

As government staffers scurried to organize and record the event, Stelmach strode to the podium: “We’re drawing candidates from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds, and I’m happy to work with them in moving ahead and winning another solid majority.”

This is a party announcement, reporters charged.

No, Stelmach shot back.

“This isn’t the campaign launch,” he insisted as his campaign spokeswoman looked on. For baffled reporters, it was a Pythonesque moment reminiscent of the TV comedy troupe’s signature sketch, in which an intractable shopkeeper insists to an irate customer that his newly purchased parrot — nailed to its perch in rock-hard rigor mortis — is in fact not dead but merely resting.

The campaign itself focused on Alberta’s oilsands bounty, which has brought billions of dollars into the treasury and, since 2001, about a quarter-million more people.

The province is now Canada’s economic engine, but quality of life has suffered. Housing is scarce and pricey; rents are soaring; homelessness, food bank usage and crime are edging up; more doctors and nurses and workers of all stripes are needed; traffic is snarled and parents struggle to find daycare spaces.

The angst was manifested in campaign surveys that suggested as many as one in four voters didn’t know how or even if they’d mark their ballot.

Such ennui would be poison to the Tories. In the 2004 election their vote count fell 34 per cent to just over 400,000, leading to a loss of 12 seats and opposition gains across the board.

The Tories won 62 out of 83 seats in 2004 and had 60 at dissolution last month. The Liberals had 16, the NDP four, the Wildrose Alliance one. There was one Independent and one seat vacant.

Stelmach ran on his record: a multibillion-dollar capital spending program to fix and build roads, schools and hospitals and to increase the government take on oil and gas royalties by $1.4 billion a year starting in 2009.

He was dogged by enviro-critics for refusing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands for at least a decade and then go slow after that to prevent what he termed industry collapse.

“We took a lot of issues off the back burner and we dealt with them,” said Stelmach. “They were difficult decisions, but necessary.”

The Alberta Liberals, under Kevin Taft, made similar promises to recruit, hire and build to keep the hot economy from breaking down, but said they would start capping greenhouse gas emissions within five years.

Taft also jumped on Elections Alberta’s admission that existing rules had allowed the appointment of people with Tory ties to oversee voting in half of the 83 constituencies. In Edmonton-Castle Downs, where Thomas Lukaszuk beat a Liberal by just three votes last time, the deputy returning officer — the one who will determine spoiled ballots and break a tie — is the Tory incumbent’s former executive assistant.

“Nothing changes unless we change government,” said Taft. “Albertans have a chance to send a message, to change the future.”

The NDP and leader Brian Mason fought a two-front war, challenging Stelmach’s record, but also trying to paint the Liberals — their main opponent in Edmonton — as Corporate Alberta glove puppets for taking business contributions. The New Democrats promised rent controls, public auto insurance, bulk prescription drug purchasing, a new oil royalties system, and a go-slow approach to oilsands growth.

Mason said he was mystified by surveys that suggested voters want a change but will vote the Tories back in anyway: “If people want change, then they have to vote for the change they want.”

Some protest ballots will likely be marked for the Alberta Greens, who have steadily increased their popular vote without winning any seats. But the wild card, says Mensah, is the Wildrose Alliance.

The party, created by a core group of disaffected conservatives after the 2001 election, captured more than 77,000 votes in 2004 — most of them in Calgary and rural areas.

The party promises hands-off, pro-business government with social conservatism, fixed election dates and citizen referendums.

Political observers said Paul Hinman, the leader and lone elected legislature member, gave the party a booster shot of credibility with a polished performance in the campaign’s only television debate.

Mensah said a strong Alliance alternative bleeds votes away from Calgary — the one place that the Tories could always count on.

The Liberals landed a beachhead there in 2004 by winning three of the 23 seats. They took another in a byelection last year last year in Ralph Klein’s old riding — not because they increased their votes by much, but because the Tory vote was down by nearly 3,000 votes from 2004.

And this time, Tory candidates have reported hearing anger at the doorsteps over Stelmach, who defeated favourite local son Jim Dinning for the premier’s job and then picked a cabinet light on Calgary ministers.

Stelmach needs to do well to keep internal rivals at bay; a seat count under 50 is expected to bring out the knives. Anything over 60, though, would be gold — and reinforce the political adage that success is relative.

Sixty-two seats in 2004 put then-premier Ralph Klein on a political slab.

Sixty-two seats in 2008, say party insiders, and the champagne corks will be popping.


Taft courts NDP voters

Albertans go to the polls Monday

Darcy Henton, Edmonton Journal

Published: Sunday, March 02, 2008

EDMONTON - Liberal Leader Kevin Taft says Albertans want change and they will wake up to a bright new day Tuesday with a new Liberal government.

"What we heard on the doorsteps over and over was exactly that -- that our message (It's Time) captured the public mood," Taft said Sunday. "More than half of Albertans think it's time for a new government and our message just connected."

He said the desire for change was the number one issue of the campaign.

The Liberal leader dropped by two Mill Woods temples Sunday where he urged New Democratic Party voters to cast their votes for Liberals this election to throw out the Progressive Conservatives who have been in power nearly 37 years.

He said voters can only vote in opposition members if they vote for Brian Mason's NDP party -- but if they vote Liberal they can change the government.

"Brian has always played for third place," he said. "We're in this for the gold medal."

Taft was optimistic his party will make inroads in Calgary and hold its seats "and grow" in Edmonton "and I think we will make breakthroughs in other areas, too."

"Calgary started feeling different in 2004," he said. "It's going to feel a lot different Tuesday morning."

Edmonton Journal - Are we a Banana Republic


Are we a "banana republic"?

Taft wants electoral system overhauled

Darcy Henton,

Published: 7:38 pm

EDMONTON - Alberta needs to overhaul its electoral system because votes conducted in the province almost have the feel of "a banana republic," says Liberal leader Kevin Taft.

Taft made the call as Albertans prepare to go to the polls Monday to elect a new government.

The leader of Alberta's official opposition cited a number of longstanding concerns his party has with the electoral process after visiting several temples and seniors residences for some last minute campaigning in Edmonton Sunday.

He said the situation has become so acute that there's a risk voters will lose confidence in it and that could be dangerous for democracy.

"I am concerned that casting a ballot is the most fundamental thing in our democracy and when that gets undermined, the whole democracy gets undermined so we need to be absolutely vigilant about making sure it's a legitimate process," Taft told reporters.

He suggested some of the problems being raised by his candidates Sunday, like concerns about controls to prevent people from voting both in the advance polls and on election day, could be addressed by requiring voters to produce photo identification.

"I know it's controversial but I have come out in the past and said yes," he said.

Taft has complained about abuses of the electoral process in his book Democracy Derailed, which outlined a situation where special ballots were cast on behalf of people who weren't even in the country.

"One of the biggest voting scandals in recent history was just in Calgary in a municipal election where there were 1,000 fraudulent ballots," Taft said. "We've seen dead people turn up on voter's lists. ... We have clear evidence of people voting in constituencies where they don't live."

Earlier in the campaign, Taft called for changes to the way returning officers are appointed after it was revealed that many of the elections officials have close ties to the government. A spokesman for Premier Ed Stelmach later said the names of prospective returning officers are provided by the Conservative party to the chief electoral officer - a process the chief electoral officer tried unsuccessfully to change two years ago.

"We need a complete overhaul of voting registration," Taft said. "We need fixed election dates so that there is enough time to plan for these elections - and more than anything we need the public to understand that if we lose the legitimacy of our voting process we're going to lose democracy itself."

Taft said concerns about the fairness of the process may be partly to blame for Alberta's record low voter turnout in the 2004 election.

"If people think that voting is not legitimate, they're not going to participate," he said.

"It's like cheating in sports. If there's a lot of cheating in sports, spectators disconnect. Spectators leave. Spectators don't watch. ... If there's cheating in voting, people are going to leave democracy. It's the same kind of thing and that's a really serious danger."

Elections Alberta declined to respond to Taft's criticisms.

The Liberal leader expressed confidence his party will do well in Monday's vote, even though there's only been one change in government in the past 72 years.

"We're very excited," he said. "I feel over the last two, three, four days the undecided is shifting our way. We're getting great reports from our campaigns."

He said there's going to be dramatically different politics in Alberta on Tuesday morning than there has been in many, many decades.

"People in Alberta know in their gut that Alberta needs a new government and there's a chance they will actually see that tomorrow."

© Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal's Lorne Gunter on blown opportuny


Liberals blew a golden chance

Stumbling, bumbling Tories were there for the picking this election

Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton Journal

Published: 2:03 am

The best ads of this provincial election campaign, bar none, have been those produced by the Alberta Federation of Labour and the Building Trades Council. Too bad they will have almost no electoral impact.

The ads are sneaky in that they don't admit who paid for them. They air under the stealth banner "Albertans for Change."

They effectively whip up discontent against the provincial Tory government, yet fail to channel the widespread restlessness into a specific political recommendation, such as voting Liberal or NDP.

They create an itch they cannot scratch.

But at least the visual and audio messages of the Albertans for Change ads are consistent. The images one sees on the screen match the spoken messages being conveyed.

These ads may have an indirect impact if they help to further depress the Tory vote and allow the odd extra opposition MLA to get elected. But despite their obvious expense, I suspect they will have very little influence on the outcome one way or the other.

The worst ads are the Liberals', particularly the ones showing party leader Kevin Taft driving around Edmonton's Refinery Row.

That ad has Taft saying "This is our (Hesitate. Look down.) moment," to a tiny crowd that appears artificially

eager to give him a standing ovation -- leaving the impression that Taft appeals to very few people and even they have to be prodded into showering him with praise.

That's bad enough, but in the same commercial, as Taft is saying, "Ed Stelmach says the future is full of risks.

I say it is full of opportunity," he is driving. The camera is shooting up at his face from seat level and Taft appears to be ducking down and squinting as if to look out the side window for a house number or street sign -- you know, the way you do when you are having trouble finding your way.

The message: "I'm lost." Not exactly the impression a leader wants to leave.

Both ad campaigns, though, are indicative of the campaign as a whole: There is a lot of discontent with the Tories, but everyone who opposes them is at a loss to capitalize on voters' desire for something new.

If, as nearly everyone suspects, the Tories are returned tomorrow with a reduced, but still comfortable majority, those who oppose the government should kick themselves for the hapless way they have conducted this campaign. This was their best opportunity in 15 years to loose the Tories grip on power and they failed -- utterly -- to do it.

Taft may see the province's future as full of opportunity, but he should look back on the past 30 days as a giant missed opportunity. The Tories were there for the taking. They had a leader that inspired few in his party. Their campaign team were the benchwarmers from their B squad. The cabinet mishandled nearly every major issue thrown its way in the past 12 months and the Tories' strategists completely flubbed the first 10 days on the campaign trail.

This election has come as close to shooting fish in the Tory barrel as the Liberals, NDP and unions are ever going to get and, still, they could not hit the target.

Since 1992, when Ralph Klein became premier, Alberta's Liberals, in particular, have sneered and scoffed at every Tory win, insisting they were smarter, morally superior and better able to plan the province's future, if only the province's voters would get over their inexplicable love affair with Ralph.

Well, this time, the Liberals have no excuses. Klein is no longer premier. The Tories' leader is a farmer in a province where two-thirds of the residents live in the two largest urban areas -- and many of those residents have no natural affinity to the Conservatives, having moved here within the last election cycle or two.

Ed Stelmach is also not a Calgarian, so the Tories could not count on winning 20 or more of that city's seats by default this time. The Tories do not enjoy their customary Calgary head start.

And there is the desire for change, which is greater than at any time since the Tories replaced the Socreds back in 1971.

So how come the smug Liberals, who for so long have contemptuously dismissed the Tories, couldn't even manage to kick them when they were down? The truth is, for all their self-satisfaction, Alberta Liberals would have trouble arranging for flatulence at a bean dinner.

And something happened during this campaign that none of the opposition groups counted on: Ed Stelmach got better. To be honest, that development surprised me, too.

It's not that Stelmach has grown on me during the provincial election campaign, but rather I think he has begun to grow into his job as Alberta premier. After a disastrous opening 10 days, Stelmach has slowly, gradually, incrementally become more comfortable in his own skin.

I still don't like many of his policies or his spendthrift ways, but he has shown himself better than the alternatives.

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal does some Election venting


Election Venting

Compiled by Terry McConnell,

Published: 11:07 am

- If Albertans want change so much, why are we still heading for a PC majority?

- All of those sleazy ads urging people to vote against Ed Stelmach only make me want to support the Conservative party even more. Who are these people that call themselves Albertans For Change?

- I have never voted Liberal before but I am going to vote Liberal this time, just to piss off the Tories.

- Why is it that when you mention the NDP, many Albertans start to panic? Where do they think medicare came from? Not from the Liberals or the Conservatives.

- Why is it that all taxpayers are expected to pay for my child's child care or university education?

- Whatever your opinion is about the parties, leaders or candidates, it should never result in spray-painting racial slurs on an election sign. Shame on those who insulted Aman Gill.

- Can anyone explain why Stelmach would rather see bitumen and value-added jobs shipped to the U.S., rather than to neighbouring provinces? Our government is really small-minded.

- I will vote for the candidate who pledges to match the exact same taxpayer-paid arts funding that was received by Rembrandt, Mozart, Michelangelo, Bach, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Beethoven, and Shakespeare to support their hobbies.

- The Liberals are all the same. They are an opportunistic bunch who will say anything for votes, and that will never change.

- A poll shows Tories with a 22-point lead over their nearest rival and Graham Thomson uses it as evidence that there is no odds-on favourite? That isn't political analysis - and I'm a Liberal, by the way.

- Alberta can rest knowing Graham Thomson will protect us from the Conservative hordes.

- I went to my local returning office yesterday, planning to vote. The only vacant stalls had notices saying cars would be towed. Polling station workers said I could park next door, which also threatened to tow non-customer cars. The space between that lot and the polling station was sheer ice, so this arthritic senior went home.

- My husband and I went to vote at an advanced poll. There was so much ice outside the polling station that my husband fell and hurt his hip. As we were walking in, we met another elderly gentleman who had slipped and hit his head. They should have made sure the advanced polling station was safe for seniors.

- Venters complaining they have to go farther to get to a different polling station than they're used to should know Elections Alberta always tries to get the same venue. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way.

- Not voting in the election plays right into the hands of politicians who want the status quo to continue. Make a choice and vote.

- We live in the richest province in the country, yet Albertans are settling for less than they deserve. Demand and expect more and you will get more. Settle for less and that's what you'll get.

- I am still waiting for information from any candidate to appear in my mailbox. How does anyone make a decision based on not hearing what these people stand for?

- Yes, Albertans have short memories, but I don't have to go back 25 years to the NEP to realize it. In the 1990s, people had to leave Alberta because their jobs were cut by the provincial Tories.

- Refusing to vote for the provincial Liberals for something the federal Liberals put in place 28 years ago proves some Albertans would rather hold grudges than behave like reasonable adults.

- I'm guessing that about 60 per cent of the candidates running in the provincial election never sat in the visitors gallery in the Legislature, much less followed debates there or read Hansard. And they want to represent thousands of constituents?

- Someone should tell Dave Rutherford and Calgarians that Ralph Klein is not running in this election.

Compiled by Terry McConnell. Send your vent to or by writing us at the Journal Building, T5J 0S1. You can also call us at 498-5842 or fax us at 498-5677.

Edmonton Journal - LEt's get out and vote

Let's exercise our wonderful right

The Edmonton Journal

Published: 2:03 am

Tomorrow is election day. Perhaps outside of the spiritual realm, the most important thing any of us can do this Sunday is decide how to exercise our precious right to influence Alberta's future course.

In 2004, significantly more than half of us chose to abstain, to leave the choice to others, to surrender some moral right to complain. Voter turnout hit a record low of 44.7 per cent. That was further down from 2001's embarrassing 52.8 per cent, 53.8 in 1997 and the almost respectable 60.2 per cent turnout in the hotly contested battle of 1993. We should do better this time around.

To inspire and motivate, here's a list of shame and glory, from the worst to the best in ridings in terms of voter turnout in 2004. We've all got work to do, but some parts of our fair province are electorally worse than others.


The worst participation rate was in the riding at the centre of the oilsands boom: Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. Only 26.4 per cent of voters went to the polls. That's barely one in four who were willing to offer an electoral opinion of the Conservatives' effort on their behalf. Cabinet minister Guy Boutilier won handily with 64 per cent of the votes, but he did it with only 3,903 ballots of a total of 25,578

potential voters. Second prize for low turnout is a tight contest. Only 29.6 per cent of Calgary-Montrose voters turned out, electing Conservative Hung Pham (now retired). In Calgary Cross, only 29.8 per cent of those eligible made it to a ballot box; Conservative Yvonne Fritz won with 3,770 votes out of a potential 29,000.


First prize goes to voters in Liberal Leader Kevin Taft's riding, Edmonton-Riverview, where 62 per cent cast ballots. In fact, Taft won the highest number of votes of any candidate in the province --10,280, or 65.5 per cent of those cast.

Second prize goes to voters of Edmonton-Gold Bar, where 60 per cent went to the polls. Liberal Hugh MacDonald won with 8,798 votes, or 62 per cent of votes cast. In Calgary, the highest turnout was 52.4 per cent in Calgary-Elbow, where then-premier Ralph Klein won handily. A special notation goes to Conservative Frank Oberle in Peace River, who won his seat with just 2,884 votes, the lowest number of votes for a victory. And in case you're wondering about Edmonton's other party leader, the New Democrats' Brian Mason won in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood with 6,054 votes, or 62 per cent of those cast. But the voter turnout was only 42.6 per cent, one of the lowest in the city.


To inspire you further, consider the all-time top provincial number -- an 81.8-per-cent turnout -- in the August 22, 1935 election. That election, in the midst of the Great Depression, was a historic turning point. The Social Credit Party of William Aberhart sideswiped the United Farmers of Alberta led by Richard Reid, premier for just one year. Interestingly, Reid's government was ready to introduce a form of medicare on a trial basis in the Camrose constituency, but the UFA defeat put an end to those plans. That election launched 36 years of Socred government.


Most of us can't imagine a time when we didn't have the right to vote. We take this basic democratic right for granted. But it wasn't always that way.

In the province's first election, in 1905, only men voted. (The Liberals swept 23 of 25 seats and A.C. Rutherford became the first premier.)

Meanwhile, Alberta's suffragettes, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney and Emily Murphy, were working hard on the campaign for the female franchise. On April 19, 1916, Alberta joined Manitoba and Saskatchewan as the first Canadian provinces to grant women the vote.

Canada's Inuit and status Indians didn't fare as well. They were only granted the right to vote federally in 1950 and 1960 respectively. And native people didn't vote provincially until 1967.

Teenagers are the latest to get the right to vote. In 1970, the voting age federally was lowered from 21 to 18, and provinces followed suit.


In the first election, ballots were colour-coded. The candidates' name did not appear on the ballot. Voters used coloured pencils to mark a red "X" for the Liberal candidate or a blue "X" for the Conservative, according to Alberta's online encyclopedia, If there were more candidates, a yellow pencil was provided.


Let's conclude these pre-election thoughts with a vote of thanks to the 18 MLAs who retired this year after years of public service. We might single out:

- Athabasca-Wabasca MLA Mike Cardinal, Alberta's first Cree minister, who leaves after five terms. He presided over welfare reform in the mid-1990s.

- Denis Ducharme, the feisty MLA from Bonnyville-Cold Lake, who made his departing mark opposing an oilsands mine under Marie Lake.

- New Democrat Raj Pannu returns to private life after three terms as Edmonton-Strathcona MLA, including a stint as party leader. A former U of A professor, Pannu was known for his civil style and passionate work in opposition.

- Also in the Edmonton area, Conservative MLA Rob Lougheed (Strathcona) retires after three terms. A constant advocate for the disabled, Lougheed was chair of the Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

- LeRoy Johnson (Wetaskiwin-Camrose) will remembered as a man ahead of his time. Five years ago, as head of the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, he advocated a ban on smoking in public places. His Tory caucus mates said no back then, but changed their minds last fall.

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal compares the parties


The Issues

Where the parties stand on several key election points

Stephen Ewart, Calgary Herald

Published: 2:02 am

Ed Stelmach

Conservative Party

Oil and gas royalties

- Increase revenue from oil and gas royalties by $1.4 billion in 2010

- Retain initial oilsands royalties at 1%, increase post cost-recovery royalties to 33%

- Introduce a new royalty that would rise with higher oil prices

- Increase royalties on high-productivity oil and natural gas wells


- Reduce student loan interest rates to prime and increase student loan limits

- Invest an extra $11 million in graduate student bursaries

- Increase the number of post-secondary spaces

- Build and modernize more than two dozen schools in Calgary and Edmonton

- Construct health high schools in Calgary and Edmonton


- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14 per cent below 2005 levels by 2050, focus on carbon capture and storage

- Tax credits for homeowners who renovate with renewable energy sources/energy-efficient appliances

- Develop parks in Bow River valley and North Saskatchewan River valley

- Update regulation of resource activities in the eastern slopes of the Rockies


- Eliminate public health-care premiums over four years

- Increase tax credit by 10% for 150,000 low-income families and single parents

- Reduce taxes for 20,000 families/increase Family Employment Tax Credit threshold to $31,392

- Cap education portion of seniors' property taxes at 2004 levels for at least five years


- Create a secretariat on homelessness

- Increase income exemptions for people on social assistance

- Increase the number of affordable housing units to 11,000 over the next five years

- Continue rent-supplement and eviction-prevention programs

Health care

- Create new physician training spaces to qualify 225 more doctors annually by 2012

- Increase the number of nurse graduates by 350 annually by 2012

- Increase the number of Licensed Practical Nurse graduates by 220 annually by 2012

- Recruit more foreign workers to fill health-care positions

Auto insurance

- Introduced the $4,000 soft-tissue injury payout maximum

- Will appeal Court of Queen's Bench ruling striking down the limit

Day care

- Support the creation of 14,000 new child-care spaces by 2011 and another 4,000 by 2016

- Recruit more qualified foreign-trained workers


- Support municipalities with recruitment and retention of police officers

- Co-ordinate western provinces initiative to target gangs and organized crime

- Give police the tools to swiftly deal with known drug houses

- Hire more prosecutors and provincial judges


- $6 billion a year to build, maintain and repair schools, hospitals, highways, urban transit, universities, colleges, parks and senior care facilities

- $40 million for a science centre in Calgary

Government reform

- Review recommendations from Alberta's chief electoral officer calling for autonomous selection of returning officers

- Consider reforming finance regulations for party leadership races


Kevin Taft

Alberta Liberals

Oil and gas royalties

- Increase overall royalty revenue by 20 per cent a year

- Increase the royalties on oilsands

- Reduce proposed royalty changes on natural gas


- Roll back tuition an average of $1,000/create $300 annual grant for books and tools

- Add 60,000 post-secondary spaces by 2020 and reduce interest on student loans to prime rate

- Double Alberta bursary program with an additional $13 million

- Three-year moratorium on public school closures


- Establish hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions in five years/raise penalties for excess emissions

- Redirect consumer gas rebate program to energy conservation

- Develop parks in Bow River valley and North Saskatchewan River valley

- Suspend oil and gas exploration in parts of the eastern slopes of Rockies


- Eliminate public health-care premiums immediately

- Reduce property taxes for seniors by an average of $700 per household

- New tax credits for forestry and TV/film industries


- Assist municipalities with plans to end homelessness and create more affordable housing

- Implement temporary 10% cap on annual rent increases

- Establish moratorium on apartment-condo conversions

- Financial assistance for moderate-income earners seeking to buy homes

Health care

- New cancer facility in Calgary, build or expand hospitals in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Edmonton

- Implement a public pharmacare program for prescription drugs

- Train additional nurses, doctors and other health professionals

- Create specialized surgical centres

- Implement provincewide community health centre model

Auto insurance

- Will not appeal court ruling

- Review whether to introduce public auto insurance

Day care

- Create new child-care centres

- Boost wages at every level to help child- care centres recruit and retain staff

- Provide financial support for students in early childhood education

- Improve eligibility for subsidies for parents


- Increase funding for police in Edmonton and Calgary

- Work with major cities to improve security on transit systems

- Develop a Unified Family Court system to address legal issues arising from family breakdown


- Increase funding for public transit

- Increase funding for Red Deer airport

- New or expanded hospitals in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat

- New arts centre in Lethbridge

Government reform

- Put chief electoral officer in charge of selecting constituency returning officers

- Establish fixed election dates

- Reform election finance laws

- Enact whistle-blower legislation


Brian Mason

New Democratic Party

Oil and gas royalties

- Increase royalties by $2B in first year and $6B in years two, three and four

- Examine whether an Alaska-style royalty regime is appropriate for Alberta

- Add a variable royalty structure that increases at higher oil prices

- Increase royalties on other non-renewable resources such as coal

- Add an interim per barrel tax on bitumen exported outside Alberta


- Roll back tuition to 1999-2000 levels, saving students an average of $1,400

- Reduce student loan interest rates to prime

- Increase post-secondary spaces at existing institutions and support new facilities

- Phase out government funding for private schools

- Implement cap on classroom sizes


- Establish a hard cap on greenhouse gas emissions/raise penalties for excess emissions

- Create a $2-billion-a-year "green energy" fund to support energy efficient retro-fits and alternative energy

- Fund alternative power generation projects such as solar and wind farms

- More effective environmental compliance in the oilpatch


- Eliminate public health-care premiums immediately

- Reduce education portion of property taxes for seniors

- Reverse $400 million in corporate tax cuts


- Implement rent controls equal to the cost of living plus two per cent

- Limit apartment-condo conversions

- Establish first-time home buyer's assistance program

Health care

- Cap seniors' monthly drug costs at $25.

- Remove financial barriers for students interested in medical professions

- Create more residencies for international medical students

- Shorten wait times in hospital beds by moving seniors to appropriate long-term care settings

- Create community-based, primary health care clinics to divert patients from emergency rooms

Auto insurance

- Implement a government-run auto insurance program

Day care

- Cap fees at $25/day for infant care and $9/day for after-school care

- Bring funding up to the national average ($268 million) to create more spaces and cut fees in half

- Improve the wages of child-care workers to address shortages and turnover


- Increase funding to hire 800 new officers over five years

- Establish response-time targets whencalls are made to report crimes

- Establish a provincial body to investigate allegations of criminal wrongdoing by police


- Develop $20-billion fund for creation of a green energy economy, renewable energy projects

- Create Alberta Renewable Energy Corporation to develop larger -cale projects, foster research and market development

Government reform

- Prohibit political donations from corporations and unions to political parties

- Align disclosure rules and campaign funding limits with federal rules


Paul Hinman

Wildrose Alliance

Oil and gas royalties

- Improve application of existing royalty regime

- Retain the current royalty regime on conventional oil and gas

- Honour existing agreements with companies

- Increase pre-project payout oilsands royalties by 1% over four years


- Institute a financing plan so each qualified Alberta student receives a full scholarship for five years

- Give admission and funding priority to Alberta students over out-of-province students

- Increase apprenticeships in the trades and technical sectors

- Double graduates in computer science and electrical and computer engineering


- Reject the Kyoto accord and any quotas that would negatively impact Alberta's economy

- Permit private prosecutions against polluters

- Ensure laws are "reasonable, sensible and have a relationship to reality and common sense"


- Eliminate public health-care premiums immediately

Referendums for any increase to provincial or municipal tax increases

- Raise the basic tax exemption to $20,000

- Reduce corporate taxes to 8% from 10%

- Create provincial unemployment insurance and pension plans



- Allocate appropriate public land for affordable housing

- Implement a program to increase affordable housing supply

- Eliminate homelessness during first term in office

Health care

- Elect regional health authority boards

- Give health regions more control over how funds are spent

- Provide forgivable student loans to Alberta-trained medical professionals who practise in under-served communities for 10 years

Auto insurance

- No public policy statements

Day care

- Tax cuts that support stay-at-home parents

- Redistribute federal child-care funds received by the province directly to parents on a per-child basis


- Establish a provincial police force

- Establish an independent agency to review complaints against police

- Ensure police have the tools to pursue Internet-related crimes such as child pornography

- Ensure sufficient funding for municipal police forces to hire enough officers


- Institute a program to upgrade provincial transportation systems

- Mandate all revenues from provincial gasoline tax be used for transportation, such as road upgrading and public transportation

Government reform

- Plebiscites on matters of "public significance" if a petition is signed by 5% of voting population

- Reduce size of cabinet to 12 members

- Set fixed election dates every four years and two-term limit for premier

- Institute right of recall of elected officials

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal - Leaders make final push

Leaders make final provincewide push

Archie McLean, The Edmonton Journal; With files from the Calgary Herald

Published: 2:02 am

From Edmonton to Taber, Alberta's political leaders hustled around the province Saturday in a final attempt to sway voters before Monday's election.

Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft stuck to a familiar theme when he told more than 250 boisterous supporters in Edmonton that the province urgently needs a new government after almost 37 years of Conservative rule. "People, we have the chance to make history," he said. "Let's do it now, let's do it together. It's time."

Earlier in the day, he delivered a similar message to about 500 supporters in Calgary and in Red Deer before finishing the day campaigning with Norma Block, the local candidate in Thorsby.

Premier Ed Stelmach was in Calgary, moving through 11 meet and greets with local campaigners. NDP Leader Brian Mason was in Innisfail and Calgary rallying voters and Wildrose Alliance Leader Paul Hinman stuck close to home in his riding of Cardston-Taber-Warner.

Taft has said his party needs a major breakthrough in this election, but he wouldn't make predictions Saturday. He thanked his campaign volunteers and staff and said he's pleased whatever the final results.

In the past week, Taft has raced across the province, making a number of last-minute campaign stops and promises, including holding legislature sittings away from Edmonton for two weeks every year, and a government probe into soaring fertilizer costs for farmers.

Tory leader Stelmach began his "blitz" of Calgary at likely one of the Conservatives' safest ridings in the city -- Ron Stevens' Calgary-Glenmore seat. Most of the day's stops were in front of a few dozen supporters at campaign offices like Stevens'.

Polls have repeatedly shown that Calgary is the main battleground of the 2008 campaign, with the Tories seemingly in a dogfight with the Liberals in many ridings. Stelmach pleaded with Progressive Conservative supporters to cast a ballot Monday to ensure that Calgary remains a Tory stronghold and isn't swamped by a red Liberal surge.

"I'm being very frank with the voters -- please give us our support. We're listening to Calgarians," Stelmach told reporters following a campaign stop in Calgary-Varsity, currently held by the Liberals.

"I know we have the support. It's just a matter of ensuring that they do go out and vote."

In response to a protest at the legislature Saturday by members of the northern Alberta Fort Chipewyan aboriginal community, Stelmach said the government will soon receive a report on cumulative environmental effects of oilsands development. He pledged to continue working with aboriginal communities.

The NDP held their Calgary rally in the riding of Calgary-Fort, which leader Brian Mason has given special attention. Mason has already held a press conference on affordable housing in the riding, and party candidate Julie Hrdlicka has been campaigning there for more than a year.

The New Democrats haven't held a seat in the city since 1993, but Mason told the crowd of about 60 supporters that some Calgary candidates will win Monday.

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal on the Calgary Provincial Political Scene


Calgary giving Tories cold shoulder

Anger at Stelmach could mean Liberal majority in Cowtown

Jason Markusoff, The Edmonton Journal; With files from Renata D'Aliesio, Calgary Herald

Published: 2:02 am

Progressive Conservative supporters get badly outnumbered at all-candidates forums; red Liberal signs break out like rashes on front lawns in many neighbourhoods.

Welcome, for the first time in ages, to a politically volatile Cowtown. This isn't Ralph's world anymore -- and it doesn't seem to be Ed's, either.

Many Calgary voters are cranky and unsure about the new premier from a small town east of Edmonton, who jacked up energy royalties and downsized the city's cabinet clout.

Polls show that it's no longer Edmonton, but Calgary that is the most anti-Tory region in Alberta, though Ed Stelmach's party still narrowly leads among decided voters. Polls have consistently shown a large pool of undecided voters.

The Kevin Taft Liberals hope to build on the party's current four-seat beacRating 2ead in Calgary, and possibly take a majority of the city's 23 seats.

Long gone are the days that Liberals were perceived as devils, said James Maxim, campaign manager for Darshan Kang, who lost in northeast Calgary-McCall by 300 votes in 2004, and may be one of the Liberals' best shots in the city.

"It's like the Tory blue is being a little bit diluted by newcomers moving from other parts of the country to Calgary and making an informed decision, and that could lead to some possible victories," Maxim said.

Tory insiders say volunteers are more scarce, and many are disheartened. But Stelmach isn't going down without a fight in what he calls the "Conservative heartland" and the "heart of the new West," vowing to try to retake the Liberal seats and appoint more Calgary cabinet ministers.

The premier and his charter bus will make 11 campaign stops around Calgary today, mostly for pep talks and appearances at campaign offices. Taft will hold a rally.

After watching a candidates' debate in the downtown swing riding of Calgary-Buffalo, riding resident Jon Palmer said he's frustrated about the stream of homeless people who break into his condominium complex. He's undecided about who to vote for, but keen for change. "I think for a real long time in Alberta we have really suffered from not having a strong opposition," Palmer said.

About 80 people move to Calgary each day, straining hospitals, roads, housing and schools. The health region's executives last week demanded action on a $115-million deficit, evoking memories of Mayor Dave Bronconnier's spat with the Tory government over funding last summer, which Stelmach countered with a 10-year funding plan for cities.

But the premier's decision to raise oil and gas royalties had many in Calgary's energy company offices complaining he doesn't understand their industry. That feeling is expected to push some grumpy voters to the Wildrose Alliance, who disavow the royalty hikes, which could split the right-wing vote and help the Liberals.

"The climate has to be receptive and the soil has to be fertile for something to happen, and I think in Calgary it is," said Doreen Barrie, a political scientist and author of The Other Alberta: Decoding a Political Enigma.

"There's so much dissatisfaction to be harvested. And Calgary's not used to being ignored."

Liberals have never had more than four Calgary MLAs before; a victory in former premier Ralph Klein's former Calgary-Elbow seat was the party's highlight in Stelmach's rookie year.

The Tories are running hard in that riding with lawyer Alison Redford, one of many of the party's Calgary hopefuls who offer the city a cosmopolitan, young and progressive image.

"That's the new team we're building here, people that have been disengaged and we're bringing them on side," said Calgary-Montrose candidate Manmeet Bhullar, 27, hoping to replace veteran MLA Hung Pham in a bitterly contested riding.

Much as Klein hurt the Tories in past Edmonton races, Stelmach isn't helping in a city where many didn't back him in the PC leadership race, one Tory operative complained.

"At the door, he's the issue: we get a lot of, 'I like you, but not your leader,' " he said.

Barrie said Taft hasn't drawn many voters into his fold, and the issues haven't either in a race she called "bland and blander."

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal on the prediction of a Liberal Victory


Is Tuesday Taft's?

Liberal leader predicts victory

Darcy Henton,

Published: 2:11 pm

EDMONTON - Liberal Leader Kevin Taft says Albertans want change and they will wake up to a bright new day Tuesday with a new Liberal government.

"What we heard on the doorsteps over and over was exactly that - that our message (It's Time) captured the public mood," Taft said today. "More than half of Albertans think it's time for a new government and our message just connected."

He said the desire for change was the number one issue of the campaign.

The Liberal leader dropped by two Mill Woods temples Sunday where he urged New Democratic Party voters to cast their votes for Liberals this election to throw out the Progressive Conservatives who have been in power nearly 37 years.

He said voters can only vote in opposition members if they vote for Brian Mason's NDP party - but if they vote Liberal they can change the government.

"Brian has always played for third place," he said. "We're in this for the gold medal."

Taft was optimistic his party will make inroads in Calgary and hold its seats "and grow" in Edmonton "and I think we will make breakthroughs in other areas, too."

"Calgary started feeling different in 2004," he said. "It's going to feel a lot different Tuesday morning."

© Edmonton Journal 2008

Edmonton Journal Article on the Edmonton Unknown Factor


Edmonton still up for grabs

City's undecided voters could extend Tory dynasty -- or end it

Darcy Henton, The Edmonton Journal; With files from Jason Markusoff

Published: 6:42 am

It's people like city dweller Mark Woronuk who hold the fate of the 37-year-old Progressive Conservative dynasty in their hands -- and more specifically, whether or not the Tories make inroads in the province's capital.

The south Edmonton resident is among the 25 per cent of Edmonton voters identified in a Leger Marketing poll this week who haven't decided where to put their vote.

The huge percentage of undecided voters, along with the massive influx of newcomers and the appeal of a northern Alberta premier, could all be factors in whether Albertans decide to change their government or change their representation in Edmonton.

The capital city has often been dubbed "Redmonton" as a result of its tradition of electing opposition members of the legislature.

Premier Ed Stelmach has vowed to put the "Ed" back into Edmonton.

Currently opposition members hold all but three of the city's 18 seats.

But the Leger telephone poll suggests that could change Monday.

The poll, conducted Feb. 21 to 25, suggests that 39 per cent of city voters support Stelmach's Conservatives while 21 per cent support Kevin Taft's Liberals and nearly nine per cent support Brian Mason's NDP.

That suggests there could be an 11th straight Tory majority.

Woronuk, a 28-year-old policeman who was born and raised in the city, has never known anything but a Conservative provincial government.

He voted Conservative previously when Ralph Klein was the premier, but he's not so sure about Stelmach.

None of the other leaders has grabbed him either.

"Like a lot of people, I'm kind of on the fence with Ed," he said when a Liberal candidate came door-knocking this week. "I will do some research and look into the core values of each party and make a decision from there."

Chaldeans Mensah, who teaches political science at Grant MacEwan College, said rookie premier Stelmach may receive some sympathy from city residents because of the way he has been treated by the Calgary establishment.

"You hear people say: 'Give the guy a chance. He's been in just over a year. Whatever his foibles are, he deserves a chance to prove himself,' " Mensah said. "There's a sense this individual hasn't been given the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership."

But Liberal Leader Kevin Taft said his candidates don't sense any Stelmach momentum in the capital.

"We're in a race to the finish line, but we're not picking up anything unusual," he said.

Taft noted that in Edmonton, his party has an advantage it didn't have in 2004 -- 10 incumbents and strong riding-by-riding organizations.

Edmonton-McLung Liberal incumbent Mo Elsalhy, who knocked off Tory cabinet minister Mark Norris in 2004, said he has heard voters express sympathy for Stelmach.

"Very infrequently somebody says: 'Mr. Stelmach deserves a chance.' I tell them he has been the premier for 14 months. How much more time do you need to give him?"

Alberta Liberals are confident they can hold all of their seats in the city, but the Tories are hopeful they can take Edmonton-Meadowlark, where incumbent Liberal Maurice Tougas has stepped down, and Edmonton-Manning, where former Liberal Dan Backs is running as an independent after being expelled from the Liberal caucus.

With recent polls in their favour, Edmonton's Tory candidates are exuding a quiet confidence, but they say they've also been working very, very hard.

Health minister Dave Hancock, who won narrowly in Edmonton-Whitemud in 2004, said he hopes to benefit from a higher profile after taking a run at the party leadership in 2006.

He said voters in his riding are generally supportive of the new premier. "People have their concerns about presentation, but he's getting marks for being willing to step into the middle of controversial issues and deal with them in a thoughtful way," Hancock said.

Tory candidate Gene Zwozdesky, an associate cabinet minister and the incumbent for Edmonton Mill Creek, said Stelmach earned points with voters in his riding with his performance during the leader's debate. "Any time you can stand your ground against three opponents, that's appreciated."

Edmonton-Castle Downs Tory incumbent Thomas Lukaszuk, who won by only three votes after a protracted recount in 2004, said he never stopped campaigning.

He said there are 8,000 new eligible voters in his riding this time and he's been out meeting them as often as he could.

"Most people who come here are happy to be here," he said. "They're not likely to stage a revolution. They like having a job and a house."

But Liberal Chris Kibermanis, who lost the squeaker, has also been pounding the sidewalk.

"I think we'll have a very close election again," he said. "There's a real mood for change. If we get the vote out we'll be successful."

The retirement of popular NDP MLA Raj Pannu in Edmonton-Strathcona has opened the door for rivals in Old Strathcona, but NDP candidate Rachel Notley, the daughter of former NDP leader Grant Notley, has been campaigning hard for months.

"There are not a lot of people saying: 'I'm just so happy to be part of the Alberta Advantage and I can't wait to vote the Tories in for another 37 years,' " she said.

© The Edmonton Journal 2008

Alberta Liberals rank highest on all of Albertans' priorities

March 2, 2008

Alberta Liberals rank highest on all of Albertans' priorities

Edmonton - The Alberta Liberals received the highest rankings on their

policies this election campaign, including major issues such as health care,

education and environment.

"This campaign, the Alberta Liberals put a plan in front of Albertans that

is consistent with what we've been saying for years, it's responsible and

it's all about Albertans' priorities," said Taft.

"Our opponents know what the people and the experts have been saying," said

Taft. "The Alberta Liberals are the strongest on the environment, we're the

strongest on health care, we're the strongest on education, we're the

strongest on jobs and the economy, we're the strongest on saving for the

future. Not the Greens, not the NDP, and certainly not the Conservatives."

On health care, the Alberta Liberals were ranked the highest by the Alberta

Medical Association. On environment, they received the best review from the

Conservation Voters of Alberta, and the top ranking from the University of

Calgary Students' Union on their plan for post-secondary education.

The party's plans for Aboriginal Affairs, municipal autonomy, placing a

three-year moratorium on school closures, ending homelessness, and

strengthening the arts and culture sector also received positive reviews

from both people on the doorsteps and experts.

Edmonton Journal columnist Todd Babiak described the Alberta Liberal arts

and culture platform as, "by a long shot, the only one that respects the

true meaning of the word 'plan'."

"What I've heard across the province during this campaign is that it's time

for a new government," said Taft. "Albertans know that our province has

changed, while the Tory government has fallen asleep on the issues and

priorities that matter to this province."

Taft said the Alberta Liberals are the only party that is taking fiscal

responsibility seriously and is committed to a comprehensive, sustainable

and fiscally responsible savings plan by channeling 30 per cent of resource

revenue directly into four endowment funds. The Alberta Liberal policy on

savings is consistent with recommendations from the Alberta Chambers of

Commerce, the Alberta Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Canada West

Foundation and the C.D. Howe Institute.

Taft notes that the Alberta Liberals were the only party to release a

comprehensive platform prior to the election and to properly cost out all

platform commitments.

"The Alberta Liberals are the only party poised to form a new government

that acts on Albertans' needs and priorities," said Taft.

"Nothing changes unless we change government. Albertans have a chance to

change the future. It's time for a new government."