Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kenney, and conservatives across the province, will tell you the NDP election was a fluke and the true provincial map more naturally reflects the federal one, where even those four Liberal MPs are swamped by a sea of blue Conservatives. Alberta may be changing, but conservatives argue its beating heart is still business and balanced budgets.

Alberta is indeed changing but apparently not fast enough if we have the Wildrose folks merging with the very folks they could not tolerate just a few years before.
The unification of the right was a mistake and progressive Conservatives won't vote for the new party.
But I guess there may be dinosaurs left who will continue the pattern of voting for a party that keeps rising from the dead.


Members of the province’s Progressive Conservative Party have been voting since Thursday on whether to join forces with the Wildrose Party
NATIONALPOST.COM

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http://nationalpost.com/news/politics/albertas-conservatives-look-ahead-to-bigger-battles-as-ballots-are-cast-for-merger/wcm/27ff1865-041d-4cef-8506-39237ba69a62#comments-area

Alberta's conservatives look ahead to bigger battles as ballots are cast for merger

Members of the province's Progressive Conservative Party have been voting since Thursday on whether to join forces with the Wildrose Party

Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and Alberta PC leader Jason Kenney announce that they have reached a deal to merge the parties, May 18, 2017.David Bloom / Postmedia
Stuart Thomson
July 21, 2017
7:13 AM EDT
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On Saturday, conservatives in Alberta will decide if it’s finally time to stop bickering.
Members of the province’s Progressive Conservative Party have been voting since Thursday on whether to join forces with the Wildrose Party under the new banner of the United Conservative Party. Voting will be open to Wildrose members all day on Saturday and Albertans should know the fate of the unite-the-right movement by early evening.
This new party will have a single mission: the electoral destruction of the governing New Democrat Party.
Albertans are at the midway point of what once looked like a quixotic scheme by former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney to wrestle control of the Alberta PCs, force a merger with the Wildrose Party, win the leadership of the new party and then become premier of the province. It doesn’t look so quixotic anymore.
Insiders on both sides are brimming with cautious confidence — no one gets too cocky about polls these days — about the unity vote. The PCs only need a simple majority and Wildrosers expect they’ll be able to clear the relatively high bar of 75 per cent that their party’s constitution demands.
Party officials are already looking ahead to the nitty gritty details of the new party: who will be interim leader, where staff from both parties will end up, and how to keep the embryonic party stable during what is expected to be a nasty leadership race.
And although the parties are ostensibly voting to be friends, “nasty” is what everyone expects the battle for leader to be.
It’s taken as an article of faith among right-leaning Albertans that the NDP is ripe for supplanting in the province’s next election in 2019. Kenney calls them an “accidental government,” that stumbled to power amid unprecedented disarray on the right. The Progressive Conservative dynasty that governed for 44 years finally got on voters’ last nerve and the Wildrose Party self-destructed when 11 members crossed the floor to the PCs, including then-leader Danielle Smith.
Since the latter years of Ralph Klein’s reign, conservatives in Alberta have had the luxury of fighting amongst themselves without losing power, whether it was particularly vicious leadership races, caucus mutinies or the raucous and personal attacks flying back and forth between the Wildrose and PC caucuses. Before long the bickering, once the sideshow to governance, became the main act.
In the 2015 election, the PCs were obliterated and Wildrose Leader Brian Jean failed to bring his party all the way back from the dead — no easy task, considering he had less than two months to do it after winning the post-floor cross leadership race. The NDP capitalized, increasing its seat count from four to a resounding majority of 54. It was a sizeable mandate and the party governed with enthusiasm and growing confidence, like a new employee keen to impress.
Ask a conservative in Alberta to rattle off the government’s sins and it will sound a lot like the NDP boasting, just with a different inflection.
They raised the minimum wage, brought in a carbon tax, made it easier for unions to certify, created a pilot program for universal daycare, beefed up farm safety laws, put a cap on oilsands emissions and slashed school fees. All the while, they racked up record deficits as oil prices plunged.
If the NDP gets punished by voters in Alberta in 2019, it won’t be for cynically breaking promises, it will be for earnestly doing what they said they would do, despite a back-breaking recession.
The disconnect comes down to two disparate views of a changing province. NDP supporters believe Rachel Notley’s election as premier is a reflection of a more youthful, progressive Alberta, driven by migration from across the country and booming urban populations. After all, the two largest cities have both elected young, left-leaning mayors and Alberta returned four Liberal MPs to Ottawa in 2015.
Kenney, and conservatives across the province, will tell you the NDP election was a fluke and the true provincial map more naturally reflects the federal one, where even those four Liberal MPs are swamped by a sea of blue Conservatives. Alberta may be changing, but conservatives argue its beating heart is still business and balanced budgets.
The race to be the man who doles out the NDP’s electoral punishment — so far no women have declared for the race — is between Kenney, Jean, Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer and Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt, all of whom have either officially declared or hinted strongly that they are running.
Barring the entry of a star candidate, the race will be between Jean and Kenney, the two current leaders of the merging parties. Jean, who now seems enthusiastic about the merger after initial reservations, believes his personal popularity and the fact that his Wildrose Party are buoyant in recent polls should propel him to the leadership.
Kenney’s sense of inevitability and organizational prowess will be hard to overcome, though. After his resounding victory in the PC leadership race this year, many centrist members who opposed him have chosen to pack up and go home, rather than fight hopelessly against another Kenney victory. Now, in the funny world of Alberta politics, it’s actually possible to find disaffected PCers who will leave the new party if Kenney wins but stick around and see what happens if Jean is leader.
The future of the conservative parties in Alberta has broader implications, too, and the federal Conservatives will be watching closely. As a sign of the times, and perhaps a testament to the amount of resources being sucked up fighting the NDP on home turf, the only Albertan challenger in the Conservative leadership race was Deepak Obhrai, who was eliminated after the first round of voting with 0.4 per cent of the vote.
They’ll be watching not just because Alberta is the conservative homeland, but for strategic reasons, too.
When the federal carbon tax was announced, Trudeau and Notley clung to each other, hoping to spread out the political liability of an unpopular policy. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer may look to United Conservative messaging on the carbon tax and see if he can find a template for attacking Trudeau.
Due to the vagaries of Alberta’s election laws, the Wildrose’s bountiful war chest can’t be spent to promote any particular candidate or party after the merger, but it can be spent to help set up constituency associations and, more interestingly, on ads to attack government policy. Alberta’s carbon tax could be in for a rough ride in the next two years.
All that is in the future, though. If the vote goes as planned on Saturday and the leadership race kicks off, it’ll be back to the bickering for a little while, at least.

• Email: sxthomson@postmedia.com | Twitter:

Julie Ali · 

I don't think the NDP will be re-elected in Alberta. Swing voters like myself who voted NDP to get rid of the PCs won't be voting NDP again because critical promises such as changes to the continuing care system have not been kept.
The NDP aren't much different than the PCs we just booted out in terms of wasting public funds. The carbon tax was necessary to get the pipelines approved by the federal government and eventually the pipelines will go through despite the opposition. I don't believe the carbon tax is anything other than a cash grab and a public relations move to buff up the poor image of big oil in Alberta.

I can't think of any work done by the NDP folks that stands out. They may have addressed some of the infrastructure deficit that was tolerated by the PCs. But other than this the waste of money at the ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions) continues and there is no effective oversight of the money being spent that I can determine. The Pure North fiasco continues the poor decision making of the PCs and indicates that the elite are still well served in Alberta. It was only after sustained media attention did the NDP folks cancel the money it had provide to this company: http://www.cbc.ca/.../alberta-health-cancels-funding-pure...

Hoffman cancelled the clinic's funding Tuesday after CBC News publicly revealed a 74-year-old patient had twice been prescribed vitamin D in single doses of 50,000 IU at the foundation's clinic in downtown Calgary earlier this year.

**
It was only with media attention did Alberta Health consider the poor use of public funds in this venture.

The NDP government does not appear any different than the PC government in terms of wasting the money.

I doubt that the chimeria of the PC-Wildrose party will be any different. Mr. Kenney will probably end up leading it and if the performance of the Harper crew is any indication the poor governance in Alberta will continue. No one cares about good governance; it's all about the dollar, the dollar bill yo!
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Troubling that the health minister had to be encouraged to do the right thing of cancelling the funding to a problematic health program by investigative reporters from CBC. Why didn't she review the information provided to the GOA by departments and AHS? In fact why didn't the former PC Health minister -Mr. Horne follow any of the information that indicated that his decision to give $10 million to this company was a poor decision?
Is there no accountability in government?
You betcha.
Just money down the drain.
Our money.
This money could have been used to fund real science projects in cancer for example rather than junk science of this sort.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has abruptly cancelled funding for a nurse-practitioner led clinic operated by Pure North, a controversial private health foundation, after a…
CBC.CA
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http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-cancels-funding-pure-north-clinic-1.4200591

Alberta Health cancels funding for Pure North nurse-practitioner clinic

CBC News investigation revealed clinic was offering alternative treatment

By Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell, CBC News Posted: Jul 11, 2017 5:50 PM MT Last Updated: Jul 12, 2017 11:42 AM MT
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said Tuesday that the government is cutting funding to Precision Health, the clinic operated by Calgary-based private health foundation Pure North S'Energy.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said Tuesday that the government is cutting funding to Precision Health, the clinic operated by Calgary-based private health foundation Pure North S'Energy.
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Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell
Investigative reporters
Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell are reporters with CBC Investigates, the award-winning investigative unit of CBC Edmonton. Their journalism in the public interest is widely credited with forcing accountability, transparency and democratic change in Alberta. Send tips in confidence to cbcinvestigates@cbc.ca. @charlesrusnell @jennierussell_

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Health Minister Sarah Hoffman has abruptly cancelled funding for a nurse-practitioner led clinic operated by Pure North, a controversial private health foundation, after a CBC News investigation revealed the clinic offered an unproven alternative treatment to a patient.
In March, Hoffman told CBC News that provincial funding for Pure North's Precision Health clinic would be "at risk" if it offered any of the foundation's controversial alternative treatments, such as high-dose vitamin supplements.
Hoffman cancelled the clinic's funding Tuesday after CBC News publicly revealed a 74-year-old patient had twice been prescribed vitamin D in single doses of 50,000 IU at the foundation's clinic in downtown Calgary earlier this year.
"The goal of this program is to demonstrate an enhanced role for nurse practitioners in our healthcare system, particularly in delivering team-based care to vulnerable Albertans," Hoffman said in a statement emailed to CBC News late Tuesday afternoon.
"I am concerned that the possibility of overlap between this program and other Pure North initiatives is becoming a distraction to this important work with nurse practitioners.
"Alberta Health is ending grant funding for Pure North," Hoffman said. "Our top priority will be to ensure that all current patients continue to be able to access the care they need."
Pure North was set to receive up to a $1.65-million instalment of the total $4.2-million grant around June 30. But a ministry spokesperson earlier this week said the money had not been paid out. According to the funding agreement, the foundation had already received roughly $925,000.

Pure North: Minister's decision 'politically motivated'

Pure North spokesperson Stephen Carter called Hoffman's decision "politically motivated."
"It is an immature decision and it is not taking Albertans' health into consideration," he said.
Carter said the clinic had just received two favourable independent reviews so Hoffman's decision caught them off guard.
"We do think this decision shows a lack of commitment to actually bending the healthcare cost curve. Instead this government is committed to a higher-cost, less-effective treatment structure for patients," he said, adding that the NDP government feared bad publicity more than it valued making good decisions on behalf of Albertans.
Wildrose accountability critic Nathan Cooper called Hoffman's cancellation of the funding "a good step in the right direction." But he said the reason she gave for her decision was problematic.
"I think that the minister needs to hold people to account for the resources that are being spent, and (ensure) that those programs are doing the right thing," Cooper said, adding that the Pure North grant should not have been cancelled simply because it was "politically challenging or a 'distraction.'"
He said Hoffman and the ministry now need to follow up with Precision Health patients if there are any concerns about the care they received under the grant agreement. The ministry is now requesting anyone with concerns to contact it.
In a June interview, Carter initially denied - three times - that the Precision Health clinic offers any supplements.
But when told CBC News had proof a patient had been prescribed vitamin D by a Precision Health nurse practitioner, Carter said providing supplements like high-dose vitamin D is within their scope of practice. He also said Pure North doesn't provide any instructions to Precision Health nurse practitioners about the services they choose to provide to their patients.
"The practitioner did nothing wrong; we stand by that," Carter said Tuesday, adding that the decisions made by the nurse practitioner were in the "best interests of the patient."
The nurse practitioner previously told CBC News it was in her scope of practice to offer vitamin D as a treatment at the publicly funded clinic.
Pure North has repeatedly said vitamin D at high doses is safe and is not an alternative treatment.

Auditor general to conduct review

While Precision Health's funding has been cancelled, the ministry's grant agreement with Pure North is still to be scrutinized by Alberta Auditor General Merwan Saher.
Following a request in May from Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann, Saher's office said it would include the $4.2 million grant in a review of how Alberta Health approves, pays, and records grants. In June, a spokesperson for the auditor general said no decision had yet been made on whether there will be a separate performance audit to determine if the funding itself was merited and provided value for the public money spent.
Alberta's ethics commissioner, Marguerite Trussler, has also been asked by the Opposition Wildrose to conduct an investigation into whether Alberta Health Deputy Minister Carl Amrhein fully disclosed his relationship with Pure North.
The Wildrose made the request after CBC News revealed Amrhein, who signed the Precision Health grant agreement on behalf of the ministry, was a participant in the Pure North wellness program and had lobbied for the foundation while he was official administrator of Alberta Health Services.
Trussler's office has said the commissioner is prevented by law from disclosing the existence of an investigation.
The ethics commissioner previously told CBC News that Amrhein disclosed his participation in the Pure North wellness program to her. Trussler also said Amrhein told her he merely signed the agreement in his capacity as deputy minister, after Hoffman had signed off.
If you have any information about this story, or information for another story, please contact us in confidence at cbcinvestigates@cbc.ca.











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