Thursday, August 3, 2017

Julie Ali Just now · National Post · Things are always rosy at the beginning of a party. But I would not get too excited about the possible victory of the UCP folks yet. There are a lot of undecided voters. Some of them like myself do not want to vote for the PCs in any shape or format. Therefore we are looking for a new place to park our votes. The Alberta Party may be that new place.

Things are always rosy at the beginning of a party. But I would not get too excited about the possible victory of the UCP folks yet.
There are a lot of undecided voters. Some of them like myself do not want to vote for the PCs in any shape or format.
Therefore we are looking for a new place to park our votes.
The Alberta Party may be that new place.
“One and done,” Jason Kenney likes to say about the NDP. It’s his one-term dream for the government.A new poll from Mainstreet Research shows that if the NDP…
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Braid: Even without a leader or policy, the new UCP is far ahead of NDP

Brian Jean and Jason Kenney announce the merger of PCs and Wildrose on May 18, 2017.David Bloom / Postmedia Network
Don Braid, Calgary Herald
Don Braid, Calgary Herald
August 1, 2017
7:00 AM EDT
Last Updated
August 1, 2017
10:05 PM EDT
Filed under
“One and done,” Jason Kenney likes to say about the NDP. It’s his one-term dream for the government.
A new poll from Mainstreet Research shows that if the NDP isn’t quite done yet, it’s at least half-baked.
The United Conservative Party — still leaderless, with not a single policy to its name — has a thundering lead everywhere but Edmonton.
The overall number is crushing: the UCP shows 57 per cent support provincewide among decided and leaning voters. The NDP has only 29 per cent.
The Liberals are barely in the game, with a dismal four per cent.
The sole twitch of life in the minor leagues is Greg Clark’s Alberta Party. It stands at nine per cent, perhaps a sign that some conservative moderates are moving in his direction.
In general, the poll shows the sharp polarization the UCP wants. This is to be an existential battle for the future of Alberta, with only two gladiators in the stadium.
In Calgary, 50 per cent of respondents favour the UCP; only 32 per cent would vote for the NDP.
The Alberta Party shows 14 per cent support on Clark’s home turf, providing just a glimmer of a vote split that might eventually help the NDP.
In the rest of the province — all the towns, cities and rural areas outside the metropolises — the NDP has just 20 per cent support, compared to a massive 68 per cent for the United Conservatives.
Edmonton remains strongly NDP, with 47 per cent support. But the UCP is within striking distance, at 39 per cent.
The direction the UCP takes will be crucial in the capital. Tough cost-cutting and right-wing social policies won’t dislodge Premier Rachel Notley from her city.
Although this poll is grim news, the NDP can find some light around the edges of the UCP eclipse.
The undecided vote is surprisingly high everywhere: 27 per cent in the province as a whole; 21 per cent in Edmonton; 25 per cent in Calgary; and 29 per cent outside Calgary and Edmonton.
That’s nearly double the undecided tally as recently as April, notes Mainstreet president Quito Maggi. He attributes that, in part, to the UCP’s leaderless state.
“These numbers point to a majority government in the next election, but Rachel Notley and the NDP have time on their side,” Maggi writes.
“That, combined with renewed strength in the economy in Alberta, means a unified conservative party cannot take anything for granted leading up to the 2019 election.”
It’s certainly remarkable for the UCP to be well ahead when the ink is barely dry on the chief electoral officer’s approval of official status, signed just five days ago.
But in the coming months the party will have to explain exactly where the cuts will hit, and deal with emotional social issues as well.
It’s possible — the New Democrats certainly hope — that the UCP will never be more popular than it is right now.
But UCP backers often talk as if uniting Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives is all it takes to win.
In their minds, they’ve already moved beyond Notley to the larger enemy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
When Kenney launched his leadership bid Saturday, he was only three paragraphs into his speech when he said:
“Now, Justin Trudeau says that Canada ‘has no national identity,’ and seems to think that Canada 150 is all about apologizing for our past.
“He could not be more wrong.”
Trumpeting his own record on refugees and immigration, Kenney said Trudeau was his opposition critic on the subject for two and a half years, “and he didn’t know any more about immigration policy at the end than he did at the start.”
Kenney talked about fighting the federal carbon tax after he cancels Alberta’s, and building new western alliances against Ottawa.
The UCP may get to fight those battles. However, it does have to win another one first.
Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald
Twitter: @DonBraid

Tim Boyle
Even in the last election had the two small "c" conservative parties been united they would have won in a landslide. Only Don Braid could imagine the NDP government as winning the next election.
LikeReply7Aug 1, 2017 11:57pm
Ted Lintner · 
after a leadership convention its normal to see the party involved do well at the polls, particular if they have formed a recent previous government, so the next election in Alberta should be interesting, now on a Federal level what happened, the Conservatives had thier leadership convention and even had the Liberals pay out a controversial payout to an apparent convicted terrorist and yet thier showing at the opinion polls is still dismal, so this should be an interesting list of comments to follow, i wonder how the explaination will go, the low polls for Federal Conservatives the response was polls mean little, now a high polls for Provincial Conservatives, does it still mean little?
LikeReply22 hrsEdited
Sue Miller · 
It means that the average intelligence level within Alberta is considerably higher than Canada as a whole.
LikeReply512 hrs
Ben d'Avernas · 
Works at Self-Employed
The previous Tory regimes couldn't manage the oil resources which left the province broke & in debt, there is no indication these amateurs have learned anything.
LikeReply118 hrs
Joseph Walchuk
Name one province that an NDP government left with a lower debt than when it took over?
LikeReply417 hrs
Del James · 
Neither Jean nor Kenney were in power in the previous regimes.

One could hardly call Kenney an amateur, unlike the yoga instructors and baristas that helped form the NDP ranks.
LikeReply517 hrs
Ben d'Avernas · 
Works at Self-Employed
Joseph Walchuk: CCF in Saskatchewan under Tommy Douglas, inherited a $200 million debt in 1944, paid off in nine years then sixteen consecutive years of balanced budgets.

Of the 52 years the NDP has formed governments in Canada since 1980, they’ve run balanced budgets for exactly half of those years and deficits the other half. This is a better record than both the Conservatives (balanced budgets 37% of years in government) and the Liberals (only 27%), as well as both Social Credit and PQ governments.

Subsequent NDP governments in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba frequently balanced the provincial budget while continuing to build up welfare state. For example, the Ed Schreyer government produced surpluses in eight out of its nine budgets.

Allan Blakeney in Saskatchewan (1971-82) produced 12 balanced budgets.
LikeReply16 hrs
Ben d'Avernas · 
Works at Self-Employed
Del James : Kenny was part of the Harper gang that never had a balanced budget, ran up the national debt and tolerated corruption, the fourteen Tories who were investigated, charged and / or convicted for various crimes.
UnlikeReply116 hrs
Craig Hall · 
It really doesn't matter. The NDP will be gone. The day after the last election I pointed out that had the Conservatives and Wildrose been united, they would have won with 52% of the vote, and many chimed in to tell me I was somehow wrong. The NDP never belonged in power in the first place and probably will never have power again. Oh, and let me know when Notley produces a balanced budget, will you?
LikeReply416 hrs
Craig Hall · 
Ben d'Avernas Of course you forget, as everyone does (LOL) the great recession. Harper did run a a couple of balanced budgets, including the last year he was in power (except for the last month when Trudeau had taken over and blew money on everything he could find so he could say he didn't). And, Harper, during the resession, reduced the debt to GDP ratio from 36% to 31%, an amazing accomplishment.
LikeReply316 hrs
Byron Whitford · 
Ben d'Avernas

Although our last 3 PC premiers and our current NDP premier spent like drunken sailors Alberta is STILL in the best fiscal position of any province and territory in confederation. Ask any other premier in the country if they would like to trade debt to GDP ratios with Alberta and they would leap at the opportunity.

Could it have been managed better since Klein left? Absolutly. But lets not pretend Alberta is an economic basketcase. It isn't. It doesn't even come close to what is currently happening in provinces like Ontario where they need to sell the furniture to keep the lights on.
LikeReply415 hrsEdited
Byron Whitford · 
Ben d'Avernas

Do you have any examples that are less than 40 years old?
LikeReply415 hrs
Byron Whitford · 
Ben d'Avernas

Out of the 9 years Harper was in office he had 4 balanced budgets. 2 at the beginning of his tenure and 2 at the end. He had a global worldwide recession in the middle.

Whats Trudeau's excuse?
LikeReply215 hrs
Ben d'Avernas · 
Works at Self-Employed
Byron Whitford What difference does time make, Joesph didn't think the NDP had it in them, he was wrong.
LikeReply15 hrs
Ben d'Avernas · 
Works at Self-Employed
Byron Whitford :
"How does this compare to the Harper government’s fiscal record? In 2006-07, the Conservatives inherited a surplus of $13.8 billion — which they turned into a deficit of $5.8 billion within two years.

Since then, they have been in deficit each and every year. In 2009-10, the deficit reached its peak of 3.5 per cent of GDP. They are desperate now to show a surplus in 2015-16 — one surplus in nine years. Since Harper was elected, the federal debt has increased by over $150 billion, wiping out the reduction in federal debt achieved under Chretien and Martin. Not much to boast about there."
(Source: ipolitics)

Some more Tory accounting, the final budget was padded with the monies from the GM share sales, at a loss, in real accounting that is a balance sheet item, not revenue.

Also unspent monies were returned to the treasury and counted as revenue, where I come from, that is called cooking the books or Nortel accounting.
UnlikeReply115 hrs
Ben d'Avernas · 
Works at Self-Employed
Byron Whitford :

In the past 10 years, the PC government’s daily spending nearly doubled the growth in population plus increases in the cost of living.

Heck, the spending was higher than the rate of economic growth and Alberta sure grew.

And what’s left?

Over the past decade, if the PC government spending had gone up to cover inflation and the higher population Alberta would now be $4 billion-plus in the black at these low oil prices.

If the PC government had hiked their program spending at the rate of growth in the province’s economy the province would still be almost $2 billion to the good this year.

But spending on government operations went up an average of 7.3% a year.

The average increase in population and prices was 4.7%.

The province has a $6 billion or so deficit this year and even with the PCs the hole was dug at $5 billion.

Finally, Albertans this spring had to face a set of books in a mess.

Provincial spending was higher than seven other provinces while services to the people weren’t necessarily better.
(Source: Calgary Sun)
LikeReply15 hrs
Sue Miller · 
Ben d'Avernas do you have some kind of relevant point?
LikeReply112 hrs
Brent Dube · 
Joseph Walchuk Saskatchewan brad wall had a surplus in no fan of ndp but Sk ndp were better than what Alberta has gotten I'm also an independent voter I'm not owned by a party
LikeReply5 hrs
Kerry Armstrong · 
Sue Miller He never does...just deflects to the past where his brain dwells. It's a union thing - no chin.
LikeReply1 hr
Julie Ali · 
Byron Whitford I don't think Alberta is in a good financial position. You are forgetting the major liabilities of the oil and gas industry that neither the PCs or the NDPCs have factored in. We have a major problem in terms of the remediation of the pollution of the industry such as the tailings ponds and the orphan well program. I doubt the oil and gas industry will stick around after their profits are made to clean up this mess.
LikeReply4 mins
Julie Ali · 
Byron Whitford Mr. Trudeau doesn't need an excuse yet. He hasn't messed up as much as Mr. Harper has. Just give him two terms in office and then ask the same question.
LikeReply3 mins
Julie Ali · 
Craig Hall Actually you are wrong with reference to this comment:
The NDP never belonged in power in the first place and probably will never have power again.
The NDP did belong in power because voters like myself were fed up of the incompetent and arrogant PCs and kicked them out. In a democracy, voters can do stuff like this and we did.
You don't know if the NDP will ever have power again. A few lake of fire incidents by the UCP will get the same results as the last time. Most Conservative voters like myself voted PCs for 44 years because they were middle of the road and unexciting. Until they got too big for their britches they were a tolerable compromise for us. If the UCP begin to seem Trump-like they will be gone.
LikeReplyJust now
Iain Foulds
... Were it not for the absolutely corruption of PS unions financing and running NDP campaigns, the NDP would not even exist. The only remaining support for the NDP is in Edmonton- an island of PS employees who know that the NDP will give them anything they want in exchange for unlimited union dues and endless allegiance.
... Looks like Braid is just realizing that all his eggs are in the wrong basket.
... The insult is that Albertans have to tolerate another two years of an unwanted and incompetent government. We want an Election!!!
LikeReply415 hrs
Julie Ali · 
We tolerated 44 years of incompetent PC rule so I think we can respectfully tolerate 4 years of incompetent NDP rule. There is also no guarantee that the next group we hire will be competent and may be even more wasteful with public cash than these two groups.
LikeReply6 mins
Simon Jones
All those foolish enough to vote NDP last time around have gone into hiding.

Most fear ridicule for their abject stupidity.

re "Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald"

Well--about time they didn't--and just one reason I don't use the Herald.
LikeReply6 hrs
Julie Ali · 
I voted NDP for the first time in the last election. I don't fear ridicule. It was a good decision to get rid of the arrogant and anti-democratic PCs. The Wildrose folks made a bad decision to join up with the very folks they split from in the first place. I won't be voting for the UCP. The Alberta Party seems like the next best choice.
LikeReply8 mins
Michael Leger · 
This comment is collapsed. Undo
Anthony George · 
The last thing the NDP has is time on its side, Quito Maggi has no idea what the numbers really mean.

There is no leader and the party doesn't even have a name, yet it is crushing the NDP.

True conservatives like me were highly disgusted with the tragectory that the PC Party took post Klein. But we had nowhere to go, so we held our noses and voted for the PC Party.

When the Wildrose came on the scene many of us embraced them. They had the last election in the bag until Danielle Smith entirely misread the situation with the late Mr. Prentice (RIP). She did not understand that short of the appearance of the good Lord with winning lottery tickets for all, would people like me vote PC again.

Now we have clarity. The leader of the new party will be Brian Jean will win and he will win the next election in a big way. He is slightly too populist in my opinion, but he is still conservative. If he tries to move left, he will lose.

But to think that the NDP is a 'natural' party for Alberta is to understand zero about Alberta and its politics. We may like Rachel Notley but she represents the postmodern left that Albertan's will never agree with. We know what socialism is and she and what she sells if purely a socialist agenda. Her support in Edmonton reflects the lock-step adherence to their union that our civil servants embrace. We need about half of those civil servants, the rest can start to embrace the ideas of free enterprise and work in the world the rest of Albertan's live in.
LikeReply1 hr
Julie Ali · 
I agree with you that there needs to be a cut in the number of GOA workers as well as downsizing in the ABCs (agencies, boards and commissions).We are paying too much for too little in terms of deliverables and the CEOs of AHS and Covenant Health plus their executive teams are being overcompensated in my opinion for poor performance.

I like Ms. Notley but she has not been productive in government. Promises in continuing care have not been kept. I fail to see why we can't have changes in the continuing care system when legislative changes have been made in other places. Surely the peoples' party cares about seniors and handicapped folks in the continuing care system? Apparently not.

I voted NDP to get rid of the Tories. I am not happy that Wildrose has voted to join up with the PCs. Mr. Jean is a nice man and I would have voted for him if he had kept the PCs out of the house. But now there is the UCP I will be looking for another party to vote for. The Alberta Party seems to be the logical choice. While Mr. Jean is nice I don't want to vote for any party that has the PCs in it. The Tapcal Trust Fund debacle was enough to turn me off this anti-democratic group.
LikeReply9 mins
Kerry Armstrong · 
NDP are done in Alberta, stick a fork in em and turn them over.
LikeReply1 hr

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