Join hundreds of other Albertans and get the best damn political newsletter this side of Canada.
If the ends don't justify the means, what does?
A modicum of jubilation greeted last weekend’s announcements by the Wildrose in Red Deer and the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary that union had been achieved. Not just that, but the members of the two parties had—serendipitously or suspiciously, depending on one’s cynicism quotient (CQ)—both voted 95% in favour of coalescing into the brand new United Conservative Party. (No one knows how many of the votes were cast by those holding memberships to both parties.)
Hoots, hollers, and cries of “let’s kick some NDP butt!” greeted the joyous announcement from each party’s returning officer. (see numbers on next page). Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, 55, (Fort McMurray-Conklin) arrived on stage to the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and delivered an excited speech/pep talk to the 200-odd Wildrosers at Red Deer’s Radisson Hotel ballroom.
In his caffeinated tenor, jug ears glowing with endorphins and beauteous second wife Kim Michelutti, 42, gazing up adoringly, Jean gave a good show of quashing those niggling rumours about his antipathy to unity—rumours that he wanted the vote to fail so the Wildrose could continue under his leadership and sink Jason Kenney’s PC battleship. (The two candidates reportedly loathe each other.)
“I can’t wait to get started building our new conservative united movement together,” Jean enthused…
The Public Affairs Bureau (PAB), long a favourite target of opposition members for its perceived partisanship, is no more—at least not by that name. Last Wednesday, PAB managing director Corey Hogan sent out a brief press release stating that, effective Sept. 1, the department has been renamed Communications and Public Engagement (CAPE).
It will no longer be overseen by Executive Counci, but will move over to Treasury Board & Finance, where it will operated alongside the Public Service Commission (formerly Corporate Human Resources) on the seventh floor of the Federal Building. According to Hogan, a former Alberta Liberal party executive and political podcaster hired by the gov’t last fall (Insight, Oct. 7), the move is part of a consolidation plan that will also see a 20% reduction of communications staff (currently numbering 375) through attrition over the next 18 months.
The reduction will cut $4.5M from the communications budget, currently $30M a year.Established in 1971 by the Lougheed gov’t, the PAB has experienced a number of transformations in the intervening years…