Sunday, September 23, 2007

Socialist Alberta

As I posted here earlier one wag complaining about the idea of increasing oil royalties in Alberta, called the province socialist. Another referred to us as becoming like Venezuela, which is far more democratic, and one clever fellow called us Albertastan.

How right they were. But not for the reasons they think. In a series of articles this week in the Edmonton Journal they exposed the number of card carrying PC appartachiks who dominate government appointments to public boards.

This of course is a well known fact of the nudge, nudge, wink, wink variety.

The Conservatives have drawn criticism in the past over blatant patronage appointments, but The Journal probe, which analyzed the composition of 100 government agencies, boards and commissions, reveals just how far the party's influence reaches into the everyday lives of Albertans.

It shows that the province's most influential boards are loaded with Tories -- constituency executives, former candidates or key members of the party's powerful provincial executive.

Keith Brownsey, who teaches political science at Calgary's Mount Royal College, is not impressed.

"The party has become the province, and it's a real slap in the face of democracy. It demonstrates that if people want to be appointed to these boards they have to become a card-carrying Conservative," he says

The party has become the state and the state is the province. Hmm, I have heard that before, oh yeah Trotsky said something like that when he was a Menshivik criticizing the Bolsheviks. The party substitutes itself for the people and the leader substitutes himself for the party.

The most prescient critique of Lenin's style and methods was contained in Trotsky's 1904 pamphlet, "Our Political Tasks":

"Lenin's methods lead to this: the party organisation at first substitutes itself for the party as a whole; then the Central Committee substitutes itself for the organisation; and finally a single 'dictator' substitutes himself for the Central Committee."

Which is what of course happened in Alberta with the cult of the great leader. As I have said before the difference between Stalin and Klein was the mustache metaphorically speaking.

His current stand in Farmer Ed is attempting to pull a Gorbachev by claiming to create a more open state, perestroika Alberta style. Of course its all for show.

Of course Alberta isn't a police state, the state doesn't spy on its citizens who democratically protest its policies for being in bed with big oil interests.Nope that would never happen here.

And once having allowed democratic elections for health boards the state would not overturn those elections because the folks elected weren't Tories. Nope and they wouldn't then fire those elected officials to replace them with party hacks.

And of course unlike other one party states Alberta would never come up with a five year plan, even if it knew it was a failure. Nope no comparison with that and the provinces insistence on P3's.

And the party hacks and political commissars would never engage in historical revisionism claiming that the conservative party and its ideology was the natural ruling ideology of all the people in the province, anyone else who thinks or votes differently of course is not a real Albertan.

Nope none of those nasty aspects of the one party state happen here. Because of course this is a conservative one party state. Wait a minute there have been plenty of them too. Of course the right wing always calls them socialist too.

Here is a list of the the party apparatchiks in government. The Tories are the Government, and the government is the Party. Just like back in the good old USSR.


- Audrey Luft, organizer of 2007 Alberta PC annual convention: Alberta Foundation for the Arts (chair), NAIT, Alberta Economic Development Authority

- Doug Goss, Edmonton co-chair of Tories' next election campaign: Capital Health, Alberta Economic Development Authority

- Wayne Jacques, former Conservative MLA: Peace Country Health Region, Transportation Safety Board, Law Enforcement Review Board

- Alf Savage, former PC president: Auto Insurance Rate Board (chair), Municipal Government Board

- Wendy Kinsella, losing Edmonton PC candidate in 2001: NorQuest College (chair), Capital Health (vice-chair)

- Marvin Moore, former PC campaign manager and cabinet minister: Peace Country Health (chair), Agriculture Marketing Products Council Appeal Tribunal

- Dale Johnson, president of Whitecourt-Ste. Anne PC association: Aspen Health, Credit Counselling Services of Alberta

- Robert Seidel, lawyer to former treasurer Stockwell Day: Grant MacEwan College, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research

- Skip McDonald, former president of Klein's PC constituency association: Calgary Health, ATB Financial

Some appointments provide an honorarium while others pay expenses. For health authorities, it's between $134 and $350 per day for members, based on hours worked, and up to $492 daily for chairs. On the Peace Country Health board, Moore earned $42,000 in 2005-06, while most others members earned around $15,000, including additional allowances and benefits. At Capital Health, chair Neil Wilkinson -- an admitted fan of former premier Ralph Klein, under whom he was first selected -- earned $79,000 for 2005-06, the last year for which figures are available.

SOURCE: Alberta Government

- - -


The Journal has examined 100 Alberta agencies, boards and commissions and compared the names of the people appointed to serve on the boards to a recent membership list of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association.

Here are the top 40 boards with the highest percentages of card-carrying Conservatives serving on them.

Health boards and regions

- Peace Country Health Region:

13 Tories / 13-member board

- East Central Health:

9 Tories / 12-member board

- Capital Health:

8 Tories / 14-member board

- Calgary Health:

7 Tories / 13-member board

- Aspen Health Region:

11 Tories / 14-member board

- David Thompson Health:

11 Tories / 15-member board

- Chinook Health:

7 Tories / 12-member board

- Northern Lights Health:

7 Tories / 12-member board

- Palliser Health Region:

7 Tories / 13-member board

- Alberta Cancer Board:

5 Tories / 10-member board

- Health Quality Council:

4 Tories / 8-member board

- Public Health Appeal Board:

2 Tories / 4-member board

- Health Facilities Review Board:

8 Tories / 12-member board

Post-secondary Institutions

- Northern Alberta Institute of Technology:

8 Tories / 12-member board

- Portage College:

5 Tories / 7-member board

- Lethbridge College:

4 Tories / 7-member board

- Athabasca University:

6 Tories / 11-member board

- Red Deer College:

3 Tories / 6-member board

- Mount Royal College:

5 Tories / 10-member board


- ATB Financial:

9 Tories / 13-member board

- Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corp.:

4 Tories / 8-member board

addictions and disabilities

- Premier's Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities:

5 Tories / 8-member board

- Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission:

7 Tories / 10-member board

- Crystal Meth Task Force:

7 Tories / 12-member board

- Northwest Alberta Persons with Developmental Disabilities:

6 Tories / 7-member board


- Alberta Grain Commission:

8 Tories / 11-member board

- Agriculture Products Marketing Council:

7 Tories / 11-member board

- Alberta Agriculture Research Institute:

4 Tories / 7-member board


- Seniors Advisory Council:

8 Tories / 10-member board

- Northern Alberta Development Council:

9 Tories / 10-member board

- Worker's Compensation Board:

3 Tories / 4-member board

- Alberta Foundation of the Arts:

6 Tories / 10-member board

- Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission:

6 Tories / 7-member board

- Alberta Economic Development Authority:

29 Tories / 60-member board

- Alberta Order of Excellence Council:

6 Tories / 6-member board

- Social Care Facilities Review Commission:

7 Tories / 11-member board

- Alberta Science and Research Authority:

9 Tories / 19-member board

- Northeast PDD Board:

5 Tories / 7-member board

- Alberta Fatality Review Board:

3 Tories / 3-member board

- Rural Alberta's Development Fund:

6 Tories / 12-member board

For more on who runs Alberta


Alberta Business Back PC Candidates


Alberta State Capitalism

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