Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My number one reader

Just wanted to thank the reader with the Calgary IP who seems completely enthralled with this site. Obsessed, even.

This person has been known to initiate up to 42 page views here in a 24 hour period. Today, they were even rooting around in the Wayback Machine for archived versions of these pages.

Blogs are meant to be read, and good blogs do develop a following. I must say I never thought these posts were sooooo good that someone would be driven to read them over and over again, but, to each, their own.

So thank you, whoever you are.

Update: Hmmm. It would appear my number one reader is "Knave" from Project Alberta. I thought it was one of my anonymous "fans". I have a couple of people who send me little love letters from time to time, and I got my wires crossed in terms of figuring out the IP for one of them.

A mistake on my part.

Knave is very open about his real identity, so I don't think he would mind me mentioning it here. He is Rhys Courtman. I don't know Rhys, but from what I can see, he is a real pro. I'm glad he stops by here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Alberta Alliance beats rap

From yesterday's Edmonton Sun:

RED DEER, Alta. — Charges under the Election Act against the Alberta Alliance Party and a company run by its former leader have been dropped.

A trial was to begin this week involving Cascadia Motivation, a company run by Randy Thorsteinson of Red Deer, but charges related to election spending were dismissed Aug. 3. No reason was given as to why.

A $115,000 debt was generated when Thorsteinson led the party during the 2004 provincial election campaign. The party paid Cascadia for brochures, advertisements and other promotional materials. Under the Election Act, a debt needs to be held by a chartered bank, but in this case the money was simply owed to Cascadia.

Alliance Leader Paul Hinman said paperwork had been undertaken to have the debt moved to a chartered bank.

Hinman said the money was reported properly with Alberta Elections, but another party became aware of the situation and complained.
Source (click for full screencap):

Click for full screencap

Hinman's explanation is worth repeating:
... paperwork had been undertaken to have the debt moved to a chartered bank.
In other words, according to the Alberta Alliance, it's perfectly okay to violate the law, so long as you take steps to bring yourself back into compliance with the law after you have been caught and charges have been laid.

I wonder if Paul Hinman thinks this should be the process for other violations of the law? If a person is caught shoplifting, and gets charged, should the charges be dropped if they go back into the store and put whatever it is they stole back on the shelf?

Perhaps I should send Paul an email after all, and get this cleared up.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Coffee with Paul Hinman?

I found this bizarre:

I just roll my eyes when I read his blog. He writes about things and tries to make them sound like "news".

Like the time he posted that the Alliance had the same address as Cache-flo Synergy Inc. (my office) *gasp*. It was no secret. Yet he seemed to think it was worthy to write about.

His favourite target is Paul, yet he has declined invitations from Paul to meet over a coffee.

I think he likes to see himself as an important "watchdog" and I would agree, likely a PC supporter.

Posted by: Jane Morgan | August 09, 2007 at 05:11 PM
According to Jane Morgan (the Alberta Alliance's Chief Financial Officer and recently defeated candidate in the Calgary Elbow by-election), Paul Hinman wanted to buy this pony a double-double.

I don't recall ever receiving the invites.

Perhaps they got caught in the spam filter, and have long since been deleted.

Jane Morgan's comment did get me thinking about how I would have responded to a coffee invite from Paul Hinman if in fact I would have received one. To be blunt, I am interested only in Paul Hinman's public political positions. A year ago, I may have counter-offered to do an email interview, which would have produced a clear record of my questions, and an equally clear record of Paul Hinman's evasive answers.

Now, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

I have bigger fish to fry.

When you think about it, this is quite a statement. Not even a lowly blogger like moi is interested in expending the minimal time and energy necessary to interview Paul Hinman.

I may be interested in an email interview with Robert Leddy, though. I would like to discuss this.

Jane, if you run into him circulating the Wildrose registration petition, can you tell him I'm looking for him?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What is Robert Leddy up to?

The Alberta Alliance's putative candidate for the next provincial election in the riding of Edmonton Millwoods has a post up asking people to assist the Wildrose Party in getting registered by signing their registration petition:

I have had the chance to meet with representatives of the new Wildrose Party of Alberta who are interested in competing for a chance for the top spot. At this time the Wildrose Party is trying to get 7000 signatures from Albertans to officially register this new Party for the next election.

I strongly encourage people to sign the petition to register this Party. You do not have to join or vote for the Wildrose Party if you do not want to but you would be recognizing this Party's right to exist and to allow your fellow Albertans a choice in the next election.
Given that a strong Wildrose Party would likely wipe the Alberta Alliance off the political map, it would appear that Robert Leddy has unwittingly been drafted to cut his own political throat ...

... unless of course he has secretly decided to seek a Wildrose Party nomination sometime in the future. I'll leave comments open on this post in case Robert Leddy swings by to clarify his intentions.

Paul Hinman: "non-entity"

From the blog Corridors Of My Mind, Objects Of My Interest:

The only obstacle to a major sea change in Alberta is that there are no credible alternatives. Party names notwithstanding, Kevin Taft is too academic to connect with people, Brian Mason is a putz, who probably doesn't even plan to run candidates throughout the province, and Paul Hinman is a non-entity.
Life back on the farm near Welling must be looking pretty damn good right about now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Calgary Herald ignores Alberta Alliance in latest reporting on poll numbers

There is an old adage in politics: 'Any publicity is good publicity'.

Well, given that this is the case, a July 29, 2007 story in the Calgary Herald on a recent Leger Marketing poll represents more bad news for the Alberta Alliance. A full screencap of the story can be accessed here:

Click for full screencap

The reporter, Paula Beauchamp, makes absolutely no mention of the Alberta Alliance in the story, even though the AAP has a seat in the house. She does mention the Green Party, however:

According to the poll, support for Kevin Taft's Liberal party is at 19 per cent, while the New Democratic Party sits at six per cent and the Greens at five.

I also note that Calgary-based pollster Cameron Strategy has ceased asking about the Alberta Alliance in its polls. Look at the chart reproduced in this post at The Alberta Liberal Archive.

Now, I'm sure some of you Alberta Alliance members will attempt to explain these omissions by conjuring up some whacky conspiracy theory about how the liberal MSM is doing you in.

Grab a brain.

The reason the Alberta Alliance isn't appearing in the reporting is that, on the basis of all the evidence, it has become irrelevant to the legitimate political news organizations in this province. They aren't going to waste space reporting on a party that really doesn't factor in to the electoral picture.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New Ipsos Reid Poll: Alberta Alliance at 9%

A bit of good news for Alberta Alliance supporters. Ipsos Reid released a new poll that shows the AAP at 9% in Alberta. The other parties were as follows: PCs (47%); Liberals (29%); NDP (10%); Greens (5%).

Marketwire has a good article on the poll:

CALGARY/AB--(Marketwire - June 23, 2007) - A new Ipsos Reid poll finds a substantial decline in support for the Ed Stelmach-led Progressive Conservatives. The Progressive Conservatives currently have the backing of 47% of Alberta's decided voters, down 12 points from 59% just two months ago (April). This returns the Progressive Conservatives to the same level of voter support they achieved in the 2004 Alberta provincial election. In fact, all four major parties have returned to exactly where they stood in the last election. Among decided voters, 29% say they would vote Liberal, 10% would vote New Democrat and 9% would vote for the Alberta Alliance Party. ...

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll fielded between June 12 and June 17, 2007 and is based on a randomly selected sample of 801 adult Albertans. Results based on a sample size of 801 are considered accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Albertan population been polled. Data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Alberta population according to the 2001 Census.
Source (click for screencap):

Click for full screencap

In fact, this is the best news that the Alberta Alliance has had in months. They have registered at around 5% support in every poll I have come across since February of 2006.

At the same time, the margin of error for this poll is ± 3.5%, so what the poll is really saying is that there is a 95% chance that the AAP would have polled between 5.5% and 12.5% if an election had been held between June 12 and June 17, 2007. Since the two Alberta by-elections were held on June 12, 2007, and we know that the AAP polled 4% in Calgary Elbow, and 5% in Drumheller-Stettler, it is more likely that support for the Alberta Alliance is toward the lower end of the range.

In other words, this poll is likely meaningless. Without further data, the only reasonable conclusion to reach is that the Alberta Alliance is still mired at about 5%.

ETA: See this post at The Alberta Liberal Archive for a fairly complete compilation of Alberta provincial polling numbers for 2006 and 2007.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Alberta Spectator disses the Alberta Alliance

Werner Patels has a post up that mentions the AAP:

Nothing has scared the provincial Tories so far: not the Alberta Liberals, not the Alberta Alliance or any other party out there. But with the Wildrose Party, it seems, things are different.

Unlike the Alberta Alliance, the Wildrose Party may be able to get its act together and actually become the next ruling dynasty in Alberta.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Poll results

I have a couple of polls to blog about. I'll start with the oldest.

Environics research have posted the results from their March, 2007 poll. The Alberta Alliance was the choice of 4% of the voters:

Environics Research Group

From the website of Environics:

The Alberta Alliance Party continues in last place, with the support of four percent of decided voters; this figure is essentially unchanged from December.
The other parties placed as follows: PC (64%); Liberals (21%); NDP (9%).

The previous results are based on a survey conducted by telephone between March 13 and April 3, 2007 among a probability sample of 2,030 adult residents of Canada (aged 18 or older). The sample, which was stratified by region and by community size, is estimated to be accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Assuming that 10% of the 2,030 poll respondents were Albertans, the margin of error would have been much higher than 2.2 percent for the Alberta results.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Has the Alberta Alliance "gone to ground"?

While cleaning up some old files, I came across a Paul Jackson column from April 1, 2007 that I haven't blogged about. In this column, Jackson talks about the impressive election performance of Mario Dumont's ADQ, and laments about the pitiful state of affairs in Alberta provincial politics:

Back to Alberta and our 36-year rule of the Progressive Conservatives.

Isn't it about time it's over?

Is it not time we got some fresh blood, and some new ideas at the Alberta Legislative Assembly?

Well, I don't think we are going to get any out of Premier Ed Stelmach and his team.

So what's the alternative?

Where is Alberta's Mario Dumont and ADQ?

It's certainly not Kevin Taft's zany Liberals -- every one of them gristle from ear-to-ear.

It's not Brian Mason's socialist New Democrats -- every one a bonehead.

What then, has happened to Hinman and the Alberta Alliance, which under former leader Randy Thorsteinson, hauled in 9% of the vote in the 2004 provincial election.

Where have they gone to ground. And why?

This is getting repetitive, so I won't comment further. All I can suggest to Jackson is that he take solace in the fact that about half of the Alberta Alliance have finally gotten the message, have given up on the AAP, and have moved on to The Wildrose Party.

Perhaps they will be Alberta's ADQ.

Source (click for screencap):

Click for full screencap

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Paul Jackson says "feckless" Hinman to blame for by-election shellacking

Well faithful readers, much has happened in Alberta Alliance Land since my last post. I've got a lot of catching up to do. The following is on my list of things to do and cover:

  • Craig Chandler's defection to the Progressive Conservatives. Mr. Chandler has recently announced that he will be seeking the nomination for the Tories in Calgary Egmont.
  • Further discussion of the false statements being made by the Alberta Alliance regarding the size of Alberta's bureaucracy.
  • The 2007 Alberta Alliance AGM, and what it means to the AAP.
  • Summarize and comment on the disastrous results obtained by the Alberta Alliance during the June 12 Alberta by-elections.
  • The 2006 finances of the AAP have now been made public. The river of red ink continues.
  • A new right wing provincal party has been created to challenge the Alberta Alliance. The "Wildrose Party of Alberta" includes a number of former highly placed Alberta Alliance operatives and candidates.
  • Some new polling numbers. Could the Alliance be on the rebound?
  • Media coverage of the Alberta Alliance.

On this last point, I thought I'd start with Paul Jackson's June 19 Edmonton Sun column entitled "Tories lack vision". In the column, Jackson covers the by-election results from the perspective of the Alberta Liberals, and then says the following:

... the most telling point from the protest vote in Calgary Elbow - and to an extent in Drumheller-Stettler - is the once alternative right-wing vote is now dead.

In Calgary Elbow, even Green Party candidate George Read beat Alberta Alliance candidate Jane Greydanus. In Drumheller-Stettler, Alberta Alliance candidate Dave France came in fifth place. Astonishing. ...

... The Alliance, which in 2004 polled 9% of the vote across the province and seemed to be soaring, is now not even on life support.

For this I blame its leader, Paul Hinman, who is a decent, but feckless fellow, and who couldn't organize a trip to a cat house for a bunch of horny football players.

Instead, after a winning game, Paul would likely invite them to a church basement for soft drinks and cookies.

Personally, I'd choose the cat house, and, in my younger days, I actually visited a couple of these fine emporiums.


I have never considered a politician's propensity to head for a whorehouse rather than a church to be an endearing factor in the minds of most voters. While I agree with most of Jackson's comments and criticisms of the AAP and Hinman to date, this column is over the top.

And if I consider it over the top, the Alberta Alliance communications staff must have been beside themselves, and must have quickly issued a strong public condemnation of this hit piece.


Well, there's nothing on the Alberta Alliance website about it. In fact, the website hasn't been updated in over a month. The results from the by-elections haven't even been posted.

I'm beginning to feel a bit sorry for Paul Hinman. It must be a real grind to continually be under attack when nobody in the party ever comes to your defense.

It creates the impression that the members, staff, and executive, have all but given up.

Source (click for screencap):

Click for full screencap

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I guess it's worth a mention

Ordinarily, it would hardly be worth the time or effort to make mention of a political party that is polling at a meagre 6%, but, for the Alberta Alliance, such a figure is newsworthy.

So, here we go:

A new Ipsos Reid poll has found that 6% of Albertans support the AAP. That puts them 53 points back of the Tories, who polled at 59%.

The Liberals are at 20%, the NDP 10%, and the Greens are at 5%.

See this post at the Alberta Liberal Archive for links to the full story.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"What has happened to the Alberta Alliance?"

That is the question Paul Jackson asks in his latest column entitled "Look to the right for a solution". Towards the end of his column, Jackson cuts to the chase and provides his diagnosis as to what ails the AAP:

The Alliance, as you may recall, pulled in 9% of the vote under founding leader Randy Thorsteinson in the 2004 provincial election, but except for Hinman's recent headline-hitting revelation about MLAs double-dipping, has basically been nowhere to be seen.

In "Alberta Alliance poised to strike," (Jan. 2), I recounted my chat with Hinman and how he was super-confident the Alliance was on the move.

Now it appears the headline was off-base.

Pondering this, I believe one of the reasons is Hinman himself isn't focused.

OK, he's a very nice fellow, intelligent and accomplished in several fields, but try to interview him and you come away exhausted.

Rather than stick with one issue, he goes off on a mishmash of tangents.

While each is fascinating and would make a column in itself, it frustrates any attempt to pull together a cohesive column on one particular issue.

Hinman and his advisers need to map out a straight-shooting strategy and stick with it.

To sum up, the Alberta Alliance suffers from weak leadership, and incoherent communications. If a political pro like Paul Jackson can't sit through an interview with Hinman without longing for its conclusion, how on earth do you Alberta Alliance members expect a typical voter to stay focused on his scattered message?

I must give credit to Paul Jackson for telling it like it is. I think he wrote this column with the best interests of the AAP in mind. I view it as an open letter to the membership.

Unfortunately for Jackson, the moribund Alberta Alliance membership will probably fail to comprehend the message in his column.

Source (click for screencap):

Click for full screencap

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Statistics Canada responds

Just a few hours after sending in my request, I have in my inbox a very helpful explanation from the staff at Statistics Canada.

According to the email, and some of the web pages it directs me to, Table 1-3 represents total public sector employment in each province. Total public sector employment includes: (i) federal government employees, (ii) provincial government employees, (iii) health and social service institution employees, (iv) employees of universities, colleges, and trade institutions, (v) local government employees, (vi) local school board employees, (vii) employees of federal government business enterprises, (viii) employees of provincial government enterprises, and (ix) employees of local government enterprises.

So, both my initial post, and the anonymous comment to this post, are incorrect. Table 1-3 includes all public sector employees.

What to do now?

Well, the email from Statistics Canada also provides the links I need to find the exact information that I am looking for (total public sector employment per capita for the provincial governments and the federal government). That information is contained in several downloadable tables that I will need to paste together.

I will need a bit of time to complete this task.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

I have noticed an increase in traffic lately from the member list at So I wandered over there to have a look, and what did I find?

I am apparently a member of this discussion forum.

Take a look at member 27. There I am, with a link to my website and everything. The hotmail address is a clever touch.

Unfortunately, I'm a gmail user.

This person is an imposter, and this account is not mine!

They have nothing to do with this site.

I suspect that this faker is in fact a member of the Alberta Alliance. I have no idea what he/she is up to, but I would like to thank them for promoting this site. I have received at least 20 referrals from in the last 4 days.


Apples and Oranges?

I have just sent the following email to Statistics Canada:

The anonymous commenter on this post has suggested I am comparing apples and oranges. However, the commenter has provided no evidence as to why their interpretation of the data is correct. This is one of the reasons why I suspect the commenter is from the Alberta Alliance - no corroboration for any assertions made.

The other reason I suspect our anonymous friend is AAP is that they refer to Alberta Alliance leader Paul Hinman simply as "Paul".

A tad friendly for someone with no propinquity to Hinman.

But, let's get back to the issue at hand.

In order for the commenter to be correct, Saskatchewan would have to be a major centre for the federal government. After all, according to Table 1-3, Saskatchewan has more public sector employees per capita than any other province. On its face, this assertion is absurd. How can Saskatchwan have more federal government employees per capita than Ontario or Quebec, where the government is in fact physically located?

So, I have sound reasons for questioning the assertions made by the commenter. When we hear back from Statistics Canada, we'll see if we have apples and oranges ...

... or if somebody will be eating crow.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Another email to Paul Hinman

Well, I'll try this again. The last time I sent Paul Hinman an email, he didn't bother responding. Maybe I'll have better luck this time.

Here is a copy of my email to Paul Hinman wherein I ask him for a source for his apparently false statements on public sector employment in Alberta:

I have left moderated comments open on this post, in case Mr. Hinman chooses to respond here.

Update Jan. 3, 2007: The first email had a broken link and a couple of typos. I have changed it and updated this post. This one was sent at 12:12pm.

Update Jan. 29, 2007: A comment was received from "Anonymous" late yesterday. There is no indication that this is from the Alberta Alliance, although I suspect that it is. You will note that the commenter is suggesting the issue here is my own inability to understand what the Statistics Canada table is referring to. I suggest that the commenter is wrong. This matter will be continued in a new post. Comments are now closed.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Some contradictions from Paul Hinman

Calgary Sun columnist Paul Jackson seems to be back on the Alberta Alliance bandwagon. In today's column he describes Paul Hinman as "bubbling with ideas". Based on the number of quotes from Hinman contained in the column, it would appear that Paul Jackson recently interviewed the faltering Alberta Alliance leader.

That must have been quite an interview.

I wonder if anyone brought up the fact that Jackson has recently (i) called for Hinman to step down, and (ii) described the Alberta Alliance as "seemingly dead" under Hinman's leadership. Hehehe.

But I digress.

This column is noteworthy because it contains a couple of contradictions.

Firstly, Hinman makes the remarkable observation that Kevin Taft's Liberals may be the beneficiaries of Ed Stelmach's recent victory in the Alberta PC leadership race, and that the Alberta Alliance will then rise to power after "the shock is over":

He believes Stelmach's term will turn out to be only a "babysitting" government, and Liberal Leader Kevin Taft may be right in predicting his own party will make gains come the next election.

"The Liberals might go up the middle, but the Liberal gains will be short-lived. In the best-case scenario, we might see a minority government, but after that shock is over, Alberta voters will be looking for a solid, Conservative alternative."

That alternative, Hinman, 47, contends will be the Alliance.

This position contradicts the usual dogma Alberta Alliance members spurt, namely, that the Alliance will blow away the PC's in a sudden, massive, electoral sweep - much like the PC sweep of the Socreds back in 1971. Now, it would appear that Hinman believes there may be a Liberal government in between the PC dynasty and the Alliance coming to power.

Oh well.

Next, he indicates that he would hire more public servants:

To encourage more doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters and other essential service workers to move to Alberta or stay in their jobs, he'd give them tax incentives, too.

But would then reduce the total size of the public service at the same time:

He'd reduce the size of the provincial public service.

Because, according to Hinman, there are simply too many public servants in Alberta:

"On a per capita basis, Alberta has more government employees than any other provincial government and even more than the federal government, yet the private sector is crying out for employees."

But, according to Statistics Canada, Alberta has the lowest number of public sector employees per capita in the country. From Table 1-3:

ProvincePublic Sector Employees per 1,000 population

What is Hinman going on about? Based on this data, he couldn't be more wrong.

I assume there must be an explanation for this contradiction, but Paul Jackson wouldn't appear to have even noticed it.

Perhaps I should endeavor to email Paul Hinman and see if he'll provide it to me.

Source (click for full size):

Click for full screencap