LPC won’t accredit bloggers at convention

I’ve learned the news today that the Liberal Party of Canada will host the first modern political convention that doesn’t accredit bloggers. Our friend Dr. Roy received a letter from the party rejecting his request for accreditation. I’ve shared it with his permission below,

I don’t think this is the right thing to do. I was invited by the Liberal Party in 2006 to blog about their leadership convention and I had a blast doing it. The Blogging Tories produced a lot of video and blogs regarding the convention.

The Liberal Party is rebuilding. It needs to engage with new media and those that have influence on the various platforms with respect to Canadian politics.

I suspect that the Liberal decision is related to delegate fees; Liberal bloggers will likely pay the delegate fee anyway. Other bloggers are faced with paying an >$1000 observer fee.

I took to twitter this morning to express disappointment with the Liberal Party decision.

UPDATE: Success? The Liberal Party looks to have reversed its decision regarding bloggers and will may now allow them to register for media credentials. However, do they mean that bloggers and freelancers need not be sponsored by a mainstream media news outlet? I will try to register as media for this convention and report back the results.

@liberal_party: Bloggers welcome at #LPC convention! through media accred or observer status. Contact media@liberal.ca

Long gun registry this week

I’ve heard from some who know that the Conservative government is planning on tabling legislation this week to put an end to the long-gun registry.

It’ll be a government bill introduced by the Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews and it is on track for Thursday of this week according what I’ve heard.

Candice Hoeppner — the Conservative MP who introduced private members legislation last session — will no doubt be taking a significant role selling the government’s legislation to the media and the broader Canadian public.

Now that the Conservatives have a majority, the legislation is expected to sail through Parliament.

The legislation comes on the heels of another long time Conservative promise this week to end the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly.

UPDATE: Intent to introduce legislation was just announced today (10/19). Nicholson will introduce, according to Postmedia.

UPDATE PART II: Was right about Toews all along! Toews introduced the bill (10/25).

How did Alison Redford win?

Alison Redford is the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and will be sworn in on Friday as Alberta’s 14th Premier.  She pulled off a stunning upset of her chief rival in this year’s leadership race against front-runner Gary Mar.

I say upset because Redford accomplished just 19% on the first ballot compared to Mar’s 41%.

Between the first and second ballots, Redford jumped to 28,993 votes while Mar jumped to 33,233 total. Mar also had the benefit of the endorsement of the other contenders. But as the preferential ballot broke after the second ballot was counted, Redford picked up the rest.

Who were these new members?

Between the first and second ballot, Redford had a meeting on September 22nd with the Alberta Teachers Association, a 43,000 member strong union. Redford sent a letter to the ATA president promising to restore $107 million in education funding that the previous cabinet (of which she was a member) cut. Mar and other leadership rival Ted Morton said that such funding could not be restored due to Alberta’s deficit budget, but Redford made the promise to the union.  Here is her letter:

Dear Ms Henderson,

As you know I am contesting the Leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party to become the next Premier of the province of Alberta.  My priorities, like so many Albertans, are healthcare and public education.  In particular, I am committed to funding public education properly and it is important that the government move quickly on that front.

I will commit to restoring the education cuts made in the 2011/2012 budget within 10 days of being sworn in as Premier. This funding should not have been removed from the budgets of Alberta School Boards. I only regret that the timing of the leadership contest means that unacceptable disruption has already occurred that must be reversed. If elected Premier, I will not allow that to happen again.

The restoration of this funding will allow School Boards to hire back teachers and support staff laid off this summer. This, in turn, will reduce class size to a more manageable level. In consideration of the funding restoration, I will request that School Boards also roll back fee increases passed onto parents this fall.

Further, I commit to stable and predictable funding on three-year cycles in the future. School boards need to be able to plan, not annually react to unpredictable budgets. In order to keep talented teachers, we must be able to offer them longer term stability, not a continual cycle of layoffs and rehiring. Students and parents must know what to expect from year to year.

It is increasingly obvious that we need to change how we consult, and how we plan and implement government initiatives. I am very hopeful that you will work with me going forward to build a much better process, for the benefit of public education, public health care reform and other areas of government.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to address your representatives on these issues, and look forward to some challenging questions!


Alison Redford

And then ATA Executive Director Gordon Thomas published a letter on the union website encouraging union members to sign up to influence the leadership vote,

As I write this editorial, Gary Mar, Doug Horner and Alison Redford are in the final days of a long campaign seeking the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party.

I encourage all members to consider being active in this leadership campaign—and, for that matter, any leadership campaign. Get involved in choosing the next premier of Alberta. Assess the candidates for their education platforms. In my role with the Alberta Teachers’ Association, I have met with all of these candidates to discuss their views on education. I look forward to working with the new ­premier, no matter which candidate wins, as the teaching profession and the government work together to improve public education in Alberta. While the Association is decidedly unpartisan, we do encourage our members to get involved in public affairs—and this leadership competition will have a real impact on the ­province and our future.

Did a $107 million dollar promise activate the machinery that turned out most of the new votes on the 2nd ballot? One thing is for certain, the second ballot took a decidedly different direction than the first and that new direction was due to brand new members. The Tory rank-and-file showed up to vote on the first ballot. Did the special interests rush the ballot box to take Redford from 19% to victory?

As an allegedly “conservative” party, the Alberta PC is not supposed to be delivering for the special interests. Today a $107 million promised hand-off and tomorrow a ballot box explosion? Did Alison Redford use taxpayer dollars to unions to guarantee her victory?