PC Government deserves a ZERO for not doing their job

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be a PC supporter.  Reading stories about rampant corruption within our healthcare system are hard to stomach, especially considering the sub-par care my mother received in her dying days only a few years ago.  It took 3 months of doctor appointments (in her last 6 months of life) to get a diagnosis in our monopolistic system, yet when we flew to the US and paid for a diagnosis in a private clinic we got the diagnosis in 1 day.  After she was diagnosed here in Canada, our shitty healthcare system failed to provide her with homecare; somebody forgot to order it for her.  She died in emergency because there wasn’t enough space in the hospital for her.  It was a horrendous experience that left me very upset.

But I didn’t blame the PC government for that.  I understand that MLAs don’t run the healthcare system and I don’t think it’s a good idea for them to.  The healthcare system should be run by health professionals, which for the most part, it is in Alberta.

It is the job of MLAs and Ministers to broadly oversee the system and to make adjustments when those who run the system day to day make mistakes.  This is why Premier Redford took decisive action when the Merali story broke and why she is implementing more transparency in the way government officials report expenses.

The no zero policy story, which concluded yesterday with the firing of a high school teacher with 30+ years of experience is something I can’t believe our elected officials would allow to happen.  The Redford Government deserves a zero for not stepping in to stop this.

I agree that our Education Minister should not get involved in the day to day decisions made within our education system.  We have Trustees, Superintendents and other education professionals who are better suited to run our system at the local level.

But firing a teacher for giving HIGH SCHOOL students who don’t complete assignments zeros is far more offensive and egregious than any story of corruption or misuse of public dollars.  And the fact that Alberta’s Education Minister is not planning to step in to correct this is shocking and unacceptable.

The no zero issue is about far more than a teacher who isn’t following policies or a local firing decision as the Minister has suggested. It’s about teaching values and principles.  In a province where small business is the backbone of our economy and where our big businesses are global leaders, the values we teach with a no zeros policy is unacceptable.  Failing is one of the most important components of success and teaching our future leaders about consequences is one of the best ways we can prepare them for the competitive and cruel world.

Like I previously said, it’s the job of MLAs and Ministers to broadly oversee the system and to make adjustments when those who run the system day to day make mistakes.  A man lost his income because he would not follow the offensive no zero policy and the PC Government needs to make this right, just like they did recently regarding the expense claims of health officials.

Otherwise Albertans might decide to teach them that there are, in fact, consequences for not doing their work.

PP

Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program – Guest Blog

Our good friend, John Hampson, has certainly left his mark on the new Alison Redford government by pitching the idea of the Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program and seeing it come to fruition. John is a twenty-something working as Special Assistant to the Premier – and if his successful pitch story is an example of things to come in Redford’s government we can be confident that #changefromwithin is not just a pipe dream.

I’ve been so proud of all John has accomplished in his young life – and look forward to where he will go next. He wrote the blog below at our request – why did we request it? Well – Peter noticed a whole lot of young people wandering the Legislature halls during his last visit up to Edmonton and John had the answers as to why they were all there.

I hope to see more examples like this program in the near future. Hoping all the interns have a fabulous summer too!

Thanks for this guest blog John!
CR

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Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program

Only six months into my career with the Government of Alberta, it’s become resoundingly clear that we are living in exponential times! This sentiment echoes true when we take a look at the generational shifts that exist within our provincial government administration. Four generations currently work side by side; Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. This includes people born in 1930 all the way to 2000!

At any given moment approximately 25% of the Alberta Public Service could retire.  Some may see this as cause for concern, I do not. I see this as a tremendous opportunity for Generation Y to step up to plate and think seriously about a career in the Alberta Public Service. That’s what we’re hoping to accomplish with the Alberta Student Ministerial Internship Program (ASMIP). This is a new and unique program that provides post-secondary students with the opportunity to learn about government, develop workplace skills and gain career-related experience, all while working at the Alberta Legislature within Ministerial Offices.

Recognizing the power of mentorship and the emergent need to excite our generation about the incredibly rewarding career paths offered through the Alberta Public Service, Premier Redford’s Office developed this initiative in January and moved quickly to roll out the program in time for a summer launch. The response to the competition was overwhelming. Over 350 students applied. From that, we were able to place 26 exceptional interns into Ministerial Offices with duties ranging from coordinating aspects of their Minister’s schedule, briefing their Minister on relevant issues and attending community events with their Minister. Additionally, Interns participate in an intensive learning and development seminar series, which entails weekly sessions with visionary leaders from the Alberta Public Service, further providing Interns with an even greater understanding of what the Government of Alberta is all about.

At the end of the day, we’re so excited about this incredible learning opportunity for students and the amazing potential for us to inspire the next generation of Alberta leaders to look to the public service as they plan their career path!

John Hampson

Stay Bold Stephen Carter and make us Proud!

I found the Sun’s cover and story, as well as the Wildrose Party’s criticism of Stephen Carter today cheap and dirty – a vindictive smear campaign aimed at discrediting him on his first week of his new job.  While Stephen Carter’s business ran into major financial trouble a few years ago, this is a story that has been published many times before.  The details of his previous financial troubles are very well known.  He has spoken to media about it several times and it’s definitely something he wishes didn’t happen.

But here’s the thing – unfortunately, insolvency and bankruptcy is a part of business.  It’s not pleasant and nobody ever wants it to happen, but it does.  In 2010, there were over 140,000 Insolvencies across Canada.  So it doesn’t only happen, it happens relatively frequently. Carter’s company didn’t pay its creditors because his largest client didn’t pay him.  He got stuck and had to walk away.  Furthermore, Carter’s company owes the amount he got sued for, not how much he actually owed his creditors. He didn’t fight the law suits because he didn’t have the money to.  It sucks, but it happens.

The Sun’s headline “Chief of Stiff” is VERY rich coming from that newspaper, since its parent company Quebecor actually went bankrupt themselves in 2008 and owed nearly $1 Billion.  They filed for Bankruptcy in the US and protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act here in Canada.

Stephen Carter’s real story is of man who took some chances in his life and ran into a problem, then picked himself up and proved to the world that he is capable and worthy.  I mentioned Carter’s story to one of my tenants this afternoon and his reaction is one I believe most Albertans would have. My tenant believed that the fact that Carter picked himself up so quickly and stood back up so impressively speaks volumes about his character and the job he will do for this province. Carter’s story is actually quite an impressive one. It’s the story of a man who refused to stay down.  It’s the story about the Alberta way – where risk is good and where hard work and determination will eventually pay off.

I know very few people in this world who are as driven and determined, yet humble and kind as Stephen Carter.  He has leadership capabilities that many dream to have and he is a brilliant strategic thinker.  Some members of the Wildrose Party who have been the quickest to criticize him for their own personal gain are jealous cowards who prefer to throw grenades from the cheap seats rather than risk to be better themselves.

As a senior political staffer, Carter will have to meet with the Ethics Commissioner to discuss how this matter affects his position – I’m confident it won’t have an impact.  Stephen Cater as Chief of Staff to the Premier is an excellent appointment by Premier Redford.  After masterminding the campaigns behind both Mayor Nenshi and Premier Redford, the two biggest electoral upsets in Alberta’s recent history, he has proven himself more than anybody ever imagined possible.

Albertan will evaluate both Stephen Carter and Premier Redford on what they do for Alberta between now and the next election.  As proven time and time again, opposition parties and media rarely get it right in this province and I’m confident Stephen Carter will prove them all wrong once more.

Stay bold my friend – and continue to make us proud!

PP

Alison Redford’s Leadership Win and Unions

One the funniest and most ignorant comments on Twitter about Alison Redford’s PC Leadership win last weekend has been coming from both the left and right side of the political spectrum – mainly, the idea that Alison won the election thanks to unions.

While it’s true that Redford met with the Alberta Teacher’s Association and promised to put $100 million back into Alberta classrooms within 10 days of being elected to office, she does not owe her win to organized labour.  Instead, she owes her win to teachers, parents, students, nurses, doctors, engineers, electricians, janitors and every other Albertans who gave her their vote – whether they work in a unionized environment or not.

Alison Redford’s campaign was focused on policies that matter to everyday Albertans.  She talked about increasing accessibility to Alberta’s public healthcare system and providing predictable and sustainable funding for education.  She had ideas about making Alberta a global energy capital, as well as thoughts on economic diversification and job creation.  She talked about those expensive cell phone charges that annoy Canadians to no end.

On the specific topic of labour and unions, Alison is on record several times indicating that she is fully aware that the Alberta Labour Code hasn’t been touched since 1988 and that she supports a review to ensure that Alberta’s labour market remains competitive relative to other provinces in Canada and jurisdictions around the world.

So I just can’t help but laugh when I see tweet like “#pcldr chosen by unions” from a known NDP supporter or “I can’t believe we have a ‘conservative’ Premier in Alberta that is now beholden to unions …”

Of course this is nothing more than filthy and meaningless political rhetoric from terrified opposition party supporters who know that Alison is one of the most intelligent and capable leaders the PC Party has ever elected.

However, Albertans need not be afraid.  While Alison Redford did win the election with the help of teachers, she is NOT beholden to unions.

Take if from David Climenhaga, the most hard core union sympathizer I have ever met, who said in a recent blog that:

…while it’s a fact Alberta labour leaders can’t usually deliver their members’ votes to anyone, union members are paying attention and labour votes matter anyways.  In other words, you can’t tell union members what to do, but they’ll figure it out for themselves.”

David is right – individual union members don’t blindly follow what union bosses tell them to do.  The fact that teachers may have supported Alison Redford’s leadership bid because she promised to put money back into classroom has nothing to do with the union itself.

In fact, I look forward to testing Mr. Climenhaga’s conclusion that “Alberta labour leaders can’t usually deliver their members’ votes anymore” when the Alberta government undertakes a labour code review.

Will individual union members run to the polls to take down a government that considers an idea such as eliminating the fines that a union can charge its members for working for a non-union company?  I doubt it.

Will individual union workers get fired up about potential amendments to the labour code that could allow them to opt-out of paying the portion of their union dues that go towards political causes they don’t want to support?  I can’t see that happening.

What about recommendations that would allow both union and non-union construction workers to work harmoniously and efficiently side-by-side on the same jobsite.  Do you really think union members will drop their tool belts and run to the polls to vote against the Party their hiring hall tells them is making them commit this atrocity?   I wouldn’t hold my breath on that ….

If Alison Redford is beholden to anyone its Albertans – she campaigned directly to them with policies that matter to their everyday lives.  I am confident that as long as Alison Redford continues to do what is right for individual Albertans and Alberta’s economy, she owes nothing to unions themselves.

PP

Worth the Effort

The last few days of #pcldr have been a roller coaster of emotion for @crontynen and me, as well as many on the @alison4premier campaign team. But campaigns are interesting creatures and just as quickly as we felt down, we were right back up again. Today, we are more motivated than ever to continuing to fight for what we have been talking about since long before this leadership race began – change from within.

While we didn’t start on @alison4premier’s campaign team, we now know that we are backing the right leader – the one who stands alone in talking about change. There are those out there who will call me disloyal for leaving a campaign team or not getting onside for the sake of “party unity”, but I stand proudly behind the leader I believe that represents my principles, passions and concerns –and the one who shows resilience of character in the face of relentless adversity.

There are those in other parties who will try to convince me that the #pcaa is beyond fixing – that I should just give up and join them. I respectfully disagree. This Party has a proud history and sound principles that are worth fighting for. “Values of innovation, commitment, excellence and integrity …” These are values that both @alison4premier and @hornerforAB have been talking about and fighting for and values that set them apart in this leadership race.

I respect those who fight for change in Alberta by working tirelessly for political parties other than #pcaa. But I believe strongly that #changefromwithin is worth the effort and I proudly stand behind @alison4premier as the agent of that change! If you tell your friends, family, neighbors, partners, colleagues … if you tell everyone you know to be a part of that change, together we can create an Alberta we can be proud of!

Join me on September 27th or October 1st by voting for Alison Redford.

PP