Roundup: Redford wins a majority – surprise!

Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservatives rallied and came back to another majority mandate in the Alberta election last night, and the upstart Wildrose party, kind of fizzled out with less than twenty seats. Not that I want to be too shameless about it, but I feel like I was the only person who wasn’t willing to write them off. As a former Albertan, I wasn’t willing to discount the power of institutional inertia or the kind of one-party-state-ism that affects the voters of the province, and lo and behold, “brand loyalty” won out. Not that the Wildrose did themselves any favours by not denouncing more forcefully their more unpalatable candidates under the banner of “free speech,” or trying to play to social issues even though the province is more progressive than most people let on. I also think it can’t be overlooked the way in which that the PC party in that province tends to change in order to fit the shape of its current leader. While Redford certainly has her conservative bona fides (especially in areas like law-and-order), she is nevertheless far more socially progressive and I think that the electorate did respond to the changing shape of the party. And so the one party state rolls along, while all of those inaccurate polls are left in the dust.

Yesterday’s outrage was the revelation that CIDA minister Bev Oda refused to stay at a five-star hotel in London where a conference she was attending was being held, but rather insisted on staying at one twice as expensive, and expensing $16 orange juice while she stayed there. Speculation is that it was because the new hotel had smoking rooms, but still – taxpayers were still on the hook for the non-refundable deposit for the first hotel. Add to this is the fact that her penchant for limousines hasn’t abated in the years since she’s been in cabinet, and spent a thousand a day on those as well. All this at a time of fiscal austerity, when her department is cutting aid to several countries, one might add. Oda did paid the difference in price between the two including the cancellation fee for the first hotel, and the orange juice (but not the limo, which was the much larger figure), but she only did it yesterday morning – as the news was the talk of the capital. Paul Wells surmises that Oda has deduced that she is bulletproof, and can get away with anything at this point.

Statistics Canada is facing a major financial crunch, and is likely to do far fewer surveys this year. Because this government really doesn’t govern on the basis of statistics (unless they’re made up and sound like they support their position on something).

The attempt to overturn the election results in Etobicoke Centre is before the courts this week.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson was before the Commons status of women committee yesterday to talk about the ongoing harassment investigation within the Force. The Liberals want the committee to expand the scope of that investigation in order to hear more from the victims, but this government is allergic to any opposition motions, so one has doubt that it’ll go much further. Meanwhile, the head of CSIS was before a Senate committee to say that he’s just fine with new anti-terrorism legislation being proposed. Not that this is a surprise.

And over on BBC Scotland, Michael Ignatieff mused that if you increasingly devolve powers to subnational governments, independence is the likely result. While people immediately jumped on this as his foregone conclusion that he was saying Quebec separation was inevitable, others have suggested that this is a warning about further Quebec devolution plans – such as the Sherbrooke Declaration, that would further decentralise our already greatly decentralised powers.