Friday, February 19, 2010



. . .FOR THIS!

You will recall that on January 18, 2010 I raved about Special Ed's deft decision to appoint California-born and bred Ted Morton as Alberta Minister of Finance and Enterprise and thereby set him up as Ed's logical successor. See: REPORT FROM ALBERTA: TORIES AND WILD ROSE ALLIANCE SET FOR THE MOTHER OF ALL TORY CIVIL WARS

I predicted that Morton's pure right-wing pedigree along with his reputed oratorical skills could very well stop the hemorrhaging of Progressive Conservative support over to the upstart Wildrose Alliance party now headed by that enticing political goddess, Danielle Smith.

Much to my surprise I have discovered that my rosy view of Morton's potential is not shared by a great many Tories, whether they still hold their party memberships or whether they trashed them already to join the party of the alluring Ms. Smith.

This afternoon I happened to share a glass of wine with two men who can only be described as establishment Alberta Tories. They were in the innermost sanctum of the Ralph Klein organization throughout his whole sorry tenure during Alberta's dark ages between 1992 to 2006. Over those dreary and unimaginative years whenever anything of consequence was going on these affable and erudite gentlemen (remember, they bought me the glass of wine) were at the very apex of power. They kept both the keys to, and the secrets of, the kingdom. They were among the strongest voices in the Premier's cheering section, and advanced and strategized many of the thin gruel of ideas that found their way into the half-baked policies of his misguided regime. In other words, they were Tories of influence.

Alas, these former movers and shakers have concluded at the same time as countless other Albertans, that the Morton appointment is simply too little too late to save the Tories. They are underwhelmed and unimpressed with Morton. They say his oratorical skills are overblown and his leadership skills wholly absent during his whole three-year tenure as a Stelmach minister.

Most surprising of all, they are convinced that Stelmach has no intention of setting Morton nor anybody else up as his successor and still harbours the delusion that he will survive and lead the Tories to victory in the next provincial election! As to anybody else in the wings who can save the PCs from oblivion, forget it, they say. It ain't gonna happen. With Jim Dinning happily ensconced in the cozy comfort of oak-paneled walls and expensive scotch in the private sector, the cupboard is bare for leadership candidates. Empty. Kaput. Finito. One of my hosts (remember, they bought the wine) has even bought his Wildrose Alliance membership.

If these men are right - and their survival instincts have served them well after more than a generation in PC politics - this is bad news for the Tories. The party will have to fight tooth and nail to remain in contention, and with Stelmach at the helm and in la-la land about his own abilities and future, that will be like fighting with one hand tied behind one's back.

These are dark days indeed for the once proud party of Peter Lougheed.


Mike said...

Thanks for the report and observations Darryl.

A completely trivial note ... perhaps?

Notice how those colours suit Ms. Smith?

If the Alberta PC's are indeed a spent force with no leadership alternatives to choose from, and I am not so sure about the latter and if that's true then the PC's force might well be revitalized, then the WRAP and Smith will face an interesting prospect.

I am certain the Progressive aspect to the PC's is what Albertans supported in numbers to give them their electoral wins. Given that's the case, and the fact that the WRAP are playing with a platform short of nearly all its required planks, to create a winning platform with "big tent" appeal, I think Ms. Smith is going to have to get used wearing a lot more of that becoming hue.

Darryl Raymaker said...


By no means is it going to be a romp for the femme fatale. But the Tories have got to be dramatically weakened with that kind of talk going around from long-term Tories who have been the back bone of the party for so long.

There never was any 'progressive' aspect to the Klein Tories, and they kept power for 13 years. So the 'progressive ' thing does not seem to be necessary anymore.

As far as successors to Fast Eddie, well, tell me who. I wanna know.

larry said...

Keep up the good writing, here is another one that might interest you........

What do these institutions have in common?
Goldman Sachs. The Catholic Church. Alberta Finance.

They each have proven that they will “protect their own interests” before protecting the public.

I have now heard from Alberta Finance Minister Ted Morton.   He will not answer questions on the practice of letting investment firms violate our laws.  It is strange to see a public servant stand on the side of financially abusive practices and secrecy.

Despite $32 billion missing from the Canadian economy using legal tricks. (ABCP toxic investments)  Despite mutual fund companies which put billions into their own pockets at the expense of the public.  Despite several investor suicides, by people who have been damaged by illegal investments “approved” by our securities commissioners.

Provincial securities commissions have done thousands of back-room deals without notice to the public.  Deals that give investment sellers “permission” to ignore our laws that protect investors. Strange to think that this is how our securities commissioners get paid. Can you imagine a police force that got paid by selling permission slips to skirt the law?

The finance minister refuses to answer.  This speaks volumes about what he is hiding. Or who he is taking his “advice” from.  I suspect he gets his advice from persons earning $500,000 salaries at the Securities Commission.   The Ontario Legislature recently chastised it's securities commission for failing to protect the public interest.  Alberta Finance is years behind in protecting the public. But they are fine at protecting themselves.

The questions are:

“What public interest is served by giving investment firms permission to sell products that do not meet our laws?”

“If there is a legitimate public interest, then why are the deals done in secret, without notice to consumers of the investments, and without public disclosure?”

If there are legitimate reasons then the questions are easy.  If there is something to hide, then they become more difficult.  Mr. Morton, why are you hiding?

With no explanation, I conclude that our investment industry is getting away with the financial murder of our economy. Some prefer to call it financial rape. I call it legalized financial abuse and it is in the order of billions. They are riding on a perfect wave of self regulation, corruption, connections and cronyism. Mr. Finance Minister, what are you gaining by supporting these practices?

For Alberta Finance to hide this is a breach of public trust.  Write a note and see if they can answer.  Then write me a note and myself and Citizens For Better Governance will track the answers.
Larry Elford (former CFP, CIM, FCSI, Associate Portfolio Manager, retired)

Founder of

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