2009

7 November: “‘Steady Eddie’ urges unity; Premier needs strong vote of confidence at annual meeting at party sinks in polls”
— Trish Audette, Provincial Affairs Writer, Edmonton Journal, A1

Months of speculation will come to a head tonight, when Premier Ed Stelmach’s own party tells him whether he should stay or go.
On the surface, it looks good for the man some call “Steady Eddie.” He’s the first to note that just last year he delivered the biggest majority of any first-time premier when he won 72 of 83 seats in the legislature.
His ministers and MLAs insist rumours of trouble for Stelmach are little more than media hype. The premier can expect a solid mandate from the 1,300 or so Progressive Conservative party members casting ballots today, they say. Each MLA comes to this weekend’s party convention in Red Deer with as many as 15 delegates from home, all of whom should have been urged to support Stelmach.
“They certainly know my position and that means that they should follow suit,” Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pearl Calahasen said of her delegates.
“They have their own minds, but you do your best.”
And there’s the rub for Stelmach. There’s no way to know how every delegate will vote, no way to know whether MLAs can deliver delegates. …

3 June 2009: “Controversial parental-rights bill has support of ‘silent majority’; Culture minister says Bill 44 will preserve core family values”
–Trish Audette, Provincial Affairs Writer, Edmonton Journal, A3

Alberta’s controversial move to add parental rights to the Human Rights Act — over the objections of teachers and other critics around the province — may well blaze a new trail for Canada, says Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett.
“There are some people who laugh, but there are many people who are in favour of it — the silent majority,” he said Tuesday.
Parents have always had the right to choose their children’s schools, religions, friends and clothes, the minister said.
“For those people around the country who think that’s somehow wrong, we in Alberta believe in family values because the family is at the core of what makes a great community.
“We’re taking a lead here.”
Bill 44 officially protects gay rights and enshrines the rights of parents to pull their children from classroom lessons on human sexuality, religion and sexual orientation. …

11 March: “Sponsors defend ’shroom bill from legislative critics; Red cap would become province’s official fungus”
–Trish Audette, Provincial Affairs Writer, Edmonton Journal, A1

The fun guys under the legislature dome debated fungi this week as they took a step closer to introducing an official provincial mushroom.
Politicians took shots Monday at the idea of having an official fungus — even as the majority passed the motion introduced by Edmonton-Mill Woods Conservative MLA Carl Benito.
“As soon as you recognize one thing, you inadvertently insult the others. If you pick this mushroom, do other mushrooms not get their day in the shade, as it were?” Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MLA Rachel Notley said jokingly. …
Like former Liberal leader Kevin Taft’s suggestion that rodeo be the province’s official sport, the red cap’s future is in limbo. Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett has pointed out adding emblems to the “official” list costs money and isn’t necessary.
So far, the province’s emblems registry includes the wild rose, the rough fescue grass, the great horned owl, petrified wood, the lodgepole pine, the colours blue and gold, the Rocky Mountain big horn sheep and the bull trout.
Benito stuck up for his suggestion, noting more than 2,500 people voted for the red cap as king of the mushroom kingdom through the Alberta Mycological Society in 2004. …

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