Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ted Morton's Much Ado about Nothing

Next up, today, is Ted Morton. Yes. Mr. Teddy Morton.
What the heck's the matter with you? Did he bug you already?
Yes, Dear Reader, he did. When I am navigating the tubes it is common for me to have multiple windows and numerous tabs on the go, while listening to a radio show in the background. One thing I expect from a website I open is that it shut the hell up until I am ready to deal with it, otherwise I am forced to flounder around while two separate streams of dialogue honk gibberish at me. In summary, I don't care how important your message is - you can wait for me to engage before belting it at me.

Party Renewal
A new video starts for every new section. I'm beginning to hate the sound of his voice. To encourage party cohesion, Ted Morton plans to allow multi-year memberships, build a "blue book" of set policies, and make the membership purchase cut-off before the polls open. This last step is to eliminate 'two-minute tories' who dilute 'real' tories votes, a 'problem' I think is due to the essential fact of democracy and that pesky right to vote but, hey, if he wants to erode that, carry on.

Bill 50: Time to revisit
I'm not as familiar with the issues surrounding Bill 50 as I should be, but setting up a whole board to review cost-savings options within the east and west line proposal is unlikely to save as much as it will expend. (A rough perusal of the Wiki article on AC and DC lines seems to suggest we could save a lot of money by using DC) I suspect the reason we are building two instead of just one is the theory that we can save on inconvenience and hassle by doing two at once, but I don't think anyone tipped Mr. Morton off to this detail.
He does promise that all economic progress will be viewed through the lense of competitiveness, which sounds like a great plan until you consider how well that has worked in the past, especially when billions of dollars are at stake.

Advancing Alberta in Ottawa
This article was completely filled with the usual rhetoric of how Alberta is going to finally 'get theirs' and scaremongering about environmental tactics designed to cripple the economy they claim keeps the East running.

Democratic Renewal
He wants to discourage career politicians for some reason. I'm not sure what he feels is wrong with them, I can only assume it is because he thinks they don't accurately represent the broader population, but they can still be very good at what they do. He also plans to review MLA compensation and roll back their wages to 2008 levels until he can ascertain whether or not they are fair. It's a pretty ballsy move, and one that conflicts with his banner that proudly states "MLAs for Morton". I can only wonder why they like him with this on the table, or if he plans to be as ruthless as he promises if he is putting friends and associates at risk.

To ensure fairness in further elections he plans to institute fixed election dates. These can be good or bad, depending on when they are slated for; but considering that he is setting them, it is kind of like saying only he gets to choose them from now on. i doubt he'd appreciate the notion as much if someone else picked the dates.

The term limits for premiers he theorizes just smacks of ageism. He speaks as if people become 'stale' after too many years in office, and need to be renewed, regardless of performance, which is just a load of crap.
I can't tell if his plan to reduce the cabinet is based on a previously observed move that saved money or just an arbitrary plan that looks good. ("Look! Less people = less salary!")
The senate elections he promises are a genuinely good idea, but not when the jurisdictions are north and south, based on population.  The north will be so incredible diverse as to be divisive, and the south so localized as to be biased.
When he talks in passing about creating an Alberta constitution, however, I catch the faint whiff of an Albertan separatist.

Tuition Tax Credit program
The program he is proposing involves giving back students $20,000 in non-refundable tax credits, if they finish (obviously) and if they stay in the province for seven years. They are paid  back %10 a year for the first four years, then 20% for the last three. To pay this exorbitant bill, extrapolated to cost $80 to $160 million by numbers from a similar program in Saskatchewan, he assumes we will benefit from the additional tax revenue gathered by those who remain in the province. Although I like this program, this doesn't take into account the increased unemployment since some students who cannot find adequate jobs will stay anyway.

Land Stewardship
Mr. Morton plans to split the province into seven planning regions, loosely based on the current watershed program, which will independently design a system of energy and environment management. These regions will then coordinate among themselves to create a cohesive provincial plan. This whole affair is not so much a plan as a plan TO plan, so the only comment one can really pass on is, "Planning is good".

Robert Bateman License Plate
To draw attention to Alberta's natural beauty, Mr. Morton has theorized a conservative license plate featuring art by Robert Bateman, the proceeds from the sale of which will go towards promoting the Get to Know program, which encourages youths to discover the wild. However, since it's going to be sold to members and supporters, I suspect it will also draw attention to who has particular political beliefs and, to be honest, we here in Edmonton don't need any more reason to attack each other.

Urban Nature Preserves
This program definitely got my attention: 1% of lottery proceeds, equalling about $20 million, will be put towards funding new parks and recreation areas, including preserving areas that are threatened by growing urban settlements. I love this plan, and parks that are established under this plan will be self-sustaining through park fees, but the recreation and preservation areas won't have any such revenues, and so will continue to rely on the lottery funding which can't be expanded without hurting the arts funding the lottery is earmarked for, and so I suspect this part of the project may be doomed to failure after showing negligible results, which depresses me. So, instead of voting to encourage this plan, I'm going to just buy a provincial park pass.

No comments: