Toronto’s once notorious Rochedale College, now a perfectly respectable apartment building. Below: Outgoing Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt and the King’s Noodle Restaurant (grabbed from TripAdvisor).


It was my intention, since I am away from Alberta on business, not to file an Alberta Diary post this evening. Truth be told, Friday night and Saturday are the week’s worst times for readership anyway, as those readers with a life tend to be off living it.

Still, my iPhone gonged portentously when I exited my Air Canada flight from Edmonton here in the Ford Bothers’ hometown tonight with two interesting and relevant developments related to stories published here over the past two days.

Apropos the question of whether or not City of St. Albert inside administrative workers and employees of the city’s public library should join a union to protect themselves from the depredations of radical Ford-style municipal politicians, the city announced today it has reached a two-year agreement with public works and transit employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The city’s agreement with CUPE Local 941 includes pay increases of 2.7 per cent in each of 2014 and 2015. The agreement was ratified by the union’s members on Wednesday.

Like most things unions do, collective agreements are public, so copies of this one will be available in several places, including on the city’s website and from the Alberta Labour Relations Board, for local anti-public-service zealots to work themselves into a swivet over.

Meanwhile, just after lunchtime today, Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt Tweeted: “Moving on from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation,” and provided a link to a blog post explaining the reasons for his imminent departure.

Readers will recall it was reported on Dave Cournoyer’s blog on Wednesday that Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith has been “working hard” to recruit the CTF spokesperson as a candidate for the next provincial general election in the Calgary-Bow riding.

“Mr. Fildebrandt is an outspoken critic of the PC Government and has targeted Premier Jim Prentice with FOIP requests dating back to his time in Ottawa,” Mr. Cournoyer pointed out.

So, yesterday, Mr. Fildebrandt wrote in his personal blog that “the time has come for me to move on from the CTF.”

As a result, Mr. Fildebrandt wrote, “I am currently exploring opportunities in the private sector.” He promised, however, that “while I am transitioning from the CTF to the private sector, I have every intention of continuing to write and speak about issues of public policy that are important to me as an individual.”

Mr. Fildebrandt’s sudden goodbye was not crystal clear about exactly what his political intentions may now be. He wrote: “I feel the need to address speculation over the past few weeks as to if I will seek a seat in the Legislative Assembly to represent my community in Calgary. I had been approached about the prospect of doing so, and I did consider it carefully with my wife Emma. We were married just over a month ago and it is difficult to see room for such an endeavor at this time. 2016 is a long way off and while I may give future consideration if circumstances permit, I don’t see it in the cards.”

As for Toronto, I am pleased to report that the former Rochdale College – once the city’s most notorious drug den – now appears from my hotel across the street to be a completely respectable apartment building, possibly even a condominium.

And just like the 1970s when I lived nearby, one can still have a filling dinner at the King’s Noodle Restaurant at Spadina and Dundas and get change back from a $5 bill – although, at those prices, nowadays one really ought to leave a decent tip.

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  1. Rochdale College (not Rochedale,not that that’s crucial) is now the Senator David A. Croll Apartments, a seniors’ residence. I read years ago that Sen. Crook was interested in senior citizens’ issues, so the naming was not just let’s-honour-a-part-hack. … More impressive than I made him sound.

    1. Thanks, Jim. It’s been fixed. I think that I may have been in stupor – you know, like the former mayor of Toronto – when I saw it. I would have remembered it that way. (Joke.) DJC

      1. And I see that autocorrect has changed Croll to Crook for me. Dang — though maybe autocorrect was thinking of more recent senators.

  2. It’s beyond me why we don’t give workers the democratic right to decide whether or not they individually want to be part of a union. Common sense approach that we should take. Right to work.

  3. Canadian workers DO get to vote on whether they chose to be unionized by way of the union certification process. All affected workers each gets one ballot that is secret and the vote is monitored by the respective Labour Board of that jurisdiction.

    This is the process in Alberta just as it is in every other province. If the majority of the ballots are for the union then a union is established – that’s true democracy!.

    This grassroots democratic process stands in stark contrast to the rather undemocratic process by which the Harpercons were elected. People fail to remember that Harper got his “majority” even though 70% of Canadian voters did not cast a ballot in his favour. How democratic is that?

    In this country we already have the democratic right to chose unions. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a fascist.

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