Alberta Politics
Prab Gill on the steps of the Legislature back in the day - is he looking to the right? (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Prab Gill is back in the news, rumoured eyeing Freedom Conservatives, so stand by for another attack on Tzeporah Berman!

Posted on December 06, 2018, 1:00 am
7 mins

Prab Gill is back in the news, offering up the potential for more embarrassment for Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party.

Stand by for Mr. Kenney to attack … Tzeporah Berman!

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Isn’t that what always happens when Mr. Gill hits the news?

Mr. Gill is the former Progressive Conservative and United Conservative Party MLA for Calgary-Greenway. He was pushed out of the UPC last summer after allegations he interfered with ballots in a June 30 party nomination election in another Calgary riding where he had given some thought to running next year. He now sits as an Independent.

Ms. Berman is the prominent Vancouver environmentalist the NDP once hired at the suggestion of some oilpatch executives to provide a green fig leaf to its Oil Sands Advisory Group. Arguably, the move backfired, and the co-founder of the Stand.Earth activist group departed that role in June 2017. She is a favourite target of the UCP, which believes she is a liability for the NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley.

Mr. Kenney, of course, is leader of the Opposition UCP and, if the narrative of his party and its media cheering section is to be believed, the premier presumptive of Alberta. Never mind the need for an election to make that official.

UCP House Leader Jason Nixon (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Back in July, Mr. Gill denied any wrongdoing but shuffled quietly off to exile on the Independent benches saying he wouldn’t run in 2019 after the party completed its own investigation of the kerfuffle. The UCP refused to release the findings of its internal investigation, which it termed independent, by retired judge Ted Carruthers.

Since then, the media managed to get its hands on a copy of Mr. Carruthers’ report, and Mr. Gill has had a chance to reflect on the situation that led to him being frog marched out of the UCP Caucus.

The findings of the investigation, shall we say, might have been good enough for the UCP but wouldn’t result in a finding of guilt in a court of law.

As for Mr. Gill, he’s had a change of heart about his decision to meekly go away last summer. He said this week that, in effect, he was bullied into quitting.

“Key witnesses were not interviewed or their statements were not taken,” he complained to media.

On Tuesday, Mr. Gill stood up in the Legislature on a point of privilege and said it was time to clear his name, calling the investigation “a sham,” and terming the party’s conduct in the nomination meeting “crooked and racist.” He said party officials had told him he was only allowed to run in ridings where a majority of residents were of Indian origin.

Environmentalist Tzeporah Berman (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“In my weakness I caved and agreed to quietly sit as an Independent,” Mr. Gill told the House. “But by not defending myself to my fullest ability I left the impression that I had done something wrong.”

Yesterday, political Alberta was abuzz with rumours Mr. Gill would join former UCP bad boy Derek Fildebrandt’s Freedom Conservative Party Caucus in the Legislature and perhaps run for the FCP in 2019 as well. He wouldn’t confirm the rumours yesterday when asked by reporters on his way into the Legislature.

He was immediately attacked by UCP House leader Jason Nixon, who was presumably up to his neck ex officio in the uproar last summer, as indulging in sour grapes after being found responsible for his own troubles.

For his part, Mr. Kenney appeared to have very little to say about this.

Needless to say, this situation is unlikely ever to be unraveled without a truly independent investigation.

In the meantime, though, tracked down by Bloomberg News in Poland where she is attending a United Nations climate change conference, Ms. Berman said of the NDP’s planned oil production cap: “The writing is on the wall, we need to stop expanding the oil industry and create a plan for retraining and economic diversification.”

Bloomberg’s headline: “Wean oil-rich Alberta off crude.”

Say what? Stand by for Mr. Kenney’s attack on Ms. Berman!

Culture minister to wed in historic first

Christopher Brown and Ricardo Miranda (Photo: Twitter).

I’m sure most Albertans were delighted yesterday to learn Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda, Alberta’s first openly gay cabinet minister, will marry his fiancé, Christopher Brown. He will make history as the first Alberta cabinet minister to be married in a same-sex ceremony.

This revelation generated lots of news copy yesterday, although no one seemed to pick up on the fact Mr. Brown once had political ambitions of his own, running for the federal Liberals in Peace River-Westlock in 2015. That factoid was spotted by my sharp-eyed colleague, blogger Dave Cournoyer.

According to the CBC’s report, Mr. Miranda and Mr. Brown were introduced by Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee.

6 Comments to: Prab Gill is back in the news, rumoured eyeing Freedom Conservatives, so stand by for another attack on Tzeporah Berman!

  1. J.E. Molnar

    December 6th, 2018

    Look up “dumpster fire” in the dictionary and don’t be surprised if you find a photo of the UCP logo next to it.

    If the UCP thought they had extinguished the flames of wrath from Prab Gill’s legislative rant, today’s latest revelation in the Edmonton Journal adds more fuel to the never-ending UCP sh*tshow dumpster fire. The executive board of the UCP must be beside themselves with the comedy of errors, negative press and hits to the UCP’s reputation that has engulfed this 2018 version of the Keystone Cops Party.

  2. David

    December 6th, 2018

    It sure was was a jackpot day for the UCP – first, Mr. Gill resurfaced and claimed he had been railroaded out of the party after an incomplete investigation and that did not steal ballots. Also, another nomination disaster in Calgary East. It appears a candidate who owns an auto shop repair shop was using credit card information from his customers to sign them up as UCP members without their knowledge and whether they wanted to or not. At this rate the UCP may be more scandal ridden than the former PC’s at their worst, by the time of the upcoming election.

    Not too surprisingly Mr. Kenney is not speaking to the media about any of this – he seems to have a habit of hiding away when controversy arises with his party and waiting for it to die down. Perhaps he is busy trying to think up of a distraction, any distraction, Tzeporah Berman?, or he will just plan to wait it out until something else becomes the news story of the day. Mr. Kenney may not have a mind quite as strategic as his former boss Harper, but he seems to have learned somewhat how to manage the media and control the grassroots well from Harper.

    However, the problem that Mr. Kenney might not have fully appreciated is that it is not as easy to manage his candidates/potential candidates and of course it is impossible to manage those he has kicked out of the party, It may also be difficult to manage those MLA’s who did not get renominated or have said they are retiring. Despite this being a supposedly new party, there is now a growing group that rightly or wrongly feels not very well treated by Kenney, who at times can seem high handed and controlling. He better hope that all these people do not start talking to each other or getting together and deciding to run for another party – say the Freedom Conservative Party. The number of disgruntled current and former UCP MLA’s may now be close to large enough to start to cause Kenney concern. It really doesn’t take that many to get official party status in the Alberta Legislature.

    • Scotty on Denman

      December 8th, 2018

      Nobody does the conservative dance macabre like the Alberta right.
      I find it the most fascinating politcal entertainment around—and that’s really saying something, considering the USA’s Trumpster fire, doofus D’ohFo’s doug-whistling dramas, little Green elves reign-yanking slogan ride over the Western pole and UK May Daze have been dominating the news-hype to new heights.
      When the band finishes a number (but not within six metres of the backstage door), the Cons, United Cons, ExCons, neo-cons, paleo-cons, Wilted Rose Cons, neo-rightists, neoliberals, Freedom Cons, AlbeCons and Cons-of-OdinCons repair to their drinks with more boot tracks on top of their shoes, across their mugs and up their arses than on the dance floor!
      Bravo! Alberta’s got talent!

  3. Pogo

    December 6th, 2018

    Some things are so outside of the ballpark of reason, that they just can’t be more than snippets. Here’s one! Please pass it on to Jason Kenny. His track record is skipping, as the audiophiles are wont to say about their garbage find vinyl!

  4. Jan

    December 11th, 2018

    So, no. The screeching wasn’t about Berman, it was about equalization. SMH.

    • David Climenhaga

      December 12th, 2018

      You are right. But Ms. Berman’s always available if they need another distraction. DJC


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