ALBERTA VOTES 2008

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Reporters' Notebook

CBC Alberta's election reporters have hit the campaign trail and are hard at work producing news reports for broadcast. They'll also be filing quips, notes, jokes and anecdotes for our special election feature, Reporters Notebook.

About last night

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 | 11:31 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

At 7:30 p.m. Monday night, I was rushing to my results desk in the rotunda of the legislature. Before I ran up the stairs in my new pink patent sling-backs, I stopped to chat with the cleaning staff at the legislature.

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A tight Tory squeeze

Monday, March 3, 2008 | 07:42 PM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining.

It's always a kick to be in the heart of the action on election night. Broadcasting live is a "seat of the pants" experience that is exciting and can be tense.

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Treatment in a tent

Monday, March 3, 2008 | 08:53 AM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

Could there be a worse election day story for Conservative hopefuls in Edmonton? The emergency room at the University of Alberta Hospital is so jammed, Capital Health is resorting to a measure that seems bizarre. They're setting up a triage tent to treat patients (most of them expected to be children who have the flu).

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A pattern emerges

Friday, February 29, 2008 | 10:21 AM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

The PC party may have the huge war chest and dominate the ad war on TV but it's not having a campaign like it has in the past. It's quite curious. Is it a lack of control? Fear? Or a calculated plan? Here are some examples.

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The Stelmach swagger

Friday, February 29, 2008 | 09:47 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

On a campaign stop Thursday in Edmonton-Riverview, currently held by Liberal Leader Kevin Taft, the media was told to gather at the local Starbucks where Conservative Leader Ed Stelmach would have a coffee and chat with folks.

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Walking away from the facts

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | 12:20 PM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

When a politician makes a statement that is proven to be false, they have a couple of options. They can claim to have been taken out of context, look for shades of grey to put up a brave front, or retract their remark and apologize. Edmonton-Centre Tory candidate Bill Donahue has chosen none of the above.

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I took one for Stelmach

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | 09:38 AM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

Ed Stelmach brought his PC Party road show to the heart of Calgary-Mountain View on Monday. Despite a few Grits waving David Swann signs and one guy unhappy about PC candidates skipping local debates, Stelmach happily posed for photos and even kissed a baby. I got a different kind of kiss.

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Messages

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | 09:11 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

I was whipping up a batch of strawberry muffins (recipe to follow), when I received a disturbing call from the Aman Gill campaign.

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A campaign coincidence

Monday, February 25, 2008 | 01:16 PM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

Getting your mug on TV is not always easy for candidates during a campaign. Commercials are extremely costly and news coverage usually leans towards what the party leaders are saying or doing on most days. But Doug Griffiths caught a bit of a break.

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An election minus the cult of personality

Monday, February 25, 2008 | 11:07 AM ET
Rick DonkersRick Donkers

Wearing a yellow fleece, Horst Krajewski stood there pecking away at the sheet of ice that had grown onto his driveway. Living in the Calgary suburb of Somerset for the past four years taught him the February sun will only shine on that piece of asphalt for a few hours a day, so he had to chip away when he had his chance.

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Trivia matters

Sunday, February 24, 2008 | 10:01 AM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

So the good news is: among the CBC election reporters, I got the highest score on our election quiz. The bad news is: our webmaster asked me to write about it.

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Debate notes: Liberals like press releases

Friday, February 22, 2008 | 11:21 AM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

While the leaders and some of my colleagues were a few walls away under the bright studio lights during Thursday night's leaders' debate, I was in the media area watching the proceedings on a big screen TV.

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Debate notes: The day after the night before

Friday, February 22, 2008 | 09:36 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

There must be some things they didn't tell Wildrose Alliance Leader Paul Hinman in TV debate school, such as don't show up a day early to check out the studio, and don't forget to shake hands with members of the media panel and make nice.

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Not tonight dahling, I have an election

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | 05:20 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

There are some things I'm told, you just don't do during an election — something along the lines of what some hockey players refrain from during the playoffs. One of them is don't bite the hand that feeds you.

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Leaving no stone unturned

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 | 11:17 AM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

Part one

The Liberals are pulling out all the stops in Calgary.

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Happy new year! Oops.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | 03:40 PM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

Politicians shaking hands and making chit-chat with campaign workers is part of the job these days. It makes for good photo-ops and helps rally the troops before sending them out to knock on doors or put up campaign signs.

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Thirsty sidebar

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | 08:56 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

All afternoon, between screening video footage of campaign stops I was reaching for bottles of water, or searching for another water cooler to fill it up. What was it, I wondered. An insatiable thirst for democracy? A parched penchant for politics?

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Returning to sender

Monday, February 18, 2008 | 03:30 PM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

It’s been one week we broke the returning officer story on CBC Radio, and judging by Tory Leader Ed Stelmach’s reaction to it and the tips still coming in to the CBC, this story isn’t over yet.

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Campaign e-mail 101

Saturday, February 16, 2008 | 05:41 PM ET
Rick DonkersRick Donkers

I'll admit I am a Luddite on the social networking sites, but I do know it's bad manners to reveal all your addresses when sending a mass e-mail. Apparently not everyone does.

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From up north

Friday, February 15, 2008 | 07:28 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

I've been on the road all day and haven't checked on your question submissions but I'm looking forward to them all. Even before I left my hotel this a.m. my phone was ringing with CBC viewers, readers and listeners offering up ideas.

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Questions for leaders' debate

Friday, February 15, 2008 | 09:45 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

FYI, yours truly is one of the four panel members firing questions at the leaders in next week's televised debate. I need YOUR suggestions. What should I ask them?

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Chasing magic in Fort McMurray

Friday, February 15, 2008 | 09:07 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

After filing a story last night on the Conservatives' plan to tackle crime (that I already covered in November) I flew to Fort McMurray. There certainly wasn't a lot of political chatter on the plane and I think most passengers were dreading the -20 C weather.

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Face time in Fort McMurray

Friday, February 15, 2008 | 09:03 AM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

I had a chance to chat with Guy Boutilier on the flight up to Fort McMurray from Edmonton on Thursday morning. But the candidate wasn't holding campaign literature or election buttons in his hand. Boutilier's hands were full with his nine-month-old son. They were on their way back after a check-up with an Edmonton pediatrician (They still have a family doc in Fort McMurray, lucky souls).

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Whither the NDP?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 | 04:01 PM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

Calgary has long been a wasteland for the NDP. The last time a New Democrat MLA was elected here: 1989.

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He's back!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 | 01:27 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

An update for all you folks wondering about "the man in the leather trenchcoat." I spotted him again this morning, only this time he's trying to blend in with a pilly, blue fleece jacket.

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The 'M' word

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | 05:51 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

A much younger but wiser colleague of mine reminded me of the issue that felled the darling of the federal Tories in his defeat in New Brunswick. It was auto insurance.

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Mmm... cinnamon buns

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | 04:06 PM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

Sharing campaign office space is becoming an increasingly common story in this election. With a lack of available commercial space and sky high rental rates, it's not unusual to find candidates from adjoining constituencies splitting the cost of rent and utilities for a spot that's convenient to both them and their volunteers. Usually, it's a vacant spot in a strip mall. Usually.

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Fresh start wilts fast

Monday, February 11, 2008 | 06:08 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

Monday morning, and a new start I thought. The first Ed Stelmach event of the week was held in the lovely Riverview room at the Shaw Conference Centre.

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Wait for me!

Monday, February 11, 2008 | 01:32 PM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

At one point during his Q & A with reporters Monday morning, Tory Leader Ed Stelmach was being urged to wrap things up. He had taken questions on the environment (from a heckler and from scribes), auto insurance, returning officers and Arthur Kent. But time was getting on.

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Tory week in review

Monday, February 11, 2008 | 08:44 AM ET
John ArcherJohn Archer

So the first week on the campaign trail may not have gone as well as Ed Stelmach and the Tory brain trust had hoped.

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Recall comes back to Alberta politics

Friday, February 8, 2008 | 07:09 PM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

I'm not talking about the recall of your MLA. That old Social Credit chestnut was briefly on the books in the 1930s — at least until Premier William (Bible Bill) Aberhart found out a petition for his recall was circulating in his own riding. Recall was repealed a short time later.

The 21st-century version of recall in Alberta refers to news releases — specifically the ones issued by the Alberta Liberals.

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Heating up in a cold climate

Friday, February 8, 2008 | 06:02 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

Call me isolated or warped but I like elections. I like the posturing, the outrageous, and all the attention I get as a reporter when I walk into a room.

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Country welcome

Friday, February 8, 2008 | 09:32 AM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

I got my first sample of the Stelmach machine in rural Alberta Thursday. You couldn't miss the big Ed bus as it rolled into Wetaskiwin.

I was amazed to hear so many folks really struggling with what they're going to do with their vote. I heard over and over again: "Ed's a nice guy" but clearly the problems of an overheated economy are everywhere.

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The man in the leather trench coat

Thursday, February 7, 2008 | 04:27 PM ET
Kim TrynacityKim Trynacity

Here's a sign the Tories are looking over their shoulders: At the Liberals' news conference at Edmonton's Winspear Centre Wednesday afternoon, one person in the crowd stood out.

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Old what's-his-name?

Thursday, February 7, 2008 | 11:52 AM ET
Scott DippelScott Dippel

There are some unwritten rules in politics, especially during campaigns. One is that you never say too many nice things about your competition. (Ask Rod Love what happens!) Heck, it's actually best to avoid referring to another candidate by name. Your opponents can sell themselves.

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Reporters' Notebook »

About the Authors

Kim Trynacity

Kim Trynacity is CBC TV's political reporter in Edmonton. She's worked in the Ottawa, Yellowknife and Saskatoon bureaus for the CBC. She has won several awards for her work, including the 2004 Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) award for her documentary on the influence of the tobacco lobby on the Alberta government.

 
John Archer

John Archer started working as a reporter for CBC Radio in his hometown of Thunder Bay in 1993. From there it was off to Prince George, Vancouver and Iqaluit before coming to Edmonton in 1999. He's been CBC Radio's reporter at the Alberta legislature since 2004.

 
Rick Donkers

A born and bred Calgarian, Rick Donkers has covered more elections than he cares to remember, from local nominations to Stephen Harper's victory speech as prime minister. Rick's a committed political junkie. So much so that his first broadcasting job was operating the cameras for cable TV coverage of Calgary city council.

 
Scott Dippel

Scott Dippel is a reporter with CBC Radio in Calgary, having also worked in Edmonton, Ottawa and Winnipeg. He has a special interest in politics. Some think it's sad he once attended a constitutional conference in Australia, but Scott considers it important to care about the democratic process.

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