Talks will be behind closed doors during entire weekend
By Jackie L. Larson, Edmonton SunTory policy will be shaped by party faithful behind closed doors at this weekend’s policy convention.While PCAA delegates from constituency associations from around the province talk policies and platforms, media is invited to updates only and remarks from Premier Alison Redford.“Please note media will not be permitted in the formal policy sessions; however the party will update the media about the contents of these sessions at the times outlined above,” said a release from party communications coordinator Jessica Chawrun.Redford will do a Q&A and a media availability Saturday afternoon, the release said.Media was also shut out of constitutional discussions at the party’s annual convention in 2012, drawing Opposition criticism of Redford’s pledge of a new transparency.While the debate goes on inside the Radisson on Calgary Trail, protests will rage outside at Public Interest Alberta’s “Block (the) Party” rally from noon until 2 p.m.. It’s the latest in a series of rallies against billions in program and service cuts Redford’s government is putting in effect in an effort to reduce the province’s $6-billion deficit.“This is a great opportunity for Albertans to show Alison Redford just how much they disapprove of her cuts to post secondary education, to services for the elderly, the disabled, and dying patients who need palliative care. The list goes on and on,” said Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, adding that he hopes PC members debating party policy will take note.“Alison Redford needs to look up from her spreadsheet and realize those hurt by these cuts aren’t line items. They are real people with real needs,” he said.PIA and the AUPE will be joined by musicians and groups like the Raging Grannies for the rally at 45 Aveenue and Gateway Boulevard to protest the government’s austerity budget cuts. Buses will stop to pick up rally attendees from places like Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Fox Creek and Whitecourt. There will be family-friendly games with a message — like Dunk the Post-Secondary Education Student, Pop the Bitumen Bubble, Flat Tax Jeopardy and Whack-A-Budget-Cut. PIA is also taking nominations for the Top 10 Broken Promises of the PC-led government at firstname.lastname@example.org, said PIA’s Bill Moore-Kilgannon.“If politicians aren’t listening to the people, they do so at their peril,” he said.@SUNJackieL, email@example.comRead the article at the Edmonton Sun.