Informative, enlightening, irreverent, witty, and occasionally profane, Insight has, for more than 30 years, become essential weekly reading for hundreds of people working in and around government in Alberta.

Ric Dolphin is president of Dolphin Media, Inc. and the editor and publisher of Insight into Government, a weekly newsletter available by subscription. He reports on Alberta political affairs from the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

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This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending April 14th, 2018 Vol 32, No 80

ROSE BETWEEN TWO THORNS — Justin Trudeau relaxes in his office with Premiers Horgan and Notley prior to Sunday's meeting to discuss the Trans Mountain pipeline impasse. The impasse continues.
One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing.
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

Inside this week

A rowdy week concludes with a meeting between Horgan, Notley, & Trudeau and no real resolution of the pipeline impasse.
Jason & crew avoid another NDP trap by refusing to debate an unnecessary bubble zone bill
The Dippers' salary-cutting crusade targets school supers and uni presidents
New bills include a new kind of debt for homeowners keen to go green

Top Story

It was a noisy week on the Trans-Mountain front, with large pro-pipeline demonstrations in Edmonton and Calgary, stepped up anti-pipeline demonstrations and arrests in Vancouver and Burnaby, and lots and lots of heated verbiage from proponents and opponents all over the country. The term “constitutional crisis” was now being bandied around with abandon.

So fraught had things become that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interrupted an international trip to fly back to Ottawa on Sunday to meet with Premiers John Horgan and Rachel Notley in an attempt to cool things down.But when the parties emerged from the 100-minute confab, it was unclear as to what, if anything, had been resolved.

Trudeau was still declaring that “this pipeline will be built,” Horgan was still determined to block it, and Notley was proceeding with her plan to turn down the oil taps to BC (legislation to be introduced Monday)…

Political Pulse

During the fall sitting, the NDP’s introduction of Bill 24, An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances, was a trap for the United Conservatives—and they fell into it head first.That legislation, which prohibited teachers from “outing” gay kids by informing their parents of their membership in GSAs, addressed a situation that was hardly a pressing problem.

But that wasn’t the point.The point was that the UCP Leader Jason Kenney—who had yet to win a seat in the House—led a party whose base and much of its caucus were champions of parental rights—and those rights included the right to know if their kid was joining a teacher-supervised gay club on school property.

The Dippers, draping themselves in the familiar vestments of caring compassion for the sexually challenged, dragged out the debate for days on end, with virtually every one of their members presenting a heart-rending anecdote about the damage that could be inflicted on these “most vulnerable” children if they were “outed” to their parents by teachers. Depression and suicide were commonly evoked.

Overwhelmed by this onslaught of progressivist proselytizing, the UCP’s argument for parental rights fell flat, was portrayed as hard-hearted, and enabled the NDP to “prove” that Kenney and his party were the “extreme” social conservative regressors the gov’t always knew they were. So satisfyingly did this trap snap shut, that the Dippers figured they’d try it again in the current spring session. Hence: Bill 9: Protecting Choice for Women Accessing Health Care.