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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    Vice-president of constituencies, Alberta Liberal Party, and past president of AUPE

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  • May 21 - 26 ANOTHER WEEK OFF
    MLAs take their third constituency break of the session, returning on May 28 for the final two weeks.
    The NDP holds its nomination meeting for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake byelection (date yet to be announced). At this writing it looks like an acclamation. Nicole Mooney, a teacher at Red Deer’s Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School, will be the NDP cannon-fodder in this solidly conservative riding, where UCP nominee Devin Dreeshen, who beat four other contenders, is the MLA presumptive.

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending May 19th, 2018 Vol 32, No 85

AMATEUR DRAMATICS — Protesters staging a "die-in" near the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby this week. The company is beginning to sound like it's ready to abandon the Trans Mountain expansion project and never have to be bothered by clowns like these again.
I am ready and prepared to turn off the taps
Rachel Notley goes for the headline in announcing the impending passage of Bill 12

Inside this week

Notley's turn-off-the-taps bill is passed, but no word on if or when it will be used
Federal Finance Minister Morneau returns from his talks with Kinder Morgan with a promise of insurance against political delay
Kenney calls Trudeau shallow as a finger bowl. Can't hurt Kenney.
The ATB picks a new man to become the best-paid public employee in the province

Political Pulse

In a calculated move to portray his party as the mature grown-ups in the Legislature, UCP Leader Jason Kenney has insisted that his caucus bring a “respectful” tone to the Legislature: no name calling, no personal attacks, no heckling, and not even any desk-thumping. “When they go low, we go high,” he has said several times, mimicking Michele Obama, though stopping short of blackface.

This politesse policy, however, doesn’t seem to apply to Kenney himself when he’s outside the House and talking about the Prime Minister. In an phone interview with his favoured Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell (aka “the Dinger”) this week, Kenney unloaded on Justin Trudeau, a man whose assurances of support for the Trans Mountain pipeline Jason views as another “pose” passing for conviction.

“The guy was my critic in opposition for three years. I don’t think he has the foggiest idea what’s going on,” said Kenney, harking to his days in Stephen Harper’s cabinet. “I know Justin...

Top Story

While this latest week in the never-ending Pipeline Saga seemed eventful, it ended like so many of the many weeks that have come before with no resolution imminent. At least that appeared to be the case. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves...

The two “big events” of the week were federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s promise to “indemnify” the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Alberta govt’s passage of Bill 12, the so-called turn-off-the-taps bill. Morneau’s announcement came Wednesday morning at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa following negotiations the previous week in Houston with Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean.

The negotiations had been prompted by Kinder Morgan’s announcement last month that it was suspending all non-essential spending and would pull out of the $7.4B project if it wasn’t assured of unimpeded progress by May 31—the latest date that construction can begin for this year,Morneau said that the federal gov’t was prepared to backstop the project with full indemnity from losses that are “politically motivated.”

He referred to “the uncertainty caused by Premier (John) Horgan’s deliberate attempts to frustrate the project,” the latest nuisance being Horgo’s referral to the BC Court of Appeal of the province attempted regulation resrtricting the flow of bitumen into its territory. (The regulation that prompted Alberta’s short-lived lived wine boycott.)

It was not clear whether “politically motivated” losses would include delays caused by a possible legal challenge by BC First Nations, or by a potential ruling against the project by the Federal Court of Appeal. Those three federal judges have been cogitating for seven months on the appeal by five Indian bands, two environmental groups, and the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver (Insight Oct. 14).