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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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Week ending July 1st, 2016 Vol 30, No 40

JAUNTY JOE — Finance minister Ceci had certain a spring in his step as he delivered the latest bad news: reduced revenue and a bigger than expected deficit.
Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Inside this week

Insight will be be taking its summer holidays following the publication of the July 1 issue. I thank all our subscribers for their support and hope to see you all again when Insight resumes following Labour Day
Jason Kenney emerges from the shadows to delivers a barn burning speech on uniting the right. Will he be the conduit? He won't say just yet.
Treasurer Ceci presents the 2015-16 annual report in all its misery with a smile on his face
Minumum wage hike splits the sides along ideological lines

Political Pulse

At press time Jason Kenney was still contemplating whether he would run for the provincial PC leadership, but the federal Conservative MP for Calgary Midnapore and former Harper gov’t cabinet minister did emerge briefly from the shadows this week to do his part for the unite-the-right movement by speaking to a large gathering of the Alberta Can’t Wait group in Cochrane Wednesday evening.

This group, started by former Tory cabinet minister Rick Orman, and populated by a mix of Tories and (a few) Wildrosers young and (mostly) old, has emerged as the preeminent group dedicated to bringing the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives kicking and screaming to the same table for the good of “common-sense” conservatism.

Kenney, who’s a good speaker and is famous for his organizational and fundraising skills, did not commit to running for the PCs (“Stay tuned,” he told a reporter), but instead…

Top Story

Finance minister Joe Ceci seemed positively jaunty in presenting the govt’s dismal 2015-16 annual report on Wednesday, which included a higher than anticipated deficit and lower than expected tax revenue. Maybe punchy is a better word. After all, the poor man has had a lot of bad news to deliver in the course of the two budgets and three fiscal updates since he took office 13 months ago.

We remember Joe’s first quarterly dirge last Aug. 31, when he presented the first-quarter update, and appeared neither jaunty nor punchy, his endearing gap-toothed grin appearing periodically in nervous, rather than insouciant, form.

That Q1 update had been prepared in late July when the WTI benchmark oil price had been around US$55. But had since dropped to around $35 for most of August, making the forecasted 2015-16 outcomes—including a $5.9B deficit, up from the $5B the Tories had forecast in their March budget—already a dubious proposition.