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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Upcoming

  • Sep 18 - Oct 1 FEDERAL NDP LEADERSHIP
    The opening of the first round of online voting for the leadership of the federal NDP. Subsequent votes will be held if none of the four candidates— MP Charlie Angus, 54 (Timmins, ON), MP Guy Caron, 43 (Gatineau, QC), Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh, 38 (Brampton, ON) & MP Niki Ashton, 35 (Churchill, MB)—has achieved a majority on Oct. 1. The flamboyantly turbanned Singh, a Sikh lawyer, appears to be the front-runner. His visibility and popularity were recently enhanced by a viral video that showed him at a Brampton rally peaceably fending of a racist heckler with repeated declarations of his campaign slogan “Love and courage.” Whoever the winner, it is unlikely we’ll see a repeat of the success of the Jack Layton-era Dippers, whose rise to opposition status had as much to do with lacklustre Liberal leadership as it did with smiling, tragic Jack. And by the way, Singh and his three rivals are all opposed to the Trans Mountain and Energy East Pipelines. This is why we’ve not seen any endorsements by Alberta Dippers.
  • Sep 18 - Oct 16 MUNICIPAL ELECTION PERIOD
    After a single day of nominations, the four week municipal election period is underway, with most of Alberta’s cities experiencing a record number of candidates for councils and school boards. unicipal elections for council and school boards. Blame it on the recession ad high unemployment rate. For the provincial rules and regulations associated with these elections, go to http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/mc_elections
  • Sep 23 REG BASKEN TRIBUTE
    NDP tribute dinner for venerated party member, founder, veteran labour leader, and past president of the Alberta Federation of Labour Reg Basken, 80, hosted by Edmonton-Glenora MLA and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman at Edmonton’s Polish Hall, 10960 104 St, 6 pm. Tickets $150 at http://www.albertandp.ca/celebrateregbasken
  • Sep 24 ALBERTA PARTY HIRING
    Final day to apply for the job of executive diretor of the Alberta Party, a new, paid position recommended by the author of a recent report on the party’s future. For more info: http://www.albertaparty.ca/alberta_party_opens_competition_for_executive_director

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending September 16th, 2017 Vol 32, No 50

THE FOUR GENTLEMEN — The final candidates for leadership of the United Conservative Party (UCP) are, clockwise from top left: Doug Schweitzer, Jason Kenney, Brian Jean, and Jeff Callaway. The winner will be announced Oct. 28.
Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.
Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990) Canadian author of The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong (1969).

Inside this week

SORRY WE'RE LATE THIS WEEK. AN AGGRESSIVE BRAND OF FOOD POISONING SLOWED PRODUCTION OF INSIGHT, ALTHOUGH NOT OF… WELL, PERHAPS THAT'S INFORMATION WE'LL SAVE FOR ANOTHER OCCASION.
The four UCP leadership candidates have paid their exorbitant fees and are ready to rumble. Read their CVs.
A relaxing summer of bbqs, fundraisers. and handouts behind them, the Dippers face an uncertain fall
Speaking of falls, Derek Fildebrandt's is one for the history books

Talk in the Corridors

It is the wise male politician who observes the following dictum: when hiring a female assistant or constituency manager, pick a matronly grandmother type and reject at all costs the young and pulchritudinous candidates. By following this rule, the honorable member not only avoids making his wife suspicious when he’s working late or out of town, but he also forestalls any temptation in his imperfect, male self to, er, reach out in an unwanted manner following, say, the second bottle of wine at a “working dinner.”

Evidently, federal Liberal MP Darshan Kang, 66, (Calgary Skyview), failed to practice such prophylactic personnel practices. During his time as provincial Liberal MLA (Calgary-McCall, 2008-15), the affable, turbanned Sikh immigrant, a former welder and realtor, hired the lovely young daughter of Sikh friend (now an ex-friend) to run his Calgary constituency office.

The unnamed woman, now 25, stayed on after Kang was elected to federal office in Oct. 2015. But in June she filed a sexual harassment complaint…

Political Pulse

We finally figured out why Jason Kenney looked teary and crestfallen while Wildrose Leader Brian Jean appeared cocky when the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose leader ssigned their historic merger agreement on May 18. (Insight May 19). As with so many things, it was about money.

According to Kenney’s “five-point plan” for the new party—the one touted throughout his successful PC leadership campaign­—once the members had voted to unite, the fledgling party would hold a founding general meeting of members in the fall. UCP Delegates would elect executive officers, ratify a constitution, and thrash out a policy platform. The horses thus placed, the UCP members could then choose their cart—i.e. elect a leader.

But in the negotiations leading up to the May 18 agreement, Jean’s Wildrose team were adamant that the cart be put before the horse: the leadership contest was to take place in the fall, and the founding AGM to in February or March. Jean’s official logic for this: the sneaky NDP, taking advantage of UCP’s leaderless state, might call a snap general election.Unofficially, however, this chronological reversal gave Jean a strategic advantage in his campaign to become leader of the new party…