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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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LNG company shuts down Jason Kenney’s false theory blaming BC NDP for cancelled LNG project #ableg #bcpoli


2day is a reminder that we ALL have a responsibility 2 stand up 2 the ongoing hatred against trans people 4 being t…


Women should not have to explain to male politicians why they want to know about their plans/views on women's repro rights. Ever. #ableg


She should share it equally with the other candidates


95% is enough to blow up your party, but 98% of scientists is not enough to convince this lot that climate change i…


    Happy birthday to finance minister Joe Ceci, born 60 years ago in Toronto. His Calgary-Fort constituency association will be holding a free celebratory barbecue a few days earlier, on Tuesday, July 25 at the Inglewood Community Association Hall, 1720 24 Ave SE, at 6 pm.

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending July 1st, 2017 Vol 31, No 39

REFINERY & ITS MAKER — Ian McGregor (inset) is the engineer and financier behind the Sturgeon Refinery, which, when it begins producing diesel by the end of the year, will be the first major refinery built in Canada in 30 years. But it's not the diesel that most interests McGregor, it's the carbon management system behind it.
The great themes of Canadian history are as follows: Keeping the Americans out, keeping the French in, and trying to get the Natives to somehow disappear.
Will Ferguson, Alberta-born novelist and humorist

Inside this week

This Insight is the last regular issue before our annual summer break, which marks the end of the subscription year. This year, however, we will be interrupting our austere summer regimen to produce an additional special edition for the week ending July 29th, with coverage of the July 22 vote on the formation of the United Conservative Party. Meanwhile, we wish our subscribers an enjoyable summer, and thank you all for your continued support in what are challenging times for small publications.
The gov't-backed Sturgeon refinery experiences more cost overruns, but Ian McGregor, the man behind it, is confident the plant will open as planned, along with the Carbon Trunk Pipeline that will use the refinery's CO2 to re-open one of Alberta's flagship oilfields.
Joe Ceci presents the 2016-17 annual report with a predictable spin
Despite her production of a "clone speech" that borrowed heavily on NDP and Green policy, Christy Clark's Liberal gov't fails and NDP leader John Horgan, an opponent of the Trans Mountain pipeline, takes the helm

Top Story

Ian McGregor, President & CEO of the fiscally challenged, gov’t-backed Sturgeon Refinery is a mechanical engineer with a fetish for machines and technology. At his idyllic ranch west of Cochrane, McGregor, 67, a man who describes the sound of machinery as “music to my ears,” has built an impressive, subterranean 20,000-sq.ft. “Museum of Making” where private audiences, including local schoolchildren and the invited political guests at his annual Stampede barbecues, can view an array of late 19th- and early-20th--century machinery­—from lathes and linotype machines to steam engines and vintage electric cars­—restored, curated, and professionally displayed.

For those of a mechanical bent, it is a fascinating monument to man’s limitless ingenuity in devising every more efficient means of making life easier, cheaper, and more profitable. For those not so mechanically inclined, however. McGregor’s personal doo-dad museum can seem a bit weird and obsessive: an Old Curiosity shop for an eccentric multimillionaire.

Which brings us to the yin and yang of the Sturgeon Refinery, Canada’s largest construction project­ and McGregor’s personal monument to the “making.”

Political Pulse

As a capper to the tumultuous day in BC politics on Thursday, we had half expected BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to favour Premier Christy Clark by dissolving the gov’t election. Guichon, after all, is a ranch wife from deep in the province’s hillbilly country and was appointed by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Not a fan, one could safely presume, of NDP Leader John Horgan or Green Leader Andrew Weaver, whose allied parties had combined to pass the non-confidence motion against Clark’s Liberal gov’t, by 44 votes to 42­—the first time in BC history a gov’t has lost a non-confidence vote. Short-lived Liberal speaker Steve Thompson abstained, since his single vote would not have made any more difference to the outcome than, as it turned out, did Clark’s NDP-friendly Throne Speech the week before, or her rousing, last ditch speech on its merits­—hikes to welfare, a $1B child care subsidy, a vow to end “child poverty,”­ campaign finance reform—delivered in the Legislature on Thursday afternoon.And so it came down to one of two decisions by that rarest of decision-makers, the LG: