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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Week ending December 16th, 2017 Vol 32, No 63

ROMPER — Jason Kenney, who romped to victory in Calgary-Lougheed Thursday, flashes the Churchillian victory salute against a backdrop of unlikely looking UPCers
The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
Ronald Reagan

Inside this week

The NDP's byelection humiliation suggests the party may need a new strategy to capture the hearts and minds of the electorate in battleground Calgary.
A bad workplace harassment decision brings down the wrath of Rachel on UPC House Leader Jason Nixon
A listing and description of all the bills passed in the session that just wrapped up
Greg Clark won't be running again for the Alberta Party leadership and, with the deadline less than a month away, there's only one declared candidate

Top Story

Well at least they didn’t get beaten by the Liberals. This was the only consolation available to the Alberta NDP following Thursday night’s Calgary-Lougheed byelection, which, as many had been predicting, was resoundingly won by UPC Leader Jason Kenney, 49, with 72% of the vote.

Other politicos we’d spoken to prior to the race had predicted that the NDP were so unpopular in this traditionally conservative, southwestern, suburban corner of Calgary that their candidate, the gay vasectomy doctor Phillip van der Merwe, 45, would place third behind the Liberal Leader, gay human rights lawyer David Khan, 45.

We suspected this would not be the case, given the degree of effort put in by the NDP in trying to win this riding. Cabinet ministers and Premier Rachel Notley had been in the riding helping van der Merwe doorknock. MLAs and political staffers on leaves of absence were also thick on the ground, while the union shops were sending memos to their brothers and sisters in the riding urging them to vote NDP.…

Political Pulse

In this Googliferous world we now inhabit, it’s inevitable that any bad decision made or indiscretion committed by a public figure—no matter how long ago, no matter how much regretted—will be excavated and used for political gain by political enemies. It’s the Murphy’s Law of the digital age and this past week it came out of nowhere and bit the UCP’s hulking House Leader Jason Nixon square in the ass.

One can well imagine the nudge-nudge from an NDP politico to a certain drunken Australian newsie at the press gallery’s party a couple of Thursdays ago. “Ever try Googling Jason Nixon and Navigator?”

“Navigator, like the Tory lobbyist?”

“No they’re a construction company. Check it.”

Next thing you know there’s a story in the Edmonton Journal about an incident that occurred 12 years ago when the then 25-year-old Nixon ran a small Calgary consulting business called NSC that provided worksite safety officers to contractors like Navigator, which was building a condo project in Kelowna, BC.…