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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This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending December 9th, 2017 Vol 32, No 62

BYELECTION CANDIDATES — The contenders in Thursday's Calgary-Lougheed byelection, l-r, top row: Jason Kenney (UCP), David Khan (Lib.), Lauren Thorsteinson (Reform), & Larry Heather (Ind.); bottom row: Dr. Phillip van der Merwe (NDP), Romy Tittel (Grn.), Wayne Leslie (Ind.)
Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way.
Al Franken, recently resigned US Senator & comedian, from "Oh, the Things I Know", 2002

Inside this week

The NEB rules against Burnaby but there are many hurdles still ahead for the Trans Canada pipeline
Saskatchewan escalates the trade war with Alberta by imposing a license plate ban
A major change in the carbon tax rules for big emitters does not sit well with some oil producers
Could the NDP push to clear the legislative decks have a political motive?

Top Story

Rachel was one happy gal on Thursday following the National Energy Board’s ruling against the City of Burnaby. The city was ordered to immediately grant approval for of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine and Burnaby Terminals, the tanker-loading facility at the western end of the $7.5B Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

“We see this as a good step forward,” said Notley, who actually descended into the basement press gallery offices at the Legislature to share the happy news with reporters. “And we are excited to see that it probably means the NEB has accepted our argument that this is a project that is in the national interest and as a result we can’t have individual jurisdictions interfering with it.”

Kinder Morgan, which received federal approval for the pipeline more than a year ago, had applied for the permits in June, but Burnaby had stalled, prompting Kinder Morgan to file a motion with the NEB in late October challenging the city on constitutional grounds. In an order issued Thursday, the NEB said the company is not required to comply with two sections of the city’s bylaws. The board has yet to give its reasons for the decision…

Political Pulse

The developing trade war between Alberta and Saskatchewan took a weird­—but, for the Alberta NDP, politically advantageous­—turn on Wednesday when Premier Brad Wall’s cash-strapped gov’t, in a protectionist move,­ issued an edict banning vehicles with Alberta plates from gov’t infrastructure construction projects.

“New contracts awarded by the ministry will require suppliers to ensure that no vehicles displaying Alberta license plates are present on ministry funded work sites,” read the gov’t press release. “This will include contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, and workers.”

David Marit, Saskatchewan ministry of Highways & Infrastructure, argued that Alberta-based construction companies have an unfair advantage because they don’t pay a provincial sales tax on their vehicles and equipment, while domestic contractors pay the PST­—which was raised from 5% to 6% in March to help pay down the province’s $685M deficit. (Alberta should be so cash-strapped.)…