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 November 11th, 2017 Vol 32, No 58

ALBERTA PARTY POSSIBLES — With Alberta Party Leader Leader Greg Clark (top centre) having stepped down, possible contenders for the throne include (clockwise from top left) former PC cabinet minister Doug Griffiths, PC MLA Dr. Richard Starke, former PC deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk, and CHED talk show host Ryan Jespersen. Clark has yet to decide whether he'll compete, though he will remain as MLA for Calgary-Elbow.
No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
New York Judge Gideon J. Tucker, 1866

Inside this week

GSA bill debate marks the start of hostilities in the war against Jason
Clark's resignation (aka ouster) as AP leader sparks a leadership race
The federal pot tax irks Ceci as Alberta prepares for private stores
Is the NDP headed for embarrassment in Calgary-Lougheed?

Top Story

Well the NDP didn’t disappoint in this, the first real battle of the Culture War with Jason Kenney’s UCP. Jace may have been physically absent from the Legislature, but his spirit—a malevolent one, judging from the countless invocations voiced by the Dippers—was very much present during the debate on Bill 24, An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances, the legislation that prohibits teachers from telling parents that their children have joined GSAs.

The initial volleys were fired by Education Minister Dave Eggen when he introduced the legislation for second reading. “Jason Kenney suggested earlier this year that schools should be able to out LGBTQ students to their parents, and that, Mr. Speaker, is dangerous. We’re trying to create a safe and caring environment and a safe sanctuary for students in a GSA and we can’t compromise the integrity of that…”Thus was the theme established.

And over the next three days NDP MLAs outdid themselves in their variations…

Political Pulse

We guess Greg Clark’s resignation as Alberta Party leader on Friday should not have come as a big surprise. As early as last June, at the “Alberta Together” gathering, where disaffected Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, and Alberta Party members, chose the Alberta Party as the designated political vehicle for centrists (Insight, June 24), we were hearing mutterings about Clark’s leadership.

Specifically they were coming from ex-Tories connected to the Alberta Together political action committee (PAC). This is the fundraising entity founded by former PC Health Minister and former Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and financed by some deep-pocketed long-time PC supporters like rancher/developer Brian Heidecker. Katherine O’Neill, who had served as president of the PC party during the leadership contest and quit following Kenney’s win, was hired as executive director.Clark, 46 (Calgary-Elbow), an able and hard-working parliamentarian, and a likeable and principled politician, was considered by many of the ex-Tory members of the Alberta Party to lack the horsepower to grow the party.

For Clark had, until PC refugees began trickling in following Kenney’s March leadership win, failed to build the party’s membership. Outside the House, he remains a virtual unknown…