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.
One likes people much better when they're battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.
It might have been a fever dream, but we seem to recall Premier Rachel Notely recently calling Joe Ceci “Alberta’s greatest ever finance minister.” Debatable that may be, but smilin’ Joe has certainly been one of the unluckiest, immediately landing knee-deep in the ordure of recession and having to put a brave face on things as he glumped through the uncharted territories of deficit, debt, and despair.
Not to worry, Joe assures us, with that nervous, gap-toothed, half-grin, as he reads his script; Albertans are “resilient,” the gov’t “has your back,” we’ll borrow our way out of this mess (ex-Bank of Canada boss David Dodge gave us permission), and, while we’re at it, we’ll diversify the economy one craft brewery and potato factory at a time. Look! Green shoots! Making life better for Albertans..Through all the palaver, it was obvious the main thing that Joe lacked was luck, and in Alberta the word is synonymous with oil.
When considering the nomination contests for the next election, there is only one show in town: the United Conservative Party. At this writing none of the other parties have more than a single candidate competing in any riding, while the Unicons, to quote a veteran campaigner, are experiencing “an embarrassment of riches.”
It is, in other words, like the good old days of the Progressive Conservative dynasty, or like the current situation with the federal Conservative ridings where winning the nomination is seen as tantamount to a coronation.It should be noted that in the current provincial situation this electoral gold rush is most pronounced in the rural and the Calgary constituencies—regions where the UCP have been out-polling the NDP by as much as 20- points for months going on years.