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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Reader Reviews

  • Insight provides a snapshot of the important events taking place within Alberta’s political landscape.

    —Mary Lynne Campbell
    Executive Director, Public School Boards' Association of Alberta
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    —Drew Barnes
    MLA, Cypress-Medicine Hat
  • Insight provides vital information and analysis for anyone interested in the latest policy and political developments in Alberta. The newsletter is well written, comprehensive and insightful. I always...

    —David Taras
    Professor in the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies, Mount Royal University

Top Tweets

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There’s only one way out of this. Kenney owes the Lougheed family an apology #ableg https://t.co/CSJsNgoMF6 https://t.co/r1W6KXEaVI

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Actually my dear when you are an elected official & accountable to all Canadians, it is our requirement to reveal y… https://t.co/rJ6vUg45UM

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Wow. This thread.The amount of misinformation and divisiveness by JK in his answers is astounding. Disagreement is… https://t.co/qwVxS1JS6I

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This explns how equalization actually works. Nonsense put up recently suggests AB shd be eligible for eq’n payments… https://t.co/YVezBXhXOb

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I thought the NDP’s carbon tax & increase in the minimum wage wage was supposed to drive prices through the roof? G… https://t.co/KpYXUYJu3N

Upcoming

  • Oct 17 - 29 DERON BILOUS, JUNKETEER
    Economic Development & Trade Minister Deron Bilous travels to Europe promoting Alberta products, visiting Alberta businesses, and seeing the sights (four days of “personal time at personal cost” are scheduled in London). From London, were he’ll host an investor dinner for UK investors, he’ll pop up to Birmingham to meet with Birmingham University Energy Institute officials, then it’s off to Munich (Prost!) to meet with Bavarian gov’t officials, with a side trip to Freiberg to visit the Fraunhofer Insititute (solar power innovators), before flying to Kiev, Ukraine, and giving a few speeches to investors there and in Alberta’s sister provinces of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv Oblast (where he’ll renew the sisterly memoranda of understanding) and will attend the International Trade Fair of the Oil & Gas Industry before flying home just in time for the start of the fall session of the Legislature on Oct. 30. Cost for Bilous, one political staffer, and one civil servant: $46,750.
  • Oct 26 CHECKING THE PIGGYBANK
    Heritage Savings Trust Fund committee holds its annual meeting and invites public input. Rocky Mountain Room, Federal Bldg. 7-9 pm. To watch and/or participate online, and perhaps ask why the fund is down, go to: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/committees/abheritagetrustfund/index.html and to view the Q1 update click here.
  • Oct 26 - 29 KENNY WITH 67%?
    On-line voting for the United Conservative Party leadership runs until 5 pm Saturday. Of the 106,000 eligible members, 61,670 are registered and 95% of those are expected to vote. Registered voters get their PINs on Oct. 23. Most everyone, including NDP insiders, are convinced the well-organized and well-financed Jason Kenney will beat Brian Jean on the first ballot (Alberta Party leader Greg Clark, for example, predicts Jace will get 63%). Doug Schweitzer, despite a consistently solid performance in the debates and this week’s endorsement from Dragon’s Den star and former CPC leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary, hasn’t the support from members to do much better than 10%. Results will be announced on Saturday at 5:15 pm at the BMO Centre on the Calgary Stampede grounds. A speech by the winner will be followed by a party with hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and live entertainment. Tickets $20 at https://unitedconservative.ca/Event?name=ldrshipelectioncelebration
  • Oct 27 TOKE TALK
    Final day to participate in the govt’s survey on recreational cannabis regulation outlined in a draft framework released three weeks ago (Insight, Oct. 7). The planned provisions include a minimum age of 18, tobacco-like prohibitions on smoking locations, and stand-alone retail outlets. The Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission will be the wholesaler, but survey participants are being asked if they’d prefer privately run retail (like Alberta’s liquor stores) or gov’t-run stores (the Ontario model) supported Saturday in a resolution passed at the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees convention. We’re sure the gov’t doesn’t want the capital expense of building & equipping stores, nor does it wish to upset what is probably the majority of the imbibing public who’d prefer the private model. AUPE noses will be out of joint (about a thousand unionized pot store workers were possible). We doubt, though, that AUPE will shift political allegiances from the NDP. To take the survey and read the framework go to: https://surveys.advanis.ca/alberta_cannabis_consultation

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending October 21st, 2017 Vol 32, No 55

PURPLE PERPETUATION — Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi celebrates his third victory, having staved off near defeat with the help of his pet Millennials and Dipper pals
The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.
George Bernard Shaw

Inside this week

THE TOP FORTY: THE MAYORS ELECTED OR ACCLAIMED IN ALBERTA'S LARGEST CITIES AND TOWNS
NENSHI RECOVERS FROM A NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE
JANSEN GETS THE JOB OF NDP AMBASSADOR TO CALGARY
THE BOUNDARY COMMISSION MAPS OUT THE NEXT ELECTION

Political Pulse

To many in the conservative camp, it had, in the final weeks of the election, appeared certain that their guy would score the winning touchdown. Calgary mayoral candidate Bill Smith, 54, corporate lawyer, past Progressive Conservative party president, former firefighter, former … football star, had a well-organized campaign team, the support of the business community, and (covertly) the backing of the Calgary Flames organization. He’d raised enough campaign money from developers and other businesses disgusted with the incumbent to run television ads, paper the town with signs and flyers, and employ an accomplished campaign team. We heard he raised a million bucks.

He wasn’t blue Calgary’s first choice. That honour went to Michelle Rempell, the feisty federal Conservative MP who’d got into an on-line pissing match with Mayor Naheed Nenshi in the spring, and seemed the perfect foil for the purple princeling whose arrogance was beginning to annoy Calgary’s mature population almost as much the escalations in the business and residential taxes. But Rempel decided she could live with the CPC’s newly chosen leader, after all, and bowed out, leaving Smith, the backup quarterback, to take the ball.

He wasn’t the ideal candidate. Unversed in the minutiae of civic affairs, unused to political debate, and often flubbing his facts, Smith relied on generic conservative messaging—lower taxes, smaller gov’t, fiscal discipline—without adding much that was insightful, new, or different. There would be no hail-Mary passes. Nonetheless, his was an unflappable and solid presence…

Top Story

After almost a year of travelling the province and listening to hundreds of submissions from provincial and local politicians, assorted interest groups, and concerned voters, the Electoral Boundaries Commission has produced its final recommendations on the rearrangement of Alberta’s 87 ridings for the next general election. With a few exceptions, the final recommendations are much the same as those in the interim report released in late May (Insight, June 2).

But this time there will be no further opportunity for outside input and legislation in the fall sitting (starting Oct. 30), which will cast them in stone for the next eight to ten years.At a press conference on Thursday, Chief Commissioner Myra Bielby, the Alberta Court of Appeal judge, flanked by her four fellow commissioners, explained again the reasoning behind the changes to the electoral map, which will see three more urban ridings and—to the chagrin of the United Conservative Party, which rules the ruralities­—three fewer seats in the sticks. Was this a gerrymander by a commission in which three of the five members, including Bielby, were chosen by the gov’t? Not necessarily.

Because Alberta’s population had grown by 14% since the 2010 redistribution, and because almost all of that growth was in the urban centres, many of the suburban ridings were far bigger than the current provincial average of 44,697­