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.
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were, instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.
One of Alberta’s drabber towns in one of its most scenic settings, Grande Cache was legislated into being by the provincial gov’t in 1966, under the Alberta New Towns Act (1956), to house the families of the 1,100 miners who would be moving in from the Maritimes, the UK, and elsewhere to extract the high-grade coking coal from the rich Smoky River field at the $35M McIntyre-Porcupine Ltd. mine.
Following its opening in 1969, the New Town of Grande Cache (as it was then known), situated on a 4,200-foot plateau 160 km north of Hinton, wasn’t expected to last much longer than 15 years—the duration of the million-ton-a-year contract McIntyre-Porcupine had negotiated with its Japanese steel making client. But despite the ups and downs in the coal market, which saw mine employment fluctuate between highs of 2,000 and lows of 150, despite several changes in mine ownership, and two years of closure in the mid-’teens, Grande Cache hung on as a town (as did most of the “New Towns” created during the resource booms of the 1950s and 1960s, including Drayton Valley, Hinton, Fort McMurray, Devon, Slave Lake, St. Albert, and High Level).
Last week, Grande Cache’s almost 50-year run came to an end...
Whoever is crafting the Premier’s speeches these days—and we’re thinking it’s Corey Hogan, head of Communications & Public Engagement (formerly the Public Affairs Bureau)—has been doing her a favour by injecting a decent laugh here and there.Take Rachel’s speech to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention in Red Deer on Thursday—not the friendliest of crowds. But they warmed to her considerably when she told a joke that took gentle aim at both the overgrown hipster rug that obscures the face of Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson and at the illegal hunting activities that resulted in MLA Derek Fildebrandt’s estrangement from the UCP.
“Jokes about Shaye’s beard are getting a little old, a little tired, so I’m going to do everything I can to resist the temptation,” she said, flashing an impish grin. “ But I will say that if that thing gets any more hairy, I’m a little worried that Derek Fildebrandt is going to try and shoot it.” (Much laughter.) From there on the crowd was hers…