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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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  • May 26- 27 WHICH OF THE 13?
    he Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership convention at the Toronto Congress Centre, with the ballot-by-ballot results being announced starting at 5 pm eastern time. Given the convoluted preferential balloting system, its difficult to predict which of the 13 candidates will win, although, with Kevin O’Leary having dropped out (Insight Apr. 28), urging his supporters to back Maxime Bernier, the latter is thought to have the edge. Although most ballots will have been mailed to Ottawa, there are a number of actual polling stations scattered around the country. The single Alberta polling station, for members of 17 north/central ridings, will be run out of the Chateau Nova Yellowhead, 13920 Yellowhead Trail, Edmonton, between 9 am and 2 pm.
  • May 27 EGGEN RICE
    Education Minister Dave Eggen and his Edmonton-Calder constituency members will be holding a $150-a-plate fundraiser billed as “an exciting night of traditional Thai food and entertainment” (Dave’s wife is Thai) at the Kensington Community League, 12130 134A Ave. For tickets:
    On-line voting begins in the Liberal leadership contest with Calgary lawyers Kerry Cundal and David Khan in the running. Not much to choose between the two, policy-wise, and the winner will likely be whoever sold the majority of the roughly 1,000 memberships purchased between the close of nominations at the end of March and the May 15 sales cut-off. (bringing the total membership to around 1,800). Voting goes until June 3, with the winner to be announced at the party’s AGM on June 4 in Calgary. For more info and to register for the AGM go to:

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending May 19th, 2017 Vol 31, No 33

TENTATIVE — Wildroser Brian Jean & PCer Jason Kenney with the "tentative" agreement they signed on a plan to unite the right. Guess whose smile is genuine?
If Parliament is to be preserved as a living institution, the Loyal Opposition must fearlessly perform its functions. When it properly discharges them the preservation of our freedom is assured. It must be vigilant against oppression & unjust invasions by the Cabinet of the rights of the people. It finds fault; it suggests amendments; it asks questions & elicits information; it arouses, educates & molds public opinion by voice & vote. It must scrutinize every action by the gov't and in doing so
Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, as quoted by federal Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose in the House of Commons Tuesday following the announcement of her upcoming departure as Opposition leader and MP for Sturgeon River-Parkland

Inside this week

The Rosers and the Tories reach an agreement on creating a unified party. But will it fly?
A panel recommends a revamping of the National Energy Board that includes a move to Ottawa
Interim Federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose leaves politics and says she will not run for the leadership of the United Conservative Party. She will, however, be a formidable supporter of Jason Kenney

Top Story

One might have expected streamers and champagne Thursday afternoon when PC leader Jason Kenney and his Wildrose counterpart Brian Jean finally took to their podiums to announce their merger deal (­having kept the room waiting for 20 minutes). But the impression left was not one of overt jubilation­—well, certainly not on the Tory side.

Kenney, 48, looked downright miserable: the pudgy face drooped, the rounded shoulders slumped, and those small brown eyes, usually bright as bullets, were brimming with tears­—and not the joyful kind.

Jean on the other hand… Well, here’s a man whose tear ducts can be activated at the flick of a political switch, and someone who admits to being nervous to the point of nausea when speaking in public, no matter how many hundred times the former MP has performed. And yet on Thursday neither proclivity was present.

A head taller than Kenney, 40 pounds lighter, and tanned from his thrice weekly 7-km runs, the Wildrose leader was chipper—cocky even­—and completely at ease. The alpha pooch to Jason’s rescue dog.

The disparity of miens seemed odd. Had Kenney just received news of a family tragedy? A break-up text from a boyfriend? A cancer diagnosis?Our apologies if any of those things apply, but our suspicion is that Brian had laid a beating on Jason—contractually speaking, of course­—and that the realization had just sunk in...

Political Pulse

When interim Conservative Party of Canada Leader Rona Ambrose, 48, announced on Tuesday that she would be quitting her Sturgeon River-Parkland seat, the timing seemed synchronistic, auspicious even. For Rona’s reveal came just two days before the Wildrose and the PCs announced their merger agreement.

Good news, it seemed, for those conservatives who’d been hoping the popular MP, with the mischievous twinkle and the Elvira coif, would stand for the leadership for the United Conservative Party. After all, various unofficial polls, like the phone-in survey conducted by CHED talk radio host Ryan, had Rona pulling twice the percentages of either Jason Kenney or Brian Jean.

After all, what better Conservative to take on Rachel Notley than an attractive former federal cabinet minister with feminist credentials­—as Status of Women Minister she led the campaign to convince the United Nations to create an International Day of the Girl­­—whose stint as Opposition Leader had earned plaudits from all sides of the House?

But the Ambrosial dreams were dashed on Thursday when Global News’ Ottawa reporter (and former Alberta Leg. Press Gallery member) Vassy Kapelos asked the lady if she were interested…