Past Newsletter Issues

  • Week ending November 11th, 2017 Vol 32, No 58
    "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session."
    –New York Judge Gideon J. Tucker, 1866
    ALBERTA PARTY POSSIBLES
    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 ...

    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 Progress...

  • Week ending November 4th, 2017 Vol 32, No 57
    " We’ll stand against UCP’s job-killing, gay-outing, school-cutting, health privatizing, backward-looking, hope-destroying, divisive agenda."
    –Rachel Notley sounds the battle cry on Twitter
    DECLARING WAR ON JASON
    Top Story

    Education minister David Eggen’s camera-ready grin is a binary thing, switching between self-satisfied and triumphant with an ease that bespeaks regular oiling. On Thursday, after leading what amoun...

    Political Pulse

    During the UPC leadership campaign, and in his victory speech last weekend, Jason Kenney repeatedly described the NDP as “this deceptive, divisive, debt-quadrupling, tax-hiking, job-killing, acciden...

  • Week ending October 28th, 2017 Vol 32, No 56 Download PDF
    "Well, it's another miracle on the prairies!"
    –Jason Kenney, wishfully channelling Ralph Klein during his UCP victory speech
    BALOONERY
    Talk in the Corridors

    Last Monday’s two federal byelections held both good and bad news for the Conservative Party of Canada. Predictably, the good news came from Sturgeon River-Parkland, the exurban riding west of Edm...

    Top Story

    Jason Kenney, rotund and orotund, steamrollered to victory Saturday evening in front of almost two thousand conservatives at Calgary’s BMO Centre. And at least two-thirds of them were ecstatic, mobb...

  • Week ending October 21st, 2017 Vol 32, No 55
    "The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not."
    –George Bernard Shaw
    PURPLE PERPETUATION
    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 la...

    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 ...

  • Week ending October 14th, 2017 Vol 32, No 54
    "In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."
    –Mark Twain
    LOADING IN BURNABY
    Top Story

    The cases for and against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion were heard by three justices of the Federal Court of Appeal in Vancouver during the last two weeks and now the waiting gam...

    Political Pulse

    This week’s Angus Reid poll on the United Conservative Party, its approval levels, and those of the three leadership candidates didn’t tell us anything the half dozen or more polls released since ...

  • Week ending October 7th, 2017 Vol 32, No 53
    "After careful review of changed circumstances, we will be informing the National Energy Board that we will no longer be proceeding with our Energy East and Eastern Mainline applications."
    –TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, in a prepared statement, kills the Energy East pipeline
    TRANSMOGRIFICATION
    Political Pulse

    In a move that came as a surprise to most of her colleagues­—including the party whip—NDP MLA Karen McPherson, 50, (Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill) announced on Wednesday that she was quitting the gov...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been a friendly face to the NDP gov’t in a town alarmingly short of Dipper buds. He has never seriously criticized his Edmonton masters, and his progressive, anti-bu...

  • Week ending September 30th, 2017 Vol 32, No 52
    "It is much better to enact a minimum-wage law even if it deprives those unfortunates of work. Better that the state should support the inefficient wholly and prevent the multiplication of the breed than to subsidize incompetence and unthrift, enabling them to bring forth more of their kind."
    –Royal Meeker, President Woodrow Wilson's Commissioner of Labour, puts forward the eugenicist position on minimum wage legislation in 1910.
    FRONT-RUNNER
    Political Pulse

    In 2010, Naheed Nenshi came up through the middle of two strong candidates to win the 2010 election with 39% of the vote. Then in 2013, having endeared himself to the populace (and the national medi...

    Top Story

    The concept of a minimum wage has rather dark roots in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when its champions included luminaries of the eugenics movement, who considered this legislated “wage fl...

  • Week ending September 23rd, 2017 Vol 32, No 51 Download PDF
    "And there is the headlight, shining far down the track, glinting off the steel rails that, like all parallel lines, will meet in infinity, which is after all where this train is going."
    –Bruce Catton (1899-1978), American historian
    MARINE TERMINAL, VALDEZ, AK
    Top Story

    Matt Vickers describes the gathering in High Level two weeks ago as a “coming out party” for a railway project to which he and his partners have devoted much of the past decade—and it doesn’t ...

    Political Pulse

    Who won the United Conservative Party’s leadership debate in Calgary Wednesday? Well, according to press releases fired off by three of the four candidates­—Jason Kenney, Brian Jean, and Jeff Cal...

  • Week ending September 16th, 2017 Vol 32, No 50 Download PDF
    "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status."
    –Laurence J. Peter (1919-1990) Canadian author of The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong (1969).
    THE FOUR GENTLEMEN
    Talk in the Corridors

    It is the wise male politician who observes the following dictum: when hiring a female assistant or constituency manager, pick a matronly grandmother type and reject at all costs the young and pulchri...

    Political Pulse

    We finally figured out why Jason Kenney looked teary and crestfallen while Wildrose Leader Brian Jean appeared cocky when the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose leader ssigned their historic merger...

  • Week ending July 29th, 2017 Vol 31, No 43
    "If the ends don't justify the means, what does?"
    – Saul Alinsky
    BIRTHING PROCESS BEGINS
    Top Story

    A modicum of jubilation greeted last weekend’s announcements by the Wildrose in Red Deer and the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary that union had been achieved. Not just that, but the members of ...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The Public Affairs Bureau (PAB), long a favourite target of opposition members for its perceived partisanship, is no more­—at least not by that name. Last Wednesday, PAB managing director Corey H...

  • Week ending July 1st, 2017 Vol 31, No 39
    "The great themes of Canadian history are as follows: Keeping the Americans out, keeping the French in, and trying to get the Natives to somehow disappear. "
    –Will Ferguson, Alberta-born novelist and humorist
    REFINERY & ITS MAKER
    Top Story

    Ian McGregor, President & CEO of the fiscally challenged, gov’t-backed Sturgeon Refinery is a mechanical engineer with a fetish for machines and technology. At his idyllic ranch west of Cochrane...

    Political Pulse

    As a capper to the tumultuous day in BC politics on Thursday, we had half expected BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to favour Premier Christy Clark by dissolving the gov’t election. Guichon, a...

  • Week ending June 24th, 2017 Vol 31, No 38
    "Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity. "
    –Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-80), Canadian philosopher
    NEW BEGINNINGS
    Top Story

    Barely has a day gone by in the last six months that the Notley gov’t has not announced a handout of cash to some group or another­—almost always accompanied by a photo-op-friendly press conferen...

    Political Pulse

    About 350 middle-of-the-roaders showed up in the halfway city of Red Deer Saturday for what might, but then again might not, mark the beginning of a major­—but moderate­—political force. “Al...

  • Week ending June 16th, 2017 Vol 31, No 37
    "Canada was built on dead beavers "
    –Margaret Atwood
    AP ED
    Top Story

    Not so long ago, it was called “the Indian problem,” and although white guilt and liberal gentility has evolved semantically to the point where new locutions are required annually to describe C...

    Political Pulse

    Internecine skirmishing and threats of hostile political interference from the enemy camp marked this week’s travails in the conservative unity campaign. The skirmishing began on Monday when ...

  • Week ending June 9th, 2017 Vol 31, No 36
    "Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth"
    –Lillian Hellman, The Little Foxes, 1939
    THE RISE OF KHAN
    Top Story

    Pick your cliché: The road to hell is paved with good intentions; No good deed goes unpunished; The law of unintended consequences… all might be applied to the Alberta govt’s legislation that was...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Although conceived, the birth of the United Conservative Party will not happen unless 75%+1 of the Wildrose membership and 59%+1 of Progressive Conservative members vote in favour of the merger on Jul...

  • Week ending June 2nd, 2017 Vol 31, No 35
    "We’ll stand against UCP’s job-killing, gay-outing, school-cutting, health privatizing, backward-looking, hope-destroying, divisive agenda."
    –Rachel Notley sounds the battle cry on Twitter
    DECLARING WAR ON JASON
    Top Story

    Education minister David Eggen’s camera-ready grin is a binary thing, switching between self-satisfied and triumphant with an ease that bespeaks regular oiling. On Thursday, after leading what amoun...

    Political Pulse

    During the UPC leadership campaign, and in his victory speech last weekend, Jason Kenney repeatedly described the NDP as “this deceptive, divisive, debt-quadrupling, tax-hiking, job-killing, acciden...

  • Week ending May 19th, 2017 Vol 31, No 33 Download PDF
    "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
    TENTATIVE
    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 (­ha...

    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. F...

  • Week ending May 12th, 2017 Vol 31, No 32 Download PDF
    "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
    TENTATIVE
    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 (­ha...

    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. F...

  • Week ending May 5th, 2017 Vol 31, No 31
    "A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing."
    –Alexander Hamilton (1755 - 1804), US statesman, founder of the American financial system, and current Broadway phenomenon.
    COAL TO CHINA
    Top Story

    Thermal coal, the kind used to generate electricity, is, according to campaigning BC Premier Christy Clark, “filthy coal,” and that is part of the reason she has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudea...

    Political Pulse

    Rachel Notley seemed oddly subdued at Thursday’s press conference when she was asked to speak about the two-year anniversary of the NDP win. Considering the self-congratulatory braggadocio we’ve b...

  • Week ending April 28th, 2017 Vol 31, No 30 Download PDF
    "Neither will it be, that a people overlaid with taxes should ever become valiant and martial."
    –Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
    GOOFIN' AROUND
    Top Story

    Undoubtedly, one of the quirkiest sights in nature is the gangly retreat of an Australian frilled lizard. When this unique creature feels threatened, it rises on its hind legs, opens its yellow-colore...

    Political Pulse

    We’d almost forgotten about the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership race until, on Wednesday, the Dragon/Shark created a flurry of excitement among the national punditry by announcing he wa...

  • Week ending April 21st, 2017 Vol 31, No 29
    "This is a project that I believe is not in the interest of British Columbia, not in the interest of our marine environment, not in the interest of our economy"
    –BC NDP Leader John Horgan on the Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline
    FRENEMIES
    Top Story

    Politics may make strange bedfellows but can also make estranged bedfellows. The latter would seem to be the case with the once close and interconnected branches of the New Democratic Party in Alberta...

    Political Pulse

    By the time the Legislature broke for its second spring break (aka “constituency week”) on Thursday, opposition members were growing a little weary of Labour Minister Christina Gray’s party piec...

  • Week ending April 14th, 2017 Vol 31, No 29
    "Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction."
    –BOB MARLEY
    HOISTING THE ORANGE
    Top Story

    With this week’s roll-out of federal cannabis legislation, calling for legalization and regulation by July 1, 2018, the hard work now begins for the provinces. “It will be a challenge,” admitt...

    Political Pulse

    Like the ancient and resilient insect that, it is said, will inherit a nuclear devastated earth, the Alberta Liberal Party has survived all manner of ignominy and near extinction in its century and a ...

  • Week ending March 24th, 2017 Vol 31, No 26
    "It’s going to be an incredible pipeline, greatest technology known to man or woman. And frankly, we’re very proud of it."
    –US President Donald Trump in approving the cross-border permit for the Keystone XL pipeline
    HAPPY OILMAN
    Political Pulse

    Since Jason Kenney first announced his intention to run for the PC leadership, former PC cabinet minister and Edmonton Castle Downs MLA Thomas Lukaszuk, 47, has dogged his every step, with a relentle...

    Top Story

    A tip to energy investors: don’t dump those rail stocks just yet. Donald Trump’s approval of the presidential permit for the 830K-barrel-day, US$8B Keystone XL pipeline in Washington on Friday, fl...

  • Week ending March 17th, 2017 Vol 31, No 25
    "Today we have chosen unity. Today it’s springtime in Alberta!"
    –Jason Kenney, channelling his inner Notley in his acceptance speech for the PC Leadership
    SEIS AMIGOS
    Political Pulse

    In the packed hall of the Telus Conference Centre, as the balloons were raining down on the victorious Jason Kenney Saturday evening, several NDP gov’t personages were watching from the rear with i...

    Top Story

    Female caribou can live for up to 17 years, while males can expect 13. Either way, none of the calves that will be succored in the Alberta Climate Change office’s new Caribou rearing facility—20...

  • Week ending March 10th, 2017 Vol 31, No 24 Download PDF
    " Until conditions of equality exist, no one can possibly assess the natural differences between women and men, distorted as they have been. What is natural to the two sexes can only be found out by allowing both to develop and use their faculties freely"
    –English philosopher and first-wave feminist John Stuart Mill in his essay "The Subjugation of Women" (1869)
    SNUGGLES AHOY?
    Top Story

    Like a dog with a bone, Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann (Calgary-Mountain View) has grabbed onto the issue of opioid addiction and, for more than a year, has been hounding the gov’t to declare a stat...

    Political Pulse

    This was the week of International Women’s Day, which provided much opportunity for the NDP feminocracy to indulge itself in a chorus of self-congratulation, to fill the galleries with various “st...

  • Week ending March 3rd, 2017 Vol 31, No 23
    "The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them"
    –Samuel Goldsmith (1730-74)
    Theo Moudakis in the Toronto Star
    Political Pulse

    Given the sprawling field of federal Conservative leadership contenders, a mnemonic system might be useful. Or at least fun. We can, of course, think of Kevin O’Leary as Donald Trump. Kellie Leitc...

    Top Story

    The only thing more soporific than Thursday’s Speech from the Throne will be the hours of Legislative time devoted in the coming weeks to “Consideration of Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor’s S...

  • Week ending February 24th, 2017 Vol 31, No 22
    "We’ve come to the fork in the road, we’ve turned the corner, and we’re on a new path for a better Alberta."
    –Jim Dinning, Finance minister in the Klein gov't, plays fast and loose with the metaphors in his first budget speech, delivered on May 9, 1993
    SMILE & SPEND
    Political Pulse

    The latest Alberta poll, done for Postmedia by Quito Maggi’s Mainstreet shop, surveyed almost 2,600 Albertans by robo-call, gauging their their support for the provincial parties, the federal partie...

    Top Story

    It could be worse. Alberta’s deficit—forecasted by Finance Minister Joe Ceci in his Q3 update Thursday to remain at $10.6B for the current fiscal year—sits at $2,225 per person. Newfoundland &am...

  • Week ending February 17th, 2017 Vol 31, No 21
    " Humility is the embarrassment you feel when you tell people how wonderful you are."
    –Laurence J. Peter, Canadian educator & originator of the Peter Principle
    HAPPY DAVE
    Talk in the Corridors

    The last ditch attempt by Jeff Rath, Calgary lawyer and campaigner for Richard Starke, to have leadership front-runfner Jason Kenney booted from the race for doing harm to the PC brand (Insight Feb. 1...

    Top Story

    We caught Arthur Kent, the former NBC war correspondent known as the “Scud Stud” during his reports from the first Gulf war, on Jesse Brown’s Canadaland podcast this week. Speaking in his splend...

  • Week ending February 10th, 2017 Vol 31, No 20
    " A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled."
    –Sir Barnett Cocks, clerk of the British House Commons (‘62-‘74)
    LEDUC NO. 1
    Top Story

    Censuses can delight or dismay, but rarely do they surprise, and the 2016 population figures released by StatsCan on Wednesday in the first phase of the censu...

    Political Pulse

    It’s hardly a holy trinity, but neither is the trio of Jason Kenney, Dr. Richard Starke, and Byron Nelson a particularly unholy one. And watching these three dudes duke it out at the final PC Leader...

  • Week ending February 3rd, 2017 Vol 31, No 19
    "Recent Alberta evidence indicates that it is dangerous and costly to continue splitting the non-socialist vote between a number of professing free enterprise parties. Broader experience suggests that lack of unity among Canadian conservatives generally has fostered widespread public disbelief that conservative elements in Canada can ever assert their position in unity and with national effect at the polls and in policy."
    –From the preamble to "Alberta Political Proposal," a report prepared by Preston Manning, Joe Clark, and others in 1966, proposing a union of the Social Credit and Progressive Conservative parties provincially and nationally.
    BREAKING HIS PROMISE
    Top Story

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speeches both in the House Monday afternoon, and at the vigil that evening, bore more than a slight whiff of greasepaint. “The country’s heart is breaking…” W...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The govt’s top tag team of Premier Rachel Notley and Finance Minister Joe Ceci held their telephone townhalls on Monday and Tuesday nights as part of the so-called “consultation” process in adv...

  • Week ending January 27th, 2017 Vol 31, No 18
    "It's hard to believe that Trump could make my phone ring, but he has. He just made one announcement and my phone is ringing fairly steadily."
    –Hardisty realtor Connie Beringer, who says business interest in the town is growing just days after U.S. President Donald Trump revived the possibility of constructing the Keystone XL pipeline from Hardisty to Steele City, Nebraska.
    KEYSTONE REVIVED
    Political Pulse

    When considering political leaders, it seems redundant to talk about egos. Unlike hearts or penises, egos are something that they all like to pretend are smaller than they really are. And both Wildros...

    Top Story

    So I would approve it, because I love the jobs of building it; I love the jobs of building it. But I may say, ‘Maybe we should get 10%, 15%, maybe 20% as that oil flows through our land.’ Maybe we...

  • Week ending January 20th, 2017 Vol 31, No 17
    "The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning"
    –Adlai Stevenson, two-time failed presidential candidate
    THE LAST LIBERAL PREMIER
    Top Story

    The week of intrigue & tumult in the affairs of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta began last Saturday with the decision by the party executive to suspend leadership candidate Jas...

    Political Pulse

    God love those Alberta Liberals. Few others seem to. At least not for the past decade, as their legislative seat count slid from 16 to 1; and not for a large portion of the last century when, in the ...

  • Week ending January 13th, 2017 Vol 31, No 16
    "I guess the lesson is we shouldn’t be fooled by good looking liberals."
    –Jane Fonda expresses disappointment with Justin Trudeau's pipeline approvals
    JANE HOLDS COURT
    Political Pulse

    With the delegate selections for the Progressive Conservative leadership heavily favouring him, Jason Kenney had to have been feeling his oats this week. But at two well-attended “town halls” in C...

    Top Story

    It was not so very long ago that everyone called them “tar sands.” It wasn’t a pejorative, but merely a descriptive term for the tarry treasure once seen as the ideal substance for paving Albert...

  • Week ending December 16th, 2016 Vol 31, No 15
    "There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action."
    –Bertrand Russell
    THE MAN BEHIND THE SCENES
    Top Story

    With the clock on the wall threatening 1 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in mid-December, nasty, uncharitable thoughts about this grand old Westminster parliamentary system of ours start creeping out of th...

    Political Pulse

    To the regret of punsters everywhere, Brian Topp, the premier’s imperious, topp-down, chief of staff has been toppled from his perch just 18½ months into a 4½ year contract. Rachel Notley de...

  • Week ending December 9th, 2016 Vol 31, No 14
    "This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel."
    –Horace Walpole (1776)
    SERENITY
    Top Story

    Irfan Sabir has a distant, rather academic manner, and speaks in a quiet, Pakistani-accented monotone—almost a drone—that registers little emotion, even when he says the kinds of things he was say...

    Political Pulse

    Winston Churchill, having jumped from the Conservatives to the Liberals and then back again, famously quipped (and when did he ever quip unfamously?) “Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuit...

  • Week ending December 2nd, 2016 Vol 31, No 13
    "For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else."
    –Winston Churchill, speaking at the Lord Mayor's banquet, 1954
    SOCIAL LICENCE NOT WORKING HERE
    Top Story

    Déja vu being what it is, there’s a tendency to extrapolate similar outcomes. When Justin Trudeau stood up in Ottawa on Tuesday, with Rachel Notley nearby and smiling her feline full-of-canary smil...

    Political Pulse

    The Scrooges on the opposite side of the House seemed untransformed. There was no giddy laughter, no handing off of half crowns to small pages to purchase poultry for the Tiny Tims on the Liberal and...

  • Week ending November 25th, 2016 Vol 31, No 12
    "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled."
    –Sir Barnett Cocks, clerk of the UK House Commons (‘62-‘74)
    TWO BROWN POSSIBLES
    Top Story

    It was an electrically charged week at the Alberta Legislature, with the NDP finally having its chance to poke a stick at Ralph Klein’s de-regulated power system. In an incremental series of announc...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Greg Clark (Calgary-Elbow) has been the little engine that could ever since he became leader of the rumpish Alberta Party three years ago. Marching alone to a beat of I-think-I-can-I-think-I-think-I-c...

  • Week ending November 18th, 2016 Vol 31, No 11
    "But the answer I gave the young radicals seemed to me the only realistic one: 'Do one of three things. One, go find a wailing wall and feel sorry for yourselves. Two, go psycho and start bombing—but this only swings people to the right. Three, learn a lesson. Go home, organize, build power and at the next convention, you be the delegates.'"
    – Leftist American organizer Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (1971)
    BLONDE AMBITION
    Top Story

    It is a tradition rather dreaded by Alberta gov’ts: at the fall conference of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Countries (AAMDC) cabinet ministers appear on stage and take question...

    Political Pulse

    There’s Progressive Conservative and there’s out-and-out progressive. On Thursday Sandra Jansen (Calgary-North West) decided that she was the latter. Ten days after her withdrawal from the PC part...

  • Week ending November 11th, 2016 Vol 31, No 10 Download PDF
    "Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few"
    –Geore Bernard Shaw, "Democracy"
    Cartoonist David Rowe in the Financial Review (Australia)
    Top Story

    The official response in Edmonton and Ottawa to the election of President Donald Trump reminded us of the junior and subservient position of Canada on the North American continent. For although we kno...

    Political Pulse

    It was a good week in the Legislature for Brian Jean and his Wildrosers, in large part because of the gifts from the south. For what seems like forever, Jeanie and the Prickles—to use the vernacular...

  • Week ending November 4th, 2016 Vol 31, No 09
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever."
    –Napoleon Bonaparte
    THE SIX CANDIDATES
    Political Pulse

    Before the PC leadership forum began Saturday night, we were expecting that the two leading combatants among the six—the two winners, if you will—would be right-leaning Jason Kenney and left-leani...

    Top Story

    In reviewing the first week of the fall sitting of the Legislature, perhaps we should start with the hearts and flowers. As Wildrose House Leader Nathan Cooper (Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills) put it at th...

  • Week ending October 28th, 2016 Vol 31, No 08
    "The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level"
    –Norman Mailer
    JIM'S STUFF
    Top Story

    When Education Minister Dave Eggen pulled the accreditation of Trinity Christian School in Cold Lake this week, leaving 3,500 of the home-schooled students without support, it appeared an entirely jus...

    Political Pulse

    We’d been told by a party insider that this would be a major speech. Wildrose’s communications chief had written it, but leader Brian Jean had spent many hours honing and tweaking the text in prep...

  • Week ending October 14th, 2016 Vol 31, No 06
    ""Over time this government has lost its way. And watching from afar, I was as frustrated and disappointed as anyone. I wasn't at the table when those decisions were being made. But I'm at the table now."
    –Jim Prentice in his acceptance speech after winning the PC leadership contest on Sept. 5, 2014
    J.P.'s last goodbye
    Top Story

    The news that was seeping around the corridors of Calgary Friday morning seemed to hard to believe. Jim Prentice killed in a plane crash? It seemed too random, too serendipitous, too much of bad thin...

    Political Pulse

    After weeks of coyness, MLA Sandra Jansen, 53 (Calgary-North West) finally announced her candidacy for the Progressive Conservative leadership contest. She joins MLA Richard Starke (Vermilion-Lloydmin...

  • Week ending October 7th, 2016 Vol 31, No 05 Download PDF
    "In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap."
    –Napoleon Bonaparte
    PIPELINE PUSHERS
    Top Story

    Two stunts, two weeks apart, and both in support of oil pipelines to the sea, brought similar reactions, albeit from different sides of the political divide: to sum them up: who are you trying to kid!...

    Political Pulse

    Chief gov’t flack Mark Wells, lured from his job as communications chief at the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees barely a year ago, is being replaced. The new Managing Director of the Public ...

  • Week ending September 30th, 2016 Vol 31, No 04
    "He is not only dull himself, but the cause of dullness in others. "
    –Samuel Johnson
    Jason Busters
    Political Pulse

    The official announcements this week by two reddish Calgary Tories and a centrist from east-central Alberta of their intentions to run for the PC Leadership on March 18 marked the beginnings of the in...

    Top Story

    As the economy creaks, groans, and threatens to fall in on itself, this unlucky Alberta gov’ts does what it can to salve the growing unrest and unhappiness with brave talk and small but sweet tokens...

  • Week ending September 23rd, 2016 Vol 31, No 03 Download PDF
    "They say that these pipelines are nation building, and they’re right.” said Berman to a group of hursute protesters. “They’re building a nation of resistance, and from Northern Quebec where thousands of people are joining town halls against Energy East, from northern Ontario, in Alberta, across British Columbia we are seeing people standing up, people taking a stand for the future to ensure that we can build a Canada that we are proud of again"
    –Tzeporah Berman, environmental activists and a Shannon Phillips appointee to the Oilsands Advisory Council, speaking to those protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, Burnaby Mountain, 2014
    LEG. BABY 2
    Political Pulse

    For one or other of those competing Calgary groups that have sprung up in the last year to bring the right together—Get Alberta Working, or Alberta Prosperity, or Annihilate the Orange Bastards… o...

    Talk in the Corridors

    We can’t help it: the name excites visions of pagan stuff: witches, goblins, dark forests, and, well, wild-eyed eco hippies from British Columbia. For that of course is what Tzeporah Berman, whom En...

  • Week ending September 16th, 2016 Vol 31, No 02
    "The interest of the general population is to preserve human life; the interest of corporations is to make profits – those are fundamentally different interests."
    –Noam Chomsky, linguist and socialist philosopher
    TWO AMIGOS
    Top Story

    As the probability of building those all important pipelines to tidewater became ever more elusive, and the Notley govt’s strategy to gain “social licence” for their approval has been met with i...

    Political Pulse

    Jason Kenney, who spent the summer touring outlying and far flung ridings in his pre-campaign campaigning for the PC Leadership (nominations open Oct. 1), has lately returned to the big cities to deli...

  • Week ending September 9th, 2016 Vol 31, No 01
    " An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today."
    –Laurence J. Peter
    RED QUEEN HUNG
    Top Story

    The Joe Ceci who delivered Alberta’s 2016-17 first quarter fiscal report two weeks ago, didn’t sound much different from last year’s Joe: energy revenues were down, the economy is shrinking, and...

    Political Pulse

    Jason Kenney, 48, the former federal cabinet minister who would be king of Alberta’s bifurcated right, dominated the summer politicking news with his pre-campaign, pickup-truck tour of the province ...

  • Week ending July 1st, 2016 Vol 30, No 40
    " Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke. "
    –Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
    JAUNTY JOE
    Political Pulse

    At press time Jason Kenney was still contemplating whether he would run for the provincial PC leadership, but the federal Conservative MP for Calgary Midnapore and former Harper gov’t cabinet minist...

    Top Story

    Finance minister Joe Ceci seemed positively jaunty in presenting the govt’s dismal 2015-16 annual report on Wednesday, which included a higher than anticipated deficit and lower than expected tax re...

  • Week ending June 24th, 2016 Vol 30, No 39
    " The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor."
    –Hubert Humphrey, US Vice President (1965-69)
    GREAT RIGHT HOPE?
    Political Pulse

    A frisson of excitement ran down Alberta’s right wing this week following the kind-of, sort-of suggestion that federal Conservative MP and former Harper-gov’t cabinet minister Jason Kenney (Calga...

    Talk in the Corridors

    In a reformist program with vaguely Soviet undertones, the NDP gov’t is in the throes of a major review and revamp of the multifarious agencies, boards, and commissions (ABCs), established and appoi...

  • Week ending June 17th, 2016 Vol 30, No 38
    "The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others."
    –Bertrand Russell
    ANTHEM ALTERER
    Top Story

    Sitting in the press paddock at the rear of the convention hall of Calgary’s smart Hyatt hotel last weekend and listening to Rachel Notley deliver a lengthy and triumphal speech to the 850 Dipper de...

    Political Pulse

    It had the appearance of being one of those rare sweet moments in the House of Commons when love fills the air and members of all political stripes sing in perfect harmony. Early Wednesday evening, ...

  • Week ending June 10th, 2016 Vol 30, No 37 Download PDF
    "No prosecution will be commenced or continued against a physician (or a member of the health care team) that provides information regarding physician-assisted death, dispenses a drug, provides physician assisted death, or otherwise participates in a physician assisted death that falls within the parameters described by the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter 2015."
    –Directive issued by Alberta Justice to police chiefs and Crown prosecutors on June 7. The directive remains in force until the federal gov't proclaims assisted dying legislation.
    NO LONGER JUST GERIATRIC SEALS
    Political Pulse

    The first spring session of the 29th Legislature ended Tuesday afternoon, with members still bleary-eyed from the marathon session the night before that had gone to 4:27 a.m. The Opposition members ha...

    Talk in the Corridors

    How do you solve a problem like Gregor? Especially if you’re a western Canadian leader for whom oil is the mother’s milk of politics, and pipelines to tidewater are the nipple? (Too much of a...

  • Week ending June 3rd, 2016 Vol 30, No 36 Download PDF
    "Now Stephen Harper told me not to do it. And if I did do it, to tell all of you to go to hell"
    –Rona Ambrose delivers the best standup routine of the three leaders at Saturday's Press Gallery Dinner
    NO LOSS OF SWAGGER
    Top Story

    The Nazis practiced what is referred to in the literature as “involuntary euthanasia,” meaning consent of the victim was not necessary. Hundreds of thousands of mentally and physically handicapped...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, still experiencing periodic frissons of pleasure when recalling the surprising number of delegates (1,000+) who attended its AGM last month (we’d...

  • Week ending May 27th, 2016 Vol 30, No 35
    "The left is back, and it's the only path we have to get out of the spot to which the right has sunken us. Socialism builds and capitalism destroys."
    –Hugo Chavez
    QUEEN OF ALL SHE SURVEYS
    Top Story

    There’s been bemusement this session by members of the opposition over Bill 1, the Promoting Job Creation and Diversification Act, which was introduced by Economic & Trade Minister Deron Bilous ...

    Talk in the Corridors

    As the gov’t proceeds with its review of the agencies, boards, and commissions, trimming the deadwood, and taking a hard look at the salaries paid to some of the top executives, the woman who curren...

  • Week ending May 20th, 2016 Vol 30, No 34
    "The fact that the forest fire season has arrived so early in northern Alberta is very likely a climate event - very likely related to extreme high temperatures and very low humidity, very low precipitation and it is, as we saw in the quote from one of the firefighters - it’s a firestorm. It jumped a highway, it jumped a river. It’s a devastating tragedy right now and I think our focus is always on the right now: to think for the firefighters, for first responders, for people who are losing t"
    –Green Party Leader Elizabeth May links the Fort Mac fire to climate change on May 4. Prime Minister Trudeau chided her, saying, "No credible climate scientist would make this claim, and neither do I make this claim."
    BEFORE & AFTER
    Top Story

    We watched the familiar pantomime of British Columbian environmental protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby pipeline terminal this week—earnest young students with the standard piercings, geri...

    Political Pulse

    Wildrose Leader Brian Jean’s political fortunes during the Great Fire have worked out a whole lot better than those of predecessor Danielle Smith during the 2013 southern Alberta floods—even thoug...

  • Week ending May 13th, 2016 Vol 30, No 33
    " Lack of money is the root of all evil."
    –George Bernard Shaw
    JUSTIN & THE CHIEF
    Political Pulse

    For national leaders, visiting disaster zones can be a tricky business. On the one hand one must be careful not be appear like one is using the disaster as a photo op­—as Liberal PM Jean Chrétien ...

    Top Story

    "Stabilization and re-entry,” is the terminology used by Alberta Emergency Management Agency boss Shane Schreiber to describe the phase of operations that saw hundreds of gov’t and contracted empl...

  • Week ending May 6th, 2016 Vol 30, No 32
    ""Can you imagine how proud if we evacuated 80,000-plus people without one injury or death down one highway in a matter of hours. These are the people I grew up with"
    –Wildrose Leader Brian Jean waxing sentimental during a tour of his fire ravaged - and completely evacuated - city
    IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST
    Political Pulse

    This weekend the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta held its AGM in Red Deer. The familiar venue was the Sheraton hotel (neé the Capri), site of many a joyous Tory shindig back in the d...

    Top Story

    If those capricious tropical storms and hurricanes can have names, why not wildfires? Certainly the monstrous conflagration that has raged like a madman around Fort McMurray this past week, causing th...

  • Week ending April 29th, 2016 Vol 30, No 31
    "Committee--a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done."
    –Fred Allen
    UNHISTORIC AGREEMENT
    Top Story

    It’s one of those rituals in which finance ministers feel obliged to partake—like kissing the Blarney for an Irishman, or suiting up and playing hockey for the Edmonton Oilers—symbolic gestures,...

    Political Pulse

    The first-quarter contribution fi gures posted by Elections Alberta, suggest that the Wildrose’s avid telephone fundraising is paying off , with the party having raised $448,912.71 in the fi rst...

  • Week ending April 22nd, 2016 Vol 30, No 30
    " Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."
    –Will Rogers
    MALCOLM MAYES IN THE EDMONTON JOURNAL
    Top Story

    Before things got nasty, Monday afternoon’s business in the Legislature was a madrigal of harmony as members on both sides of the House debated 21-year-old MLA Thomas Dang’s (Edmonton- South We...

    Political Pulse

    The only surprise in Tuesday’s Manitoba election was the lack of surprises. Since late last year, polls had Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservatives pulling in around 50% support, Greg Sell...

  • Week ending April 15th, 2016 Vol 30, No 29
    "There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt. "
    – P. T. Barnum
    BUDGET BUDS
    Top Story

    Initial impressions of the “first” NDP budget: Dippers will love it. Plenty of spending on social work, taxing all and sundry to save the planet (but rebating it to low-earners in true leveller st...

    Political Pulse

    There always seems a large element of futility in the exertions of the official opposition, be it from the Liberals or NDP when they faced that impregnable massif of Tories, or now for the 23 members ...

  • Week ending April 8th, 2016 Vol 30, No 29
    "A lot of people can say a lot of things and talk a lot of things from their downtown Toronto perch, but in Alberta our focus is on ensuring that we’ve got good-paying jobs. That is not talking, that’s doing.”"
    –Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips criticizes the decision of the national NDP membership to consider the radical, anti-fossil fuel Leap Manifesto
    ENGAGED
    Political Pulse

    N ot since her election victory speech last May  have we seen Rachel Notley in the kind of form she displayed at the NDP’s national convention in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon. Canada’s win...

    Top Story

    Maiden speeches by new MLAs are one of those parliamentary practices dispensed with in the quiet intervals of the legislative agenda, attracting no media attention, and are given mainly for the edific...

  • Week ending March 25th, 2016 Vol 30, No 27
    "A national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing."
    –Alexander Hamilton
    BUDGET BOYS
    Top Story

    It’s the kind of budget a New Democrat could love, and indeed in the first Question Period following Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s presentation of his big-spending, green-, child-, labou...

    Political Pulse

    Okay, so we were wrong about the chances of Liberal candidate Khalil Karbani, a Muslim property manager, winning Tuesday’s Calgary-Greenway byelection (Insight Mar. 18). But not that wrong. Tory Pr...

  • Week ending March 18th, 2016 Vol 30, No 26
    "Oil prices have fallen lately. We include this news for the benefit of gas stations, which otherwise wouldn't learn of it for six months."
    –Bill Tames, Toronto Star, 1992
    PITCHING THE CABBIES
    Top Story

    "What’s coal, daddy?” our child’s child asks when threatened with a lump of it at Christmas 2035. Tugging an earlobe to activate GoogleBrain, Daddy telepathically summons the cerafile, the info ...

    Political Pulse

    Here in the vibrant brown heart of Northeast Calgary political affiliations tend to be fluid. The ethnicity and the community profile of a candidate, not to mention which bigwig is endorsing him, has ...

  • Week ending March 11th, 2016 Vol 30, No 25
    "We believe that many of the problems we face as a modern society -- problems of family violence, yes; problems of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, problems of divorce -- are growing and growing, and it surely can't be that every year the statistics will be more. There have to be answers. One of the important answers, surely, is for our young people to rededicate themselves and for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the foundation of the family."
    –Premier Don Getty, promoting his Family Day holiday in the Legislature, June 19, 1989
    OUR UNLUCKY PREMIER
    Political Pulse

    In the past, the gov’t has restricted its “technical briefings” for media to complicated and multifaceted initiatives like budgets, lengthy social legislation, and, most recently, the changes to...

    Top Story

    “Family friendly” is a euphemism for feminist-friendly, a preoccupation of Rachel Notley’s gender-equity focussed gov’t, with its vaunted 50% female cabinet, its “stand-alone” Status of W...

  • Week ending March 4th, 2016 Vol 30, No 24
    "Confederation has been like a mail-order bra: intended to contain and uplift, it has instead drawn attention to the cleavage."
    –Eric Nicol, 1966
    THE FIRSTS AND THE FIRSTEST
    Political Pulse

    In what has become something of a tradition in the multi-ethnic riding of Calgary-Greenway, campaigning for the March 22 by-election began with discord, distrust, and bad feelng—at least on the cons...

    Talk in the Corridors

    A penny-pinching trend has infused gov’t lately in in anticipation of the hair-shirt budget Finance Minister Joe Ceci says will come in April. (And April, come she will.) Peanuts mostly, these littl...

  • Week ending February 25th, 2016 Vol 30, No 22
    "Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."
    – Will Rogers
    CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
    Political Pulse

    "The economy is in full recovery,” crowed Premier Peter Lougheed when he announced his retirement in June of 1985. His fiscal pronouncement was premature: oil revenues had indeed recovered from the ...

    Top Story

    "Please, God, give us another oil boom. We promise we won’t piss it all away this time." - Much over-quoted 1980s Alberta bumper sticker. Well, we got us another oil boom, pissed it all away, and i...

  • Week ending February 19th, 2016 Vol 30, No 22
    "If you can find something everyone agrees on, it's wrong. "
    –Mo Udall, (1922-1998) US Congressman from Arizona
    REBEL REPORTER
    Top Story

    One could scarcely have imagined a better anniversary gift for Ezra Levant and his year-old, on-line, right-wing news outfit The Rebel. “You know we had a record, record day,” enthuses the profes...

    Political Pulse

    Our visit this week to a meeting of the Wildrose “grassroots” in Edmonton was, in one respect, a mirror of last week’s encounter with the Progressive Conservatives (Insight, Feb. 12): neither si...

  • Week ending February 12th, 2016 Vol 30, No 21
    "Consider our neighbours in Alberta – a province of similar size, and also blessed with natural resources. Over the decades, Alberta lost its focus. They expected their resource boom never to end, failed to diversify their economy and lost control of government spending. So today, with the price of oil at historic lows, global markets shutting down, and the Canadian dollar falling, it has never been more important to stay vigilant."
    –From the Throne Speech delivered in the BC Legislature on Tuesday.
    Gable, Globe and Mail
    Top Story

    In his periodic reports on gov’t performance, Auditor General Merwan Saher endeavours never to be damning, accusatory, or partisan. There are occasional exceptions—Saher’s recently revisited Aug...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Edmonton remained the outlier in the latest Mainstreet Research/Postmedia robo-poll showing NDP support dropping in Calgary and the rest of Alberta (ROA). The poll, which auto-dialed 3,092 Albertans ...

  • Week ending February 5th, 2016 Vol 30, No 20 Download PDF
    "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area - crime, education, housing, race relations - the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them."
    –Thomas Sowell, Is Reality Optional? 1993
    THE NEWBIES
    Top Story

    There seemed to be real pathos in the presentation by Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan at his Edmonton press conference Monday morning: the cri de couer of a spurned lover, perhaps, ...

    Political Pulse

    On Wednesday afternoon a flotilla of armoured Suburbans and Town Cars arrived in front of the Legislature, a platoon of RCMP and security staff positioned themselves around the grounds. The former Dau...

  • Week ending January 29th, 2016 Vol 30, No 19
    "Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!"
    –Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier (1898-1978)
    UNLIKELY ALLY
    Top Story

    Oh those rebellious teenage years: so little responsibility, so much ideology. Mom and Dad? Assholes. What do they care about saving the world? What do they know about life? Wage slaves! Reactionarie...

    Political Pulse

    Never have so many people been on an Alberta ballot as have registered for Edmonton’s Feb. 22 municipal byelection to replace former councillor Amarjeet Sohi, now the federal Liberal minister of Inf...

  • Week ending January 22nd, 2016 Vol 30, No 18
    "I’ve never experienced something so first-hand that was so dramatic. You see the fragility of nature and how easily things can be completely transformed with just a few degrees difference. It’s terrifying, and it’s what people are talking about all over the world. "
    –Actor and eco-warrier Leonardo DiCaprio recalls his sobering climate change experience in Calgary last January during a ... Chinook
    UNITE-THE-RIGHTERS
    Top Story

    In the dream, it’s late 1985 and Peter Lougheed is piloting a jumbo jet through Alberta’s blue forever skies. Don Getty is in the co-pilot’s seat. Suddenly the plane is enveloped by dark clouds...

    Talk in the Corridors

    DiCaprio has been the target of much criticism and ridicule in the media, especially on Twitter, with posters pointing to the hypocrisy of someone who makes $50M from a single movie, owns a private j...

  • Week ending January 15th, 2016 Vol 30, No 17
    "I'll invest a million dollars in Canadian energy companies if out of grace and for the absolute good of Canada the premier of Alberta resigns"
    –Toronto tycoon and Dragon's Den celebrity Kevin O'Leary makes an offer Rachel gracefully refuses
    TRANNY TRACT
    Political Pulse

    Several rich guys took after our Premier this week. Not as bad, perhaps, as the death threats she received via social media in December from those upset with the farm safety /unionization legislation...

    Top Story

    Education Minister David Eggen proudly trotted outthe latest piece of NDP social engineering Wednesday:sexless schools.We probably mustn’t use that term. The preferred word is “gender neutral” -...

  • Week ending December 18th, 2015 Vol 30, No 16
    "Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking"
    –Often attributed to Winston Churchill, but also to Ernest Rutherford, the British nuclear physicist
    UNITED WE DRINK
    Top Story

    Sounding like a cop trying to clear a crowd away from a particularly gruesome accident scene­—“Nothing to see here; move along now.”—Finance minister Joe Ceci delivered the news in a hastily ...

    Political Pulse

    The urge to merge the right has become something of a mania in Calgary, where we’ve heard of at least four groups working on schemes to bring conservatives together into some sort of, well, call it ...

  • Week ending December 11th, 2015 Vol 30, No 15
    "When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers therefore are the founders of civilization."
    –Daniel Webster
    ARTHUR KENT CAMPAIGNING IN 2008
    Top Story

    Don Martin, the balding, corpulent and amiable host of CTVs political show Power Play—a kind of pre-Faustian Mike Duffy—was dragged back from Ottawa to his old stamping ground this week to testify...

    Political Pulse

    Forget your “two weeks.” Twenty-four hours is a long time in politics, especially when it’s a prolonged, segmented, mostly nocturnal debate—a filibuster if you will—on a bill that everyone k...

  • Week ending December 4th, 2015 Vol 30, No 14
    " More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."
    –Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates
    RED DEER OVERFLOW
    Top Story

    Now again it is property rights, more or less, that has turned rural Alberta against the gov’t. But this time the gov’t is one for whom the free-enterprising rustics have even less respect than ...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The beatification of PC MLA and former cabinet minister Manmeet Bhullar, 35, (Calgary-Greenway) killed by an out-of-control semi last week on Highway 2 while walking to the aid of a rolled over mot...

  • Week ending November 27th, 2015 Vol 30, No 13
    "What do I know? How will I die? What sort of death will it be? If I do not forget the Lord Master from my mind, then my death will be easy. The world is terrified of death; everyone longs to live. By Guru’s grace, one who dies while yet alive understands the Lord’s will. O Nanak, one who dies such a death lives forever."
    –Sikh prayer delivered by Speaker Bob Wanner Tuesday morning before adjourning the Legislature for the day in commemoration of the death of PC MLA Manmeet Bhullar on Monday.
    Big guy, little guy
    Political Pulse

    Just over a year ago, during a speech to the Progressive Conservative Association membership at the party’s AGM in Banff, then Infrastructure Minister Manmeet Bhullar half-jokingly took a moment to ...

    Talk in the Corridors

    As anticipated on these pages recently (Insight, Oct. 30) Alberta Health Services CEO Vickie Kaminiski, 64, has been relieved of her duties, almost six months before her two-year, $580K-p.a. contract ...

  • Week ending November 20th, 2015 Vol 30, No 12 Download PDF
    " A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."
    –US Senator Everett Dirksen, (1896-1969)
    My Man Brian
    Top Story

    Avid readers of this sheet may remember a conversation we had in the spring with former Manitoba Premier Ed Schreyer, 79, one of the Dipper emeriti attending Rachel Notley’s outdoor swearing-in cere...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Ric McIver was riffing on the by-now familiar point that the NDP gov’t was not actually creating jobs but killing them with its new taxes and the threat of royalty rate increases and a carbon tax, e...

  • Week ending November 13th, 2015 Vol 30, No 11
    " Political advertising ought to be stopped. It's the only really dishonest kind of advertising that's left."
    –David M. Ogilvy
    THE TPP GANG
    Top Story

    The devil, they keep telling us, is in the details and there are a hell of a lot of details in the 6,000 pages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the text of which was released last week in all its leg...

    Political Pulse

    The poor old Progressive Conservatives, decimated, indebted, and delegated to the third-party status following May’s trouncing in the polls, would seem to have three options: muddle along as they ar...

  • Week ending November 6th, 2015 Vol 30, No 10
    "Frugality is founded on the principal that all riches have limits."
    – 
Edmund Burke
    HEHR APPARENT
    Top Story

    The ABCs are the Agencies, Boards, & Commissions—entities that have been replicating like triffids over the last few several decades and now number 301 (Ontario, with three times our population, ha...

    Political Pulse

    Back during the opening sitting of the Legislature in June everyone was Kumbaya-ing like mad, rappin’ about getting along and being constructive and supportive and respectful and…. well we know wh...

  • Week ending October 30th, 2015 Vol 30, No 09
    " The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable."
    –JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, Economist
    MR. TREASURER
    Top Story

    What did come as rather a shock, especially to those who over the past 20 years have grown used to Alberta’s Hayekian fidelity to balanced books and no debt no matter what, was the ramped up Keynes...

    Talk in the Corridors

    With the NDP’s inclusion in its budget of major cash grants to Calgary, whinging from Edmonton was inevitable. Why, asked the mayor and his bureaucrats, was the Environment Minister announcing a $...

  • Week ending October 23rd, 2015 Vol 30, No 08
    "Sunny ways, my friends, sunny ways. This is what positive politics can do. This is what a causative, hopeful – a hopeful vision and a platform and a team together can make happen. Canadians – Canadians from all across this great country sent a clear message tonight. It’s time for a change in this country, my friends, a real change."
    –Justin Trudeau in his victory speech Oct. 19. "Sunny ways" was a phrase coined by PM Sir Wilfred Laurier in 1896 in an attempt to allay some of the acrimony created by the imposition of Canada
    TRUDEUX
    Top Story

    The second shoe had dimples and a winsome smile. He ran a positive and highly successful campaign promising “real change” and lots of jobs. He held rallies in Alberta on several occasions, telling...

    Political Pulse

    As of Monday, of course, four Liberals now lurk in our province: two each in Calgary and Edmonton. On Nov. 4, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to appoint one of them to the cabinet as ministe...

  • Week ending October 16th, 2015 Vol 30, No 07
    "Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve"
    –George Bernard Shaw
    DIVERSIFICATION CHIEF
    Political Pulse

    Watching Rachel Notley’s attempts to straddle the middle of the road, you wondered how long it would be before she got knocked back to the curb.

    Top Story

    The D-word rose again from the weeds this week with the creation by Rachel Notley of her “Premier’s Advisory Committee on the Economy” (PACE), Its mandate is “to grow the economy and diversify...

  • Week ending October 9th, 2015 Vol 30, No 06
    " I believe in equality for everyone, except photographers and reporters "
    –Mahatma Gandhi
    THE GOLDEN AUTUMNAL PALACE
    Political Pulse

    What, you wonder, is the point? Why put up $1,000, go through all the paper work and bother of campaigning, only to present yourself to an electorate that, outside of a few dozen (if you’re lucky) f...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Going ballistic… One of the more novel electoral fundraisers, and one entirely suited to the party involved, is Yellowhead Libertarian candidate Cory Lystang’s gun “give away.” Lystang, 39...

  • Week ending October 2nd, 2015 Vol 30, No 05
    "It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact."
    –EDMUND BURKE
    EASTERN TOUR
    Top Story

    Rob Merrifield, the Prentice-hired, Notley-fired Alberta Agent in Washington packed his bags Thursday and returned to Alberta. But before repairing to the serenity of his riverside family grain farm n...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Oh the indignities one must endure when one takes over a house that others have occupied forever. Poor old Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason, for example, now having to live with those vestigial P3...

  • Week ending September 25th, 2015 Vol 30, No 04
    "The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself."
    – Daniel Patrick Moynihan (Democratic senator for New York, 1976-98)
    THE REDDIST TORY
    Political Pulse

    ALISON REDFORD POPS UP IN OTTAWA, SEES SHADOW - Our dethroned monarch emerged from the murk this week to offer her thoughts to the media on various subjects following a speech at a Conference Board of...

    Top Story

    W  hither the Progressive Conservative party? Or, maybe, Wither the Progressive Conservative party? These were the sorts of to-be-or-not-to-be questions being batted around by the 66 PCs­—MLAs...

  • Week ending September 18th, 2015 Vol 30, No 03
    "We maintain the prosperity of our economy but also make progress on our environmental record, like real progress, so we can be genuinely proud that we are a leader as opposed to the, you know, embarrassing cousin that no one wants to talk about."
    –Rachel Notley on Global TV's "Women of Vision"
    A LIKELY CANDIDATE
    Political Pulse

    With just over four weeks to go in a 78-day campaign that’s starting to play like an endless loop of a cliché-ridden infomercial, the three main parties remain in a virtual tie, each hovering aroun...

    Talk in the Corridors

    Rachel Notley’s recent appointment of an “outreach” director at the premier’s southern Alberta office in Calgary, brought squawks from opposition members when it was discovered that the hire w...

  • Week ending September 11th, 2015 Vol 30, No 02
    "You can’t be Tommy Douglas on a Stephen Harper budget."
    –Justin Trudeau attacks Thomas Mulcair's balanced b
    BLANK SLATE
    Political Pulse

    Wall is a forthright, jokey, centre-right politician who unabashedly defends his province and its major industries (potash, grain, and now of course oil & gas). He does not shy away from taking on oth...

    Top Story

    Ideology is a word that has a positive implication when describing one’s own beliefs, but takes on a sinister aspect when applied to one’s opponents’. And we can expect hear to hear a lot of th...

  • Week ending September 4th, 2015 Vol 30, No 01
    "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives."
    –John Stuart Mill
    GIANT PANDA WIN FOR WILDROSE
    Political Pulse

    On Thursday night when Prasad Panda, 50, won the Wildrose its first urban seat since its previous two were lost in the May general election, Rachel at least got a partial reading of the zeitgeist of ...

    Top Story

    A year ago, then Finance Minister Doug Horner, looking ever so slightly pleased with himself, presented the first-quarter fiscal update for 2014-15 with its higher than expected oil revenues and a pro...

  • Week ending June 26th, 2015 Vol 29, No 40
    "We’re building the plane while we’re flying it because we really didn’t have much of a transition into government. That’s why I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as we become airborne."
    –Premier Rachel Notley after the first 30 days.
    JUST FOLK
    Top Story

    Fear and loathing? Not quite yet. But trepidation and consternation are definitely abroad on the quietening streets of Calgary as the oilpatch, hobbled by eight months of depressed prices, braces for...

    Political Pulse

    As the three main federal parties jostle for poll position in the ten weeks until the writ is dropped, the question in our province is: will Tom Mulcair’s NDP get a Notley bounce and win more than t...

  • Week ending June 19th, 2015 Vol 29, No 39
    "I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."
    –Jack Handey
    THE LATEST LG LOIS
    Top Story

    The first legislative week of the NDP gov’t proved disappointingly anticlimactic in that there were no major gaffes (the Speaker was never once addressed as “dude”), no over-the-top bills or mot...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The NDP political staffers booted off Manitoba premier Greg Selinger’s heavily listing craft and washed up on the sun-dappled coast of Rachel Notley’s terra nova are providing ammunition for the o...

  • Week ending June 12th, 2015 Vol 29, No 38
    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."
    –Groucho Marks
    WANNER DRAG
    Top Story

    Short and sweet is the prognostication for the upcoming spring session of the 29th Legislature, which begins on Monday with the Throne Speech from brand-new Lieutenant-Governor Lois Mitchell and gets ...

    Political Pulse

    It was a foregone conclusion that NDP MLA Bob Wanner (Medicine Hat) would be elected speaker on Thursday. Three weeks before, the 66-year-old, retired city public service commissioner told the Medicin...

  • Week ending June 5th, 2015 Vol 29, No 37
    "Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics."
    –Fletcher Knebel
    GENE’S FINALE
    Top Story

    Another proud symbol of Alberta’s dwindling independent spirit, the Alberta Securities Commission, seems to be actually working well within a reciprocal provincial system. But the NDP have always wa...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The swearing in of 85 MLAs last week was a particularly joyous and awe-filled occasion for the 70 who are brand new to the Legislature, and a bitter-sweet one for outdoing speaker Gene Zwozdesky, 66, ...

  • Week ending May 29th, 2015 Vol 29, No 36
    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."
    –Jack Layton's final letter, written with the assis
    RACHEL'S FIRST SPEECH AS PREMIER
    Top Story

    The swearing in of Rachel Notley and her cabinet last Sunday was about as perfect a state event as a politician—especially a leftist one with aspirations to populism—could hope for. Close to four ...

    Political Pulse

    Over the last 44 years in Alberta there has developed a sub-political class of lobbyists, consultants, & gov’t relations (GR) specialists who have made a good living through their connections with t...

  • Week ending May 22nd, 2015 Vol 29, No 35
    "You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too."
    –John Kenneth Galbraith
    THE NEW MEMBER FOR CALGARY-BOW
    Top Story

    Since winning gov’t on May 5, Rachel Notley has been fairly coy about what her gov’t plans to do once it seizes power, but this Wednesday she at least revealed the immediate schedule and dropped a...

    Talk in the Corridors

    In what one guest half-jokingly called “the first social event of the new order,” former NDP leader and current Edmonton Public School Board trustee Ray Martin, 73, was married to local artist Eve...

  • Week ending May 15th, 2015 Vol 29, No 34 Download PDF
    "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good."
    –Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?," 1993
    THE NOTLEY CREW
    Top Story

    Premier-Designate Rachel Notely remained in Mouseland for a while longer this week as the Legislative cogs turned slowly and the power that will—surprisingly, thrillingly!—soon be within her hot g...

    Political Pulse

    Using that marvellous optical tool called hindsight, we are able to view last year’s Calgary PC Leaders’ Dinner as a soaring peak of the Prentice era, even before it had actually begun. Eighte...

  • Week ending May 8th, 2015 Vol 29, No 33
    "Well, I think we made a little history tonight!"
    –Premier Elect Rachel Notley in her victory speech
    DIPPER GOTHIC
    Top Story

    In the ominously quiet banquet room of Calgary’s Metropolitan Centre, site of many a raucous Tory celebration over these past four decades, the most commonly heard invocation Tuesday night was a hus...

    Talk in the Corridors

    By Wednesday it was “Jonathan who?”, but for the first two days of this week Jonathan (Jono) Denis, 39, the Justice minister who, depending on which version one believed, angrily punched his wife ...

  • Week ending May 1st, 2015 Vol 29, No 32 Download PDF
    "There’s an old saying in Alberta political circles that the 13th consecutive majority is the hardest majority to win."
    –Dan Arnold, blogger. (calgarygrit.ca)
    CIRCA 1971
    Top Story

    "Oh why oh why oh why did I do it?" one imagines Jim Prentice wailing in those ugly early hours when all the nasties — doubt, regret, fatigue, self-recrimination — swoop through the bedroom windo...

    Political Pulse

    Love gone wrong. Where would art be without it. And politics? Well, politics is an art form, n’est-ce pas? And the last couple of weeks of misadventures in the Tory atelier have been energized by lo...

  • Week ending April 24th, 2015 Vol 29, No 31
    "Political campaigns are designedly made into emotional orgies which endeavour to distract attention from the real issues involved, and they actually paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster."
    –James Harvey Robinson
    RACHEL…RACHEL
    Top Story

    Blips, speed-bumps, setbacks, or nails in the coffin? Depending on the pundit, pollster, or poli-sci psychic one favours, the seriousness of the Progressive Conservative party’s problems might be at...

    Political Pulse

    There are, we know, a number of interesting races going on across the province this election cycle, but one of the more compelling ones is the contest for the seat in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundr...

  • Week ending April 17th, 2015 Vol 29, No 30 Download PDF
    "That’s the trouble with a politician’s life—somebody is always interrupting it with an election."
    –Will Rogers
    JIMBO IN THE ROUND
    Top Story

    We ran into a middle-aged social worker, a 300-pound, ex-pat Newfoundlander, at the gym the other day who asked us if there might be some hope of an NDP sweep in Edmonton on Cinco de Mayo (a.k.a. elec...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The vehicular choices of leaders in this campaign to an extent reflect the cash support available, but also carry some political baggage. While once incumbent premiers­—and the odd opposition leade...

  • Week ending April 3rd, 2015 Vol 29, No 29
    "Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation."
    –Henry Kissinger
    THE END
    Top Story

    If, as British PM Harold Wilson is supposed to have said, a week is a long time in politics, then a year is a lifetime — especially when considering the fortunes of Danielle Smith. Her once so ...

    Talk in the Corridors

    For what they’re worth, two robo polls this week had the Tories and the Wildrose neck and neck. Mainstreet Technologies, which sent out its automated phone poll to 3,000 people last weekend ...

  • Week ending March 27th, 2015 Vol 29, No 28
    "A budget tells us what we can't afford, but it doesn't keep us from buying it."
    –William Feather
    Malcolm Mayes in the Edmonton Journal
    Top Story

    The question uppermost on the minds of Progressive Conservative stalwarts Thursday afternoon was this: Is it a budget we can take into an election? “I think it’s a great budget,” enth...

    Political Pulse

    Tears were shed repeatedly in the chamber this week as a procession of retiring MLAs gave what - assuming an impending election - will be their last members’ statements before moving on to gr...

  • Week ending March 20th, 2015 Vol 29, No 27
    "Democracy is the name we give the people whenever we need them."
    –Marquis de Flers Robert
    The Fifty Percenters
    Talk in the Corridors

    The Tory pre-election juggernaut continues to lumber onward, bumping and stumbling and generally behaving with little concern for the transparency and accountability that we seem to remember Premier J...

    Top Story

    Like a team of horse-whisperers, Premier Jim Prentice and his ministers, have spent the month of March gentling the various broncos that might have been expected to buck during the upcoming election. ...

  • Week ending March 13th, 2015 Vol 29, No 26
    "The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning."
    –Adlai Stevenson, Jr.
    A win at last
    Political Pulse

    The three Wildrose leadership hopefuls presented themselves for consideration at a leadership debate in Red Deer Monday. All three gave creditable performances in what was—like the NDP leadership ...

    Talk in the Corridors

    The PCs yank Martin at the last minute… Among the four contested constituencies that nominated Tory candidates last weekend, Edmonton-Decore was the only troublesome one. Don Martin, a former...

  • Week ending January 22nd, 2015 Vol 29, No 18
    "I’ve never experienced something so first-hand that was so dramatic. You see the fragility of nature and how easily things can be completely transformed with just a few degrees difference. It’s terrifying, and it’s what people are talking about all over the world."
    –Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio talking to Variety about being in Calgary last January and experiencing that climate change phenomenon we call a Chinook.
    THE GATHERED MINI-TUDE
    Top Story

    In the dream, it’s late 1985 and Peter Lougheed is piloting a jumbo jet through Alberta’s blue forever skies. Don Getty is in the co-pilot’s seat. Suddenly the plane is enveloped by dark clouds...

    Political Pulse

    The first of the official unite-the-right (UTR) gatherings held in Calgary on Tuesday evening was touted on Twitter as “standing room only” event. But when one considers that it was held in a sma...