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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This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending March 10th, 2018 Vol 32, No 75

NO LOVE LOST — Brian Jean casts a sidelong glance at UCP leadership contest winner Jason Kenney last year. Jean resigned his Fort McMurray seat this week claiming concern for his tragedy-plagued family was the main motivator.
Politics is full of bullshit. It's not fair, there's not justice in it, it's not balanced
Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt, shunned from the UCP, attempts to elicit some sympathy at a press conference

Inside this week

The Notley gov't prepares for the spring session by stealing Kenney's thunder on the pipeline fight
Not wanting to look at the back of Jason Kenney's head any longer, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean resigns from the UCP
Derek Fildebrandt, his time in party politics over, tries to paint himself as the victim

Top Story

While delivering an ovation-ridden speech at the Leduc-Beaumont constituency’s AGM on Wednesday night­—the eve of his debut in the Legislature—leader Jason Kenney gets a big laugh from the 70 or so members present (estimated average age: 60) with his take on the “fight” between Rachel Notley and John Horgan over Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

“The BC New Democrats are doing everything they can to block this pipeline,” says the Unicon leader, an adept off-the-cuff speaker who leavens his fiscally conservative rhetoric with folksy anecdotes and analogies. “And, by the way, watching our NDP and their NDP fight each other is like watching one of those fake wrestling matches...[laughter & applause]…You know, when a couple of Hart brothers got in the ring together, and they’d already agreed, ‘Oh, I’ll pin you down here, you throw me over there, and he’ll jump out of the ring...’ That’s what’s going on. Here’s the most choreographed piece of political theatre I’ve seen in a very long time...”

Mixing metaphors, Kenney shifts from the sugar to the medicine: the political and fiscal stuff: “But while they’re having this pro wrestling match the BC NDP and their Green Party allies and all the special interests trying to block our energy, they have a very deliberate strategy. They’re playing the long game, while our NDP is playing the short game. Those guys in BC are playing chess while our guys are playing checkers. They’re being strategic, while our guys are being tactical. Because their strategy is death by delay…

Political Pulse

Although the timing came as bit of a surprise to UCP colleagues, the resignation of MLA and former Wildrose leader Brian Jean (Fort McMurray-Conklin) on Monday was not entirely unexpected.Jean had been largely invisible around the Legislature since losing the United Conservative leadership to Jason Kenney (32% to 61%) in October and had declined to take a critic’s role or to sit on a committee.

“I’ve been looking at the back of Jason Kenney’s head too long,” Jean reputedly remarked to an associate after being beaten by the man he’d sat behind in the Commons for ten years.But sour grapes probably aren’t the main reason for his early departure, a year or so before the next election.

Jean, 55, a lawyer, businessman, and former MP, is the youngest but best-educated and most successful of 11 siblings. Accordingly, he has assumed the role of patriarch of his Fort McMurray-based clan, and the CEO of the family’s City Centre Group property management company, which began with a car wash that his widowed mother, the indomitable Frances Jean, 85, still manages.

The Jean clan has endured its share of hardships in recent years. Brian’s sister, whom he recently took on a “bucket list” trip to Australia, is dying with stage-4 cancer. Frances recently underwent hip surgery and needs help running the business. Jean lost his Waterways district home to the Fort McMurray wildfire and is bunking with his mom while he rebuilds his house...