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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Top Tweets

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When they go low we get the facts & hold them accountable for their lies #ableg #abndp https://t.co/O23cSuUWxf https://t.co/N3CgeVKz9k

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The idea of a cabinet minister video taping government critics at a pubic forum is absolutely repugnant. #ableg

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@4everNeverTrump @SenGillibrand YUP. He did everything but actually use the word “whore” in his attempts to demean… https://t.co/DlMDJAZHpG

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Save your condescension for someone who needs it. I chose to be here and am proud to be a part of this team. #ableg https://t.co/Ress8Glugs

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Upcoming

  • Dec 7 - 23 CHRISTMAS MUSIC AT LEG.
    Christmas musical performances will take place in the Rotunda of the Legislature in the lunch hour and in the evenings on weekdays and in the evenings only on weekends. The schedule of performers can be found at: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/visitor/PDF/2017/CTSChoirSchedule.pdf
  • Dec 12 DERON ON TAP
    Economic Development & Trade Minister Deron Bilous will appear at a “Tapas & Trade” fundraiser for Red Deer South MLA Barb Miller (the former Safeway cashier) at the Tribe restaurant, 4930B Ross St., starting at 6 pm. Tickets $100 at: http://www.albertandp.ca/tapastrade
  • Dec 12 KENNEY XMAS FUNDRAISER
    The United Conservative Party constituencies of Calgary-Bow, Buffalo, Currie, and West hold their Christmas fundraising dinner, featuring leader Jason Kenney doing a little last-minute campaigning for the byelection, at Jubilations Dinner Theatre, 1002 37 Street SW, starting at 5:30 pm. Tickets $150 at: unitedchristmas.ca
  • Dec 14 ELECTION DAY IN CALGARY-LOUGHEED
    Calgary-Lougheed byelection expected to put UCP leader Jason Kenney, 49, into the Legislature, though one never knows. Byelections typically have low voter turnout and so getting voters to the polling stations on election day will be the crucial strategy. Kenney’s organization, led by veteran operative Alan Hallman (former campaign manager for Ralph Klein), is a proven get-out-the-vote force, but NDP capabilities cannot be dismissed. Their candidate, Dr. Phillip van der Merwe, 52, has been getting lots of door-knocking backup from Dipper MLAs and cabinet ministers, including the Premier. And, as in the mayoral election that delivered Naheed Nenshi a third term, the NDP’s union allies will be assisting in phoning would be supporters and driving them to the polls. Nonetheless, the political observers of various affiliations to whom we have spoken estimate Jace will get between 60% to 80% of the vote. For more information go to: http://www.elections.ab.ca
  • Dec 14 END OF SESSION
    Scheduled end of the Legislative session, extended from Dec. 7 to accommodate debate on several substantial last-minute bills. The Legislature will be prorogued, meaning a new session and throne speech in March.

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending December 9th, 2017 Vol 32, No 62

BYELECTION CANDIDATES — The contenders in Thursday's Calgary-Lougheed byelection, l-r, top row: Jason Kenney (UCP), David Khan (Lib.), Lauren Thorsteinson (Reform), & Larry Heather (Ind.); bottom row: Dr. Phillip van der Merwe (NDP), Romy Tittel (Grn.), Wayne Leslie (Ind.)
Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way.
Al Franken, recently resigned US Senator & comedian, from "Oh, the Things I Know", 2002

Inside this week

The NEB rules against Burnaby but there are many hurdles still ahead for the Trans Canada pipeline
Saskatchewan escalates the trade war with Alberta by imposing a license plate ban
A major change in the carbon tax rules for big emitters does not sit well with some oil producers
Could the NDP push to clear the legislative decks have a political motive?

Top Story

Rachel was one happy gal on Thursday following the National Energy Board’s ruling against the City of Burnaby. The city was ordered to immediately grant approval for of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine and Burnaby Terminals, the tanker-loading facility at the western end of the $7.5B Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

“We see this as a good step forward,” said Notley, who actually descended into the basement press gallery offices at the Legislature to share the happy news with reporters. “And we are excited to see that it probably means the NEB has accepted our argument that this is a project that is in the national interest and as a result we can’t have individual jurisdictions interfering with it.”

Kinder Morgan, which received federal approval for the pipeline more than a year ago, had applied for the permits in June, but Burnaby had stalled, prompting Kinder Morgan to file a motion with the NEB in late October challenging the city on constitutional grounds. In an order issued Thursday, the NEB said the company is not required to comply with two sections of the city’s bylaws. The board has yet to give its reasons for the decision…

Political Pulse

The developing trade war between Alberta and Saskatchewan took a weird­—but, for the Alberta NDP, politically advantageous­—turn on Wednesday when Premier Brad Wall’s cash-strapped gov’t, in a protectionist move,­ issued an edict banning vehicles with Alberta plates from gov’t infrastructure construction projects.

“New contracts awarded by the ministry will require suppliers to ensure that no vehicles displaying Alberta license plates are present on ministry funded work sites,” read the gov’t press release. “This will include contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, and workers.”

David Marit, Saskatchewan ministry of Highways & Infrastructure, argued that Alberta-based construction companies have an unfair advantage because they don’t pay a provincial sales tax on their vehicles and equipment, while domestic contractors pay the PST­—which was raised from 5% to 6% in March to help pay down the province’s $685M deficit. (Alberta should be so cash-strapped.)…