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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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@coreyhogan said he'd quit his job to start @strategistspod again if we get 10,000 retweets. @zainvelji and I will get him fired at 500.

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This is Rebel. #ableg #cdnpoli https://t.co/IoMGtFxlSS

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There isn’t a road, hospital or school in Canada that doesn’t owe something to a strong AB energy industry https://t.co/6DGfxw1mZT #ableg

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everywhere...the smell of conservatives patting themselves on the back for "taking a stand" against the groups they… https://t.co/wROwPMGwSL

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Rebel provides a platform for hate in Alberta & systematically attacks people who are critical. Note who will not denounce Rebel. #ableg

Upcoming

  • Aug 22 MANY HAPPY RETURNS
    Happy birthday Culture & Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda, born 41 years ago in Managua, Nicauragua.
  • Sep 3 PRIDE & POLITICS
    The Calgary Pride parade marches through downtown between noon and 1:30 p.m. Conservative politicians have tended to find excuses to avoid these politically freighted events in the past. It will be interesting to see whether this is still the case for the United Conservative Party leadership hopefuls. The parade route can be found at http://www.calgarypride.ca/events/parade-2017/
  • Sep 4 HAPPY BIRTHDAY
    Many returns to Environment & Parks Minister Shannon Phillips, born 42 years ago in Edmonton.

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending July 29th, 2017 Vol 31, No 43

BIRTHING PROCESS BEGINS — Ninety-five per cent of both Wildrose and PC voters opted for the creation of the United Conservative Party (UCP) on July 22. Here, ex Wildrose leader Brian Jean (below right), and ex PC leader Jason Kenney (upper left) celebrate the news. Kenney, Jean, and Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer (lower centre) are, at this printing. the only three candidates to officially declare for the Oct. 28 leadership race. However, Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt (black hat), ex of the Wildrose, was considering a run.
If the ends don't justify the means, what does?
Saul Alinsky

Inside this week

The United Conservative Party is born, but will it be able to kick Dipper ass in 2019?
BC Premier John Horgan studiously avoids talking about that pipeline, but perhaps his "tools" to block it are not as effective as the Green Party might have wished.

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 the two parties had­—serendipitously or suspiciously, depending on one’s cynicism quotient (CQ)­—both­ voted 95% in favour of coalescing into the brand new United Conservative Party. (No one knows how many of the votes were cast by those holding memberships to both parties.)

Hoots, hollers, and cries of “let’s kick some NDP butt!” greeted the joyous announcement from each party’s returning officer. (see numbers on next page). Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, 55, (Fort McMurray-Conklin)­ arrived on stage to the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and delivered an excited speech/pep talk to the 200-odd Wildrosers at Red Deer’s Radisson Hotel ballroom.

In his caffeinated tenor, jug ears glowing with endorphins and beauteous second wife Kim Michelutti, 42, gazing up adoringly, Jean gave a good show of quashing those niggling rumours about his antipathy to unity—rumours that he wanted the vote to fail so the Wildrose could continue under his leadership and sink Jason Kenney’s PC battleship. (The two candidates reportedly loathe each other.)

“I can’t wait to get started building our new conservative united movement together,” Jean enthused…

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 Hogan sent out a brief press release stating that, effective Sept. 1, the department has been renamed Communications and Public Engagement (CAPE).

It will no longer be overseen by Executive Counci, but will move over to Treasury Board & Finance, where it will operated alongside the Public Service Commission (formerly Corporate Human Resources) on the seventh floor of the Federal Building. According to Hogan, a former Alberta Liberal party executive and political podcaster hired by the gov’t last fall (Insight, Oct. 7), the move is part of a consolidation plan that will also see a 20% reduction of communications staff (currently numbering 375) through attrition over the next 18 months.

The reduction will cut $4.5M from the communications budget, currently $30M a year.Established in 1971 by the Lougheed gov’t, the PAB has experienced a number of transformations in the intervening years…