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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Reader Reviews

  • I am a regular reader of Ric Dolphin’s Insight Into Government newsletter. Insight can be over the top, not to mention profoundly politically incorrect in ways an old liberal like me strongly disapp...

    —David Climenhaga
    Political blogger and Communications Director for the United Nurses of Alberta
  • I think it’s important to look at issues from many different viewpoints. Ric Dolphin’s Insight into Government newsletter provides an informative weekly review of what’s happening in government ...

    —Wayne Drysdale
    MLA Grande Prairie-Wapiti
  • Insight Into Government is an Alberta tradition unto itself. It’s an essential mix of analysis, data, and, in Ric Dolphin’s hands, strong writing and wit. You can subscribe just because you enjoy ...

    —Colby Cosh
    Political columnist National Post

Top Tweets

1

Flames communications director tweets some ungoodwill about Nenshi. h/t @CarrieTait https://t.co/SHQkllRMBK

2

Okay, @cityofcalgary elections folk have presided over a gong show. Not enough ballots and now zero results after 2… https://t.co/7asO5T88fD

3

Printing 50k of bumper sticker found today. It’ll sell like candy. Proceeds offered to @joececiyyc to cut deficit.… https://t.co/ybdDLQS7hL

4

Honoured to welcome @cblackst to speak about how we can better support Indigenous children and families in Alberta… https://t.co/1a6tAPTEkW

5

Very proud of my mom Dianne on becoming the first female Two Hills County Councillor. #ableg

Upcoming

  • Oct 2 - 17 MUNICIPAL ELECTION PERIOD
    After a single day of nominations, the four week municipal election period is underway, with most of Alberta’s cities experiencing a record number of candidates for councils and school boards. unicipal elections for council and school boards. Blame it on the recession ad high unemployment rate. For the provincial rules and regulations associated with these elections, go to http://www.municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/mc_elections
  • Oct 17 FINAL JOUST
    Final United Conservative Party leadership debate takes place in Lethbridge between candidates Brian Jean, Jason Kenney, and Doug Schweitzer, at Exhibition Park, 3401 Parkside Drive South, 6 pm, tickets are $20 and available at https://unitedconservative.ca/EventBook?name=lethbridgedebate
  • Oct 17 PANEL HEADS NORTH
    Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention visits itssecond Indian reserve, this time Bigstone Cree Nation (on site pop. 3,500), 11 am - 4 pm, Stony Point Road, Wabasca-Desmarais
  • Oct 17 - 29 DERON BILOUS, JUNKETEER
    Economic Development & Trade Minister Deron Bilous travels to Europe promoting Alberta products, visiting Alberta businesses, and seeing the sights (four days of “personal time at personal cost” are scheduled in London). From London, were he’ll host an investor dinner for UK investors, he’ll pop up to Birmingham to meet with Birmingham University Energy Institute officials, then it’s off to Munich (Prost!) to meet with Bavarian gov’t officials, with a side trip to Freiberg to visit the Fraunhofer Insititute (solar power innovators), before flying to Kiev, Ukraine, and giving a few speeches to investors there and in Alberta’s sister provinces of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv Oblast (where he’ll renew the sisterly memoranda of understanding) and will attend the International Trade Fair of the Oil & Gas Industry before flying home just in time for the start of the fall session of the Legislature on Oct. 30. Cost for Bilous, one political staffer, and one civil servant: $46,750.
  • Oct 19 - 20 SARAH WELCOMES HER PEERS
    Health Minister Sarah Hoffman hosts a meeting of Canada’s provincial health ministers in the Federal Bldg., with federal Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor joining the gang on the second day.
  • Oct 19 - 21 BIG UNION BASH
    The Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE), the province’s largest union, holds its annual convention at Edmonton’s Shaw Convention Centre. Executive elections will be taking place with President Guy Smith likely to be acclaimed to a fifth two-year term (so far there are no challengers). Since he took over, the membership has grown from 70,000 to 93,000 and, says his predecessor Dan (Buff) McLennan, who will be presiding over the election proceedings “He earns every penny of his salary, whatever that is.” ($267K this year). AUPE could well pick up thousand or more members if the NDP gov’t decides to go with publicly run cannabis stores (Insight Oct. 7). An emergency resolution is expected at the AUPE convention calling for this model, adopted by Ontario and similar to the state-run liquor stores in Alberta prior to privatization in 1993 (202 ALCB stores employed 1,300). Gov’t operated pot stores were being pitched this week by the Alberta Federation of Labour, which isn’t a branch of the gov’t… yet. Info at: http://www.aupeconvention.org/convention-info/

This Week's Get a free sample

Week ending October 14th, 2017 Vol 32, No 54

LOADING IN BURNABY — An oil tanker at Kinder Morgan's Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, BC. Currently one tanker a week loads oil delivered from Alberta through the Trans Canada pipeline; if the the expansion isn't overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal, there will be one a day.
In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.
Mark Twain

Inside this week

The Federal Court of Appeal wraps up two weeks of hearings into the Trans Canada pipeline. Now the waiting begins.
The auditor general releases a scathing report on movie grants issued willy nilly by the Culture ministry
Another poll pegs Brian Jean as the most popular leader among the general population. But what about those who will be voting?
What the mayors and councillors in Alberta's biggest and smallest municipalities get paid

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 game begins. According to an observer from the Alberta Energy ministry, it will be four to six months before the court delivers a verdict on the legitimacy of the federal govt’s approval of a pipeline—a pipeline that, with the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline (Insight Oct. 7), represents the province’slast best hope of getting its oil to tidewater. Did the observer have a sense from the judges’ questions and comments as to which way they might be leaning? “I wouldn’t want to say.”

During the first week the court heard from the lawyers representing the appellants—i.e. those opposed to the pipeline, which include five Indian bands, led by the Tseil-Watuth Nation (formerly the Burrard Inlet Band); the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby; and two environmental groups: the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Living Oceans Society. The repondents are Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (the Canadian subsidiary of Kinder Morgan), the National Energy Board, and the Attorney General of Canada.

The appellants opposition rests on two main points…

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 creation the UPC on July 22 haven’t already told us. But it provided Brian Jean (Fort McMurray-Conklin) with yet another opportunity to tout his biggest advantage over Jason Kenney: that he is the most popular of the UPC leaders among the general population and would win more seats for the party come the next election.

Referencing this and other polls during this week’s UPC leadership debate in Fort McMurray, Jean said he was the man to lead the party because…