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 June 9th, 2018 Vol 32, No 33

JASON'S INSPIRATION — Ontario Premier Elect Doug Ford celebrates his win with wife Karla and daughters Kara and Kyla on Thursday night. The election of a Conservative and fellow anti-carbon taxer is good news for Jason Kenney; not such good news for Rachel Notley.
Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start.
Celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain, who hanged himself this week at age 61

Inside this week

Alberta Innovates' big show in Calgary is a resounding success
The spring session of the Legislature ends with a yawn and a sigh of relief
Kent Hehr back in the game following Yummygate
Ford's big win in Ontario all but eliminates the Liberals

Political Pulse

The eminently unremarkable spring sitting of the Legislature ended Thursday with neither bang, nor whimper­—more of a yawn and a sigh of relief. Call it a yawg.

This, of course, was United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney’s debut session, and his first opportunity to take Premier Rachel Notley on mano a mano and provide a foretaste of the electioneering ahead. But whatever hope we may have had for fireworks was essentially doused at the onset by Kenney’s declaration that his opposition would be polite and respectful, would not be following the long-standing parliamentary traditions of banging on desks or heckling—traditions that Kenney as a federal MP had once enthusiastically upheld—but would be embarking “on a new era of civility and decorum.”

It is, we suppose,a testament to Kenney’s discipline over his caucus, that the UCP adhered to this dictate throughout the session, remaining eerily silent even after their leader or one of their MLAs had scored the kind of hit that, in the House of Commons, would have brought the caucus to its feet in a thunderous standing ovation....

Top Story

For an observer attending this week’s Inventure$ conference, staged in Calgary by the Alberta Innovates agency at a cost to the taxpayer of around $1M, the overall impression was one of a bazaar crossed with a motivational speaker symposium. One left this inarguably impressive and multi-faceted event with a head full of ideas and buzzwords and a desire to found a start-up with a disruptive idea and seek out a strategic alliance to move one’s model to the next level of scalability.

The conference was the brainchild of Alberta Innovates CEO Laura Kilcrease, the transplanted Brit hired out of Austin, Texas, 18 months ago to head the newly amalgamated gov’t agency. It brought together 190 speakers from all over the world and about 1,500 delegates. A sizeable proportion of the latter were budding entrepreneurs from Alberta and elsewhere, with an equally large representation of industry research & development types on the lookout for partnerships with those entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. The ultimate purpose? One as old as Alberta’s petroleum industry: promoting economic diversity.

In its current iteration, Alberta Innovates represents the latest evolution of the diversity initiatives of the Lougheed gov’t in the 1970s to channel resource revenue and Heritage Fund money into agencies promoting research and development through grants to and strategic partnerships with business and academia...