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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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The Wildrose will fight the NDP’s Carbon Tax. #ableg #abpoli #wrp https://t.co/xKKMF5bXPH

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Week ending May 20th, 2016 Vol 30, No 34

BEFORE & AFTER — Wildrose Leader Brian Jean's house (green x) in the Waterways area of Fort McMurray as seen by satellite before and after it was destroyed by fire on May 3
The fact that the forest fire season has arrived so early in northern Alberta is very likely a climate event - very likely related to extreme high temperatures and very low humidity, very low precipitation and it is, as we saw in the quote from one of the firefighters - it’s a firestorm. It jumped a highway, it jumped a river. It’s a devastating tragedy right now and I think our focus is always on the right now: to think for the firefighters, for first responders, for people who are losing t
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May links the Fort Mac fire to climate change on May 4. Prime Minister Trudeau chided her, saying, "No credible climate scientist would make this claim, and neither do I make this claim."

Inside this week

INSIGHT LATE OUT THIS WEEK DUE TO BRIEF ILLNESS. ALL BETTER NOW.
Notley's inclusion of Wildrose leader Brian Jean in the Fort Mac disaster response a shrewd move
The Kinder Morgan gets NEB approval but still faces many hurdles.
Former AUPE prez Buff MacLennan eyes Liberal prize

Top Story

We watched the familiar pantomime of British Columbian environmental protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby pipeline terminal this week—earnest young students with the standard piercings, geriatric hippies with the obligatory grey ponytails, Indian chiefs banging turtle drums fished from the back seats of Escalades, and of course the telegenic sweetener: a flotilla of plastic yellow kayaks on Burrard Inlet flying yellow banners reading “Keep it in the Ground!” One couldn’t help but wonder how many Alberta MLAs’ hearts were going out to these ecological emissaries, having so much fun and feeling so good about themselves at the same time. No life like it!

The protest was held in anticipation of the National Energy Board’s (NEB) approval of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion­—an approval that came Thursday—and was just the sort collective activism that certain members of the Alberta gov’t, including Premier Rachel Notley and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips would have applauded, if not enjoined, back in those lazy, hazy days when one’s belief

Political Pulse

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean’s political fortunes during the Great Fire have worked out a whole lot better than those of predecessor Danielle Smith during the 2013 southern Alberta floods—even though both leaders represented ridings at the epicentres of their disasters: Fort McMurray and High River, respectively.

Jean (Fort McMurray-Conklin), with fellow Roser Tany Lau (Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo), were both on the ground in the fire-ravaged city for three days following the mass evacuation of May 3-4, having received authorization from Premier Rachel Notley. Jean reviewed the damage, including to his own razed “Uranium City” domicile (it was one of several dozen in the city moved from the Saskatchewan mining outpost when it closed in the early 1980s), along with a destroyed rental unit he had owned. Three of his immediate family members—a brother and two nephews­—...

Upcoming

  • May 9 - 31
    Standing committees continue their review of budget estimates for the ministries. Committees meet on the 2nd floor of the Federal Building in the Grasslands Room [G] or Foothills Room ([F]. Audio of the proceedings is available on line at: http://assemblyonline.assembly.ab.ca/Harmony/