A Happy New Year to all – seriously, to all of you – as AlbertaPolitics.ca begins its 10th year of publication

Posted on December 31, 2016, 2:02 am
6 mins

PHOTOS: Some of the high points … This one was taken about the time I broke the story that Danielle Smith would be running for the leadership of the “upstart” Wildrose Party. Below: chats, and photos, with Ed Stelmach, Alison Redford, Jim Prentice and Rachel Notley.

Dear Readers,

stelmach-daveOn this day in 2007 I sat down and began writing this blog – which means that tomorrow, in addition to being the start of what I hope will be a happy new year for all of you regardless of your political views, will mark the start of the 10th year of publication of AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Or maybe it actually began on Dec. 27, 2007. Whatever. The record is slightly murky. The first couple of years of posts have slipped into the cybervoid. The first reference mentioned comes from a post published two years ago. The second from a note on the page of the original text of the first post – which was lamentably lame and had precious little to do with Alberta politics.

redford-daveIt was called “Death & Taxes: 14 gloomy lines of welcome.” Let’s just leave it at that except to say that it involved poetry, which rhymed moreover – I’ll let readers figure out what kind of poem was involved from the headline. That post was, admittedly, a pretty eccentric way to kick-start a political blog, which may explain why readership hovered in the low dozens for so long.

Nevertheless, in Alberta politics as in all matters, nature will take its course. The original version of this blog – called St. Albert Diary – is mercifully gone. It was replaced by Alberta Diary, which lives on in vestigial form as an email address. That title was replaced again on this date in 2014 by AlbertaPolitics.ca. That domain name was originally registered by the estimable Mark Lisac, who kindly sold it to me after his retirement from writing non-fiction about Alberta politics.

prentice-daveOver the years my readership has grown, from the few dozen each day in the first year of publication, to a few hundred, to, every so often, days when I might hit a thousand or so if I was lucky. Later on, those numbers improved a bit more.

In the past two years, since I started using the AlbertaPolitics.ca domain, the blog has had 1.5 million views – many of them, of course, by repeat visitors. That averages out to better than 2,000 a day, which isn’t bad at all, although I’d certainly like it to do better.

Readership rises, naturally enough, in the run-up to elections and when I take note of right-wing politicians saying really, really foolish things, though even then it tends to crater on Friday nights and statutory holidays. I’ve had a couple of posts that have gone viral and attracted 40,000 or more readers in 48 hours.

notley-daveAs I have observed in this space before, my opinions are bound to shift from time to time as my thoughts about various topics evolve. So there’s no value in pointing out to me that I said something different 10 years ago.

All this said, there is seldom a lack of entertaining political topics to pursue here in Alberta. When there is, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or someone like that is usually available to step into the breach. Apparently, moreover, there’s an appetite for analysis about Alberta politics elsewhere in Canada and the world as well.

I had the opportunity to begin also publishing this blog on Rabble.ca in March 2010 – something that has extended my readership considerably and for which I am very grateful. Since Rabble keeps better records than I do, I can tell you with confidence that over the past six years I have published a little more than 1,750 posts on various topics – maybe quite a few more, as posts of purely local interest unlikely to engage a national readership or that are extremely self-indulgent like this piece appear only here. I think it would be safe to calculate I have have published more than 2,000 posts since I started writing this blog.

Well, enough about me. What do you think about me? (That, dear readers, is what the comments section is for. Wait! I’m just making a little joke. If it’s late and especially if you’ve been drinking, no matter how much you hate “socialists,” I don’t actually crave a personal note from you.)

Happy New Year!

14 Comments to: A Happy New Year to all – seriously, to all of you – as AlbertaPolitics.ca begins its 10th year of publication

  1. Milo Steele

    December 31st, 2016

    Dave, congratulations on the first decade and best wishes for many decades to come!

    Reply
  2. Covkid

    December 31st, 2016

    Congratulations, Dave, for performing such a vital alternative to the Conservative-dominated media; for a decade, no less!

    May I recommend you for the Order of Canada, or similar gong, for services provided to the undernourished of Canadian society?

    Reply
  3. Sylvia

    December 31st, 2016

    You are fulfilling a much needed purpose in Alberta David. As you know, Alberta’s media is mainly right wing orientated – so it is really nice to have your perspective. Keep it up! Have you have a Happy New Year!

    Reply
  4. Expat Albertan

    December 31st, 2016

    Thanks, Dave, for all your hard work over the years. I came to this blog in the darkest days of the Harper years, yearning for a sign that my beloved homeland was NOT filled with nasty reactionaries but still had a progressive voice somewhere. Being with you during the fall of the Alberta PC dynasty and the election of an Alberta NDP government (!) renewed my hope for humanity. Best wishes for 2017.

    Reply
  5. Bob Raynard

    December 31st, 2016

    “I don’t actually crave a personal note from you”

    Too bad! You are gettng one anyway!

    I really enjoy your blog, David. It is one of the first sites I click on while I have my morning coffee, and it has proven to be a valuable aid as I recover from newspaper withdrawal. I appreciate your ideas, and also the opportunity to correct you when you are wrong (charter schools) and acknowledge your ideas when you are right. (almost all the rest of the time)

    Here’s hoping for another 10 years.

    Bob

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      December 31st, 2016

      I don’t mean notes like this, Bob, and many thanks for yours. Rather, I had in mind missives like the recent one from an insurance salesman in Wetaskiwin, who shall remain nameless on the slim chance someone else was using his name, who instructed me: “Stop your spreading of socialist garbage. I detest your kind.” Or the threatening note from a Rebel Media fan trolling from his workplace at his Calgary oilpatch servicing company, the name of which will remain confidential for the same reason. DJC

      Reply
  6. Sassy

    December 31st, 2016

    Congratulations, David, and Happy New Year! It’s great to come to a site with interesting, current topics and read your opinions written with such wit and style. I hope we’ll have many more years where you keep us informed and entertained. Thank you! You’re a life line for those of us living in rural Alberta where the local ‘rags’ are full of disinformation and misinformation (or, more commonly, no information).

    Reply
  7. Don Sucha

    December 31st, 2016

    Keep up the good work, Dave! And a happy new year to you and all the other political bloggers out there.

    Reply
  8. Martin d'Entremont

    December 31st, 2016

    I invariably read you before opening my morning a Globe and Mail. HappyNew Year David. Keep wielding that mighty pen.

    Reply
  9. tom in ontario

    December 31st, 2016

    DJC provides light at the end of dark tunnels unavailable anywhere else in the blogosphere. Like Bob Raynard, AlbertaPolitics.ca is among my first looks in the morning after making sure no one has emptied my chequing account.

    Is there anyone more photogenic?

    Reply
  10. Jim Clarke

    December 31st, 2016

    A happy new year to you, too, and may you, I guess, live in interesting times. That supposed curse is presumably a blessing to those in the reporting and commenting business?

    I live in Ontario, and it’s good to read about Alberta from the inside. There are a bunch of other provinces out there that I don’t know enough about, and I really ought to go looking for a peipolitics.ca, manitobapolitics.ca, etc. If I do, it’s because your example is an encouragement.

    Reply
  11. David Khan

    December 31st, 2016

    I like your witty, stellar, entertaining prose, and your column often breaking — or certainly having the most entertaining spin on — events in Alberta politics! I hope we meet in person someday soon!

    Reply
  12. Val

    December 31st, 2016

    hey David, i do not agree with you in many instances but still respect your views and politeness in discussions. after all, that what freedom of speech and expression is about.
    Happy New Year and all the best to you and your readers.

    Reply
  13. TC

    January 2nd, 2017

    Congratulations, DJC.

    Although I think the quality of your work about Alberta is much higher than that of Federal and international affairs, have this blog going for 10 years (and growing in readership) is no small feat. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

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