PHOTOS: Part of the original header on this blog, back in its St. Albert Diary days, which ran from the last week of 2007 to mid-2009. The blog, of course, has continued under slightly different names to the present. Below: The first post, and my picture with Alberta’s two best premiers, in my opinion, since I started writing this blog.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the first post published on this blog, known at the time as St. Albert Diary.
By the standards of the Internet, it seems to me, this makes AlbertaPolitics.ca an institution.
It was pretty rotten, truth be told … that first post, that is. But the blog seems to have gotten better, if I may say so myself, and it appears to have established a loyal readership.
At first, as I recall, readership was in the low dozens. Some time after that, I would be delighted when my page-view analytics indicated I’d cracked three figures with a post.
For the past three years, it’s averaged better than 1.2 million page views per year. Once or twice a post has gone viral – usually when I comment on something really silly said by a right-wing politician.
Many thanks to Wildrose-United Conservative Party-Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt, therefore, for once arguing aloud that Rachel Notley and her NDP Government were liars for keeping their promises. That one had 48,000 page views in 48 hours, which I think is still a record.
The blog has gone through two name changes, from St. Albert Diary to Alberta Diary, reflecting evolution in the focus of the commentary, and then to AlbertaPolitics.ca, when the estimable Mark Lisac sold me that domain name after his retirement from writing non-fiction about the Alberta Government.
Who would have thought, when I began this project, that Alberta would become the most interesting provincial political scene in Canada?
Well, thanks to Ed Stelmach for kicking things off in 2006 by unexpectedly beating the front-runners to become the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, and to Alison Redford for repeating the same trick in 2011 when Mr. Stelmach said to heck with being premier. More thanks to Ms. Redford for then presiding over the dramatic disintegration of the party on her watch, to Dave Hancock for his entertaining efforts to hold the fraying PCs together, and to Danielle Smith and Jim Prentice for trying what must have been the most daring, and spectacularly unsuccessful, political union in Canadian history.
And a particular thank you to Premier Notley, who truly performed a miracle on the Prairies in 2015 – although mainstream media never called it what it was for some reason – and got a majority New Democrat government elected in Alberta, where for nigh on 80 years that had been deemed simply unthinkable, let alone merely impossible.
Thanks must also be offered to Jason Kenney and Brian Jean, for ensuring that if the right must reunite, at least it would be done divisively, and therefore interestingly, with the seeds of future intramural disputes scattered amid the wreckage of the PC and Wildrose parties. Dark deeds done as former PCs migrate to the Alberta Party? That’s only the beginning, I’m willing to bet.
The political scene in this province will continue to be interesting for a long time yet, I can confidently predict, no matter what happens in the immediate future.
So this post, you could say, begins the second decade of AlbertaPolitics.ca. And by the way, unlike last year, I am quite certain of the date, thanks to the peerless online research capabilities of my friend and colleague Dave Cournoyer, author of the Daveberta.ca blog.
I suppose it’s unlikely there will be a third decade, but you never know. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have bet a nickel on this blog lasting 10 months, let alone a decade, under any name.
Well, everybody’s got to have a hobby! And if this isn’t it, it’s been accumulating a so-far complete collection of photographs of your blogger with Alberta’s premiers in office while the blog was published.
Thanks to all of you, dear readers, for continuing to enjoy and respond to my ramblings, and put up with my idiosyncrasies! That includes the blog’s loyal commenters of all political stripes, who also act as my editors, for tirelessly correcting me, sometimes even when I’m not wrong. Plus, of course, to the generous donors who help pay for web hosting, and the occasional redesign.
David J. Climenhaga
St. Albert, Alberta