PHOTOS: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at yesterday afternoon’s press conference in the Legislature media room. Below: U.S. President Elect Donald Trump and his unsuccessful Democratic Party challenger, Hillary Clinton (Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr).

When a few journalists showed up in the Legislature’s media room yesterday afternoon for Rachel Notley’s news conference, called to offer coolly neutral congratulations to the victor in the U.S. presidential election the night before, Item 1 on their agenda seemed to be to try to get the Alberta Premier to say she thought Americans were dummies for electing Donald Trump.

Like any reasonable person concerned about the role of women in society, Ms. Notley must be shocked and appalled at the election of a misogynist and serial groper like Mr. Trump. What’s more, as premier of a province that does consider business with the United States, she must be equally horrified to know the U.S. Government will soon be led by an economic ignoramus. But she is far too much of a professional to fall for an obvious lure from a journalist.

Ms. Notley ran rings around any reporter who tried. “When people are worried about their jobs, they look around to a whole lot of different places,” she responded mildly, a sympathetic smile playing across her face as she skated past one reporter’s effort to get her to condemn Mr. Trump’s election. “That’s democracy.”

But what else, really, can the premier of a Canadian province say about the decisions made by voters in another country that’s apparently lost possession of its collective mind, especially when it happens to be the superpower right next door?

“It’s very important to respect the rule of law, and the rule of law is founded in democratic institutions,” Ms. Notley observed. “Now that Americans have elected a new president, we need to respect that.”

She did express some disappointment she didn’t get to see a woman elected president of the United States last night, but also her confidence that the progress of women in politics on both sides of the border will continue.

That made for a natural segue, though, to serious questions about the fate of women in politics right here in Alberta where, also Tuesday, the only two women in the race to lead the once-governing Progressive Conservative Party both dropped out, one of them complaining she has been the victim of harassment and intimidation.

Since most everyone – certainly Ms. Notley, who has experienced many of the same things on social media – knows how certain actors on the political right in this province behave toward women, Sandra Jansen’s press release yesterday describing her reasons for quitting is quite credible.

On that, Ms. Notley did not disappoint the gathered media, offering a sharp observation about this state of affairs within the ranks of Alberta’s former governing party.

Leaders of the PC party surely want to ensure women are treated fairly and with respect, Ms. Notley said with a completely straight face. However, she added: “If a party or a campaign cannot conduct itself in a way to ensure the most basic of rules around inclusivity, for instance, anti-harassment, then quite frankly that party or that campaign is not equipped to govern the province.”

There were also questions about the politics surrounding Mr. Trump’s campaign promise to proceed with the controversial Keystone XL pipeline through the United States to the Gulf Coast, with some mildly tendentious suggestions Prime Minister Justin Trudeau might as a result slow down expected approval for the Kinder Morgan Pipeline through B.C.

Conservatives are doubtless praying for just such a development, as it would help them make their case the Notley Government’s climate policies ought not to be out of sync with those of the United States, where Mr. Trump has dismissed man-made climate change as a “hoax.”

Ms. Notley responded that Alberta needs to expand its market, and that means selling its resources to more places than the United States.

A diversity of access to markets is good for both the Canadian and Alberta economies, she explained, and no country is wise to “lose agency over decision-making,” as would happen if the only access to tidewater from Alberta ran through the United States.

This post also appears on

Join the Conversation


  1. Clinton won the popular vote, so the US didn’t lose its collective mind. Just 48% or so of the US did.

    I would not bet to heavily in Keystone being approved by Trump. Not because its not the kind of thing he doesn’t think should be done, but because I suspect the first six months of his regime will be tied up in a wide variety of litigation. Keystone is opposed by Republicans in the states its going through, and not just left-wing environmentalists and First Nations peoples. The pipeline and TransCanada’s handling of it has united people who otherwise wouldn’t even acknowledge each other, and that unity is negative.

    There are of course a lot of low-info people who don’t know this (viz. Trump’s 48% of the popular vote), but the people in the know will take advantage of the legal system.

    1. Wrong!

      They absolutely did lose their minds.

      Just 48% you say. Do you realize that’s nearly 60 million people who voted for Trump? Add the fact that nearly 47% of eligible voters didn’t bother to cast a vote for an important election like this.

      If that’s not an example of mass insanity, then I don’t know what your standard is.

  2. Bernie Sanders was all about bread and butter issues (jobs). Clinton and the dems sabotaged him. Trump was all about bread and butter issues with a thick layer of circus over the top. A three card Monte trick of ‘find the lady’ while the money is scooped off the table by the usual suspects while everyone nickers over gender and ignores class interests.

  3. I worry about increased misogyny in Alberta, particularly as a result of the downturn. Already a province with a macho attitude about men and women, apparently spousal abuses are up in the province. I worry that this toxic combination will lead to a type of home-grown Trumpism.

  4. Dave you seem to be following the MSM line on Trump and Clinton, which is interesting considering your views of the MSM here. The fact that Clinton used a rigged system to get past a much stronger candidate in the primaries doesn’t bother you? The fact that Clinton and her family “foundation” will take money from any gulf monarchy regardless of their mistreatment of woman doesn’t bother you? The fact that Clinton had a huge hand in destroying Libya creating a failed state setting back woman’s rights in that country centuries doesn’t bother you? The fact that Clinton blamed Russia for pretty much everything raising tensions needlessly and seeming to want to provoke them into a hot war doesn’t bother you? The fact that the Clinton foundation basically stole Haitian earthquake relief money doesn’t bother you? Not to mention Bills indiscretions in the past including settlements and Hillary’s role in digging up dirt on his victims. The American election was a choice between the lesser of two evils and Trump is a very flawed human but to blindly follow the MSM narrative and throw out insulting terms is wrong.

    1. My personal view, since you ask, is that Mrs. Clinton was a frightening and dangerous candidate, in particular with regard to her attitudes about Russia and the use of nuclear weapons. The Democratic Party needs to be razed to the ground and rebuilt for the crime of ensuring Bernie Sanders was not the candidate. So, yes, many of the circumstances you mention bother me enormously. But that does not alter my view that Mr. Trump lacks impulse control, is an overt racist and a serial liar, and appears not to understand the implications of what he advocates. In other words, he shows all the signs of being a psychopath, and possibly a mentally ill one at that. I very much doubt he will keep any of his key promises other than destroying Obamacare – we’ll know in days when he names his cabinet – and I think the danger of his starting a nuclear war with Russia is just as great as with Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton, at least, was not batshit crazy and did not lack impulse control. So, I agree with you that the U.S. presidential election offered a choice of the lesser of two evils and, had I been an American, I would have held my nose and voted for Hillary. Is that good enough?

  5. As a BC based casual observer of Alberta politics, I’m astonished that there are even a handful of citizens who do not see that Ms Notley is one extremely competent and brilliant leader. Nobody in this country at least, comes even close to this level of brilliance. Just over the Rockies, were perpetually stuck with someone who lacks the intellectual capacity to lead and while a brilliant campaigner, only “governs” to benefit her vast treasury of those who are lucky enough to have the big dollars to donate to her corrupt party. Not unlike your PC party in Alberta, the BC liberals are in it for themselves and would never allow a competent leader like Notley to get close to the reins. She would not violate her values like these parties come to expect. I hope one day she gets to be PM of this country as she would be outstanding on the world stage. So envious of Albertans to have such a wonderful leader.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.