Today marks the 11th anniversary of the first post published on this blog, known at the time as St. Albert Diary.
And thank God for that, since I’m in a post-Christmas funk with barely an idea in my head about what to write next.
By the standards of the Internet, as I noted last year on this date, entering its 12th year of publication practically makes AlbertaPolitics.ca an institution.
Readership has gone from the low dozens to something approximating a million or more page views a year – more if one can annoy a large group of people or merely take the opportunity to report on the silly things Derek Fildebrandt has to say.
Mr. Fildebrandt stands out for special mention in the history of this blog. The MLA for Strathmore-Brooks is now the leader of the Freedom Conservative Party, an entity dedicated to the proposition that capitalists should be free to exploit their employees and customers pretty well every which way but loose.
It would be fair to say I seldom agree with what he has to say. Nevertheless, I am grateful to him for so seldom leaving me without an amusing topic to write about and for that reason, no matter what you may think, I wish him well in the election expected in the New Year. I’m just not optimistic for his chances, considering some of his enemies, one in particular.
The blog has gone through two name changes. It was first known as St. Albert Diary, and then Alberta Diary, as it expanded the focus of its commentary a bit. It became, AlbertaPolitics.ca, when the estimable Mark Lisac sold me that domain name after his retirement from writing non-fiction about the Alberta Government.
When I began this project, it would have been impossible to imagine Alberta would become the most interesting provincial political scene in Canada.
Many people deserve credit for this.
On the right, I owe a debt of gratitude to Progressive Conservative premier Ed Stelmach for kicking things off in 2006 by unexpectedly beating the front-runners to become the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party; to Alison Redford for repeating the same feat in 2011 after Mr. Stelmach had thrown up his hands at his fractious conservative base; to Dave Hancock for his entertaining efforts to hold the fraying PCs together; and to Danielle Smith and Jim Prentice for trying in 2014 what must have been the most daring, and spectacularly unsuccessful, political union in Canadian history.
Thanks also must go to Brian Jean and Jason Kenney, for the way they hammered back together the province’s two principal conservative parties, and the continued fallout from that not-entirely-amicable union.
On the left, of course, the greatest thanks must go to Premier Rachel Notley, who truly performed a miracle in 2015 when she led her New Democrats to a majority victory in “Canada’s most conservative province.” As I noted last year at this time, she never got the credit she should have for performing the Miracle on the Prairies that she did.
I live in hope of another such miracle. Should it happen, that will be two verified miracles, and surely canonization will swiftly follow!
And while I suppose we could argue about whether he is on the right or the left, I am also grateful to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, if only for the unhinged fury he inspires among Alberta’s conservatives – more for what they sense is his usurpation of their divine right to rule than any actual Liberal policy, methinks.
Most of all, of course, thanks to all of you, dear readers, for your support, your comments (even the angry ones, as long as they’re civil), your occasional donations, and especially your tireless volunteer service as my editors, correcting my many errors as we go along.
David J. Climenhaga
St. Albert, Alberta