Alberta Politics
The author with Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MLA Rachel Notley in 2011, a long time before most Albertans imagined she would be premier (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

AlbertaPolitics.ca: still here after 11 years writing about Canada’s most interesting provincial political scene

Posted on December 27, 2018, 3:37 pm
5 mins

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.

The author with Progressive Conservative Premier Alison Redford (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

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.

he author with PC Premier Jim Prentice (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

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.

The author with some guy he met in Toronto airport (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

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

13 Comments to: AlbertaPolitics.ca: still here after 11 years writing about Canada’s most interesting provincial political scene

  1. Political Ranger

    December 27th, 2018

    Congratulations David. You’ve made a great deal of life in Alberta a thoughtful, if not always agreeable part of my day.

    “Nothing so fretful, so despicable as a Scribbler, see what I am, and what a parcel of Scoundrels I have brought about my ears, and what language I have been obliged to treat them with to deal with them in their own way; / all this comes of Authorship.” Lord Byron 1788-1824

    Reply
  2. Bill Malcolm

    December 27th, 2018

    Well, it’s the best-written Canadian blog by far I’ve read. No quibbles from me about your style or spelling! A pleasure to peruse.

    Speaking as a Maritimer with relatives in Alberta, I’m continually amazed at the quaint wackos the province generates on the conservative side of the spectrum, many of whom seem to have not fully developed as adults but are unaware of it, like Fildebrandt. Much fodder for a blogger!

    Decades ago. we used to wonder at Social Credit which always reminded me of the frustration children feel sitting in a chair and attempting to lift it off the floor by grasping the seat and pulling upwards. No wonder the Quebec car salesman Real Caouette ran with the theory federally with the first Manning’s encouragement. About the same level of brainpower as accusing JT of treason, or making prognostications on equalization all entirely unhindered by a little research – much easier to merely issue blarts and noisome statements signifying nothing, generated from within the empty space between two ears and entirely unhinderd by fact.

    I’m not impressed by Notley either, if that assuages the conservative mind. The oil industry seems to capture minds of all political stripes, and the Alberta TV ads of little logic are on endless repeat here. Canadians are buying her and you an existing pipeline. The Alberta squawking for unfettered access to tidewater shows that Alberta is not interested in nor cares about other Canadians’ outlooks and lives. The sense of entitlement is pretty amazing. No, we must all bend to Alberta’s wishes, steamroller any and all objections and cave in, just because.

    Still and all, the coverage here is excellent, and I look forward to its continuation with congratulations for the past eleven year’s service.

    Reply
  3. Farmer Dave

    December 27th, 2018

    Before Peter Lougheed’s passing I listened to his last interview with CBC and he said Alberta has always believed Government should run the Province from the centre and that is what he believed in. If you look at past history Alberta Governments would never jump into any radical change until other Provinces tried it and Alberta would look at the good and bad before making any change. Notley is the closest to Lougheed that I have ever seen in this Province and in my view is doing a good job under stressful circumstances.

    Now we may end up with JK as Premier who has no intestinal fortitude to make a decision or any policy and takes his marching orders from the P Manning group and the religious right. I’d hate to see how JK would run the Province under stressful circumstances, you think we are in bad shape now just wait and see if JK is elected we’ll never get out of trouble.

    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.

    Reply
  4. Jerrymacgp

    December 27th, 2018

    Congratulations, Mr C, on 11 years of erudite, insightful, informed, educated, educational, & still very entertaining writing. May it continue for as long as you have strength & will to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard :-).

    Reply
  5. David Grant

    December 27th, 2018

    Thanks should be to given to you David C. You have brought a good balance to the right-wing bias that pervades the media landscape. You can also show that, contrary to journalist Jennifer Gerson’s contention that if you are a journalist who believes that if you afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted you can’t be a good journalist. You have shown the absolute lunacy of Western so-called alienation (or complaining, in my opinion). You make it easier for many to live here and keep fighting for things that we believe in. I hope that you carry on for another 10 years!!!!

    Reply
  6. Derek

    December 28th, 2018

    You’re the first page I look at every single morning. Thanks for everything.

    Reply
  7. CovKid

    December 28th, 2018

    Dave, we are privileged in Alberta to have your voice denouncing the neo-liberal media, businesses and self-pronounced “experts” who have constantly promoted policies which would divert potential public revenue into private pockets. The more you expose such malfeasance, the angrier they get and utilize the unsophisticated and unsuspecting to bolster their agenda.

    May you continue this mission for many years to come and congratulations on your 11th. anniversary!

    Reply
  8. AlbertaD

    December 28th, 2018

    Congrats on the anniversary – and thanks for being a breath of sanity in a crazy era. I look forward to every post you write!

    Reply
  9. Bob Raynard

    December 28th, 2018

    My thanks as well, David. I really do appreciate reading your thoughts, and for creating a community where ideas are exchanged (usually) respectfully and intelligently.

    Reply
  10. Valerie Jobson

    December 28th, 2018

    Thanks for being here Dave, with your informed opinions and entertaining writing style.

    Reply
  11. Ron

    December 29th, 2018

    Best Canadian blog. No contest!

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      December 30th, 2018

      Nice of you to say, Ron. Certainly one of the busiest! DJC

      Reply
  12. Expat Albertan

    December 30th, 2018

    I came here in the dark days of the Harper era, when the discourse from Alberta was, by and large, mean and triumphal, while still (incredibly) maintaining a sense of victimhood vis a vis central Canada. In my despair at how things were changing in my home, I googled something like ‘progressive Alberta’ and up came your blog. Reading it gave me hope that there was still a progressive voice in Alberta and the success of the NDP in 2015 confirmed that. When I come back to Edmonton to visit family and friends, I can say, with pride, that I follow Alberta politics on a daily basis. Thanks, David, for all you’ve done and continue to do.

    Reply

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