Today marks the 12th anniversary of the first post published on this blog, known at the time as St. Albert Diary. Later, for a long spell, it was Alberta Diary, and still retains that name on Rabble.ca, where it is also published.
By the standards of the Internet, this makes AlbertaPolitics.ca an institution, a virtual institution, anyway.
Over the years, the blog seems to have established a loyal readership. For the past several years now, AlbertaPolitics.ca has averaged about 1.2 million page views each year. I hope that’s not an unbreakable ceiling.
No doubt this level of interest is encouraged by the unquestionable fact that ever since Ed Stelmach said to heck with it and resigned as premier in 2011 — making way for Alison Redford, Dave Hancock, Jim Prentice, Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney — there’s rarely been a boring day in Alberta politics, once guaranteed to be the dullest in Confederation.
And who knows, if I stick around for a while, there may be more premiers: Jason Nixon? Shannon Phillips? Both? Neither?
Anyway, it’s certainly kept me amused!
Consider the following stories, which I think were probably the biggest, if not necessarily the most important Alberta political stories of 2019. Forgive me, dear readers, if I present them as a Top Ten list, in reverse order of my estimation of their significance, David Letterman style:
10) The Wexit Wevolution! Waxing or waning? It’s sure been quiet since Andrew Scheer resigned as federal Conservative leader, though. What’s with that, anyway?
9) Alberta election 2019 … They’re baaaack! Alberta’s awful, entitled Conservatives, that is.
8) Austerity is back too, and health care’s in chaos again! I wonder how that works?
7) Alberta’s carbon tax is dead! Long live Alberta’s carbon tax! Isn’t it interesting how this was a huge story when it was an NDP carbon tax, and now it’s not?
6) The return of Preston Manning — a creepy tale from the political crypt.
5) The War Room — Albertans keep asking, is it also a laundry room? A money laundry, that is. Impossible to say.
4) No jobs, no pipeline! And we were told replacing the NDP with the UCP would fix that. What happened?
3) Gretamania comes to Alberta, where we’re all reputed to love oil and gas. Edmonton went wild with adoration!
2) Federal election 2019 … Canada got rid of Andrew Scheer and all we get to replace him is Pierre Pollievre? Skippy? Please explain.
… And the No. 1 Alberta political story of 2019?
1) Election Commissioner fired! Kamikaze investigation grounded! Nothing to see here folks, just move along please …
And the most underreported story of 2019? Or perhaps I should say the most underreported. I say it’s Alberta’s looming environmental cleanup and its impossible cost, $260-billion and almost certainly climbing.
You have to know Canadians outside Alberta are going to get stuck paying a big part of this bill, and they’re not going to like it. Never mind, we’re special — or so we keep telling ourselves.
Thanks to all of you, dear readers, for continuing to enjoy and respond to my ramblings, and put up with my stylistic idiosyncrasies!
That includes, of course, the blog’s loyal commenters of all political stripes, many of whom also act as my editors, tirelessly correcting me — sometimes even when I’m not wrong.
Plus, of course, many thanks to the generous donors who help pay for web hosting, repairs and the occasional redesign, not to mention the inevitable costs of research and staying connected in a digital age. I am extremely grateful to all of you. You know who you are.
David J. Climenhaga
St. Albert, Alberta