Alberta Politics
Greta Thunberg comes to Alberta and his greeted with adoration. Who knew that would happen? (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

For the 12th anniversary of, here’s a Top Ten List of Alberta political stories in 2019

Posted on December 27, 2019, 12:01 pm
5 mins

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, where it is also published.

The author, with premier Rachel Notley (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

By the standards of the Internet, this makes an institution, a virtual institution, anyway.

Over the years, the blog seems to have established a loyal readership. For the past several years now, has averaged about 1.2 million page views each year. I hope that’s not an unbreakable ceiling.

The author, with premier Ed Stelmach (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

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:

The author, with premier Alison Redford (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

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.

The author, with Preston Manning, the once and future godfather of the Canadian political right (Photo: Property of David J. Climenhaga).

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

18 Comments to: For the 12th anniversary of, here’s a Top Ten List of Alberta political stories in 2019

  1. Abs

    December 27th, 2019

    Oh. I guess $260-billion is bigger than $4.7-billion. Can’t we just run that number through the War Room, lather, rinse, repeat?

    And thank you, teachers, for buying a pipeline for us with your retirement money. That legislation tweak that makes Aimco responsive to the UCP is surely effective, but who will try to claim credit for this? I guess you’re okay with it, not that you have a choice.

    • Bob Raynard

      December 28th, 2019

      Remember those TV commercials from a few years ago? The one I am thinking of showed a young man browbeating an elderly woman, who we presume is his grandmother, until she reluctantly takes some money out of her purse and gives it to him?

      I am envisioning a poster campaign with a picture of Jason Kenney and the caption “The new face of elder abuse”, then in smaller letters “Stealing pensions from widows since 2019”.

      I wonder if my future includes standing in the median of an intersection with a hand lettered cardboard sign that says ‘Jason Kenney stole my pension’.

      • Abs

        December 29th, 2019

        A one-two punch if he gets his raptor talons on the CPP, Bob. I do remember those commercials, but this is way beyond getting gran to open her purse. It’s more like forcing thousands of grans and gramps to hand over everything, then the abuser rubbing his hands together and smirking with sadistic glee at pulling off the con.

        This is malicious, antisocial evil on a mass scale. Taking immense pleasure in the suffering of others puts this in a class of the dangerously disturbed, the likes of which we have not seen since the last millenium.

        • Bob Raynard

          December 30th, 2019

          Thanks for your supportive comment, ABS. Something many people are not aware of is the fact that a significant chunk of the money in the pension funds came off of the teachers’ cheques, so that is truly our money that Jason has confiscated.

    • Keith McClary

      December 28th, 2019

      There are serious issues in the news that are within the War Room’s purported mandate, eg:

      “Alberta ranchers, farmers furious over oil and gas companies’ failure to clean up their geriatric wells”
      “First Nation says Alberta premier is ‘killing’ proposed oilsands mine by failing to address concerns”
      “Exempting Alberta coal mine expansion from federal review is ‘hypocrisy’: environmental groups”
      “Alberta fights to have its methane emissions regulations recognized”

      but instead they churn out puff pieces about electric ranges and biomethane.

  2. Farmer Dave

    December 27th, 2019

    Thankyou David for all your posts. Have a good New Years.

  3. Just Me

    December 27th, 2019

    Back when the PCs governed Alberta (for many a lifetime) one could count on marginally successful governance, with a dash of wild third-world style corruption.

    After the respite of rational behaviour that the NDP fostered, Alberta decided to, overwhelmingly, vote for a pack of ideological/theological zealots, who will stop at nothing to remake their smallish piece of the world conform to their rigid worldview. So, conspiracy theories become policy, lunacy becomes law, and angry little man tantrums become statesmanship.

    Considering that the UCP haven’t made it to one year in office yet, they have piled on a ton of controversies already. And there’s the matter of Kenney high-tailing it out of Alberta’s hellscape because Ottawa’s better. Seriously, the dude was born in Ontario, raised in Regina, SK, came to Alberta only for a political career, came back only to revive his political career…Alberta is a convenient pitstop for Kenney and nothing more.

  4. Expat Albertan

    December 27th, 2019

    Happy 12th, David. One of the few blogs out there that merit my loyalty.

  5. Jerrymacgp

    December 28th, 2019

    Wow … 12 years! Who knew? I think I’ve been reading this for somewhat less, given that when it was “St Albert Diary” it would not have piqued my interest, not being a resident of that attractive little city. Congratulations, Sir. Yours has been one of the most erudite, cogent, and well-sourced sites for reporting and analysis of Alberta — and broader Canadian & world at times — politics I have yet found. Even on those — exceedingly rare — occasions when I have disagreed with you, I have found your positions well-reasoned and logically argue, and your replies to reader comments — polite or otherwise — always courteous and respectful.

    Minor typo report: in your Top Ten list, No. 9 … “Alberta election 2018”? Ummm … it was in 2019, on April 16th …

    Best wishes for a happy, healthy & prosperous 2020 … which, given what your day job is, is unlikely to be boring :-).

    • David Climenhaga

      December 29th, 2019

      Thanks, Jerry. It’s been fixed. We only disagree about Russia, and then only a little. DJC

  6. Public Servant

    December 28th, 2019

    Thank you David for the insightful commentary and the amusing and worthwhile writing.

  7. Sub-Boreal

    December 28th, 2019

    Congrats on this milestone!

    Although my personal AB connection is getting a bit ancient (4 years in the 70s and 80s), it’s hard to look away (in a car-crash-gawking way) from next-door in BC. Over those 40+ years as a brief resident and long-term concerned neighbour, what struck me most is the all-penetrating force of what William Vollmann called “carbon ideologies” in his latest monster tome ( ).

    It’s grimly fascinating to see how the NDP, in both AB and SK, became just as much in thrall as any of the Con brands, but in a kinder, gentler way. And not surprisingly, given the choice, folks seemed to prefer the real thing to the soft-core version. And not to be a snotty neighbour either – John Horgan’s NDP seems just as oblivious in the face of geophysics as his comrades to the east.

    So what is to be done? Some of us here had hoped that legislative dependency on the Greens would shade Horgan’s brownish tinge just a bit. How naive we were! The Greens were clearly outfoxed when they negotiated the power-sharing agreement, so they made no real gains on what should have been their signature issues, such as approving LNG or Site C. Instead, they’ve only steered the government’s trajectory in the direction of their weird mix of pet libertarian obsessions (e.g. preventing easier union certification, nagging about allowing ride-hailing).

    So, here it’s a confusing mess. At least in AB you can enjoy the clarity of watching the carbon ideologies at work in what must be their purest, most refined realization this side of Oklahoma.

  8. karl roth

    December 28th, 2019

    mr Climenhaga, thanks for a great go to site to get the lowdown on politics in AB

  9. December 29th, 2019

    #5 & #10 combine to give us the no go logo which was replaced with a stylized fist knocking out the Liberals and Canada in one swell punch.

  10. Farmer Brian

    December 29th, 2019

    David a top ten story for me is the loss of access to certain markets for Canadian grain for largely political reasons. India imposed tariffs in Canadian pulse imports in 2018 so Canada started to export pulses to China. In 2019 we lost both our markets for pulses and for Canola into China. As well as pork and beef for a period of time. Due to African Swine Fever in China and the loss of a good percentage of their swine herd China is now importing Canadian meat again but Canola and Pulse imports are still restricted. I realize trade isn’t normally considered a political story but in this case Canada was out maneuvered by the U.S. when they requested that Canada arrest Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Dec. 2018. This arrest has certainly had a very negative affect on the business and diplomatic relationship between China and Canada throughout the year. Enjoy your day.

    • Jerrymacgp

      December 30th, 2019

      Sir: for once agree with you. Canada has failed to take a tough enough line with China over the two Michaels and their other retaliatory measures against Canada for arresting Ms Meng.

      I propose that Canada tells the Chinese to either release the two Michaels altogether, or at least let them out on the PRC’s equivalent of bail, forthwith — or Canada will intensify Ms Meng’s detention conditions to match those under which the two Michaels are being held. I don’t think Ms Meng’s influential father would like to see that happen. Canada should also simply rule out Huawei is a vendor or service provider in Canada’s 5G network, full stop.

  11. Scotty on Denman

    December 30th, 2019

    The number twelve has all sorts of significances—and now it has one more.
    Shoulda had a ‘Top-Twelve List’—woulda had two more.
    Congratulations, anyway.
    It’s very good.

    Only one more day to say “Foresight is 2020” before it starts converting to “hindsight” forever.
    Good luck.

    • David Climenhaga

      December 31st, 2019

      Thank you Scotty. Too late for the 12, but I have appropriated your 2020 suggestion for my New Year’s Eve headline. DJC


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