Today marks the 13th anniversary of the first post published on this blog, known at the time as St. Albert Diary, and later, for a spell, as Alberta Diary.
So, by the standards of the Internet, this makes AlbertaPolitics.ca an institution.
There’s no question that here in Alberta, as pretty much everywhere else, the dominant story of the year has been the global coronavirus pandemic. As a result, 2020 has met pretty well everyone’s definition of annus horribilis.
The need to cover COVID-19 has overshadowed a lot of Alberta political stories that deserved, and deserve, more attention: among them, the apparent last gasp of the fossil fuel economy and what we’re going to do about it. It won’t come soon enough for many, but in the absence of any plan except to blame the federal government, it’s certainly not good news for Premier Jason Kenney, his United Conservative Party Government, or, really, most of us who struggle to earn a living in Alberta.
The UCP strategy of confronting the inevitable by yelling at the clouds borders on criminal negligence, but I’m willing to bet it still enjoys considerable support among Albertans.
There’s also been that inquiry into “anti-Alberta” environmentalism that never seems to report and the War Room that doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be doing, the incipient Wexit rebellion within the UCP caucus, and those pipelines that keep not getting built, all generating heat like a pile of oily rags, but never actually bursting into flames. At least so far.
They, along with the government’s inconsistent and not particularly effective response to the pandemic — which seems to please no one — have contributed to another story that has become apparent in recent weeks. To wit, the rehabilitation of the NDP’s reputation among many voters who supported the UCP in 2019 — if not quite yet the resurrection of the Opposition party’s electoral hopes.
And there are the Kenney Government’s troubling wars — on doctors and health care workers, on workers’ rights, on addiction strategies that save lives — and its strange lack of enthusiasm for confronting those who would intentionally sabotage efforts to control the spread of the virus.
So there will be lots to write about, without a doubt, in this blog’s 14th year of publication.
Over the years, the blog seems to have established a mostly loyal readership, plus a couple of people who hate it so much they read almost every single post and leave their publishable or occasionally unpublishable complaints behind. Many commenters of all political stripes also act as my editors, tirelessly correcting me — for which I am extremely grateful, even on those occasions when I’m not actually wrong.
I lost one of those able proofreaders this year, my sister Joan Margaret Millar, who died at 75 in September. Her trenchant observations, delivered soon after a post was published, saved me from embarrassment on many occasions, and I miss her contribution enormously.
Over the past year, AlbertaPolitics.ca has had about 2.5 million page views and has been regularly reprinted in a number of places, including Rabble.ca, Alberta Views Magazine, and The Tyee.
No doubt this level of interest is encouraged by the unquestionable fact that ever since Ed Stelmach resigned as premier in 2011 — making way for Alison Redford, Dave Hancock, Jim Prentice, Rachel Notley and Jason Kenney — there’s scarcely been a boring day in Alberta politics, which was once upon a time guaranteed to be the dullest political scene in Confederation.
And who knows, give it another year or two and there may be more: Ms. Notley again? Jason Nixon? Shannon Phillips? Travis Toews? Drew Barnes in the role of the Dominion’s Carles Puigdemont, pondering following the footsteps of Louis Riel into American exile? Who knows?
Thanks to all of you, dear readers, for continuing to enjoy and respond to my frequent ramblings, and for tolerating my determination to be the last Canadian standing who abides by the rulings of the 1976 edition of the Globe and Mail Style Book. God knows, the Globe and Mail doesn’t bother any more.
Importantly, many thanks to the generous donors who continue to help pay for web hosting, website 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.
Have an annus mirabilis in 2021!