Today’s the day former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is widely expected to enter the race to lead the Alberta New Democratic Party. 

Rachel Notley and the other contenders in the 2014 NDP leadership race, David Eggen and Rod Loyola (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

If Mr. Nenshi’s formal leadership campaign begins today as everyone in Alberta who pays attention to politics seems to expect, it will provide a true stress test of the coalition Rachel Notley built.

Until Ms. Notley came along, the Alberta NDP reliably played the role of a little party of conscience, no threat to Conservative governments but usually capable of electing a couple of hard-working MLAs who punched above their weight in Question Period, and a few more now and then after a good election.

The running joke back in the day was that if necessary the NDP Caucus in the Alberta Legislature could usually hold a meeting in a phone booth.

When Ms. Notley, a capable parliamentarian and one quarter of the NDP caucus at the time, was chosen as the party’s leader from a field of three on Oct. 18, 2014, it’s unlikely very many Alberta New Democrats expected much to change. 

Maybe, just maybe, went the prevailing hope, Ms. Notley could energize voters enough to someday make the NDP the official Opposition again – not that anybody expected that to happen anytime soon. 

NDP leadership candidate Kathleen Ganley, MLA for Calgary-Mountain View (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Well, something happened alright, and a lot of heads are still spinning trying to figure out just what. Whatever it was, seven months and one week later she was sworn in as the premier!

From then to now – first as the leader of a majority government and especially after 2019 as an Opposition leader who would come close last year to returning to power – Ms. Notley built an electoral coalition of progressive voters that includes many Albertans who were never before NDP supporters. Among them, former provincial Liberals, Alberta Party supporters, and reluctant Red Tories who every election just before they voted Progressive Conservative sadly asked themselves, But who else is there?

Now, obviously, and thanks to Ms. Notley, there’s the NDP!

To build that coalition, Ms. Notley moved the party to the centre – and not just the Canadian centre, but the Alberta centre, which by most definitions is pretty far right. 

If you read the comments that appear under this blog’s posts, you’ll know that she took it too far to the right for many traditional New Democrats.

NDP leadership candidate Rakhi Pancholi, who has made formally severing the Alberta and federal New Democratic parties a campaign issue (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Regardless, her achievement was reflected in the results of the 2023 election, which was too close for comfort from the perspective of the United Conservative Party of Premier Danielle Smith, and left the NDP with the largest Opposition caucus in Alberta history. Unlike the 2015 tally, no one could say the 2023 result was a fluke. 

It demonstrated, moreover, that the Alberta electorate is now divided into two camps, and Alberta politics, for the time being at least, has become a de facto two-party system.

It was natural, then, that when Ms. Notley announced her intention to resign, the race would attract the interest of newcomers like Mr. Nenshi, who has not been an NDP member for very long at all but has his own political base in Calgary civic politics well outside the traditional NDP.

Indeed, he has often disdained party politics, and chose purple as his electoral colour because it blends Liberal red and Tory blue. 

But the NDP is now a party with a real chance at grasping power. And what ambitious politician wouldn’t want a chance to lead a party like that? 

“Nenshi jumping into the race will tweak the noses of many long-time NDP activists who aren’t accustomed to a big name outsider wanting to lead their party,” wrote political commentator Dave Cournoyer on his Substack last week. 

Grant Notley, leader of the Alberta NDP from 1968 until his death in 1984 (Photo: Creator not identified, via the Daveberta Substack).

For sure, this is not the way things were done in the Alberta NDP – ever! Leadership elections were polite affairs. Party leaders back to Ms. Notley’s father Grant Notley, who led the party from 1968 to his death in an air crash on Oct. 19, 1984, when he was leader of the Opposition, had all put in their time as hard workers and prominent figures within the party. 

Naturally, there are people in the NDP who feel that’s the way things should continue to be – just as there are people in the party who have concluded Mr. Nenshi is the ticket to defeat the UCP, especially if it continues to be led by Ms. Smith.

But for good or for ill the Alberta NDP is a different party now, and it is going to have to be open to leadership contenders like Mr. Nenshi who are newcomers if it hopes to hold together the progressive coalition Ms. Notley built. 

At the same time, whoever wins is going to have to find a way to keep the NDP’s traditional base sweet. 

And no matter what leadership candidates are saying now – Rakhi Pancholi, c’mon down! – that’s certainly going to mean finding a way to preserve the party’s ties to the federal NDP even when the two NDP branches widely diverge on policy, as they did during Ms. Notley’s premiership.

For younger readers, who may be confused by the term, this is what we have in mind when we say “a telephone booth” (Photo: N9LXI, Creative Commons).

Perhaps the most valuable thing that Mr. Nenshi possesses – at least this is the conventional wisdom among commentators who are not traditional New Democrats – is a Calgary postal code and enthusiastic supporters in that city. 

This is certainly not good news for former justice minister Kathleen Ganley, the only MLA in the race who now represents a Calgary riding, Calgary-Mountain View. 

She appears to be the first choice of the party establishment, however, so she is far from a weak candidate. But this vulnerability certainly accounts for the uncharacteristically sharp words about Mr. Nenshi from Ms. Ganley, who assailed him for his tepid endorsement of the NDP in last spring’s election without waiting for him to announce he is running. 

For his part, if he wins, Mr. Nenshi could pull it all together and provide the conditions needed to boot the UCP – or he could break it all apart and split the coalition Ms. Notley built.

He’d have to be as careful of the NDP’s base as Mr. Smith is of the UCP’s – and it’s not clear he has the inclination or the patience to do that.

If he loses and the supporters he’s likely to bring to the party then lose their enthusiasm, pack up, and go home, that too could result in the NDP’s chances going pffft

If Mr. Nenshi indeed enters the race, the commentariat will immediately proclaim him to be the front-runner. He will generate national interest. 

All I can promise you this morning is that, whatever happens today, it’s going to be interesting and, this being Alberta, it’s likely to stay that way.

Join the Conversation


  1. I am still hoping Nenshi does not enter the field. Only time I voted for him was when the alternative was Smith of the sprawl cabal. In 2010 I had already sent in my mail in vote for Bob Hawkesworth from abroad, and it was too late to change once Bob withdrew. Nenshi is capable enough and his heart is in the right place on some issues, but he loves the sound of his own voice far too much, and does not seem to realize how much dislike of him is out there in Calgary, not to speak of smaller cities and rural areas. And I have no idea how he plays in Edmonton.

    As a long time NDP member I see my choice as between Kathleen Ganley, who I know and like, and Sarah Hoffman, who is probably ideologically closer to me. Those two have experience of actually governing and did well in their ministerial portfolios.

  2. The NDP are the closest type of government that we have in Alberta that resembles what Peter Lougheed did for us. The UCP, with or without Danielle Smith, are an unmitigated disaster. I’ll stick with the government that serves the well being of Albertans, instead of their rich corporate friends.

  3. While Ms. Smith may not have the eloquence and thoughtfulness of Nenshi, she is no slouch at communication. Even more importantly, she has learned a lot of valuable lessons about how to run and keep a political party together, often the hard way with some past public failure. Perhaps Nenshi is a much quick learner, but I suspect there is always a difficult learning curve for those who go into something new and different.

    Recent history has not been kind to those who have got the idea to lead an Alberta political party without much involvement before hand. In the last two decades, there were two opposition leaders who came from the governing party with some fanfare and neither succeeded. Of course, history does not always repeat itself, but one should be cautious when the message from the recent past is 0 – 2. On the other hand, the last Calgary mayor to run provincially did very well but the one before him not, so 1 – 1.

    Nenshi’s candidacy may not be good news for the other prominent Calgary candidate, but there already are several Edmonton candidates. So whoever wins may not do so based just on support in one area.

    I do feel whatever the outcome of this race is, it will be historic and determine the future of the Alberta NDP. So as in any such race, the members need to choose wisely.

  4. The arrival of Nenshi into the race will bring new and interesting people into the party. It was sell party memberships and broaden their base. He also appeals to young people and has a way of getting them excited and interested in politics.

  5. If — as is widely predicted — Mr Nenshi enters the race, party members need to ask him one pointed question: will he commit to running as an NDP candidate in the next election regardless of whether he wins the leadership? If the answer is anything but an immediate and enthusiastic “yes”, we need to steer clear of him.

    I like Mr Nenshi. I like his positions on human rights and social issues, and he’s a spellbinding orator.

    I’m not very knowledgeable about his record as Mayor of Calgary, because as a resident of a mid-sized northwestern Alberta city I haven’t paid much attention to municipal politics in the southern Alberta metropolis. But Mayors in Canada tend to get both too much credit and too much blame from voters for how their city councils perform, given that they are normally only one vote among many, so I don’t know how important his record is. Suffice to say he’s a decent human being by all accounts, sadly not a common characteristic among politicians these days.

    But is he NDP leader material? He has always eschewed party politics, but becoming leader of a party would force him to jump into it with both feet. I fear he could become the “new, shiny object” that attracts too many instant Dippers but can’t get any traction with the broader electorate – kind of like Jagmeet Singh turned out to be.

    Anyway, I’ll be perusing all the candidates’ websites and other public positions carefully over the next several weeks before deciding where my vote is going.

    1. Jerry: I’m not sure whether to construe the following as an excuse or an explanation for Nenshi’s distance from the AB NDP until recently. But, before you are too hard on Nenshi, you need to remember Alberta is an authoritarian single party state and it is very dangerous to oppose the Party that has been in power for over 40 years, especially if you represent a city or rural MD that relies on transfer payments from Edmonton. Look at the pusillanimous cowardice from rural councils over dead-beat oil companies as a good example.

  6. During a leadership race, a lot of ammo is spent attacking each other….and providing ammo that the opposition can use in the next general election. After his lacklustre appearance on a CBC book show, I hope he gets the message: it’s not what Canada reads, it’s what Canada NEEDS.

  7. I’ve been discussing the Nenshi factor with my Calgary friends for a few weeks now and pretty much everyone agrees that he’s the guy to put the boots to the UCP no matter who’s leading it. I understand that career NDP supporters will see him as an interloper and possibly someone with a few questionable idiosyncrasies, but the NDP brain trust had their chance and they blew it. They really blew it, and progressives in this province don’t have the luxury of hanging around for numerous election cycles waiting for someone to emerge from the NDP rank and file who can motivate the majority of Albertans to elect a premier who has the ability to lead us into an uncertain future.

  8. We are typical Conservative voters based upon socioeconomic status and by just about every other measure one could make.

    We will never vote UCP just as long as Take Back Alberta is pulling the strings.

    Aside for all the other issues we cannot bring ourselves to vote for a Party that does not seem capable of delivering on the very basics. Health care and Education. Both are a shambles.

    And certainly we will never vote UCP as long as Danielle Smith is the leader and/or the usual dullard sycophants control the Party.

    Shame really. Will we vote Nenshi? Yes…no choice other than staying home.

  9. “Regardless, [Notley’s] achievement was reflected in the results of the 2023 election… Unlike the 2015 tally, no one could say the 2023 result was a fluke.”

    Notley won in 2015 against a divided conservative movement. The NDP will never vanquish a united conservative party in Alberta. Let that sink in.
    In 2023, Notley ran against a wackadoodle and still lost. Danielle Smith was the only reason the election was close. Notley was up against an non-stop fabulist. A motormouth who spins fictions effortlessly, freely, and fluently, with no BS filter on ideas either incoming or outgoing. Someone with a long history of outrageous ideas and comments. A seething cauldron of denial and ignorance. Yet in the televised debate, a nervous Notley failed to land a punch. Against a half-sensible leader like Travis Toews, the UCP would have won by a landslide.

    Time to get real. There will be no Premier Ganley. No Premier Hoffman. No Premier Pancholi. Nenshi has no pull in rural Alberta. If the polls get too close, the UCP can trade Smith for a blue fencepost and still win.

    Notley’s shift to the right was a strategic blunder. No matter how much the NDP pander to the O&G industry, they will never win the votes of pipeline supporters. If your vote is based on pipelines, why not just vote for the real O&G party?
    As the NDP morphs into PC-lite, they make themselves irrelevant. Leaving Alberta without a party to defend and sell progressive principles and science-based policy.
    It will not be Jason Kenney or Danielle Smith who erode and finally erase the progressive party in Alberta. It will be the NDP. It was Notley and her backroom advisors who shifted the Overton window. Ordinary Albertans will pay the price.

    Notley’s climate and energy policies represent a setback to the progressive movement in Alberta. Notley & Co. threw environmentalists and climate activists under her diesel bus.
    Given a one-term opportunity to show Albertans what a truly progressive government reliant on science-based policies looks like, the NDP brain trust balked. Far from leading the NDP to glory, Notley blew it up. Notley’s true legacy.

    Be it resolved: it is useful, even essential, to have a political party on the left that defends progressive, social democratic principles. A party that anchors political debate in science / reality / sanity.
    Further, it is useful to have such a political party on the left even if it never wins an election or forms government.

    Absent a truly progressive party on the left, centrist parties like the present-day Notley NDP will continue to chase conservative parties to the right. Trying to outconservative the conservatives in a vain attempt to win power.
    The upshot? Our political parties — now run by lobbyists, with the grassroots kept at a distance — stray from the public interest and increasingly cater to corporate interests. As we see today with the NDP and UCP.

  10. “the coalition Rachel Notley built”

    Did Notley build a coalition? Or did she abandon the NDP base in vain pursuit of neoliberal glory — and leave social democrats, environmentalists, and climate activists behind?

    Notley & Co. threw environmentalists under the bus. Not a few longtime NDP supporters rejected Notley’s shift to the right.
    Notley pandered to petroleum types. She toured the country, preaching salvation by pipeline to choirs of business elites. In May 2018, Notley hosted a hundred businesspeople who flew into the AB Legislature from BC. (Ouch!)

    Then she had the nerve to call federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh “elitist”.
    To this day, the righties falsely attack Notley for alleged subservience to the Trudeau-Singh alliance. In reality, Premier Notley heaped scorn on Singh over the Trans Mtn Expansion pipeline.
    “To forget that and to throw [working people] under the bus as collateral damage in pursuit of some other high level policy objective is a recipe for failure and it’s also very elitist.”
    “To do that and forget the needs of working people, or to throw working people under the bus, means that both economic growth and environmental protection are bound to fail.”

    Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman: “I recall many times Jagmeet Singh has not been a friend to Albertans, to working people or to our nation when it comes to energy policy.”
    Notley forbid her NDP sheep from posing for pictures with federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

    In the Oct 2019 federal election, Notley initially refused to publicly support the federal NDP candidate Heather McPherson in Edmonton Strathcona. Notley had nothing to gain. The AB NDP had already gone down to defeat in April.
    Sabotaging federal NDP fortunes in Edmonton Strathcona would do nothing to help the AB NDP. No right-wingers would ever give Notley any credit for her stance on pipelines.
    Notley shifted away from her long-time progressive supporters towards her legions of regressive neoliberal non-supporters, knowing NDP supporters had nowhere else to go.

    Reakash Walters, federal NDP candidate in Edmonton Centre 2015: “As one of two people who nominated Rachel in 2015, I am truly disappointed in the direction the provincial party has taken and that they have chosen to prioritize oil extraction in the middle of a climate crisis.”
    “What was Rachel Notley suggesting when she said she’s not committed to voting for Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats?” (Alberta Politics, 2019)

    While Notley was getting cozy with Suncor’s CEO and arch-conspiracy theorist Vivian Krause, she turned a deaf ear to longtime NDP supporters:

    “Oilpatch odours in northwestern Alberta still pungent, years after inquiry”
    “[Donna Daum, a retired teacher] points out that members of the current NDP govt — including Premier Rachel Notley — were loud in their support when they were in opposition.
    “‘(Notley) talked about the precautionary principle, which obviously is no longer in their dictionary. I can’t believe how these dictionaries get rewritten the moment there’s some responsibility attached to things.'”

    In opposition, the NDP voiced support for a comprehensive healthy study on cancers in Fort Chipewyan. In govt, the only sound was crickets.
    “[Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation,] said his people continue to die from cancer at alarmingly high rates, a fact he blamed on oilsands developments. ‘Whatever food I’m bringing in from the bush, it is getting our people sick.’ The chief said he had hoped that after four decades of Conservative rule in Alberta, things would be different when the NDP government came to power in May 2015. But under the Rachel Notley government, he said, it’s business as usual. ‘I feel very, very ashamed to call myself an Albertan. I feel very, very ashamed to call myself a Canadian citizen.'” (January 2017)

    “The talk around our table is that the NDP government is just another platform of the previous Conservative government with a different logo. Nothing has changed.” (Chief Allan Adam)

    Former AB Liberal leader Kevin Taft: “Through her whole career and her whole party, up until they became government, [Notley and the NDP] were very effective critics, counterbalances to the oil industry. As soon as she stepped into office, as soon as she and her party became government, they’ve simply became instruments of the oil industry.”

    Dr John O’Connor: “Pre-election, the NDP/Rachel Notley were vocally supportive of bringing accountability and responsibility to bear on the environmental and health impacts, especially downstream, of the tarsands. After the AB Cancer Board report on Fort Chipewyan, she was notably outspoken on the need to comply with the recommendation for a comprehensive health study of Fort Chip, which was never even started.
    “Now—it’s buried and forgotten. Such hypocrisy.”

    Premier Notley on the UofA’s decision to award David Suzuki an honorary degree: “Speaking personally as an alumni (sic), I’m not a big fan of this decision. It struck me as being a bit tone deaf. If I’d been on the senate, I wouldn’t have personally voted for it.”

    Notley responded likewise to Jane Fonda’s visit in 2017: “Super tone-deaf.”
    “Graham Thomson: Jane Fonda’s outdated rhetoric fails to make dent in pipeline expansion”

    Cheryl Oates, Communications Director for the Premier: “We have been clear that when it comes to Alberta’s oilsands, Tzeporah Berman is dead wrong.”

    Notley’s barely disguised insults towards environmentalists like Berman and Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema didn’t go unnoticed.
    “How a Rachel Notley volunteer wound up on a bridge blockading an oil tanker” (National Observer)

    Notley called the Leap Manifesto naïve, ill-considered, and tone-deaf.

    Premier Notley: “Here in Alberta we ride horses, not unicorns, and I invite pipeline opponents to saddle up on something that is real.”
    “‘In Alberta we ride horses, not unicorns’: Rachel Notley calls pipeline opponents unrealistic” (CBC, 2018)

    Strip the mythology away, and history leaves us with a less than flattering portrait of Dear Leader.
    Notley’s reign was a step backwards for Alberta’s progressive movement. Climate change disproportionately affects women and children. The global poor are the most vulnerable. Does not matter what your policies are on farm labor, GSAs, childcare, etc. If you’re not progressive on climate, you’re not progressive.
    Let Notley take her seat on Suncor’s board of directors —the NDP needs to move on. NDP supporters need to reclaim their party. Send Notley’s bevy of blinkered backroom advisers back to corporate Canada where they came from.

    This moment in history is not calling for more oil-soaked petro-progressive politicians.

      1. AB NDPers are quick to scapegoat progressive critics — the same environmentalists and climate activists Notley threw under the bus. Easier than looking in the mirror.
        The NDP’s shift to the right was a political blunder. Doomed to fail. If Notley could not defeat Smith, what chance does a lesser NDP leader stand against a UCP leader less cuckoo than Smith?

        The NDP’s wayward climate and energy policy provoked much criticism and angst among progressives. Rightly so.
        Who is to blame for the NDP’s fatally flawed shift to the right? Are progressives obliged to follow the lobbyist-infested NDP no matter how far right they go?
        The new NDP has disappointed or abandoned no shortage of critics on the left. Are they all to blame for the NDP’s electoral defeats? Should they all STFU? Or is progressive commentary and activism the lifeblood of democracy?

        No matter how far Notley & Co. drag the NDP to the right in pursuit of power, social democrats and progressives must follow her and her team of backroom advisors and lobbyists to the ends of the Earth, as per Rat. If this is what the NDP has devolved into, I want nothing to do with it.

        1. “…must follow her and her team of backroom advisors and lobbyists to the ends of the Earth, as per Rat.” That’s quite an assumption Geoff, you know absolutely nothing about what I think…

      2. This testimony from Jim Storrie of Progress Alberta:

        “Before working with Progress Alberta, my experience in politics was through the federal and Alberta NDP. The first campaign I seriously worked on was Janis Irwin’s federal bid for Edmonton-Griesbach in 2015. For years I volunteered prolifically for several provincial constituency associations. And for a while I worked for the Alberta NDP caucus canvassing rural areas.
        “… On policy, the Alberta NDP and the federal NDP are in exact harmony but for one file. On social issues, on material matters, even on foreign policy these are two caucuses that say the same things. The only point of disagreement is that the federal NDP are more critical of fossil fuel corporations.
        “But if you speak to a typical Alberta NDP member today, two things I’m certain they are not going to say are that ‘the Alberta NDP should do more to appease oil and gas lobbyists’ and ‘the Alberta NDP should lead less and follow the polls more.’
        “The paucity of ideas on display last week is a real bad sign. It’s a sign that candidates think simply returning to the policies of the Notley administration is good enough.
        “Ousting the United Conservative Party is necessary for progress in this province, but it’s not sufficient.
        “Remember: the Notley administration did not substantively raise AISH. The Notley administration gave public sector employees zeroes in wage negotiations over and over and over again. The Notley administration did not implement a mass program to retrain laid-off resource workers. The Notley administration left AHS in a thin enough state that COVID and Kenney were able to bowl it right over.
        “Homelessness was already rising under the Notley administration, but they undertook no massive public housing build. Police brutality—especially gruesome now that the UCP are leaning on the cops to suppress the symptoms of poverty—was completely ignored.
        “Today we need to be hearing about how the next Alberta NDP administration will go beyond Rachel Notley’s. Instead, candidates are going sideways. Let’s demand a little more from these people.”
        “Alberta NDP disaffiliation pitches aren’t just bad—they’re lazy” (Feb 20, 2024)

        He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

      3. Yes, I am happy to see the NDP fail as they chase the UCP to the right. Success would be a disaster for Alberta’s progressive movement. As the Alberta NDP morphs into PC-lite, Alberta progressives are left without representation. No one left to defend social democratic principles and science-based, progressive policy.

        Why must any voter in Canada be forced to choose the lesser of two evils? If we do that, we still choose evil. Which makes us complicit. Is complicity in evil not itself evil?
        We should reject evil in all its forms, greater or lesser. Force the erstwhile progressive party to give us a better choice.
        Our progressive parties have been hijacked by lobbyists, party insiders, and backroom advisors. Time to take back our progressive parties. Reclaim our power as voters.
        Politicians and parties will take progressive voters for granted, but only if we let them. Let us take back our power.

        If the progressive party shifts right, they risk losing my vote. If the greater evil takes power for a term, that’s on the NDP leadership, not me.
        Just about the only leverage we citizens have in our representative democracy is our vote. By withholding our votes, progressives send the party a clear message. Reform and revise your policies — or else. Do not take us for granted. If you fail us, do not expect our support.
        If someone has taken your political representation away, take it back. If you cannot reform the party leadership, give them the boot. Yes, even if it means suffering the other party for four years. That applies to Trudeau, Horgan, Eby, and Biden as well.
        One step back, two steps forward. The only way to ensure politicians and parties remain accountable to voters. Otherwise, we can kiss democracy — the power of the people — goodbye.

        1. Ok we get it pal.

          I voted communist. You do not speak for the left, especially being there is no economic critique in your obsessive single issue diatribe against the former leader of the alberta NDP. Bray at the winds all you want but serious people aren’t going to engage with a single thing you just said.

          1. ALB: “serious people aren’t going to engage with a single thing you just said”
            Because serious people don’t care about climate. Right?

            Climate change is not one issue of many. Climate change does not rank with healthcare, childcare, GSAs, EI. Climate is the lens through which all economic and quality-of-life issues must be viewed. Climate and environment are the background to all our activities. Climate change is existential.
            Most of us can survive, for better or worse, with or without NDP social policies. We can’t survive, much less thrive, amid ecosystem collapse.

            ALB: “single issue diatribe”
            Nonsense. Climate is an urgent environmental issue, but it is not the only one. As the quotations above suggest, O&G “development” also concerns public health, indigenous communities, water quality, wildlife and biodiversity. Not to mention our economic future.

            Alberta is already overly dependent on fossil fuel revenues. Overdependence on one cyclical industry blasts holes in government budgets and forces services cuts and job losses.
            The boom and bust oil economy destabilizes government funding, services, communities, and people’s lives. Notley’s pipeline also jeopardizes the economic security and water supplies of BC communities.
            Tens of thousands of Albertans lost their jobs in recent years in the wake of oil price crashes. Doubling down on fossil fuels during a climate crisis only sets Alberta up for steeper oil price crashes in future.

            Time to get off the fossil-fuel roller-coaster and start building a sustainable diversified economy not subject to the whim of global markets — in industries that don’t cost our children their future.
            Sooner or later, the world will shift away from fossil fuels. That’s reality.
            Failing to prepare Albertans for that eventuality is irresponsible. Doubling down on fossil fuels when the world is on the verge of turning away from them sets Albertans up for massive economic crashes and upheaval in future.

            Do you count yourself as one of the “serious people”? Just wondering, because you have clearly not thought the issues through.

      4. Well Dave I don’t want to disappoint you but I don’t have much to say. Mr. Pounder lives a single-issue life. He cares for nothing except climate change, he’s said it himself. There’s so much BS in his post I’m not going to waste time unpacking it, it’s tiring to read things from closed minds.

        I’ve pondered for too long why he hates Rachel Notley so specifically, and all I can think of so far is that he’s pissed because she proved him wrong by getting AB a majority NDP govt and doing some positive things for working people.

    1. Alberta is facing a $300 plus billion dollar oil field clean up liability.
      Who among the NDP leadership hopefuls are prepared to end the impunity of the oil industry and make them take collective financial responsibility for this?

    2. Thanks Geoff!
      Clear and concise layout of the recent NDP/Notley position and hence, current problems.

  11. Politics has been described as the art of the POSSIBLE, not the art of the IDEAL, for a reason. Life is messy and flexibility is essential. Without it, a political party is nothing more than a social club or a debating society. Rachel Notley knew this, as, undoubtedly, does Naheed Nenshi, both successful doing the possible.

  12. As much as I would never consider voting left of center, I do want a competent opposition. A Nenshi led NDP would not be that. Unless he can demonstrate considerable growth since his days as Mayor, Nenshi is too focused on proving his own superiority and winning talking points on intangible issues to lead a party. He long ago passed his best before date in Calgary and holds minimal appeal in rural Alberta. I’m unsure how he would do in Edmonton. Most definitely, his candidateship would play well outside Alberta, which is why he should be running for the Federal Liberals and not the Alberta NDP. Can’t wait to see the new purple NDP logo.

  13. There is no question that Take Back Alberta stands for destroy everything the Conservatives created for the good of the people and create a dictatorship with total control over the people and keep them from getting any help from Ottawa while we continue to screw them out of their oil and corporate tax wealth and privatize their healthcare and education systems.
    You would have to be an idiot not to question that if these are true Conservatives like are pretending to be why would Energy Minister Brian Jean be so hellbent on destroying Lougheed’s protection of our mountains against Coal pollution? It certainly proves what our former conservative MLAs taught me. They considered Reformers to be their worse enemy. Have you ever seen a true conservative government deliberately destroy what a previous conservative government has created for the well-being of the people? I never have.
    While Jason Kenney fed us the lie that coal was being mined safely in B.C. Coal Teck was being fined $60 million for polluting rivers and streams in B.C. and Montana. My friends and family members in Calgary have nothing but praise for Nenshi. I think he is the right guy for the job and will make Smith look like a damn fool, that we know she is, don’t we? Sadly ignorant seniors are still believing every lie she feeds them while they ignore the damage she has done in just a short time. Once again the hospital, approved by the NDP, that is right near our home has been delayed although $69 million has already been spent on it. Add that to all their other stupid waste of taxpayers money and Albertans continue to get screwed.

  14. Geoffrey Pounder For the record , as someone who spent 32 years with the Royal Bank working in 16 different branches throughout the province and managed 7 of them with ties to the oil industry I got to know a lot of Conservative MLAs especially when Lougheed’s energy minister Bill Dickie was a brother in-law of one of my uncles and my late parents and two sisters spent countless hours volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments, a brother in-law voluntarily flew the government plane for them and dad donated around $30,000. to the Alberta Conservative Party so where do you get the idea that Notley is responsible for the climate change or have you been believing the lies these Reformers have been feeding you?
    It’s a well know fact that the Carbon Tax was created by the Klein government for our oil executives to show the world that we do care about Global warming and are trying to do something about it. When Harper refused to implement it TransCanada Pipeline was furious with him. They blamed him for not showing Obama that we do care and think he would have approved their Keystone XL pipeline if we had.
    Are you going to whine about the Carbon Tax when we know the Rebates are actually putting money in our pockets? Have you ignored what Klein did to you with privatization and deregulation when the fees added to your power and gas bills are much higher than any Carbon Tax has ever been. Maybe before you write and more fantasy articles you had better get your facts straight. In addition while Notley got blamed for eliminating our coal fired creation of electricity it was Stephen Harper who did it. In other words while these Reformers feed you a pack of lies maybe you had better show some intelligence and make certain you aren’t being treated like a moron, don’t you think?
    The fact is that every former Conservative MLA I knew, along with lawyers, accountants, bankers, and oilmen, all praised Notley for what she was trying to do and were disgusted by the fact that she wasn’t allowed to continue to do it. The truth is ignorant Albertans expected her to fix the mess in only 4 years when these Reformers starting with Ralph Klein took 25 years to create it. We knew it couldn’t be done.
    My point is why are you complaining about Notley and ignoring what these phoney conservatives Reformers starting with Ralph Klein have done to this province and your pocket book?
    As our lawyer friends point out that while these Reformers lie about what Trudeau has done to us to hide the fact that it’s them that’s doing it he hasn’t cost Albertans a penny and has in fact poured billions into this province to help us including purchasing us a pipeline to save our oil industry, hasn’t he?

  15. Rachel Notley did build a coalition that carried her to victory in 2015. But that same coalition fell apart in 2019 and didn’t have what it takes to win over Danielle Smith.

    I’d say it’s time for a new coalition.

    The question is which candidate serve up the best, most effective coalition?

    Being more reasonable that the UCP is one thing. I mean they are routinely brain dead, so how hard will it be? The problem is that this was the same attitude that the ABNDP had in 2023 and the whole thing blew up in their faces.

    It’s going to take a rational approach to defeating the UCP, but it’s also going to take an end to internal conflict. At this time, this remains to be seen.

  16. Nenshi is without a doubt a smart and effective politician but the last thing we need is to push the party more to the right.
    The end game is extreme right versus moderate right. That is not what we need at all.

  17. I wouldn’t consider Nenshi to be all that far right. He is basically sane and not gullible to conspiracy theories which puts him miles ahead of Smith and much of the UCP caucus.

  18. I don’t know why I can’t reply to Mr Pounder replying to me directly, but this will do well enough I don’t have much to say.

    What I will say, is that I agree climate change is one of the single greatest challenges to EVER face humanity. How did we get here though ? Did we fall out of a coconut tree? No.

    Capitalism, the dominant economic force of the planet, ensured to be so with the greatest military force that had ever been assembled in the history of the world, is based on the continual expansion of the economy. For this to happen much greater demands are placed on the environment than would be if we merely met the needs of the people living on the planet. That is to say the chief driver of climate change is not coal, or oil and gas, or even the carbon trapped in the atmosphere that is causing the planet to change, IT IS PROFITS that are the chief driver of climate change. Profits of capitalists.

    What on earth do you suggest we do about climate change if we make no effort whatsoever to deal with the root cause of it, not fossil fuel extraction, but the fossil fuel capitalists who knew this would be the result of their exponential growth, going back to the 50s at least. What should we do ? Shame and scold working people ??? Great strategy, seems like it’s working really well. Sackcloth and Ashes ? Maybe for the capitalists when we are finished with them.

    An aside, I did some brief googling of your many op Ed’s and diatribes to the editor, including your piece on how mtb and other cycling trail enthusiasts should no longer be able to enjoy the network of trails they built and you admit to using yourself. All for me and none for thee, really tracks with the scolding holier than thou attitude you display on this blog, and I’m not surprised you are one of those guys.

    Have fun yelling at clouds Abe.

    1. In a world overrun by billions of people, even a subsistence economy powered by fossil fuels would cause global warming. “If we merely met the needs of the people living on the planet”, we would still drive global warming as long as we used fossil fuels. No argument, however, that the growth imperative and the profit motive multiply environmental harms and obstruct their solution.

      Don’t get me started on bike trails in the river valley.
      Unfortunately, I can’t google your diatribes and attack you on total irrelevancies because, like most posters who respond to me, you lack the courage to use your real name. But you do have the temerity to comment on issues you know nothing about. Hence, the pseudonym.

      I am a longtime advocate for cycling — but not in sensitive areas.
      I am not an advocate of anarchy in the river valley, which is what in its negligence the City has allowed to occur.
      There is an extensive scientific literature on trails, run-off, erosion, sediment transport, and increasing stream turbidity. Anyone who suggests that mountain biking, trail building, and landscape modification have the same impact as hikers keeping to the path is not serious. These are not equivalent activities.
      The issue, of course, is not what mtn bikes do on trails, but where they go and what they do off trails. “Adventurous” mountain bikers do not stick to official trails. They frequently go off trail and create new trails and obstacle courses. They go just about everywhere.
      Mountain biking videos clearly show how mountain bikers treat the landscape. Protecting nature is the last thing on their mind.

      The City sat back while Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) and unaffiliated individuals built trails wherever they wished. A clear abdication of responsibility. Irresponsible individuals have been allowed to ignore the rules, do whatever they want, and damage our environment and public property.
      EMBA created a trail network without the oversight or approval of the City. That is one problem. The City has not kept up with monitoring — and cannot assess the ecological impacts of these activities. That is another problem.
      What is that but anarchy? The City is culpable for letting EMBA off the leash while individuals with no connection to EMBA run amok.

      Leave No Trace.
      The ethic guiding responsible use of the outdoors.
      Ongoing degradation of sensitive natural areas is unacceptable. To protect them, activities that damage the landscape must be curtailed. It is up to the City to regulate and enforce their protection.
      Not all activities are appropriate everywhere in the river valley. Common sense.
      There is no responsible use of mountain bikes or ATVs in sensitive natural areas. There is no right to mountain bike in sensitive areas. Mountain biking in sensitive areas is a ludicrous notion.
      “Adventurous” bikers do not keep to the trail. They carve out new trails. Modify the landscape to create obstacle courses. Ride in stream beds. Leave ruts in muddy ground. Ride over and crush vegetation and compress soils. Speedy cyclists disturb and endanger walkers on the trail.
      Unlike fast-moving cyclists, hikers can take care where they tread and avoid crushing vegetation. Both need to keep to the trails and avoid making new ones.
      Mountain biking does not mix well with other activities or with wildlife. As a long-time cyclist, I recognize that mountain bikers deserve dedicated spaces for their activity. Excluding sensitive natural areas.

      If we want to preserve these areas for future generations to enjoy, we need to halt the degradation and prevent further loss.
      If the cyclist community is not on board with protecting sensitive areas, that’s a shame. Even so, the City has a responsibility to protect our natural legacy, not pander to elements who care little for nature, ecosystems, and wildlife.
      No more trails. The City — and only the City — should be in charge of trail siting, approval, construction, regulation, monitoring, and maintenance.

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