David J. Climenhaga (Photo: Olav Rokne).

David J. Climenhaga is a commentator and former journalist who has worked as a staff reporter and editor for the Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald, and whose work has appeared in many other publications. He lives in Alberta, where he advises the United Nurses of Alberta on communications. He is a former communications director of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees. Most Alberta Politics posts are also published on the national publication, Rabble.ca, where the blog has been hosted as “Alberta Diary” since 2010. In addition, some posts are published with permission by TheTyee.ca.

Contact: david @ albertapolitics.ca

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  1. Chris: I will mention this to my web designer. If I have found anything with WordPress, it’s that whenever you switch themes, you lose things you liked and get things you’re not crazy about and somehow didn’t expect when you looked at the mockups. They can’t always be fixed without just adopting a new look holus-bolus. On the whole, I think this is a big improvement visually. The newspapery appearance appeals to me, given my history. I will try to tweak it to keep readers happy. That said, the main reasons driving the need for change were technical in the back end of the site. The old theme was getting long in the tooth and some bits had stopped working properly. It should also be possible to build in the capability for more, and more sophisticated, advertisements with this theme. I’m not crazy about running ads, but there are expenses associated with running a blog like this, but I prefer that to constantly bombarding my readers with pleas for money like certain right-wing vloggers. DJC

    1. I want to echo commenter Chris that I too checked back regularly to look at the number of comments – much more convenient when I can see this for all recent stories at a glance. I hope that your designer is able to fix this.

      Above all, thanks for doing this site. As someone who spent a total of 4 years in AB back in the ’70s and ’80s, I really appreciate your grounded, sensible perspective on a place which has had a certain grim fascination for me ever since. I have fond memories of meeting Grant Notley when I belonged to the NDP club at U of A in the late ’70s, so the bizarre petro-transformation of his daughter has been quite a sad spectacle to watch.

      1. I am happy to report that my web designer expects to be able to fix this. The number of comments will appear next to the Facebook and Twitter logos at the column’s top right, if all goes according to plan. DJC

  2. I think this actually has to do with the size you have set your browser at on your page. DJC

  3. John: My goal with this blog is to write entertaining stories and to write stories that are not told elsewhere, both from a progressive perspective. Brian Topp’s recent draft Policy Magazine story published on social media and ignored by mainstream media was an example that I think was important, even though I share many of Andy Marshall’s concerns about the state of the NDP right now. Bitterness from the Wildrose rump in the UCP may eventually create problems for Jason Kenney, but I believe most Alberta conservatives will stick with him regardless of almost anything in the immediate future, which spells a difficult 2019 for the NDP. So while there is the opportunity in this story to mock Mr. Kenney for his obvious hypocrisy, I am not persuaded the resignation of 17 constituency association officials in Calgary-Falconridge is that significant in the great scheme of things. Anyway, there’s only so much time. I basically write this blog myself, and I can’t cover every story out there. Neither can Postmedia, apparently, with considerably more reporters and columnists. We are ill served by our media, especially Postmedia, but I can’t make up for it all by myself! DJC

    1. Thanks for the detailed reply..appreciate it.

      Your thoughts on media in general and Postmedia are on the money…I have run across exactly one story on this in my travels through my dozen + sites I peruse.


  4. Look here sensei! We go nothin’ to lose now! Open your site, let it all hang out! Find a last 15$ person to meet your criteria and post! Then post them on every american website! “The Kanasasing of Alberta”! The fucking of our friends! Get the fuck on it!

  5. I went to enable notifications in WordPress (so I get your posts hot off the press) but I don’t have a “settings” link as I do for other blogs I follow, eg. :

    Alberta Politics
    David Climenhaga’s Alberta Politics Blog
    updated 6 days ago


    Math with Bad Drawings
    Lover of math. Bad at drawing.
    updated 4 days ago


  6. Motoring throughout Canada with high beam headlights or oversized rearview mirror only, offers one special status and benefits nationally.

  7. The Honourable Rick Wilson
    Minister of Indigenous Relations

    Mr. Jason Luan
    Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

    Mr. Prasad Panda
    Minister of Infrastructure

    January 27, 2020

    Dear Sirs:

    URGENT: Nechi Institute: Centre of Indigenous Learning

    Further to our initial meeting of March 15, 2020 and the abrupt cancelation of the follow-up meeting, I am urgently requesting you re-schedule a meeting between your government and Nechi Institute at the earliest available date. As we are all aware, Nechi Institute is in a provincially provoked state of crisis, with only 47 business days to find a new home by April 1, 2020 with no suitable locations to re-establish our critically required services.

    On January 22, Press Secretary Ted Bauer told me that Nechi should not rely on the Province to bail us out of this crisis. I found that to be very troubling, considering we are in this crisis solely because of the unilateral commitment the Province made to Poundmaker’s Lodge, which resulted in Nechi being evicted.

    The actions of the Province have put both a financial burden and logistical nightmare squarely on Nechi and ironically have jeopardized our ongoing negotiations, commitments and relationships with First Nations who are desperately seeking avenues in which to address the escalating opioid crisis in their communities.

    We expect the Province to be accountable for its actions by assisting us to address the geographical conundrum they have facilitated. As we are all aware, First Nation members are dying from addictions we cannot afford to delay healing and securing facilities for Nechi to continue its work is paramount in terms of providing required treatment and support services to ones in critical need.

    Please see attached copy of the letter sent dated January 23, 2020 which summarizes the discussions held on January 15, 2020 at the Legislature Building and includes a proposed agenda for the scheduled January 29, 2020 meeting, which was cancelled due to Associate Minister Jason Luan being out of the country and the province requiring more time to brief the Minister upon his return to Canada.

    While we do not believe there was any conscious desire on the part of any provincial official to harm Nechi Institute, our organization considers its present situation to be the direct result of decisions made by the Province for reasons addressed in earlier correspondence and during the January 15 meeting. Accordingly, we expect that the Province will honour the Ministers’ commitments to assist us to address both immediate and longer-term needs for adequate and appropriate space for our staff, students and community.

    It is thus urgent that we schedule our next meeting as quickly as possible. Please feel free to contact C.E.O. Ms. Marilyn Buffalo at 780-221-3887 or by email at [email protected] or myself at 613-832-4983 or [email protected].

    I look forward to an expedient resolution to the crisis we find ourselves in. Your immediate attention to this matter is extremely critical not only for the future of Nechi Institute but for a complete and co-ordinated response to the opioid and other addictions crises. What impacts the First Nations populations carry reverberating positive or negative affects into the greater Alberta population.

    Your government promotes “reconciliation” at every opportunity so your timely response and future actions will demonstrate your sincerity in your public platitudes.


    Angelina Pratt
    Chair, Board of Governors

    cc. Alberta First Nation Chiefs

  8. Hey
    On my FB feed there is some nasty business about Shandro (and his wife??) pushing their private Telehealth company…is there any truth to this? Or conflict of interest??

  9. Someone should look into the cost of current orthopaedic surgeries now. Ortho docs don’t want to deal with medical issues- they only want to operate. So they have bullied Alta health for about 15 years about going on strike, or not doing more to reduce waiting lists etc to get a side deal to have AHS pay for GPs to do the ward management. The fee codes for GPs in hospital is shite, so no-one would do it at first, so they sweetened it: to the tune of $150 per hour stipend, plus the GP bills for consults. This is on top of the Ortho codes including a bill “bundle” that gives them money for 2 weeks of post-op care. Now, AHS is going to put a stop to it, and voila, we have another sweet deal with the private business. Totally shady. Totally greedy. Thanks.

  10. RE: How propaganda became memory

    David, thank you for the reminder of the actual history of the National Energy Program (aka NEP). I still meet people on a regular basis in the province the hate the NEP, and therefore, disparage anything and everything the federal government does. The people to which I refer were all adults in 1980. When asked what was wrong with the NEP, the only reply I get is that it was bad and it hurt the economy. Many still do not know anything about the program. Hence, the title of your article is spot on.

    I also recall more resent history, like former premier Peter Lougheed’s interview with Calgary Herald in September, 2006. In that interview he said the then, soon to retire, Ralph Klein has made a mess of the economy and got nothing for Alberta oil. Shortly after that interview, weeks if memory serves, he admitted that he was responsible for writing the section on Canadian oil exports in the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and that in hindsight a bad deal for the Alberta oil & gas sector.

    I wonder who Alberta Tories are going to blame for global warming and the stranded oil & gas assets. Will we see a return of the Act of Contrition bumper stickers from the 1990’s?

  11. Your story is full of crap. You are outright lying. Why not do a true research on a story before you just assume you got it right. Shame on you.

  12. Kudos on the website upgrade! I love your work and enjoy the comments from your many well-spoken and thoughtful readers! I was glad to find your “Support Us” button – it helped me sign up for a monthly contribution. Thank you for your excellent work.

  13. I’d like to be able to blame Albertabama and Danielle Smith for what has happened to the Medical profession, but… the same thing is happening everywhere in Canada, and nobody covered themselves with glory on this file. ALL of the following were asleep at the wheel: The Federal and Provincial governments, all major political parties, and the media.

    Do we have a shortage of trained medical professionals? Yes, because we didn’t train enough, and the Baby Boomer generation, wonderful as we were, got old and had to retire.

    We NEVER trained enough. We were ALWAYS trying to lure medical professionals from other countries to make up the shortfall. For a while this worked… but my generation has been retiring rather than die in the harness.

    My late cousin worked locums as long as she was ambulatory after selling her practice, doing as much as possible to keep the system going for one more year, one more year.

    Let me start in the middle, at the point that I became involved: I was a delegate to the BC NDP provincial council in 2012, and I read a BCMA pdf file from 2011 (you can find it online) that stated that in the next ten years 44 percent of its members intended to retire. I stared at this and swore, and went to Adrian Dix and said “Adrian, we should run on this: this is our issue! Everyone is going to need doctors. We have an increasing population, an aging population, and we have to do something.” I was waved away. “Nurse practitioner lead teams will pick up the shortfall.” As in “Go away and stop bothering me. It’s under control, and no up-country rube is going to tell me my job.”

    Other Medical Associations had made a similar point. They. Were. Ignored.

    Fast forward to 2022, and the BC NDP government announced the funding of a business plan for another medical faculty. “The first in Western Canada in over 50 years”. And there you have it in a nutshell: None of the provinces did squat.

    “This fulfills one of the promises made by the BC NDP during the Fall 2020 provincial election campaign… Premier David Eby announced $4.9 million in startup funding for the new SFU medical school, and the appointment of Dr. Roger Strasser as the interim dean of the faculty to provide strategic leadership and planning for the launch of the faculty….Earlier they announced an additional $1.5 million in funding for a business case…. SFU and the provincial government are currently targeting September 2026 for the first student intake…

    UBC’s medical school accepts 288 first-year medical students and 362 first-year resident doctors each year. In addition to opening a medical school at SFU, the provincial government is also expanding the capacity of UBC’s medical school with 40 additional first-year seats and 88 additional residency seats, which will be phased starting in 2023.”

    I had given them the business case on the back of an envelope ten years previously, for free… but things move slowly in the political realm. (Some folks have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.)

    It takes 10 years from student intake to a practicing doctor, so you should by now realize that it is going to be a long time before we are even starting to make up the shortfall. The second faculty in B.C. should have been built 24 years ago.

    BC and Ontario have taken a step called ‘beggaring thy neighbour”. They are raising the fees paid to family physicians from about $250,000 to $385,000.

    News flash: We don’t have enough doctors. If we pay more in one jurisdiction to lure doctors in, another jurisdiction will lose them.

    And now we have finger pointing:

    Falcon failed the people of Surrey on healthcare, says Dix
    March 7, 2023

    In today’s Question Period, Health Minister Adrian Dix highlighted Kevin Falcon’s refusal to build a second hospital and a second medical school for Surrey.

    In 2012, then-Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced a plan to sell off land set aside for a second hospital, calling the land “surplus.”
    Dix said Falcon was “the person who sold the land. The person who stopped the second Surrey hospital being built – after he promised it.” said Dix. “That person shouldn’t be talking about hospital care in Surrey. We build the hospital. He sells the land.”
    Dix also highlighted Falcon’s decision to reject a 2008 proposal for a second medical school, which would have been located in Surrey.
    “In 2008, there was a proposal from the Fraser Health Authority and SFU to build a second medical school in Surrey. Who was against it? He was against it.” said Dix.

    Not to be outdone, “Kevin Falcon’s BC United Party has decided to make the health-care crisis a central focus of its election platform.
    Hence, during last month’s legislative session Falcon attacked health minister Adrian Dix over his plan to send cancer patients to Bellingham, Wash. for treatment.” -end-

    Would it be too much to ask just what the hell we SHOULD be doing if sending them to Bellingham is not on? Hire Witch Doctors?

    Christie Clark had previously marginally increased the number of places in the existing faculty of medicine… and the NDP had not so much as said “BOO”. My own Liberal MLA, George Abbott, as B.C. Minister of Health, had been going around closing small hospitals.

    The Federal Government had handed out gazillions in extra health funding to the provinces without putting any conditions on how it was to be spent. The money went into general revenues.

    Did Nobody look at demographics? What were our politicians doing, other than swanning around in fancy offices, posing for photo ops, collecting fat salaries and benefits, and trying to get laid (Liberals) or get rich (Conservatives) or get elected (NDP)? Too. Many. Lawyers. Not. Enough. Common. Sense.

    EVERY province was the SAME!

    And then we have the GALL to talk about “Our doctors” when discussing doctors who went to Australia to study because there weren’t enough places in Canadian medical schools. No, those are Australia’s doctors. We moan (when discussing training more doctors) “What will happen if they go to another country? We have to claw back the cost of educating them!”

    Two points: First, does Canada pay back the costs of training medical professionals who come from other countries? Where do we get off demanding the reverse?

    Second, We have Law faculties all over the place: like mushrooms after a heavy rain. Was there a shortage of lawyers in Canada? And would we even care if a lot of them left?

    Losing some trained medical practitioners to other jurisdictions should be expected as the cost of belonging to the Human family. But not in Canada: we are the world’s schnorrers. “Minnie the Moocher”.

    “In December, the Government of Canada announced $90 million will be invested in projects to help remove barriers preventing qualified and skilled newcomers from gaining work experience in their own profession or field of study.

    Between 2017 and 2022, 21,656 skilled newcomers arrived in Canada to work in health occupations.

    Today’s announcement advances Canada’s efforts to retain and recruit health workers to address the health workforce crisis. Supporting a sustainable health workforce is one of the shared health priorities agreed to by the Government of Canada and provinces and territories, outlined in the Working Together to Improve Health Care for Canadians Plan. This plan is supported through a Budget 2023 commitment of close to $200 billion over 10 years, including $46.2 billion in new funding to provinces and territories, to improve health care services for Canadians.” -end-

    And where was the media? Oh, right. DEI. This is what happens when media loses track of its duty: to hold powerful feet to the fire…. Because all these perky young female reporters and DEI program hosts and producers are not going to ruffle powerful feathers, are they? It’s all about maintaining access.

    Some jobs are best done by a curmudgeon

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