Susan on the Soapbox: What Would the Romans Do?

It’s a pity Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt hadn’t read Jane Jacobs’ Dark Age Ahead before he launched into his description of how the ancient Romans dealt with governments that were, in his words, “beyond redemption”.   Fildebrandt said the NDP’s “scorched earth policy of hyperregulation, waste of tax dollars and blind ideology” destroyed the “great ...

Susan on the Soapbox: “Phasing Out” the Oilsands

At a recent town hall meeting Mr Trudeau reiterated his position on climate change.  He said: “You can’t make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.  We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow.  We need to phase them out.  We need to manage the transition off our dependence ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Lessons From Rex Tillerson*

If Rex Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil and Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, taught a class on pipeline strategy Brian Jean would be stuck at the front of the room wearing a dunce cap and Rachel Notley would be excused because she already knows this stuff. Conservative rhetoric  Ever since Donald Trump ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Two Pipelines Approved: The Opposition Reacts (badly)

Do you have a headache? Are you an Alberta conservative wondering how to react to Trudeau approving the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines and, horrors, singling out Notley’s Climate Leadership Plan as being vital to getting to yes? If so, your conservative leadership team has prepared a carefully considered, cogent response. Here’s what it ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney Takes a Page from the Donald Trump Playbook

Last night the Progressive Conservatives kicked off their leadership race in earnest. As expected Jason Kenney urged party members to “unite Alberta” (ie destroy the PCs by merging them with the rebranded Wildrose party) while the other five candidates reassured attendees that the PC party could rise from the ashes. It was a relief to ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Sandra Jansen is right, there are Progressive Conservatives in Alberta

Yippee!  Sandra Jansen just confirmed she’s running for the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party.  This is good news because her campaign will test Jason Kenney’s assertion that there’s no such thing as a progressive conservative. Kenney is peddling the line that there are only two kinds of people in Alberta—small “c” conservatives who yearn ...

Susan on the Soapbox: “Post-truth” Politics in Alberta

Albertans can learn a lot about the importance of truth in politics from the Trump/Clinton presidential race. Political lies have moved beyond “misstatements” for which politicians “take full responsibility” and (sort of) apologize, to “truthiness”, a term coined by Stephen Colbert for a lie that appeals to a voter’s feelings, not reason. A “truthy statement” ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Another Fine Mess: Thanks Stevie

It turns out the famous Laurel and Hardy phrase “here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into” is a misquote.  What Oliver Hardy really said to the hapless Stan Laurel was “here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten us into”. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter if it’s a “fine” mess or ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who should govern in times of significant disruption?

Chris Kutarna says this is the best time in history to be alive.  We’re healthier, wealthier and better educated than at any other time in history…so why are we so miserable? Kutarna is a Fellow at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University.  He argues we’re experiencing a second Renaissance—an amped-up version of the first ...

Susan on the Soapbox: PPAs and the Master Narrative in Alberta

The American Press Institute (API) describes pack journalism,” now known as “the master narrative,” as a story line the press corps en masse is telling or repeating. The API warns that master narratives can become a “trap or rut” and that journalists will pick facts that illustrate the master narrative and ignore other facts. The ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The NDP’s Power Play: Myths and Facts

Alberta’s NDP government wants to save Albertans $2 billion and the Wildrose, the Progressive Conservatives and the media are churning up a dust storm of misinformation trying to stop them. Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Klein deregulates the power industry In 2000 Premier Klein boldly went where few had gone before—he deregulated ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Notley’s Budget: Myths and Facts

The NDP government unveiled its budget on Thursday.  The conservatives reacted as if the government dropped a neutron bomb on the people. Wildrose leader Brian Jean worried that parents driving their kids to hockey practice would end up in the poor house if they had to pay an extra 4.5 cents per litre for gas.  ...

Susan on the Soapbox: “Kudatah”: It’s not a joke

Ms Soapbox is deeply troubled by last week’s failed Kudatah. The Kudatah (or “coup d’etat” for those who know how to spell) was George Clark’s attempt to overthrow the NDP government. George blames the NDP for the economic downturn. He wants the old guard back. It’s not clear whether he’s referring to the old-old guard, ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Trudeau On Pipelines: Maybe

Last week Justin Trudeau walked into the lion’s den—a boardroom filled with the country’s top oilpatch executives—and got it half right. Luckily he had the good sense to take Premier Notley with him. Mr Trudeau, Ms Notley and Big Oil discussed low oil prices, the lack of pipelines to move product to tidewater and the ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Notley’s Royalty Review

Rachel Notley is driving Brian Jean and Ric McIver crazy. Every time they think they’ve backed her into a corner on the energy file she comes out with a creative and pragmatic solution which has the industry’s backing. What’s the opposition supposed to do? The conservatives respond Brian Jean (WR) and Ric McIver (PC) responded ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Notley’s Approach to Trans Mountain (boys, get with the program)

“Projects like pipelines shouldn’t pit one province against another—they should stimulate conversations that recognize the economic needs and positions of all provinces.”—Alberta premier, Rachel Notley   It doesn’t matter what Rachel Notley does to support interprovincial pipelines it’s never enough—at least not according to Wildrose leader Brian Jean and Alberta Party leader Greg Clark. Witness ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Fly Report: Why TCPL Sued Obama and the US Government

TransCanada Pipelines (TCPL) just announced it is going to sue the US government for $15 billion under NAFTA and while they’re at it sue President Obama for exceeding his power under the US Constitution. Some lawyers say TCPL has a good case, others call this a “Hail Mary” long shot. Ms Soapbox thinks its hubris ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Five Resolutions for Rachel Notley

Ms Soapbox’s first round of New Year’s resolutions for a politician (Alison Redford) were ignored, but she’s a persistent soul and will try again. This time she’s prepared five resolutions for Premier Rachel Notley. Stay the course on your climate change policy (and all your energy related policies for that matter).     Ignore Wildrose leader Brian ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Notley Reads the Tea Leaves: The Climate Leadership Plan

Last Sunday hell froze over, or so it seemed to many Albertans. Alberta’s NDP premier, Rachel Notley, unveiled her government’s Climate Leadership Plan. She was surrounded by representatives from NGOs and aboriginal groups as well as the CEOs of Suncor, Shell, Cenovus and Canadian Natural Resources Limited. No one batted an eyelash as Notley rolled ...

Susan on the Soapbox: POTUS Kills Keystone XL

On Friday Barack Obama refused to issue a presidential permit allowing TCPL’s Keystone XL pipeline to cross the border between Canada and the United States. POTUS Obama rejected KXL because it wouldn’t meaningfully contribute to the economy, reduce gas prices or enhance America’s energy security. He described the urgent need to transition to a clean ...

Susan on the Soapbox: While Brad Wall is “Showboating” Rachel Notley Moves On

“Premier Wall says that if standing up for your industry and your province is showboating, take me to the bridge.”—Brad Wall’s response to Rachel Notley’s comment that Wall was “showboating” on the eve of the premiers’ meeting.   Brad Wall is the second provincial premier (Jim Prentice was the first) who tried to take a ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Fearmongering or Hopemongering? It’s Your Call Alberta

“I think it has deteriorated into groundless name-calling, and it’s certainly not the strategy that I would take.”—Rachel Notley reflecting on comments made by Jim Prentice and Brian Jean To hear Jim Prentice and Brian Jean tell it, Rachel Notley’s plan to create a royalty commission and increase corporate taxes to 12% is an anti-free ...

Susan on the Soapbox: What Happens to the Eloi When the Morlocks Leave Town: A Lesson for Jim Prentice from H.G. Wells

    “History is a race between education and catastrophe.” — H G Wells HG Wells may not have had a time machine, but he was certainly prescient. In The Time Machine the narrator, known simply as the Traveller, invents a contraption that takes him to 802,701 AD. There he finds a world inhabited by waif-like ...

Susan on the Soapbox: When Politicians Lie…er, Misspeak Themselves

“How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.”—Political joke. Politicians don’t lie. They misspeak, they overstate, they understate. And the press distorts, takes out of context, twists, exaggerates or does something equally heinous to what they’ve said. Poor dears. Over the past few months Premier Prentice and ex-Leader of the ...

Susan on the Soapbox: OPEC Sets Up the Rollercoaster, Albertans Take a Ride (Again)

“You come from capitalist nations. You know what the market does. For any commodity it goes up and down, up and down”—Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi* Contrary to the expectations of many analysts, OPEC (read Saudi Arabia) decided it would not reduce its 30 million-barrel-a-day production quota in order to prop up oil prices. Saudi ...