Susan on the Soapbox: The Country is Broken!

Just when Albertans thought things couldn’t get any worse, Jason Kenney declared the country was broken. What? Did Trumpism seep across the border while we were sleeping? Canada survived the FLQ Crisis and the War Measures Act, the bitter negotiations over the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution, and the Quebec referendum on national sovereignty where ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney Debates a Motion

An update from the Kenney-channelling-Trump department. After weeks of flooding the airwaves with demands for an emergency debate on a motion condemning BC’s interference with the Trans Mountain pipeline Jason Kenney finally got a chance to demonstrate what he meant when he called for the government to speak with “one voice” and present a “united ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Role of the Political Journalist

“The journalistic mission remains at its simplest: know your patch and use your knowledge to try to tell readers what’s actually going on.”– Katharine Murphy, Journalism Professor & Guardian Australia’s deputy political editor. Is it right for a political journalist to simply quote a politician’s comments without challenging their veracity or wisdom? The answer in ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Magical Thinkers: Horgan and Kenney

I’m not sure what’s more bizarre, BC Premier John Horgan’s rationale for asking the BC Supreme Court to rule on whether BC can limit the amount of diluted bitumen flowing on Trans Mountain or Jason Kenney’s reaction to Horgan’s decision to take the issue to court. Magical molecules Horgan defended his decision to refer the ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney’s Non-Partisan Request

This just in from “the train-has-left-the-station” department. Let’s see, how should Alberta respond to BC’s announcement that it will limit bitumen shipments from Alberta until it completes consultation on more spill response studies? Well, the Notley government could impose a boycott of BC wines and create a Market Access Task Force that includes former political ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Huffing and Puffing “Leadership”

Last week BC Premier John Horgan said BC would ban any increase in shipments of diluted bitumen (dilbit) to BC until a scientific advisory panel determined whether shippers can adequately prevent and clean up dilbit spills.  If the panel decides this isn’t possible, the ban on increased dilbit shipments will become permanent. This announcement gave ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Thank You Alberta Party!

When Greg Clark stepped down as the leader of the Alberta Party Ms Soapbox wondered whether the party had lost its mind. When Rick Fraser and Stephen Mandel, two former Progressive Conservatives, entered the AP leadership race, Ms Soapbox wondered whether the party had been taken over by the Progressive Conservatives. She soon realized such ...

Susan on the Soapbox: When They Go Low: the Kenney by-election debate

On Sunday afternoon Mr and Ms Soapbox were jammed into an overheated community hall listening to five politicians explain why they were the best choice to represent the good citizens of Calgary-Lougheed in the by-election triggered when Dave Rodney stepped down to give UCP leader Jason Kenney a seat in the Legislature. The media characterized ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Politics and the Debate Club

I know, I know, you’d rather watch the Grey Cup game, so I’ll make this quick. Yesterday, Ms Soapbox and a friend judged the final round in the Sir Winston Churchill High School Debate Competition.  The competition was hosted by the Alberta Debate and Speech Association and The Winston Churchill Society and included teams from ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Question Period? Really?

How much longer do we have to put up with this nonsense? The Alberta Legislature has been in session for eight days and the UCP is using Question Period to test-drive political slogans. Jason Kenney UCP leader Ms Soapbox’s personal favourite is the UCP’s claim: “We lead, they follow”. The UCP’s “lead” translates into something ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who will fight a bear for you?

The forces at play in the upcoming 2019 provincial election are reflected in how you react to this banner. The banner is a part of Calgary’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters.  Some people loved its edgy, self-deprecating message, others didn’t get it…at all. Okay, hold that thought while Ms Soapbox tells you about the future… ...

Susan on the Soapbox: How Truth Dies

The UCP leadership race just began and already we’re being asked to choose between two conflicting versions of the truth. Jason Kenney says Brian Jean is a poor financial manager because Jean created a $337,000 deficit in the UCP caucus budget–apparently Jean embarked on a “massive hiring spree” to run a “shadow leadership campaign” at ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Trudeau forgets Alberta; Alberta flips out

Canada is a special place; but Alberta is a little prickly. The Soapbox family celebrated Canada Day at Olympic Plaza trying to dislodge a Big Red Ball wedged between some girders, admiring children’s art work (our favourite was a mask made by a second grader who said it represented her love of dogs and money), ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Susan on the Soapbox 2017-06-18 21:57:30

Unsolicited Advice from a Conservative Pundit This week Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party, offered some advice to the yet to be formed United Conservative Party (or whatever it’s going to call itself after the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives merge). A vision of sorts   Since neither Brian Jean nor Jason Kenney ...

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 ...