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 ...

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 ...