Susan on the Soapbox: The UCP Runs Away from the Bubble Zone

Last week the NDP government introduced Bill 9 which will create a 50-metre bubble zone of safety and privacy for women accessing healthcare, including abortions and other reproductive health services,* in Calgary and Edmonton. Jason Kenney and the UCP caucus bailed on the debate, sending their colleague MLA Angela Pitt to deliver a message on ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The Attack on Gay-Straight Alliances Continues

Last week the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) brought a court application challenging the constitutionality of changes to the School Act which are intended to support the establishment of gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in Alberta schools. Just to get our bearings, the JCCF is a non-profit legal organization run by John Carpay.  Mr Carpay is ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Thoughts on Politics at Easter

Easter is not usually the time to reflect upon grumpy whiners; but given Jason Kenney’s mission to rebuild the conservative movement in Alberta this might be a good time to consider where the conservative Roman Catholic leader of the Opposition would take Alberta if given half a chance. The Conservative Movement In the absence of ...

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: Flaubert’s Conservative Dictionary

Watching Doug Ford become the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives and Jason Kenney taking shots at Justin Trudeau and gender neutrality in his congratulatory speech, Ms Soapbox’s mind drifted to Flaubert’s Dictionary of Accepted Ideas. (Well, not initially, but after the incredulity wore off). The Dictionary is Flaubert’s satirical response to “mass produced word ...

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: #Metoo?

Can we talk? Many men (and some women) worry that the #metoo movement has morphed into a man-hating witch hunt where innocent men will be publicly humiliated and deprived of their livelihoods by vindictive women spreading unfounded accusations. They point to the fate of three Canadian politicians, Ont PC leader, Patrick Brown and NS PC ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Why Do We March?

Of the 120,000 people who attended the Women’s March in Canada, 10,000 marched in Alberta and 3,500 marched in Calgary. They were repeatedly asked, “Why do you march?” They replied they were concerned about equal pay, violence against women, protecting human rights, and ensuring the ugliness of Trumpism doesn’t seep into Canadian politics. Ashley Bristowe, ...

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: The Rule of Law in An Age of Fear

“He who puts security before liberty deserves neither.” –Dennis Edney Q.C. quoting Benjamin Franklin Last week Dennis Edney Q.C. delivered the 2018 Milvain Lecture at the University of Calgary.  His topic was The Rule of Law in an Age of Fear and his defence of Omar Khadr. Edney discussed the dangerous rise of populist politicians ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Something is Seriously Wrong

How fitting. The UCP will close 2017 with yet another bozo eruption. Bozo eruptions were mildly entertaining in the past, but they’re occurring with increasing regularity and have taken on a distinctly anti-democratic tone. Here are two recent examples. NDP shills! Last week the UCP attacked two well respected Alberta economists for daring to correct ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Merry Christmas!

While Ms Soapbox was trying to get the dog to sit still for his annual Ziggy under the Christmas Tree photo Mr Kenney was busy telling The Sun how he was going to prevent bozo eruptions in the UCP…and had a full-blown bozo eruption. It started slowly. Mr Kenney said he’d prevent bozo eruptions by ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney’s “Big” Win

Jason Kenney and the media describe Kenney’s win in the Calgary-Lougheed byelection with 71.5% of the votes as a “landslide” and the final tick in the box before Kenney cruises through the 2019 general election and sends Rachel Notley and the NDP packing. Maybe…maybe not.  Consider the facts. The candidates Kenney has been on the ...

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: Who’s the Real Enemy?

“You’re either with us or against us.” — Benito Mussolini First the UCP demanded the Premier ignore the rules of the House, then they accused her of being against rural Albertans and siding with the criminals because she refused to ignore the rules of the House. Do these guys even know the rules of the ...

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: The UCP Vote on the GSA Bill: Free Vote or Rubber Stamp?

It started innocently enough… The NDP government introduced Bill 24, an act to prohibit teachers from informing parents their kids had joined a gay-straight alliance (GSA) unless the kids consented.   (Note: The Bill does not change a teacher’s general obligation to notify parents if there’s a risk a student might harm him/herself or others.) All ...

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: Meet your “new” leader: Jason Kenney

Well done UCP!  Your new leader is Jason Kenney, the candidate least likely to beat Rachel Notley in 2019.   You could have saved yourself the bother and elected ET for all the difference this is going to make in Calgary.  (You remember Calgary, it’s the hub you’ll need to deliver in order to form government ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney Was Just Kidding about Peter Lougheed…really?

In 1999 a young Jason Kenney told the National Post that “Klein realized Alberta could no longer afford the neo-Stalinist make-work projects of the Lougheed and Getty years, and he set about to distance himself from them.” This is an inflammatory comment of Twilight Zone proportions, particularly given the lengths to which Kenney has gone ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who is it going to be: Nenshi or Smith?

This Monday Calgary voters will elect their mayor. The winner will be expected to lead Calgary out of one of the worst economic downturns it has experienced in decades.  So, who is it going to be:  Naheed Nenshi, the confident qualified candidate or Bill Smith, the congenial but underqualified candidate? When Calgarians are asked why ...