Well, it wouldn't be New Year’s Eve without some political predictions for the coming year. Here are Alberta Diary’s Top Ten Alberta political predictions for 2018:
1. Guilty or not guilty of illegally hunting on private land after his Feb. 2 court date in Didsbury, rogue Wildrose-UCP-Independent MLA Derek Fildebrandt will be welcomed back into the bosom of the United Conservative Party Legislative Caucus early in 2018.
2. Premier Rachel Notley's NDP Cabinet will be significantly reshuffled early in the year as the government moves into pre-election campaign mode. The cabinet will grow in this reshuffle, possibly through the addition of "associate ministers" to help bear the load of campaign work.
3. United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney and his strategists will continue their casual relationship with the truth, with party trolls and bots expanding into personally attacking economists and other experts who offer factual critiques of UCP policies. Mainstream media will say little.
4. Now that it's happened in the United States, Canadian telecoms will start screaming for an end to Net Neutrality on this side of the 49th Parallel in 2018, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will sadly, reluctantly do their bidding. The impact will be particularly severe in news-starved Alberta.
5. British Columbia's Lower Mainland will go wild over continued progress on twinning of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline from Alberta. Demonstrations in the Vancouver area will be larger than anything seen in Canada for decades. The UCP will say this proves the Alberta NDP must go.
6. Hunters will be outraged and rural voters will complain that city folks in general and the NDP in particular will never understand their rural values when the Notley Government moves to ban the barbaric practice of spear hunting bears.
7. The farcical Licence Plate War between Saskatchewan and Alberta started by sourpuss Sask Party Premier Brad Wall will end amicably as soon as Wall shuffles off the political scene late next month. We'll be told it was all a misunderstanding.
8. The Sturgeon Refinery northeast of Edmonton, the first refinery built in Canada in more than 30 years, will turn out to be a huge win for Alberta thanks to the low cost of the province's bitumen and soaring retail diesel prices. Conservatives will continue to insist governments have no business "picking winners and losers."
9. Postmedia Canada Network Corp. will limp through 2018 without the collapse everyone anticipates. To survive, the failing newspaper chain will close more community newspapers, lay off more journalists, and quietly seek buyers for its Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal franchises. None will be found.
10. Late in the year, Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt will again be kicked out of the UCP Legislative Caucus, this time for trying to upstage Opposition Leader Jason Kenney. It will turn out that while defying leader Brian Jean was good, defying Leader Jason Kenney is not so good!
Thanks you to all my readers, have a Happy New Year and an interesting 2018. DJC
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