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Alberta Diary

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. His 1995 book, A Poke in the Public Eye, explores the relationships among Canadian journalists, public relations people and politicians. He left journalism after the strike at the Calgary Herald in 1999 and 2000 to work for the trade union movement. Alberta Diary focuses on Alberta politics and social issues.

Blog - Alberta Diary March 23
Alison Redford, as Alberta's new premier, on the campaign trail in 2012. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | After months of controversy, Alison Redford's premiership ended seven years ago today. But Alberta's story isn't over yet, and it doesn't have to be written with the pen held by Jason Kenney.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 23
Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw and Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro at yesterday's COVID-19 update news conference. Image credit: Chris Schwarz, Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | The political calculation the cabinet COVID committee faced yesterday was stark, with whatever course of action it chose likely to cause blowback.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 22
Federal Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole during his remarks to the Conservative Party of Canada’s virtual policy conference on Friday. Image: Screenshot of CPAC video
David J. Climenhaga | Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole invited Quebec separatists, en français, "to come and share power with me in Ottawa." What could possibly go wrong?
Blog - Alberta Diary March 20
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his recent virtual meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. Image credit: Adam Scotti/PMO
David J. Climenhaga | If we send Meng Wanzhou to the United States to disappear into its penal gulag, Canada will be written off as irrelevant by the leaders of the world's second-largest economy.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 19
University of Alberta political scientist Jared Wesley. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | When the electorate is sharply polarized, sometimes a party has to pick a lane. It can't just conclude that if everyone is complaining it must be doing something right.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 18
Prime Minister Trudeau and U.S. President Biden deliver a joint statement. Image credit: Adam Scotti/PMO
David J. Climenhaga | The two Michaels are pawns in a great game played by two haughty imperial powers that care little about Canada or Canadians.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 17
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at yesterday's 'citizen initiative' news conference. Image credit: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta via Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Thanks to the international ruckus sparked by the war room's Wile E. Coyote-inspired antics, "Bigfoot Family," which had been languishing, has soared into Netflix's top ten.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 16
The Alberta Legislature, in its current, shrouded state. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Under pressure from his supporters to keep this promise and mocked by his NDP opponents for not daring to keep it, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney obviously felt he had something to prove.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 15
Alison Redford leaves Government House alone at 11:32 a.m. on March 13, 2020, two days before the Ides, after Conservative MLAs presented her with their grievances. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Alison Redford's humiliating departure was a stunning flameout for a politician who had stepped into leadership with such promise only two and a half years before.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 15
A still from "Bigfoot Family." Image credit: nWave Pictures
David J. Climenhaga | Whatever will the Alberta energy war room do when it learns about "Tin Star," the British TV crime drama about a U.K. cop transplanted to Alberta who ends up doing battle with an evil oil company?
Blog - Alberta Diary March 14
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Image credit: Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier via Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | What if the narrative continues to be widely accepted that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney himself is now the UCP's principal impediment to re-election?
Blog - Alberta Diary March 11
Health Minister Tyler Shandro. Image credit: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta via Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | It remains to be seen if Alberta's doctors themselves will surrender, since a ratification vote must still be conducted. It seems likely, though, that they will give up and ratify.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 10
Jason Kenney, dressed up in his construction worker duds, at his news conference Monday. Image: Screenshot of Alberta government video
David J. Climenhaga | Say what you will about Jason Kenney's UCP government, Alberta has never had a better opposition than the NDP led by Rachel Notley.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 9
Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips as Alberta NDP environment minister in 2015. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | The Lethbridge Police Service's apparent effort to undermine former NDP environment minister Shannon Phillips sure looks like a political campaign, not a proper investigation. Answers are required.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 8
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Jason Kenney may not be the most likeable premier in Alberta history, but he is more ruthless than anyone we have seen in the premier's office for a long time. Ruthless enough to put down a rebellion.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 7
Economist Armine Yalnizyan. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Unlike the attention devoted to young men's unemployment, issues surrounding women's employment rates attract hostility from the UCP and inattention from media.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 5
Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions President Linda Silas. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Saying she will remain as president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Linda Silas called for Canada to address "the stark inequities that COVID-19 has exacerbated."
Blog - Alberta Diary March 4
Fort McMurray-Cold Lake Conservative MP David Yurdiga. Image credit: David Yurdiga/Facebook
David J. Climenhaga | You can mock Alberta Conservative politicians, but it is nearly impossible to parody them. Fortunately, they do that themselves without prompting. Sometimes twice in one week.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 3
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at his news conference in Calgary yesterday. Image credit: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr -- Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta
David J. Climenhaga | Cabinet ministers at Premier Jason Kenney's news conference about health-care spending yesterday behaved themselves. Some government MLAs, not so much.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 2
When will the lights go out at Torstar? The Star Building at One Yonge Street, Toronto … Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | The newspaper business rolled the dice and now they've come up snake eyes. Torstar wants to open an online casino: Joe Atkinson must be spinning in his grave like a roulette wheel.
Blog - Alberta Diary March 1
Former Rocky Mountain House MLA Ty Lund with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Image: Facebook
David J. Climenhaga | One of the hardy perennials of the Progressive-Conservative dynasty, Ty Lund held the Rocky Mountain House riding from 1989 to 2012.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 28
University of Alberta campus. Image credit: Janusz Sliwinski/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | In the 2021 Alberta budget, the University of Alberta's grant has been slashed by 11 per cent, or $60.1 million. Also: another tiki-torch march; former MLA Janice Sarich remembered.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 26
Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews reads his budget speech in a COVID-19-safe Legislature as Premier Jason Kenney looks on. Image credit: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr - Photograph by EPIC Photography/Legislative Assembly Office
David Climenhaga | If you want to know how quickly front-line pandemic heroes turn into back-of-the-line zeroes in Jason Kenney's Alberta, the answers are in Thursday's provincial budget.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 25
A fine pair of cowboy boots like these, hand-made in Alberta, can be hell to break in, but it's worth the effort, especially if you're a finance minister. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | The more likely explanation is hubris, incompetence, and an ideology that clearly doesn't work. Still, it wouldn't be the worst thing if finance ministers got the idea they'd better buy new shoes.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 24
Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews. Image credit: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | The big business guys never quite come out and advise Jason Kenney and the UCP to run Alberta like Rachel Notley's NDP did. But that's what they're doing.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 23
Calgary street preacher Artur Pawlowski addresses supporters at Saturday's tiki-torch march in Edmonton. Image: Artur Pawlowski/Facebook
David J. Climenhaga | Jason Kenney's commentary about Saturday's tiki-torch protest in Edmonton wasn't quite a full-throated Trumpian defence of "very fine people," but surely boils down to the same thing.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 22
Brian Brennan, at left, on the picket line at the Calgary Herald. Renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood can be seen in the centre of the photo. To her right in hat is mystery thriller author Grant McKenzie. Image: Calgary Herald Strike Archive
David J. Climenhaga | For many years, Brian Brennan specialized in writing obituaries, each a polished gem of a few hundred words, with more poetry in them than the readers of a daily newspaper could expect.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 20
Pastor James Coates preaching to his congregation recently. Image: Screenshot of GraceLife Church video
David J. Climenhaga | The religious right in Canada and the U.S. is painting Pastor James Coates as a Christian martyr. Verily, I say unto you, his willingness to go to jail has nothing to do with religious freedom.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 18
Inquiry Commissioner Steve Allan. Image credit: Government of Alberta
David J. Climenhaga | Whether or not Ecojustice is winning in court is impossible to say. But the group is certainly well ahead in the Canadian court of public opinion.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 17
An Alberta Health Services ambulance. Image credit: Mitchell Smith/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | The only way the UCP's stubborn persistence with this policy really makes sense is if it sets the stage for something else, to wit, privatization of the provincial ambulance service.