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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 May 25
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during a news conference in Calgary on Friday, May 22, 2020. Image: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Alberta's United Conservative Party will apply for funds from the federal government's Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to keep party staff employed.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 22
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro during a COVID-19 press briefing on May 4, 2020. Image: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | More than a month has passed since the UCP promised a $2-per-hour coronavirus-crisis top-up to Alberta's lowest-paid health-care workers. There's still no sign of it.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 20
Jason Kenney celebrates his victory in the United Conservative Party leadership race in October, 2017. Image: Jason Kenney/Twitter
David J. Climenhaga | Alberta Conservatives always thought they could afford some rebellion to open the Overton window further to the political right. The NDP's Rachel Notley proved them wrong in 2015.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 19
Democratic presidential candidate, former vice-president Joe Biden speaks at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia at Booker T. Washington High School, March 1, 2020. Image: NSPA & ACP​/Flickr)
David J. Climenhaga | Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has called sinking $7.5 billion into the Keystone XL pipeline "a solid bet." But the investment is not likely to benefit Alberta's taxpayers.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 15
Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Alberta Health Services president Verna Yiu and Ernst & Young spokesperson John Bethel at the release of the AHS review report on February 3. Image: Government of Alberta
David J. Climenhaga | If ever there was a time to recognize that privatization of health-care services, in particular public-sector long-term care, is a bad idea, the current pandemic is that moment.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 15
Image: Dricker94/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Twitter users were quick to point out to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's Aaron Wudrick that any horse hoping to defraud Ottawa of CERB funds would need a valid social insurance number.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 14
Jason Kenney with Jack Mintz in 2015. Image: Jason Kenney/Twitter
David J. Climenhaga | University of Calgary Professor Jack Mintz, appointed in March to lead Jason Kenney's "emergency economic panel," has joined other right-wing commentators in calling for public-sector rollbacks.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 13
Cypress-Medicine Hat United Conservative Party MLA Drew Barnes. Image: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | The timing of Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes's tweet was especially bad, since public-sector workers are currently on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 12
An oil sands plant in Fort McMurray, Alberta, in 2012. Image: kris krüg​/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | A new report finds that the 'big five' oil sands producers shipped $8 billion to their mostly foreign shareholders in the first three quarters of 2019.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 11
A doctor participating in a protest calling for a faster response to the spread of COVID-19 in the homeless shelter system. Image: michael_swan/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Jason Kenney's UCP has chosen the pandemic as an opportunity for an assault on physician pay and an ugly attack on the Alberta Medical Association.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 8
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a COVID-19 briefing, May 7, 2020. Image: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video/YouTube
David J. Climenhaga | The Bloc Québécois leader said oil "is never coming back" while the former Green party leader stated "oil is dead." The Alberta premier called those remarks 'divisive.'
Blog - Alberta Diary May 7
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a press briefing on May 7, 2020. Image: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Kenney has an approval rating of 44 per cent, and a disapproval rating of 48 per cent, the only premier in a recent poll with a higher disapproval rating than approval rating.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 6
The scene in the lunchroom of the JBS slaughterhouse in Brooks, Alberta. Image: Screenshot of JBS Canada video/YouTube
David J. Climenhaga | Ottawa has the power if it chooses to use it. It has regulatory jurisdiction over any meat-packing plant that sells meat outside its province of origin.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 5
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney provides an update from Edmonton on Thursday, April 30, 2020, on COVID-19. Image: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | When health-care professionals have been able to call the shots, Albertans seem to have mostly fared OK. But where Conservative politicians have been involved, the results are disastrous.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 4
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Friday's announcement of the ban of 1,500 makes of military-style rifles (Image: CanadianPM/Twitter).
David J. Climenhaga | Since neither low oil prices nor COVID-19 are going away any time soon, at least Ottawa's ban on assault-style firearms gives Alberta Premier Jason Kenney something to talk about.
Blog - Alberta Diary May 1
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at Thursday's COVID-19 briefing. Image: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video
David J. Climenhaga | The pandemic has taught us some powerful lessons about the usual way we do business. Is business as usual where we really want to go?
Blog - Alberta Diary April 30
Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner in 2017. Image: Wikimedia Commons
David J. Climenhaga | Canadian Conservatives care deeply and profoundly about where politicians live, or even what passport they might be inclined to use -- until they don't.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 28
Donna Kennedy-Glans last year at a hearing of the Kenney government's "fair deal" panel. Image: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | A post harshly critical of Health Minister Tyler Shandro has appeared on a blog used as a platform by "fair deal" panel member Donna Kennedy-Glans.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 27
Ted Morton during the 2011 Progressive Conservative leadership race. Image: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | The former Alberta finance minister did get one thing right in his Calgary Herald article: If Alberta is to survive its current bust it's going to need a sales tax.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 24
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing, when he offered his discourse on pension policy. Image: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video
David J. Climenhaga | No matter what Premier Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party may wish, this story is not going to go away.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 23
Premier Jason Kenney on giving a speech on March 17, 2020. Image: Government of Alberta/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Last week illustrates something about Jason Kenney's UCP government: it's not just remarkably incompetent, it's remarkably unlucky too.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 22
Image: Google Maps
David J. Climenhaga | The Labour Ministry inspector watched via FaceTime as three employees conducted "a virtual plant inspection."
Blog - Alberta Diary April 21
Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw at the April 20, 2020 COVID-19 briefing in Edmonton. Image: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video
David J. Climenhaga | A total of 484 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been tied to Calgary-area meat-packing plant; crowded living conditions are linked to the spread of the disease from there.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 20
Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen and Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw during a telephone town hall with Cargill workers on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Image: Devin Dreeshen/Twitter
David J. Climenhaga | Alberta's agriculture minister keeps insisting meat-packing plants are safe from COVID-19. It's becoming increasingly clear they're not.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 19
Canadian environmentalist Tzeporah Berman. Image: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | If Prime Minister Trudeau is bold enough to actually attach some strings to the oilpatch bailout money, you can count on it the UCP will go right back to screaming at him.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 17
Justin Trudeau gives a speech in Parliament on April 11, 2020. Image: Justin Trudeau/Twitter
David J. Climenhaga | Trudeau is a politician too often characterized by timidity. This is an opportunity for him to do the right thing.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 16
A screenshot of the Facebook ad library showing the Alberta government's ads promoting the shipment of 750,000 N95 medical masks to other provinces. Image: Facebook
David J. Climenhaga | For Alberta's health-care workers who are wondering if there's a shortage of N95 masks, it seems as if their safety has been compromised by a cynical effort to build social licence for more pipelines.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 15
A letter purportedly sent by a resident of Kingston, Ontario, to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Image: Jason Kenney/Twitter
David J. Climenhaga | Many are casting doubt on the authenticity of a letter the Alberta premier said he received from a resident of Kingston, Ontario. But the truth is often stranger than fiction.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 14
Alberta Chief Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw at Monday's daily COVID-19 briefing in Edmonton. Image: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video
David J. Climenhaga | COVID-19 isn't going to be the last global pandemic we will ever face. We need to be prepared, and running a hospital or care home like a hotel or a fast-food restaurant is a recipe for disaster.
Blog - Alberta Diary April 13
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the press about COVID-19 on April 7, 2020. Image: Tia Dufour/The White House/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | The United States is critically ill -- COVID-19 is the proximate cause, but the ailment that may kill it is neoliberalism.