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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 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.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 16
An soldier observes a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, Feb. 9, 2018. Image credit: The U.S. Army/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Kandahar fell to U.S. special forces and their Afghan allies on Dec. 7, 2001. The first Canadian soldiers got involved the same month. Canadians would fight and die there until March 2014.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 14
You just can’t make this stuff up. Image: United Conservative Party/Twitter
David J. Climenhaga | Roses are red, violets are blue, stay for the ratio, what else can you do?
Blog - Alberta Diary February 12
Alberta Health Services ambulance. Image credit: Mitchell Smith/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | There are circumstances when acts of defiance are absolutely necessary, said Wood Buffalo Mayor Don Scott in Fort McMurray. "I challenge the provincial government to remove me."
Blog - Alberta Diary February 11
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in the cake section during yesterday's news conference. Image credit: Video screenshot/Government of Alberta
David J. Climenhaga | It's pretty clear that the Alberta premier's decision to finally hand out the predominantly federal cash was a desperate attempt to change the channel on his recent string of political disasters.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 10
Drew Barnes, Cypress-Medicine Hat UCP MLA and member of the 'End the Lockdowns National Caucus. 'Image: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | So what's Jason Kenney going to do about his two embarrassing MLAs? Nothing, one of them boldly predicts. "I'm not worried about disciplinary action," said Drew Barnes.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 9
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage. Image: Screenshot of Government of Alberta video
David J. Climenhaga | There are important caveats. The Kenney government left the door wide open to reviewing coal policy later and coming up with "a new, modern coal policy" when things settle down.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 8
Willow Square Continuing Care Centre. Image credit: Government of Alberta/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Alberta has tried to spin its modest spending on COVID-19 as being for the good of all. That can be disputed. Anyway, most pandemic funding in Alberta comes from Ottawa.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 4
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Why is an ostensible political winner, touted as a restoration of a successful political dynasty, acting like a party that knows in its bones it is a loser?
Blog - Alberta Diary February 3
The Straits of Mackinac near the path of Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline. Image credit: Peter K. Burian/Wikimedia Commons
David J. Climenhaga | Instead of trying to come up with a solution, we spent years insisting the line was safe, insulted or patronized U.S. politicians who were worried about it and belligerently demanded more of the same.
Blog - Alberta Diary February 1
Immunization in 1943 -- Canada had more vaccine production and manufacturing capacity then than now. Image credit: John Vachon/Wikimedia Commons
David J. Climenhaga | The minute memories of COVID-19 begin to fade, the Conservative clamour for Canadian vaccine and PPE manufacturing will disappear as quickly as a Canadian summer.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 30
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at Friday's COVID-19 daily briefing. Image: Video screenshot/Alberta government
David J. Climenhaga | What business wants in Alberta, business gets. Also, the Alberta inquiry goes into triple overtime.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 29
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro bashes Justin Trudeau at yesterday's daily COVID briefing. Image: Screenshot of Alberta government video
David J. Climenhaga | The Kenney government's strategic brain trust is trying hard to change the channel on a series of blunders and scandals. Bashing Justin Trudeau is the favoured tactic, and it could work.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 28
Across the street, at left, the building in Washington's lobbyists' quarter a few blocks north of the White House that houses Energy in Depth and the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Image: Google Street View
David J. Climenhaga | Sure, "Foreign Funding Targeting Canada's Energy Sector" is tendentious and needs to be taken with a grain of salt. But it's a competent work of industrial propaganda, even if it cost too much.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 27
Is this what the "Transnational Progressive Movement" has in mind for us? Image credit: Screenshot of Monte Python's "Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune" skit
David J. Climenhaga | Your tax dollars at work: apparently Transnational Progressives, corporatists, and Marxists decoupled from socialism are planning to replace Western industrial capitalism with cold and misery.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 25
Stacked pipes awaiting installation in oil pipeline. Image credit: Loozrboy/Flickr
David J. Climenhaga | Don't count on resales of unused pipe from the Keystone XL pipeline offsetting much of Alberta's "investment" in Premier Jason Kenney's $1.5-billion bad bet.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 25
NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley at the Premier's Breakfast in 2016. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | Claiming he had no regrets about what he did, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in response to a reporter's question that "any responsible Alberta government would have made that decision."
Blog - Alberta Diary January 22
Joseph R. Biden -- when it comes to Alberta's demands, the new U.S. president can afford to laugh a little. Image credit: The White House
David J. Climenhaga | We're lucky, in truth, that Jason Kenney's gamble didn't cost us more. He was ready, after all, to blow another $6 billion of our money on this doomed project.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 22
Rachel Notley during the NDP leadership campaign in October 2015. Image credit: Olav Rokne, used with permission
David J. Climenhaga | These fundraising numbers, like recent polling, add to the narrative of a badly led party increasingly rejected by the public that has the potential to bedevil the UCP right up to the next election.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 21
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at yesterday’s Keystone XL news conference. Image credit: Video still/Government of Alberta
David J. Climenhaga | Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States yesterday and almost the first thing he did was sign an executive order killing the Keystone XL pipeline.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 20
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O'Toole. Image credit: Erin O'Toole/Facebook
David J. Climenhaga | Most Canadians, one suspects, will conclude that with or without Derek Sloan, Erin O'Toole's still-Trumpified Conservative party is a poisoned chalice, from which they would be wise not to imbibe.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 19
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage, at left. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | If you're wondering if the government is on the ropes, or just playing rope-a-dope and letting its opponents tire themselves out, the answer is probably rope-a-dope.
Blog - Alberta Diary January 19
Economist Jim Stanford addressing an Alberta audience in 2019. Image credit: David J. Climenhaga
David J. Climenhaga | "For the sake of fossil-fuel workers, as well as the sake of the planet, the inevitable phase-out of fossil fuels must be announced and confirmed quickly and firmly." -- Jim Stanford

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