Susan on the Soapbox: “Phasing Out” the Oilsands

At a recent town hall meeting Mr Trudeau reiterated his position on climate change.  He said: “You can’t make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.  We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow.  We need to phase them out.  We need to manage the transition off our dependence ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Marie Henein’s Take on Kellie Leitch

Last Friday Ms Soapbox attended the 2017 Milvain Lecture at the U of C Law School. It was given by Marie Henein who recently made headlines by successfully defending CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi on sexual assault charges. While Ms Soapbox and Ms Henein do not see eye to eye on the Ghomeshi case, they ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The 2017 List

Last year Ms Soapbox made a list of New Year’s resolutions for Rachel Notley. Happily, Ms Notley delivered on the list, with the exception of resolution #4 (Ms Soapbox failed to anticipate the arrival of Jason Kenney on the political scene). Rather than rewrite the whole thing Mr Soapbox decided to create a list of ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Lessons From Rex Tillerson*

If Rex Tillerson, the former head of ExxonMobil and Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, taught a class on pipeline strategy Brian Jean would be stuck at the front of the room wearing a dunce cap and Rachel Notley would be excused because she already knows this stuff. Conservative rhetoric  Ever since Donald Trump ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Two Pipelines Approved: The Opposition Reacts (badly)

Do you have a headache? Are you an Alberta conservative wondering how to react to Trudeau approving the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines and, horrors, singling out Notley’s Climate Leadership Plan as being vital to getting to yes? If so, your conservative leadership team has prepared a carefully considered, cogent response. Here’s what it ...

Susan on the Soapbox: It’s Electricity Week…and the Opposition Won’t Stand for it

After the events of this week it’s unclear who the Opposition is standing for. The NDP government announced it was: settling the PPA dispute over the enforceability of the “Enron clause” with Capital Power, TransCanada and AltaGas, leaving Enmax the sole outlier, compensating Capital Power, TransAlta and ATCO for the early closure of six coal-fired ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Running on Half a Platform

Can we stop campaigning on half a platform?     Brian Jean and Jason Kenney are united in one thing—the conviction that they must free Alberta from the “socialists” and return it to its position of unparalleled greatness where it will once again become “the shining beacon of hope” to Canada if not the entire world. ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who Let the Monsters Out?

To paraphrase Mayor Nenshi, we must never forget how easy it is for a narcissist with a microphone to open the closet door and let the monsters out. Donald Trump, a woefully inexperienced blowhard, defeated Hillary Clinton by legitimizing attacks against women, minorities and immigrants. Donald Trump President-Elect Jason Kenney, unlike Trump, isn’t openly hostile ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney Takes a Page from the Donald Trump Playbook

Last night the Progressive Conservatives kicked off their leadership race in earnest. As expected Jason Kenney urged party members to “unite Alberta” (ie destroy the PCs by merging them with the rebranded Wildrose party) while the other five candidates reassured attendees that the PC party could rise from the ashes. It was a relief to ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Ten Things We Learned from Trump’s Presidential Campaign

Barring a catastrophe Donald Trump will not become the 45th president of the United States. At the risk of tempting fate Ms Soapbox would like to present a top 10 list of things we learned from Trump’s doomed presidential campaign. The Top 10 List TEN:  The Republican Party is in desperate need of an overhaul: ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Sandra Jansen is right, there are Progressive Conservatives in Alberta

Yippee!  Sandra Jansen just confirmed she’s running for the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party.  This is good news because her campaign will test Jason Kenney’s assertion that there’s no such thing as a progressive conservative. Kenney is peddling the line that there are only two kinds of people in Alberta—small “c” conservatives who yearn ...

Susan on the Soapbox: “Post-truth” Politics in Alberta

Albertans can learn a lot about the importance of truth in politics from the Trump/Clinton presidential race. Political lies have moved beyond “misstatements” for which politicians “take full responsibility” and (sort of) apologize, to “truthiness”, a term coined by Stephen Colbert for a lie that appeals to a voter’s feelings, not reason. A “truthy statement” ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Air Horn Politics

“We’re all seriously suffering from a kind of Trump derangement syndrome…he uses up so much of the oxygen and it’s like having…a big air horn installed in your head and you just can’t get away from it.”— Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer Prize winning creator of Doonsbury   Sadly, Albertans have their own version of air ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Another Fine Mess: Thanks Stevie

It turns out the famous Laurel and Hardy phrase “here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into” is a misquote.  What Oliver Hardy really said to the hapless Stan Laurel was “here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten us into”. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter if it’s a “fine” mess or ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Who should govern in times of significant disruption?

Chris Kutarna says this is the best time in history to be alive.  We’re healthier, wealthier and better educated than at any other time in history…so why are we so miserable? Kutarna is a Fellow at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University.  He argues we’re experiencing a second Renaissance—an amped-up version of the first ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Brian Jean Makes a Joke

Two things happened this week that reflect very poorly on the judgment of Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean and his supporters. The first was The Joke.  The second was his apology for The Joke. Let’s take them in turn. The joke… You all know the story. Mr Jean was at a Wildrose forum in Fort ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Trump and the Nukes

We’re so focused on Donald Trump’s race-baiting rhetoric that we’ve almost forgotten that if elected this man will have the nuclear codes at the tips of his stubby little fingers. This is a serious concern for 50 Republican security officials who signed a letter saying Trump does not have the temperament to be president and ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The K-Bro Linen Flap

Would someone snap a wet towel at the Opposition please? The Opposition is upset because Sarah Hoffman, the Health Minister, wants to see a business case on alternatives before she agrees to outsource the province’s healthcare laundry services to K-Bro Linen Inc. K-Bro started as an Edmonton-based diaper laundry service in the 1950s.  It moved ...

Susan on the Soapbox: PPAs and the Master Narrative in Alberta

The American Press Institute (API) describes pack journalism,” now known as “the master narrative,” as a story line the press corps en masse is telling or repeating. The API warns that master narratives can become a “trap or rut” and that journalists will pick facts that illustrate the master narrative and ignore other facts. The ...

Susan on the Soapbox: The NDP’s Power Play: Myths and Facts

Alberta’s NDP government wants to save Albertans $2 billion and the Wildrose, the Progressive Conservatives and the media are churning up a dust storm of misinformation trying to stop them. Let’s take it from the top, shall we? Klein deregulates the power industry In 2000 Premier Klein boldly went where few had gone before—he deregulated ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Jason Kenney: Alberta’s Very Own Music Man

Like the Music Man, Jason Kenney blew into town with a message:  We’ve got trouble folks!  Trouble with a capital “T” that rhymes with “P” and that stands for “Progressive!” The Music Man says we don’t need no “accidental government” to lead this province astray, and we certainly don’t need no social engineering in our ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Brexit and Trump: It’s All Your Fault

Ms Soapbox was just getting her head around the fact that Donald Trump was her fault when they blamed her for Brexit. Wait, what? Political philosophers and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic point out that not everyone who supports Trump or voted “Leave” in the Brexit referendum is a xenophobic bigot; they may ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Four Things We Learned From Brexit

What was he thinking?  The UK, with or without Scotland and Northern Ireland, is leaving the EU, but first it has to slog through two harrowing years extricating itself from its most important market (44% of all of the UK’s exports go to the EU) and trying not blowing itself up in the process. Lord ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Responding to Orlando

Can we talk about that which cannot be named? On June 12 forty-nine people were massacred at a nightclub in Orlando. Alberta’s political leaders expressed their horror at the senseless slaughter. All but one of the politicians recognized that the victims were members of the LGBTQ community. Politicians respond Premier Notley tweeted her government’s solidarity ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Rachel Notley and the Wonder Women

Anyone who thinks women are too emotional and unpredictable for a life in politics hasn’t met Rachel Notley and the Wonder Women. Ms Soapbox had the pleasure of meeting some of the Wonder Women this weekend at the NDP Convention. They’re smart and have a wicked sense of humour.  When Finance Minister Joe Ceci told ...