The definitive guide to W. Brett Wilson's orphan wells

When Forent Energy, a floundering oil and gas company, and its former chairman and its single largest shareholder, minor Calgary celebrity W. Brett Wilson, were given an environmental protection order from the Alberta Energy Regulator, they didn’t clean up their mess—instead Wilson dumped 16 wells on the Orphan Well Association, leaving millions of dollars of liabilities to the public to pick up for him.

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POD: GraceLife, carding, and Madu

Ubaka Ogbogu, a law professor with the University of Alberta, joins us to discuss the monster Jason Kenney has created with Gracelife church, carding legislation introduced by the UCP, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu's extraordinary and now-deleted statement about him and much more. 

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A revolting caucus

Is a revolt underway in the UCP caucus? That’s been the prevailing media narrative for the last week, but the true situation may not be so clear.

Things kicked off last week when sixteen UCP MLAs released an open letter declaring that they opposed Alberta’s insufficient, mildest-in-Canada COVID restrictions. The ranks of dissenting MLAs have since grown to eighteen, robbing me by one of a very easy-to-write headline for this week’s newsletter.

The list has all the names you’d expect, including MLAs Jason Stephan and Tracy Allard, who ignored Dr. Hinshaw’s guidance and took vacations out of the country over Christmas, and the perennially wrong about everything Drew Barnes, most recently in the news for trying to evict tenants during the pandemic. For the most part, the dissenters are from the former Wildrose part of the party.

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POD: 14 ways to make Edmonton safer for all

Rob Houle and Irfan Chaudhry were both a part of a task force started by the city of Edmonton as a reaction to wide-scale calls to start fixing the problem of racist, violent policing last summer. The task force's report has been submitted to council. We talk with Rob and Irfan about the report's findings, recommendations and how the only thing that really matters in the next municipal election is what a candidate is willing to do on the police budget. 

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Hallelujah! GraceLife is closed, finally

After months of repeated, flagrant violations of public health orders, GraceLife, the church outside Edmonton that has been making a big show out of breaking the rules, has finally been shut down by Alberta Health Services. Fence went up around the premises this morning.

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An open letter from a mom and teacher disgusted with the UCP's K-6 curriculum

Jaime Morrow is a teacher and a mom who lives in rural Alberta. She wrote this letter about the newly released curriculum to her UCP MLA Ron Orr but all she got back was a form response that handwaved away her concerns. We wanted to share this letter with a wider audience than Ron Orr's constituency assistant.

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POD: The racist, white supremacist foundations of the COVID denier movement

As the third wave of COVID-19 gathers steam the anti-mask, COVID denier groups have become more violent, more emboldened and are putting people in danger. We do a deep dive on the COVID denier movement with Kurt Phillips, the formerly anonymous author of Anti-Racist Canada and a founding board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. 

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Supreme Court of Canada rules that carbon pricing is poggers

You probably saw the news last week around the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision ruling on the constitutionality of the carbon tax. The Supreme Court said that the federal government has the jurisdiction to put in the carbon tax as a matter of “national concern” under the peace, order and good government (POGG) clause in the constitution. 

Premier Kenney pitched a snit and predictably railed against the decision. But he can cite the minority opinions and the decisions of lower courts all he wants. It doesn’t change the fact that he lost and lost big. He actually told reporters that he did not have a fallback plan and that he was hoping to win in court

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POD: The other multi-billion dollar Alberta government oil scandal: Crude-by-rail

Independent consultant and crude-by-rail expert Samir Kayande joins us to talk about the $2.3 billion dollars (and counting) the government of Alberta has lost on crude-by-rail. Is there a rail yard somewhere with thousands of empty rail cars? Quite possibly, the government has told us nearly nothing about this debacle. When they have told us anything about it, they've lied. We dig into this huge scandal. 

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Shandro gets one right; CPS continues to get them wrong

Breathing a sigh of relief after a Hinshaw/Shandro COVID press conference is a novel experience for most of us, but it was a relief indeed to hear yesterday that Alberta will not be barreling ahead into ‘Phase 3’ of its reopening plan. It’s easy to think that, with the end of the pandemic in sight, the spread of the virus must be easing up, but nothing could be further from the truth; not only were normal cases allowed to grow out of control over the winter, but the new, more-contagious variants like B117 have arrived and are growing exponentially here.

The news that reopening has been paused is going to rile some folks up in Alberta’s unruly anti-mask/anti-vax crowd, and they’ve hardly been well-behaved to date.

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