Perhaps every boom is expected to last forever. Every boom contains within it some skewed logic in which the impossible growth and rapidly amassed wealth undergo a transition from fantastically fluid to some simulacrum of a solid state. The careening boom logic becomes the norm. Luck becomes a strain of genius, and opportunism starts to […]


Midway through the boom’s first wave, in 2006, a Statistics Canada study reported that Alberta was in the midst of “the strongest period of economic growth ever recorded by any Canadian province.” Annual provincial gross domestic product (GDP) and population growth both cleared 10 percent. When the oil industry’s champions first pitched the federal and […]


Still, even if it was not recognized in many boardrooms in Calgary or anywhere else in the industry, oil’s dominance could no longer be taken for granted. Climate change was not readily managed like the sludge in a single tailings pond or contained like the mess from a single pipeline spill. This was a more […]

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The city existed in a perpetual state of growth and agitation. Numbers were murky at the peak of the boom — no one could get a clear count of the “shadow population” living in work camps and other short-term arrangements — but safe to say there were many hundreds like Raheel Joseph arriving each month. […]


The Current recently ran a segment on Quebec’s new law banning face coverings for those providing or receiving public services, including medical services and public transport. I can’t see any way to interpret this law other than discrimination against Muslim women. That impression is actually magnified by the Quebec governments contortions in trying to defend […]


Friday’s episode of “The Current” discussed the case of Michael Foster who — after warning the pipeline control centre to shut off the pumping stations — turned a valve to shut down the flow of bitumen through the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. It’s a very self-conscious act of civil disobedience, with Foster sending video […]


It’s rare to see an article on a news website speaking so directly to a current question of current scholarly interest. In 2012, Doug McAdam and Hilary Boudet published Putting Social Movements in their Place: Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the United States, 2000-2005, which generally encourages scholars of contentious politics and social movements […]


The annual Massey debate is the main opportunity law students get to amuse an audience. I got some photos at tonight’s.


For at least a year now people have been quite appropriately doing important work in questioning legacies of racism and institutionalized forms of racism at Massey College, including in the traditional use of the title “Master” to refer to the head of the College. A hurtful, callous, and offensive remark made in the dining hall […]


The often-excellent NPR Planet Money podcast (which ran an earlier episode about “Freeway” Rick) had two notably engaging recent segments. One included an interesting account of the data-analysis-decision-action cycle in intelligence work, specifically when deciding if an assailant is an enemy counterintelligence agent or drug-addled mugger. The other discussed policy and incentive problems in the […]