About Susan Wright

I’m a lawyer with 26 years of experience in petrochemicals, pipelines, oil and natural gas.  I’ve worked in Canada and the US.

I became a blogger out of frustration with our provincial and federal conservative governments.  And then wouldn’t you know it, the NDP swept into power in Alberta and the Liberals took over Ottawa…but no government is perfect.  We need to be politically active, discuss the issues and share our knowledge.  The Soapbox is a good place to start.  

I post on Sundays unless something really big happens midweek.

My posts have appeared in the Huffington Post and Rabble and have been reprinted in Alberta Views.   I do the occasional radio interview with CBC and Danielle Smith’s News Talk 770 and am a regular on the CTV Primetime political panel.   I was honoured to received the PIA Public Interest Award for Southern Alberta in 2016.

If you’d like to contact me send me a tweet @susanspbx or leave me a note here on The Soapbox. 

Some miscellaneous personal stuff:  I love British TV, cupcakes and travel.  A while ago I went on my dream vacation–a trip on the Orient Express.  Very cool.

62 Responses to About Susan Wright

  1. Mary says:

    If you’re interested in having coffee, give me a call.

  2. Morris B says:

    Susan, Are you possibly, originally from Montreal?
    Just asking. Thanks.
    ps. Saw a comment of yours on Traditional Iconoclast is how i found your site.

    • Morris, I’m originally from Sask (I don’t count Ontario because I was 6 weeks old when we up and left)…ultimately ended up in Alberta via BC, Ontario, and Pennsylvania. I found Traditional Iconoclast through a co-worker and ended up connecting with Isabel’s sister who lives in Edmonton. Amazingly intricate world…now that we have social media to connect us all. Do you blog?

  3. Richard Liebrecht (NDP comms officer) says:

    Any chance I could grab your e-mail address? Want to be able to send you goodies leading up to the election.

    • Richard, I’d be delighted to receive “goodies”. I’ve sent my email address to your @assembly.ab.ca address. Let me know if you don’t receive it and I’ll resent or contact you by phone. Thanks.

  4. Hi Susan, You expressed interest in taking some action re the Calgary Sun. If you would like to drop- me an email, we could discuss it. Nick Fillmore fillmore0274@rogers.com

  5. Ken Wilson says:

    Susan…great comments on The Silly Season! I totally agree with you re where the ‘blame’ lies. And I would expand that blame to include all of us….all Calgarians, all Albertans and all Canadians. We need to understand there is a global conversation on energy. Like all conversations, someone speaks and someone listens. We Canadians (politicians, business people and interested citizens) have been speaking about energy in all of it’s forms. What we haven’t done is any work on who the audience is. Understanding the audience is what anyone who is motivated to change mindsets (educate) needs to completely understand so that the speaking can be tailored to peak the interests and motivational hot buttons of the audience. Your comments on the charts and graphs is so good. That is known as speaking facts….and few people care about facts….they care about what those facts MEAN to the them, not what the facts are. The energy industry and the polititcians, all very good people who work hard and constructively every day for a better life and a better country, don’t know what they don’t know. I believe that changing the conversation on energy, by launching a project to understand the audience (it’s global, by the way) and what matters to each segment of that audience (I bet there are probably twenty discreet segments of the global audience), and then tailoring the benefits of the facts about Canada’s energy benefits is what we need to do. This would take a few million dollars and probably a years worth of analysis, The a few more million and another six to twelve months to develop the accurate and tailored messaging and then a few more million, a couple of years from now, to roll it all out. And NONE of this can come from the energy industry…they could and should fund it, and an independent third party (a University or an Institute of some kind) would implement it. Am totally available to chat about this anytime. Just let me know if you’d be open to it.

    • Ken, how intriguing…a global conversation that recognizes the fact that the global audience is diverse and motivated by many different, often conflicting factors. I’ve often wondered how the energy companies were going to satisfy the environmentalists who are at the opposite end of the spectrum from the energy companies (and incidentally all those who benefit directly and indirectly from the energy industry). If I understand you correctly you’re suggesting that before we tell these groups what they need, let’s find out what they want. That certainly sounds like a good place to start. Given the massive scale of this project I can see why you’ve suggested that it will require a few million dollars and a few years to do it properly. Let me think about this some more and get back to you on your kind offer.

  6. Susan, take a few moments to read about what I am working on – Ken is well aware of it. Part of my objective is building a strong network of passionate people who can help launch this new conversation about energy.

    • Yes, I will, I started with the Joe Nocera piece and then moved on to the Ian Clark interview. Prof Clark’s advice: be a critical thinker, read, analyse, challenge, makes good sense. He went somewhere I didn’t expect in his last sentence when he said believing in climate change aligns with the common sentiment that we live in a time of excess–one belief system bolsters the other. I’m interested in learning more and intend to stay close to your work. Thank you.

  7. Ken Wilson says:

    Susan…you’ve got it perfectly!!

  8. Carlos Beca says:

    I clicked on the ‘Unintended Consequences Documentary Project” but did not find any information there. I am certainly mising something here. Would you please clarify where this is?
    Thank you – I appreciate it.

    Carlos Beca

  9. Carlos Beca says:

    Thank you both for the prompt reply. Appreciate it.

    Carlos Beca

  10. Ron Steffan says:

    Hi Susan. don’t see any entries since about a year ago. Have you stopped your efforts here or is work and family getting in the way.
    Ron S from the TAGECL

  11. Julie Ali says:

    I wonder if you have looked into municipal election contributions in your sector. I am reading about the lack of oversight with reference to municipal elections and I am appalled by the fact that it seems to be anything goes (if you can get away with it).
    Here is what I am reading for Edmonton:


    Darren Boisvert wrote an informative article in the March 2012 edition of the Rat Creek Press on questionable political donations to mayoralty and council election campaigns. The land development industry, and related law firms, home builders, engineering and construction companies are the biggest donors to these campaigns by far. Link: http://www.ratcreek.org/2012.html

    Boisvert highlights Dundee Developments which donated the maximum $5,000 to Mandel’s campaign, to all the incumbent Councillors running for re-election (only Don Iveson returned the donation), and to both the Kerry Diotte and Shane Bergdahl campaigns. No wonder Dundee’s Maple Crest development sailed through Council despite all the red flags it should have raised. Maple Crest is shoe-horned between a busy CN Rail line and Whitemud and AHD Drives with only one access road (38 Avenue) to get in or out.
    I went to the Rat Creek Press and looked at some of the information there.
    I wonder what the heck is going on in Alberta.
    Is democracy fried and in cinders?
    I tried to look at the donations but it is very dense stuff.
    These folks spent 6 months looking at the information.

    It will take me a lot longer.
    But certainly I’d like to know what sort of regulations Calgary has in place for municipal election donations and oversight (if any).

    • Julie, I haven’t done any research in this area but am aware of preliminary research with respect to the last municipal election in Calgary that would support Darren Boisvert’s findings. I will have to check out the Rat Creek Press to learn more. I’ve heard that in the last election developers worked together to fund the pro=development candidates. No doubt they’ll be out in full force again this year given Mayor Nenshi’s support for more growth in the inner city and less sprawl. I plan on being more heavily involved in the municipal election this time around…it’s a good way to get a sense of the real dynamic.

      PS Let’s you and I keep at it to ensure that “democracy isn’t fried and in cinders”!

  12. Mare Donly says:

    A friend said you might know of a good lawyer who can help out my friend. Her mother, who has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease (& Alzheimer’s) is in the PLC after having been evicted from 2 private care assisted living facilities. After a lot of situations that have been very difficult at the hospital, she is wanting to transfer her mom to a small (3 bedroom) private home. She is the attorney-in-fact on her mother’s personal directive, but he hospital says that they’ll call security on her if she tries to take her mother out. Can you please contact me as soon if you have any good advice or a referral to a lawyer? Many thanks, Mare

    • Mare, I can’t think of someone off the top of my head but I’ll do some checking and get back to you, okay?

    • Joan Penny says:

      This happened to me as well and I found out that nursing homes will block referrals to prevent the discovery and accountability for their neglect. I also am also seeking an attorney to handle this as my mother died full of gangrene due to the neglect of the nursing home who are free to utilize police resources without impunity to threatend family and fragile seniors. Medical malpractice lawyers I guess is the category.
      I am at Linked In at Joan Penny (Penny foundation against elder abuse.)

  13. Simon Fodden says:

    Susan, I can’t find a contact for you. Would you email me? I’d like to ask your permission to include Susan on the Soapbox in Slaw’s Monday’s Mix feature.

  14. Linda says:

    Susan, I thin I might have replied before to your posts. I would very appreciate the chance to talk to you and get your advice/opinion about some information I have come upon that is very sensitive. I think that you have my email from posting this.

  15. Hey Susan, I like the soap box. I’ve been working on a series lately that is a commentary on current social/political/economical issues, I’d love it if you’d check it out


  16. Margie says:

    I just found a website called Basic Instructions – I thought this explanation called How to Process the Latest Horrible Information was pretty good: http://basicinstructions.net/basic-instructions/2014/4/22/how-to-process-the-latest-horrible-information.html
    Kind of puts the actions of all governments into perspective…

  17. Margie, I liked his “on the bright side” comment… 🙂

  18. Hi Susan:

    I’ve been enjoying the conversations on your site (particularly the thread on what it was like to hear Alison Redford speak/think). Gave me a few smiles.

    I want to let you know that after a good 6-months of research, writing and head-banging, The Elephant Times is back in publishing mode. I have launched a new series called “Even as far as china”, which will be discussing democracy, corruption, and elections around the world and here in Alberta.

    I think you and your readers might find the stories and information interesting. It includes stories from my work in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Israel and Palestine as a journalist and electoral media consultant. I will also have stories from my work as an electoral observer in the 2012 Ukraine elections presented.

    More to the point here in Alberta, I will soon be publishing an independent electoral observer report on the 2010-2013 civic elections and the widespread violations that the Alberta Government has denied having any legal authority to enforce. It’s a farce, but I hope there are a few smiles for people in the material. It includes material from the Calgary election.

    I admit the stories can be difficult, and I’ve already received threats of lawsuits. But the material is sound, the research flawless (I hope!), and the stories a bit shocking. I don’t think I will bore people.

    I am also presenting my stories in Banff to a national teachers’ conference on June 25th, and I was wondering if there was some time (before or after) that you would be interested in meeting for coffee. I would very much like to meet you in person, and I think a conversation would be most enjoyable.

    Let me know if this might work.



    • Darren, I apologise for being so slow in getting back to you. I’m delighted that The Elephant Times is back! The main stream media leaves much to be desired and the need for true investigative reporting has never been greater. I look forward to reading the electoral observer report. Please let me know when it’s ready and I’ll provide a link for the Soapbox crowd.
      Congratulations on presenting at the teachers conference in Banff. I’ll drop you a line at your email address to see if we can work something out.
      All the very best,

  19. Hi Susan – I recently read your Bread, Circuses and the Great Alberta License Plate Debate in the Huffington Post online. I just purchased a wee village newspaper (300+ subscribers – which I want to grow) and am looking for unique perspectives on situations to increase awareness. The village is Veteran and the paper is The Village Eagle. Could I have permission to reproduce the article with your credits in our newspaper? margaret veteraneagle@gmail.com

    • Margaret, yes, please feel free to reproduce the article in The Village Eagle. Buying a local newspaper—what an exciting adventure! I just finished reading The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin. She explores the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt, William Taft and an amazing newspaper publisher called S. S. McClure. It reminded me of how influential newspapers can be when they’re in the right hands. All the best.

  20. Jenn Blair says:

    HI Susan, Your door knocking post was HILARIOUS. We’d love to record you talking about it for CBC radio, could you please call me at 403-521-6153? Thanks!! Jenn Blair

  21. Claudette says:

    Love reading these comments. Now I look forward to Susan’s reflections on mergers of all colours, stripes and leanings and what it means for Alberta politics and for democracy. Perhaps a wake up call?

    • Claudette, “wake up call” is right. I’ve been thinking about the PC/WR discussions and what we can learn from that. Could be one heck of a blog if I can get my thoughts down under 1000 words! I’d love to hear what you and the others think 🙂

  22. Hi Susan, I am hoping to have you on “The Ryan Jespersen Show,” airing on 630 CHED in Edmonton tomorrow (Thursday, January 22) to talk about your HuffPost blog on politicians “misspeaking.” Please let me know if you can fit us in.



  23. Dan Johnson says:

    I wish I would have started reading your blog posts sooner. It’s too late for that, but at least I will try to catch up.

  24. Anne Georg says:

    Love your perspective. Thanks.

  25. jerrymacgp says:

    Good morning, Ms Wright. I’ve just stumbled into your blog via a link from David Climenhaga’s, and I find it most interesting. Thank you for this.

  26. Thank you Jerry. Please call me Susan and welcome to the Soapbox! I’ve never met David in person, but we enjoy each others blogs and correspond from time to time.
    The 2015 provincial and federal elections are so important. I’m glad you’re adding your voice to the dialogue here and (I’m sure) directly to the politicians as well. They’ll cave sooner or later 🙂

  27. Hi Susan, I have a question for you about a 2014 post. Will you please contact me at maureenm@albertaviews.ab.ca. Thanks, Maureen

  28. Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your work in creating this blog. I am an artist who is very concerned about our society’s addiction to fossil fuels and the power structures that are working to control our governments so this can continue. My contribution is a facebook page where I aggregate news stories and information that is not given the coverage it deserves in the major media. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leave-the-Oil-in-the-Ground/338147942929472
    The page automatically Tweets from LeaveOilintheGround @leave_oil
    I also have the information streamed to my blog http://vix.ca

    Now an election is scheduled, I want to support everyone who would like to have a good government , “Good government is a combination of decent values and common sense” that is not serving the agenda of multi-national corporate greed at taxpayers expense.

    Good writing about the issues that concern Canadians!

    Leave the Oil in the Ground

    • Thank you Victoria for your kind comments. It’s so good to talk with others who are working hard to inform the public of the dilemmas we face as a society and the power structures driving the fossil fuel agenda. I checked out the links you provided. Very informative and as you astutely point out, often unavailable in the mainstream media. I’ll follow you on twitter to make sure I stay abreast with the most current information.
      Thank you for all your hard work. It must be grueling.
      Take care,

  29. Ezra says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve been following your blogs for a long time now and appreciate the knowledge and support to the beleagured who seem to be a minority here in Alberta. I just wanted to know your thoughts on the vicious attack campaign on the NDP government, do you think it’s due to the federal election, or just sore losers.

    • Ezra, I think it’s both. The federal election and Alberta’s economic slump are giving the conservatives (federal and provincial) and the Wildrose another opportunity to trash the Alberta’s NDP government but anyone who give this more than a millisecond of thought will have a hard time blaming the Notley government for plummeting oil prices and the previous government’s willingness to put Alberta’s fate in the hands of Big Oil. Now that Big Oil is pulling back, the PCs and the WR need to admit they made a serious mistake backing Big Oil to the exclusion of everything else. They’re incapable of doing that (pride? dogma?) so they’ll continue to attack the NDP. What saddens me is the lack of balanced media coverage the NDP are getting. The Calgary Herald publishes 10 Fraser Institute op eds for every one Pembina op ed. Pitiful.

  30. Ken Larsen says:

    My apologies for the long reply on TTP, canola and cattle. You can contact me directly at contact@cwbafacts.ca or you can review some of the documentation on this rather large subject at CWBA.ca. Our 2015 Election Flyer “Election Facts Harper is Hiding” is available here: http://www.cwbafacts.ca/2015-election-facts-harperishidings/ and is being circulated in various prairie news papers. Best regards,

  31. Jessica says:

    Hi Susan,
    I would like to invite you to a Panel being held by the Calgary Leadership Forum. This Panel is to consult with Albertans and identify ways to optimize returns to our community, as owners of the resource, and review industry investment, diversification opportunities, and to ensure responsible development of Alberta’s resources. Please contact Chris at christopherfyee@gmail.com.

  32. Carl Hunt says:

    Hi Susan, I vaguely understand that lobbyists are registered, usually represent corporate interests and somehow get access to the Minister & seem to have a lot more influence than volunteer organizations with concerns about social issues or the environment. Any chance of a blog to explain ‘lobbying’ rules, ethics or why it’s legal – on some dark & dreary winter weekend when no other issue comes to mind? I looked it up on the govt website and that’s why I’m asking for an explanation. Thanks.

    • Carl thanks for your suggestion. I will do some research into the murky world of lobbyists and do a post on it. I expect I’ll have plenty of dark and dreary winter weekends if Trump is elected down south and Trudeau continues to allow his ministers to host little get-togethers at $1500 a pop!

  33. kcromwell says:

    Susan, I just found your blog (Thanks to your latest post on Conservative Ideaology)! Thank you for taking the time to write. I’m looking forward to combing through some of your earlier content.

    Something I would love to hear your thoughts on is the role of political satire in polarizing the political spectrum (and essentially social media for amplifying it’s effect!). A few months ago, I was referred to Malcom Gladwell’s pod cast called “Revisionist History” and there was a brilliant episode on the Satire Paradox (http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/10-the-satire-paradox). What starts out as a gentle retrospective on some classic political sketch comedy turns pretty dark in a hurry. In fact, the post cast was recorded in 2012, and Malcom all but predicted the successful campaigning of a Trump like figure, so ripe with satire opportunities that people would quickly lose sight of the REAL issues.

    Anyway, if you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it as I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

    • Kelly, thank you for your kind comments…I’ve been blogging for a while and it’s taken me some time to get away from the legal writing style to something more readable (in other words my early stuff is a bit a slog!). I’ve always thought political satire plays an important role in spreading political ideas (and what’s wrong with them) but the point you make at the end of your comment (losing sight of the real issues ) is very valid…I’ll check out the references you’ve provided and get back to you on this.

  34. Duncan McCallum says:

    Hi – can you send me a private message please ?
    Wanted to pass onsomething that might be of interest to you


  35. Hey Susan,
    I would like to go over your recent post with you. I’m looking for information behind “Providing $500 million for policing and paying 70% of the RCMP’s costs” I have found the 70% coverage of rcmp costs. But I can’t find anything talking about the 500 million. If you could help me break that down, that would be amazing! Thank you!

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