Calgary Rated Number 17 in the New York Times’s “52 Places to Go in 2014”

Posted January 15th, 2014 in blog by Doug Black

One Yellow RabbitLast week, the New York Times published “52 Places to Go in 2014,” a list of great tourist spots around the world. At number 17, amid such exotic destinations as Namibia, Japan, and Indonesia, was Calgary, Alberta.

Hailing the city as a cultural hotspot, writer Elisabeth Eaves singles out Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre. Just last month, Denise Clarke, a dancer and choreographer for OYR, was named to the Order of Canada.

One Yellow Rabbit and Calgary should be commended for this wonderful recognition. This is proof that arts and culture can help attract visitors and stimulate economic growth.

Remembering Richard (Dick) Matthews: A generous patron of the arts in Calgary

Posted October 7th, 2013 in blog by Doug Black

Dick_MatthewsThis past Wednesday, Dick Matthews passed away peacefully in his home town of Calgary. A successful lawyer who gave generously to the arts, Dick was wholly devoted to his city and province.

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Better Disaster Prevention Needed after Alberta Floods

Posted September 25th, 2013 in blog by Doug Black

This past summer, we witnessed the worst natural disaster in the history of our province. During a time of great need, as floods shattered the homes of many families across Southern Alberta, Albertans came together from across the province to pitch in, contributing countless hours of volunteer service and millions of dollars in flood relief to help out their fellow citizens. The collective effort made me proud to be an Albertan.

The effects of the flood will linger for some time. Families have been displaced, lives have been lost, and homes have been destroyed. The Alberta government estimates the cost of ongoing recovery efforts could top $5 billion over the next decade. Our communities need help.

Hailing from High River, my colleague, Senator Scott Tannas, recently spoke about the need for support in the wake of the floods. “All levels of government and industry took an enormous hit in such a little community. I think it will help galvanize everybody around the idea that we’ve got to come up with a scheme that will address huge catastrophes and provide for planning and faster response, clearer lines of [responsibility], and potentially putting money away for this eventuality.”

It is not a question of if disasters will come, but a question of when. We need to be prepared to support the families and communities in need. Prior to the flooding, I spoke at length with the Mayor of Canmore about the urgent need for disaster mitigation funding. I have also investigated the issue further through my work in the Senate National Finance Committee. Albertans and Canadians alike need the support of their government in such times of need, and I hope to work with my colleagues in Parliament to ensure that we can reduce the impact of future disasters.

Remembering Jim Palmer: An Inspirational Leader and Philanthropist

Posted August 28th, 2013 in blog, Statement by Doug Black

Jim PalmerYesterday morning, a dear friend and mentor of mine passed away. An outstanding lawyer and business leader, Jim Palmer was recognized for his passion for politics and his devotion to the Calgary community. I had the privilege of working for him for a short period, and I learned a great deal from his example.

Both Jim’s story and his legacy are truly remarkable.

Though born on Prince Edward Island, he was an Albertan through and through. Practicing law for over 50 years in Calgary, Jim helped establish his firm, Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer, as a major player in the oil industry. He was also heavily involved in politics, fund raising for the Liberal Party and serving as an adviser in the West to former prime minister Paul Martin.

But perhaps what Jim is most celebrated for is his community involvement. Over the course of 50 years, Jim supported organizations like the Calgary Homeless Foundation, United Way of Calgary, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity. He was also a tremendous supporter of arts & culture in Calgary, and was acknowledged by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra for his many contributions. After serving as Chancellor at the University of Calgary, Jim helped raise $40 million for its capital campaign and was the driving force behind the creation of the University’s School of Public Policy in 2009.

Jim’s philanthropy, distinguished public service and leadership in the Calgary community were a great inspiration to me and to many Calgarians. He was deservingly recognized for his many contributions with the Alberta Order of Excellence and the Order of Canada.

He will be dearly missed.

Rex Murphy: After the flood, inspiration

Posted August 26th, 2013 in blog by Doug Black
© National Speakers Bureau

© National Speakers Bureau

Enjoyed reading Rex Murphy’s weekend piece on political and community leadership in Alberta in the wake of flooding.

“It was fine to see that so soon after the calamitous flooding and all the damage and misery it brought on, many Albertan are full of dauntless cheer and uplift. In their response to a natural disaster, they discovered again the great virtues of common purpose and action. The stories of co-operation among citizens, and accounts of across-the- board efforts from individuals, businesses large and small, and volunteer groups, were a living illustration that the real “politics” of Canada is usually best practiced by its citizens. Where the will and nerve of the citizenry hold fast, almost anything can be fixed or faced.


“Sweet are the uses of adversity” is a hard saying from Shakespeare, and I got a glimpse of its meaning this week. No one wishes calamity or upheaval. But when such occur, the challenge they present often brings out better qualities in people and their politicians.

Assuming loved ones emerge unharmed from devastation, almost any other setback can, eventually, be repaired. Disaster insists on a common response, and people discover in that response some of the virtues that brought them together (as family, town, city or country) in the first place.

The mood in Calgary this week reminded me of those days in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, following the much greater tragedy of 9/11. When the people of Halifax and Gander moved so quickly and empathetically to provide hospitality to stranded Americans, the act of helping and being helped had an enriching effect on both parties.

The flooding hurt many and still hurts. But it also brought with it a refreshment in our understanding of concerted action, and of the beneficial impact of real and honest leadership. Politics, when it isn’t all scandals and entitlements, spin and ego, can be an uplifting experience.”