Jason Kenney Was Just Kidding about Peter Lougheed…really?

In 1999 a young Jason Kenney told the National Post that “Klein realized Alberta could no longer afford the neo-Stalinist make-work projects of the Lougheed and Getty years, and he set about to distance himself from them.”

This is an inflammatory comment of Twilight Zone proportions, particularly given the lengths to which Kenney has gone to tie his image as the saviour of Alberta to that of Peter Lougheed, the founder of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party.

So how does Kenney justify his horrible comment?

I said what?

Kenney says he doesn’t remember linking Lougheed with the dictator whose repressive policies resulted in the deaths of millions.



Peter Lougheed

Well, it was 18 years ago, and Kenney did say a lot of things back then, especially when it came to social issues;  why don’t we give Kenney an opportunity to clarify not just this comment but all the other comments he’s made on the social issues that for some reason he refuses to discuss now.  I’m sure his supporters would welcome a town hall meeting in which he reiterates his stance on abortion (still against it?) and same-sex marriage (still against it?).

It would put their minds at ease and the rest of us would appreciate confirmation that Kenney’s position on social issues is still firmly wedged in the last century.

Oh wait, there’s another wrinkle.

I deny saying something no one says I said

Kenney’s explanation crossed over into the Twilight Zone when he said, “I have never called Peter Lougheed a socialist.  That’s ridiculous.”

Of course it’s ridiculous to call Lougheed a socialist (it’s also ridiculous to call Rachel Notley a socialist but that’s another blog for another day), but this is a red herring.

No one said Kenney called Lougheed a socialist.

Kenney is trying to convince us that we’re wrong to accuse him of saying something we never said he said.  What he hasn’t done is deny that he did say Lougheed, and his successor Don Getty, created “neo-Stalinist make-work projects”.

He said it, he can’t deny it, and he hasn’t denied it because…wait for it…it was a joke.

Can’t you take a joke?

Kenney says he doesn’t remember saying it, but if he did say it, “it was obviously in jest”.

Well of course it’s hilarious to link Peter Lougheed, the premier who introduced Alberta’s first human rights legislation and urged Albertans to “think like owners” and increased their share of non-renewable resource revenue from 17 percent to 40 percent, with a sadistic dictator who was responsible for the Ukrainian Genocide and the Great Terror.

Before you say, now wait a minute Kenney didn’t mean it that way, consider this:  characterizing an offensive comment a joke doesn’t make it okay.

Jason P Steed, a lawyer and former English prof, wrote a dissertation on humour.  It got a lot of airtime when Donald Trump was blasting the airwaves with racist, misogynistic, and homophobic comments during his excruciating presidential campaign.

Steed says no one is ever “just joking”.  People use humour to identify who they are and what they stand for.  Their attempts at humour pull some people into the in-group and push others out into the out-group.  When Trump makes a racist comment and says he’s just joking, he’s defending himself to the out-group, but he doesn’t need to defend himself to the in-group because they accept and support the racist comment.

We have no way of knowing whether Kenney was serious or just kidding (in the Steed sense or in the “wasn’t Stalin a hoot” sense) when he compared Peter Lougheed’s policies to neo-Stalinist make-work projects, but in either case Kenney has limited options to extricate himself from the mess the young Jason Kenney created for the would-be premier Jason Kenney when he made the comment in 1999.

If he meant it; it wasn’t true and he must apologize. If he was joking, that’s even more offensive and he must apologize.

In either case Kenney must stop comparing himself to Peter Lougheed in a pathetic attempt to capture the votes of progressive conservatives.

The only person fit to wear the mantle of Peter Lougheed is Peter Lougheed.

Lougheed wannabes need not apply.

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49 Responses to Jason Kenney Was Just Kidding about Peter Lougheed…really?

  1. Joseph G. Emond says:

    Jason Kenney is a moron of great proportion. He thinks Albertans (having swallowed and suffered through Klein’s foolish, border line criminal, fools errand of eliminating the debt and deficit. Nevertheless Klein and his PC thugs caused incredible hardship to all those who were counting on their tax dollars being used to provide essential services. Instead they did without those essential services for more than a decade, and they witnessed Klein’s pipe dream come to fruition… only to see the debt come back in less than five years. Well, Kenny is cut from the same cloth. Empty PC promises. Mindless strategies to get ahead… the PC way… which never materialised. After the PCs did eliminate the debt and deficit (while torturing all Albertans, and desecrating education, health, social care, infrastructure — from roads, schools and hospitals) they passed legislation making it unlawful to ever have another (and the accompanying deficit). This foolishness came to a halt when the world economy ground to a stop. As a result, Premier Stelmach had no choice but to quietly (in an emergency evening session of the legislature) repeal the “Alberta will never have a debt again or face severe legal consequences. Most Albertans never even knew the PC law was repealed until months later the late-night-repeal of the law when it was leaked to the media. As mentioned, Kenny is cut from the same cloth as all the other criminals (perhaps except for Lougheed) and they ran roughshod over Albertans for almost half of the last century. Is anyone in Alberta ready for more abuse… more dishonesty… any more criminal schemes? If you are… you have a very low IQ, an incredibly poor memory or a wish to be further abused by the PCs no matter what new name they come up with to mask the fact that they never change, except for their association’s name.

    • Joseph, thanks for your comment. You’ve put your finger on the logical inconsistency in Kenney’s thinking (which his supporters seem to swallow without question) and that’s the fact that while Lougheed tried to maximize the public benefit by doing things like raising taxes and royalties (something Kenney would surely reject), Klein did the exact opposite. So how is it possible for Kenney to wrap himself in the mantle of BOTH Lougheed and Klein when their policies were diametrically opposed to each other.
      I’m beginning to think that Stelmach, while flawed, wasn’t quite the idiot others made him out to be. He, like Lougheed, tried to make the oil and gas companies pay their fair share of royalties and was clobbered by the industry and received no support from his cabinet.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Stelmach, ” like Lougheed, tried to make the oil and gas companies pay their fair share of royalties and was clobbered by the industry”

        Alberta needs to stop timing its royalty reviews with crashes in the oil price; Steady Eddy chose to do it in late 2008, when WTI dropped from ~120USD/bbl to ~35USD/bbl, and Ms.Notely chose late 2014 when WTI did pretty much the same thing… I’m hoping that was just an incredibly unlikely coincidence on both counts.

  2. tom mcpherson says:

    That reminds me of when Redford made big hoopla about Mr Lougheed endorsing her and her revelations about how to blow the tax payers money and hey she was voted in so don’t be surprised when Jason also pulls the wool over voters eyes just like Donald state side. There is something about politics now days which allows voters to walk into a voting booth with one quarter of the knowledge they require to make a intelligent decision.

    • Tom, the comparison to Trump is very apt given that Kenney has cultivated the same antagonistic divisive style. The Herald published an article today that compared the three UCP leadership candidates. The Herald said all three candidates are similar when it comes to policy. I disagree. The fact that Kenney refuses to release his policies should be reason enough to ignore him and pick either Jean or Schweiter. But as you said politics has devolved to the point where voters make their decisions based on who they “like” and what their guy is “against” with little or no knowledge of what their guy stands “for”. The result is Trump and Kenney who spend a lot of time fighting with everyone and very little time accomplishing anything.

      • Jo-Ann says:

        Refusing to release his policies did not work for Bill Smith and I hope that voters will make a similar decision regarding Kenney. Although I agree with Tom that voters are usually not informed enough, sometimes they come through.

      • Jo-Ann I got a kick out of the reason why Bill Smith didn’t release his donor list. He said he wasn’t required by law to release the list until Mar 2018. Nenshi said that every candidate running in the municipal election since 2010 released his/her donor list and he was surprised that Smith would break with common practice. Smith interpreted that as Nenshi “bullying” him to release his list. Actually the voters wanted Smith to release his list and when he didn’t they were left wondering who exactly Smith was fighting for. Hiding your donors, or in Kenney’s case, his policies will back fire with all but the most partisan voters who’d elect a hay bale as long as it was painted blue.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Jason Kenney knows no bounds when it comes to a lack of integrity. Peter Lougheed was a great premier and did great things for Alberta. Don Getty and Ralph Klein were the exact opposites. Scandal after scandal, the inability to save money and sharp cutbacks that we are still seeing the effects of today. Other than Peter Lougheed, the rest of the Alberta PCs were really nasty pieces of work.

    • I agree Dwayne. Kenney served in Harper’s caucus with federal conservative Lee Richardson. Richardson said, “Jason Kenney was an unfair critic of Peter Lougheed’s policies…and now he wants to wrap himself in that cloak to get some support from progressive conservatives. He’s the furthest thing from a progressive conservative.”
      No kidding!

  4. Don T says:

    Much like Lougheed, Kenney and only Kenney is standing up to Trudeau Jr’s attack on Alberta. Only that Kenney is a much stronger and principled leader.

    If anyone is owed an apology it is Kenney. From you, Susan. For shame.

    • Dwayne says:

      Don T Jason Kenney is only looking after himself, not Albertans. He is nothing more than a recycled career politician. Like Ralph Klein, he has a history of corruption to boot.

    • Don I was going to delete your comment because you haven’t supported anything you’ve said with facts, also I don’t take kindly to people using my blog to shame me, however other commentators posted responses before I could delete this so I’ve left your comment up, however be aware that if you continue to post rhetoric without substantiation I will block you.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Well I had not read this comment before I posted mine but this is the kind of people that will make sure Jason Kenney gets to be premier.
        People that do not understand the difference between discussion and bullying.
        Jason Kenney loves them and Alberta is for sure the top province for this kind of mentality in Canada. I feel bad saying so but we cannot deny it. It is awful but we are a Trump province.

    • carlosbeca says:

      With all due respect Don – if you think that Jason Kenney is a principled person you should look very seriously at yourself first.
      My goodness how can anyone call Jason Kenney a principled person. Do you even know what principled means?

  5. Steve Cumming says:

    Thanks, Don T, for clarifying. I look forward to being reminded that black is white, up is down, night is day, and heaping piles of dog droppings are delicious chocolate sprinkled with rose water.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the core support of UCP. Partisan to the point of derangement in their support of agressive authoritarians.

    Thanks, Susan on the Soapbox, for an clear and informative piece.

  6. Jo-Ann Mason says:

    Really good piece Susan! Thank you.

  7. J.E. Molnar says:

    When it comes to Jason Kenney’s charisma, political gravitas and apparently unrecalled recollections of things said in the past, he will become the political version of the wet, soiled towel voters left at the beach.

    Kenney continually evokes fear by blowing his dog whistle, expecting progressive voters to take a flying leap of faith in his undeclared and as yet uncharted vision. His current “Back-to-the-Future” leadership tour is cesspool of conservative dogma and anti-NDP rhetoric. No ideas here folks.

    Putting Jason Kenney in charge of Alberta would be like putting George W. Bush in charge of the dictionary. Can you spell disasterizer?

  8. Disasterizer…it’s perfect J.E!
    Lougheed’s eldest son, Stephen, put it well when he said Kenney was fiercely ardent and negatively critical of his father. Stephen makes the point that while it’s fine for Kenney to express “contrary ideological views and beliefs”, it’s not fine for Kenney to continually refer to Peter Lougheed and draw parallels to himself. As Stephen puts it, this is “disingenuous and hypocritical, unless of course Jason Kenney has truly changed his views.” I think Stephen, like his father before him, was being the ultimate diplomat when he said that.

  9. Carlos Beca says:

    I agree with all the comments, but in Alberta, if Jason Kenney wins the UCP leadership race, he will become premier of Alberta. To me that will happen regardless of our opinion. I learned from living in Alberta since 1981 that we will vote right even if it is extreme right. Alberta has a lot of money but no a lot of social / political education. The fact is that very few people in the current political system care about that education and the improvement of the democratic system, It is very convenient to treat us like mushrooms. (I am sure you know what that means) including the current government which has done better than the previous one. Despite the fact that Alberta has had very few years of balanced budgets, the responsibility is now with the NDP and that will bring them down very fast. Jason Kenney will make sure that he will lie about it just like he always does.
    That same total lack of democratic values is now generating this kind of politician because cannot produce anything else.
    Furthermore he is the Oil industry’s choice and not much can be done if that is the case.

    • Jo-Ann says:

      I’m not so sure Carlos. I have quite a few Conservative friends and have heard from some of them that they will not vote UCP if Kenney is the leader. I also believe that a great number of Albertans will move away from UCP if Kenney is elected.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        You cannot imagine how much I hope you are right Jo-Ann 🙂
        We will have an opportunity to witness it because I am sure Jason Kenney will walk all over Brian Jean to win the leadership. He is after all a very principled man 🙂

      • Jo-Ann I too have heard that a number of conservatives will not support the UCP if it’s led by Jason Kenney. Kenney’s reaction to them is interesting, on the one hand he says the door is always open and they can come back anytime and on the other he says they’re just a bunch of disgruntled progressive conservatives who are mad that the PCs united with the WR. We’ll see what he says if they abstain from voting in the 2019 election or, heaven forbid (!!) join the Alberta Party and turn it into the “new” PC party and offer a conservative alternative to the UCP.
        The next two years are going to be very interesting in Alberta.

    • Carlos, like Jo-Ann I’m hopeful that Albertans won’t elect Kenney as premier if he wins the UCP leadership, but I do agree that many Albertans can’t be bothered to familiarize themselves with the issues and just vote for the guy with no vision and no policies simply because he parrots the conservative promise to cut taxes.

      Brian Jean showed up outside of the NDP Calgary headquarters a few days ago and said he could win Calgary. I think Jean’s point was that he, not Kenney, was the UCP candidate who could win Calgary. He’s wrong. Calgary is a young progressive city, if the UCP is serious about winning Calgary they should elect Schweitzer as their leader. I’m not endorsing Schweitzer because as they say in the US I don’t have a dog in this fight, however Schweitzer is young, socially progressive and has a set of clear policies which is more than I can say for Kenney or Jean.

      • Jo-Ann says:

        Susan, I agree that Calgary is a young progressive city. It’s interesting how the perception of Calgary as a very conservative city persists. We elected 14 NDP MLAs and have the first ever Muslim mayor of a large Canadian city (a 3-peater no less). Yet the conservative redneck image hangs on…

  10. jerrymacgp says:

    A couple of points. Firstly, I’m sick & tired of hearing how great the late Mr Lougheed was. I was one of those Eastern bastards, freezing in the dark, during his tenure in the Premier’s office (I moved here in 1985, from Nova Scotia, and Don Getty was Premier). My memories of Mr Lougheed are far less charitable than most of the other commenters here.

    Secondly, to balance a budget, a government needs to either cut spending or increase revenue. Alberta’s public services have had so much fat cut from them in the past 40-some years, any further cuts would require amputations. Increasing revenues is also a non-starter, since that word “tax” seems to have four letters here. So all that’s left, is praying before whatever deity or deities one prefers, for another economic boom so government revenues can go up by themselves, without further intervention from the government, and also hope that spending to accommodate the increased demands for services that booms generate can be reined in… it’s a bit like sniffing for unicorn flatus, but that seems to be all we have.

    The cold hard fact is that Alberta voters are too dense to vote in their own best interests; they demand the kind of Cadillac services higher taxes would pay for, but they aren’t willing to pay for them. So, with the recent exception of 2015, they repeatedly elect right-wing governments interested only in lining the pockets of big business, and not in serving the people.


    • GoinFawr says:

      “Secondly, to balance a budget, a government needs to either cut spending or increase revenue”
      There’s a third way jerry, but it’s not a straight line: Provinces need to go back to borrowing from the Bank Of Canada to finance their debt, rather than from inscrutable private international lenders, that way all interest paid on debt goes back into filling the nation’s coffers/funding programs; a positive feedback loop.

      It’s called McGeer monetary policy, and it served Canadians admirably for ~7 decades, right up until Trudeau Sr. began selling Canadian monetary sovereignty out to private interests in 1974. No PM has so much as blinked since, despite our National debt’s chart looking just like a hockey stick from that date on…

    • Jerry, while we may disagree on Peter Lougheed’s accomplishments we do agree on your point that Albertans demand Cadillac services but are not willing to pay for them.

      I attended a panel discussion last night about the municipal election. The focus was do politicians “get” what the public is asking for. One of the panelists was Jack Mintz of the UofC School of Public Policy, the CD Howe institute etc. He said the best way to figure out what the public wants is to make them pay for it with a tax. This sounds like a great economic theory but I don’t think it works in practice. An example is the guy who is prepared to spend $100 on a bottle of wine because he likes “good” wine, but when he does a blind taste test of 3 bottles of wine, a $20 bottle, a $50 bottle and a $100 bottle he picks the $50 bottle. Turns out what he likes isn’t “good” wine but the prestige of buying a bottle of “good” wine.

      Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that using taxes as a metric to decide what people want is hopeless because they want everything but aren’t prepared to pay for it. I have no idea how to address this but am going to google GoinFawr’s reference to McGeer monetary policy to see if that helps.

    • Dwayne says:

      jerrymacgp Peter Lougheed never made that remark. Not that I am aware of. I think that Ralph Klein said it. He also used the term “eastern bums and creeps”.

  11. GoinFawr says:

    RE: “Alberta needs to stop timing its royalty reviews with crashes in the oil price; Steady Eddy chose to do it in late 2008, when WTI dropped from ~120USD/bbl to ~35USD/bbl, and Ms.Notely chose late 2014 when WTI did pretty much the same thing… I’m hoping that was just an incredibly unlikely coincidence on both counts.”
    …pardon me, for obvious reasons the NDP’s royalty review happened later than that, but the timing was still close to a WTI bottom.

  12. Einar Davison says:

    Just a quick reply. I agree with you Susan, the only one who can wear Peter Lougheed’s mantle is Peter Lougheed.
    Replying to the comment jerrymacgp made I don’t believe Peter Lougheed ever said that comment (Let the Eastern Bastards freeze in the dark) and it is more attributable to the people who would support Mr. Kenney. Peter Lougheed did fight for provincial control of the resources within our province. As well as a fair price for those resources as they were greatly discounted within Canada. A little like Western Canada Select discount. By the way that effort did benefit the Maritimes, especially when oil and natural gas was discovered there. I’m sorry you feel that way about him. If you would have lived in Alberta at that time you might have understood him better and appreciated that he had the best interest of our province in mind. Which as Premier of Alberta was his job. World oil prices dropped and the Imperial Oil, Shell, Petro Canada and the Irvings could buy cheaper oil from the Middle East so his attempt to stop the National Energy Program didn’t work. I do agree with you though, if we want a good basic health care and education system we need to collect sufficient taxes to pay for that instead of having it funded by royalties when they are available and debt when they are not. Yes Albertans do need to wake up and some of us are.

    • Jo-Ann says:

      The one who said “Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark” was none other than Ralph Klein.

      • Einar Davison says:

        Hi Jo Ann, I believe his comment was about “Eastern Bums and Creeps” I believe it was an Alberta oilman who said the “We’ll shut of the oil and let those eastern bastards freeze in the dark and see how they like that”. Even that I would question as to the source because like now there was a lot of animosity and probably a lot of people were saying that. In actual fact Peter Loughheed probably cared more about Canada than a lot of people give him credit for, he just wanted Alberta to be treated fairly as an equal partner in confederation. His predecessors didn’t to be as concerned.

      • Jo-Ann says:

        Thank you Einar. You are quite right. The ol’ memory is not what it used to be. It was the “bums and creeps” comment that Ralph made. And I agree with you about Lougheed. He did care about Canada.

    • Einar and Jo-Ann you make an excellent point when you talk about Lougheed doing his job to look after Alberta’s interests within confederation. He did a masterful job when he fought for Alberta’s right to control its natural resources and later when he worked on the repatriation of the Constitution. He was a statesman. Kenney on the other hand, is not.

  13. GoinFawr says:

    “GoinFawr, this is an intriguing comment. Sadly I don’t know enough about the McGeer monetary policy to make a comment….”
    Piece o’ cake Susan! This bright 12 year old girl spells it out as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer, in less than 7 minutes:

    And it’s enshrined in Canada’s constitution!

    • Wow! You’re right GoinFawr, Victoria made it crystal clear. I assume the only thing stopping us from demanding changes to the banking system is a lack of knowledge and politicians who like the system just the way it is.

  14. Paul Huedepohl says:

    Sounds like someone doesn’t have a sense of humor.

  15. Jo-Ann says:

    Isn’t she something? Gives me hope.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      The sad part of this is that it has been known forever but no one will touch this issue because the bankers will not allow it. It has gotten to the point where only a revolution of some sort will take them out of the throne. Why would anyone think that privatizing this responsibility was a smart move when banks are run by humans.

      • Jo-Ann says:

        Then education is what’s needed. I don’t think the bankers can stop it if there is a strong will from the people. But I guess that is a revolution.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Yes Jo-Ann if you think about it, this kind of change is always easy when it goes from Public to private but the other way around is a completely different story. Public interest never seems to matter but when you touching private interests the game changes. Bonuses of 30 – 50 million dollars are now common for bank CEOs and profits of 1 billion every quarter. Do you think they want to let that go. Never mind the absurd robbery that is going on with financial funds that Canadians have to fund their older years. If you read the book ‘Thieves of Bay Street’ you will see that it is estimated that sum to be around 5 billion a year. It is hard to believe but we are not as wonderful as we think.
        If you want to know how our governments operate just read the latest book from Kevin Taft ‘Deep State’ and you will be happy to find out how corrupt we are.
        This is the education I am talking about and which for the most part we do not even want to know and most of us does not even believe it. We think this only happens in Russia. That is propaganda because that is what they want us to believe so we do not make waves.

  16. Carlos Beca says:

    Jason Kenney is at it again on his battle against the communists. This time the Premier does not have the right to change any type of sexual education the Catholic schools want to teach at their schools even if it means a husband beat the heck or rape his wife in private.
    I wonder what he would say if this was a Muslim school?
    As long as he is not the premier no one has the right to touch Catholic schools.
    A good opportunity to let you all know that David King – the minister of education during Peter Lougheed’s years is starting a petition for a referendum on ending this wasteful separation of Public and Separate school systems.

    Think about it and if you agree sign the petition and let other people know

    • Jo-Ann says:

      I do agree and have long said that we should not have a separate school board. One public school system for all and any religious groups that wish to have a private school must meet all Alberta curriculum requirements and pay for the whole thing themselves, no taxpayer money whatsoever.

    • Carlos, I’m trying to figure out who’s the bigger hypocrite, the Catholic School Board who wants to teach the alternative sex ed curriculum which essentially boils down to no sex unless it’s for procreation or the Catholics who reject that policy in their own daily lives but fight for the right of the School Board to teach it to their own kids. It’s nuts.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Well that is called religious hypocrisy and it abounds. Sex only for procreation – I would like to ask these people if that is what they practiced. Or like the Catholic priests they preach it and then sexual attack children. That is another class that I have had enough.

  17. GoinFawr says:

    Kenney won!! Woo hoo! Seriously, this is absolutely the best thing that could happen for Albertans, and their NDP!

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