While Ms Soapbox was trying to get the dog to sit still for his annual Ziggy under the Christmas Tree photo Mr Kenney was busy telling The Sun how he was going to prevent bozo eruptions in the UCP…and had a full-blown bozo eruption.
It started slowly.
Mr Kenney said he’d prevent bozo eruptions by carefully vetting potential UCP candidates to uncover any nastiness.
He set down some rules about what they could say and what they couldn’t say–no more comments comparing Alberta politics with horrible historical events, no more stupid jokes because they come out sounding all wrong, no more hateful statements that denigrate an entire group of people, and no more name calling and recriminations against other members of the conservative family (even if they crossed the floor under Danielle Smith’s reign and joined the Prentice conservatives) because “our new party should have a generosity of spirit towards people.”
He assured everyone that his rules were not a restriction on freedom of speech or an effort to be politically correct (he’s against political correctness).
He was crystal clear that he, not his political opponents, would decide what constitutes hateful language or acts and what doesn’t. He illustrated his point with a helpful Christmas example: “The problem is people on the left think saying Merry Christmas is hateful. Those voices of crazed political correctness will not govern what is allowed.”
Not surprisingly, “the people on the left” and their non-lefty friends took to social media to tell Mr Kenney that they’ve never said saying Merry Christmas is hateful, in fact they say Merry Christmas all the time.
They swamped Mr Kenney with Merry Christmas tweets. They pointed out the hypocrisy of saying the UCP should have “a generosity of spirit” towards people in the conservative family while at the same time lauding Stephen Harper for not being “a squishy Joe Clark Tory”, and the mendacity of telling future MLAs not to denigrate an entire group of people while at the same time calling “the people on the left” the “voices of crazed political correctness”.
It soon dawned on Mr Kenney that he’d had a bozo eruption. He moved to damage control mode with the explanation that he was only joking.
Oh, well that makes it so much better. Mr Kenney didn’t violate the “don’t denigrate an entire group of people” rule, he violated the “no more stupid jokes” rule.
In actuality, Mr Kenney violated the “don’t be Donald Trump” rule. He dog-whistled his supporters, telling them they were hapless victims of Leftist Grinches who stole their right to say Merry Christmas to protect the delicate feelings of, well, someone else, and that he, Mr Kenney, feels their pain and will one day stand on a podium like Mr Trump proclaiming it’s okay to say Merry Christmas again.
This is ridiculous and deserves no further comment.
So … Ms Soapbox would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
We’ll close with a photo of Ziggy under the Christmas tree. Ziggy, like the rest of us, is a little worse for wear. He’s nine and lost an eye to glaucoma last summer but loves Christmas as much as we do.
Happy Holidays everyone. Talk to you in the New Year!!!!
And a very merry Christmas to you as well, Susan! Your blog is so worthwhile, your words so true, your comments so accurate. Thank you!
Thank you Dennis, and a very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones as well!
Indeed we say it in several languages as well – Feliz Navidad 2017 to you and your loved-ones amiga; and muchisimas gracias for your continuing writings – always sharp, thoughts, respectful and most importantly – illuminating. Let’s hope 2018 is a better year for everyone. Blessings | LCA
Feliz Navidad Leo. I know that you are working hard to make 2018 a better year for everyone. Thank you!
Merry Christmas Susan and a very prosperous and happy New Year of 2018
Thank you for another successful year of great posts.
You’re very welcome Carlos. And thank you for your wonderful comments. I learn something new every time you post.
You know there is stupid and then there is politician stupid, right? Jason Kenney playing the Brian Jean card by saying it was a joke after the fact seems to have now made this tortured strategy part of the UCP playbook as well. Pathetic.
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your vivid and intuitive political insights this past year Ms Soapbox. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours — Nothing but the best in 2018!!
Thanks J.E! What was really pathetic was how Kenney made his “joke” excuse. He said “It was a *joke* about the excesses of political correctness. But not too far off the mark at a time when songs like Jingle Bells & White Christmas are generating controversy.” That set off another round of tweets. At least Brian Jean had the decency to apologize for his “joke” about it being against the law to beat Rachel Notley.
Merry Christmas Susan & Family. Your blog is educational, enlightened, and always right on point. We look forward to it every week. Let’s hope, and work hard in 2018 to make sure the divisiveness from south of the border finds no purchase here in Alberta and Canada. I pledge to do all I can to not let this happen. Thanks for all you do!
Thanks Katie. I strongly support your pledge to head off divisiveness. In the Sun interview Kenney was asked whether Alberta was becoming more “progressive”. He said “That’s wishful thinking on the part of liberal opinion elites”. The US has its coastal and Hollywood elites. Kenney’s Alberta has “liberal opinion elites”. I’m guessing many AUPE members who work in government, health care, education, boards and agencies, municipalities and private companies would be surprised to discover they’re “elites”.
Clearly you’d need a much bigger tree for Ziggy to fit under! But he is still adorable! Happy Christmas, Soapboxes!!! And a healthy and happy new year from Liane, Howell , Simon & Nora – who fits under small trees!!
Thank you Liane, Liane’s family and cat. Happy Hanukkah to you and your loved ones (sorry I’m late in sending you my good wishes).
It’s true Ziggy no longer fits under small trees, but unlike Nora he’s never been able to climb them 🙂
Ahem. This from Nora: “Dear Susan, I wish to remind you that I am most decidedly NOT a feline! Perhaps you are rememering Whiner, who would be around 42 human years, or 294 cat years, impossible even for them! I am a fine, purebred dawg!!”🐩
That’s hilarious! Yes, I was thinking of a 294 year old cat, not Nora, the queen of dawgs. Ziggy may be big but he moves like The Shadow when he wants to. We just caught him licking the side of the gingerbread house!
Thanks Susan. Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year. Great blog.
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Thanks Linda. All the very best to you and your family in 2018!
Merry Christmas to you and your family and Ziggy too!
Thanks Linda and Merry Christmas to you, your family and the cats Simon and Sophie–they ARE cats, right?
Sophie is a cat, but I think Simon is part dog – he’s so strange!
Merry Christmas from PEI. I enjoy reading your take on Alberta politics from a province where the ruling liberals kicked the Green leader out of the house for using the word farce to describe the level of legislative debate. PS Our cat has never shown any interest in Christmas trees, real or fake, or in posing under them. Hugs to Ziggy.
Merry Christmas Bunty. Every member of the Alberta Legislature would have been booted out of the House if Alberta was held to the same level of decorum you enjoy in PEI.
We had cats before we had dogs and at least half of them zipped up the tree to check out the view. A scary experience for all concerned!
Merry Christmas Susan, keep the good words coming in 2018….
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Thank you Jim. Merry Christmas to you and yours as well. Fingers crossed that 2018 turns out better than 2017. 🙂
My guess is that Mr. Kenney stills does not understand why we say Happy Holidays sometimes instead of Merry Christmas. Maybe he does not know that we believe in empathy, and we want everyone to feel included as part of our society, especially at Christmas when we’re supposed to be on our best Christian behaviour. Perhaps he’s a bigot like Trump, and only professes to have Christian values. Or maybe Mr. Kenney thinks he can say or do anything because ultimately he believes his sins will be forgiven. Hmm, interesting concept but, as you intimate, it may not work in politics.
Great blog as usual, Ms Soapbox. Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!
Thanks Frank, interesting comments about what drives Mr Kenney, especially the one that in the end all his sins will be forgiven (I wonder if Pope Francis would agree).
The thing Kenney and others don’t seem to understand in this so-called war on Christmas is we’re not forcing them to say Happy Holidays, we’d just appreciate it if they didn’t flip out when we say it.
Oh, and if they’re going to have a war on something could they make it a war on poverty or bigotry or something that actually does need attention?
Worse for wear or not, your blog is always worth a read and Ziggy is holding up pretty good. Merry Christmas to all and a happy New Year.
Thanks Rose and the same to you and your family. I am pretty sure that you are doing exactly what I’m doing on Boxing Day…binging on chocolate and Netflix. I watched that goofy movie Elf and discovered elves partake in the four food groups– candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. Works for me! 🙂
susan – wishing you and roy (and ziggy) all the best in the new year. i sure appreciate the effort end considered thought you put into your soapbox. thank you. jodi
On Twitter, I wished Jason Christmas Mubarek.:-)
Ditto to all here.
Cujo, don’t you just love Twitter. One of the best Xmas tweets I saw came from buzzfeed. It said: My mum just bought our cat a Christmas stocking even tho we are Muslims and don’t even celebrate Christmas ?? She was like ‘we don’t know what religion he is we can’t force him to be Muslim’ He’s a cat? Kinda puts Kenney’s rant into perspective doesn’t it?
Jodi, you’re very welcome! We wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and nothing but the best in 2018.
Belated Merry Christmas to you and yours, Susan. Thank you so much for your insightful ideas, and for the opportunity to comment on Alberta’s politics.
Conventional wisdom has it that Jason Kenney learned the art of muzzling minions from Stephen Harper, and that he will impose strict discipline on his MLAs to prevent bozo eruptions. While that opinion makes a lot of sense, every now and then Jason Kenney comes up with something that makes me think that he was one of the minions Harper muzzled, and now that he is the Chosen One, he is relishing the removal of his muzzle.
Bob, what you say makes sense. It will be interesting to see how Kenney wields his muzzling power given the propensity of MLAs like Drew Barnes to splash articles from Breitbart all over social media. So far he hasn’t been quick to shut Barnes and other high profile UCP members down.
All the very best to you and your family over the Christmas holiday and in 2018!
Jason is lucky if he can shut up himself never mind the rest of the party. I hope he cannot control himself because people need to know who he really is.
Interesting that Brian Jean totally vanished – I wonder if in a way he was dying to pass the torch and move on.
It’s too late for ‘Merry Christmas’ so I’ll wish you a wonderful holiday.
I am here to say ‘thanks’ for your continued commitment to your blog! I admire your perseverance and hope that 2018 will be the year of ‘enlightenment’ for Alberta’s people who have habitually simply followed the crowd … or what they have been convinced by the media to THINK is ‘the crowd’. You can and do offer a refreshing perspective that stimulates principled alternative thinking in addressing our collective challenges!
All the very best for 2018!
Thanks Jane! I agree with your comment about the media “thinking” for the crowd. All you need to do is compare how Post Media and The Globe and Mail cover Alberta politics. Post Media praises the UCP to the heavens and is skeptical about the NDP’s accomplishments (most of the time). The Globe is more objective…and let’s not forget the Globe and Mail is a conservative newspaper. It endorsed Stephen Harper in the last election.
I wish some of “the crowd” would read Hansard. At least they would hear first hand some of the awful things their UCP MLAs say.
2018 will be the last full year of NDP tyranny and mismanagement. This time next year we will be preparing for Premier Kenney and a return of the Alberta Advantage in 2019!
Gosh you could not find in your washed brain a little space in the taped cassette to wish Susan a good 2018? How much are you getting from the UCP to be a Robocop?
Wow, Carlos, does the truth hurt you or something with all of your ad hominem insults?
Harce, how do you define tyranny? And what examples of NDP policy are you relying on to support your definition? Note: The dictionary defines a tyrannical government as “cruel and oppressive” and provides examples like North Korea.
Carlos, I think the point you’re making is that this post was about Kenney using Christmas in a divisive way and wouldn’t it be nice if we could stop using the birth of Christ as a political wedge issue and just wish each other Merry Christmas…however your message did amp up the intensity at bit at the end. I appreciate the sentiment, but we’ll should probably step it back a little or we’ll never make it through 2018 🙂
Ok I am sorry but Harce never replies to anything he just attacks and I was trying to get a response and I did. Discussion was my point as well as not having wished you or anyone else a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year.
I was hoping for some manners.
No the truth does not bother me at all Harce – my ad hominem insult is only because you attack and hide. Just come out and have a real discussion rather than this type of attitude which is probably ok with you but not with most citizens.
Susan I agree with taking the step back but these people do not understand your democratic ways of real discussion. They will take your step back and advance with higher insult. This is the strategy. As far as they are concerned you are weak and you will be overtaken. That is why the rowdiness in the forums.
I for one will take the step back because this is your blog and because I have the utmost respect for what you are doing here, but I will catch these people in real life. Tired of them.
‘NDP tyranny’ – what is that? I know he will not explain because this is just what they hear in their meetings and one is not supposed to question. Just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it until they believe it.
I know Carlos, we’ll never convince the die-hards to change their opinion, but fact based arguments do persuade the “undecided”. 🙂
Too late to wish you a Merry Christmas, so I hope yours was indeed Merry, and I hope you have a safe, healthy, prosperous & Happy New Year.
On the whole “Happy Holidays” thing, I am not a Christian, but Christmas in Canada is not just a Christian holiday, but a secular societal custom. I read a very germane column by the Journal’s Paula Simons on the temporally proximate Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which is, according to her explanation, a fairly minor festival on the Jewish calendar, but whose proximity to Christmas makes it of greater significance. In my view, celebrating Christmas is as Canadian as hockey (although, in fact, I detest hockey, but that’s another issue … ), and I have no problem wishing people a Merry Christmas. I don’t buy its spiritual component, but values of generosity, peace and goodwill to all people are worthwhile for atheists and the faithful alike. In fact, calls to “put the ‘Christ’ back in ‘Christmas’”, if needed, would put people like me off of celebrating it at all.
Oops, typo … that last line should have read, In fact, calls to “put the ‘Christ’ back in ‘Christmas’”, if heeded, would put people like me off of celebrating it at all.
Jerry, thanks for this perspective…I hope you had a Happy Holiday and wish you a happy New Year. It’s shaping up to be one of our most interesting and challenging years ever!
Carlos, I fully understand your point. When I’ve tried to engage with UCP supporters in a meaningful way all I get back is mindless rhetoric.
I’d love to have an intelligent conversation with a UCP supporter. Recently I attended a speech given by the political analyst David Frum. Frum is a staunch Republican but has been writing very critical pieces about Trump and what he’s doing to democracy in the US. I was very disappointed by Frum’s “solutions” to address the gulf between the GOP and the Democrats. The best he could come up with was this: Never threaten to separate a man from his money (even if it’s a pittance) or there will be hell to pay. I’m going to do a post on this in the new year because I believe it’s the basis of Kenney’s UCP “conservative” movement as well.
Susan I know exactly what you mean. I find all that way of behaving very distasteful and disgusting to say the least. I have to admit that I am getting to the point where I no longer want to try anything with these people rather than just overwhelm then with the same tactic they use. Interestingly enough I found they react and they hate being overrun. I am not someone who likes to use force against force but I think we have reached a point where people just do not understand it any other way. The propaganda is mind boggling and extremely disrespectful. I would hate to see the political environment in Alberta return to the Klein years and possibly worse.
As far as David Frum, I apologize, but I have no respect for him whatsoever. During George Bush’s time he was the one who wrote those odious speeches about the evil empire and all that garbage, hallmark of George Bush’s reign. Then he realized that he was just as bad as all of them and he started backing out to save his skin. I know the types. He actually left Canada because he could not stand Liberals and their Progressive ways, just too bleeding heart for him. I noticed that he is now part of ‘the Atlantic’ family and that was because the magazine shifted to the right as much as everyone else when the right wing was on the upswing. Now they are moderating again.
I do not read anything by David Frum anymore. I just do not trust him at all.
Susan: I hope your Christmas was awesome and I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year.
Thanks Dwayne, I wish you and your family a very Happy New Year too!