Jason Kenney’s Non-Partisan Request

This just in from “the train-has-left-the-station” department.

Let’s see, how should Alberta respond to BC’s announcement that it will limit bitumen shipments from Alberta until it completes consultation on more spill response studies?

Well, the Notley government could impose a boycott of BC wines and create a Market Access Task Force that includes former political leaders, oil and gas executives, economists and legal scholars to develop options and ratchet up the pressure on BC and the federal government.

Justin Trudeau could blanket the media with blunt statements accusing BC of trying to scuttle the national climate change plan (Trudeau says Alberta’s climate leadership plan and the Trans Mountain approval are part of a larger package that includes a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, investments in Canadian coast guard stations, legislation strengthening protection of Canada’s waterways and species at risk, and overhauling the federal pipeline regulator).

Or we could do what Jason Kenney suggests and talk amongst ourselves.

Kenney’s “non-partisan” request

Mr Kenney presented his request for an emergency session of the Legislature on Facebook and in UCP mail outs.  (He said it was a “non-partisan” request but has yet to remove the negative comments criticizing the Notley government on his Facebook page).


Mr Kenney

Kenney wants an emergency session so all MLAs can “in good faith” engage in “constructive debate” in order to “negotiate” a cross-party motion condemning BC’s decision.  I suppose we could sit around for weeks while various MLAs debate which words best reflect the right level of righteous indignation, or we could get behind the Premier who’s out there right now condemning BC’s actions and developing options to address them.         

He says an emergency session is necessary for Alberta to present a “united front” so the Legislature and all Albertans speak with “one voice”.  Is Alberta presenting a disunited front?  Is there any confusion at the federal level or in the BC government about Alberta’s position?  

Kenney says he supports Notley’s decision to create the Task Force but denigrates the caliber of its membership by referring to them as “non-Albertans”, “lobbyists, bankers and academics”, “industry groups and people even in Ontario”.  He says if Notley is prepared to consult with the Task Force she should also consult with 87 MLAs.  Given that Notley has the support of her 53 NDP MLAs, it’s reasonable to assume what Kenney is really wants is Notley to consult with the 26 UCP MLAs, starting with Mr Kenney.   

With all due respect, it’s hard to imagine what a motion co-drafted by Jason Kenney and his MLAs could possibly add to the deliberations of a Task Force that includes Frank McKenna (bank director, former New Brunswick premier and former ambassador to the USA), Anne McLellan (lawyer, former deputy prime minister and minister of natural resources), Jim Carter (ATB Financial, former Syncrude president), Peter Tertzakian (ARC Financial), Trevor Tombe (UofC economist), Peter Hogg (constitutional law scholar who literally wrote the book on the constitutional law), Ginny Flood (VP, Suncor) and Janet Annesley (SVP, Husky).

Kenney concludes by saying working together, finding a united voice for all Albertans, is “what Albertans expect of us.”  Based on comments from ordinary Albertans, including those with the Canadian Oilwell Drilling Contractors who say Notley is showing “incredible leadership on this file” and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who are “very pleased” with Notley’s actions, it’s safe to say she’s delivering exactly what Albertans expect. 

Jason Kenney can get on board with Notley’s plan or he and his caucus can talk amongst themselves while the train pulls away from the station.

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31 Responses to Jason Kenney’s Non-Partisan Request

  1. Douglas says:

    What a short arsed Napolean complex of a so called man called Jason. We have a duly elected and substantial majority government who is charged with leadership and specific strategy for Alberta governance afffairs, doing a great management job, and this little puff ball insists he must be in at the actual table side negotiations of a complex and important matter. He has the gall to think he could usurp the Premier and her blue ribbon task force advisors. The man has no history that indicates he has a clue about big words like” non-partisan” and wouldn’t know how that works if it bit him in the ass, as seen by his social media whinging. This man must be put in the trash and booted to the curb.

  2. ed henderson says:

    I wonder if we got some grownups together, not Rachael or Jason, and had a talk about whats best for Canada what would happen? This is a case where the kindergarten kids have taken over the High School.

    • Ed, I’ll admit the the wine boycott seemed strange to me when it was first announced but economists like Trevor Tombe said of all the retaliatory measures available it made sense because: substitutions are easy, BC bears most of the cost, it’s highly visible and politically meaningful given the BC by-election and quick. I strongly support Notley’s creation of the Task Force.

  3. J.E. Molnar says:

    Jason Kenney is all about scoring political points — his parliamentary track record proceeds him.

    Vitriolic chest-thumping, featuring staged fits of bombast and bluster, may play to Kenney’s base but severely normal Albertans are wise to his cheap brand of demagoguery.

    Notley and the NDP did the prudent thing by appointing a knowledgeable task force, forcing Kenney and his band of polished underachievers to watch from the sidelines.

    • J.E. The irony of Kenney’s position is he’s quick to criticize Trudeau and Notley ‘s actions on Trans Mountain but he and Harper did zip, nada, nothing when Christy Clark imposed 5 conditions that had to be met before BC would “consider” the construction and operation of Northern Gateway within its borders.
      PS: “band of polished underachievers”…good one.

  4. Brilliantly sharp and biting amiga – I am afraid Mr. Kenny is simply playing the populist game – the more “holy than-thou” non-sense in a crass attempt at scoring some political/electoral gains; but, I don’t think thoughtful and sensible Albertans buy it. Kudos to Premier Notley for appointing an advisory panel of very competent/credible people to guide her thinking and strategies on this challenging dossier. – LCA

    • Thanks Leo. It appears that Albertans are beginning to see through Mr Kenney’s populist leadership. At a certain point he needs to stop being negative and put something substantive on the table. Leadership by meme is wearing thin.

      • PS. Indeed amiga – what is also important in this story is the fact that key players in the energy sector have been very supporting of Premier’s Notley Green Plan – found here: https://www.alberta.ca/climate-leadership-plan.aspx … Thus, incrementally gaining a better acceptance than while the green action plan is to incrementally get us out of our deep dependency on non-renewables, it is not going to happen overnight …

  5. Edison says:

    “…and people even in Ontario”!

    So here we have a guy whose career choice to any good right-wing Albertan is the equivalency of pond scum. Namely a professional politician, which Kenney has been for nearly two decades in Ottawa. The one in Ontario.

    When he suddenly realizes that his status as a federal power player has just evaporated with Harper in a puff of sulpher, he hives it out West to bag the job of saving Albertans from themselves, and is greeted as Saviour.

    Today he is showing us how political opportunism trumps nation building, every time.

    Lesson learned

    • Well said Edison. Kenney’s political opportunism seems is boundless. Case in point the carbon tax: the energy sector and CAPP support it (although they want it applied differently), but he insists he’s going to scrap it because the “no tax” mantra plays well with his base.

  6. mikepriaro says:

    The proposed U.S.-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion cannot load VLCC tankers, or anything close in size, because of Vancouver’s Second Narrows.

    As a result, it will be less than competitive in southeast Asian markets and its primary market will be U.S. Puget Sound and California refineries—Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau don’t mention that do they?

    No Presidential Permit is required to expand capacity of the existing 180,000 bbls/d Trans Mountain line that crosses the border at Sumas B.C. to feed Puget Sound refineries via Kinder Morgan’s Puget Sound system.

    To my knowledge, Notley and Trudeau have never publicly acknowledged or supported Eagle Spirit’s proposal for a sustainable, all-Canadian pipeline/energy corridor to Prince Rupert—why is that?

    I believe it’s because of a back-room deal between Rachel Notley and Justin “The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline” Trudeau to preserve the Great Bear Rainforest—an environmental crock, if ever there was one, scammed up in a San Francisco restaurant by Tzeporah Berman and her Greenpeace/eco-warrior cabal—in return for Trudeau’s support of the Trans Mountain expansion.

    Of course, Alberta’s “initiative: on the carbon tax was also a factor as it relieved Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of the politically-damaging imposition of a federal carbon tax on Alberta. Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley and Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—quite the back-room couple!

    So, ramming a pipeline through B.C.’s densely populated Lower Mainland, and increasing the number of dilbit tankers through the crowded Salish Sea, against the wishes of the B.C. government, the cities of Vancouver, Victoria, Burnaby, and others, First Nations, and half the people of B.C. is OK?

    Of course ramming a pipeline through Quebec over Quebecois’ objections was not OK!

    And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval of the Great Bear Rainforest, and his Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, seeking to ban loading oil tankers off B.C’s north coast, over the objections of First Nations who were not properly consulted for either federal intrusion into their traditional lands and waters, is also OK?

    But of course oil tankers in St. Lawrence River and Gulf waters, off the east coast, and in the Bay of Fundy are OK!

    All of this constitutional, provincial, and social confrontation, and failure to build pipelines, because of an environmental scam and Notley-Trudeau self-serving back-room politics.

  7. jerrymacgp says:

    Canada, as a citizen of the world, needs to do its share in reducing GHG emissions, and Alberta, as a major contributor to the nation’s carbon emissions needs to be a major player in this. This means gradually shifting our economy from a fossil fuel base to renewable energy when and as the technology enables us to do so, and providing economic incentives, such as a price on carbon, to drive that shift.

    But we can’t accomplish anything by throwing tens of thousands of Alberta workers out of work and Alberta’s economy under an electric bus. Getting closer to world market prices for the province’s oil and gas resources, instead of taking the deep discount caused by being landlocked and limited to the US market—which is as much a competitor as a customer—is key to creating the government revenues needed to fund the transition to renewables, including retraining workers to work in the renewable sector.

    As Mr Trudeau said, albeit in code, all this obstructionism over Trans Mountain will accomplish is to defeat the NDP at the polls in 2019 and put climate-change deniers back into power in Edmonton, whose Bill 1 would inevitably be to repeal the carbon tax. That will set us back years.

    • Brian says:

      To the contrary, the carbon tax is nothing but a tax grab that is not reducing emissions. Just filling government coffers for pet projects while damaging our economy. Bill 1 by a Kenney-led government will spring us forward years while undoing the damage of this disastrous NDP government.

      • Brian, economists (Trevor Tombe, Jack Mintz) and politicians (Jim Dinning, Preston Manning) disagree with you. See this article: http://www.macleans.ca/economy/economicanalysis/heres-what-we-know-and-dont-know-about-albertas-carbon-tax/

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan and Brian: What disastrous NDP government? Alberta had decades of fiscal recklessness by the Alberta PCs. After their government run by Lougheed, the AB PCs were an unmatched disaster. Bad oil royalty rates, robbing the Heritage Fund, doing the most costliest scandals repeatedly, putting in a flat tax that lost even more money and doing strong austerity measures to compensate. The carbon tax has support of more than just two or three political parties in Canada. It is also a federal tax. The oil companies support it too. Jason Kenney was part of the CPC. Their legacy was leaving Canada close to $170 billion in debt.

      • To add to Dwayne’s point, the UCP continues to circulate a photo of Ralph Klein holding a “Paid In Full” sign when in actual fact Alberta’s debt on that date was actually $18 billion. Also the UCP applaud Klein for passing a law making balanced budgets mandatory but don’t mention Klein’s 2004 Budget which included NEW capital debt (starting at $151 million and rising to $702 million) that was EXEMPT from Klein’s balanced budget law. The UCP condemn Notley for burdening future generations with debt, but have no problem with Klein doing exactly the same thing. That’s hypocrisy.

    • Jerry, extremely well said. Many of my Green party friends would agree. The real bone of contention is (1) whether the carbon levy is too low and (2) whether the emissions cap is too high. Seems to me Notley and her advisors picked a position that lands between turn off the taps now (crater the economy) and turn off the taps in the future (when a robust transition plan is in place).

      • Brian says:

        Jerry, we’re it not for a minority government situation that forced Harper to adopt the failed and disastrous policies of borrowing to stimulate the economy, you wouldn’t have had a deficit at all. Keynesian economics doesn’t work. Budget must be balanced at all times. But of course your buddy Trudeau borrows in good times and your best friend Notley borrows $10b a year. What a travesty given that Alberta was net debt free when she took office.

      • Brian says:

        Actually no. Klein borrowed for capital. The NDP repealed the law that prohibited borrowing for operating. That’s lunacy.

  8. C. Hunt says:

    Can’t stay quiet. Don’t support Jason or pipelines but Premier Notley has been captured by petroleum industry in desperate effort to win next election. Why punish wine growers in B.C. for petroleum distillers in Alberta and ignore the need to convert the planet to renewable energy? The risks of escalating fossil fuel production is being ignored by Albertans and the risk of pipeline breaks that concerns B.C., is being ignored in Alberta.
    Trans Mountain is using 30 year old technology to trench through streams and rivers in Alberta instead of boring/drilling under these waters to reduce the impacts of sedimentation. T.M. is resurrecting sections of the 150 km of 50 year old pipe, that was abandoned 15 years ago to increase capacity between Hinton and further west including Jasper National Park. The 50 year old pipe is still being used and adding new pipe for 50 years in the future.
    T.M. is using ‘State of the Art’ pipeline emergency response for pipeline breaks that mostly consists of public relations ‘actions’ while spill clean-up in flowing waters depends on flush & dilute and defuse the negative publicity, that disappears in a few weeks. The damage continues for months or until a major flood event. Show me some examples of effective pipeline clean-up e.g. N. Saskatchewan River at Lloydminster, Red Deer River near Sundre? Ask the Alberta Energy Regulator how many smaller pipeline breaks occur in Alberta that we never hear about (or the damage). How would T.M. deal with a 24 inch pipeline break under the Fiddle River in Jasper National Park at this time of year?

    • C: Kevin Taft discusses the “regulatory capture” concern in his new book. It’s a valid concern although I’d disagree that Notley is as “captured” as her predecessors. She’s made more headway in three years than the PCs did in three decades. But everything she does is characterized by Kenney as killing the industry. Until the majority of Albertans are ready to elect Green candidates this won’t change. Meanwhile we have a choice: we can continue to support Notley or hand the province back to Kenney and watch him destroy everything she’s put in place to date.
      You make a very good point when you talk about the quality of spill prevention and mitigation. The AER and the NEB must crack down on companies who shirk their responsibilities.

  9. David says:

    Like professional actors, career politicians such as Kenney, have an almost instinctive need to find and perhaps hog the spotlight, which perhaps explains his self serving “non partisan” request. He isn’t in the spotlight in this pipeline debate and knows this might be politically detrimental for him.

    The dates for the Legislature session are set well in advance and so when things come up, the Premier or the appropriate government minister or official deals with it. Unless it is a contentious matter that requires immediate legislation, it is not necessary to suddenly recall the legislature every time something comes up. In fact our system of government is designed to work that way.

    If Kenney has recently had any new brilliant ideas about how to deal with the pipeline issue, he can call up the Premier or government officials and talk to them. If he doesn’t want to do that, either because he thinks the government will ignore him or he will not get credit, he can call a press conference and present his ideas. However, given his history of hiding from the press when things that are inconvenient or embarrassing for him have arisen several times in the recent past, it is possible this time that the press might just decide to not show up. Perhaps that is his real fear.

    • David, your description of the situation Kenney finds himself in is spot on. He’s been left behind and all of his fiery rhetoric isn’t going to get him anywhere, but that won’t stop him from trying or his base from lapping it up.

  10. Pingback: Jason Kenney tries to look tough, but that ship’s already sailed with Rachel Notley at the helm - Alberta Politics

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