An Election is Coming, Some Policies Would Be Nice

UCP leader Jason Kenney wants Rachel Notley to call the election on Feb 1, 2019 so Albertans can go to the polls in the first week of March.  He has scheduled an election readiness conference from Feb 15 to 17, after that it’s full steam ahead…except for the fact the UCP has no policies.

What the UCP does have is a campaign slogan Fortis et Liber (cribbed from Alberta’s motto, it means strong and free) and six talking points:

  • Stand Up to Trudeau (presumably Kenney would like UCP supporters to support Scheer until Kenney decides to go back into federal politics, then it’s game over for Scheer)
  • Scrap the carbon tax (the UCP would rather get stuck with the made-in-Ottawa carbon tax)
  • Quality Public Services (okay, but first tell us how Kenney is going to measure “quality”)
  • Renew the Alberta Advantage (ummm, define it, then tell us whether it requires trade-offs in public services)
  • Defend our resources (how, by deep-sixing the rule of law and the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada?)
  • Reignite Alberta’s Economy (if this means scrapping health, safety, environmental and employment laws so Alberta is “open for business” I’m not interested)

Must we beg for policies?

Jason Kenney has been the UCP leader since Oct 2017.  He defined the UCP as a grassroots party led by a servant-leader who would respect the members’ wishes.  Yes, this was revolutionary in politics, but he gave them a written guarantee to show he meant it.  The grassroots held a policy convention six months later, but when it debated some hard-right policies on abortion and LBGTQ rights Kenney torched the grassroots guarantee and told his supporters that he held the pen (in this case a blue pencil) on policy development and the members would have to wait until he decided what policies to unveil, when, if ever.

No blue Pencil sign icon. Do not write. Edit content button. Red

Sorry, Kenney’s blue pencil is alive and well 

The fact that Kenney wants Notley to call an election in a UCP policy vacuum should alarm all UCP supporters, especially the UCP MLAs who’ve gone on record in the Legislature advocating for a government that consults with the grassroots and condemning the Progressive Conservatives for adopting a command-and-control structure that let the grassroots be pushed around by Cabinet and party elites.

And yet here we are.

Please sir, policies…? 

Kenney is pushing for an election on the strength of a motto and six talking points.  Albertans have no idea what his policies will be and are being asked to buy a pig in a poke (that’s an English colloquialism, it’s not meant to be disrespectful to pigs…or politicians).

Gullible Albertans will fill in the blanks in Kenney’s non-policies in a way that supports their own beliefs and values and conclude he’s their man.

Sensible Albertans will ask themselves whether they should pay heed to MLAs like Richard Starke who refused to join the UCP because he didn’t like how they handled LBGTQ issues, or Rick Fraser who left the UCP to join the Alberta Party because of the UCP’s single-minded focus on spending cuts and austerity or Rick Strankman who quit the UCP to sit as an independent because the UCP had abandoned its grassroots guarantee in favour of “hyper partisan self-centered politics”.  These guys pulled back the UCP curtain and didn’t like what they found.

Rachel Notley being the smart politician she is will treat Kenney’s “no policy” election platform as a gift.

She’ll fill in the blanks in Kenney’s six talking points any way she likes, and she’ll hammer home the fact that the only “policy” position Kenney failed to list in his six talking points is his oft repeated promise to eliminate the deficit and balance the budget by 2022.

She’ll remind Albertans that Kenney has been all over the map with this promise, first he said Alberta should be in line with BC which spends 20% less per capita than Alberta (but has higher taxes overall), then Kenney disavowed the 20% reduction target at the candidates’ debate in the Calgary-Lougheed by-election, saying a cut of 1% to 2% would be all that was required, then he suspended the policies passed at the UCP policy convention because only he “holds the pen”, so now the UCP has no clear policy on eliminating the deficit and balancing the budget.

At the end of the day Notley will be free to pick a “policy” that best suits her campaign.  This would be a reasonable political response to Kenney’s attempt to force an election in which he is free to attack the NDP’s policies based on the government’s record but he’s not prepared to offer policies of his own for consideration.

Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times Company, said in the face of a constant stream of catchy one-liners, policy doesn’t stand a chance.

Here’s hoping Alberta proves him wrong.

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36 Responses to An Election is Coming, Some Policies Would Be Nice

  1. Oh how I wish I could leave a graphic as a comment . . .

    • Rockymountainpictureshow: what a perfect illustration of filling in the blanks…we’re all sitting here conjuring up a graphic to reflect what we think you had in mind. Amazing how that works, eh?

  2. Restless in Red Deer says:

    I think policy has been replaced by whistling for the dogs in the UCP playbook.

    • Restless, you’re absolutely right. I got a comment on Twitter on this post. It said all Kenney needs to do is say he’s going to clean up the financial mess Notley created and he’s in. This confirmed Mark Thompson’s point that snappy one-liners beat policy. You’d think after they’d have learned their lesson after Klein gutted healthcare and education in order to balance the budget, but apparently not.

  3. Keith McClary says:

    ” He defined the UCP as a grassroots party led by a servant-leader who would respect the members’ wishes. Yes, this was revolutionary in politics, but he gave them a written guarantee to show he meant it.”
    That’s the old Reform Party line, which was quickly forgotten when they evolved into The Harper Government. Actually, the Reform Party line was that they would respect their CONSTITUENTS wishes. Haha.

    • Great example Keith. It seems to me that Kenney is right up there with Donald Trump when it comes to distancing himself from past actions that don’t serve his political aspirations today. It doesn’t matter whether we confront Kenney with his appalling record on same-sex marriage, abortion, or his short lived promise to be a servant-leader, he just glides on by. What’s interesting is the effect it has on potential voters, some of us see this as proof that the man can’t be trusted, others (like die-hard Trump supporters) don’t care because he’s going to make them rich.
      All I can say is it didn’t work out so well for the Trump supporters and it likely won’t work out that well here if Kenney’s UCP form government.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I hope you are feeling better. I must thank you for another great blog. With Jason Kenney and the UCP, I don’t see any policies. All I see is Jason Kenney and the UCP attacking the NDP, and the federal Liberals, and giving contradictions. I also see the Jason Kenney wanting to emulate the very bad policies of the Alberta PCs, that began after Peter Lougheed was not the premier. More federal government bashing is not going to solve anything. Standing up to Justin Trudeau is merely blaming him for things he had nothing to do with, or has no control over, such as oil prices, which went down in 2014, due to Saudi Arabia having cheaper oil flooding the world market, and America having shale oil. Oil prices will not climb to the higher levels that they had been, prior to them sinking in 2014. It also means blaming Justin Trudeau for failing Canada on the pipeline issue, which is also contradictory. Jason Kenney was a cabinet member in a CPC majority government, and when this was the case, he did not help get any pipeline built, that went to the British Columbia coast. There are people who claim that the CPC did help get pipelines built. These were merely extensions to existing pipelines, and those happened when the CPC had a minority government. None of those pipelines went to any coastal waters. The NEB panel members were put there by Stephen Harper, when Jason Kenney was part of his CPC cabinet. Also, Jason Kenney favoured the government purchasing the Trans Mountain pipeline. Jason Kenney has also said that he supports the carbon tax. Alberta already has a carbon tax, which was North America’s first, and it was put into effect by Ed Stelmach. How is Jason Kenney going to offer quality public services, when his mantra is to slash public services like Ralph Klein did? We are still paying for the Ralph Klein era cuts to the public service and infrastructure today. Don Getty started them, but Ralph Klein really expanded on them. What Alberta advantage was this? If the Alberta PCs did not stop getting improper royalty rates for Alberta’s oil, (which began with Don Getty), learned to save money, did not waste millions and billions of dollars on scandals that are without compare, (that also began with Don Getty), did not let corporate tax collections to be neglected, and did not put in the flat tax failure, (that Jason Kenney wants to return to), the austerity would not have been needed. How is Jason Kenney and the UCP going to ignite Alberta’s economy? Peter Lougheed worked in the oilfields, years before he was a politician. He was well aware of the volatile nature of a commodity like oil. He knew that oil booms are never infinite. Will Jason Kenney try and fight Saudi Arabia and the U.S and tell them to halt their far cheaper oil productions? How will Jason Kenney balance the budget, with austerity and the flat tax? It won’t work. There is no substance with Jason Kenney and the UCP, no policies, just constant contradictions and controversies. This is not worth supporting. Rachel Notley is the best premier Alberta ever had, since Peter Lougheed. In the election debates, she will clearly be able to stand up to Jason Kenney, like she did to Jim Prentice and Brian Jean. Sadly, many people are voting for the UCP, because their parents and grandparents voted Conservative, not for any other tangible reasons. I hope people smarten up.

    • Thank you Dwayne with your fulsome review of Kenney’s talking points. You make a very good point when you point out that many people will vote “conservative” because their parents and their grandparents voted conservative. What these people fail to recognize is their parents and grandparents were voting for decent conservatives like Peter Lougheed, not charlatans who call themselves “conservatives” because they can’t get elected as Reformers.
      I was reading Hansard the other day and saw a statement by Ric McGiver when he was PC leader prior to the merger of the WR and PCs. McGiver said the PCs were the only party with a sound fiscal policy and a caring social policy. When the PCs allowed Kenney to run for PC leadership so he could merge the PCs with the WR they betrayed everything that Lougheed stood for. They should be ashamed of what they’ve done to Lougheed’s legacy.

  5. J.E. Molnar says:

    The UCP brain trust needs to put some beef on that UCP nothing-burger Jason Kenney keeps asking voters to swallow — and soon.

    Jason Kenney and the UCP are likely going to try and skate through the upcoming election by providing Albertans with as little information on their policies as possible. They may even withhold their candidates from public “All-Candidate” forums to prevent embarrassing bozo eruptions and bad media coverage.

    Like Ms Soapbox said, so far Jason Kenney and the UCP, as a brand new political entity with no political baseline whatsoever, are mum on policies for health care, education, infrastructure, women’s rights etc. Instead of smarmy, clichéd platitudes and regurgitated old Ralph Klein PC talking points — how about… a platform, a shadow budget, a climate mitigation plan and release of Jason Kenney’s dark money donor’s list? That would be a good start to political transparency for a fledgling conservative party whose political strategy at this point amounts to gaslighting Albertans.

    • J.E. that would be an excellent start to political transparency. I’m surprised Albertans are letting Kenney get away with his political shell game.
      Mark Thompson says with the arrival of the Internet and the 24/7 news cycle the media defaults to simplification and more simplification. There is no room for nuance. There are only two sides to an argument. Here in Alberta Kenney is setting up the argument as NDP bad, UCP good, followed by the promise to undo all the “bad” things the NDP have done with no discussion of the “good” things the UCP will do other than 6 inane talking points that mean absolutely nothing. I would urge every Alberta to ask their UCP candidate to explain exactly what they’re promising under each of those bullet points. (Actually they should do the same thing with every candidate that shows up on their doorstep regardless of party).
      Surely we’re more intelligent than Kenney gives us credit for.

  6. Elaine Fleming says:

    Susan, it’s regrettable there are people are buying in to Kenney’s vague policy statements. I don’t think even his candidates truly comprehend how this province will backslide and how few people will benefit if he makes a government.

    Our local UCP candidate left a leaflet in our mailbox when we were out, but I wish we had been there to talk to her. She is a young woman, a nurse, by her bio. Way too young to remember what it was like here in Alberta when Ralph Klein decided to slash public services in the early and mid-nineties. A nurse myself, I attended our 20th year reunion in 1993 when we were all in senior positions in our jobs. What a sombre affair it was, everyone talking in hushed tones about layoffs, chaos and even deaths of patients due to Klein’s reckless cuts to health care.

    As you will remember, there were thousands of hospital beds closed in Edmonton and Calgary hospitals. The Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary was sold privately for $7 million after $30 million of public money was spent on renovations. The Salvation Army Hospital was basically given away to crones of Ralph Klein’s to become a private surgical facility that went belly up anyway. The Calgary General Hospital was demolished, to the horror of Calgary’s citizenry and every health worker in Alberta.

    It wasn’t just the physical implosion of the buildings, it was the symbolism, the statement Klein was making to the populace that they could not count on their public services, their health system or their government anymore. You’re on your own, “Martha and Henry”, as he called us. It was also a direct message to already demoralized doctors, nurses, and other health workers about who was in charge.

    A whole generation of young nursing grads reluctantly left their province, and country. Doctors uprooted their families to find other places to work. Our family lost both our family and doctor and pediatrician to the U.S.

    At that time, Susan, I was at a weekly class and sat beside another R.N.- a very experienced, competent and dedicated nurse who was a manager on two large hospital units, one of them surgical. We were both very stressed about the lay-offs that were happening, and the impacts it was having. One day, although she was finished work for the week, she said she was going back to the unit because they were getting a patient from the OR who had a tracheostomy, and she was the only one who knew how to look after it. That’s the kind of nurse we all want. The next week she was very down- they had lost a patient- who shouldn’t have died. Because of staff cuts and reshuffling, he had been neglected in Recovery after routine surgery, been sent back to the unit and while his surgeon was on the phone to his wife saying how well the operation went, he passed away from a hemorrhage. The next week I saw her she was writing up something diligently- it turned out it was her resume. She had been laid off. A 22 year nursing leader- one of the most valuable staff in the hospital, indiscriminately fired so Klein could “balance the budget”

    Oh yes, we have heard about the Conservatives bringing in “Quality public services” before, this is not a new game. Deprive the public system, say it’s not working, and then ‘improve it” by handing it over to the for-profit sector. The casualties don’t matter.

    Vapid “sound bites” by the UCP don’t even begin to gloss over the real meaning of what their party intends to do. Real-life stories do, however, and that is why this comment is so long- and there are many, many stories like this about what “cuts” to public services really look like.

    From one nurse to another, our UCP candidate will be getting an earful from me.

    • Elaine, thank you for this poignant reminder of what happened the last time a conservative politician balanced the budget but cutting the “waste” out of health care and other public services. You make an excellent point about the conservative model which promises to deliver “quality public services” while at the same time choking off funding for the public system until it’s on its knees, then “improving” it by handing it off to the for-profit sector.
      We’ve been down this road many times. Remember in 2009 when the PCs cut the health care budget by closing hundreds of hospital beds in Edmonton and Calgary. They said elderly patients would be better off in community based assisted living homes and nursing homes. But it failed to build enough assisted living homes and nursing homes to accommodate them and the private sector took over. This was fine and good if you had the money to pay for private care for you elderly parents but didn’t get you very far if you didn’t have the cash or the folks became too sick to stay in a private facility and were bounced back to the public hospital. The PCs justified it by saying they’d save $51 billion in the AHS budget by 2012. Did it work? Apparently not given that the health care budget is the largest budget and we’re still running a deficit overall. It’s a shell game: get rid of the public service, let the private sector do it, and if you can’t pay for it, then it sucks to be you.

  7. Carlos Beca says:

    Jason Kenney does not have any policies simply because he does not need one.
    Most of his supporters will be more than happy with very few moves that will very likely create what they really care about – another boom and easy money.
    Mark my words – He will kill the carbon tax, he will cancel any constraints to the coal and oil industry and we will cut public services as deep as possible. It is not difficult to figure out why – that is what the business community wants. You just have to read the very small article hiding somewhere in the inside pages of both the Sun and the Edmonton Journal. Here are the marching papers they sent to both Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley

    1- Double the Industry growth rate by 2020 (Seriously?)
    2- Support for the construction of another 6 pipelines ( Only 6?)
    3- Regulation Timelines to be reduced to a half and assert constitutional authority over the oils sands development ( Of course)
    4- Lower corporate taxes (of course)
    5 – Support of a climate change strategy made in Alberta (made by the AEB of course – controlled and with the oil industry oversight)

    Of course there is no mention of emissions or a carbon tax.
    This was on the paper last week and there was basically no reaction.
    Albertans like Americans will have the government they deserve. They will vote for the oil industry wish list believe me. We will learn our lesson only after there is no way back and we will leave all the clean up to our grand children. The majority does not care as long as the 3000 square foot home and the cars and the boats and the vacations keep rolling in. I know this is hard to admit but HELLO, this is what we have done in the past and will continue doing it. Oil is getting scarce in the US again, peek oil is just around the corner and we can manage another boom.

    This is Jason Kenney’s policies – he does not need anything else. This is why he cannot discuss any other concerns. He does not have any. The implementation of the points above is his concern.

    When you say he does not have policies you are wrong – His policies are clear in this article – one just has to find them. He will not tell you publicly because he knows Ralph Klein’s strategies of hit them hard and fast so that they do not even have time to think. Remember ‘Shock and Awe’? He also knows that as soon as the boom is on he will be a hero just like his hero Ralph Klein regardless of the consequences.
    By the way I had some exposure to some people that work in the oil industry in Calgary recently and this is what they expect anyway. The problem is not just the oil industry, the biggest problem is us.
    The oil industry knows well who they are dealing with and how to control the province – not that difficult, just put some cash on and under the table.

    I know many people contest what I say above but please do prove it is not correct.

    • Brent McFadyen says:

      ” money doesn’t talk it swears” Bob Dylan

      • Great quote Brent. I think we have to start swearing back!

      • carlosbeca says:

        You got that so right Brent.
        I am embarrassed of one day having to face my 18 month grandson and be able to explain to him how did we allow this circus as grown ups!
        It is awful and makes me wonder why we are so totally aloof of doing something really crucial to avoid this display of total brainless existence.
        Why are we getting so much education just to serve those that have the controls of the strings. What is wrong with us all. Is it so bad to be less individualistic and care more for our province, country and other Canadians? Nationalism may have some negative connotations but at least I ask where is our Patriotism? Is it in the coffers of the multinationals? Honestly? What is wrong with us?

    • Carlos, thank you for sharing this story with us. I googled it to get more details. CAPP (the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) has set out what it wants to make the oil and natural gas sector “more competitive”. Frankly I don’t know how Alberta can become any more competitive given that Alberta’s oil price is driven by global oil prices and the only way to get the global price is to transport oil through interprovincial pipelines which are federally regulated, not provincially regulated. Unless CAPP convinces Canadians to ditch the rule of law intervenors will always have the right to challenge the NEB’s decision in the courts, there will always be investor uncertainty which impacts competitiveness.
      I’m going to review the document more carefully but I have to respond to the demand for 6 more pipelines. It’s ridiculous. First of all, pipeline companies are NOT members of CAPP (they belong to CEPA), so they’ve had NO input into this document and would likely choke at this suggestion. (Why didn’t the newspapers ask the pipeline companies for comment?) I’ve worked with pipeline companies for decades. They won’t invest billions in a new pipeline (let alone 6 new pipelines) unless producers sign up for transportation. That means producers have to invest in exploration and development to prove they have the reserves necessary to fill the pipe. Once the pipeline company knows it has enough producers signed up it will file with the NEB for permission to build the pipeline. The NEB asks whether there are any objections to the pipeline and a COMPETITOR pipeline often files an objection to the pipeline, arguing there’s no need for the additional capacity (there certainly wouldn’t be a need if 6 pipelines are on the horizon).
      The whole issue of fossil fuels and peak oil is complex, climate change is impacting behavior and the boom years are gone. We’ll have a mini blip and that will be it. But Kenney in his wisdom agreed with CAPP’s position saying it’s what he’s been saying all along. So what’s the next step, is he going to call in the CEOs of all the pipeline companies and order them to start building pipelines?
      The stupidity of Kenney accepting this as prudent government policy with no consideration of its impact on everything from the environment to the price of housing is mind boggling.
      Here’s the link to the CAPP statement about its vision for Alberta:
      https://www.capp.ca/media/news-releases/the-alberta-government-urgently-needs-to-increase-competitiveness

      • Carlos Beca says:

        This is not the document I have – this one is a bit classier. I will send you mine which is from the press reader and it is scary to say the least.
        All these ‘requests’ in todays world and knowing what we know about climate and what is happening with our water and the tailing ponds ..etc. is to say the least IRRESPONSIBLE
        Of course Jason Kenney approved it. What else can he do – he is a lackey – he is a servant of the Oil Companies. Rachel Notley is a level ahead of him – she is spokesperson. Jason Kenney only understands one thing in life and unfortunately gets it wrong as well – MARKETS and MONEY – everything else is just appendixes of his world vision.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan this whole article I sent you is ridiculous and coming from CAPP just tells me why we have the circus we have in this province.
        6 Pipelines is amazing but doubling the industry growth rate to me is the keynote speaker of the whole show. Seriously? DOUBLE the growth rate?
        These people should be questioned right the day this was published. The government or anyone else for that matter did not make a sound. Nothing! As if Mom and Da made a decision and lets move!!!!!
        Where is the minister of the Environment? That known feisty activist? Where is the premier? Where is the minister of energy?
        We are profoundly in the pockets of the Oil Industry and Kevin Taft is absolutely spot on – we are indeed a deep state – except in a three piece suit so that we do not look Third Worldish. This is worse that the African countries, without the beatings and the bullets.

      • Carlos, I had a chance to look at the article you sent me. As you said it’s an overblown wish list, frankly I think it damages CAPP’s credibility as an organization. They want to see Keystone XL, Trans Mountain and Line 3 completed PLUS 3 more pipelines to tidewater, PLUS 4 LNG terminals, PLUS regulation processing time reduced by half (even though the work load to process 6 pipelines has doubled), PLUS a reduction of the cost of regulatory oversight reduced by $2 billion (so they won’t be hiring more people to process a doubled work load), PLUS “competitive royalties” (which Peter Tertzakian already said are competitive), PLUS lower corporate taxes (we’re already really low), PLUS “globally competitive carbon pricing” (which means what Trump’s pricing or Norway’s pricing?) PLUS PLUS PLUS.

        Assuming for a minute any of this makes sense what would Alberta get in return? Will there be an increase in GDP per capita? If so how much? Will there be unexpected consequences? If so what are they, how much will they cost and how will we mitigate them?

        This is like asking a room full of 5 year olds what they want for Christmas and then buying everything on the list; by the way this is exactly what Kenney said he’d do. So I guess we can conclude that Kenney does have one policy, namely when CAPP says jump, Kenney says how high. That’s not leadership, that’s a puppet.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        ‘So I guess we can conclude that Kenney does have one policy, namely when CAPP says jump, Kenney says how high. That’s not leadership, that’s a puppet.’

        Those are his marching orders and I never ever doubted he is a puppet. He has been all his career anyway. He is a loud mouth for the extreme right and now to the so called ‘populism’ which is nothing but a group of idiots that too over the asylum both on the left and the right. In the FACTS era they were called opportunist crooks.
        Hopefully the best of them in the US will go down without pushing the button. The good news is that if we survive this, the next American president will only have to be able to talk to become a HERO.

      • carlosbeca says:

        I just heard on the news that Sarah Sanders says the Donald Trump is the president because that is what GOD wanted.
        Hallelujah Sarah – now I understand why you are the White House Press Secretary – intelligence obviously pours out of you.

  8. Bill Malcolm says:

    As a Canadian with relatives living in the republic of Alberta, whose populace always seem to be Albertans first and nothing else second ( I have many examples from the last 50 years), I’m not impressed with Notley either.

    Kenney is a complete shyster, “forgetting” he wrote the last equalization formula under harper, but Notley is mean and vindictive to provincial neighbours and a control freak with her MLAs to boot. Power seems to suit her personal style and she revels in it. You just need to step outside your rat-patrol borders and constant navel-gazing to appreciate it ….

    The constant whining and caterwauling from all you entitlement freaks is getting to be a bit much after Sugar Daddy JT bought you a pipeline on our collective dime, and the lying TV commercials from Alberta we’re getting bombarded with here in the Maritimes are beyond the pale. Are you Canadians or not, that’s what I ask my Calgary kin , or existing on some special astral plane where no one else matters?

    Sorry to be so negative, but that’s the way I see it.

    • carlosbeca says:

      Bill I do not disagree with what you posted but I just want to clarify that the garbage about independence is only in the minds of half a dozen people – I have never heard anyone around me talking about independence. That is just Jason Kenney and his white nationalist friends stirring the Canadian Pot to show we are all mad around here.
      We are not mad at anyone other than the politicians that sell everything we have for nothing and then talk about their love for Canada. Their love is to their wallets and their greed, nothing else. Jason Kenney is not just a bad politician he is dangerous. Unfortunately we do not have means to do much as Albertans are more than willing to embrace this nonsense just to get more and more and more while sinking this province into a tailing pond and nothing left in the end. Every time we point to Norway for an example – they scream like ferocious Hyenas – COMMUNISTS – SOCIALISTS.
      This is a very sad situation – Alberta only needs one thing urgently – reach a reasonable literacy level.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Bill I forgot to make a comment about our Premier and I believe I should because again I am not sure where you get your information from. I do not see Rachel Notley as mean and vindictive at all. Internally with her colleagues I certainly do not know. She does not come across as a control freak.

    • Bill, I agree with you that Albertans are coming across as whiny babies. The economist Trevor Tombe just posted the GDP per capita numbers for each province and the USA using data from Stats Can and US sources. The data is presented in US dollars, adjusted for the exchange rate. In 2017 Alberta had the highest GDP per capita in Canada $US 60, (Ont $US 45, Que $US 39, Sask $US 53, BC $US 44, Maritimes $US34-36 except NFL which is $US 48) and yet Kenney has convinced many Albertans that they’re being victimized by the rest of Canada. It’s shameful.
      Rachel Notley used to have a more rationale tone vis-a-vis Trudeau but she’s become more aggressive in part because she has to convince Albertans she’s “fighting” for them. It’s politics, but it bothers me because it encourages people to lose sight of how good we have it here and how urgent it is to diversify our economy if we’re going to survive in the future.
      Please continue to challenge your Calgary kin on this point. We need all the help we can get to escape see through Kenney’s vicious propaganda.

  9. Lori Day says:

    Is the UCP Policy declaration not their policies? Do you know where to find the policies for the NDP online? I looked and can’t find that either.

    I’m sooooo lost. Hahaha

    Lori

    • Lori, you’ve got it exactly right, the UCP hosted a policy convention in May 2018 where party members considered hundreds of policy proposals including one that would out gay kids to their parents. After the convention Kenney he would have voted against this policy proposal (if that was the case he should have argued against it on the convention floor like McIver and other UCP MLAs did). He also said it was his job to sign off on anything that becomes party policy. He hasn’t signed off on anything yet so the UCP policy platform is in limbo.
      The NDP policies don’t appear in a single document on line. Where I’ve found them is in Hansard in the Throne speeches and as preambles to the legislation they’ve introduced, eg progressive taxation so everyone pays their fair share, the Climate Leadership Plan which implemented the carbon levy and the 100 megatonne emissions cap on oil sands, etc, borrowing to build roads, schools, hospitals.
      I’ll pull up some of these statements and post them soon.

  10. David says:

    Kenney’s ambiguous statements are like a rorschach test. I suppose his supporters can see what they like, for instance a 20% cut in government spending to match BC (which he now seems to be distancing himself from), road tolls (which he now seems to be distancing himself from) and more private health care (which he seems like he is preparing to distance himself from). Of course Kenney’s position has apparently also “evolved” on various other issues, such as the grassroots guarantee or gay marriage. He comes across as a politician that stands for certain things, but if you look closer I have to wonder if he stands for anything really, except gaining power to continue his long political career.

    We used to call this sort of thing flip flopping or opportunism, but I suppose it is much easier to change positions without having formal policy to constrain you. I have been wondering for some time just how long Kenney can keep up his policy free act. I suspect it will continue well into the election campaign. Stay tuned folks, but just don’t expect to hear anything concrete from Kenney anytime soon.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      ‘I have to wonder if he stands for anything really, except gaining power to continue his long political career’

      David that is my answer to the question ‘Who is Jason Kenney?’
      I could not agree more

    • David, I think you’re absolutely right in your prediction that Kenney is going to run a policy free campaign. Given that he’s prepared to offer a black hole where his policies should be, Notley is free to fill in the blanks anyway she likes. She should hold him to his 20% cut in government spending. If he says that’s a lie, then he can tell us what his “real” reduction number is and how that will reduce the deficit and balance the budget a year earlier than her plan. She should hold him to his tax cuts for the top 1% and if he says that’s not true then he can put his “real” position on the record. She can use anything he’s said in the media as a policy statement. For example he’s accepted CAPP’s vision for Alberta energy so he should explain what his government is going to do to get 6 pipelines and 4 LNG terminals built and what changes he will make to double the regulator’s workload while at the same time cutting the processing time in half and reducing processing costs by $2 billion.
      If Albertans elect Kenney based on his nothing-burger campaign then they’re as dense as the people in Ontario who fell for Ford’s “Buck a Beer” campaign.

      • Brent McFadyen says:

        All the people are dense except those that read this blog. By and large we get real truthful commentary here that is well researched and for that I am thankful. Sometimes Susan can be darn funny too and humor goes a long way with me.
        Cheers

  11. Bob Raynard says:

    One of the promises Jason Kenney has made is to appoint a minister in charge of regulation reduction, with instructions to reduce red tape by a third. I find this most disconcerting. By all means appoint someone to review the existing regulations with the idea of eliminating any that are redundant or obsolete, but to set a target is dangerous. People forget that at the time each regulation was written it was considered important enough to warrant its inclusion, so part of the regulation removal process really should include an explanation of why the regulation was originally written, and why it is no longer needed.

    The idea of requiring truckers spend their time maintaining log books must seem like the ultimate example of red tape; at least it probably did until (it now appears) failing to do so, and the accompanying fatigued driving, caused the Humboldt bus crash.

    • Bob, you’ve made an excellent point. People don’t understand that passing regulations is part of the law making process, and regulations are just as important as statutes and case law. Reviewing them for relevancy makes good sense. The NDP did this when they first came into office and discovered many statutes required the government to renew regulations annually in order to keep certain provisions in force. The government changed these regulations into evergreen regulations where possible, this resulted in significant savings in time and resources.
      Campaign promises to cut regulations by X% or pass a law requiring 2 regulations to be cut for every new one passed are ridiculous and can be easily circumvented by putting everything you’d normally put into a regulation into the statute itself. That would be an idiotic move but it would enable the party who made this promise to declare success at the end of its term in office.

  12. jerrymacgp says:

    As the next Alberta provincial election grows ever closer, we continue to see the incumbent NDP government under constant attack from openly partisan pro-Conservative media outlets, from the CBC to Postmedia. In fact, the Rachel Notley government has been unable to catch a break since it took office in May 2015. It was assailed as the “accidental government” right from the day after Election Day, and one of the principal conservative political objectives has been to make every possible effort, legal or not, to limit them to a one-term government.

    While it is true that vote-splitting between the then-incumbent Progressive Conservative Party and the more doctrinaire conservative Wildrose Party was indeed a factor in electing so many New Democrats, those right-wing politicos and pundits that bemoan this fact fail to consider a few essential points.

    First, this phenomenon is an inherent feature of the Single-Member Plurality voting system we still have, also known colloquially as “First Past the Post”. Indeed, it is likely that if we had had Proportional Representation in 2015, the makeup of the resulting Alberta Legislature would have looked very different. But conservatives, by & large, are among the most resistant to the idea of reforming our voting system, so they can’t turn around and criticize it when it operates as designed. And despite its popularity among democracies all over the world, voters in Canada have not embraced PR when they have been asked, at least not since the 1930s. They seem to value the one-to-one direct relationship between their electoral district and their elected MP or MLA, more than improving the correlation between the popular vote and the makeup of the Legislature or House of Commons. One potential solution to this might be to change from Single-Member Plurality, to Single-Member Majority, and hold run-off elections in those electoral districts where no candidate received a simple majority (>50%) of the votes cast. But the costs of such a system, and the delay in deciding the makeup of the Assembly that results from such phased elections, are objections that would be raised to moving to this system.

    Secondly, there is the reason why Wildrose was created in the first place. There had long been deep divisions within the conservative political spectrum, between moderate, so-called “Red Tories” and the hard fiscal right, sophisticated urban vs down-to-earth rural, and between secular social moderates and religious social conservatives. These divisions broke through after Ralph Klein’s retirement in 2006, when the PC leadership race led to the election of a middle-of-the-road conservative, Ed Stelmach, over the fiscal hawk Ted Morton and the darling of the Calgary business establishment, Jim Dinning. Wildrose emerged to become the party of extreme deregulation and privatization of public services, even greater pandering to the oilpatch than that pursued by King Ralph, and intolerance of diverse lifestyles and cultures. Even when its own strategy-focused leader, Danielle Smith, seeking to make the party more attractive to urban voters, tried to get the Wildrose Party to step back from its more intolerant positions on LGBTQ2S+ rights, the party rank & file pushed back and rejected her efforts; this was probably a driving force behind the infamous floor-crossing in the fall of 2014.

    The PC-Wildrose merger that created the new United Conservative Party, led by the Machiavellian Jason Kenney, has simply papered over those divisions in a naked lust for power. Just as we have seen in B.C. before the most recent provincial election, and in Saskatchewan, there seems to be a marshalling of right-leaning forces into a single entity focused on “holding back the Socialist hordes”, as though the ultra-moderate Notley-led Alberta NDP were truly socialist in its outlook. But make no mistake: whether the UCP wins the next election, or it doesn’t, those divisions remain, and are bound to re-emerge: sooner—if they lose—or later, if they win.

  13. Dwayne says:

    Susan: If you have the time, you should look at a video on YouTube.
    Has Trudeau Destroyed Canada’s Resource Future? – Rex Murphy.
    Cambridge House International Inc.
    It is a very recent video and is really something. The comments on it are really farfetched, in my mind. It is not surprising how certain people think. Jason Kenney would love to bash Justin Trudeau on the pipeline issues and the oil sector.
    There was another recent video on YouTube, from the National Post.
    Doug Ford Just Made Universities A Lot Less Far Left.
    The comments on this video are also way off base. It would be sad to see Jason Kenney in power. He’d be someone similar to Doug Ford, which is scary.

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