Kenny Controls the Narrative, Why is this a Surprise?

We’ve been so focused on Jason Kenney’s public rhetoric that we didn’t see him transform the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose MLAs into a bunch of hush puppies ready to recite whatever speaking notes he gives them.

The transformation took less than two years.  This probably says more about the integrity of these MLAs than the persuasive skills of their leader.

But it’s all there in Hansard.

The record

Members’ Statements are part of the daily business of the House.  They come after Question Period and give Opposition MLAs a chance to make speeches attacking the government or highlighting an issue in their constituency.  Government MLAs use Members’ Statements to support government policies and criticize the Opposition.

A review of the Members’ Statements* made by PC and WR MLAs reflects how Mr Kenney shifted the narrative when he took over the PCs, merged them with WR and transformed them into something completely unrecognizable.

It’s like reading someone’s diary as they pass through three of the five stages of death: denial, bargaining, and acceptance.  Some conservative MLAs may have experienced anger and depression as well but likely chose not to share their pain in public.    

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Mr Kenney controls the narrative

A self-respecting Lougheed conservative would bailed at stage one but many ambitious conservatives rode the wave all the way to stage five.

Before Kenney

Before Mr Kenney dropped into the Alberta political scene the narrative of Brian Jean’s WR and Ric McIver’s PCs was the battle of the grass roots vs the centralized elite.

The WR said the PCs had no one but themselves to blame for their downfall, citing the PC’s belief in command-and-control centralized thinking—right down to deciding who would be allowed to run for the party and where.  The WR said unlike the PCs they were a member-driven party where the ideas of the grassroots mattered more than the elite.

The PCs responded that one loss in 44 years wasn’t the end of the party and they were the only party with a solid fiscal policy and a caring social policy.  They said they were elected to give their constituents a voice and ensure their concerns were heard “loud and clear by the government.”

Members’ Statements reflected this narrative as the WR and PCs berated the government for the carbon tax, its energy policies, and the growing deficit while at the same time demanding the government increase spending in their own ridings for more schools, hospitals, long term care facilities and police.

After Kenney       

Equalization

A week after Mr Kenney became the leader of the PC party but before the two parties merged, a WR MLA (Drew Barnes) added a new thread to the conservative narrative:  not only was Alberta stuck with a carbon tax, it was paying “obscene equalization payments” to Ontario and Quebec.  The equalization rip-off narrative was new and jacked the conservative fight up to the federal level.

Previously the PCs and WR used the feds to undermine the Notley government at home, claiming Notley was in cahoots with Trudeau and the two of them secretly wanted to kill the energy industry, or that Trudeau had duped Notley into believing her carbon levy to buy the NDP social license.

Now they argued Alberta was being “beaten up by the BC NDP, the Trudeau Liberals and the Mayor of Montreal.”  The entire country was against us, what ingrates!

Trudeau

Members’ Statements that once focused on the NDP’s failure to address local issues turned into personal attacks on Justin Trudeau.

Mr Yao who had previously used Members’ Statements to push for more seniors housing in Fort McMurray and praise social workers and ambulance drivers said the only thing the federal government was good for was grooming tips.

Mr Panda who discussed everything from the Calgary Veterans Food Bank, emergency dispatch, unemployment, the importance of being a friend to First Nations, and the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline railed on about the negative impact Trudeau’s “disastrous trip” to India had on Canada-India relations.

Attacks on NDP policies included a Trudeau element whether they were criticisms of the Notley government’s plan to conserve caribou habitats or the need for stable funding for agricultural societies.

Conspiracy theories and muddled jurisdiction   

It wasn’t long before the UCP MLAs uncovered a conspiracy to kill the energy industry.

Mr Panda alleged that environmentalists who were preventing Alberta from developing its “God-given natural resources” were hysterical ideologues bankrolled by their American sugar daddies.

Mr Yao praised a “good Canadian patriot” (who Mr Kenney identified in speeches as Vivian Krause) for releasing information purporting to show Canada was being attacked by US groups funding environmentalists in order to protect the American energy industry, not the environment.

The fact the we live in a province within a federation and are subject to the division of powers set out in the Constitution Act soon became irrelevant.

Mr McIver ignored the distinction between provincial and federal jurisdiction and blamed the Notley government for allowing Northern Gateway and Energy East to be cancelled “under the NDP’s watch”.  This makes as much sense as saying the pipelines were cancelled under the Pope’s watch because federal pipelines do not fall under provincial or papal jurisdiction.

Dear leader  

Jason Kenney entered the Legislature in March 2018 as the Leader of the Official Opposition.  The number of wacko Members’ Statements increased dramatically.

UCP MLAs squandered their air time with odes to their dear leader.  Mr Barnes made a golly-gee speech about “a guy in a blue pickup” who came to town to talk about uniting common-sense and free-market Albertans, and guess what, average Albertans listened.  Mr Stier described Mr Kenney as a “humble conservative statesman” committed to servant leadership.  Mr McIver praised Mr Kenney’s “wise counsel” which was freely given even when the NDP rejected it because “that is the true mark of a leader.”

Some UCP MLAs (literally) took a page out of Mr Kenney’s speaking notes.  Ms Pitt urged Albertans to heed “notable Canadians” like Rex Murphy (a newspaper columnist) and Vivian Krause (a conspiracy theorist) who want us to stop being a “soft target” and “fight back against foreign meddling with our energy industry”.

Ms Pitt came in handy when former UCP MLA Mr Fildebrandt denounced the UCP after Mr Kenney refused to let him rejoin the party for failing to disclose wildlife charges (he’d shot a deer on private property).  Ms Pitt, who usually talks about mental health initiatives and food banks in Airdrie and underfunded schools in Rockyview, told the Assembly that certain rules applied in hunting season and it was unacceptable not to know you needed permission to hunt on private land.

She also propped up Mr Kenney’s reputation when necessary, assuring the Assembly that Rona Ambrose knew Mr Kenney well and “is confident he supports women” and “makes decisions on merit not tokenism.”

What happened?

Ironically, the only topic not mentioned in any UCP Members’ Statements is their unwavering belief in the grassroots guarantee.  Notwithstanding the WR’s conviction that it was a grassroots members-driven party, the only WR MLA to mention the grassroots after Mr Kenney took the helm was Mr Fildebrandt who said he’d been barred from running in his own riding because of “affirmative action gender quotas”, he’d kept quiet and did what he was told and allowed “scheming backroom operators to dictate [his] behavior as they are now dictating others”.

Mr Fildebrandt said, “Unity was conditional on the grassroots guarantee.  What happened?”

What happened dear boy was this:  The grassroots guarantee served its purpose.   It convinced the WR to merge with the PCs into the UCP.  The UCP is a command-and-control-top-down-driven party and its leader tossed the grassroots guarantee into the graveyard of spent political slogans.

The PCs and the WR were duped by Mr Kenney’s narrative.  They can accept this and fall into line or they can do what any self respecting Lougheed conservative would do—get out.

*All references to the PC, WR and UCP narratives come from the MLAs’ Members’ Statements as recorded in Hansard from June 2015 to Dec 2018.

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35 Responses to Kenny Controls the Narrative, Why is this a Surprise?

  1. RJ Pisko says:

    Kenney is a smarmy, cheating, lying worm – Harper’s shill, hands wide open to corporate bribery . . .

    • RJ I’ve been told many times that polling results show that even though the UCP is polling higher than the NDP, when asked which leader do you prefer, more people pick Notley than Kenney (even UCP supporters). There’s a reason for that. Notley comes across as trusted leader whereas Kenney comes across exactly as you’ve described him. The fact that people would still vote for the UCP with him as their leader says a lot about them, doesn’t it.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. There is a sharp contrast between the Alberta PCs, of the Peter Lougheed era, to any Conservative governments in Alberta, that came after. Peter Lougheed was a centrist, a visionary, and someone who planned ahead, and without federal government bashing. Any other Conservative government that came after, was the exact opposite. No vision, no ability to plan for the future, wasting epic amounts of money on the most costliest scandals, letting corporations get a free ride, failing to upkeep or maintain anything, and bashing the federal government. The Alberta PCs, after Peter Lougheed was not the premier, the Wildrose and the UCP, are all cut from the same cloth. If Peter Lougheed were around today, I think he would be very upset with the UCP. They have no vision, no tangible solutions, and only blame shift. Sadly, the media, like Postmedia, is blind to this, as are many letter writers to their newspapers. Hopefully, sanity will prevail and people will see what the UCP for who they really are.

    • David, I agree with your take on Peter Lougheed. It’s a shame today’s PCs didn’t follow Lougheed’s example after they were clobbered in the last election. It’s ironic that the PCs said one loss in 44 years didn’t mean the party was dead and then went ahead and killed it themselves by letting Kenney run for the leadership on the merger platform.
      When Lougheed led the party in the the 1967 election they got 6 out of 47 candidates elected (9.2% of the seats). This is similar to the results of the 2015 election when the PCs got 9 out of 87 candidates elected (10.3% of the seats). Lougheed built on that tiny base to sweep into the 1971 election and won 49 out of 75 seats (65.3%). The present day PCs weren’t prepared to do the work to rebuild the party. Instead they threw their scruples and the party into the trash heap and elected Kenney to be their leader and merge them with the WR who it turns out have even fewer scruples than the PCs because the WR is now supporting the man who played bait and switch–he replaced the grassroots guarantee with a top-down-command-and-control party structure–because they think they will win. In the end power trumps everything, at least for conservative politicians.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: For some reason there are glitches with me being able to comment on your blog. Don’t know why. I tried reposting, and it did not work so well. Can you remove my second post? Thanks.

  4. Morbeau says:

    Just wait till the UCP is in power, they’re going to blame the federal Liberals for anything that doesn’t go their way, and pull all strings they can to inflate Andrew Scheer into leadership material.

    • Bill Malcolm says:

      That’ll be difficult. He stumbles just reading his notes in front of reporters.

    • Morbeau, they’ll also claim the NDP left things in such a mess they can’t move ahead as quickly as they planned to fix the economy (actually they’ll be waiting for the next oil boom). Of course this ignores the fact that the NDP have spent the last 4 years trying to dig out from under Klein’s austerity policies which left healthcare, education, and infrastructure in a mess.
      With respect to Scheer, I think Kenney will try to give the appearance of supporting Scheer but will let Scheer flounder so that Kenney can pick up the CPC leadership when he thinks the time is right. Kenney is lucky that the provincial election cycle and the federal election cycle track each other pretty closely, I predict he’ll jump out of the next provincial election into the federal election if he thinks he can win the CPC leadership.
      Bill and Carlos: I agree with your take on Scheer. He’s got a lot of work to do before he becomes “leadership” material.

  5. James Hunchuk says:

    wonderful blog

  6. ed henderson says:

    Quote from above…””We’ve been so focused on Jason Kenney’s public rhetoric that we didn’t see him transform the Progressive Conservatives and Wildrose MLAs into a bunch of hush puppies ready to recite whatever speaking notes he gives them.””

    Thanks for clarifying the reason for those MLA’s in Alberta who have announced their decision to not run in the upcoming Alberta Provincial election. You did explain that didn’t you Susan? I’m sure you did didn’t you? What was the reason they all gave??? Was it their inability to cope with all the freedom they have to express their own opinion and beliefs they have as members of the political party they ran for?
    I must have missed hearing about all the non NDP MLA’s who have been screaming about their lack of freedom to speak out about party issues important to their constituents.
    Hush Puppies??? Hush Puppies??? The phrase “Hush Puppies” appears to be a phrase captured by the Alberta NDP to control their members.
    I will grant you that all political parties do control their members, lock stock and barrel or it’s out the door. But it appears the Alberta NDP are the only ones who are suffering resignations of their elected members because their members feel too controlled.
    As for your comments regarding Mr Yao. Mr Yao represents a riding where the Alberta Gvt had installed and established reasonably good protective measures to help control devastating forest fires which that part of Alberta was and is susceptible to. Then the new NDP gvt came in and yanked a good portion of those protective measures out just months before approximately half of Ft McMurray was burned down because of an out of control forest fire. It’s a pretty good bet that there would not have been as much damage if that equipment had not been yanked.

    No!!! I am not a supporter of Jason Kenny and his political party. In the upcoming election I will attempt to make a well informed decision about which candidate I will vote for and I can tell you right now that my opinion of my current NDP MLA is that he a useless yes man. I am praying that there will be someone better than him running for election in my riding.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      I agree that the lack of freedom is all parties and not just the UCP. Democracy is something we still aspire to but no one is interested in taking any steps whatsoever to encourage it. I have been waiting for 40 years. The real issue is that our system is completely broken and no party is interested in fixing it because it serves them well. They continue the propaganda that we need to understand why people are so uninterested in it. Just ask real people and they will tell you right away. There is no need for more studies and more propaganda. The reason is that the system does not work for us. It works very well for the people on top, the super wealthy and corporations because they have full control. Until we realize and accept this does not work we will continue our slow move to nothing. I agree with Ed that the NDP suffers exactly the same problem and that many of its members that are leaving realize that they not only do not matter at all but the NDP is actually right of the Conservative government of Peter Lougheed. It almost feels to me that Rachel Notley became a social democrat just because her dad was one.
      Summarizing, none of them has the guts to become once and for all independent of the oil companies. Jason Kenney is the oil companies so he wins. With or without facts, he controls the narrative because he knows very well that what counts is the oil industry support. Allowing them to do whatever they very well want is the secret.
      Rachel Notley had the one in a million chance to change that narrative or at least try, but she failed in my opinion. If anything she showed us that no one in this province is on our side. The Alberta party is more if the same with a different logo.
      This is where I do not agree with the moderate theory. Only radicals would be able to change this situation.

      • Carlos, I read an interesting letter to the editor in the Globe the other day which was a response to an op-ed attacking the Democrats for entertaining the idea of social democracy. The letter writer said as people become more aware of the stunning inequity between the super rich and everyone else, the world will become more socialist and there’s no point in fighting it. There may be some truth to this. Fortune magazine reported that 76% of Americans want the wealthy to pay higher taxes. Ridiculously rich people like the CEO of JP MorganChase are on record saying they’re prepared to pay higher taxes (well, it’s about time) . Obviously tax increases alone won’t change society but the mere fact people are willing to consider it says we’re moving away from Harper’s stated belief that all taxes are bad, period.
        I’m interested in your last sentence where you say only radicals would be able to change this situation. I don’t know what that would look like, would radicals stand for election? If so would they have the support of the people? Or are you thinking of a different way of going about it? I ask these questions with all due respect because I’ve heard others say the same thing and I’m never sure what this would involve.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan I understand that the word radical has some negative connotations but when you look at history, most of the more important social / economic changes have been done by radicals. Martin Luther King was a radical to me, Rosa Parks was a radical to me, Lois Riel was a radical to me. The whole Green movement was created by radicals. When any system refuses to move to a fairer and more just standard then people go into a long period of dissatisfaction until more and more people get tired of it and move to accept a more radical attitude. I believe that we are getting to that level. More and more people are giving up voting because it does not make any difference. Moderates have not been able to change anything that will improve our lives and our democracy, they have been implementing whatever the people that own the parties want them to do. They are too comfortable to act. They promise the world to get in power and then they let it all die and stay in power maintaining what is in their interest.
        Real change seems to only happen when radicals force it either peacefully like Ghandi in India or by force like Fidel Castro in Cuba.
        I honestly believe that our system is so deep in the pockets of powerful interests that it will be impossible to change in the current environment. It will take significant courage to confront these interests and change the rules to stop their influence.
        A person with that kind of courage is a radical to me. Churchill was a radical to me.
        I hope I was able to explain my view of what I mean by radicals. By the way I fully accept civil disobedience if it is necessary and ,any times it is.

        By the way I see that Cenovus are publishing that they lost 1.3 billion in the last quarter – I wished they would publish when they are making money as well other than this attitude of preparing us to allow the premier to lower their taxes and royalties.

      • Thanks Carlos, I have a better understanding of what you mean when you say it’s time for a “radical” solution. I like the examples you’ve given of radicals who’ve made a major impact on the existing social order. Another name to add to your list is Franklin D Roosevelt. In his New Deal speech he pointed out that the US experienced tremendous growth after WW1 but the benefit went to corporations, banks and Wall Street. When the speculative bubble burst it was the ordinary citizens who got hurt. FDR made an important observation, He said, “There are two ways of viewing the Government’s duty in matters affecting economic and social life. The first sees to it that a favored few are helped and hopes that some of their prosperity will leak through, sift through, to labor, to the farmer, to the small business man. That theory belongs to the party of Toryism, and I had hoped that most of the Tories left this country in 1776.” The second way is for government to intervene with programs that help the “greatest number of citizens”.
        I don’t know how many times we have to be told that “trickle down economics” does NOT work, but one would hope that Albertans will figure this out before we elect a UCP government that will implement another round of tax breaks for the rich and austerity cuts for everyone else.

      • carlosbeca says:

        LOL 🙂
        Yes I agree – IT IS ABOUT TIME
        Here is a radical thought LOL – If one of them is caught with money outside that did not pay taxes – they should loose it. Then they would learn really fast. This slap on the hand and ignoring it is scandalous to me. Regular citizens have no breaks.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan I am very pleased that I was able to explain my concept of radical. I was very concerned that with my weak language skills I would create more confusion than understanding.
        Radical has very negative connotations but it is the correct word to me because this kind of change, that we need at many different levels is crucial if we are to survive as a civilized society.

        You got right on – I am glad I did not remember Franklin D. Roosevelt because you using him as an example tells me that you understand what I mean.
        That kind of courage to change a system profoundly is to me radical and that is what we need right now. I do not believe that small changes here and there are going to take us out of this mess. We need a total new approach. We certainly need a paradigm shift.
        We have been damaging the current system for the benefit of half a dozen people for a long time. They know they can keep full control if we continue this morose of – elect the Liberals and nothing changes – elect the Conservatives and they make it worse – elect the NDP and they have no power to change anything and on and on. We have been doing this for decades and I believe this cycle will end badly if we do not radically change it. This wave of dissatisfaction, false populism ..etc are the symptoms and they will get worse because as a whole our current system not only creates tremendously inequality but is unsustainable. It is not an accident that climate change is happening at the same time as the current version of capitalism is hitting the wall. 40 years ago they blamed the welfare state but the fact of the matter is that the only reason why capitalism survived is because of the investment the state has made on people.
        That is my honest belief.
        Thank you for taking the time to understand it and allowing me to explain it.
        It is great to be able to have open discussions that as far as I know only happen here on your blog. I wonder if this is the only place where Albertans have a chance of discussing their concerns. I have visited a couple more blogs but they all just people telling us what is happening or their own opinion. There is no discussion. It just tells you how much we care for our own social / political education and our democracy – no wonder we are sinking.
        I apologize for having sent something like 5 or more posts but I am enjoying it.

    • Ed I think everyone should follow your approach and make a well informed decision about who they want to vote for, but I don’t think the number of NDP MLAs who are not running is indicative of anything in particular. Of the 9 NDP MLAs who aren’t running at least three (including Brian Mason) are getting old and retiring. Others like Stephanie McLean have moved out of the province and others didn’t expect to be elected in the first place.
      I think the number of floor crossers and expulsions is a better indication of whether an MLA no longer sees eye to eye with his/her leader. The UCP lost 3 members when Kenney was elected leader (Jansen, Fraser, Starke), 2 more who say they were pushed out by Kenney (Gill, Fildebrandt) and one more when Strankman quit to sit as an independent. The NDP lost 1 (Karen McPherson) who joined the AP and another (Robyn Luff) was ousted. It’s hard to say what’s really behind all of these decisions but the end result of these floor crossings and expulsions is the UCP dropped by 23% and the NDP by about 4%. But numbers are funny–as a result of the floor crossings the Alberta Party grew by 66% (they went from one to three MLAs).
      You’re right there was a lot of discussion about whether the NDP government had mishandled the fire fighting effort at Fort Mac. KPMG did an independent audit. It did not assign blame, but rather made a number of recommendations including the suggestion the government should revisit the interplay between legislation governing Emergency Management, Public Health, OH&S, and Environmental Protection and Enhancement. It looks like there’s a need for greater clarity of roles and responsibilities in an emergency situation. I couldn’t get the link to stick in this comment but the name of the report is 2016 Wood Buffalo Wildfire Post Incident Assessment Report.

  7. papajaxn says:

    Just began to read a recent book “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

    In the book they describe the 4 key indicators of Authoritarian Behavior. When I read them my blood turned very cold. Father Kenny who is going to save the motherland or is it Mother Kenny who wants to save the Father Land of the past seems to have the 4 indicators going for him. It is reasonably cheap ebook. Retaining our democracy may be harder than first thought. More discussion and conversation in communities, churches, coffee shops – and where ever to recover democracy from the demago(d)s currently raising Hades across Canada and other countries.

    • Thanks for the reference Papajaxn. The description of Father Kenney saving the motherland or Mother Kenney saving the fatherland rings true. Such leaders suffer from a weird kind of blindness…they are convinced they’re the only ones with the right answer so whatever they say or do is okay because it serves the cause. There’s a clip circulating on the internet right now of a speech given by a young Jason Kenney in which he criticizes WASPs who go to developing countries to “liberate” them from their Catholic and Islamic faiths by giving them access to birth control and abortions. He thinks this is bad because it’s not respectful of their cultures. If he’s sincere about being respectful of another country’s culture, he should also condemn the Catholic missionaries who “liberated” people living in these countries from their own religious beliefs. The man is a hypocrite.
      Please know this is not a knock against missionaries. It’s simply an illustration of how Kenney will trot out “respect for local cultures” if it serves his purpose, but completely ignore the concept, if it doesn’t.

      • carlosbeca says:

        I am sorry but not just an hypocrite he is an idiot – in the majority of cases the interference of missionaries has been criminal. In the 1970s the Vatican knew of the sexual slavery going on in Africa with Catholic missions – it was a joke that the greatest number of mixed colour children in the continent was around missions. I wished they had given them birth control instead of their so deep devotion to whatever God these people believe in. This is the same church that criticizes atheists.

  8. lhaukmee says:

    Hmmmm….”foreign meddling” is something to fight against for sure….where is your donor list Jason? And there is PLENTY of foreign $ meddling in their favorite “sources”…we see you Rebel “Media” & Fraser Inst.

  9. jerrymacgp says:

    As I’ve pointed out in the past, it was deep divisions within Alberta conservatism that led to the spin-off of Wildrose from formerly longtime PC adherents, and all the UCP merger has done is paper over those divisions in a naked lust for power. It’s also about the many disparate brands and flavours of right-wing politics banding together to ward off the “socialist hordes”—a phenomenon we had previously seen in BC and Saskatchewan—despite the fact that the Notley-led NDP is far from socialist.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the so-called “United” Conservatives after the next election, win or lose. My guess is that if they win a majority, they will keep it together for one more election cycle, but then start to fall apart again; if they lose, or if the next election leads to a hung Assembly & a minority government, the finger-pointing and recriminations will start much sooner.

    • Jerry, I’ve been so focused on the here and now I hadn’t given much thought to what happens after the election, but you’re absolutely right, the rancor between these two parties was palpable in their members’ statements before Kenney showed up. The WR repeatedly described themselves as grassroots, not elitist ivory tower types. The PCs argued that they, unlike the WR, had good fiscal policies and caring, compassionate social policies. They tried to pretend they were Lougheed conservatives with the same dignified demeanor. At one point Ric McIver gave a members’ statement scolding the WR for refusing to stand and applaud when former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne was introduced to the House. McIver said government had to build bridges with other jurisdictions even with those with whom they disagreed. This desire to “build bridges” went right out the window after the PCs and WR merged. Soon members’ statements from former PCs matched those of the former WR MLAs–they were all about fight, fight, fight and sneer, sneer, sneer. It was as if they were vying to see who could be the most obnoxious and win Kenney’s praise (and hopefully a cabinet post if the UCP wins in the spring).

  10. J.E. Molnar says:

    The ongoing UCP rebranding efforts — or as I like to call it, government by schadenfreude — under Jason Kenney continued unabated the past two years — much of it on the dark side.

    In addition to the Members’ Statements mentioned by Ms Soapbox, the recent spate of UCP bozo eruptions in the legislature was on scale with the Wildrose Party’s ‘Lake of Fire’ debacle from 2012. Some of the more memorable and loathsome ones stand out and underpins the type of conservative representation the UCP will serve up to Albertans once again for occupancy in the legislature in 2019. I did not make these up — you just can’t make this stuff up (content available through Hansard):

    1) weed (marijuana) will lead to a Communist revolution;
    2) unions destroy democracy;
    3) socialist countries eat dog meat;
    4) Pinochet’s murderous Chilean regime was a “success story”;
    5) Calgary’s new cancer centre is going to be a “fancy box”;
    6) The revelation of Jason Nixon’s past firing of a female employee at Christmas over sexual harassment, while arguing against the need for Alberta to put workplace harassment policies in place.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Molnar these do not surprise me at all but here is what is probably a surprise to you –
      Many Albertans do believe in most of those. They are bozo eruptions to some of us but not all by any means. That is why the UCP has the support they do. The problem is that we have not educated our citizens to sustain a healthy democracy and we will be governed by what the majority believes. Including the flat earths believers, the earth was created in 7 days believers and many others. We as a society have the responsibility to educate people but we chose to only worry about the economy for 3 decades. The results are obvious, propaganda of any standard wins as long as people are ready to believe anything regardless – facts are a creation of the elites, they simple do not matter and reality is on the eye of the beholder.
      I do not blame them, I blame all of us for not caring at all to sustain and improve our democratic system. We are not alone. Democracy is in crisis because of our total neglect. The crisis continues full speed despite the obvious. No one in Canada, as far as I know is fighting enough for its recovery. It feels as if people are actually craving to try dictatorships instead of improving our pseudo democracies that brought us to where we are. Simply it does not work. We have to make it a democracy and not just a pretend one.

    • J.E. thanks for this excellent list. As you said, you can’t make this stuff up, it’s all there in the record.
      I would love to see some real reporting done on the concerns raised by former UCP member Rick Strankman who said he was going to sit as an independent because it had become “increasingly clear” to him that the UCP “is not including the grassroots principles of strong conservative Alberta values.”
      What I really want to know is why more former WR members aren’t equally concerned. Strankman is a folk hero. He was pardoned by Harper after being convicted and jailed for taking wheat across the border in violation of the Customs Act. You’d think hard core WRers would pay attention when Strankman raises the alarm and says Albertans’ best interests are secondary to “unwritten party interests.” Or maybe this is a mini version of what happened in the US with Trump, his supporters forgave him all sorts of sins because he was going to make America great again. Sad.

  11. Duane Dawson says:

    Interesting! the point Susan raises in her article is the very same point I raised when Brian Jean was in Canmore. I asked how a grassroots driven party like the Wildrose Party could accept a topdown individual like Jason Kenny as their leader. I didn’t get an answer, so I will provide one. It is the same reason Christian evangelists support Trump, “The opportunity to enact their far right policies is more important than the principles they must jettison.”

    • Duane your explanation rings true…the Wilberforce Project, an Alberta pro-life group, and RightNow, a federal pro-life group, are pushing hard to get pro-life candidates nominated and elected in the UCP. RightNow says the best way to “change the status quo on abortion in Canada” is to elect as many UCP candidates as possible. This is interesting because the provincial government can’t re-criminalize abortions, only the federal government has the jurisdiction to do that. However the provincial government can drastically reduce access to abortion by cutting funding for abortions under the guise of trimming the healthcare budget. The end result would be people with money will still be able to get abortions by paying for them in private clinics, but people without money won’t. What I can’t figure out is the logic–why do pro-life groups think this result will encourage the federal government to make abortions illegal again?

    • Carlos, I find the Cenovus CEO’s comment extremely naive. He’s jumped on the bandwagon that says Kenney should be Alberta’s premier because he’ll be tougher on Trudeau than Notley has been. What do they expect Kenney to do that Notley hasn’t already done, tackle Trudeau and pummel him on camera to show how “tough” he is? What makes Cenovus’ comment even more ridiculous is the CEO came from Trans Canada. He of all people should understand how the pipeline approval process works, and let me tell you, the “he who screams loudest wins” strategy has absolutely no impact on the process.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Yes this is extremely naïve but there is a Federal election coming up and if Andrew Sheers wins, which is not that unlikely, they would be ready to the pathway to anything they want at the federal level. Andrew Sheers is a little better than Jason Kenney only because he has 5 children that keep him closer to reality.

        These statements from CAPP and the CEOs just make me even more disgusted with Oil industry in general. I always allowed some understanding of the industry because of course it matters to the province and we should withdraw from it with time and minimize the consequences for those Albertans that depend on it, but lately the garbage coming out is making me more sympathetic with anti oil industry. These people do not care about anything other than take our oil and run. They seem to be completely oblivious of reality and their responsibilities as citizens and human beings. It is disgusting the way they behave as if they are in some jungle of a banana republic where they bribe everyone and everything. Maybe they are right and our three piece suits politicians are actually as bad as the ones in those places. If I ever find that to be true I will step up from radical to extreme activist. To defend our rights as citizens and the integrity of our province I can easily jump the category. I am tired of corruption and propaganda.

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