About Those Ear Plugs…

Sigh.  I expected to spend the next four years writing letters to my MLA, Doug Schweitzer, but I didn’t think the first one would be about ear plugs.

But we play the cards we’re dealt so here goes. 

Dear Hon. Doug Schweitzer, Justice Minister and Solicitor General,

I’m a lawyer with 26 years of experience in the energy sector, including over a decade as General Counsel, VP Law.  I’m also one of your constituents here in Calgary-Elbow.  I’m writing to express my concern over what appears to be confusion on your part about your responsibilities as Justice Minister & Solicitor General.

Let’s start with first principles (government must operate democratically, transparently and with respect for all Albertans, not just those who voted UCP) and work our way down to the petty details (ear plugs).

As Justice Minister you’re the legal advisor to Cabinet responsible for the administration of justice for all the policy areas within provincial jurisdiction.  As Solicitor General you are Alberta’s chief legal officer, responsible for conducting all litigation and upholding the Alberta Bill of Rights, the rule of law, etc.

Over the last week the UCP government engaged in conduct that you as Justice Minister & Solicitor General should have prevented. 

Doug Schweitzer Justice Minister & Solicitor General

Which brings me to civility…and ear plugs.

Civility   

Mr Kenney addressed the subject of civil discourse his victory speech when he said it was his hope that he and Ms Notley would not allow their disagreements to “diminish our respect for one another as Albertans who are devoted to making life better for our fellow citizens…it is my hope that we can work together to stop the coarsening of our public discourse.  To raise the bar of civility and respect.  And while we will always have disagreements, as we should in a democracy, let us seek to express them without being disagreeable.” 

Such fine words, so little staying power. 

Under your watch as Justice Minister and legal advisor to Cabinet, the gong show otherwise known as the First Session of the 30th Legislature sank into snarkiness with Mr Kenney railing against “NDP-affiliated union bosses” and implying they’re aligned with “Socialist International” and belittling academics who supported the NDP’s carbon tax as guys who “prance around” (prance?). 

When churlish words failed him, Mr Kenney distributed ear plugs to his MLAs so they wouldn’t have to listen to the NDP Opposition speaking out against the UCP’s Bill 9 which will delay arbitration talks with public sector employees who gave up wage hikes in return for a promise that such talks would take place now. 

Mr Kenney issued a media release describing the stunt as a “light-hearted attempt to boost Government Caucus morale after being forced to listen to the NDP’s insults…”  

As we both know from our work in the private sector, when a publicly traded corporation issues a media release it is obligated by securities laws to ensure the release does not include any material misrepresentations or omissions.  I had hoped that given Mr Kenney’s deep respect for the private sector, you would have applied the same high standard to government media releases. 

I was wrong.

So, I ask you as the government’s top lawyer trained in the securities laws relating to media releases, which part boosted the UCP government’s morale? The government’s decision to pull the rug out from under public sector employees who agreed in good faith to delay wage talks?  The government’s lack of respect for the sanctity of contract and collective bargaining rights?  The government’s decision to ridicule the democratic process of law-making by blocking their ears?          

Would you care to comment on Mr Kenney’s second explanation, that he was playing Florence Nightingale and wanted to ease a caucus member’s tinnitus?

I understand that someone who’s never worked in private sector may not understand the seriousness of his comments, but you’re a lawyer with extensive legal experience in restructuring and bankruptcy.  Your Cabinet page says your legal experience makes you “uniquely positioned to get to work on day one and deliver results for Albertans.”   

As a lawyer you have a duty that others do not.

A Lawyer’s Duty

The Law Society Code of Conduct says lawyers have a duty to “observe the highest standards of conduct on both a personal and professional level so as to retain the trust, respect and confidence of colleagues and members of the public” and this duty applies to all lawyers including those in public office. 

This duty is put in a broader context by Timothy Snyder in his book On Tyranny which sets out 20 ways to avoid sliding into tyranny.  One is to defend our institutions, including the institution of respectful debate in the Legislature, the other is to stay true to our professional ethics when political leaders set a bad example. 

It won’t be easy Mr Schweitzer, but you weren’t elected to be Mr Kenney’s sycophant, you were elected to represent your constituents in Calgary-Elbow.  When Mr Kenney put you into Cabinet as Alberta’s Justice Minister and Solicitor General, he made you responsible for the administration of justice for four million Albertans. 

Please don’t let us down. 

Sincerely,

Susan Wright

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82 Responses to About Those Ear Plugs…

  1. Peter Usher says:

    Are you expecting a reply or will esteemed Minister be wearing very dark glasses to supplement his ear plugs?

    • Peter, you made me smile.
      I sent the letter to his official government email address and someone on Twitter tagged him with it so I’ll let you know. If he doesn’t respond “in due course” I’ll pop into his constituency office when he’s back in town. .

  2. marwillar says:

    Bravo. Sharing this.

  3. LTanaka says:

    Wow, Susan for the next Premier. That is all we ask – democracy in our legislature.

    • Thank you LTanaka! I’d be happy with Rachel Notley as premier in 2023. She’ll certainly have her work cut out for her. Contrary to what Kenney says the economy will not be humming (it will take at least two years to build TMX assuming there are no more appeals), public services will be gutted, our teachers and nurses will have moved out of province just like they did during the Klein era, and anyone who has the money will retire to BC because they prefer the climate and don’t care if they have to pay a carbon tax to enjoy it.

      • Valerie Jobson says:

        I’m not sure BC is a good place to retire anymore with the annual smoke season.

      • Valerie: good point. A few years ago I helped my daughter move back to Calgary from Victoria, we were constantly checking the government forest fire website to see which highways were closed and which were open. It got so bad in the interior of BC that we could smell the smoke inside our hotel room when we stopped for the night. Sadly I think this is our new reality.

  4. Douglas says:

    Brilliant comment to the “wanna-be honourable” Mr. Switzer. Mr. Kenney the ” Trumpest”, cannot be trusted as far as one could throw him.
    Well spoken SOTS.

    • Thank you Douglas. I’m not the only one concerned about whether Mr Schweitzer understands his role as Justice Minister/Solicitor General. Ms Notley had this to say about Mr Schweitzer’s comment that Bill 8 afforded the strongest protections to GSAs in the country: “I actually believe the Attorney General needs to give some very serious consideration to whether or not he should be conferring with the Law Society or getting legal advice on whether the Law Society might be conferring with him because it is disingenuous at the highest level to come in here and suggest that Bill [8]is the highest level of protection to LGBTQ people in the country.” She’s referring to the fact that unlike used car salesmen, lawyers are not allowed to make statements they know or should know are untrue.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Well Rachel Notley forgets that Schweitzer is a UCP era lawyer – he does not need any advice other than what Jason Kenney tells him.
        Judging by their behaviour in and out of the legislature it does not take much to see how they are approaching reality. – they do not care.
        By the way where is the report from the RCMP – has that been thrown out as well?

      • Good point Carlos, you’re talking about the investigation into the UCP leadership race where Schweitzer and Brian Jean were worried about voter fraud. The Alberta Crown Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation. When Kenney won he appointed Schweitzer to be Justice Minister/Solicitor General. Schweitzer is responsible for the ACPO. Notley asked Schweitzer to appoint a special out-of-province investigator because it was wrong for the government to investigate itself (rather like the fox “investigating” who was killing the chickens). Schweitzer refused but thankfully the ACPO stepped up and appointed a special out-of-province investigation on their own initiative. We haven’t received their final report yet; could be interesting when it finally becomes available.
        It’s like our own little Mueller Report.

  5. David Hay says:

    nice. please send to a media friend or two so they can ask these q’s during a recorded media opportunity …

    • Good idea David. I was pleased to see Rob Breakenridge go after Kenney on this. He’s usually pretty conservative in his approach but even he thought it was the height of arrogance.

      • David Hay says:

        Thanks Susan. Being in BC, I don’t follow your AB media. I would be particularly interested to hear the Justice Minister publicly respond to the professional ethics/code of conduct issues you raise … cheers!

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I thank you for another great blog. Tinnitus? A UCP MLA has that? Musicians have it, like Jeff Beck. Jeff Beck is one of the three guitar greats from the Yardbirds, (besides Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). His friend, Eric Clapton is deaf. I don’t recall hearing about any UCP MLA having tinnitus. (No pun intended.) Jason Kenney’s ear plug giveaway to the UCP MLAs was a childish thing to do. It does not look good on him. There will be people who will brush it off. This also confirms that Alberta is back to the one party state, that the Alberta PCs created, when Peter Lougheed was not the premier. I talked to Ray Martin, not that long ago, after I met him at an event. He said that things were different in the Legislature with the other Alberta PCs, when he was an MLA. It has changed, sadly, and for the worse.

    • Dwayne, you make an interesting point about Alberta reverting to a one-party state. That’s why I referred to Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny. The premier trampled on the democratic process by handing out ear plugs so his caucus could not hear what the Opposition had to say about Bill 9 and by giving three different contradictory explanations about what happened; he said (i) he wanted to boost his MLAs’ morale because they had to endure the NDP debate, (ii) he was helping an MLA with tinnitus who was sitting next to an NDP MLA who was shouting at nearly 100 decibels–this is as loud as a jackhammer or a jet taking off, did Kenney have a mobile decibel meter in his pocket–and (iii) it never happened at all, what, were we dreaming?
      In Snyder’s The Road to Unfreedom he says this exactly what Putin does when he is caught doing something he shouldn’t do, eg. when Russia shot down the Malaysia passenger plane Putin said (i) the Ukrainians were trying to assassinate him and got the wrong plane, (ii) it was a Jewish Ukrainian oligarch, and (iii) Russia did shoot it down but it was a CIA plane filled with corpses. It didn’t matter that these explanations were contradictory and lies because as long as Putin can make the citizens doubt everything, they won’t be able to have a sensible discussion about anything.

  7. ed henderson says:

    I am happy the UCP replaced the NDP. I am not satisfied that Jason Kenny is the best of the bunch. I think he is a man with a goal…to use Alberta to further himself. But I believe strongly he is head and shoulders above the biggest failure Alberta witnessed in decades..the NDP. What a disappointment they were. Kenney and the UCP would have to work day and night without rest for the next four years to come up as short as Notley and her crew did.

    • Robert C Dickson says:

      Pretty uninformed, Ed, considering the 40 year train wreck and the oil patch falling off the edge of your flat world that the NDP inherited.

      • Robert, the points you raise about 40 years of inept conservative rule and the shift away from fossil fuels are valid; I’d just like to point out that we all need to focus our replies on the comment, not the person making the comment. Thanks.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      wow seriously Ed?

      • Carlos, now we can ask Ed what facts he’s relying on to support his position, right? 🙂

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Well we can but it does not make any difference. I have learned very quickly that the Conservative movement is on to use the same attitude as the Republicans in the US.
        They do not care and they just run over those who do or have an opinion.
        We have to get very prepared to show these goons that they will not take over as quickly as they think.
        They have a system and so far it is working for them but the world is round and not flat and what goes around comes around. We already know the propaganda and the tactics
        This is not a case UCP / NDP it is a case between democracy and tyranny. They are pushing it as far as they can but one of the links is failing and that is Ontario.

      • This is an excellent observation Carlos!

        One of the first things Ford did after he was elected was threaten to use the “notwithstanding clause” to reduce the size of Toronto’s city council. He wielded his power vindictively and got away with it. But then he made a mistake, he thought he could slash the budget with impunity and his approval rating plunged to 29%. I suspect Kenney is watching Ford closely and trying to figure out how to deliver on his promise to balance the budget in the absence of additional revenue (he made the revenue hole worse by cutting the corporate tax and eliminating the carbon tax). He’s probably praying for a spike in oil prices.

        What’s worrisome is people are willing to accept undemocratic governments if they’re promised jobs, prosperity, riches beyond their wildest dreams. They don’t realize that giving up their freedom is too steep a price to pay in return for a politician’s promise that won’t amount to anything.

    • seanadb says:

      Hi, Ed. The NDP dealt with 42 years of financial mismanagement of the PCs. Do you think the PCs would be able to fix problems a 42-year NDP rule would have created? Added to that, the market price for oil tanked in the time NDP was in power (that happened across the planet, not just in Alberta).

      Feel free to outline how the NDP did poorly, considering what they had to fix.

      • Good points seanadb. The sad thing is Alberta should have seen this coming. If the PCs had used their time in power to focus on what’s best for Albertans instead of what’s best for the energy sector the NDP would have had a fighting chance. As it was they inherited a big mess and weren’t given sufficient time to dig out.

    • Ed, I agree that Kenney is using Alberta to further his political aspirations, namely to install his free enterprise party in the Prime Minister’s office, however I completely disagree with your take on Notley’s tenure. Her government did more to position Alberta for the future than any prior government with the exception of Peter Lougheed’s PCs. Rather than list her achievements here, I’d ask you to look at some of my previous posts and the comments contributed by readers which support my position. Thanks.

    • Dwayne says:

      ed henderson: Decades of gross fiscal mismanagement, by the Alberta PCs, starting when Peter Lougheed was not the premier, are what caused the problems. The very poor oil royalty rates for Alberta’s oil, the draining of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to practically nothing, the wasting of millions and billions of dollars on the most costliest scandals, time after time, the privatization and deregulation of core services, like utilities, magnifying their costs greatly, the flat tax failure, leaving Alberta with a very costly infrastructure repair bill, from failing to maintain it for decades, and leaving Albertans to pay an exponential bill to clean up messes left behind from oil companies. Then, 5 years ago, oil prices went down very sharply. It is not sensible to blame the NDP for things they are not responsible for. Jason Kenney and the UCP are not the solution, because they want to return to the neoliberal policies of the Alberta PCs, which we are still dealing with today. It is established that oil booms are not going to make a comeback, so what will Jason Kenney’s corporate tax cuts lead to? More austerity, which will not help Alberta. Anyone that is rich will not be affected by the tax cuts, or austerity, but everyone else will be. There are people, like myself, who remember how good Peter Lougheed was, and how he planned for the future. We remember how the Alberta PCs changed, and not for the better. Rachel Notley was not given an easy hand, as oil prices even went down to around $35, when she was premier. As far as premiers go, she was very similar to Peter Lougheed. I think if Peter Lougheed were still around, he would not have good things to say about Jason Kenney and the UCP.

      • Dwayne, thanks for this extensive list of things the PCs did that made Alberta’s economy and public services worse. What I find interesting is notwithstanding this evidence, people still voted for Kenney and the UCP. Perhaps they thought the UCP was a “better” form of conservative, who knows.

        It reminds me of the commentary following the re-election of Prime Minister Modi in India. Modi was first elected on the promise of prosperity (sound familiar?), but Modi’s government failed to deliver and unemployment spiked to a 45 year high. Then just before this election there were fears of war with Pakistan and bingo, Modi was re-elected with an overwhelming majority because the people were scared into voting for the status quo.

        Kenney played us the same way. He convinced us we were victims, besieged on all fronts and Notley wasn’t doing enough to protect us from the feds, the US conspirators, etc. What worries me is how he’s going to top this when the economic miracle he’s promised fails to materialize. Who’s going to be the next scapegoat?

    • pecgregor says:

      I would be pleased if you could provide some incontrovertible evidence of Mr. Kenney’s head and shoulders superiority. He is perhaps taller than Ms. Notley, thus she is indeed shorter. I assume you are not referring to physicality and so I ask for clarifying details. It’s a throwback to my social studies teaching days. Students are ALWAYS expected to support their thesis statements!

      • Wonderful comment pecgregor. It reminds me of my law profs who used to say: “What’s your authority for saying that?” There’s nothing like being asked to justify your position with case law and statute law to ensure you’re on solid ground before you open your mouth. 🙂

  8. David Boroditsky says:

    Jason Kenney was misquoted. He actually said he intends to “raze the bar of civility and respect.”

    • Good one David!
      I don’t know if you saw Don Braid’s column about this. It was an ironic piece on why ear plugs are good because the MLAs won’t be able to hear each other yelling and thus, civility will be restored. Irony is defined as using words to signify the opposite. Based on the comments, many readers though he was serious. No wonder politicians can get elected on three word slogans…jobs, economy, pipelines!!!!

  9. Jane Walker says:

    Many, many thanks, Susan, for this well delivered and objective reminder of the responsibilities of your MLA as constituency representative and in keeping with the demands of his portfolio.

    For Ed Henderson: What objective information has contributed to your opinion … which I personally seems so ill-advised. Defies any reason with which my cohorts and I have evaluated the ND performance in the interest of Albertans today and into the future.

    • Dwayne says:

      Jane Walker: Sadly, there are others who follow Ed’s beliefs. They look for a scapegoat, and use excuses, like transfer payments, (when many don’t know how they work, and that they are actually called equalization payments), blame the NDP for reckless spending, and conveniently forget about how the Alberta PCs were very poor stewards of Alberta’s finances, starting when Peter Lougheed was not the premier. They think that Jason Kenney can fix things, when he is powerless to control oil prices, and his policies, like corporate tax cuts will not help Alberta financially. Oil prices would have went down, no matter who is in power. That is another fact they miss. It is unlikely that we will see triple digit oil prices again. It has been predicted that oil prices will go down further. More pipelines will also not make oil prices escalate.

      • All good points Dwayne. To add one more: pipelines take time to build (2+ years) so Kenney’s promise to rip up the crude-by-rail deals which would have bridged the gap is extremely short sighted and will simply make things worse.

      • Linda says:

        Dwayne just wanted to make a point about your comment on transfer payments/equalization.
        Transfer payments are payments that all provinces receive for Healthcare/Education and Social.
        Equalization payments are only paid to have not provinces.
        Those provinces that do not meet a certain level of revenue.

    • Thanks Jane, I was told by a government insider that the best way to hold government accountable is to send letters to your MLA with cc’s to cabinet ministers responsible for the file re: decisions they’ve made that concern you. Apparently 5 individual letters from concerned constituents are more impactful than 500 names on a petition.

  10. J.E. Molnar says:

    Jason Kenney came as advertised — polarizing, divisive and arrogant.

    It seems his entire caucus is now foolishly following in his footsteps, demonstrating boorish puerility at every opportunity. The UCP may have won the election, but they certainly didn’t win the hearts and minds of 45 per cent of Albertans who voted for other political parties. When Jason Kenney promised a return to “back-to-the-future” Ralph Klein-like politics, he wasn’t kidding. Promise made — promise kept (sadly for Alberta).

    • “boorish puerility” Love it J.E.
      Journalist Rob Breakenridge said Kenney should acknowledge this “error” and pledge to do better but Kenney unlike Klein will never admit he screwed up. Albertans who thought they were electing the second Ralph Klein will soon discover they’ve elected mini-Trump (polarizing, divisive and arrogant), a man who’s driven by his own agenda which won’t necessarily align with what’s best for the province.

  11. Denise says:

    Well said, thank you for taking the higher road. When they go low, we go high. It is my expectation that we will have to rely on this mantra more than just this once over the next 4 years.

  12. David Watson says:

    Hope you will let see his reply . Everyone wants to get elected no one wants to do the hard work of governance. With some luck we can send JK to Ottawa where he can do less damage.

  13. lindamcfarlane says:

    Thank you Susan. Excellent.

    Linda McFarlane

    403-453-1158 or 403-999-9299 C

  14. Alec G says:

    I too would love to see a reply but won’t hold my breath…
    You have hit on every point which I think all Albertans were thinking of just who and what this guy is ‘supposed’ to do.
    You go Sista!

  15. Garry Bodnar says:

    Beautiful!!

  16. pecgregor says:

    Thanks, Susan. Informative, civilized understatement. I wonder, if Ms. Notley were Mr. Notley, would Mr. Kenney have chosen blue ear plugs?

  17. Phil Elder says:

    Absolutely stellar, Susan. Rather than wearing earplugs, perhaps some of the UCP members need brain transplants.

    • Phil, I’m afraid it’s too much to hope for. (I was going to make a snarky comment about how hard it would be to find a brain small enough to fit into those tiny craniums but realized that was “going low” and stopped myself).

  18. Norm Kelly says:

    Excellent piece Susan. I understand the cost of ‘standing up’ as counsel, against the ‘powers that be’.
    Like you, I’ll wait for a bit to see if this Minister has the chops.

    • Norm, you’re right, the cost of taking a stand is high whether you work in the public sector or private sector. When an employer asks a lawyer to violate the Code of Conduct the lawyer has to convince his employer to back down or he has to resign. There isn’t any other option.

  19. Bob Raynard says:

    Something that doesn’t seem to come up is how Mr. Kenney has completely changed the interpretation of what happened. The day after the earplug incident his office was calling it a ‘light-hearted attempt to boost morale. A few days later he told Vassy Kapelos on Power & Politics that it was only one pair of ear plugs that were given to an MLA with tinnitus. I really wish Ms. Kapelos has asked our premier why his office referred to giving aid to someone experiencing discomfort as a light-hearted morale booster. She might have also asked him why he didn’t just use a page to deliver the earplugs, instead of making a production of it.

    (We know pages exist; Ralph Klein threw a booklet at one in 2006.)

    • Bob, good point. Let’s compile a list of reasons why Mr Kenney’s explanation makes no sense. So far we’ve got (1) why didn’t Mr Kenney use a page, (2) doctors say you can’t decrease tinnitus by using ear plugs, (3) did Mr Kenney have a decibel meter in his pocket to confirm the db level was around 100, (4) why did showing up for work and listening to the Opposition drive the MLAs into a state of low morale? (5) if Mr Kenney says he handed out ear plugs why did Mr Nixon say Mr Kenney did not hand out ear plugs?
      All of this can be rolled into one over arching question: if this is how the UCP government acts when we can see them, what are they doing behind closed doors?

      • Bob Raynard says:

        (6) Why didn’t Jason Kenney simply move the MLA in question, as this will likely be a problem for other issues as well?

      • Bob, that would have been the sensible solution, but hey, Kenney likes to be a carnival barker sticking it to the Opposition. Instead of wasting time getting even it would be better if he tried to move Alberta ahead.

  20. Alfredo Louro says:

    Is there a way to disbar Doug Schweitzer?

    • Alfredo, this would be a matter for the Law Society…

      • Linda says:

        I find it very odd that Doug Schweitzer was appointed to the position of Justice Minister and Attorney general when he was one of the candidates who questioned the leadership voting irregularities and wanted to stop the voting.
        Makes me wonder why he did not go to the Elections Commissioner at the time.

      • Good point Linda, I thought Schweitzer entered the leadership race to get his name known (it would have been hard to beat Kenney or Brian Jean) but as you say, once these so-called irregularities became apparent, why didn’t Schweitzer continue to press for resolution.

  21. Linda says:

    Dwayne just wanted to make a point about your comment on transfer payments/equalization.
    Transfer payments are payments that all provinces receive for Healthcare/Education and Social.
    Equalization payments are only paid to have not provinces.
    Those provinces that do not meet a certain level of revenue.

  22. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I also recall how Postmedia was championing the UCP before the last provincial election in Alberta. They were grooming the UCP to take over the leadership of Alberta. Is there any sense of regret from them with this now? Notice how most of the media is so silent on the R.C.M.P investigation against the UCP MLAs, including Jason Kenney. If more of this matter, relating to the election fraud issues, comes to the surface, and can’t be hidden, will many Albertans put earplugs in, and try to make it like they can’t hear anything?

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Dwayne I hate to give you the bad news but many Albertans will be more than happy to not even allow the RCMP to complete the investigation.
      I am quite sure that by now Jason Kenney already has his hands in the process and so I will not be surprised at all if nothing comes of it.
      During the Klein years many civic rules were broken and nothing ever came to anything. He was allowed to offend whoever he chose to and be drunk in Official events but the fellow that smashed a pie on Klein’s face was charged of course. Typical of tyrannies where the dictator is above everyone else.
      This is also typical of our system despite the word democracy but in a future teardown many of these deity type treatments will be changed for good. It is about time.
      I cannot believe for example that in the US a sitting president cannot be charged. In my opinion they should be the first to be called to the table because of what they represent.

      • Carlos, to add to your concerns about democracy, a group of Calgary based business executives formed a non-profit group called the Business Council of Alberta. It includes Enbridge, WestJet, Shaw, Nutrien, Boardwalk REIT, TransAlta, ATCO, ARC Financial, and people like Hal Kvisle (ex-CEO of TransCanada). They want Alberta businesses “to take responsibility for what’s got to be done here” and bring prosperity to all, “not just economic prosperity, not just companies getting richer, but employees doing better, improvements on the social side of things, and of course, very careful attention to the environment.” They’re publishing a paper later this week to explain what gaps they’re going to address and how. I haven’t seen the UCP’s response to this but it looks like a huge vote of non-confidence in Kenney’s economic plan.
        I’m concerned about it because they’re talking about things that are usually within the government’s mandate and these guys are not elected to represent Albertans on what they call “the social side of things”.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Hmm I personally have issues about business groups, especially when they mention ‘the interests of Albertans’.
        The UCP just like society and Conservative beliefs – just does not exist – it is Jason Kenney’s individualism that exists and it is to an extreme level. He is self-centered as the likes of Bokassa in the Republic of Central Africa. We are lucky we still have some rule of law. This guy clearly has all the great characteristics of a great dictator especially when it comes to facts. I cannot wait for the day his web of lies slowly gets him big. The latest is the budget deficit that came out at least 3 billion less than what the other conservatives left behind. Jason Kenney told everyone that the numbers were worse than what Rachel Notley had predicted of course. Just another lie but his supporters love it. The man is a disgusting moron but somehow became the Rasputin of the UCP exceedingly intelligent masses.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Regret? The Media? Just read the Edmonton Sun daily and you will easily see what side of the fence they are. They came out during the election and asked their readers to vote for Jason Kenney.
      The media is owned and controlled but the Murdoch and Koch and the rest of the super rich cabala that have no interest or care for us losers.

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Beca: I am aware of what is published in the Edmonton and Calgary Sun. It always supports Conservative parties, and never acknowledges their mistakes, no matter how serious they are. If you wrote a letter to the editor, and it did not favour the Conservatives, it would be edited, with things taken out, or it would not even be printed. I can tell you the origins of the media supporting the Conservatives. Ralph Klein and his associate, Rod Love, punished any columnist who criticised what Ralph Klein and the Alberta PCs did wrong. Rod Love did the dirty work at Ralph Klein’s beckoning. There used to be a columnist with the Edmonton Journal, many years ago. Mark Lisac. He was a great columnist and exposed the Alberta PCs plethora of very costly scandals, that were rampant when Don Getty was premier. He also did not let Ralph Klein’s very costly scandals, which were plentiful, go unnoticed. Look what happened to Mark Lisac, after that. The media, like Postmedia, is not balanced. You see the Fraser Institute, Danielle Smith, and other Conservative mouthpieces, the majority of the time giving their opinions. Prior to the last provincial election, it was glaringly obvious that Postmedia was supporting the UCP, and urging the voters to do so. Prior to that, it was the Alberta PCs that Postmedia was urging Albertans to support in the 2015 provincial election. Further back, the Social Credit Party, (which Peter Lougheed despised), also punished reporters, who were critical of what they did. That backfired on the Social Credit Party. Now, will it backfire on Postmedia, for favouring the UCP?

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Absolutely correct – I remember Mark Lisac and I think he published a book or more. Time flies and details escape me at this moment.
        I have no doubts that all of what is happening will backfire sooner or later, but I am very concerned of the damage that will be left behind.
        Thank you for your reply – always great to have discussions and exchange of ideas with other readers.

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Beca: I have one of Mark Lisac’s books. It’s called Alberta Politics Uncovered. It is a very good read. I have also met Mark Lisac.

    • You’re right Dwayne, sadly all this talk about ear plugs deflected attention from Bill 9 which may actually be illegal. The nurses union has launched court action saying it’s unconstitutional. In the meantime the media continues to prop up Kenney saying things like he won’t be able to fix the economy overnight, give him time, they certainly weren’t prepared to give Rachel time.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Eventually, the media, like Postmedia, and the UCP followers will have to come to their senses, and admit what some of us already have known. Oil booms are ancient history. The Alberta PCs created the fiscal mess, starting when Peter Lougheed was not the premier. Jason Kenney’s tax cuts will not improve anything, and only make things worse, under low oil prices. Jason Kenney’s overinflated ego will be shrunk when the R.C.M.P conclude their investigation against him.

  23. Jerrymacgp says:

    Ms Soapbox: I have the dubious privilege of being a constituent of the lamentable Minister of Finance, the allegedly “Honourable” Travis Toews. He has been called out on social media for his track record in the area of LGBTQ2S+ rights, and even acceptance, as a result of his status as a (former?) board member of the Peace River Bible Institute in Sexsmith: https://twitter.com/edwinmundt/status/1143765750257074176. I met him, just once, at an all-candidates’ forum hosted by area ATA locals; I was there as a campaign volunteer for Shannon Dunfield, Mr Toews’ NDP challenger. We exchanged pleasantries, as political opponents often do at such events, like pro athletes before the Big Game. But that didn’t mean I supported him or his Paleolithic Views …

    However, the last election was a one-issue election, and in my view, it was about an inchoate rage endemic to Alberta residents, particularly those living outside the two big cities, against those who are perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being opposed to their ability to earn a living. Voter turnout in Grande Prairie-Wapiti, my riding, was 80%—among the highest in Alberta, if not the highest—and Mr Toews got 74% of those votes. By comparison, in recent past elections, turnout in GP-Wapiti—under different boundaries—has never before reached even 50%. Next door, in the new urban riding of Grande Prairie, turnout was 62%, and the UCP candidate, Tracy Allard, got 62%. The NDP candidates earned 21% for Todd Russell in Grande Prairie, and 15% for Shannon Dunfield in Wapiti. Issues like human rights, equity, and political ethics get lost in the kind of rage that drove all those rural voters to the polls.

    In my view, the rage I spoke of has now pivoted to the Trudeau Liberals, but given Jagmeet Singh’s stated opposition to the TMX project, the only chalice more poisoned than that of the Federal NDP candidate in Northern Alberta, will be that of the Liberal one.

    • Jerry you’re certainly right about the rage pivoting to the Trudeau Liberals. I continue to receive ranting emails from a retired tax lawyer spouting off about Canada becoming a banana republic under Trudeau and how Alberta oil is all that is keeping Canada afloat. I don’t know where he gets his numbers but he said oil/gas exports account for 82.3% of all Canadian exports by value. I googled it, yes oil/gas is our largest export at 22% (not 82.3%), the remaining 78% is made up of vehicles (13.5%), machinery (7.7%) etc.
      These guys have to let go of that rage before they give themselves a stroke.

  24. GoinFawr says:

    I know a two year old who has matured past sticking his fingers in his ears and repeating,

    ” I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”

    anytime someone says something true he doesn’t want to hear.

    That doesn’t say much that is positive about Mr.Kenney and his crew, but it does say a lot about those stupid enough to have elected the UCP.

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