“Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.” Mark Twain
Last week Mr Kenney joined the patriot squad. On August 4 and August 7 he released two odious videos on social media. Let’s call them “Patriot Games One” and “Patriot Games Two.”
Patriot Games One
The gist of Patriot Games One was that Mr Kenney is a Canadian patriot who comes from a long line of Canadian patriots and is descended from people who fought for Canada even before it became a country (um, wouldn’t that make them British patriots?). Mr Kenney said Alberta is getting a raw deal from the other provinces and the feds, Alberta is paying the bills and getting no respect, but fear not Mr Kenney will not let Justin Trudeau “push us out of our country”. Mr Kenney said instead of focusing on Alberta separating from Canada, Albertans should focus on “separating” Justin Trudeau from the prime minister’s office.
Message: Be a patriot. Vote Conservative because Trudeau is trying to push Alberta out of Confederation.
Patriot Games Two
Patriot Games Two came out three days later. Apparently, Albertans continually ask Mr Kenney about separating. He says he’s a Canadian federalist, always has been, always will be…but he understands Alberta’s angst. Alberta contributed $600 billion to Canada over the last six decades and Trudeau “killed” and “surrendered to a veto” on Northern Gateway (I guess killing it wasn’t enough), he “killed” Energy East, he “bungled” Trans Mountain, he’s “threatening us with a punitive carbon tax,” he brought in the “no more pipelines” law, he attacked Alberta oil exports off the northwest coast and did other bad things to Alberta. But Albertans are “proud Canadians”, we should fix the problems with the federation by electing a conservative federal government.
Message: Be a patriot. Vote Conservative because Trudeau is hurting Alberta.
Here’s where Patriot Games Two got really interesting. Kenney said, “I believe we Albertans are patriotic Canadians we believe in Canada even if we’re frustrated with how the current federal government has been injuring our economy and I’m trying to isolate the frustration on a series of federal government policies that have injured our economy, the only alternative is for me to pretend that this frustration doesn’t exist and when political leadership ignores that level of frustration, that’s where things can go in the wrong direction. (Is he going to “isolate the frustration” by magnifying it? If he ignores the frustration what direction will it go? Car bombs and kidnapped politicians?)
He ends the clip by repeating his claim that he’s a proud Canadian patriot who wants Alberta “to be a key member” of federation, contributing to the rest of Canada.
Message: I’m not a separatist, I just sound like one because I’m isolating your frustration.
Patriot or Nationalist
There is so much wrong with Patriot Games One and Two it’s hard to know where to begin.
Let’s start by defining terms. Merriam Webster defines “patriot” as someone who loves and supports his/her country.
Mr Kenney says he’s a patriot, but his actions aren’t those of someone who loves and supports his country.
A patriot does not spend years maligning federal institutions (like the equalization formula) or telling Albertans they’re getting a raw deal and “no respect” from other provincial governments and the federal government.
A patriot does not pretend the language of separatism is an effort to “isolate” frustration and he has no other alternative. Mr Kenney could try working with Mr Trudeau to gain his support like Ms Notley did when she convinced Mr Trudeau to buy Trans Mountain and increase unemployment insurance benefits for Albertans, or Mr Lougheed did when he engaged with Pierre Trudeau on changes to the 1982 Constitution Act. These fine premiers found an alternative that did not suggest the federal government was trying to throw Alberta out of the country.
(As an aside, why would Mr Trudeau push Alberta out of Canada when he just spent $4.5 billion on a pipeline to transport Alberta bitumen to tide water?)
Lastly, a patriot does not use the language of patriotism in a crass partisan pitch for the federal Conservatives coming to the people directly from the premier’s office and the lobby of the Alberta Legislature no less. Does Mr Kenney seriously think Albertans will vote for anyone else?
The historian, Timothy Snyder, said a patriot sets a good example of what the country means for generations to come.
George Orwell said a nationalist, “although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge” tends to be “uninterested in what happens in the real world.”
Mr Kenney may say he’s a patriot, but his actions suggest otherwise.
Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I must say that if Peter Lougheed were still around, he’d have nasty things to say about Jason Kenney and the UCP. Jason Kenney knows what the truth is, but he misleads people. He knows how equalization payments in Canada work, yet he uses that stupid tactic, and makes people believe that Alberta sends money to other provinces, or hands a cheque to Ottawa, when neither are the case. He thinks he can fool people by thinking that pipelines are tied in with equalization payments. They aren’t, and neither are natural resource revenues. The Alberta PCs were very fiscally reckless, ever since Peter Lougheed was not the premier of Alberta. The money was lost and wasted on bad oil royalty rates, depleting the Heritage Fund to practically nothing, doing multimillion dollar and mega billion dollar scandals, privatization and deregulation of essential services, like utilities, magnifying their costs greatly, losing billions of dollars on a flat tax failure, leaving Alberta with a very costly infrastructure repair bill, from neglecting to properly maintain it for decades, and then leaving Albertans to foot a $260 billion cost for cleaning up oil industry messes in Alberta. Blaming the NDP, the Federal Liberals and transfer payments, are the excuses many Albertans have. Peter Lougheed was someone who thought of himself as a Canadian first. It’s easy to see why, from his genealogy. He had First Nations ancestry, had ancestors from Eastern Canada, and from Western Canada, and from Europe. He opposed firewalls. The Reformacons were pushing that gimmick around 15 years ago, and Peter Lougheed detested it. Peter Lougheed stood up for Alberta, but with Alberta as an integral part of Canada. Also, before Peter Lougheed was Alberta’s premier, or was even involved with politics, he had oil industry experience. He knew that oil is a commodity, and that oil booms can go bust. This was lost on the other Alberta PCs, and is lost on Jason Kenney. Oil prices took a nosedive 5 years ago. There has not been triple digit oil prices since then, nor will there be, because of Saudi Arabia and America. It is not environmentalists, or anything like that, which are the culprit, even though the CPC government themselves were funding anti pipeline protestors, and Stephen Harper also made a remark about having the oilsands phased out. Nor is it due to the carbon tax, that the oil companies wanted, and which Alberta still has. The massive cost left behind by the oil industries for not cleaning up their messes is another thing Jason Kenney has to deal with. That is from the oil industries, and the Alberta PCs not coming after them, since the early 1990s. If Jason Kenney loves Canada so much, why did he not stay on in federal politics? When he was in the federal government, the CPC had triple digit oil prices. With their majority government, they did not help get a pipeline built, that went to the B.C coast. Economics kaiboshed Energy East, not Justin Trudeau. Jason Kenney also supported the federal government buying the pipeline. Also, why would a patriotic Canadian, cheat to win his position of power? There are people who think this kamikaze scandal is something that the Liberal bought media made up. If the media is Liberal bought, why are they criticizing Justin Trudeau and the Liberals so much? Or these people say the NDP are sore losers. These people demand action on the SNC Lavalin affair, while also forgetting that the CPC were involved with it too. One MP who was involved with it, being a former Mike Harris Ontario PC cabinet member, John Baird. They say Jason Kenney did no wrong. Now, Jason Kenney even wants to cut funding to the Elections Commissioner. We know he is trying to hide from the obvious. If these separatists want Alberta to leave Canada, maybe they should leave Alberta, and go to America, where they can have all the Trump style politics they crave. From a logical standpoint, separation will not work. What do these people think the services that were under federal government control will be replaced with? There are several things. The postal service, Canada Pension (an aspect of the socialism these Conservative supporters love to criticize), the millitary, our currency, and the R.C.M.P. Also, they will not be able to change First Nations Treaties, that were created when Alberta was not a province. The First Nations are under the federal government. Where will the pipeline go through? B.C and Montana have issues with it. Alberta is not like New Jersey, which has an oil industry, and an agricultural sector, but is not landlocked. Jason Kenney is stoking this separation garbage, like any good Reformacon does, yet tries to deny he is doing it. His poor fiscal policies resemble those of Ralph Klein. I hope the police investigation against him speeds up, so we don’t have to deal with him. Maybe the UCP will scatter like dust in the wind.
Dwayne, thank you for your comment. You make many important points. I’d like to touch on the point about Peter Lougheed seeing himself as a Canadian first. I came across a good article in Macleans which makes the same point. It’s called “Peter Lougheed was more than just a provincial man.” It also makes an important point about Lougheed’s lack of hubris. It says the leadership of the federal PCs was Lougheed’s for the asking, but he continued to turn it down because he thought he could do more good for people as a provincial premier. Contrast this to Jason Kenney who fought hard to become Alberta’s premier and now spends a good chunk of his time campaigning for the federal conservatives. Kenney doesn’t appear to understand that his priorities lie with the people who elected him not the people he wishes would have elected him.
Oh and the other thing I noticed in the Macleans article is the photo of Lougheed relaxing with Pierre Eliot Trudeau. These two men are equals. Kenney doesn’t understand that calling Justin Trudeau horrible names doesn’t elevate Kenney over Trudeau, it does the opposite. Pathetic man.
Here’s the link: https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/more-than-just-a-provincial-man/
Kenney’s ONLY priorities lie with Jason Kenney.
Susan: Here are some other interesting links I found.
Many people seem to forget certain aspects of history.
As the saying goes patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. I suspect many Albertans have an inkling Mr. Kenney is a scoundrel, whose only true allegiance is to what might help him advance himself. For those unsure of that, the ongoing RCMP investigation into his various leadership shenanigans will probably add support to that assertion.
Mr. Kenney was a vocal advocate of multiculturalism not too long ago and it helped him rise in the Conservative ranks. Now that has fallen out of fashion with a number of Conservative supporters so he needs a new cause, one in keeping with his current more provincial role, so I am aure he will also milk western alienation for all it is worth.
It always amazes me the ones who seem to best exploit our grievances often originally hail from Toronto or Ontario. It is somewhat ironic. On the other hand, the Alberta born Lougheed seemed very clear his grievances were not with the rest of Canada but with a certain Prime Minister and his circle of close advisors. He didn’t play footsie with Alberta separatists. More than anyone else he stood up to them and also quickly politically obliterated them.
A difference between greatness and mediocrity is the first does not need to pander to separatists to be liked and supported. Unfortunately this is not a time for great leadership in Alberta anymore. The best I can hope for is after Kenney leaves for greener pastures, is perhaps it might return.
Excellent points David. The remarkable thing about Kenney is that he (like Trump) can say something that is an out and out lie and his supporters don’t care. Kenney is setting the stage for deep cuts to the public sector by saying the NDP left an even bigger mess than he expected, this is contradicted by the government auditor who said the NDP ended its fiscal year with a deficit that was $2 billion, BILLION, smaller than expected. If the NDP was a private corporation its share price would skyrocket on this news.
You nailed it in your last paragraph. I only hope that Albertans still have it in them to reach for greatness, not settle for mediocrity after Kenney moves on as he surely will.
I think he is trying to bolster his position as the “savior” of Confederation when the 2019 minority government of Trudeau is forced to call another election. Of course, that election call will happen after Mr. Kenney the patriot wins the CPC leadership following the resignation and/or ousting of Mr. Scheer after losing the election, in which the Savior gave it his all solidifying his support, ahem, campaigning for Scheer across Ontario and other provinces whose conservative premiers he will continue to court. You see, I don’t think for a second that Kenney wants Scheer to win. His strong suit is strategy, and the game he wants to win is the one he sees as the next challenge to prove himself as Numero Uno/ The Big Cheese/Mr. More Wonderful and Powerful.
psponderings: I agree with everything you’ve said. I suspect Kenney was going bonkers last spring when Trudeau got into hot water with Jody Wilson Raybold and SNC and there was a chance Scheer might win with a majority. (That would have left Kenney parked out here in Alberta for another 4 to 8 years). Luckily for Kenney, Scheer is a weak leader, and didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself.
Now it looks like we’ll have a minority government. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a Conservative minority or a Liberal minority, it won’t last the full 4 years, and then Kenney will show up on the scene to replace Scheer, the “failed” Conservative leader. However I think Kenney is mistaken about his appeal to the rest of Conservative Canada. There are plenty of other candidates to choose from, the far right cons have Tost, Rob Ford who’s said he might be interested, and Bernier, who might come back. The progressive conservatives have Michael Chong and maybe Lisa Raitt. I’m not saying I’d vote for these people, but conservative Canadians may prefer them to Kenney who’s beginning to really grind on everyone with his constant whining.
Kenney and his fellow patriots better not get too cocky. A Wall Street bank is painting a bleak future for oil, saying it has to come down to $20 a barrel if it wants to compete with renewables. Mr. Kenney, time to put on a green suit and tie and join your fellow Canadians in a joyful rendition of Oh Canada.
Wow ronmac, that’s quite an article. If oil prices have to fall to $9 to $10 bbl to compete with electric vehicles then the industry is in big trouble. The EPA says transportation is the biggest producer of GHG (29%) followed by electricity (28%), industry (22%), commercial/residential (12%) and agriculture (9%). Anything that impacts 29% of the market place will have a significant impact on the sector as a whole… and no “head in the sand” politician is going to be able to do anything about it. Better to prepare now by diversifying than get caught later with your pants down. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions
You know that “raw deal” shtick echoes of a certain loathing president. Also, Mr. Kenney, whining doesnt look good on anyone, and as soon as I hear “patriot” I think American. Im leaving my comments at that. Next we’ll hear something about coal?
Maybe I’m reading too much into the language, but the Kenney/UCP choice of using the language of ‘push us out our country’ sure seems to me to echo or have connotations of the white supremacist replacement conspiracy theory. Since Trump’s election and the evidence that he can say any politically extreme thing he wants and not have it hurt his polls with Republicans, I’m certain that Canada’s conservatives have noticed and have decided they can take the same risks and have become more extreme in their political language. They’re going to shift Canada’s political into the crazy dangerous Trump-like territory if they keep it up. Dribs and hints of fascist sentiments being sprinkled around in their communications, imho. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_genocide_conspiracy_theory
Sam, I wondered the same thing. The suggestion that someone is “pushing” us out of our country and the “patriots” will never give up on Canada (I presume that means they won’t let “them” push “us” out) worried me as well. For me these two speeches are the beginning of a long slide into darkness. The Republicans failed to stop Trump when they had the chance–they should have thrown him out of the leadership race–but they didn’t and now it’s too late to stop him. Thinking Conservatives need to shut Kenney down. Sadly, the only conservative who’s calling out this kind of behavior is the talk radio host Charles Adler and he’s been vilified by Kenney/Scheer supporters for not being loyal to the leader.
JCV that’s the worst thing about Kenney, he’s the Alberta version of Trump and Alberta voters don’t care what he says as long as he delivers jobs. Kenney gave corporations a 2% tax cut with more to follow, by the end of his first term the corporate tax rate will be down to 8%. This means we’ll have $4.5 billion BILLION less for public services. People don’t care. They believe him when he says the corporate tax cut will create jobs. Guess what, the companies used the money to buy back shares and pay down debt, they didn’t use it to create jobs and hire people. This is exactly what happened in the US with the Trump corporate tax cut and it’s happening here…will we never learn?
Hello Susan. I wonder how the kamikaze scandal saga is going for Alberta’s patriot leader, Jason Kenney? Do you think he will be incarcerated for this? Jason Kenney was in the CPC government, when Stephen Harper was PM. Remember the robocalls scandal? Jason Kenney did that. Will the conclusion of the kamikaze scandal end up like the fate of other Canadian politicians, such as those in Grant Devine’s PC party in Saskatchewan? They wound up in the slammer.
“They wound up in the slammer.”
Thank you for the examples of rich, creamy justice being meted out by the bowlful; let’s hope your prescience is dead on, and history repeats in like fashion on the leader of the Used Car Party.
GoinFawr: There is this. https://www.albertandp.ca/6-things-link-jason-kenney-ucp-kamikaze-scandal
Jason Kenney has a history of being shady and corrupt.
Excellent collection of links Dwayne, many thanks indeed.
In light of all that up until now I used to wonder at how anyone could vote for a party led by such a person, but these days I suspect the overtly corrupt Kenney was elected premier because Albertan ‘conservatives’ want(ed) to try their hand at what they mistakenly perceived as their version of a Trump. Ie they wanted to ‘shake things up’, regardless of his sordid political past. In other words his history did not enter into their decision at all, except where it appealed to the worst, most self-serving aspects of their common nature.
All we can hope is that Mr.Kenney will serve the same purpose as his unwitting mentor to the south, and, emboldened by this electoral success, will join Mr.Trump to go on to illustrate as clearly as an azure sky of deepest summer just how antithetical to their well being he and the plutocrat-serving policies he represents really are. Then Albertan ‘conservatives’ may reach the point where even the most dedicated to being easily duped will finally be able to see that in the long run he has NEVER had their actual interests at heart, let alone in mind.
But I am not holding my breath or anything.
GoinFawr: I have posted other links above, in my response to Susan. This type of politics is just sickening. We have people who go to supervise elections in other countries, yet this goes on here. People also get upset at what goes on in Ottawa, yet ignore what happens here in Alberta, which is far worse, with scandals and bad behaviour. They want action on SNC Lavalin, and blame Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, while forgetting that the CPC had something to do with it too. The media grills Justin Trudeau so often, but pays little to no attention to Jason Kenney’s dirty and unethical antics. The Alberta PCs never were good at being fiscally prudent, since Peter Lougheed was no longer the premier, and when the oil booms went into a tailspin, Albertans blame Ottawa, or Rachel Notley for their self inflicted woes, instead of blaming their beloved Conservatives. The media is compliant in this act, and we see it so often. Oil prices went into a nosedive 5 years ago. There is no way triple digit oil prices will return, due to America and Saudi Arabia. Another pipeline will not remedy that. Jason Kenney’s corporate tax cuts will cost Alberta $4.5 billion. The UCP has also lost Alberta billions of dollars more, from other very costly mistakes. This is only in a few months. The Conservatives have had bad leaders, for so long. Any Conservative politician with potential to do things right, gets sidelined, in this day and age. Thankfully, we have this blog, where we can share are thoughts. It’s hard to do it almost anywhere else.