Mr Kenney’s Fair Deal Panel

They just keep coming, fast and furious, like water gushing from a firehose.   

Yesterday Mr Kenney announced the formation of the Fair Deal Panel, the latest in a suite of things Mr Kenney says we need to protect ourselves from those who prey on us.  So far, he’s created:           

  • The $30 million War Room which has done nothing but hire a retired journalist to consult on strategy, hire a failed UCP candidate to head it up, and changed its name…twice.    
  • The $2.5 million public inquiry into “anti-Alberta” energy campaigns which paid over $900,000 in legal fees under a sole-source contract to the Justice Minister’s former law firm, and interviewed people behind closed doors.  An interim report (not public) is due at the end of January 2020.  The second phase of the inquiry (which may or may not be public) will end on July 2, 2020 when the commissioner presents his final report to the government.   This report will be published (fingers crossed) within 90 days.  Not exactly a “public inquiry” in the ordinary sense of the word.
  • The Fair Deal Panel which will focus on ways to strengthen Alberta’s economy, give it a bigger voice within Confederation or increase provincial power over institutions and funding within its jurisdiction.  The Panel will conduct 7 open houses between Nov 16 and Jan 30 and submit a report to the government by Mar 31, 2020.  It will hire people to set up “more structured citizens reference panels,” get public input, maybe hire pollsters, and consult with individuals and organizations that may offer “useful information or knowledge” (Project Confederation, the “firewall” people, have already received their invitation).  Budget: $650,000.   

Let’s take a closer look at the Fair Deal Panel’s mandate bearing in mind the threshold question: why is Mr Kenney doing this?

Mr Kenney announcing the Fair Deal Panel

Fair Deal Panel

The Panel will consider whether any of the following changes will advance Alberta’s interests:

  • Replacing the federal revenue agency with an Alberta revenue agency to collect provincial and maybe federal taxes.  Estimated cost around $500 million/year according to economist Trevor Tombe.   
  • Replacing CPP with an Alberta Pension Plan.  Cost?
  • Replacing RCMP with a provincial police force.  Cost?
  • Being represented in international treaty negotiations affecting Alberta’s interests.   Sure, let’s get all the provinces and territories around the table, it’s not as if these treaties take years to negotiate or anything. 
  • Preventing public bodies (eg municipalities and school boards) from entering into agreements with the feds unless they get prior approval from the Alberta government.  That will cut Mayor Iveson and Mayor Nenshi down to size. 
  • Using Alberta’s existing provincial power to appoint the Chief Firearms Office for Alberta.  If you have the power to do it and you want to do it, just do it.  Cost? 
  • Opting out of federal cost share programs.  Mr Kenney mentioned the proposed pharmacare program, what about existing federal cost share programs relating to roads, infrastructure, disaster relief and heritage sites?     
  • Exchanging tax points for federal cash transfers under Canada Health and Social Transfers. Like most Albertans, I have no idea what this means.       
  • Setting up a provincial constitution. Will it have a notwithstanding clause exempting Alberta from constitutionally guaranteed rights?     

And if this isn’t enough, the Panel is free to consult on other ideas including Kenney’s platform promises  

Panel members

The Panel is made up of Preston Manning, founder of the Reform Party, Stephen Lougheed (Peter Lougheed’s son), Moin Yahya, economist and U of A law prof, Jason Goodstriker, member of the Blood Tribe of the Blackfoot people, Oryssia Lennie, former DM of Western Economic Diversification, now a director with Canada West Foundation, Donna Kennedy-Glans, lawyer and former PC MLA, and three current UCP MLAs, Drew Barnes, Miranda Rosin, and Tany Yao.

It’s good to have diversity on the Panel, but we’d have more confidence in the Panel’s impartiality had the UCP ideology not been overrepresented by Mr Manning and the UCP MLA contingent.   


The big question is why?

Why would Mr Kenney create a panel to consider changes that will duplicate services available at the federal level, increase the size of the public service, increase red tape and cost millions?        

Mr Kenney says he wants to acknowledge that some Western Canadians no longer feel at home in their country.  He suggests “Laurentian elites” have benefited from Alberta’s wealth and abandoned it in its time of need.  He says it’s perverse to “blame the victim” when Alberta’s done so much to share its wealth with the rest of Canada.    

I see, we’re asking Albertans whether they want to firewall themselves from the rest of Canada because they feel like victims and don’t feel welcome in Canada. 

In his book The Road to Unfreedom, historian Timothy Snyder identifies this strategy as nothing more than spectacle intended to inflame the emotions of both supporters and distractors and strengthen polarization.  It’s about friends and enemies, not policy that might improve the lives of citizens. 

Snyder says, “If citizens can be kept uncertain by the regular manufacture of crisis, their emotions can be managed and directed.”  This strategy is effective in the hands of someone like Donald Trump who governs like he ran for office:  by producing outrage rather than formulated policy. 

Mr Snyder’s comment applies equally well to Mr Kenney.  While in opposition he said it was all Notley and Trudeau’s fault, now that he’s in power it’s all Trudeau’s fault.  Meanwhile Mr Kenney sits around waiting for oil prices to come back.     

A Patriot?

Mr Kenney rejects the suggestion he’s a separatist.  He says, “I am and always will be a Canadian patriot.  I believe that in their heart of hearts the vast majority of Albertans are Canadian patriots.”  In the next breath he says he wants Albertans to know Trudeau’s government is “a danger” to the federation.   

This just doesn’t cut it. 

A patriot does not create war rooms and closed-door inquiries and panels that feed the myth of victimhood.  A patriot knows Canada is a great country and does everything in his power to ensure Alberta’s place in Confederation is not jeopardized.    

Perhaps Mr Kenney could give this some thought tomorrow when he lays a wreath at a cenotaph to honour the Albertans who fought and died for Canada.    

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68 Responses to Mr Kenney’s Fair Deal Panel

    • Carlos Beca says:

      David Parkinson is absolutely right but spoiled brat Jason Kenney just cannot stop his temper tantrums and is now considering bringing our pensions to be managed in Alberta. After 43 years of total mismanagement he now wants to take care of our pensions – what a joke. He will never get mine that is for sure.

      • Carlos I’m as disgusted with the idea of Kenney replacing my CPP with an APP as you are. It defies the fundamental rule of business that bigger is better. The more people who pay into it, the more money the feds get to invest and the better they’re able to manage risk.
        I don’t trust Kenney as far as I can throw him. His conservatives predecessors robbed the Heritage Savings Trust Fund to cover the bad years when oil & gas royalty revenues were low, Kenney will do the same.

    • Excellent article Ted. Thank you. Parkinson does a great job of explaining the decimation of the coal mining and cod fisheries in Atlantic Canada, the manufacturing industry in Ontario and the forestry industry in BC. And yet Albertans, or at least some of them, continue to believe we’re being picked on by the feds. We put all our eggs in one economic basket, oil bust after old bust should have taught us to diversify and we chose not to. It’s a little late in the day to try to argue Canada has to save us out from our own stupidity.

      • Paul Armstrong says:

        Susan, you’re dead write. Continually giving more welfare to dirty oil industry and not diversifying is Albertas’ achilles’ heel. The hysteria being drummed up by the Emperor of the west really is beyond the pale. He lied about cuts to health care and education. Now he wants to grab our pensions? Not on my watch!! This power mad tyrant will go down in flames, and the sooner the better. Talk of separation is what it is…Treason.

  1. Keith McClary says:

    With all these elite panels and consulting firms, what is there for elected representatives to do and where does “grassroots” come into it?

    • Keith, that article was downright funny. Starting with Kenney’s statement that the “grassroots guarantee” was his effort to listen to people “in humility” and ending with Doug Schweitzer’s criticism that Kenney’s “grassroots guarantee is simply a sad attempt to turn this leadership race into a campaign of rhetoric over substance. Voters deserve better.”
      Two years later Kenney convinced Albertans they’re pathetic victims even though they live in the wealthiest province in Canada and make more money per capita than everyone else and Schweitzer is okay with everything Kenney has done.
      What a difference two years make.

  2. Bota28 says:

    There are no words for this nonsense and delusional thinking… We have to be the biggest laugh in the country, with the rest of Canada thinking we’re off our “ rockers”… I don’t know who this guy thinks he represents but it certainly isn’t myself or the majority of Albertans.

    My CPP is just fine where it is.. This guy is under investigation and we’re going to happily hand over our pensions, not a chance buddy.. … you are not to be trusted.

    Also Mr Manning, isn’t he ready to die, always “ elbowing” his way into the front of the line and like the milk in the fridge, way past his “expiry date”…

    • Carlos Beca says:

      🙂 🙂 OMG this is the best definition I have heard of Preston Manning – has this guy done anything of any real value other than supporting Firewall 1.0 and mentoring Harper to the democrat he is?
      This is indeed difficult to put in words.
      10000 people demonstrated on climate change and our premier called them delusional. 300 get together to talk about separation and suddenly we have panels and serious discussions about CPP and Police forces to take care of their concerns. This is not just a joke in Alberta. Along with our Bollywood / Mr. Dress up prime minister, we are now internationally known as the best comedy to come out this year.

      • Carlos, what’s interesting about the people talking about separation is each group has its own agenda. The Project Confederation people want everything Kenney outlined in the fair deal plus an Alberta unemployment scheme and an Alberta immigration system. The Action Alberta people want everything Kenney outlined plus a national energy corridor (can’t do that without getting the rest of Canada and the Indigenous peoples on board), reforming the House of Commons to get better representation and amending the Charter to get rid of equalization. They want this implemented in the next 2 years (!). They also want to start a parallel process that would result in separation referendum being held in 2022 if the 2 year deadline isn’t met. They are very unhappy with Kenney’s statement that independence for Alberta made no sense, arguing he just took Alberta’s “most powerful bargaining chip off the table.” This is the classic “if you don’t do what I want I’ll shoot myself in the head” threat.
        Kenney opened Pandora’s Box when he started to talk about soft separation. He’s hoping greater autonomy (the fair deal) will satisfy these guys. He’s wrong. He’s screwed but he doesn’t know it yet.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        All that you posted about this issue makes anyone have a convulsion. Here is a man obsessed with cuts and red tape reduction and he starts probably the most expensive most bureaucratic process ever seen in this province’s history. I think there is more to this than meets the eye.
        It is complete madness and a waste of money.
        This is not a surprise to me, I knew for a fact that his hidden agenda would be a complete disaster for Alberta and if he tries to continue with this charade, i think Alberta is going to witness confrontation like never before.
        If for whatever reason the sane people of this province are not able to stop this craziness then I will definitely leave this province for good. One thing it is not going to happen – I will not allow my pension to get in the hands of these idiots. They can play with the money of their own supporters and bankrupt Alberta for good. We already are in a difficult situation due to 43 years of total neo-liberal garbage and looks like we are giving the first steps into neo-fascism. The facebook disaster is another example and I cannot even imagine what is going to happen in the public sessions for this phenomenal exercise in repetition and probably a ban on anyone that does not support the government.
        Susan do you think there is any weight on the unconstitutionality of the war room?
        I would like to send a request to the Federal minister of Justice about this war room. Is there any merit in it?

    • Bota28, you’re right it is delusional thinking. Remember the fuss Kenney made about Notley introducing the carbon tax because it wasn’t spelled out in her platform in black and white. I’d like Kenney to point out where in his policy platform he said he’s going to spend millions turning Albertans into fearful ill-informed citizens who would seriously consider giving up their CPP, their RCMP, blocking municipalities access to federal funding, and foregoing federal funding for roads, infrastructure, disaster relief and heritage sites, all in return for a provincial constitution which many of them will welcome as evidence that notwithstanding what he says about being loyal to Canada, he’s actually preparing for separation.
      I agree with your comment on Mr Manning. He’s way past his “best before date”.

  3. Ryan Dunch says:

    Interesting that you quote Timothy Snyder, Susan. Mr. Kenney (mis)referenced Snyder and his work back on August 23 in one of the short propaganda videos he likes to release regularly. This one was to mark the anniversary of the Nazi non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union in 1939, which of course was a prelude to the Nazi invasion of Poland and the start of WWII. I did not know he was also reading Snyder for political tactics!
    See here for the video and my response at the time:

    • Ryan, well done! Did Kenney even read the book? The fact he couldn’t even get Synder’s name right, let alone the other details tells me Mr Kenney likes to be thought of as an intellectual (look I read historians and can drop their names [albeit wrong] into conversations) but he has the intellectual depth of a finger bowl.
      Snyder’s analysis of how Trump came to power and continues to hold power reads like a playbook for people like Kenney to follow. That might work here in Alberta because our ability to reason has been warped by our dependence on the fossil fuel industry, but it won’t work in the rest of Canada. Thank god.

  4. Bill Malcolm says:

    The formation of the Grand Duchy of Oilberta under the monarchical leadership of Grand Duke Jason 1 from faraway Oakville Ontario is proceeding apace.

    With the setting up of a Duchy-wide Poleese Farce to defend his borders and the seizure of citizen pension funds to invest in the only industry beyond agriculture the duchy has, namely the lucrative business of steam-washing tarry sands, the Grand Duke expects to soon annex neighbouring territories eager to join his March to Greatness. The expectant Marquis Sch-Moe of Saskatchewan is reportedly fully in favour of joining, but the less exuberant Count Horgan of British Columbia prefers to frack his Way to Greatness on his own. This will have to change, the Grand Duke notes, by invasion if necessary but by education of its citizenry at first.

    As of late 2019, the takeover makeover seems to working to Plan, and Grand Duke Jason is reportedly deeply involved in the design of his new Crown, the rhinestone-studded prototype of which will be rivetted to the hood of his RAM pickup truck between large pointy cowhorns to better scatter crowds gathered for Gay Pride parades, marches for Women’s Rights and the ever-popular union demonstrations for a living minimum wage.

    Yee haw!

    • Bill, this is an excellent take on the insane situation we find ourselves in. I don’t think the Grand Duke’s Plan will hold because it’s shot through with contradictions. Jason will not settle for being King of Alberta, even if we throw in Saskatchewan (BC and Manitoba want nothing to do with us). He wants to be the prime minister of Canada but he’s got three problems (1) first he’s got to get elected as leader of the Conservative party and the timing is off, (2) if Scheer’s replacement wins the next federal election there will be no leadership review and Kenney is stuck waiting in the wings and (3) if by some miracle Kenney ends up the leader of the Conservatives, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes have had it up to here with his threats and bellyaching.
      Bottom line: we’ll be stuck with him until the misery he’s inflicted on Albertans with his austerity budget becomes more wretched than the distractions he’s creating with these panels, inquiries, war rooms and whatever else he’ll fire at us over the next 3.5 years.

  5. david swann says:

    WOW- incisive and a powerful tonic for the growing animosity and scape-goating of the Feds – still the most popular ploy among political opportunists in the West!

    • As you correctly point out David, attacking the federal government is the go-to strategy for political opportunists who have nothing substantive to offer. I just re-read Harper’s firewall letter to Klein. All you have to do is change the date and you’d swear it was written by Kenney. Are these guys so bereft of originality that they can’t come up with a single new policy?

  6. Fred Brook says:

    It sure seems like another kamikaze campaign. At my age I am sure getting tired of hearing about Preston Manning and all the other right wingers from Alberta whining about their poor lot in life. Do they forget about Harper and the dismantling of manufacturing in Canada to prop up the gas and oil industry in Alberta.
    With apologies to most of the commenters on this site I just wish they would go away and build a good wall while they are at it.

    • Fred, these right wing nuts have a selective memory. They harbour grudges dating back to the Crow rate and they refuse to accept the reality of climate change, globalization, burgeoning population, etc. Kind of like an old person with senility, the past is crystal clear, the present, not so much.
      I too wish they’d go away. Instead of building a wall we could move them to a small island. We don’t need a big one because there aren’t that many of them. Is there an island near Greenland we can convince the Danes to sell?

      • Gail says:

        I think you mean the NEP not the Crow Rate.

      • Gail, I pulled the reference to the Crow rate out of a comment made by an AdvantageAlberta supporter. He said the Crow rate was actually a Liberal government conspiracy to cripple the prairies. I have no idea what logic he used to get there.

      • K. Larsen says:

        It was the right wingers who wanted the CROW rate ended. Like Dr. Horner the former Ab Con Ag Minister, they dreamed of “walking all the grain off the prairies.” The CROW and the Wheat Board were seen as impediments to that. Now that it has blown up in their faces, it is no surprise they now blame the Feds for doing what they wanted. Imagine their misdirected rage when it turns out the completed TMX does not deliver another oil boom and is revealed as just another cargo-cult fantasy.

      • K. Larson you’ve hit the nail on the head. The argument is Canadian oil will fetch global oil prices once TMX is finished and we begin exporting oil to Asia. If this is true, it will only be true for oil exported to China, not the US. The US won’t pay global prices for Cdn oil captive to the US market. I don’t know how much of an impact global prices for TMX oil will have here at home but I don’t expect China to go whole hog on Canadian oil. In 2019 55% of the crude going to China came from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iraq and Oman. In comparison the US supplies only 2.8% of all exports to China. Is Canada going to displace the one of the top 5 suppliers? Will it displace American oil? Also China is swift to retaliate when it’s displeased with its suppliers. It just announced a 5% tariff on American oil. Given our rocky relationship with China we can expect the same treatment.
        As you said the Cons will go ballistic if TMX turns into another pipe dream.
        Here’s a good link:

  7. diamondwalker says:

    .. still waiting for the explain.. from that great Canadian patriot, Jason Kenney.. on a number of issues. The biggie.. is how he got away with & still gets away on the fantasy tale that he was an Albertan. The unfortunate man who blew that myth away.. was hounded, doxed, threatened. The poor lad’s crime? He started looking at Kenney’s expenses, residency claims and actual days spent in Alberta. As most recall, Kenney ran as an Alberta MP candidate and was elected, became a senior Harper Minister.

    The entire aspect of Kenney as a so called resident of Alberta becomes laughable. It appears he did not qualify for an Alberta Driver’s licence or Health Card. Was he driving illegally in Ontario then? Where was his family doctor based ? What province covered his medical costs? Again the question arises. How did Jason Kenney qualify as an Alberta MP candidate, again and again, election after election?

    We know he purchased and lived in an Ottawa, Ontario condominium. He claimed that over the years as his ‘secondary residence’ and received regular monthly expense payments accordingly. Seemingly his parent’s home was his ‘principal residence’.. His air travel expenses, per diems are all dated and easily cross referenced to confirm how little time he spent in Alberta ‘looking after his mother’ or as he said, ‘living out of hotels’ as a senior Harper Minister. He had no need for hotels in Ottawa as he owned a condo there as a senior minister. Last I heard, he made it to Calgary via aircraft approx 4 times a year to visit his mother.. or as he claims ‘looking after her’ or being in his ‘principal residence’ finally, in the basement apartment.. even in her retirement home.

    The mystery of Jason Kenney’s glib, situational ethics or deceit.. suggests he may have bilked Canadian taxpayers of tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars via his clever little grift. He may even have flouted and broken many laws in Alberta and Ontario. Now he wants to reinvent Alberta to suit his ‘vision’.. Ah.. but he’s a Canadian Patriot.. right. He’s parlayed his career political animal career into great wealth and power.. is now Premier of Alberta.. and threatens Canadians and their country for oil and gas interests.. and his ego wanking ideology. He’s a career political animal that has never comprehended what being a ‘Public Servant’s’ job is.. Public Service.. and that is all. Full Stop.

    The big problem aside from those serious questions is..

    • Diamondwalker: excellent illustration of Jason Kenney’s situational ethics. In addition to the examples you’ve given, I’d love to know whether there really were no flights available from Calgary to Saskatoon so he had to charter a plane to fly 16 people including 3 premiers, 2 of their wives to Saskatoon for the premiers’ meeting. Did no one think to put the premiers’ meeting in their calendars? If they decided to screw up their reservations by popping into Calgary for a Stampede breakfast are their governments so broke they couldn’t foot the bill? Or does Mr Kenney just like being magnanimous with our money? And then there’s his shifting explanation of why he doled out ear plugs to his MLAs when the House was in debate. These are penny ante examples compared to the mind games he’s playing with Albertans. Like poking a stick at an angry dog, it’s going to get ugly.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Jason Kenney said Alison Redford was fired for doing what he did. The hypocrisy and double standards abound.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Jason Kenney cheated his way to run as an Albertan candidate the same way he did for the UCP and I assume in everything else he has done.
      He knows that he could only win if he run in Alberta where you just need to declare that you are a Conservative and you are in. IF you are a bully and like to threaten Ottawa you are the perfect candidate.
      With Harper as prime minister it was obvious that all bullies like to be together, they are more successful in gangs and so without any obstacles he becomes a federal minister.
      Did nothing other than the usual hijab controversy. Created a foreign worker program that had to be later canceled because it was so darn bad that only the business owners like it because they could do whatever they wanted with the workers with very few chances of getting caught. Now he is the panel man and with Preston Manning he is going to reach his greatest moments of joy.

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Beca: What will be a joy for Jason Kenney, will be a nightmare for everyone else, unless they are wealthy. I have relatives who fled countries where oppressive governments were in power. Look at what we have here now in Alberta. I know Conservative supporters who are absolutely enthralled with politicians, like Ralph Klein, and Jason Kenney. I and others we know, had to correct people like these, but they are steadfast in what they believe in, such as the false notion that Ralph Klein got Alberta out of debt, and that Jason Kenney is good for Alberta. One of these people tried to latch onto the (already proven to be false) claim, that in the last federal election, election employees were erasing people’s ballots and marking Liberal on them. I told them this was proven to be false, and how people jump on this, but ignore the fact that Jason Kenney cheated to be the premier of Alberta. This person also came up with a silly idea that George Soros owns an electronic polling machine, (or some device like that), and was rigging votes. I don’t know where people come up with these things.

      • Carlos it amazes me that at a time when the country, indeed the world, is rocketing into an uncertain future anyone would continue to support these tired old politicians spouting the same old ideas. Ian McClelland chaired the first “firewall” committee in 2003. The committee rejected these ideas. McClelland said he was disappointed Kenney wants to rehash them. McClelland said the real purpose of the Fair Deal panel is to give disgruntled Albertans a chance to vent and warns this will be more dangerous because in 2003 the meetings were small and media coverage was scarce. Now expectations are high, we’re more polarized “and populism has run amok.”
        What a shame Kenney didn’t check with the Reform party politicians who could have given him some good advice. Instead he went to Preston Manning. Kenney is playing with fire.
        Here’s the link:

  8. Jerrymacgp says:

    This is all just a toddler’s temper tantrum. The Rest of Canada — aka TROC — didn’t vote the way Jason Kenney & Scott Moe wanted, so now they want to take their marbles & go home. Remember, if you exclude Alskatchewan — or Saskaberta if you prefer — from the results, the ScheerCons’ share of the national popular vote is only about 28.6%, whereas the Liberals got 36.5% in TROC, the NDP got 16.4% & the Greens 7.1%. If the Trudeau Liberals give in to the tantrums from Messrs Moe & Kenney, they betray the more progressive voters & parties that they will need to stay in office; if they resist, they risk losing yet more votes in what is already a wasteland for them — electorally, no great loss.

    If Alberta & Saskatchewan voters want TROC to pay attention to them, they need to pay attention to what is important to TROC: climate action. Oh, wait, the previous government tried that, and look what it got them: they became Alberta’s first ever one-term government.

    What a fecal performance this place is.

    • Jerrymacgp: Scheer only got 28.6% of the vote outside of AB/Sask? Wow, you’d never know it to hear them crow about the popular vote. The explanations for why the Cons didn’t do better are quite interesting. Apparently many believe it wasn’t their policies that drove voters away but how Scheer communicated them. Really? Is there a better way to communicate “no carbon tax on my watch” than “no carbon tax on my watch”?
      Oil executives used the same “poor communication” explanation when they were trying to address why the public had become less enamored with the oilsands. It’s not that unregulated or lightly regulated oilsands extraction and production is a problem, it’s that the public didn’t understand the benefits it brought to the economy. Actually the public did understand but were no longer persuaded the damage to the environment was worth it.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Well that is a pretty much the best performance definition I have read and I totally agree.
      Judging by Jason Kenney’s behaviour ever since I have known him, I wonder if this man is mentally fit to govern anything but his basement suite in his mother’s house?
      Who in the right mind would be so cruel as to fight to stop dying men from having the warmth of their loved ones? What kind of character is that? And these same people, religiously motivated, criticize atheists for having no moral ethics. Seriously?
      What is the difference between sending people to Siberian jails and this kind of soulless attitude? Furthermore he attacks Justin Trudeau on his total disinterest about the Western Provinces?

  9. J.E. Molnar says:

    There are sh*tshows and then there are “conservative” sh*tshows!

    If Jason Kenney is ever successful in any of his cockamamie ideas — especially pillaging the CPP — I will be first in line for a ticket to Anywhereville, on the next train/plane out of town. Clearly the political ghosts of Steven Harper and Preston Manning obsess and haunt this tyrannical megalomaniac. Creating a firefall was a bad idea back in the day and it’s an even dumber idea today. It just show when it comes to conservative ideology — you just can’t fix stupid.

    • J.E. my husband and I will be right behind you in the ticket line.
      Kenney’s talk about Alberta gaining greater autonomy within Canada has been interpreted by many as a call for independence. This does nothing to inspire investor confidence. Kenney says Notley drove away investment, but this one is on him.
      Add to that everything he’s done to gut Notley’s diversification policies and we’re facing a tough four years because even if oil prices go up, the industry has figured out how to do more with fewer employees. Albertans are not going to get their old jobs back.
      The man has been in power for six months. I shudder to think where we’ll be at the end of four years…likely on the train to Anywhereville.

      • Jerrymacgp says:

        So have you noticed that all of this “firewall” & “Alberta separation” talk only emerges when there is not a Conservative Government in Ottawa? Apparently it’s not enough that Alberta is — aside from the 4-year aberration of 2015-19 — a one-party state … they think The Rest of Canada must be, too. Whatever happened to the idea that in a healthy democracy, there is a fairly regular and routine change of positions between the Government & the Official Opposition, and at times — such as in the 2011 & 2015 federal elections — even a third-place party wins Government or Official Opposition?

        I was also intrigued by P J Fournier’s “thought experiment” of how this election might have looked has we had a ranked ballot instead of FPTP ( While there are necessary caveats about such things, such as the underlying but unproven assumption that voter behaviour would remain a constant despite the independent variable of a changed electoral system, his findings are quite illuminating. There once was a time, probably until the demise of the last PC government in the 1993 election, when Liberal & Conservative voters’ second choices were probably always each other’s parties: Liberals’ second choice was PC, & vice-versa. However, with the ReformaCons/HarperCons/ScheerCons’ sharp shift to the right, that is no longer the case. Conservatives of today don’t really have a second choice, unless it’s a neo-Falangist bunch like the PPC, while Liberals’ second choices are likely to be Green or NDP. So, under a ranked ballot system, both the Liberals & NDP gain seats over FPTP, while the Conservatives lose seats. The Cons now have their dedicated, hard-core base, which is helpful for fundraising, but no room to grow, because they’ve turned off everyone that back in the PC era they might have pulled in.

  10. Paul Pearlman says:

    The tax cut came the jobs didn’t and now we’re going to have Preston Manning whispering in the ear of King Jason!!! What a concept both past due dates have come and gone but UCP supporters seem to like sour milk.Is indigestion on the way??

    • Paul you nailed it. Given what Timothy Snyder said about spectacle inflaming the emotions and strengthening polarization it looks like we’re in for four years of indigestion.
      Taras Grescoe wrote an article in the Globe on the weekend about the rise of populist leaders. He says “the most admirable thing any person of conscience can do is to resist, with words and actions.” We’re using our words here and when we’re out and about and we’re using our actions when we vote, we support other parties, and we show up at rallies and at the Fair Deal open houses which will be brutal.

  11. Shared on FB – is that okay, Susan?

  12. Desiree says:

    Conservative = Republican and so we have another wannabe king. Kenney / Trump same pair of dangerous grifters. Divide and conquer. Profits before people. Ugh.

    • Desiree the similarities between Kenney and Trump are amazing. Snyder says Trump is a “sado-populist” whose policies are designed to hurt the must vulnerable part of his own electorate. He says people (racists) accept their own pain because they see even greater pain inflicted on others.
      Kenney’s austerity budget will cause great pain, but Albertans accept it because they think it will knock down the unions and others (like people on AISH) they consider to be leeches on society. It’s a very warped view.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: It’s always the destitute that suffer under austerity budgets, (which come from shortsighted neoliberalism based policies), and there are people who try to defend it. The wealthy are not affected. This is very shameful.

      • Dwayne, you’re right, the poor can’t influence politicians like Kenney because by definition they don’t have the means to donate to their campaigns. Funny how that works.

  13. Mike Mcgowan says:

    Thank-you! Can we get this in front of all Albertans to read and digest? A great start for critical thought.

    • Thanks Mike. It’s making the rounds on social media. I’d love to get it into mainstream media, but that means convincing PostMedia to print it in the form of an op-ed. Given their slant that’s highly unlikely.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        You got that right – I would never allow Postmedia to touch this article if it was mine. They will turn it into a Jason Kenney approval.

  14. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I thank you for another great blog. I just look at what is being proposed by Jason Kenney, and I am in total disgust with this. This is all so full of obvious flaws, and will not come without a massive cost, and other major complications. The kicker is that this all ties in with the separation mantra that Jason Kenney was supposedly opposed to, to begin with. Another rather strange thing is that Peter Lougheed’s son will be a part of this. Peter Lougheed would be appalled at this. I would like to know the locations of these meetings, and what times they will be held. I would like to go, even though I think there will be a predetermined outcome and an agenda already in place. My grandather fought in World War 1, and in another war prior to that, when he still lived in Eastern Europe. He had brothers who were killed in World War 1. I have uncles who fought in World War 2, and in the Korean war. One of my uncles was captured by the Nazis and forced to join their army. His village on the Polish/Ukrainian border was overrun by the Nazis. My other grandfather came to North America at age 17, in 1914, from Eastern Europe, because he knew World War 1 was coming, and he wanted to avoid the troubles that he knew would come with it. I have relatives who are in the Air Force. Also, I was appalled by Jason Kenney’s neo-Stalinist comments, because Josef Stalin’s bad policies adversely affected the countries where my ancestors came from. The Holodomor, (genocide of the Ukrainian people by starvation), and the Katyn Massacre spring to mind. The Nazis also adversely affected the different Eastern European (Slavic) countries where my ancestors came from. The place where my two grandparents, and three of their children came from, suffered greatly under the Nazis. What the UCP is doing is looking for someone else to blame, and making more people suffer from his badly thought out policies. Our troops fought against oppression. We need to acknowledge what they sacrificed and fought for. Lest We Forget.

  15. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Also, one of my late uncles, who fought in World War 2, was one of the soldiers who helped liberate France, Belgium and Holland. People who were under an oppressive government, were liberated by our troops, including my late uncle. Now, we have to work together and fight an oppressive government in Alberta. We have to put pressure on and stand up for what is right.

    • Dwayne, thank you for your comments, they were especially poignant given your family history where many members of your family suffered oppression first hand. My mom escaped from Hungary when she was barely 20. She knew she’d be imprisoned if she was captured but she did it anyway because living under the Communist regime was intolerable. And here we are today with a provincial leader who is using the same tactics the oppressors used back then. For example, Kenney announced the panel on Facebook; the UCP deleted comments that weren’t supportive and blocked the commentators. Those who were deleted and blocked complained on social media, the papers set up interviews with them and suddenly they were unblocked and their comments reappeared. Kenney blamed it on a glitch with his communications people but the message is clear, no one is allowed to criticize the government.
      As you say, the outcome of the Panel may be predetermined given that at least four of the nine are Reform/UCP politicians. Nevertheless I agree with you, we all have to show up at these hearings. Even if they won’t let us get near the microphone we can wave our little Canada flags and bear witness to what transpires. And you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be blogging about it.
      Timothy Snyder says words matter, standing up to tyranny matters, if we don’t speak up now they will roll right over us.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I totally agree with you. I’d like to know when these dates will be for this forum. I will be there.
        Yesterday, I played two songs that I thought were quite fitting. I have them in my music collection. Blowin’ In The Wind, by Bob Dylan, and You Can All Join In, a Dave Mason composition he did, when he was in the Brummie (U.K) group Traffic, with Steve Winwood. (Dave Mason was the one who wrote the song Feeling Alright.) I think both songs have a meaning that still is very valid today.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Susan: There are issues with Jason Kenney creating a provincial pension system for Alberta. First off, the Alberta PCs took Peter Lougheed’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund and and basically robbed it, without topping it up. It was not topped up from 1986 and onwards. Ralph Klein used it for things like paying down Alberta’s debt, (which he never actually got Alberta out of debt, as he brainwashed people into thinking), for a very shady business deal that flopped, which was Alpac/Mitsubishi, and it was highly likely he used the money to help finance his provincial election campaigns. During the Don Getty years, the Principle Trust scandal happened. People had their investments and their life savings evaporate like water on a hot day. There were scapegoats for this one. Nothing could ever bring back people’s lost savings or stop their outrage. When the CPC were in power, they did a trick, that was no treat, around Halloween. It was the $35 billion income trust scandal. Again, people never saw their life savings ever again. It was gone immediately, and was gone forever. The CPC was Jason Kenney’s former political roost. The particular company that will be looking after the pensions of Albertans, has a questionable history, and will offer a poorer rate of return. What the funds will be invested in will be volatile commodities. This is quite concerning. It should be to anyone with even half a mind. I recall issues like this before in Alberta. Based on what I mentioned, it would not be a wise idea to trust Jason Kenney with our money.

    • Anonymous I agree and I think a whole bunch of people who voted for the UCP would also agree with you. They’re all over social media trying to understand how we got here given that (1) Kenney didn’t mention any of this in his election platform and (2) it’s diametrically opposed to his election promise to shrink government, reduce costs and cut red tape. Most of them are too loyal to say they wouldn’t trust the UCP government with their money, but I suspect they’re worried because like the conservatives who appropriated the Heritage Fund, they know the minute the UCP gets their hands on the APP fund, it will go pffft.

  17. Ray Harper says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’m writing to you as you seem to have the most reasonable and educated responses to our situation and the effects of the new government here in Alberta. One thing which I haven’t seen reported anywhere, and I have been watching, is what would be the effect on our Medicare coverage in the event of a separated or a more autonomous Alberta? Will Jason Kenney’s demands list from Ottawa provide for greater autonomy include looser controls on private medical provision? Can you imagine a separated Alberta managing its own publicly funded Medicare system?

    Thank you


    • Ray, you’ve raised an extremely important point that, as you said, has received no media coverage whatsoever. If Alberta separated it would no longer be eligible for transfer payments under the Canada Health Transfer Plan. The purpose of CHT is to maintain the “national criteria for publicly provided health care” as set out in the Canada Health Act. Wikipedia said before 2014 CHT was allocated on the basis of cash transfers and tax point transfers and Alberta and Ontario, which had the highest revenue raising ability, received lower per capita CHT cash payments than the other provinces. After 2014, CHT was determined solely on a per capita cash basis. Economist Livio Di Matteo said this would result ‘a particularly large windfall to Alberta.’ I guess the separatists can kiss that one goodbye.
      Given Kenney’s love of the free market and “choice” I expect he’d rapidly move to a two tier healthcare system which would be dandy for those who could afford it and awful for those who could not.
      What a mess.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos Beca: The hits just keep on coming!

      • Carlos Beca says:

        yes Dwayne we cannot complaint it is boring!
        This is going to be a crazy ride but I am fine as long as in the end his circus tour is a disaster.
        He is even starting to sound like Quebec – it is a separation but he is not a separatist. It is a separation but without a separation. The usual cheap talk.
        Considering that in Alberta the Conservatives can create hell on earth and still get elected, this could be a long and difficult 4 years. Suddenly money for his dream world is no longer an issue. Wonderful and of course great examples to the austerity people.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Looks like the Redford circus came back totown

  18. carlosbeca says:

    The costs were out of control with the socialists. Wow one guru spent more in a few weeks than Rachel Notley in 4 years.
    What a Joke and what a depth of ignorance this all demonstrates.
    Oh yes he was getting business investment for Alberta – we should trace his steps in England and see how many times did he actually talk with anybody in the investment community.

    • Carlos and Dwyne, apparently Kenney justified $18,000 of the $45,000 his aide spent on his trip to London by saying Knight-Legg’s London trip centred around securing capital investment for Alberta, and “working on the government’s aim to counter ‘the misinformation campaign of defamation’ against Alberta’s energy sector. Kenney campaigned on setting up the War Room. When he was elected he gave it $30M to engage in a focused counterattack on the campaign of misinformation. K-L is not an employee of the War Room. The UK, as far as we know has not funded environmentalists to block Alberta’s energy sector. Why is K-L engaged in this activity which is clearly outside his job description?
      There is a way around this for Kenney, He can avoid future accusations that he’s wasting taxpayers’ money by changing the name of the War Room (again). He can call it The Boondoggle Room and waste as much money as he likes without fear of being shown up as a hypocrite. .

  19. Dave says:

    I suppose Mr. Kenney had to use “Fair Deal” because “Its time for you to get ahead” was already taken. Perhaps Mr. Scheer, would have let him borrow it now, he’s probably done with it anyways. On second thought, it didn’t work so well for Scheer did it?

    It’s also kind of ironic, Conservatives are usually the first to point out that when the word fairness is invoked by a politician that someone is going to get fleeced. Mr. Kenney may be a Conservative, but he is a politician first and does a less convincing populist man of the people act than say someone like Doug Ford. So, more blue ribbon or whatever colour panels (except rainbow, of course) of carefully picked Conservative supporters and sympathizers who will give Mr. Kenney whatever he wants. I suspect the Fair Deal panel will give Mr. Kenney a big fat blank cheque, so he can do whatever he wants – probably some vague conclusion to the effect of “more provincial autonomy is worth investigating further”. I doubt the panel will say much, if anything about the potential additional cost or risks of taking over services currently provided by the Feds.

    Anyone who expects the Feds to just rollover and let Kenney push them around is naive. Of course they will save that reality for when Kenney comes up with whatever plan he decides on. Want to leave CPP? Ok, here are the conditions but they will not be nice and easy. Want to have a provincial police force? Fine, but don’t expect the Feds to chip in much for the cost. Lastly, want to set up a provincial tax collection system – forget it, unless you want to set up your own PST, like Saskatchewan or BC, if so then you can collect that. Lastly, equalization probably stays pretty much like the existing system, you know the one the Harper government that Kenney was a part of at the time, agreed to a number of years ago.

    In the mid 90’s the Federal Liberals exasperated with years of battling Quebec separatists to a draw, after trying many other things, finally decided maybe a bit of tough love would work and it seemed to. Don’t think they have forgotten that.

  20. Excellent points Dave. As you point out Kenney is a populist (albeit not as good as Ford). At this point he’s happy to stoke the separatist flame while at the same time saying he’s a federalist (see, he’s not really stoking the separatist flame).
    Commentators say we’re wrong to accuse Kenney of encouraging separatism because all he’s doing is floating proposals that are within Alberta’s jurisdiction. They’re missing the point. Kenney fired up Alberta’s anger and victimhood during the election campaign. All that anger is going to be focused on the Fair Deal panel. Angry Albertans won’t be satisfied with a set of recommendations at the end of the process that amount to “let’s study this further”. These people believe separation is easy and won’t cost a dime. They believe the UN will force Canada to hand over all the benefits Alberta gets from being part of confederation (CPP, currency, the balance “owed” to AB under equalization, etc). They believe the UN can order BC to give AB access to tidewater. Some suggest the solution is as easy as redrawing the AB/BC border so the top half of BC becomes part of the Republic of AB. They say Saskatchewan can do the same to Manitoba in order to access the Port of Churchill. They’re in la la land.
    I wish Kenney good luck when he finally admits to the torch and pitchfork gang that separation isn’t going to work and tries to fob them off with the Alberta version of Quebec autonomy because that’s not what they want.

  21. Fred Brook says:

    This should get the War Room stuttering.
    I think this might make the administrators of any proposed Alberta Pension Plan have second thoughts, or maybe just anybody dependent on the benefits.

  22. Fred: thanks for that link. I see Kenney came back with the usual response. (1) Alberta has the highest environmental standards in the world, (2) the energy industry is continually improving its environmental footprint and (3) if the Swedish central bank is really concerned about climate change they should invest in “ethical producers such as Alberta, which have shown dramatic gains in reducing emissions,”.
    None of this addresses the Swedish bank’s concern that Canada’s green house emissions per capita are among the highest in the world. This isn’t just hyperbole. The Conference Board of Canada says Canada is indeed one of the highest GHG emitters in the world, it ranks 15th out of 17 countries for GHG emissions per capita (this gets it a “D” grade). And while our per capita GHG emissions decreased by nearly 5% between 1990 and 2010, our total GHG emissions grew 17%. And the largest contributor to Canada’s GHG emissions is the energy sector–power generation (heat and electricity), transportation, and fugitive sources.

  23. CallmeHal2000 says:

    The hot air blasting out of the premier’s mouth, much like a Chinook wind, gives me a migraine. Fortunately, Chinooks aren’t a daily occurrence.

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