The Fog of Politics

The fog of politics is like the fog of war.  It’s hard to see what’s really going on.    

Albertans are choking in UCP fog.  We wonder why Mr Kenney who came to power on the Thatcher/Reagan ideology—small government, low taxes and less red tape—is wasting valuable time and resources on a $2.5M anti-Alberta inquiry, a $30M war room to smack down oilsands critics and a $650,000 Wexit-by-any-other-name panel that will further inflame separatist sentiment.    

What do these have to do with Mr Kenney’s campaign promise of “jobs, economy, pipelines”?

Some say Mr Kenney wants to distract Albertans from a $4.7 billion corporate tax cut and the austerity budget that is on track to reduce system-wide spending by 10%.  They’re right. However Mr Kenney’s comments in the Legislature reveal another reason, personal ambition.


One way to find out what Mr Kenney wants, what he really, really wants, is to listen to his (non) answers in Question Period.  The exchanges on Nov 7, 2019 are enlightening. 

Ms Notley asked Mr Kenney how he could justify spending $16,000 on the ”Premier’s pancake plane party” when people with disabilities, kids who used to get care, and kids in school will be forced to get by with less to offset his $4.7 billion corporate handout. 

Jason Kenney: What does he really really want?

Mr Kenney replied he hosted “several Premiers, representing 60 percent of the population” and provided them with “logistical support” to get to the premiers meeting in Saskatoon.

He said that unlike Ms Notley who isolated Alberta, he’s built “alliances” with “like-minded provinces.”  He said 9 out of 10 provinces agreed to fight Bill C-69 and support energy and resource corridors, including oil and gas pipelines and Quebec was joining Alberta in fighting the federal carbon tax.  In a response to a puff ball question from a member of his caucus he added the “coalition” of like-minded provinces would stand up for Alberta’s vital economic interests.

The poor man is dreaming in technicolour.  Let’s break down the reasons Mr Kenney gave for paying the cost of the premiers’ airfare:     

Reason #1: standing up for Albertans?  The premiers will “stand up” for their own provinces before they’ll stand up for Albertans if their policies conflict; the premier of Quebec, François Legault made this crystal clear.   

Reason #2: Alliances increase likelihood of success in court?  Alberta doesn’t need to be part of an “alliance” to fight Bill C-69 and the carbon tax.  It can sue the Feds all by itself.  Its success or failure depends on the law, not how many litigants are sitting at the appellants’ table.  

Reason #3: Alliances make energy corridors happen?  This is incredibly naïve. Not because inter-provincial cooperation can’t be bought for a pancake, but because premiers are notoriously fickle.       

In 2015 Ms Notley, and the premiers of all 13 provinces and territories, signed on to the Canadian Energy Strategy which called for pan-Canadian collaboration to deliver renewable and nonrenewal energy from coast to coast in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.  Everything was grand until the premier of Quebec (then Philippe Couillard) objected to Energy East and BC Premier Horgan objected to TMX.  So Ms Notley did the smart thing, she went directly to the man who could make TMX happen, Justin Trudeau.  The federal Liberals bought TMX and continue to support it to this day. 

If the Strategy hammered out by the premiers isn’t binding on the premiers, then good luck to Mr Kenney when he asks the premiers to honour the “coalition” and one of them balks, because Mr Kenney torched Plan B, asking the prime minster for help.    

A coalition of the like-minded 

Alberta can’t depend on a coalition of the like-minded to achieve its goals, so why has Mr Kenney turned himself into the coalition’s self-appointed spokesman?     

Kenneth Whyte’s article in the Globe and Mail offers a clue.  Mr Whyte described Mr Kenney as “the most important figure in contemporary Canadian conservatism.”  This would please Mr Kenney who’s on record as saying he wants to reignite the conservative movement not just in Alberta but across Canada. 

Presumably Mr Kenney will use his stature as the most powerful conservative premier in the country to drop bon mots in federal Conservatives’ ears.  The question is whether he’ll be satisfied with this role or whether he’ll decide the best way to be a driving force in federal conservatism is to move into federal politics.   

This is where it gets tricky for Mr Kenney.  Leaving aside the question of when to jump ship, Mr Whyte says Mr Kenney’s actions to date—pushing the firewall, proposing referendums on CPP, the RCMP, entrenching property rights in the Constitution and equalization—make him less useful to the larger conservative movement.

A less useful Mr Kenney would be a very good thing for the rest of Canada. 

What we can do

We may be in the fog of politics, but one thing has become crystal clear.  Mr Kenney is riding two horses, one leads to separation, the other to 24 Sussex Street. 

Either way, we pay the price. 

So, we will continue to point out how Mr Kenney’s war rooms, panels, and inquiries violate fundamental rights.  We will march against the austerity budget, the attack on LBGTQ rights, Bill 207 and any other horrible thing Mr Kenney has in store.  And we’ll express our disgust at Mr Kenney picking up the tab for premiers who are more than capable of paying for their own transportation.       

We will do it all because the fog of politics has lifted.      

*Alberta Hansard, Nov 7, 2019, pp 2253, 2256

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87 Responses to The Fog of Politics

  1. David Grant says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on this issue. My focus has on the budget cuts that he has laid out here as they could have an effect on myself as a Support Staff worker at the University of Calgary but also on the institution and the province. Now there will be an opportunity to show your opposition on November 21, 2019 at the University of Calgary from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm in the Taylor Family Quad. While my union, AUPE, is supporting it anyone can come. It is us against the administration but us against the government’s actions. I see as many people possible there so we can make some noise.

    • David, thanks for this information. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Albertans must fight the cuts with everything we’ve got. If nothing else public outcry will show the rest of Canada that a Kenney government is as bad as the Ford government and voting a conservative into power harms everyone but the very wealthy who are financially equipped to buffer themselves from consequences of these cuts.

  2. Janna says:

    I’m really curious. I’ve been thinking that Kenney has been burning his bridges (the ones he has to cross yet, on his way to the PM’s office). He seems to be doing everything in his power to NOT be PM, his antics are very “un-Canadian”, and even “un-Albertan”. Isn’t he shooting himself in the foot? Or am I completely out to lunch.

    I don’t see how any of what he’s doing would make him desirable as a CPC leader or prime minister, in fact, I would think the rest of Canada would look at it and think he’s completely unsuitable.

    • Janna, my sentiments exactly. Something is out of whack when a conservative newspaper like the Globe and Mail (which urged readers to hold their noses and vote for Stephen Harper in the 2015 election) is full of editorials denouncing Kenney’s policies.
      I haven’t seen any leading federal conservatives come out in support of his policies either. That doesn’t bode well for his return to the federal conservatives.
      God, I just had a horrible thought. We might be stuck with him forever!

      • Janna says:

        The next 3.5 years are going to be horrendous. My hope is that most in this province who are ior will be negatively affected by what he’s doing – and actually realize that he’s the problem, not Trudeau and Notley – and vote his ass out next election. Notley would be so, so good again.

      • I couldn’t have said it better Janna. Thanks!

  3. David Swann says:

    Very helpful clarity in this time of persistent fog!

  4. Jim McPhail says:

    Susan, I completely agree! When mini-Trump left Federal politics after Harper’s fiasco, this ambitious sycophant left town for safety and to build his credentials in Alberta. I believe he did this to re-establish a base for a run at the top Federal Conservative position. As you say, he’s looking in 2 directions with his neo-liberalist rants and practices.
    Susan, mind if I copy and share your post?

    • Jim your explanation that Kenney “left town for safety and to build his credentials in Alberta” rings true. It also says something about the man who was not prepared to run for the leadership lest one of the others (and they were a pretty poor bunch, the lot of them) beat him. Doesn’t say much for his character or his conviction.
      And yes, feel free to share the post with as many people who might be interested. 🙂

  5. Carlos Beca says:

    “the most important figure in contemporary Canadian conservatism.”

    This just clearly defines the state of Conservatism in Alberta and Canada. Ford must be jealous after all the pain he has been able to offer his province. I thought he was by far the winner of the ‘Inflict the most necessary pain to your slaves’ reality show.
    I also did not think anyone could beat the uselessness of old Preston Manning.
    I see some cracks coming but one cannot underestimate their propaganda machine and of course the level of vision of most Albertans that are very prone to believe in miracles.
    Their last ‘Doctor’s Conscience’ bill clearly reflects where we are heading.
    Gosh it makes me feel depressed reading ‘ … using his stature…’ wow I cannot see anything but lack of any stature.
    By the way the corporate tax cut is 4.7 Billion not million 🙂 – you have it wrong in one of the times you mentioned it.
    4.7 million is just one trip to the US when Jason Kenney goes for a visit to his friend in Washington and invites Melanie for supper.

  6. Carlos, Mr Whyte sounds like a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. He says flattering things about Kenney: eg Kenney had to get out front of his people on the firewall plan or be flattened in the stampede (this is silly, most Albertans aren’t firewall enthusiasts), the fair deal panel will buy Kenney time to see what Trudeau does and how the Fed Court of Appeal handles the TMX appeal (and then what?) and the panel may be Kenney’s way of “managing public sentiment and reducing tensions in his province” (are you kidding me!!)
    He also thinks Kenney’s demands of Trudeau are reasonable.
    Nevertheless Whyte doesn’t support Kenney turning Alberta into a bunker. He says Kenney could admit the impact of global economic forces and AB’s own mistakes which got Alberta into this mess and work constructively to get out of it. I don’t think Kenney has it in him to do that.
    On the bright side, if Kenney is the most important figure in contemporary Canadian conservatism, the progressives have nothing to worry about.
    PS thanks for pointing out the typo. I fixed it. 🙂

    • carlosbeca says:

      On the bright side, if Kenney is the most important figure in contemporary Canadian conservatism, the progressives have nothing to worry about.

      Well this one just made my day 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Never thought of it. It makes TOTAL SENSE

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Beca: I still see no sense from Jason Kenney.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Dwayne you seem surprised.
        Jason Kenney never made sense and I do not think he will ever be any different.
        He is a person with a mindset that only people with an extreme right wing, religious, reality denier, selfish can understand.
        15 years ago, Jason Kenney was already repeating non-stop the same mantra he uses today. Every time he adds any new thought to his repertoire it is always against someone or something and it always involves blaming or bullying or a threat.
        The name War Room did not show up by accident. Everything is a battle against something or someone. Unfortunately that is the language and attitude that seems to attract many Albertans.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I recall how the Alberta PCs lacked fiscal prudence, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier. It’s the same thing all over again, with the UCP. So many people will be adversely affected by Jason Kenney’s poorly thought out policies. I have nurses, teachers, and even relatives who work in the film industry. They will be hurt by Jason Kenney’s bad policies, like they were when Ralph Klein was premier. This is horrible.

  8. Gotta share this – asked before & you said okay . . . 🙂

  9. Jerrymacgp says:

    Rachel Notley didn’t isolate Alberta … Albertans are isolating themselves. Albertans, by & large, simply aren’t used to the kind of competitive elections, wherein governments routinely change hands every two or three elections, that are the norm in The Rest of Canada at both federal & provincial levels. Look at the historical record:
    – Liberals, 16 years (1905-1921)
    – United Farmers of Alberta,14 years (1921-1935)
    – Social Credit, 36 years (1935-1971)
    – Progressive Conservative, 44 years (1971-2015)

    Note, also, that except for the unnatural aberration of the 4-year Notley NDP interregnum, Alberta has been ruled by some flavour of conservativism for 80 years, and they simply don’t understand why The Rest of Canada doesn’t vote they way they do. So, anytime there is anything other than a conservative government in Ottawa, they throw a temper tantrum. The last one was in 2001, when Harper et al wrote the “firewall letter” after the Chrétien Liberals won their third straight majority. You will note that all that talk magically went away after Harper won his first minority government in 2006.

    I am also struck by the “thought experiment” by 338Canada’s P J Fournier about a ranked ballot: Once upon a time, before the federal PC-Canadian Alliance merger, when a typical federal PC voter’s second choice was the Liberals, and the typical Liberal’s second choice was the PCs. A typical NDP voter’s second choice would then usually have been the Liberals, but some might have gone to the then-fairly moderate PCs, especially if the Liberals were going through one of their numerous periods of having their ethics called into question.

    But, who would be a typical modern Conservative voter’s second choice today? There is so much polarization between today’s CPC and the other three major federal parties, the only real second choice for a Conservative is … staying home. Meanwhile, the Liberals, NDP and Greens are all fishing in the same pool of moderate voters, and in a ranked ballot system would all have options for a second and third choice no matter their first choice.

    • carlosbeca says:

      What you describe is the main problem with ranked ballot and it is not a great system for a democracy. Proportional Representation is the best system available and it gives the results the way they are. Each vote counts and people get the seats according to the percentage of votes they get. I cannot see anything clearer than that.
      Although ranked ballot could be favorable to Progressives now , I do not think we should select a system based on whether or not favours Progressives or Conservatives.

    • Thanks for this Jerry. As you point out as the Conservative party (provincial and federal) moves farther to the right, its moderate supporters find themselves without a party. Some of them are vocal about it. Thomas Lukaszuk (former PC MLA) and Charles Adler (conservative radio host) are all over Twitter denouncing Kenney and Scheer. The trolls are going bananas. This sense of disaffection will get more intense as Kenney continues to unroll crap like Bill 22.

  10. J.E. Molnar says:

    Premier Jason “I-Got-A-Panel-For-That” Kenney came as advertised — divisive and polarizing.

    To add insult to injury, conservatives are already lined up at the public trough, despite being kicked to the curb in 2015 for exactly that same sense of entitlement. These panels, for example, which Mr. Kenney has orchestrated under the guise of public policy, feature bloated salaries for the chairs and per diems for all card-carrying conservatives who are members. Add the $30 million cost for Mr. Kenney’s new Ministry of Truth (The War Room), along with accompanying administrative salaries, legal retainers and freewheeling policy adviser trips abroad, it’s a scary trip back-to-the-future — punctuated with unadulterated entitlement, privilege and arrogance. I don’t know about you Ms Soapbox, but it seems to me like conservatives never learn their lessons.

    • J.E. you’re right, there’s something in the conservatives’ sense of entitlement that blinds them to the lessons of their own history. If the level of cronyism in the Kenney government is at this pitch already, god help us 4 years from now. What I will be interested in is whether Albertans will forgive him because…what, because he’s Kenney the savior of the conservative movement?
      The Republicans stood by Trump despite his egregious attacks on democratic institutions. Will Albertans stay loyal to Kenney when he does the same here? Bill 22 and the firing of the elections commissioner is the first test. Political scientists Duane Bratt calls it a cover up. We need to raise holy hell about it, starting with a scathing letter to your MLA and cc’d to Jason Kenney.

  11. Carlos Beca says:

    For those reading this blog that are concerned with the so called ‘WAR ROOM’
    here is something important to read

    Click to access Submission-to-Alberta-Energy-Inquiry.pdf

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos Beca: I heard about that. Hardly a surprise in the land where Conservative propaganda blots out the truth. Sadly, most go along with the propaganda, or have silly ideas of their own, without looking for the truth.

    • Thanks for this Carlos. The Muttart submission is an incredibly important document. The commissioner must heed its warning, including this sentence: “The inquiry’s terms of reference lay out a significant series of tasks for the Commissioner. Deciding what information is to be considered false and misleading will require Solomon-like wisdom.” The one thing that’s clearly missing in this process and in all the miserable stuff Kenney is throwing at hapless Albertans, it’s wisdom.

  12. Magda says:

    As much as I despise Jason Kenney, I really wish the NDP would up their game and stop it with the constant “How dare you be so mean?!?!?” whine all the time. UCP/CPC politicians love those questions and can hit back on them all day.

    I waited in vain in both provincial and federal elections for Notley and Trudeau to say something like we need to prepare for a low-carbon economy using the only natural resource we need: talented, smart, hard-working Canadians. We’re going to invest in our schools, from pre-school up to postdoc level, in our healthcare to keep our natural resource healthy and strong, and the only tax credits we’re committed to are those that give companies incentive to invest in Canadian R&D, especially in the environment.

    I’m still waiting.

    • Fair point Magda. If I understand you correctly you’re saying they need to be crystal clear in their message that the time to transition to a low-carbon economy is now and this is how we’re going to do it. I suspect they’re concerned that the message will be twisted by the UCP into “the Notley/Trudeau alliance wants to kill the energy industry.” The UCP is saying that now so I guess Notley and Trudeau don’t have anything to lose, right?

      • Magda says:

        They have elections to lose. Notley did. Trudeau was helped enormously by Scheer Stupidity. They should be laying out their Big Picture and making it clear that every explicit policy is tied to that Big Picture. Stop leaving it to the voter to work it all out on their own.

        Oh, and stop with all the emoting. I like trees too, but the fear that we’re tossing away real jobs (temporarily gone but back any day now!) just for marches and photo-ops is real and it would help to have a powerful message to give people hope.

  13. Carlos Beca says:

    Interestingly enough the Metro published this article this morning which is something I am considering and which I believe it is starting to grow as a problem created 100% by the UCP and its glorious minds.

    What else is this group of gurus working on to make this province worse?

    • Carlos, my husband, daughters and I have had the same conversation. At first our big concern was Wexit, but I’m also worried about the detrimental effect Kenney’s policies will have on the health, education, well-being, and sanity of Albertans. It’s getting real ugly, real fast.

  14. karen bain says:

    Excellent fog lights! This illumination should be widely shared.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Many people are wearing sunglasses – to hard to confront the reality of change.
      According to our premier coal makes more sense. 🙂 🙂
      Yes I know the level of denial is astounding or the level of commissions is even higher – one or the other. Not surprising, many people read these great journalists in both papers and Lorne Gunter for example blames the bad economy to the green programs.
      Of course, what else is new?

  15. carlosbeca says:

    This is the type of people we are dealing with and that is why we have to wake up – being nice is a great approach but does not work with goons.

    To save money? So the salary of Lorne Gibson until the investigation is completed will bankrupt the province but the 45 thousand trips to England is the cost of doing business – can you show me what business he brought back ?
    This is infuriating and disgusting to the last degree. You wonder why no one wants to discuss anything with us other than old MOE?

  16. CallmeHal2000 says:

    So there will be 250 job losses at the University of Calgary, thanks to UCP funding cuts.

    But that’s not all the (bad) news. Now there’s word that a UCP slate will be running for Calgary city council in the 2021 municipal election. One is an anti-halal meat activist who plans to run in Ward 12.

    Ontario-style Doug Ford politics at Calgary city hall? It’s only a matter of time. You heard it here first. Think back to the past 24-hour news cycle when we learned of the firing of Elections Commissioner Lorne Gibson, who was investigating UCP elections practices and Jason Kenney in particular.

    Gibson was in the spotlight in 2009, when his contract was not renewed by the provincial Progressive Conservative government. He recommended 182 electoral system reforms after the 2008 election. He was Alberta’s chief electoral officer at the time.

    So Gibson’s gone. Now what’s to stop the UCP in Alberta from disrupting the process of democratic elections at the municipal level? Remember Doug Ford and the debacle in Toronto civic elections?

    Of course, there could be other reasons that the UCP wants to stop Lorne Gibson’s investigation in its tracks. Was this something much more disturbing than a run-of-the-the-mill election fraud investigation? We’ll never know. So many nagging questions.

    • CallMeHal2000: Great point about the fact that there’s nothing to stop Kenney from interfering with democratic elections at the municipal level. I’d viewed the conservative slate of city councillors as a bunch of wannabes sucking up to the provincial conservatives but you’re right, given Kenney’s ambition to be the most significant conservative voice in the country and the high degree of integration we just witnessed between the federal and provincial conservatives in the federal election, it’s logical that his next step will be to create a conservative City council to do his bidding–low taxes, reduced services, push the vulnerable out on the street and hope the charities pick them up. It’s straight out of Charles Dickens.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        The Manning Institute, now Manning Foundation, has been installing politicians at the civic level and on school boards in Ontario for the past decade. Jeromy Farkas is one of Manning’s boys on Calgary city council.

        The reach of the Manning Foundation must be deep across the country by now. Conveniently, Preston Manning, although failed in his elected role of the past, has been installed in an unelected role as an arbiter on the Fair Deal Panel. No one should underestimate the puppet master and king maker. He made Stephen Harper, Andrew Scheer and Jason Kenney. Oh, what a tangled web.

  17. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Speaking specifically to the alliances Kenney is talking about in this post, I think we’re all being distracted by the pipeline talk. What is really going on here? This:

    I believe these premiers intend to band together like buccaneers to notwithstand the heck out of our Constitution, and overthrow it. And they’re arranging all this on the taxpayer dime. Pancakes, anyone?

    This could explain in a lot about Kenney’s grudge against Justin Trudeau, whose father saw our rights enshrined in thr Constitution in 1982.

    The ultimate goal for Alberta’s Prince may be not so much about ruling the country, but holding ultimate power to destroy it. He knows he wouldn’t win if he tried to duke it out in the ring with JT.

    I can’t imagine what will happen at the end of the day when the enormous egos and petty self-interest of these leaders collide. Destabilize the economy, protests on the streets, with no watchdogs or oversight, and Kenney’s cops come in and…? The stage is being set.

  18. Dave says:

    I doubt that the ambitious Mr. Kenney would ever be satisfied being a big fish in a small pond and he probably realizes the even more severe constraints a separate Alberta would face, so I suspect he is just riding the alienation/separatist horse for whatever short term political gain he can get from it. Of course there is the danger that fueling anti Canada sentiment, could get out of control and singe him. He wouldn’t be the first politician to set something in motion thinking he can control it, but have that come back to bite him.

    I suspect what Kenney intends to do is show the Federal Conservatives that he is a stronger and more effective opponent of Trudeau and the Liberals than Scheer or most of the rest of the Federal Conservatives. Yes, it probably is time they pick someone more moderate from the east as a leader, but the party membership is still strongly tilted towards the west. Also, it also seems that Federal Conservative reflection at this point seems to be limited mostly to questioning the leadership and communication abilities of Scheer. In this environment, they could easily pick Kenney to replace Scheer, after a leadership review. As a bonus for him, many other high profile Federal Conservatives left politics before Harper left, so fewer strong opponents for the leadership.

    I am sure Kenney is thinking about an escape plan from the political hell hole that Alberta could soon easily become – long term low oil prices, budget cuts and very frustrated voters are not a good environment for longevity in power for anyone. Ottawa is a much better bet and more attractive for someone with bigger ambitions anyways. So while Kenney may ride the horse called alienation going west, I suspect he will switch to a horse called ambition going east, once the former one outlives its political usefulness, faster than you can say “grassroots guarantee”.

    • Magda says:

      He’s well and truly burned his federal bridges now. The next federal Conservative leader will be from the central part of the country, where people are more sane.

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      Dave, I believe Preston Manning’s plan all along was to install Andrew Scheer as a placeholder while consolidating the grip of the four pancake-flippers. Let Kenney and the others cause chaos and get all the laws amended, then Kenney swoops in like a flying monkey from above at the federal level, while the little man behind the curtain pulls levers.

      Preston Manning has a grand scheme. He’s in charge.

      • Magda says:

        Preston Manning is a fool, with a career notable for its lack of achievement and the political instincts of a rock. He’s in charge of nothing.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I agree with Magda that Preston Manning has been nothing but hot air. He somehow got this guru reputation using the same extremism that is now a fad.
        As far as Jason Kenney escaping to the Federal level, it is definitely very likely and I do not believe for a second that he would have any problem dropping everything here if an opportunity for higher grounds came up. We saw that with Daniele Smith. These people have as little as possible commitment to society or anything else for that matter. They are true Calvinists and proud of it. Their egos and finances is what counts and what makes society progress in their minds. Ruthless for others and the best for themselves. The only positive about that attitude is that sooner or later they are all going to have to do it between themselves and we see that already in the conservative party. Everyone is waiting for Scheer’s blinking and he will be toast. Peter Mackay was the first vulture but then he backed up because he is not the same kind yet. He is in training. He barked but when it came to the bite he got scared which is not something unusual for him. I remember the days when famous Belinda Stronach was dating him and dropped him like a puppet and he went crying to Mom and Dad in the farm. Belinda apparently is suing her own Dad for a bigger piece of the Magna pie which her father found. It is all about the dollars.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Any wonder why these people call progressives COMMUNISTS?
        Their world is indeed based on money and power and we allowed that to happen due to our tolerance and reasonable attitude. Look back in history and see what people had to do to deal with these people. Look what happened to the Jews for not fighting back. Humans like Jason Kenney understand one language and they are being clear on that – bully your way and roll over them.
        This firing of Lorne Gibbons is a clear demonstration that we are in for big trouble if we allow these goons to go on.
        By the way they think we are the ones to be out of the survival game for lack of skills.

      • Withheld says:

        Magda and Carlos, I must disagree that Preston Manning is a fool based on two things. Games theory tells us that you should always assume your opponent’s next move is his best one. And secondly, Mr. Manning has essentially won every thing he has sought so far. The ideas of state enterprises and social and economic justice are no longer considered mainstream. Harper crippled the Canadian state’s ability to do medical and agricultural research and placed the control and marketing of all our commodities into the hands of foreign based multinational corporations. Redford and company have absolutely discredited Alberta’s regulatory systems and given their control to foreign based private industry. Redford also discredited our judicial system by passing legislation to overturn court decisions unfavorable to foreign business interests. Mr. Kenney is now finishing that job by firing the election commissioner and so on. I could go on with more examples of how the capacity of the state to address social and economic needs and defend the population has been destroyed, but you get the picture. Their end game of a society and state entirely run by and for big business will be completed before the next election. Unlike the Notley administration, these guys have read and understood their Machiavelli and Mussolini would be proud of their results. Decent people, not so much.

        If you believe Mr. Manning is a fool because he does not understand the social forces he is playing with, I think that applies more to the useful idiots who once worked in oil and gas and are seeking scapegoats for their misfortune. The NDP simply failed to provide a believable alternative future and failed to start doing things to that end the day after they were elected. A generational opportunity missed through innocence and inexperience. We need leaders with backbone to improve things and perhaps they will be assisted by external events, but my optimism is not all that it should be simply because the NDP has yet to take a clear-eyed look in the mirror to answer why they lost government to such a collection of fundamentalists.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Withheld I do not disagree with you that the fundamentalists and neo-liberals have won the process of moving our society to the right and basically destroyed the possibility of a state reaction and state intervention. I even dare to say that contrary to what I ever thought, they are now in the very last phase of bringing back religion and its forces to control us again.
        This Doctor’s conscience bill is a very first step.

        One thing you are missing though. Life is not linear and Game theory is less reliable than gravity. In the end it does not really matter that they are on top. I will say that the tipping point has actually happened already. It is not by accident that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Ocasio Cortez can now talk about democratic Socialism in a country where the word socialism is a sin. It is not by accident that Jeremy Corbyn is now a strong force in the UK. I have not seen open talk of Socialism since the 1980’s. Even in Alberta I can discuss Socialism without being insulted. So I think that right now Chaos Theory is more important than Game theory. Furthermore capitalism the way it is being practiced has only one end and that is collapse. Nothing can grow forever and any system based on permanent growth can only have one end. So in order to make our economies self-sustainable and create a healthy environment we cannot continue with the status quo.
        In other words change is inevitable and conservatives are pushing for more of the same.
        They made us all believe that their ideology is inevitable but in fact we are starting to realize that invisible hands and market fundamentalism have been way more pernicious than anything that the welfare state brought before. So we are definitely in a crucial time of the history of our species and our planet. Of course I do not mean to say that in the end we will moderate the present situation but I have no doubt whatsoever that if we do not, we will self destroy life as we know it.
        It would not be the first time that something that catastrophic would happen. The only difference this time, is that it would be created by a so called species with a conscience.
        I am starting to wonder if we actually are a very primordial form of conscious species.
        I think that the very first signs of real change coming are happening now.
        A social/green revolution like we have never seen before is evolving and hopefully will bloom and generate a new renaissance and take us forward and out of this shocking inevitability of inequality and lack of hope.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Withheld I also agree with you that the NDP failed to create a believable alternative.
        Social Democracy has been in decline for a while now including in countries where it did very well in the past as for example in Sweden. They are also struggling to contain the extreme right wing. This is not surprising because for the last 30 as politics moved more and more to the right, social democrats using the so called ‘third way’ operated more within the neo-liberal framework to stay relevant. This made them to look and feel the same as conservatives. The best example was Tony Blair in Britain who was basically a moderate conservative. Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain were other examples. Bernie Sanders choice to run as a Democrat is also a clear example of trying to make a socialist ideology successful within a Democratic party solidly entrenched in the neo-liberal framework.
        Rachel Notley operated within strict limits and the rich and powerful watched her every step of the way.
        Democratizing the economy and the state are fundamental to start real change.

  19. CallmeHal2000 says:

    I can’t wait to read Susan’s post on the events in the legislature today.

    Until then, 125 more jobs have fallen at Alberta Innovates. No doubt more jobs will go away as the businesses that benefit from this funding eliminate staff. I sure do wish there was a job loss counter, because it’s getting hard to keep up with them all.

  20. GoinFawr says:

    Wow, Kenney is going to “terminate” the man justifiably handing out fines to the cheats who cheated their way into power, by cheating. “Just cheat harder” seems to be this admin’s motto.

    Kudos to Ms.Notley for standing on principles and calling Bill 22 precisely what it is, triple shame on the speaker of the house for having her removed for simply pointing out the blatantly obvious: this bill is not being put forward to ‘save money’, or ‘increase efficiency’. Indeed, anyone who could believe that will believe anything.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      You got that very right but i can tell you right now that nothing will be done to avoid this bill at any level. Alberta Lieutenant will just sign it and march to a better retirement.
      Jason Kenney knows how to play the weakness of our democratic system and our useless regulations and will just continue his process of, like you say very well – CHEATING.
      It is quite shocking to realize that our system is not much better that those we call the third world, we just have higher degrees of education and we dress better.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        We know that nothing can stop this bill. We also know that word had not gotten out beyond Alberta’s borders until today. That is worth something.

        The question now is, can the UCP get rid of the RCMP in time to prevent their investigation from finding anything that could lead to criminal charges?

      • carlosbeca says:

        This is what Lorne Gibson said after learning of what happened this afternoon

        “Inadequate enforcement of election rules can allow for inappropriate conduct to occur and that conduct can affect voter participation and election outcomes,”

        This is exactly what I meant ‘Inadequate enforcement’ – why have all the rules and laws if we allow cheaters and criminals to get away with their cheating?.
        We see this time after time and I feel comfortable to guess that the RCMP will not say anything. Jason Kenney does not even have to worry about that. He will control it just like he has done all the way and he knows what strings to play to keep the music going.
        This is just one more example of what has been weakening our democracy and it is no wonder people are turning away from it.
        What a circus and disrespect not just for democracy but for all of us that believe in decency and the rule of law. What is even more amazing is that around the country we have talks of lack of unity and political instability. Is it that hard to wonder why?
        These people are intentionally undermining the system right in front of us and we have no way or will to fight back? As soon as someone takes a stand on something as serious as what happened this afternoon, somehow then the rules show up and are enforced against people that are standing for what is right?
        This is not going to end well, of that I am quite certain.

  21. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Now 300 teachers are losing their jobs at the Calgary Board of Education.

  22. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Why my ancestors and other relatives left Eastern Europe, because it was ugly, with how the governments were acting. Look at what we have here, with the UCP. It’s quite bad. It will get worse.

  23. Magda says:

    The Lt Governor signing legislation put in front of them by a duly elected government is not a failure of the democratic process but its natural conclusion. Come on, people: stop looking for the Magic Politics Fairy to swoop in and change things just because Jason Kenney is a poo-head.

    Instead take a look at the future: this announcement is everywhere this morning:

    And that rumbling sound you hear is more of the fossil fuel industry fracturing into smaller pieces on its way to the dustbin of history. And all because of market forces looking for profitable substitutes for expenses.

    Change is coming and it will come hardest and fastest to those who refuse to see it coming because their eyes are closed.

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      This is a problem, Magda. Maybe it could better be summed up as another one of Kenney”s ego-driven decisions. He has a lot of personal axes to grind, and surely one of those axes is with education. He didn’t finish university, and seems to resent those who did.

      More or better education might have helped him to understand that whole thing about the global economy, world commodity prices, cyclical industries and that the oil companies that went away are never coming back. I think it goes beyond this, though, and appealing to naive voters and wishful thinking just happens to work for his purposes of grabbing power.

      What he is doing now to education will create instability for future generations. Isn’t this what authoritarian regimes do? They go after the intelligentsia. They thrive on instabilty.

      It’s still early days, but add these events of the post-budget days together, and the big picture is looking ugly.

      Just yesterday, a CBC article wrote about the “disaster du jour” strategy of the Kenney government as part of a plan to create instability and keep people off guard. Good governance does not attempt to destabilize. It’s a sign that this game has moved into new territory. Democracy itself is at stake now. Rachel Notley was right to help us take our blinders off yesterday.

      • Magda says:

        Progressives and New Democrats always imagine that they walked with MLK in Selma, were in prison with Mandela on Robben Island, defied the tanks with the students in Tiananmen Square – everything is an opportunity to defy dictatorship. Now would be a good time for Notley and her team to give their heads a collective shake and act like adults.

        Kenney is not a dictator, he’s just a dick. He’s very attuned to his segment of public opinion and if Notley wants to finally make the business case she should have made during the election and project the good future ahead of us in a low-carbon economy if we make the effort, she can get the political middle won in 2015.

        Not setting her hair on fire would be a good place to start. Oh, and I voted for her both times.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “The Lt Governor signing legislation put in front of them by a duly elected government is not a failure of the democratic process but its natural conclusion.”

      No, it is a failure of the democratic process when simply pointing out an obvious truth is punished. And I don’t recall Kenney’s mandate from the masses including anything about him being granted license to “terminate” those who investigate and fine those who are caught deliberately abusing the democratic process in order to get into power so they can undermine it even further.

      Rachel Notely is doing the right thing by making a big deal out of this, because it IS a big deal. So my question to you is: why are you so willing to give J. “poo head” Kenney (your words, not mine) a pass, hmmmmm?

      • Magda says:

        If calling someone a “poo-heard” is your idea of giving someone a pass, your political instincts need work. And I’ve been pretty clear in my postings about my support for Notley – you did read the part where I pointed out I voted for her in 2015 and 2019, right?

        She has everything to gain from being the adult in the room and trashing Kenney as the no-experience professional politician who’s never had a real job in his life. But yes, sure, let’s indulge the suicidal NDP impulse to play the martyrs, wallow in outrage and throw away political advantage, just like they blew an election they could have won if they’d stood up for their beliefs in a manner that was credible to middle-of-the-road voters who were up for grabs.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Magda wrote: “Come on, people: stop looking for the Magic Politics Fairy to swoop in and change things just because Jason Kenney is a poo-head.”

        Yep, I read that (and the rest of your screed), and maybe it’s just me but I got a whole lotta ‘nothing to see here’, ‘Ms. Notley is being a baby’, ‘so let’s move on’, and so on and so forth, with a couple of ‘take my word for it I voted for her, twice’, and ‘sure, Kenney is a dick, but there is nothing we can do about it anyway’ thrown in for good measure.

        Just letting you know that I don’t think a lot of people see it that way; rather I’d wager most see Ms.Notley behaving as the adult in this case, and doing the job she was mandated to do: which is hold the Kenney gov’t’s lying, cheating, and stealing to account.

        ie To anyone with a conscience she IS “gaining”, by having principles and standing by them.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I agree with GoinFawr on his comment.
        This is just a discussion but I found your comment very dismissive and almost condescending to those of us that care about what is going on.
        I do not agree that the role of the Lt Governor is simply a natural conclusion. If it is then why not eliminate it and just have a notary on contract to sign it.
        The ‘We cannot so anything about it anyway’ reflects a bit the attitude that has brought to where we are.
        I care about how this province is governed, I care about democracy and the rule of law.
        Jason Kenney and his supporters care about themselves first and then themselves again.
        So taking this situation as you do is fine but it is not the way I do.

  24. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Carlosbeca, thank you for your comment at 10:03 pm last night. I agree with Lorne Gibson. What’s at stake here is democracy. Those who ignore that will come to regret it. Kenney has no regard for rules, the law or the people of this province. Kenney is about Kenney, and that’s it.

  25. I am firmly of the view that Kenney is using the government’s ability to enact legislation to shut down an investigation into how the UCP party and its leadership candidates conducted themselves during the UCP leadership race. In the words of the Globe and Mail, Kenney is using his “newfound power for personal political gain.” This is a blatant violation of the democratic process. As such Ms Notley is right to do everything in her power to try and stop it, including asking the Lieutenant Governor not to rubber stamp Bill 22. Will Notley succeed? Likely not, but through her actions she’s propelled Kenney’s perfidy on to the national stage.
    These are not normal times. We must respond accordingly.
    I’ll write more about this on the weekend.

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      Thank you, Susan. Please include the request to the ethics commisioner to intervene. Thusday is one sleep away.

      Today’s cover tune for the firing of Lorne Gibson includes an audit ordered by LaGrange into the “reckless” CBE, and a union-busting clause hidden in Bill 26, which is giving the proverbial middle finger to the Constitution. The hit parade will probably keep amping up.

    • Dwayne says:

      Susan: Bill 22 has passed and Lorne Gibson has been fired. R.I.P democracy in Alberta. The Jason Kenney gong show and nightmare continues.

  26. Magda says:

    It’s really depressing how commenters assume that because I’m advocating better opposition it means I’m advocating no opposition. And your assumptions about the powers of the LG – all I can say is here are the Official Duties of the LG in Alberta:

    “The four essential duties of the Lieutenant Governor are: ensuring that the province always has a
    Premier so that there is continuity in governance; summoning, dissolving and proroguing the
    Legislature,which includes presiding over the opening of each new Legislature or Session;
    giving Royal Assent in the name of the Sovereign to measures and Bills passed by the Legislative
    Assembly so that they become law;and receiving members of the Royal Family and foreign
    dignitaries on official visits to the province.”

    (Source: )

    Note that once the bill passes, the LG can do nothing except sign it. The only hitch would come if the Governor General of Canada – on the instructions of the Canadian Minister of Justice – were to tell the LG to disallow the bill. And Disallowance hasn’t happened since 1961 in Saskatchewan and even then the bill in question eventually passed. Disallowance is a great threat but does anyone think this is going to happen?

    But sure, if you feel you have to write letters to someone important, write to the GG. Here’s the address: Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Drive, Ottawa ON K1A 0A1

    Now that she got the boot from the Legislature, Rachel Notley should head out to the rural ridings and get in front of local small town business groups to tell them this government is too erratic to be trusted with the ability to turn government finances upside down AGAIN and that their towns have already seen how little Kenney cares for their financial needs. Kenney would wet himself; he feels he can ignore the rural part of the province, because, hey, who else are they going to vote for?

    They’re ramming this through on the quick trot because they know the opposition out there will grow if they slow down for a minute. If a former premier or the people around her can’t see that, then they’ll have failed in the duty to represent Alberta.

    Democracy is a strong thing and not nearly as weak as some of you assume. Now is the time to work smarter, not harder. And if some of you find this message not what you want to read, well, that’s life.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “It’s really depressing how commenters assume that because I’m advocating better opposition it means I’m advocating no opposition”

      Personally, I bet what you really find depressing is that commenters can see right through you.

      As if drawing national/international, along with local, attention to Bill 22’s blatant, unconscionable perversion of justice can somehow be ‘bettered’ by adopting your suggested attitudes of ‘nothing to see here’, ‘Ms. Notley is being a baby’, ‘so let’s move on’, or ‘look, over here: squirrel!’

      Go on, pull the other one.

      • Magda says:

        You should change your avatar to GoinNoWhereFast, it would be more accurate. I laid out for everyone the rules governing what the LG can do and the only way they can stop any bill. I cited the source so people could check for themselves if they didn’t believe me. What there is in that to set off your tantrum, I can’t imagine.

  27. Okay you two, the conversation is moving beyond respectful disagreement to name calling. Please stop or everyone is getting a time out.

  28. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Does anyone know the timeline for granting assent to the bill? Will that happen today?

  29. CallmeHal2000 says:

    An interview with the former Speaker seems to question the actions taken by the current Speaker.

    Is it possible for the Speaker to ban someone permanently, or force an apology? I don’t recall ever seeing anything like this.

    What’s this about the UCP giving Alberta a “giant enema”? It’s been duly noted in Hansard by blogger David Climenhaga, words from Grant Hunter. How is that allowed by the Speaker?

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Everything is allowed as long as it is a right wing party. That is the rule in democratic Alberta
      Imagine Rachel Notley even trying these daily stunts.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Imagine the conservative outrage if Mr.Trudeau had ‘terminated’ the ethics commissioner over the LNC Lavalin affair, ‘in order to increase efficiency, and save money.’

        Just imagine.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Excellent example GoinFawr
        Alberta would separate for good 🙂 🙂

    • Carlos Beca says:

      The same guy that with an exceptional mind, that suggested that the carbon tax was similar to Joseph Stalin’s policies is now going to give us an enema.
      Well I hope he gets pretty dirty with it.
      It is hard to believe that Albertans voted these morons in. By looking at his picture on the article one wonders what is his relationships with enemas.
      One wonders what this province will be like at the end of these ecstatic four years. Worse still Albertans may enjoy the enemas and we are stuck with the treatment for life.
      WOW I cannot hide my excitement anymore. It is overwhelming – I would love to be fly in their caucus meetings if they use these exciting metaphors.

  30. GoinFawr says:

    “SNC Lavalin”

  31. CallmeHal2000 says:

    I am glad to see that public input is being sought into the pressing issue of Daylight Saving Time. We get three weeks to provide helpful opinions on this matter of utmost importance.

    Let’s see. Three days for MLAs to debate the omnibus bill of shame, and no public input at all. Yes, that makes sense.

    This is the Brave New World. My CBE high school teachers made us read that for Social Studies back in the day, along with 1984 and Animal Farm and other gems. (Okay, I read the entire suggested reading list, not just BNW.) It’s coming in handy as a reference manual for daily life in Alberta, 2019 edition. Those same public school teachers teachers would probably get laid off nowadays. But the secret’s out. Things like this were foretold in fiction. I thank you, public school teachers.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “I am glad to see that public input is being sought into the pressing issue of Daylight Saving Time. We get three weeks to provide helpful opinions on this matter of utmost importance.

      Let’s see. Three days for MLAs to debate the omnibus bill of shame, and no public input at all. Yes, that makes sense. ”

      Well stated CallmeHal.

      You just have to laugh. Preferably right in the face of anyone twisting themselves into knots trying to defend this political travesty.

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