In the Eye of the Storm

Here we are in the eye of the storm, a place of relative calm surrounded by a ring of thunderstorms (known as the eye wall). We passed through one eye wall to get here and we’ll have to pass through another eye wall to get out.

This won’t be easy given the man who put us here, Jason Kenney, will be in office for another three years and is determined to stay the course. He says he didn’t go through all the work of uniting the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives to “preside over a broken status quo.”

Ruby Slippers: one way to get out of a storm

He spent the first nine months of his term ripping up Rachel Notley’s progressive agenda and replacing it with policies that reduced corporate taxes and increased costs on everything from car insurance to school fees; and to put the icing on the cake, he cut education, healthcare and social programs to the point where everyone is feeling helpless and confused.  

But fear not, Mr Kenney predicts 2020 will be a “turnaround year” for Alberta, one in which he will make headway on his promise to deliver jobs, the economy and pipelines.  

There’s just one catch: Jason Kenney has no idea how he’s going to do it.

What? Why? How? Huh?

He’s made it clear his focus isn’t on the “how” but the “why”.

In an year end interview Mr Kenney said his government needs to communicate not just “what” it’s doing—he campaigned on delivering a smaller, more effective public service and a balanced budget because a rising tide lifts all boats—but also communicating the “why”.

He says conservatives are notoriously bad at explaining the “why” to the public, but once they explain the “why” and the people see the benefits of reform, they’ll support it.

This raises a number of questions.

Albertans already know “why” Mr Kenney implemented an austerity budget, he said the MacKinnon Report demonstrates Alberta’s public services had to be cut to fall into line with those of other provinces in order to deliver a balanced budget in 2023.  

If that’s not the “why” he’s talking about then please, enlighten us.

The real problem is that the people are not seeing the benefits of reform and Mr Kenney has no idea how his austerity budget will deliver these benefits given that the economy is driving by the energy sector and it’s impacted by global prices set by players and events outside of Alberta’s borders.   

To further confuse things, in a recent interview Mr Kenney said the future of conservatism lies in embracing the growing “reform conservatism” movement. This is an American movement which says the market isn’t always right and a growing economy doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone.  

Kenney says he’ll revisit “reform conservatism” after he’s got Alberta’s economy firing on all cylinders.

This makes no sense. How can Kenney fix the economy with old style conservatism (a rising tide lifts all boats) and then keep the economy going with reform conservatism (a rising tide does NOT lift all boats)?

But it does illustrate that Mr Kenney has no idea what he’s doing.   

This also explains why he’s throwing distractions at us left, right and centre. In addition to the $30 million war room, the $2.5 million public inquiry into anti-Alberta activities, the Fair Deal Panels, and the budget panel, there are 7 open engagements covering everything from farmer-led agricultural research to photo radar, 6 expert panels to advise on everything from auto insurance to curriculum reform and 14 panels who’ve finished their work and submitted their recommendations to the government for review. This is on top of the 16 engagements that were completed in 2019.  

(We’re reminded of the words of the Chinese philosopher Lin Yatang who said: “Those who are wise aren’t busy, and those who are too busy can’t be wise.”)

The UCP famously said “We understand that in order to be a compassionate, caring society, we must be prosperous first.” One can’t help but wonder what will happen when Kenney’s plan to move the needle on jobs, the economy and pipelines in 2020 comes up empty notwithstanding his $4.7 billion cut in corporate taxes and his promise to eliminate red tape—a promise described as hypocritical by the CEO of Prosper Petroleum who has taken the UCP government to court to force it to approve an oil sands project.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that we’ll have to fight our own way out of the eye of the storm; standing up for the public services that protect our families, our friends and our neighbours.

We won’t be able to sit around waiting for Jason Kenney to click his ruby slippers and magically whisk us back home.     

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64 Responses to In the Eye of the Storm

  1. ed henderson says:

    “”EYE OF THE STORM?”” Better than that other exaggeration I guess…”War Room””.
    The West is so far away from the storm that our Prime Minister keeps forgetting that we even exist.

    • Ed, I disagree that the Prime Minister has forgotten we exist. The feds paid $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline. They got a lot of flak for that from many parts of Canada and absolutely no credit for it from Alberta and Saskatchewan. Seems to me no matter what the feds give the west, it’s never enough.
      PS The “war room” was Jason Kenney’s term not mine, he used it throughout his campaign.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “The West is so far away from the storm that our Prime Minister keeps forgetting that we even exist.”
      Yes, that’s one of the myths being propagated by the “War Room”, and apparently eaten up by The Base

      Thinking about it critically though: In light of the 4.5 billion NO Prov. Alberta Conservative party has ever managed to get the feds, regardless of their supposed political roots (cough- Harper), to spend on a pipeline, I would say Eddie’s comment proves the old adage:

      “there is no pleasing some people”

      • Agreed, GoinFawr, From what we’ve seen so far, the Kenney government is more than happy to step in an please the energy sector, bestowing corporate tax cuts to help their bottom line (no jobs though), and letting them off the hook re: $173 million in unpaid taxes to rural communities and up to $70 BILLION to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells, because as Kenney so eloquently put it, “you can’t wring money from a stone.” Funny that, because apparently you can wring money (in the form of reduced services) from the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, and children.

  2. Public Servant says:

    Kenney doesn’t need to know what he’s doing. He only needs to take orders from his wealthy, anonymous donors.
    In any case, even if he did know what he was doing, he certainly wouldn’t share that information with Albertans. Why, for example, was it necessary for him to go to London just before Christmas? If one didn’t know better, they would think he just wanted a taxpayer-funded holiday at a posh European hotel. Does anybody know why he went or if he accomplished anything other than Christmas shopping?

    • Public Servant, I too am curious about Kenney’s trip to London. He said he was on government business, ie. meeting with Mark Carney and yet he hasn’t disclosed a thing about the meeting, what they talked about, how it went. I suspect Kenney blathered on about ethical oil and Carney responded, ethical or not, climate change is real and you need a Plan B.
      When the bankers of the world tell you they’re going in a different direction than you are, that’s a major wake-up call.

  3. Port o’ Call Red Deer says:

    As a native Albertan who lived in Nova Scotia for a couple of years, the problem with the “Tide” metaphor is that even if the tide does rise, it inevitably recedes. Of course the conservatives have “led” us through booms and busts before but I fear this outgoing tide may have ripped us from our moorings.

    • Withheld says:

      Dear Port o’ Call: I Could not agree more with your observation we have been ripped from our moorings. Consider Jim Carr, Ottawa’s ambassador to the west. Isn’t he the one last year who said troops should be sent in to quell First Nations protestors? Last week didn’t the Guardian newspaper reveal that RCMP snipers were given the okay to murder native protesters in BC if necessary? Talk about blood oil.

      So far as I can tell both levels of government seem to have slipped their moorings. Oh, and who was that provincial Premier who spent all her political credibility pimping for pipelines across Canada after she lowered royalty rates? Lost before she even started.

      Oh well, there is still the pure joy of seeing the Star Chamber Inquiry being paid $2.5 million to read Greenpeace news releases. Laugh? I thought I would cry.

      • Withheld, many interesting points here. While my take on Rachel Notley is not as harsh as yours I do agree with your statement that notwithstanding everything Notley did to support the energy sector, it did not pay off for her at the ballot box.

    • Port o’ Call: I chuckled when I read your comment. I first came across the “rising tide” metaphor in the board room of a company I worked for. It was used by the CEO, a Harvard educated MBA, who believed he was the smartest man in the room. The company almost went belly up under his reign. I’ve noticed executives resort to metaphors when they can’t come up with a decent rationale for a business decision. It works because the directors are reluctant to probe for details, they’re fearful they’ll look stupid to their fellow directors. They don’t ask the proper questions: “what” (as in what are you proposing, in detail please), “how” (how will you accomplish it?) and “why” (why will it work).
      Politicians can get away with more bafflegab than CEOs who are accountable to their shareholders and must comply with securities laws, but sooner or later the people want to see results. We’ve seen no improvement in Alberta, in fact things are getting worse. The people won’t wait forever and when it all goes to hell in a handbasket Kenney will have one heck of a mess on his hands.

  4. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Why is it that the majority of voting Albertans drink as much Kool-Aid as Kenney and the UCP can produce? But then again, if God did not want these Albertans to be shorn, she would not have made them sheep.

  5. Ken Chapman says:

    The obvious goal of the Kenney-controlled UCP Government and War Room Propaganda Machine is to change Alberta into Fundamentalist Evangelical Theocracy for social policy, and Old-Oil mindset Oligarchy for economic policy. As for environmental responsibility, we have none because we need not take any action in climate crisis or change because we are a small part of the macro problem.
    As for political culture change expect more dark money, less transparency & Regulations and no democratic or integrity accountability of political parties.

    • Dwayne says:

      Ken Chapman: It has been apparent for nearly 6 years that oil booms are finished. The UCP seems to have missed that reality.

      • ingamarie says:

        I doubt that. …its more like, they hope we the Alberta people, have missed that reality. And many have, because you know, new age thinking tells us to stay positive, be optimistic, yadda yadda. The oil elites know. What they are doing now is mop up…….profit taking where possible, and clear out………..leaving their tax debt, their lease fees for farmers, and their 300,000 plus open wells for joe and jill public to clean up.

        Or not……..as we choose. Most of them leak methane, so its as good a passive end game, as any.

    • Well said Ken. So here’s my question. the shift to the social policy you described can happen if there’s enough support for it, but how will the shift to an economic policy acceptable to the “old-oil mindset oligarchy” occur given the growing awareness of climate change risks on the part of bankers, insurance companies and other sources of funding? No amount of machinations behind the curtain will get the oil-oil oligarchy there if their source of financing becomes exorbitant or dries up entirely.
      A good friend of mine once said the solution to climate change will come from the money lenders; the real issue is will it come fast enough.

  6. diamondwalker says:

    .. what an excellent & detailed post.. Thanks !
    It seem to work in concert with today’s post by David Climenhaga’s excellent
    post ‘Alberta’s UCP deploys the Red Tape Weapon: An Example From The War on Education’ at albertapolitics.ca

    Your post also reflects the splendidly odd explanation that emanated from Justin Trudeau and his Environment Minister at the time, Catherine McKenna.. re the stunning wealth that would flow in from the Trans Mountain Pipeline and expanded extraction from that single location in Canada, the Alberta tar sands.. where fully 96 % of ‘all that wealth in the ground’ aka Canada’s vast oil reserves are buried. Many have noted it can be framed as ‘expanding emissions to lower emissions’ .. which may indeed have a sort of ‘rising tide’ floating something. That pipeline is bleeding money currently (h/t Robyn Allen)

    One of your commenters succinctly questions the tidal concept’s validity. As an experienced walk in reef snorkeler down in the Turks and Caicos Islands.. I never go in the water without knowing the specific tide tables of the day.. after all, I am actively seeking accessible reefs with my camera and my partner and I are essentially ‘the floating boats’ .. The upside and the downside out there are vastly different to us. we note there are two cycles daily.. rising ebb slack rising ebb and slack.. any serious surfer knows this too, as do experienced salt water sailors and all intelligent fishermen and women. We all want to know the weather forecast – long and short term plus observe and respect current weather

    Perhaps a better reference for a guy like Jason seeking his golden fleece, who’s infected with ‘the smartest man in the room’ syndrome might be understanding what ‘sailing off a lee shore’ is.. The upside is truly minimal, the downside catastrophic. Being driven onto the rocks has that effect on boats that float.. eh !

    • Diamondwalker, thanks for the reference to David Climenhaga’s excellent post on the UCP’s weaponization of red tape. Climenhaga says that in addition to the 5% (soon to be 7%) cut to operations funding, the UCP government will “now demand monthly financial reports from all but a few privileged religious institutions to ensure their obedience” and “officials from Advanced Education and the Finance Ministry will be closely monitoring spending,” What a ridiculous waste of time and resources. Here’s the link to Climenhag’s blog post: https://albertapolitics.ca/2020/01/albertas-ucp-deploys-the-red-tape-weapon-an-example-from-the-war-on-education/
      Your suggestion that ‘sailing off a lee shore’ would be a more appropriate metaphor is bang on, and the explanation that “expanding emissions to lower emissions” is downright Orwellian.

      • diamondwalker says:

        .. thanks ! Climenhaga is one of my ‘must reads’ as is your site. I also follow Robyn Allen on Twitter as well as Andrew Leach at U of A among others re anything energy or bitumen. Andrew Derocher at U of A re anything polar bear. I was in Alberta, north of Swan Hills in the very early 70’s driving bulldozers as the wells were starting to come in. Most of my family are in drilling or supply/service.. ancestors were ‘rail men’ .. engineers building bridges, clearing passage, blowing tunnels etc for track in the mountains. Others were prairie grain farmers. I’m a big mountain boarder and skier who’s been a cruiser all over North America .. But Louise is my fave.. Sunshine, even Norquay’s killer steeps too. I was at Whistler when it was only serviced by a Husky gas station with a convenience store. I think everone should do Sentinal Pass and camp overnight in the Valley of the Ten Peaks on Thanksgiving.. and if ya gots the legs .. do the long hike n scramble.. and carefully peek over the edge of Mt Rundle and then slowly turn your head around 360 degrees and look at Alberta.. or at lesst ascend Sulphur Mountain on the lift I worked at.. magical is always what Alberta has been to me.. magical it should remain. Every spring I rode my thumb or buses, the train, the plane or drove there, as a young man, in my teens 20’s & onwards. My grandparents & aunts got me there age 10, driving from Toronto. 5 of us kids in the back seat and then all the way to Tofino and camping on Long Beach. Best job ever ? Ran the Clubhouse bar at the Banff Springs Hotel.. it was also the nightly staff drinking hole back then.. and I spun records at night while bartending. Underage ? We drove over the Great Divide to Field in BC and back at closing time !

      • Diamondwalker, what a delightful comment. It sounds like you’ve lived a full life and loved every minute of it. Your description of Alberta as magical is perfect. I follow most of the people you follow on Twitter, with the exception of Robyn Allan, I’ve read her stuff and will add her to my Twitter list. Thanks!

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. All I see Jason Kenney and the UCP doing is returning to the senseless ways of the Alberta PCs, beginning when Peter Lougheed was not the premier of Alberta. More money is being wasted on things that lack benefit, just like the Alberta PCs were doing for decades. Jason Kenney is just like the Alberta PCs were, for the longest period of time, by thinking oil booms will be here for an eternity, and he can spend money any old way, and think there will be no consequences. Peter Lougheed knew better than to expect that oil booms would be permanent, because that was one of his jobs, when he was in Oklahoma, way before he was even a politician. He created Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund, which was never topped up, but raided by the other Alberta PC governments. The UCP has some foolish thinking if they think corporate tax cuts make jobs appear. They don’t. With this foolish notition, which lost Alberta close to $5 billion, and the fact that oil prices collapsed nearly 6 years ago, and are not on any rebound to the triple digit oil prices we saw prior to that, it means cuts. Ralph Klein style cuts. One example of this is that Grant MacEwen Community College in Edmonton, recently laid off staff. 10 positions were removed. Edmonton apparently has Canada’s highest rate of unemployment, at 8%. What is Jason Kenney going to do about this? Like under Ralph Klein, anyone who is not financially well off, will suffer. So will infrastructure. This is how it will be, under the UCP. One of Peter Lougheed’s many great legacies, was actually documenting the provincial governments activities, both good and bad. The hand picked Blue Ribbon Panel, by Jason Kenney should have looked at what the Alberta PCs wasted money on the most costliest debacles that were never seen in anywhere else in Canada. So many millions and billions of dollars were wasted on fiascos. There was that and a complete turnaround of the good oil royalty rates that Peter Lougheed demanded for the oil that he said belonged to Albertans. A sad reality is that the resources we have in Alberta, including our oil, were handed over to foreign entities during the 1990s, by the Alberta PCs. The revenue that we were supposed to have, simply disappeared for good. Also, did you hear about the Value Alberta Conference in Calgary? It was hosted by Alberta Proud, Buffalo Project and Canadians For Democracy and Prosperity. The speakers, or guests at this event included Conrad Black, Jack Mintz, Ted Morton, Joe Oliver and Danielle Smith. Around 700 people attended this event at the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, on Saturday. Topics included an Alberta Pension Plan, an Alberta police force, climate change denial, anti Trudeau sentiments, separation legalities (Wexit), and so on. This event looked like it was a joke, and an Ottawa (Justin Trudeau) bash fest. These panel members were basing things on what the UCP’s ‘Fair Deal Panel’ were ‘discussing’ with people on their cross Alberta tour. I guess since Preston Manning claims to recently have dropped out of the picture, and the Manning Centre For Democracy (contradictory name) has to rename itself, we can expect more of these events to pop up. Interestingly enough, one media outlet reported that Conrad Black was at this event. I think others did too. One media outlet did not. That was The Sun. It’s not so hard to see why. It was quite the group of characters at this event. I thought that Conrad Black had a disdain for Canada, and renounced his Canadian citizenship. If so, what on earth is this criminal doing in Canada?

    • Dwayne, I agree with your comment that all that Kenney and the UCP are offering is yesterday’s solutions to tomorrow’s problems. What bothers me the most about this approach is it offers no hope whatsoever to people who know in their heart of hearts that our fossil fuel based economy is in trouble. It’s cruel to convince Albertans that their future is tied to the production of bitumen and Justin Trudeau, Greta Thunberg, Mark Carney, etc are out to destroy their livelihoods. Alberta needs a well thought out transition plan, one that doesn’t leave anyone behind, but it won’t get one as long as Kenney is in charge.
      You mentioned the Manning Centre for Democracy. The fact that Preston Manning is retiring and the Manning Centre is ditching his name as part of a “rebranding” exercise, plus the lack luster line up (to date) in the federal Conservative Party’s leadership race, tells me conservatives across Canada are in turmoil.
      Interesting times ahead.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: What’s your thoughts on things like Value Alberta and Wexit? Do they have any clout? Also, do you think that Alberta will have a balanced budget by 2023? If we don’t what excuses do you think the will the UCP have for this? Will it affect their party standing?

      • Dwayne you’ve asked a lot of very good questions here. I think Value Alberta and Wexit will NOT get off the ground but they may pull more support away from Kenney and the UCP because their supporters think Kenney isn’t fighting hard enough for AB. I think Kenney will do everything in his power to get a balanced budget by 2023, and the only thing that will stop him is tremendous push back from the people hurt by his cuts. As for excuses, Kenney can continue to say it’s Trudeau’s fault. His supporters never tire of that one. The thing that will affect his party’s standing is the damage he’ll have inflicted on Albertans over his 4 year term. If the economy turns around in the meantime he’ll claim it was as a result of his policies and he might manage to stay in power with a smaller majority or maybe a minority. That would be sad to see but it’s like the Americans who love Trump no matter what he does, sometimes tribalism trumps everything else.

  8. Paul Armstrong says:

    With all the panels, war rooms and committees, Albertans are left wondering when Mr.Kenney and his ego, are going to get anything done…except stealing teachers pensions and more bootlicking to the dying quail of an oil and gas industry We’d like to hold him to account, but where does one begin? Lying his way through the first legislative session has done nothing to indicate his knowledge of Alberta politics, remember, he’s an easterner with 10 years of the Harper experience, for what that’s worth (sda) Real action for the people take real leaderships. So far, all we have is a corporate puppet.

    • Paul, your point is well taken. We would like to hold him to account but where do we start. He’s buried us in a flurry of distractions which take attention away from his lack of progress on “jobs, the economy and pipelines”. That’s intentional. It’s a tactic that’s worked all across the globe from Russia to the US to Alberta. It’s intended to wear people down until they give up. The only advantage we have here is unlike other populists whose promises focus on “draining the swamp” or getting rid of immigrants, Kenney promised “jobs, the economy and pipelines.” He’s made no headway on that promise and people will run out of patience if the oil boom Kenney needs to deliver on that promise fails to materialize.

  9. Dave says:

    There is that old saying, “you got to fake it until you make it”. It could probably be Mr. Kenney’s secret motto, perhaps kept in a sealed box in his closet next to those ruby slippers. However, I think Mr. Kenney is more the Wizard of Oz type than Dorothy, so I presume he does not wear those ruby slippers himself, but who knows what really goes behind the curtain of Kenneyland.

    I do think one of Mr. Kenney’s strengths is sounding convincing and confident, at least to those inclined to support him. He has no business experience or even an economics degree like his former boss. Although that economics degree didn’t save Canada from two recessions during the Harper years, so perhaps it was over rated. In any event Alberta is even more reliant on the price of oil than the Canadian economy was under Harper and the signs do not look good. First there are the ongoing pipeline issues, then cheaper supply from US fracking and the middle east and last but not least the increasingly important issue of climate change.

    Mr. Kenney does not seem to have much of a real plan to deal with any of this. I suspect even those inclined to previously support him will notice this eventually as the Alberta economy continues to languish. The problem with fake it till you make it is if you don’t make it, everyone will eventually realize you are faking it. It will take more than a wing and a prayer for Mr. Kenney’s rosy hopes to come to pass. If they don’t, it will all come crashing down on him, the the curtain will be pulled back and all the wizardry revealed to be a grand sham.

    • Well said Dave. Kenney made specific promises, “jobs, economy, pipelines” all of which are outside of his control because he can’t control the global energy market. He needs to be seen to be doing something so he’s adopted Thatcher’s economy policies and that Australian politician’s “go so fast no one can stop you” style of governing.
      both of them failed in the past and I believe they’ll fail even faster this time around because we live in a different time (climate change is an issue now) and a different dynamic (young people who are being left behind by the old economy are searching for a better way). Interesting times ahead!

  10. diamondwalker says:

    .. the fact must be driven home.. that 96 % of Canada’s so called ‘oil reserves’ is actually buried Bitumen in the Alberta tar sands. I mentioned it in my prior comment. I can be more harsh, yet will do so as but a guest here. Here goes.. my message should be laughably blunt.

    All folks should know that the price difference between Alberta hamburger beef is unfairly ‘discounted’ versus the current benchmark, tenderloin beef. If only we had easy shipping to ‘tidewater’ Alberta hamburger beef could be loaded aboard super cargo ships and delivered to hungry Asia. It would then be valued and sold at the same price as tenderloin beef – the constant 20 dollar discount per side of beef is simply unfair. The rest of Canada simply does not care.. and are discriminating against our ‘ethical’ Alberta hamburger. Yet Canada loses billions every day because of this unfair discount. We have vast reserves of ethical hamburger beef and in fact 96 % of all the hamburger beef in Canada is in the Alberta Hamburger Pastures. We have the highest world class hamburger beef pollution standards in the world. Its no wonder most of us are thinking about seperating from Canada and taking our hamburger beef elsewhere .. ! Our hamburger beef drives the entire economy of Canada and we’re not going to take it any more..! As the conventional tenderloin beef in the rest of Canada, which is rapidly shrinking daily towards only 2 % runs out, Canadian will resort to imported beef or free range chicken and goats probably grown by temporary foreign ranchers. We also need to change our education systems to more aligned with Alabama and Mississippi

    • Paul "kill the black snake" says:

      Let’s not talk hamburger. The oil that Alberta produces is Bitumen and it’s more expensive to mine it and process it, than crude. It also gets discounted when we sell it to the Americans which is where all of it is going at present (the big lie is that there are Asian markets). We subsidize this bitumen to the tune of billions a year and have just cancelled all the meagre subsidies we were giving to renewables. It is time to stop subsidizing the welfare oil mafia that is taking all our bitumen out of OUR country. We can’t afford them anymore. Time to put money into renewables, that is where the jobs are, NOT in bitumen mining.

      • diamondwalker says:

        .. agreed ! There must be a better analogy but.. Synthetic fabrics are not ‘discounted’ vs Merino wool. That wool is world reknowned. Bitumen is not ‘discounted’. The price differential is indicative of several facts. Higher sulphur content is one. More effort required to refine to use it. We have few ‘cokers’ in Canada due to capital cost to built kr retrofit. Its approx 30 % refined diluent that is extracted and worth more.. – the dilunt is quoted daily too & is lart of the price. Distance it must travel = a cost factor. It arrives as a slurry. It leaves petcoke residue after refinement which may still be burned but is a toxic powder. There are numerous types of dilbit at varying price range.. WCS is just one of them. The great majority of Bitumen is extracted ‘in situ’ and not scraped out of the earth.

        As you point out, the subsidies to primarily foreign owned or controlled developers is just that.. subsidy. The royalties collected are becoming a joke.. as are those for LNG which WE also subsidize with our tax $ another issue. We give both extractions free clean water, are left with toxic waters in tailings ponds or giant holding lakes.. or its injected into the earth. WE give them highly subsidized electricity and tax credits. Lets face it.. Big Energy has captured our governments along with Big Business like Big Pharma.. and finally since almost all of the dilbit is going to USA refineries, why does all of it not go directtly south from Hardisty via existing pipeline or additional pipeline distribution ? What would be shipped from ‘tidewater’ – Burnaby BC goes via 1/2 full Afromax tankers so it can clear 2nd Narrows. Also finally it will not be able to compete against Venezuelan dilbit of higher grade via the largest new supertankers doing short runs across the Carribbean or direct to Asia

      • carlosbeca says:

        Exactly Paul. We have sold our province for nothing and now came time for this idiot to sell our souls as well. Litigation, bullying, separation from Canada, threatening our own citizens, spying on them and to me the harder to take – the paternalistic condescending way they talk to other politicians, and citizens who disagree with them, especially the minister of Justice that hasn’t a clue of what he is doing.
        Progress Alberta threatening to take legal action and I hope we all support them to get these people on their knees.

        https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/alberta/article-progress-alberta-a-group-targeted-by-jason-kenney-threatens-legal/

      • ingamarie says:

        Our money has already gone to both Progress Alberta and Press Progress (where Rebel fools are suing for a story Press published that was true). It is sometimes disheartening how mean spirited our society still is……..and how determined to have their way, the natural order be damned……….but there you have it. Fear of Socialism, love of black boot fascism is alive and well on the prairies….we ignore it at our peril.

      • Dwayne says:

        Paul “kill the black snake”: I think it was made clear years ago, that oil from Alberta’s oilsands is a poorly favoured product on the commodity market. There was even some government minister from Saudi Arabia who alluded to this, a few years ago. We cannot survive on these low oil prices, which will remain low, as cheaper to produce oil from elsewhere will remain, and saturate the market. Even Peter Lougheed, who did have employment in the oil industry, doubted that Alberta’s oilsands would be around for a long time. He also knew better than to think oil is a infinite commodity, and that oil booms are here forever. That’s the foolish mistake that we witnessed the Alberta PCs doing, when Peter Lougheed vacated his role as Alberta’s premier. Albertans are still on the hook for a bitumen upgrader, that flushed $35 billion down the drain. Albertans are also having to deal with a $260 billion bill to cleanup oil industry related messes in Alberta. The Alberta PCs started that in the 1990s. Will the UCP address these things? The War Room that they created, (which is another large waste of money) won’t want to, let alone be able to do that. The UCP has given another financial blow to Albertans, with a near $5 billion corporate tax cut. No employment was gained from this, and I did not see any corporations coming to Alberta, but only leaving Alberta, (like Encana). There is no way triple digit oil prices are coming back. If they have not been here for around 6 years, it’s unlikely they will be returning. Anything less than $80 per barrel oil, (at this time, it would probably be $100 per barrel oil), puts a big gap in Alberta’s coffers.

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      Today it seems that the beef on the hoof are Alberta’s post-secondary students. Only worth what the market will pay for them.

      That’s so odd, paying attention to the market value of something. How strange for this UCP gang, who value oil and gas way more than the market does.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      systems more aligned with Alabama and Mississippi?
      seriously?

      • diamondwalker says:

        .. that is part of the hamburger satire. Both Alberta under Kenney and Ontario under Ford are intent on emulating Alababa and Mississippi education systems.. and they both think they can reinvent medical best practices.. all of their flawed ideology is coming out with their majority governments.. and they have ZERO credibility.. just Reform dogma and ideology

      • Thanks guys, I enjoyed the hamburger, merino wool, etc analogy.

      • carlos beca says:

        ok got it – I was not sure what you actually meant sorry
        I could not agree more
        This is all a nightmare and these people are just awful

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos Beca: This is the only place I can respond to you. I agree with what you have said completely.

  11. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Today is the day we find out about the sea change in postsecondary education, change that will tie funding for learning to employability. As if a government that lives in the past has any clue about the jobs of the future! If this bears out, the folks in the petroleum technology courses at SAIT or petroleum engineering at universities should see an end to their education funding. There’s no future in that. Why do I get the feeling that they will be spared? Stay tuned for the 9 a.m. death knell today.

  12. Edison says:

    On a marginally hopeful note, @RCMPAlberta tweeted this a few hours ago, “Alberta RCMP are continuing their investigation in relation to the 2017 UCP leadership campaign, specifically as it relates to Identity Fraud”

    Notice that it refers only to identity fraud

    • Dwayne says:

      Edison: Where is the rest of the investigation by the R.C.M.P? Jason Kenney wants Alberta to have its own provincial police force. I don’t need to guess why that would be.

      • Edison says:

        As far as I know K-Div hasn’t released anything else besides that. However there’s an interesting story by CBC News today that reads, “The police are investigating Jeff Callaway’s 2017 campaign “as being a large fraud committed on a number of people who believed that it was legitimate,” according to the source, whom CBC News has agreed not to identify because they are not authorized to speak about the ongoing investigation”

        As to the creation of an Alberta police service, the mechanics of that would take quite some time and a lot of resources, in particular lots of money. Methinks Kenney is just being his old inflammatory self

      • Edison, it’s unfortunate that the RCMP investigation has been limited to identity fraud, I don’t know how far that will get us even if the RCMP are able to get enough evidence to lay charges.
        The point Dwayne makes is one I heard raised at a Fair Deal panel, namely if the province has its own police force and it reports directly to the Justice Minister (who the lawyer for Progress Alberta called a party “hack”) how confident can we be that it will investigate everything that needs to be investigated.

  13. Ingamarie says:

    Well if Albertans have to do it for themselves we may be in trouble. Over 40 years of leaving it to conservative men has made many of us exceptionally timid, and cautious of intemperate speech. In short, silence has been golden in this province, and I’m not witnessing much difference now

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Yes I clearly remember how Sandra Jansen was treated in the Legislature. Even worse K.D.Lang for saying that she was a vegetarian and concerned about the animals we basically consider industry commodities.
      Well the processed evolved and we are in the last frontier, the treatment of people like consumers and slaves to an elite class that basically makes in a couple of hours what an average Canadian family makes a year and still scream for lower taxes. You know planes and expensive and maintaining homes around the world a bit expensive.
      The UCP is trying to make it even worse. People have to be stupid and uneducated so they be easily manipulated. So the announcement that funding for Universities is now based on outcomes. More commodification of learning and researching into you make money or you are out. Nothing else matters.
      Critical Thinking is not a UCP thing. Just drop out and be a cheater and make money regardless is the motto. Individualism and religion is the answer on these evangelical minds. 12th century mentality just like Isis but Christian.
      It is just fascinating to witness this level of mediocrity in 2020. .

      • Carlos, the only explanation I can give for the public’s continued support of the UCP is the naive belief that the harmful consequences of Kenney’s cuts won’t impact them personally. Recently a woman in her 70s complained that her 63 year old husband who’s dying is going to be cut off her health plan because he’s not a senior. She voted UCP because she like the idea of cuts, but she didn’t realize the cuts would impact her personally.
        Bottom line: it’s OK if the cuts hurt someone else as long as they don’t hurt me. These people have never accepted the idea that we’re all in this together. They’re of the “every man for himself” school of political science.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Susan I did not want to believe that Albertans were selfish to that level but I do believe now and it is sad but that is the character of our provincial population. Hard to believe.
        The problem is that we as Canadians tend to think of ourselves as moderate and with kind hearts and although we do have a good reputation abroad, I think it is making us complacent and going in the other direction. We have always been bombarded with propaganda especially from the business elites that we should strive to be more business aggressive like American. This along with 30 years of neo liberal garbage we are now at the crossroads of deciding what we actually want. We even believe that governments should be run like businesses and run by businessmen. We seem to have lost our compass of what a government really is. No wonder the confusion and disillusionment.
        We talked recently about books and I was excited when I heard that Linda McQuaig published a new book. I have read all her work and they are to me some of the most important books on Canadian Politics and our place in the world. This new one is no exception – it is titled ‘The Sport and Prey of Capitalists’ which I think every Canadian should read.
        A couple of years ago I read a book that shook my trust in our Government titled ‘ The Thieves of Bay Street’ – by Bruce Livesey. Now this one by Linda McQuaig connects the dots in terms of how Justin Trudeau is up to his nose feeding Wall Street big names like Larry Fink and others in this network of super billionaires that see us all as slaves to work hard and make money for their deserved fortunes. A three piece suit Mafia that calls the rest of us Socialists. This is clear in her book chapter 2 describing the creation of the infrastructure bank – of course SO GOOD for the people.
        Amazing how these people are no longer people.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        George Soros is putting $1B behind his belief in education.

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-23/soros-starts-new-global-university-with-1-billion-commitment?srnd=green

        “As a long-term strategy our best hope lies in access to quality education, specifically an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasizing academic freedom,” Soros said.

  14. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I appreciate that you answer my questions. Did you hear about Dr. David Swann, (a former Liberal MLA)? He refuses to pay his taxes until the oil patch pays theirs. He was protesting in Calgary recently. There is an article in the Calgary Herald about this. It also involves rural municipalities, oil companies, and Jason Kenney. What’s your thoughts about this?

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Not David Swann – I believe is David Khan the leader of the liberal party – goof for him
      we should all do the same except most of us are deducted on the source. We are not oil companies and we cannot abandon old oil wells and leave the bill to others on top of not paying taxes. We go to jail. The great conservative managers did not notice it was happening – the people did and warned but they were socialists of course always complaining. This is all a circus. In the meantime some conservatives have fat bank accounts offshore for closing their eyes to the cleanup and the government saves money on cutting water and tissues in our courthouses. This is more absurd the Monty Python.

  15. diamondwalker says:

    .. A word of caution may be in order re ‘generalizing’ words and/or terms. I have mucho kin in Alberta and in BC as well as in Ontario & Manitoba. I use the term many Albertans, or some, or a few Albertans in regard to my gripes or concerns re Jason Kenney et al. I certainly do not look upon Jason Kenney or Matt Wolf as ‘Albertans’ .. nor do I look upon Stephen Harper as typical of Albertans. So many political animals gravitate to Alberta to find some sort of haven, not to mention how they have embraced Big Oil which is certainly epicenter Alberta. Safe seats – see Rob Anders.. essentially 40 + years under ‘Conservative’ rule. And don’t try to convince me that Jason Kenney ‘lived’ in Alberta while owning a home in Ottawa and milking Canadian taxpayers to pay for that ‘secondary residence’. His ‘principle residence’ at his Mom’s was a classic shallow grift and typifies his ‘situational ethics’ (which is my polite way of saying he has no ethics, nada.. nonesville)

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      They’re all a bunch of Ontario exports, or expats, if they can covertly manipulate the pliant public into Wexiting.

      During the last federal election campaign, I was driving through the shopping complex where Stephen Harper had his constituency office. Someone had added “HARPER” reflective stickers to the “STOP” signs. It was a professional job, so it took a moment to register. I snapped a photo for posterity. (And I still check it out from time to time.) It was a minor thing, but a major thing at the same time, subtle insurrection in the south end of Calgary, right next to a community that didn’t want public transit for the peasants on a major road near their homes because they drive big luxury vehicles! There’s a first time for everything, and that was the moment I realized he was on his way out.

      Is Harpo sure he wants a replay? Must be hard to sit behind the curtain pulling levers, when the sweet perfume of power is so tempting. But one perfume is called “Poison”.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Harper is a control freak and he cannot let it go. He is trying to continue designing the Conservative party at his image. Furthermore he supports people like Victor Orban in Hungary that are clearly anti-democratic and what people usually call compassionate dictator. To me that is exactly what he is and he tutored Jason Kenney really well and others in the party that fortunately seem to be dropping like flies (i.e. Pierre Poilievre) who is a total nut case. I never liked Harper and in my view he is a more modern version of Jason Kenney. Probably the first prime minister that challenged the Supreme Court and tried to manipulate them to appoint one of his goons. Never mind muzzling the media and scientists. Just an horrendous view of what is democracy.

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