The Leader and His Team

It’s been a tough week for everyone; especially that “young, energetic and diverse team with deep experience” that Jason Kenney (his words by the way) appointed to Cabinet.

Health Minister Shandro took it upon himself to turn up at a Calgary doctor’s house and yell at him for reposting a Facebook meme that suggested the health minister was in a conflict of interest position because he and his wife own a supplementary health benefits company called Vital Partners. Minister Shandro also told another private citizen that if she didn’t stop sending threatening emails to his wife (they were sent to Vital Partner’s corporate web page and weren’t threatening) he’d refer the matter to “protective services”.

A Minister of the Crown yelling at citizens or threatening to send “protective services” to their doorsteps is not the way to allay their concerns.     

Education Minister LaGrange issued a press release this weekend informing 25,000 teachers and non-certificated staff they were fired, at least temporarily. It’s okay, she said, the Feds will take care of you and besides we’ll re-allocate the money saved from this cut to Alberta’s COVID-19 response.

Premier Kenney

Economist Trevor Tombe called this a cut of “massive scale” and said it was “false” for the government to say the savings were being reallocated to COVID-19 because the savings will impact Alberta’s debt, not its health spending.        

And while we’re on the topic of so-so cabinet ministers, what happened to Sonya Savage, our Energy Minister? She’s completely faded off the scene, replaced in all but name by Mr Kenney. Yesterday he was urging the federal government to go after Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries for predatory dumping (“we cannot let them win”); he also said he’ll be speaking with American politicians and administrators about a coordinated plan to defend the industry. 

The only thing he didn’t say is that he’d shut down the $30 million/year war room and reallocate the savings to fighting COVID-19.  

Deep experience?   

No one is expecting the Alberta government to fix COVID-19 and its impact on our social and economic well being overnight. However some of us would argue that the “young, energetic and diverse team with deep experience” appointed by Mr Kenney is coming apart at the seams. Either that or Mr Kenney lacks the confidence in them to let them do their jobs.  

Which leads us to wonder whether Mr Kenney’s characterization about the competence of his Cabinet is valid.  

Albertans have no way of checking whether Shandro, LaGrange or Savage have the experience necessary to do their jobs at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic and global economic downturn, because their biographies do not appear on the Alberta government website.*

This is peculiar given that the descriptions of the remaining 17 cabinet ministers, 3 associate ministers, 3 parliamentary secretaries and one military liaison include their biographies. (Even the 27 deputy ministers have biographies for god’s sake).

So what gives?

Health Minister Shandro is responsible for the government’s response to the biggest public health emergency Alberta has ever faced; Education Minister LaGrange is responsible for K-12 education which is experiencing unprecedented upheaval as a result of COVID-19 and Energy Minister Savage is responsible for energy, the mainstay of Alberta’s one-trick pony economy; is it too much to ask for a modicum of transparency so Albertans could view their qualifications for the job?  

They say a leader is only as good as his team. Unfortunately, the Kenney government has chosen to hide the biographies of three critical Cabinet ministers.  

Given the performance of his team over the last few weeks of escalating crisis, this is deeply concerning.

*NOTE: A reader tells me he can see Sonya Savage’s bio. I’ve check on a few different browser, but still see nothing but a button marked “Learn More”. In any event, the question still remains, does Jason Kenney’s Cabinet have the bench strength necessary to lead Alberta through these difficult times?

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79 Responses to The Leader and His Team

  1. lindamcfarlane says:

    Wow! interesting –   hope you are all doing well and staying healthy

    Linda McFarlane

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

    • Thanks Linda, we’re all well here, trying to get used to the “new normal” but grateful that we’re in the position to help others. I was listening to The Current this morning. They interviewed people running food banks who said the most important thing we can do to help out is make donations of cash. We’ve been doing that and will continue to do so as this unfolds over the coming weeks and months.
      Hope you guys are well too!

  2. Public Servant says:

    The only “qualifications” needed to be a UCP cabinet minister (or MLA for that matter) are:
    – unquestioning, blind subservience to Kenney,
    – a sociopathic hatred of doctors, teachers, civil servants, union members, …
    – a willingness to be well paid for doing almost nothing,
    – a lack of courage to stand up for constituents
    It is so hard not to despair. I’m not sure Alberta can withstand 3 more years of UCP disaster capitalism.

    • Emmanuel Logos says:

      You forgot – must lack any sense of ethics.

    • James Lee says:

      You are so right. Good analogy.

    • Bob thornton says:

      Public servant I stand with you. I do not think our democracy can withstand another 3 years of their fascist madness.

      • Public Servant raises a very important point about the UCP government’s treatment of doctors, nurses, teachers, unions, etc. It looks like Kenney is willing to destroy the public sector to clear the way for privatization. His government demonstrates an utter lack of compassion that would be shocking at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. We need a strong public service now more than ever. We must remember this when the next election rolls around.

    • Barbara says:

      Perfect description.

  3. Graham McFarlane says:

    Actually, we might be even more concerned if their bios were posted!

    • Keith Taylor says:

      REALLY, REALLY Concerned!!!

      • Graham and Keith, you made me smile.
        A reader who can access their bios on his browser shared them with me on FB. Shandro is a lawyer with experience in disaster relief, he was appointed to the Recovery Committee following the 2013 floods. Sadly he’s not demonstrating his legal or disaster mitigation experience in his treatment of the healthcare profession. He tore up the doctor’s compensation agreement (what happened to sanctity of contract?) and rammed through a compensation scheme some doctors say will force them to close their clinics. This is not how a government treats its healthcare workers in a pandemic. At the very least he could “pause” these changes, better yet, repeal them all together.
        While healthcare professionals are risking their lives to treat those afflicted with COVID-19, he’s yelling at them in their front yards. This is not an indication of leadership based on experience. It’s a shambles.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      An additional tidbit about Mr Shandro’s cv, FWIW: he was the lawyer who signed the famous — in Alberta political blogging circles anyway — letter to @daveberta, demanding he cease & desist his ownership of the “edstelmach.ca” domain name back in the day, which redirected to Mr Cornoyer’s blog.

      http://daveberta.ca/2020/01/15-years-ago-i-started-a-blog-about-alberta-politics/

  4. NeilRD says:

    Hope you’re staying well during these trying times. Always appreciate your insights.

    I understand why the Ethics Commissioner might find that Minister Shandro is not in a conflict of interest with his wife’s business, where his ownership is twice removed in a “blind” trust, like many of President Trump’s interests, which are managed by family members. Though reading the guidelines would seem to make this not okay in Alberta. Yes, I am confused by this finding.

    But surely, when the Minister replies to an email sent by a citizen to his wife’s business with a threat to involve the Protective Services of the Government of Alberta, that must be a conflict of interest. Does this not show his involvement directly in the business? And his willingness to use his assumed power as a minister in the government to threaten a citizen on behalf of that business?

    This seems like a conflict of interest. Perhaps you could use your legal chops to enlighten.

    • Elaine Fleming says:

      I watched Rachel Notley in a news conference, responding to this debacle, answer a journalist’s question about what Shandro meant by who “Protective Services” were. Notley couldn’t explain. Possibly, the body guards assigned to the Premier? Shandro needs to explain what he meant and also say what these “Services” would do to people who complain about his or his wife’s business activities.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        Alfredo’s link shows that these public servants have no authority off AHS property. They are essentially security guards. If Shandro wants to send goons after people, it will have to be goons who have authority off AHS property, perhaps his own private protective services force? Maybe that Alberta provincial police force is gearing up silently in the wings after all.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        Next question, do emergency powers grant the government the authority to send anyone at all into the homes of private citizens with thinly-disguised ulterior motives, not related to the the intended purpose of such powers? Maybe this is what Shandro is virtue-signalling: speak out and the goons will get you; it’s perfectly legal now. Try and stop him.

      • Hal, this CBC article provides a good overview of the two pieces of legislation that may be invoked. The government declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Act on Mar 17. It hasn’t declared declared an emergency under the Emergency Management Act yet, but the House is sitting on Tues to debate more COVID-19 related legislation so the EMA may be next up. Both of these Acts give the government sweeping powers however according to the law prof interviewed in the article, these powers must be exercised “with restraint and based on evidence,” There’s nothing to stop a government from abusing these powers however the victims of such abuse would be able to defend themselves. It’s frightening to even have this conversation but I know why we’re having it.
        Here’s the link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-government-pandemic-statement-of-emergency-1.5513122

      • Alfredo and Hal2000 you two have provided a better explanation of what “protective services” are than anyone else I’ve come across. You’ve got to wonder why the mainstream media didn’t figure this out, let alone point out that the Health Minister does not have the power to utilize “protective services” unless the alleged infraction occurred on AHS property. In other words he can’t send “protective services” to the citizen’s house and he certainly can’t send them to his wife’s company. I’m beginning to wonder whether Shandro had a clue what he was talking about when he referred to them.
        Thanks Elaine for passing along Notley’s comments re this.

    • Dwayne says:

      NeilRD: It’s been this way with the Alberta PCs too, for decades. Any wrongdoing or conflict of interest was ignored by the Ethics Commissioner, because they were basically joined at the hip with the Alberta PCs. If there was an Ethics Commissioner who was too thorough, like Lorne Gibson, they were “let go”. This was the same Lorne Gibson that Jason Kenney conveniently let go, while he was in Texas, to “save Alberta money”. In the Alberta PCs, there were plenty of MLAs who were in a conflict of interest too, especially under the Ralph Klein period, but nothing was done about it. It’s the same thing with the UCP. Horrible.

      • Dwayne, I’m glad you’ve raised the Lorne Gibson example. In the flurry of news re: COVID-19 I don’t recall seeing anything relating to Kenney’s half-baked comment that Gibson could/would be replaced. Somehow I doubt he’ll ever get around to it.

    • NeilRD it seems to me there are 2 situations here: (1) Shandro’s wife being a co-owner in Vital Partners while Shandro is the Health Minister and (2) Shandro responding to an email sent to Vital Partners that was forwarded to him by his wife which resulted in Shandro threatening to send in Protective Services.
      The first situation was addressed by the Ethics Commissioner who said the blind trust clears Shandro of conflict; maybe it’s not a technical breach of the Act but it certainly looks like a Caesar’s wife situation to me and could have been avoided if Kenney had appointed someone without this perceived conflict to the post of Health Minister.
      The second situation is different. Shandro threatened to use the power of his office against a private citizen for allegedly threatening his wife. That looks to me like an abuse of power. When Notley, Sandra Jansen, Shannon Phillips and other female MLAs were threatened by the public they referred the matter to the police, they did not threaten to bring in “protective services” whatever that is.
      There is something fundamentally wrong with the UCP who appear to be willing to violate democratic principles whenever it suits them. When Kenney dismissed the Shandro mess by saying “I think any Albertan would understand that a husband or wife will get passionate when their spouse is being attacked or even threatened and certainly defamed,” he changed the narrative. This wasn’t just a “husband” getting passionate when their spouse was being “attacked, or even threatened and certainly defamed” (none of which is proven), this was a Minister of the Crown telling a private citizen he would use the power of the state to silence them if they didn’t shut up. That is unconscionable in a democracy.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        When will we have a day of peace in this province again?
        I think that it is time that someone evaluates if Jason Kenney and Shandro are fit to occupy the positions they do.
        Jason Kenney, who all his life has attacked government intervention and claiming that everything public is bad, got control of the province pension plan and invested 1,1 billion dollars in an industry that everyone in the world including my dog Lucy knows that is a sunset industry. The man is out of control and shows clear signs of psychopathy.
        Shandro is lucky that he did not visit my house because I can guarantee he would never forget it.

  5. Elaine Fleming says:

    I don’t know how Alberta’s Health Minister can keep the people of Alberta from freaking out over the Corona Virus pandemic when he is coming unglued. It’s the last thing we need. Instead of instilling confidence and showing the maturity and empathy that people need right now he is doing the exact opposite. And, it is not reassuring when his boss Jason Kenney tells him “just stay away from social media”, like he is a 13 year old kid, or something.

    I have seen the B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix stand with their Medical Officer of Health for daily news conferences regarding what is happening in their province regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and honestly, I am envious. I guess that is an immature reaction- I am regressing to a 13 year old, too! But, seriously, the population is very strongly influenced by and dependent on their leadership in how they cope through very difficult times. As far as those other Ministers you mention, Susan, and probably most of the UCP MLA’s, they are not the “guiding lights” Alberta needs right now, and I guarantee you the citizens of Alberta are not feeling that these guys have their backs. We are heading in to very troubling waters.

    • I agree Elaine. Jason Kenney’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been to follow not lead. The premiers of BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario (Ontario for Pete’s sake!) all took proactive measures to protect the health and financial security of their citizens well before he did. Kenney simply followed along with half-measures and calls to the Feds to bail out our economy. Then the icing on the cake is his staunch support for his Health Minister who invokes the power of the state to flatten criticism and clearly doesn’t have the mettle to do his job properly.
      We’re becoming immune to his egregious behavior, we’ve almost forgotten that he fanned the flames of Wexit with the Fair Deal panel, he kowtowed to corporations with the “job creation” tax cuts, and he passed a garbage budget so he could continue to cut health, education and social services. It’s like living in a miniature version of Trumpland.

  6. GoinFawr says:

    Interesting, so your contention is that Mr.Shandro’s conflict of interest has little to do with who benefits ( I mean: Come. On. Mr. Shandro) should privatized medicine be further expanded in Alberta, and more to do with his unduly using the powers of his office as a tool to protect his wife’s private interests?

    Sure, there’s more than one way to shear a sheep, I suppose. Either way though, how disgusting of Mr.Shandro to be so balefully disingenuous.

    There must be some current legal avenue to at least brand such obvious and apparent conflicts of interests for what they are.

    • GoinFawr, I don’t think we have a legal avenue when the Ethics Commissioner declares it’s not a conflict of interest, however we do have a political avenue, and that’s to stay on top of this file (well, all the UCP files) and expose each and every abuse of political power and then vote them out of power in 2023 (assume we last that long as a province).

  7. Laurent Jeff Dubois says:

    Captain Wilton Parmenter

    • Laurent I’ll admit I had to look up the reference. For the rest of the readers, Capt Wilton Parmenter was the useless commander of F Troop, a dumping ground for pathetic soldier and misfits. The only difference here I suppose is F Troop was a comedy and this is our sad reality.

  8. J.E. Molnar says:

    It’s the same tired, regurgitated narrative with Jason Kenney and his political cabal of lapdog loyalists.

    Excuses, misinformation, lying, poor judgement and a lack of transparency. I wouldn’t believe a single word out of their mouths—even if all their tongues were notarized. Minister LaGrange promised no cuts or reduction in education funding, now she’s throwing 25,000 people out of work during a pandemic. Where’s the leadership?

    • “I wouldn’t believe a single word out of their mouths–even if all their tongues were notarized.” JE, that was fantastic. As you said, whatever was true on Monday turns into a lie by Friday (or Saturday in this case). There’s so much that is disturbing here. The promise not to do any further cuts, using the pandemic as a smoke screen for the cuts, the magnitude of the cuts, and the untold damage such cuts will do to children, especially those who rely on educational assistants, to learn. It’s appalling.

  9. Midge Lambert says:

    In a few words, there is NO “leadership” or “team” in place. Instead we have a fanatically ideological despot from Ontario who surrounded himself publicly with a bunch of compliant & complicit bootlickers who have NO idea of how to deal with something as serious as a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. And we are left with an uneducated career politician whose main talent is the manipulation of those boot lickers. Most concerning, if he IS actually taking advice from an unelected “team” in the back rooms, we have NO idea who they are, but the main suspect is a failed former prime minister soundly rejected by Canadians in 2015. I have never been so worried about my home province, and I have never despised any politicians as much as I do these losers.

    • Excellent point Midge. In the whole time Kenney has been on the scene, he has not had a single original idea. Anyone who thinks he has a clue about how to lead Alberta through this crisis is dreaming. Which gets us to the point you made, namely who is advising Kenney on this crisis. Hopefully not his old boss, Stephen Harper, who you’ll recall responded to First Nations requesting assistance with the H1N1 flu epidemic by sending body bags. .
      I agree 100% with the sentiment expressed in your last sentence.

  10. Drew says:

    Alberta has it’s own Kenny Pandemic

  11. diamondwalker says:

    .. Its best to perceive Jason Kenney at face value, which I have, ever since I first heard of him. Aside from his various oddities, his greatest talent is being a virtuoso level ‘glib’ political animal. The clever, smooth dissembling and distortions of reality are exceptional.. and don’t think he’s unaware of this or doesn’t revel in that. The bland but smug visage resembles that of Stephen Harper doing the same, but Harper mechanically drones his personal ideological dogma whereas Kenney glides while droning his dogmatic ideological smarm. Neither tolerates credible arguement, rather they bluster through & prevent any dispute, internal or in public. Both are posturing fakes and self serving bullies

    Think of both as odious distorting hybrids of two Charles Dickens characters, Fagin & the Artful Dodger.. polished, practiced grifters & thieves who flourish by training others to do their bidding and turn over what they steal. Quite similar to pimps actually. I hope that frank appraisal is not too over the top insulting, but the truth is really disturbing when its a predominant characteristic & reality in elected Public Servants.

    In a detailed comment regarding extreme grifting in Politics I posted in Northern Reflections (at Progressive Bloggers) today (March 29 under another alias) I again described how Jason Kenney performed his extensive grift and long term betrayal, milking Canadian taxpayers for personal profit while living in an Ottawa condo he owned & that was his home for years. That was also truly sustained & glib deceit, artfully executed in broad daylight, shamelessly illegal. Pretending he was looking after his mommy & living with her in Calgsry. Kenney also has a truly vicious, loyal & dangerous following who attack truthtellers of these matters. Again I will stress, this is an elected Public Servant, previously a Senior Federal Minister who is now Premier of Alberta. Think about that.. Leader ? or Cheater ? The truth is obvious if you look.. and he’s a devout Catholic, self proclaimed virgin he claims – ‘saving it’ for the right gal.. WoW !!

    • DiamondWalker I agree with your characterization of Kenney. He’s extremely good at what he does. Let’s not forget he convinced a bunch of farmers and ranchers that he was one of them simply by driving a blue truck and wearing jeans. The one thing I’d add to your portrait of the man is he’s brittle and thin skinned. He completely loses it around certain kinds of men. His “aren’t I clever” attacks on Justin Trudeau are unmerited and his guttersnipe attack on Thomas Lukaszuk was simply bizarre. Trudeau ignores Kenney (which probably makes him nuts) and Lukaszuk never misses an opportunity to show Kenney up for the thoughtless callous leader that he is. Lukaszuk has the added advantage of having been a PC cabinet minister so he knows when Kenney is trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.
      And this is the man “leading” Alberta through the pandemic and oil price war. Lovely.

  12. Paul "kill the black snake" says:

    Well, some people still think oil and gas is the economic engine that drives Alberta and Canada. This is patently false. Oil and gas make up about 10% of Albertas’ GDP and 8% of Canadas’. It might well be lower by now with this covid-19 pandemic and oil at about $5.00 a barrel, though why we are still taking it out the ground escapes me…but I guess I’m just a realist. …or have my head in the air and not up someones’ derriere… Kenny is incompetent and his 3 non-descriptive (except for Shandro) ministers are even worse….looks like they got their credentials out of a Cracker Jack box. The UCPee governments’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic is somewhere between luke-warm and disasterous….except for the wonderful Health officer who is really doing her job…something the UCPee could learn…..sort of like training a dog to rolll over I guess…
    Leadership is fading in Alberta, like a July snow.

    • Paul, you’ve raised an extremely important point. Albertans have an over inflated view of Alberta’s contribution to Canada’s GDP. Firstly they forget that Alberta’s contribution to Canada’s GDP includes ALL of Alberta’s economic activity, not just oil and gas; secondly they hear that oil is Canada’s #1 export (mineral fuels including oil make up 22% of total exports), so yes, it’s important but not the only game in town. Thirdly Albertans lived high on the hog for decades as a result of fossil fuels but those days are gone, forever. We have to grow up, fast.
      I agree with your take on our Chief Medical Officer. If it wasn’t for Dr Deena Hinshaw we’d be toast.

      • diamondwalker says:

        .. It is critical to differentiate ‘oil’ and ‘dilbit’ and ‘Bitumen’
        Its also simple and easy..
        And just as ‘flu’ and Covid-19 and ‘hoax’ must not be conflated, muddled as Trump, Alex Jones, Gingrich et al still allude to etc

        I am becoming exasperated to constantly see such nonsense..
        so I will ask anyone..

        Is Oil – Bitumen ? – YES or No ?

        Is Bitumen – Oil ? – YES or NO ?

        Is 96% of ‘Canada’s Vast Petroleum Reserves’ actually Bitumen ? YES or No ?

        Is Bitumen a granular blackish deposit,
        extracted from Alberta’s ‘Tar Sands’ – ‘Oil Sands’ – YES or No ?

        Is Alberta Beef Hamburger with Hamburger Helper – Discounted Sirloin Steak ? YES or NO ?

        Who argues or defends undisputable scientific fact by embracing & repeating the complete opposite ?

        Again I must repeat as well..
        TC Energy sold 65% Equity and Control of BC’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline to Alberta ! AIMco did this via Albertan Pension Funds under the direction of Jason Kenney. As protest were ongoing across Canada, this was announced just after Christmas. Alberta Pension Funds are being invested in kneecapped Energy projects ! Does anyone know what is happening re Kitimat LNG .. Hey !! That project is a larger twin of LNG Canada.. and will run just to the south.. Do you also want your pension fund investing in that ? ! ? Plus the American Keystone XL Pipeline ?????

        Are Albertans victims ?
        Or are you actually volunteers.. ? ! ?
        YES or NO ??

      • diamondwalker: Thank you for continuing to point out that there’s more to “oil” than “oil”. This distinction is lost on us (I’m just as guilty as the next guy) and as a result it becomes more difficult for Albertans to understand why others are not as enamoured with the mainstay of our one-trick pony economy as we are. Your last question is very thought provoking. I suspect it leads us into a discussion of partisanship and a head in the sand approach to science. It’s almost too much to bear in these trying times.

  13. papajaxn says:

    Thank you for your post. In the last few days I have come across the Kenny Play book manual.

    Nancy Maclean explains it well in this video.

    This comes from University of Oregon website..

    Great back story to what is going on across the world.

    Another site is the Atlas Network.

    Take care

    bruce jackson

    On Sun, Mar 29, 2020 at 5:18 PM Susan on the Soapbox wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” It’s been a tough week for everyone; > especially that “young, energetic and diverse team with deep experience” > that Jason Kenney (his words by the way) appointed to Cabinet. Health > Minister Shandro took it upon himself to turn up at a Calgary doctor’s ” >

    • Arlene says:

      That was frightening and like seeing Jason Kenney’s game plan! Disgusting UCP and all those in the shadows behind them!

    • Thank you for this clip papajaxn: I’ve never heard Nancy Maclean speak; I’m really looking forward to watching it.

    • Fred Brook says:

      It certainly explains everything that Stephen Harper has done. And it carries on with his minions.

      • I have to agree with you Fred. I still remember when Harper sent the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, a congratulatory note when he was elected. Now Orban is one of the first leaders to use COVID-19 as an excuse to give himself dictatorial powers. It wasn’t such a big step because he was halfway there already–something that didn’t trouble Harper in the least.

  14. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I see clearly that nothing has changed in “Conservative” dominated Alberta. It’s the same story with the UCP, as it was with the Alberta PCs, since Don Getty was our premier. The inability to accept that oil booms are not around forever, doing the most costliest debacles repeatedly, never saving money, failing to properly upkeep essential services, not properly planning for the future, making a plethora of excuses and blaming others, while making the vulnerable, our seniors, our medical professionals, and our students and teachers pay the price. Also, like the Alberta PCs were like, since Don Getty was premier, is that we are seeing the UCP act like dictators and power hungry zealots. What Tyler Shandro has done, has crossed the line, and gone too far. If Jason Kenney does not reign his MLAs in, it shows that he has no moral compass himself. It’s beyond belief how we still see Albertans trying to defend these absurdities, or ignore them altogether. Clearly, we are in a new era with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the UCP are giving Albertans illogical and impractical solutions, in this juncture. The world has changed, and the UCP are not adapting to the changes. Oil prices took a tumble 6 years ago, and triple digit oil prices are no more. Oil booms are finished. Jason Kenney can’t do anything about this, no matter who he tries to “talk to”. When a bag of store bought pierogies is worth more than a barrel of WCS, it should be a wake up call for Jason Kenney and the UCP. But, alas, Jason Kenney and the UCP refuse to learn. They have made billions of dollars in very costly mistakes, and now Jason Kenney and the UCP have to fork out $3 billion to “help Allberta”, and have to come begging to Ottawa for help. In the approximate one year period that the UCP has been in power, (how they obtained power is questionable at best), I’d give a rating of their performance an F minus. I hope you and your family will be safe.

    • Thanks Dwayne, sometimes I can’t figure out who is worse, Kenney or his MLAs. On the one hand Kenney lets his MLAs get away with egregious behavior (like the Shandro incident) and on the other he gives them no freedom whatsoever. The ultimate example of this was his motion limiting debate on the budget to three hours. It expressly stated no UCP back benchers were allowed to speak. And these mealy mouthed cowards voted for it. They were elected to represent their constituents, but they’ve chosen to kowtow to their leader. That’s pathetic.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Actually, I did meet another person (a female), many years ago, when I was out having dinner with friends. She had a surname of Shandro. I think she was a girlfriend of one of my friends. When she started talking, she rubbed me the wrong way. Her attitude seemed to be very snooty. I simply could not agree with much of what she said. Shandro happens to mean chandelier in Ukrainian. She did mention that to me. If I recall correctly, the young woman did bring up something to the effect that she had nobility in her blood. That goes back to the Ukraine, where her family came from. The Shandro family is a prominent family in Alberta. There is also a construction firm with that name in Alberta. I also wonder if she and Tyler are related. Maybe she has changed, as she got older. I recall seeing her that one time. I also have nobility in my blood, on my paternal side, but that does not mean I should act high and mighty. What Tyler Shandro is doing, is not helping Albertans one bit.

  15. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Hippocracy runs rampant. Kenney thinks it’s fine to give the Saudis Alberta’s money via the Saudi health app Babylon, but he wants the federal government to pick a fight with Saudi Arabia. Does that make any sense at all, giving money (and the personal health information of Albertans) to the people who are driving down oil prices? Friend or foe to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Kenney? You can’t be both.

    Friend or foe to Albertans? Let’s see, Shandro’s rage and LaGrange’s callousness… All I can say is that the Canadian flag is flying, but the Alberta flag is not at one school. Did Alberta die?

    • You’re right Hal. I almost fell out of my chair when I read the article about Kenney telling Trudeau to launch a predatory dumping application against the Saudis and OPEC. I’m not a competition lawyer but I don’t know how Canada would pull that off. 53.6% of our imported oil comes from the US. The Saudis are our second biggest importer at 11.2%. I don’t know how we’d make a plausible case for dumping given that the bulk of the dumping activity (if you want to call it that) is coming from the US. Frankly I don’t see how dumping fits into the Saudi/Russia price war which is the real reason the price is plummeting for everyone.
      I don’t think Kenney knows what he’s talking about and the dead giveaway for me is the fact he said “we can’t let them win”. Whenever he resorts to war-language you know it’s all for show (case in point the War Room).

  16. Verna Milligan says:

    Thanks Susan for your unique insight once again! Special thanks for questioning why any premier, facing a pandemic that is tearing countries around the world apart, would not consider moving his/her “War Room” budget ( $ 30 M annually) to fight the REAL WAR that Albertans are facing –Caronavirus. This is a War that is faced, not only by individuals but by almost all of Alberta’s businesses.
    Hasn’t this Virus shut down more businesses than any supposedly ‘anti-Alberta propaganda’ ever could have accomplished?
    And it’s not as though the “War Room” has made Alberta Proud since its inception!!

    • Great points Verna. The War Room was nothing more than a windbag campaign promise. It has not improved our reputation, it’s made us look ridiculous. But Kenney will never pull the funding because to do so would be to admit a mistake. The fact he won’t do it in the middle of a pandemic gives you an idea of how fragile his ego is.

  17. Reynold Reimer says:

    Of course Kenney has been pulling the strings all along. So if the trio of ne’er-do-wells have faded into the background it only exposes the fact that our government is a Potemkin facade. (Does anyone believe that they can revive the moribund fossil industry?) Reminds one of the Harper era “Economic Action Plan” boondoggle, which happened while Kenney was a the cabinet table.

    • Reynold, I think you’ve put your finger on why these Cabinet ministers continue to bumble along. They’re simply carrying out Kenney’s directives, it’s not clear they understand or care about the impact. Consequently they’re caught flat footed when someone asks them reasonable questions like: How much will the government save by doing this? What are the benefits of doing this? What are the consequences of doing this? They just stand there in front of the microphones repeating the same old talking points because they haven’t got a clue.

  18. Mary-Lou says:

    There is a special place in hell for Premier Kenney and his UCP MLA’s.

  19. CallmeHal2000 says:

    I would like to point out that the Canada maple leaf flag continues to fly at the school. It flew all through spring break. Normally the flags come down on weekends and school holidays. The Alberta flag is still MIA, and with the custodians laid off, this situation is unlikely to change.

  20. Hal, Kenney probably doesn’t even know these “support” people exist. He appears to think that the teachers can teach the kids on line and everybody else is a waste of money.

  21. Barbara Olsen says:

    Kenney doesn’t let the MLA’s speak unless they are in his Cabinet – which he considers to be the “team”. My notes from their bio info are:
    As for Ministers bios, they were put up on the UPC website during the campaign. Adriana LaGrange was a Trustee with the Red Deer Catholic School Division. She has a Rehab Studies Diploma from Humber College in 1981. Family has trucking company and lives on a farm.
    Sonya Savage has worked in the Energy Industry for years. She has a Master of Laws in Environment and Energy; has been a pipeline advocate and worked for Enbridge and CEPA- Canadian Energy and Pipeline Association
    Tyler Shandro is a lawyer. Served on several boards of nonprofits.

    Hope that helps some.

    I worked with Dr. Deena Hinshaw when she was a new Medical Officer of Health in Red Deer. She was great to work with then and we are very lucky she is leading the decision making on Covid- 19.

  22. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I was just watching a video by Your Alberta. It had Jason Kenney talking that the Alberta government just spent $1.5 billion on an equity investment for immediate construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. They are working with Calgary based TC Energy. The Alberta government will give a $6 million loan guarantee for this in 2021. What could possibly go wrong here? People in Alberta were complaining about the Liberals in Ottawa spending $4.5 billion on a pipeline, (which they forget Jason Kenney supported doing). The statements Jason Kenney was making had numerous errors. If you get a chance to see this video, let me know what you think of it.

    • Dwayne, there’s something screwy about Kenney’s investment of billions into Keystone XL. He’s presenting it as kick starting construction or saving the pipeline or something, but I’ve been reviewing TC Energy’s securities filings and nowhere can I find any indication that TC Energy was not going to proceed with this pipeline. This is not the same as when Trudeau bought TMX. I will do some more research on this.

  23. CallmeHal2000 says:

    I was watching the premiers of Quebec and Ontario as they made pandemic announcements on national TV broadcasts today. Quebec’s premier came across as sincere, directing his message to the people, thanking them, and thanking the federal and Ontario governments for their help. The Ontario premier also gave a toned-down presentation, no rhetoric.

    Why is it that the Alberta premier cannot speak about the pandemic without talking oil, attacking the federal government or demanding money? He does not address the people. In fact, he laid off tens of thousands of educational support workers then turned around and invested in a pipeline. Workers sacrificed, nothing done to address the pandemic, billions of dollars going out the door on a negative-value commodity. Unbelievable. Mister Got to Go. He cant even feign being a human.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      The only thing left to be said is congratulate all of those that voted for this charade for making Alberta Great Again and for putting pensions in danger of having half their value if this premier does not leave us alone. I am sure a small council of Albertans with the required skills and that do not have the habit of screaming at people would do a much better job that this debacle.
      I thought that we could even include a Wexiteers in the council but I have not been able to find any and keep wondering if they all lost their jobs, despite the greatness we have achieved in only one year.
      I no longer have words to describe what is happening in this province and will not use what is in my mind because Susan already gave me a warning and rightly so.
      All I can hope for is that the UCP follows the same route as the previous PC after Allison Redford gave us her full depressing show of egocentric, selfish LED display.
      We are now subject of a much more dangerous show at a psychopathic level.

      • Carlos, there’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up, but I wanted to add to the excellent point you made when you mentioned Kenney using Albertans’ pension funds to invest in the fossil fuel sector. I read that TC Energy (formerly TCPL) sold 65% of its interest in Coastal LNG to KKK-Keats and a subsidiary of AIMCo for an after tax gain of $600Million. If this was such a good investment, I wonder why TC Energy decided to unload 65% of its interest.
        And just the other day Kenney announced he was investing Albertans’ tax dollars in Keystone XL. The TC Energy press release says Kenney’s government will invest $1.1 billion in equity (making us part owners of KXL) and an additional $6.9 billion through a credit facility. All this is in US dollars.
        It’s a huge outlay. Apparently going into debt and not being able to balance the budget isn’t such a big deal after all.

      • Carlos says:

        ‘Apparently going into debt and not being able to balance the budget isn’t such a big deal after all.’

        Apparently it is all fine as long as it is to enrich corporations.
        Apparently the market fundamentalism also only applies if the market works in our favour. As soon as things go wrong, well the hell with the market and lets use the public money.
        I am amazed that pension money can be used so easily by the Premier. This kind of fund should never ever be touchable other than the ones that are managing it and even those should have limits on what they can do without approval. This is legalized robbery.

    • CallmeHal: you’ve put your finger on the difference between Kenney and the premiers of Quebec and Ontario. The latter care about their citizens, the former cares about the economy (which he sadly doesn’t appear to understand), that’s why his efforts are focused on propping up our one-trick pony economy at the expense of public services like health and education.
      It’s not the right focus at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic.

  24. Dave says:

    Mr. Kenney does like to gloss over, or perhaps I should say ignore, the shortcomings of his team. Perhaps it is understandable as he is the one who chose them, so it could reflect badly on him.

    Now to be fair, Mr. Kenney did not have a lot of experienced people to choose from, as the PC’s were decimated and the Wildrose did not have experience in governing. I suppose one of the draw backs for a one party state is once that party disintegrates, you are left with a dearth of experience, unless you make Rick McIver the minister of everything. However, it is interesting Kenney didn’t put McIver, or someone with more political experience, into these big sensitive positions and instead chose younger people with little political experience. I suspect, Mr. Kenney wanted people in these positions who would basically blindly follow his instructions and not question things too much. In effect, Mr. Kenney has appointed himself as minister of everything by default and I suspect has stretched himself far too thin.

    Now, I suppose you can get away with this sort of thing if things are going well, but the Alberta economy was struggling when Kenney was elected and now even much worse. The Health Department seems to be the one floundering the most now, just at a time when experience and grown up leadership is desperately required. I suppose Mr. Kenney did not anticipate the current health crisis when he came up with his cabinet and unfortunately does not have the time or expertise to fill in the gaps for his minister. Ms. LaGrange probably has the most political experience of the three, but much of that is in the conservative culture wars variety, which isn’t exactly helpful in the education area, but it is also an area Mr. Kenney probably doesn’t care much about either. Ms. Savage seems to have some solid industry experience, although not much political experience. I think unfortunately Mr. Kenney has taken over her department as it is his area of interest, which is too bad because she might actually have some better ideas of how to run things than her boss.

    With all the bozo eruptions before and during the election, it was predicted by some that this government would be a gong show. I can’t say those predictions were wrong.

    • Dave, that’s a very interesting observation. A strong leader surrounds himself/herself with strong people, A weak leader is afraid to do so. As you point out, Kenney could had a number of experience caucus members including McIver, Mike Ellis, Leela Aheer and Prasad Panda who may have been more effective in these difficult portfolios, however he chose not to do so, one wonders why. Perhaps he can’t bear the thought of someone who actually knows something telling him that his idiotic ideas won’t fly.
      Well, whatever reason, he’s put Shandro in charge of healthcare and it’s a colossal mess,

  25. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Oh, look, I see cars parked at the school with no Alberta flag. People are working there, as they have been since returning from spring break. Just thought I’d mention this, because it seems Premier What’s-his-Name has a chauffeur who does not actually drive him by any schools in his daily life.

    In a press conference yesterday, he said that school boards were going to lay workers off anyways, and since people weren’t working, it made sense for the province to do it, because billions of dollars are being spent.

    Premier WhN cut school board budgets. Any layoffs that were coming would have been the result of those budget cuts. So he blamed the school boards for the budget cuts (he still maintains that there are no budget cuts) that he made, which would have led to layoffs. And he didn’t bother to consult them before he kneecapped them. They were not at the press conference on Wednesday, so we have no idea if what he said about his preemptive layoffs was true.

    Then he blamed the workers for not working, which wasn’t entirely true. Many were off on spring break. Many of them would have been working when they returned.

    Previously, he blamed Dr. Deena Hinshaw (not the pandemic) for the layoffs, because she ordered the schools closed. Attacking the virtuous is never a good idea.

    Then yesterday, in an article on the Global website, he blamed the billions of dollars that are being spent for the layoffs. The billions of dollars are being spent on a pipeline, which was announced at a press conference in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The education layoffs were announced in a press release on Saturday afternoon, while school staff were still on spring break. The point being that spending billions of dollars on a pipeline came days after the layoffs. So how can the layoffs be blamed on something that hadn’t happened yet?

    Please, somebody draw up a flow chart for all the blame. Its getting hard to keep track of it all. One thing’s for sure. PWhN is making a lot of people angry with his constant gaslighting. Even he has a hard time keeping up with it. The façade is cracking. Watch out for the fireworks.

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      I believe the school custodian was quite prescient in taking the Alberta flag down. If PWhN is allowed to remain in power much longer, Alberta is over. We’re on the eve of destruction. This is the end.

    • CallmeHal: “gaslighting” is the perfect description for what we’re experiencing. I googled the movie Gaslight (1944) from which the term originates. The plot involves a man who marries a woman and manipulates her into believing she’s going insane so he can steal her jewelry. He isolates her from her friends, flirts with their maid, encourages the maid to show her dislike of his wife and just as the poor woman is about to lose it she is saved by the police.
      It’s a fitting description for what we’re experiencing here, except for the fact that no one is waiting in the wings to save us, we have to save ourselves.
      It won’t be easy but I think we can do it as more and more Albertans endure the fallout from Kenney’s ill-conceived and misguided policies.

  26. Carlos says:

    Everyday is a circus day in our province – what happiness and what an opportunity while everyone is distracted

    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/alberta-environmental-reporting-energy-industry_ca_5e86455fc5b63e06281b2e32?utm_hp_ref=ca-homepage

    Apparently more pollution just might be enough to kill the virus.
    The coup to a unregulated society continues as fast as possible

  27. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Remember that old saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in team”? Well, there’s no ‘team’ in I, either. That’s what we have here in Alberta.

    I am reminded of this on weekends, when Dr. Deena Hinshaw takes time off. I do not watch these episodes of the Covid-19 show. I turn the volume off on weekdays, until Dr. Hinshaw speaks. The medium is the message. The message is cancelled on weekends at Hal’s house.

  28. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Not content to show up and cry-yell on driveways during the day, Shandro stalks doctors at night, using their private, unlisted phone numbers from the AHS on-call list. And we trust this man not to leak private infornation to Saudi Arabia via Telus Babylon because…?

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/health-minister-shandro-confidential-information-1.5519962

    Hal has just decided to break up with Telus mobile. As for you Ty, get a life, buddy. You’re a Shan-bles.

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