Gaslighting 101: Mr Kenney Responds to Mr Trudeau’s Aid Package

Gaslighting: abusive behavior where an abuser manipulates information to make his victim question their sanity by using denial, misdirection, contradiction and misinformation to destabilize the victim and delegitimize their beliefs. – Wikipedia

Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced $2.4 billion aid package for laid-off energy workers. It includes $1.7 billion to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells and $750 million to stop the leakage of methane gas.

Given that Premier Kenney has been pounding the table for months demanding $20 to $30 billion from the Feds to save the energy sector, his response to the $2.4 billion package was surprisingly bland. Why?

Because Mr Kenney discovered that he can’t bully Mr Trudeau or the rest of Canada, consequently instead of flying into a rage he issued a press release full of statements that were (a) contradicted by the facts, (b) contradicted by his own government’s policy, and (c) a masterful piece of gaslighting.

Mr Kenney

None of which goes far to engender trust in this government.

Mr Kenney’s response

Mr Kenney said Alberta was grateful for the Fed’s $2.4 billion package, but Alberta needs and deserves much more because:

  • 800,000 Canadian jobs depend on Alberta’s energy sector making it Canada’s largest industry
  • Alberta’s energy sector is the largest subsector of Canada’s economy
  • Alberta’s energy sector is one of the biggest employers in Canada
  • If the Feds don’t bail out Alberta’s energy sector it may not survive “the next couple of years”

Okay, let’s take it from the top.

Is Alberta’s energy sector (with 800,000 employees) Canada’s largest industry?

No. Economists define an industry as a sector that produces goods or services. There are at least 10 sectors that employ more Canadians than Alberta’s energy sector, including the wholesale and retail sector which employs 2.8 million, manufacturing which employs 1.7 million, and construction which employs 1.5 million.

Is Alberta’s energy sector the largest subsector of Canada’s economy?

No. The energy sector’s share of taxes paid by all industry sectors was 7.7% between 2013 and 2017. The sector’s contribution to Canada’s nominal GDP is just over 10%; the manufacturing and real estate/leasing sectors contribute more.

Is Alberta’s energy sector one of the biggest employers in Canada?

Nope. See above.

Bottom line: the first three reasons Mr Kenney relies on to support his argument that the Feds should contribute a whole lot more to prop up Alberta’s energy sector are contradicted by the facts.

Is there a chance Alberta’s energy sector may not survive the next couple of years?

Mr Kenney said these were unprecedented times and the energy sector was facing its biggest challenges ever with threats from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saudi-Russia price war. He said world energy markets will improve and there would be better times ahead “but only if the industry survives the next couple of years.”   

Which raises the question: If there is a chance Alberta’s energy sector will not survive the next couple of years, then Mr Kenney’s decision to invest $7.5 billion in TC Energy and to allow AIMCo to invest billions more the Northern Courier and Coastal GasLink pipelines was utterly irresponsible. 

Bottom line: Mr Kenny’s rationale that Alberta’s energy sector is in danger of collapse unless the Feds contribute significantly more is contradicted by his policy decision to invest Alberta taxpayers’ money in the energy sector.


What are we to make of this bizarre press release? Either Mr Kenney doesn’t care about the facts or he’s comfortable betting Alberta taxpayers’ money on a dicey future, either way he’s gaslighting us to get what he wants out of the Feds.

Which leads me to wonder, if you can’t trust your government in the middle of a pandemic, who can you trust?

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79 Responses to Gaslighting 101: Mr Kenney Responds to Mr Trudeau’s Aid Package

  1. Jim Lees says:


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Edison says:

    Thanks for this Susan. As usual you clear away the clutter and noise so that I, an understandably anxious person these days, can clearly understand what is happening to us and the degree of contempt Kenney has for Albertans, and for our fellow Canadians

    • Withheld says:

      Well, there is a very good chance he will be re-elected. Our health care workers are getting inferior and defective PPE after Kenney gave away our stock of good equipment etc. So perhaps his contempt is well deserved, especially after the demonstration of fecklessness by the Notley administration caving in to the oil sector and carrying on Harper’s big agriculture agenda.

      • Emmanuel Logos says:

        The UCP has burnt a lot of their rural Alberta support. People in rural Alberta were hoping for another boom in the patch, thinking Jason Kenney could walk on oil and create many economic miracles. Now rural Alberta has come to realize that Jason Kenny is not a savior, just a guy with rich friends in the oil and gas sector, who would rig the system to profit themselves at the expense of everyone else. I hope and pray that rural Albertans will have a long enough memory and in 3 years time they boot these liars and cons out of power.

      • Emmanuel I really hope you’re right. If nothing else rural Alberta is going to be hard hit by the exodus of doctors. Kenney says he’ll replace them, but with whom? Doctors across Canada are watching this situation unfold, medical students are choosing not to apply for residency here. None of this bodes well for rural Alberta, actually it’s bad for all Albertans. Such idiocy.

      • Withheld, your point about the defective PPE is a perfect example of gaslighting. First Kenney said we didn’t have enough PPE and healthcare professionals were supposed sterilize and reuse them, then he said we have too much and can send our “spare” PPE and ventilators to BC, Ont and Quebec, and now we find out our “spare” PPE is defective. Either he doesn’t know the real situation or he doesn’t care because he’s grandstanding on the national stage. Why would anyone trust this man?

    • Edison, I too am anxious. Kenney’s nonstop attack on the public service when we need them the most defies belief. Someone mentioned earlier that Kenney is following the shock doctrine–where politicians exploit a national crisis to establish questionable policies, while citizens are too distracted to respond. It’s a sickening abuse of power.

      But we’re not completely helpless. We can call them out now and throw them out 3 years from now.

  3. Jane Walker says:

    Great posting, Susan! Thank you. I hope that Albertans are clever enough to recognize the reckless abandon with which Kenney and his Economic Recovery Council are prepared to dismantle publicly funded, administered and delivered programs. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture!! These programs are the foundation for our society and our personal investment in community. That moral fabric is what gives us hope for the future and the commitment to move forward with purpose.
    These are principles that Kenney seems to be unable or unwilling to value. He advocates for the wrong side. 😥. Gaslighting is finessed beyond belief!!

    • Jane, you’ve put your finger on what’s really at stake. Kenney is a true believer in the privatization of public services. Many Albertans were hoodwinked by his Public Health Guarantee where he promised 2 things: (1) to maintain or increase health spending and (2) to maintain a universally accessible publicly funded health care system.
      He violated this “guarantee.” He cut the health budget by failing to account for population growth and inflation, and he’ll destroy the “universally accessibly publicly funded” health care system because most people don’t realize that a true public health care system is made up of two parts: it’s publicly FUNDED and publicly DELIVERED. He intentionally omitted the publicly DELIVERED part, consequently even if his publicly funded system is universally accessible, the ones who can pay for private healthcare will be fast tracked at the expense of those who can’t.
      It’s a breathtaking example of gaslighting!

    • Steve says:

      I hope I’m just overly cynical (hard not to be right now), but whenever I start to feel optimistic regarding a waking up of Alberta voters, I just find myself remembering the ridings that ran more-or-less invisible candidates in the last election. People who couldn’t be bothered to even turn up for candidate forums and answer voter questions. People who voters would not recognize if they saw them in public.

      And these people won landslide victories by being nothing more than a meaningless name on a blue sign.

      I fear many Albertans are a long ways from recognizing anything beyond their immovable ideologies. It’s as if we will need to completely exhaust the list of scapegoats before people realize that the call is coming from inside the house. And by then it’ll be way too late.

  4. Paul Pearlman says:

    Jason Kenny has spent his 1st year skating to where the puck isn’t unfortunately we aAlbertans are suffering now for his bombast . The next election can’t come soon enough!!!

    • I agree Paul. What never ceases to amaze me is how Kenney is able to knock his MLAs into line even when their own constituents are telling them, stop it, this is too much. It’s like the blind loyalty Republicans have for Donald Trump, and I think is based in their love for power. If Kenney’s in power and they toe the line, they’ll stay in power (or so they believe). We have to prove them wrong in the next election.

    • Tim Bryson says:

      The puck got passed quickly up the boards. Kenney crashed into the boards 5 seconds later and threw his arms in the air in victory. Local fans cheered his play.

  5. Janna says:

    Haven’t been able to trust this government from day 1. Kenney is a career politician who just wants to keep his political job, at any cost. He has no interest in doing anything to help people, his province, or his country. He just wants as much power as he can get.

    • Janna, I have to agree. I suspect the grandstanding with PPE going to Ont and Que is part of Kenney’s attempt to position himself as a politician for all of Canada, but he fails to realize just how much the rest of Canada dislikes him. Heck, even Doug Ford is getting better press than Kenney. That’s quite a turnaround since the 2019 Federal election where the federal Cons refused to let Ford campaign for Scheer; they sent in Kenney instead. Kenney got them nowhere then, he’ll dig them an even deeper hole now.

  6. Kim Teron says:

    Great article. One quibble that oft gets stated incorrectly, I think. Energy contributes about 11% to GDP. True. But what gets often missed in understanding is that that includes electricity (and solar, wind?), including Quebec’s hydro. That leaves about 6 – 7% of GDP for oil and gas and that includes Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and B.C. So maybe 4 – 5% of GDP is from Alberta O&G? Also, Kenney loves to say Alberta is the economic engine of Canada but it’s a distant third by GDP next to Ontario (the real powerhouse by a wide margin) and Quebec with B.C. very close behind Alberta.

    • Kim, you make an excellent point.
      The federal government Energy Fact Book defines “primary” energy as crude oil, uranium, hydroelectricity, coal, and natural gas (it includes natural gas liquids and renewables, depending on what they’re focusing on).
      In 2018 the energy sector’s direct contribution to Canada’s nominal GDP was: oil and gas 5.6%, electricity 1.6% and other 0.4% for a total of 7.6%. This bumps up slightly if you add in the sector’s indirect contribution which is 1.4% from construction and 1.6% from other.
      So you’re absolutely right, Kenney is grossly overstating the importance of the Alberta oil sector to the national economy.
      The same holds true with his assertion that Alberta is THE economic engine of Canada. In the last figures I saw, Alberta contributed 15.5%, Quebec contributed 19.5% and Ontario a whopping 38.6%.
      Thanks for the clarification.

  7. Jean Bota says:

    Excellent summary Susan !

  8. Bota28 says:

    Excellent summary Susan !

  9. Leila Keith says:

    So True.Maybey this covid situation will make the Alberta Voter realize they have saner choices than the Kenny Klux Gang!

    • Indeed Leila, I’m hoping Albertans will have the same revelation Boris Johnson had when he said the people of Britain formed a wall around the NHS and he owed the NHS his life. We must form a wall around our public healthcare, public education and all of our public services to protect them from Kenney who’s intent on privatizing them for profit.

  10. Laurie Adkin says:

    I’ve noticed that, with every statement from the UCP government, the number of jobs linked to oil and gas grows by leaps and bounds.

    • Laurie, yes, it’s funny how happens. What’s even funnier is Trudeau’s funding for orphan wells will maintain or create 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone. That puts Trudeau way ahead of Kenney in creating jobs, jobs, jobs for Albertans.

  11. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks once again for another great blog. I have some issues, (actually, contentions), with what Jason Kenney and the UCP have done, and what they expect from the federal government, (Justin Trudeau and the Liberals in Ottawa). There are also issues that stem from when the Alberta PCs were in power, beginning when Don Getty was premier, and also from Ralph Klein. I have heard people blaming Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau for the abandoned oil well issue. They are not the ones responsible for this. Oil company executives also were chastising Justin Trudeau for being too late with the help for cleaning up these abandoned oil wells in Alberta. The messes caused by the oil industry in Alberta, goes back many years, to the early 1990s. The Alberta PCs were in power then, with a majority government. The Alberta PCs started being negligent with enforcing oil companies in Alberta to clean up their messes. These oil companies were most likely foreign oil companies. Many Albertans also don’t realize that in the early 1990s, the Alberta PCs let foreign owned oil companies get control of our oil, and the lion’s share of the profits. Also, in 1986, our oil royalty rates were irreversibly altered, losing Alberta a sizeable amount of revenue, which is more than tenfold what the Heritage Savings Trust Fund contains. Beginning in 1986, the Alberta PCs did not top up the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, and were siphoning money out of it, like it was their own bank account. Then, the messes left behind by the oil companies in Alberta has been given to Albertans, and it is an incredible cost of $260 billion, or more to deal with it. The $1.7 billion from the federal government isn’t going to cut it. Also, the $750 million offered by the federal government to help deal with the leaking methane gas, isn’t going to cut it. Oil prices also went down in 2014. What did the Alberta PCs and the CPC, (Jason Kenney’s former political abode) do about laid off oil sector workers, when both had majority governments? Nothing. Jason Kenney also was responsible for increasing the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program in Canada. One place they ended up was in the oil patch. These oil company executives fattened their bank accounts, gave other big wigs golden parachutes, and did not look after the messes they made, or care about those on the bottom end of the ladder. Triple digit oil prices are never returning. Jason Kenney does not get that, and nor does die hard Conservative fanatics in Alberta. Oil booms are a thing of the past. Brian Mulroney got rid of the National Energy Program, in the late 1980s. There are stark contrasts to what Peter Lougheed did. Peter Lougheed did have oil industry experience, prior to becoming a politician. He was aware that oil booms can easily go bust, and knew the importance of saving money and supporting responsible oil industry development. 15 years ago, Peter Lougheed was curious to see how the oil industry was operating in Alberta. He went in a helicopter over Fort McMurray, and was appalled at what he saw. Peter Lougheed said that oilsands development should not be proceeding at a rapid pace, and that it was best to have only one oilsands project done at a time. Peter Lougheed said that if what he saw was allowed to continue, it would have bad consequences later on. Jason Kenney and the UCP have relaxed, or ceased environmental regulations, relating to the oil industry, because of the pandemic. I think it will likely be a permanent thing. Jason Kenney and the UCP mistakenly thought that oil prices would go back up. They gave almost $5 billion in corporate tax cuts, which only lost Alberta this money. No new employment stemmed from this. $120 million was wasted by the UCP on a useless War Room. A defeated UCP candidate was given almost $200,000 to work in it. The UCP were flying all over the place, and nothing positive came from this. The UCP were then staying in luxury hotels, at a high price. More money was wasted by the UCP on panels and committees, with a predetermined outcome. The UCP also have wasted money on lawsuits, where they know they will be defeated. Jason Kenney and the UCP have then thrown around $7.5 billion on a pipeline, which is not economically feasible, as oil prices are just too low. An American judge then shot the pipeline down. It’s a no go. So, Jason Kenney and the UCP have to come up with $3 billion, to help Alberta through the mess they made, which is also from their wasteful spending, corporate giveaways and poor planning, much of which happened before the pandemic hit the world at large. Then, the UCP wants Ottawa to help Alberta out. What a shame! It can’t be soon enough that the UCP are gone. They have been a disaster, in only one year of them being in power, (by very suspect means).

    • Dwayne, you raise many good points here. Let me pick up your comment that Kenney is using the covid-19 crisis to relax or suspend many environmental laws and this may become a permanent thing. Shaun Fluker, a law prof at U of C, wrote a compelling blog post on this recently. He pointed out that the government is using orders-in-council (which are passed behind closed doors) to suspend some reporting requirements for oil sands mines, coal mines, and oil and gas wells. One of these suspensions relates to well logs which capture information the Alberta Energy Regulator says is an important tool to drilling safely through aquifers (ie drinking water). These suspensions are in effect until August 14, 2020, assuming they’re not extended.
      The government justified the suspensions by saying it was a hardship for the companies to do this reporting during the covid-19 emergency.
      I find it interesting that the government declared energy workers “essential” but thinks one aspect of their job, namely reporting on something that could affect our health and environment, is not necessary.
      Gaslighting much?
      Here’s the link to the Fluker post:

      • Deb Priddle says:

        There is no drilling going on in Alberta in fact hardly any oil activity at all. This orphan well funding is of no help at all to Albertans who lost their jobs in the oil patch as mechanics, operators or truck drivers who are contract paid. There are already reclamation companies in business and on the job so this funding should have been towards the development of an industry to manufacture product from the oil & gas industry. As far as industries go the oil industry was one of the biggest money makers in Alberta up until about 5 years ago and the trickle down effect supported thousands of small businesses. Oil in Alberta just hit negative $20.32 a barrel at 12:55 p.m. I think that our Premier is as far out of touch as the PM of Canada who is working on bankrupting the country

      • Deb, I agree that in the past the energy sector was the big driver of Alberta’s economy, but having lived through 3 or 4 boom/bust cycles I know it’s not a sustainable economic driver. (As you point out the price of oil is now in negative territory). We need to diversify our economy with AI, clean tech, renewables, etc. and help our work force transition into the future with retraining and other financial support. That’s where government funding on the provincial and federal level could really make a difference.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Did you see the price of oil today? WCS and WTI are in the negative numbers. If you saw this information, what do you think about it? What will it mean for Alberta?

  12. Valerie Kunn says:

    So true Susan! Mr. Kenney is a disgrace and has only his own personal political agenda at stake. He is a master at manipulating the facts and the truth. He is one scary individual!

    • Valerie, I agree. His attack on Dr Tam, Canada’s Chief Medical Officer, and his insinuation that she was taking talking points from Communist China were right down there in the gutter with something Donald Trump would say. Unbelievably shoddy behavior on the part of an elected official.

  13. Thanks for the research and reporting.   This knowledge will be valuable in the fight to stop Klu Klux Kenney.

    Reynold Reimer ————–

  14. jerrymacgp says:

    So, how many jobs & how much economic activity are linked to the oil & gas industry seems to be a moving target, and is influenced by the argument one is trying to make. However, it cannot be disputed that there are population centres in Alberta where the economy rises & falls with the price of oil; Fort McMurray is an obvious example, but not the only one. The Peace Country, including the City & County of Grande Prairie, but including also a broad swath of rural Alberta extending north to the NWT & into northeastern BC, is another such area. It’s not just those employed in oil & gas — it’s those they do business with, from motor vehicle dealers to real estate agents to barbershops, hair salons, dental clinics, etc. etc. etc. I’m not enough of an economist to figure out how much GDP & employment is generated by this activity, versus that generated by other industries like agriculture, forestry, & the public sector, but population growth during the boom years leading up to 2014-15 would seem to indicate it must be substantial. I also know that in my own immediate family, two family members are directly employed in the O & G sector.

    As for the orphan well issue, it’s true, it looks like taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for this environmental remediation. I’m not sure there’s another option, though. These abandoned wells are “owned” by defunct, or bankrupt, “businesses” that are nothing but paper entities, and have no assets left. This is because, from what I’ve read on this file, aging wells were sold to one junior company after another as they became less valuable, until they were in the hands of companies so tiny they couldn’t keep going once the revenues dried up. Sure, the industry has billions, but the companies that own those wells don’t. I suppose you could turn back the clock and try to track down the “beneficial owners” of the company that first drilled me each & every well that is now abandoned, but how much deep diving into layers of corporate registry paperwork would that take, and would there be any pot of assets at the end of that paper rainbow? I think we have to just cut our losses, invest in the cleanup, and put people back to work.

    • Jerry, I’m troubled by the fact that taxpayers are stuck with the mess the oil and gas companies left behind, but the realist in me says it would be impossible to squeeze any funds out of the beneficial owners of these defunct companies, assuming you could find them in the first place.
      What bothers me is a comment I saw in the Globe by Tristan Goodman, the president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (they represent small and mid-size companies). He said a good chunk of the funds should go to solvent companies with inactive wells (to clear the high cleanup liabilities off on their books), not to cleaning up orphan wells without solvent owners. I think it’s wrong to prioritize the inactive wells, if we don’t use these funds to clean them up, they’ll never be cleaned up.
      I can’t get over the magnitude of the problem. Finance Canada says there are 4,700 orphan wells and 91,000 inactive wells in Alberta. Sask has 600 orphan wells and 36,000 inactive wells, BC has 350 orphan wells and 12,000 inactive wells.
      I only hope the $1.7 billion is enough.

      • Political Ranger says:

        As I understand things Susan & Jerry, the $1.7 billion is dependant on the province and the industry matching the funds. So it’s 3x!
        It comes down to $1 billion for Alberta, the rest to Sask and BC. That means $3 billion available to clean up old petro-facilities in this province. It’s not enough to finish the job but it sounds great! Right?
        Maybe, not so fast. Susan is right; think of the scale.
        This money is meant to be spent right away – so lets say over 5 years. That’s $600 million per year for 5 years. That’s $50 million per month for 60 months!
        Who is going to manage that amount of cash?
        The provincial gov’t is too incompetent.The petro-industry has zero credibility when it comes to the environment. The OWA just ramped up to $30 million per year and said that was testing their limits. There is no way they can handle 10x that .
        This has all the makings of a massive grift for all times!
        Who can responsibly spend that kind of money in this short timeline on such an important public deliverable as our environment?

        This project has to happen. It’s the right thing to be doing in the oil sector right now. It puts thousands of Albertans to work. It brings the value of the environment into the open. It has to be done.
        It can’t fail!

      • Political Ranger, CBC asked Daryl Bennett, the head of the Action Surface Rights Association, for his take on the Fed’s $1.7B for orphan well clean up fund. Bennett raised the same point you did, who’s going to manage this money. He doesn’t want it to go straight to the energy companies because if they go belly up, this money will go down the drain. Bennett was also concerned about the message this sends to energy companies. Go ahead, make tons of money and don’t worry about cleaning up orphan and abandoned wells, because if you run into tough times, the province will force the municipality to give you a break on property taxes, the landowners have to spend 5 years trying to get to the Surface Rights Board to recover their leasehold payments and the Feds will clean up your mess so you don’t have a liability on your books. Bennett summed it up with this: let’s privatize the profit and socialize the loss.

  15. J.E. Molnar says:

    There appears to be some serious subterfuge and misdirection going on over at the House of Kenney. Thanks Ms Soapbox for throwing light on Alberta’s Gaslighter-In-Chief.

    As the United Conservative Party hops from one hot mess to another it’s become obvious, since their election in 2019, that Mr. Kenney and the UCP prefer taking us down Donald J. Trump rabbit holes with their constant flurry of confusing Twitter posts and mendacious press releases. Voters beware!!

    • Well said J.E. The “constant flurry” of confusing Twitter posts, mendacious press releases, and executive orders passed behind closed doors is exactly what Kenney said he’d do before we were hit with covid-19; the pandemic just made it that much easier for him to ram objectionable policies down our throats. This is not how democracy is supposed to work, but given that Kenney is in charge, I’m not surprised.

  16. Carlos says:

    I would not hire this so called ‘premier’ to clean my backyard

  17. Public Servant says:

    Thank you Susan for another insightful post.
    You mention: “Either Mr Kenney doesn’t care about the facts or he’s comfortable betting Alberta taxpayers’ money on a dicey future.” Can it not be both? Kenney despises facts AND he loves using taxpayer money to prop up a dying industry.

  18. papajaxn says:

    Amen! Amen! Amen! Since Mr? Kenney is a one human head government it is no wonder he can’t remember from one day to the next what they doesn’t know. The adjective that comes to my simple mind is buffoonery! They/he is already enchained within a narrative of narcissistic plunder trying to stave off the inevitable mid life crisis with several possible outcomes. Autocrats do not necessarily make good leaders as they can’t, won’t and never concede they are wrong or admit a mistake. There will not be many appropriate institutions left for the return to being a healthy contributor to the common good where residents can recover and live safely and sanely. Citizens need to be vigilant and awake to what is going on

    Keep up offering your perspectives on the truth.


    • Thanks papajaxn for this comment. I agree with your points that (1) Kenney acts like he’s the only one in charge, this is not a good thing because even the smartest guy in the room (and that’s not Kenney) needs input from his team, and (2) autocrats never back down. Kenney’s appalling treatment of the doctors is a classic example of his refusal to budge. Kenney ripped up the doctors’ agreement and imposed new billing codes on April 1. We’re barely midway through the month and doctors in 44 rural areas have given notice they’re pulling out of ERs and/or leaving. Kenney brushed it aside saying doctors could be replaced. By whom? And let’s not forget all this mucking around with the billings codes happened right in the middle of a global pandemic. Unbelievable.

  19. L Thiesen says:

    Thankyou for all this info! I have, over almost 30 years, watched PC governments act against the people of Alberta, and most don’t even know it. Kenney is, in my opinion, the worst of them all! He is a master of deception, misdirection, lies, and half-truths, focussing on what the people want to hear, and spinning everything to portray the PCs as saviours to the people. All the while, bolstering his career and the wallets of all associated with him (individuals, friends, and select businesses – even foreign ones), on the backs of Albertans.

    I knew he had to pass a new law to get his hands on the millions of dollars AiMCO has (I’m being conservative here). He somehow got the Alberta Teachers Pension Plan to join AimCO, so he would have even more money to grab. AiMCO is not just a crown corporation of Alberta, it is in control of and invests the pension money of public servants of MANY Albertans, and possibly more groups. This includes nurses, all public healthcare workers, teachers, firefighters (if I remember right), and many, many more. I knew he wanted to use out pension money to invest in the oil and gas sector, but I didn’t know he was so close to pulling it off.

    THIS IS WRONG! IT IS NOT HIS MONEY TO INVEST, NOR IS IT GOVERNMENT MONEY TO INVEST! The retirement of so many is being sacrificed by government meddling in the investment of our monies, in the unstable market of gas and oil, and these people do not have a say in this!!! Kenney cannot be trusted! I hope the whole of Alberta wakes up before he does irreversible damage!!!

    • Bob Raynard says:

      Your point is valid. What never seems to get said is that a significant portion of the funds held by those pension plans was actually contributed by the worker.

      • carlos says:

        No one should ever be allowed to touch pension funds without consent from those that have money in the Fund. It is to me amazing that some politician can actually ruin a fund without any questions asked or even a discussion in the legislature.
        This money should off limits always. I wonder who is going to be responsible when the 1.5 billion dollars he invested is lost? The rest of us of course that are already struggling to have a pension of our own and cannot save enough funds for all the years we live in retirement.

      • Bob and Carlos, this is a very important point, people should have a say in how their pension funds are invested.
        I’ve worked for a number of publicly traded companies, who gave employees some say over how their funds should be invested. To be fair, the companies could limit our choices and, as I discovered when I moved up the ranks into leadership roles, would push their executives to invest heavily in company stock.
        But the point is this: the employees always had a choice. If they really didn’t like what the company planned to do with their pension funds, they could quit, take the cumulative value of their pension and roll it over into the new employer’s plan or invest it themselves in something more suited to their appetite for risk.
        Sadly, Kenney’s government did not present that option to government workers.

    • L.Theisen: I agree with you. I find it interesting that Jason Kenney never said a thing about his plan to take over AIMCO before he was elected. He talked a lot about supporting the energy industry but was not transparent about how he was going to do it. I don’t know whether this would have changed anyone’s mind about voting for him, he’d already convinced many Albertans that Notley’s NDP were high spending socialists, (kind of ironic, given his $7.5 B investment in TC Energy), but it would have been the decent thing to do.
      OK, that last sentence made me laugh…Kenney doing the “decent” thing, who am I kidding.

  20. Dave says:

    Our smooth talking Premier, who has had a long career in politics of around a quarter century has had a long time to practice perfecting talking points and sound bites that seem good on first glance. However, they often do not stand up to more scrutiny. I suppose his hope is that most voters will not generally notice.

    Maybe Mr. Kenney’s motto right now should be from the Rolling Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want .. but you get what you need.” He obviously has a fine line to walk with his supporters and the energy industry that wants more help, but if he is too critical of the Federal government it could shut the door to any more of that. So he has to twist himself into more knots that usual, appearing grateful, when he probably really is not and asking for, but not demanding more.

    The sad reality for Mr. Kenney now is that he needs the Feds much more than they need him. He must be really biting his tongue now, trying to avoid being very critical of the Federal Liberals which has been his default political strategy for his entire career, while still somehow trying to play to the Conservative base. The energy industry has some importance to the Canadian economy, but not quite as much as they and Mr. Kenney want to try spin it. I suspect the industry will survive, but some companies will not, which is what some of the desperation is really about.

    • Dave, you nailed it in your last sentence, the issue isn’t whether the industry will survive, but who among the industry will survive. Peter Tertzakian, the economist and head honcho at ARC Financial Corp summed it up nicely when he said the companies that can adapt and are truly low cost will make it through this, the others will not. Isn’t that what what proponents of the free market demand–unrestricted competition between private companies.

  21. Carlos says:

    ‘The Canadian energy industry needs more than $20 billion in aid from the federal government as the COVID-19 pandemic and Saudi-Russian oil price war ravage global crude prices, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday.’

    The man is delusional on top of scary – more than 20 billion dollars !!!
    Yeah right?
    We will give them 50 billion and you can keep the change

    • I agree Carlos. Jason Kenney’s message to the rest of Canada is all Canadian tax payers must pitch in to save the energy industry because it’s the lynchpin of the Canadian economy. This is not true and the rest of Canada knows it. He reminds me of Donald Trump, a lie doesn’t become true just because you say it over and over again.

  22. Deb Priddle says:

    you are absolutely right, Alberta oil is ethical oil but so many times reporters want the story everyone is going to read and they do not learn both sides and listen with an open mind. In Alberta we need our oilfield workers back at work. We need our farmers back in the fields and we need our small business owners doors back open. It’s time Alberta was back in business. I do not see the entire Conservative Party as being at fault.

    • Deb, I’ve heard Jason Kenney say our oil is “ethical” but I think the term is misleading. Clearly oil is just oil, it doesn’t have human characteristics, but if Kenney means Canada is a more ethical jurisdiction than say, Saudi Arabia, and we have to ask on what metric.
      If he’s talking about human rights, yes, Saudi Arabia has a poor record on women’s right, but then Canada has a poor record on how it has treated and continues to treat its indigenous population.
      If he’s talking about the biggest existential challenge facing the planet, namely global climate change, then Canada and Saudi Arabia rank the same, each country’s share of global GHG emissions is the same (2%).
      Anyway my point is we need to think more broadly about what we want to do as a province and as a nation to build a sustainable economy that works for everyone.

  23. Deb Priddle says:

    Susan are their stats correct because we have been contacted 3 years in a row for a supposed orphan well on our property that was reclaimed over 40 years ago. I do not believe their numbers!

    • GoinFawr says:

      Well, maybe you’re right, Deb, and there is are barely any to clean up at all. That would be great! And if what you claim about your property is true it certainly is heartening to know that there is at least one less mess left to clean up with the cost ‘externalized’ by the industry.
      On the other hand, I know of two separate properties within a km of each other that have orphaned (abandoned), un -‘reclaimed’ wells on both.

      I mean, if anecdotes are the only thing that count….

      • Dwayne says:

        GoinFawr: If you saw the prices of oil today, you’d be shocked. Who will Jason Kenney blame this time?

      • Fair point GoinFawr: anecdotal evidence isn’t really evidence.
        And Dwayne, I did see the price of oil. Wow. I’ve been reading about what this means for futures contracts. All I can tell you is, the industry is in big trouble.

  24. Sam Gunsch says:

    Similar exaggerated claims about the oil & gas industry economics in the USA… useful piece today by David Roberts, for comparison

    • Sam, thanks for the link. It’s good to see this conversation is occurring on both sides of the border. The other day someone asked me what the world will look like after the pandemic passes. And while I suspect the demand for oil will increase, I wonder whether it will reach pre-pandemic levels. We’ve changed our behavior and our expectations, we now know many more of us can work from home, we don’t need to run down to the grocery store every second day, and we certainly don’t need to go to the mall every weekend (hallelujah). Time will tell, but hopefully we’ll be ready to create a brighter future firmly on track for net zero by 2050.

  25. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Is it true that Jason Kenney said at a press conference today that he predicted negative oil prices a month ago? Someone on Twitter kindly pointed out that exactly one month ago today, he predicted $58 WTI. You know, in the provincial budget.

    Some people lie when they know everyone else knows they’re lying. They lie when it would be easier to tell the truth. They lie because it is the only thing they know how to do. They lie because there are no consequences. They lie because they know they can get away with it.

    • Bob Raynard says:

      It is true, Hal.

      At the daily COVID briefing, Kenney came on first. The first thing he did was express sympathies to the people of Nova Scotia, which was fair enough, albeit a bit long.

      Next he lamented the price of oil, which I thought was inappropriate, sandwiching it between a mass murder and a pandemic. Then, just in case he didn’t make himself look stupid enough placing another oil price drop on the same level as the real tragedies, he threw in a bit of shameless self-promotion by mentioning that he had predicted a negative price for oil a month ago.

    • Hal and Bob: I’d like to add to this conversation of why people lie. Sometimes people lie to show they’re on top of things, no matter how unlikely that is. When Kenney said he predicted negative oil prices a month ago, he may be trying to leave Albertans with the impression that he saw this coming and factored it into his decision making. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. If he saw this coming he would not have put out a budget based on $58 bbl oil or invested billions of dollars of in TC Energy.
      The fact he said it at all, let alone in the context of the pandemic briefing, is really pathetic.

  26. Douglas says:

    Associated with this, is an image I have on my street. A service truck with a company ( paid for commercial bumper sticker. It blares ” If you ain’t oil patch, you ain’t shit”. Along with a finger and trudeau sticker.
    Now how much welfare money did you want?

  27. This is a response to a comment by Political Ranger (way up there on the page), CBC asked Daryl Bennett, the head of the Action Surface Rights Association, for his take on the Fed’s $1.7B for orphan well clean up fund. Bennett raised the same point Political Ranger did: who’s going to manage this money.
    Bennett said he didn’t want the funds to go straight to the energy companies because if they go belly up, this money will go down the drain. Bennett was also concerned about the message this sends to energy companies. Go ahead, make tons of money and don’t worry about cleaning up orphan and abandoned wells, because if you run into tough times, the province will force the municipality to give you a break on property taxes, the landowners will have to spend 5 years trying to get to the Surface Rights Board to recover their leasehold payments and in the end the Feds will clean up your mess so you don’t have a liability on your books.
    Bennett summed it up with this: let’s privatize the profit and socialize the loss. Sigh.

    • Political Ranger says:

      Thx Susan, you’ve had a busy afternoon!
      Bennett’s summation about the moral hazard is perhaps not germane anymore in the 21rst Century. Philosophically, I think we are seeing the proof the Ayn Rand, the job-creator, the individualistic capitalist is complete hogwash. We are all part of the community; to the extent that the community thrives we all thrive, to extent that the community fails we all fail.
      Incidentally, to stay on philosophy for the moment, this POV is exactly why a review and understanding of Marx is so important.

      I believe it is far more important to remediate these old, polluting and dangerous petro-facilities and more important to put otherwise healthy and productive workers back to work than to stand on a principle that the polluter must pay.
      The other side of this argument is that your profits and the profitability of your private corporation are not solely determined but your incredible personal business acumen. No, your profits will be clawed back to a socially acceptable level. Your business activities will be severely and aggressively regulated to conform with socially acceptable practices.
      The days of the driven, visionary, risk-taking entrepreneur are over. There are too many people at risk, there is too much social capital at risk, there is too much social and cultural infrastructure in place to allow some wild yahoo to run wild. To be sure, society wants private enterprise to flourish but if profits are to accrue internally then no costs can be externalised.

      We are seeing since the end of the 2008 financial crisis and within the managed solutions to this current crisis the end of ‘moral hazard’ as being something to be avoided. It is squarely centre stage and is overtly accepted as a normal course of business. This is a brave new world.
      There is no reason to believe we should be acting under the rules of an economic order that no longer exists.

  28. Carlos says:

    ‘A poll by Research Co. and Glacier Media found 54 per cent of those asked think NDP Leader Rachel Notley would do a better job handling the crisis, while only 29 per cent say they prefer Kenney’s approach’

    Are Albertans starting to wake up to this circus run by this Neanderthal?
    where is that promised law to recall MLAs?

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: I think recall legislation in Alberta only is suitable to (most) Albertans if another party that isn’t a Conservative party is in power. It’s also a generational thing in Alberta to vote for the Conservatives, regardless of how many very costly mistakes they make, and regardless of how much unethical conduct they do.

  29. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Today, I read that a market analyst said that oil could go as low as -$100 per barrel next month. What would Jason Kenney and the UCP do then? I don’t see triple digit oil prices making a comeback.

  30. CallmeHal2000 says:

    On CBC radio tonight, Jason Kenney said the Covid-19 outbreaks at Cargill and JBS “are only one percent” of Alberta’s meat packing plants. The story here doesn’t give the exact quote.

    Now, if you look at the number of packing plants, two out of 200 is one percent. But those two plants happen to account for “up 70 per cent of Canada’s beef processing capabilities”, and “alone, the Cargill plant processes some 4,500 head of cattle daily or more than one-third of the country’s total beef-processing capacity.”

    This is Kenney’s brand of fact-twisting, crazy-making gaslighting. “Only one percent” minimizes what is actually “up to 70 percent” of the Canada’s beef processing. So Kenney’s molehill is really a great big mountain. Kenney’s version is a major distortion of reality. There is as big problem at Cargill and JBS, and up to 70 percent of Canada’s beef processing is shut down due to hundreds of Covid-19 cases at these plants. Now two people are dead, one death at each plant.

    This is a very big tragedy, not the trivial nothing of Kenney’s land of lies. How anyone can see human lives as nothing reveals what’s under the mask.

    Further measures were taken today at seniors’ facilities on Calgary’s south end because of the Cargill outbreak. Contact tracing is what made things change overnight. This has not been reported in the media. My heart is breaking at what is coming next, Susan, and the brutality and callousness of dismissing the outcome as “only one percent”. Is anyone’s loved one “only one percent” of their heart?

  31. Keith McClary says:

    There is a “Site Rehabilitation Program” website:

    It says:
    “Oil field service contractors must seek out and obtain a valid contract with an Alberta oil and gas licensee.”
    “Grant funding will be awarded only to the contractor, not the licensee.”

    So, the contractors get to pick which sites are cleaned up. And it is not necessarily “orphan wells”, but also wells that the licensee prefers not to pay to clean up:
    “The Site Rehabilitation Program will provide grants of between 25 and 100 per cent of total project costs – depending on the ability of the oil and gas company responsible for the site to help pay for cleanup – and will be paid directly to the oilfield service company completing the work, the government said.

    It seems to me that contractors will have no incentive to pick “orphan wells” and every incentive to help out oil and gas companies that might return the favour in future business dealings. (The Alberta Oil Patch has a tradition of unwritten handshake deals.)

    Is there any precedent where private companies are allowed to hand out taxpayers money in this way?

    • Carlos says:

      Keith we are in Alberta a Deep Oil State – the private companies tell the Government what to do. They have done that for a long time and the reason we have this clean up paid by us is just a confirmation of that attitude. Our governments should be ashamed of this fact but that is not the case because I am sure some have benefited tremendously in the process. As an Alberta citizen I think we all failed miserably and the next big sting is still to come when we will be cleaning up the tailing ponds.

    • Political Ranger says:

      Good call Keith,
      This appears all set to be a total free-for-all with complete disregard for any rational environmental priorities. Perhaps one should not be surprised; there has never been since Lougheed, any planning for this industry, why start now.
      In fact the gov’t of Albaturda seems to be fundamentally opposed to any sort of ownership responsibilities such as planning, regulating and enforcing a rule set that assures benefits accrue to owners. That’s only one reason why I am shocked that this Federal money is going to be managed by the province. The other is the proven and demonstrated competence of the Albaturda gov’t.

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