When Jason Kenney Told Off China and It Backfired

Covid-19 upended everything.  

No one knows whether the world will snap back to “normal” like an elastic band or be gone forever. Economists, futurists, and historians are all over the map when it comes to what to expect in the future. Some, like conservative historian Niall Ferguson, suggest we should prepare for a world with Covid-19 because vaccines and treatments may be a long time coming.  

Given all this uncertainty, we look to our leaders for, well, leadership.

Instead in Alberta we get a premier taking pot shots at the Chinese government while at the same time expecting China to send us PPE and buy our bitumen when TMX is completed.

Premier Kenney

What he said

Last week Mr Kenney told the Canadian American Business Council “the Chinese government played a significant role in the devastating public health and economic damage that is being experienced by the entire world…and…there must be some kind of a reckoning, there must be some accountability.”

This comes on the heels of his earlier comment that “in a pandemic, you find out who your true friends are. After COVID, Canadians and Americans will remember that the Saudis and Russians tried to exploit our pain for their gain.” What’s interesting about this comment is Kenney’s naïve assumption that Trump’s America is Alberta’s friend.   

The response

Russia and Saudi Arabia took no notice of Kenney’s comments, but the Chinese Consulate General slammed back with a caustic letter telling the premier not to engage in “wolf-warrior diplomacy”* unless he’s prepared to be on the receiving end of a critique of his handling of covid-19 and indeed his policy decisions in general.

China also reminded Kenney that he’s “based in Edmonton not Ottawa” (ooh, that hurt) and Mr Trump and the American businesses which enjoy a profitable business relationship with China may not be pleased with his comments.

This entire exchange is lunacy.

Cooler heads prevail

To be clear, no one is suggesting China is blameless in the Covid outbreak.

We strongly agree with the Prime Minister who said “there are many questions for countries around the origins and behavior in early days around the Covid-19 situation, particularly questions for China”.

Mr Trudeau who is based in Ottawa did not receive a snarky reply from China, and as far as we can see he has the concern about China’s role in the spread of the virus covered, so why is Alberta’s premier waging “wolf-warrior diplomacy” with China in the middle of a pandemic?  

He’s come undone

Kenney, like many populist leaders, has a problem. He rode into office on a wave of fear and anger by manufacturing a crisis, make that crises, plural, and promising to fix them.  

He was going to return Alberta to prosperity by saving the energy sector. He created a $30 million/year war room to stamp out misinformation about the energy industry (it failed miserably) and set up a $2.5 million public inquiry to flush out foreign operatives who mounted anti-Alberta energy campaigns (we have yet to see the Commissioner’s report, let alone a horde of foreign operatives heading for the hills).  Meanwhile global oil prices plummeted and the industry tanked.

He was going to balance Alberta’s books by imposing draconian cuts on public services. Albertans grumbled and finally lost it when cuts to physician compensation resulted in doctors reducing services and leaving the province. He backtracked, a bit.    

He was going to redress Ottawa’s unfair treatment of the People of Destiny (or is it the Buffalo People) by creating the Fair Deal panel to force Trudeau to give Alberta a better deal with veiled threats of separation, only to see his agenda highjacked by the Wexiteers who launched a serious separatist movement.

He was going to increase Albertans’ freedoms but spooked everyone, including his staunchest supporters, by using the covid crisis to pass Bill 10 which gives his Cabinet the power to suspend laws and create new ones indefinitely. This one is going to court.

Then to add insult to injury, along comes covid-19 which drove Trudeau’s approval ratings up and Kenney’s approval ratings down. Funny how a little thing like generous social assistance from the federal government, and meh social assistance from the Alberta government will swing public sentiment.    

Kenney put himself squarely between a rock and a hard place.

The fake crises he created fizzled and the real crises created by the Saudi/Russia oil price war and covid-19 will not yield to his I-can-bully-my-way-through-this rhetoric.

So he upped the ante, he’s demonizing China, Russia and Saudi Arabia to demonstrate he’s still in charge.

A reckoning

Covid-19 exposed shortcomings in our global institutions like the WHO, which successfully controlled SARS and Ebola but fell short with the coronavirus, and the EU which responded in a haphazard fashion.

It exposed flaws in our own federal and provincial governments’ pandemic protocols and the fragility of global supply chains, demonstrating a need for greater self-reliance and larger inventories for critical products.

But there’s one thing covid-19 did not do.

It did not give Jason Kenney the authority to position himself as a wolf-warrior parroting Donald Trump, when he’s nothing more than the premier of a small province in a “middle power” country that’s trying not to get trampled in the new cold war emerging between China and the US.

If Jason Kenney doesn’t understand this simple fact, then yes, there will be a reckoning; but it’s not going to be with China, it’s going to be with Mr Kenney.

*Wolf-warrior diplomacy refers to China’s increasingly aggressive and hostile engagement with the West.  

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52 Responses to When Jason Kenney Told Off China and It Backfired

  1. ed henderson says:

    Alberta and Canada do have serious problems and we do not have anyone with more intelligence than even a fly to help us find a way out. But it did not start with Kenney, it started decades ago when we allowed professional politicians with absolutely no real life experience to run our gvts.

    • Ed, this is a very good point. I can’t tell you how many times a politician has rolled out a policy, intended to provide an incentive to the business sector, which I know from my two plus decades in the private sector was either unnecessary or will be redirected (in full or part) to other parts of the business. The icing on the cake is that the executives get a nice little bonus from their board of directors for convincing the government to foot the bill.
      I’ll say this for Trudeau, at least his support for big business came with strings attached. Smart move.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. Can we change what happened, in regards to this pandemic situation, and it’s origins? Sadly, that can’t be done. China is also a superpower. While I don’t support the Chinese government (CCP), I also think caution has to be exercised, and instigating another major conflict isn’t going to be good. Donald Trump might be going down that road with China. I think Jason Kenney is merely using another distraction, to deflect from his own major mistakes. The UCP have already cost Alberta at least $50 billion, from various boondoggles. It’s also ironic that Jason Kenney does not like the Chinese government (CCP), for how it acts, yet Jason Kenney became premier of Alberta by very suspect means, and also does undemocratic things himself. Taking over teacher’s pensions, the payment date change for those on AISH, borrowing $25 billion, and so on. The Fair Deal Panel findings, (which were predetermined to begin with), can’t be released, because of the pandemic issues. What a joke. I hope the UCP are gone in the next election.

    • These are excellent points Dwayne. You’re absolutely right, we can’t change what happened in the early days of the pandemic, but we can learn from this and change how we respond to future pandemics. Obviously responding to a global pandemic requires a coordinated global response from all countries including China. Sadly the cold war between China and the US and Trump’s stupidity in how he’s handling covid in his own country will hinder the learning process. And people all over the world will die.

    • Dean Walton says:

      Im with you there Dwayne .

  3. CallmeHal2000 says:

    “She’s come undone
    She didn’t know what she was headed for
    And when I found what she was headed for
    It was too late

    “She’s come undone
    She found a mountain that was far too high
    And when she found out she couldn’t fly
    It was too late.”

    — Guess Who

  4. Deb says:

    This is part of Jason Kenney’s strategy of “blame someone else” for our / his problems… usually it is JT but he is trying something different since JT and the Federal government have been handing out a lot of money to many Albertans affected by Covid19…. and perhaps he is hoping for more… but the China card backfired as you said Susan… so who will he blame now…? Mayor Nenshi, Dr HInshaw or back to JT… ? What’s your prediction?

    • Intriguing question Deb. I think what we’ll see next is an effort to blame the health experts (Dr Hinshaw, Dr Tam, the WHO, etc) for (1) shutting down the economy and (2) delaying the relaunch of the economy. The thrust will be covid-19 wasn’t as virulent as we thought it would be, it only killed 5,800 in Canada (thus far) and the flu and pneumonia killed 8,500 in 2018 so what’s the big deal. This argument ignores the fact that when covid-19 started no one knew how virulent it would be, examples from places like Italy showed it could quickly overwhelm medical systems, the year isn’t over yet we could be facing a 2nd and 3rd wave, and we don’t have any data on how many would have been killed in Canada had we not gone into lockdown. So we can’t make an apples to apples comparison.
      Also medical experts don’t have the power to shut down the economy, that’s a political decision.

  5. Bill Malcolm says:

    Excellent commentary.

    kenney is of course delusional, but there’s nothing new in that. It’s his modus operandi.

    One can just imagine Saudi Arabia which cut oil prices first, and then Russia which followed, each had an agenda item in their planning committee meetings: Alberta must be destroyed. As if. They probably can’t even spell it. kenney thinks he’s so important he cannot imagine they aren’t operating to ruin him personally. The mark of a delusional.

    So far as I know, and I keep up, there is no consensus yet on the actual origin of CV-19 in serious circles. Unexplained deaths in Eurpe in late November are being retroactively investigated. In right wing numbskull territory of course, no doubt exists. China! Those heathens eat bats! Ewww. It’s all their fault! Like the governor of Missouri, another delusional, kenney no doubt wants to sue China for something or other. His lost pride mostly, I’d guess. Events have conspired to ruin his plan to be a really big wheel, at least in his own mind.

    Corporate America and Europe built modern China on the backs of Western citizens. It was easy, starting in the early ’90s, to outsource manufacturing there where wages were then two bowls of rice a day, and sell the cut-cost product back home at full price and make huge profit bux. So factories were closed all over the West so that money could be coined hand over fist by using Chinese labour.

    The Chinese, being far from stupid, used the money they made to build up their own country and improve living standards. Now that they’re well-off, the same people who betrayed their fellow citizens here are aghast. How dare they? The Chinese were supposed to keep making things for nothing in tin sheds and bow down to the profit makers. For ever, and never think of bettering their own country. Blind stupidity rules the roost in capitalist circles. The Chinese are now too big for their boots and must be destroyed. Just like Trump, kenney is trying to blame externals for his faults, like introducing his budget with fantasy oil prices even after the price tanked. That’s delusional.

    Meanwhile, outside the dystopia of Alberta, here in Nova Scotia at Dalhousie University, we’re hosting the first phase of clinical trials on the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine outside of that country. I wonder why China didn’t choose to utilize the experts at the Fraser Institute, U of C and kenney’s war room to run those trials? They know everything.

    China’s no angel, and is particularly snippy with smaller countries who cheese them off. And it of course kept the outbreak in Wuhan quiet for far too long, even from its own citizens. I remember the irascible Chinese ambassador in Ottawa who got upset and nasty over nothing in 2015. As a tried and true US puppet we’ve locked up that Huawei executive in Vancouver for 18 months and gone to sleep on the extradition. Yet Huawei was even-tempered enough to still sponsor Rogers Hockey Night in Canada until the virus. So if some jumped-up little autocrat in a province, not even a country, with less than half the population of Wuhan wants to get up on his hind legs and criticize China, they’re not going to sit down and let him get away with horsesh!t. Funnily enough, China still has PetroChina and Sinopec working away at the tarsands. Perhaps kenney wants them to stop. Along with all the other private Chinese oil and gas companies in the province.

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/chinese-investment-alberta-oil-deals/article35061644/

    kenney had better watch out he doesn’t bite the hand that helps feed him. I don’t think he can help himself, though. He’s delusional.

    • Bill, you raise many good points in your comment; you mentioned Kenney’s lack of concern about Chinese investment in the tar sands, well, Kenney’s integrity meter took a nose dive this week when we learned the Saudi sovereign wealth fund invested in Suncor and CNRL (two heavy hitters in the tar sands). The Saudis are now the 8th largest shareholder in CNRL and the 14th largest shareholder in Suncor.
      We haven’t heard a peep from Mr Kenney about the purveyors of “unethical oil” investing in Alberta’s “ethical oil”. Maybe it’s like the 2008 financial crash where junk investments were bundled with investment grade investments which magically upgraded them to investment grade; in this case the Saudi’s “unethical oil money” is transmuted into “ethical money” because it’s invested in Alberta’s “ethical oil”.
      The hypocrisy of Kenney’s position is mind boggling.
      Here’s the link: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/saudi-wealth-fund-builds-stakes-in-canadian-natural-suncor-1.1437236

  6. ronmac says:

    Well China bashing has been in vogue for a little while now. Covid-19 is just another stick to beat them with. China may have been a little slow off the mark in getting the virus under control but so has every other country in the world.

    But what if the narrative is all wrong? What if the virus didn’t originate in China? Doctors in Italy and France are reporting they may have been treating Covid patients as early as last November.

    https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/498087-french-doctors-believe-they-may-have-treated-coronavirus-patients-last-fall

    • Ronmac, this is fascinating. I wonder whether Kenney’s supporters would change their views if it turned out the virus originated in Europe. Knowing how resistant they are to the facts I suspect they’d stick with the original hypothesis, god forbid that their dear leader is wrong.
      Also believing the virus originated in China gives them free rein to act out their xenophobic beliefs. These idiots don’t understand a virus cannot have a nationality, anymore than oil can have ethics.

  7. J.E. Molnar says:

    Nice takedown of Jason Kenney — in my opinion, your best yet Ms Soapbox!!

    If severely normal Albertans don’t come to recognize Jason Kenney’s many faults and shortcomings by the next provincial election cycle, Alberta is truly doomed. It’s almost as if Mr. Kenney is purposely doing his utmost to torpedo any hope of prosperity, while at the same time showcasing his political obtuseness. Albertans really deserve better.

    • J.E. Thank you! Every week it’s a new disaster with Kenney. I didn’t mention it in the blog but the Project Confederation people started a petition demanding Kenney release the Fair Deal report. This group supports all of Kenney’s talking points (ie Alberta is being ripped off by the Feds). They made submissions at every FD panel session, signed petitions and started letter writing campaigns. When they heard the FD panel had submitted its report but Kenney won’t release it they said they understood why the government’s response had to be delayed, but saw no reason why the report itself couldn’t be released so Albertans can start talking about it.
      It’s not clear how long Kenney intends to sit on it. The press release says the report and the government’s comment won’t be released “until the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over”, it also says it will be released “once the urgency of the COVID-19 response has subsided.” This is vague language, there is no firm deadline.

  8. Public Servant says:

    Kenney likes to say “…there must be some kind of a reckoning, there must be some accountability.” For once he’s right. Alberta needs to know who his donors are, if he committed criminal fraud to win the leadership, and finally the biggest reckoning of all – voting him out at the next election.

    • Public Servant: well said. There is so much garbage coming down the sluiceway, we’ve forgotten how Kenney came to be UCP leader in the first place. We have to keep the pressure up to ensure he and the UCP are “one and done” in 2023.

  9. Claudette says:

    Another thoughtful factual piece Susan. I consistently read the responses and learn more about the topic at hand. And then I wonder how this type of discourse and critical thinking could be disseminated more widely… to the 80% who voted for Kenny?

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      Claudette, it wad 55 percent who voted for their own demise. The other 45 percent of voters on election day chose other options.

      Soon after Kenney started cutting programs, one ordinary Calgarian interviewed on TV was dumbfounded at being the victim of these cuts, because she wanted austerity for other people, not herself. “I voted UCP!” Well, no “get out of jail free” card for her. Susan herself wrote about a trip to the ER, where some man wanted to jump the queue because “I voted UCP!” A lot of people seemed to thing they were Kenney’s chosen people. It was magical thinking. Can they ignore reality long enough to thunder off that cliff again like good buffalo in the next election? Will it be enough when they lose their jobs, their homes and their children’s chance at better life through post-secondary education? Or will they realize that Kenney’s chosen people are foreign-owned oil company executives, and the one percent who will hardly feel a thing in the post-pandemic world? The wolf is at the door. The wolf is Jason Kenney. We are the sheeple.

      • CallmeHal: I don’t know what it is about Kenney’s supporters but like you said, they were flabberghasted when Kenney did exactly what he promised to do, cut, cut, cut. Some are trying to justify their pain by saying it’s Notley’s fault because she left the province in a mess (which isn’t true) or Trudeau’s fault (even after he bought TMX to give the Alberta energy sector a boost).
        Your description of buffalo thundering off a cliff was perfect!

    • Thanks Claudette. I’m eternally grateful for my readers. Like you I learn so much from their comments on these posts.

  10. John B. says:

    It might have done some good that our political and business leaders had an understanding of the full spectrum of what increased “engagement” with China might entail back when they were only too eager to make any and all sorts of deals with it at whatever terms the Chinese dictated. That probably still hasn’t changed.

  11. jerrymacgp says:

    What do do about China … most populous country on Earth, with ~1.2 billion people to feed, you’d think it’d be a breeze to sell our agricultural products into that market, but the Chinese government is a tough, demanding customer, and as a virtual monopsony can pick & choose from whom it imports foodstuffs.

    We also have to be very careful about criticizing China and its government, and also be careful not to conflate its government with people of Chinese or Asian heritage, for down that path lies racism.

    The government of the People’s Republic of China — Communist in name only, it is really a statist, authoritarian dictatorship that does not respect the civil rights of its people — does indeed have some things to answer for in this pandemic, given how aggressively it suppressed scientific & medical experts trying to sound the alarm in its early days; it was Stephen Harper-esque in insisting scientists get government permission to publish, permission that would then not be forthcoming. It has also overtly politicized the WHO by insisting Taiwan not be at that important table. China is also exquisitely sensitive to actual or perceived slights to its reputation on the world stage, as evidenced by its treatment of the two Michaels, whose captivity is unlikely to be as pleasant as that of Ms Meng. For this reason, poking the dragon in the public space is unhelpful: better to make our diplomatic protestations in private.

    But when you look at COVID-19’s spread in Canada, the most significant source of the disease in this country was south of the border, in Donald Trump’s America. Perhaps we could have shut down our border with the Benighted States a few weeks earlier, but then we would have incurred the wrath of its mercurial President, the Hairpiece That Walks Like a Man, and most thoughtful Canadians know that isn’t really a good idea. (In passing I’d note that The Donald is just as sensitive & thin-skinned as the PRC government, and just as wont to petty retaliation).

    Bottom line: you can be critical of the behaviour of the government of the PRC, without bearing a racist hatred towards Chinese or Asian people. You can disagree with that country without being stupid about it. And — unlike Mr Kenney — you can respect that just as public education is a strictly provincial matter for federal politicians to stay well away from, so foreign affairs is a strictly federal matter for provincial politics to keep their noses out of. I don’t know if Mr Kenney can swim, but I hope he remembers which lane in the pool he was assigned to by the electorate.

    • Jerrymacgp: Brilliant!
      I agree with everything you’ve said here, and want to underscore your very important point that criticizing China and its government does not give anyone permission to be a racist. Covid-19 is causing a spike in anti-Asian racism. The Vancouver Police Dept said 20 anti-Asian hate crimes were reported by the first week of May, compared to 12 for all of 2019. I’m sure we’ve got similar stats in Alberta.

  12. Kelly says:

    Let’s go back to Stephen Harper’s comment, “It’s a no-brainer” about the Keystone XL pipeline when Obama was president. Like Harper, Kenny’s is a lazy approach to insult, bully and cajole people rather than entering into meaningful discussion, negotiation and consensus building. When in a position of power as Premier Kenny finds himself, he imposes, mandates and legislates while assailing any who object as being disloyal and un-Canadian. What we are witnessing is an unparalleled abuse of power in our province, its perpetrators using a primary tool of abusers – claiming victimhood – the rest of the country and the world (now China) being at fault. Unfortunately this approach appeals to a large segment of the population as we also see south of the border. While Kenny gave himself the power to rip-up a negotiated agreement with the AMA and imposed a chaotic policy on doctors during the world’s worst pandemic, we can expect to see similar treatment of teachers, nurses, and all public employees in the days ahead. Giving any governing body a majority offers them a sacred trust but does not entitle them to unbridled power over their subjects. While we might hope for a change during an election, it is vital that all concerned citizens speak up and call for an approach that is respectful and considerate of others in the present.

    • Kelly: this was a great comment. So back to Keystone XL for a moment. I just saw a news release issued by Energy Minister Sonya Savage about reports that Joe Biden will cancel the presidential permit for Keystone XL if he’s elected. Poof! there goes Alberta’s $1.5 Billion equity investment in KXL. Kenney supporters will rage against Biden, but they should be raging against Kenney who knowingly took on the risk Trump might lose when he signed up with TC Energy. The presidential election is a wild card, no one can predict the outcome and yet Kenney plunked down $1.5 billion (BILLION!!!) and said roll the dice.
      Maybe he should apply for a job at AIMCo when we throw him out of office in 2023.

  13. I think I’ve seen lately – from posts and lack of posts – a curious silence from heretofore Kenney worshipers. I haven’t heard from a UCP supporter in months. My own MLA, Roger Reid of HighRiver, has BLOCKED ME from his question/comment site.
    The Alberta Cons have shifted their hateful drivel from the Alberta NDP to the Federal Liberals. The Right is always willing to shift blame in a pinch . . . and pretend what has happened never happened . . .

    • rockymountain: That’s a very interesting observation. I must admit I’ve been sidetracked by posts from Kenney’s issues managers and didn’t notice that the usual UCP supporters are hanging back. But your point is well taken, what do Kenney’s supporters think about Kenney’s performance to date? I can’t wait to see how he rates his $1.5 billion investment in KXL in the next iteration of his “promises made/promises kept” score card.

  14. Carlos says:

    This is just what Jason Kenney is. A delusional individual that cannot be out of the limelight for longer than 2 days. Hence these attacks without any meaning other than enlarging his ego. Our smart cookie in the Sun said ‘At least he took a stand’. Well I would rather Jason Kenney to take a real stand to the oil companies that did not and will not clean up their mess everywhere with abandoned oil wells.
    Jason Kenney understands picking fights because he does not understand anything else. His record, like Susan described is of one failure after another and he will soon be paying the doctors for having terminated their contract illegally. We seem to be spending more money on court cases and commissions than ever before. I wonder what is the weekly scandal after this long weekend?
    Cannot wait.

    • Carlos, you make some important points here, the one I want to pick up on is the comment in the Sun that at least Kenney took a stand. What these people don’t realize is when Kenney trash talked China he put himself on their radar. Apparently China has learned a lot from the Russians about trolling and bots and has shown itself more than willing to use social media as part of its “wolf-warrior” campaign against the West.
      Kenney is messing with the wrong guy here but he’s too stupid to realize that.

  15. Dave says:

    I am kind of surprised the Chinese even bothered to snap back at our wolf boy warrior Premier. However, apparently their bureaucracy to stamp out anti Chinese thought in the world is quite large and busy these days. They probably have not heard or do not understand the saying less is more. They are not helping their cause and perhaps the same could be said for our Premier Kenney too. I suppose the Chinese are aware our Premier previously had a profile in Federal politics and may still harbour some Federal ambitions, so perhaps in part that counts for the Chinese response. However it must all be a bit confusing for them as Canada already has a Prime Minister and a Foreign Affairs Minister, neither based in Edmonton.

    I suppose for Mr. Kenney, patriotism or populism is a last refuge from all the bad things going on in Alberta for which he bears some responsibility and accountability for. A distraction or a needed external enemy to shift the focus to instead. Right now he desperately wants Federal financial support, so he can’t go after Mr. Trudeau or go after other provinces too much – his go to strategies in the past. So he goes after the Chinese, Russians and the Saudis instead. It might help him get his popularity up from the basement level for Premiers, although probably not. It is a strategy of some desperation.

    I think ultimately Kenney’s only hope for political survival is to head back to Ottawa whether the Federal Conservatives really want him back or not. I suspect he knows this, but hasn’t quite figured out an exit that looks graceful and also helps advance his long political career. Perhaps the candidate he wants to win the Federal Conservative leadership will pull off an unexpected upset so Kenney can soon start packing his carpet bags again.

    • Dave, like you I wonder how Kenney is going to engineer his return to federal politics. I suspect he thought this was going to be a walk in the park: show up in Alberta, take out Brian Jean, consolidate the WR/UCP against the enemy socialists, slash and burn public services and environmental protections, hand out tax breaks, and wait for oil prices to come back. Having consolidated his reputation as a leading conservative thinker he could then humbly offer his services to the federal conservatives and ‘save’ Canada, just as he ‘saved’ Alberta.
      Of course none of it turned out that way because he was betting on things he couldn’t control, and his excuse, it’s that other guy’s fault, is wearing pretty thin. So here we are stuck with the guy until the next election. So we have to hunker down and boot him out when we get the chance in 2023.

  16. Blair says:

    It is very obvious when a clown like Kenney hugs the U.S.and demonizes China that he is believing the “godless communist” demagoguery he was fed in his religious schools.
    Thankfully most people(not Trumpists or Canadian Conservatives) have moved beyond such simplistic demonization of those that disagree with them. But as Canadians we have also bought into the myth that Uncle Sam has our interests at heart. Thus when Trump demanded the arrest of the Huawei executive, our normally sane federal govt jumped and said “yes sir” as they complied.
    The arrest was not to protect any Canadian National interest and has had significant collateral damage to the Canadian economy. Now if Canada persists in following the Washington line and refuses to accept Huawei technology we will be stuck with a significantly inferior telecommunication system that even finds it impossible to service a third of the American population.
    We are all aware of how our internet and cell service has been brought to a crawl by our working from home during the covid lockdown. Recognize that is the level of service that rural and small town Canada finds normal. Unacceptable.
    Huawei technology offers us the opportunity to upgrade to a technically superior system–wheras if sticks to American technology we will be patching a horse and buggy system forever. A system that has nothing to recomend it except its ability to generate profit for the telecoms!

  17. Shelley O'Neill says:

    Nicely written. It is painful to a public sector worker in this province. More painful, however, is the lack of critical thinking on how we are being impacted by Kenney’s politics.

    • Blair, you raise some very important points here. The first concerns the wisdom of arresting Meng Wanzhou. Extradition laws are complex (incidentally Jody Wilson Raybould would have had to issue the authority to proceed), I worry that we didn’t have the right level of legal analysis brought to bear in the short time we had to make the decision to hold Meng Wanzhou or let her go.
      The second is around the value of Huawei 5G technology. If Canada is going to compete in the new AI, tech sector world it has to have access to 5G. I don’t know whether the concerns about the Chinese government using 5G for nefarious purposes are well founded or not, but we need to make these decisions thoughtfully, and not fall into line behind Trump who’s busy trying to protect the monopoly position of American telecoms.

    • Thanks Shelley. It used to be that inept governments took a few years to screw things up. Kenney’s government did the job in what, nine months, and shows no signs of letting up. It’s going to be a rout. All we can do is call him out every step of the way.

  18. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Did I understand correctly that the Kenney government has just given money to China via a private retirement residence that they own here in Calgary, presently being managed by another company appointed by the Kenney government due to the Covid-9 outbreak there? Trying to wrap my head around that…bite the hand that feeds you, then feed the hand that bites you?

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-covid-19-coronavirus-deena-hinshaw-1.5575366

    • Carlos says:

      Well I am not sure what he did because no one is anymore but he is now saying that if Joe Bidden wins the US election in just a few months and cancels the pipeline, he will have a difficult time explaining it to the American people. Seriously? Jason Kenney is no only delusional but also mentally challenged. I know who is going to have a hard time justifying to Albertans the 7 billion dollars he sunk into that venture knowing full well that Trump may not win the next election. When Jason Kenney is done with Alberta we should make that day a holiday named ‘Freedom Day’.

      • Carlos, I think Kenney is trying to distract his supporters, he needs to give them someone to blame for his own reckless decision. Biden’s been clear on his position re: KXL from the beginning. If he’s elected president, it will be because of his position on KXL, not in spite of it. Kenney’s comments about Biden are as asinine as Kenney’s appeal to union workers to put pressure on Biden. The man who hates unions now wants their support. Talk about irony.
        PS I love your suggestion of a holiday named ‘Freedom Day’ 🙂

    • CallmeHal, I hadn’t heard this. But it fits with Kenney’s shameless hypocrisy. He’s like Trump that way, says one thing on Monday and the opposite on Tuesday and counts on his supporters to be too thick to figure it out.

  19. GoinFawr says:

    Poor Dr..Hinshaw really got put on the spot yesterday when a reporter asked her why the decision was made to suspend environmental monitoring requirements for Alberta’s oilpatch during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The question caught her completely off guard, naturally, since the decision oh-so obviously has absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic, or her office.

    • Carlos says:

      Why would a journalist ask that question to Hinshaw? Obviously he/she was trying to create a political situation or he/she is dumb, which would not surprise me.
      I have stopped watching it because either Jason Kenney or Shandro are there for their propaganda and i have had enough of that dish.
      Hinshaw is in a difficult situation and I would pay to watch a meeting between her and our cowboy in charge if they bother talking to her.

      • Carlos, I wondered the same thing. Was the journalist trying to get Dr Hinshaw to say the decision to suspend monitoring had nothing to do with her, or did the journalist just not get it?
        I thought Rachel Notley’s response was perfect. She said “We have a government that’s telling hairdressers that it’s okay to go and get close enough to people to cut their hair, but somehow oil and gas companies and environmental safety officers cannot go to a lake and check the water to see if there are carcinogens in it,”
        Again, Kenney is taking advantage of a pandemic to push through policies that, in Notley’s words will turn Alberta into the “Wild West of environmental protection.”
        And Kenney wonders why Biden says he’ll reverse the presidential permit if he’s elected in November.

    • GoinFawr: as you said, the decision has absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic or Dr Hinshaw’s office. But some of Kenney’s supporters have fallen for his “Dr Deena made me do it” baloney. The other day I saw a comment from someone saying we should ignore everything Dr Hinshaw says because she’s not an elected official and she can’t force us to do anything. This dolt doesn’t understand that the Chief Medical Officer is simply giving advice, it’s the Premier’s decision whether to take it or not.
      But then again Kenney scolded Dr Hinshaw in the press when he announced on less than a day’s notice that contrary to what he’d said before he was delaying opening Calgary and Brooks.
      I think we should give Dr Hinshaw a medal when this is all over to acknowledge her patience and professionalism in putting up with this man day after excruciating day.

      • Bob Raynard says:

        I agree. I am really curious to see whether we will continue to see Dr. Hinshaw after this is all over, either in the form of a memoir or perhaps running for office.

        Personally, I would like to see her flex her political muscle a bit more, and stand up to Jason Kenney. Dr. Hinshaw has too much political credibility for Jason Kenney to fire, and perhaps she is the only one who does.

        With regards to suspending environmental monitoring, I think an even better comparison would be ask why it is too dangerous for environmental monitoring, but it is safe enough for Cargill workers to keep processing beef.

  20. Kelly says:

    Great time to dump all the toxic waste in a pit, route tailings ponds to the river and burn those old transformers filled with PCBs.

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