A Halloween Tale: Jason and The Mirror

For obvious reasons the usual batch of Halloween witches and vampires, pirates and princesses did not ring our doorbell this year. So to mark a different kind of Halloween Ms Soapbox would like to tell you a story.   

It’s about a magic mirror and a provincial premier named Jason who asks the magic mirror the question that troubles him the most.  

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest conservative of them all?”

The mirror becomes misty. A voice (which sounds a lot like Erin O’Toole) says, “I’ll give you a hint—conservatives are concerned about the decline of private-sector union membership because unions are essential to maintain the balance between what was good for business and what was good for employees.”

Jason splutters, “What? My government just gutted labour protection laws, ripped up the government’s contract with the doctors (who are leaving in droves, can you believe it?) and is going to fire 11,000 front line healthcare workers, forcing them into the non-union private sector. Oh, and my party just passed a resolution to make Alberta a ‘right to work’ province. What do you mean Conservatives are concerned about the decline of private-sector union membership?”

The mirror gazes implacably back at Jason and says nothing.

Jason tries again. “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest conservative of them all? Did I mention my relentless focus on the economy and GDP growth???”  

The mirror shimmers. A voice (which still sounds suspiciously like Erin O’Toole) says, “GDP growth alone is not the be-all and end-all of politics. We must provide the right framework to create wealth so we can give back to those who need it the most, our frontline workers, our teachers, our seniors.”

Nonplussed Jason changes the topic. “Mirror, mirror, yada, yada, my energy sector is Canada’s lifeblood. I’ve created a never-ending non-public inquiry to ferret out the anti-Alberta energy nutbars, a war room that sucks at promoting the energy sector and my emissaries are traveling far and wide to tout pipelines…”

The mirror clears its throat. “No comment re: non-public inquiries, war rooms and emissaries, your energy sector contributes around 10% of Canada’s GDP and employs around 4.4% of its population, that’s not exactly the lifeblood of the country. And about those pipelines, Quebec won’t stand for it, so Energy East and anything that looks even remotely like a pipeline expecting to go through Central Canada is a no-go. Sorry.”  

Jason tugs at his collar. “Mirror, blah blah blah. What about jobs? My government will deliver jobs.”

The mirror fogs up. Voices that sound like the CEOs of Cenovus and Husky speak in unison, “Consolidation of energy companies is the future. 2000 jobs will be lost in the Cenovus/Husky merger.” An analyst adds, “Suncor expects 2,000 layoffs and Encana took Kenney’s corporate tax cut and skedaddled across the border to the USA.” A woman’s voice, Ms Savage, Kenney’s Energy minister whispers, “…heartbreaking, an unfortunate reality…”

Jason, not ready to give up, splutters. “Mirror, what about covid? I’m doing an outstanding job on covid!”

The mirror replies, “Yes, you’re sticking with conservative ideology, something about the people exercising their personal responsibility, but it’s not working. Alberta has roughly double the active cases per population as Ontario and is just slightly ahead of Quebec. Even Doug Ford is doing better than you.”

“Doug Ford???” Jason is aghast. “Mirror, when it comes to healthcare I’m a far better conservative than Dougie. I’m creating a two-tier healthcare system; private healthcare and health insurance for those who can afford it and a watered-down public healthcare system for those who can’t, what could be more conservative than that.”

“Maybe so,” says the mirror, “but an Environics survey taken this August says 9 out of 10 Albertans support a public healthcare system that covers everyone and is fully supported through taxes. And 6 out of 10 Alberta support its expansion.” The mirror tsked. “Jason, you’re out of step with your own province.”  

Jason is crestfallen, but puts on a brave face and tries one last time, “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the best conservative of them all?”

The mirror cackles and says, “The man who’s trying to pretend he’s a liberal, Erin O’Toole.”

Moral: the times, they are a-changing, ultra-conservatives like Jason are being left behind.

This entry was posted in Alberta Health Care, Celebrations, Economy, Energy & Natural Resources, Humour, Politics and Government and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to A Halloween Tale: Jason and The Mirror

  1. This could be amusing if it wasn’t so very frightening. Kenney’s UCP have caused so much worry, distress, anxiety, in the midst of a pandemic that was already taxing the resources of the most mentally healthy citizens. I want them out and I want them out NOW! It’s November 1 but this Halloween horror story is ongoing and will be until the next provincial election. What will Alberta have left by the time this crowd is finished. It’s a nightmare I cannot even consider at this time. Scary stuff indeed!

  2. Carol, I agree with you 100%. I’ve joined a number of ‘stop Kenney’ websites, including a very good one created by the AFL. These websites augment my ongoing letter writing campaign to my MLA Doug Schweitzer (who replies with the usual UCP talking points). We need to express our dissatisfaction with Kenney and his MLAs as loudly as possible in as many forums as possible until we can eject him from office in 2023.

  3. I have done the same and have received a few snarky replies, Tany Yao, has at least been civil, even if he does sprout the party line. It’s all very wearing though. I have zero confidence in this government and did not vote for them in the first place. They have lived up to all my expectations, however, and that is not a compliment!

  4. Dawn Friesen says:

    Susan, I have not met you yet but I know Elaine and Neil and work with them on Whitemud Citizens for Public Health. This soapbox is outstanding! You nailed it in such a fun and inspiring and encouraging way. Thank you so much. Dawn

    Sent from my iPad


    • Dawn, thank you so much! The work you guys do with WCPH is so important, especially now with Shandro leading the charge (into the ground) on the healthcare file. I’m sure I’ll get a chance to meet you the next time I’m up in Edmonton after this pandemic has been brought under control. All the best,

  5. Paul Pearlman says:

    The UCP should of held their AGM on Halloween they could of all come dressed as imposters as they are no more a Conservative party ! The Reform and Wildrose influence is far from the Progressive Conservative Party that came into power in the 70s now all talk and no action for the workers tax cut for cronies positions and contracts for friends and maybe family.Kenney should park the blue truck and maybe leave the province before he does more damage to the province following the Republican Party’s playbook were in power so we know best just doesn’t do the job!! The trust the UCP voters gave Kenney and his cronies vanished the night they came to power 2023 really not soon enough.

    • Paul, you’ve hit the nail on the head with your comment about the devolution of the Conservative party into something that no longer bears any resemblance to the federal and provincial Progressive Conservatives of the past. This is something Harper and Kenney should be ashamed of, but it makes them proud.
      On a related note, my Twitter feed is full of these guys praising Trump. The comment that blew me away was one bright light who said he wouldn’t leave his kids alone in a room with Trump, but he’d vote for him as president if he could. Apparently a degenerate moral character doesn’t matter as long as it comes with a tax cut.

  6. Katie Pearlman says:

    BRAVA! PERFECT! TRUE! Jason get with he program. Welcome to the 21st Century!

    • Katie, when I read Erin O’Toole’s comments in the Globe and Mail I knew that Kenney had no hope of going back to the federal conservatives and running for leader, let alone becoming the PM one day. He’s too backward, even for the CPC.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Why didn’t the premier of Alberta join the CPC leadership race before? Nobody wants him. Mr. Robocalls then becomes premier of Alberta by suspect means, and is going to leave Alberta with a massive debt of $100 million, and more, in no time at all. Yikes!

      • Dwayne, this is such a good question. Clearly I have no inside information on why Kenney didn’t join the CPC leadership race that resulted in Andrew Scheer becoming the leader, but I suspect he touched base with all the major players and discovered he wasn’t a slam-dunk winner. So rather than risk losing he came to Alberta (the most conservative of conservative provinces), convinces the PCs to let him run for leadership (what an idiotic decision that was) and once he won the PC leadership race, triggered the merger with the WR. That told me Kenney and the conservatives (be they PCs or WR) will do anything to get into and to stay in power. And just like in the US, we’re seeing the consequences of being ruled by politicians who are in the game to serve themselves, not the public.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. You nailed it perfectly. As the greatest modern day songwriter Bob Dylan has said. The times they are a-changin’. The UCP is not willing to adapt to these changes, (oil booms ending six years ago), is resorting to drastic measures to compensate, which are only hurting Albertans.

    • lungta mtn says:

      Alberta’s government tabled a fiscal update Thursday that showed an expected budget deficit of $24.2 billion, which is 230 per cent, or $16.8 billion, higher than its previous budget for 2020/21 announced in February.
      we may hit 100 Billion in deficit
      and be debt slaves for multi generations
      it is the conservative way

    • I agree with you Dwayne. It’s taken the UCP more than a year to acknowledge the oil boom is not coming back and it’s time to diversify. Doug Schweitzer, the newly appointed minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation made it crystal clear the UCP is not ready for or comfortable with diversification in a recent article in the NP where he refers to diversification as the “D-word” as if it were a racist slur or an obscenity.
      He says the UofA is a leader in AI but fails to mention the UCP slashed the UofA’s budget by 9%. In 2019 the UCP cut higher education by over $100M.
      Schweitzer talks about Calgary’s venture capital investment (which raised over $200M) pretending it’s his provincial government’s investment, not Calgary’s municipal government investment.
      It’s all smoke and mirrors to trick Albertans into thinking the UCP have a real plan, when in reality it’s cut, cut, cut and privatize, privatize, privatize.
      Here’s the link: https://nationalpost.com/opinion/opinion-its-time-to-talk-about-the-d-word-in-alberta

  8. lungta mtn says:

    Due to the nature of our democracy
    Con man kenny and crew are totally immune to any input for 3 more years
    as Harper said “i won’t govern by opinion poll”
    y’all had your say and this is what Alberta voted for
    and cuts will continue
    until moral improves
    there may or may not be rubble to shuffle thru in 3 years
    fun fact
    the average conservative contributor is 70 or older
    may their unmasked health care decisions smile on them
    10/10 for creative writing tho… i always read you

    • lungta mtn says:

      tho depending on how you take it
      both can apply

    • Thanks for this comment Lungta Mtn. As you point out we’re stuck with Kenney and the UCP for 3 more years. That’s plenty of time for Kenney to remake Alberta into his pseudo-conservative image. Initially I’d hoped some MLAs might be able to get through to Kenney if their constituents badgered them enough, but this didn’t happen. Kenney controls the Cabinet and caucus, end of story.
      Thanks for the 10/10. I appreciate it.

  9. Verna Milligan says:

    Thanks for the great Visuals, Susan! As concerned citizens, your readers may be interested in a hot-off the press report by one of Canada’s top energy resource experts, David Hughes. David has studied the energy resources of Canada for four decades, including 32 years with the Geological Survey of Canada as a scientist and research manager.

    David is currently president of Global Sustainability Research, a board member of Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energyand is a Fellow of Post Carbon Institute.

    Knowing that, I am confident in forwarding his report(s) to politicians of all stripes and levels in the hope that, by seeing the “Big Picture”, we can work co-operatively together seeking solutions.

    Full Report: Reassessment of Need for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

    and an article in TheTyee: Pipe Dream: Taxpayer-Owned TMX is a Bust, Concludes Analyst. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/10/29/TMX-A-Bust-Concludes-Analysis/

    Keep up the good work, Susan!

    • Thanks Verna. Wow the Hughes report and the Nikiforuk article hammer one of the key rationales for TMX, namely that producers will get a better price for their heavy oil if they ship it through TMX to Asia, than if they ship to the USGC. I’ve always wondered why this would be the case. According to Hughes and Nikiforuk, it’s not true. They compare heavy oil with Mexican Maya and conclude producers will get roughly $4/bbl less from Asian customers than they’d get from US refiners. Given that Canadians paid for TMX and its costs continue to rise, this is a worrying outcome.

  10. Dave says:

    Yes, Mr. Kenney probably could also win a Halloween contest of Conservative most likely to scare small children (or many of the rest of us) without even having to bother putting on a costume! These days, he does even seem to be becoming more out of step with his fellow Conservatives elsewhere in Canada, if what they say and do lately can be believed.

    I am not sure how sincere Mr. O’Toole’s found again moderation is. He seems to have transformed from moderate in his initial leadership race, to “true blue” Conservative in the most recent one, now back to moderate again after. I doubt Kenney would really support real moderation much, which also leads me to wonder if what Mr. O’Toole is saying is more for show or that is what Kenney thinks.

    I think the Federal Conservative party figured out that voters were not really buying what they were trying to sell, hence the current shift to a more moderate image. Mr. O’Toole will be the face of kinder, gentler conservatism, if that actually exists, at least until after the Federal next election. I think Mr. Ford is more a populist with Conservative leanings so he probably actually has a more realistic view of what he can do, as opposed to Kenney and the UCP who seem determined to go full steam ahead with things like health care destruction and privatization, despite strong public reservations.

    I think the greatest weakness of Alberta conservatives is they are, or become, a bit delusional. They mistake a broad general support for moderate conservatism in this province as a licence to go too far to the right. Who would have thought a year or two ago that Mr. Ford surviving politically in the long term might be more likely than that of Mr. Kenney.

    • Dave, I also took Erin O’Toole’s comment with a (huge) grain of salt, but the mere fact he said anything at all about the value of private sector unions or the GDP not being the be-all and end-all is significant because such comments are bound to unsettle his typical conservative base. Perhaps some conservatives are beginning to realize the country as a whole is moving away from hard-right conservative ideology. As you point out in your last paragraph a slavish adherence to it may Kenney’s undoing.

  11. John McWilliams says:

    Great stuff, Susan!



  12. Jim Hunchuk says:

    Simply wonderful

  13. Carlos says:

    Well I know that this is not directly related to Jason Kenney’s garbage politics but the US election confirmed what I believe and have said it here a few times. The US is done with neo-liberal politics and politicians like we have had so far have their days counted or one faces people like Donald Trump. Twice the population of Canada voted Trump proving that 2016 was not a fluke.
    Americans are the first people on the planet to trade insecurity, fraud and lies for what they have been getting since Reagan. Neo-Liberalism hit the wall and this election is a clear proof.
    Although I would not personally trade bad politics for Trump, I can understand why they are making the choice. The American middle class is exhausted of assault and disrespect. It is over .
    Canada and the west better watch out because the revolution has begun and it could be violent as well.

    • Carlos, I was so distracted by the US election it’s taken me a while to get back here to the Soapbox. The Associated Press has just called the election for Joe Biden. At this point Biden has approximately 4 million votes than Trump, and the electoral college system worked in his favour; but as you said at least 70 million Americans voted for Trump.

      I don’t know what is driving the vote for populists anymore. I agree that part of the attraction is the middle and lower classes are tired of being left behind, but I’ve seen much written (and know personally) quite a few 1%ers who love Trump because he cut taxes and stacked the Supreme Court with conservatives. Some say they wouldn’t leave their kids with him unattended but they’re electing a president, not a babysitter. Then we have the otherwise intelligent people who are caught up in conspiracy theories or the “cult” of Trump. I’m beginning to think greed and delusion is running amok in the US.
      I don’t know what it’s going to take to fix it.

  14. Judy J. Johnson says:

    Great post Susan! Your creative writing skills are obvious. Why not write a rousing political novel? Best seller!

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