The Bigfoot Blog

“Here’s a Hollywood production that depicts an oil company … as wanting to murder children to oppose environmental progress…The NDP, that’s who they’re defending…They’ve always been against our largest industry.” – Jason Kenney doubling down on the War Room’s anti-Bigfoot campaign

Sigh.

Here we are, bracing for the third wave of a global pandemic, slogging through an economic slowdown and facing massive job losses…and Jason Kenney is railing on about a kids’ cartoon.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume the poor man hasn’t completely lost his mind; let’s put his outburst in the context of a politician who is willing to risk ridicule to defend the War Room for trying to defend the oil and gas sector.

Mr Kenney and the Bigfoot Family

This might have been okay if the War Room delivered results, but it doesn’t.

Kenney created the Canadian Energy Centre, aka the War Room, as part of his promise to deliver “jobs, economy, pipelines” and usher in a new age of prosperity for Albertans.

The War Room’s job is to defend Alberta’s natural resources by promoting energy literacy, research, and rapid response. The anti-Bigfoot campaign is part of its rapid response activities.

War Room CEO Tom Olsen objected to the cartoon’s message saying it is one-sided and polarizing because it “creates no room for conversation.” Remember that statement, we’ll come back to it later.  

Assuming Olsen’s characterization is correction, how effective is calling out a kid’s cartoon at supporting Kenney’s campaign promise to deliver jobs, economy, pipelines.

Short answer: It’s not. Because the loss of jobs and the negative impact on Alberta’s economy are the result of consolidation in the industry in response to changes in the global market, not the negative impact (assuming there is one) of a child’s cartoon in which an oil executive is plotting to blow up an oil field and kill the Bigfoot family and their cute little pets.  

Consolidation and job loss

The energy sector has been in consolidation/restructuring mode for years.

Last year Cenovus announced its takeover of Husky would result in a cut of up to 25% of its workforce (2,150 jobs) and Suncor announced plans to eliminate up to 15% of its workforce (2000 jobs).

This is part of a global pattern. Royal Dutch Shell is cutting up to 9,000 jobs worldwide, BP is cutting up to 10,000.

Consolidation and restructuring results in fewer jobs, but make the companies more profitable, so this trend will continue.   

Kenney’s response to these announcements is we should not be surprised, the oil companies have already “compressed costs.” He implored the companies to do everything they could “to keep the workforce intact” and reminded them that these hardworking employees helped deliver record profits in the good times which, he assured the companies, would return. Then he hammered the Federal government for not doing more to keep the energy companies happy.

It’s unfortunate Kenney didn’t listen when Suncor explained exactly why these cuts were necessary.

Suncor said the unprecedented drop in oil prices, the global pandemic and economic slowdown, and market volatility accelerated its plans to make “permanent structural workforce reductions.”

These permanent structural workforce reductions are possible because the companies are relying more heavily on data and technology than they have in the past. And guess what, they’re not going to return to a less efficient way of working if or when the price of oil goes up.     

A meaningful conversation        

Tom Olsen, the War Room’s CEO, was right about one thing, we need to talk, not about stupid things like Jane Fonda wearing a nylon jacket when she complained about the oilsands or whether North Face was wrong not to sell jackets to an oil company.

Instead, the premier should be talking about how to diversify Alberta’s economy, strengthen its educational institutions, and use its existing infrastructure and workforce to move Alberta’s economy into the 21st century.      

He should not be squawking about a kid’s cartoon or before you know it we’ll be putting taxpayer dollars into campaigns attacking Disney for wicked stepmother movies (in Cinderella her evil stepmother turns her into a scullery maid) and evil hunter movies (in Bambi a hunter called “Man” kills Bambi’s mother and sets the forest on fire).

Really, premier, it’s time to grow up.

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75 Responses to The Bigfoot Blog

  1. mikegklein says:

    Imagine the conundrum if the only way to see the newly popular “Bigfoot” was in drive-in theatres!

    • Mikegklein: we were going to watch it last Sat on zoom with a couple of friends but couldn’t get the movie to run on zoom (apparently you need a special ap) so we settled for a zoom cocktail hour instead. I can’t believe how idiotic this whole thing is.

  2. Bota28 says:

    Great commentary Susan !

    Yes, as a leader its time to grow up and lead with vision as opposed to doubling down on a cartoon….

    This fiasco is ridiculous and not helping our image throughout the country and world…

    • Bota28: I think that’s a big part of Kenney’s problem. He’s not a leader.
      In my business experience I’ve worked for three types of CEOs (1) visionary leaders who would admit they made a mistake (on the rare occasion they actually made one), (2) one trick pony leaders did the same thing over and over again and never admitted they’d made a mistake and (3) guys who were so afraid to make a mistake they just floated along until the Board of Directors got rid of them.
      The worst ones were #2. They managed to do a lot of damage before the Board of Directors figured out what was happening and got rid of them.
      Kenney is a classic example of #2.

  3. Mike Priaro says:

    Mr. Fumble Bumble … everything he touches, he botches.

  4. Neil Fleming says:

    Thanks Susan, our premier just can’t seem to let things go, I agree, rather child like.
    The oil extraction method proposed in Bigfoot of detonating a subsurface, nuclear bomb was actually considered and approved by our government in the 50’s, so the movie isn’t really that much of a stretch. I think the “war room” should be more concerned about drawing attention to what is actually happening in the tar sands, which to my mind, from an environmental perspective, is as bad if not worse than an imaginary O&G company bombing a pristine mountain valley in Alaska.

    • I agree with you Neil, but the War Room is a campaign promise, Kenney ticked it off as a “promise made/promise” kept in his 100 days report card. It’s never run properly, let alone achieved its dubious purpose.
      When I worked in the private sector we had to list our performance objectives at the beginning of the year and then had to show how we performed against those objectives at the end of the year. We would never have dreamed of putting something we’d bombed at as an example of one of our achievements, but hey, this is the UCP moving at the speed of business, right?

  5. Linda says:

    Who is displaying “cancel culture” now!

    • GoinFawr says:

      So when is Mr.Kenney’s publicly funded personal vendetta machine going to go after Daniel Day Lewis for

      “There will be Blood”?

      In it an oil man is clearly potrtayed as ruthless, even willing to disingenusously blaspheme in order to get a population to go along with his drilling on ‘their’ land…

      • carlosbeca says:

        Alleluia

        🙂 🙂 🙂

      • GoinFawr says:

        Sure, once I ‘potrtayed’ blasphemy in a sentence without being ‘disingenusous’, but I don’t recommend it.

      • GoinFawr: and then there’s JR Ewing who Wiki described as a covetous, egocentric, manipulative and amoral oil baron with psychopathic tendencies. Someone needs to sit down with Jason and explain to him that all of these guys from JR to Connor Mandrake are NOT real.
        PS we’re at our best when we’re “disingenusous” 🙂

      • Ingamarie says:

        Unfortunately, There Will Be Blood is a violent reduction of the classic novel OIL by Sinclair Lewis…..which is much better. In the novel, the oil executive is not so much ruthless as an independent producer at the beginning of the California oil boom………its the cartels that follow that are truly amoral. OIL captures the connections between Hollywood, Evangelical Christianity and the Oil industry in early 20th C California……….and tells truths about oil’s role in two world wars……..and the violence that union organizers encounter in the society as a whole. In my opinion, its a masterpiece of the old realistic fiction genre.

        By comparison, There Will be Blood is a Hollywood hatchet job……and if I remember correctly, completely leaves out Hollywood’s significant role in creating modern California Dreaming.

      • Thanks for the clarification Ingamarie. This sounds like another example of Hollywood not doing justice to a good book.
        So on a completely different topic (tangential to this one) it’s astounding how many Hollywood movies that are billed as “based on a true story” are nothing of the kind. Sadly this twists the movie goers’ understanding of history. When I lived in the US I got into a terrible argument with a co-worker when I said Canada entered WW2 years before the US did. He was convinced WW2 started in Dec 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He refused to believe it started in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland and that Canada was there from the very beginning. This was a university graduate, what does that tell you about the American educational system.

    • I love it Linda…if the anti-Bigfoot campaign shows us anything it’s that Kenney and the UCP have a very thin skin. Can you imagine Peter Lougheed pulling a stunt like this?

  6. Richard Pearlman says:

    HI Susan thanks for the great blog. I think sooner or later Premier Kenney will even realize that it is important that we diversify the economy in Alberta. How can companies consider moving to this Province when the Premier is calling out the people who made a cartoon? On the global stage the Premier embarrasses himself and all Albertans when he exhibits this infantile behaviour.

    • elle says:

      well said, Mr Pearlman.
      be well.
      Laura S

    • Mike in Edmonton says:

      “Global” is correct. the Guardian web site carried a story about the foolishness of the War Room:

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/15/canada-lobby-group-bigfoot-family-oil-and-gas

      They reported it straight, no opinions, just presenting a brief description–and leaving the reader to form his/her own views.

      I couldn’t find anything on BBC–which is just as well.

    • Richard, I echo elle’s comment. Well said!
      One thing the premier failed to consider when he lowered the corporate tax to 8% and thought that alone would have companies from the east beating down our doors is that these companies aren’t empty shells. They’re run by executives with families who think very carefully before they make a move. I worked for a company that moved all of its executives plus the next level below them down to Pittsburgh. The company worked hard to convince us and our families that Pittsburgh had good schools, good hospitals, good universities, etc and even then a lot of employees refused to make the move; they took a severance package and found new jobs. Kenney’s cuts to healthcare, education, post secondary education etc, makes it that much harder to move a company and its key employees to Alberta. If the low corporate tax rate was all that was required Rogers would move its head office here after it took over Shaw instead of leaving it in Toronto.

    • Ingamarie says:

      True enough, but Kenney is also simply the last in line of a string of conservative politicians who didn’t thing they needed a plan………or even had to consult much with the public, because fossil fuel production would go on forever, and cancerous growth would make the need for taxes, or even fair royalties, unnecessary.

      Kenney only seems crazy because the lavish party is over, Alberta littered with unclosed derelict oil wells, some leaking methane, municipalities stiffed by oil companies that apparantly have the power to just not pay their taxes, and the frack business deep in debt but determined to continue carpet bombing deep earth to pay the interest on said debt.

      The boom years made us stupid, not advantaged. And so surprise, surprise, we now have an ideologue of the far religious right at the helm…whom I do believe, 70% of us endorsed nearly two years ago.
      “Sooner or later Premier Kenney will even realize that it is important that we diversify the economy in ALberta”??? CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT IDEAS HE COMES UP WITH THERE. One big carbon capture and storage facility comes to mind. Green technologies? Not so much

      • Ingamarie: well said. I’ve noticed quite a few articles recently saying Alberta should be (could be?) a leader in clean tech, but for some reason seems to be unwilling to step up. Either the UCP doesn’t want to be seen as abandoning the oil sector or it’s too hidebound to recognize it needs to move on. Either way it isn’t spending the bucks necessary to fund innovation and retraining.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It seems the UCP can’t differentiate between fact and fiction, and because of this, and their flawed policies, Albertans are ending up paying the price. The UCP’s corporate tax cuts were an abysmal failure. There is no way to recoup the nearly $10 billion lost from this. This Bigfoot saga is another costly joke. It just makes others laugh at Alberta. As for the UCP’s record, it isn’t so great.
    https://boereport.com/2021/03/19/column-state-of-the-alberta-economy/

    • Dwayne, thanks for the links. I was particularly interested in the story about CP buying KCS. Kenney says it will allow CP to seamlessly transport AB energy to the Gulf Coast refineries improving the economics of crude by rail.
      This raises a question: Kenney lost $2.1 billion when he cancelled the Notley government’s crude by rail contracts prematurely–would the loss been less had he waited for the rail market to evolve?
      This was another campaign promise, all hat no cattle, with no real economic justification behind it.

  8. Dwayne says:

    Susan: There is this latest development. Look at who is boasting about this too, as if he had something to do with it. He had nothing to do with it. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/canadian-pacific-railway-kansas-city-southern-calgary-1.5958246
    I don’t exactly know what this will do to benefit Alberta, but the premier shouldn’t be bragging about it. It’s still interesting.

    • Keith McClary says:

      “Canadian railroad operators’ attempts to buy U.S. rail companies have met limited success because of anti-trust concerns.”
      If that happens, Kenney will have someone to blame for his failures.

      • Keith, it’s their modus operandi.
        I watched Shandro’s presser where he announced the delay of Step 3 (or whatever it is) in lifting restrictions. This was the right decision, but it was sad to see him shift the blame on to the federal government. It’s unfair to compare Canada which has no domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity (yet) to the US which does. But there you go, someone has to be at fault–even for events beyond their control.

  9. DEb says:

    Mr Kenney is a colossal embarrassment for Alberta. He and his War Room playmates are making it clear to any potential investor that Alberta is not the place to put a dime. Current residents are leaving in droves or planning to leave soon… its an unhealthy climate for progress unless you are an optimist and supporting the NDP for 2023!

    • DEb: you’ve raised a very important point. Albertans are leaving, ATB reports that from 2015 to 2020 Alberta experienced a net loss of residents, most of whom went to BC. This means the exodus started before the UCP came to power (likely because oil and gas was faltering) but I fear it has picked up speed under the UCP in response to Kenney’s inept governance. I’ll be very interested in seeing what the numbers look like after he finished his plan to undermine our healthcare and education systems.
      And yes, NDP for 2023!!!

  10. Keith McClary says:

    “creates no room for conversation.”
    The WarRoom could have a comment section where we could converse about their misleading numbers games about emissions, jobs and reclamation.

    BTW, this was a few days ago, did you take time to cool down?
    :>)

    • Keith, you made me smile. When I first saw this anti-Bigfoot campaign I thought, what do you expect, it’s from the War Room, and then Kenney doubled down on it and I kinda lost it. The man is such an embarrassment!

  11. Carl Hunt says:

    Reminded me of ‘Bertie Beaver’ the icon of the Alberta Forest Service until Bertie started plugging the undersized and poorly installed culverts that provided cheap road construction for the logging & petroleum industry in the Eastern Slopes. Bertie quietly disappeared and became a pesky rodent despised by govt and road builders.

    • Carl, what a fascinating story. Wiki says that Alberta’s Forestry Director “strongly felt Alberta should should have its own distinct image to deliver fire prevention messages to the public.” Walt Disney agreed and created Bertie in 1958. In 2018 Alberta Wildfire posted a FB entry to commemorate Bertie’s 60th birthday. I missed the whole thing.

  12. Dave says:

    I recall even back in the 1980’s one of the biggest villains on TV was an oil executive. Over the years, bankers in movies and TV are regularly bad guys and politicians do not often come across much better. I don’t see the bankers association speed dialing Hollywood to complain and most politicians, until now seem to have had better things to do with their time.

    If Kenney has lost his mind, I think it is not a recent thing, just that it is becoming more evident due to his more recent political desperation. So, the latest is this is all a Hollywood conspiracy against Alberta. Of course, this cartoon was set in a park in Alaska and nuclear weapons were planned to be used, so it is a stretch to portray this as an attack against the Alberta oilseeds. However, if it is true Kenney is losing it, then the War Room has also probably lost it some time ago. They deserve each other with their various conspiracy theories but Alberta deserves better.

    • Indeed Dave, Alberta certainly deserves better. The House is back in session, I was reading Hansard and note we continue to go around in circles. For example when Notley asked what Kenney was doing for the 240,000 plus Albertans who are unemployed he pointed to his economic recovery plan and said Alberta is having its best year ever in forestry, agriculture, venture capital investment, film and IT investment.
      This doesn’t answer the question because while it’s good news for those sectors, combined they make up less than 5% of Alberta’s GDP. What about the remaining 95%?
      Kenney has to do much better than that.

  13. Jaundiced Eye says:

    This was nothing more than a very desperate rallying cry from Boss Kenney to his base as they wander off. My question is when will Danielle Smith pop her head up and say, “Pick Me”?

  14. Carlos says:

    Two years of the War Room cost us 60 million dollars. The prize a Bigfoot cartoon movie that is going to destroy the minds of future oil workers. I wonder how much our delusional premier and his gang of God blessed walking dead is going to spend to stop the release of Avatar 2 to be released next year. We may have to travel to BC to watch it.
    I wonder what more it will take for us to be on the streets to stop our children from watching this kind of demented circus. It is cheaper to pack the 28% that continue supporting this kind of delusion and send them to a sanctuary for all the lost Conservatives in North America. Preferably located in Washington DC and with Mitch McConnell as the CEO. We can also send Erin O’Toole to teach the masses about climate change.

    • Carlos, for all of Kenney’s talk about government needing to act more like business, it’s amazing how much unbusinesslike behavior he accepts from the War Room.
      Think about how this would have played out in the private sector.
      A few people tell the War Room a cartoon is brainwashing children. The War Room’s CEO (Olsen) does not investigate whether the brainwashing allegation is true, instead he starts a media campaign against Netflix. The corporation’s directors (Savage, Schweitzer and Nixon, all cabinet ministers) don’t question the CEO’s actions, they just follow along. Jason Kenney (who in this analogy is a proxy for all Albertans) doubles down on what the CEO did, despite the fact a large number of Albertans think it’s a stupid idea.
      If this was a real corporation in the real world the shareholders would be able to sell their shares in the corporation (War Room) and buy something else more useful. But this is not a real corporation and we continue to pay, pay, pay for the stupidity of the War Room.

      • Comment says:

        The War Room doesn’t have much to do to fill its days with, so it has lots of time to scour the internet, make crap up, and focus on bigfoot and other imaginary foes. Its performance doesn’t matter because its function is purely ideological.

    • carlosbeca says:

      Yes Comment you got that so very right
      Amazing in Alberta – Canada of 2021 we are still dealing with issues of censorship and power from a corrupt failed government.
      It is sad that people continue to be determined to bully and force their will on its citizens.
      One wonders how is it possible that people born and raised in our country can somehow have the desire to take us back to the middle Ages.

      • Carlos and Comment: you two covered the War Room debacle very well. I have just one thing to add. If the War Room was successful at delivering on its mission it would have the undying support of the industry. So ask yourself this: when have you ever seen an energy executive stand shoulder to shoulder with the War Room on anything? The deafening silence from the industry speaks volumes as to the War Room’s utility as an adjunct to what the industry’s own PR and government relations people can do.
        (All of which is a round about way of saying the War Room’s value add to the industry is zip.)

  15. carlosbeca says:

    It thought Alison Redford’s record was difficult to beat – how wrong I was. Hopefully this one is impossible to forget so that the next record will be somewhere else.

    • Good reminder Carlos. The PCs lost their minds over Redford’s sky palace which would have been an one-time hit to the budget of $2.7 million and yet are perfectly fine with Kenney’s War Room, a rolling budget item of $30 million a year.
      Both of these were baubles the premier deemed were essential. And yet Redford got turfed for her silly indulgence while Kenney continues to be applauded.
      Go figure.

  16. carlosbeca says:

    If you feel that you need more scandals about the amazing governments we have in this province, get the latest edition of ‘Alberta Views’ – April 2021 titled ‘Six Revenue raising Ideas for a Government Lacking Imagination’ – it is packed with great articles and in the section ‘Eye on Alberta’ has an interesting article titled ‘Boondoggle Department’ written by Andrew Leach – associate professor of the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta.
    I am sure you will find the article quite amazing but not surprising
    This magazine is great and all progressive Albertans should support it.

  17. Mike in Edmonton says:

    I can only assume Kenney is either desperate or delusional. Cenovus and Husky are proceeding with their merger, announced last year. One result is layoffs–about 800 are expected, according to various reports out of Calgary (please search CBC web site for Cenovus merger). Bad, bad news for the pro-business anti-government premier who promised “jobs, pipelines and economy” would all grow.

    There are lots of people in Alberta, smarter and less delusional than Kenney, who are trying to point–even lead–a way forward. Here’s one example from Calgary:
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/road-ahead-calgary-alberta-oil-gas-jobs-retraining-1.5808673

    Aside from proving the War Room is utterly a waste of money, this “Bigfoot smackdown” shows an unhealthy fixation with trivia. I can’t believe Kenney et al don’t have better things to do. Oh wait–their to-do list includes slashing university funding, continuing the War on Doctors, and (presumably) gifting the oil guys with more tax breaks. In that case…Go Bigfoot!!

    • Mike in Edmonton: excellent points particularly in your last paragraph where you describe this “Bigfoot smackdown” as an unhealthy fixation with trivia. This made me wonder how we came to this state of affairs in Alberta. It’s not as if past governments didn’t focus on inconsequential issues, apparently there was quite a dust up over whether rough fescue was an appropriate symbol of the province (yes, it’s been our “official grass” since 2003), but back then the government didn’t spend millions of dollars on tiny issues and Albertans didn’t rail on about them for weeks on end.
      I’m not sure what exactly changed, but I’m sure there’s a PhD dissertation in there somewhere.

      • Mike in Edmonton says:

        Susan, I think the big change was the Old Tories knew better than to take themselves quite as seriously as Kenny and the Klowns do. After all, Kenney et al are out to save Alberta for themselves (not for us, the unwashed peons). The “official grass of Alberta” thing was just a time-waster by the Klein government to run out the clock on a Legislature session. Even the Kleinites knew it, and nobody really gave it any thought.

        Kenney, by contrast, is a Great Statesman, a mover & shaker of great deeds, a legend in his own mind. He’s out to save the world, thereby proving he deserves to run it. The evidence doesn’t support his conclusion.

  18. mikegklein says:

    This version of “leadership” is just so sad. We have other seriously bad news to contend with such as the variations in the virus.
    I think we really need to focus on efforts to brighten everyone’s day with positive things to do and look forward to. I don’t see anything coming out of the Cabinet Think Tank that might do that. The closest they’ve come is join hands in camaraderie. However, the purpose of that camaraderie seems only be to drive hopelessness and despair.
    Crikey. This is the self-proclaimed Sunshine Province?

    • Mikegklein: excellent point. For quite some time now it’s appeared to me that Kenney painted us into a corner (the economy depends on energy, period); when oil prices collapsed he had (and has) nothing to offer as an alternative. This is not visionary leadership. It’s toxic stagnation which wears us down and impairs our creativity and resilience. Those who can leave will leave. The rest will be stuck here blaming each other instead of figuring out how to improve things. This does not bode well for the future.

    • Dwayne, thanks for the link. I really like Latasha Calf Robe’s argument that evaluating proposed mines one at a time fails to take into account their cumulative effects. This makes ultimate sense. And given the news that Teck Coal just got fined $60 million in BC for releasing selenium and calcite into two BC rivers, Calf Robe’s petition comes not a moment too soon.

  19. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I can’t post more than one link at a time, but there is this.
    https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cpp-investments-to-acquire-stake-in-igua-saneamento-alongside-aimco-and-ig4-capital-802835948.html
    This is very interesting.

    • Dwayne, I tried to find more information on Igua (which is a water supply, distribution and and sanitation company), but there wasn’t much available. I always worry when I see stories about companies getting involved in water supply and distribution. It’s the age old problem of selling a public good (right to clean drinking water) to a private company driven by the profit motive. Anyway, if you have any more information on this, I’d be interested in seeing it.

  20. Keith McClary says:

    Ten Netflix titles filmed in Alberta:
    https://www.avenuecalgary.com/things-to-do/netflix-shows-movies-filmed-in-alberta/
    We don’t need no steenkin’ Netflix!

    Kenney also wants to sell our clean green democratic natural gas to China, so he blames China for Covid:
    https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/chinese-consulate-blasts-premier-jason-kenney-for-covid-19-criticism-1.4943241

    And he called Michigan’s Governor and Attorney-General “brain dead” over the state’s legal challenge on the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline.

    And advocated a trade war against the US over the cancellation of Keystone.

    • Keith, what can I say, the man is miniTrump, whatever he says on Monday doesn’t have to align with anything he says on Tuesday.
      He just announced the government has amended its tax credit program for TV and film projects by lifting the $10 million per project cap. Given how concerned he is about Netflix running shows that brainwash children one would expect him to announce that any program slated to run on Netflix is ineligible unless or until Netflix dumps Bigfoot.
      (I’m not serious, I’m just saying this to demonstrate how ridiculous this Bigfoot Smackdown (as Mike in Edmonton called it) really is.

  21. Guy says:

    This UCP government is hilarious. Hilarious I tell ya! Like modern day Keystone Kops the Kenney Klowns run around in ever-shrinking circles waving their arms wildly and bleating about some fabricated nemesis as they attempt to achieve whatever idiocy they decided was important when they woke up that morning. Periodically it seems that two or more of them collide with one another, due to the rigidity and constriction of their surroundings, causing one of them to pop into public view with an announcement, usually to the bewilderment and consternation of Albertans. Then, as often as not, that same person will reappear a few days later with a second announcement that contradicts, revises or refutes the original announcement, known in UCP terms as a clarification, having been informed by some dutiful insider of the unintended stupidity contained in the original announcement and leaving the situation incomprehensible to everyone except, presumably, the UCP.

    This pattern runs on an endless loop which, in my opinion, makes the Kenney Klowns the perfect subject of a weekly animated TV series, perhaps produced by Netflix, where viewers would be entertained by watching the hapless Klowns stumble and bumble from one misadventure to another as they attempt to drag Alberta 100 years into the past against the will of its citizens while hurling blame at all those outside of their Klown Kar for their repeated failures. It’s comedy gold, as the world outside of Alberta has already discovered, and certainly we could all use a good laugh these days. The only downside that I can see is for Albertans, who have already witnessed the dismantling of their health care and education systems and are awaiting the imminent further destruction of their environment in favour of coal mining interests as their quality of life circles the drain faster than Kenney can eat a ham sandwich. They have no choice but to watch as they say to themselves, as several respected blues men did in the past, that “I’m laughing just to keep from crying”.

    • Guy: well said (and clever to boot!). The most recent example of a UCP MLA saying something bonehead, only to reappear later to “clarify” this bonehead statement and end up saying something even more bonehead is Tyler Shandro’s open letter to doctors in which he tried to walk back his comment in the Legislature that there had been no “fight” with the doctors.
      In the letter to the AMA he said he didn’t choose his words carefully and he didn’t mean to diminish the doctors’ frustrations and concerns. He said he wanted “to leave the rhetoric behind and rebuild trust” and he fully acknowledged “how challenging this last year has been for physicians” and he wants to “move forward together.”
      What I found so disappointing was that not once did he apologize for inflaming the government’s relationship with the doctors or pitting Albertans against their doctors by repeatedly telling them Alberta doctors make 20% more than their counterparts in the rest of Canada.

      • Comment says:

        I believe a lot of this government’s ‘clarifications’ are designed to manipulate and perpetuate their narrative. And it works. Their base eats it up. I see/hear it all the time where I live.

        (Shandro related) Since I don’t trust this government and think most of their moves are politically calculated to feed and manipulate their base (and I’m a bit of a cynic), I see Shandro’s apology as a set up. Just in case doctors vote against ratifying the agreement with the AMA, this puts them in a further negative light with the UCP base. It’s like a “I’m being nice and apologizing to these doctors and yet they vote against the agreement; see how overpaid, ungrateful, and contrary they are”. UCP doesn’t need the cooperation or support of doctors (they can pass a bill to do whatever they want) – they need the cooperation and continued support of their base. That’s what everything is about.

      • Carlos says:

        I wonder sometimes if they care at all about anyone. They have a very right wing agenda to implement and that is what they are doing. The pandemic slowed them down but I think that their ultra dogmatic mind set will continue to push them all to disaster because their kind of ideology is completely bankrupt and was never acceptable anyway.

    • Mike in Edmonton says:

      Nicely put, Guy, and I tend to agree. However, I can’t help feeling Kenney & the Klowns are only hilarious in the sense that “it hurts too much if you cry”….

    • Dwayne, it’s heartening to see that notwithstanding our fossil fuel rhetoric Alberta is starting to catch up to the other provinces on getting electricity from renewables. The article says Alberta is now generating 20% of its electricity from renewables, this compares to Saskatchewan at 33% and Ontario at 33%. So we have a ways to go to catch up but at least we’re heading in the right direction.

  22. Guy says:

    Comment, that’s an interesting thought about Shandro that I hadn’t considered. I don’t believe or trust him either but, perhaps naively, I thought that the recent conciliatory noises coming from the government are in response to their tanking poll numbers and that he was attempting to lure the doctors into ratifying the agreement. I thought that a rejection would be seen by the public as yet another failure by the government as the pandemic drags on and a third wave is possibly looming. A failure in the Health portfolio at this point in time might just be the final straw that kills any support for this government except with their most fervent followers. In any case, I hope that the doctors reject the agreement since, from what I’ve read about it, it heavily favours the government and Shandro has already clearly demonstrated the worthlessness of any agreement that he is a party to anyway.

    Carlos, I recently had the same thought about the pandemic slowing down the UCP agenda and that is perhaps the the one positive thing to come out of it. I cringe when I think of the destruction that the UCP could have caused if they had carried on unchecked the way they began.

    • Guy says:

      Oops, the comment above was supposed to be a reply to the comments in the previous thread that I started but I did it wrong. Apologies.

    • Comment says:

      Guy & Carlos, I concur. I had said the same thing about Trump – the pandemic played a large part in his demise. There’s always a silver lining.

  23. Mike in Edmonton says:

    Guy and Comment both have excellent points about Tyler Shandro’s big mea-culpa moment. The skimpy details released so far about the big “doctor deal” contract do not fill me with hope for a reconciliation. The clause giving the Minister final say on the contract terms is a red-flare three-alarm warning of trouble to come.

    I have to admit, I didn’t read the news coverage of Shandro’s big apology. I simply figured he was posturing for effect. Sonya Savage made the same kind of 180-degree turn when she announced the coal policy would be reinstated–and revealed the true agenda by NOT cancelling the many exploration permits issued between cancelling the coal policy and backtracking under intense public outrage. I just took Shandro’s offer of an olive branch for a fig leaf, and dismissed it.

    In fact, the only public apology I’d take as real was Jason Kenney’s apology to Restaurants Canada, after the first Covid wave eased off. Kenney apologized for the need to close Alberta restaurants during the first wave of Covid-19. My impression of Kenney’s performance was of abject, heartfelt remorse, maybe even shame, because he made them shut the doors. Honestly, I was surprised he didn’t fall to his knees and beg forgiveness.

    What does it tell you, that the guy who’s supposed to run the province for ALL Albertans is more upset about closing restaurants than he is about good-faith negotiation with doctors and nurses?

    • Carlos says:

      Mike you are absolutely right.
      Yes he is ONLY concerned with businesses despite the fact that he has never had a real job in the private sector. Maybe a complex of inferiority.
      In any event the objective is money for the party and I suspect money under the table as well. Public jobs and non-for-profit jobs do not create millionaires.

    • Comment says:

      And he made it clear from the beginning that only private sector jobs mattered and were the ones in his mantra, ‘jobs, economy, pipeline’. Public sector jobs and public services are a necessary evil or an annoyance in this government’s eyes. That is the neo-liberal way.

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