Mr Kenney Responds to the Supreme Court of Canada

“Parliament acted within its jurisdiction.” – Supreme Court of Canada Reference re Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act

On Mar 25 Premier Kenney issued a statement followed by a press conference to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) ruling that the federal carbon tax is constitutional.

My first thought was: Did he run his comments by the lawyers?  

Apparently so, they briefed him on the decision that very morning.

My second thought was: Yikes!

Recap

Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan vehemently opposed the Fed’s carbon tax and asked the SCC whether it was constitutional.

The SCC replied: Yes, the Feds have the jurisdiction to enact the carbon tax as a matter of “national concern” under the peace, order and good government (POGG) clause of s 91 of the Constitution.

Mr Kenney reacted the way he always does when things don’t go his way. He spouted righteous indignation sprinkled with misinformation and innuendo.  

Mr Kenney

Did the Supreme Court run amok?  

Kenney said the SCC had “discovered a new federal power that erodes provincial jurisdiction and undermines our constitutional system”. He hoped this unprecedented intervention into provincial jurisdiction by the SCC is “a one-time only carbon pricing exception to the constitutional order.”  

New federal power? Exception to the constitutional order? Wow, them’s fighting words, let’s grab Alberta and hightail it outta here.  

No wait, we don’t have to do that.

What the SCC actually said was the Feds have the jurisdiction to enact this law “as a matter of national concern” under the POGG clause (see above) and that “national concern is a well-established but rarely applied doctrine of Canadian constitutional law” and its application is “strictly limited.”

So no, the SCC didn’t invent something on a whim. It did not rewrite the rules of the Constitution. The national concern doctrine has been around since 1867. The fact it’s rarely used doesn’t mean it’s new.     

Next?  

So what’s Kenney going to do?

Is he going to create a made-in-Alberta carbon tax after spending years telling Albertans the carbon tax kills jobs and punishes people for filling up their gas tanks and heating their homes?

Who knows. All Kenney would say is he’d consult with Albertans and the allied provinces Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick who fought valiantly by Alberta’s side to rid Confederation of this the latest example of federal tyranny (sorry, that was over the top, all this talk of allies puts Ms Soapbox on war footing).

But seriously, it’s not as if we didn’t see this coming. Did no one in the Kenney brain trust put their minds to what they were going to do if the SCC ruled against them?

(Maybe he couldn’t bear the thought that Rachel Notley was right).

 “Ottawa elites”

Kenney stumbled further down the east vs west rabbit hole when he insinuated the SCC would never treat Alberta as generously as it had Quebec because, based on his experience in Ottawa, it was clear to him the “Ottawa elites” were much more sensitive to provincial jurisdictional issues emerging from Quebec than those coming from the West.

Who are these shadowy “Ottawa elites”? Is he referring to the nine judges presiding over the highest court of the land? If so, does it matter that some lived in the west before they moved to Ottawa to take up their positions as SCC judges?

Perhaps he’s referring to “elites” in the Harper sense of the word. In that case would someone remind Kenney that of the nine SCC judges, 3 of the 6 who upheld the Fed’s carbon tax were Harper appointees and 2 of the 3 who dissented were Trudeau appointees.

Tilting at windmills

Kenney took a moment to put the “clever commentators” in their place. Oh sure they said he was tilting at windmills and this lawsuit was just a political ploy, but let’s not forget he won a “decisive” 4 to 1 victory at the Alberta Court of Appeal and a third of the SCC validated his position, and six provinces representing 80% of Canada’s population thought this was a good idea.

So what.

Winning at the Court of Appeal but losing at the SCC is like winning in the semi-finals and losing in the finals—you still lost the championship.

Ditto for picking up 3 out of 9 SCC judges, a minority does not a majority make.

Lastly, the fact that the six “allied” provinces represent 80% of the population is irrelevant.

What matters is how they vote. In 2019 63% of Canadians voted for parties that supported a carbon tax.   

Onward!!  

Predictably Kenney’s press release/conference bristled with “fight” and “defend” language.

He said he’s very concerned that the SCC opened the door to “the potentially unlimited exercise of federal reserve powers over areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction” and he’s not going to back down. He’ll continue to defend our jobs, our economy and our powers under the federation.

I guess that’s Kenney 2023 election slogan—jobs, economy, constitutional authority!

It will keep the lawyers employed if nothing else.

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69 Responses to Mr Kenney Responds to the Supreme Court of Canada

  1. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP is merely grandstanding, and grasping at straws here. Nothing more than that. Who are the UCP fooling anyways? In relation to the carbon tax in Canada, I’ll have to post multiple links. Here’s one.
    https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/why-is-big-oil-championing-a-carbon-tax-experts-say-its-so-companies-dont-get-blindsided

    • Dwayne thanks for the links. I found the article by Trevor Tombe particularly interesting. He said the UCP also supports a carbon tax, just in a different form and points to the tax on large emitters as an example. He also said both the NDP and the UCP programs use carbon tax revenue to subsidize green tech development and to support trade exposed sectors. Oddly enough when Kenney spouted off about how horrible the SCC decision is, this point was lost. Well, maybe not so oddly. As we all know Kenney has just one gear and it’s attack.

  2. NeilRD says:

    Thanks, Susan,
    From a Cartoon Sasquatch to the Supreme Court; from betting on a second Trump term to a war on Alberta’s physicians; from disastrous tax-breaks for his financial supporters to threatening to devastate our parks and mountains Kenney’s bellicosity has cost Albertans plenty and gained us less than nothing.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This video shows Preston Manning supporting the carbon tax.

    • Carlos says:

      Does anyone really care about what Preston Manning has to say about anything?
      He has been a very negative influence in Canadian Politics and Democracy although he claims to be a Democracy protector.
      He is Jason Kenney with a fur coat

      • Carlos: “does anyone really care about what Preston Manning has to say about anything?” No, not even Kenney and the UCP. Former political leaders are a dime a dozen.

    • Preston Manning is a strange duck. He wrote a piece in the Globe the other day calling for the provinces to amend the Constitution to make it clear that anything to do with natural resources and the environment falls within provincial jurisdiction. This is exactly what the Constitution does now. The issue the SCC were grappling with is what can be done when the provinces are incapable of acting as one to address GHGs, the detrimental impact of which cross provincial boundaries. For example if one province enacts a carbon tax and the other doesn’t, the efforts of the first province are undermined by the lack of effort of the second. Hence the need for a national backstop carbon regulation which comes into play if the provinces don’t create their own tailor made climate policies to adequately address the problem.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Well Susan that is way too complicated for Preston Manning to understand – these people are designed and built to understand slogans and that is not part of the right wing slogan

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I wish I could post multiple links in the same response, but I can’t. Here is yet another link on the carbon tax. Here, Stephen Harper was actually thanking Ed Stelmach for his carbon tax.

    Andrew Scheer has also supported a carbon tax, but he uses another term for it. Also, most of the federal judges on the Supreme Court of Canada, so happen to be Stephen Harper appointees.

    • Dwayne: it’s funny to watch Harper talk about how Alberta already has a carbon “levy”. He made a point of saying it’s a “levy” not a “price”. I’m not sure why the conservatives continue to make these distinctions. As far as the public is concerned it’s all a “tax”. Kenney adopts this kind of slippery language as well. He says he’s not raising taxes on ordinary Albertans but the “fees” on using public services, including parks, have gone up and the added revenue from those “fees” goes straight into the government’s coffers to fund the government’s agenda. Kinda like a “tax”, right?

      • carlosbeca says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂

        Again too complex to understand and they love these spins so much
        He is now going to revert to the carbon tax Rachel created and call it a Carbon Levy

      • Comment says:

        Kenney is also downloading major costs onto municipalities. Municipalities will have no choice but to increase taxes and/or cut services. But, you see who is to blame? Not Kenney, of course. Slippery indeed.

  5. it’s just all so sad. Simplistic hyperpartisanship serves no one well. Moving on to deal with current, immediate past and future issues does not seem to be in the sights of simplistic hyperpartisanship. Perhaps someone even within the UCP can exercise a vision of meaningful service to folks living in Alberta?

    • Oh Michael, I’m 100% with you on this one. Hyperpartisanship gets us stuck, we use yesterday’s thinking to fight yesterday’s battles. Not very helpful when we’re coming off a pandemic and trying to reposition our public services so we can transition our economy to make it relevant in the 21st century.

  6. Keith McClary says:

    “Like winning in the semi-finals” or “Like winning a participation ribbon”?

    Perhaps he can borrow Erin O’Toole’s imaginary climate plan, since the federal cons cannot imagine it.

    • Keith, I get a kick out of watching Erin O’Toole go on about how the Conservatives would repeal the Federal carbon tax and replace it with … (crickets). Trevor Tombe says climate policy falls into three broad categories (1) carbon pricing, this includes levies and cap and trade, (2) rules and regulations (anathema to the “anti red tape” brigade and (3) subsidies for tech development and energy efficiency programs (something Kenney trashes off and on when it suits him). So what’s it going to be? Seems to me his only choice is cap and trade, I don’t know how effective that is or whether O’Toole is comfortable messing with the market place, but who knows maybe he’ll pull a rabbit out of a hat (she said with a chortle).

  7. Comment says:

    This highly savvy, pompous politician admitted he didn’t have a Plan B? Sounds fishy. I think the posturing was the goal and they probably knew this was a losing proposition to begin with.

    And then he did what he always does – repeat a simple, easy catchphrase for his base to remember (this time ‘Ottawa Elites’) and blame it all on the Feds/Trudeau/Notley/tax happy Socialists/SCC/etc. This perpetuates the victim narrative and keeps the UCP voting base ticked off. It’s a play out of the populist playbook. As long as he has the support of the base, he retains power and can continue with his agenda.

    He is starting to play with fire though.

    • Comment: you nailed it when you said he’s playing with fire. There’s been an uptick in telephone calls from pollsters. What’s interesting is they ask questions like (1) do you think the UCP will be re-elected in 2023 and (2) do you think Jason Kenney is the right leader to take the UCP into the next election. You almost want to say “yes” and “yes” just to keep the albatross firmly tied around the neck of the party so it will self destruct in 2023.

  8. Mike Priaro says:

    Kenney is a career professional politician. He is no one that I would refer to as a leader. Peter Lougheed was a leader in every sense of the word.

    • Mike Priaro, you’re absolutely right. Kenney’s lack of understanding of how the private sector works is astounding. Clearly the man has not spent a day in his life working anywhere other than the CTF and in politics. I’m not saying you have to be a businessman to be an effective politician but surely you can surround yourself with people who understand businesses are driven by profit and handing corporations a tax cut and then begging them to keep their workforces intact when they merge and downsize is pointless.

  9. jerrymacgp says:

    “… of the nine SCC judges, 3 of the 6 who upheld the Fed’s carbon tax were Harper appointees and 2 of the 3 who dissented were Trudeau appointees.”

    One encouraging fact in this is the relative lack of politicization on our Supreme Court, far different from what we observe south of the border. I’d be interested in reading a legal scholar’s analysis of this difference between the two countries’ highest courts. The mandate of the US Supreme Court is largely to interpret the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights — i.e. its first 10 amendments. The mandate of the Supreme Court of Canada has evolved since the Charter in 1982 to more closely parallel that of its American counterpart, but there is a stark difference between the two in terms of politicization. (And, yes, I know that this decision wasn’t Charter-related, but more about the initial constitutional division of powers in Confederation).

    Thoughts?

    • Jerrymacgp: I’ll try to dig up some scholarly articles on this topic. It’s interested me for a long time too. You’re right that the SCC has evolved its thinking with respect to the Constitution (which includes the Charter). Justice Wagner in this decision acknowledged that in the past the SCC tended to stick to an air tight separation of powers between the feds and the provinces but over the years moved to a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution which allows for federal/provincial overlap. It’s a classic Canadian position, maximum flexibility, which of course also creates a certain level of ambiguity. But hey, we’re Canadian, we can figure this out.

  10. Dave says:

    It is funny to watch Kenney twist himself in knots over this Supreme Court ruling. First of all, lets call this what it is – a self created problem. It was Alberta and other Provinces that challenged the Federal carbon levy. This might have seemed expedient at some point in time to score short term political points, but in the end reality can catch catch up with such things.

    I wonder if the departure of Kenney’s COVID vacationing aide is effecting the quality of his communications and strategy. To admit there is no Plan B does not portray an image of competence or intelligence. While courts are not always predictable, most people expected this ruling from the beginning.

    This all does leave Kenney in a difficult spot. Admit defeat and try to move on, try to Impose a carbon levy Provincially that will meet the minimum Federal criteria – none of this will go over well with the UCP base or even some voters beyond that. Leaving the Federal government to continue to collect the levy while grumbling also appears weak and ineffectual. Perhaps his only hope is that somehow the Federal Conservatives will get elected and get rid of the carbon levy for him, but the problem there is it remains fairly politically popular outside of Alberta. I doubt the Federal Conservatives will want to campaign too strongly on repealing it.

    • carlosbeca says:

      I could not agree more Dave.
      First Erin O’Toole will not win the election if he does not have a credible climate change plan. Those days are gone and only conservatives continue to believe this is a socialist coup to get our taxes.
      Second the fact that he believed he was going to win just shows how out of reality this man is and never mind admitting he had no plan B. He is going to end up reversing Rachel Notley’s carbon tax and call it Harper’s Carbon tax and all his supporters will bow down and praise the lord.

      • Carlos and Comment: this is an interesting conversation—the question of how Erin O’Toole and Jason Kenney will win without a credible climate change plan. I suspect they will say Trudeau, with the help of the “Ottawa elites” (SCC), foisted this plan on the hapless population and they’ll address it as best they can by putting in place a climate plan that will create the least amount of pain possible. Sadly this turns the issue on its head. Paying for the externalities caused by GHG emissions is the price we pay for fossil based energy. It’s not a burden, it’s what a responsible Canadian should do.

    • Comment says:

      “To admit there is no Plan B does not portray an image of competence or intelligence.”

      Exactly. But…Kenney is pompous and arrogant and rarely admits wrongdoing or being less than (unless it’s with a smirk and a wink or transparently obvious that it’s a bone to make an issue go away fast)…so why would he openly admit he had no Plan B? I am always suspicious of this guy, so I don’t trust this. What is the angle then? As I said in another comment, I think it’s to perpetuate the downtrodden AB story and keep the flames of anger fanned. Populism 101.

      Carlos, you make an excellent point: reverse Notley’s carbon tax and take credit for it. Where I live, the carbon tax was, and still is, an incredible sore spot. The fact that Kenney campaigned on scrapping it was a shoe-in for a UCP win. This would allow him to have his cake and eat it, too.

    • Dave, you’re right, this is another in Kenney’s string of self inflicted wounds. But unlike the coal policy or his fight with the doctors he can’t walk this back. The SCC decision says its ruling that the Feds have the jurisdiction to create a backstop minimum carbon price is now a PERMANENT feature in our jurisprudence. There’s a lot of discussion around the general principles applying to the “national concern” doctrine and what’s necessary for the SCC to rule in the Fed’s favour. The SCC created a blueprint (at least with respect to the Fed’s climate policies) which might hamstring Kenney and the other provincial conservative leaders as they try to come up with their own carbon pricing/climate change policies.
      It will be complicated and knowing Kenney it will be costly every step of the way.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      Another point in the carbon tax debate is that Canada made a commitment on the international stage to work towards reducing our carbon emissions. Do we really want to allow sub-national governments to torpedo our foreign relations by kiboshing those kinds of commitments?

      While I’m on the topic, the provinces jealously guard their jurisdiction over such things as health care & K-12 education. Why doesn’t the federal government similarly guard its exclusive jurisdiction over foreign affairs, and shut down all the provinces’ international offices? Is there a California or Montana pseudo-embassy in Ottawa, Toronto or Vancouver? Of course not. So why does Alberta have offices in Washington, London or Tokyo?

  11. Yet so many Albertans will eat up his words and deem them to be gospel truth. Kenny is painting the us/them picture once again where, of course, Alberta is the victim of the evil feds. Ugh! There has to be balance between doing what’s best for the economy and doing what’s best for sustained life on this planet.

    • carlosbeca says:

      ‘There has to be balance between doing what’s best for the economy and doing what’s best for sustained life on this planet.’

      Carol you are right but I think that unfortunately we are passed to try this balance because the fact is that there is no economy without life on the planet so it is really not that difficult to see where we need to go.
      Deep ecologists have been saying this for at least 40 years

    • Carol: Exactly! Although I’m beginning to think Carlos’ has a good point. What’s best the planet is what will ultimately be best for the economy.

  12. carlosbeca says:

    Another defeat for Jason Kenney and of course another joke.
    They try hard but gets worse by the say.
    He thought he was going to win? He may have consulted Preston Manning.
    Even my dog Fin knew he had no chance to win this case. One just has to look at the Canadian Supreme Court to know that it is one of the only Institutions people still have some respect for and where some common sense prevails.
    Harper tried hard to make it as similar as possible to the American version so that he could manipulate it but due to some chance and some resistance, he did not have time to screw it really bad and get his ideas to make it another evangelical circus.
    It is starting to look that this pseudo-populist era of Trumps, Jason Kenneys and Fords is starting to move into the past and hopefully some real politics take root in Canada.
    Is there anyone not done with this cascade of bad fact less ideology and no-name political brand of irresponsibility and dishonesty?

    • Carlos, I read an interview with one of the lawyers who used to work in the Harper government’s Justice Department. Harper would push through legislation even if it only had a 5% chance of withstanding a court challenge. I suspect Kenney approached his legal challenge the same way. First, he was elected on the promise to kill the carbon tax and second, if by some fluke he won, he’d be a hero to his supporters.
      Remember that Maclean’s cover with the 4 conservative premiers and Andrew Scheer standing steadfast as “The Resistance”…I wonder what we could call them now? “The Losers”?

      • carlosbeca says:

        Well Susan I have news for you
        I got yesterday a copy of that Maclean’s front page and it was not ‘The Losers’
        It was a word that starts with an F
        So there you have it – people did not forget that front page

  13. Mike in Edmonton says:

    Yep, that’s Cons for you. Jason was in fine form–claim defeat is victory, minority support is a majority, and that knockout punch really meant, “He never laid a glove on me!” Then our course there’s riling up the base by singing “Poor Pitiful Me” again (Terry Clarke and Linda Ronstadt both do it better). Make ’em scared, make ’em mad, start the pity party, and tell ’em it’s Someone Else’s Fault–then promise to save ’em.

    Strong-man tactics work better if a strong man uses them. Kenney’s dismal performance in the big chair shows me he’s no leader. He seems much better suited to be Number Two, with a strong man to give him orders. On his own, he flails around with little sense of purpose or direction. His knee-jerk reaction to criticism (any credible opposition, really) is to take a wild swing and hope it connects. That didn’t work for Kenney’s mentor, either. Remember when Stephen Harper very publicly complained that Justice Beverly McLachlin was too “activist”? That didn’t end well….

    But “counterattack” is Jason Kenney’s only tactic. Even if there’s no actual enemy, he’ll find one–or invent one. Anything to keep “the Base” mad, or scared, or both. The strong man says, “I’ll save you (from everyone but me).” Today the question is, who’s gonna save us from Jason?

    • Carlos says:

      You have any doubts Mike ?
      Bigfoot will save us from Jason.
      🙂 🙂
      This guy is so ignorant and marches on bullying everything and everyone having no idea what exactly is going on. Like you say, just fight back no matter what, we have to defeat the enemy that does not exist other than his absolutely distorted mind.

    • Guy says:

      Very well said Mike. We obviously have similar opinions of our hapless, um… leader?

      • Mike in Edmonton says:

        Guy and Carlos, thank you both. Carlos, for the LOL moment (“Bigfoot for Alberta Premier! Can’t stand Green? Try Hairy!”). Guy, thanks for the support. Now we just have to convince roughly 2.5 million OTHER Albertans….

      • Carlos, Guy and Mike: so how do we swing Kenney’s voters?
        I have a friend, a PhD psychologist, who studies dogmatism. She says one way to see whether someone is so dogmatic that they’ll never stop voting blue is to ask them: Is there anything the Conservatives could do that would make you NOT vote for them. I’m seeing a lot of posts on social media where Albertans who’ve voted Conservative for decades have said, that’s it. I am voting for the NDP.
        So there’s hope.

      • Comment says:

        Interesting! I’m going to try this.

      • Guy says:

        Susan, I think in order to sway voters you have to understand why they vote the way that they do. I don’t pretend to understand why Alberta seems to be so blindly devoted to Conservative governments but I can think of a couple of possible reasons. The first is that it is some weird hangover from the days of the National Energy Program in the early 80’s. It seems as though many people have been unable to let go of the anger and resentment from that period and they keep it alive and pass it on. Surely it must be possible to explain that the world has changed significantly in the last 40 years and that the ability to adapt to a changing environment is a key element of survival. Look at the world as it is today and not as it was. The second thing that I can think of is that, since the prosperous years in Alberta were under Conservative governments, that some people believe that,only Conservatives have the ability to bring about that prosperity. When you see how quickly our provincial economy collapsed with falling oil prices and if you can understand how precarious our finances really are it should be obvious that past governments deserve more blame than credit and that a new approach is necessary.

        In the lead-up to last year’s US Presidential election I saw a number of news stories where Trump supporters were asked the exact question that your friend proposed. As I recall, the answers were all pretty much “No. He’s my guy. He’s got my vote.” I believe when you get to this stage you’re done. There is no argument that you can offer a person who is either unwilling or unable to think critically that will get them to change their mind. While I think there are undoubtedly some people who think this way in Alberta I remain hopeful that there are many more who are able to recognize that the current government is causing great harm on many fronts and they will change their vote accordingly in the next election to put and end to the destruction.

        I realize that I may have given the impression in some of my posts that I’m a staunch NDP supporter but that isn’t the case. I think that politics in Alberta today is essentially a two-horse race and the horse that we’re currently riding pulled up lame a long time ago. I see the NDP as the only viable option that we have if we don’t want a government that’s totally bat(poop) crazy.

  14. Rob Ballantyne says:

    You didn’t think Kenney was going to campaign against Notley did you? Hell no, it will be another major whine against Trudeau – who I hope will develop a majority spine come the next election. Playing the whipping boy only helps Kenney.

    • Rob: I’ve noticed a lot of that lately, a politician running for office at one level of government will campaign against a politician at another level of government. I’m seeing it in spades in our municipal election. Some candidates are busy attacking Kenney (which is fine but doesn’t get us anywhere), when they should be laying out their municipal policies and explaining why their vision for Calgary is better than the other candidates’ visions.
      It’s an effective shortcut, right: I don’t like Kenney, you don’t like Kenney, therefore I’ll vote for you, no questions asked.

  15. Guy says:

    I’m beginning to think of Jason Kenney as being a defective version of The Little Engine That Could. I can only imagine his thought process goes something like this:
    “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…build a pipeline to Texas.” (Waits) “Whaaaat! How could that American President cancel the permit? Justin Trudeau must have told him to do it. I will blame him. Too bad about that $1.5B though. I have other friends who could have used it. Not like it was my money in the first place but still, it rankles.”

    Undeterred and being the staunch defender that he is of us poor, persecuted, downtrodden Albertans he lurches onward:
    “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…get the Federal Carbon Tax revoked.” (Waits) “Noooooo! How could the Supreme Court vote this way? All they had to do was to ask Erin O’Toole, or any federal Conservative for that matter, and they would have learned that climate change isn’t real and that this tax is totally unnecessary. Obviously the whole world has gone mad except for me and a few of my friends in Saskatchewan and Ontario. I am sad now. I will go to the Sky Palace and sulk.”

    So I have to ask the question: Is a person who is incapable of accepting any fact that conflicts with their ideology and is unable to make thoughtful, prudent decisions in a complex and rapidly evolving world fit to be a leader of, well, anything, much less a province of Canada?

    I vote No.

    • Carlos says:

      You got that so right Guy
      Someone opened the door at the Alberta Hospital by accident and we got the worst psychos out and now we have to wait until someone diagnoses them again.
      This is beyond comprehension and I wished we the citizens and the so called people and consumers could use the ‘Not Withstanding clause’ to get rid of this outrageous incompetence.
      Rachel Notley is looking more like a second version of Einstein by the day.

      • Comment says:

        Notley is also trustworthy. She may not have gotten everything right, but she was not underhanded.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Comment I agree especially considering that they had no experience at all in government, they did very well. What I loved about Rachel Notley’s government was especially the stability, no scandals at all, no attacks on anyone and above all a pretty good show of competence. I was concerned with the fact that they were inexperienced but looking at what is happening now they were all excellent to say the least. I was sure that their second term would have been much better.

        It seems that most Albertans prefer bullying, blaming half the planet for our incompetence, creating the worse atmosphere possible with everyone else, giving away our money to corporate interests and dumping millions and even billions on lost causes, insulting teachers and doctors and whatever else in order to get back their dream slogan ‘Alberta Advantage’. Nothing else matters. Just delusion is what they want.

        There is no doubt in my mind that as an Alberta citizen for decades, I underestimated the lack of political, social and educational in general terms of people in this province. We do have a high level of technical education but in social/political terms is is my opinion that we are worse than most places I know of the same standards of living we have. We elected mediocrity to manage the future of our children and grandchildren in pursuit of more and more without realizing that we in fact have less and less. We will leave them the bills of this disgrace forced on us by this neo-conservative disease.

        This Oil business was definitely something that helped the province to come of age but it was all an enormous management failure and in the end I believe this is going to be a burden for all of us. Socially we became greedy and exploitative and entitled and totally uninterested in our communities and the well being of the province in general and one just has to look deeply into Fort McMurray culture to see the delusional make belief world people created and thought everyone else had the same. I have followed the development of the oil industry and worked in a couple of plants in the construction phase since 1981 and I can say clearly that it has been a financial disaster for Albertans and probably the greatest sting by oil companies at least in the industrialized world. For the last 30 years I am sure that the same amount of money Norway got from their oil around 1.3 trillion dollars is sitting somewhere in the accounts of many oil companies as a gift from Alberta taxpayers. In the meantime this government is now cutting money everywhere and especially another 130 million from the University of Alberta. Let us create more dropouts and create more young people as a copy cat of this Jason Kenney who I am sure would be a more idiotic creature to be included in the Bigfoot cartoon.

        Anyway I get very sad about this Alberta story and I will leave it there.
        We need to grow up and see beyond greed, boats, big houses and start thinking about the health of our province and our people and what a great sustainable future we could all have instead of this horrendous display of ignorance.
        There is more than enough to go around in this province if we are smart enough not to ship everything we have to bank accounts in the Bahamas.

      • Guy says:

        Carlosbeca, I believe that many Albertans were seduced by Kenney’s promise that he could return the province to prosperity by creating another oil boom. The attraction of large paycheques and abundant material things is strong for most people and a tough addiction to break for those who had become used to them. I can only hope that many of those people now realize that this is not going to happen and that we need to find a different way forward. After decades of mismanagement Alberta is now faced with enormous debt, a depleted Heritage Trust Fund and more orphan wells than we can possibly afford to clean up so more of the same is not going to help us. Unfortunately, the closest thing that we have to a plan out of this mess seems to be endless corporate tax cuts and spending $30M per year on the laughable War-On-Reality Room.

        I too thought that the NDP government did some good things when they were in power and would welcome their return. With the political bar now laying on the ground I have no doubt that Ms. Notley and her team could effortlessly step over it and begin to improve life for the citizens of Alberta.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Guy
        Being seduced by an idiot like this just clearly proves that what I said is true about us in general. We need to think with our brains and develop our critical thinking and analyze what we are doing. It is our responsibility as citizens to take care of our province and its citizens and not just expect tequilas in Mexico and other beaches and tourist resorts around the world all the time as if the world owes us that kind of life.

        Expecting that our governments bought by corporate interests will resolve our issues and help us thrive is as naïve as it is possible to imagine.
        Unfortunately I think we do that because it is all so convenient and easy.
        Let them take the oil and lets party.
        The results are obvious. The teenager years are over and the cuts and bruises are dep indeed.
        We not only have to pay for what you mentioned but also the tailing ponds that will be in our future for decades to come if not forever.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Just forgot to say – Imagine within 2 generations what they will think about us?
        History does not go away and this period of Alberta history will be bad unless of course people like Lagrange will make it as nice as what the UCP would like to say about Residential Schools.

      • Comment says:

        Carlos and Guy, you’ve both hit the nail on the head.

        Oil jobs were lost, the money dried up, people blamed Notley for this, Kenney sold them a tall tale, UCP won. Instead of looking objectively at the facts and the mostly successful and completely honourable performance of Notley, the lure of returning to pre-2015 jobs and easy money was too much to resist. And no carbon tax! In addition, people in my area (I’ve lived here all my life) are still bitter about Pierre Trudeau and that attitude is passed on. What’s also passed on is a blind allegiance to voting conservative. Period. It doesn’t matter what people do for a living. It doesn’t matter what the premier does (good or bad). Electing anyone other than a conservative isn’t happening. So, the hope lies in other ridings around the province.

        In a way, it may be a blessing in disguise that Notley was not elected the last round. Can you imagine how she would have been raked through the coals and blamed during covid? That would have sealed her fate for sure. This way, Kenney is doing a good job of hanging himself and indirectly making sure more and more people clearly understand the good old oil days are never returning (and our economy must evolve). It could also squeeze him into bringing in a sales tax in this province. These are things Notley would have paid dearly for. Covid played a large hand in Trump’s demise – it can happen here, too.

      • Carlos says:

        Comment
        I do agree with what you saying in your comment. It is absolutely correct and sometimes that is the way things have to evolve in this mysterious life we are all living together.
        I also want to say that although it might seem that way I am not blindly behind the NDP.
        To me it is definitely the best choice at this moment but I do not believe the NDP and Rachel Notley for that matter are social democrats. They are social liberals and that is pushing it. Not that I am interested in social democracy these days because they have been neo liberalized even in places where they use to be very strong like Sweden.
        The whole political system is too far to the right including social democracy.

      • Carlos, Guy, Comment, this was a very instructive thread. Thanks.
        PS I agree with the position that while Notley may not have gotten everything right she is smart, empathetic and trustworthy. She deserves another chance.

      • Comment says:

        Susan – thanks for the venue and the intelligent and thoughtful blogs.

    • Guy, I vote NO too. Not only is Kenney’s tactic ineffective, he’s wrecking our reputation here at home and abroad.

  16. Carlos says:

    This is a reply to Comment about taxes but Word press has its habits and I cannot post it as a reply or a comment to Comment

    Comment
    Taxes are always a sore point everywhere and the issue is that governments are pretty bad on communicating about their need if we want a civilized society.

    Now in my view both sides are bad communicators and the reason I think is because they do not have a clear picture of what they are doing with our money.
    In an era of amazing computing muscle the only reason we cannot do a better job is because we lack discipline. Any politician that could present a clear picture of why we are spending the amount of money we are in for example education would not be rejected by the citizens. Once we know where the money is going we just do not have the same appetite to complain about it especially when the money is well administered.
    The problem is that I do not think we have that clear picture.

    Albertans are pretty bad complainers because they believe in miracles. Most Albertans support the social programs we have but when it comes to taxes to pay for these services we are ready to blame government for spending too much money.

    There is a simple way to get this issue resolved. For example, Jason Kenney wants to cut 10 billion from public services. Sure you just have to announce you are are terminating public education. Because one cannot seriously cut that amount without taking way a substantial program like Education or Health Care. Of course Jason Kenney would never promise this because he would not be elected and having power is way more important than whatever is that he or the citizens believe. His objective is to get in so that in a good neo-liberal fashion he starts selling what we built in the commons. This is not just unique to Alberta of course. We just learned that our liberal government is in a deal with some multinational to make vaccines in Canada but again we put up half the investment but we do not own anything. Typical of the robbery going around the world. We build with public money and the companies take over. Very nice indeed. Very smart of course when politicians in many cases are getting money under the table to allow this to happen. In Canada we have some rules that protect us a tiny bit but in the developing world this kind of robbery is horrendous. One just have to look at what happened in Greece and to see it at horror scale just read what happened in Russia after communism fell.

    The problem is that Albertans vote these people in because they are really convinced that we have an excess spending of 10 billion in our budget. The excuse that the UCPers always use is that government is bad and we pay them too much.
    I just have one thought – let them privatize these services and you will see how much you are going to pay in the so called FEES. Think twice before you vote next time

    • Comment says:

      Exactly, Carlos. Taxes pay for services [the current grade 6 social studies curriculum teaches this very thing]. Public services require public funds. For too long, Alberta has had the luxury of services paid for by oil. Even the ‘exorbitant’ wages of public sector workers are because they were tied to the average weekly earning index which was inflated by oil wages. This perpetuates the AB Advantage myth – the one Kenney uses for his gain. People fall for it. I agree with you – privatization of services will end in a ‘be careful what you wish for’ situation.

  17. Dwayne says:

    Susan: It keeps getting stranger with the UCP. Here’s another example.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-environmental-secretariat-job-posting-kenney-1.5967973

  18. carlosbeca says:

    Here is the abysmal hypocrisy of our politicians – poor Bryan Mulroney was ignored
    Well Mulroney was ignoring something even more important
    The residential schools were still operating in Canada during his era – talk about apartheid except we are blind to our own

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/03/30/former-pm-mulroneys-anti-apartheid-achievements-were-ignored-in-the-crown-episode.html

  19. carlosbeca says:

    Oh dear Bigfoot Kenney is going to be on the radio today to scold us about covid-19 and Easter.
    A man that goes to meetings without a mask and is aware of his caucus flying abroad in the middle of a pandemic that he calls the flu is going to tell the rest of us how badly we are behaving that the third wave is in full swing.
    Jason Kenney you better stay home rather than embarrassing us again, your school curriculum with your famous grandfather jazz player is enough for us this week.

  20. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Look at how the UCP keep throwing our money away, a.k.a, gambling with it. This is a large sum of money for a grant to the petrochemical industry.
    https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/oil-gas/inter-pipeline-gets-325-mln-grant-from-alberta-for-petchem-plant-3

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