A Man of Half-Measures

“The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”—Winston Churchill.     

Lives and…

When he’s not on the front line fighting covid, Dr Joe Vipond is busy analyzing the data and providing information to help Albertans understand what’s happening to them and their province.  

Dr Vipond’s most recent analysis (posted on Twitter on Saturday Apr 17) states that Kenny’s restrictions are slightly bending the curve, but we are still experiencing exponential growth. Our positivity rate is much too high, we’re missing many community cases, and variants now make up 64.2% of the cases.

Dr Vipond concludes Alberta is heading towards an Ontario-style health care disaster—Premier Ford is so concerned Ontario’s healthcare system will be overwhelmed that he’s asked Alberta and other provinces to send healthcare professionals to help.

Leaving aside the question of whether the government has the power to ship healthcare workers to another province, let alone whether they would be willing to go, Kenney responded that Alberta’s healthcare workers were not going anywhere, they were needed here.

Mr Ford and Mr Kenney

No kidding.

We are staring into the abyss and Ontario is staring back at us.


Kenney refuses to implement tougher restrictions. He believes half-measures will protect lives.

At first Ms Soapbox thought this was because Kenney’s real priority is protecting livelihoods. It turns out that’s not entirely the case.  

On Apr 6 when Kenney announced the province was returning to Step 1 restrictions (no indoor dining, restrictions on indoor gyms and retail outlets), he promised additional help for small and medium business owners. These businesses make up more than 99% of all businesses in the province and account for nearly 55% of all employment.  

All in all, the government will provide $751 million in aid.  

This sounds like a lot of money but it pales in comparison to the almost $2 billion Kenney gave to just two companies—$1.5 billion to TC Energy for a pipeline that will never be built and $408 million to Inter Pipeline Ltd for…well, who knows.   

TC Energy

As we all know, when President Biden revoked TC Energy’s permit for KXL, the pipeline went belly up.

In its Annual Report TC Energy says it was “disappointed” the permit had been revoked but its growth platform “remains very strong” and its core businesses and prospects have never been stronger. TC Energy outperformed in 2020 with record earnings and bumped its quarterly dividend up by 7.4%. Its CEO, Russ Girling, received more than $13 million for a job well done.

Alberta’s $1.5 billion is gone…and TC Energy has moved on.

Inter Pipeline Ltd

The Inter Pipeline story is even more unsettling.  

The day before Kenney promised additional financial aid to small and medium businesses, he announced a $408 million grant to Inter Pipeline to support the Heartland Petrochemical Project under a government program designed to attract investment in petrochemical projects. The grant is twice as big as the one the NDP were prepared to provide.   

What’s odd about the $408 million grant is Inter Pipeline’s project is very attractive to investors and is not in financial distress. The company’s CEO describes business as “fantastic” and “extremely profitable.”

Inter Pipeline is, however, fighting off a hostile takeover bid from Brookfield Infrastructure. The only issue Inter Pipeline has with Brookfield’s bid is it’s not high enough. Brookfield says it would consider raising its bid, meanwhile Inter Pipeline expects better bids to come along.

Unlike many of Alberta’s small and medium businesses, neither TC Energy nor Inter Pipeline are suffering as a result of covid or the economic downturn and neither is on the verge of collapse.  

A time for consequences

The question Albertans should be asking themselves is this: why is Kenney throwing billions of dollars at two multi-billion dollar companies when that money would be better spent creating a safety net for small and medium businesses or better yet, protecting the health of Albertans struggling to stay alive in the covid crisis.  

The era of half-measures and baffling expedients is over. The era of consequences has arrived.   

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78 Responses to A Man of Half-Measures

  1. I know I should be shocked. Sadly, I am not. Two more years of the UCP and I am dreading what the province will look like by the time the next provincial election rolls around. Unfortunately it will be the so-called “little” people, the taxpayers who will pay the consequences, not the present so-called “leader” or his henchmen.

    • I agree Carol. What we have to do between now and 2023 is fight the UCP’s odious policies with everything we’ve got. If nothing else it will slow them down and hopefully minimize some of the damage.

      • I do agree with that but I am troubled by the toll this pandemic is having on the hearts and souls of our people. It takes energy to fight and the constant onslaught of bad news coupled with UCP policies that do not serve the people is overwhelming. I am so tired, and I am sure I am not alone. It helps to be informed, so I am grateful for your blog. It shines a light on what we need to know and what we need to fight. For that I thank you.

      • Carol and Carlos: I hear you. Some days it feels like it’s too much. I saw something posted on Twitter back in the days when Trump was making everybody crazy: it said we need to keep fighting, but we also need to know when it’s time to take a break. To slow down, tune out, renew ourselves so we can return to the battle. It’s an important lesson.

      • Agreed! Thanks, Susan.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Carol you are definitely not alone in the feeling you describe.
        I have this feeling that I live in a province where the government thinks and acts as if we citizens are a burden. We deserve to be punished and make to struggle.
        Nothing coming out of this government is positive or uplifting never mind the lies and deceit.
        You are not alone believe me. I feel very tired of all of what is going on and my passion for political/social issues does not help at all.

  2. Bota28 says:

    Great article Susan..

    Yes, the era of consequences has arrived for Mr Kenney and his crowd however between now and 2023, many will lose their lives and their businesses due to his incompetence and inaction with COVID.

    As you note instead of spending money and vision on creating a safety net for small and medium businesses and protecting the health of Albertans who are struggling, he has chosen to focus on big Oil & forgot Albertans.

    Don’t worry Albertans will have their vengeance in 2023 and if anything, his lack of leadership and vision and regard for the people & environment of Alberta has made people sit up and pay attention. Our history books will not be kind to Mr Kenney and his demolition crew. Karma does come around…

    • Bota28: I’ve been thinking a lot about karma lately. I believe what we’re experiencing now is Kenney’s karma coming back to haunt him. I’m sure he expected to sail into Alberta and transform it into the new conservative society of his dreams: happy corporations, low taxes, everything that could be privatized would be privatized, and a trickle down economy humming on all cylinders. Instead he’s got this. Trudeau is polling higher than he is and O’Toole has introduced a carbon tax (of sorts). Welcome to karma.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP are a dismal failure with the covid matter in Alberta, and so is Doug Ford in Ontario. Alberta has top place in the country for the per capita number of individuals with covid. Ontario isn’t doing so well either. This is due to the respective (they don’t deserve respect) provincial governments in Alberta and in Ontario. I know people want both governments gone. As for the UCP squandering money on the oil and petrochemical industries in Alberta, they are following in the footsteps of the Alberta PCs, with the exception of their government that was run by Peter Lougheed, who did have oil industry experience, when he wasn’t a politician. Peter Lougheed knew that oil booms will not always be there. What about the $6 billion in loan guarantees on the KXL pipeline? This is what the Alberta PCs did, and it wasn’t good.
    There are Albertans who choose to forget about these things. The federal Liberals were involved with Bombardier, which was pegged at $1 billion. Again, Albertans are upset about this.

    • Thanks Dwayne: Your point about the $6 billion loan guarantee is a good one. Compare Kenney’s gift to TC Energy with Trudeau’s covid loan to Air Canada.
      Kenney gave TC Energy $1.5 B in equity and up to $6 B in loan guarantee.
      Trudeau loaned (not gave) $5.4B to Air Canada and bought an equity stake for $500 M (one-third of what Kenney forked over). Kenney got absolutely nothing in return from TC Energy. Trudeau got Air Canada to refund customers for their cancelled trips, restore suspended regional routes, cap corporate executive compensation at $1M, suspend share bay backs, suspend dividends, keep the current workforce (almost 15,000 people), respect collective agreements and protect pensions.
      Trudeau knows how to drive a hard bargain. Kenney? Not so much.
      And they say progressives can’t manage money. Hah!

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This revelation is very shocking, but it shouldn’t be surprising.
    Just think how Alberta would be right now, if we had this kind of money.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is another very costly matter which Albertans cannot afford to pay for.
    When Peter Lougheed ceased to be premier of Alberta, the Conservatives started going bad. So much money was wasted on a variety of things. This isn’t good in any way.

    • Caron says:

      Dwayne: I suspect both numbers cited in the articles you linked to are understatements. Norway, with about 40% of Alberta’s annual fossil production has a heritage fund of over one trillion dollars US. Most of Norway’s oil comes from the bottom of the North Sea, while most of Alberta’s comes from stealing private farm and ranch land. 100% of the Royalties Alberta collects stay with the Provincial Government. Norway maintains a cradle to grave welfare state and a sophisticated military.

      Alberta’s government has been captured by the oil companies and they were given the impunity to take the money and leave the clean up liabilities behind by the elected governments of Alberta. If anyone has any suggestions for an alternative to a democracy of dunces, I’m all ears.

      • GoinFawr says:

        ” If anyone has any suggestions for an alternative to a democracy of dunces, I’m all ears.”

        No need Caron, as a rule ‘democracies of dunces’ are an unfortunate consequence of low voter participation.

        So you just need to help get everyone to the polls.

        And since I’m sure we all agree that a ‘dictatorship of Richards’ would in all likelihood be at least as bad, or worse, than what we have now, I’m not sure what exactly you were phishing for in that statement.

        The FACT is that anywhere ~80% of the eligible electorate bother to get off their collective behinds and register their mandate things generally work out the best for the most. (It’s even better if that participation isn’t mandatory, but dedicated)

        Evidence of the ol’ glazzies:

        So really there is no need to change the system from ‘democracy’, just to motivate as many of the participants as possible.

        “impunity” is an excellent choice of words and it is inherently culpable as these companies are beginning to find out (elsewhere in the world, where Kenney doesn’t hold court I mean)

      • Dwayne says:

        Caron: The Norwegian government actually emulated what Peter Lougheed did, when they set up their savings fund. The Alberta PCs who were in power after, didn’t do what Peter Lougheed did.
        Alberta isn’t better off, as a result of this. Other weak excuses are made as to why Alberta has no money, including sending money to Ottawa, to Quebec, or to other provinces, (when this doesn’t happen). It’s really bad that we don’t have anything to help us cope with what’s going on.

      • Guy says:

        GoinFawr, while I agree that a high voter turnout is a good thing I also think that the quality of the voter is just as important, if not more so, that the quantity of voters. By that I mean that voters should do their best to become informed about the candidates and the issues and apply some critical thinking skills before casting their vote.

        According to Elections Alberta we had a 67.5% voter turnout in the last election and I can’t believe that a turnout of over 80% would have changed the result in any meaningful way. The lure of populism is strong for too many. If a candidate promises something that a voter wants, say jobs and economic prosperity, many people will simply cast their vote for that candidate without attempting to determine whether or not they can deliver on the promise or whether it is even a realistic promise in the first place. If that candidate gets elected and then fails to deliver what they promised, or in fact delivers something else entirely, say a regressive education curriculum, privatized health care and coal mines, voters are left without any recourse and the consequences fall on the population and not on the politician. Some will choose to rail at the straw men that have been conveniently placed for that purpose, Notley, Trudeau, Foreign Funded Environmental Groups and Bigfoot, while the rest will suffer and seethe until we get our next opportunity to vote, but far too much damage can be done in four years. We’ve seen too much already in only two years.

        Of course I agree that a form of democracy is preferable to a dictatorship, but I would characterize the UCP government as being authoritarian acting in the guise of democracy, as evidenced by the innumerable “Blue Ribbon Panels” that we have been subjected to that deliver government mandated results at taxpayer expense. I also think that Kenney is more than willing to take this government as close to a dictatorship as he can get away with so I definitely think that our democracy is in need of reform. We need meaningful recall legislation or something similar that provides consequences for politicians who act against the interest of those who elected them. We also need to change the rules for campaign donations because most, if not all, politicians these days appear to serve their corporate masters ahead of their constituents. In reference to your comment below, the UCP rain that we feel trickling down on us has a bad smell to it.

      • Diann Duthie says:

        Proportional representation would help. For one thing it would likely encourage less strategic voting. Anything that has a possibility of creating a minority gov’t would be so good. At least we’d have a hope of stopping the current massive destruction of Alberta.

      • Diann, you raise an interesting point with your comment about strategic voting. Particularly now when people who might otherwise vote Green or Liberal are wondering whether they should vote NDP just to get rid of the UCP once and for all. Tricky issue.

    • Dwayne and Caron: you’re right. The amount of money that’s been wasted by the Alberta conservatives is staggering. As you said Dwayne, just think of where we’d be if we had smarter people at the helm. Caron draws an apt comparison to Norway. It’s enough to break your heart.

      • Caron says:

        Thank you Susan: I am also heart broken at how Alberta has evolved. In my view and direct experience Alberta has been an authoritarian single party state since 1970 and certainly from the end of the Lougheed administration. Many historians might place that inflection point at 1947 with the Leduc oil gusher, but I’m more familiar with my own time.

        Since the 1970s our regulatory system has been captured by big business and the result is oil, gas, and others with deep pockets have effective impunity. This allows big business to do what it chooses, to whomever it chooses. This usually happens with regulatory support from the state. Often as not it happens without any regard to the law since only the very wealthy can afford the odds in the casino we call a court room when protecting themselves from corporate and government malfeasance. A defect which former Chief Justice Audrey McLaughlin among others, identified, but managed to achieve nothing in the way of amelioration during her career.

        However, since 1970 farmers, ranchers, environmentalists, hunters, fishers, labour, First Nations, and other public interest groups have all successfully used the Courts to over turn bad regulatory decisions in Alberta and even occasionally bad laws at the Provincial and Federal levels.

        In almost every case, the elected government of the day, almost always enjoying an electoral plurality, immediately changed those laws to nullify those Court decisions, making a complete mockery of the rule of law and leaving us with the rule by law. Most legal scholars know the distinction between the rule OF law and the rule BY law and the fact the latter ends in the “tumult of history” to quote one eminent Jurist. Heart breaking indeed.

        The level of looting in Alberta compared to the sensible Norwegians is an irreducible fact which I believe follows from this systemic failure.

        It appears, at least for now, that the sun is setting on big oil. If so, I’m sorry I do not have another 50 years to stick around to see how Alberta’s political culture will evolve. If it does not evolve, I’m rather glad I will not be around to see the tumult of history manifest here.

        In my reading there is a deep cooperative ethos to use as a base to create a better society than the one the fossil-fuel cargo-cult currently in power is creating. Good luck to Rachel and the others. I hope they have learned from their mistakes last time.

  6. Dawn Friesen says:

    This is excellent. Today, Alberta numbers (216/100,000) are greater than Ontario (207/100,000) although somehow the press has not caught on or it is kept under wraps. Ontario has such strong press on this – not us.

    And today he did a tweet with a fairly significant change to the immunization program. So, the man who very few trust, does a tweet on a Sunday afternoon – it is pure slime. He wants to appease both the people who want more done for COVID – but hopefully not show up much for the naysayers. This is stupidity – not leadership.

    All Albertans have much greater risk of disease – for much longer – and our health system will be so much longer in recovery. So much for livelihoods – they took a beating because is not either or – he has not figured that out.

    There is no end of the damage this man/group can do.

    Sent from my iPad


    • Dawn, I’ve wondered about this for a while. As you say Alberta’s infection rate is higher than Ontario’s and continues to climb and yet our press is focused on what Ford is doing (or not doing) instead of raising the alarm over our increasingly precarious position. If the press did its job we might not see so many people crowding into the outdoor patios all over town. They act as if the danger has passed, lounging around in the sun and having a laugh while the variants of concern continue to spread like wildfire.
      AHS isn’t doing a great job of getting the information out either. No press release today outlining the numbers. Only “limited provincial data” available from Dr Hinshaw on Twitter due to another technical issue.
      It’s a sad state of affairs when the public has to turn to Twitter to stay informed.

  7. Mike J. Danysh says:

    Boy, it must be hard to be a political blogger in Oilberduh these days. Kenney is such a disaster that the body-blows just keep coming. The question now is, who’ll get hurt worse, Kenney or the people of Alberta? And he’s too earnestly somber to be the least bit amusing (which was all that made Donald Trump’s stupidity bearable).

    The gift to Inter Pipeline might be simpler than we think. I can imagine the CEO telling Sonya Savage and Jason Kenney, “Well, Notley offered us $200 million. You can beat that, right?” Republi-Con reflexes would be enough to double the offer without any thought whatsoever.

    The timid response to Covid-19’s ballistic increase is disappointing and dangerous but not surprising. Kenney–with Ford and Moe, with Hogan in BC as a surprise addition–has made every possible mistake in handling the pandemic.

    First mistake: dismissing the danger early on. Calling a deadly new disease “a kind of flu” does not encourage caution.
    Second mistake: the first wave wasn’t disastrous–because of the national, indeed global lockdown–so Kenney & the Klowns decided Covid-19 was no big deal.
    Third mistake: reopening businesses too early. This led to complacency among the government and their supporters.
    Fourth mistake: ignore early warnings of a resurgence, because business owners didn’t want to shut down again.
    Fifth mistake: all the mixed messaging, ignoring anti-mask anti-vax noise and “do what we say, not what we do” encouraged the looney right to dismiss the danger.

    Now we’re in a vicious circle, stuck repeating the third, fourth and fifth mistakes. Kenney’s too weak to impose the drastic measures needed to break out of the cycle of mistakes he created. (Full disclosure: I personally hope Kenney won’t impose a lockdown before 1 May. I have two major dentist appointments before 30 April. Damned either way….)

    What to do? I guess we need to “take personal responsibility” for our own health, just like Lord Jason said. For sure he won’t help anyone who doesn’t own a business.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “Boy, it must be hard to be a political blogger in Oilberduh these days.”

      With all the material Kenney and his Used Car Partiers are providing? Not likely.
      Disheartening, dismaying, infuriating, like it is for everyone else in the province sure, but there is plenty to cover. Boring it isn’t, but Albertans have been finding out for a good while now how there can be worse things than having a boring gov’t.

      Maybe its harder to be a UCP supporting political blogger, but then I wouldn’t know about that.

      That 200 million ‘Notely offered’ to IP was tied to them building a 1.5 BILLION dollar chemical plant in Edmonton

      • Mike J. Danysh says:

        The details of Kenney’s seeming gift to IP make the whole thing even more odd. The NDP at least tied their subsidy to constructing the plant. It sure looks like Kenney’s gift is intended to pump up IP’s value, allowing them to force up Brookfield’s price. Alberta won’t get any benefit from that whatsoever.

        Still, I stand by my comment about “it’s hard to blog about Jason Kenney.” Venting may bring some emotional release (while you’re typing), but the sense of depression just deepens. (Plus, like Pontius Pilate, you should probably wash your hands afterward.)

      • GoinFawr says:

        “…like Pontius Pilate, you should probably wash your hands afterward.”

        So in your simile Jason Kenney is… Jesus ..Christ?

        If so I think you may be smoking a turd in purgatory for that one, Michael.

      • GoinFawr: you’re right to point out the difference between Notley’s $200M and Kenney’s $408M. Notley offered $200M in royalty credits whereas Kenney offered $408M in CASH. I don’t know how a cash infusion impacts the hostile takeover bid process but it couldn’t hurt the target company Inter Pipeline. https://rdnewsnow.com/2021/04/05/alberta-gives-408m-to-inter-pipeline-for-heartland-petrochemical-complex/

      • Mike J. Danysh says:

        GoinFawr, re your take on my “Pontius Pilate” reference–yeah, I’ll admit that seemed more clever while I was typing it. You’re ahead on points on this one 🙂 Maybe the Monty Python version? “Give us Bwian!”

    • carlosbeca says:

      ‘The question now is, who’ll get hurt worse, Kenney or the people of Alberta? ‘

      It is interesting to me that you have this question.
      Jason Kenney will walk out without a hint of any emotion because he does not have any and he is already a multi-millionaire so for him this is just another day in the park. For Alberta it is quite a different story. We all know who is paying for this and it is not him.

      • Mike J. Danysh says:

        Yeah, that was intended as a leading question. Kenney will no doubt be miffed when we kick him out in 2023; he’ll be nursing his wounded vanity and injured pride for some time. But the rest of us will be fixing his mistakes–Covid and all the rest–for years.

      • Carlos, the strange thing about Kenney is he rails against the eastern elites and he’s the perfect example of one. Only an eastern elite would have thought Albertans would be happy with an Australian coal mining company open pit mining in the Rockies. It’s good for the economy so the environment be damned.

    • Mike J Danysh: You described Kenney’s disastrous (non)plan to handle covid very well. Just to add to Kenney’s 1st mistake, Kenney is trying to deny he ever called covid the “flu”. He said he called it an “influenza”. (He had to admit that much because he’s on record in Hansard as saying so many times). So if you google “influenza” you get this: “Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system–your nose, throat and lungs. Influenza is commonly called the flu, but it’s not the same as stomach “flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting.” — which not surprisingly is why people call it the “stomach flu” when it causes diarrhea and vomiting and just the “flu” when it doesn’t.
      Kenney indulges in semantics all the time. He said he didn’t have “modelling” of the spread of the virus. When pressed he admitted to having “projections”. So tell me, what’s the difference between a “model” that says soon we’ll have 2000 cases/day and a “projection” that says soon we’ll have over 2000 cases/day by the end of the month.
      People’s lives are at stake and Kenney is playing political word games.

  8. Avalon roberts says:

    I also am puzzled by the need to give generous amounts of the peoples money to companies flush with success. So far this government has failed to demonstrate its much vaunted business acumen in any way except to give business amazing amounts of what used to be called white collar welfare, but is so much more extravagant than welfare as to require a new name- giveaway or worse ?

    • Carlos says:

      I call it corruption because I bet this has a kickback of some kind
      In a true democracy I should be able as a citizen to investigate that possibility. In our democracy not even the RCMP can.
      That to me is simply called corruption

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos: The UCP wants to get rid of the R.C.M.P, not because of saving Alberta money, (because it’s been proven that it won’t save money, but actually cost more), but only for the reason that the R.C.M.P are investigating the premier of Alberta and his dubious rise to his position.

      • carlosbeca says:

        I agree with you Dwayne but I doubt they are still investigating Jason Kenney and his very dubious raise to power.

    • Dwayne says:

      I doubt the UCP has learned from the mistakes of the Alberta PCs, from Don Getty’s time in office, and onwards. The Alberta PCs threw money away like they had truckloads of it. Swan Hills, metal processing plants, Alpac, pulp mills, paper mills, Novatel, West Edmonton Mall, the deregulation of utilities in Alberta, the farmer’s relief fund that was misappropriated, the carbon sequestration idea, the bitumen upgrader mistake, and on and on. The UCP aren’t doing anything differently. The oil revenues aren’t there anymore. This isn’t helping Alberta at all.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Apparently if businesses and their pocketed pols repeat often enough that it is raining whenever folk get that ‘trickling down’ feeling on their backs they’ll still believe it, even today.
      It really is a shame.

      • carlosbeca says:

        It is a shame I agree but in our case it is embarrassing because after 43 years of mismanagement we have learned very little and it took what is happening to get support down to 30%.
        In any place where people have good common sense the UCP should be down to 2%

    • Mike J. Danysh says:

      Avalon, I suspect Kenney’s feeling the pinch in his campaign-fund war chest because of how he’s alienated the Base lately. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kenney feels a need to suck up to businessmen who have lots of cash, in hopes they’ll send some his way before 2023.

      That, and Republi-Cons have always been the party of Big Business. For them, the Golden Rule reads, “He who has the gold, makes the rules.”

    • Avalon: I too am puzzled. Kenney went straight from dropping out of university to the Canadian Tax Federation to being a federal MP. I doubt that he has any business acumen whatsoever. Although even a neophyte would agree with your comment that it’s ridiculous to give money to corporations that are doing just fine without it…unless of course you want something back in return.

  9. lungta mtn says:

    How were people convinced that they should give the decisions over their complete lives to a single unvetted person once every 4 years?
    In a democracy i would have gotten a vote on coal , lockdown , park closures, doctors, rate increases…..on everything.
    In representative democracy i get this mess , with no representation of my welfare or future, just selfish , self centered, greed men scamming their way to retirement.
    No wisdom and no vision.
    This is what the 6th great extinction looks like from a moment on the inside
    There were other ways .
    We choose this.

    • Lungta mtn: I have a friend who lives in Switzerland. Direct democracy is a feature of their political system. They vote on everything from whether big expensive projects should move forward to whether a farmer can cut the horns off his cows. My friend who was raised in Canada say the Swiss system has a lot to commend it.

  10. Fred Harvey says:

    Kenney is not concerned with small business or the average citizen, only big corporations that donate handsomely to the UCP.

  11. GoinFawr says:

    At Guy:

    Thank you for your thoughtful response to my comment. You had me at,

    “…but I would characterize the UCP government as being authoritarian acting in the guise of democracy”.

    Sure, I think that shoe fits the UCP’s face like a heavily armoured glove righteously slapping it. Though becoming drunk with power (or, if you were King Ralph: drunk with everything) is a very real risk from any gov’t that forms such a solid majority in Alberta’s current system.

    I do not mean to give the impression that I think that Alberta’s electoral system is fine as it is, but brainstorming reforms would be part of a larger exchange, I think; and, honestly, I am not sure that the original question was seriously looking for that?

    So you have a good argument that it may not be ‘causation’, but the evidence still suggests that after a certain point there is enough ‘humanity’ in populations that political participation alone really does tend to overbear stupidity and ignorance, for the most part. Thankfully, if you tell people that their boss isn’t watching, and if you can actually get them to lift their finger, most of them will still be able to point it in the direction of decency, given half the chance in a ~democratically governed society.

    As a result, in practice when a critical mass of around 80% of a population decide to get seriously involved in how their laws are made, far, far fewer unjust laws result. What’s more, if the level of political involvement of a constituency remains high over a number of election cycles, much corruption is rooted out. As examples the stats regarding voter turnout have Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea all close to that level of voter turnout.

    I’m not saying, eg., proportional representation wouldn’t make Alberta’s democracy stronger, or more referendums, or less referendums, or no referendums, would improve the current system, I’m just pointing out that regardless of any nuance or reform, contemporary democracies thrive on participation, and die from apathy. They are murdered by disenfranchisement, but thankfully that hasn’t been a problem in Alberta.

    • Guy says:

      Thanks GoinFawr for this detailed response to my comment. I have a much better understanding of your viewpoint now and I’m in complete agreement with you. And to answer your question, no my intention wasn’t to draw you into a debate about electoral reform. Simply put, sometimes discussing these topics can get me emotionally wound up and some of what comes out is unexpected and maybe at times off topic. It’s an intermittent bad habit of mine so good-on-ya for pointing it out.

      The very interesting thing that you mention is that an actively engaged electorate over a number of election cycles can achieve the results that it desires, perhaps without the need for additional legislation. A government that recognizes that it is operating under close scrutiny from an active and vocal electorate will be more inclined to act in accordance with the wishes of that electorate or risk being removed at the next election. Point well taken.

      Recent polling indicates that the UCP have angered and disenfranchised enough voters that they would not be returned to power in the next election, but I hope that many voters will take the opportunity to become more engaged over the next two years so we can start to build the type of electorate that can bring positive change to the province. If we have anything to thank the UCP for it’s that they have shown us the type of government that we can expect if we become too complacent. Now we have to believe that we can have the government that we want and deserve if we simply choose to participate, in the words of Gord Downie, “Armed with will and determination. And Grace, Too.”

      • Carlos says:

        Interesting discussion going on and an important one.
        I believe we have enough interested people in this blog to absolutely discuss electoral reform in Alberta. It would be immensely rewarding to see what people think about different aspects of what a much more democratic and robust system would look like.
        It surprises me that no party in Alberta has shown much interest in this discussion. This two party system is outdated, unproductive and in my opinion one of the important causes of the failure of the last 43 years of same party rule.

    • Guy , Carlos and GoinFawr: thank you all for your excellent comments. I find them very helpful.

      • GoinFawr says:

        You are very welcome Susan, your Soapbox is a much appreciated catharsis itself, to say the least.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Your blog is a rare jewel and in Alberta a true diamond.
        I for one am very grateful to be able to participate and find such intelligent posts as well as comments. I do not know anything about blog awards but yours should have had way more that just the one that you got already.

      • Guy says:

        Susan, I’ll add my thanks to what GoinFawr and Carlos said. This blog is an excellent forum for intelligent discourse and I have no doubt that it is a valuable resource for many people. Much gratitude for everything that you do.

      • Thank you Guy, Carlos, GoinFawr, and everyone else who supports this blog. As many of you have said sometimes it feels like we’re out here all alone but I just saw the campaign donations results for the first quarter of the year. NDP: $1,186,245 UCP: $591,597.
        We’re making headway!

  12. Carlos says:

    Well my bad WordPress day so try again

    Interesting discussion going on and an important one.
    I believe we have enough interested people in this blog to absolutely discuss electoral reform in Alberta. It would be immensely rewarding to see what people think about different aspects of what a much more democratic and robust system would look like.
    It surprises me that no party in Alberta has shown much interest in this discussion. This two party system is outdated, unproductive and in my opinion one of the important causes of the failure of the last 43 years of same party rule.

  13. Carlos says:

    Well looks like Jason Kenney just signed his end of life papers with his reaction to the 10 dollars a day child care.
    He can play games and spit his propaganda on us with oil and pipelines but one does not cheat with child care.
    He said basically NO to the new 10 dollar a day Child Care Initiative and so he is done.
    He did that because just has with everything else he does not have a clue of what he is doing but this is not oil, this is children and families and his market brain does not reach there.
    Mark my words HE IS DONE.

    • Carlos, I agree with your take on Kenney’s reaction to the fed’s plan to offer $10/day child care across Canada. There’s no rationale reason to reject this other than Kenney’s perennial complaint that we want the fed’s money on our terms, no strings attached. The feds would be nuts to agree to that given what we’ve seen of Kenney’s so-called fiscal management skills. As you said, this coming on top of everything else that’s gone before will be the end of him.
      (and not a moment too soon).

    • GoinFawr says:

      Heartening to see Corb Lund speaking out for the headwaters of the Heartland… though not so much when you note that he predicted that the use and polluting of it by mining will go ahead,


      Still, quite gentlemanly of him to lay his well-earned good reputation on the line, in my opinion.

      • Carlos says:

        I agree GoinFawr
        There are some interesting news today – Maybe, just maybe we do not have to put up with this until 2023 – the problem is that the internal complaint is that he is not as far right as he should be. 🙂 🙂


      • Guy says:

        Thanks for the link Carlos. Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about this story. While I’m happy to see the division within the UCP growing it’s concerning that the dissenters feel that Kenney isn’t doing enough to uphold the “grassroots principles of the party”. If what we’ve seen in the past two years isn’t enough for them then I don’t want anything to do with their vision of what a ‘Kenney on steroids’ leader would do.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Scary to think what their dream world is like

      • Guy, GoinFawr, Carlos: while I agree with the concerns raised that replacing Kenney may be akin to jumping from the frying pan into the fire, I can’t help but think pressuring Kenney to step down and running a leadership race will fracture the party once and for all. The UCP is a party driven by ideology. There is no consensus within the party what that ideology should be. The result is chaos. And this is reflected in the party donations numbers released today: Kenney is going down. The only question is how soon will his party toss him overboard.

      • GoinFawr says:

        I have two reason destroying proper nouns for you Guy:
        1) Danielle.
        2) Smith.

        She’ll do what they ask, no matter who has to pay for it with their lives. Eg. She promotes the narrative that the failure of this pandemic is the public healthcare system, for not being robust enough to handle it…

        It’s the conservative way:

        create a crisis in a public service by disrupting programs critical to the normal functioning of that service, then claim that the crisis is a failure of the public system rather than the targeted disruption designed to sabotage it, and finally conclude that the only, inevitable, option is to privatize that service. Privatize that service, leave office, and reap rewards from private industry (which I would imagine the current ethics commissioner’s office of Alberta would deem ‘coincidence’).
        Rinse. Repeat.

      • Guy says:

        GoinFawr, I’ve been concerned about the spectre of Danielle Smith since she left her radio show earlier this year because, as I recall, she wasn’t permitted to spew everything that she felt she was entitled to spew. I think we should be careful not to mention her name a third time in this blog in case we inadvertently bring her back to life.

        Your description of the conservative playbook is bang on and, in my opinion, is exactly what the UCP have been aggressively following from Day 1. So what is it about this that isn’t sufficient for the dissident UCP members? What is their end game? Alberta Independence? Total corporatocracy? Anarchy? I can’t figure it out but they seem like the type that, if they ever gained the power that they desire, would assure us that Soylent Green is the solution to all of our problems.

  14. Dave says:

    Day to day politics is full of half measures – trying to somewhat satisfy some, while not alienating others too much. As a career politician, I suspect Kenney understands this very well at some level, even though he often does come across as a rigid ideologue.

    However, the problem with this approach is some times demand a strong and clear response. There were no half measures when Pearl Harbour was bombed or London was blitzed. We are in the midst of a full blown health crisis, the likes of which we have not seen for perhaps a century. It is a time for decisive leadership, not equivocation. Our Premier can quote other things Churchill said quite well and might fancy himself to be a good student of history, but I don’t think he really gets it. This is not the time for politics as usual.

    • “There were no half measures when Pearly Harbour was bombed or London was blitzed.” Well put Dave. Alberta’s doctors are pleading for a full bore lock down, saying we are not going to be able to outrun the virus. They point out that the younger ones are getting ill and while their death rate won’t be as high as the death rate for older Albertans, at least 10 to 20% of them will suffer from long term negative health consequences that will necessitate them going onto long term disability. This is an insane thing to do to your population.
      But you know…ideology trumps everything.

  15. Guy says:

    For those who may not have already read this, here is some background on the man who is providing such woeful leadership with his half-measures. I found it both informative and disturbing.


    • Carlos says:

      I have said enough about this so called person. I am not so sure that is the case.
      This is disgraceful and the thought that us Albertans vote for an individual with this kind of character is to me criminal and a reflection of who we are.

      I know about what Jason Kenney has done and who he is but this article is probably the best I have read.
      This is one of those issues that can only be resolved in a way that I prefer not to write about.
      It is unacceptable that we allow people like this to reach positions of power.
      Jason Kenney is not fit to govern period.

  16. Just Ice says:

    The men of half measures. I laughed. Thank you so much! No text wall for me though! I prefer to leave a song. So here’s one for any who like to smile when they cry, but especially for our long suffering UCP who seem to be battling time, “the avenger”! Maybe karma will, gather those fools and gift them with all the regrets they deserve before they really screw us over! https://youtu.be/YDDEqgmGIVg

  17. Wendy J says:

    Great rreading your blog post

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