Halloween in Alberta

In its Halloween message the Kenney government said today is a day filled with costumes, pumpkin carving, scary movies, and tasty treats. They encouraged everyone to follow the advice of our health officials so we can all enjoy the spookiest time of the year.

Sounds nice but the rest of the government’s Halloween messages were not so benign.  

The government returned to work this week. Its conduct was more than spooky as it refused to accept accountability for its ill-conceived policies and went beyond its usual mélange of obfuscation, misdirection, and trickery.*  

Here are some highlights.

The scary ‘best summer ever’     

Notley’s Opposition grilled Jason Kenney on his “best summer ever” plan which saw covid cases skyrocket, surgeries cancelled, and ICUs burst at the seams. She said from Aug 9 to Sept 3 Mr Kenney and every single one of his ministers disappeared (she called it the David Copperfield cabinet) and called upon the premier and his ministers to explain themselves.  

Kenney responded with the usual bafflegab, every jurisdiction suffered from covid, the government did not hide the modeling on the delta variant, and he and his ministers continued to carry out their duties while he was on vacation.

Then two ex-UCP MLAs joined the fray.    

Drew Barnes asked why the premier blocked MLAs from representing their constituents by refusing to give them an opportunity to ask questions of the CMOH or support the NDP’s call for an all-party committee to investigate the government’s handling of covid. Kenney’s ministers had no answers, they stonewalled as usual.

But when Todd Loewen asked whether the justice minister, the finance minister, and the environment minister continued to support the premier given his failed policy decisions it got interesting.

All three cabinet ministers professed undying allegiance to their boss, however the environment minister, Jason Nixon, went one step further. He attacked Loewen for standing by “while thousands of Albertans die.”

This was a stupid thing to say because it reinforced Notley’s point that ministerial inaction during Kenney’s absence caused covid numbers to skyrocket and someone should be held to account. Perhaps Nixon understood that something bad happened as a result of Kenney’s absence but his attempt to evade responsibility by pinning it on an ousted UCP MLA was ludicrous.  

Halloween Message: if you want to deny accountability call someone else a monster.       

Eek! – The Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns

The Opposition asked energy minister Savage to explain why the government’s War Room was still standing given the harsh criticism it received from Steve Allan. Savage deflected with the classic ‘Eek! Look over there!” tactic saying the gazillions of dollars that flowed into anti-Alberta energy campaigns might be directed to attacks on carbon capture, hydrogen, or critical and rare earth minerals in the future. She tossed around the name of climate activist Tzeporah Berman in case Albertans were looking for someone to blame for this future injustice. (None of Savage’s allegations are supported by the Allan Report).  

Halloween Message: if you have no evidence to support your scary narrative, make something up.    

Trickery and sleight of hand – equalization referendum 

Sixty-two percent of those who voted on the referendum question (should the principle of equalization be removed from the Constitution) voted yes, but this 62% was less than a third of eligible voters. Nevertheless Kenney said the referendum provided a strong mandate to demand Ottawa treat Albertans fairly.

Leaving aside the obvious point that 62% of 33% is not a clear mandate, the UCP government wound up the rhetoric in the Legislature.  

“Here we go,” MLA Miranda Rosin said. Sure, Alberta could not unilaterally change the Constitution, but it would take decisive action.  

What’s the government going to do?

According to Rosin and Nicholas Milliken, Alberta won’t settle for being treated as a second-class citizen. It won’t allow other provinces to run surpluses and “shut down” our industries. It will continue the fight, demand a fair deal, and condemn Trudeau’s appointment of Steven Guilbeault as environment minister because “we deserve respect.”

In other words it will do exactly what it has been doing all along, stamp its feet and play the victim.    

Halloween Message: If you don’t get anywhere yelling at Ottawa, call a referendum to trick Albertans into believing you’re doing more than yelling at Ottawa.     

Bottom line

The government’s Halloween message encouraged Albertans to enjoy the spookiest time of the year. Unfortunately, since the UCP were elected we’ve had to suffer through the spookiest and most treacherous era in our political history.

It’s time to turn off the lights and send those clowns home.

*Alberta Hansard, Oct 25, p 5643, Oct 27, p 5739, Oct 28, p 5815 and 5819

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

45 Responses to Halloween in Alberta

  1. lindamcfarlane says:

    Thank you Susan and happy scary halloween Linda McFarlane403-999-9299 C

  2. Bota28 says:

    Excellent commentary Susan ! Yes, it is time to turn off the lights and send the clowns home

  3. Sylvia Krogh says:

    Susan – Thanks for your regular commentary and interpretation of Kenney’s clown show.

    • You’re very welcome Sylvia. Sometimes it’s so ludicrous all that comes to mind is kids dressed up pretending to be something else. (In the UCP’s case they’re pretending to be responsible adults.)

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP doesn’t know what they are doing, and it’s very scary. Since it is Halloween, I’ll leave a fitting tune by Donovan. Season Of The Witch. It is from 1966. Future Yardbirds guitarist, and founder of Led Zeppelin is on guitar on various tracks, like the title track, but not on this.

  5. pclipper2015 says:

    Susan, you rock!!

  6. Survivor says:

    UCP – reckless, incompetent, scary!

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I thought I’d share another piece of music, from Donovan, from 1966. Jimmy Page, who would join the Yardbirds in 1966, is on the title track from the Sunshine Superman Album. Jimmy Page was a prolific session guitarist, in the 1960s.

  8. Dawn Friesen says:

    Thank you , Susan, for another excellent summary of just one week in the life of tormented Albertans. Treachery, trickery and tall tales are traitorous and, while they may be used to grab power, they are not attributes of leadership.

  9. WhyUs says:

    Well said Susan, isn’t that the truth! Scary isn’t it. After looking at the opening lyrics of the song “Monster Mash”,

    “I was working in the lab, late one night
    When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
    For my monster from his slab, began to rise
    And suddenly to my surprise”

    Kinda sums up this UCP horror show Kenney created!

    Monster Mash

  10. Sharon Hundert says:

    The UCP must think it’s Halloween all year, because they are always clowns. Thank you Susan for keeping me sane and hopeful through all of this.

  11. Carlos says:

    The scandal this week was the sexual harassment and wrong dismissal case of Kimmel and I specially loved the reaction from not the smartest crayon in the box Doug Schweitzer.
    I HAD NO IDEA he states
    Wow is that so? Ok we got it.
    It is indeed Halloween in Alberta – it is actually endemic now.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: This is a fitting song for the UCP. It’s from 1969. Santana Evil Ways.

    • Carlos, I’ve been watching this one closely. As you point out it makes no sense.
      Kenney responded to a question on this in the Legislature. He said harassment of any kind is abhorrent, people who’ve been victims of harassment must feel comfortable coming forward, to tell their stories and see action taken. He said his chief of staff informed him or “rumours circulating about inappropriate comments” made to female staffers. He was assured action was being taken and “shortly thereafter that individual’s contract ended.”
      So there are a number of things wrong with Kenney’s response. (1) he called these complaints “rumours” which undermines Kimmel’s credibility, (2) he’s supposed to set the tone at the top, but he left it in the hands of his staff and did not follow up to ensure it was properly dealt with, (3) he said that individual’s contract ended, making it sound like the individual was disciplined, however he was on a limited term contract which expired by its own terms, no one stepped in to terminate it for bad behavior.
      A few other points, Kenney said he was appointing an independent review to advise the government how to improve HR practices for political staff so they can come forward more comfortably. Why not implement mandatory training for everyone including the MLAs so they don’t harass the political staff (or anyone else) in the first place.
      Lastly, why is it OK for MLAs to get hammered in the office in the first place? I worked in the private sector for decades, this would not be tolerated.
      Like I said above, this government is a non-stop gong show.

      • GoinFawr says:

        “Lastly, why is it OK for MLAs to get hammered in the office in the first place?”

        I think John (a MacDonald) set that Cdn. pol precedent long ago by being drunk pretty much all of the time…
        You know you’re in a privileged, cushy job when you can safely be in your cups under the table by noon without repercussion.

        Personally, I think Albertans would all be much better off if the lot of them switched to cannabis.

      • GoinFawr: “Why is it OK for MLAs to get hammered in the office in the first place?” Given Dreeshen’s resignation it appears that it is not OK for Cabinet ministers to get hammered in the office, but it is OK for MLAs to get hammered in the office. Isn’t that a reassuring distinction.

  12. Linda says:

    I didn’t vote for Kenney & crew when they were elected. I definitely won’t vote for them or any version of them come 2023. As I commented to a friend the other day, if I ran for premier & was elected all I’d have to do to look like a genius & be voted the best Alberta premier ever is to ask myself ‘what would the UCP do?’ & then proceed to do the exact opposite. No experience necessary!

  13. Mike J Danysh says:

    The anti-Alberta fiasco and the equalization tantrums are signs of an old Alberta problem: the “poor little rich kid” syndrome that encourages Oilberduh yahoos to feel sorry for themselves, even when they’re rolling in money. (Yes, I know it’s been a while since Ralph Klein’s construction boom went bust. Alberta still has higher average pay levels than other provinces.) Another symptom is the recent squalling by both Kenney and Notley over the COP26 statement of Justin Trudeau, promising a cap on carbon pollution from the oil and gas industry.

    (News flash: the world doesn’t care about Alberta. We can either transition away from oil and gas on our terms, or the world will make us transition on its terms. Bitumen company CEOs understand this, despite CAPP’s propaganda. Kenney and Notley are playing to the ignorant crowd who are pining for the Good Ol’ Days.)

    Even beyond the usual “everybody hates us” that infects too many Albertans, the UCP displays a special brand of stupid. Ms. Soapbox’s examples show how low these idiots can sink. Too much of their rhetoric seems like slightly more mature variations of “I know I am, but so are you!”

    Regarding the bogus equalization opinion poll, I’d like to know how many ballots were either spoiled or blank. If 62% of valid responses were “yes,” what was the percentage of TOTAL responses? The willful ignorance of Albertans on this subject would be pathetic, if it wasn’t so disgusting. Imagine Kenney could magically stop the equalization program; what might replace it? Equalization payments have no strings attached. The federal government could replace it with targeted programs (like the new $10/day child-care agreement) that force provinces to play nice together. Imagine how Kenney and Quebec premier Legault would scream!

    (BTW, I wonder about the senator-wannabe ballot, too. I recall a CBC report saying 400,000 senator ballots were blank or spoiled. Doesn’t that mean many voted “none of the above”? If it was first-past-the post, would “none of the above” win?)

    The sooner we’re rid of this crowd of utter incompetents, the better!

    • Dwayne says:

      Mike J Danysh: I read this today, but I’m not so sure how long this will last.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Dwayne, world oil prices may stay high for a year or so, but sooner or later one of two things will bring them down. We’ll soon see other world producers–the US, Russia and Saudi Arabia in particular–increase production of light sweet crude (best kind for motor fuels), thereby flooding the market. After that, if the statements at COP26 have any validity (prior experience says “No” but prior experience never saw weather disasters like those recently), governments will start seriously pushing investment in renewables and energy efficiency. When global demand for oil and gas go down, so will the price.

        Don’t believe me? Heed the Words of the Wise Guy: I know a guy who’s got a buddy working at the Esso refinery in Edmonton. Years ago, my friend passed on some words from his best bud: “If people improved their gas mileage 20%, in six months, we’d have to give the stuff away.” Exaggeration? Yeah, some. But it illustrates the problem with a global commodity that’s easily sourced from many places. When there’s a choice, people go where the price is lowest.

        Oilberduh doesn’t want to admit that the future isn’t in oil and gas. But the beginning of the end is in sight. In the EU and UK, sale of fossil-fuel cars will be banned starting in 2030–nine years away. Demand for gasoline and diesel will decrease annually. How long before the US and Canada follow? For us, the kicker will be the day battery-electric vehicles cost the same as gasoline-powered cars. Once that happens–and battery prices are going down every year–the transition will speed up drastically.

        So, we in Oilberduh have a choice: lead, follow, or get trampled under. Getting out of the way is no longer an option.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Oh yes, one other thing. I note that Jason Kenney has asked oil companies to invest their windfall profits in carbon-reduction tech, like CCS. There’s at least one report, on CBC, saying an oil major has already ignored Kenney’s pathetic plea, and “invested” in dividends and stock buy-backs. (Odd that I can’t find it now.) Can anyone say, “Short-termism”?

        As for the provincial attitude toward global heating, here’s food for thought:

    • Mike, great comments.
      With respect to the conversation you and Dwayne are having re: rising oil prices, in my view they won’t have a material impact on jobs.
      Cenovus just announced it will take the profit on high oil prices to double shareholder dividends and embark on a share buyback program (assuming the TSE approves) of up to 10% of its public float. I’ve worked in publicly traded companies. They buy back shares to boost their share price.
      Doubling dividends and boosting share price, it’s all about benefiting the shareholder…which is not surprising. A corporation’s job is to make money for its shareholders, not to boost employment because Kenney and his followers say so.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Thank you Susan, the Cenovus announcement was the one I was trying to find. As you say, it was a business decision to benefit the business and its shareholders. Kenney’s plea be damned. It’s also a perfect illustration of why action on carbon pollution will have to start with government regulations and penalties for non-compliance. Forty years of voluntary programs and “industry initiatives” with government subsidies have gone pretty nearly nowhere.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Well Dwayne, I think these guys ought to be working for CAPP. They’re no more believable, and even more brazen than our local oil shills.

        Sonya Savage ought to study this guy’s methods. She’d be at least a little less unbelievable. None of them will ever have more than a distant acquaintance with the truth.

  14. GoinFawr says:

    Brian Jean to Jason Kenney:


  15. Carlos says:

    The two more disgusting individuals, Matt Wolf and James Nixon also have to respond to the lawsuit. Devin is gone and I wait patiently for the other two to roll.
    That would be very good news and we do need them.
    What a full display of everything that should not happen with a government. Many Albertans seem to enjoy this kind of incompetence and disrespect and call it libertarianism but they can keep it to themselves. This is nothing but INCOMPETENCE at the highest level I have ever seen.

    • Carlos, as you point out the UCP is riddled with incompetent pathetic MLAs and political staffers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my experience in the corporate world it’s this: leaders set the tone at the top, they don’t turn a blind eye because they’re too weak-kneed to lead. Apparently there was a UCP chiefs of staff meeting today at 2:30 followed by a special cabinet meeting at 3:00. It could be Kenney is finally going to read them the riot act. I’ve got 3 questions: (1) why did his MLAs and staff think drinking in the Legislature was just fine, (2) is this something new or has it been going on all along, and (3) why did it take Kenney so long to address it.
      Incompetence doesn’t begin to describe it.

  16. Guy says:

    For the record, I would just like to say that there is no truth to the rumour that UCP is actually an acronym for Unlimited Cocktails Party. No truth whatsoever. Just ask Devin Dreeshen. He’ll tell ya. Even if he can’t quite remember what it really does stand for.

    • Guy, I love it. The photo posted by Dreeshen–working at his computer which was propped up on a cooler, stabilized by 4 beer mats with what looked like a bottle of booze tucked into a cupboard in the background–was the height of arrogance. No wonder he was booted out of Cabinet.
      I’ve lost count of all the Cabinet ministers Kenney has cycled through to date, but between the demotions and the ousters, he’s not doing that well. And to think these guys were the cream of the crop. Doesn’t bode well for the next 2 years.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Friends, I’m not sure Dreeshen was arrogant or just frat-boy stupid. Check the uncropped photo in this CBC report:

        On the left you can see a large desk (with glass top, I think), an executive-style chair, and some kind of electronic device. Clearly, Dreeshen is sitting in FRONT of his desk at some cobbled-together “work space” with hopelessly inadequate equipment. (We’ll ignore the apparent whiskey bottle in the open cupboard.)

        This makes me think Dreeshen set up a gag photo to show how small and cramped his work space is. Or something, I dunno. Maybe it’s from Facebook, or maybe Twitter. I dunno (and don’t really want to).

        Arrogant, incompetent, or an alcoholic who’s realized he needs to dry out–Dreeshen has stepped out of the spotlight. We’ll see if his replacement is at least marginally less incompetent.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Guy, I gotta hand it to you. “Unlimited Cocktails Party” is way cooler than “Unhinged Contrarian Party.” Well played!

  17. Dave says:

    It is like Halloween in Alberta for over the last two years. It is not just a day here, it has become a ongoing way of life. Scary times indeed.

    First of all, we started with the Frankenstein cobbling together of two parties. Second, we had Kenney in the role of mad scientist (not sure if he would like to be called a scientist, but he probably doesn’t like doctor either). Before the last provincial election, he tried to reassure us, things wouldn’t be so bad. Well, at least he didn’t say he was a nice guy. However the mask quickly slipped off after he won power and we soon came to realize all the fears we had about him and the UCP were not some kind of an over reaction.

    Like any mad scientist, Kenney has a plan and seems very determined to realize it. Also, like any mad scientist, his plan is not very good for anyone, except maybe himself. However, there is hope. We possibly seem to be reaching the part of the story where the plans of the mad scientist are being vanquished and despite his power and initial position of strength, he may be overcome.

    Perhaps as they say in the Rocky Horror Picture show, we have had our jump to the right, so maybe now it is time for a step to the left, we will some how get through this scary time and our too long nightmare will eventually be over.

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