Ariella Kimmel, former chief of staff to Jobs Minister Doug Schweitzer, filed a lawsuit this spring alleging the Premier’s office fostered a “poisoned work environment,” it failed to address her concerns about the sexual harassment of another employee, and she’d been fired for raising it. She’s suing for just under $400,000.
Kimmel says she raised her concerns in Oct 2020, she became the target of a smear campaign, and was fired in Feb 2021. Kenney’s chief of staff says her termination was unrelated to her insistence the government implement a robust sexual harassment policy, but Schweitzer says Kimmel was an excellent chief of staff. If she wasn’t terminated because she wouldn’t let up about sexual harassment and she wasn’t terminated for poor performance, then why was she terminated?
Kimmel’s lawsuit referred to a specific comment made at a drinking party in (former) Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen’s office in the Legislature.
And boom, just like that we discovered that sometimes Dreeshen’s office functioned like a speakeasy; someone declared “shields up,” the doors were locked and out came the booze.
At first Dreeshen brushed aside the allegation that he drank to excess (he didn’t have a problem with alcohol, he worked long hard days in the Legislature, there’s a “social aspect” to politics) but eventually he offered to resign his cabinet post saying his “personal conduct with regards to alcohol [had] become an issue for the government as a whole” and it was time for him to “focus on [his] personal health and wellness.” Premier Kenney accepted Dreeshen’s resignation.
What’s interesting about all this is that neither Dreeshen nor Kenney appeared to have a problem with Dreeshen’s “conduct with regards to alcohol” until it was raised in Kimmel’s lawsuit. Which makes us wonder whether Kenney would have accepted Dreeshen’s resignation had “shields up” not become public knowledge.
Why did it take so long?
Kenney has a reputation for micro-managing. It’s inconceivable he did not know about Dreeshen’s conduct. His principal secretary was handling Kimmel harassment complaint last fall and his chief of staff fired her this spring.
Kenney admits to having a drink or two in Dreeshen’s office and says he’s not averse to social drinking in the Legislature as long as it’s done with maturity. The “shields up” imbroglio doesn’t sound terribly mature, so why didn’t Kenney do something about it sooner?
Well, Dreeshen wasn’t an ordinary MLA. He’s been described as an up and comer. He hails from a political family and he’s an effective fundraiser. Apparently, he raised $180,000 in the third quarter making him a powerbroker within the party.*
No doubt it was easier for Kenney to turn a blind eye to “shields up” than take Dreeshen to task. What does this say about Kenney’s leadership?
Other than Dreeshen, the only other cabinet minister to be demoted (outside of a cabinet shuffle) is Tracey Allard who lost her cabinet post when she went to Hawaii during the covid ban on travel. Even then Kenney didn’t demote her until the public was in an uproar over his failure to discipline Allard and the other UCP MLAs and staff who ignored the travel ban.
It would appear nonstop carping about Kenney’s failures as a leader and policy maker won’t get you the sack unless you’re Drew Barnes or Todd Loewen. The remaining 25% of his caucus, including the vociferous Leela Aheer, Angela Pitt and Richard Gotfried, have expressed their disappointment and dissatisfaction with Kenney’s decisions and lived to gripe another day.
Kenney’s reluctance to take action over Dreeshen’s “shields up” and his hesitancy in disciplining MLAs who ignore or criticize his policies signal two things: (1) Kenney, unlike Harper, is a weak leader, and (2) Kenney’s frat house is coming apart at the seams
It’s only going to get worse if Brian Jean wins the nomination to run in the byelection in Fort McMurray.
Kenney’s demise would be welcome news but for the fact his government will be in power until May 2023 and he and his government should be focused on critical issues like managing covid and its aftermath, kickstarting the economy, and fixing healthcare, education, and other social services.
And for the record, Rachel Notley and her MLAs are putting in the long hard days at the Legislature and engaged in the social aspect of politics in their constituencies with no bozo eruptions, no cockups, and no complaints.
*West of Centre interview with Duane Bratt and others. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-politics-west-of-centre-podcast-kathleen-petty-1.5473933
Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP are clearly out of their depth, and they are unfit to govern, and for so many reasons. Devin Dreeshen shouldn’t be an MLA. When you are an MLA, or a politician, in any level of government, you are supposed to lead by example, even when you are in your constituency office, in the Legislature, or any other government building, or outside of your government office. I remember when Ralph Klein was doing very bad things, when he was under the influence of alcohol. This included getting drunk and throwing money at the homeless at a homeless shelter in Edmonton. Unfortunately, his supporters never demanded his resignation. Ralph Klein should have immediately resigned. Devin Dreeshen simply has to be removed from being an MLA. Having Brian Jean as UCP leader will not be a good thing either. If it’s the UCP, they have proven that they haven’t helped Alberta, no matter who would be it’s leader. Judging by the polls, and the NDP’s fundraising levels, exceeding the UCP, for the third time in a row, (this excludes the corporate and union donations the NDP banned to political parties in Alberta), the NDP are likely to be back in power, in 2023. The UCP are not doing Albertans any favours.
Jason Kenney does not recall Mrs Ethical Oil – Kathryn Marshall ?
How odd.. Her husband is Hamish Marshall of Rebel Media fame
who continues to lead Election Campaigns of Mr Kenney’s associates
Kathryn is of course the lawyer for Ms Ariella Kimmel & her Lawsuit
Theoretically in Jason’s mind, is an inkling that a senior Minister
was in an on again / off again relationship with a Chief of Staff, senior staffer
‘Fishing Off The Dock’ it’s commonly called..
I’d suggest Jason Kenney seek serious professional medical help
It sure appears he suffered Covid cognitive damage & memory loss
His ongoing buffoonery & his senior Ministers, plus their Chiefs of Staff
is another, perhaps darker underlying health problem.. and there are more
Somehow, Jason Kenney despite cawing about ‘taking personal responsibility’
to the citizens of Alberta, fails to do so himself, as well as Senior Ministers
MLA’s, Chiefs of Staff, Spokespersons, Staffers etc etc.
Public Servants ? Where is a shred of Public Service !
When did Personal Ideology, Manipulation, Deceit, Secrecy,
War Rooms, Situational Ethics, Failure, Scandal & scripted Word Salads
stand in for Public Service ? Ever ?
Hello DiamondWalker! You raise an excellent point about taking personal responsibility. Once again it’s all talk and not action. I read about a recent survey that found anti-vaxx/conspiracy theorists tend to be more selfish and less empathetic than the general population. Seems to me that describes the UCP MLAs and the premier to a tee.
Dwayne, the lack of professionalism demonstrated by this government continues to amaze me. Each week when we think it couldn’t get any worse, it gets worse. It started with ear plugs in the Legislature, escalated to Shandro screaming at the end of a doctor’s driveway, and now we learn of sexual harassment and drinking to excess in cabinet ministers’ offices. It boggles the mind. But as you point out with the Ralph Klein example, the conservatives have a high tolerance for incompetence and stupidity.
My puzzle was when Schweitzer said Kimmel was a superg staffer, he would hire her in a moment and he would recommend her to any reference ask. What’s up with that??
It’s not supposed to make any sense, you are simply expected to accept and applaud each of the UCP’s varying versions of the situation simultaneously, regardless of any paradoxes you encounter in the process.
I would think this ought to be a turn around jump shot for Ms.Kimmel’s legal team…a bill which Kenney’s admin. will in all likelihood pass on to Albertans, laughing all the way.
I do hope Kimmel wins big on this one. I agree this admission of excess drinking will give her team a big boost.
I can see in my mind what she is talking about. Rednecks together drinking like sponges and making all kinds of silly sexual comments very typical of that kind of people. I am sure she got enough information to realize that these people learn nothing and have very low standards of behaviour. In the meantime we have to continue until the next scandal.
GoinFawr did you actually for a second thought the bill would be paid by the minister? we know exactly who will pay for all of this and all the rest they have done.
Douglas, GoinFawr and Carlos, I was pleasantly surprised by Schweitzer’s comment and that fact he had the gumption to go on the record with his statement that Kimmel was an excellent chief of staff. This makes Kimmel’s case so much easier because, as I said in the blog, the Premier’s office says she wasn’t fired because she wouldn’t let the harassment issue drop and Schweitzer says her work as his chief of staff was top notch, and she said she did not leak the news about the MLAs vacationing abroad notwithstanding the covid ban on travel over Christmas, so why was she fired.
The Premier’s office has painted itself into a corner. This is going to get a whole lot more interesting before we’re done.
In all seriousness this young man was In a senior position & had expectations beyond his maturity and experiences in life. Perhaps a reflection of his upbringing and expectations as young man is needed and also is this what he wanted to do in life? Yes, he was good at fundraising but is that what’s important in life?
I wish him well going forward, however the allegations, against him are serious and there need to be acknowledgment of this to himself and those he effected. 🙁
Bota28: good points. I’m willing to bet that Dreeshen will find his way back into cabinet after a cooling off period, assuming of course that Kenney remains in power. Now that Brian Jean is back with a vengeance, Kenney’s future is murky.
I’m not sure which would be worse for Kenney’s reputation, being toppled by Rachel Notley or Brian Jean. Both would be a humiliating defeat for the politician who rode into Alberta in his blue pick up truck to save conservatism once and for all.
I wonder if the Senior Dreeshen, the MP, had any sharp words for little Devin, the ex-Minister, regarding his frat boy antics. Or rather, since there is no record of Dreeshen Junior attending post secondary, his cow-tipping antics. If little Devin did not comprehend the phrase, “Hell hath no fury…., I bet he does now.
Perhaps Dreeshen Senior thought Junior’s antics were perfectly acceptable behaviour and folks were persecuting his boy.
As well, I wonder if MLA Allard will accept any credit for helping to create the throng that congregated outside her domicile. No doubt, she is now familiar with the term, “the wisdom of the mob” and I hope her creation scared the hell out of her.
Jaundinced Eye, your comments are perfectly in tune with the real situation
I enjoyed reading them tremendously – great soft humour 🙂
Jaundiced Eye, your comments brought to mind another old saying “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Much of what the UCP MLAs and their premier have sown has come back to bite them. Funny how that works.
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:
it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Oddly, I am not surprise, not shocked at all by this story. I think too many people do not see that he UCP share little ideals with the former Conservatives of old. I will never vote for a UCP member, no matter what level of government. I am waiting, impatiently, for the return of Rachel Notley and the NDP!
P.S. Not a supporter of the Conservatives, either! LOL
Carol, I”m with you there. I saw an article in the Globe and Mail after O’Toole lost. It said if the CPC can’t appease the libertarian faction with a leader who espoused a more enlightened agenda, how will it resolve its identity crisis which bends to climate change deniers, vaccine-heistant covid deniers, and those who oppose abortion and LBGTQ rights?
Canada has demonstrated time and time again it is more progressive than the CPC would have us believe. We are now down to pockets of true blue conservatives (Alberta is one unfortunately) but even here things are changing.
May 2023 can’t come soon enough in my opinion!
I work with a lot of younger people, all of whom support the NDP and that makes me believe AB won’t be blue in the future. Yes I am eagerly awaiting May 2023!
Voters are really not going to be very happy about either excessive drinking or sexual harassment by MLA’s or high level political staffers. If it was just drinking, I believe Kenney might have stuck to his guns and kept Dreeshen, but there is also now a lawsuit that has the potential to be a pandora’s box of embarrassment for Kenney and the UCP, so he had to be seen to do something.
Of course the commentary on the departure of Dreeshen by the UCP didn’t mention the lawsuit and all the other stuff, just the drinking issue and he is still in the UCP caucus. Kenney doesn’t dare kick him out to add to the independent MLA group. However, the bigger problem with all of this is it also implicates a number of of other UCP ministers and high level political aides, including the Premier.
If Kenney tries to distance himself from all of this and claim he didn’t know what was going on he comes across as either clueless or a liar. I suspect at this point the only reason Kenney is still around is all the dissatisfied MLA’s in his caucus can not yet come to an agreement on who would be best to replace him. I suspect Brian Jean is well aware of that and hopes that he might manage to be acceptable enough to everyone.
Brian Jean is a possibility but I do not see him as better than Jason Kenney. If anything he is even dumber.
Dave, as you correctly point out there’s no way Kenney can win here.
And then there’s the Brian Jean question. I can’t remember a leadership review where the odds were so stacked against the premier. Kenney’s predecessors had the good grace to step down rather than risk humiliation, but it looks like Kenney will hang in to the bitter end.
Seems to me all he can do is make a flood of announcements describing all the ‘wonderful’ things that have or will come to fruition under his leadership and hope the party faithful don’t see through the smoke and mirrors.
Try one more time – replies a bit stuck today
Brian Jean is a possibility but I do not see him as better than Jason Kenney. If anything he is even dumber.
The reason Jason Kenney does not take any action until it is public is because he is part of all of it.
Sexual Harassment is part of the job for people who dwell on the 12 century and drinking is just a side dish of being powerful and have the majority in an aloof province. Klein did the same and I personally had the pleasure of seeing him drunk in a public service ceremony. At the time the conservatives could basically do whatever they wished, possibly worse than now.
The UCP is obviously a disaster and I think the only reason why there is no more public screaming is because the main newspapers are in with the UCP and so are the businesses now paying the lowest taxes in Canada and everyone else with very low ethical and moral values.
Carlos, your comment about public intoxication is well taken. My husband reminded me that when Klein was mayor he’d stroll through City Hall pouring drinks for everyone he met. At the time the civil servants thought it was funny. Ha ha. But times have changed. What was tolerated then is not tolerated now. Perhaps that’s the crux of the problem, in this as in so many things Kenney is stuck in the 1950s.
Replies do not work for me today – this is a comment on Dave’s entry
Brian Jean is a possibility but I do not see him as better than Jason Kenney. If anything he is even dumber.
I don’t see him as dumber, necessarily, but he has a veneer of ‘nice guy’ that Kenney doesn’t, and that makes him more dangerous.
Yes I agree but it lasts until he starts talking
Then it is not much different
Well now I have 3 entries I apologize Susan
No problem Carlos. The inner workings of WordPress are beyond my limited techie skills. Feel free to post away until your comments show up. 🙂
“critical issues like managing covid and its aftermath, kickstarting the economy, and fixing healthcare, education, and other social services.”
I’ve been following a lot of COP26 coverage and I would have to add that Alberta seriously needs to prepare for the energy transition, including cleaning up the oil industry and cutting emissions, because we will not get investment without a decent climate change plan and real action on that. It needs to be done now, not later.
To bad so few of us understand this clearly – with or without oil we need to move from an economy in permanent growth to one that is sustainable. Through changes that are happening slowly already but that have to be accelerated because if we do not we will witness the death of many people including in Canada. We may not be as affected by certain issues but we will be by others and vice versa. We are having atmospheric events that are clearly happening more often and stronger and that alone could become a major form of destruction.
People like Jason Kenney that reluctantly admit any issues with the environment or even accept a pandemic, are becoming dinosaurs in months rather than years. At the beginning of the pandemic Jason Kenney was ignoring all of it including that oil pollution was a problem. Well a year later Alberta has changed and is changing regardless of the existence of dinosaurs in our legislature. People are starting to realize that this is serious and it is not what people like Jason Kenney think it is.
Jason Kenney is not only a bad leader and a bad cheater but he is totally outdated.
Carlos: We know this just by even seeing what has been going on in Alberta, and the neighbouring provinces, and states to the south of us, in this year alone, that there has been abnormally hot temperatures, and very dry weather. We also have seen this go on this year, in parts of Europe, including England, and places like Greece and Turkey. Wildfires were rampant and extreme levels of drought, made crop growth stunted. In fact, this has been a common pattern for many years, during the last three decades, in North America, and in other parts of the world. We will all have the same common, top level concern, and that is water. Any form of life on this planet can’t live without it. Those cheering on oil, will also have to realize this. We do know that we cannot deny that oil is a necessity, but water is by far the top priority. No amount of money will solve this problem of a lack of food, severe drought, and other problems, caused by extreme levels of drought.
Valerie, I agree completely. Canada in general, and Oilberduh especially, must act fast to protect ourselves from the disruption that’ll come with winding down the oil and gas industry world-wide. Kenney wouldn’t bother, even if he wasn’t fighting for his political life. Concerned citizens like us will have to butt-kick the government–federal AND Alberta–into moving forward.
Mike J Danysh: If you are from any sort of agricultural background, including being from a farm, or live off the land by some other means, like having a trap line, hunt for food, or go fishing, you will know that water is the most important thing that affects us all, not oil. Even people who live in non rural areas will have to see this. A lack of water affects all plant and animal life. Without water, we can’t survive. We have no food to eat, and no water to drink. Here’s a case in point: Decades ago, in Alberta, in places like Edmonton, trees started to bud in March, or in April. By mid April, the budding was more intense. By late April, and early May, the trees were fully green. At some point in the later part of the 1990s, and the 2000s, that started to change. Now, we don’t see the trees start to bud until at least mid May. Even in late May, the trees are not fully green. They become fully green in June. Something is going on. Also, when we see places like Vancouver and Seattle not have rain for long periods of time, and the frequency of that is increasing, something is wrong. That means other places don’t get rain. We will still see people thinking oil is the top priority. It isn’t. It’s water.
Dwayne, your point about water shortages is correct. My mom grew up on a farm. We visited year-round when I was a kid. More recently, I owned a horse–and became quite aware of the state of his pasture and the price of hay. Alberta has become more arid, and droughts are more common today than even 20 years ago. Weirdly, so are extreme storms–both thunder and snow. These are all effects of climate disruption by global heating. It’s become a crisis–and it’s gonna get a lot worse.
The problem in Oilberduh is that our economy is still strongly influenced by the oil and gas industry, even though O&G employment has dropped sharply. The oil barons have even more infuence on politicians, who were “captured” by industry money, propaganda and threats decades ago. (See “Oil’s Deep State” by Kevin Taft.)
Politicians here think first of “the economy” and how a recession will make them unpopular. The climate crisis is still way down the list–until PMJT says something like “put a cap on carbon emission levels.” The local yokels go ballistic, but it’s still about the economy, not the environment.
Food production will become harder all over the world, because of extreme weather events. Prices will inevitably rise, and poor people will suffer most. But, being people, most won’t care until they PERSONALLY have trouble buying their favourite food. It’s not evil or even stupid, really; it’s just human nature. Short-termism is built into us, and it takes a LOT of effort to learn how to take the long view.
That’s why water shortages in Alberta don’t get much press. If you watch for it, you can see the occasional news article about melting glaciers, rivers getting lower, water licenses for irrigation need reviewing; but very seldom a connected, comprehensive review. But ordinary people who get water from a city utility don’t NEED to think about it. They just complain when the tap stops flowing.
But people can get extremely noisy if they think it’s important enough. Remember the nuclear response to the UCP attempt to strip-mine coal in the Eastern Slopes? Months after the government backed down to public anger, I saw a news item (can’t remember where, though) saying either Epcor or the City of Edmonton had submitted a report to the coal-mine review board. The report warned that even Edmonton would be affected by water pollution from coal mines, notably selenium contamination. By then even the Ultimate Corporate Party had backed down, and the public outrage (and attention) had faded.
That’s just one example of how concerned people like us will have to keep on watching—and smacking down—any government that refuses to take climate change seriously. It’s a huge problem, with economic, environmental and public-health aspects—among others. The guys who spout the “go-slow” messages are rich, powerful and have LOTS of political influence. The rest of us will have to yell loud enough to drown out the corporate propaganda.
Valerie, you’ve raised a critical point and I agree with you 100%. I don’t know if you saw the news article where Harper complained that Trudeau’s climate change policy unfairly singled out “certain parts of the country”. Harper was referring to Trudeau’s hard cap on oil and gas emissions which will impact Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Harper said (and this is bizarre) if he were in charge of mitigating climate change he would not take measures to shut down an industry in a region that didn’t generate political returns for him. In other words Harper says it’s foolish for Trudeau to shut down an industry in a province that doesn’t vote Liberal. Assuming for a moment that Trudeau’s cap is politically motivated (he’s got it in for Alberta as opposed to the biggest emitters are in Alberta), why wouldn’t he do exactly this. Don’t politicians take care of those who vote for them and ignore those who don’t vote for them?
The fact that Harper boiled Trudeau’s climate change policy down to nothing but politics says it all. In Harper’s (and dare I say Kenney’s) world if there’s no political upside in taking a firm stance on climate change mitigation, then pshaw, why bother.
I saw there was an article, but didn’t go past the paywall to read it, so the details are new to me.
I dunno, maybe Harper is thinking about how he and Kenney sucked up to immigrants for votes until they decided to go full-on racist for the 2015 federal election campaign.
I don’t remember if Harper ever went to a COP on climate; I think he sent Jon Baird to support the corporate polluters’ side. Harper did some good things for the environment, such as funding the Great Bear Forest, but he did more harm than good, gagging gov’t scientists and bullying ENGOs.
Valerie, I forgot that Harper provided funding for the Great Bear Forest. An interesting fact that was not mentioned in the Allen Commission’s report on anti-Alberta energy campaigns. Kind of like Ducks Unlimited which apparently fell off Steve Allen’s radar screen after Kenney’s principle secretary left the premier’s office to take on the role of CEO of Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Ducks Unlimited was redacted from the draft report which was partly released around the end of June, before Kaumeyer was announced as next CEO on August 19. They did a sloppy job of redacting it and Sandy Garossino talked about that in July to Ryan Jespersen.
She had read the draft report, and wrote about the harm done to environmentalists by Harper and Kenney, etc. on July 30:
“Since 2012, Jason Kenney, Stephen Harper, Joe Oliver, Vic Toews and a chorus of others have smeared the reputations of decent Canadians, whose only sin was trying to protect Canada from environmental degradation and climate change.”
Here is a good article on this issue
Carlos, this is an excellent article! I was particularly struck by Nikiforuk’s argument in support of decreasing consumption where he said:
“Ignore those alarmists that say contraction means you and I must live in cold caves. An economic retreat does not mean returning to the Dark Ages. As Hagens has observed, a 30-per-cent GDP drop in the United States would bring that nation back to a 1990s level of energy spending. A 50 per cent drop in GDP would bring the U.S. back to a 1973 level. Were those times so bad?”
Having been a young person in those times, I can safely say, no those times were not so bad, in fact they were great.
Good as always Susan. See you Wednesday. I will send a link presently. A.
Sent from my iPad
Thanks Avalon. Lovely to see you as always!
I’ve heard some old members of the Old Boys’ Club (ANY old boys’ club) won’t trust a man who won’t drink with them (how 19th-century). And, hey, what’s a few drinks among friends? It’s just male bonding, right? Well, unless there are women present, in which case it can become male domination.
“Social drinking” sounds much better than “I just lose control and can’t stop.” Either way, it was only poor Devin’s problem—right up to the point where it became a factor in a lawsuit. Then Devin’s problem became an embarrassment to the Unlimited Cocktails Party generally and Jason Kenney in particular. (Thank you to Guy for introducing the latest iteration of what “UCP” really stands for, in Susan’s Halloween in Alberta post.)
It’s surprising that, after all the “So what?” responses, Dreeshen decided to quit. Question: did he choose to quit before Kenney fired him? Cynic that I am, I’m sure the answer is “Yes.” This, added to Alohagate, make me think Kenney obeys the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not get caught breaking the first Ten.” Kenney’s fellow boneheads only get punished if they get caught.
There are two ways to get fired from a cabinet post in Kenney’s government: either threaten the Leader, or embarrass him. Drew Barnes threatened the Leader, with much help from Todd Loewen—before Kenney shot his mouth off and hit every ICU ward in the province. It took seven hours, but Kenney convinced (persuaded? Coerced? Bribed? Intimidated?) the UCP caucus into kicking Barnes and Loewen off the bus.
There’s one way to protect your job: wait till the Leader has kneecapped himself, THEN threaten or humiliate him. Leela Aheer (who is less of a threat to Kenney, anyway) threatened the Leader AFTER he’d shot his mouth off and hit every ICU ward in the province. By then, Kenney had also shot himself in both kneecaps.* Kenney doesn’t have the loyalty of caucus, or the power to threaten MLAs anymore, so Aheer wasn’t turfed from the caucus.
I’m actually starting to look forward to seeing Brian Jean in the UCP caucus again. (Imagine the arguments behind closed doors! Ambulances permanently parked outside the Legislature, and stretchers with defibrillators stored permanently in every meeting room.) In truth, I expect Kenney to move Heaven, Earth and Hell itself to keep his arch-enemy from crashing the Unhinged Contrarian Party. Heck, Kenney’s doing a great job of crashing it all by himself.
If Kenney gets the heave-ho at the leadership review (I doubt even currently surging oil prices will save him), then who gets to sit in the Big Chair? Travis Toews, Jason Nixon, Doug Schweitzer and Nathan Cooper have all been considered possible replacements (see Dave Cournoyer’s blog entry https://daveberta.ca/2021/04/who-could-replace-jason-kenney-as-leader-of-the-united-conservative-party/ ). No matter who wins, he’ll still have to stick the rural and urban branches of the Utterly Confused Party together, probably with the traditional adhesives—chewing gum and baling wire.
Even worse may be the Covid-careful vs. Covid-denier factions. Both are mad at each other, and the UCP has most of the deniers in its ranks. Whoever leads the Unbelievably Crazy Party after Kenney will need a very large clue-stick to keep this bunch more-or-less united.
*I speak figuratively, of course. Con-trolls are advised to take a Valium and face facts: Kenney’s political wounds are self-inflicted.
Mike, I enjoyed your musings as always! As you noted with Leela Aheer, she’s not much of a threat. Or at least she wasn’t back when Barnes/Loewen were turfed. I suspect we won’t see any more UCP MLAs getting the boot unless they do something really egregious, because everyone who is shown the door will be welcomed with open arms by Brian Jean.
Kenney prides himself on being a shrew political tactician. Soon he’ll be put to the test.
The last 2 years under Kenney have been a gong show, the next 6 months are going to be even worse.
Thanks Susan, I appreciate the chance to pontificate 😉
You’re right that Brian Jean will look for any and all disgruntled UCP (ex-)members. But isn’t there a rule about X number of independent MLAs can form a caucus? Extra funding for research, extra time in Question Period, things like that? If so, two more expulsions from Kenney’s caucus just might do him way more harm than leaving the complainers where they are.
I think it is more than clear that Kenney does not have the leadership skills anyone at the level he is at requires to do the job. I’d add that if Kenney does have health issues that have affected his mental cognitive skills he should step down as leader. This should not be regarded as a ‘punishment’ for contracting illness but rather the actions of a man who wants the best for his constituency. It would also be best for himself to do this if his health has indeed been impacted. That having been said, if Kenney’s poor leadership is due to cognitive issues due to Covid, what about the rest of the UCP? Are they too suffering from cognitive disorder? If so, see solution previously mentioned. Step down & allow someone who can do the job to do it. The fact that they are not doing what is ‘best for all Albertans’ rather underlines the point that the UCP is more about doing what is best for themselves.
Linda, you raise an interesting point. Do the UCP or their supporters recognize how poor a leader Kenney is? Your comment reminded me of Dr Deena Hinshaw who declared covid had moved to the endemic stage, the pandemic was over. Think about how outrageous that was. People were dying around the globe from the pandemic and she supported Kenney’s “Best Summer Ever” reopening plan by saying (contrary to all scientific evidence) that we were no longer fighting a pandemic.
There is something seriously wrong here.
Frat House – Kenney and Shandro doing a presser in a pub today:
Some tweeters have pointed out it’s not just any pub, but has connections to the Chu scandal. Another blunder or plain arrogance on Kenney’s part?
Valerie, I can’t help but think it’s deliberate distraction. We’re so busy calling them out on their inappropriate choice of venue that we’re not talking about whether the Alberta Jobs Now program will deliver the jobs Kenney has promised.
Either that or it’s a sophomoric effort to get the progressives’ knickers in a knot (which when I think about it fits with their frat house mentality).
Susan: What are your thoughts on this? Is this an example of why corporate tax cuts fail?