Kenney’s Leadership Review: The Bedlam Continues

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” – The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

It’s been a long time coming, but it will be over eventually, not on Apr 9 and not necessarily on May 18, but eventually.

And no amount of maneuvering with mass membership drives or last-minute changes to the rules for the UCP leadership review will change that.

Regardless of how many UCP members vote yes affirming Jason Kenney as UCP leader, Kenney’s days are numbered and sooner or later the UCP will implode.

A long time coming

The fact Kenney finds himself here is no surprise.

From the day he announced he was running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party with the sole intention of merging it with the Wildrose Party we could see trouble brewing on the horizon. The UCP big tent may be big, but no tent is big enough for a membership this divergent in values and beliefs.

Soon after Kenney and the UCP formed government, the MLAs became restive. Kenney was a top-down kind of guy, the grassroots guarantee disappeared from the UCP website and those who dared push back were ignored, demoted to the backbenches or thrown out of the party altogether.

Everything is fine, just fine

Throughout it all Kenney managed to retain control of his caucus…and then along came the pandemic and Kenney’s on again, off again public health restrictions.

By April 2021 we were in the 3rd wave. 16 UCP MLAs had publicly rejected the public health restrictions. By May two of them, Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes, were kicked out of caucus for undermining Kenney’s leadership. The calls for Kenney’s resignation grew louder.

On July 1, 2021, Kenney lifted most of the restrictions and declared Alberta was open for summer. Then in the thick of the fourth wave, he disappeared on vacation, and our healthcare system all but collapsed.

In Sept 2021, shortly after he returned from vacation, he reimposed public health restrictions. Dissent within the party grew, but he blew it off saying he was focused on dealing with covid, not internal party politics.  

By mid Nov 2021, 22 UCP constituency associations asked that the leadership review, originally scheduled for the fall of 2022, be moved up and held virtually. The UCP board agreed to move up the review, scheduling a special in-person meeting on April 9, 2022 in Red Deer.  

Dissatisfaction with Kenney’s leadership continued to grow. You may notice a theme emerging here.

Over the winter and early spring something in the range of 200 meetings had been organized by MLAs and party members plotting to get rid of Kenney and the former leader of the WR, Brian Jean won a by-election on the promise he’d oust the party’s leader.   

Kenney remained unconcerned, saying there would always be a “small number of people with truly extreme views.” He was confident he’d prevail at the Apr 9 leadership review.

Then something happened. The anti-Kenney contingent had the wind at their back and the number of people buying party membership soared…

…and on Mar 23, 2022, four days after the deadline for buying a party membership had passed, the UCP party shifted the leadership review from an in-person vote to a mail-in ballot which will be open until May 11. The results be announced on May 18 (baring any unforeseen circumstances, of course).

A basket of deplorables by any other name…

In a recently leaked audio clip, Kenney described his leadership message in classic “us versus them” terms. This is his usual modus operandi although he typically deploys it against the socialists and the Liberal elites, not members of his own party. His assessment that there would always be a small number of people with extreme views morphed into a fear that fifth column of kooks, crazies, bigots, and extremists were laying siege to the UCP.

He’s signaled he’s a bit of a martyr. He doesn’t need this job; he could walk away and take up a position in the private sector where he wouldn’t have to work evenings and weekends—clearly he’s never worked in the private sector—but he’ll stay because he’s the only one who can save the UCP from those intend on stealing its soul. If he steps aside the party would be torn apart. Apparently, it hasn’t dawned on him that if he stays it will be torn apart anyway.   

A slow-motion train wreck

We don’t know how the leadership review will turn out.

We do know that if Kenney is affirmed as leader his opponents will continue to agitate for his removal or hive off and form a new party.

We also know that if Kenney is removed the UCP will call a leadership race, the candidates will turn themselves into pretzels pretending they didn’t really support Kenney in the first place, and the minute the new leader is announced he/she will switch into election mode to prepare for the fight of their lives trying to defeat Notley and her incredibly strong team.

Meanwhile the work of government will grind to a halt.

Ah, the joys of living in Kenney’s Alberta.

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87 Responses to Kenney’s Leadership Review: The Bedlam Continues

  1. keleemaui says:

    I am so sick of the UCP that, while my mischievous side would like to see a complete meltdown, we have to remember that we are paying for all this chaos

    • Here’s a gem.. an old story.. (link below) but more detailed, updated & exceptional journalism
      Another note – I have thought the kamikaze campaign signalled Kenney’s personal interest in humiliating Brian Jean. I believe now that I was wrong & the craving for a massive, crushing victory was solely to ensure the voting public believed he was a one man juggernaut & any NDP votes in any riding were wasted on the evil Notely candidates. Two birds with one stone are trademark Kenney .. after all he’s a tireless master manipulator & deceiver. Political manoeuvring is his ENTIRE life ! He has no other REAL life.. none.. never has. Who would want to be his friend ? Harper & Laureen ? Maybe Ben Harper & Matt Wolf ? Does he go hunting with Jason Nixon ? Fishing with Licia Corbella or Lorne Gunter ? His entire Primary & Secondary Residence scam was designed accordingly – plus the Canadian Taxpayers would not just pay for his accoms & travel etc etc.. they would essentially finance his Ottawa condo purchase & cover all expenses of his shallow life, even his transportation, food etc etc.. EVERYTHING is a business expense to him
      Again.. keep in mind how in bed with TC Energy.. especially how he changed Alberta Legislation to gain control of Public Sector Pension Funds – steer them into AIMCo & drive the Equity Control purchase with US fund manager KKR of BC’s Coastal GasLink Pipeline to Kitimat. I still haven’t found a single word from him or anyone in Mainstream Media mentioning this reality

      https://t.co/Wspp8T4OCy

      • Danusia says:

        I honestly wish I hadn’t read the story in your link — fuming doesn’t even begin to describe my disgust. This whole band of louts has to go!

      • Diamondwalker: that Jason Nixon story is beyond frightening, especially since he has not ruled out running for the leadership of the UCP one day.
        Your comments about politics being Kenney’s life ring true. Duane Bratt said the same thing on West of Centre last week, but added Kenney goes to church 4 or 5 times on the weekend. I don’t know how Bratt would know this but it comes back to your point that the elements the rest of us want and need in our lives–friends, family, hobbies, interests–don’t appear to be a high priority for Kenney. I’m not saying he doesn’t have outside pursuits, I’m simply saying whatever they are, they’re not as obvious as what we’ve seen with other politicians.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes I remember this story but I did not know all the details.
        It is amazing that in a country supposedly governed under the rule of law this happens and nothing is done about it. How can this irresponsible bully be a cabinet minister?

    • keleemaui, I know exactly what you mean. I took a quick look at all the press releases the UCP government has issued since Nov 2021 when the challenges to Kenney’s leadership started to pick up steam. Other than pandemic announcements, there wasn’t anything significant. They announced and re-announced programs (especially in Alberta Innovates) and consultations (coal policy and education curriculum review). They announced corporations coming to the province (Amazon) to take advantage of the 8% corporate tax, some weird one-offs like the $13M to modernize the school in Acme (???).
      Kind of makes you wonder what they do all day.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed your well deserved break. Thanks for another great blog. The UCP are just a big mess of a party, out of control, and do things that make no sense at all. I, for one, can’t wait for 2023 to come around, so the UCP can be gone for good. It’s baffling how anyone can still support the UCP. I’ll share some more fitting music. This particular album from Tom Cochrane and Red Ryder is in my music collection. It was recorded live in Edmonton, at the end of March, in 1989, with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, at The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. The song I’ll share from this album is fitting for the premier of Alberta (that title is still very doubtful, because the R.C.M.P are investigating how he got to his position of power). It is Lunatic Fringe. I did see Tom Cochrane a few times live and I also met him. A great Canadian artist.

  3. Bota28 says:

    Bang on Susan ! 😊 a narcissistic leader with old ideologies, someone who never gave two “rips” about Albertans, who felt he could drive around AB in his blue pickup truck and save the province. 🤔 Alberta is in chaos on so many fronts. UCP “internal fighting” is becoming the norm, and is now an national embarrassment. Whatever the outcome of this leadership vote, it will take decades for us to recover from this train wreck 😔 meanwhile Rachel and her team will take over the reigns in 2023 and Jason, hopefully will ride off into the sunset never to darken the door of AB ever again 🤔 could we be so fortunate 😉

    • Bota28, you’re absolutely right about Kenney becoming a national embarrassment. Apparently the story has appeared on The National and The Current. Now the UCP will likely dismiss this as the CBC gunning for them again, but when you add this kind of coverage to Kenney’s continual griping about not getting a fair deal from Canada, I fear the rest of the country is starting to lose patience with us.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This is another fitting song for the times we are in. It is from a former member of Procol Harum, Robin Trower. Robin Trower had his birthday on March 9, and he turned 77. A great British blues/rock guitarist. The song is The Razor’s Edge. It is from Robin Trower’s latest album, No More Worlds To Conquer, and it will be released on April 29.

    • Dwayne, 77 years old? Wow! That man can play the guitar!

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: Actually, there is more than one member of Procol Harum who had their birthday this month. Matthew Fisher, the organ player and occasional guitarist, (on Procol Harum’s album, A Salty Dog), turned 76, on March 7. He is a former member. The drummer, B.J Wilson, was born on March 18, 1947, and passed away on October 8, 1990. Dave Ball, the guitarist, who was on Procol Harum’s live album that was recorded with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, in 1971, and released in May of 1972, was born on March 30, 1950, and passed away on April 1, 2015. He replaced Robin Trower. The current bassist for Procol Harum, who has held that position, since the 1990s, Matt Pegg, was born on March 27, 1971. Robin Trower and B.J Wilson were not on the Procol Harum hit song, A Whiter Shade Of Pale. They came in after that, and replaced 2 musicians who left the group. I believe they were Ray Royer and Bobby Stevenson. Robin Trower left Procol Harum in 1971, after the album Broken Barricades was released, and he rejoined Procol Harum in 1991, only for the album, The Prodigal Stranger, released that year. Geoff Whitehorn was Procol Harum’s guitarist since then. Robin Trower did do compositions with Procol Harum’s lyricist, Keith Reid, while in Procol Harum, like Crucifixion Lane, (where he sings on the song), from the 1969 album, A Salty Dog, Whiskey Train, from the 1970 album, Home, (the late Gary Brooker sang and played piano on this track), and Song For A Dreamer, from the 1971 album, Broken Barricades, (Robin Trower also sang on this song), and others. Robin Trower and Gary Brooker were also in the group, The Paramounts, prior to being in Procol Harum.

    • Carlos says:

      I wonder if I should change from politics to music. We already have a music professor here

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This is my final song pick. It is from Calgary singer/songwriter, actress, talk show host and writer, Jann Arden. This is is from her newest album release, Descendant, and the song is called Steady On. It’s also very fitting for the times we are in. Jann Arden turned 60 today, on March 27. I saw Jann Arden many times live and I also met her.

    • Dwayne, this was the perfect way to end the trilogy of songs…steady on…Uplifting.

      • Carlos says:

        60 oh wow – I remember when Jan Arden was the opening for a great show I went too in the Jubilee Auditorium with Bruce Coburn. She was unknown at the time but when we heard her we were amazed and i remember thinking wow this lady is going to explode in popularity

  6. Carlos says:

    Try again

    Susan I hope you are feeling better and welcome back, we missed you.
    Unfortunately the UCP virus is outlasting the COVID virus.

    The province which government supported a convoy adorned with Nazi swastikas in Canadian flags, Confederate flags, white nationalist members, weapons and even some people that tried to run over some police officers is in obvious decline. Even better, supported by conservative MPs that took pictures and participated on ground zero in Ottawa where we all witnessed that we Canadians have a lot of work to do other than just think that we are NICE and KIND.

    We are now the province where young people are leaving because of what our main media describes as not being part of the current culture. It is time we describe the facts instead of being nice. We are losing people because this province, like the premier said himself, has turned into a political asylum, an horrible example of human corruption, propaganda and total lack of any integrity When this kind of horrific expression of failure is supported by close to 30% of our population is it any wonder people are leaving.

    Young people want more than just the billions Jason Kenney seems to not only waste but believe is the only thing that matters in life. People want not just good government but hope, decency and a place where politicians do not bully its citizens. They want a place where their children learn decency and respect for everyone. A place where cheating is discouraged instead of used as a form of governing and disadvantage others.

    • Carlos, you raise such a good point here. For all of Kenney’s complaining about those with crazy, bigoted and extremist views trying to take over the party, he didn’t discipline his MLAs, Shane Getson and Grant Hunter for supporting the freedom convoy blocking the border at Coutts. I guess some crazy, bigoted and extremist views are acceptable and others (ie those that challenge his fitness for leadership) are not.

  7. Sharon says:

    Very rich that he thinks he would get work in the private sector. If he had been working in the private sector now he would have been fired long ago. His history in federal politics should have been warning to everyone – everything he ever did caused ruin and he left the department of immigration in shambles. Toxic little man, a liar and a cheat. Hopefully he gets what he deserves.

    • .. He won’t be seeking ‘work’ – He’s a very wealthy man already
      He’ll be handed Board Directorships starting with TC Energy, Speaking requests in both Canada & USA – Think Tanks.. You name it.. & he’ll be getting them.. Banks & Brokerages especially ! And collecting ‘honorary’ Degrees.. start dating, get married, settle down, have a family eh ! haha.. go camping in Thailand !

    • Sharon I certainly agree that Kenney wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in the private sector which requires skills, good sense, and the ability to be a team player. The higher up you go in an organization, the more you’re called upon to help develop the corporate vision and the strategy to deliver upon it. Not only does Kenney lack the basic competencies, he has no vision and consequently is incapable of developing a strategy to guide Alberta into the 21st century.
      Diamondwalker I think you’re right about where Kenney would like to go next, the big question is whether he’ll land the plum directorships and positions with think tanks that he thinks he deserves. I was working in a private law firm when Peter Lougheed stepped down as PC leader, every law firm in Calgary was killing itself trying to get him to come on board. Lougheed’s name on the letterhead was seen to be (and it was) a real asset. I’m not so sure Kenney’s name will have the same appeal

  8. Some Advice says:

    He/she is outdated terminology. If you want to remain relevant, consider “they” as a replacement. It’s generic and therefore inclusive. Ask any English teacher and you will find this to be true. Thanks for your astute posts that break down complex idea for layfolk.

  9. jerrymacgp says:

    Ms Soapbox: glad you’re back & hope your recent break was restorative.

    The most disturbing aspect of this entire affair is that most of the internal party opposition to Kenney’s leadership comes from the extreme right, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, pro-COVID, pro-death rural fringe of his party. Meanwhile, in the electorate at large, public opinion is split between those opposed to Kenney for the same reasons, and those opposed to Kenney because over 4,000 Albertans have died of COVID-19 so far and his government has performed so poorly over the past two years of the pandemic.

    Across the aisle of the legislature, Rachel Notley got a 98% approval rating from the leadership review at the most recent NDP Provincial Convention. So, there’s that …

    Stay well.

    • Carlos says:

      Jerry I fully agree with you but I think it is important to not just say that people who do not approve of Jason Kenney is all because of the pandemic.
      He has done nothing right not just the pandemic – that is is real reason. Furthermore he has insulted most citizens, bully them and try to get away with it.
      It has been nightmare after nightmare. That is the real reason why.
      The man has been a fiasco from the get go.
      He and his gang is completely irrelevant – no character or integrity.

      • jerrymacgp says:

        Carlos: no question you’re quite right, but we’re not talking here about his popularity with the voting public at large, but with his own party members. His most outspoken opponents in the leadership review are the kind of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals that would federally vote for Mad Max’s PPC. Their opposition to his leadership arose out of the pandemic and the need to take effective action to protect the public health, action they all seem to oppose. They’re the pro-COVID, pro-death party.

      • Carlos says:

        Agreed – sorry but sometimes I get so infuriated about this man I just feel like throwing a baseball bat at him and hard. With the pandemic, the craziness of this world and this IDIOT and CHEATER I lose my temper. I guess I need a 2 week break like Susan,
        It is extremely frustrating to see a province like ours being destroyed by morons, people that do not understand anything but what is it for them.

      • Carlos says:

        I even miss words 🙂 🙂
        What is in it for them

      • Jerrymacgp and Carlos: I heard a terrific interview on The Current with Rob Smith, UCP CA president of Old, Didsbury and Mike Solberg. Smith is anti-Kenney and Solbert is pro-Kenney.
        Smith said Kenney is trying to spin the narrative that ALL his detractors are crazies who are mad about the covid restrictions, but this wasn’t entirely true. Smith supported covid restrictions and said his issue is (1) Kenney projected the image of the guy in the blue pickup truck but in reality is an autocrat who doesn’t listen, and (2) many of Kenney’s policies (eg education, healthcare) are appalling but he won’t listen to feedback about them.
        Solberg, who worked in Harper’s office before setting up a lobby group, said the Big Tent UCP has its fringe members who hated the covid restrictions and are trying to take over the party. They must be stopped because Kenney worked so hard to unite the conservatives and he’s a Federalist who will keep the western separatist loonies in line.
        Smith made sense. Solberg not so much.
        It will be interesting to see happens after the vote is counted on May 18. I predict chaos.

  10. Mike J Danysh says:

    Let the flailing begin! First Kenney will flail desperately to keep the job he doesn’t need, then his enemies within the party will flail him with “No” votes and complaints. The noisiest complaints are, of course, coming from the people Kenney deliberately goaded to a rage over Rachel Notley daring to form a government. Once those loonies started hearing each others’ voices, they believed they were strong. “Loud and proud,” I believe is the saying.

    Kenney has realized that, like Dr. Frankenstein, the beautiful experiment he began has become a monster. Worse, the monster’s attention is not focused on “the Enemy,” Rachel Notley and/or Justin Trudeau. The monster has turned on its creator.

    Now Kenney’s only hope is to game the system—again. His attempts to look “moderate,” to claim he’s not responsible for the wild-eyed, frothing-mouth excesses of the rabid right, would be disgusting if they were less dangerous. It’ll take years for the delusional right to fade into background noise again.

    Meanwhile, the whole province has to wait out the coming Tweet-storm and hope the damage doesn’t extend too far beyond the UCP. I’m not hopeful. Kenney won’t give up. He’d rather see “his” party destroyed than admit he broke it himself.

    Our only consolation, here in Oilberduh (emphasis on DUH) will be the entries in future political-science textbooks. The Twitter summary is: “See what Jason Kenney did? Don’t do that.”

    • Carlos says:

      ‘Our only consolation, here in Oilberduh (emphasis on DUH) will be the entries in future political-science textbooks. The Twitter summary is: “See what Jason Kenney did? Don’t do that.”’

      Mike this is priceless and so true.
      I love the Oilberduh (emphasis on DUH) 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Thanks Carlos, I thought it had a nice ring to it. 😊 Feel free to use it (but check for UCP fanatics before you say it in public!)

    • Mike, agreed. Kenney started his reign by spewing divisive rhetoric and contempt at Notley and Trudeau. Then the pandemic hit and Kenney dragged his heels, imposing covid restrictions too late and lifting them too early in order to placate the very people he’s now disavowing as lunatics. His criticism of the freedom convoy holed up at Coutts was muted. He never disciplined his MLAs who went to the blockade to negotiate a backroom deal with the truckers, thereby further enhancing the freedom convoy’s credibility (at least in their own eyes).
      This man was heralded as the master politician who would unite the right. All he’s done is drive them further apart. When he came to power the UCP had 200,000 members (Kenney boasted it was the largest subnational political party in Canada), that number has since dropped to around 50,000 and a good many of them are trying to throw him out.
      It’s a fine mess he’s created, a fine mess.

  11. Janna says:

    My prediction for the leadership review: Kenney will win handily by cheating, just as he did in 2017. He is such a narcissist that he hasn’t a clue that he’s an idiot. I’m scared that we have too many “never NDP” people in AB that we will having a second UCP government, not sure Kenney will manage to continue as premier if that happens.

    IF the UCP are re-elected, expect the brain drain out of this province to ramp up significantly.

    • Danusia says:

      Indeed, even worse than having Kenney at the helm of the UCP is replacing his with Brian Jean. And the brain drain is very real. Both my well-educated children are actively looking for jobs in BC, even though housing costs will mean that they’re financially worse off.

      • Carlos says:

        Danusia my kids, very well educated have already left and will never come back.
        I agree with you Brian Jean will be worse that Jason Kenney, not sure about cheating but certainly every time he opens his mouth I take cover.

    • Janna, Danusia, Carlos, I too am very concerned about the exodus of young people. It’s interesting that Danusia mentioned that her kids will be financially worse off in BC because housing is more expensive. This reminded me of Kenney’s attacks on the doctors. He declared they’d never leave because they would make more money here than anywhere else in the country….and guess what, they left in droves. The fact he thinks people will put up with anything if you pay them a little more tells us all we need to know about this man and what drives him.

  12. Linda says:

    I believe it has dawned on the UCP party members that Kenney is going to do everything in his power to keep his power as party leader. Including changing to a vote process that he decried as rife with the potential for a fraudulent result. My take? IF the vote goes against Kenney, he will say the voting process was the reason, refuse to step down & demand another ‘fraud proof’ vote be held. Meanwhile as noted by various political columnists, come the 2023 election Ms. Notley can assure the voters of Alberta that the UCP is riddled with ‘kooks’ as proclaimed by their very own leader….. Talk about undermining the outcome. Along the lines of ‘If I can’t be leader I’ll make sure no one else in the UCP will become the next premier of Alberta’.

    • Linda, some pundits have suggested another possibility if Kenney loses the leadership vote, namely that he’ll call a snap election. Frankly I don’t know how he’d pull it off other than to claim the voting process was fraudulent and he’s still the legitimate premier and therefore has the power to call the election so that his fitness to serve as premier can be determined by the people of Alberta, not the lunatic fringe who hijacked the leadership review. I think this is a long shot, but I wouldn’t put it past him.
      Thankfully Rachel Notley is ready for a snap election with a crackerjack team. So I say bring it on Kenney, bring it on.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Great stuff! Thanks both of you. Oh yeah, if Kenney and his kooky kooks will have it, let’s have it then.
        But there is no way even he would do that, would he?

  13. JCurrie says:

    This is all very well said. Before I moved here a few years ago I never realized what a s…show Alberta was and how entrenched corruption is. Despite the many honourable, civic-minded and wonderful people I have met who work and live here, I truly believe the values/actions of most conservative governments in Alberta have been self-serving, destructive, cruel and dangerous not only for those who live here but to Canada as a whole, as is now being demonstrated in the so-called “freedom convoys.”

    It is very sad to look at the lack of social and civic programs here, the destruction of the healthcare and education system, the treatment of the vulnerable and those who with addictions, the entrenched violence, the environmental degradation, the deterioration of cities as in Edmonton, the reckless handling of COVID while, at the same time, knowing how wealthy Alberta has been and is, the skills that are here and what good government could do.

    Whatever the result of the “leadership review” there will be accusations of fraud from both sides and we know from Trump how that goes. If Kenney wins, as I am sure he expects to, he will always be tarnished with this. But this has been Kenney from the beginning…he always seems to get away with it. When will Albertans say “enough.”

    • Carlos says:

      JCurrie

      ‘When will Albertans say “enough.”’
      Good question. I have been waiting for 40 years but the convoy type people always get them back.
      It is not just scary it has profoundly changed the future of this province.
      Instead of the 1 trillion dollars like Norway saved in their oil fund we have 17 billion and that was saved by Peter Logheed. Since then it has been the Conservative circus of ignorance and an ideological waste basket.
      They will vote them in again believe me.
      I am glad I am old already and my kids are gone. Like the media explains, they cannot deal with the current culture. We lost 568 doctors in 2021 that could not deal with the current culture.
      Culture? I call it destruction, evangelical garbage and irresponsibility.
      But I have learned that is Alberta the land of the honey that only flows to corporations and those who control it like our geniuses in power.

    • JCurrie and Carlos, indeed, when will Albertans say enough. I had high hopes when Notley was elected. People started to see Alberta as more than a redneck conservative stronghold. Sadly all that changed in the 3 short years Kenney has been in power, in fact it’s gotten worse. Not only are people not coming here, people who’ve lived their entire lives here have left or swear they’re going to leave if Kenney is re-elected.
      All I can say is we have to fight tooth and nail for this magnificent province. As Timothy Snyder, the historian who studies autocratic governments says, the only way to stop an autocrat is to vote him out. We must do this. We WILL do this.

      • Carlos says:

        Second Try

        ‘As Timothy Snyder, the historian who studies autocratic governments says, the only way to stop an autocrat is to vote him out. We must do this. We WILL do this.’

        I agree but I also am a realist and Alberta has a strong constituency of people that really support this kind of medieval evangelical behaviour and I am not so sure we have evolved out of it yet. For people like us that dream with a more progressive approach to life in general this is absolutely frustrating. I have felt completely frustrated since 1981.

        Rachel Notley was definitely a breath of fresh air but she also failed in changing the direction we should be going and her recent attack on the new environmental report released by the Federal government is a big disappointment to me. We have already procrastinated for 3 decades and if we are not serious about a complete turn around with a strong transition program we will suffer severe consequences. The time for playing games with the climate is over, we had 30 years of warning and we still want to continue fudging with it and create the last boom to supply more oil to Europe. It is a nice carrot at the end of the stick I realize that but once addicted to a higher level of production we will not only be in a tougher position to reduce the addiction but we will have contributed to an already real crisis. Yes we will make more money but it will be an illusion.
        First 85% of that money will disappear into the coffers of the oil companies. Secondly we will be farther behind in real investment and transition to a greener future.

        Rachel Notley has to be careful how she deals with this issue because people like myself are not interested in prolonging this agony in the hands of a so called social democratic party.

  14. GoinFawr says:

    “See, when it starts to fall apart
    Man, it really falls apart
    Like boots or hearts, oh, when they start
    They really fall apart” Gord Downie

    • GoinFawr: to add to Gord Downie, another few lines from Yeats The Second Coming

      “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
      The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
      The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
      The best lack all conviction, while the worst
      Are full of passionate intensity.”

      • Carlos says:

        that is quite a few lines wow love it

      • GoinFawr says:

        Feeling all that, Susan. I don’t get the ‘Mere anarchy’ though, feels more like ‘Merde anarchy’ to me. Yeats meant it like ‘banal’, I guess?

  15. Dave says:

    There is a lot to process here, so I am not sure to start, but the first thing that stands out for me is Kenney’s statement that he didn’t need this, he could get a job in the private sector and be home by 5. As you said, he actually never has worked in the private sector. His long career has been mainly in politics. He doesn’t have any professional credentials, skills or experience that would lend itself well to such a career change. He also doesn’t have that nice pension from his long service as a Federal MP, just yet. Let’s just say, despite his saying he doesn’t need it, he is sure clinging to it his position like he does.

    The second thing that stands out is he now using the same drive by smears against his own party members as he has used for years against others. Surely, this is also not a good sign for him. Lets go back to the reason why the leadership vote was originally planned as in person with a significant fee – Kenney and his gang thought it would put a high enough barrier to keep many of those disgruntled UPC members away and keep it a smaller event he could control or stack. It turns out he underestimated the level of unhappiness in the party with him, so in an attempt to now get those who may (tepidly) support him out, he changed the format after the cut off date. He might as well have called his own party members deplorables, although perhaps lunatics is worse and surely the latest manipulation will only further upset those in his own party who are unhappy with him. I suspect they will only be more motivated now.

    If Kenney, somehow through all his manipulations manages to survive as leader, I suspect a significant portion of UCP members and MLA’s will leave the party. This will not be good news for Kenney and the UCP in the next general election. I suspect many UCP members have realized the longer Kenney tries to hang on the worse it will be for their party. The only one who doesn’t seem to have realized or accepted it yet is Kenney. Perhaps he just doesn’t care if what he does destroys his party. His only focus now seems to be a more narrow self preservation.

    • Carlos says:

      Dave I fully agree with you as far as the job – I am not really sure what would he be doing other than cheating, but the fact is that according to the Parliament list of assets they have he was one of the richest MPs at the time he served with 19 million dollars fortune.
      Yes he may won a lottery because I cannot believe such an idiot could have made this fortune in the market, or there is more to the story that I am not going to speculate here.

      • Dave says:

        I don’t know anything about Kenney’s assets. Perhaps that is another thing for journalists to look into. I sure don’t recall hearing about any great Kenney lottery win and they are usually well publicized. Maybe he had a rich uncle or something.

        Also, given he was either an MP or an MLA for most of his career, one would think he wouldn’t have much, if any, time for any other more lucrative position. Also, there probably would have been serious ethical issues around any large payments from private sector companies to Kenney while serving in government. Interesting how the words ethical issues keep on popping up in the same sentence as Kenney.

        If he does have some wealth, I suppose that may leave the reason for clinging to it is because he wants power, to feel important …

    • Dave, there’s an increasing sense of chaotic desperation to the UCP leadership review process. First a number of UCP MLAs expressed their dissatisfaction and in a closed door meeting (zoom call) Kenney faced them down, then the 22 UCP CAs filed a motion demanding an earlier leadership review, the UCP executive bent a little and agreed to move it up from Nov 2022 to April 2022, but insisted on an in-person vote because that was the only way to ensure the integrity of the process. Then after the deadline for purchasing memberships passed, they switched to a mail-in ballot which they previously dismissed as lacking in integrity, and today we learned that Steve McLeod (apparently well respected in UCP circles) will not be the returning officer for the mail-in ballot after all. He’s being replaced by Rick Orman, a former PC MLA and now a lobbyist.
      The process is so fraught with uncertainty and allegations of impropriety that whatever the outcome someone is going to dispute it. And that’s how the UCP will slide into the 2023 election. A wiser leader would have resigned a long time ago. But as you so aptly put it, Kenney’s focus now appeared to be narrow self preservation, damn the consequences.
      Here’s the link to the McLeod story: https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/braid-former-wildrose-leaders-like-crocuses-spring-back-to-political-life

  16. JCurrie says:

    And while this in-fighting has been going on, what kind of governing is taking place? Except for arrangements to dump schools and healthcare into the private sector. I have always cared about politics and been well-informed but I can hardly summon up the names of more than 4 cabinet ministers and I remember them only because of their appalling ignorance and lies. As some wag in response to a critical article on the CBC recently said..”only Trudeau can save us now.” That’s funny for all sorts of reasons. Sort of looks like that….

    • JCurrie: I’ve been tracking the UCP government’s press releases. You haven’t missed much. Yesterday they announced changes to the Trustee Act to improve the management of trusts. Today they announced a “regulatory sandbox” to make financial services and fintech companies temporarily exempt from certain regulations including privacy laws. One can’t help but wonder which of their cronies will benefit as a result of these changes. (Sorry, that’s just me being cynical but this government has no credibility whatsoever anymore).

  17. Carlos says:

    Here is a very good article from Graham Thompson who understands Alberta politics better than anybody else

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/stranger-than-fiction-alberta-politics-has-entered-the-realm-of-absurd-melodrama-1.6398592

    • Carlos says:

      Jason Kenney calls his party members lunatics.
      I think he is beyond lunatic so I can only imagine what these people talk about when all together because it must be worse than an asylum.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Minority governments have always been MY favourite.

      No extremist loony legislation has a Putin-Puppet Pol’s chance in Kyiv to make it to Her Majesty’s Governor General’s desk, and great, well thought out, constitutionally sound legislation does.

    • Carlos, this was an excellent article. I especially liked the lead in sentence which said nearly all advanced democracies are governed by more than one party and the result is more carefully considered policy more quickly and effectively delivered. We’ve done it on the provincial level, it’s high time we took a more collaborative approach on the federal level.

      • Carlos says:

        Susan do you think we have done it at provincial level?’
        I am not questioning just curious why you think that way. To me there is no coalitions in Canada at all.

        At the Federal level we just have one collaboration between the Liberals and NDP and it has been like a circus in Ottawa with the conservatives saying that it is anti-democratic because the voters did not vote for it. Just amazing that anyone can say something as idiotic as that.

        I expect that MPs educate themselves if not by reading a bit because they cannot read but at least letting their assistants research a bit about democracies around the world rather than just scream to get power. We have a long way to go.

        What about parliament generate this kind education. The biggest problem is that all the parties want power and majorities, especially these these new conservative freedom convoy types who understand freedom as imposing their power on others.

        Poilievre is already saying that he will abandon carbon tax and obviously everything else related to stop climate change just like Jason Kenney did in Alberta, this when 80% of Canadians want our politicians to work harder to mitigate it.

  18. Linda says:

    Dave, regarding what Kenney earns. As per the Alberta government website, Kenney earns $65,244 in base salary as Alberta’s premier. In addition there is an indemnity allowance that equals 13% of MLA salaries that is paid in addition to the base salary. This averages some $15,722 per year. Plus MLA’s have the option to pay 3.65% of their indemnity amount into an RRSP (this would average $4,414) which is matched 100% by the taxpayer. Kenney also served as an MP for some 19 years prior to resigning to run for office in Alberta. Considering that MP’s with only 6 years of service receive at a minimum $32,000 per annum at age 65 I think Kenney isn’t going to be living off tinned cat food come retirement. That MP pension plus whatever he might accumulate during his tenure as Alberta premier in RRSP’s etc. should allow him to live quite comfortably.

  19. Linda says:

    Dave, I should have added that what Kenney actually gets as premier is north of $206,000 per year as per recent news reports. The way MLA compensation is documented via the Alberta government website could be made much more transparent IMHO. However, that might arouse the wrath of the masses. For instance, that base salary posted for Kenney is in line with ‘average’ Canadian household income. Makes for good optics with the majority of taxpayers.

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for all the information, Linda. Nice that the Alberta government website is so transparent, ha ha!

      I work in a financial sector and have a few thoughts from that perspective. First, of all I agree, I don’t think he is going to be living off tinned cat food come retirement. Given he doesn’t have a lot of dependants, he has probably managed to save a good portion of what he has made.

      However, my experience is the psychology around money is fascinating and varies greatly from person to person and doesn’t necessarily correspond to their financial circumstances. Regardless of how much he has now, he may feel insecure about it or want more. I think all the discussion on this here tends to indicate he should not need the job financially at this point which is probably true, but that might not be his perspective.

      • Carlos says:

        Dave what you suggest is very true and it happens at all levels.
        The Russian oligarchs with mansions and yachts (the one caught in London England has 92 people crew – small of course!!) continue to want more. It becomes obviously a psychological problem.

        Jason Kenney on top of this natural greed has one much more important problem – he does not have any perspective. This man as far as I have seen is incapable of seeing anything but his own interests. I do not even believe he understands we are actually living beings. He has no empathy, no judgement (we saw it recently with trying a reduction of 11% on health care physiotherapists) in a time when inflation is creeping up and everything costs more. I think he is a disastrous case of a very serious mental distortion of reality.

      • Dave, indeed, long term financial security may not be the driving force with Kenney, just as it’s not the driving force with so many business executives. We’ve all come across our share of CEOs who retire and are appointed the Chairman of the board of the company they used to run. The power struggle between the Chairman (old CEO) and his successor (new CEO) can be very destructive. As a friend said, some of the most boring people you’ll ever meet are retired executives who can’t stop talking about who they USED to be. Quite sad, really.

  20. Judy J. Johnson says:

    Perfect quote from a master poet to start another excellent blog in which you outline the facts to reveal how badly things are falling apart in the UCP government. This is not the time for citizens to languish in political complacency. Thanks, Susan, for alerting us to the urgency of the moment.

    • Thank you Judy. The rate at which Kenney’s government is falling apart is truly astounding. I’ve watched the demise of Klein, Stelmach, Redford, and Prentice. None of them fell from grace this quickly.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Dwayne, you’ve found a succinct summary of Kenney’s latest bout of foot-in-mouth disease.

      But it gets better. On Friday 25 March, the Guardian—yes, the UK news outlet with a global audience—published this report:

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/25/canada-alberta-premier-jason-kenney-conservatives-warning

      The Guardian report includes Kenney’s quote of Preston Manning, something about “a bright light attracts bugs.” (I very much doubt ol’ Preston would consider young Jason a “bright light.”) But flies are attracted to something else, too….

      • Carlos says:

        Yes I very much think that the flies in this case cannot see any light and way more attracted to the second idea.

        The awful bad news is that apparently excluding Jason Kenney the UCP is tied with the NDP in terms of party popularity which is to me unthinkable and a confirmation that regardless of what garbage the right wingers bring it does not matter in this province.

        Furthermore it looks like Danielle Smith is rejoining politics and possibly run for the leadership in case Jason Kenney is defeated. This is not just scary but the end of many people tolerance for this province.

        We discussed earlier when will Albertans stop voting this disaster in – well I would say never.

    • Dwayne, seems to me that article summarizes our situation very nicely. I’ve got to admit the definition of a banana republic was bang on. The other thing I’m watching is the Kenney government’s high handed disregard of democratic principles and norms. More on that later.

  21. Mike J Danysh says:

    Susan, re your comments to jerrymacgp and Carlos, above: Michael Solberg has been pretty vocal lately. Here’s a link to his 31 March opinion piece on the CBC web site:
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/despite-divisions-and-challenges-alberta-s-conservative-movement-remains-a-powerful-force-1.6402682

    He tries to argue that the UCP is very powerful because it used to have 160,000 members. Last I heard, it was down to 50,000 because of disgust over Jason Kenney’s long, long list of bad policies—and that was before Covid. Now, I guess it’s 65,000 members—if all of the 15,000 new members actually know they signed up.

    I find it amusing, in a macabre way, how Solberg glosses over the extreme anger with Jason Kenney personally within the UCP. The vipers are fanging each other, but Solberg is trying to ignore the pain.

    I guess Solberg’s a Kenney loyalist. He’s probably fishing for a cabinet post in Kenney’s next shuffle.

    • Mike, what’s fascinating about the Solberg article is his argument that the Alberta conservative movement is healthy and the metric to measure the party’s health is the party’s ability to mobilize its members to vote in leadership races. He bases his case on how many members voted in the last 3 conservative leadership races versus the numbers who voted in the provincial liberal and NDP leadership races. But that’s not the right comparison. If he’s arguing the ability to mobilize the membership in a leadership vote is the right metric of Conservative party health then he should be comparing the number of conservatives who voted in past conservative leadership races (the liberal and NDP races are irrelevant). Solberg gives the following numbers:
      Stelmach 100,000 members voted
      Redford 78,000 members voted
      2017 UCP leadership race — 57,000 members voted
      2022 UCP vote on whether to have a leadership review — anticipated 20,000 in Red Deer
      So two things: (1) Solberg is comparing the turnout for actual conservative leadership races to the turnout for the question of whether there should be a change of leadership and (2) the turnout in the last three conservative leadership races is plummeting.
      Also the fact the UCP USED to have 160,000 members and now has 50,000 (that’s UCP CA president Rob Smith’s number) or 65,000 shows that membership has plummeted under Kenney’s leadership.
      Lastly, the conservative movement split into the PCs and the WR.
      So no, the conservative movement is in Alberta is not healthy, it’s angry and divisive. And the sooner we replace the UCP government, the better.

      • Carlos says:

        I fully agree with your assessment Susan

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Susan: your analysis of the numbers has clarified my “WaIt, what?” gut reaction to Solberg’s claims. Thanks; I hadn’t really looked at the declining leadership-race participation.

        It fits well with the declining membership, too. During the War on Doctors (and nurses, and teachers) I read a news item saying doctors were quitting the UCP in droves. As Solberg bragged, having a Con party membership meant you were close to power; Kenney showed what happens when power turns on its ultimate source, which is popular support.

        Solberg is a master of the propaganda technique known as the “rubber ruler.” You’ve shown he’s pretty good with red herrings, too.

        It’ll be really fun to see how Solberg spins the numbers from the next provincial election. (We can hope Janet Brown, whose refined polling techniques predict a tie between the UCP and NDP, is wrong this time. The sixth wave of Covid-19 has started; what will Jason do?) I expect the no-longer-United Cons to lose a large fragment of the popular vote to the NDP. As the pros say, the only poll that counts is the one on election day.

  22. Linda says:

    Hi Susan: regarding Kenney calling a snap election, I saw a headline today that stated that a recent poll showed the UCP (Kenney) & the NDP (Notley) both had an approval rating of roughly 30%. Have no idea who ran the poll or how accurate it might be. Given the ongoing chaos of the upcoming leadership review, can’t see the UCP being willing to call an election but if Kenney can do it without consulting the party who knows? He might do just that out of spite should he lose the leadership vote. The more I hear, the more it sounds like Kenney will happily do his utmost to burn the party to the ground if they don’t genuflect at his feet & call him awesome, best leader ever, etc. My partner hopes Kenney squeaks in, not due to supporting Kenney but due to the belief that if Kenney retains his leadership position the UCP will continue to fragment & have little to no chance of pulling off an election win come 2023 as a result of said infighting. Sounds like a win for Albertans to me!

    • Linda, I’m with your partner on this one. I too hope Kenney wins, by 50% plus 1 or in s landslide, I don’t care because his opponents will never accept the result and the party will continue to disintegrate. Both Stelmach and Redford got a 77% approval rating at their leadership reviews. And both of them were booted out by their party. It’s just a matter of time.

  23. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Look at this latest development involving Teck Mines. Is the UCP paying attention?
    https://www.mining.com/tecks-quebrada-blanca-mine-in-chile-faces-environmental-charges/

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Dwayne, I seriously doubt it. They’re so distracted by Kenney’s self-fueled meltdown they haven’t even resumed the War on Doctors.

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