“Unfortunately, our politicians are not only contaminating the minds of the public but poisoning our democracy at the same time.” Gary Mason, Globe & Mail columnist commenting on the two Conservative MPs who accused Prime Minister Trudeau of running a jackboot dictatorship.
A quick check of Hansard this week demonstrates that Gary Mason’s words are equally applicable to Alberta.
Over the last three years we’ve become numb to Kenney’s disrespect for the business of government–one of his first acts upon becoming premier was to distribute earplugs to his MLAs to spare the poor dears the hardship of listening to the NDP debate a government bill–but last week the government’s lack of civility and decorum boiled over into something more worrisome.
Into the gutter
The week started with Rachel Notley asking Kenney a question about the ongoing RCMP investigation into allegations of fraud in the 2017 UCP leadership race: Why didn’t the premier and his ministers who are under investigation step aside in accordance with “long-standing parliamentary tradition” to avoid the real or perceived opportunity to interfere with the judicial system?*
Kenney could have responded by saying (1) her question was irrelevant because he and his ministers were not under investigation or (2) she was mistaken in her understanding of long-standing parliamentary tradition (assuming she was, which I doubt).
Instead he launched into a tirade about NDP “fear and smear” tactics, the “politics of personal destruction” and the use of “defamatory attack(s).” He concluded by asking “Why doesn’t [Notley] understand that every time she goes into the gutter, all she does is lower the tone of Alberta politics?”
The hypocrisy of that statement defies belief, but sure, let’s talk about the tone of Alberta politics.
The tone of Alberta politics
We’ll start with the exchange between Jason Nixon, Kenney’s environment minister (and government house leader), and Todd Loewen, a former UCP MLA who was booted out of caucus for disagreeing with the premier.
Earlier in the week Loewen criticized Kenney’s leadership. He said polls showed most Albertans want Kenney to resign. He said Kenney calling his opponents “bugs” and “lunatics” was disgraceful and closed by saying Kenney had failed to deliver on platform promises like the citizen’s initiative bill, recall legislation and the fair deal agenda.**
Nixon sprang to Kenney’s defence saying the “lunatics” comment was aimed at racists and people who do hateful things. He attacked Loewen’s character saying he was engaging in junior high politics and supported the Brian Jean-NDP alliance (?).
A couple of days later, Loewen tabled several newspaper articles, videos and pages from Hansard to support his argument and rebut what he called “outright misinformation” on Nixon’s part.
Nixon exploded, saying “Mr. Speaker, the guy just called me a fucking liar in the middle of the damn Legislature.” A few minutes later he said, “What a joke. That’s why your career is over, Todd.***
The Speaker rebuked Nixon for using unparliamentary and wildly inappropriate language and for using Loewen’s name, not his proper title. He also scolded Loewen for using the word “misled” and made both MLAs apologize.
Why we need to pay attention
We could dismiss this brouhaha as the UCP having a meltdown, but we shouldn’t.
Why? Because Nixon also said something extremely disturbing to anyone who values democracy. He alleged Loewen had misused the tablings process and threatened to “bring a standing order package back here right after the break to make sure [Loewen] can’t use tablings like that no more.”
This is critically important because Standing Orders are permanent written rules under which the House regulates its proceedings. If the Speaker thought Loewen had misused the tablings process he would have said so, but he didn’t.
That the Government House Leader would threaten to turn the tabling process on its head to silence an MLA critical of Jason Kenney and himself is undemocratic.
What Albertans saw last week in the House is not normal parliamentary behavior. It’s the last gasp of a party struggling for survival and a leader who’s prepared to let his acolytes burn the place down to stay in power.
The historian Timothy Snyder said it’s a mistake to assume that those who came to power through democratic institutions cannot change or destroy those very institutions. Snyder also said it’s up to the people to protect democratic institutions because they can’t protect themselves.
Those are our marching orders.
We need to call out the Kenney government’s undemocratic behavior and work as hard as we can to replace the UCP with the NDP in the next election.
It’s the least we can do to protect democracy in Alberta.
*Hansard, Mar 29, 2022, p 475
**Hansard, Mar 28, 2022, p 427
***Hansard, Mar 31, p 593
As is the case almost every Sunday evening, I am thankful for your voice. You are quite right that Kenney and crew threaten the practice of democracy in Alberta (and Canada), and that he must be resisted. I would feel better if it was only democracy that Kenney threatens. As I experience him he is corrupting us. I see him to be normalizing a style of leadership which is not limited to politics — do whatever it takes to grasp and maintain power. Screw the ethics of our ancestors. His message is, “Do not expect integrity from your leaders, just accept that they have the power to protect you as long as you agree with them. And woe betide you if you disagree.” Not a good role model for 10 year olds.
Ruben you are so right. Right from the beginning it became obvious that there was no room in the Kenney government for those with integrity. Way back in 2019 Kenney fired Lorne Gibson, the Election commissioner, who was investigating irregularities in the 2017 UCP leadership race and the pattern continues right up to yesterday when he fired Dr Verna Yiu to make way for new leadership that will “support” moving ahead on an agenda to provide “better access to surgery and a stronger publicly funded health system” (ie. a CEO who supports increased privatization of healthcare).
Timothy Snyder warns that authoritarians need obedient civil servants to succeed. That’s why ethics and integrity are so important.
While I agree with everything you say, I am not sure this is an entirely new situation for Alberta. Our politics have been autocratic, ideological and vengeful of those who dare to disagree for years. I remember going to a rally in a small town in southern Alberta, Carmengay by name, after the Alison Redford government was elected. The community had an old folks home that included spaces for local elders with alzeimers. It has been inspected and found adequate before the election, but when that part of Alberta chose Wild Rose over Conservative, the government decided to shut it down.
Locals who professed to have voted Conservative all their lives we sure the move came because they’d voted Wild Rose. I wasn’t quick enough to ask them what is was like to support a government you knew was vengeful……but the lesson has stuck with me. Everywhere in this province, people find silence…or polite agreement safer than criticism, when it comes to our political establishment.
Jason Kenney and his merry band of clowns are just the bottom of a barrel we’ve been living in, in this province, for decades. Speak up as an NDP and I discovered that shortly after moving here.
It is important that we continually remind ourselves that WE are the government. We ELECT those who represent us in the legislature or Parliament. Our representatives work FOR us. So everyone should be moved by this most recent behaviour.
If you cannot any longer stomach the UCP get involved. Do your bit, big or small it all counts.
Katie, I agree with everything you’ve said 100%. Thank you!
Being tied up with protests this weekend against the Kenney government’s forcing archaic and ideological education curricula on Alberta’s children, I came a bit late to the news about his Minister Jason Nixon’s shocking and profane outburst in our Legislature. In some ways I was shocked to hear the discourse that was recorded, yet given Nixon’s rocky past it is not really surprising. With his history of poaching, and threats of violence against citizens and law enforcement officers, it kind of flows. What doesn’t make sense is how someone like this could rise to such a position of prominence in our provincial government. Maybe you read the in-depth article on Jason Nixon by Taylor Lambert, journalist for Calgary’s “The Sprawl”- I knew about his sordid past from the news stories coming out of the Sundre area over the years, except for the bit about how he threatened the Fish and Wildlife officer investigating the poaching incident, saying, “Anytime you want to bring your old lady over here, I’ll service her for you, you dickless fuck. Get the fuck off my property.”
“Nixon then said to someone nearby: ‘I’m going to manhandle this guy in about a minute.’
This last statement resulted in the charge of uttering threats … “
This was actually recorded on video!! But, the judge wouldn’t allow it in court. She said, that “the risk of harm and prejudice to Mr. Nixon outweighs any interest that the public might have in seeing this DVD.” Say, what? Pardon?? How does that even makes sense? If that isn’t evidence, what is?Then, in Lambert’s article, we find out this judge was the former PC MLA for what is now Jason Kenney’s Calgary riding. Did the lines between the legal system and politics get tangled? If that video had been played in court would Jason Nixon now be a Minister of the Government, and within a stone’s throw of the Premier’s chair?
I’m not in the law-business, but I’m a law-abiding citizen, six generations of us now in this province. I have even performed jury duty- and was very honoured to do so. (Even if I lost a week’s pay, and was sequestered with a bunch of strangers, the sheriff was very nice and brought us donuts and paid for our parking). After participating in the whole judicial process, from being selected to the jury, being counselled by the judge, sworn to confidentiality, seeing all the evidence, coming to a verdict, and then the judge’s solemnly thanking us for performing our civic duty to the best of our ability, I felt very assured that our legal-judicial system was democratic and functional. And consistent, and fair. No politics interfering anywhere. But, now this! Our poor province stuck with the likes of these goons running the show. There’s definitely something rotten in the state of Denmark. And, Susan, the rot goes very deep here.
Irene, thank you for sharing this story about Jason Nixon as well as your own experience with the judicial system (I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s served on a jury, likely because jury trials are relatively rare here).
Like you I’m dismayed that the judge would not allow the Nixon DVD into evidence, particularly given that the judge was a former PC MLA. As you said, this doesn’t sit well.
But here’s what I find really troubling. From what I’ve read, Nixon’s reputation as a vulgar bully was well known. In 2019 Allison Gentry told everyone about the altercation on her property that resulted in assault charges being brought, then withdrawn and a peace bond being put in place. And yet Nixon was elected anyway. Was this because some people will vote for anyone, no matter how awful, to keep the NDP out of office, or did they truly believe what they needed in the Legislature was a vulgar bully, because that’s certainly what they got.
Just maybe, there’s more vulgar bullies out there on the streets, highways and byways of Alberta than we like to admit. If you speak your mind, you end up not knowing any die hard right wingers……..but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there….and maintaining the Big Boss status quo.
Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I think the UCP are causing great hardship to Alberta, in many ways. They do not respect democracy, have policies that are detrimental to the finances, the well being of the environment, and to Albertans as a whole. The UCP does need to be replaced with a more competent government. The NDP are the government that can help Alberta. Once again, I’ll share some more fitting music. This is a composition, Dead End Road, from the late J.J Cale. It is from his album with Eric ‘Slowhand’ Clapton, (who celebrated his 77th birthday, on March 30th), The Road To Escondido.
Susan: This is the next song I’ll share. It is from a very short lived supergroup, Blind Faith. The song is an Eric Clapton composition, Presence Of The Lord. It is from 1969. The members of this group were Steve Winwood, keyboards, guitar, and lead vocals, Eric Clapton on guitar, Ric Grech on bass and violin, and Ginger Baker on drums. Steve Winwood was only 21 here. He was previously in the groups Traffic, and the Spencer Davis Group, among others. Eric Clapton was previously in Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and The Yardbirds, among other groups. Ginger Baker was previously in Cream, with Eric Clapton, in the Graham Bond Organization, (with another member of Cream, Jack Bruce), and in various jazz groups. Ric Grech and Ginger Baker have passed away. Ric Grech was also of Ukrainian descent (surname Grechko), and was likely born in Ukraine, but lived for some time in France, before he came to England. Blind Faith only released one album, before breaking up. Blind Faith was another supergroup, after another short lived supergroup, that Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker were in, the aforementioned group, Cream. The longest lasting supergroup belonged to the last Yardbirds lead guitarist, after Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Anthony ‘Top’ Topham, which was Jimmy Page. The supergroup was Led Zeppelin. I have the Blind Faith album in my music collection. It’s an uplifting song for these times.
Susan: This is my final song I’ll share. This is an uplifting country music flavoured song, by Delaney & Bonnie. It is Never Ending Song Of Love. It is from 1971. Like the other two song picks, this is also in my music collection. Delaney & Bonnie combined different styles of music, including blues, country, gospel and rock music, and made something that was very ahead of its time. Musicians involved with this group included the late pianist and keyboard player, Leon Russell, the late Duane ‘Skydog’ Allman, and Eric ‘Slowhand’ Clapton. This song makes me smile, because it’s so good.
Dwayne, what a delightful combination of songs. I especially like the Never Ending Love song…very uplifting and optimistic. Hopefully it reflects what we can look forward to after the 2023 provincial election 🙂
Susan: Exactly! The Road To Escondido album is from 2006.
Susan, thanks for keeping people informed on the UCP shenanigans. I must agree with Ruben’s comment about the deterioration of standards leading to corruption. When the example set at the top is that ‘might is right’ it empowers others to act the same way.
I found Irene’s anecdotes about Jason Nixon to be highly disturbing, particularly the one where it appears the ruling judge may have been influenced by political considerations when handling Nixon’s case. Nixon’s bullying tactics & threats are sadly not a surprise, but rather an example of the tone set by Kenney & crew during their tenure in office. Yet he was elected despite such actions, though I will say the view on poaching law in rural areas tends to depict it as government interference against protecting livestock or crops. Regardless, I’d say past time to put that bully out to pasture & all his herd with him.
Linda: perfect metaphor at the end of your comment. Seems to me ousting these guys will get easier with each passing day. The latest ThinkHQ poll shows Kenney’s approval rating is still stuck below 30%, notwithstanding all the things that should have improved his rating like higher oil prices, declining unemployment rates and the removal of the provincial gas tax. It also shows the NDP 12 points ahead of the UCP. Here’s the link: https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/kenney-s-approval-rating-falls-below-30-thinkhq-poll-1.5848520
Echoing Katie Pearlman’s comments the elected government works for us. When the pretend premier and his posse were elected my comment was: “Jason you work for all Albertans, are you going to listen?”. The earplugs went in and haven’t been taken out since. Nathan Cooper has shown time and time again he is not fit to be speaker as he panders to the bad behaviour of his party. The UCP should have had to take a course on how the legislative assembly works and how they should have been conducting themselves. I have seen mock governments in schools do a better job then the UCP, but likely that will be removed from the curriculum…
The Unhinged Clown Party is a bunch of power tripping yahoo who think that they are above the rules. Jason is the worst of them. Hopefully they will get what they deserve…and it’s too bad that our ethics commissioner has no say over comportment in the Legislature. The reigning party continues to be an embarrassment to Albertans.
Sharon, I agree with everything you’ve said. A lot of people have been writing about the language of authoritarians and tyrants. They point out that these guys are:
1. Openly hostile to the truth and present lies as facts.
2. Use incantation and endless repetition. Kenney’s favourites are “fear and smear,”and “the Notley-Trudeau alliance.” Now that Brian Jean is gunning for his job, he’s added “the Jean-NDP alliance.”
3. Are prone to magical thinking. eg. cutting corporate taxes will increase jobs. Government services should be publicly funded but privately delivered.
4. Self-aggrandizing beliefs. Kenney (and Trump) both said this is a mess and only I can fix it.
The reigning party is not only an embarrassment but a danger to democracy in Alberta.
This judges refusal to allow the video really needs to be appealed to a higher court.
He cannot display obvious bias.
How can we get this matter further involved into the justice system.
Surely the whole system is not biased
Linda, I think that case was heard in the early 2000s. As such, the time limit to appeal has expired.
The value of the case now is the point Irene raises, ie: not only must justice be done, it must be SEEN to be done.
The idea of the perception of justice being done came up recently when Kenney’s former justice minister, Kaycee Madu phoned the Edmonton Chief of Police to complain about a distracted driving ticket. The fact that Kenney didn’t remove Madu from cabinet but rather made Madu swap jobs with Shandro (thereby putting a man presently under investigation by the law society into the position of Justice Minister) demonstrates that Kenney either doesn’t understand this concept or simply doesn’t care.
Did he really say that? Did he really drop an F Bomb in the Legislature Chambers? He should have been ejected, he should have been censured and at very least he should be forced to apologize to the Legislature and the people of Alberta. None of which I suspect will or has happened. But then maybe he is venting because he knows his “career” is almost over.
I dislike the fact that he assumes being elected to a public office is a “career” like those who have elected him to a public office have little say in his “career”. I guess I’m old fashioned and still believe that being a representative for your community and constituency is an honour, privilege and a calling and not a “career”. No one owns their seat in the legislature or the Commons, everyone can be replaced by losing favour with those who elect them. Perhaps if many of those who run from all the political parties at the provincial and federal level would try to remember that we might have less self interested people deciding the destiny of our country and province from a standpoint of what is good for their “career”.
The rats are fighting amongst themselves, I’m wondering if there are not enough life preservers on the bad ship UCP? The ship is going down by the bow fast!
Einar, he really said that. As far as I’m aware no other MLA has dropped the F Bomb in the House while conducting government business, Not once, ever.
Nixon was forced to apologize for his “wildly inappropriate” language, but frankly he should have been ejected at least for a day (if not longer) for such disrespectful behavior.
Interestingly, one of the points Loewen made was that Kenney delayed enacting the Recall Act and the Citizen’s Initiative Act to Apr 7, 2022, a good 10 months after they had been proclaimed. He said this was far too late for anyone to take advantage of these Acts to eject these jokers.
So we’ll just have to take them all out in the spring of 2023.
Excellent article as usual. Thank you Susan for helping us get some mental balance.
However, in spite of the disaster of JK and the UCP, I fear they could get re-elected based on what I see and hear. One bumper sticker reads, “The NDP destroyed Alberta” – this in spite of them getting a pipeline with the feds to pay for it. Compare that to JK’s 1.5 billion of our money flushed down the Keystone toilet. I’m seeing so many blindly loyal to the anti-Trudeau, anti- NDP rhetoric. As someone noted after Keystone, “ if this had been Notley and the NDP there would have been so much rage that she would be placed in witness protection. To make this province what it needs to be, we’ll need to help people see the issues and practices of the political parties and reach beyond that blind loyalty. And to never give up hope that things will be better.
Survivor: The UCP’s pipeline is more than $1.5 billion. It’s likely $7.5 billion, or more.
Survivor: thanks. I too have seen comments by staunch UCP supporters saying Notley destroyed the province and we can’t let her do it again. Frankly I have no idea what they’re basing this on.
I was looking at the government’s website which show any number of indicators, from investment to GDP were much under the NDP government than under the UCP.
Dwayne: I too have only seen the $1.5 billion number as the amount Kenney invested (gambled) and lost on Keystone XL.
Susan: There is an outstanding issue of loan guarantees that are $6 billion.
Ah, yes, Good point Dwayne.
Yes, it seems to have become somewhat fashionable that those who can’t gain or keep power in fair election deride it and try to undermine it in various insidious ways. It sometimes works, but is very harmful, particularly in undermining trust in our democratic system and institutions, which while not perfect are quite good.
I am also amazed at the shamelessness and stupidity of this sort of thing. First, the Conservative MP who called the Prime Minister a dictator, should remember they were elected in exactly the same election as him. It was either a fair election or not – no you can not cherry pick election results! Second, if their beef was with the Prime MInister’s extensive powers, fair enough criticize the system, but the powers are the essentially the same as when Conservative PM Harper was in power, they have not changed, nor has the application of them. Therefore, if you call the current PM a dictator, you are also calling the previous one from your own party and a number before that dictators. Lets think about that for a moment.
One reason the Conservatives have not won the last three elections with three different leaders, is exactly because of petty partisan, juvenile behaviour like this. It sure does not look like the adults are in charge of that party and many voters actually do notice this sort of thing.
As for Alberta, much the same applies except rather than a frustrated opposition we have an unpopular Premier and his gang desperately clinging to power any way they can. They are not looking better, but worse, because of it. Premier Kenney calls those in his own party against him bugs attracted to a bright light – two problems with this. First, Kenney is not a bright light, but someone with a big ego who imagines that he is. Second, while those against him are not doubt annoying and bothersome to him, they are not bugs to be squashed or eradicated through any means necessary. They are citizens of Alberta with different views. Whether he agrees with them or not, they should be given at least that amount of respect, but unfortunately Kenney has always been very dismissive of anyone with different views from him.
Hopefully the democratic system will eventually reassert itself by removing those who are currently undermining it. The sooner that happens, the better so too much further damage will not be done.
Dave, it’s been said of US Republicans that they’re so focused on winning elections (by any means, legal or illegal) that they have forgotten how to govern. I’d say exactly the same of Kenney and the UCP.
Dave, excellent points. I’ve been wondering how the conservatives fell so far down the rabbit hole. Just compare Kenney to Lougheed. Both of them battled with the federal government but Lougheed did it intelligently, Kenney just flies off the handle promising stupid things like our very own police force and version of CPP, which are more likely hurt us more than help us.
I wonder whether that’s because as Mike Danysh points Kenney and his federal counterparts are so focused on winning that they’ve forgotten how to govern. Or perhaps they’re so enslaved by ideology they’ve forgotten how to think.
Why are people shocked at the antics of Nixon and Kenney? We knew what we were getting with these two reprehensible thugs long before the 2019 election. We ought to be stunned if they refrain from doltish behaviour for any length of time. The kicker is they are still the front runners in the coming election.
Jaundiced Eye: Fair point. Personally, I’m shocked because although I expected Kenney et al to lower taxes, ignore climate change and push privatization I didn’t expect them to be this deceitful, vulgar and petty.
I was horrified when they were elected in 2019 and I’m going to do everything possible to ensure they are not re-elected in 2023.
Jason Nixon is a strange beast to be a govt “leader”. This clearly a beligerent and arrogant bully, had an earlier career as a senior leader with I believe The Mustard Seed Church in Edmonton. A Christian disciple of modesty and grace and possessing appropriate values and ethics? From his haughty outbursts, methinks not.
Douglas: This is the same Jason Nixon who did this.
Douglas, I have no information about how Nixon acted when he was involved with The Mustard Seed, but based on what’s been reported in the news (including the story Dwayne provided at the link), I think it’s save to say Nixon’s behavior leaves an awful lot to be desired.
He’s an elected official and a cabinet minister. He has shamed his office and his constituents. If they re-elect him, that will say as much about them as it does about him.
Susan: Jason Nixon’s outburst reminds me of what Ralph Klein did to Liberal MLA, Laurie Blakeman. He said, “Are you calling me a liar?” These aren’t the greatest MLAs, or politicians to be supporting, that’s for sure. Not with the way they treat people. The same UCP government is raising a fuss over the federal government’s own carbon tax increase, but increased Alberta’s own carbon tax by an astonishing 20%. Jason Nixon did that.
Dwayne, the Klein/ Blakeman confrontation was over one of Ralph’s expense-account claims. Blakeman ask for clarification of some items, and Ralph tried to provoke a fight. Petty grandstanding, nothing more. Nixon’s behaviour goes beyond schoolboy snark to something much worse.
The carbon tax issue is being driven by federal legislation. The scheduled increase is mandated by federal regulations–the much-criticized increase on 1 April was part of the long-term plan by the federal government. I may have some details wrong, but bear with me.
Alberta has to match the increase (adding 20% of the provincial large-emitter levy) or the federal government will impose the federal tax instead. The Jasons kept it low-key when they made that announcement. Remember, after Jason Kenney cancelled the NDP carbon levy, the federal carbon tax replaced it automatically. The TIER program (less stringent than the NDP levy) has to keep up, or Alberta loses the increased revenue–and federal rebates go to families, NOT to corporations.
Mike J Danysh: thanks for the clarification. As you said, the Jasons keep this stuff pretty hush hush lest they imperil their reputations as the guys who took on Trudeau’s carbon tax and won…when in fact they did not.
I do wonder if the timing of Nixon’s outburst has anything to do with the in-depth article Sprawlcalgary ran on Jason Nixon. Personally I would have thought that it would have embarrassed him into being a bit more civil, not less, but then that’s just me.
Another event that may have had an influence was the recent nomination battle in Nixon’s riding. A fellow named Tim Hoven was making a credible run at the UCP nomination, then Jason Kenney disqualified him, allegedly for some of his online postings (if that is the bar they use several existing MLAs should also be disqualified). Seeing that his greatest threat was coming from someone obnoxious further to the right, Jason Nixon clearly saw which way he needed to reposition himself.
Bob and Sharon, as you both point out, Jason Nixon went well beyond what appears to be the norm for him (at least in the hallowed halls of the Legislature). It certainly made me wonder whether he felt himself in personal peril. Let’s face it, if Kenney goes down, he’ll take his closest allies with him. That’s how it works with these guys. No wonder Nixon is worried, they’ve both made many enemies since the WR and the PC parties merged in 2017.
This is Tim Hoven https://www.hovenfarms.com/ It is the fact he is environmentally friendly and well liked they got rid of him. He would have won.
Dwayne, I’m basing my numbers on those reported in the news so they may or may not be accurate. The Keystone debacle had the UCP betting Trump would win the election & approve Keystone. There was 1.5 billion in direct investment plus the UCP made a financial guarantee of an additional 4.5 billion for a total 6 billion investment. When Keystone was cancelled the Alberta taxpayers were out the 1.5 billion, but the 4.5 billion in addition financial guarantees was I believe contingent on the project going forward, so I think the losses were limited to that 1.5 billion direct investment. I did see a headline earlier this year claiming that Alberta was suing the USA to try to recover that investment, given that the USA unilaterally cancelled the pipeline & thus triggered that investment loss. Have no idea of what the status or outcome of that action might be or if it even actually occurred. Could just have been political posturing with no basis in reality, with the end goal to leave the impression in voter’s minds that the UCP would be able to recover the money lost.
A less publicized loss was the bet made by AimCo on the performance of the stock market. The end result was a financial loss in the literal billions. The majority of that loss involved the Heritage Fund. It is possible that some of that loss involved public sector pension funds. Frankly AimCo did not do their due diligence & gambled with public funds. Instead of censuring AimCo, the UCP promptly enacted legislation to force all public sector pension funds to retain AimCo as their fund manager in perpetuity, regardless of how poorly AimCo might perform. The Teacher’s fought this & I think they eventually managed to keep their pension fund out of AimCo’s clutches. Unfortunately LAPP & other public sector funds already had AimCo as their fund manager & are now forced to keep them. I’d add the UCP has been directing AimCo on making investments, particularly in oil & gas, that may not be in the best interests of the pension fund members or provide a ROI that would ensure the funds continued to remain in their current fully funded state.
Throw in the UCP’s action in cancelling contracts made by the NDP to move oil via rail. The cost to taxpayers for cancelling those contracts was literal millions. Cancelling the contracts was pure political theater, paid for by the Alberta taxpayer. UCP claims of being fiscally prudent are not supported by actions taken. If it were not for the recent jump in O&G revenues – a jump that had nothing to do with how the UCP governs – Alberta would still be in a deficit situation. I’d imagine the billions lost due to Keystone & AimCo have done nothing to lower Alberta’s debt. From a fiscal report card point of view, I’d rate the UCP performance as D- & they only get that grade due to the financial challenges posed by Covid. If Covid was taken out of the equation, I’d give them an ‘F’.
Excellent analysis Linda. With respect to Kenney’s claim that he’s suing the American government under NAFTA’s Chap 11 provisions which continue for 3 years after NAFTA 2.0 (or as it’s properly called the USMCA) comes into force. Apparently Kenney is on the hook for $1B in equity plus $400M in loan guarantees that have already been committed. Many lawyers have said Kenney’s claim is a stretch. For one thing, Trump’s order clearly said it could be revoked at any time. There was no guarantee the order would stay in effect and the pipeline would be built. They also say that even when a party succeeds with a NAFTA claim, the amount they generally get is significantly lower than the amount they’ve sued for.
At the end of the day this is typical Kenney, take a stupid gamble, then yell loudly to cover up the fact you gambled and lost.
And the AIMCo mess, that one simply beggars belief.
Gosh sometimes Word Press gets on my nerves – I will try again
Well while we are worried about politics and climate change, pollution falls through the cracks as usual. I do not mean to be raining on the parade but really we are having protests against vaccines and its the side effects and in the meantime we are breathing and eating the worst stuff imaginable – Life has become a total absurd.
We have a province run by a mental calling his party members lunatics and with 28% of people supporting it. For a long time I have been concerned with what is affecting us to what we are witnessing all over the world – craziness to the absurd level and I have no doubts that we are already affected big time by pollution. Climate change is the least of our problems coming up. The last IPPC report already doubts we can make it to 1.5 degrees increase and I wonder if that is actually our most important issue on the plate.
The conversation should be ‘Can we actually survive the sea of garbage and pollution we have created with our capitalist totally out of control life style’
I personally doubt we have the means and the capacity to resolve what we have created and in the meantime as if the planet is not enough yesterday alone another 30 satellites were sent to orbit the earth. No rules no concerns only MONEY making decisions that serve the Elon Musks of our retarded human population.
Carlos, you raise an excellent point. Before COVID struck a good friend of mine, an environmentalist deeply concerned about climate change, said he thought most people knew deep down in their psyches that climate change was real and would destroy the planet (and us) if we didn’t get serious about climate change mitigation plans. He thought the inaction of our governments led to a feeling of helplessness which in turn manifest itself in depression and mental illness. I have no idea whether he’s right, but I do agree we have to look at the world as more than a way to make money.
This was a reply to KatiePerlman but wordpress does not like me very much and so I will repost as a separate post
This is not just good advice, this is excellent advice and possibly the only way we can push this people to where they belong – in a dirt hole.
Conservatism – yes but but any kind of fascism it should disappear along with the person more responsible for waking it up – TRUMP who hopefully will be judged as harshly as he deserves.
For those who like politics and want to see what reality and common sense mean please take the time to watch this. I am sure in the future, although not that prominent now, he will become one of the smartest Americans of current times. Unfortunately he is not in Canada where he would be way more successful than in a country where anything other than money and greed has any value.
Apologize but sometimes I do not type what I think and somehow when I review it I go moron and cannot find the problem – the last phrase should be
Unfortunately he is not in Canada where he would be way more successful than in a country where anything other than money, greed and celebrity has no value.
So following up with the leadership vote. Good golly Miss Molly, what a complete gong show. What should have been a ‘one & done’ deal is now stretched out to May 11th before the outcome is made public, along with enough changes to how the votes can be submitted to cast doubt as to the validity of the outcome. I predict any outcome other than victory for Kenney will see him claiming the result is fraudulent. However, any victory for Kenney will likely see dissenting party elements claiming the result is fraudulent. This could end up being a win for Alberta voters come the next election, because such ongoing dissent isn’t likely to produce a unified party effort to win the votes needed to be re-elected.
“What Albertans saw last week in the House is not normal parliamentary behavior.”
Susan, my fear is that not enough Albertans saw or heard about it though. I just don’t think enough coverage is making its way into the mainstream ‘daily news’ for the average not-so-politically-interested person. And then they make uninformed votes. There seems to be no end to the corruption of this party and its players, yet many people I know are unaware of it. It takes energy to seek out a variety of news sources/blogs and I fear not enough people are hearing about the damage being done/planned by these clowns. I’m not sure what the answer is, but relentless exposure of their shenanigans is going to be vital between now and next May.