More on Kenney’s Leadership Review (God, it never ends)

Have you noticed how corrupt and mediocre our government has become?

Yesterday we learned that Elections Alberta is investigating the bulk buying of UCP memberships—4,000 new memberships were purchased by six credit cards sometime before March 19—this was roughly two weeks before Bill 81, The Elections Statutes Amendment Act (2021) No 2, came into effect, so it appears this bulk buying was illegal.  

Corruption  

Justice Minister Madu (as he then was) touted Bill 81 as a way to remove big bucks, domestic and foreign, from Alberta politics and to close the Alberta Federation of Labour “loophole” which supposedly allowed the AFL to funnel piles of money to the NDP.

What Madu didn’t mention was the tiny little change on page 123 that allowed a person to buy memberships for others without their knowledge or consent.

This is significant because bulk buying of memberships was one of the many allegations of wrongdoing that landed Kenney’s 2017 leadership campaign in hot water. One individual told the Election Commissioner that they’d spent as much as $6000 buying 1200 UCP memberships on behalf of others so they could vote for Kenney as the leader of the UCP.  

Jason Kenney

Never mind, Bill 81 rectified the illegality problem with an amendment that allows someone to buy a party membership for someone else without their knowledge or consent. The impact of this change is twofold:

  • Those with deep pockets can stack nomination meetings in favour of the preferred candidate.
  • Those who have the means to do so can circumvent campaign financing rules. If you sell 400 memberships and not one of those 400 people show up at a nomination meeting, the money you’ve spent on their memberships is not returned, it stays in the party’s coffers.

Bill 81 was so flawed that the government filibustered its own caucus, then closed debate to avoid addressing amendments proposed by its own MLAs. In the end three UCP MLAs, two former UCP MLAS, and the NDP, opposed it.

Bill 81 was passed just before Christmas but didn’t go into effect until Mar 31. This was two weeks too late for the person(s) who bought 4000 UCP memberships in anticipation of Kenney’s upcoming leadership review, but just in time to kick off yet another investigation into Kenney’s leadership review irregularities.

Which leads us to the leadership review.

Mediocrity

It’s true that a pollical party can set its own rules, but the whack-a-mole circumstances surrounding Kenney’s leadership review leave a lot to be desired.

Last year Kenney repeatedly ignored calls from his own MLAs to hold an early leadership review. The United Conservative Party executive ignored a formal request by 22 UCP presidents to hold an early leadership review. Eventually the executive acquiesced but insisted on an in-person vote on April 9 in Red Deer. When 15,000 people registered for the event, the executive changed its mind. They decided to hold a province-wide mail-in ballot, this decision was made after the deadline for buying memberships had passed.

To say that the entire leadership review process was a gong show would be an understatement.

But one thing is crystal clear. Kenney will declare victory if he manages to scrape by with a bare majority because, as he says, that’s all it takes to win in a democracy.

True, but we’re not talking about a leadership race where there’s a winner and a bunch of losers, we’re talking about a performance review, where the party members get a chance to grade the performance of the party leader.  

Unlike past PC leaders who said they’d step down if they got less than 70% support, Kenney is adamant that the party should be satisfied with his leadership if he is rated at a hair above 50%.

Newsflash: 50% plus one is not a ringing endorsement. It’s a sign of mediocrity. If this were a score at an Alberta university it would be a very low D.*

What’s really interesting here is that Kenney has convinced UCP members that a low D is good enough and that a mediocre leader deserves to stay on even if almost half of people who voted think he’s unfit for the job.

The leadership review results will be released on May 18. If Kenney gets a tremendous approval rating many will question the integrity of the process given what happened in 2017, what is now permitted under Bill 81, and the flaws in the leadership review process itself.

If Kenney gets a low approval rating but still clings to power, Alberta will be stuck with a mediocre premier who is poorly equipped to grapple with the tumultuous times ahead.

Surely even Kenney’s supporters will figure out this is a lose/lose for Alberta.  

*Under the Alberta universities grading system Stelmach and Redford would have scored B+.

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55 Responses to More on Kenney’s Leadership Review (God, it never ends)

  1. Gord Young says:

    Take two Tylenol migraine pills and sleep it off sir……he will
    eventually go away..probably sooner than the maggot in the Kremlin.

  2. Dave says:

    What do you do about a problem like Kenney? If you are the UCP, probably not much. He has become the dog in the manger that will not go away. He will cling to that leadership for dear life, because he doesn’t have much of a life outside of political power and no occupation or profession to easily fall back on.

    In the old days, political organizers would go and and raise significant funds to soften the political blow, at least financially, to ease out a leader they sort of liked, but really wanted to go. I am not sure if the UCP has tried this option yet, I suspect they probably have, but for whatever reason it was not enticing enough.

    So, Kenney still controls the party executive and the cabinet. It seems at least enough MLA’s are afraid of him, or afraid of their political prospects outside the UCP tent. There is a fair amount of grumbling, but this is not a very brave or principled group. So, he continues to run roughshod on the caucus and the party, again and again.

    The first problem as I recall was the resolution was that the leadership review be held before the end of March and I am fairly certain April 9th is after that. Even worse, of course the voting is not over yet and it is well into May. It was going to be in person voting to address concerns about potential fraudulent voting (like those that still dog Kenney from when he first won the leadership), but that was changed to being on line at the last minute. Now there are more allegations of bulk buying of memberships. Those who bring them up, don’t even bother to complain to the party executive, but go to provincial elections officials instead. That says something about the state of the UCP.

    The party has turned from supposedly being run by the grassroots into being an instrument of the leader. I wonder how much more of this any member of the UCP with any remaining self respect can take – from grassroots party, to puppet party, all in a few short years.

    So, it wouldn’t be surprising it through all this manoeuvring, Kenney manages to eke out his 50 plus 1% support or maybe even do better and perhaps that’s all that matters to him. However, a party where the majority of the members don’t trust the leader is probably not much better than one where a majority of the members vote against him. In some ways it is even worse, as the problem refuses to go away, despite the best efforts of many in his own party.

    • Dave, I agree.
      You’re correct that the 22 UCP constituency associations wanted a leadership review by the end of March. Some of them have been very vocal in saying their legitimate request was ignored by the UCP executive.
      The the last-minuite switch from an in-person to mail-in ballot just made things worse. Seven CA presidents, together with 5 UCP MLAs (Angela Pitt, Richard Gotfried, Pete Guthrie, Jason Stephan and Dave Hanson) plus the 2 ousted MLAs (Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen) held a press conference expressing their disgust.
      Even if Kenney gets an A plus “grade” this level of dissension will not go away. It’s truly remarkable how badly he’s screwed this up.
      Here’s the link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/ucp-riding-associations-ultimatum-leadership-1.6396639

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for sharing another great blog. The leader of the UCP clearly disdains democracy, as do the UCP themselves. I would even go so far as to cast my doubts as to the validity of the 2019 provincial election in Alberta. Around $200,000 in fines were given to UCP members for election related infractions. The leader of the UCP is still being investigated by the R.C.M.P for how he attained his position of power. Not only that, but the UCP rams controversial legislation down the throats of Albertans, thinking they won’t notice, or say anything. Or, the UCP tampers with existing legislation. This often happens on weekends, or during long weekends. Think back to the UCP’s trying to rescind Peter Lougheed’s 1976 Coal Policy on a May long weekend. I would also suspect that the leadership review process for the leader of the UCP is rigged. Even when Ralph Klein had a 55 percent approval rating from his party members, he stepped down. Another very concerning matter on the federal political scene, is Pierre Poliveire. His policies are quite concerning. His policy on homes, for example, will depreciate the value of people’s homes, and they will end up with less in the end. I’ll share some more music, including things that are in my collection. A famous bass player and producer, Paul Samwell-Smith, turns 79 years old today. He was in The Yardbirds, during the Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck periods. I have this particular album in my music collection, Rodger The Engineer. It is from 1966. The cover artwork was drawn by the band’s rythm guitarist, who later switched to bass, Chris Dreja. Chris Dreja then became a successful photographer, and he photographed the group album photo for Led Zeppelin 1. Led Zeppelin formed after The Yardbirds broke up in 1968. Keith Relf, the lead singer and harmonica player passed away in May of 1976, at his home in England, from an improperly grounded electric guitar he was practicing on. This song, Turn Into Earth, was written by Paul Samwell-Smith. Chris Dreja plays piano on this track. This is from the Jeff Beck era of The Yardbirds. Paul Samwell-Smith quit The Yardbirds, and would then go on to produce artists like Cat Stevens and Carly Simon.

    • Dwayne, thank you for the song picks, Pretty Flamingo…wow, it’s been a long long time since I heard that. These songs remind me of when I was a kid, hanging around on a hot summer afternoon doing nothing but trying to stay out of my mom’s way.
      Okay, back to the topic at hand, your point about Klein having the decency to step down after getting an approval rating of 55% is well taken. As I recall both Stelmach and Redford set the bar at 70%. Kenney’s refusal to leave if the vote comes in at 50%+1 is incredibly selfish and destructive to the party’s health. Although truth be told, the sooner that party implodes the better.
      What bothers me the most is how Kenney has framed this. He pretends 50%+1 is a democratic principle when in fact 50%+1 simply means “bare majority.” It’s not a democratic principle at all, it’s a performance measurement metric. A CEO in the private sector would be bounced out on his ear the shareholders rated his leadership as mediocre. You’d think the UCP would have the same high standards, but the fact they’re allowing Kenney to get away with setting the bar so low indicates that’s not the case.
      These people never cease to amaze me.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. It is a Paul Jones composition from 1968. Paul Jones was in Manfred Mann. It is The Dog Presides. Paul Jones is on vocals and harmonica. Paul Samwell-Smith is on bass guitar. Jeff Beck is on guitar. Paul McCartney is on drums here. It was produced by Peter Asher. This is one of Jeff Beck’s session gigs, after he left The Yardbirds in late 1966. Paul Samwell-Smith was also involved in session work, after he left The Yardbirds in mid 1966. This is an impressive lineup of musicians.

  5. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Why does no one ever ask why Albertans continually vote for these corrupt and mediocre governments? The truth of the matter is the citizens of Alberta have taught these corrupt and mediocre governments how to treat us. At this point how could anyone argue otherwise.

    • Carlos says:

      Jandiced Eye – Ilike your comment and I agree that the government is a clear reflection of our attitudes as citizens. and the reflection to me is disturbing. If the majority of us accept this kind of nothing really. This government is mediocre, lies and has no integrity anymore. We should clearly look at ourselves and make sure this is voted out

      • Carlos says:

        This to me is beyond the left and right conversation. This is visible corruption and deceit and we cannot accept this kind of politics in our province for obvious reasons and especially now that the political system is coughing with a flu.

    • You’re right Jaundiced Eye. You only have to read the debate in Hansard on Bill 81 to see how disrespectful the UCP were of everyone including members of their own party. They filibustered and invoked closure on members of their own party so they wouldn’t have time to debate amendments proposed by these UCP MLAs to improve the legislation. Really?
      Shandro’s comments were simply ridiculous. When one of the NDP MLAs pasued to review his notes, Shandro took it upon himself to interject with a little story about how Boris Johnson filled an interlude by asking everyone if they’d been to Peppa Pig World. Although I suppose this was better than when he called the NDP the Old Autocratic Party. Neither of these interjections were useful, but they certainly demonstrate the level of debate one can expect from these guys.

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my third song pick. It is from 1966, and was written by Mark Barkan, and covered by Manfred Mann. Pretty Flamingo. It features future member of Cream, Jack Bruce, on bass and background vocals. Jack Bruce would be 79 on May 14. He passed away on October 25, 2014. Paul Jones is on lead vocals.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. This is from the supergroup Cream, during their reunion concert at The Royal Albert Hall, in London, England, in May of 2005. Cream was a short lived band in the 1960s. It is a Jack Bruce and Pete Brown composition, White Room. Jack Bruce is on bass and vocals, Eric Clapton is on guitar and vocals, and Ginger Baker is on drums. Ginger Baker passed away around 3 years ago, at age 80. I have this DVD in my music collection. Until we are able to see live music, we can see clips like these. I also hope your Mother’s Day was great.

    • Carlos says:

      Wow Dwane I had forgoten how good this Cream group use to be. I was never a big fan but this song is excellent.

    • jerrymacgp says:

      This concert was indeed an awesome performance — I own it on DVD as well. Their rendition of Crossroads is outstanding, and Sunshine of Your Love is as well. The rest of the show was also impressive.

      As for live music, I’m flying back today from Montréal where I went to see a European symphonic metal band called Nightwish. Interestingly, many if not most of the fans in the hall were masked for most of the show, except for when they were drinking something. As an aside, I’ve also noted mask compliance out here in indoor spaces where they are required, like malls, restaurants & bars, and on the Metro, was extremely high, probably in excess of 95%, even though the mask mandates have already been announced to end next weekend, Far different from my experience back home in Grande Prairie, or in Edmonton the last weekend in April where I attended an AFL event.

      • Jerrymacgp…what an interesting observation. We had some tradespeople come to the house last week. In both cases their default position was no mask. When we greeted them at the door wearing our masks they said, oh, I left my mask in the car, do you want me to get it. We said yes. After that everything was fine, but I was struck by the fact that the default position is no mask as opposed to masked.

  8. Verna Milligan says:

    Thank you once again, Susan. You definitely are not alone — as indicated by this Opinion piece in Saturday’s Edmonton Journal entitled: “UCP MLAs have trouble respecting the rule of law”.
    https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/irfan-sabir-ucp-mlas-have-trouble-respecting-the-rule-of-law
    Lastly, so a government is making it ‘legal’ for someone to purchase voting powers in another person’s name – without the other person knowing about it? And Albertans don’t see anything weird about that in a so-called ‘democracy’?

    • Thanks Verna. there were some interesting themes running through that opinion piece: (1) the premier won’t deal with violations of the law or conventional norms unless the violations become public knowledge and (2) even after the violators are caught breaking the law (Toor) and violating the conventions (Madu, Shandro) he won’t punish them, and (3) he’ll even go so far as to mislead the public to help cover up their transgressions (Madu).
      Makes you wonder about Kenney’s moral/ethical standards, doesn’t it.

  9. Dave Newbigging says:

    All three main political parties of Alberta do not have Alberta in their best interest. If they did then we would have a flourishing province similar to the oil producing countries elsewhere. Alberta’s exports, be it gas/oil/cattle/ dairy is curtailed by the canadian government. (small c) . Canada is the first country that I know that has imposed an embargo on itself. We have an oil tanker ban on the West coast. We cannot send our oil East. We are stymied sending our oil South and North. Supply Management has decimated Alberta’s dairy farms. (Read up on Supply Management. If T didn’t mention this, I would still be ignorant). Our farmers are having trouble getting their harvest to market
    . The amount of money removed from Alberta’s coffers to support equalisation is astounding. We have a few parties to make Alberta strong/independent and to become the richest Nation in North America. We have the WildRose Indepedence Party and The Alberta Prosperity Project – both parties with similar ideals to benefit all Albertans. But there is a lot of discord because most people that reside in Alberta are from the East and they have strong familial ties – most want to relocate back East after their working stint is over. That is normal. But for Alberta to gain independence or be part of the US will be a battle. I don’t know why ‘cos the US is our biggest trading partner. Canada East nor West does not want our oil – it goes South. So does our dairy/wheat and cattle. Albertans have close familial ties with the US as well. It is to Alberta’s advantage to affiliate themselves with the US – no equalization payment, GST, tobacco and alcohol tax, – add your own list here. cheers

    • Dave, I appreciate the respectful tone of your comment, but I’m afraid I disagree with pretty well everything you’ve said. I don’t believe Alberta would be better off as an independent country or if it joined the United States.

      But for the sake of argument let’s talk about how Alberta would gain its independence from Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada set out a template for a legal separation when it considered Quebec’s separation. The process includes calling a referendum, getting a clear majority to say yes, getting the House of Commons to accept the vote, then entering into constitutional negotiations among Alberta, the feds, the rest of the provinces (on things like Alberta’s share of the national debt, trade policy, etc) and the First Nations (all of Alberta is covered by Treaties 6, 7, and 8).

      An independent Alberta would need its own currency, central bank, foreign service, military, border and immigration control. We’d need to negotiate international trade agreements and we’d have to bear the geopolitical and climate threat risk as a small country of 4.4 million as opposed to a larger country of 33 million. This reduces our leverage.

      I can’t speak to supply management issues but I don’t see how going it alone or joining the US would help Alberta overcome the problems you cite re: transporting oil and gas. The tanker ban and the lack of support for pipelines across BC and Ontario/Quebec would continue to exist. Furthermore, even if Alberta became a part of the US, the US federal and state governments would dictate whether projects like KXL or Enbridge Line 5 went ahead.

      With respect to the argument that joining the US would result in no equalization payments, GST, tobacco and alcohol tax; the government of Alberta does not make equalization payments, individual Albertans pay federal income tax, a part of which goes into the equalization bucket. We lived in the US for 7 years. We paid federal, state and local city income tax, property tax; Social Security tax; sales tax, excise tax and “sin” (alcohol, cigarettes) taxes which range from 1 to 12% depending on which state you’re in. I worked for a good company with good healthcare coverage, our family of 4 was faced with $20,000 in deductibles and co-pays before we could access healthcare.

      I’m sure some of the others will join this conversation. I would like to urge everyone to keep the discussion cordial. Thanks!

      Here’s a link that canvasses both sides of this question: https://albertaviews.ca/should-alberta-separate/

    • jerrymacgp says:

      “Amount of money removed from Alberta’s coffers to support equalization” … you mean, zero? No money is taken from Alberta for equalization. None. Not one thin dime.

      Equalization is paid by the federal government from federal revenues. All Canadians pay the same levels of federal income tax, and all Canadian corporations pay the same levels of federal corporate taxes. Equalization is then paid out to those provincial governments that have below-average capacity to raise revenue in order to support an equivalent level of provincially-provided public services from coast to coast.

      A few key points are:
      – Albertans, both as individual taxpayers and as corporations, tend to earn higher levels of income than the Canadian average, and so contribute more per capita to federal revenues than the Canadian average. We are currently running at roughly six percent unemployment right now, slightly above the national average of 5.2%. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410028703
      – Equalization is paid based on fiscal capacity: the province’s ability to raise revenues at equivalent levels of taxation, influenced by the size of its economy & its population. Alberta has for decades made political decisions to radically under-tax its economy in comparison to other provinces & territories, relying on volatile fossil fuel prices to fill the revenue gap. For instance, Nova Scotia has a 15% Harmonized Sales Tax, and Québec has a 10% Provincial Sales Tax. But Alberta has no consumption tax, such as a PST, and pundits have long called it the “third rail” of Alberta politics — touch it & you die. This is a political decision that deliberately limits our ability to raise revenue.

      Our host wants us to remain respectful, so I won’t say some of the things that first came to mind when I read your comment. But we can’t have intelligent conversations about political matters without an accepted, shared knowledge of facts, and your comment is not based on fact but myth.

    • Carlos says:

      Dave I just would like to say that I find amazing that any adult can actually believe what you just wrote here. I am sorry but this is as cordial as I can be.

    • Dwayne says:

      Dave Newbigging: Peter Lougheed was the only practical thinking and responsible Conservative premier in Alberta. The Conservatives in Alberta wasted and lost very large amounts of money on very costly debacles for decades, and they weren’t stopped, except for a brief 4 years, beginning in 2015. Abandoning Peter Lougheed’s sound principles, didn’t help Alberta. Alberta separation isn’t the answer at all.

  10. Brian Szautner says:

    Mail in voting should never be done. Its not the technology but the users behind it. Look no further to America, flaws happen in ever voting system. The old rule is have registered voters with proper identification be allowed to vote in person. The right to vote is a right upon every eligible voter. Political votes that determine leadership, Civic, Provincial and Federal levels are the backbone of our political Canadian system. Integrity honesty and the right to vote shall remain most important here. Voting costs but the ultimate price is to have a system for the people not for the ease of electronic convenience.

    • You nailed it Brian. Recently a UCP member said he’d received TWO mail in ballots. He said his faith in the system was shot. The UCP said this wasn’t a problem because once the completed ballot package is returned it’s verified (this of course brings in the human element you referred to). My question is how did the UCP member end up with two ballots in the first place and how many times has this happened already.
      A historian who writes about democracy says the best way to vote is in-person by paper ballot. I suppose the key there would be to ensure there are enough voting stations around to ensure everyone can get to one easily.
      Given the concerns raised in the 2017 leadership race there are many people, both inside and outside the UCP who have little or no confidence in the integrity of this leadership review exercise.
      Here’s the link: https://globalnews.ca/news/8799745/ucp-election-member-2-ballots-april-30/

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Brian and Susan, I have to disagree on the reliability of mail-in ballots—when they’re administered properly. Let me explain.

      Modern mail-in ballots are verifiable and secure, under both the Canadian system and the various American systems. In the US, individual states run federal elections, not a federal agency as in Canada. The US election of 2020 was the most scrutinized, second-guessed and criticized in their history. Despite this, and contrary to the Trumpies’ howling, no credible evidence of voter fraud or vote manipulation was found. Please note, that included both mail-in ballots and (after that ploy failed) in-person voting.

      It’s even easier to check in Canada, because—unlike the fragmented US systems—only one organization, Elections Canada, runs our federal elections. Within provinces, like US states, the provincial governments have their own election offices; Elections Alberta for example. Unlike the US where political interference is constant, in Canada both federal and provincial election offices are at least supposed to be non-partisan. They come a lot closer here than in the US.

      But none of this applies to the leadership review forced on Jason Kenney by pissed-off UCP members. In Alberta, likely in all other provinces too, political parties self-administer both leadership review votes AND their leader-election campaigns. Those are considered internal matters for the party to handle on its own. Elections Alberta doesn’t get involved.

      That’s why pretty much all Albertans are convinced the leadership review is “rigged.” The UCP executives, not repeat NOT the (UCP) Alberta government, control the leadership vote. They’ll control the leadership race we all expect, too. Only if Kenney, in desperation or anger, calls a snap PROVINCIAL election will Elections Alberta get involved. Then, and only then, will we see an honest election. As honest as the UCP government permits, anyway.

  11. Leila Keith says:

    This whole leadership review is a gong show how right you are Susan. Kenny should be kicked out .

  12. Leila Keith says:

    This whole leadership review is a gong show you are Susan bang on. Kenny should be kicked out .

  13. Sharon says:

    The unhinged clown party has been a mess since the beginning. It would seem, to the average person, highly irregular that 4,000 memberships were purchased by 6 credit cards. And what is the verification process? Everything this pretend premier and his posse do smacks of being illegal. One day they will get what they deserve.

    • Sharon, you raise a really important point. When this issue first came up I was trying to understand how someone could buy a membership for someone else without them knowing about it. For one thing you’d think the UCP would send the new member promotional materials at the new member’s address.
      Then I read in Hansard that people known as “membership brokers” can get their hands on lists (such as the names and addresses for members of a congregation or another organization) and buy memberships for all the people on these lists. This made me wonder whether the broker just puts his contact information on the application form, which brings us back to your question, what’s the verification process, 4000 people can’t all live at the same address and have the same email address and phone number.
      As to your second question about letting 14 year olds buy memberships, assuming these kids know they’re members of the UCP I suspect they’d vote exactly like their told to vote by their parents.
      Democracy, UCP style.

  14. Sharon says:

    And another thing…why are 14 year olds allowed to buy memberships in the Unhinged clown party when they can’t vote in a provincial election….if that doesn’t smack of padding the vote, what does?

  15. Guy says:

    Ever since the rules for the leadership review were changed from a one-day in-person vote to the drawn out mess that it has now become I find that I have lost significant interest in the result. Given the nature of the changes that have been implemented I suppose I have simply taken it for granted that the results will not be legitimate and we, the citizens of Alberta, will be left to deal with whatever outcome is declared.

    There are only two possible outcomes, I think, but this is Kenneyland so I can’t really be sure. The first is that Kenney is able to claim victory. I use that phrase instead of ‘wins’ because I don’t believe that he can actually win a fair vote but I do believe that he is more than capable of manipulating enough things in his favour to be able to claim that he has the support of the party. This will only serve to aggravate those who oppose his leadership and the current chaos within the party will continue or perhaps intensify. I think that the divisions that exist are too deep and too protracted to be healed, especially by a process as suspect as this leadership review. The government will become more dysfunctional than it already is, a rather chilling prospect to be sure.

    The other possibility is that the results of the vote are so clearly against Kenney that he isn’t able to claim victory. If this should happen, I don’t believe for a second that he will step aside and allow a leadership race to happen as he said he would. That’s not who Kenney is. I believe it’s much more likely that he would declare, without a shred of irony of course, that the results of the vote were manipulated in some fashion and aren’t legitimate.Then what? A legal challenge? A snap election? He won’t go away without a fight and, again, Albertans will be left to contend with a government consumed with turmoil and in-fighting. In either case I see the next year being very difficult in Alberta, but I have become more focused on the next provincial election and, despite this government’s dismal performance in all matters, I still have concerns about the outcome.

    I have to believe that in most democratic jurisdictions when the electorate is faced with a government that, figuratively speaking, pokes them in the eye with a sharp stick repeatedly and viciously, would respond by saying ‘Stop that. I don’t like it,’ and subsequently vote them out of office. Here in Alberta though, voters seem to possess the ability to accept that treatment and placate themselves by saying ‘Well, at least they aren’t socialists,’ or something similar. It’s baffling and concerning but we should never underestimate some Albertans’ innate mistrust of all things NDP or, for that matter, anything even slightly left of their own ingrained political views. On top of that, if Kenney is involved, as we have already seen, things can happen that defy reason, decency, honesty and, if the RCMP would be kind enough to let us know, possibly even legality.

    As an aside, and to offset the tone of my rant, I have to confess that despite my age I still possess a stubborn streak of childishness and I’m therefore unable to read the title of this post as anything other than ‘Moron Kenney’s Leadership Review.’ Kudos Susan for maintaining a level of decorum that clearly eludes me.

    • Guy, you made me laugh out loud! I will never be able to type “more on X, W, Z” without thinking of your comment. Thank you for the welcome respite from all the garbage Kenney and his team continue to send our way.
      So, why do Albertans continue to vote for the party that pokes them in the eye with a sharp stick? I think part of the answer is that many Albertans accept as gospel everything they’re told by the UCP because the UCP are conservatives and 40 plus years of conservative rule has served Alberta well (the fact that it’s Alberta’s natural resources and not successive PC governments who’re responsible for our good fortune seems to elude them). Add to that the antagonism bred from long ago fights with Ottawa over the NEP and the Crow Rate and whatever else you can throw in the bin, and the fear bred from the anti-NDP socialist/commie conspiracies, plus a whack of anger that the good ol’ days are gone for ever and the world is changing in ways they don’t like or understand and…voila, a mess.
      I don’t know what the answer is, I just wish people had the brains to pick up their cell phones and fact check some of the garbage they’re being fed. But that would mean having a critical mind that hears something and says, wait, is that true?

  16. Linda says:

    I’d like to believe that the end result of the UCP leadership vote/review will be the implosion of the party. However, went to a town hall a week or so ago hosted by our local MLA. Let me just say that the small in person crowd seemed to be very much in favor of Kenney & crew. When asked, our MLA stated she was if full support of Kenney. It was not so much of a town hall to answer questions posed by the audience of constituents as a thinly disguised campaign stumping meeting to drum up support. When the subject of health care came up I asked how the government would address the issue with doctors leaving the province, citing the torn up contract. My answer? Alberta as per our MLA was ‘up’ 90 doctors (actually 45 once I went home & did the research & at least part of the reason was due to recent graduates from medical school) & since the ‘contract was set to expire in the next 90 days’ tearing it up wasn’t really an issue. Besides, the government has since entered into a new contract & is continuing to ‘negotiate’ with the Alberta Medical Association. I had chosen to attend the town hall wearing a mask; it helped to conceal the fact I was trying not to vomit in sheer disgust. I will take what comfort I can from the fact at least a couple of other attendees expressed frustration over lack of government response to their concerns. So not everyone there was a UCP fan.

    • Linda, thank you for your comment. The way you fact-checked your MLA’s comment that Alberta was ‘up’ 90 doctors and put the real number (45) in context is exactly the kind of critical thinking all Albertans should engage in. And yet they don’t, they’re happy to accept whatever malarkey Kenney and their MLA dishes out.
      I was glad to hear some of the attendees weren’t impressed with the UCP’s responses to their concerns. I think Kenney is betting on a booming economy to slide him back into the premier’s office next spring, or maybe even earlier. I don’t think that’s going to happen. Even with these high oil prices Calgary’s downtown office towers still sit empty. Sooner or later even the diehard UCPers will run out of patience. That’s not to say they’ll vote NDP, in fact I think they’ll splinter into the new Wildrose, the Free Alberta (from Canada) group and other such groups.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Wow. Truth becomes extremely flexible when you’re a UCP member. Linda, did you mention that the “90 days till expiry” contract was torn up–by Tyler Shandro–over two years ago? That was before Covid-19 was a thing.

      • Linda says:

        Hi Mike. The news about Shandro tearing up the contract was announced February 20, 2020. The WHO declared Covid a matter of concern in January 2020 & declared a pandemic in March 2020. News about Covid broke December 2019 & there is reason to believe Covid was present in North America as early as October 2019. Given the timing I’d say Covid was indeed a thing when the contract was torn up. Regardless, the fact our government saw fit to cancel a valid legal contract does not bode well for rule of law or create any trust they would not continue to set aside inconvenient legislation as they deemed fit. Not an atmosphere to inspire doctors to practice here.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Linda, thanks for the clarification on timing re contract-tearing and Covid. I was thinking of the March 2020 announcement by the federal Liberals, when everybody realized that, OMG, we gotta take this seriously. I sure wasn’t worried much before that, and I strongly doubt Kenney or Shandro worried till then either.

      Of course, you are absolutely correct that Kenney et al don’t respect the rule of law. I’m convinced they believe laws are for other people. Recent news coverage on CBC has revealed Kenney’s at war with lawyers now, as well as doctors, nurses and teachers. Oh joy….

      • Carlos says:

        Unfortunately the UCP is always in permanent war with something. That is the way they operate. That is why their internal struggles never end. Remember these people are for the most part evangelicals that believe that we are all born sinners and have to be beaten into submission, hence the attitude towards anyone. We all need to be scolded by the UCP to be good citizens. People keep asking why the conservatives these days are always mad at something, well they have to be. Their regulars deliberations are always aggressive as if we need to be guided by the lords.
        Interesting times Mike

      • Linda says:

        Hi Mike. Things have reached the point where if the UCP said the sun rose in the east I’d be taking a compass outside to check:) For instance, there was great fanfare in late February regarding how Alberta had 1) balanced the budget & 2) eliminated the deficit. A $500 million surplus was announced for 2022, with projected budget surpluses of $700 million & $900 million projected for the next two fiscal years. All this due to higher than expected oil & gas revenues but good news nonetheless. Yet on March 3rd, Travis Toews stated ‘there is no money’ when talking about negotiations for teachers as well as other public sector worker salary negotiations. Then cited projected budget deficits in the multi billions of dollars for the next two fiscal years. So how could they triumphantly announce surpluses in February 2022 including projected surpluses for the next two fiscal years? Another commenter mentioned contracts to ‘teach Alberta children fiscal responsibility’. Is that government speak for not telling the public exactly where our finances are at? Can’t see how we can be at a surplus for one announcement but in a deficit for another. Something simply doesn’t add up.

        As for the UCP & rule of law, all I can say is I sure don’t want them ‘in charge’ of a provincial police force. Very bad idea given their history thus far.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Linda, that might have been yet another of my bloviations. Here’s a link to David Climenhaga’s blog:
        https://albertapolitics.ca/2022/05/will-students-learn-financial-literacy-or-corporate-propaganda-from-albertas-5m-curriculum-investment/

  17. Ingamarie says:

    Whether Kenney retains his position or not doesn’t really seem to matter much to me. I don’t see anyone in the wings capable of taking over and doing much better for the province, since it is ideology rather than personality that seems to move this bunch. Granted, it is an ideology that has been shared, if somewhat passively, by the majority of Albertans for the majority of the time I have lived here…….but surely we aren’t going to close our eyes to pray and hope for the best for much longer!

    Even with a protracted war in Ukraine, and sky high oil and gas prices, this government has acted as if it were broke since the beginning, and won’t be changing their methods in time for the next election. Their latest move toward sound economics has been to cancel all funding for Alberta School Council’s Association….involved parents being something no sound educational system has time for.

    If Albertan’s vote this lot back in we have only ourselves to thank…and the mass exodus from the province should do a world of good for our housing crisis. Fact is, we have only one option left. Vote them out of office

    • Ingamarie: I agree with everything you’ve said. I just saw the ATB report on jobs said that employment growth for April was uneven and while it’s hard to get a specific number for the oil and gas extraction sector, “it’s clear that the spike in oil prices in March and April did not translate into a major rise in oil and gas jobs.” That’s certainly the case here in Calgary.
      I was shocked by the government’s cancellation of funding for the School Council’s association. The Kenney government made it clear they dislike the ATA, so you’d expect them to support greater parental oversight of teachers and education. The fact they pulled the funding made me wonder whether they didn’t want to give the parents an opportunity to hear first hand from the teachers how poorly public education is faring under the UCP.
      As you said, all we can do is vote them out of office when the time comes.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Ingamarie and Susan, the ideology of right-wing supporters in Oilberduh is akin to religious belief. These people are impervious to reason because they already know The Truth. I’m sure you’ve both noticed that believers, when they feel threatened, become more convinced, not less. Wasn’t it Saint Augustine who said, “Reason is the enemy of faith”? He was right. Full credit to Dave Newbigging for his polite presentation, but sadly, I think he’s in the minority. Susan, how many comments have you refuse to post on this week’s blog?

      The religious conviction that “government is bad, business is good” also, I think, explains the antipathy to both the ATA and now school councils. The UCP has announced a brand-new education initiative: kids will learn “fiscal responsibility” in school. Your fellow blogger, David Climenhaga, has a post on that subject. No consultation, no review, just three contracts with obscure small companies to provide pre-packaged courses. Who needs to ask teachers or parents? They just argue with the all-knowing UCP anyway. Much easier to complete The Work of God (or somebody) when you cut off and shut up the opposition.

  18. Linda says:

    Hi Mike. Thanks for the link. So my question regarding this would be who exactly owns those 3 companies or has business interests via said companies. Would be interesting to find out whether those companies are owned/operated by UCP supporters. As for the UCP dismissing parents, yet another sign that it is their way or no way. So I’m also wondering if this is them just doing whatever because they don’t think they will be re-elected? Or do they think parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, public employees etc. don’t vote? Because have to say, they are sure adding to the list of grievances at a frisky rate!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Linda, it seems the three companies have links to the financial industry rather than (openly) to any political party. This as shown on their web sites, as reported by DJC–who didn’t find a lot of background information.

      I somehow doubt Kenney, LaGrange et al worry very much about what ANYONE thinks. Not, at least, until someone actually gets right in their faces. Remember when somebody chalked a message on the sidewalk in front of LaGrange’s constituency office? She threatened to sue. This shows a level of either insecurity or hubris that should be breathtaking. Being the UCP, it just elicits a sigh of resignation.

      I had a list of stupid things the UCP government has done. I had to give up; there was just too much to keep track.

  19. Carlos says:

    For those that like an extra dose of politics related to these neo-liberal ways here is a good article published in the TYEE

    https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2022/05/09/Ukraine-Challenge-Each-Of-Us/

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Hi Dwayne. Without intending to usurp our hostess’s response, let me say it’s really no surprise. In 2015, a respected oil industry analyst named Art Berman examined the timing of oil-price shocks and global recessions, starting with the first Arab oil embargo (1973). Adjusting for inflation, Berman found a correlation between oil prices of $90US for extended periods (months, not weeks) and subsequent recessions.

      Now, “correlation isn’t causation,” the standard caveat in these analyses, but it’s suggestive, isn’t it? High energy prices force people to spend less on other stuff, likely because they have less “disposable income” for luxuries. God help us if energy costs get so high we have to choose between food for the kids and heat for the house–as reports from the UK have been saying lately.

      Somebody published a news item (of course I can’t find it now) that even oil industry execs were nervous about the sudden spike caused by Putin’s war.

      Heck, my financial advisor said recently that a recession is coming, this year or next. It wasn’t a surprise to me. So, my thoughts echo Art Berman’s: maybe high oil prices don’t CAUSE recessions, but they sure aren’t going to help!

      • Dwayne says:

        Mike J. Danysh: A friend of mine said that recessions usually happen every several years.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Dwayne, your friend is about right. Recessions used to happen about every 8 to 10 years, or so it seemed till the mid-2000s. Now there’s no telling what will knock the global economy on its ear. Berman’s point was that sustained periods of expensive energy–like the extra-high oil prices we’re seeing since Putin started his undeclared war–often precede a global recession. The many news articles about people cutting spending because of high prices (not limited to gasoline, I’m sorry to say) tends to make the point for him.

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