Mr Kenney Goes to Washington

May 26, 2022 marked Jason Kenny’s last appearance in the Legislature as Alberta’s premier (we think).

His final week was replete with members’ statements applauding his leadership, his legacy, and everything his government had accomplished over the last 3 years.

He was especially proud of one achievement: his appearance before the US Senate Energy Committee. He said his presentation was “historic” and made the point that “Alberta can be the solution to the global energy crisis, particularly for North American energy security.” * 

The solution to the global energy crisis…for North American energy security. Wow, these are lofty goals.   

Despite Kenney’s historic presentation, he missed the mark. His stumble went unnoticed by his party and the press until the National Post interviewed the new US Ambassador to Canada (more on that below).

For the record, Kenney was not the only Canadian to testify before the Committee. The federal Natural Resources minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, Quebec’s Associate Deputy Minister for Mines, Nathalie Camden, and the CEO of Electricity Canada, Francis Bradley also made presentations.

Mr Kenney

Furthermore, the Committee was interested in hearing about all forms of energy including renewables, hydropower, hydrogen, and small modular reactors.

Kenney’s testimony

Kenney said Alberta could help “our American friends” who are facing record high fuel prices due to scarcity by increasing Alberta crude exports. This would entail:    

  • Utilizing unused capacity on existing pipelines (300,000 bbl/day)
  • Pipeline optimization (400,000 bbl/d)
  • Shipping crude by rail (200,000 to 250,000 bbl/d)
  • Finishing TMX in Q3 2023 (590,000 bbl/d)

He told the Committee Biden could support Alberta’s efforts by:    

  • Demanding the Governor of Michigan not decommission Enbridge Line 5
  • Treating Canadian energy as if it were US energy by adding oil and gas to Title 3
  • Developing a North American Energy Alliance
  • Derisking (ie providing government funding) for a second KXL pipeline  

Senators’ reaction

The Republican senators wasted considerable time vilifying Biden, slamming “ESG insanity” and expressing the hope that Ukraine and energy security “wakes up the woke.”

Kenney played along, saying he found it “passing strange” that Biden did not reach out to Alberta after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This was immediately contradicted by Wilkinson who said discussions between the Canadian and US governments and oil companies about exporting additional crude were ongoing.

As the hearing progressed, it became apparent that even the Republican senators were interested in more than increasing Alberta energy exports. They asked questions about reducing regulatory timelines, meeting climate change targets, building a hydrogen hub and transportation corridor and importing more potash for American farmers.

Unfortunately the one question they failed to ask was whether any of Kenney’s suggestions for increasing exports were feasible, and if so, how long it would take to make them operational, and most importantly what effect, if any, these measures, once implemented, would have on the global price of crude.

Reality Check

The only person to cast a critical eye on Kenney’s testimony was David Cohen, the US ambassador to Canada.

He disagreed with Kenney’s assertion that Canada’s existing pipeline capacity, particularly the 300,000 bbl/d unused capacity, would provide a short-term advantage and “meaningfully move the needle on oil supplies from Canada to the United States.”

He said the US isn’t interested in expanding its dependence on fossil fuels and wanted instead to expand its hydro-power relationship with Canada and its access to cleaner energies.

Then came the stinging blow.

Cohen said Kenney “of all people” should understand the dynamics of the Line 5 dispute, which Cohen characterized as primarily a dispute between the state of Michigan and Canada and Canadian interests. He implied that just as Kenney expected the feds to stay out of Alberta’s disputes, so too would the governor of Michigan expect Biden to stay out of state affairs.

Thin skinned retort  

Kenney responded to Cohen’s criticisms through his proxy, energy minister Sonya Savage. She issued a news release calling the ambassador’s comments “ill-informed” and “unproductive.” She repeated Kenney’s talking points but failed to address Cohen’s key argument: that an additional 300,000 bbl/day would not “move the needle” as far as the US was concerned.

If Kenney hoped to cement his legacy in his testimony before the Senate Committee he failed. Perhaps he took comfort in Savage’s rebuttal of Cohen’s comments. Perhaps all he had left to sooth his ego was the comment made by the ranking Republican senator, John Barrasso, who said he’d told his friend Stephen Harper that Kenney was scheduled to testify before the Committee and Harper texted back that Kenney was very strong and one of Harper’s best ministers.

But Kenney couldn’t bask in Harper’s praise for long. In a delightful twist of schadenfreude, the very next day Kenney lost the support of almost half the UCP membership and was forced to resign as party leader.

With the notable exception of Peter Lougheed, Kenney’s legacy will be as hollow as the conservative premiers who preceded him.

*Hansard, May 24, 2022, starting at p 1419

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44 Responses to Mr Kenney Goes to Washington

  1. rubennelson says:

    As always, thank you, Susan.
    One thing that has not penetrated the consciousness of Albertans is that of all the 7 Premiers who have lead the PC/UCP party since Peter Lougheed, one only has retired in good standing — Dave Hancock — an interim leader. All the others were were talked out of office, of turfed by the party or the public. In short, Peter is the only PC/UCP leader to retire on his own terms.
    The question we need to ask is: What is it about the men who control have controlled the PC/UCP party all these years that they cannot find one person of good enough character to fulfill his/her full term?
    Ruben

    • What an interesting point Ruben. Maybe this pattern of pushing leaders out before they’re ready to go says more about the ambition of the party’s members than it does about their leader. Take Klein as an example. Seems to me he wasn’t much different at the end of his term than he was at the beginning, but people like Ted Morton and Jim Dinning coveted the position. A leadership review took place, Klein was disgraced with a 55% show of support, and the race was on, then, big surprise, they were edged out by Stelmach.
      How’s that for karma.

  2. John Agnew says:

    I really enjoyed, if that’s the right word, this report. Thank you for posting it. Why is the whole truth such a hard commodity to come by these days?

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I think the premier of Alberta (as I mentioned before, that title is in question) is just trying to score cheap political points and his base blindly eats it all up. Alberta has oilsands oil, and that is far more expensive to extract and produce than other types of oil that are out there. Nothing will ever change that fact. There is going to be less demand for something that has all kinds of cost burdens associated with getting it to the markets. More pipelines won’t change that. Oil prices are also beyond the premier’s control, and they are forecast to go back down again, and the premier will do more blame shifting when Alberta’s revenues shrink, from the UCP’s fiscal irresponsibility, and the low oil prices. The UCP are boasting about being fiscally responsible, when they actually aren’t, and any supposed surplus Alberta has is due to higher oil prices, made by a horrible war with Russian on Ukraine. Peter Lougheed at least had smarts and vision as to how the oil industry in Alberta should be managed, and what to expect from it, because he used to be employed in the oil industry, in the past. I don’t think Peter Lougheed would like the UCP at all, because of how they are doing things. I’ll share some more music. Today, Gary Brooker, from Procol Harum, would have been 77. He passed away on February 19, 2022, from cancer. This is A Whiter Shade Of Pale, from 1967. It was written by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Matthew Fisher. It has been covered by different artists, from Annie Lennox, to Sarah Brightman, to Willie Nelson with Waylon Jennings.

    • Thanks Dwayne. You’ve done a nice job summarizing the differences between Alberta’s oilsands oil and oil from other jurisdictions. I’ll add one more point to your list. An investment in the oilsands is a long term investment so energy companies have to weigh the risk of tying up their investments in the oilsands against the risk that demand will drop as the transition to green energy and renewables accelerates. There’s a reason why they’re cautious. They may not be vocal about it but they too see the writing on the wall.
      PS, I do enjoy Procol Harlem. Although it’s a bit unnerving to learn that the musicians I loved as a kid are dying of old age. Yikes!

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my next song pick from Procol Harum. It is Homburg, from 1967. It was written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. Unlike, A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which was an international hit, this song, which was also the group’s next hit song features B.J Wilson on drums, and Robin Trower on guitar. It’s different, because Gary Brooker’s piano is at the forefront, instead of Matthew Fisher’s organ. When I saw Procol Harum 4 times live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, this song, as well as A Whiter Shade Of Pale were performed.

  5. Beverly Mah says:

    Thank you Susan for the context and clarity! I really enjoy and learn from your columns.

  6. Mike J Danysh says:

    How utterly typical of the UCP is Sonya Savage’s huffy reply to David Cohen! The US ambassador points out that America’s trying to reduce carbon pollution, so hopefully they won’t need more oil and gas shortly. Savage promptly missed the implication that the US is trying to move forward, not backward, and castigated Cohen for daring to throw reality in the UCP’s collective face.

    I read somewhere that Kenney even managed to annoy his new BFF, Joe Manchin, by giving the Republicans some free ammo to use against Manchin’s nominal party leader, Joe Biden. (I say “nominal” because Manchin is a Republican in all but name.)

    Did Kenney fail to mention the Trans Mountain Expansion project? It wouldn’t surprise me. After all, Kenney and his federal boss, Stephen Harper, utterly failed to push that one through. It took an NDP premier in Oilberduh and a Liberal PM in Ottawa to make it happen. Y’all don’t need me to name names, do you?

    I’d really like to get an unbiased opinion on how much Alberta oil companies can increase production in the short term. Recognizing objective reality is not a UCP strength. Neither does it suit the purposes of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Propagandists. Has anyone seen a credible, industry-based estimate of maximum production levels available now? One lesson from early in the Covid crisis was that oil wells, once shut in, don’t produce as much oil per day when production resumes. Something about changes in the formation’s chemistry narrowing pores in the oil-bearing rock.

    And I strongly suspect Kenney’s assertion of an extra 300,000 barrels per day of pipeline capacity is just fugitive emissions from his fevered imagination.

    Last I heard, pipeline operators had figured out how to reduce the amount of diluent (light liquid hydrocarbons that make bitumen runny enough to pump)—increasing capacity for the stuff refinery operators can process into gasoline and diesel fuel. But—unless the Covid crisis basically shut down both demand AND damaged supply—there wasn’t anything like 300,000 bbl/day unused space. Demand has bounced back to pre-Covid levels—so where’s the new supply coming from?

    Kenney doesn’t say. Is it because of his sublime faith in the powers of the almighty Market? Or does he know oil companies have become really, really reluctant to “drill, baby, drill”—but doesn’t want to say it?

    Either way, Kenney has set up the UCP to be the punching bag for yet another disappointment to Albertans. At least we might get to watch Sonya Savage eat her words to David Cohen (probably with a generous helping of crow).

    • Good points Mike. Kenney did mention TMX without once giving Trudeau credit for it. In fact, he took shots at the federal government at every opportunity. When the Republican senator from Montana said the timber/lumber industry was in a downward spiral in his state, Kenney said we were seeing an uptick in the industry in Alberta, but Jasper, which is a federally owned park, was infested with pine beetles.
      I certainly agree with you that it would be nice to get an unbiased opinion on how much extra crude and natural gas Alberta could export to the US, at what cost and by when.
      The other thing I’d be interested in is an objective assessment of whether getting Alberta crude declared “domestic supply” under Title 3 would be a good idea as Kenney suggests. Kenney flips out at the thought that the feds may have overlapping jurisdiction with the province over the development of Alberta’s oil and natural gas, but seems pretty sanguine about the US treating Alberta’s energy as if it were US domestic production.
      What I find most telling is I haven’t seen one energy company CEO say how happy they were with Kenney’s remarks to the US Senate Committee on Energy.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Susan, I recall hearing a rumour during Ralph Klein’s epic mismanagement of our oil industry that a secret agreement had been reached between King Ralph and George Dubya Bush’s administration to declare Alberta’s bitumen America’s strategic reserve of oil. Now, as conspiracy theories go, this one was less unbelievable than most. Still, if it had been true, we’d have seen the proof by now. Ralph & Co. would have been outed by someone, and the Supreme Court of Canada would have given an opinion on the constitutionality of any such secret agreement. (“Uh…NO. Anything else?”)

        How typical that Kenney would suck up to his heroes in the US, while dissing anything from Ottawa.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my third song pick from Procol Harum. It is a Gary Brooker and Keith Reid composition, A Salty Dog. This was from their Reunion Concert on May 29, and 30, 1992. I was at this concert. The lineup features Gary Brooker on vocals and piano, Geoff Whitehorn on guitar, Dave Bronze on bass guitar, Don Snow on Hammond organ, and Mark Brzezicki on drums. David Hoyt was conducting the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

  8. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This is my final song pick from Procol Harum. It Conquistador, which was written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. It was also from their Reunion Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, on May 29 and 30, 1992. The orchestra was really into this, and the audience (myself included), loved it. It’s nice to share some great live music.

  9. JCurrie says:

    Susan, I really appreciate this background on Kenney’s visit. To summarize from your description of what really happened in the US – .he came across both foolish and ignorant to even his so-called “allies” Does he care? I don’t really think so…it was just a publicity move.
    .
    I have been thinking about another writer’s comment here..that you would think the cons would have figured out how to put a man (???) of character in charge of the province. But this just the point…there is no real man of character who could stomach this job and it is not the goal of the cons in AB to put a man of character in the job. The goal of a con premier is to protect, nurture and grow the sector and policies that benefit those in government and in the oil and gas and related sectors and to make sure the province privatizes what it can in order to increase the transfer of these benefits to the cons who run the province and who represent us provincially and federally and even at the municipal level.

    Why do they continually get away with it? Because they can…and because they have for so long. They have been so contemptuous of us, of teachers, healthcare providers, the opposition, the media, workers, the poor, disabled, old people, the unemployed, those being destroyed by drugs and they now believe they can really get away with anything. And perhaps Boris Johnson,Trump, Abbot sand many other in the US have shown that they can. What really blows my mind is how they are associated with “good financial management”

    • JCurrie: thanks for this. I’ve had another thought about why there’s a revolving door on the conservative leader’s office. It ties in with the point you raise in your last paragraph. When the public gets tired of being treated with contempt by the conservative government, instead of changing their policies to be more compassionate, the conservatives simply change out their leader. The new guy promises to do better, he doesn’t, the public gets angry and he’s turfed and replaced with a “better, newer” leader and the process starts all over again. I haven’t done the calculation but I wonder whether the interval between the old guy and the new guy is getting shorter. If so conservative voters are finally starting to figure out that it doesn’t matter who becomes the conservative party leader, the party’s ideology (yeah free market, boo common good) will never change.

  10. Janna says:

    Considering the astronomical profits oil companies have posted this year, I suspect the high prices of gas and oil have nothing to do with scarcity and everything to do with profiteering. The best way to stop that is to stop dependence on fossil fuels. Nationalize energy production and stop all fossil fuel production within the next 5 years in Canada. Big Solar, Big Hydro, Big Wind, and Big Nuclear are the answers.

    Oh, and Kenney is an idiot. He was a useful idiot for Harper but he’s no longer useful for even him. His merry band of UCP MLAs are all idiots as well.

    • Caron says:

      Janna: not sure “big” is really necessary. When you burn stuff to move things around, 60% of the source energy is wasted as heat. When you use electricity to move things around only 20% is wasted as heat. So, we don’t really need as much renewable energy to do the same work as we now throw away by burning fossil fuel. The whole Con game-plan is to delay this inevitable transition. The oil-Cons were successful in stopping electrification of transportation almost entirely thanks to World War One (1914). See: Black, E.: “Internal Combustion” St. Martin’s Press, 2006. NY.

      • Caron says:

        A small PS: part of the Con game is delay and diversion, zero net-carbon looks to be an example. The following article breaks this down:
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/30/greenhouse-gas-removal-not-a-silver-bullet-to-achieve-net-zero

        AND CCS is a costly science project. The Australians take this nonsense apart, including in Canada (language warning):

      • Janna and Caron, I too have some degree of skepticism about carbon capture and storage. It would be great if it works but people who study this stuff say it’s all part of what Caron described as the Con game-plan. I had a conversation with a director of a mid sized energy company a few years ago. She was very frank. She said the goal was to get as much crude out of the ground as fast as they could. Climate change didn’t come into the equation.
        I really don’t understand how these people live with themselves.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      A reply to Janna, re high oil prices and industry record profits
      Janna, I’m sorry to say the oil-price spike has next to nothing to do with Canada, and even Kenney isn’t really to blame. That would be giving him way too much credit.

      Let’s test the limits of the comments section by trying to post four relevant articles:
      https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61188579
      https://www.bbc.com/news/business-61446317
      https://www.resilience.org/stories/2022-05-15/just-a-hint-from-the-mainstream-that-limits-precipitate-rising-oil-prices/
      https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/oil-prices-canada-s-economy-1.6459514

      The third link, from the Resilience.org web site, goes into much more detail on the structural and financial reasons for high oil prices—and, worryingly, why they might be here to stay. Even OPEC is likely to have trouble raising daily production due to the Covid-induced shutdowns in 2020.

      As for why the guv’mint of Oilberduh (emphasis on DUH) hasn’t taxed windfall profits, well, Kenney knows where his campaign funds come from.

      Replacing fossil fuels is, sadly, a LOT more complex than we’d like to believe. But that’s for another time.

    • Janna and Caron thanks for this. I agree that there is much we need to understand about how to transition away from burning fossil fuel and the comment that the Con game-plan (with a wink to the energy companies) is to delay as long as possible.
      I was pleased to see Wilkinson, the federal Natural Resources minister start his presentation to the Senate Committee by referring to the “double threat” to the national security interests of Canada and the US: namely energy security AND climate change.
      He stressed the importance of a clean energy transition to wean the world off petro-dictators, He also said the IEA’s net zero scenario envisions a need post-2050 for about 1/4 of current oil production and 1/2 of current gas production for use in non-combustion applications.
      While Kenney pitched sending even more oil and natural gas to the US to help boost their energy security, Wilkinson focused on the following opportunities for Canada/US collaboration: critical minerals, hydrogen, clean electricity, renewables energy, nuclear technology, low-carbon building materials & green building retrofits, carbon removal technologies, and R&D and the scaling up of a wide range of clean technologies.
      It was a heartening presentation, especially when you consider the bias of the Republican senators in the room.

  11. Sharon says:

    Thank you Susan, once again. The word from the press was that Kenney made quite an impression, and while that may be true, it wasn’t the one we wanted. This Con man only knows how to sell one thing and when he doesn’t get his way he needs someone to take the heat for him. He may be able to memorize his talking points but he can’t answer questions or defend himself because he can’t think off the cuff. He isn’t known as “bumbles” for nothing. The whole Con party is just that…

    • Sharon, I agree. I’m amazed the media continues to say Kenney is one of the most articulate spokesmen for conservatism. As you point out, all they have to do is ask a follow-up question and another follow-up question and he’s stumped.
      Nevertheless the press gushed about him when he arrived on the scene and said he was big on “reform conservatism” which he said was different from regular conservatism because it reinforced social mobility and said the market wasn’t always right. I wish the press had pushed him on this. How did he intend to push social mobility? I would have assumed that meant helping people move up in society by providing better education and healthcare and yet he did the exact opposite when he came to power. He cut the business tax, which reduced the tax dollars available for education and healthcare, how does that help social mobility?
      Here’s the link to his comments: https://www.sherwoodparknews.com/news/local-news/kenney-thinks-future-of-conservatism-isnt-just-about-laissez-faire-capitalism

  12. Mike J Danysh says:

    News flash to left-leaning bloggers and bloviators (that’d be me): David Climenhaga has reported on a speech by Rachel Notley to a meeting of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.

    https://albertapolitics.ca/2022/05/in-speech-rachel-notley-vows-to-put-health-care-on-ballot-in-2023-reinstate-harm-reduction-programs-end-ucp-privatization-plans/

    Apparently it wasn’t reported in MSM, which I find depressing but not surprising. See what you think, and pass it around!

  13. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Jason Kenney, a legend in his own mind.

  14. Linda says:

    Hi Susan, another great blog:) What disturbs me most about this is that despite the UCP making diversification as one of their major platform promises the reality is that they have continued to promote oil & gas as the answer to all of Alberta’s problems. It has become increasing clear that a lot of the world is looking for ways to end their reliance on fossil fuels. While I believe oil & gas will still be in use for the remainder of my lifetime there are indications that viable alternative sources of energy may well be in play during my lifetime as well. Should such occur the resulting drop in revenue could well see Alberta becoming a have not province. Unless of course we use the vast talent pool to create the product(s) the world is looking for before anyone else does. The early bird gets the worm & all that.

    People can debate the reality of climate change all they want, but the rise in climate related disasters with an increasing profit losses price tag means business has plenty of incentive to find viable alternative energy & to fund the development of same sooner rather than later. Save the planet? Check. Capture the market? Check. Profits to the moon & back? Check! Talk about securing one’s place in history…..

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Linda, I have a reply for you, but it has lots and lots of hyperlinks. If WordPress chokes on it, I apologize in advance to you and Susan, our host.

      • Linda says:

        Hi Mike, thanks for the links! I was reading about the progress on thermonuclear fusion in France; while progress is slow & the project extremely costly they have actually managed to produce a tiny reaction during tests. Article was on CNN; search using term ‘tokamak’. Essentially they are trying to mimic the process of the sun. The link you provided to the resilience website had an article that talked about how global warming is a flow through process. The author noted that even if we managed to cease all greenhouse gas emitting today, global temperatures would still continue to increase over several decades due to existing GHG working through the cycle. Not exactly the news one wants to hear, but if we can figure out how to speed up the removal of excess GHG we might be able to mitigate matters somewhat.

        I note that while human activities have greatly exacerbated the situation there is some consensus that Planet Earth was entering a period of global warming, which would have occurred regardless of whatever else was going on. The last cycle was apparently some 11,000 years ago; as per archeologists some folks back then dealt with the effects by living underground & using mud/clay as a sunblock. Hopefully we will be able to figure out how to fix this mess before then!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      (continued from previous:) I’m not saying it’ll be easy. There’s too much money still stuck in “sunset” (polite word for slowly dying) industries. Carbon capture may be useful in some cases, but it won’t solve the big problems https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/30/greenhouse-gas-removal-not-a-silver-bullet-to-achieve-net-zero . Along with reducing fossil-fuel burning, we have to reduce other kinds of consumption, too. There’s a whole other dump-truck load of worms waiting, as people argue over/ dismiss out of hand the related concepts of degrowth and the “circular economy.” For more than you ever wanted to know, check out https://www.resilience.org/ by the Post Carbon Institute.

      Oh, by the way, here’s one for the inevitable nay-sayers: recycling EV batteries isn’t mainstream—but it’s coming fast https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/ask-electric-vehicle-battery-faq-1.6468646 . Just one example of how any technical problem can be solved with time, effort and money. If the need is there, the money will show up.

    • Thanks Linda and Mike…lots of good things to read at these links!

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Friends, it seems WordPress published my “2 of 2” reply but not the longer first section. I’ll try again later today (labeled N of 3, with “continued from previous” being the third of three). Fingers crossed….

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        REPRISE, part 1 of 3: Linda, I have good news. Unless you’re well into your 80s, you will see renewable energy play a visible role in Alberta. In fact, you’ve already benefited from the presence of wind power. The lowest-ever price for wholesale electricity was set during a power-generating auction, by a contract from a wind farm; 3.2 cents per kWh, I think. News reports said there was an “audible gasp” from the room. The wind farms’ low generation cost contributed to the average price of around 6 cents per kWh during the later Old Tory/ NDP times. (The recent spike is due to the expiry of Klein-era “power purchase agreements,” and the idiot-logical refusal of the UCP to interfere with free-market gouging.)

        Yes, O&G will continue for some time. But it’s likely less than anyone expects now. Rapid growth of EV sales is coming, in the EU and G7 countries at the very least. China is moving forward with renewable-energy projects and EV sales. Yes, China backslides whenever there’s a crisis that requires more electricity generation—but the trend is still forward. Australia’s new Labour government is making the right noises, a welcome and overdue change from the previous Coalition government. Even Canada, the laggard of the G7, is taking a few tentative steps toward reducing fossil-fuel combustion.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        REPRISE, part 2 of 3 (hyperlinks removed): The recent panic-induced surge of oil and gas prices, thanks to Putin’s war, isn’t going to help Canada or Alberta, for several reasons . Others are in my reply to Janna, above. One reason NOT mentioned above is that Alberta’s oil and gas industry are hell-bent on reducing costs by reducing employment—of skilled labour, not executives. A just and fair transition would see laid-off oilpatch workers retrained for a decarbonized economy.

        The thing is, there are multiple technologies available now that can each take a chunk away from fossil-fuel electricit. Wind and solar (photovoltaic) generation are proven technologies, and costs are still coming down! Tidal and flowing-water tech looks more promising every year. A really cool example is Minesto’s “flying” generator. Energy storage tech is moving forward, with utility-scale (I mean “large, very large”) lithium batteries now operating in several countries, e.g. Australia and the UK; maybe the US, too. Other energy-storage methods, e.g. compressed-gas or gravity-driven, are in development. Even Texas, the libertarian capital of contrarian stubbornness, is going green (or at least, a little less oily-black).
        (SEE CONLCUSION, “continued from previous”, earlier in this thread—MJD)

  15. Dave says:

    In some ways Kenney’s legacy is even hollower than some of the less distinguished Alberta PC leaders. First of all, everyone one of them actually got a higher level of support in their leadership reviews than Kenney.

    Kenney never gave up thinking he was a big fish in the small pond and his last trip to Washington was a final sign of that. Perhaps his energy should have been focused on Alberta politics at this time, but maybe he privately already concluded how the leadership vote would end, so a trip out of town was just a nice break from reality. In any event, he was consistent to the end – Kenney was far too focused on show boating or picking fights with US governors, Presidents, and Canadian Federal leaders and not focused enough on Alberta. His war room and investment in Keystone XL also accomplished nothing and his ineffectiveness was criticized by those on the left and the right.

    He may be missed by some US Republicans as he sort of seemed to be on their side in their war against the US administration. However, he wasn’t really an effective ally to them either and if they realized how tenuous his grip on power was when he came to Washington, they probably would have just ignored him.

    It is interesting that the US ambassador of all people gave Kenney a bit of a kick on the way out as you expect diplomats to be more diplomatic. However, perhaps many in the US got tired of Kenney showing up in Washington, a know it all pretending to speak for a country when he actually hadn’t be part of the Federal government for years. It is amazing how many people he managed to irk and irritate over a fairly short period of time. – perhaps that will be his true legacy.

    • Dave, thanks for the comment. I’d read somewhere that Kenney expected to get an approval rating in the low 60% range (which would explain why he set the bar at 50% plus one, He could argue that he was a good 10 or more points above his threshold (and ignore the fact that the other leaders were sitting at 77%).
      Your point about the US ambassador is a good one. The NP article starts by saying Cohen is going to usher in a new age of civility after the mess Trump left behind. Then Cohen slams Kenney and Kenney slams him back. You could be right, the US could be tiring of the petty premier who acted as if he were PM.
      He’s only 54. He lives and breaths politics. One wonders what he’ll do with the rest of his life.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Well, Kenney could always hire himself out as Stephen Harper’s #1 Underling again. We already know Kenney works well under close supervision….

  16. Jaundiced Eye says:

    This is a little off topic for this week. The UCP have the gall to pass legislation so that they can refer to themselves, “Honorable”, until the day they die!!!!!!!!! Third rate, all the way.

    • GoinFawr says:

      ugh, the hubris.

    • Yes, the government shut down 2 weeks early so Kenney would be spared the humiliation of showing up in the Leg as the deposed leader, and other UCP members could pursue their own leadership ambitions, but still they had time to pass legislation allowing them to refer to themselves as “honorable” in perpetuity.
      These guys are such a joke.

  17. GoinFawr says:

    Thanks for the excellent coverage of Kenney’s testimony before the US Senate Energy Committee Susan. Predictable really; unfortunately it’s never a surprise to see that man get a little more egg on his face while showing it on behalf of Albertans’.

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