Jason Kenney’s “Breaking Bad” Press Release

Last week, the feds granted BC a 3-year exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act decriminalizing the possession of up to 2.5 grams of certain illegal drugs for personal use. Judging by Jason Kenney’s response, you’d think Breaking Bad had set up shop next door.

Leaving aside Kenney’s hypocritical claim that his government supports dealing with addiction as a healthcare issue, he made a number of unfounded allegations and fear mongering statements that came dangerously close to what historian Timothy Snyder describes as the language of tyrants.  

Conspiracy?

He alleged the federal and BC governments were moving forward with an agenda to “normalize drug use by decriminalizing deadly and dangerous drugs” and that the exemption was “clearly a result of the Liberal-NDP coalition and was likely demanded by the NDP as a condition of the agreement.”

Unless Kenney bugged 7 Rideau Gate on March 14, he has no idea what Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh discussed. Furthermore while their agreement addressed healthcare issues (national pharmacare, dental care for low-income Canadians, fixing the healthcare system, ensuring seniors are safe in long term care facilities) it did not mention normalizing illicit drug use.

Jason Kenney

The exemption is not the result of a Liberal-NDP plot.  

Misinformation

Kenney said Liberal-NDP policy resulted in “de-policing” cities like Vancouver which has led to rampant disorder, crime, drug use and death.

Really?

Vancouver increased its police budget from $317 million in 2019 to $367 million in 2022. The VPD’s budget represents 21% of Vancouver’s overall budget. This is significantly higher than Calgary’s police budget (16% of the overall budget) and Edmonton’s police budget (15% of the overall budget). Also, it’s city councils, not the provincial or federal governments, who set policing budgets.

There is no Liberal-NDP policy aimed at de-policing.

Trumped up “evidence”

Kenney claimed “decriminalizing drugs will have no significant effect on the overdose crisis” because since 2017 fewer than 5 people who were convicted of simple possession and sent to a provincial correctional centre died of an opioid overdose within two years of their incarceration.*

The latest government numbers show that from 2017 to the end of 2021 there were 5250 accidental opioid poisoning deaths. Given that the Chief Medical Examiner is reviewing some of the drug poisonings recorded in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 and has warned the final numbers may change one wonders how Kenney could be certain that only 5 of the 5250 who died had served two years or less in a provincial correctional centre within two years of the day they overdosed.  

Furthermore, Kenney offered no explanation as to why this was relevant.

Kenney’s statement does not appear to be relevant or founded on good data.     

Victimhood

Kenney complained the feds didn’t consult with Alberta on the “decriminalization of drugs.”

Why should they? This was BC’s effort to address its opioid crisis.     

Furthermore, Alberta could have objected in Nov 2021 when BC requested the exemption. It didn’t; perhaps because Kenney was too busy trying to save his job after the Worst Fall Ever.  

This has nothing to do with Kenney or his government.

Savior

Kenney declared his government “will never allow our communities to become sanctuaries for cartels and drug traffickers.” He promised to monitor the situation and to “exhaust all options” if the exemption caused damage to Albertans.

Just what is Kenney going to do? Create an Alberta border control team to keep cartels and traffickers from sneaking into Alberta?

There is no reason why the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs in BC will create safe havens for drug traffickers and cartels in Alberta.

It’s someone else’s fault  

After trashing the exemption with every cockamamie argument he could muster Kenney condemned the feds for failing to beef up the Canadian Border Services Agency to stop the flow of drugs manufactured in “black market labs and trafficked into Canada by criminals and cartels.”  

From 2017 to the end of 2021 the quantity of illicit opioids seized by Canadian Border Services more than doubled, from 525,858 grams to 1,246,826 grams.

The fed’s have improved their ability to block the flow of drugs from the US into Canada.

Bottom line

Kenney’s statement was inflammatory. It hinted at a political conspiracy and hidden agendas that would harm Albertans. The language (cartels, black market labs, drug traffickers, de-policing) was the language of fear. It was coupled with the tyrant’s assurance that he would protect the people from an amorphous danger being inflected upon them by others.

It was a bizarre dog whistle from yesterday’s man.

Albertans deserve better.       

*I think that’s what he said, this part of the press release was so garbled it made no sense whatsoever.  

This entry was posted in Alberta Health Care, Crime and Justice, General Health Care, Law, Politics and Government and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Jason Kenney’s “Breaking Bad” Press Release

  1. Carol Part says:

    You are right on. Why is the wounded duck even allowed to comment as nobody including his own party think he has an ounce of credibility.

    • Carol, I suppose Kenney is going to use his podium as Alberta premier as much as he can before the sun finally sets on his inglorious career as the first failed UCP premier. It’s an ignoble end to his long political career.

  2. Sharon says:

    Thank you for the fact checking. Every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie. There is much research out of Europe, especially Portugal, that shows how effective this move is. I sent it to Bumbles, but I guess he can’t read.

    • Sharon, thanks for bringing up Portugal. A while ago Kenney was using European examples to justify his strategy to deal with addition. But like many of Kenney’s strategies this one cherry picked some elements used in Europe and ignored others. For example it did not decriminalization of the use, possession and acquisition of drugs. He talks a good line but fails to deliver, over and over again.

  3. Frank Horvath says:

    Thanks for your analysis, Susan. Exceptionally good as usual! I wonder what Kenney hopes to accomplish with his “scorched earth” behaviour as he retreats from the front line.

  4. SANDY WENMAN says:

    EXCELLENT Article Susan.
    Thank You

  5. lungta mtn says:

    With the highly subsidised oil cartels at the table there is no room for other cartels.
    Kennys’ spirit was born on the side of the Catholic Spanish Inquisition rather than under Guan Yin Goddess of Compassion, Mercy and Kindness and it has always been obvious really.

  6. jerrymacgp says:

    Kenney & his government promote a false dichotomy between harm reduction and “recovery”. But in reality they are different interdependent phases of a person’s treatment journey. Addiction is a very complex phenomenon at the intersection of mental and physical illness, and persons living with an addiction cannot succeed in treatment until they are ready to make the necessary changes. In the meantime, harm reduction seeks to reduce the risk of death among users of substances like opioids, while also linking them up with services that can help them along that journey towards readiness.

    Remember, dead people can’t enter treatment.

    • Dwayne says:

      Susan: Thanks for another great blog. Yesterday, I tried to post a response, but I wasn’t able to, because the site (WordPress) was having technical issues of some sort. What is rather ironic, to say the least, is that the UCP, including the current justice minister, Tyler Shandro, (another position he doesn’t belong in), are claiming that municipal leaders, like Edmonton’s mayor, support cuts to funding for the police, yet it was the UCP who were the ones who cut funding to the police in Alberta.

      • Ingamarie says:

        It’s a time honoured conservative ploy….do what you do, then quickly blame others for having done it. If the public isn’t informed, it works far too often.

      • Ingamarie, your point about the public not being informed is a good one. Not only is the public not informed, it doesn’t take the time to inform itself. I was talking to someone with many years of experience in the education system, she said the PCs have been dumbing down the education system for decades. And this is the result.

      • Thanks Dwayne, I wondered what possessed Shandro to go after the mayor of Edmonton and the only thing I can come up with is the UCP is trying to deflect attention away from its shortcomings by lashing out at others. I don’t know if you follow Kenney’s twitter feed but he’s reposting articles by others attacking Trudeau, (eg Scheer’s tweet suggesting Trudeau is censoring the press and Diane Francis’s FP article saying Trudeau allowed foreigners to fund anti-Alberta energy campaigns.
        Looks like Kenney is not going to go gentle into that good night, he’s going to whine all the way out the door. (apologies to Dylan Thomas).

    • jerrymacgp excellent points. Your last sentence reminded me of some of the things people have said in the comments section of the papers. Heartless, idiotic things like let ’em die, it’s Darwinism in action. This is the kind of person he’s pandering to.

  7. maidmarian1963 says:

    “Kenney’s statement does not appear to be relevant or founded on good data.” This statement sums up Kenny’s entire career!

    • maidmarian1963, indeed!
      Given that politics has been Kenney’s life one wonders where he’ll go next…actually as I wrote that I realized it doesn’t matter where he goes next as long as he goes away and leaves the rest of us alone.

  8. Waltet Carroll says:

    Kenney is a desperate pathetic individual just like Trump in so many ways, clinging to the remnants of the power they both once had. Sadly too many subscribe to their destructive rhetoric and are unable to see the damage they are doing to our society, democracy and way of life.

    • Waltet Carroll: exactly! One of my biggest fears is that the UCP, whether under Kenney or the new guy/gal, will continue to erode our trust in our democratic institutions.
      Kenney started that process on day one when he showed up in the Legislature with earplugs, making it crystal clear that the democratic process of making laws was a joke. The majority UCP government could do what it wanted to whomever it wanted and there was nothing the Opposition could do about it.
      The UCP supporters loved it, Kenney was sticking it to the NDP, ha ha.
      And while they laughed democracy became a little weaker.

  9. Kenney’s failure to understand the problem is causing unnecessary deaths. Ditto his covid flip flop policy. It will be great day when we see the back of him. In the meantime, let’s remember that he leaves behind a party made in his own image. We must prepare to defeat the UCP at the very next election.

  10. Kenney’s failure to understand the problem is causing unnecessary deaths. As did his failure to follow the science with regard to covid. It will be a great day when we see the last of Kenney. But let’s keep in mind that he leaves behind a party made in his own image. We need to do everything we can to defeat the UCP at the the ballot box.

  11. rubennelson says:

    Susan, I am so thankful you are who you are and that you are committed to an Alberta that understands and supports the formation of deeply ethical persons and communities.

  12. Linda says:

    So what is this really about? Are Kenney & crew about to try to impose their goal of a Made In Alberta police force – who will, naturally, ensure that the tide of drug cartels et al will be stopped at the border – upon Albertans? After all, Kenney is still acting as premier. The UCP once again demonstrates lack of planning or forethought in action, though they were quick to pass legislation to give themselves the title of ‘Honorable’ in perpetuity. Nothing like taking care of things that truly matter to all Albertans! Out of curiosity, do we have any indication of just when the transition from premier to MLA will take place?

  13. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I’ll test things again. Here is a short lived supergroup, Blind Faith, doing a cover of a Buddy Holly song, Well All Right. It features Eric Clapton on guitar, Rick Grech on bass, and Steve Winwood on keyboards and vocals. This was from a live concert in Hyde Park, London, England, on June 7, 1969. Hope you enjoy this. I have this in my music collection.

  14. Dwayne says:

    Susan: WordPress seems to have issues.

  15. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I’ll share another very spectacular piece of live music from a concert I was at, 30 years ago. This is Procol Harum, live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, along with the Greenwood Singers, doing Into The Flood. Gary Brooker, the lead singer, and co songwriter, and pianist, passed away on February 19, 2022, from cancer. Some deep lyrics here, that can also apply to the UCP. The goose and the golden egg part.

  16. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Jason Kenney is a squalid nuisance. It will be so nice to see his pimply dimply backside leave the province for good.

  17. Dave says:

    Lets call it deflected anger. I suppose Kenney needs someone to lash out about while wallowing in his victim-hood and even he probably realizes that it is not a good idea to go on and on more about his own party of supposed lunatics. So, back to his favourite whipping boy, the Federal Government, instead.

    Somehow Kenney then seems to be trying turn it into some sort of Liberal – NDP conspiracy. I suppose in so far the Federal Government is Liberal and the BC Provincial one is NDP, it contains a grain of truth, but the rest of it is a stretch. First, not everything is about him and secondly surprisingly a number of provincial governments can actually work with the Feds. The BC current provincial government seems to have mostly had a fairly amicable relationship with the Federal government over the years, way before the current Federal agreement between their two respective parties. Heck, even Doug Ford who started off with a more belligerent approach similar to Kenney’s, seems to have figured out it is better and more productive to have a less antagonistic relationship between the Federal and Provincial governments. Yes, the resistance has crumbled.

    So perhaps we should get used to the new Jason Kenney, a bitter guy who grumbles about everything and tries to blame everyone else for all the troubles of the word. However, come to think of it that’s really not that much different from the old Jason Kenney.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Kenney’s latest rant will be popular with the rural UCP supporters–and anyone else who reacted with rage and fear when Jim Prentice told them to “look in the mirror.”

  18. GoinFawr says:

    Meanwhile, in the real world well outside of Kenney’s UCP and their tiny but utterly pocketed little minds, Canada’s democracy is apparently undergone a sober review by a responsible bureaucrat with exceptional credentials and integrity:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/chief-electoral-officer-report-2022-1.6480167

    If the highlights in the article are any indication: that looks to be one excellent report that Canada’s chief electoral officer Stéphane Perrault and his team have composed. One suggestion is legislation that would,

    “prohibit a person or entity, including foreign persons and entities, from knowingly making false statements about the voting process, including about voting and counting procedures, in order to disrupt the conduct of the election or to undermine the legitimacy of the election or its results.”

    There is plenty of precedent for prosecutors to work with here, no?

    “To me this is about drawing a line in the sand on a matter of principle. It is not OK to deliberately undermine our electoral process by spreading information a person knows to be false and to do that for the purpose of undermining the process.” – S. Perrault

    The officer also made a point of noting that hate organizations should, through the courts and certainly not his office, be disqualified from running candidates.

    Any legislation the federal Liberal/NDP coalition gov’t introduce stemming from this report should be considered seriously.

    Take that, ‘democracy couldn’t appoint a decent bureaucrat to save its life’ naysayers!

    • GoinFawr says:

      I ‘has apparently’ (sic) made an error, pedants take note.

    • carlosthejackal says:

      Wonderful that someone cares about our democratic process rather than just the constant abuse the UCP is so good at
      Well if this post works it will be 3 in a row and I can assume WordPress works better with Microsoft EDGE which I do not use much because I do not care for it but will do better with WordPress.

  19. carlosthejackal says:

    Well trying with a different browser – having issues with wordpress

    This is a reply to ungta mtn

    I loved reading your comment – it is so true and bizarre at the same time.
    I cannot envisage the kind of society Jason Kenney lives in. Lies constantly, is obviously biased in many issues and extremely conspiracy theories oriented. It must be a Flat Earth delight.

  20. carlosthejackal says:

    Let me try a second post using Microsoft Edge

    If you are wondering, yes I changed Carlos to CarlostheJackal to be a bit more with the times – more intimidating, bully and full of it
    I will change it back if people find it ridiculous

  21. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I haven’t been on Twitter, in 4 years. The UCP are the ones responsible for cutting funding to municipalities in Alberta, and for cutting funding to the police. They can’t expect a newly elected city council to easily fix LRT and downtown safety issues that were there for many years, before they got into power.

  22. Victoria Grant says:

    You have an articulate voice!!

  23. Victoria Grant says:

    Susan,

    I worked as a nurse in a detox facility in the Okanagan for several years. We were able to detox most of our clients from drugs and alcohol; however, 70% of our clientele required safe shelter and they were discharged back onto the streets only to return to drug use.

    I propose that if individuals living with addictions had safe housing they would be able to overcome their elicit and harmful drug use.

    I look forward to reading your next entry and hope It deals with the incestuous relationship between private healthcare clinicians and public healthcare clinicians.

    The way I see it, the private pay radiologist should not be reviewing his own MRI as a public employee with foothills hospital and patients should not have to leave the province for impartial healthcare. Those nasty sacred insufficiency fractures I was diagnosed with by EFW do not exist in another province. Feel free to edit my commentary as you deem necessary.

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