, 05.19.2022 07:16 AM

My latest: Jason, we badly knew ye

Wither thou goest, Conservatives, in thine dark blue car at night?

Sorry to get all Jack Kerouac on y’all, but that little line from On The Road kind of fits, doesn’t it? I mean, after Conservatives committed ritual mass political suicide on Wednesday night — in the Conservative heartland, no less — it is fair for the rest of us to wonder: What the hell?

Jason Kenney — he who was Stephen Harper’s right hand, he who delivered the elusive ethnic vote and a majority, he who united the warring factions of the right and defeated the socialists — is gone. It is mindboggling.

As my colleague Brian Lilley put it to a few of us at the Sun: “Jason Kenney not being conservative enough for Alberta? The implications for the federal leadership race are huge.”

And Lilley is indisputably right. Kenney’s conservative credentials were impeccable. Nobody in Western Canada worked harder to advance the interests of Team Blue. And in Ottawa, Kenney was feared and respected — and could always be counted on to be the happy warrior for his side.

As premier, Kenney waged endless war with Liberal Justin Trudeau, or cheered on other Conservative politicians, or travelled tirelessly — just a few days ago to Washington, to advocate for Canadian energy — to push for policies that conservatives favoured.

So what happened? How can Conservatives win, as Lilley noted, if even Kenney isn’t good enough?

As a member of the Alberta diaspora, I was and am dumbfounded by Kenney’s ouster. Kenney possesses a brilliant, agile political mind. He always seemed to be several steps ahead of his opponents.

And now, this, and his career is in ruins. Was it because the UCP malcontents felt he had become, in Preston Manning’s words, “Ottawashed,” and out of touch with his home province?

Was it because he was one of those politicians — like Paul Martin, say, or Al Gore — who needed a stronger, savvier boss in charge? Without Harper around, Kenney never seemed to be entirely what he had been. Or could have been.

Was it because Conservatives in Alberta have utterly lost any discipline? That they lack self-control and common sense?

Or was it because — as Lilley suggests — Kenney, of all people, was seen as insufficiently conservative? Was it because Kenney wasn’t right-wing enough?

If so, conservatives — federally, at least — are doomed. Kenney was a real-deal Tory. If Alberta Conservatives want someone even more to the right, they’ll perhaps get it. But they won’t get the support of most Canadian voters.

Voters, too, will be unimpressed by this latest conservative blood-letting. The federal Conservative leadership candidates were bad enough — smearing each other, calling each other liars, accusing each other of scandal and law-breaking.

But this? Jason Kenney led a majority government, and polls suggested he had a reasonable shot at re-election. To jettison him now doesn’t mean that he wasn’t good enough — it means that a lot of Alberta Conservatives have lost their minds. And their once-sterling commitment to political discipline.

Which leads us back to that first question.

Whither thou goest, Conservatives, in thine dark blue car at night?

From here, it looks like you are heading for the ditch.


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    lungta says:

    “Kenney possesses a brilliant, agile political mind.”
    Possibly if you consider political in the worst definition of the word. (relating to, affecting, or acting according to the interests of status or authority within an organization rather than matters of principle.)
    As a person and a human being or a leader the title cretin is more appropriate. Cretin (n), “A stupid, vulgar, or insensitive person.”
    But worry not
    the conservative party of Canada has thousands of wanna be “political opportunists” of the same caliber to lead the dull down their dark alleys.

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      The Doctor says:

      So everyone who votes Conservative is “dull”, in your opinion?

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    Robert White says:

    Premier Kenny actually took some considerable time to respond to an email I sent him on Alberta Energy once.
    He wrote the response himself, and it was lengthly which puts Kenny far above any politician or Central Banker I have ever received a response from.

    Kenny is the best person to handle Alberta energy files out of any I have ever encountered. Alberta is screwed without Kenny. Yes, they must have all lost their minds, and Premier Kenny is smart enough to know when it’s time to exit center stage especially if the audience suddenly went nuts out of their minds and into an abyss of inanity.

    I absolutely hold Kenny in contempt for his handling of women politcians in his runup to become premier. I will never forgive him for that, but when it comes to energy and Alberta politics he is the guy with the capacity to get what needs to be done via the federal government and Alberta Government.

    The hit to Alberta politically is outsized IMHO.


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      Robert White says:

      Kenney, sorry.


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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I doubt Albertans are going to put Notley back in. They are already too reflexively UCP. So, I expect them to return to office, even if a dog or a monkey becomes leader. Alberta is the worst example of group-think in Canada. My province, Quebec is a close second, tied with PEI.

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    Doug says:

    I consider myself part of the Canadian dispora moreso than an Alberta one. I left Canada for many reasons, Alberta only for the cold weather.

    Kenney is his own worst enemey. His style sunk him, not his policies. He comes across as a smug know-it-all and makes enemies faster than he can depose them. His “enemies list” is largeley correct, but he severely overestimated their resiliance and his abilility to outflank:
    -the Federal Liberals
    -the Laurentian Media
    -the provincial public service unions

    He made considerable progress towards resolving Alberta’s over-funded (relative to all other provinces) health and education systems, and leaves a booming economy.

    I fear what a left leaning government like the NDP will do in an era of gushing O&G roylaties and surging inflation. The best course of action would be to treat the revenue as a windfall and direct 110% to debt reduction. I say 110%, as the hard work of bringing Alberta’s expenditures down from nose bleed levels to something more like BC or SK is far from complete. Instead, an NDP government would be more likely to increase Alberta’s reliance on O&G revenues by increasing public service wages and transfers to individuals under the guise of inflation relief.

    In a complete reversal from mid 2020, Alberta is in an enviable solution. It sells real goods like energy and agricultural products that the world needs and increasingly struggles to produce. It has a young, well skilled and ambitious workforce that is rapidly moving up the foodchain in ventures like software development, carbon capture and TV/film production. Most of all, the province offers a quality of life that is still achievable, unlike the other large Canadian provinces that have backed themselves into a corner with unaffordable housing and crushing tax loads. The NDP can only regress.

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      Andy Kaut says:

      “The NDP can only regress.”

      You obviously haven’t witnessed the Belle Province lately. We might have all hell for a basement, but we’ve definitely got all morons at the Leg.

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    Gilbert says:

    Jason Kenney became arrogant. During the pandemic, he didn’t follow the rules he set for others. Unfortunately, he also pushed vaccine mandates. Though he is definitely a Conservative, he’s not irreplaceable.

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    EsterHazyWasALoser says:

    When Kenny arrived in Alberta, he had to unite two parties. There were bound to be sore losers. Ironically, it seems that his attempt to strike a balance in the imposition of (IMHO, necessary and reasonable) Covid 19 regulations was the issue his enemies used to get rid of him. I hope the party gets its comeuppance next election. They richly deserve a period of reflection.

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    Edward says:

    Political leaders across the country, even those who oppose Kenney’s right wing views have been gracious in praising his hard work. However, a development that seems bad for the conservative movement isn’t necessarily bad for the country, in fact, it’s probably good for the country in general.

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    Bill Malcolm says:

    Let the idiots remaining in the UCP ruin things further themselves with their even more regressive social stance than kenney. kenney has terrible form, and agile thinking in sly and barely legal ways is no compensation for anything worthwhile. A complete dissembler of the truth. The War Room, what a farce and waster of public money, trying and not succeeding in finding organized groups trying to eco-damn Alberta. Or take Dr Champion, the man hired who rewrote history to praise the white man for the history taught in Alberta elementary schools. Right out of rah rah 1878 that utter twit. The handout to TC pipelines to build the Keystone pipeline as far as the US border shows corporate ties, as does handing over public sector pension plans to the incompetent Alberta Investment Co, which promptly lost over $2 billion helping out Horgan’s phantasmagorical BC LNG fracked gas pipelinr by buying in. Kenney is an absolute dinosaur of a yesterday’s man who gives not a damn about anyone but himself.

    Those who defend him here are out of their minds and simply cannot THINK straight. The man is a genuine shipwreck, In Alberta, reality does not exist, it’s send that crap dilbit out to the world and ruin the environment with hundreds of square miles of toxic tailing ponds beside the tarsands. And god knows how many uncapped wells on the lands of the true wealth producers — farmers.

    And as I’m an equal opportunity disser, Notley was no better on the tarsands, putting scandalously lying ads on TV nationwide.

    So kenney is gone, maybe, and the real crazies will now emerge. I see Danielle has popped her nose up already — jeez, we are so blessed! And yes, I consider anyone who votes Con in this day and age a ridiculous person, an unthinking person, and one with zero grip on reality. They grow such dolts in Alberta. And the only reason is the relative richness of the place, where people who happened to settle down on a large natural resource forgot it was chance that did that, not their innate genius, which is how they like to think of themselves today. They confuse happenstance with some sort of weird superiority complex, and pine for social mores that went out before WW2.

    So I’m glad kenney’s gone, sort of, maybe, as he hangs on as interim leader hoping there will be a re-coronation as the public witness the complete drooling set of “businessmen” and those looking to get rich vie like wolves to be leader of the UCP, a corrupt outfit that allows other people to purchase membership in YOUR name without even having to tell you they’ve done so.

    It’s a barely legal corrupt party, the UCP, and apparently some dolts are willing to stand up and defend insanity, looking only at their own pocketbooks and screw the little person.

    The way some people huff and puff and stand there saying “Are you calling me a fool for voting Con?” isn’t amusing. Yes, you are. In so many ways. Including a complete lack of observation, an uncaring attitude to fellow citizens and being global warming deniers.

    And here’s the real problem — not a decent alternative to vote for. All the parties are rubbish in their own way and there’s no Sensible Party existing for sane people to vote for. But in the pantheon of useless politics, Cons and PPC definitely rank at the bottom of even that. They define the “I’m all right, Jack” segment of society, the people who are comfortable, don’t want to pat taxes because what’s mine is mine and you should get a better job if you disagree, white man is king, and then forget that common funds build both infrastructure they use everyday and society’s existence as a whole, If you want to live in a log cabin with a moat and weapons to defend what’s yours and only yours and nobody else’s, vote Con/UCP.

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    Andy Kaut says:

    Albertan here. And card-carrying CPC member.

    Kenney is a disaster, and has been from the start. He’s not an agile political mind so much as a snake oil salesman, which has never went over well in our province.

    1. He wasn’t kicked out; he stepped down.

    2. He was campaigning in Alberta before he left federal politics. He was drawing a wage from Ottawa while schmoozing with the Lethbridge elites.

    3. He’s been forcing through a terribly prepared curriculum, claiming partisanship had taken over the education system. He threw out the other new curriculum that was developed by the former Conservative gov’t.

    4. He was being investigated by the RCMP for his having supported a kamikazee campaign during his leadership race to the head of the party.


    To sum up, whereas scandal, incompetence and taking money from places you just shouldn’t might fly in federal politics (heavens, they barely make the news any more), in Alberta we hate that shit. He wasn’t too far right; he resembled too closely the federal Liberals, if anything.

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      Liber et Gloriosus says:

      “…schmoozing with the Lethbridge elites.”


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        The Doctor says:

        Closely related to the Scarborough Elites and the Surrey BC Elites.

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      Doug says:

      Kenney is intelligent, hard working, a decent communicator and on top of the issues. Unfortunately, he lacks authenticy…basically Alberta’s answer to Hillary Clinton

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    Sean says:

    OMG they killed Kenney! You bast&5ds!

    too easy?

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    Lee Hill says:

    Jason Kenney was and remains the political equivalent of a showbiz creep at best. Once Alberta kicks his heroin addict like dependence on oil revenues as the be all and end of a modern economy…something Peter Lougheed, who now seems like the architect of The New Deal given what happened to the province’s political leadership since, understood. The only mitigating factor about Kenney attempting a Dracula-like return is that there are so many batshit crazy nihilist variants of what passes for conservatism in our time, from the rented church basements of Alberta to Number 10 and the US Supreme Court, that the Nathan Thurm-like sophistry of a Kenney might be preferable to what comes next. You know like getting monkeypox is a lot better than full blown Ebola. Like white rhinos, there are probably only two or three conservatives who actually want to preserve things left on the planet (David Frum is one of them, but he seems positively Maoist in comparison to Gen X nihilists like Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz or here in Airstrip One, Nadine Dorries). We live in a time when the dystopian vision of Kubrick or Orwell seems positively upbeat.

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      Doug says:

      Lougheed drove spending to sky high levels, addicting Alberta to high O&G prices. It was austerity during the late first term and early second term Klein years in which Alberta earned enough revenue outside of O&G royalties to balance the budget.

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        Lee Hill says:

        Mr. Doug, if that is indeed your name, my comment that Lougheed seems like an architect of the New Deal in comparison to what followed was not an endorsement of every single thing he did as premier. Still as someone who wouldn’t vote for a Conservative anywhere at anytime in this lifetime, I must give credit where credit is due. He took Alberta out of Handmaid’s Tale country, set up the Heritage Fund and like the Red Baron, was a credible foe to the Trudeau government over the National Energy Program (although one of the curious things about the NEP is that it seemed to create as many jobs for kids from good homes as destroy many; there’s a secret history to be written about that one day, but I doubt it will be written by anyone with family ties to the oil business). And while I may not be the best history student in the world, I have a reasonably good memory that a certain Don Getty was premier of Alberta from 1985 to 1992 before the limited political imaginations of the province’s lumpenbourgeoise were won over to Ralph Klein, not to be confused with Allen Klein although they both shared an overinflated reputation and a fondness for illogical cost-cutting (the latter may have hasted the breakup of The Beatles, but the former got a very good hospital in Calgary blown up on his watch). I could go on, but I doubt we would agree on many things. I will try to stay in my lane in the future and leave the deep thoughts to the Trollerati. On a more upbeat note, Alberta has given the world Nick Taylor, Grant and Rachel Notley, Naheed Nenshi and a few other types for whom being in Alberta politics doesn’t always have to mean fumbling around for your Petroleum Club card in the
        members bar.

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          Doug says:

          You lost me at “Handmaid’s Tale country”

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    Jason Inness says:

    I think this all started with the way the last UCP leadership was won. Those that didn’t vote for Kenny felt that he stole the leadership with the third party candidate that was put in place to attack Brian Jean, and the members that were signed up and voted, but didn’t even know they were members.
    His pandemic handling was as good or bad as any other Premier, but because he already had people angry over the leadership, they started taking shots at him. No other premier had to deal with as much dissent within their caucus (maybe Pallister – but he was getting really unpopular with the voters) at the same time as the pandemic.
    Add to that the perception of more behind the scenes manipulation in the run up to his leadership review (including changing the rule for an early review, holding the review in person, and then more bulk membership sales), and it formed a picture of a leader that was manipulating his own party members. It isn’t a surprise that the same party members would vote almost a majority to get rid of him.

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    R. Marut says:

    Seventy years of not wanting True-Blues has bought the Canadian public $2.4 Trillion in Public Debt.
    Maybe it’s the voters who suck.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      The fun part will be finding out if you consider Harper True-Blue!

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        R. Marut says:

        Harper. Keynesian economist. Deficit spender. No sale.

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    R. Marut says:

    Our Liberal clearly does not understand that many Conservatives are people of Honour who will not tolerate being double-crossed on vaccine passports while their pastor is repeatedly perp-walked and power-crazed lockdown bureaucrats are allowed to cavalierly destroy family business by the thousands.

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      The Doctor says:

      All of those church shutdowns and other lockdown measures are over now and have been for some time, no?

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        R. Marut says:

        If it was just the Sky Palace, maybe…

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