The problem with Kenney’s naked ambition
Warren Kinsella, QMI Agency
How much of what Jason Kenney has to say these days about Sikh kirpans in the Quebec National Assembly, about veiled voting is about governing?
And how much of it is about Jason Kenney, and his Conservative leadership ambitions?
Because, make no mistake, the Calgary MP is running to replace Stephen Harper.
It’s an open secret in federal Conservative circles. And, if the current Conservative leader were to abruptly resign, it’s widely acknowledged Kenney would be the frontrunner to replace him.
The youthful Calgary MP he was born in 1968 in Oakville, as he frequently reminds Ontario Conservatives is seen as one of the Harper regime’s most effective communicators. Kenney is bilingual, he’s media-savvy, and along with his ever accessible press flak, Alykhan Velshi he is seemingly everywhere, all the time.
Kenney is so ubiquitous at ethnic celebrations, in fact, his colleagues call him or so he likes to remind us “Minister of Curry in a Hurry.”
A committed bachelor, Kenney arguably has the spare time to politic in a way most of his cabinet colleagues cannot, or will not.
Now, politicians are certainly entitled to be ambitious. Politicians always are.
But when a politician regularly elbows his or her way onto another politician’s turf, as Kenney so often does, he or she risks getting elbowed back. Prime ministers don’t like it much, either.
Notwithstanding that, there’s Kenney last week, weighing in on whether kirpans should be allowed in the Quebec legislature (which is an issue for Quebec legislators which Kenney decidedly isn’t).
Or, this week, there’s Kenney saying people who are veiled shouldn’t be permitted to vote (which, last time we checked, is within the mandate of Elections Canada, which reports to all of Parliament and not just Jason).
There he is chiming on the unfair prosecution of Toronto Chinatown grocer David Chen (which is a file for the Minister of Justice which Kenney, again, isn’t).
Or, there he is meeting with Tibet’s Dalai Lama, and irritating the Chinese government (which theoretically should be a concern for the minister of foreign affairs, or even the prime minister).
Throwing his weight
There he is, a couple years back, throwing his support behind candidates in the Ontario PC leadership race (when he doesn’t live in Ontario, and couldn’t even vote for any of the candidates).
And two years later, right now here’s Kenney and his staff in Ontario Conservative backrooms, mucking around in the upcoming provincial election campaign (when other big name Tories have been ordered by PMO to stay out of provincial contests, in places such as B.C.)
So, do the rules that apply to other Conservatives not also apply to Jason Kenney? Apparently not. He breathes air others don’t.
For instance when asked about his refugee reforms Kenney modestly describes the work he did as a “minor miracle,” quote unquote.
As he travels hither and yon, manically boosting his profile and assiduously courting religious and ethnic communities,
Tory backbenchers, as well as lavishing attention on the CPC’s social conservatives the Minister of Curry in a Hurry should reflect upon a simple question: At what point does ambition get so far ahead of you, that you lose sight of the job at hand?
Kinsella is a lawyer and will appear regularly on Sun News Network. He blogs at warrenkinsella.com