The Week in Review: We know where the Wildrosers are, but where’s Jason?

Posted on April 14, 2017, 1:27 am
7 mins

ILLUSTRATIONS: Where’s Jason? If anyone spots PC Leader Jason Kenney, who doesn’t have to show up in the Legislature because he’s not an MLA, please let a responsible grownup know. Below: Education Minister David Eggen and Opposition Leader Brian Jean. There’s no doubt about where Mr. Jean will be found, although there’s some question about what he might say when you find him. Milk carton image grabbed from @ryhtcourtman on Twitter.

When Alberta’s Wildrose Opposition MLAs sent out a summary yesterday touting their exploits over the past week, there was nary a word about gay-straight alliances.

This is really odd, because restricting or eliminating the rights of LGBTQ students to safely join GSAs in their schools have been pretty much the only thing their supporters and some of their MLAs have been able to talk about for more than two weeks now!

Ever since March 28, when would be united-right boss Jason Kenney, fresh from his victory in the Progressive Conservative Party’s leadership campaign, opined that teachers should be required to inform parents whose children join a GSA at school, the base that both political parties hope to appeal to hasn’t been able to leave the topic alone.

In other words, ensuring that GSAs don’t work and can’t work has been the No. 1 burning topic for Alberta’s right ever since! They’ve been at it like a dog with a bone. As blogger Dave Cournoyer put it in a post earlier this week, “Alberta’s conservatives are obsessed with gay-straight alliances.”

Some conservative MLAs, including Opposition Leader Brian Jean, can’t seem to leave it alone either, despite the undeniable fact it’s a really terrible issue for them with voters.

Mr. Kenney, who started it, obviously gets this. He’s made himself scarce ever since he put his foot in it – something you can only get away with if you’re not an MLA with an obligation to turn up at the Legislature when it’s in session.

Mr. Jean has been braver – or more foolish – depending on how you see things.

But maybe he has to be. Notwithstanding his past denial, the Wildrose Caucus clearly appears to be badly riven over the GSA issue – not to mention the question of whether Mr. Jean or Mr. Kenney should lead a united right-wing Frankenparty.

Earlier this week, several Wildrose MLAs wore “include parents” buttons given to them by a supporter whose Facebook posts on the topic compared contemporary public schools to residential schools used to force First Nations children to assimilate with Euro-Canadian culture and who also seemed to suggest there’s a United Nations plot to seize Canadian children from their parents.

At any rate, as Mr. Cournoyer pointed out on Tuesday, the Wildrose Leader first took issue with Mr. Kenney on April 3 by saying GSA members should not be outed. The next day he flip-flopped, and said maybe parents should be notified. By April 5, he was back to his original position.

Yesterday at the Legislative Building Mr. Jean was back at it, giving the impression he’s opening the door to repealing or amending the 2015 law that allows students to form GSAs if he and the Wildrosers manage to form a government.

Mr. Jean was responding to a reporter’s question about the apparent disagreement by one of his MLAs with his last known position on the issue – claiming that the MLA was just asking constituents for their opinions.

“I’m more than happy to hear all of those opinions because I think with the widest breadth of consultation with Albertans we’ll actually be able to get the law right,” he told the gathered reporters. “And I think this is a very important issue for many Albertans and I want to make sure we get the law right.”

Say what? When the changes that permitted GSAs were introduced by the late Jim Prentice’s PC Government in 2015, they were supported by all Wildrose MLAs.

NDP Education Minister David Eggen has been trying to enforce the law, which the NDP also supported back in 2015, in the face of resistance by operators of religious schools and home schooling advocates who have been working with the conservative Opposition parties to embarrass the government.

Does Mr. Jean’s statement yesterday mean the Wildrose Caucus has a plan to repeal or amend the GSA provisions? It sure as heck sounds like it.

The NDP Legislative Caucus called Mr. Jean on this, demanding in a news release that “Brian Jean must state his position, not only on outing LGBTQ+ kids, but now also his position on Bill 10.” (Emphasis added.)

The circumstances suggest he’ll now have to do that, whether he likes it or not. Whatever he says, it’ll look like he’s changed his position.

Meanwhile, if anyone sees Mr. Kenney, please let a responsible grownup know. If he doesn’t show up soon, his face is going to have to start appearing on milk cartons!

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

16 Comments to: The Week in Review: We know where the Wildrosers are, but where’s Jason?

  1. Farmer B

    April 14th, 2017

    If we are reviewing the week, what about the start of the B.C. Election campaign? Both the NDP and Green Party are running against the construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. One poll I read has the NDP at 39%,the Libs at 35% and the Green Party at 15%. I thought our carbon tax was supposed to have bought us social licence to build this pipeline? Apparently not. I also thought it was interesting that yesterday Premier Notley publicly forbid any Government employees from volunteering in B.C. Election campaign. A concern I suppose, a number of her top people came from the B.C. NDP. The B.C. Libs have been in power for 16 years and appear to be past their best before date.

    As for Brian Jean, I agree, every time he opens his mouth about GSA’s he inserts his foot!

    Reply
  2. Val

    April 14th, 2017

    i wondering why is that NDP legislative caucus stuck so much with this LGBTQ issue?
    could be it just way for distraction, because they can’t handle others, more important ones, like unemployment, weaker than expected resurrection of economy, nearly doubled welfare caseload since 2015?

    Reply
    • Sam Gunsch

      April 14th, 2017

      Albertans deserve to know if a RW government led by Kenney/Jean is going to respect and protect children who choose to join GSA’s.
      If RW voters want to spin NDP concern with human rights and the well-being of our children as a ‘distraction’ … good luck with being stuck back in your lake.

      Reply
      • Val

        April 14th, 2017

        “Albertans deserve to know if a RW government led by Kenney/Jean is going to respect and protect children who choose to join GSA’s.”

        Sam, that’s interesting twist. is there no hope left for the next government to be re-elected NDP?

        but i agree an albertans deserves to know, only it’s a doubtful many of them cares exactly about GSA topic. that was a mistake to rise this issue at all and specially to involve schools into this. leave it to Hollywood where it started and belong to and instead do work on real everyday issues.

        Reply
        • Sam Gunsch

          April 15th, 2017

          Ok…Val, Now you’re trolling re my use of ‘is’ vs. ‘would’…
          but hey … quite the reveal on your part when you say ‘leave it to Hollywood’… yeah that’s right, human rights, the well-being and safety of our children in AB re access to GSA’s…all just Hollywood concerns, to you. No burn in lakes of fire attitudes actually here in AB, in your world. Hunsperger’s repugnant musings or what a Kenney/Jean gov’t might re-legislate on human rights via Bill 10 changes… all just Fake News in your mind, I guess…and you think none of that qualifies as ‘real everyday issues’ in AB? Wow.

          Reply
          • Val

            April 16th, 2017

            “Now you’re trolling”
            —————————–

            don’t take close to heart, i was teasing only.
            for most part political parties supporters so much serious, it can bring tears of sadness to eyes 🙂

    • Sam Gunsch

      April 14th, 2017

      Or, hey, go right ahead and fill your boots from that lake, if you want Jean/Kenney to campaign on revising Bill 10 to reduce the protection for students who would be protected by GSAs and the privacy of joining GSAs for support.

      Reply
    • April 15th, 2017

      29 promises either fulfilled or in process. What distraction???

      Reply
      • Val

        April 16th, 2017

        Diane, i’m not objecting some of their achievements. the question only arise – how important, efficient and pragmatic these achievements are and at what cost?
        at top of their election platform was placed priority #1 – diversification of provincial economy and creation of jobs for albertans. that’s the main ingredient for sustainable development of province in all rest. none yet to come. actually not even any hints in this direction.
        to build infrastructure by mortgaging everyone, including unemployed and underage, one doesn’t need much of the brain.

        Reply
        • Farmer B

          April 16th, 2017

          I certainly have to agree. The two things that stick in my mind from the NDP’s election platform were going after the PC’s for giving away our resources and getting us off the oil price roller coaster by diversifying our economy. After doing a royalty review they actually lowered royalties on conventional oil and according to their last budget our only hope of returning to a balanced budget is an increase to the price of oil and the resulting increase in revenue. And for those of you who consider wind and solar power diversifying the economy, explain to me how producing the same electricity in a more expensive intermittent way diversifies the economy? Or hiring an Ontario company to install light bulbs?Diversification would be doing something we don’t do now imo.

          Reply
  3. jerrymacgp

    April 14th, 2017

    Brian Jean’s problem is, that he isn’t really in control of his caucus; the debacle over Derek Fildebrandt’s rudeness last year to Ontario Premier Katherine Wynne proved that. So, even if he, personally, is supportive of allowing GSAs to be effective at protecting LGBTQ youth, he isn’t able to keep his caucus members “on message” on the issue.

    Reply
  4. Bob Raynard

    April 14th, 2017

    The woman behind the ‘Include Parents’ buttons is Maureen Prince, who is also the president of MLA Drew Barnes’ riding association. If you read Ms. Prince’s statement about the issue, she makes a token acknowledgement that some parents can be negligent, then goes on to argue that government is never in a better position to act in a child’s best interest than the parents. That, then, becomes a case for the government to never remove a child from a dysfunctional home, since the parents know best. Sadly, given the cost of social services in this province, that would also have appeal to the fiscal conservatives in the WRP.

    Reply
    • Lulymay

      April 15th, 2017

      There are just some people who cannot help but get multiple slivers in their butts from continuing to ride the fence.
      You can’t keep trying to walk both sides of the street on serious issues, Maureen, particularly when it comes to the rights of others to live safely in today’s greed-fested society. You have no right to impose your personal views on all and sundry, and your recent response to circulate ‘Include Parents’ demonstrates your lack of credibility.

      Reply
  5. J.E. Molnar

    April 14th, 2017

    Anyone who follows Alberta politics, even to a small degree, knows Brian Jean is using political subterfuge and chicanery to embrace GSAs. His voting record on same-sex marriage while in Parliament and the Wildrose Party’s explosive media history on LGBTQ+ rights would suggest they are anything but supporters of GSAs. At the same time he has a desire not to see the Wildrose Party framed as extremist.

    Given Jean’s parliamentary voting record it appears the calculating politico is playing both sides against the middle in an effort to appear less radical to centre-right voters. He reverses his position so regularly on contentious issues he’s obtained the moniker Mr. Flip-Flop. Getting Jean to pin down his position on Bill 10 and GSAs will be as easy as putting spilt milk back into the carton with a fork — his position will likely never be fully known until “after” the election of 2019. In the meantime, he will continue to obfuscate to the best of his Wildrose ability.

    Reply
  6. April 15th, 2017

    Perhaps he is off getting his marching orders from Preston Manning.

    In any event it is a nice change not to see or hear from him.

    Brian Jean and Jason Kenney both seem to have some things in common.

    They talk out of both sides of their mouth,.

    They both oppose without offering up concrete policy alternatives.

    They both must have extremely sore posteriors from sitting on the fence for so long.

    One difference…in Kenney’s case his Pinochio nose continues to grow even longer that I thought possible as each week passes.

    As an Albertan, I am desperate to hear some viable policy alternatives. So far nothing, nadda. Come on guys,stop taking our votes for granted and earn your keep.

    Reply

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