PHOTOS: Jason Kenney, candidate to lead the United Conservative Party of Alberta, perhaps thinking up another Certified Kenney Fact. Below: B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan, former Saskatchewan premiers Roy Romanow, a New Democrat, and Grant Devine (CBC photo), a Conservative, and federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, a Liberal.

According to Jason Kenney, nobody can wreck a province’s economy faster than an elected NDP government.

The 49-year-old Alberta Progressive Conservative Party leader, nowadays a candidate to lead the province’s “United Conservative Party,” last Tuesday blamed British Columbia’s new NDP government for the cancellation of Petronas’s $36-billion liquefied natural gas project on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.

That was quite a feat, seeing as British Columbia NDP Premier John Horgan had been sworn in only seven days before!

And never mind that the Malaysian oil and gas giant stated, plausibly enough, that the reason the project was cancelled was low natural gas prices and an unpromising global market for the stuff.

It’s a Certified Kenney Fact.

Mr. Kenney, of course, is the former federal Conservative cabinet minister and Ottawa insider who has “returned” to Alberta, where he briefly resided in the 1990s, to help us benighted citizens of Wild Rose Country save ourselves from our decision to elect an NDP government in 2015. He even bought a great big pickup truck, presumably in hopes of looking more like a real Albertan.

On Saturday, Mr. Kenney officially announced his bid for the leadership of the new conservative Frankenparty, an unlikely combination of the Wildrose Party and the no-longer-very-progressive Progressive Conservatives, at a rally in Edmonton.

According to a Tweet during the event from Emma Graney of the Edmonton Journal, Mr. Kenney told the crowd “he ended up – like so many others – in Alberta as an economic refugee under failed SK NDP schemes.”

Hmmmm … According to Mr. Kenney’s Wikipedia biography, after a stint as executive assistant to Ralph Goodale, who was then the leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, the native of Oakville, Ont., raised in Wilcox, Sask., turned up in Alberta in 1989 as the first executive director of the Alberta Taxpayers Association, which a year later merged with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The date is important date because after nearly a decade of Progressive Conservative governments led by premier Grant Devine, the Saskatchewan NDP returned to power in late October 1991!

So, if the Wikipedia biography is accurate, the New Democrats led by Roy Romanow had already wrecked the Saskatchewan economy roughly two years before they came to power!

However, as is frequently pointed out in the comments section of this blog, and in fairness to Mr. Kenney, the Wikipedia of course may be wrong, although you’d think someone would have fixed it by now.

I covered a speech by Mr. Kenney for the Calgary Herald three weeks before his 25th birthday in May 1993, and also did a short interview with him. He told me then he had come to Alberta to run the anti-tax lobby group two years before, so it’s possible the NDP had been in power for a few weeks or even a couple of months by the time Mr. Kenney fled to Alberta.

But as we know from Mr. Kenney’s recent Petronas example, several weeks should be more than enough for an NDP government to wreck a province’s economy.

So, one way or another, it’s another Certified Kenney Fact.

Mind you, having in 1993 so recently been a Liberal, perhaps Mr. Kenney honestly confused Dr. Devine’s scandal-riddled Tory regime that of the NDP that followed.

Scandal riddled, you ask? Dr. Devine was never implicated in any criminal wrongdoing himself, but 13 of his 55 MLAs were, and some staffers as well. Eight Tory cabinet ministers were convicted of expense account fraud committed during Dr. Devine’s second term. A few served time.

After the Saskatchewan PC Party was banished from power, it was forced to do business under a different trade name. The Saskatchewan Party regained power under the increasingly cranky Premier Brad Wall, the former Mr. Congeniality of Confederation, 16 years later in 2007.

In that 1993 interview, interestingly, Mr. Kenney didn’t sound all that different than he does nowadays. “There is an end to our line of credit,” he grimly warned that warm spring evening, speaking of Canada’s national debt.

“Canada may be 12 to 24 months away from a total fiscal collapse,” he went on. Fortunately, approximately 290 months have passed without incident since that warning, although one supposes the financial apocalypse could still happen at any moment.

I wrote then: “He paints a grim picture of rocketing interest rates, a worthless dollar, lost homes and businesses, control by foreign bankers, hyper inflation.” So far? Not so much.

And Mr. Kenney blamed the usual suspects: politicians, bureaucrats, public service unions, publicly supported interest groups, the media. Or, as he summed them up, “the governing elites.”

Wow! Talk about a man ahead of his Trumpian time!

Speaking of Dr. Devine (PhD, agricultural economics, Ohio State University, 1976), his rehabilitation under the Wall Government is now almost complete. In 2009, he received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and last week he was appointed to the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan. Mr. Romanow is the university’s chancellor.

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  1. ‘Kenney Certified Fact’ (KCF). Funny stuff David, and if it ain’t funny it ain’t much good. You should trademark that. I was thinking of trademarking ‘Kenney Fact Certified’ (KFC), but I think I would run into some legal difficulties.

  2. “So if the Wikipedia biography is accurate, the New Democrats led by Roy Romanow had already wrecked the Saskatchewan economy roughly two years before they came to power! However, as is frequently pointed out in the comments section of this blog, and in fairness to Mr. Kenney, the Wikipedia of course may be wrong, although you’d think someone would have fixed it by now.”

    Memo to Jason: No time like the present, Sir. Park that Dodge Ram for twenty minutes and correct Wikipedia misinformation. As a former employee of the nothing-but-the-truth telling Alberta/Canadian Taxpayers Federation, you know accuracy is paramount. Erase the reference to the NDP wrecking the SK economy before they took over. If you don’t, may the Good Lord have mercy on your soul.

  3. Mr. Kenney is lying. Pure and simple. Anyone who has followed this LNG issue knows that the gig was up months ago. The Liberal Gov’t was slow off the mark, the prices of gas were low, and most especially, the US beat us to the punch by announcing the build of a similar facility on the west coast of the US.

    Kenney counts on a bunch of people who don’t read newspapers, don’t listen to in depth news reports, but instead listen to 8 second cuts.

    The decision was announced after the election as a courtesy to the Christie Government. The decision was actually made more that six months ago. Bottom line….the numbers did not add up. The deal on the table from the Christie Gov’t would have had to be honoured by any successive Government.

    Just another reason why we think that Jason Kenney does not have the character, the integrity, or the skill to be a good Premier of Alberta, let alone leader of the UCP!

  4. Mr. Kenney has his strengths as a politician – he is a very good organizer and very good at spin. All those years in Ottawa have helped him develop his natural talents in these areas. His approach to truth telling? – well I think it could be best described as “liberal” (of course with a small l).

    Mr. Kenney will try to convince us the sky is falling, whether it really is or not. Like the former federal government he was a part of who had incredible disdain for science, because the facts often did not support their positions, he will ignore the facts, try to silence, ridicule or dismiss those who put facts forward and try to create his own version of alternate reality.

    I suppose he is betting Albertans are ideologically inclined to support him and therefore will generally not challenge or critique him too much. He came back to Alberta because he thought his chances for career advancement were now better here than in Ottawa, where he spent so many years. He will spend the next few years wrapping himself in the Alberta flag and driving around a big truck just to try show us he is really is a regular Albertan, although he is probably much more familiar with the streets Surrey or Scarborough than the back country of northern Alberta.

  5. I happened to be at Mr. Kenney’s rally on Saturday, and the most interesting takeaway – for me – was the age of his supporters (mostly seniors) and their support for him (intense and vocal). That and CBC Radio Calgary apparently reporting the event as having already happened Saturday morning hours before it actually started, including details of the “hundreds” of people in attendance.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jason Kenney is a fatuous blowhard, a carpetbagger and a fascist. He’s not from here, he only ‘came back’ because his career in Ottawa is done and he sees an opportunity to get on the (slightly less luxurious) gravy train. He is selling an ideological narrative that appeals to people who don’t step out of their bubbles very often and don’t care to, and are quite happy to hear someone who says what they want to hear. These are people who are not so much politically ‘conservative’ as they are anti-Liberal.

    Jason Kenney banks on people being able to discount and ignore evidence and reasoning that challenges their worldview and therefore their identity. His greatest hits are Ralph Klein was great, the NDP sucks, and liberal elites are ruining our values. I’m not sure what values a guy who’s never raised a child or held a real job or ever had to really risk anything or run anything is talking about, but that doesn’t matter because he’s gonna get us back on track.

    Just as soon as he gets elected of course.

    I wonder what will happen, what people will say, when Kenney finally gets a chance at the brass ring and fails? Will he take his seat in the legislature and serve as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, or will he – like the late Jim Prentice – just take his toys and go home?

    Submitted anonymously for reasons.

  6. Here Kenney confirmed that he worked for Ralph Goodale in 1988:

    According to wiki Goodale resigned as leader of Sask Liberals in 1988 to run federally (he lost that time)

    This CTF page says it’s been going since 1990:

    And surely we can trust Derek, can’t we? See page 1 The CTF unification was in 1990 (looks like Jason has practice at unifying stuff)

    Wiki does have some good footnotes.

    1. Now this 2016 article says

      “…The 48-year-old MP for Calgary Midnapore was active in Alberta politics long before he was initially elected to Parliament in 1997, serving for years as head of the Alberta Taxpayers Association and later the Canadian Taxpayers Federation…”

      This article by James Wood has Kenney working for Goodale, then going to U of SF then to the Association of AlbertaTaxpayers

      As far as I can tell this video of Kenney was in 1990 which means Wood would be right and wiki wrong:

      wiki’s source for having Kenney go from U of SF to Saskatchewan politics is this 2010 article by Douglas Todd

      So it is possible that Kenney came to Alberta between 1990-1993; but still, if he worked for the AAT before it united with CTF that must have been in 1990

      1. I guess Kenney could have started with the ATA while still a student at U of SF. The dates when he was in San Francisco are not clear, but fall 1988 to spring 1990 seems possible to me.

    1. OK, it’s the history of the CTF that is fuzzy and confusing.

      In 1990 the Association of Saskatchewan Taxpayers and the Resolution One Association of Alberta joined to make the Canadian Taxpayers Association. Apparently there was a different group, the Association of Alberta Taxpayers, which Jason Kenney started to work for in 1991 according to your story above, David. Kenny has a facebook post saying he came to Alberta 25 years ago which would be in 1992.

      Kenney helped write a report for the AAT in 1992: “An analysis of the Alberta MLA pension plan by the Association of Alberta Taxpayers” Gail Radford-Ross (principal researcher), Jason Kenney, Chris Gerrard.
      Edmonton : The Association; 1992.

      Colby Cosh writes that Kenney was with the AAT in 1993:

      So presumably the AAT did not join the CTF until 1993 or later. And wiki has the dates wrong.

      1. I suspect but don’t know that Resolution 1 and the Alberta Taxpayers Association were the same group. Mr. Kenney definitely told me in 1993 that he had been in Alberta for two years. Leastways, that’s what I wrote in the Calgary Herald and Mr. Kenney never complained about it, nor did anyone else. If he rounded a few months up to get two years, he’s forgiven. We’ve all done that. The problem is his persistent habit of blaming the NDP for things they simply couldn’t have been responsible for. It’s like my friend who blames Mexico for starting World War I because Mexican revolutionaries executed a Hapsburg emperor who if he’d lived would have been in line for the Austro-Hungarian throne in 1914 instead of Franz Ferdinand. The only difference is, Mr. Kenney’s not joking.

        1. Oh yes, this is why everything he says needs to be fact checked, like Daniel Dale has been doing for Trump. I think he will say whatever is most useful for his narrative.

          I think even if he did leave Saskatchewan after the election, it was because there were no political jobs open for a young Conservative/former Liberal. He may be an economic migrant, like many who cross Canada to find work, but he’s no refugee. People who know anything about refugees are rightly offended by his claim.

          Knowing the CTF is an astroturf group, I wonder if the other taxpayer groups were also astroturf or if there were any honest grassroots amongst them. I first heard of “astroturf” applied to climate change denial groups, but maybe there were earlier astroturf groups too.

  7. “Canada may be 12 to 24 months away from a total fiscal collapse,” he went on. Fortunately, approximately 290 months have passed without incident since that warning, although one supposes the financial apocalypse could still happen at any moment.

    I wrote then: “He paints a grim picture of rocketing interest rates, a worthless dollar, lost homes and businesses, control by foreign bankers, hyper inflation.” So far? Not so much.

    That’s because the Chretien’s Liberal followed the same consensus and implemented a series of reforms and spending cuts. The rapid decline in corporate tax rates began under Chretien and continued all the way to the recent CPC government. Canada’s middle class, by many measures, gradually became more prosperous relative to the US coinciding with these series of economic reforms.

    If you’re intellectually honest, you’d discuss this. Of course, you are not.

  8. The decision by Petronas not to go ahead with it’s LNG project was a result of Canada’s inability to approve such projects in a timely manner. The swearing in of an anti-development NDP-Green coalition was the final nail in the coffin. We have many groups who are doing there best to stop any new energy infrastructure. Because of this we have witnessed foreign investment dollars leaving Alberta in the last 2 years and now the same has occurred in BC. If as a company you are going to invest billions a predictable approval process needs to be in place for this to occur. That is no longer the case in Canada. Interestingly enough Justin Trudeau thought he could placate the environmentalists with his deal of bringing in a carbon tax as a way of making energy infrastructure more palatable to these dissenters. What is ironic is that as it becomes obvious that so called social licence is not being given for these projects to go ahead the public support of the carbon tax is lessening, one poll by Angus Reid shows a drop in support from 56% to 44% in the last 2 years. The same goes for John Horgan, if he is successful in stopping the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline it will realistically eliminate any chance of Rachel Notley being re-elected. Politics is an interesting game 🙂

  9. Absolutely. But how many people will actually review the facts vs how many will actually accept Kenney’s outlandish and totally false statements?

    The LNG project in BC was questionable 18 months ago. 12 Months ago the writing was on the wall for all to see. It was not in the Christie Liberals interest to acknowledge this. It was all over six months ago.

    The notion that this project was cancelled because of the election of a minority NDP Government, is well, silly at best. Most would call it something else and they would be correct.

    Do Kenney supporters not read? Do they not follow up and arrive at their own conclusions? OR do they wait for Kenney to interpret the news for them. I suspect it is the latter. Sheep.

    Reminds me of another well know politician to the south of us.

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