PHOTOS: Then Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, holding microphone, addressing an anti-carbon-tax, anti-Bill-6, anti-etc. rally on the steps of the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton in December 2016. The visible sign may or may not have represented the opinion of more than one participant in the event. (Photo grabbed from Below: Mr. Jean and his UCP leadership opponent Jason Kenney, possibly wearing each other’s hats.

Gee whiz! Computerized voter suppression games in the United Conservative Party leadership race? Say it ain’t so!

Don’t take my word for it. This is what Brian Jean, former leader of the Opposition Wildrose Party and now a contender to lead the UCP, says: “Our party committee has chosen a leadership election system where, if things don’t change, over 40,000 party members may not be able to vote.”

Now, can you guess whose supporters most of those UCPers will likely turn out to have been?

And why do you think the party’s top insiders might have done something like that? I mean, other than to ensure they get their way and have Jason Kenney as their leader after the party’s leadership election on Oct. 28?

Mr. Jean is presumably concerned that the system – which he called “complicated” and “cumbersome” – will ensure that it’s much easier for Mr. Kenney’s supporters to register than those of other candidates. With the registration timelines barely publicized and the final deadline to register to vote at 5 p.m. this afternoon, that’s a reasonable assumption.

What’s more, last night at a leadership debate in Mr. Jean’s Fort McMurray hometown, the former Conservative MP accused Mr. Kenney, also a former MP and cabinet member in the Harper Government, of spreading lies about him.

Albertans are sick and tired of lying politicians, Mr. Jean told the forum, the CBC reported. “Right now there is a politician on this stage that his team is lying about me, lying about my Christian values, lying about my position on Bill 6 … even lying about other things.”

The statements complained of by Mr. Jean include claims in a social conservative publication he supports LGBTQ Pride too enthusiastically and elsewhere that he has failed to support the right of Canadians to own assault rifles enthusiastically enough. The anti-abortion publication in question also accused Mr. Jean, who has divorced and remarried, of being a “libertine.”

Mr. Jean, by the sound of it, denies it all. He is self-described “churchgoing, God-fearing Baptist,” the CBC reported, and presumably properly gunned up as well. Mr. Kenney, naturally, denied knowing anything about it at all.

One has to feel a certain sympathy with Mr. Jean. Confronting Mr. Kenney has been a bit like standing in front of the proverbial juggernaut. So far, the only way conservative politicians have been able to survive has been by getting the heck out of the way, one way or another.

For his part, Mr. Kenney appears determined to combine the worst features of the old Progressive Conservative Party with those of the Wildrose. That is to say, under the former Ottawa insider’s leadership – which is all but a certainty now – the UCP will inherit the entitlement and arrogance of the old PCs and the social conservative extremism of the once-somewhat-grassrooty Wildrose.

Get used to it, Mr. Jean. Resistance is futile.

Edmonton’s Al Rashid Mosque to host Visit My Mosque Day this Sunday

Concerned by polling suggesting a significant minority of Canadians have a negative perception of Muslims and the overwhelming view in the Muslim community that discrimination against Canadian Muslims has increased in the past five years, several Islamic congregations across Canada have set aside next Sunday, Oct. 15, as Visit My Mosque Day.

Members of the Muslim community in Edmonton are inviting their neighbours of all faiths and without faith to see the inside of the Al Rashid Mosque, 13070 113 Street NW.

“This event will be a perfect opportunity to challenge Islamophobia by fostering an environment of open communication and engagement,” said Mukarram Zaidi, a Calgary physician who is one of the organizers of the event.

The original Al Rashid Mosque, opened in 1938 at a site near the Royal Alexandra Hospital in central Edmonton, is preserved at Fort Edmonton Park. The congregation relocated to the mosque’s present site in 1982.

Join the Conversation


  1. Is Brian Jean preparing Albertans for an ironclad excuse for losing to Jason Kenney? Answer: Yes.

    Jean is being forced to overcome insurmountable odds in an attempt to capture the title of “top dog” in the UCP. Old stock conservatives, Postmedia scribes and vested interest groups are lining up behind Jason Kenney and doing their best work behind the scenes to manufacture support for a Kenney victory on Oct. 28, despite Jean having a more fulsome and detailed UCP platform. Barring any last minute heroics on the part of Brian Jean and company, or a Kennedy collapse of epic proportions, all signs point to a Jason Kennedy victory when the Jean-Kenney smackdown finally ends two weeks from now.

  2. It seems that Brian Jean ‘has been had.’
    Would, perhaps, certain base support for the UCP consider the, perhaps, deceiving trickery of the ‘having’ of Jean, be clever….let alone christian? All is fair in love, war and politics?
    With the ‘birds of a feather flocking together,’ it appears to be a bird-to-bird pecking order problem.
    The in-fighting UCP will not get my vote.

  3. I visited Fort Edmonton and the mosque last June. I commented to the volunteer attending the mosque it was my impression the building was an Orthodox Church. He told me my mistaken impression was common because the builder had specialized in constructing Orthodox Churches. When the Muslim community decided they needed a permanent meeting place they hired this construction company under the understanding the architecture would be that of an Orthodox Church. The volunteer also stated this Muslim temple was likely the first Mosque built in Canada.

  4. It is usually not a good sign when a candidate complains about the system being rigged and accuses his opponent of telling vicious lies. Either he is already behind or is worried about his support slipping.

    I have had the feeling from the beginning that the powers behind the UCP have tried to stack things in Kenny’s favour, for whatever reasons. I think this has now become apparent to Jean over the course of the campaign. This all must be a bit frustrating for Jean, who I think has a bit broader appeal and is generally more well liked than Kenney. However, I suppose it also makes some logical sense for a party that wants to be more extreme right wing to chose the more right wing candidate as leader.

    Recent polling seems to indicate Albertans already have concerns about the UCP being too extreme, but of course it is not ordinary Albertans voting in this contest. After the race is over, it will be interesting to see if Kenney can or will pivot to try to appear as more moderate. My guess is his current portrayal of himself as being extreme right wing is much more convincing and accurate than any attempt to portray himself as moderate will be.

    I also wonder if Jean might decide to ride off into the sunset if he does not win this race. He seems to be a fairly easy going guy, but I think some of Kenney’s vicious style of attacks have really put him off. It might be a short term good strategy to run a no holds barred win at all costs style of campaign, but perhaps some of the ugly tactics are better saved for campaigning against your real political opponents rather than people in your own party. However, I think Kenney is probably at best ambivalent if Jean stays after or not.

  5. This makes Jason Kenney even scarier.

    I feel sorry for Brian Jean. He was recruited to lead the leaderless Wildrose Party when they were desperate for a leader after Danielle Smith defected and Jim Prentice called a snap election, and he did so even though he had just lost his son. I think a lot of people commended him for the brave campaign he was able to put together under those incredibly trying circumstances. Jason Kenney, however, has since argued at a UCP leadership forum that Brian Jean’s performance at the leaders’ debate prior to the 2015 election was why the NDP won the election. I bet he wishes he had just stayed in Ottawa. Yes he wouldn’t be in government anymore, but he would still have a pretty safe seat.

    In other words, Jason Kenney makes him look like a good guy.

  6. What a surprise. Imagine, Mr. Kenney and his supporters doing something untoward and/or undemocratic.

    Unfortunately I suspect that all Albertans may have to get used this..

    There are many great Conservatives out there with a strong belief in democracy, fair play, good politics, and integrity. Hopefully they will start coming out of the closet. Sandra can’t be the only one.

  7. Jason Kenney to former PCs & Wildrosers … ” we will add your political and social-conservative distinctiveness to our own… you will be assimilated… resistance is futile “. The UCP is being Borg’d.

  8. Worst kept secret ever!

    What will it take for Brian Jean and his ilk to wake up and smell the coffee? The fix is in.

    Kenney will be the next leader of the UCP in Alberta. There is no other possible outcome given the dirty tricks that Kenney’s gang is willing to use. So, why is Jean so surprised?

  9. So, since when was a test of religious conviction a prerequisite for public office in this country? Sure, we don’t have the First Amendment as the Yanks do, and our Constitution starts off with a God reference, but really, religion hasn’t been a major consideration in how we assess candidates for public office in many decades.

    Look on the bright side, though: if the UCP goes down that road, trying to channel the American Christian Right, then the NDP has a hope of being re-elected, as more moderate voters are repelled by this kind of theocratic politics. Canadians, by & large, want their religion in church, or temple, or mosque, not in their politics.

  10. Personally, I had no issues registering to vote. I chose snail mail as I prefer not to put an image of my drivers licence(a registration requirement) on the Internet. Confirmation came back about 5 days after I mailed it in, quite efficient imo. As for who I am leaning towards supporting either Brian Jean or Doug Schweitzer. I admit watching Jason Kenney debate Rachel Notley in a run up to the next election would be good political theater. That being said I like Doug’s ideas and Brian Jean has a lot of life experience which would help him as leader. In talking to people in my area about Jason versus Brian I am surprised at how much support there is for Jason. Jason has proven himself very effective at organizing and getting out the vote in the past. Enjoy your day

  11. your writing is piss poor David Climenhaga. Clearly your an NDP supporter !!! Worst piece of drivel I’ve read in a very long time ! ( you need to apply for a job with the CBC – you’d fit right in ! ) Sadly that’s 5 minutes of my life I won’t get back !!! Go crawl back under your NDP rock !!!

    1. Todd,

      You misspelled/misused the word “your.” It should be “you’re” in your first sentence.

      You are welcome.

      Let’s make Alberta spell again.

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