Jason Kenney assigns United Conservative Party caucus critic roles; Brian Jean is so far out he’s practically in orbit!

Posted on November 01, 2017, 12:59 am
5 mins

PHOTOS: Brian Jean, looking as if he’s contemplating his future. Truth be told, your blogger has no idea what Mr. Jean was thinking about in this photo grabbed from his still-functioning Facebook page. Below: United Conservative Party House Leader Jason Nixon, Deputy UCP Leader Leela Aheer, and former interim UCP leader Nathan Cooper (Facebook).

OK, we get it. Brian Jean doesn’t really like Jason Kenney very much. It’s likely the feeling is mutual.

Unlike pretty well everyone else in the 27-member United Conservative Party Legislative Caucus, the former Wildrose Party leader chose not to let his name be on the list of legislative critic portfolios assigned by Mr. Kenney, who won the fight to lead the Opposition party on Saturday.

The only other missing name is that of Dave Rodney, the MLA for Calgary-Lougheed, who has a pretty good excuse, seeing as he’s volunteered to resign to let Mr. Kenney run for a seat in the Legislature, a contest that the new UCP leader will probably not find over-taxing.

As for Mr. Jean, who seemed to have deluded himself throughout the long contest that he really had a chance to beat Mr. Kenney, he’s now advised his successful rival that he’s going to be focusing on his Fort McMurray-Conklin constituency, thank you very much.

Well, we’ll see about that. Along with some interesting Calgary-Lougheed riding history, Daveberta.ca author Dave Cournoyer suggested last night that Mr. Jean may soon leave politics entirely. Regardless of that, one thing seems certain: He won’t be putting a lot of effort into supporting Mr. Kenney’s dreams for the future.

This means that Mr. Jean will be literally the only backbencher in Mr. Kenney’s caucus, in which every other MLA will have either a shadow cabinet portfolio or a caucus job.

Things got pretty rough there in the final moments of the UCP leadership race, so there’s plenty of room for bruised feelings, especially on the part of the loser. And, who knows, maybe there’s some history between the two from back in the day in Ottawa, when both men toiled in the service of Stephen Harper, the Lord Voldemort of Canadian politics.

Regardless of that, there’s no question which one of the two Mr. Harper favoured, and it wasn’t Mr. Jean.

Between his victory on Saturday and the announcement of his shadow cabinet yesterday, Mr. Kenney seems to have sent more than 20 Jean loyalists from the UCP’s staff packing. Look for the party’s strategic team to be quickly staffed up by the infamous Conservative Boys in Short Pants from Mr. Harper’s Ottawa.

On Monday, Mr. Kenney also assigned the caucus’s most important legislative jobs – Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre MLA Jason Nixon as House Leader, as previously noted in this space, plus Leela Aheer as deputy leader, Ric McIver as whip, and Prab Gill as deputy whip.

Interim UCP leader Nathan Cooper, who last summer pledged to make the UCP open and inclusive to all Albertans, was moved to a less exalted position on the full-caucus shadow cabinet.

Mr. Kenney’s critic and other roles were assigned as follows:

  • Leela Aheer, Chestermere-Rocky View – Deputy Leader, Children’s Services, Status of Women
  • Wayne Anderson, Highwood – Advanced Education
  • Drew Barnes, Cypress-Medicine Hat – Finance & Treasury
  • Nathan Cooper, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills – Community & Social Services, Accountability
  • Scott Cyr, Bonnyville-Cold Lake – Service Alberta
  • Wayne Drysdale, Grande Prairie-Wapiti – Transportation
  • Mike Ellis, Calgary-West – Solicitor General
  • Prab Gill, Calgary-Greenway – Deputy Whip, Seniors & Housing, Multiculturalism
  • Richard Gotfried, Calgary-Fish Creek – Economic Development
  • David Hanson, Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills – Indigenous Relations
  • Grant Hunter, Cardston-Taber-Warner – Labour
  • Todd Loewen, Grande Prairie-Smoky – Environment & Parks
  • Dan Macintyre, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake – Electricity & Renewables
  • Ric McIver, Calgary-Hays – Whip
  • Jason Nixon, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre – House Leader
  • Ron Orr, Lacombe-Ponoka – Culture & Tourism
  • Prasad Panda, Calgary-Foothills – Energy
  • Angela Pitt, Airdrie – Justice
  • Dave Schneider, Little Bow – Forestry
  • Mark Smith, Drayton Valley-Devon – Education
  • Pat Stier, Livingstone-Macleod – Municipal Affairs
  • Rick Strankman, Drumheller-Stettler – Agriculture
  • Wes Taylor, Battle River-Wainwright – Property & Surface Rights
  • Glenn van Dijken, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock – Infrastructure
  • Tany Yao, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Health & Emergency Response

18 Comments to: Jason Kenney assigns United Conservative Party caucus critic roles; Brian Jean is so far out he’s practically in orbit!

  1. Chris

    November 1st, 2017

    Caucus leadership: Calgary, Calgary, Calgary, Airdrie, Chestermere, Sundre. Surely he might have been able to find a couple of people north of Red Deer?

    • David Climenhaga

      November 1st, 2017

      Jason Kenney’s Alberta doesn’t include Edmonton … or points north, I guess. DJC

      • Farmer B

        November 1st, 2017

        Dave let’s be realistic, the battle ground for the next election is Calgary. Rural ridings are overwhelmingly UCP and Edmonton is NDP, Calgary will determine who are next Premier is.

        One quick opinion, still baffled on the Premier’s attack on the Catholic school boards outlook on consent. It is very clear on reading the Catholics position that they hold consent in very high regard. Now I am not catholic or religous but I think the Pemier looks bad on this one. Enjoy your day 🙂

        • Northern Loon

          November 1st, 2017

          Well, Farmer B, The UCP and Jason Kenney are purporting to represent all of Alberta, not just the constituencies they think they can win away for the NDP. Since they represent all Albertans it should be expected that their so called shadow cabinet should also be representative in some reasonable manner. But then Jason is simply an opportunist, one who didn’t come back for Albertans, but for himself (Now why does that sound familiar?).

          As for your ‘one quick opinion’ the simple answer is that if the Catholic Church actually hold consent to be in such high regard then they should adopt at least that portion of the proposed Sex Ed curriculum rather than trying to impose their own far more restrictive definition of consent.

  2. Peter Fortna

    November 1st, 2017

    For Notley to win the next election, she needs at least 15 (minimum) of 25 Calgary seats. Everyone knows this, and that’s where the focus of all parties will be. The most interesting question to my mind, is whether the Alberta Party becomes the home for discrutled PC voters. If it does, the double reverse takeover will be simply a WRP rebranding exercise and not the conservative merger Manning and others believed it would be…

    • anon

      November 1st, 2017

      And if PCs with a social conscience leave the NDP and move to the Alberta Party, vote splitting will give the election to the UCP.

      Got to love that first past the post voting system – it has kept the aristocrats and oligarchs in power for centuries now.

  3. e.a.f.

    November 1st, 2017

    its going to be entertaining in Alberta politics. if Jason brings in some of those boys in short pants, Alberta might want to watch out. Former B.C. Premier Christy Clark brought a bunch of those Ottawa Conservatives into her office. Things did not go well.

    Some of those who belonged to the Wild Rose party may find things are going to be a tad different with the religious right in charge and find themselves uncomfortable.

  4. brett

    November 1st, 2017

    Cannot blame Brian Jean for not wanting to be part of the executive team. Besides, his constituency could do with some work and placing some fire under the Ministry of Health.

  5. David

    November 1st, 2017

    Mr. Jean doesn’t seem too upset about being a backbencher. I think he doesn’t really want to be part of Team Kenney in the long term and having no additional responsibilities will make it so much easier for him to just leave whenever he wants or is ready. Kenney also doesn’t seem to mind this arrangement too much, so I think both are basically in agreement – Jean can leave whenever he wants.

    Of course, Kenney can’t too obviously force him out, but is probably not going to protest too loudly when Jean tells him he is leaving. Jean will probably pick the time of his choosing, saying something about needing a break and wanting to spend more time with family or something like that, Kenney will politely thank him for his service and that will be it.

    I suppose there is a slight chance for fireworks if Jean chooses a time that is inconvenient for Kenney, or catches him by too much surprise, but I don’t think that will happen.

    • November 4th, 2017

      He is upset, I assure you.

  6. Mike

    November 2nd, 2017

    The Cons have the short pants club and the NDP have Brian Topp.

  7. Athabascan

    November 2nd, 2017

    Brian Jean is a loser.

    As predicted, Kenney just hijacked the Wildrose party, and in the process stole Jean’s leadership right from under his nose. He stood there impotently as he watched it happen.

    I think that proves he’s a loser.

    As for Kenney, it won’t be that easy running against an opponent like Rachel Notley who’s more intelligent.

    • David

      November 2nd, 2017

      To be fair to Jean, he came in when Wildrose was pretty desperate, right after most of their MLA’s including their leader had defected to the PC’s and just before an election. He picked up the pieces and led them to a fairly respectable showing in the election, despite personal tragedy happening at the time. I don’t agree with many of his policies, but I think he was fairly decent as a person.

      Maybe Jean isn’t the most charismatic or sly, but I think he could have got a lot of Albertans to vote for him in the next election. Now the party has been sold snake oil by a snake oil salesman and I am not sure Albertans will buy it.

      • Bob Raynard

        November 3rd, 2017

        I agree. That’s what makes the treatment Jean got by his party even worse.

  8. jerrymacgp

    November 3rd, 2017

    “ … every other MLA will have either a cabinet portfolio or a caucus job…” I’m sure this is just an oversight, but aren’t these just shadow cabinet posts? Actual cabinet roles will have to wait for the next election, and then only if they win (which is, of course, their ambition).

    Also, I read your recent posts in reverse order, and so I see now that you did invoke the Boys in Short Pants theme in this post…

    • David Climenhaga

      November 3rd, 2017

      Your assumption is correct. It was my intention to write “shadow cabinet,” and, indeed, when I proofread the piece, in my mind the missing word was included. This has now been fixed and, as always, thanks to you in particular and readers in general for acting as my editors. I particularly appreciate it when, as you do Jerry, the corrections are sympathetic, and not snotty. I’ll take snotty, though, if that’s what’s required to correct an error. DJC

  9. November 4th, 2017

    I will tell you this as one of Brian’s best friends. Kenney has ZERO respect for Brian, ZERO. Kenney’s plan was laid out before he left Ottawa and he followed it to the T. Their level of respect for Brian is ZERO and its ZERO for the WR gang. The merger was the only way Jason would become premier and people bought into it hook line and sinker. Its called the Westminster system you don’t need any parties. You would have had a WR Gov in a few years but panic and lack of faith got the better of everyone. Also the old PMO and a few that I will not name have been working against WR since Brian became popular.
    Jason is a smart guy, he is ruthless but smart, I really hope he serves Alberta and not just the establishment. This whole thing stinks.

  10. brett

    November 5th, 2017

    Although I am not a particular fan of Brian Jean I do believe that he has a great deal integrity. Something his leader lacks.

    This sense of integrity would preclude him from accepting a position in a Kenney cabinet or in his inner circle.


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