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