Brad Wall out! Jason Kenney not yet sworn in! Is Rachel Notley now the Real Leader of Western Canada?

Posted on January 28, 2018, 2:07 am
8 mins

PHOTOS: Brad Wall, the former premier of Saskatchewan, offers his farewell attack on the Alberta NDP to enthusiastic Saskatchewan Party supporters in Saskatoon last night. (Photo: Screenshot from Saskatchewan Party video.) Below: New Sask Party Leader Scott Moe, NDP Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Manitoba Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister, B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan, and Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney.

Yesterday, the Canadian Prairies bade farewell to Brad Wall, the Grumpiest Conservative On the Great Plains and, according to Jason Kenney, “the real leader of Western Canada.”

Tomorrow, Mr. Kenney will be formally sworn in as the new Grumpiest Conservative On the Great Plains and, who knows, we may soon be hearing dissatisfied conservatives in Mr. Wall’s former jurisdiction calling Mr. Kenney the real leader of Western Canada. That will depend on how Mr. Wall’s replacement works out, presumably.

In the mean time, though, it looks very much as if Western Canada will be without a real conservative leader, at any rate, for a full day! (Explanation to follow.) And today’s the day, people, so enjoy!

Mr. Wall is the former premier of Saskatchewan, and what a delight it is to be able to refer to him that way. Leastways, Mr. Wall will be the former premier by the time the time you read this, even if he technically remains Saskatchewan’s top political dawg until his successor is sworn in.

Mr. Wall spent his last half hour or so as leader of the misnamed Saskatchewan Party – which really ought to have been called the United Conservative Party of Saskatchewan and probably would have been if there hadn’t been a Devine intervention that caused the word “conservative” to fall into disrepute in the province to the east – lambasting the Alberta NDP.

Well, any old port in a storm, I guess. The Saskatchewan economy’s reputedly no great shakes right now and the Licence Plate War’s been called off, so what’s an angry about-to-be-ex premier to do for his Saskatoon swansong except trot out obscure references or orange shag carpets, lava lamps and churches. (What’s Mr. Wall got against churches, anyway? And did he miss it that shag carpets and orange upholstery are both back in style?) But the Saskatchewan Party’s got a plan, Mr. Wall insisted in a speech the admiring media characterized as a tub-thumper.

Presumably he figured it was safe to stick with a formula that’s worked for him since 2015, when Rachel Notley’s NDP was elected in Alberta. Anyway, he won’t be around to answer questions in the halls of the Legislature in Regina if Alberta’s economy continues to get better and Saskatchewan’s continues to get worse.

For the thumbnail summary of his speech, Mr. Wall apparently returned to the theme of a speech he gave a decade ago, about the time he became premier: Hope Beats Fear. You know, try like hell to make Saskatchewanians fear the NDP and hope like hell that works another time.

Mr. Wall was not replaced by just any Larry or Curly, by the way. Rather, the Saskatchewan Party chose a Moe. Scott Moe, to be precise, the MLA for Rosthern-Shellbrook and, until he announced he was running for leader, Saskatchewan’s environment minister. Don’t ask me for the scoop about the guy, though – this blog is about Alberta politics!

Speaking of which, Mr. Kenney having handily won a by-election in the Calgary-Lougheed Riding last month, the United Conservative Party of Alberta Leader will be sworn in as Opposition leader in a short ceremony at the Alberta Legislature tomorrow afternoon.

Alberta Lieutenant-Governor Lois Mitchell will administer the oath of office to Mr. Kenney at 2:30 p.m. in the chamber of the Alberta Legislature. A huge throng of mainstream media functionaries will be on hand to celebrate the occasion, not one of them wearing sneakers or jeans, which according to the Speaker’s Office are verboten.

Getting back to the question of whom the real real leader of Western Canada is, that’s actually quite hard to answer with any confidence. At the moment at least there’s a tie between the NDP and conservatives operating under a variety of names for the actual number of premiers, New Democrats in British Columbia and Alberta and conservatives in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

If you go by seniority, Ms. Notley, sworn in on May 24, 2015, is clearly now the Real Leader of Western Canada. She will no doubt be discussing this with her ministers at their cabinet retreat in Banff this week.

Certainly it’s not John Horgan, NDP Premier of British Columbia, who only got the job on July 18 last year after being propped up by the Green Party. And by all accounts, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister (sworn in on May 3, 2016) spends so much time in Costa Rica and New Mexico that he hardly counts as the top guy at home even when he returns from his trips uninjured. Mr. Moe, of course, hasn’t even been sworn in yet.

Seniority is presumably not what Mr. Kenney had in mind when he bestowed the title of Real Leader of Western Canada on Mr. Wall. That said, we’ve not heard much about the concept from him since Mr. Wall declared trade war on Alberta constructions workers and was soon thereafter outmaneuvered by the Alberta NDP.

Meanwhile, now that he’s actually got a seat in the Legislature, Mr. Kenney will have his hands full trying to best Ms. Notley in Parliamentary debate and ensure his caucus’s bozo-eruption-prone former Wildrose Party members behave themselves.

Both tasks will be difficult, although Mr. Kenney may be just the man to succeed at the latter. Indeed, it is said here he has already had some success. Notwithstanding his House Leader’s recent admission he once fired an employee who complained to him about being sexually harassed on the job by a contractor, at least there have been no lame comparisons made by UCP MLAs between “foreign dictator oil” and “ethical Alberta bitumen” since Mr. Kenney emerged victorious as UCP Leader.

Brian Jean is the MLA for Fort McMurray-Conklin.

7 Comments to: Brad Wall out! Jason Kenney not yet sworn in! Is Rachel Notley now the Real Leader of Western Canada?

  1. Bill Malcolm

    January 28th, 2018

    Moe sounds about as bright as Wall, judging by his refutation of the carbon tax. It’s beyond me how the West manages to discover these neanderthal politicians, aggrieved at anything and everything. Undereducated, devoid of any knowledge germane to governing in the modern world, these folk apparently appeal to the local hayseeds of whom there must be hosts. Moe was the Environment minister and apparently absorbed nothing during his tenure at that post. Preconceived nonsense prevailed over reality, so we get another loudmouthed boor in charge of a province.

    Add that to Notley’s studied indifference to CO2 emissions along with JT, pandering to tarsands companies as if an exterior world didn’t exist, and I have to say this country, if it indeed is one with these petty provincial potentates calling the shots in a beggar-thy-neighbour series of outright idiocy, is in danger of fracturing into irrelevance.

    We’re supposed to reside in a country but there’s little sign of anything but people jockeying for positions of personal power in provincial subsets of the nation. Unity? Hah! Whining and complaining about perceived slights whether nationally or against next door neighbours appears to be the peak of intellectual discourse these “leaders” are capable of.

    • Farmer Brian

      January 29th, 2018

      Bill, if Alberta, or for that matter Canada stopped producing and selling oil today do you believe this would lower world oil consumption? I believe there would be a short period of adjustment while other producers ramped up production to fill the void. Undoubtably Canada would have to reverse the flow of existing export pipelines to import oil. Energy inflation in Canada would certainly have grave economic consequences. In the end oil exporting countries would benefit, most countries wouldn’t notice, and only Canada would lose.

      I look at Alberta and I see the biggest problem to be the sustainable funding of government. The carbon tax does nothing to the deficit as the proceeds are not put into general revenues. On the farm all I see from the carbon tax is increased natural gas bills on heating my home(a necessity in Alberta), increased freight rates on my grain, higher concrete prices, on and on. Also as a farmer I can’t just raise the price on the grain I sell to recover these costs, what I recieve is set by world markets, I am a price taker not a price setter.

      My opinion is that Alberta needs a PST, not a carbon tax. We need a more stable source of government revenue. All provinces in Canada except for Alberta have a sales tax. Farming has taught me that if your the only one not doing something 95% of the time you are the wrong, you are not the innovator. I think energy efficiency programs are a good investment, these programs could be funded by the PST. When renewable energy is as affordable and as portable as our existing energy choices it will be adopted. When it comes to the farm, we have adopted many new technologies which optimize our use of inputs, no-till farming, sectional control on our implements, soil testing and engine tuning to reduce fuel consumption to name a few. The carbon tax will only increase my costs not change my behaviour as efficiencies that exist have already been found imo. But what do I know in Bill’s world I am just another neanderthal! Enjoy your day☺️

      • Northern Loon

        January 30th, 2018

        PST is a regressive form of tax that unfairly targets those with less income as their entire disposable income is subject to the PST, whereas those with higher incomes either save their money and not pay PST or travel where there is no PST return to the province.

  2. Kang the barbarian

    January 28th, 2018

    Why do we care so much about Saskatchewan? Because it is a Province and Provincial governments have real power if they choose to use it.

    Après Notley and Horgan, evidently only the right wing understand this.

  3. tom in ontario

    January 28th, 2018

    “Mr. Wall was not replaced by just any Moe or Curly, by the way. Rather, the Saskatchewan Party chose a Moe.”

    Veiled references to farcical skits by Stooges are not, Mr. Blogger, appreciated. Your flippant remarks will be forwarded to Sun Media without delay.

  4. David

    January 29th, 2018

    Saskatchewan’s impact on the national political scene is probably not as great as Wall tried to portray. Population wise, it is around the size of Edmonton and has fewer MP’s in the current Federal government. Still, it is a province and provinces do have powers greater than that of cities, despite population. Wall also was a voice that was at times out of harmony with most other premiers, so he sometimes got attention due to that.

    He did seemed rather grumpy in the last few years, but I suppose it is understandable. The economy has cratered, he has had to make budget cuts and perhaps for the first time in his political career face a considerable amount of voter unhappiness along with that niggling land scandal that just did not seem to want to go away. If he ever hoped to be the leader or voice of the west due to seniority, that role was somewhat usurped when Premier Notley arrived and was prepared to deal with the rest of Canada on climate change. Wall was just left to sputter and fume about it.

    Now that he is gone, there is no prominent Conservative leader in power in the west. Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Premier might not be conservative enough – he partly accepted the carbon tax idea or prominent enough. As as aside, the Ontario PC’s seem ok with a carbon tax too as was BC under both its previsions more Conservative and current government, so it will be left to the new Premier of Saskatchewan to try carry on Wall’s perhaps Quixotic fight. on this issue Of course, in Alberta the shrewd career politician Kenney will also try continue that fight too as he hopes can manufacture enough outrage about it to help him gain power, even though he surely well knows from his Federal experience, the Feds can immediately put in place a similar tax, even if he promises to eliminate it.

    However, I suspect the new Saskatchewan Premier is unlikely to try start many fights about license plates or other things while he settles in and learns his job for the next year or so. Therefore, I suppose by seniority and impact the real leader of the west is now clearly Premier Notley and that will probably cause Federal and other Conservatives to become even more apoplectic than before.


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