Alberta Politics
A scene from the Lake of Fire. John Carpay’s rowboat is not visible. (Photo: Public Domain).

Considering Carpay’s Folly: Why can’t Alberta Conservatives stay away from the Lake of Fire?

Posted on November 12, 2018, 1:18 am
8 mins

Why can’t Alberta conservatives learn to stay away from the Lake of Fire?

This is a question for the ages.

John Carpay, founder and president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Photo: JCCF).

Latest to bathe in the scalding waves of the fiery lake is social conservative litigator and Jason Kenney confidante John Carpay.

Mr. Carpay was a principal player in the unsuccessful effort last spring by the so-called Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms to get a court injunction to halt enforcement of the Alberta law preventing schools from informing parents when students join gay-straight alliances.

He is president and founder of the JCCF, the self-described “voice for freedom in Canada’s courtrooms.” The group’s legal work on behalf of various social conservative causes has earned the endorsement of Rebel Media and donations from various right-wing slush funds like the Aurea Foundation, which also bankrolls the Munk Debate.

In court filings in its battle with Alberta Education Minister David Eggen in June, the JCCF sparked outrage by calling GSAs “ideological sexual clubs.”

Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta, as he must have looked when he heard what John Carpay had just said (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Madam Justice Johnna C. Kubik of the Alberta Court of Queens Bench made short work of the group’s legal effort, but Mr. Carpay, also a former Reform Party and Wildrose Party candidate as well as a former Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, is no quitter.

On Saturday, he was speaking to a Rebel Media conference in Calgary when he compared the rainbow pride flags that symbolize the rights of LGBTQ people to the swastika flag of Nazi Germany and the hammer and sickle of communism.

The Lake of Fire Mr. Carpay stirred up pretty quickly sloshed into social media, and thence into mainstream news coverage, with smoking spatters landing on Mr. Kenney – who once compared Mr. Carpay to Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist best known for her role in the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott.

Well, as they say, you just can’t make this stuff up. And in Alberta, you almost never have to.

Pretty soon there was a video clip of Mr. Carpay injudiciously flapping his gums circulating on social media. In it, he could be heard asking, “How do we defeat today’s totalitarianism?”

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“You’ve got to think about the common characteristics,” he went on in an explaining tone of voice. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hammer and sickle for communism, or whether it’s the swastika for Nazi Germany, or whether it’s a rainbow flag, the underlying thing is a hostility to individual freedoms.” (Emphasis added.)

The “individual freedom” people who fly the rainbow flag are hostile to, by the way, is the “freedom” to persecute other people for things they can’t change, like their sexuality.

The reaction on social media was instantaneous and sharp.

Commentators were quick to point out the mutual admiration Mr. Carpay and Mr. Kenney share for one another. A recording of Mr. Kenney touting for the JCCF soon surfaced.

A Tweeter asked if Mr. Kenney – who keeps pledging to root extremists out of the UCP – would be asking Mr. Carpay to leave the party. Others demanded Mr. Kenney denounce Mr. Carpay and his ilk.

As my colleague Joshua Bergman wrote in a strong social media commentary on Mr. Carpay’s comment: “This comparison is particularly offensive and hurtful considering thousands of LGBTQ people were arrested, sent to concentration camps, tortured, and killed under Nazi rule.”

For his part, Mr. Kenney Tweeted about what a wonderful time he was having at his local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. “Thank-you to all of our veterans!”

A pride flag (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Obviously worried about the impact of his blunder, Mr. Carpay issued a carefully worded apology on the JCCF’s website late yesterday. “I unintentionally drew a broad comparison between the rainbow flag and the flags which bear the symbols of Communism and Nazism,” he said in part. (Emphasis added.)

“‘The slogans ofdiversity,’ ‘equity,’ ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusion’ have been abused in ways that undermine our free society, and the fundamental freedoms of speech, conscience, religion, association and peaceful assembly,” he argued, not very persuasively.

Taken in context, I hope it can be seen that it was not my intent to broadly equate the rainbow flag with the evils of Communism and Nazism, and I again offer my apology to anyone who may have interpreted my remarks in such fashion.” (Emphasis added again.)

As an aside, during my years in journalism, I always said that, “When they say, ‘I was taken out of context,’ they usually mean, ‘I wish I hadn’t said that.’”

The bigger question, as noted earlier, is why Alberta’s social conservatives just can’t keep their feet out of their mouths. I don’t know the answer. And, apparently, neither do they.

I’m sure it keeps Danielle Smith up nights even now. It was lava surf from the original Lake of Fire, in the hours before the 2012 Alberta election campaign, that burned her party boat, the MV Wildrose, right to the waterline.

I’m not so sure that Mr. Kenney cares. He and his supporters are so persuaded they will win the next Alberta election no matter what, they may have concluded they can say what they like and get away with it.

Or maybe Mr. Carpay was just overconfident because he was at a meeting put on by Rebel Media. When you’re among friends, after all … what could possibly go wrong?

7 Comments to: Considering Carpay’s Folly: Why can’t Alberta Conservatives stay away from the Lake of Fire?

  1. Robbie Bobbie Boo

    November 12th, 2018

    Carpay is totally ignorant or deliberately ignoring the fact that Soviet communists and Germany’s Nazis both oppressed and murdered gays. I’m guessing the former. He and his ilk are more on the side of the totalitarian oppressors than the rainbow coalition is.
    This “screw empathy, we’re white and we’re conservative and we demand the right to be intolerant” attitude of all of the Con parties is why I will always vote NDP or Liberal, no matter how incompetent and corrupt they are. I’d rather live with a deficit than let these corporate shills dismantle civilized society.

  2. Jerrymacgp

    November 12th, 2018

    What is behind the right’s fascination, nay dare I say obsession, with sex? All they ever seem to want to talk about is sex, sexuality, sexual mores and behaviour, sexual orientation, who can schtup whom, who can marry whom, etc. etc. They claim to be all about “individual liberty”, and yet they want to put the State right back in the bedrooms of the nation from which they were ejected by Trudeau père in 1968. What’s up with that? (Maybe we should be asking Tony Clement … ).

    • Tris Pargeter

      November 12th, 2018

      That fascination with sex is simply a reflection of the religious doctrine (Catholic in Kenney’s case) that motivates this particular brand of conservatism WAY more than anyone seems to realize. It’s the sanction and the source.

  3. Jim

    November 12th, 2018

    The answer is quite simple, these are the views and beliefs they hold and when fully in the echo chamber there doesn’t seem to be a problem. When you emerge from the echo chamber and reality comes into play it’s a different story. How foolish does it sound to equate those that don’t agree with your opinion to some of history’s greatest monsters? Would you rather they privately hold these ideas and not be honest with the voter? I say let them speak let their ideas come out so we as voters can be fully informed.

  4. tom in ontario

    November 12th, 2018

    “Mr. Kenney – who once compared Mr. Carpay to Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist best known for her role in the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.”

    Wikipedia reports: “Parks was charged with a violation of Chapter 6, Section 11 segregation law of the Montgomery City code, although technically she had not taken a white-only seat; she had been in the coloured section.”

    Question for Jason Kenney. Rosa Parks was arrested, booked and placed in a cell. For what legal infraction was Mr. Carpay arrested? When and where did this violation of the law take place? What major civil rights legislation resulted from his actions?

  5. Sam Gunsch

    November 12th, 2018

    Some additional hard right extremism Kenney/UCP has to deal with…

    Kenney was challenged to terminate 600 members, if he were to terminate Carpay’s UCP membership.

    From Press Progress report today (Nov 12).

    EXCERPT: ‘After video trickled out of the event, Rebel Media’s alt-right Alberta correspondent Keean Bexte took to Twitter to defend both Carpay and his statements.

    In a tweet aimed at Kenney and UCP executive director Janice Harrington, Bexte warned that if Kenney terminates Carpay’s membership, he “will have to terminate my membership and the 600 rebels who were cheering him on.”’

  6. Public Servant

    November 12th, 2018

    I am hopeful that the increasingly vile bozo eruptions coming from people Jason Kenney admires will be enough to convince Albertans that Kenney is not fit to lead.


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