Alberta Politics
The fan; the office; I think we all know what happened next (Photo: Found on the Internet, provenance unknown).

Lake of Fire Update: Stuff is still hitting the fan, and it may not be lava!

Posted on November 12, 2018, 10:56 pm
8 mins

Well a certain kind of stuff has certainly hit the fan since it was reported here and elsewhere that John Carpay, the well-known social conservative warrior, had dipped his toe into Alberta’s always-dangerous Lake of Fire.

Since the story broke over the long weekend, Mr. Carpay and his old comrade in social conservatism Jason Kenney have been subjected to a ferocious barrage of criticism, and not just on social media.

Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

There’s been no shortage of Albertans demanding that Mr. Kenney, leader of the Conservative Opposition in the Legislature, revoke Mr. Carpay’s membership in the United Conservative Party for his odious comparison of the rainbow pride flag to the banners of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kenney’s even had a Postmedia political columnist – a breed not usually associated criticism of the UCP – gently suggest that now might be an excellent time to advise Mr. Carpay his assistance is no longer required.

Don Braid even called Mr. Carpay’s comment “a dark, ugly slur,” and reminded readers that “the jackboot march to real totalitarianism always starts by demonizing minorities.”

Mr. Carpay’s inadvisable commentary also reminded folks of the kind of things Mr. Kenney says when he’s among friends, like that time last year when he compared Mr. Carpay to Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist best known for her role in the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott.

Mr. Kenney’s friend and supporter John Carpay (Photo: Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms).

That was said at a fundraiser for Mr. Carpay’s so-called Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which earlier this year tried to get a court injunction to halt enforcement of the Alberta law preventing schools from informing parents when students join gay-straight alliances.

At that point, Premier Rachel Notley entered the fray, tweeting fiercely that “John Carpay is no Rosa Parks” and telling Mr. Kenney “that is the second most offensive comparison I’ve heard this weekend. If you want to distance yourself from Mr. Carpay’s hateful views, you need to condemn – in a clear, unequivocal way – all of them.” (Emphasis added, of course, since there are no italics on Twitter.)

Mr. Kenney had published a tweet in the morning calling Mr. Carpay’s opinion “vile” – without actually mentioning Mr. Carpay – and another one a minute later reminding everyone that Mr. Carpay had apologized, never mind that it was standard political non-apology apology.

Mr. Kenney’s second tweet went on to try to divert the conversation by saying “this tendency to trivialize the unique meaning of Nazi and Soviet terror must stop.” That got even more people yelling at him.

Even Mr. Kenney’s sock-puppet accounts seemed strangely subdued, complaining plaintively that Mr. Kenney was being damned for something he said a long time ago.

No sooner had they trotted out that excuse than another old recording of Mr. Kenney surfaced. In this one he was smugly praising former Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day for fighting to end “taxpayer funded abortions in Alberta,” ban adoptions by gay couples, and use the Notwithstanding Clause to overturn “the outrageous Vriend decision in the Supreme Court of Canada,” which proclaimed that same-sex couples were entitled to equal protection under the law.

One just has a feeling there’s plenty more where that one came from.

So, it was not a good day for Jason Kenney and John Carpay today. There will be need to be more damage control tomorrow, presumably.

A couple of things about Cardus that readers should know

You may have heard the reports today that a think tank has issued a report concluding it would be a good thing if Alberta doubled or tripled the number of students enrolled in private schools.

This would “foster innovation and reduce the ‘monopoly’ of teachers’ associations,” was the way the Edmonton Journal summed up the conclusions of the report, called “Better is Possible,” by the Cardus Institute, which describes itself as “a non-partisan, faith-based think tank.”

Well, OK. Cardus doesn’t openly support a given political party. But there are some things readers should know about Cardus just the same that are likely relevant to its position in this debate.

First, Cardus got its start with money from the Donner Canadian Foundation, a vast fund for financing right-wing opinion and argument, to conduct research to undermine unions. This may explain the report’s characterization of teachers’ unions like the Alberta Teachers Association as a “monopoly,” and its assumption weakening them would be a good thing.

Cardus President Michael Van Pelt – presumably no relation to the girl who keeps snatching Charlie Brown’s football away – was hired away from the Sarnia Chamber of Commerce, which is likely not a hotbed of pro-union sympathies.

Other Cardus reports have attacked rules in other provinces restricting bids on some public contracts to unionized contractors and favouring the approach to labour relations advocated by the Christian Labour Association of Canada, or CLAC, as it is better known.

Cardus also has a connection to the Fraser Institute in Deani Van Pelt, a “senior fellow” with both organizations.

There may be a more formal relationship – although it would take some digging to prise out the details – between CLAC, whose no-strike approach is extremely controversial in the Canadian labour movement, and Cardus, both of which have their roots in the Christian Reformed Church.

The CRC is a Protestant denomination dominated by people who are certainly conservative the theological sense, and often in a political sense too.

Regardless, the CRC operates private Christian schools in Alberta.

Now, I have not yet had the opportunity to read the Cardus report. So I will leave formal analysis of its findings to others for now. But the relationships noted above, while not enough to discredit the Cardus conclusions automatically, should lend a healthy sense of skepticism to anything presented by the group as conclusive.

8 Comments to: Lake of Fire Update: Stuff is still hitting the fan, and it may not be lava!

  1. brett

    November 12th, 2018

    About now is the time that Albertans will find out if the UCP has a real leader or just a mouse.

    The time for Jason Kenney to stand up and do the right thing is quickly passing.

    He should reflect on what happened to Danielle Smith.

    Albertans expect and will hopefully demand better.

    Step up to the plate Mr. Kenney. Silence means you are turning your back and running like a coward in the night from a very basic issue.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      November 13th, 2018

      Mr. Keegstra taught in a public school. Of course, had he taught in a private school, he might have gotten away with it. DJC

      Reply
      • Bob Raynard

        November 14th, 2018

        I HOPE you are wrong, David. If you aren’t, it means it is possible that Jim Keegstra 2.0 is out there right now.

        Reply
  2. David

    November 13th, 2018

    Mr. Carpay seems to be trying to explain away his comments as “unintentional”. It seems to me they are entirely consistent with what he has been saying for years. The only thing I think was unintentional was that he did not realize his comments might land him in such hot water. I suppose it is another version of the sorry if I offended amyone non apology apology.

    I doubt Mr. Kenney will do much, if anything, with Mr. Carpay. He is a too important Alberta social Conservative for Kenney to really stand up to or punish and remove.

    I suspect Kenney will just tell Carpay to not say anything for a while, at least until tbis controversy goes away – just another grassroots social conservative to gag and silence, but there seems to be too many bozos and too many eruptions in this clown car of a party for even Mr. Kenney to control.

    Reply
  3. Bob Raynard

    November 13th, 2018

    Brett is absolutely correct. In addition to the valid points he raised, Rebel Media’s Keean Bexte has threatened to pull his membership, and the membership of the 600 ‘rebels’ who heard Carpay speak if Kenney expels Carpay. (He apparently thinks the audience will follow him like sheep). With 130,000 members, Kenney can afford to lose 600 members, but he really can’t afford the impression that Rebel Media is directing his policy.

    https://pressprogress.ca/rebel-media-says-600-ucp-members-supported-speaker-who-compared-pride-flags-to-nazi-swastikas/

    Reply
    • brett

      November 13th, 2018

      These are 600 members who will only hurt the Party if Kenney does not act.

      They will become emboldened, just as that core group within Wild Rose became emboldened by Danielle Smith’s lack of action. They got a false sense of power. Look at the result. Let the 600 and any others go. It will advantageous in the long run for the Party. It is time for leadership.

      Will Jason Kenney et al show some backbone? NOW is the time to put this party on the right course. Failure to do so will not be good for Kenney or the UCP. Already, he and his acolytes are so far away from what I would call the Lougheed Conservatives that he makes me cringe. I really do not know what they stand for nor do I think they do….other than being desirous of power.

      Reply
  4. Farmer Brian

    November 14th, 2018

    There is no doubt in my mind that John Carpay should be relieved of his UCP membership. Comparing the evil of Hitler or Stalin to the supporters of the rainbow flag seems incomprehensible. One can certainly make an arguement that a free exchange of ideas can be difficult in today’s sanitized environment but this comparison shows a very tenuous grip on right or wrong. I agree with Bob 100% the UCP can afford to lose these 600 members!

    Reply

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