The Perils of Pauline (1914) .

It may be the Ides of March, but on the Alberta political stage, today’s production seems to be the Perils of Pauline, not Julius Caesar.

For those of you hoping to see Brian Jean strike back at Jason Kenney and take up the leadership of the Freedom Conservative Party, the Alberta Party, or, hell, maybe even the Alberta Greens, you’re going to have to wait a little longer.

The real Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Having gotten plenty of attention from overly credulous Albertans yesterday – including from the puppet-master himself, former prime minister Stephen Harper, who basically told the former Wildrose leader to shaddup, siddown and let his former rival run the United Conservative Party – Mr. Jean tweeted cutely that this had nothing to do with him.

Wow,” he extemporized. “I too have heard crazy rumours about something coming Friday but NONE of it involves me.” Nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

Well, remember where you heard it first. Surely by now Mr. Jean has used up his diminished supply of credibility. The baby announced the last time the former Wildrose Party leader was involved in a stunt like this arrived on Valentine’s Day, and Mr. Jean now has an opportunity to concentrate on being an indulgent daddy. Twice burned, I imagine media will now leave the man alone.

Nevertheless, mainstream media seemed determined yesterday to somehow keep this pot of cold water boiling, dropping hints that Something Is Up Just The Same.

Brian Jean (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

According to a Source not identified by the CBCas he wasn’t authorized to speak on the topic” – surely the most annoying phrase in modern journalism – “we have reason to believe that there will be sort of announcements and things done tomorrow, that they’re a big deal, but they don’t involve Brian.”

We’ll get back to you if something actually happens.

Meanwhile, former UCP MLA Prab Gill, who has been repeatedly poking a stick in the spokes of Mr. Kenney’s tricycle, has written a letter to Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson arguing that when UCP staffers were making creepy videos of the folks coming and going from his office they were in fact trying to obstruct investigations into fraud allegations in the UCP leadership race.

“This targeted harassment campaign is directly linked to my knowledge and disclosure of the questionable machinations of the UCP leadership race ‘kamikaze campaign’ and irregular voting practices,” Mr. Gill wrote. He argued the intent was “to dissuade me from further revealing what I have witnessed and from further testifying.”

The effect of all this hoo-haw on the right has been to keep everyone from doing what they really ought to be doing, to wit, speculating idly about the date of Premier Notley’s election call.

Prab Gill (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The conventional wisdom has been for weeks that the premier would call the election days, if not hours, after Monday’s Throne Speech at the Alberta Legislature.

Nothing would suit the UCP and its media allies better, of course, since it would quickly move the allegations of electoral skullduggery, the appearance of fissures re-emerging on the right, and whatever the Election Commissioner is going to come up with all to the back burner.

So, it is said here, there is every reason for Premier Notley to tarry a little and let the Opposition stew in its own juices as long as possible.

This would give her the opportunity to properly set a trap for Mr. Kenney’s party – one of the yawning pit variety, which is perfectly obvious to its intended victim but nevertheless difficult to avoid.

This is the purpose, it is said here, of the conveniently leaked health care bill that the government intends to bring before the Legislature soonest, banning extra billing at fee-based medical clinics.

The practice of extra-billing – openly encouraged by utopian market fundamentalists on the ideological right – would be deeply subversive to Canada’s system of public health care and unpopular with significant numbers of voters who are not necessarily New Democrats.

What will Mr. Kenney do if this comes before the Assembly before the election is called? He can’t very well make this problem go away by signing another Coroplast health care pledge.

He could support the government, alienating a significant sector of his base. He could vote no, and thereby be officially smoked out by the government on health care privatization. Or he could lead his troops out of the Legislature in another humiliating retreat as he did over the NDP’s abortion clinic bubble-zone law.

None of these are good options from Mr. Kenney’s perspective. Therein lies the trap.

Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of Perils of Pauline (Jason).

Join the Conversation


  1. Now once and for all! We’re depending on you! Don’t let the noise distract you! If ever there was a given? It’s Jason’s assault on your province! Prove them wrong! I dare you! Just see what happens when you do! My bet is the subtle under-miners will scramble like all the bosses do when their money makers get up on their hind legs and say no! That’s your first signal! Then the mayhem on the right will go ballistic! Please! Just do that for the rest of us! Give us hope and leadership, that throws a life line!

  2. Things are really heating up. The RCMP has now launched an investigation over UCP ‘irregular financial contribution’ allegations.

    Another new developed released yesterday provides even more shocking news about the Kenney campaign’s direct involvement in the “Kamikaze Caper” courtesy of PressProgress Alberta.

  3. There is another reason to hold off calling the election. Jason Kenney’s leadership campaign is now being investigated by the RCMP. Let’s wait to see if Kenney’s leadership is legitimate before voters cast their ballots.

  4. Well it is getting interesting. Kenney and crew may be getting nervous, regardless of what Jean allegedly said or not about running.

    I’m not sure if Jean was silenced somehow, perhaps Harper or some one else reached out to him and managed to pursuade him to kill his plans or those plans really only ever existed in the imagination of Kenney or his supporters. Paranoia does tend to develop when things start to close in. In any event the underlying problems still exist, Jean is not happy and there is growing suspicion the UCP leadership race was not fair or worse. There continues to be talk about kamikaze candidates, illegal campaign donations and vote manipulation, not just by Jean but other former UCP people. Now the RCMP seem to be involved. Publically Kenney maintains he and his team were not involved in any of this, but they would seem to be the ones to benefit from these shenanigans.

    So no explosion today, but all of this is like a rumbling volcano that could erupt at any time, regardless of whether Jean runs for another party or not. There is going to be an election fairly soon, so the timing of all this could be more than a bit inconvenient for Kenney and crew.

  5. You’re posting tomorrow, David? Can we look forward to another helping of schadenfreude at the antics of The Logical Choice for the Next Premier of Alberta?

  6. “…The effect of all this hoo-haw on the right … “ À propos of nothing in particular, but I might have chosen a different silly word, perhaps “foofaraw”. “Hoo-haw” also serves as a fairly common euphemism for female genitalia, just as “junk” does for the male equivalent.

    Just sayin’ …

    1. Seriously? I have lived more than 67 years and used (almost, apparently) every slang word in English, not to mention several other languages, to describe numerous parts of the human body, male, female and gender non-specific. I have never heard that. I did a little search and found the principal meanings for that word (spelled various ways) are (1) a fuss or uproar, (2) marijuana or hashish, and (3) what you said. I am unrepentant and old enough not to change. DJC

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