Alberta Politics
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at her nomination meeting in the Edmonton-Strathcona riding yesterday (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Rachel Notley accepts nomination; accuses Jason Kenney of coolly lying about ‘Kamikaze Campaign’

Posted on March 18, 2019, 1:00 am
7 mins

Based on what we’ve learned in the past 24 hours, it’s hard to dispute Premier Rachel Notley’s blunt assessment at her nomination meeting in the Edmonton-Strathcona riding yesterday that Opposition Leader Jason Kenney has been coolly lying about the role of his 2017 leadership campaign in the so-called “Kamikaze Mission” to sink his rival to lead the opposition United Conservative Party.

Accusing Mr. Kenney of “a profound absence of integrity,” Premier Notley told more than 1,000 cheering supporters in Old Strathcona’s St. Basil’s Cultural Centre that leaked United Conservative Party documents reported by journalists over the weekend showed Mr. Kenney’s “denials were calm, cool, confident lies. Outright lies.”

Ms. Notley joked about her “unladylike flair for tactical politics” (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“Mr. Kenney owes Albertans a full accounting, not just empty denials,” she stated.

Soon after she accepted the nomination by her son Ethan and addressed the packed meeting, Ms. Notley told reporters “the evidence that has come out and the memos that have come out make it pretty clear that on Friday, when Mr. Kenney … responded very calmly and coolly and confidently to those questions, that he was lying. He was absolutely lying.”

And so, inevitably, the ballot question for many Albertans in the election Ms. Notley will call soon will be, “Can Jason Kenney be trusted?”

Or, perhaps, to spin the same question another way,“What else can he not be trusted about.”

If this is so, it is not the question the UCP’s strategists would have wanted Albertans to be asking themselves.

The documents first reported by the CBC and now in the hands of other news organizations show Mr. Kenney’s victorious 2017 UCP leadership campaign and that of Jeff Callaway, the alleged Kamikaze Candidate, were effectively joined at the hip. The CBC reported that the Kenney crew gave the Callaway camp strategic direction, talking points, speech drafts, videos, and advertisements, “all aimed at undermining Kenney’s main political rival, Brian Jean.”

Premier Notley’s son Ethan welcomes his mom to the stage at St. Basil’s Cultural Centre (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In her spirited remarks – a campaign speech in all but timing – Premier Notley sharply contrasted her NDP Government’s platform with promises made by Mr. Kenney.

“This election is about who is going to be premier,” she said. “It’s about the kind of province that we leave to our kids. And I say to all of you, that the choice could not be more stark.

“Mr. Kenney believes we are in a race to the bottom. The lowest corporate taxes, the worst environmental regulations, underfunded and overstressed public services, low wages, stressed out families desperately trying to make ends meet. Angry and divisive politics. Two Albertas.

“I believe that we are in a race to the top. I believe that good public schools give our kids the best start in life. I believe that good public health care is the foundation of a decent society. I believe that we can do the hard work of diversification to build an economy that works for everyone. And I believe Alberta is stronger when we stick together and take care of each other.

“Alberta is for all of us. One Alberta. Not just for the few, but for all of us. And, friends, I believe that Alberta’s best days are absolutely ahead, and that the politics of love, and hope, and optimism always trump the politics of anger, division and fear.”

On Mr. Kenney’s plan to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, she said: “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class gets squeezed.”

On his vow to cut minimum wages for young people: “All work has dignity no matter who does it. There are no second class citizens in Alberta.”

She poked fun at Mr. Kenney’s recent suggestion that male candidates “understand tactical politics a little bit better than women.” She has “an unladylike flair for tactical politics,” she observed, to laughter.

And she mocked the UCP’s vociferous recent demands that she call an election as soon as possible. “We’re getting clearer and clearer insight into why it was that the UCP was so hysterically calling for the writ to be dropped,” she told the reporters after her speech.

Either way, she said, the timing of the election will not be based on the strategic needs of the UCP. “If our election timing was driven by the calendar of investigation into Conservative criminal wrongdoing, then we would never have a campaign.”

Ms. Notley got some support yesterday from an unexpected quarter when former Kenney ally Derek Fildebrandt, a man once touted as the conservative most likely to play the role of the Kamikaze Candidate and now leader of the libertarian Freedom Conservative Party, told the CBC, “not everyone that brings forward an allegation is necessarily credible or telling the truth, but these are now backed up by hard evidence.”

“The documents released last night show clearly that it is not the whistle-blowers that have lied, but Jason Kenney,” he stated.

The Notley Government’s Speech from the Throne will be read by Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell in the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton this afternoon.

10 Comments to: Rachel Notley accepts nomination; accuses Jason Kenney of coolly lying about ‘Kamikaze Campaign’

  1. Bill Malcolm

    March 18th, 2019

    Having read this column and not being in the least bit surprised that Kenney is continually being confirmed a sleazebag, as a Canadian living outside Alberta, I’m in the peculiar position of not being impressed by Notley either. At all.

    I clicked on the link above to “The mystery of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s long fall:” The comments are telling. In 2016, the hypocrisy of Notley on the tarsands was exposed by numerous commenters. Her centre-right BS position was exposed for all to see, her support for a new pipeline criticized. Alberta’s grab for all of what little extra GHG emissions headroom Canada had left was pointed out. People should read that old column and comments to see how the new norm is less planet-sensitive today than it was then. We’ve regressed. No cause for cheer as our norms descend further into the mould that the super-rich find compatible with their greed.

    Since 2016, we have seen Notley’s vindictiveness with BC, the country has bought Alberta a pipeline, and nothing is quick enough for Notley in the environmental race to the bottom, so she’s going to send dilbit through BC by railcar. What a super wowee fantastic person!

    Alberta seems to live in a bubble like some middle European dutchy in the 1800s before Germany or Italy became countries, and when the loose remnants of the Austro-Hungarian empire were still around. Totally self-consumed, and bugger everyone else. Worse than that, her neighbours must conform to her reactionary policies as well. Apparently, Alberta’s sense of entitlement must triumph over all opposition.

    I’m serious. When is this juvenile thinking in Alberta going to stop? Three years of Trump, and voter affirmation of the right wing in the Prairies, Ontario and Quebec is ruining Canada. You’d hope the Alberta NDP would be a light shining out of this mess, but no, it’s a thinly-disguised Conservative party anyway, with perhaps a modicum of social progressiveness.

    I see little sign of the progressive comments that adorned the 2016 column these days. Years of Notley whining and Kenney malfeasances have further ruined the place. Albertans think themselves so special, and anyone who disagrees gets shat on from a great height.

    So you lot of have a chance to vote for the right or the alt-right xenophobic Social Regressive parties in the upcoming election. What a non-choice. This is the level of nincompoopery Alberta has descended into. In just four short years Notley has stood social democracy on its head, and reminds me of the master of that neoliberal BS line of modern social democratic fakery, Tony Blair in the UK.

    I can understand the glee at Kenney maybe finally being caught out for the likely crook he is, but the alternative cannot be proclaimed as wonderful either. Sorry to rain on your parade, but it’s the truth. The decline to environmental idiocy has been gradual enough with the NDP that I don’t see much informed opinion on it here these days either. We are all descending into being cheerleaders for merely less right wing alternatives these days, and in an absolute sense, it stinks to high heaven.

    Too bad. Another year of BC wildfires to generate airborne environmental poison never accounted for, methane leaks galore all leading to further warming and higher CO2 levels, and Notley fiddles while Rome burns. Whoever Albertans votes for, we all get screwed. There’s no time left to change things for the better, the Earth is toast, the children protest as they must the ruinous nature of the world bequeathed them, and nobody provides leadership. The climate is already weird and it’ll get worse, so good luck to one and all deniers who rather than face reality, squawk about how they are being unfairly prevented from exacerbating a bad climate position further, and as quickly as possible. Chop chop.

    I shake my head at the sheer lunacy of it all.

    • Geoffrey Pounder

      March 18th, 2019

      Good call, Bill.

      “Ms. Notley told reporters ‘the evidence that has come out and the memos that have come out make it pretty clear that on Friday, when Mr. Kenney … responded very calmly and coolly and confidently to those questions, that he was lying. He was absolutely lying.'”

      I wasn’t going to say anything, but… Notley has been lying to Canadians about pipelines and energy issues for years now.
      Is it better to be led over the climate cliff by “progressive” politicians?
      Or is it worse?

    • Albertan

      March 18th, 2019

      …somewhat agree. However, I will hold my nose and vote for the Notley NDP any day before the Kenney gang.

    • Geoffrey Pounder

      March 18th, 2019

      “Predatory Delay and the Rights of Future Generations”
      “… so for a couple decades we had a legitimate argument that we needed a reasonable amount of time to change our ecological impact. It’s become clear that many of our leaders’ definition of a reasonable amount of time, though, is for things to change sometime after they’re dead.
      This is what I mean when I say that we have a politics of ‘predatory delay.’ Many wealthy people understand that their profits are extracted through destructively unsustainable practices, and they’ve known it for decades. By and large, they no longer deny the need for change, they simply argue for delay, on the basis that to change too quickly would be unfair to them.
      This allows them to been seen as responsible and caring. They want change, they claim; they just think we need prudent, appropriately paced change, mindful of economic trade-offs and judiciously studied — by which they mean cosmetic change for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, they fight like hell to delay change of any real magnitude, attacking not only the prospects of our kids and kin in the future, but increasingly of our society in the present. Their delay has real, serious human consequences, across generations. They’re taking, not creating; the harm they cause is measurable.
      … ‘Policy should protect the future from the past, not the past from the future.’ Yet in every country on Earth, policies made at the top are still overwhelmingly designed not to meet our planetary crisis at the scale and speed it demands, but to protect the institutions, companies and systems causing that crisis from disruptive change.”

      Alex Steffen: “Predatory Delay and the Rights of Future Generations”

      Notley, not Kenney, took rational, progressive alternatives to climate insanity off the table.
      Notley, not Kenney, persuaded progressives to support pipelines and Big Oil’s expansion agenda.

      Who cares if Notley lies to us? She wears an orange NDP hat. Team captain. On our side.
      Likewise, infantilized UCP zealots will forgive Kenney any transgression.
      The triumph of tribalism.

      The children march in the streets for climate justice, while the adults play in the oil sandbox.

  2. Sara-Anne Peterson

    March 18th, 2019

    My parents would be so happy with her. They always voted CCF and NDP and their families were early settlers in Alberta (1880 and 1890s – missionaries and homesteaders). I too thinks she is great – if she would just stop supporting that awful pipeline. I have a grandson who shrimp fishes in the Salish Sea and I love Vancouver. I don’t live in Alberta now but if I did I would campaign hard for her. What a complicated country.

  3. Bob Raynard

    March 18th, 2019

    I wonder how this is affecting the UCP candidates. Some of them must be wondering what they have gotten into, especially if they came into the party from the Wildrose Party, where they thought they were going to be doing politics differently.

    Incidentally, I got a flyer from my local UCP candidate last week. It, of course talked about how wonderful and hard working a candidate he is, but Jason Kenney was noticeably absent. In the entire flyer there was one passing reference to Mr. Kenney.

  4. J.E. Molnar

    March 18th, 2019

    The jig is up Mr. Kenney — follow the money RCMP!

    If Jason Kenney’s gaslighting Albertans on the matter wasn’t enough, the UCP brass has weighed in, after categorically denying any collusion between the Kenney and Callaway campaigns — now claiming it was your normal everyday garden variety campaign-to-campaign communication — essential saying: “Collusion isn’t a crime.” Pretty soon they’ll be claiming: “The truth isn’t the truth” or “crime isn’t a crime.” Pretty sure you’ve heard that Trumpian nonsense before.

  5. Shadowkey392

    March 18th, 2019


  6. Brett

    March 18th, 2019

    Jason Kenney is lying to us now. Just imagine what it will be like if he becomes premier.

  7. David

    March 19th, 2019

    At some point when you contradict taped recordings, written emails and eyewitness accounts from more than one person, you start to come across as a desperate liar.

    It you continue to cooly, perhaps coldly continue to contradict all this you start to come across as a pathological liar. How badly and desperately you want power is just reinforced by this and perhaps it also explains, but does not justify, the bad choices that were made.

    I think the UCP is about to discover Keneey has two, not just one achilles heels and it is the combination of these that may prove fatal for his political ambitions. The one we are focused on right now is his ethical and perhaps soon to be legal challenges. However, this is an era where more convincing and appealing populists can survive that, at least so far. Kenney is neither a convincing populist, having been in politics for an awfully long time already, or much liked. This is another way Kenney resembles his predecessor Nixon, who had some wins in a long political career, but was never much liked.

    A liked politician – think Chretien or Klein, can make some serious mistakes, survive and be forgiven. An unliked one will not be given such latitude. Yes, the extreme partisans will rally around their wounded leader – this even happened for Nixon, but you need much broader support to survive mortal wounds and to get that support you need to connect with those beyond them.


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