Alberta Politics
UCP cabinet member Grant Hunter, who is apparently now in charge of the UCP Government’s Enemas List (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

UCP to give Alberta government ‘a giant enema,’ minister of ‘red tape reduction’ proclaims

Posted on November 22, 2019, 1:42 am
8 mins

Grant Hunter, associate minister in charge of Alberta’s ministry of “red tape reduction,” got up on his hind legs in the Legislature Wednesday evening and proclaimed that the intention of the United Conservative Party majority is “to give this government a giant enema.”

I wish I could tell you I was making this up. Unfortunately, it’s right there on page 2427 of Hansard.

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley on the steps of the Alberta Legislature, from which she is at the moment banned, on Wednesday (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

At the time, Mr. Hunter appeared to be complaining about Opposition criticism of the UCP Government’s move to grab control of the pensions of Alberta’s teachers, nurses and other public employees included in Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act.

Bill 22 — which received third reading yesterday after being swiftly rammed through the Legislature by the government majority — also controversially fired Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson, who just happened to be in the middle of an investigation of sleazy and illegal practices by certain supporters of Premier Jason Kenney during the UCP leadership race in 2017.

An RCMP investigation of fraud and forgery in the same circumstances continues.

A man appearing to be Alberta’s missing premier, Jason Kenney, spotted yesterday on a Facebook Live feed from Dallas, Texas (Photo: Screenshot).

Earlier Wednesday, while on temporary furlough from the House, NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley had called the plan to can Mr. Gibson and sidetrack his investigations “the most unconscionable abuse of power in the history of this province and this country.” Judging from the public reaction to the bill, it would appear a surprising number of Albertans who are not necessarily New Democrats agreed with her, notwithstanding implausible claims by the UCP that skidding Mr. Gibson was merely a cost-saving measure.

Asked by Ms. Notley to intervene to delay the vote on Bill 22, Legislature Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler suggested that it was likely some UCP MLAs would be in violation of the Conflict of Interests Act by voting, but said there was nothing she could do about it. “It is not within my limited jurisdiction to do so.”

This all puts Mr. Hunter’s remarks in context, after a fashion. He told the Legislature, “if they are going to lose their minds over what we’re doing in this session over one bill, I can’t imagine how they’re going to handle the fact that we’re about to give this government a giant enema.”

Effectively fired Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson (Photo: Office of the Election Commissioner).

I can’t claim to understand the inner working of Mr. Hunter’s mind, which sometimes seems to wander in strange directions. The former Wildrose MLA from Alberta’s deep south Mormon country once compared the impact of the NDP government led by Ms. Notley to a tsunami that killed 300,000 people. On another occasion, he put his name atop a blog post that suggested having a carbon tax in Alberta is sort of like Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s policies that killed several million people.

So it’s clear Mr. Hunter can’t be depended upon to exercise the best judgment when choosing metaphors to explain what he’s trying to say. His commentary also suggests something about the contempt the UCP must feel for the voters who put it in power.

I suppose what Mr. Hunter was trying to say in this case was that while the radical regime of massive cuts and privatization planned by the UCP may be unpleasant, it will be good for the province in the long run.

This is a position that can be disputed of course. It’s more likely that if the UCP really intends to eliminate one third of the “regulatory burden” on the province’s books, it will be things like occupational health and safety rules, limits on how much used car dealers and other supporters of the government can cheat their customers, and the rights of citizens to access approved medical procedures that end up being tossed out the window.

I guess this means Mr. Hunter’s ministerial duties will now include being in charge of the government’s Enemas List, which is presumably about the same length as Premier Kenney’s Enemies List. The premier, by the way, is scheduled to return to Alberta today after sitting out the debate over Bill 22 in Texas, about as far from Question Period as you can get and still be in oil country.

It’s important to remember that as described by Mr. Hunter, enemas are not necessarily either a recommended medical or economic prescription.

Indeed, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health,* use of the treatment to cure a common intestinal complaint may cause death in up to 4 per cent of cases. The economic consequences are also understood by economists to lead to long-lasting damage.

*See, we never make anything up on this blog.

Legislature committee pulls plug on Bill 207

While the United Conservative Party was pushing Bill 22 through, the Alberta Legislature’s Private Member’s Bill Committee pulled the plug late yesterday on Bill 207, the controversial effort by the party’s large anti-choice caucus to use medical practitioners’ “conscience rights” as a way to restrict access to abortion services, medical assistance in dying and other approved medical treatments.

The committee’s 8-2 vote to drop Peace River MLA Dan Williams’ Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act included the votes of four UCP members, which strongly suggests the visceral public reaction against the proposed legislation got through to many of the government party’s MLAs.

While this is a real victory for common sense and common decency in Alberta, efforts to nibble away at reproductive rights and LBGTQ rights are likely to continue among the UCP’s social conservative base and MLAs. It is even possible that the UCP Caucus in the Legislature could ignore the committee’s recommendation and bring back the bill.

18 Comments to: UCP to give Alberta government ‘a giant enema,’ minister of ‘red tape reduction’ proclaims

  1. Dave

    November 22nd, 2019

    I believe Mr. Hunter has his colourful metaphors mixed up, perhaps intentionally as misleading the house is something the UCP seems to be doing a lot lately, by ramping up its campaigns of misinformation. No, what the government is doing is not in more plain terms expelling all the crap, it is actually the exact opposite – keeping it in.

    In particular, by getting rid of the Election Commissioner and shutting down his politically damaging investigations to the UCP, Alberta is currently experiencing one of the greatest moments of political constipation ever in its history.

    I suppose it is no coincidence that much of Mr. Kenney’s political career has been based on trying to supress things, mostly social change, progress and perhaps even supressing being honest with himself. Maybe this explains the often pained look on his face. No Mr. Hunter, it is not the rest of the government that needs an enema.
    If anyone needs this, it is your boss Mr. Kenney who needs to let it all out and come clean.

    Reply
  2. Prairie Observer

    November 22nd, 2019

    This ‘A GIANT ENEMA’ comment made by a sitting minister of a provincial government once again goes to show that truth is stranger than fiction. The same could be also be said of the entire Kenney government and its policy initiatives – whose colorful nature again provide credence to the old axiom that you get the government you deserve. It causes me to pity my family members who live in Edmonton and must put up with this calamity for a government on a daily basis.

    Kenney’s administration makes the Ontario PC government and the Saskatchewan SP government look positively sane by comparison, which is no small task. It also makes Andrew Scheer look cerebral by comparison, which in reality is damning by feint praise.

    Reply
  3. Cam Westhead

    November 22nd, 2019

    Bill 207 is not quite dead yet. The full assembly has to vote on whether to accept the committee’s recommendation, in a vote on concurrence. While last night’s vote was excellent news, it’s too early for a victory lap. Let’s keep up the pressure and make sure the assembly votes to uphold the committee’s recommendation.

    Reply
  4. J.E. Molnar

    November 22nd, 2019

    “…to give this government a giant enema.”

    That now makes all UCP MLAs, including the premier — “supposiTORIES.” News flash — most of us already knew that.

    The UCP’s continuum of corruption, cronyism and cover-ups, being driven by Alberta’s new sleaze merchants, has been duly noted provincially and nationally by many ardent conservative voices on the right. Jason Kenney’s tone-deaf response to the latest onslaught on UCP clusterf*cks even has the cabal of tendentious Postmedia scribes shaking their heads. What’s up with that?

    Reply
  5. alan

    November 22nd, 2019

    ‘Cost savings’, says so right here, “The UCP have said that the impetus for the changes to Gibson’s former office is that the move will save the government $1 million over five years.”

    Seems that a $200,000.00/year ‘cost savings’ out of a $56 billion budgeted total for expenses would appear to be both a petty and vindictive move aimed at silencing individuals that are not ‘team players’.

    And then, after all of the red tape has been reduced and/or eliminated, implementation of the lining of the pockets part of the UCP fraud and forgery platform can proceed unimpeded. Almost everyone’s a winner baby, that’s no lie, because Jason Kenney, once in power, will hardly ever fail to satisfy his benefactors. Old school graft and political corruption never goes out of style, it just gets repackaged, over and over again.

    Reply
  6. Abs

    November 22nd, 2019

    Now that this has leaked out, my comment yesterday telling the UCP and Special K to get their hands off my (CPP) assets takes on new meaning. Potty mouth also takes on new meaning. The gong show continues.

    Reply
  7. tom in ontario

    November 22nd, 2019

    “…I can’t imagine how they’re going to handle the fact that we’re about to give this government a giant enema.”
    My word, since Mr. Hunter is a member of the ruling government, he could easily demonstrate how it will work for Albertans. Using himself as an example, he could arrange for medical staff expert in these matters to wheel the necessary apparatus into the legislature, set things up and then give him one, live, on TV for the people to see. By doing so, he will provide indisputable proof of his government’s intentions and be YouTube famous for years to come.

    Reply
    • Expat Albertan

      November 23rd, 2019

      Sort of what I was thinking of: given that the UCP is, in fact, the government, isn’t Hunter saying that they are giving themselves an enema. And, at the risk of being a bit gross, if you don’t do that enema correctly, UCP.

      Reply
    • Jerrymacgp

      November 24th, 2019

      As a Registered Nurse with 34 years’ experience in Alberta, I feel more than qualified to comment on giving enemas … clearly, what the UCP caucus needs is what we call a “5-H”: high, hot, a helluva lot, & hold it ‘til it hurts …

      On a more serious note, you can’t tell me that a comment like this, by a Minister of the Crown no less, is appropriate to that setting & respects the dignity of the House. He should be ashamed of himself, and his constituents should be appalled at their MLA’s conduct.

      Reply
    • Northern Loon

      November 25th, 2019

      Tom I believe you are too limited. In the interests of fairness to Albertans I believe that every UCP MLA and their political staffers should all submit simultaneously to the 5H enema as described below by Jerry. With a very lengthy waiting period for a single toilet made available for their joint use, because the UCP wouldn’t want to spend too much money on luxury items like toilets for regular Albertans.

      Reply
  8. Abd

    November 22nd, 2019

    I suppose this is why the UCP had to back off on the private mrmber’s bill granting doctors conscience rights. Some doctor might object to enemas.

    Reply
  9. Liz

    November 22nd, 2019

    The UCP’s daily nonsense gets harder and harder to take, but the obvious reply to Hunter is that he and his fellow UCPers are so full of excrement and/or BS, that it is they who need a gigantic enema.

    Reply
  10. David Bridger

    November 22nd, 2019

    Remember Preston Mannings Reform party? Which morfed into the canadian Alliance, which became the Conservative party which didn’t really satisfy Am era’s lust for blood, which rose again as the Wild Rose party, which couldn’t win power. The UCP was a merger of progressive cons and wild rosters but didn’t change their meanness. Now we see what it real.ly means.

    These people are o the war path and good luck if you get in their way.

    Reply
  11. Just Me

    November 22nd, 2019

    I don’t believe that Bill 207 will just simply go away.

    It will be back, in some other kind of form, supporting some other justification to limit reproductive rights.

    I suspect that it will return as a cost-cutting measure, say, for the purpose of limiting public coverage of certain medical procedures.

    There will be a review of medical services deemed necessary and those can are elective. I have no doubt that covered services that have any connection to reproductive choice will be severely curtailed – as a cost-cutting measure, of course.

    Get ready this is how it will happen.

    Reply
  12. Scotty on Denman

    November 23rd, 2019

    We’ve heard The Donald call the “fake” media “the enemy of the people.” We’ve heard both the CPC and UCP leaders talk about the ROC+Q’s Prime Minister as if he were “public enemy number one” —but ‘public enema number one’?—presumably before “draining the swamp”…?

    Yes, the captains of sinking neo-right ships-of-state all want to be ‘public enema number one’—but who gets to be the nozzle? Those offended by this kind of beer-parlour talk —‘boys-will-be-boys’, “grab-‘em-by-the-pussy” talk—are being told: you don’t like it, find a new bar.

    Probably good advice: sounds like one wouldn’t want to pick up a bar anywheres near the minister of tapeworm reduction.

    Reply
  13. Public Servant

    November 23rd, 2019

    I think he meant to say the Unlimited Corruption Party is giving Albertans a giant enema.

    Reply
    • Rocky

      November 24th, 2019

      I think he meant Unpleasant Constipated Poopers.

      Reply

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