Alberta Politics
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney pointing the way … to Ottawa? (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Foresight is 2020: It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a Top Ten List of political predictions

Posted on December 31, 2019, 1:46 am
6 mins

This year, foresight is 2020!

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without’s Top Ten Political Predictions for 2020, so your blogger will gaze into his crystal ball one more time and tell you what’s up next.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

No one seems to have gone back and checked, then called me on the results, but it should be noted that past efforts at political prophecy here have been a mixed success.

Of my end-of-2016 predictions for 2017 (published on Jan. 1, 2017), I call the results six right, or at least half right, to four wrong. The bluntest augury that time, although not strictly a 2017 prediction, was No. 6: U.S. President Donald Trump will commit the first of the unconstitutional and/or criminal acts that will lead to his impeachment in 2019.”

Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

As for my forecast at the end of 2017 for 2018, I call my results five right, three wrong, one that’s not right yet but may be soon, and one joke for comedic effect. Last New Year’s Eve, I seem to have looked back to the biggest stories of the previous year and not bothered with any predictions. What a chicken!

Well, whatever. In for a penny, in for a pound. Here are my Top Ten predictions of the biggest political news stories that will impact Alberta in 2020:

  1. The United Conservative Party’s austerity program will push Alberta into recession. The UCP, naturally, will blame the NDP and Justin Trudeau, and many voters will believe them.
  2. For some reason — which is sure to remain a mystery to the pundits of Canada’s mainstream media — the Prairie Wexit “movement” will mysteriously sink beneath next summer’s amber waves of grain. The recommendations of Preston Manning’s “fair deal” panel will go the same place the fizz from your flat beer went.

    War Room commander in chief Tom Olsen (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

  3. An older and somewhat wiser Justin Trudeau will remain in power throughout the year, lending surprising stability to his supposedly fragile minority Government.
  4. After one too many embarrassing messes, the leadership of the Alberta War Room will be reshuffled and Tom Olson will return to the Wreckage to resume his country music career.
  5. Now that we’re reasonably sure Alberta Opposition Leader Rachel Notley won’t be named by Prime Minister Trudeau as the Canadian Ambassador to Washington, former federal Opposition leader Rona Ambrose will be. This will eliminate, the PM may reason, not necessarily correctly, his most dangerous Conservative opponent in a position to replace Andrew Scheer.

    Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

  6. Speaking of Ms. Notley, now that it’s clear she’s effective in opposition and apparent she intends to stick around and contest the next provincial election, the hysterical, misogynist and often vicious attacks she endured as premier will return and intensify.
  7. And the new Canadian ambassador in Washington, whoever she is, will face a shifting political scene south of the 49th  — and, come what may, despite the gloom among the punditocracy and the fact the outcome of his trial in the Senate is a foregone conclusion, Mr. Trump will not be U.S. president after January 2021. Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen will be brokenhearted.
  8. Total chaos will return to Alberta’s heath care sector — including long wait times, layoffs, labour disputes, and de facto de-listings of medically necessary procedures. The UCP will plead “necessity,” and blame unions and “special interests.”
  9. Mr. Kenney will take his time to ensure it doesn’t look like he’s running from the scene of a crime, but will tell us his troubled country is calling and he has a duty to answer. He’ll slip out the door and dash back to Ottawa in hopes of reuniting the Conservative Party of Canada, UCP-style.
  10. Jason Nixon and Travis Toews will emerge as the front-runners to replace him.

Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou (Photo: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.).

Then there are a few things that won’t happen:

Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister, won’t run to replace his replacement, Mr. Scheer. Brian Jean, the former Wildrose Opposition leader, won’t try to make a comeback either — or, if he does, he won’t succeed.

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, wanted as a hostage by Washington in its trade negotiations with China, won’t be released from house arrest — so Alberta farmers’ troubles exporting to China will continue. Alberta and Canada won’t be impacted by Brexit — but then, the real scary stuff won’t happen till 2021.

And completion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project still won’t be a sure thing at this time next year.

Those are my predictions, anyway.

13 Comments to: Foresight is 2020: It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a Top Ten List of political predictions

  1. Just Me

    December 31st, 2019

    I will weigh in with an image that I really saw …

    While driving down a road somewhere in Alberta in 2017, I was passed by another car, driven by a very elderly woman, with her very elderly husband in the passenger seat. Glancing quickly over, I could see that he was wearing a respirator, bringing me to the conclusion that he was in no condition to drive. As the car passed, I noticed that on its rear bumper were two prominently displayed stickers. One read “Jesus is Lord” and the second one read “Support Jason Kenney”. I am not sure if had just witnessed some kind of divine prophecy, but the scene established nicely the belief of many that Kenney’s mission is divinely inspired. So, I have no doubt that if Kenney wants to blow Alberta’s hellscape in favour of returning to Ottawa’s gold paved streets, there are many who will give him a pass, for he is on a divine mission.

    If the Red Tories of the GTA thought that Andrew Scheer was too socon for his own good, wait until they get a load of Kenney’s crusade of the righteous. I have no doubt that not only will he declare that his leadership will be inspired by a pro-life agenda, he will put abortion abolition on the table, because an immoral law settles nothing. And he will up the bidding and declare that Canada is a Christian nation, founded by Christians, for Christians. From there, he will put same-sex marriage, gender-equality, and every single social justice achievement over the last 100 years in his cross-hairs. This will not be about becoming the government; this will be about restoring Canada to be the kingdom that Jesus intended.

    And the evangelicals will flock to Kenney and flood the UCP with their memberships and drive out the Red Tory heathens, for they are the spawn of Cain.

    Since the BQ will assure that there will not be another election until the due date in 2023, the fun will be long and awesome.

    So it is written. So it shall be done.

  2. Abs

    December 31st, 2019

    I was kind of hoping you would say Stockwell Day was going to run for the Conservative leadership, so I could dig out my dinosaur jokes again. Good times.

  3. Scotty on Denman

    December 31st, 2019

    Whether singularly or in combination, deflecting, running away from, or straight into embarrassments seems to be a theme in DJC’s 2020 foresights. Yet there are glimmers of hope for the entire year to come and beyond—and not simply what will be one of the largest celebratory minutes ever (either of two, but most probably post mid-day, 4:20 on April 20, 2020) when anybody embarrassed will be uncool. And what can be more embarrassing than that?

    Jason KeKangaroo Kenney, who’s said to have a hop back to federal politics on his agenda, has always been wary of embarrassments; it was probably the reason he took a pass on the leadership race to replace Stephen Harper, correctly predicting it would be a cringe-worthy display of family secrets: despite Harper’s years of polishing a facade of moderation, extremism did indeed reappear, far from reformed, as soon as his strictures were relieved.

    The premier will need to wash his hands of Alberta’s underfunded provincial healthcare, the preposterous “war room” and Prairie Wexit, which are rightly seen as embarrassments from outside the Bitumian wagon laager, before entertaining a return to the federal scene; a general recession can be blamed on the feds; if it’s restricted to Alberta it can be blamed on the preceding NDP government, which, again, preaches well to the converted, less so to the ROC+Q where vicious personal smears of Alberta’s loyal opposition leader and former premier embarrass the whole country. Or, at least, should.

    Still, the Calgary Cannonball is adept at turning embarrassments around and using them to his advantage, Andrew Scheer being a case in point: he was unlucky enough (and Kenney was smart enough to let him) win a gallingly bigoted federal leadership race, dorky enough as an election-campaigning leader to attribute the Conservative’s loss to him instead of the more general moribundity of the brand, and handy enough to wear the current political implosion of the Republican president whose odious playbook the Canadian right has been reading from unabashedly these last four years—that is, wear that association all the way to November, 2020 when, coincidentally, Andrew Scheer will relinquish his CPC leadership just as tRump gets voted out of his presiduncey. Jumping into freshly affrayed political chaos is KeKangeroo Kenney’s specialty, like pick-up-sticks or jacks, like after Mulroney, Manning, Day, Prentice and, soon, Scheer—while keeping well away from embarrassments like the post-Harper leadership race and the 2019 federal election.

    Former HarperCon minister Rona Ambrose deftly avoided an embarrassing gong show by assuming the interim leader post while the party struggled to fill the vacancy (the position disqualified her—saved her— from running herself, despite her favoured popularity). The Liberal minority is not so “fragile” as to forgo playing effective partisan hockey and saving the CPC leadership for Kenney by appointing Ms Ambrose—whom the hapless CPC would love to have for leader—as Ambassador to the USA, a position from which two embarrassments can be watched up close in safety. All embarrassments considered, JT would much prefer the loyal opposition be led by the conservative with the longest tail of mortifications dragging behind the longest nose of mendacity —and that wouldn’t be Rona whose interim leadership was, by all accounts, professional and level-headed. By making Alberta the centre of attention in the last federal election, Kenney will have made the many embarrassments of his premiership into a very big target for his rivals in the next federal election—presuming he does go for it. Then it might be propitious for the Liberals to arrange losing a confidence vote and taking on the KenneyCons in a general election. But that’s beyond 2020.

    Not sure if it’ll fit into 2020 or slop over to the following year, but if the UCP leader does indeed do as predicted and throw his hat in the federal ring once tRump and Ambrose (and maybe Alberta) are out of the headlines or out of the way, he still has to worry about potential embarrassments emanating from the race to replace him as premier and the policies of his successor, either of which might reflect badly on him and his Prime Ministerial aspiration.

    Finally, anytime I inspire a headline in one of the best political blogs anywhere is a memorable one, at least to me. Soon this hindsight will be 2019, but I look forward to the upcoming year, surely one that will be, as the old Chinese curse alludes, one of the most interesting times to live in and, naturally, read about in!

    Happy New Year, everybody!

  4. Ken Larsen

    January 1st, 2020

    Another sure-fire prediction: Historical amnesia will continue to plague Alberta and Canada. A case in point is connecting canola sales problems with the detention of Ms. Meng Wanzhou two years ago. Remember almost four years ago the Chinese asked that our dockage levels be lowered from 2.5% down to 1% which is closer to the 0.4% dockage that they get in Canadian wheat and barley. The response from Canada was patronizing outrage.

    If we had simply agreed to China’s request for a lower dockage standard then we would have nipped the issue in the bud. The requested standard is one most prairie farmers reach straight off the combine.

    It is notable that in spite of the kidnapping of Ms. Meng, wheat sales were never an issue with China thanks to the goodwill we still enjoy because of the Canadian Wheat Board’s efforts over several decades.

    All the best in the new year.

  5. Jim

    January 2nd, 2020

    Likely number 7 will be incorrect as none of the current leading democratic candidates are electable, Tulsi will be silenced soon. The democrats impeachment will backfire spectacularly as the kickbacks to the Biden’s, Kerry’s, Pelosi’s, and perhaps even Obama are revealed coming through Ukraine. Hillary seeing a big defeat jumps into a brokered convention and again wins the nomination only to be soundly defeated in the election, highlighted by a debate stage collapse where she can be heard mumbling about Russian bots and hackers. Mysteriously the DNC is “hacked” again and blamed on the Russians causing young DNC staffers everywhere to be on high alert for botched robbery attempts.

    You are right about Canadian foreign policy being decided elsewhere, even with Freeland gone from foreign affairs it appears we will still be supporting coups. Where is her buddy Guiado anyway? Haven’t seen him for months.

    Alberta will pretty much be the same, Notley took my job, Trudeau took my job, Kenney still has his eye on the top job. If only a pipeline would be built that would solve all our problems…

    Premier Nixon, now that is a scary thought.

  6. Joe McCarthy

    January 2nd, 2020

    11. After years of unsuccessful denial, David Climenhaga will finally admit he is in fact, a communist.

    • David Climenhaga

      January 3rd, 2020

      Note to readers: Not the real Joe McCarthy. Note to Joe: Don’t try this again, or it’s back to the trash can for your weekly Dave’s-a-commie comments. DJC

  7. CovKid

    January 3rd, 2020

    Seeing Kenney, Schweitzer and/or Callaway being led away in handcuffs would make my year!

  8. Dave

    January 3rd, 2020

    These predictions seem fairly reasonable to me. Maybe 2020 will be a more predictable year than some other recent ones, but there always seems to be at least a bit of the unexpected in politics.

    Here are a few more out there, but possible happenings. First, more damaging revelations will continue to come out as the impeachment is delayed, making acquital less and less a sure thing. Several more Republican Senators than expected will break ranks. Second, Trudeau may decide having a minority is not as much fun as a majority, too much of a grind and may have his own walk in the snow in late 2020. Third, the UK will crash into NAFTA after crashing out of the EU. Fourth, the Canada/China dispute will end in late 2020 with the release of the Canadians held in jail in China followed by the release of Ms Meng in Canada with US agreement. Last, but not least, Kenney will run to be CPC leader, but will lose in a close race. He will however not do a Bernier and leave in a big hissy fit, but will be offered and accept a prominent role in the official opposition. The next CPC leader will be from Eastern Canada.

    Although, hopefully 2020 will be a calmer and more predictable year than some in the past, we could use a bit of a break from all the drama.

  9. Keith McClary

    January 4th, 2020

    War Room December 31
    “According to Canada’s 2019 National Inventory Report, the oil sands sector reduced emissions per barrel by 32 percent since 1990.”

    I couldn’t find the 35% figure in the report, but it has an explanation.:
    “Furthermore, over time, more crude bitumen has been produced without the additional processing
    step of upgrading to synthetic crude oil (SCO), which has also contributed to decreasing the overall
    emissions intensity. This was particularly evident between 2010 and 2017, when non-upgraded
    bitumen production increased by over 125% while SCO production increased by only 28%. The
    additional energy required to process the crude bitumen (and resulting emissions) is therefore
    transferred downstream, mainly to export markets where the bitumen is processed at petroleum

  10. Patrick

    January 6th, 2020

    I have a little addendum for the prediction on Trump losing the presidential election. Despite the polls showing every last Democratic contender beating him, there are plenty of scenarios where Trump pulls through.

    One likely scenario is if we get a candidate in Clinton’s mould again. A bloodless technocrat will never inspire enthusiasm in voters to match what Trump can gin up.

    And another winning scenario for Trump might be a Sanders candidacy, I absolutely love the guy, but the system of the world is designed to prevent people like him from taking power or doing anything with it. Business interests typically court both parties in the US, but if Sanders were the candidate we would be in for a rare sight: the entire business community closing ranks and backing the GOP. And, I would guess, the dirtiest, nastiest campaign we’ve never dreamed of. Rich folks will choose a proto-fascist over a genuine threat to their material interests every day of the week.

    If an electoral win is what the Democrats are after, finding someone who can do that hopey-changey, sunny ways dance is probably their best bet. Someone who sounds good, who looks good, who can channel that desire for change, while still shaking hands with the powers that be, behind closed doors. It will be a winning strategy until people learn to see through it.

    And I know this piece was written before the Soleimani airstrike, but there’s nothing like a war to induce memory loss and scramble priorities. It’s all too easy, if we get into the chaos of a shooting war, to make the case for supporting the country and the troops by rallying around the leader, etc.


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