Alberta Politics
A gentleman in Ontario writes — actual Jason Kenney supporters may not appear exactly as illustrated (Detail from a painting by Janez Subic, 1850, 1999).

That goofy letter from Kingston to Jason Kenney — promise made, promise kept, or what?

Posted on April 15, 2020, 2:07 am
7 mins

Now, about that goofy letter from Kingston, the one wherein the generous author or authors sent Alberta Premier Jason Kenney $1,000 to help out the Alberta treasury, I have a contrarian point of view.

To wit: My opinion is that it’s totally legit, the real McCoy, it actually happened, the cheque came in a proper extra-large envelope with the correct postage and everything.

The letter from Ontario (Image: Twitter).

I know there have been a lot of conspiracy theories in the past few hours among people who generally agree with the stuff we have to say on this blog. Mostly, they boil down to the idea that this letter makes no sense at all, on any level, no sane person would send 1,000 free-floating Canadian Loonies to the taxman in another province, let alone the lowest-taxed province in the Dominion, and therefore something must be up.

Now, I admit, there are several reasons to be suspicious of this epistle — not least among them the fact Premier Kenney has, shall we say, a somewhat casual relationship with the truth. And the sentiment expressed is, by any reasonable standard, basically bonkers.

“Every time we pass the gas pumps in Kingston, we are reminded that the economy in Alberta is hurting badly,” say the signatories of the letter, their illegible signatures partly obscured and their identities redacted by Mr. Kenney or one of his minions when the decision was made to post it on social media with some enthusiastic commentary for all to see and thereby be encouraged.

The authors kindly reminded their readers here in Wild Rose Country that “we appreciate how Alberta has contributed to the financial health of Canada for years and years” (equalization!), thanking the province for its generosity and wishing it well in the fight against COVID-19 (those N95s!).

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“We are not politicians nor are we among the top 1% of Canadian income earners,” the authors wrote with apparent earnestness. “Nevertheless, we would like to express our support for Albertans in a manner in a manner that goes a bit beyond lip service.

“To this end, we have enclosed a cheque for $1,000. Please put this to use in a way that helps the people of Alberta in some small way.”

“I often tell Albertans that other Canadians have got our back,” Mr. Kenney chirped on Twitter. “This gesture is wonderful proof.” Perhaps he is hopeful the idea will catch on in Ontario.

Now, I admit, some might think it is mildly suspicious the authors stick so closely in their missive to United Conservative Party talking points.

And while many writers of this kind of letter might have been tempted to send Mr. Kenny or his party a political donation, these ones seem to be cognizant of the current restrictions on out-of-province donations in Alberta political financing law.  Well, as politically alert Ontarians, presumably they were aware of the difficulties experienced by Mr. Kenney when he donated $399 to Doug Ford’s provincial campaign in 2018, which in fact should have been no problem at all since Mr. Kenney was a resident of Ottawa at the time … Oh! Wait!

Much has also been made of the fact that the letter appears not to have been folded, as one would normally expect of something that came in an envelope with a cheque. I have already dealt with this question: it obviously came in a large envelope, or, failing that, was photocopied by a device that cleaned up a few stray fold lines. Whatever.

The late Ralph Klein, premier of Alberta and an inspiration to Mr. Kenney and his supporters (Photo: Government of Alberta).

Also raised by suspicious minds, the fact Kingston is a college town, doubtless chock full o’ lockdown-defying young Conservative members of the Ayn Rand Reading Society looking for a way to impress a fellow like Mr. Kenney. This in no way detracts from the balance of probabilities.

And finally, to the point that no normal person would do this, we are none of us normal, and we all get strange ideas on occasion. Moreover, there is a precedent, as several tweeters pointed out.

Premier Ralph Klein once got up on his hind legs in the Legislature and informed the astounded honourable members gathered therein that “just yesterday, I received a letter in the mail. A gentleman wrote from Ontario. Basically, to paraphrase the letter — I don’t have it here — he said that he appreciated the courage of this government, that he appreciated the resolve of this government, and that he would like to know the mechanism to make a donation not to the PC Party, but to the Provincial Treasury.”

The date was March 22, 1994. Hansard does not reveal whether or not that donation was ever received.

But perhaps every quarter century or so, spring comes and someone in Ontario is moved to make a donation to Alberta’s provincial treasury without actually bothering to move here. There’s a reason they call it March Madness.

Or perhaps the letter Mr. Kenney received, dated March 24, was from the same gentleman, finally getting around to keeping his promise. As we say here in Alberta, all too often: “Promise made, promise kept.”

Who knows? The truth is often stranger than fiction. Why shouldn’t that be the case this time?

Readers are encouraged to advise AlbertaPolitics.ca through the comments section how the $1,000 ought to be spent. DJC

16 Comments to: That goofy letter from Kingston to Jason Kenney — promise made, promise kept, or what?

  1. Just Me

    April 15th, 2020

    The on going comedy of the UCP government is beginning to consider going back to the future to improve its public image.

    Pulling Ralph Klein’s weird stunt is one thing, but to replay it nearly word for word is not only the height of lazy, it’s just a plain stupid thing to do. Who on earth would voluntarily write a cheque to a provincial government? Some kind of a lunatic? This no different than the weird stunt that Presto Manning used to pull during one of his Refooooorrrm rallies back in the day.

    Manning would pull out a letter from an well worn envelop that he claimed was written by a struggling housewife and mother. She her tale of struggling to keep hearth and home together, with success, and wondered why government could never get itself together as she got her own home together?

    Manning would ramble on and on about the letter until he put it away because he seemed – surprise – bored from reading the damn thing again to another crowd of morons who actually believed it was real.

    Since the Klein years are such a templet for the Kenney years, maybe Kenney could throw in trashing a homeless shelter in a drunken rage for dramatic effect?

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 15th, 2020

      No doubt Mr. Manning was inspired by “the Man from Mars.” DJC

      Reply
    • Annie

      April 18th, 2020

      Well, we in Ontario have been beset by all manner of wondrous happenings lately. Like for example, whatever TF happened to Doug Ford. We’re all pretty freaked out that he’s becoming…almost human.

      Reply
    • Annie

      April 18th, 2020

      But we DO seriously appreciate Alberta.

      Up till the Fords, you guys used to have WAY more entertaining politicians than we did.

      Stay safe, Alberta. Loves ya, Ontario xoxo

      Reply
  2. Expat Albertan

    April 15th, 2020

    Another point of suspicion is the fact that Kenney was once head of the Alberta branch of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, an organization known for media stunts designed as a form of ideological communication (debt counter, anyone?). But whatever…my suggestion for the $1000 – buy some PPE for medical personnel. Then we can all thank Ontario for helping Alberta’s beleaguered medical staff.

    Reply
  3. Derek

    April 15th, 2020

    I think we should send the 1000 buck to the Saudi’s for investing in Babylon. The app has been a great help to us is this time of need.

    Reply
  4. tom

    April 15th, 2020

    I admire your courage, Dave. Bill 10 expressly prohibits the employment of irony, unless it’s inadvertent.

    Reply
  5. Kang

    April 15th, 2020

    What to do with a thousand Ontario smakers? That could buy a very fancy medical diploma for Kenney to hang on his wall as a prop when he is giving medical advice to Health Canada. How about a forged university degree from the religious school he dropped out of? Better yet, how about a Bishop’s hat and robe for attending press conferences and the Legislature? Lord Tubby used to favor that costume, so maybe Jason could get a family discount? The Premier could even bring a Censer to spread some real smoke around. As all right thinking Christian Capitalists from the 15th century know, smoke from a blessed Censer wards off evil spirits and the miasma that causes disease. Cheaper and safer than malaria drugs and smells better to.

    Reply
  6. Athabascan

    April 15th, 2020

    Is this what it’s come to?

    Kenney is sending letters to himself from a fictitious person living supposedly in Kingston?

    Where does that stop? More letters to come? Goebbels would be proud.

    Reply
  7. Murphy

    April 15th, 2020

    Is Tailgunner Jay back to the old Reform-Alliance-Herbalife stunting? Logan Day and Rob Anders and maybe Rahim cooking up pranks for the cognitively-challenged?

    Reply
  8. Keith McClary

    April 15th, 2020

    When your auntie in Ontario sends you a cheque, isn’t it basic courtesy to send a thank-you letter saying what you spent it on? I don’t think it would be polite to say “We just tossed it in General Revenue”.

    Wouldn’t the donors want Albertans to know how we are benefiting from their generosity?
    ___________________________

    What is the code “SHOOP” in the date stamp? (Internet slang for photoshop.)

    Reply
    • lungta

      April 15th, 2020

      i looked up shoop
      it is as advertised …. photo shop
      i’m betting it is the best work of the war room so far
      propaganda in the time of war
      tho i would have like to have read the harsh notes to putin and the saudies
      hmmm
      trying to spend 1000 imaginary dollars
      might line you up to write next years budget

      Reply
  9. Dave

    April 15th, 2020

    I don’t doubt the veracity of this either. There is a saying about fools and their money and it is a free country, people make questionable choices with money all the time.

    I suppose it shows the “we are poor” message put out by Alberta governments over the last while has resonated with at least one Ontarian. Of course, if Alberta had Ontario levels of tax we wouldn’t have much of a deficit, or any at all. Alberta still has much higher than national average levels of wages, a cost of living that is not too high and at least until recently a fairly high labour participation rate, so I am not sure claims of poverty are accurate. Perhaps the latest oil price problems will put a big dent in all that and we will, oh the horror … fall closer to the Canadian averages on these things.

    I’ve always noticed that feeling poor is a relative thing. First we compare ourselves to our own past and second to those around us, so the billionaire having to get rid of his yacht or private jet for financial reasons is probably just as unhappy about it as someone having to trade in their Mercedes for a Dodge Minivan or someone having to eat KD instead of steak. I probably shouldn’t begrudge the generosity of this anonymous Ontarian, perhaps he is well enough off, perhaps he has heard too many stories in the national media about the terrible state of the economy here. Yes, it is bad, but not everyone is destitute. Also, he probably hasn’t paid close attention to the complicated financial discourse in Alberta over the years, like what happened to our Heritage Trust Fund and was it really a good idea to keep taxes so low by using oil revenues to subsidize that for years.

    In any event the Kenney team knows or has learned how to find a good PR victory wherever they can these day. This guy comes from Ontario and Alberta really needs some goodwill and support in Ontario now, given the hostility to Conservatives and their agenda in many parts of BC and Quebec. Well, they got it from at least one guy.

    Lastly, what to do with this bit of a windfall? Mr. Kenney, please do not start think of PAID IN FULL signs like Ralph Klein. You are no Ralph, and we are not even on the same economic planet as that , now. I suppose Kenney could turn it into a crowd funding campaign to pay for doctors and nurses or something similar, that might be timely and helpful. Whatever happens, hopefully the Premier will update us on whatever use these funds have been put to, good or otherwise.

    Reply
  10. Comment

    April 15th, 2020

    The money should be spent on a bigger soapbox for Kenney to stand on…his current one is wearing thin.

    Reply
  11. Bob Raynard

    April 16th, 2020

    A thousand dollars will pay Lorne Gibson’s (election commissioner fired for scaring Jason Kenney) salary for more than a day and a half. He should bring him back.

    Reply

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