Alberta Politics
The Harmac Pacific Mill on Vancouver Island, the world’s only source of the product used to make N95 medical masks (Photo: Wikimapia).

The premier is disappointed? Where did Alberta’s Mr. Belligerence go when Donald Trump told 3M not to ship N95s to Canada?

Posted on April 04, 2020, 3:10 am
9 mins

Where’s the tough guy we got to know during the last Alberta election campaign, the Jason Kenney of the Summer of Repeal, the War Room and the War on Foreign Funded European Urban Greens?

The Alberta premier’s favourite American president, Donald J. Trump, say’s he won’t let 3M Co. of Maplewood, Minn., ship any more N95 medical masks to Canada and our combative premier with prime ministerial ambitions finds it “extremely disappointing”?

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, the Mr. Belligerence of Canadian politics (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Extremely disappointing? Seriously? Where’s Mr. Belligerence when Canada needs him?

It’s very disappointing,” Mr. Kenney whimpered (metaphorically speaking) yesterday. “I would remind our American friends and neighbours that we’ve always been there together in important moments in history.” (Like the War of 1812? — Ed.)

I would remind Mr. Kenney that our American friends and neighbours don’t listen very well to gentle reminders from their allies these days. The least Mr. Kenney could do under the circumstances is threaten to withhold Devin Dreeshen’s valuable services from Mr. Trump in the U.S. election campaign this fall, which suddenly isn’t looking so good for the president.

Harmac Pacific President Levi Sampson (Photo: Twitter).

Nowadays Mr. Dreeshen is Mr. Kenney’s minister of agriculture, but the world knows him best as the young fellow in the MAGA cap toasting Mr. Trump’s victory on election night 2016. Back in the summer of 2018, when Mr. Dreeshen had just won a by-election in south central Alberta and his choice in headgear was momentarily controversial, Mr. Kenney shrugged it off and touted his ties to the Trump campaign.

“I think it’s actually helpful to have in our caucus an MLA who can get people on the phone in the U.S. administration, who knows some of them and has worked with some of them,” the premier said then. So tell him to pick up the phone now! Let’s see how he does!

Meanwhile, Mr. Kenney seems to have forgotten something that I’m sure his great rival, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has remembered. To wit, that one of the few sources in the world of specialty pulp suitable for making paper gowns, surgical masks and caps masks is located in … Canada.

Former Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Workers at the Harmac Pacific Mill in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island are working overtime these days producing the special K10S pulp used to make masks and surgical gowns because a U.S. manufacturer that produces the things has recently doubled its order.

It’s a customer out of the States and we’ve been supplying them for years,” Harmac President Levi Sampson told a reporter for B.C.’s Black Press last week. “In light of what’s going on in the lack of medical supplies, they’ve doubled their order with us in the last week, so we’re doing everything we can to meet that demand.” In response to media queries today, however, Mr. Sampson said the U.S. manufacturer in question is not 3M.

Just the same, I’d say that’s a pretty good hand for Canada to be holding when the president of the United States threatens to cut off our supply of N95 masks in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the greatest health threat either of our countries has faced in a century.

By the way, those are cards Canada wouldn’t hold were it not for the courage and foresight of the members of the former Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada, who put up $13.2 million of the cash needed to buy the mill they worked in from a U.S. owner that was about to pull the plug on it just over a decade ago.

Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s MAGA cap minister (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Members of the union, now known as the Public and Private Workers of Canada, each contributed $25,000 of their own money over three years to keep the mill afloat. They barely made it through the financial meltdown of 2008, and received their first dividend cheques in 2011. Now they’re sitting pretty — and working hard.

Mr. Kenney is right about one thing: The situation with President Trump, he said, “underscores why we must produce our own critical equipment here at home, because apparently we can’t even count on our closest friend and ally to be a supplier.”

An N95 mask made by 3M (Photo: Source not identified).

Well, duh. Isn’t that what supposedly squishy New Democrats have been telling Canada for generations. It’s nice to see someone like Mr. Kenney finally coming around!

So what’s the premier actually doing to get Mr. Trump to shape up? Other than being extremely disappointed, I mean? Oh, he’s offering to get Alberta’s taxpayers to sink several billion dollars into building a pipeline to the Gulf Coast for him.

And what happens, as former Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason asked the other day, if “Joe Biden wins the election and cancels the project, as Obama did?”

We all know the answer. Mr. Kenney will be extremely disappointed. And the rest of us Albertans will be out seven or eight billion dollars.

A dippy to-do and Tyler too!

Speaking of picking up the phone, if Premier Kenney won’t fire Health Minister Tyler Shandro or even try to persuade him to quit, you’d think at least he’d take his cell phone away.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro (Photo: Government of Alberta).

The latest revelation about Alberta’s very angry health minister, thanks once again to the CBC, is that Mr. Shandro has been calling up physicians who have taken issue with his policies on their personal cellphones.

Apparently he got their numbers from Alberta Health Services without the docs’ permission. One doctor has filed a complaint with the provincial privacy commissioner.

So, in addition to all the other things he’s been doing to embarrass Mr. Kenney and the government, Mr. Shandro turns out to be a fellow who knows how to take the smart out of his smartphone.

At the very least, the premier needs to tell him, “no more screen time for you, mister, until you can learn how to behave yourself!”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post said the Harmac Pacific Mill in Nanaimo is the world’s only source of the fibre used in N95 masks. The fibre produced by Harmac Pacific is used in the manufacture of paper gowns, surgical masks and caps. In response to queries by mainstream media, Harmac President Levi Sampson also said his company does not supply 3M. This post has also been revised to reflect those facts.

32 Comments to: The premier is disappointed? Where did Alberta’s Mr. Belligerence go when Donald Trump told 3M not to ship N95s to Canada?

  1. !?

    April 4th, 2020

    N95 masks are just a warmup, wait until you see what Trump does with food.

    Reply
  2. Sid Tafler

    April 4th, 2020

    “the only source in the world of the specialty pulp used in the super-effective N95 masks is located in … Canada.”
    Quite the angle–who knew?
    I just hope t-Rump doesn’t read this and decide to send in the troops Grenada-style
    to “protect” this asset.

    Reply
  3. Alex Polkovsky

    April 4th, 2020

    Meanwhile, if your Governor can find a back channel to China, and the local sports team has a plane large enough…

    https://bit.ly/39JU2Lq
    Patriots plane brings N95 masks from China to Massachusetts

    Reply
  4. Just Me

    April 4th, 2020

    Well, Kenney aspires to be mini-Trump, so bashing his idol might disappoint his cooing fan-boy delusions that Dear Leader Trump could have feet of clay.

    Kenney’s got an enemies list, but the last thing he wants is to wind up on Trump’s enemies list.

    Reply
    • Expat Albertan

      April 6th, 2020

      To be fair, Kenney and Trump are really not cut from the same cloth. Trump is an incompetent con-man with no ideological backing for his leadership (or lack of same); he’s in it for his personal glory and motivated purely by ego. Kenney, like Harper, is motivated and guided by a set of strong ideological perspectives: a religiously based neo-conservatism and a type of neo-liberalism diluted with corporate welfarism to suit the situation. These people are much more dangerous because they have a long-term plan and disciples. Once Trump goes, there won’t be anyone quite like him; he’s one of a kind. Once Kenney goes, there will be hundreds to take his place from the farm teams of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation and its sister organizations.

      Reply
  5. Bob Raynard

    April 4th, 2020

    David, I don’t know how you find these stories, but I am really glad you do. I am loving the mental image of Donald Trump playing tough, refusing to let masks cross the border, then having 3M tell him they have had to stop production because they cannot get the pulp they need.

    Fortunately it probably won’t come to that because smart people will tell Trump how it would be folly to risk retaliatory measures at this time. Canada clearly has a ‘trump’ card it can play, and it isn’t hard to imagine Canada being excluded from an export ban. This, of course, begs another question, what trump card could an independent Republic of Alberta play?

    Reply
  6. J.E. Molnar

    April 4th, 2020

    Neither our craven prime minister nor our embarrassingly pusillanimous premier will challenge the Trump administration over the Tangerine Tyrant’s latest edict.

    On a daily basis in Windsor, Ontario— Canadian nurses, healthcare aides and doctors cross the border into Detroit to work in Michigan hospitals and clinics. Now would be a good time to remind Captain Chaos (AKA president Trump) of that fact, given Detroit is likely one of the next American hotspots for the deadly coronavirus to strike in large numbers. It would be a catastrophe for Michiganders, if border crossing privileges were abruptly cancelled by Canadian authorities to prevent the spread of community transmissions in Canada.

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      April 5th, 2020

      I think our not-entirely-incompetent federal government has figured out that the best way to challenge The Hairpiece That Walks Like a Man, is not to … at least, not openly … but to do end runs around him: conduct quiet, back-channel conversations with Administration officials & other politicians, and work towards finding solutions that effectively ignore the incoherent ranting emerging from The Donald’s hyperactive thumbs. One key condition to achieving success with such a strategy is that it must be done quietly, so that nobody knows it’s happening. As a result it appears that the government of Mr Trudeau fils is not doing anything — but it only appears that way.

      While open retaliation — like stopping the flow of Ontario nurses into metro Detroit, or cutting off that K10S pulp from BC — would certainly make us all feel a bit better in the short term, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have long term negative implications for Canada & Canadians.

      Reply
      • J.E. Molnar

        April 5th, 2020

        I agree with your sentiments on Canada-US relations JERRYMACGP. However, this rankles me to no end — especially after Trump continually pontificates about the new CUSMA free trade deal (old NAFTA). As Climenhaga states in his headline: Where’s the belligerence from our leaders?

        Reply
  7. Keith McClary

    April 4th, 2020

    “And what happens, as former Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason asked the other day, if ‘Joe Biden wins the election and cancels the project, as Obama did? ‘ ”

    Even Trump’s oily cronies may not be happy about competing against a foreign government subsidized operation.

    And it seems that the guarantee is not CDN$6B but USD$4.5B, which means that if our dollar tanks it will cost us even more.

    __________________________________________
    I notice that Shandro’s “Vital Partners” has a Privacy Policy:

    “We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization, other than as necessary to fulfill your request, e.g. to process an order.”

    https://www.vitalpartnersinc.com/extra

    Since they immediately share info with Tyler, I guess they do not consider him outside their organization.
    Can one complain to the Commissioner if a private company violates it’s own published policy?

    They have phone and email on that page but I can’t see any where on the website what province or country they are registered in.
    ________________________________________

    Justin’s dad stood up to the US over trade with Cuba.

    Reply
    • Murphy

      April 4th, 2020

      “Justin’s dad” never stood up to the US over anything, ever. Canadian links to Cuba provide an ideal back-channel for the degenerate intrigues of imperial foreign policy. With over half the country against US tests of cruise missiles over Canadian territory, Big Magus chastized the people for not backing the people who incinerated and poisoned Vietnam. And all the while Canada maintained a nuclear weapons threat via CF-101s armed with nukes, in the manner of other NATO vassals in Europe, whose aircraft to this day are all set to light up the Rooskies with nuclear ordinance, unbeknownst to most of their citizens.

      Reply
      • David Climenhaga

        April 5th, 2020

        Ah yes, Operation Ding Dong. I’d forgotten all about the Genie missiles. I had to look them up to see if I’d remembered the name right. (I had.) The question I’d always had: was firing one of those things in anger a suicide mission? You’d sure as hell want to turn you CF-101 around fast and skeedaddle! DJC

        Reply
      • Rob Woytuck

        April 5th, 2020

        Most Canadians and assuredly most Americans are also unaware of the DEW line.. The USAs first line of defense against a northern attack was actually in Canada. As I understand it, it is mostly historical now or is it?

        Reply
        • David Climenhaga

          April 5th, 2020

          Well, the DEW Line was mostly shut down in the 1988, according to the handy-dandy Wikipedia, but it was replaced by something called the North Warning System, which presumably remains operational, so plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. My favourite DEW Line story, told me by an Armed Forces veteran who claimed in a bar to have worked on it, was bored radar techs manning the lonely stations discovered that the telephone lines for the entire system could be jammed by each station calling the next station and putting the phone on hold. I have no idea whether this is true, or even possible, but if so, it’s probably a good thing the Soviets didn’t get wind of it. On the other hand, the Russians were mostly occupied with getting drunk on the hydraulic fluid used to raise and lower the landing gear of their Voyska protivovozdushnoy oborony interceptors, so no harm no foul! DJC

          Reply
          • Myles

            April 11th, 2020

            Sorry the statement is totally untrue about the Dew Line ( Distant Warning Line) also called Pinetree Line. It was not monitored by bored radar techs. This was of the highest security with the US. Who do you think would be manning the sites then. ?
            Also that story of jamming is completley wrong. Sorry did not happen. Could not happen. Obviously the operation was of the highest level of security it would never have that feature.
            There were sites that no one had any idea where they were. In order to have anything to do with the sites personnel had to have the lighest level of security clearance in Canada
            I was one.

          • David Climenhaga

            April 12th, 2020

            Well, Myles, like I said, I heard it in the bar. As we used to say in the newspaper business: “Not true? Don’t care! Send more.” DJC

  8. Murphy

    April 4th, 2020

    Given Tailgunner Jay’s background, I have no doubt that he has little to no knowledge of the historical relationship of this country to the US imperial metropole. He is an ignorant, grasping dilettante. Given these qualities, I am likewise confident that he is unfamliar with Palmerston’s statement regarding the question of the metropole being “pals” with another state:
    “‘We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow.’
    speech, House of Commons, 1 March 1848”.
    https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780191826719.001.0001/q-oro-ed4-00008130

    Is it a coincidence that CHUDs like Dreeshen and Nixon ferment to their full potential in the belt of ignorance in central Alberta? Terry Long and Jim Keegstra are among the leading lights to find a home in moron country. Under the right conditions, the intersection of Highways 22 and 12 can act as a super-collider for dipshittery that could produce a critical mass incident with the potential to wipe out all sentient life on planet earth. 12 000 years of human culture are balanced on a knife-edge that could be wiped out in an instant if two straight-piped Dodge 3500s with over-sized truck nuts and Metal Mulisha decals collide while the drivers are on Instagram. It’s the section of Alberta where the locals resent the haughty intellectualism of Hutterites when they come to town.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 4th, 2020

      I will admit, Murphy, that you made me laugh out loud with this. For a year and a half 20 years ago, I drove back and forth every weekend between Edmonton and Calgary. Those were the days! Six litres of V-8 power and the ability to hold two extra-large Timmy’s hot chocolates for there hours! Whenever I drove through at night, I noticed it was always darker between Highway 12 and Highway 54 to the south, as if the light was actually being sucked into the earth. Now I think it might have been the super-collider for dipshittery on the old Commonwealth Air Station at Penhold that was eating the light. DJC

      Reply
  9. ronmac

    April 4th, 2020

    So Trump has diverted shipments of medical equipment to Canada. Why is Trudeau surprised? After all, Canada, under his leadership, has been a ringleader in the sanctions against Venezuela. Trudeau has followed Trump’s directions to a T, and has helped siphoned that country’s goods.

    Reply
  10. Abs

    April 4th, 2020

    I’m sure that Dastardly Don, pirate of the Seven Seas, is extremely disappointed that Jason Who? is extremely disappointed. Har, har!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/03/mask-wars-coronavirus-outbidding-demand

    Now let’s compare Jason Kenney’s words with Doug Ford’s words, just for fun. If I’m not mistaken, they could be reading the same script, except Jason Kenney takes it to the extreme, as always. Yes, the CPC leadership race is still on. Poor Peter. He lost.

    https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-premier-slams-donald-trump-s-decision-to-cease-exports-of-n95-masks-to-canada-1.4881717

    Speaking of pandemics, if our man Shan keeps doing his job right, there won’t be any doctors left working in emergency rooms in this province, and a bonus if there are no doctors working anywhere in Alberta at all at the end of this. He can’t get fired because he continues to do his job as assigned. Right? Why else would he not get fired? The driveway rants and night stalking are virtue signalling. His parents must be so proud.

    Reply
  11. Keith McClary

    April 4th, 2020

    PS:
    Shandro’s company’s contact page says:

    “As the owners of Vital Partners, we want the same great options for your families as we want for our own.
    That’s OUR bottom line.”

    ~ Andrea and Jennifer
    Co-Owners, Vital Partners Inc.

    https://www.vitalpartnersinc.com/contact-us

    Reply
  12. lost in the colonie

    April 4th, 2020

    welcome to alburd’uh a moronic inferno

    read the people of Alberta realized what the Conservatives have been doing to them

    “I wonder how many times you have to be hit on the head before you
    find out who’s hitting you? It’s about time that the people of America
    realized what the Republicans have been doing to them.”
    – Harry Truman

    really time to lose the first past the post system and put in place a more representative method
    would help immensely in federal politics as well

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 5th, 2020

      Lost, it’s been 67 years since Give ’em Hell Harry left the White House and the Americans still don’t seem to have figured out what the Republicans are doing to them, despite a surfeit of evidence. DJC

      Reply
  13. Chuckstraight

    April 4th, 2020

    Never thought I would agree with Doug Ford- but today I do. Cannot say the same about Kenney.

    Reply
  14. Dfjo

    April 4th, 2020

    If Mr. Shandro continues as Health Minister, will we see an acceleration in Doctors leaving our medical system?
    Is Sundre the first of several?

    Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      April 5th, 2020

      Actually, Sundre is the second. Stettler’s doctors are in the process of withdrawing their ER services.

      Reply
    • Joan

      April 11th, 2020

      No first was Stettler. 7 out ofn 9 withdrew their services in their emergency department. They did rotations the same as all other rural doctors at rural hospitals.
      Then came Rimbey Then came Sundre. At the same time the County of Mountain View and Sundre wrote a letter to people that own recreational property to please stay away as their hospital was small and they were not equipped to handle extra cases and especially Covid 19. They only have 2 ambulances at Sundre.

      Reply
  15. Dave

    April 4th, 2020

    No doubt, Premier Kenney has various things to be “extremely disappointed” about closer to home, like the klutziness of the War Room or his Health Minister, the collapse of oil prices. I suppose Trump’s approach shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, the US health system is about better care to the most powerful or the highest bidder. If Canada does stop shipment of the material needed to the US, they could find themselves at an impasse, but perhaps we don’t even need to go as far as to make threats, just point out there are a number of inter dependent relationships here and hope saner heads in the US will prevail.

    I have two words of advise for Mr. Shandro for one way to possibly get himself out of this mess – “drunk dialing”. This is so bad that perhaps the only way he can salvage his growing reputation for questionable judgements is to claim he was inebriated at the time. Unfortunately though, I don’t think there is much, if any, evidence to support this, such as slurring of words, overly familiar or inappropriate language, etc.. However, it might be the only way for him to get a bit of public sympathy. A trip to rehab would also help with this and get him out of the public eye for a while, but it would only be a temporary solution – there is no real cure for bad judgement and he seems to have a very bad case of it.

    Reply
  16. Albertan

    April 5th, 2020

    Mr. Beligerence and Donald Trump…..birds of a feather flock together.

    Reply
  17. Death and Gravity

    April 5th, 2020

    I have nothing useful to add about the black of dipshittery which is rural Alberta, especially rural Alberta south of Edmonton. So instead, let me thank you for the little tidbit about the union ownership of The Most Important Pulp Mill in the world, and fwiw, congratulate the workers on having carried the day, and possibly saving a lot of lives while they’re at it.

    Tempting as it is to blockade those morans to the south, it’s most important that lives be saved than whose lives in particular (just so they’re not ALL Republicans). The more important thing is that Canada learn Palmerston’s lesson, and stop seeing the world in childish pastels.

    Reply
  18. tom

    April 5th, 2020

    This is completely off-topic, Dave, and I don’t know if you take suggestions for posts. But it would be interesting to hear your extended views on Jason Kenney’s mentor Jack Mintz who, given his obsessions with austerity and (!!!??!!) inflation, is quickly becoming the George A. Romero of Canadian economists.

    Reply

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