Alberta Politics
Former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Donna Kennedy-Glans in 2015 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Alberta government has been sitting on pro-autonomy report or more than a month, Fair Deal Panel member indicates

Posted on May 18, 2020, 4:41 pm
4 mins

Has the Kenney Government been sitting on the “Fair Deal” Panel’s report since Easter, wondering what the heck to do with it?

Sounds like it.

Ms. Kennedy-Glans during the Fair Deal Panel’s town hall in Fort Saskatchewan on Jan. 9 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In an annoyed Twitter exchange yesterday prompted by the suggestion in this blog the panel was late with its homework, panel member Donna Kennedy-Glans disputed that timing and told one interlocutor, “the report was submitted to government by our panel weeks ago.”

Later, responding sharply to an acerbic tweet by Progress Alberta Executive Director Duncan Kinney, Ms. Kennedy-Glans said that “the report was finalized at Easter.”

If by “finalized” the former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister means it was sent to the government, then it was in the government’s hands for well over a month before the Premier’s Office issued a press release on the Saturday of a long weekend that said, well, they’d be taking a look at it after the COVID-19 crisis had passed.

Saturday’s government news release implies the report had only recently been submitted to the government — although on a careful re-reading, there is no mention at all of when the report was received.

By omitting the time element, the release seems to have been drafted to give the deceptive impression the government hadn’t had time to consider the contents of the report in the midst of a pandemic.

Progress Alberta Executive Director Duncan Kinney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Ms. Kennedy-Glans’s statement makes it clear United Conservative Party political strategists had plenty of time to ponder voters’ likely reactions to the report’s recommendations while Ottawa was doing the heavy lifting in the response to COVID-19 and decided that dog won’t hunt.

The report and town halls and public engagement associated with it that have had a strongly pro-autonomy tone now seem to have happened in a different age, although the panel was only struck six months ago. Alberta separation chatter has noticeably quieted, presumably at the same time as Albertans cash their federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit cheques.

Recent news reports suggest journalists have been trying for weeks to find out if the report had been submitted and got only vague answers from the premier’s staff for their efforts.

Ms. Kennedy-Glans’s tweeted revelation points to a likely reason for the mystification about the timing of the report.

The actual date on which the report was submitted remains a mystery.

Ms. Kennedy-Glans has not responded to my requests yesterday and today for the specific date, and nor has the premier’s press secretary, Christine Myatt, answered an email this morning. In fairness, it’s a statutory holiday today, so perhaps the premier’s staff is taking a rare break from politics.

Happy Victoria Day!

10 Comments to: Alberta government has been sitting on pro-autonomy report or more than a month, Fair Deal Panel member indicates

  1. Sam Gunsch

    May 18th, 2020

    fwiw… for those that missed it, the UCP and public inquiry commissioner into so-called Anti-Alberta Energy campaigns have also refused to release the interim report and any submissions they received. The interim report was filed jan 31. The final report is due July 2 but they’ve given themselves 90 days after that to release it publicly.

    They’re also hoping they can bury and walk away from this stupid and politically vindictive exercise.

    Ecojustice lost it’s day in court challenging it because COVID-19 shut down the courts.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/inquiry-steve-allan-alberta-1.5492804

    https://www.ecojustice.ca/pressrelease/albertans-deserve-transparency-on-controversial-public-inquiry-ecojustice/

    https://albertainquiry.ca/faq

    Reply
    • Mike in Edmonton

      May 18th, 2020

      Sam, one hopeful note. Ecojustice is proceeding with the judicial review. The court date was postponed, I believe–not cancelled.

      As you note, Ecojustice argues the “inquiry” was politically motivated to silence critics. Also, they argue that the review encroaches on FEDERAL jurisdiction, so the Alberta government is overstepping its authority.

      This will drag on for years. Let’s hope the bad press starts early in 2023…..

      Reply
  2. Dave

    May 18th, 2020

    In fairness, Kenney and crew have rather been busy with other things over the last month and a half or so. Dealing with COVID, trying to stick it to doctors and grovelling for money from the Feds are just a few things that come to mind. Perhaps it is better they try to focus on at least the first one now, so I’m ok if the Fair Deal panel report sits for a little while or even a long while.

    However, I suspect the second problem with it you brought up is their greater concern. Even in better times, the Fair Deal panel was headed in the directions of half baked and kooky. Times have changed a lot since then and it will be harder to sell politically now and also for now Kenney and Alberta needs the Feds.

    They must be wracking their brains trying to figure out how to water it down without upsetting or alienating anyone. Perhaps it will sit for a long time. If it never sees the light of day, we should be so lucky.

    Reply
  3. Hammer

    May 18th, 2020

    Fair deal. May be a little bit off topic, but how is Mr. Kenney and team going to get us a fair return on the KXL as Biden, just announced he will not support it. My Lord the problems Kenny has in province will seem minuscule if he has to announce that the billions he backstopped TransCanada has been flushed. Now it is very clear why no other financial firm would back this pipeline as the risk premium was just too high. When you take into account the 4-5 billion dollar corporate tax break, the billions in loan guarantees to TC we could have become the high-tech capital of Canada with incentives that would have been available to startups etc.. Now we have the potential of incredible losses and nothing to show for it.

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      May 19th, 2020

      Don’t forget to add the $4-5 billion Kenney’s AIMCO lost gambling on stupid high-risk investments, that even a teenager would avoid.

      Reply
  4. Mike in Edmonton

    May 18th, 2020

    Can’t say I’m surprised. “Wexit” was never more than Jason whipping up the proles to make noise. That, and MSM reaching for the stock, stereotyped “western alienation” story to fill space. (Historical note: Ralph Klein tried the alienation schtick in 2004 and got nowhere–“Alberta Politics Uncovered” by Mark Lisac. Depressing reading, we’ve gotten nowhere since then.)

    Confederation isn’t perfect, but the problems are more perceived than real. Mostly, I think Albertans like to hold grudges (that old noise about the National Energy Program) and feel sorry for themselves (“leave our oil/pipeline/money/guns/[your pet peeve here] alone!”).

    Still, given the chance to demand “more,” Albertans mostly said “Hell no. Don’t make it worse.” Really, really hard to spin that, even for Republican wannabes….

    Having seen Jason’s idea of crisis management–or management by crisis–would you really want to give this guy any MORE power? I’d rather have a strong government in Ottawa, 2000 miles away, than a premier right here who can do as he damn well pleases.

    Reply
  5. Bob Raynard

    May 19th, 2020

    David a few days ago you included an off hand comment about Drew Barnes having his nose out of joint for not being included in cabinet. In the comments section Dave (I think) made reference to Jason Kenney preferring younger members of his caucus for cabinet ministers, because they were easier to control.

    It appears Mr. Barnes is making life a little more difficult for our beloved king. In the CBC story linked below, Mr. Barnes makes comments like ‘it is important to recognize that we can do two things at once’ that are going to generate political pressure on Jason Kenney to release the report sooner than he wants to.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/province-shouldn-t-delay-fair-deal-report-too-long-panelists-say-1.5574834

    This kind of thing really underlines Commentor Dave’s point about Jason Kenney preferring more malleable MLAs in his caucus. The downside of that whole Grassroots Guarantee is that some UCPers, especially former Wildrosers, actually believe it. Long term Wildrosers, like Drew Barnes, have spent most of their political careers thinking they could have some influence, only to find it pulled out from under them by Jason Kenney. In another post you wrote a few weeks ago you speculated that some cracks were starting to show in the UCP caucus; I wonder if Mr. Barnes speaking out is an example of such a thing.

    I have also wondered if Jason Kenney worked to get malleable MLAs even during the candidate selection process. Back when the UCP was nominating candidates, political observers were surprised when Nate Horner upset long term MLA Rick Strankman. Strankman you may recall, served a jail sentence for defying the Canadian Wheat Board and trucking grain into the US, before Stephen Harper eventually pardoned him. A man who is willing to go to jail to make a point is clearly not the kind of MLA an autocrat like Kenney wants to have. Strankman, who was a sitting MLA when he lost the nomination, ultimately quit the UCP and sat as an independent, complaining about the undemocratic process that led to his defeat.

    https://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/self-centered-politics-mla-rick-strankman-quits-ucp-to-sit-as-independent/

    Reply
  6. Kang

    May 19th, 2020

    Speaking of fairness, wasn’t Donna Kennedy-Glans in Redford’s government when they passed a law and an order-in-council overturning two court decisions favouring landowners which limited the impunity of a power company to steal private land for the profit of its foreign shareholders?

    Reply
  7. Comment

    May 19th, 2020

    No problem! AIMCo will be receiving a multi-billion shot in the arm when teachers’ pension money is handed over by the end of 2021, compliments of Kenney.

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      May 20th, 2020

      Yeah, more money for Kenney to piss away!

      Reply

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