Alberta Politics
A congenial MLA Dave Rodney in 2013 when the Progressive Conservatives were still in power, he was still an MLA, and the idea of an NDP government would have got you laughed out of the room (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Whatever it is, former PC MLA Dave Rodney apparently has what it takes to be Alberta’s agent general in Houston

Posted on July 10, 2020, 2:13 am
8 mins

There may have been peaks and valleys along the way, but thanks to a hand up from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney this week, it looks as if Dave Rodney has finally ascended to the summit of his career.

That is to say, for some reason Mr. Rodney was the recipient of a very nice sinecure in one of the nicer wards of Houston, Texas, with pay in the vicinity of $250,000 a year from the generous people of Alberta, and no doubt many generous benefits and plenty of opportunities to expense things.

Mr. Rodney in attire possibly appropriate for his new role in Houston (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In return, Mr. Rodney, 56, will have to have lots of lunches in nice restaurants with oil industry big shots, which may be dull at times, but he’s a garrulous fellow and will doubtless make the most of it. There will likely be very little stress and few meaningful performance expectations.

So don’t look for the former Progressive Conservative MLA from Calgary-Lougheed to do all that much in his new role as Alberta’s agent general in Houston, but he probably won’t do much harm either beyond being a drain on the provincial treasury.

Not bad for a lad from the flatlands of Mankota, Sask., pop. 205, who would grow up to be a mountain climber and a politician with few accomplishments beyond serving four terms in the Alberta Legislature.

Other than that, Mr. Rodney’s key accomplishments hitherto that prepared him for his new role in Houston were climbing Mount Everest, twice, and throwing a rope to Mr. Kenney at a key moment during his ascent to Alberta’s political summit.

Back in the fall of 2017 when Mr. Kenney had just emerged victorious in the race to lead the United Conservative Party — long before the phrase Kamikaze Candidate had meaning for Albertans — Mr. Rodney generously elected to step aside to make way for his “dear friend” to run in his vacated seat.

He made the announcement via that traditional Parliamentary tweet — which, alas, is no longer available for some reason. “Honoured to pass the Calgary-Lougheed torch to my dear friend-our intrepid @Alberta_UCP [email protected],” said Mr. Rodney, bringing his undistinguished 13-year legislative career to a close.

While appearing at the side of a new leader was not an activity completely unknown to the expeditious Mr. Rodney — he’d managed to make his way quickly to Alison Redford’s side the night in 2011 she was chosen Progressive Conservative leader — his decision to make way for Mr. Kenney in 2017 surprised Alberta political observers at the time since he was seen as having few transferable skills to earn a living beyond his ability to be repeatedly re-elected in a safe Tory seat.

Mr. Rodney demonstrating his ability to get close to a new Conservative leader on the night Alison Redford was chosen to lead the PCs in 2011 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

During his first term as an MLA, Mr. Rodney was also chair of the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. After a senior official was discovered to have made off with $625,000, the board was sharply criticized by the province’s auditor general for its failure to provide oversight.

“Not a superstar,” a former caucus colleague summed up Mr. Rodney’s career succinctly at the time. Other than being known as a good man to have at your side in the event an oxygen-bottle battle breaks out at high altitude, that is.

Arduous though the climb may be, plenty of people have reached the top of Mount Everest. Not so many can say they helped out Jason Kenney at an important step in his political ascent, however.

To cynics like Opposition leader Rachel Notley who expressed doubts about Mr. Rodney’s qualifications despite the many glowing references in the government’s press release, a grateful premier said, “I have the utmost confidence he is the right person for this role.”

The convenient seat switch in 2017 had absolutely nothing to do with it, Mr. Kenney insisted. “He never asked for any kind of consideration in the future.”

According to the CBC, Mr. Kenney said a number of possible candidates were considered for the job, but Mr. Rodney “just stood out to me as the kind of go-getter that we need.”

The AMA lawsuit will fail, health minister says — really it will!

In an unusual news release published yesterday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro set out all the reasons he feels the Alberta Medical Association’s lawsuit against the provincial government will fail.

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

In April, AMA President Christine Molnar announced that the province’s doctors are launching a constitutional challenge and seeking $250 million in compensation from the United Conservative Party Government for the way it arbitrarily ripped up their contract two months before.

Listing a number of “facts” the doctors’ collective-bargaining association will almost certainly dispute, Mr. Shandro announced the government had filed its defence and insisted that “Alberta’s negotiators worked hard and in good faith to arrive at an acceptable agreement that would still ensure that Alberta’s doctors would be the highest-paid physicians in all of Canada. We believe this claim is groundless …”

Well, we’ll see about that. You never know what’s going to happen when you get in front of a judge. Still, Mr. Shandro’s news release seemed like a peculiar tactic for a party to a lawsuit that is genuinely confident of victory.

One might almost suspect the intention was the opposite, to whistle past the constitutional graveyard now, and prepare the ground for a long public complaint about interventionist jurists later.

My advice to Mr. Shandro, his press secretary, and the UCP’s legion of Internet squawkers: Tell it to the judge!

13 Comments to: Whatever it is, former PC MLA Dave Rodney apparently has what it takes to be Alberta’s agent general in Houston

  1. Anonymous

    July 10th, 2020

    The UCP ascend to new levels of crooked behavior, corruption of the highest order, and cronyism everyday. The UCP sure has a knack for wasting money in the worst possible ways, just like their forerunners, the Alberta PCs, did since the mid 1980s and onwards. Is paying $250,000 per year to a former UCP MLA the UCP’s idea of job creation? How come other Albertans are made to do with less, and the UCP awards generous perks to their inner circle? This is so wrong. Furthermore, we have the UCP behaving like bullies. Look at how an NDP MLA was shamefully treated by the Speaker of the Legislature. I don’t know what it will take for Albertans to wake up and realize that the UCP have gone too far? The UCP are bad news, it’s as simple as that. Who will take them to account? Who?

    Reply
  2. Bill Malcolm

    July 10th, 2020

    Mr Rodney will no doubt relish hopping into the Covid-19 fire in Texas, where his rhetorical skills at flogging a dead horse will be muffled by a mandatory mask. He may not find a darn soul who even wants to listen to him because tarsands are so yesterday. When even hedge funds show no interest, what’s the chances he can change the world? Best man for the job indeed. Anyone could do that no-hope gig.

    Reply
  3. Bob Raynard

    July 10th, 2020

    Back when I was teaching, I kept a small card in my desk that said, “Mr. Raynard, I think you are so stupid you will believe that…” Then, when I realized that a student was about to tell me a whopper in an effort to avoid being in trouble, I would pull out the card and tell the student to read it to me before giving me their beyond-belief excuse.

    I was reminded of that card when I read the CBC story about Jason Kenney’s justification of appointing Dave Rodney to his position. I really felt my intelligence being insulted when Kenney spoke so glowingly about Mr. Rodney.

    On the other hand, given the current Covid situation in Texas, maybe this is Jason Kenney’s way of making sure the secrets Mr. Rodney knows never comes out!

    Reply
  4. Dave

    July 10th, 2020

    Every province has its quirks, or perhaps in this case I should say vices. Alberta’s distinction is its at times imperial economic aspirations around the world – trade offices all around the world, whether really needed or not. Its as if oil doesn’t sell itself. What, it does? There is actually a market for it and a daily quoted spot price? Who knew? Obviously not the UCP or their PC predecessors who were even more enamored of these trade offices.

    Now, trade promotion in itself is not a vice, although excessive expense on something not necessary is arguably one. The vice becomes even clearer with the history of these trade offices often being used for political patronage appointments. The UCP trying to bolster Mr. Rodney’s credentials and qualifications for this and justify his appointment was funny. The whole situation would be, if it didn’t involve the poor use of tax dollars.

    I understand, Mr. Rodney stepped aside for Mr. Kenney at an important point and that must be rewarded somehow. I get that, but perhaps it should have been with something that involved party money, not tax dollars – as Executive Director of the UCP party for instance. On second thought, that seems to be a bit of a fraught position and lately a bit of a revolving door, maybe that wouldn’t have been as much of a reward as a punishment. In any event, Mr. Kenney seems good at secretive fundraising and money shuffling, and surely has more money than necessary for campaigning. So perhaps he could have given Mr. Rodney a prestigious sounding, but benign, position of campaign advisor or something like that. You know – sort of money for nothing, not like that hasn’t been done before.

    In any event, Mr. Kenney if you keep abusing taxpayer dollars like this, you might even force the currently docile lapdog Taxpayers Federation to turn on you eventually, like they once did on Klein. Something to think about.

    Reply
  5. ronmac

    July 10th, 2020

    Actually Mr. Rodney may be just the ticket for this post, thanks to his previous role as chair of Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission. I expect many of the O&G guys he’ll be rubbing shoulders with down Houston way will be hitting the bottle and they will be hitting the bottle hard now that shale oil is free fall. So he may actually have some sound advice on the evils of the demon alcohol.

    Failing that he may offer to pick up a lunch tab or two for his cash-starved hosts. Which won’t be doing any favours for Alberta’s balance sheet.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Shale-Has-Lost-300-Billion-In-15-Years.html?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=tw_repost

    Reply
  6. Murphy

    July 10th, 2020

    This is the second story in four days featuring a Kon apparatchik from Saskatchewan who bobbed to the surface in the septic tank we call the Alberta Legislature. Why we are so afflicted here with the detritus of our neighbour, and afflicted we are, is a question to be pondered.
    Rodney was Chair at AADAC at the time that Paddy Meade was CEO.
    “Paddy Meade, former CEO of Alberta Health Services, got $1.3 million in severance, even though she worked only eight months of a three year contract with the health superboard, according to documents the Liberals received after months of asking for them from the Stelmach government.”
    https://www.reddeeradvocate.com/uncategorized/liberals-critical-of-severance-for-execs/
    Meade was set up for her tax-payer-provided windfall by the illustrious Grade 11 graduate Ron Liepert, yet another shining star from Saskatchewan who fell to earth in the Alberta Legislature.
    “Paddy Meade, Liepert’s former deputy minister, has also been added to the superboard executive and put in charge of continuing care.”
    https://www.ctvnews.ca/eight-of-alberta-s-best-paid-health-execs-fired-1.307504

    It’s nice to see the legacy of Meade’s work in continuing care manifested in the massacre of the elderly during the recent Covidmania panic.

    Reply
  7. Just Me

    July 10th, 2020

    Like Harpo before him, Kenney rewards loyalty above all else.

    And judging by the ever expanding list of staffers who are joining the ‘250K Club’ it looks like Kenney returns the favours.

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      July 12th, 2020

      Hey Just Me,

      I think you meant to write, “…kenney rewards corruption above all else.” There fixed it for you. You’re welcome!

      Reply
      • Just Me

        July 12th, 2020

        No.

        Kenney rewards loyalty above all else. The corruption part is up for interpretation, depending on what one thinks of the whole partisan thing.

        Stephen Harper showed that loyal was the most valuable currency in his government. Loyalty assures promotion and protection. Of course, the problem with this scheme is that the least talented and the most cowardly are put in the most important positions.

        After everything that happened to John Baird after his Middle East diplomatic mission, people were still puzzling over the biggest question of all: how in the world did he become foreign minister in the first place?

        Reply
  8. jerrymacgp

    July 10th, 2020

    Fortunately for Mr Rodney, he’s still relatively young at 56, so not at the highest risk for a bad outcome from COVID-19 … but still, he’d be well advised to bone up on his hand hygiene and effective wearing of masks before he goes … Texas has hit 10,900 new cases a day, far more than Alberta has had in toto since this whole thing got rolling in March.

    You couldn’t pay me enough to go to Texas right now, or anywhere in the US for that matter. I’m surprised the UCP aren’t sending Rachel Notley … they hate her so much.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      July 11th, 2020

      Mr. Rodney will be virtually working from home like the rest of us until its safe to venture out into the streets of Houston. DJC

      Reply
  9. Northern Loon

    July 13th, 2020

    One of my very few claims to fame is that the AADAC official who absconded with at least $625,000 was once my neighbour. I seriously did not like the man, but everybody else thought he was just wonderful. He went on to rip off the citizens in Manitoba, even going so far as to arrange for a leave of absence for ‘cancer treatments’ which were actually him going to jail here in Alberta. I wonder who is stealing from now.

    Reply

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