The shocking coffee mug that has Alberta atwitter, slightly modified with the sensibilities of my advertisers in mind (Image: Majesty and Friends).

Now that right-wing snowflakes have officially made “cancel culture” a thing, let’s talk about the controversial coffee mug they’d like to cancel that rudely mentions Jason Kenney, shall we?

Tout le monde political Alberta was abuzz yesterday, with many conservatives bemoaning the sorry state of political discourse in Wild Rose Country and pleading for a return to the civility of an imagined recent past, after learning that an Edmonton gift shop is selling a coffee mug proclaiming, “FUCK YOU KENNEY.”

Rather pointedly, the merchant — Majesty and Friends — is donating a quarter of the proceeds from the sale of what it calls its “subtly appropriate Kenney mug” to Alberta schools to buy personal protective equipment for which the Kenney Government won’t pony up. The mugs are made in Alberta, the shop’s website notes, “by people who care about healthcare, teachers, schools, kids, parks, and lgtbq+.”

City TV, a local purveyor of on-air drivel owned by Rogers Communications, got wind of this use of “the word we can’t show on television” and was shocked, just shocked. Its reporter commenced his report with an excited if euphemistic description of the mug, calling its message “as shocking as it is blunt.”

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

Things went rapidly downhill from that bad start. “The profane mug is an example of how Canadian politics is becoming less and less civil,” the reporter intoned self-righteously, cutting to a political scientist from a nearby university who, in the reporter’s words, “believes we need to express political differences without resorting to personal attacks…”

This prompted a tsunami of hilarious responses, many strongly worded, saying, in effect, where the hell were you for the past six years while Alberta’s right wing assailed Rachel Notley, the NDP, Justin Trudeau, the federal Liberals, their spouses, and, in the case of the prime minister, his mother, using every profanity and obscenity imaginable, not to mention threatening them and, in a high-profile recent case, apparently plotting an assassination?

Social media was flooded with images of hats, bumper stickers, and offensive billboards common in Alberta since the federal and provincial elections of 2015, which saw Conservatives defeated in both jurisdictions. Many are too offensive to show here — you’ll have to look it up online for yourselves. You can start here.

The why-can’t-we-all-do-better crowd was cruelly mocked, and I’m sure some tears were shed by the many snowflakes of the right, people so sensitive that comparing the carbon tax to genocide is considered appropriate but telling their favourite politician to get lost with a blunt Anglo-Saxonism is cause for hand-wringing and pearl clutching.

The point is this has never been a he-said, she-said story. It’s been years of the vilest abuse by one side responded to mostly with rolled eyes and gritted teeth by the other. But now that someone has directed a rude expression about as common as a comma at Alberta’s right-wing premier on coffee mug, it’s newsworthy … Oh, please!

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (Photo: Mathew Brady, c. 1822-1896, Public Domain).

Well, Premier Kenney can take comfort, I suppose, that no one is shouting “Lock ’im up!” Yet.

The plucky entrepreneurs at Majesty and Friends, meanwhile, appear to be doing a land office trade in the mugs. I’d buy one myself if they delivered outside the municipal boundaries of Edmonton.

Right-wing snowflakery was reverting to more normal patterns last night, though, with blogger and Alberta Independence Party founder Cory Morgan screeching that “social justice warriors” are “turning their eyes to the Flames.”

“Just fuck off already,” Mr. Morgan exclaimed in the face of this seemingly imagined outrage to Calgary’s NHL franchise.

He linked his tweet to an interesting story discussing how the Calgary Flames NHL team got its name. Since there is no mention in the story of anyone objecting to the Flames name, certainly not social justice warriors, it is reasonable to wonder what prompted this particular outburst.

The team was once the Atlanta Flames, you see, and the name was a reference to the destruction of that strategic Confederate city in November 1864 by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union troops as the American Civil War drew to its end.

In other words, it’s a factoid far more likely to get social injustice warriors’ knickers in a twist, don’t you think?

It is an oddity, I suppose, for a professional sports team to be named after an act of war, but it is part of our continent’s history, as they say, and being reminded of why Gen. Sherman burned Atlanta, not to mention pretty well everything else from there to Savannah, is quite a useful lesson to keep in mind for those inclined to look favourably on secession.

A note on the use of profanity in news and commentary

Whether or not to spell out profanity in news and commentary is a controversial topic within journalism. I am a member of the school of thought that believes it is better to use profanity rarely, because judged critically it is seldom newsworthy. When it is newsworthy, as it apparently is in this case, it should be stated forthrightly, and spelled out fully in all its lack of glory. That said, the image was a little much for me, so I tastefully modified it. DJC

Join the Conversation


  1. Oh my goodness, a coffee mug signals the end of civility or pehaps it is a sign of the Appomattox. Oh please, those UCP supporters really should save their faux outrage for something better.

    I realize civility is a favorite Kenney word, but it is really about control. If you are not on the UCP bus, you are not allowed to protest here or maybe anywhere. Really civility = silence, if you don’t follow the big blue mamon. On Kenney’s road to power, it wasn’t civility when his supporters drove Sandra Jansen from the PC party, was it? It wasn’t civility either what some UCP supporters did with pictures of former Premier Notley either or said about her, was it?

    Kenney discovered civility quite late in the game, around the same time he grasped power. Apparently having a kamikaze candidate make dirty attacks on your opponent, so your hands would seem clean is civility, but is it really, or just the appearance of it?

    All this talk about civility is total bs and probably full of hypocricy too. Anyone following Alberta politics over the last few years probably fully realizes this, whether they have the integrity to say so now or not.

    1. My husband used to use that word every once in a while when he was trying to fix something and it wasn’t going well.
      When I reminded him that I didn’t appreciate him using that particular word, his patented excuse would be “but I was just underlining my statement” which he hoped would get him off the hook!

      Nowadays, that word has become a regular part of daily communications in our world, and I don’t even pay any attention to it.

  2. Bad language is used by some and avoided by others. Not only is it a christian thing it became a Culture thing. Anger is never pretty.
    Obviously this person disagrees with Kenny and resorts to venting using a cup. If that guy uses it at work, then the employer needs to watch the employees judgment, treatment of others and vengeful tendencies. They may simply want to demote someone like if it starts affecting their work performance.

    1. I believe that with Kenney’s new workplace legislation, it might just be possible to fire people for having green eyes or wearing Crocs to work, especially if they’re the chicken-scented KFC ones.

      Of course I believe that word, the offensive one that starts with K, should never be used in public.

      1. Surely just forgot the sarcasm tag at the end, because there is always a home that kind of behaviour in the front bench. To the casual observer it appears to be encouraged.

  3. “I’d buy one myself if they delivered outside the municipal boundaries of Edmonton.”
    Sufficient funds have been placed in the Alberta Politics account for the purchase of TWO mugs with an additional $10 for gas to and from Majesty and Friends. Bottoms up!

  4. As soon as I realized where this article was going I immediately thought of the truck I regularly see with the ‘F*ck Trudeau’ bumper sticker on the back window. At least a coffee mug generally stays in people’s homes where the general public does not have to see the language. I expect if I had a ‘F*ck Kenney’ mug in the staff room at the school I taught at, I would have been told to take it home.

    I am afraid f*ck has become the new damn, which is unfortunate because there doesn’t seem to be anything left to draw on when one is really upset. That said, I am still offended enough by the word that I will not be buying a mug, although I certainly feel the sentiment the mug expresses. Besides, sipping a cup of coffee is supposed to be an enjoyable experience; being constantly reminded of Jason Kenney would take the pleasure out of a cup of coffee! I think toilet paper with a photo of our premier would be much more satisfying.

  5. Speaking of the Calgary Flames and the NHL here’s a tasty little FYI morsel. As we know Edmonton is one of two hub cities hosting the Stanley Cup playoffs. Half of the downtown district has been walled off, behind which millionaire hockey players and assorted officials will spend the next two months.

    Just around the corner from this bubble, a couple of blocks from Rojers Centre, stands HSBC Place, a glass enclosed tower which houses the offices of AIMCO, the investment company which manages a boatload of retirement funds. Not too long ago some high rollers there lost over $2.1 billion on a shaky toss of the dice. The total revenue of all seven Canadian NHL teams last year was about $1.2 billion.

  6. If it’s OK for every pick up truck in Alberta to sport a “Fuck you Trudeau” bumper sticker, then it should be equally as acceptable for some Albertans to do the same with “Fuck you kenney” stickers.

    1. It’s not a matter of it being socially acceptable.
      It is a matter of our constitutional right to free expression.
      In layman’s terms the only speech that is protected is our right to criticize our government and its representatives without fear of consequences, punishment, or censorship.

      You can suggest publicly that Kenney, in his role as our premier, should go engage in carnal knowledge of his mother and he can offer no legal repercussions to your words.
      Oh my, yes he has tried to intimidate critics with libel suits and such, but he knows he couldnt win them and only does so because he is a short little prick with an ego made of champagne glass.

  7. My favourite quote of Dr. M.L. King is the one in which he states (I paraphrase) the biggest stumbling block to freedom is not the white supremacy extremist, but the moderate who is more devoted to an orderly peace than justice.

    Meaning someone who will ignore atrocities being pointed out to focus on the fact the person who pointed them out used a word they consider vulgar while describing said atrocities.

    There is nobody I find more intellectually dishonest than the person who will completely dismiss an entire logically accurate, fact filled, credible source quoting argument because it included the word “fuck” or “fucking” as perhaps an attempt to add emphasis or disdain to a specific idea.

    This is also the person who will look at an entire race or culture living under the oppression of systemic racism and dismiss their suffering, or worse even go so far as to say they DESERVE it, when they react to it with aggression and violence.

    I do not condemn the conservative for engaging in this behaviour because they are inherently dishonest and use this faux outrage and victim carding ironically against the left as an intellectual shield. As an effective tool against the humanist emotions the left has access to and the right does not.
    The right feels no guilt when they use the most egregious and vulgar insults against their opponents, whereas the left do. Because empathy is tied to intelligence and for one to vote for the group of misanthropes comprising the UCP, one would have to be the lowest hanging fruit on the tree of sociopathy.

  8. Such a small matter, a simple coffee cup with a common word more often than not used to accurately describe the truth.

    Alberta political discourse is often peppered with salty slogans that announce violence is coming to the enemies of the House of Wildrose.

    I recall Premier Notley image was cast upon a shooting range target. In another instance, she was cast as an obstacle for golf carts to run over. And in another instance, Notley’s likeness was cast as a lock-her-up signage c/o Rebelmedia.

    Seems Alberta’s sewer rats are such tender hearts when they are made good on their own discretions.

  9. Disclaimer: I lived in logging camps for half my life—I’ve heard a lot of swearing and am familiar with its anodyne properties in rarified (virtually all-male, with virtual females, clutching pearls, and all) environments where social misfits (most logging camp residences, size-forty-nine pants, size-two hard hats) who coincidentally get big muscles at work that need uncoiling at play (with alcohol). At some point in the evening some morose, besotted Albert Einsthil in the corner will stumble upon the most apropos question, one to which others will paint the air blue with philosophical rejoinders.

    Fuck Kenney? Why? You mean, is he fucked or does he need fucking? And so on (believe me, some weighty matters have been contemplated—perhaps better appreciated by ordinary city people by using a screening template so context isn’t lost: a workmate and I once counted the number of F-bombs our crummy-driver could pack-in during a five minute tirade on workers’ rights whilst we were fuc —uh, I mean, screwing the pouch—on a slash-infested side hill one day: it was ninety-two times; Marx would have been proud, though).

    No kidding: loggers can be very philosophical about important matters of the day. For example: does “bisexual” mean one has to buy it to get—well, you know…And does “trisexual” mean one has to try it for—uh, you know, the same reason. That sort of thing. Heavens knows what they might say about the UCP leader.

    Thing about this cup that’s so endearing (I mean, in addition to exposing UCP/CPC hypocrisy and culpability) is that it does open up the forum for interesting intercourse of ideas.

    Otherwise I think everyone—including most Albertans—gets the gist of the mug and, partisan discourse being what it’s become, I can most phatically agree (but if I tried using that word in a logging camp—if there are any left—I’d probably be really F-ed).

    1. Given that Kenney’s storied life-long abstinence is often the subject of legend and song, perhaps he is hoping that this cup gives someone an idea?

      Kenney will surely be singing, “Yes, please. Thank you.” at that very special moment.

  10. Civility in the Kenney world:

    Earplugs, and dancing for joy in a wading pool after a hard session of taking away rights and protection in schools for children. Such childish antics from people who have great disdain for other people’s children. Now the person who handed out the earplugs has decided that schools won’t get any money for protecting kids from a fatal virus this fall. What will he do to celebrate? This must be many times more joyful than outing a few kids. Such mirth and glee!

    A mug should be the least of his worries.

  11. David, you have missed the point! Someone had to manufacture the mug, someone had to print the message on it, and someone has to man the cash register as hordes of people come in to buy it. Jason Kenney has created jobs!

  12. Wasn’t the “Atlanta Flames” name intended to invoke rising from the flames, which could be interpreted as a microagression.

    Edmonton should pro-actively change the name of its hockey team to the “Climate Pledge Keepers”.

  13. Given Kenney’s life choices both made by him personally and likely everyone that comes in contact with him it is safe to say this isn’t a personal attack. At least not one that anyone will follow through on.

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