Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland MLA Shane Getson addressing his audience at the Parkland Village Hall (Photo: Screenshot of Facebook video).

Take it from an old newshound old enough to remember when newshounds were an actual thing: When someone accuses a reporter of taking their words out of context, what they usually mean is, “I wish I hadn’t said that.”

Or, at least, I wish I hadn’t got caught saying it.

A package of Hawkins Cheezies.

So when Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland MLA Shane Getson, a member of the United Conservative Party Caucus in the Alberta Legislature, says his now notorious remarks about unemployed Albertans spending their Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments on Cheezies, cartoons and recreational drugs are being taken out of context, he most certainly means he wishes he hadn’t been caught making them.

Complaining about how local businesses have trouble finding employees, he told about a dozen constituents in the Parkland Village Town hall that it’s “because they make more on CERB, eating Cheezies and watching cartoons, I guess.”

In doing so, he insulted more than a million Albertans who were helped by the benefit in the face of the Covid disaster and expressed a level of contempt for working people that is all too common among small business operators in Alberta and their cheerleaders in the Kenney Government.

What’s more, the former construction crew boss may have missed it, but rural Alberta had a problem with addictive drugs long before the CERB came and went. Nevertheless, he also opined that the root of Alberta’s drug problem — which by closing down safe injection clinics, the UCP is doing the opposite of helping — is what he called “that fancy sock wearin’, paper-straw-suckin’, water box kinda thing-in’, sorta embezzelin’, whatever, blackface paintin’, ethics fraction (sic)” from Ottawa. To wit: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

After all, Mr. Getson explained to his apparently mostly credulous listeners, “all of a sudden you have that population that has all that extra cash, and now their addiction levels are going through the roof. And then what? The funny money runs out?”

Apparently he thinks if you keep the proletariat sufficiently impoverished, they’ll stay sober.

Some media have been giving credit for distribution of a video of the MLAs remarks to the Alberta NDP, but Mr. Getson has no one to blame for the controversy but himself — he appears to have posted the thing on social media!

You’d think even a rural UCP MLA would get it by now that it’s probably smart to curb your enthusiasm about climate change denial, Covid questioning and the like you when the digital cameras are rolling. Especially when the cameras are yours.

MLA Getson bloviating (Photo: Facebook).

But not Mr. Getson, apparently. He now has the dubious distinction of being known as the guy who thinks Covid is “a very bad flu that’s contagious, a respiratory thing.” Plus, he’s become Alberta’s leading recipient of Cheezies in the mail. Some of the salty treats, presumably, are being sent by sarcastic citizens with the postage paid by what’s left of their CERB payments.

So blaming his embarrassment on his political enemies may be a familiar tactic, but it’s a bit of a reach in the circumstances. You can hardly say he’s being taken out of context, when the entire context — all excruciatingly boring two hours and 11 minutes of it — has been posted for the edification of those seeking insights into the mind of the typical rural UCP MLA.

But give the man his due. He got one thing right in his seemingly endless bloviation. To wit, his Wexit-minded constituents ought not to count on the United Nations ensuring an independent Alberta’s bitumen goes unvexed to the sea through British Columbia.

No, he pointed out, for any hope of that happening, they’re going to have to remain citizens of Canada.

Sad to say, if anything gets him in trouble with Premier Jason Kenney, it just might be that.

So one cheer for Mr. Getson, anyway.

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  1. To paraphrase Britney Spears, whoops he did it to himself!

    I suppose it is a struggle for backbench UCP MLA’s to get themselves in the news these days, but Mr. Getson has done it, despite Premier Kenney’s imposed silence of the grassroots, which has generally been more effective than herbicide on quack grass.

    I can’t imagine Getson’s boss will be very pleased with this recent cascade of candour, although perhaps it may at least take the spotlight momentarily off some of Kenney’s more gaffe prone ministers. I suppose it might help out the company making cheezies and also boss Kenney was getting sour on Trudeau again anyways. Perhaps by now Kenney is getting used to his MLA’s giving their various views on Wexit, but I suspect he would prefer they say nothing on this politically divisive topic for the UCP.

    I am sure as soon as possible Mr. Kenney will arrange for things to return to the silence of the grassroots and like most other UCP rural backbenchers, Mr. Getson will not be heard from again.

  2. When on the campaign trail Jason Kenney did his best to present himself as the second coming of Ralph Klein. One political commentator I heard recently, however, made the point that Ralph Klein was really good at giving a remorseful apology when he messed up, whereas Jason Kenney seems incapable of acknowledging an error on his part. We certainly saw that during the campaign, when Kenney showed what a master of deception, deflection and distraction he was when his supporters engaged in all sorts of inappropriate behavior.

    It would appear Kenney’s make no apologies style has permeated his caucus as well.

  3. The fact that people are getting more on CERB than when they are working highlights a big problem, because CERB isn’t that much. I’m starting to think the k shaped recovery has some real merit, almost like there was a plan….

  4. Yes indeed folks, it is the continuation the same types of things that happen in the Conservative domain of Alberta. Kick people when they are down. Say inappropriate things, and make them frown. This is very Ralph Klein like. We can remember what Ralph Klein did, when he was drunk, and berated the homeless at a shelter. We also recall when Ralph Klein was ridiculing the disabled. Ralph Klein and his own MLAs were even on TV doing it, while chuckling. Shane Getson has basically shoved his hoof in his mouth and wants to act like it was taken out of context. Right! Who is he trying to fool? Doesn’t Alberta not have the highest rate of unemployment in the country? If not, we are second in that regard. Regardless, the unemployment rate is very high in Alberta. Where are the jobs? The UCP said their corporate tax cuts would provide them. How in the world does someone have money for anything else, after their bills and expenditures were paid for with CERB, which is only just enough to cover the basics? The UCP also collected federal government assistance money during the covid crisis, while the NDP refused to take it. This shows the gall of the UCP. It also shows the hypocrisy of the UCP too. So, their generous MLA salaries are hard to live off of, (even after the supposed pay cut they made Alberta MLAs take)? What’s more, those who were on CERB, and were also on AISH, had their AISH benefits clawed back. This shameful practice only happened in Alberta. I don’t know how much longer Alberta will be able to put up with the circus, which is the UCP.

  5. No doubt Shane Getson was singing the praises of Cheezies in honor of President Trump, who he considers to be the High Imperial Cheeto.

    All things considered, it can be argued that the Trudeau Liberals injected billions of dollars into Alberta’s economy, while the UCP will pulling billions out of it.

    It seems making Kenney look bad has made Trudeau an MVP on the ‘Enemies List”.

  6. So, did you fall for it?

    Sounds like a good way to get union peeps to send Cheezies.

    As for “he insulted more than a million Albertans who were helped by the benefit in the face of the Covid disaster and expressed a level of contempt for working people that is all too common among small business operators in Alberta and their cheerleaders in the Kenney Government”

    Seems to me the way help Albertans is to provide an environment where jobs can flourish.

    Seems to me the contempt is coming from the, “lets give them a fish so they can eat for a day tribe, then when they run out of fish theyll have to vote for us”, band of pillagers.

    1. After 44 years of Cons providing an environment where business can flourish we have neither flourishing businesses nor jobs. Fact is we are isolated at least 1,000 km and seven mountain ranges from international markets while our competitors in agriculture and oil and gas production are less than 200 km over almost flat land to deep water. That is a huge disadvantage, especially when your oil is sub-par. Add in the loss of jobs to automation and we need people in government that have some sense of what is happening in the bigger world outside their little UCP cargo-cult bubble about pipelines and working in the oil and gas service sector. I enjoyed the 60’s but those days are gone and I really don’t miss the leaded gasoline.

      1. Labour markets change. Recently Alberta has had a bad case of the orange socialist disease, and we are just getting over it. That said the bones of the economy, put together by the conservatives is still evident. The metric you want to check is the demographics. You see younger people flock to where they can get a job and have a life. And you can see that Alberta built by the conservatives was the place to go. As previously mentioned, recent history has had a chilling affect, but the current ucp is righting the boat. After the current storm the future looks good.

        1. More like Captain Kenny is running the UCP Titanic full speed into an economic ice berg after ditching all the passenger lifeboats. The current storm is Alberta’s future until they realize the world has changed.

          1. Time for one of my favourite quotes: “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

            However, if you inculcate inaccurate information all sorts of phantom visages rush out at you.

        2. I’m impressed you have a Neo-Marxist view that labour markets matter, but my comment had to do with the economics of commodity production in relationship to transportation costs, which have turned against Alberta’s oil and gas sector. Oil and gas, like agriculture, are very capital intensive and as a proportion of costs labour is trivial. When it is not a trivial cost, automation is the alternative.

          Seems to me that young people, especially those with higher qualifications have been leaving Alberta since the UCP took power. No parks and no culture, you can’t blame them.

          1. “Neo-Marxist”? I dont think so. I could count the ways for you but I dont have enough time.
            (your bringing up the M word just about triggered me, but I have contained it)

            And I agree, young people are leaving. When the NDP trash canned “the Alberta advantage” in 2016, it was never going to be an easy road to further economic expansion. And of course outside factors have had their effects also.

            In such situations, you need to hunker down on your core competencies and advantages and that is what the UCP are doing….

            unlike the unicorn hunting the NDP tried to push.

  7. Don Braid pointed out in an editorial (Calgary Herald? Sorry, can’t find the link) that Getson apparently believes wearing masks increases your risk of catching Covid-19. Add that to the Cheezies and drugs commentary. Then add the Justin Derangement Syndrome. A frightening picture comes into focus.

    Is this guy typical of UCP politicians? Rural politicians? Rural UCP politicians? If so, we’re in even more trouble than I thought.

      1. Thanks–that’s the one. Pretty savage, I thought, for a Calgary Herald op-ed piece about a UCP politician. It’s great that Mr. Braid was able to use Getson’s own words to show the context. I repeat: if this guy is typical of UCP politicians, we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.

  8. This is the same cheesy MLA who mimicked and mocked MLA Marie Renaud as she spoke in the Leg. He is just acting true to form.

  9. Alternative history version of Alberta, according to Getson:

    In those dark days before Covid, ordinary people earned $700 a month. Then a wondrous thing called CERB lifted the citizens out of their drudgery and squalor. The bounty of $2000 a month made the delicacy called “Cheezies” affordable to the masses for the first time. The $700 Club discovered the concept of “free time”, and became entranced by cartoons on television. Unlike NHL hockey, cartoons were not approved by the state, particularly “The Simpsons” with that yellow Homer guy. No good could come of this, because everyone knows that Cheezies and cartoons are gateway drugs. Soon the masses were all hepped up on illegal drugs. Cheezies and cartoons brought down Alberta. Everything was fine until the Cheezies and cartoons, I tell you, just fine!!! Look, Trudeau’s socks!

  10. Footnote to Getson’s Alternate Alberta history:

    The State of Alberta demands that any and all future federal relief funds be spent on state-run, state-approved online gambling, which is not a gateway drug to drug addiction, but a gateway drug to gambling addiction. Stop wasting our money on cheese doodles and mindless cartoons. Flush — er — transfer CERB back to where it rightfully belongs, in Alberta’s Treasury! We are preparing for the Giant Enema of 2023. Thank you for your expected obedience.

  11. Judging by Braid’s column, Getson must be a frequent visitor of the following services for all his information…

    Rebel Media



    Hal Turner Radio

    I could go on, but why? Karma will find him soon enough. Hey, it found the Trumpster.

  12. “You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding and a vulgar manner.”
    Aristophanes, The Knights 475 B.C.

    1. Thanks! From Wikiquote, here’s another from the same source:
      A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.

  13. Hey, I nearly missed a point about Getson’s speechifying: “Complaining about how local businesses have trouble finding employees…” OK, Shane. But WHICH businesses? Who runs ’em? Local Mom-and-Pop corner store, fast-food franchise, national retailer–or what? Who the heck has been hiring during the pandemic lockdown? Has anyone come forward to say, “Yeah, I need a job–but not with THAT a–hole!” I dunno, it just seems something’s missing.

    1. Probably businesses that laid people off and want to hire them back at a fraction of their previous salary, deeply-discounted-below-minimum-wage, on call 24/7, no benefits, for 10 hours a week: Getson’s friend in Vernon, maybe? The minimum wage in B.C. is $14.90 per hour. Divide that into $700.

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