Alberta Politics
Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw at yesterday’s grim COVID-19 briefing (Photo: Screenshot of Government of Alberta Video).

It’s the pandemic, stupid!

Posted on November 21, 2020, 1:03 am
5 mins

Another day, another COVID-19 infection record broken.

This time, 1,155.

There are 11 new deaths.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro, as they appeared at yesterday’s news conference.

Is it just me, or is there a whiff of panic in the cold Alberta air?

Not among the hard-core COVID deniers, including those who are United Conservative Party MLAs, of course. They’ll go to their graves before they’ll admit the pandemic is an actual thing.

Indeed, they do. South of the Medicine Line, deniers are dying in denial in droves.

Here, who knows? Not quite so many, probably. Which is why so many Albertans are nervously starting to ask, where the hell’s our government?

I mean, other than Banff-Kananaskis UCP MLA Miranda Rosin. We know where she is. Out telling her constituents that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

Ditto Red Deer South UCP MLA Jason Stephan. He thinks Albertans worrying about COVID-19 are guilty of “excessive risk aversion and fear.”

But what about our leaders?

Talkative MLA Miranda Rosin (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Nowhere to be seen.

When Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw told the not-quite-daily-any-more COVID briefing yesterday that “our current situation is grim,” there was no sign of Premier Jason Kenney or Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

And all we heard from them was crickets.

Well, as Dr. Hinshaw said, they’re busy men. There’s only so much time in a day. Yadda-yadda.

An alternative explanation is that when the going gets tough, tough guys get going … preferably out of town. In a pandemic, though, that probably just means back to the taxpayer-subsidized condo for these tough guys.

Well, maybe they were laser-focused yesterday on making sure oil companies don’t have to pay their municipal taxes or planning ways to move on from beating up doctors to pushing nurses around.

UCP MLA Jason Stephan (Photo: Jason Stephan).

Remember, these are the guys who are determined to create a new neoliberal paradise out here in on the western edge of the Great Plains. Who knew you’d have to be dead to get in?

Speaking of which, it takes a bunch of neoliberals “moving at the speed of business” to mess up a free smartphone app that could supposedly save your life so much that no one will download the thing.

Well, why bother? As The Sprawl Calgary pointed out, the damn thing still doesn’t work. We’ll have a vaccine before that app works at the speed these people do business.

Meanwhile, a real government, the one in Ottawa that UCP types are always saying needs to be shrunk down to a size where you can drown it in a bathtub, had no trouble coming up with an app that works.

All our missing provincial leaders come up with are excuses for why we can’t use Ottawa’s COVID Alert app in Alberta.

And, boy, they have lots. Their story seems to change every couple of weeks. The answer’s always the same, though. No, you can’t have it.

That would mean giving credit to Justin Trudeau for a job well done. Apparently that’s a goal worth letting a few Albertans die for. What the hell, the ones who will die are mostly old anyway.

How about a little thing like a mask mandate? You can forget about that for a while longer too.

Meanwhile, the Kenney Government’s new motto is: Nothing we’ve done for months has worked. Let’s do the same thing tomorrow!

We’re doubling down on failure.

Our missing leaders have forgotten the most important thing: It’s the pandemic, stupid!

14 Comments to: It’s the pandemic, stupid!

  1. Dave

    November 21st, 2020

    One thing about leadership is it is hard to lead when you are missing in action, hiding in yout mom’s basement or where ever Kenney is right now. We see Trudeau and even Doug Ford regularly still, even though the news for them is challenging too. At least they haven’t seemed to give up and they have realistic plans to face the challenges.

    When Kenney doesn’t know what to do, it seems his strategy is to disappear for a while. Probably he will reappear eventually. Even the leader of North Korea seems to pop up after mysterious unexplained absences for significant periods of time. Interestingly, when Little Kim does pop up, things often seem unchanged and we wonder what was the absence all about. I imagine it will be much the same with Little Kenney.

    Other provinces already have COVID apps that work, province wide mask mandates and seem ready to enforce real restrictions, not just occasionally hector about personal responsibility.

    Jason, come out, come out wherever you are. Quit your dithering, take this situation more seriously and take more action before more people in Alberta get sick and die.

    • Kang

      November 22nd, 2020

      To my horror, I have come to believe Alberta and Unions are truly democracies that accurately reflect their populace. You mention masking requirements, which should be obvious to anyone who even has a dim understanding of bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic threats to health. Well consider this dinger from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Union that is charged with protecting its members:

      “Not everyone can wear a face covering at work, and even a mandatory mask policy –where they exist –must have room for valid exceptions. You need to know that if you have sound reasons not to wear a mask at work, CUPW will be there to protect your rights if there’s any resulting retaliation, harassment, or other consequences on you. If you are unable to wear a mask, Canada Post should provide a face shield.”

      How many Canada Post sorting stations have failed Alberta Health inspections? I know of at least one.

  2. Corwin Sullivan

    November 21st, 2020

    “South of the Medicine Line, deniers are dying in denial in droves.”

    Not exactly in droves, apparently.

    The pandemic is indeed an actual thing, but it’s no Spanish Flu, and I don’t think Mr Stephan is wrong to insist that the risks be kept in perspective. Daily case numbers in Alberta are going up fast, but ICU numbers appear to be levelling off at least for the moment, which is good news as far as it goes. The incompetence around the app is an embarrassment to the province, no argument there, but how much is the federal app actually helping to get the coronavirus under control elsewhere in Canada? Cases seem to be surging, and deaths and hospitalisations rising, in lots of places, so this bizarre battle of the apps that’s playing out in Alberta may be a moot point.

  3. tom

    November 21st, 2020

    Small man, small government.

  4. Political Ranger

    November 21st, 2020

    right on David !!!

    These goof-balls are showing their true colors; incompetence, cowardice, belligerence and ignorance.

    What’s it going to take to roust these nutbars outta their stupor? And more to the point; what’s it going to take to break the connection between the well-heeled corporate robber barons and the white trash rural mud farmers who regularly, consistently and traditionally support these conservative charletons.
    It’s the 21rst Century for chrissake!
    What’s it going to take to completely demonstrate to even the slowest-witted that corporations and the (mostly) men that run and profit from them DO NOT, HAVE NOT and NEVER WILL have even a passing concern for the rest of society.
    Conservatives are their lap-dogs, their henchmen. Nothing more. Conservatives have not a single idea to improve the lot of society. It’s all about what “we” can do to make it better for “the economy”.

    And now when we really need some leadership … crickets!
    What damn good are these fools anyways! Get rid of the whole lot.
    Let’s find out what Greta is doing. I’m sure a 16 year old girl has got some spare time to be Premier of this province. She sure as hell has got the care and concern and outlook to provide a kind of leadership that we have not seen out here on the flats.

  5. !?

    November 21st, 2020

    BC just put in tough restrictive measures. It will be a tragic comedy to watch the UCP’s reaction in a few weeks when the BC curve flattens – probably something about the Antifa Grinch stealing Christmas from Real Canadians.

  6. Albertan

    November 21st, 2020

    As AB NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley has said more than once recently, the Kenney UCP government, et al, is, aptly, “stupid.”

  7. Abs

    November 21st, 2020

    Maybe these clowns don’t believe in polio either, but it struck terror in generations of people. Polio didn’t burn itself out by through the population. Outbreaks grew over half a century until vaccines were developed. It was the most severe epidemic in Canada since influenza of 1918. The last survivors are entering their senior years now.

    But let’s forget about lessons learned, and lessons best avoided, shall we? Let’s just deny science like father Trump. Let’s show the world how stupid we are, until we are number one stupid province in world. Maybe Borat will do a movie. Borat for Alberta premier! Borat number one good leader! Duck and cover Kenney? Duck, duck, go!

  8. tom in Ontario

    November 21st, 2020

    Maybe your premier is busy self isolating in his mother’s Calgary basement. It was his principal residence when he’d sneak home from Ottawa on break from his federal cabinet duties.

  9. Just Me

    November 21st, 2020

    For many CONs looking for an easy start for their political careers, Alberta has always been fertile ground. Of course, Albertans, being the stupidest people alive, will vote a fire hydrant into office if it was painted blue. Kenney et al have trekked to Alberta just for that reason, and they have benefited mightily from it. It’s not like to have to do anything to get elected, in Alberta. And it’s not like they are attached to the place, either.

    In the grips of the pandemic’s second wave, the UCP has decided to do nothing, and let that “Invisible Hand” look after everyone. After all, Social-Darwinism declares survival of the fittest is the best. So once the pandemic has wrecked its havoc, only the best, the brightest, and the strongest Albertans will be left. Of course, with all the UCP MLAs hiding out their public-subsidized housing, and doing their virtual business, their survival might skew those fittest numbers toward the shallow end of the gene pool.

    Fear not. Kenney has a plan: let Ottawa take over the management of Alberta. That’s right. Alberta becomes Ottawa’s ward, PMJT its master and overlord.

    The most competent thing Kenney and the UCP have done is not touch anything, because everything Jason Kenney touches dies.

  10. Abs

    November 21st, 2020

    It looks like we’re on schedule for that catastrophe Jason Kenney said he’s waiting for. So, 2000+ new cases per day by the end of the month, and 4000+ per day by mid-December, according to Malgorzata Gasperowicz, a developmental biologist at the University of Calgary. This is fine (insert internet meme here). Is there a “trophy” in catastrophe? We’re number one bad!

  11. Anonymous

    November 22nd, 2020

    It’s quite clear that the UCP hasn’t got a clue as to what they are doing, and they are making matters worse. It’s not going to get better, I’m afraid.

    • Athabascan

      November 22nd, 2020


      Everything kenney has ever touched has turned to crap during his career in politics. The only thing he is good at is getting elected apparently. At some point electors should demand that he demonstrate successful results.

      In time, he will either kill or piss off enough of his base that Albertans will smarten up and send him back east where he and his mentor (Harpo) came from. One can hope.

  12. Bob Raynard

    November 22nd, 2020

    Another 1300 cases on Saturday. I do wonder what is going on in Jason Kenney’s mind. Does he still think his approach is the best way, or has he realized his error but has no idea what to do about it? Admitting he made a mistake does not seem to be in his nature; will he try to ride it out? I suppose he could just say things have now gotten bad enough a lockdown is necessary, and claim it was his plan all along.

    I really don’t think our premier appreciates how this could blow up in his face. His base will not be sympathetic if we reach the point that hospitals are refusing admission to non-Covid emergencies. I am imagining a scenario where a rural child with appendicitis has to travel another half hour in an ambulance because the local hospital is unavailable.

    I have even started to wonder about post Covid scenarios if things do get as bad as some of our warnings are suggesting. To wit: will Jason Kenney even be around to contest the next election? It reminds me of how Brian Mulroney left politics in the early 1990s when the electorate was looking forward to expressing their feelings about the GST. Too bad for Jason he can’t even use the standard exit excuse that he wants to spend more time with his family.


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