Premier Jason Kenney in his “letter from Santa” video – you can’t make this stuff up (Photo: Screenshot of Facebook video).

After being declared COVID-19 free last June, New Zealand is ever-so-cautiously moving toward reopening its watery borders to some international travel. 

With Australia, that is.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Photo: NewZild, Creative Commons).

Australia hasn’t done quite as well countering the coronavirus as New Zealand has, but it’s done very well just the same, using measures that have been roundly condemned here in Alberta by our abundant supply of far-right, anti-mask, anti-vaxx opinion influencers and rural government MLAs as practically fascistic and certainly totalitarian. 

“It is our intention to name a date … in the new year, once remaining details are locked down,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said of the border-reopening plan. 

In the meantime, though, New Zealand will remain locked down to travellers from places like Alberta.

And who can blame them considering? 

Over the weekend, our anti-mask death cult held another “march for freedom” through the streets of downtown Calgary to protest the “draconian restrictions” supporters claim on their Facebook page are making Albertans “suffer the devastating mental, emotional, physical and financial consequences of such extreme and unproven measures.”

Unproven, that is, except in places like New Zealand and Australia. But, whatever, this is Alberta, where the motto on our provincial coat of arms will soon be “live free and die.” 

The protest only attracted about 300 people, but don’t worry, that many folks can carry plenty of coronaviruses. 

It’s probably overstating things a bit, as a friend of mine recently did, to say of New Zealand that this could have been us if our premier had been willing to say no to the fast-food lobby.

Cypress-Medicine Hat UCP MLA Drew Barnes (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

After all, it’s not just that fast-food lobby. 

New Zealand is also surrounded by a considerable body of salt water, which helps considerably. 

Whereas we, by contrast, share a border with the United States of America, which as a result of public health measures not dissimilar from those implemented by Premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party Government has now suffered more deaths from COVID-19 than it did in combat throughout World War II. 

What’s more, even with the border closed, the 49th Parallel remains wide open to viral infections of the ideological variety, as the dangerous foolishness shouted by the people in Calgary Saturday, and by some of Mr. Kenney’s MLAs, not to mention some of his best pals, amply illustrates. (Drew Barnes, c’mon down! You too, John Carpay!)

One has the feeling, though, that someone in the Conservative strategic brain trust in Canada must be getting the queasy feeling it might be better if the kind of freedom advocated by Mr. Barnes and Mr. Carpay didn’t become too closely associated in the public mind with conservative political parties while a lot of Canadians are still dying from COVID-19. 

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms President and Kenney friend John Carpay (Photo:

After all, while anti-mask proselytizing by the Wexit-leaning MLA from Medicine Hat and the head of the so-called Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms clearly motivates the conservative base, it also risks motivating more sensible Canadians to ensure cap-C Conservatives never get the chance to form another government in Ottawa. 

This may explain why the entire Canadian conservative political leadership and practically every mainstream media outfit and right-wing think tank pivoted this weekend like a flock of starlings to screaming about the Liberal federal government’s climate plan. 

The way they’re all screeching “carbon tax,” all of a sudden, certainly screams distraction. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Kenney and his crack communications team had the bright idea of having the premier dress up in a red sweater, sit down in front of a Christmas tree and read a letter from Santa saying it’s OK kiddies, the jolly old elf will be wearing a COVID mask when he slides down your chimney.

I kid you not, kids. You cannot make this stuff up. 

The premier’s bizarre holiday message might have been cute, I suppose, if almost 700 people hadn’t already died in Alberta from COVID-19, many of them as a direct result of the UCP’s long delay implementing effective measures out of fear of its own lunatic base and deference to lobbyists. 

Given that tragedy, it’s just offensive. Yes, many Alberta kids will miss grandma and grandpa a lot this year. Some of them will never have a chance to see them again thanks to UCP mismanagement of the province’s pandemic response. 

What’s next? An interview with the Tooth Fairy? 

A record 22 people died from COVID-19 in Alberta in the previous 24 hours, Alberta Health Reported yesterday. There were 1,717 new cases, bringing the number of active cases to 20,562.  

Join the Conversation


  1. I remember back in the spring we were shutting airport here to international flights and closing borders to keep COVID out. It is therefore understandable, but a sad turn of events that we have now become one of those places New Zealanders have to keep out.

    At least the Federal Conservatives have been somewhat successful in distancing themselves from the kookier COVID deniers, certainly more so than Kenney and the UCP. I wonder if Kenney is ever going to figure out those supposed friends of his are not doing him or us any good and if he can get them to cease and desist. Probably not.

    I believe the Federal Conservatives have also figured out that COVID is not going to be a winning issue for them, as the Federal Liberals have handled it much better than Kenney. I suppose time to try change the channel with an issue they hope might resonate with voters – increased carbon taxes. Oh my, didn’t they try that one before? Why do the Federal Conservatives remind me of Charlie Brown and the Liberals of Lucy taking away the ball yet again?

    1. Just driving around Edmonton, gas in some stations at 88.9 cents and the conservatives screeching about carbon tax. Conveniently not mentioning that low income people and actually most families will get the rebates. Those with more money, pick-up trucks and hummers don’t care and deserve to pay more.

  2. All the while, in Alberta and some other places governed (if that’s the right word) by people like this, the real agenda has been herd immunity–which is to say, herd-thinning or culling. Very occasionally, they say it out loud. Mostly, they tip-toe around it with rhetoric about freedom and human rights. Sometimes they even put on a mask. But the real agenda is just to let people die. Because to exert the full capacity of government to help people get through this thing would go against everything they believe. The pandemic is the Malthusian reductio ad absurdum they have prayed for all their lives.

    1. I see in today’s announcement from the CMOH/Minister of Health that people in care centres did not make the cut for the first vaccines. The great cull of 2020 continues.

  3. “The way they’re all screeching ‘carbon tax,’ all of a sudden, certainly seems distraction.”
    Among them our beloved Premier Doug Ford. On December 11 he parted with this gem, “Folks, this carbon tax is the worst thing you could ever see.”
    Not reported at the press conference was whether a sharp reporter asked if he had heard of COVID-19.

  4. Well written. I stumbled across this site the other day and I am very impressed. I just wikipediad you and was completely unsurprised to find you have a background in journalism. Your blog has more persuasive power than most newspapers I’ve read. I wish there were more like it.

    On a side note, I tried to email John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, asking them to drop their lawsuit against the government (they are suing because COVID precautions violate civil liberties) and cease spreading harmful misinformation. I got a reply from a staffer who sidestepped the points I raised and referred me to this fallacious piece of drivel I emailed her back thanking her, exposing a few of the fallacies, and telling her I had never been to the Post Millennial before and after noticing some of their dog whistles, I wikipediad their organization and was unimpressed that she used them as a source. She also mentioned the Great Barrington Declaration, which I politely told her didn’t merit the effort of debunking and I further told her that including it in her argument weakened it considerably in my eyes. That was four days ago and I haven’t heard back. I also emailed the Globe and Mail today about their decision to platform John Carpay and invited them to consider that after this crisis is over a lot of questions are going to be raised of the politicians, organizations and newspapers who told us that the “right” to be a poorly-informed self-righteous jerk is more important than the “right” to not die of the plague.

    At any rate, just wanted to congratulate you on doing good work. You’ve gained a reader!

      1. Ha! I’ve been on an archive binge – I hadn’t gotten to that piece yet but definitely enjoyed it. To me, Jason Kenney is like a less talented, but not less dangerous, Pierre Poilievre. People like that become more dangerous the less we pay to educate other people’s children.

  5. In these times of just keeping ourselves safe and finding some joy in the simple things to get through the dark days of Covid-19
    and the realities of being without my 3 and 5 YO grandchildren and our adult kids at the time of their life within the magic years this holiday season…

    I think my prayers for something funny though were answered today when I read and watched the “Jason Kenney Sunday Night Fireside Chat Show”
    I haven’t laughed so hard with so much gob smacked astonishment in a “dogs age”.
    I would have expected to see that nonsense as a skit on the “Jimmy Kimmel Late Night Show”, where he parodies Trump!

    Are the people who support this party really that gullible to believe this person in a position of leadership?
    I’ll keep working hard being up-beat, positive and there for my friends and the fellowship of man during these trying times.
    However here is a quote from Forrest Gump to take away:

    “Stupid is as stupid does”

  6. The War Room brags about our carbon tax:

    “The first carbon tax in North America was introduced in Alberta in 2007.
    … Alberta continues to charge a $30 per tonne carbon tax on large emitters, including oilsands projects.”

    “Alberta is one of the world’s few oil producing regions with regulated disclosure protocols and a carbon tax on production. The province has held industrial emitters accountable with a price on excess carbon since 2007, increasing from $15/tonne to $30/tonne currently.”

  7. Agreed – the freedumb crowd and their assault are certainly at the limits of distressing; but so are the MSM screaches of joy and wonder at the start of “the vaccine”. I am not one to discredit the efficacy of the several vaccines, and will take my turn at rolling up the sleeve, but the frenzy about the “end of our dilemma” is displacing reason very dramatically. We will not all be able to access the “cure” until much later in the next year, thus our continuing masking, physical distancing, and avoidance of gatherings. There is no assurance that once vaccinated one cannot still be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. And there is the “way of viruses”, as with bacteria and other flora and fauna, to mutate so as to bypass whatever we put in their way that is supposed to halt their devastation. Some voices are still calling for more than a modicum of caution as we journey on to “peace in our time”. The ‘precautionary principle’ should still be in prominent play, and our governments’ desire for a recharging of “economy” and consequent taxes for all but the wealthy really is not in play for quite some time yet [certainly past Jan. 10th, 2021].

  8. didn’t harper try something like this with a cat ?
    and in the midst of covid
    just the messaging we need
    a pudgy middle aged single guy schmoozing up to the kiddies from the basement….
    the cringe makes the grinch look like a likeable guy
    i’m sure there has to be some recognition that he brought
    several hundred of square miles of coal coal coal to us kids in southern alberta this year too
    lets be honest evangelicals are into plagues…for the end times you know
    don’t believe the economy crap …they are into end time famine too
    and the biggest problem is
    the more you prove them wrong
    the stronger they will cling to their beliefs
    hmmm…..last one out please turn off the lights

  9. Red sweater or not. Talk about elves or not. This is all about attempting to change the channel. No different than pro UCP column writers focusing on Kenney’s predisposition for less Government. Or the silly, non-sensical claims by Kenney about lockdowns violating the Charter.

    This is about one thing. A massive FAIL by the Kenney Gov’t simply because they put the interests of UCP Party solidarity over and above the health and well being of Albertans. And the average Albertan voter is smart enough to understand this.

    Kenney can wear all the happy red sweaters he wants and wax poetic about the season. Bottom line this holiday season will be tragic for some, and a financial disaster for others. Kenney needs to look in the mirror and ask himself why he followed the advice of his political advisors instead of doing the right thing for Albertans by locking down 4-6 weeks ago. A huge FAIL. Our covid numbers are 3X Ontario. Thanks Jason.

  10. The UCP are basically failing on all fronts, and things aren’t improving in Alberta. This isn’t a surprise at all.

  11. I recall when the Reform Party was trying to spin Presto Manning’s image to make him appear more conventional and warm, someone in their brain trust plopped a bewildered Manning into a Great Canadian Air Farce sketch, where he was interviewed by a Presto Manning look alike. The resulting interview was a parody of Manning’s myriad of weird mannerisms, including his habit of stretching his way of saying “Reeeeeeefoooooooormmmmm!” Needless to say, the whole display was a complete disaster for Manning.

    Now, we have Alberta’s favourite Angry Midget doing something on the same level of weirdness. The reading of children’s letters to Santa performed by a single, childless middle-aged man is just plain weird. The level of the absence of self-awareness by Kenney and the UCP is just mind-boggling. Given the recent PR initiatives by the UCP braintrust, the creepy “COVID Christmas” commercial video and Kenney’s red sweater just establishes there’s no limit to how many times this bunch can shoot themselves in the face.

    And in the face of all these mandated restrictions, the core of the UCP base is still denying the pandemic’s (plan-demic) existence and intends to ignore all the entreaties for reasonable precautions by Kenney. Looks like Kenney’s effort to cover his flank from internal attacks may have failed. With Drew Barnes and John Carpay breathing down Kenney’s neck, it’s only a matter of time before Kenney announces his return to Ottawa.

  12. I am starting to wonder if polluted air and water in our province is starting to affect people way more than we think.
    John Carpay is 100 times worse than jason Kenney so it would be nice to keep him looking after the Constitution Freedoms.
    Jason Kenney also has these days eyes of a drug overdose. He probably will excuse it with lack of sleep but I doubt he looses sleep about how many people die in Alberta everyday. If it is lack of sleep it is only because he is now running the government on his own. He muzzled everyone else. Maybe except Nixon. Too had because that man looks way better before he opens his mouth.

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