Alberta Politics
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during Tuesday’s COVID-19 News Conference (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

Things fall apart? 18 UCP MLAs join full-blown rebellion against Alberta’s effort to control COVID-19 third wave

Posted on April 08, 2021, 2:33 am
13 mins

Having opted Tuesday for a return to restrictions on some business and social activities to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the face of virulent mutations of the coronavirus, Premier Jason Kenney immediately faced a full-blown rebellion yesterday by 15 members of his United Conservative Caucus in the Alberta Legislature, including the Speaker of the House.

A letter published on their social media accounts by the 15 MLAs, mostly rural representatives, many with ties to the Wildrose Party wing of the “United” Conservative Party, assailed the government for what it called a backward move, “a wrong decision.” 

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, the loosest cannon on the UCP’s deck (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

A 16th UCP MLA signed the letter later yesterday, and two others published their own attacks on their party’s COVID-control policies – so that’s 29 per cent of the UCP Caucus!

MLAs signing the letter include Cypress-Medicine Hat’s Drew Barnes, best known as an advocate of some form of Alberta independence; Red Deer-South’s Jason Stephan, who defended his January 2021 vacation in Arizona by insisting international travel doesn’t spread COVID if done responsibly; former cabinet minister Tracy Allard from Grande Prairie, returned to the back benches after her Hawaiian family vacation was discovered in December; and Speaker Nathan Cooper from Olds-Didsbury.

The letter accuses the party of “effectively abandoning the plan that Albertans had worked diligently over the past months to follow” — a bit of a laugh, considering how many of these MLAs have been arguing vociferously for weeks there should be no restrictions whatsoever on their constituents’ activities, with or without a deadly pandemic. 

“After 13 painstaking months of COVID-19 public health restrictions, we do not support the additional restrictions imposed on Albertans,” the letter complained, “and we will continue advocating for a transparent path forward that provides certainty to Alberta families, communities and businesses.”

There was no acknowledgement in the letter of the seriousness of the threat now facing Alberta, or that anything much matters except reopening businesses as quickly as possible.

Premier Kenney warned listeners during Tuesday’s virtual COVID-19 news conference to expect opposition from members of his own caucus to the latest slightly tougher restrictions on social and business activities. So he obviously had a clear idea of what was coming. 

This naturally prompted speculation yesterday that the letter was part of a scheme by the UCP to appeal to both camps in Alberta, those concerned by the virus who argue stronger measures would be more effective and those opposed to any restrictions whatsoever.

Peace River MLA Dan Williams, a former Kenney aide in Ottawa (Photo: UCP Caucus).

Anything’s possible from the bunch that came up with the Alberta Energy War Room and its campaign to protect us from the Bigfoot Family, but it’s hard to see how the UCP Caucus would benefit from airing its dirty laundry in public. 

It’s more likely the premier was simply bowing to an unpleasant inevitability.

Perhaps he concluded the province is now so polarized – thanks in large part to his own political tactics – that he was going to get hammered no matter what he decided to do about COVID-19. 

With even Ontario Premier Doug Ford imposing a month-long stay-at-home order in the face of rampaging variants of concern, Mr. Kenney may have decided it was less risky to let his MLAs run with their complaints than to try to muzzle them. He has until the spring of 2023 to paper over the divisions in his caucus, after all. 

Still, it’s hard to see how it benefits the UCP to show the public how deep the rift in its ranks is, or to tell COVID deniers, a key part of the party’s base, that when it comes to the pandemic, their leaders have concluded they must always lose. 

Alberta Speaker Nathan Cooper (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

As if COVID restrictions unpopular with the party’s right wing weren’t enough, the premier had to know even more of his support base would be infuriated by the sight of RCMP officers and Alberta Health Services officials fencing off GraceLife Church, where parishioners have been ignoring AHS orders for weeks and Pastor James Coates has been revelling in the public attention his defiance brought. 

It’s impossible to believe AHS and the RCMP struck yesterday morning without first consulting Premier Kenney’s cabinet and the UCP’s strategic brain trust. 

Sure enough, late yesterday afternoon, Peace River MLA Dan Williams, a former Kenney aide in Ottawa who shares his boss’s anti-abortion activism, published a video assailing the fencing in of the rebel church.

Insisting “I’m not speaking here as a politician” as he paced in front of the Legislature Building, he said “we cannot stand by and allow churches and places of worship be treated in this manner by AHS, or any other government body.” 

Banff-Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

It’s also hard to believe that video was made without a nod of approval from his former Ottawa boss and mentor.

Nevertheless, these manifestations of rebellion undermine Mr. Kenney’s authority. 

They make him look weak. If he made the decision to allow the letter to be published, it was a blunder. If he didn’t, and they went ahead anyway, it seriously undermines his authority. 

Perhaps the natural state of the right in Alberta is to be divided between a far-right social conservative fringe and a true centre-right party. Instinctively, it now seems to want to return to that state. 

Mr. Kenney successfully united the two largest parties of the right after the NDP victory in 2015, but he did so by driving many moderate Tories out of the old Progressive Conservative Party, and not welcoming them back to the UCP once it had also absorbed the Wildrose Party. 

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, a former Wildroser (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In the Edmonton region, those voters now seem to have settled on the NDP. 

In Calgary, they opted for the UCP in 2019 – but what they’ll do in 2023 remains unknown and now may be in flux. Interestingly, none of the rebels represent Calgary city ridings, although Angela Pitt from Airdrie is close. In rural Alberta, Red Tories barely exist. 

Is it possible Mr. Kenney can only save his party by driving his remaining moderate urban voters to the NDP, or by continuing to appeal to moderate voters at the cost of driving out the UCP’s most determined and active supporters on the far right? 

If so, he now finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. 

Who are the original 15 rebel letter signers and their two joiners? 

Tracy Allard, Grande Prairie – promoted to Cabinet in August 2020 and pushed out in January 2021 after her mid-pandemic Hawaiian holiday was discovered in December.

Drew Barnes, Cypress-Medicine Hat – climate-change denier, advocate of some form of Alberta independence, and noisy opponent of any form of COVID-19 restrictions, Mr. Barnes is the UCP Caucus’s loosest cannon on deck. 

Nathan Cooper, Olds-Didsbury – hitherto one of the brighter lights in the UCP Caucus, trusted to be the Speaker of the House. One wonders what got into him. 

Michaela Glasgo, Brooks-Medicine Hat – controversial for her debunked claim her church faced a $50,000 bill under the NDP’s carbon tax, more recently she introduced a private member’s bill that would forbid Alberta municipalities to enact gun bans proposed in a federal gun-control bill. 

Dave Hanson, Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul – a former Wildroser, the low-profile MLA is qualified as a plumber, so he is assured a better future than many of his colleagues. 

Nate Horner, Drumheller-Stettler – another scion of the Horner political clan that has contributed much to Canadian politics. Assuming innocence by association, one would have thought he had more sense than to get involve with something like this. 

Todd Loewen, Central Peace-Notley – a former Wildroser hitherto best known for hectoring NDP MLA Rod Loyola in the Legislature for his Hispanic origins. 

Ron Orr, Lacombe-Ponoka – this former Wildrose MLA once warned that marijuana legalization would send Canada down the slippery slope to Communism, just as he said opium did to China. 

Angela Pitt, Airdrie – a former Wildroser, Ms. Pitt once publicly mused that Alberta could someday be an autonomous province like South Tyrol, a German-speaking region of Italy. She is the closest thing to a Calgary MLA on the list. 

Roger Reid, Livingstone-McLeod – another low-key MLA, he once got in trouble for an online sermon including remarks interpreted as Islamophobic and homophobic. 

Miranda Rosin, Banff-Kananaskis – an open advocate for two-tier health care, Ms. Rosin is famous for her November 2020 flyer declaring the pandemic to be over. 

RJ Sigurdson, Highwood – Mr. Sigurdson was forgiven by the UCP for the pre-election revelation he’s lost his driving licence for six months 17 years before for failing to give a breath sample. He hasn’t done much, although he expressed some discomfort with the party’s coal policy. 

Mark Smith, Drayton Valley-Devon – a former Wildroser and lay preacher who got in trouble for homophobic comments made in a recorded 2013 sermon. 

Jason Stephan, Red Deer-South – the Red Deer tax lawyer defended his January 2021 vacation in Arizona by insisting international travel doesn’t spread COVID if done responsibly. He has compared COVID-19 restrictions to “an NDP socialist police state lockdown.” 

Glenn van Dijken, Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock – this former Wildroser has been an MLA since 2015. He may be the Legislature’s quietest MLA.

According to the CBC, a 16th MLA signed the letter yesterday, after the copy linked to this post was circulated on social media. That would be Garth Rowswell of Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright. A 17th, West Yellowhead MLA Martin Long, wrote his own complaint, which described the third wave of COVID-19 as a ripple. 

26 Comments to: Things fall apart? 18 UCP MLAs join full-blown rebellion against Alberta’s effort to control COVID-19 third wave

  1. Peter G.

    April 8th, 2021

    I actually find it commendable that Kenney tolerates such public disagreement within his caucus, on this issue anyway. Caucus discipline in Canada generally is quite authoritarian compared with elsewhere — e.g., in the UK, all the major parties tolerate and even welcome factions with openly diverging philosophies (otherwise, Jeremy Corbyn would never have served under Tony Blair!). I think the discourse in Alberta politics specifically would be greatly enriched, e.g., if elected NDP MLAs were allowed to speak their consciences on the need to dramatically reduce fossil fuel dependence. Likewise, the NDP has long rightly supported changes like proportional representation that would facilitate more diversity of perspectives in political life, thus reducing the power of backrooms to dictate the frames of acceptable discourse in a top-down manner. So IMO this shouldn’t be a “right” or “left” issue. Obviously there ARE certain boundaries — e.g., these MLAs would be rightfully tossed if they were denying the existence of COVID or something, but I don’t see why simple disagreement on the particular measures to contain it should be disqualifying.

    Reply
    • Scotty on Denman

      April 8th, 2021

      It is misinformed to think proportional representation ameliorates backroom dealing amongst parliamentarians and parties. It would rather exacerbate it.

      Pro-rep almost always results in hung parliaments—meaning negotiations amongst (not ‘among’) parties and Independents have to be conducted to form government, an alliance or coalition of some kind. These will be done in private. As in, ‘backroom.’ In some cases, such negotiations are unending and ongoing for the entire parliament. They are always ‘backroom.’

      Pro-rep encourages the formation of narrow~ or single-issue parties because the chances of winning a few seats is much greater than with single-member-plurality (“first-past-the-post”). The current electoral system, in contrast, requires parties to build ‘big tents’ of multi-issue consensus in a cooperative, compromising way. The small parties pro-rep encourages are comparatively uncompromising or ‘hardline’ on the advocacy of their positions—exactly the way pro-reppers say they want it—except, that is, when it comes time to form a government out of a hung election result, an alliance of two or more parties being required. That’s when the backroom gets busier than ever.

      Presumably supporters of a narrow~ or single-issue party expect of pro-rep (of which proselytization accentuates only the positives, often to the point of disingenuousness) and of their party an uncompromising representation of their policy position(s). Yet (some pro-reppers seem not to believe this) when their elected reps cast about for parliamentary support from other parties and Independents (there would be more of each with pro-rep), they will obviously have to temper whatever positions they have which might impede finding such support. Either that or remain a pipsqueak with a pulpit but little policy influence.

      That might be enough for some small party supporters to have their policy proposals stated publicly in parliament, even if their parties are too small by themselves to have much influence on government. (The public nature of parliaments is to raise public awareness of issues and policy options, if not influence law-making.) But, to become part of government in a hung parliament, a small party will have to negotiate with at least one other, usually bigger party.

      No negotiator would be inviting party supporters from the electorate into these negotiations, not least because policies which supporters expect their representatives to advocate will have to be tempered or bargained away, at least to some extent —which or to what extent supporters will not know nor be able to influence until the dealing is done—if ever. This would be the minimum expected of any applicant which seeks some kind of influence with the governing alliance. It is definitively ‘backroom,’ probably not very representative, and definitely not from the uncompromising point of view of smaller, particularist parties pro-rep invites—least of all of their supporting voters who are rightly suspicious of dealings they can’t see or intervene in.

      Many pro-reppers I’ve met are successfully proselytized by the notion that pro-rep will give every voter and every party influence over public policy proportional to number of seats his or her respective party wins—that is, as if the entire parliament is part of the governing alliance. While the circumstance isn’t impossible —New Brunswick had a parliament where every MLA was in the governing caucus (when the Liberals won every seat and there were no opposition parties)—it is very unlikely, extremely so when there are many, diverse parties elected, especially in hung parliaments such as pro-rep almost always elects. In Westminster parliaments (like the eleven in Canada), bills pass by a majority vote and governments recognized by their ability and commitment to passing bills. Any parliamentarian who isn’t part of the governing caucus has little policy influence because his or her vote is not needed to pass a bill. In fact, that’s the same whether the parliament was elected by FPtP, pro-rep, or any other electoral system. A pro-rep-elected parliamentarian who is not in the governing caucus has the same influence as he or she would in a FPtP-elected parliament if, again, not part of the governing caucus—that is, not very much influence at all.

      Nota bene: in Westminster parliaments, the government falls if the parliamentarians indicate they’ve lost confidence in its polices by way of voting a tabled money-bill down—that’s why the balance of power is critical for any Westminster government: it is a powerful lever of influence—or a way to hold parliament ransom in order to get minority policies passed. In addition, voters have to wonder how committed their reps’ policy positions are when, for example, a small party compromises its promises in order to avoid precipitating an election it might not be financially or politically prepared to fight.

      There is one way, by the luck of the electoral draw, for pro-rep-elected fringe parties to have policy influence on government—but a way pro-reppers are uncomfortable mentioning: holding the balance of power with a few or even one seat. Naturally, a single-seat party which holds the balance of power has considerably more influence than its democratic weight would otherwise warrant, and advocates for, say, stronger environmental rules, might feel morally justified in taking advantage of such a situation despite the fact that such a party would have disproportional, not proportional, influence—that is, contrary to pro-rep’s most holy tenet. And of course voters would never know exactly how such a party negotiated alliance with the group of parliamentarians seeking recognition as government, what deals and compromises either side agreed to. These negotiations take place in backrooms—always, never any other way, ever.

      It’s not simply that such a situation makes pro-rep disproportionate (In addition to quasi-representative, as mentioned), but also that the major criticism of pro-rep is caught in the spotlight: a small, balance-of-power-holding party with extremist views could have disproportionate influence over government—and over the majority of the electorate.

      In rebut, pro-reppers have often cited pro-rep Scandinavian countries as exemplary of the pro-rep norm and dismissed those pro-rep nations like Israel with extremist balance-of-power-holders as anomalies. Unfortunately, far-right parties with overtly bigoted, usually anti-immigrant views have recently gained disproportionate influence in their respective, Scandinavian governments that critics of pro-rep have long warned about; the same has happened in a number of other EU nations, of late.

      No, it’s not impossible for this to happen in Canada: Alberta, for example, cultivates such extremist factions (a good argument against implementing pro-rep in this province, in particular).

      No doubt pro-rep would diversify political positions and perspectives, but it has potential to be less proportional and less representative than what we have now. The rules of Westminster parliaments—particularly of parliamentary confidence and the balance of power—do not change if the electoral system (or, for that matter, the voting system) is changed. Pro-rep cannot fit in this system (which can’t be changed without a virtually impossible constitutional amendment) without backroom dealing becoming more necessary and more the norm.

      Finally, parties not in power, especially smaller ones, tend to advocate for pro-rep because, in this circumstance, they would get an electoral and parliamentary advantage. But, if and when such parties do gain power, whether alone or in alliance, they tend to prefer the status quo FPtP system. The BC NDP, for example, officially adopted a pro-rep policy when in opposition, but once it won power it conducted an electoral-systems referendum (That was promised on campaign) which appeared designed to give the edge to FPtP (which prevailed—for the third time in a row).

      While I’m personally against pro-rep, I’d accept it if the majority did—but only on the condition that voters were well informed about all electoral-systems options offered, a condition I haven’t seen yet during four electoral-systems change exercises I’ve been involved with. The notion that pro-rep would ameliorate backroom dealings, for example, is too common for me to believe most voters are informed well enough about this fairly popular—or populist—system.

      Reply
      • David Climenhaga

        April 9th, 2021

        Scotty: I enjoy your thoughtful commentaries enormously, but I must take issue with you on the question of whether or not there is a correct usage to choose between “among” and “amongst.” My authority for this is my well-thumbed 1983 edition of H.W. Fowler’s Modern English Usage, revised by Sir Ernest Gowers, which states: “There is certainly no broad distinction either in meaning or in use. … It may be said with some confidence that (1) among is the normal word, (2) amongst is more usual before vowels, but (3) before the, which so commonly follows as easily to outnumber all other initials, the two forms are used quit indifferently.” DJC

        Reply
        • Scotty on Denman

          April 13th, 2021

          I must agree the usage is indifferent. A sad, sad thing, in my view.

          Sadder yet is my apparent inability to make simple an arcane psephology by way of etymological obscurity.

          Damn sad about that.

          Thnx.

          Reply
  2. Anonymous

    April 8th, 2021

    It seems the UCP are falling apart at the seams. They are looking fractured and haggard. The UCP are compounding problems for Alberta, on all fronts, including with Covid-19. When 2023 comes along, the UCP have to be gone.

    Reply
  3. tom

    April 8th, 2021

    Has anyone run the letter through Turnitin to see if any parts have been plagiarized? The polysyllabic word count seems high to me.

    Reply
  4. brett

    April 8th, 2021

    Seems to me that Kenney uses the same management style that Harper did when it comes to managing his backbenchers. Keep them quiet, ignore them as much as possible, duct tape if necessary. Reward those that fall in line, brutally punish those that do not. The golden rule…he with the gold makes the rules.

    One problem….Kenney does not have the talent, the respect, or the levers to keep them in line any more. They are tired of being treated like mushrooms.

    Besides, as important is as there relationship with the boss their jobs are even more important. They do not want their electors to throw them out next time around. This is about self preservation…keeping jobs.

    This is a fine mess Ollie.

    Reply
    • April 10th, 2021

      I actually think that is easy to explain. Tories federally lose far more elections than they win, so many even those who disagreed with Harper understood they wouldn’t be on the government benches without him so went along with him. Alberta is a very different story. Tories have won almost every election so many assume no matter who is leader, they will win. Recent polls suggest that is no longer true but often politicians have a rear view mirror and tend to be slow to see changes and when they finally realize its too late. Democrats with respect to West Virginia, Missouri, and Arkansas while GOP with respect to Colorado and Virginia and maybe soon Arizona and Georgia are examples of that. Both parties assumed since they either always won on those or in Democrats’ case of Missouri was a bellwether, it would always stay that way and by the time they realized that was no longer the case it was too late.

      A lot of the more right wing elements in UCP caucus have a very jaded vision of Alberta and think province is this hardcore libertarian small government province when in fact it is not. Yes that demographic is larger in Alberta than most provinces but is still very much a minority. Federally no one thinks Canada is a right wing country, results make that obvious. Its why Ford is having less trouble as most know Ontario is not naturally a conservative province. Ditto Horgan in BC on left side. Another problem is Harper was in power before social media as widespread so fewer were in echo chambers. I’ve found right is a lot more delusional and disconnected with where public stands for this reason than they were a decade ago.

      Reply
  5. ayeamaye

    April 8th, 2021

    A rift in the party is quite possible but I doubt it. To believe that scenario is to discount the duplicitous cunning of Jason Kenney. Right now he is like a cornered rat in the basement looking for a way out. Everything is a calculation. How can I impose needed, unpopular restrictions while minimizing the political blowback on me? Have my Wildrose contingent run interference. The same for the Dan Williams’ speech. The church was closed but the UCP is actually against it. It’s a kind of Gaslight ploy, political 3 card monte. It’s a shame he couldn’t use the NDP or Trudeau but like I said he’s cornered.

    Reply
  6. Bob Raynard

    April 8th, 2021

    Could these divisions be a show so Jason Kenney can play both sides of the fence? I don’t think it is a very smart thing to do, but given that this guy orchestrated a phony leadership rival, it is certainly possible. We have certainly seen him make other bozo moves.

    It is too bad the rural UCPs can’t tear themselves away from Rebel Media long enough to get a clear view of what is going on. The current variants are proof the virus can mutate into something worse. Have they considered the possibility of another mutation? What if, instead of being more contagious, the next mutation is more deadly? These guys are advocating for a pretty big risk so they can get a haircut.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 8th, 2021

      Are you suggesting that Mr. Kenney is proving one can, in fact, suck and blow at the same time? DJC

      Reply
      • Bob Raynard

        April 8th, 2021

        Many people will say Jason Kenney has blown the province’s response to the pandemic. And as for the legislation he has brought in, well…yeah, he can suck and blow at the same time.

        Reply
  7. tom in Ontario

    April 8th, 2021

    ” a former Wildroser, the low-profile MLA is qualified as a plumber, so he is assured a better future than many of his colleagues.” C’mon Dave, can’t you be civil to these people for once.
    As for Angela Pitt, to solidify her affection for South Tyrol, she ought to emulate what Tyroleans are famous for, Alpine yodelling. On Karaoke night at a fine Airdrie pub she could appear as the “Masked Yodeller.”

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 8th, 2021

      I certainly meant no disrespect to the plumbing trade, Tom. On the contrary. As it happened – perhaps why the point seemed relevant – we had a plumber in our house the day I wrote that piece. He did an excellent job for a fair price and I am very grateful that the work was done. As for Ms. Pitt, she seems to do nothing but yodel! DJC

      Reply
  8. Abs

    April 8th, 2021

    This seems to be a case of playing both sides against the middle. Maybe the premier got the idea while watching a recent episode of Blue Bloods, where the police commissioner said one thing in public, but secretly worked behind the scenes to make the opposite thing happen. Jason Kenney is no Tom Selleck, so we’ll see how that goes.

    Here’s an idea to settle things once and for all. Why doesn’t our magnificent leader withdraw vaccinations from rural Alberta in the constituencies led by these rebel MLAs, and focus on getting the people in urban Covid hotspots fully vaccinated? These MLAs believe that Covid isn’t a problem in their back yards, so give them what they want. They claim to represent their constituents, so let’s see what happens. Are the people they represent all Covid deniers? I’m pretty sure we’ll hear from these people if their vaccines are given low priority in favor of hotspot vaccinations, based on public health prioritization.

    My personal belief is that mobile mass public health vaccination clinics should be taken to places like the meat packing plants, where large outbreaks and deaths have occurred. All age groups at these places could receive the vaccine on site, while at work. But what do I know?

    Reply
    • Abs

      April 8th, 2021

      15 minutes ago, the province announced a trial on-site vaccination clinic for Cargill.

      Reply
  9. Dave

    April 8th, 2021

    I doubt that this uprising was something engineered by Kenney or his aides. I do think they saw it coming and decided the best approach would be to just get out of the way. You don’t go in front and try to stop a herd of buffalo. I suspect Mr. Kenney got a lot of hostile feedback on his listening to rural constituencies after all the COVID vacation scandals, so this was probably not a surprise.

    It is like the country song The Gambler by Kenny Rogers says, our Premier – “is out of aces”. He may have had several of them when he decided to jump into provincial politics, take over, then get rid of the PC party, but he doesn’t have any now. I suspect a number of moderate PC’s voted still for him in 2019 in hopes that he would tone down his rigid ideological approach and become more centrist, but by now they have probably figured out that will not ever happen. I suppose that he killed of their party should have been their first clue. I doubt they will be there for Kenney in the next election.

    Meanwhile back on the farm, people are also unhappy too, but for different reasons. Some of it is the languishing economy, some of it UCP bungling, some of it is Kenney’s heavy handed approach and of course there is COVID fatigue. If Kenney had been clearer from the start he would just let the health authorities deal with COVID without getting into political interference and debate, it probably would be easier for him now to say to these MLA’s this is how things are. However, he lost a lot of credibility with all his waffling and micromanaging on COVID restrictions and now seems like a dithering Hamlet on the prairies. In the end he may have delayed the reckoning, but not avoided it.

    I think back to another Alberta populist Premier who bungled it. Aberhart died in office, so left others to clean up his messes. I doubt Kenney wants to follow that example for obvious reasons, so he may want to watch the stress eating of junk food as Brian Jean helpfully suggested. I believe Kenney will more likely follow the Diefenbaker model. The UCP will muddle on and the internal divisions will become evident as it faces problems which it will not handle well. There is no clear, competent potential successor waiting in the wings, so I don’t think this rural uprising will result in Kenney leaving and fortunately for him, at least they have not tried to give him a work plan for improvement yet. However one casualty of all this may be the image of Kenney as someone with a firm grip on his party.

    Reply
  10. Bill Malcolm

    April 8th, 2021

    So the Covid denier UCP rebels are essentially mostly rural country hicks, stupid people unable to even imagine what the world is like beyond their homes. Apparently we can now add that “sophisticate”, noted wine taster Rempel Garnier, to the mob of ideological nitwits as well Looks pretty safe to them when they glance outside, so it’s safe everywhere.

    There’s a difference between normal intelligence levels and outright stupidity. I don’t regard these people as unintelligent, merely completely stupid and beholden to an ideological outlook which prevents them using their natural reasoning ability to see reality for what it is. kenney tapped into that stupidity to get elected, now it’s coming back to bite his sorry sleazy ass. And who has lost in the right wing hell that resulted? Normal urban folk whose voices have been utterly disregarded, their health prospects thrown to the winds of right wing ideological asshattery.

    Ford, the idiot running Ontario as self-appointed genius epidemiologist with an operation paralleling kenney’s, suffered a mutiny from some of his regional public health officials earlier this week. Weeks late and facing disaster, he buckled to reality yesterday, but too late. Likely thousands are going to croak needlessly in all Con-governed provinces except NB and PEI, because leadership has been entirely missing, the premiers taking no responsibility for educating stupid people, letting Covid fester instead, while mouthing inanities about business and “freedom” instead of caring for the health of their populace. It’s every person for themselves in the dog-eat-dog world of these hypocrites. Dereliction of duty is too tame a description for the uninformed inaction of these louts. They should all be shamed and turfed. kenney won’t fire his caucus idiots, becauae at heart he’s a coward, no leader whatsoever, just a petty tyrant, a fair weather autocrat.

    By logical extension in this mess, there are a number of provincial Chief Public Health officers who have bowed to pols’ nonsense instead of demurring officially or resigning, and thus have rubber-stamped idiocy. Their performances should be examined closely by physicians’ associations to see whether they shouldn’t be struck off as incompetents. Those in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario seem ripe for a performance review. I simply cannot imagine that Dr Russell from New Brunswick who is co-chair along with Tam of the Special Advisory Committee on Covid-19, which includes all the provincial Chief Public Health Officers, pays any attention whatsoever to what Henshaw of Alberta or her po-faced colleagues from Saskatchewan and Ontario have to say. Those people have abandoned their hippocratic oaths in my view, their self-honour missing in action, their professional timidity betraying their supposed values. Disgraceful.

    Reply
  11. brett

    April 8th, 2021

    Here is another way to look at the numbers. There are currently 62 UCP members. 22 of those members are well aligned to Kenney. They are members of the Executive Council. Cabinet Ministers, Associates, etc. This does not even include UCP MLA’s that may have plum committee positions. As an aside…amazing is it not that we need 22 Exec Members to govern Alberta. Perhaps this is the reason why they have made such a hash of it to date.

    So that leaves 40 what I would call ‘non aligned members’…..those who do not have money, position, and ambition at stake. A very conservative number.

    18 have openly declared against Kenney on this issue. Let’s be conservative, pardon the pun, and assume that there are only two more members who are reluctant to voice where they really stand.

    This would make 20, or half of the ‘non aligned’ members. A significant percentage.

    And there are no doubt a few very ambitious members of the Executive Council who are quietly part of this group of rebels. Not declared as such of course. Sharpening the knives, encouraging them forward, so they advance their own careers when the dust settles.

    Conservative politics in Alberta never changes.

    Reply
  12. Just Me

    April 8th, 2021

    Judging by Rebelmedia’s fawning beatification of James Coates, as well as John Carpay’s calls for Kenney’s head, it seems that for Premier Crying & Scream Midget the “the End is nigh”.

    Kenney wedded himself too close to the rural Alberta base and all their patented crazy. Now, they have turned on him. Kevin J Johnston and Chris Sky have come to Alberta’s fertile conspiracy crescent to ply their grift — aided by Rebelmedia’s bullhorn of a dog whistle.

    This may not be machinations of Kenney’s design; if it is, he’s about to hung on his own petard.

    Reply
  13. Bret Larson

    April 8th, 2021

    Different jurisdictions have different covid problems. As a consequence the populations in those jurisdictions see the problem in different lights.

    And their elected representatives are representing the people who are elected them.

    I recognize that is probably a puzzler for the NDP set.

    But I enjoy watching the pavlovian salivation on display. The eventual low will be that much sweater after the fleeting high.

    Reply
  14. Dave in Sask

    April 8th, 2021

    Alberta being famous for raising cattle in big herds, could rural Alberta be approaching herd immunity.

    Or are the rural MLAs just a herd without the immunity except from repercussions from party leadership?

    Reply
  15. Sandy

    April 11th, 2021

    I tabulated the votes (from the last election) of the 16 UCP MLA’s who do not support the latest lockdown measures.
    These 16 garnered about 250,000 votes or about 5% of the 2020 population.
    By my calculation, these MLA’s do not speak for about 4,180,000 Albertans.

    Reply
  16. bob

    April 13th, 2021

    Support your leader and respect the great job he is doing under very trying circumstances.

    Reply
  17. Anthony Hall

    April 24th, 2021

    The perspective here is very parochial starting with the essay of David Climenhaga. His idea of “rampaging mutations” carries on the fear porn of front page proclamations announcing “rising cases,” a phrase exploiting the inaccuracies of the now thoroughly discredited PCR tests. Lockdown cheer leaders like those in the authoritarian NDP simply refuse to address the by-now-well-known frauds exploiting the excess of “false positives” of the PCR test, especially when calibrated to more than 30 or so cycles. On the mutations, the recent commentaries of Dr. Mike Yeadon, former V-P and former Research Head of Pfizer, are very instructive. Whether one agrees or not with Dr. Yeadon, his running commentaries emanating from UK, must be seen as a key fixture in the international debate.

    Basically the Kenney government and the judiciary in Alberta seem have negotiated some sort of deal where the Kenney government is being given a pass to withhold the evidence of where his advisers are getting their data informing their emergency measures decisions. This juridical examination of the government’s own evidence in the decision to constrain constitutionally-protected rights and freedoms must be addressed in deciding whether the Charter is being violated or not. Until this matter is decided, all the government dictates, including those pushing the dangerous experimental emergency measure jabs, are merely provisional.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)