Alberta Politics
Another picture of the premier’s Sky Palace patio dinner showing the guests sitting too close to one another to be in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions (Photo: Facebook/Angela Pitt).

Jason Kenney’s chuckleheaded response to Sky Palace patio party uproar reanimates rebellion in UCP Caucus ranks

Posted on June 05, 2021, 1:55 am
5 mins

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s pandemic patio party at the Sky Palace and his chuckleheaded response to the inevitable criticism of it seems to have loosed the spirit of rebellion again in some of the Wildrosy corners of his United Conservative Party Caucus.

Responding to constituents who mistook her in photos snapped by a mystery paparazzo for one of two political aides at the boozy rooftop dinner Wednesday evening with Mr. Kenney and three of his senior ministers, Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt yesterday openly contradicted the premier’s repeated denials he broke any rules.

Airdrie MLA Angela Pitt, a defiant member of the UCP (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

“Looking at these photos it seems clear to me that several health restrictions were violated,” Ms. Pitt boldly stated on her Facebook account.

Noting online that there had been speculation she was at the meeting – she bears a passing resemblance to Mr. Kenney’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Pamela Livingston – Ms. Pitt reassured her constituents it wasn’t her.

“Much of the public concern about this incident has been about the hypocrisy of senior officials breaking their own rules,” she stated. “I can certainly understand these concerns.”

“I’m with you, Angela,” Bonnyville-Cold LakeSt. Paul MLA David Hanson soon chimed in, also on Facebook. “Albertans are angry, again, and rightly so, disappointing.”

Three weeks ago, Premier Kenney seemed to have put a lid on the uprising inside the UCP Caucus when he managed, after a day-long argument with his caucus mates, to turf two dissident rural MLAs with Wildrose Party roots who had openly challenged his leadership and response to COVID-19.

Mr. Kenney looked and acted as if he were firmly in control after Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen, who had called for the premier to resign for imposing too many COVID-19 restrictions, and Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, a thorn in the premier’s side for months on similar topics, were banished to sit as Independents in the Legislature.

Bonnyville-Cold Lake- St. Paul MLA Dave Hanson (Photo: Chris Bolin, Creative Commons).

Referring yesterday to Premier Kenney’s threats to caucus members after Mr. Loewen and Mr. Barnes were booted out, Mr. Hanson observed that the rule breaking at the premier’s catered dinner party was “surprising since he told us we would all be ejected if we were caught violating the health guidelines.”

So what will Mr. Kenney do now? 

He’d almost certainly encourage more dissidents to come out of the woodwork if he throws former Wildrosers Ms. Pitt and Mr. Hanson out of the UCP Caucus for their defiance.

If he lets them stay, he would also probably embolden more internal dissent from other former Wildrose members who like them think most COVID-19 restrictions should never have been imposed in the first place.

There are thought to be 14 other MLAs sympathetic to Messrs. Barnes and Loewen still in the UCP Legislative Caucus.

Calgary-McCall MLA and NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Either way, the rift in the UCP looks deeper and the premier looks weaker – not images he should want to project if he hopes to get the UCP out of its current slump in the polls.

Perhaps Mr. Kenney could threaten to sue his rebel MLAs, as he blustered at NDP Calgary-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir in the Legislature on Thursday for essentially saying the same thing Ms. Pitt has now stated publicly in writing.

“Will the premier, the health minister, the finance minister and the House leader commit to paying a $2,000 fine for breaching the public health orders?” the NDP Justice critic asked during Question Period. “You all owe Albertans $8,000 and an apology.”

The premier responded: “If said outside this space, that would be considered defamatory, Mr. Speaker.”

Well, now it’s been said outside that place, and by a member of Mr. Kenney’s own party, no less. What’s he gonna do?

20 Comments to: Jason Kenney’s chuckleheaded response to Sky Palace patio party uproar reanimates rebellion in UCP Caucus ranks

  1. Just Me

    June 5th, 2021

    Considering all the crazy legal actions concerning one slight or another that Premier Crying & Screaming Midget has been throwing around over the last few years, I have no doubt he may turn a cadre of lawyers loose to wreck havoc on the lives of any MLA or individual who runs afoul of offending the Premier. But since Kenney seems to be spending all his days luxuriating in the Sky Place (AKA. The Xanadu) it’s very likely he has completely lost touch with reality. Maybe he believes he has mastered his opposition and can do whatever he pleases?

    Held within The Pleasure Dome
    Decreed by Kubla Khan
    To taste my bitter triumph
    As a mad immortal man
    Nevermore shall I return
    Escape these caves of ice
    For I have dined on honey dew
    And drunk the milk of Paradise…

    Excerpt from “Xanadu”.

    Songwriters: Geddy Lee / Alex Lifeson / Neil Peart

    Yeah, I couldn’t resist, but I digress.

    Considering Kenney’s strange obsession with gambling against unfavourable odds, he has developed a rather cavalier attitude with reality — that is to say he is inclined to invent any alt-reality to suit he needs. Since, he prefers to have a rather convenient relationship with the truth, at a point where Kenney is under constant attack from all sides, he is very likely to throw caution to the wind and become even more aggressive in his approach to handling all things.

    Kenney has the mindset of a pugilist; he is determined to win, even if he takes everyone down with him.

    Reply
  2. Dave

    June 5th, 2021

    Ms. Pitt is right, the Premier can’t expect everyone else to follow the rules if he doesn’t. Now only if Dr. Hinshaw said that as clearly instead of stammering. Of course, as you indicated it would likely be difficult for Kenney to get rid of Pitt now. She probably has better job security than Hinshaw at this point and accordingly feels freer to speak her mind.

    So we are back to where we were at a few weeks ago, before Kenney kicked out two MLAs and temporarily quieted the dissent. There are other MLAs not happy with Kenney and some still willing to say so publicly. If he kicks out more MLAs now, he risks triggering a bigger outcry, perhaps even a full scale mutiny. If he lets the grumbling continue, he looks weak.

    I think the only thing that he can do that might get him out of his self created mess is an apology with all the contrition he can muster. Unfortunately, Kenney does not do apologies very well, if at all.

    As one political commentator said a few months ago – Kenney seems to have lost the plot. I think since then he has lost even more than that. It is becoming clearer to everyone, even UCP members, that Kenney is not the appropriate person for these times.

    Reply
  3. Abs

    June 5th, 2021

    Threatening lawsuits is he? Maybe he’s in a mood because he saw the “No More Jason Kenney Pro Rodeo Rally #FireJasonKenney” poster.

    Speaking of rodeos, Stampede is going to be a real hoot, don’t you think? Can’t wait for the premier’s pancake breakfast. So many people want to ask him questions, I think they’ll forget about the free food.

    https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/injunction-slapped-on-planned-central-alberta-rodeos-protesting-covid-19-measures

    Reply
  4. karl roth

    June 5th, 2021

    the undeniable fact that Albertans voted in a bunch of MLA’s who “think most COVID-19 restrictions should never have been imposed in the first place.” is plain old scary

    and howzabout good old Stumpy McHypocrite armoured in his true believer, hard right conservative carapace of arrogance and certitude ?
    buy a cowboy hat, a blue pickem-up truck and ride in on harpers shirt tails as Alberta’s conservative savior

    how’s that working out ?

    Reply
  5. Daniel Cohen

    June 5th, 2021

    @JKenney lives in a fantasy world of his own making.
    He never has to consult #reality, he doesn’t have to listen to his people. He can always do what he pleases, because he has the mandate.
    So, instead of #Leadership, his #Incompetence will shape our future.

    Reply
  6. Alan K. Spiller

    June 5th, 2021

    I love watching these fools shoot themselves in the foot over and over again. If this doesn’t finish them off nothing will. Still we have many of our fellow seniors trying to make up idiotic comments to defend them, showing how stupid they really are. Read the comments in the Calgary Herald in their blog and you soon learn who they are. He has them all believing that our financial mess is all Notley’s and Trudeau’s fault.

    As my late father would say These are the fools who vote for the name conservative and don’t care who is hiding behind the name. A senior women during the Klein years told me she didn’t like what Klein was doing to us but she had to support him because she was a conservative. You can’t be any dumber than that , can you?

    But then as a retired RCMP officer friend who passed away in 2015 used to say It didn’t surprise him after having to deal with seniors who were dumb enough to believe the lies con-artists fed them while they stole their life savings. These seniors really are stupid.

    Sadly in many cases these seniors convinced young Albertans to believe Kenney’s lies also.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      June 5th, 2021

      ALAN K. SPILLER: You are correct. Look at the Edmonton Sun and Calgary Sun, and it’s happening there too. There are so many people defending the UCP’s foolish mistakes, like they have defended Ralph Klein’s foolish mistakes. Their course of action is to blame the NDP, Justin Trudeau, or someone else. Read articles and you can see it. Really blind people.

      Reply
      • Alan k. Spiller

        June 5th, 2021

        Anonymous what upsets us is the fact that many of these newspaper editors and reporters have been encouraging them to do so. It isn’t a surprise that people have been telling other people to stop buying their papers.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          June 6th, 2021

          ALAN K. SPILLER: I know. These Postmedia columnists are only offering weak condemnation of what the UCP were doing. They are still supporting the UCP. Many who comment on the articles, still foolishly defend the UCP, just like they foolishly defend Ralph Klein.

          Reply
    • Mike J Danysh

      June 5th, 2021

      I’m sorry, Alan, it may well be possible to be dumber than your example. Mark Lisac, in his book The Klein Revolution, told how he interviewed people in central Alberta before the 1993 provincial election–the one that stuck us with Ralph Klein as premier. One woman complained to Lisac that Don Getty was a disaster, and had to go. Lisac asked who she’d vote for. She said the PC party. Why? “They made the mess, they should clean it up.”

      But it gets worse. About the same time, the federal election which first featured (or inflicted on us) Preston Manning’s Reform Party was under way. I overheard a woman in a downtown store talking with a clerk about the election. Who was she voting for? “Reform.” Why? Defiantly, the woman said, “My dad got $25 from Manning’s dad, so he’s getting my vote!”

      To this day, I regret not having the wit (or nerve) to ask what she’d do if Preston offered her $100.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        June 6th, 2021

        MIKE J DANYSH: Mark Lisac was a rarity in political columnists. Ralph Klein and his right hand man, Rod Love, didn’t like Mark Lisac, because he was rightfully critical of what the Alberta PCs were doing. Mark Lisac then was ousted from his political columnist position at the Edmonton Journal. It made way for other columnists, like Lorne Gunter, Licia Corbella, and Rick Bell, who proudly tow the conservative line, and if they condemn the conservatives, it’s a very flimsy rebuking of them. I have read Mark Lisac’s books, and they are very well written. I own one of his books too. Postmedia clearly is joined at the hip with the conservatives. I remember letters to the editor and one was very critical of Lorne Gunter. Lorne Gunter was condemning the sponsorship scandal, a.k.a, Adscam, by Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. It was only $100 million, although other sources say it was $250 million. This letter writer, a senior, who didn’t like the Alberta PCs, asked why Lorne Gunter didn’t condemn the Alberta PCs scandals, such as Miller West Pulp, and West Edmonton Mall, which were even worse in their magnitude, price wise. Miller West Pulp, was something like nearly $200 million, or more, and West Edmonton Mall, exceeded the $400 million mark.

        Reply
  7. Anonymous

    June 5th, 2021

    The UCP are a joke for a party, no doubt about it. It’s still puzzling how there are people who defend the UCP for what just happened. Angela Pitt and David Hanson clearly are some exceptions in the UCP group. The premier of Alberta, (a dubious title), seems to brush things off. He’ll just retire at 55, with a very large political pension, and the UCP will have left Alberta in a shambles, that will take a long time to repair.

    Reply
  8. Bill Malcolm

    June 5th, 2021

    “Will the premier, the health minister, the finance minister and the House leader commit to paying a $2,000 fine for breaching the public health orders?” the NDP Justice critic asked during Question Period. “You all owe Albertans $8,000 and an apology.”

    The premier responded: “If said outside this space, that would be considered defamatory, Mr. Speaker.”

    Defamatory? How? Irfan Sabir is a lawyer and unlikely to be cowed by mere bluster. Denial of breaching public health orders by kenney & co is contradicted by the photos.

    Oh, and from the June 1 start day of Alberta re-opening, according to CTV:

    “Beginning on Tuesday, the outdoor social gathering limit will increase to 10 people — with distancing — and outdoor dining will be allowed, with a maximum of four people per table, who must be members of the same household. Those who live alone can have up to two close contacts.”

    Big family for a bachelor.

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      June 5th, 2021

      Hey Bill,

      Is that the new name for it, “bachelor”?

      When did bachelor mean never being seen in public on a date with a woman?

      Let’s be honest, Kenney has spent his entire adult life hiding who he really is. He transferred that skill to politics. It amazes me to this day how Albertans, especially the bible thumpers just ignore the obvious.

      I guess if you can delude yourself into believing in a magical sky fairy (aka god), you can delude yourself into believing anything – bachelor indeed! As the kids would say, LOL!

      Reply
      • Just Me

        June 5th, 2021

        When in doubt about Kenny’s personal life, heed the wisdom of K.D. Lang found in a rather direct tweet concerning Kenney’s life in general.

        I recall, during the period when Kenney was forming the UCP, at that boisterous town hall meeting I attended, there was a rumour travelling the room in the event Kenney’s terminal bachelorhood should come into question.

        It seems, as the gaslighting would have it, Kenney is married, has a young daughter, but is estranged from his wife. I guess people will believe anything.

        Curiously, PPC leader Maxime Bernier has two teenaged daughters and is estranged from their mother.

        Coincidence?

        Reply
  9. Jim

    June 5th, 2021

    So if we question his highness there will be lawsuits? It’s a perfectly reasonable statement to make and he was in clear violation of the guidelines. Would the lawyers be paid for by the taxpayer or is Kenney going to foot the bill on this one? Government lawyers may be a little busy right now in court going after pastors and cowboys. So when they are done with Kenney’s base there may be time for a opposition MLA.

    Reply

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