Welcome home, blogger! Don’t worry about closed Alberta hospital beds – we have pepper spray and pickup trucks


Welcome home, blogger!

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney trying to prove that he’s a real manly Alberta man too (Photo: Twitter/Jason Kenney).

Having spent a few days dealing with family business in British Columbia, the first reminder of what passes for reality back home as I await my delayed return flight at Victoria’s scenic Saanich Peninsula aerodrome is a message in my in-box saying Alberta Health Services has closed nine inpatient surgery beds in St. Albert at the Sturgeon Community Hospital.

Oddly, from what else I’ve been seeing while I wait, Alberta’s premier and other government officials appear to have very little to say about those bed closings in St. Albert, where the hospital has 26 vacancies it can’t fill. Or, for that matter, the ones in Edson, St. Paul, Boyle, Elk Point, Galahad, Westlock, Fairview, Rocky Mountain House, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, High Prairie, Slave Lake, Wainwright , Rimbey, Lacombe, Red Deer, Barrhead, Grande Prairie or Edmonton.

Indeed, Mr. Kenney would rather talk about … pickup trucks!

Premier Kenney or whoever writes his tweets for him seems to think an article in the Globe and Mail complaining that Toronto poseurs with no need to drive the latest generation of the Exxon Valdez on wheels was somehow an attack on Alberta.

I suppose he could have asked Steve Allan to look into that while the Alberta Inquiry commissioner checked to see whatever became of those Russians who back in 2019 were supposedly trying to sabotage Alberta’s ethical bitumen mining industry, but that might have delayed the report on the anti-Alberta energy campaigns (or anti-energy Alberta campaigns, or whatever) even more. 

One might have thought Mr. Kenney would have liked the article. After all, it was written by a Globe editorialist with impeccable conservative credentials. Moreover, it seems to suggest that only real, manly Alberta men who have an actual justification to own a gargantuan F-150 are qualified to drive the things. 

But apparently whoever the Oakville Kid had looking for distractions from the ongoing hospital bed closings and the looming Fourth Wave of COVID-19, Stampede Edition – Hey, Delta Dawn, what’s that facemask you’ve got on? – didn’t have time to actually read the article very carefully. 

Former Alberta premier Rachel Notley, now the leader of the NDP Opposition (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Mind you, when I peeked at Twitter a couple of days ago – when presumably the premier and his fellow cabinet members were being briefed about the latest bed closings at Alberta health care facilities and contemplating how to release the bad news – he wanted to talk about … pepper spray.

Got a problem with neo-Nazi goons loaded with bear spray attacking citizens they have taken an irrational dislike to? Beg Ottawa to equip the victims with pepper spray – or, as presumably Mr. Kenney and his supporters actually have in mind – itty-bitty little pistols.

It seems like starting an arms race with guys are who are already gunned up to the gills is a plan best left to the professionals. 

As Mr. Kenney certainly knows, it isn’t an idea likely to have happy results in the unlikely event it gets implemented, but since said implementation is so unlikely it gives him an opportunity to yell pointlessly at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the once and future leader of Canada’s majority Liberal government, and to keep our minds off the COVID case count and the latest bed closings.

With any luck, Alberta voters may be so aroused by the possibility of getting to carry a prohibited weapon – is that a can of bear spray in your pocket, or are you just happy to be in Wild Rose Country? – or force an annoying SmartCar off the highway with their Dodge RAM, that they may forget about the nurses protesting the bed closings on Mr. Kenney’s proposed pay rollbacks outside St. Albert’s hospital.

If you’re a Kenney Conservative, you’ve sure got to hate the way those health care heroes were queuing up for selfies with NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley, who showed up at Sturgeon Hospital to say, “We have a backlog of Albertans with untreated conditions and we have an exhausted health care workforce, yet, the response from Jason Kenney and the UCP is to threaten to cut their wages.”

“At a time when other large provinces are providing incentives for nurses to move there, Jason Kenney is determined to drive nurses and other front-line workers out of Alberta,” Ms. Notley said. “That’s a serious threat to the long-term strength of our public health-care system.”

And that, my friends, is a serious understatement. But then, it may also be Mr. Kenney’s goal. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Welcome back; hope you had a refreshing break on the sunny, bone dry but relatively smokeless Left Coast.

    Funny, that: I just finished making a quip about Marcus Gee’s G&M piece about pickups on FB. My significant other and I laughed and laughed—and it only got more health-threatening (we’re old) when we checked to see if our favourite political commentator had returned from vacation. One just had to know old War-Room KeKKenney would take offence at Gee’s send up of petroleum guzzling pickups driven by slickers who’ve never hucked a hay bale in their lives. My cheeks are still hurting and eyes still watering…but I’ll be okay.

    Still, Gee was ambiguous about whether urban pickup drivers were malicious or justified in intentionally spewing sooty exhaust—by way of a special technical feature these manly drivers may purchase optionally—all over those nasty cyclists and EV drivers whom they pass with a guttural roar of eight petroleum-pounding cylinders.

    The K-Boy is getting stylishly ambiguous all of a sudden.

    Again, welcome back. Looking forward to your coverage of the rest of the best summer ever in the great province of Alberta!

  2. I’m not sure if Kenney’s strident defence of pick up trucks is due to his over sensitive nature or he just needed a good distraction, say from things like hospital bed closings popping up everywhere in rural Alberta lately. However, I suppose no reason it couldn’t be both.

    I read the article and it wasn’t so much a general attack on pick ups or their users in general, but specifically on those who drive them around who don’t really need to. Perhaps that hit a raw nerve too close to home for Kenney.

    In any event, I suppose it might provide some distraction from all the hospital closures. Kenney does try to stir up or manufacture some controversy when in trouble. However, all those rural Albertans are probably more concerned about the hospital closures they are hearing about on their local radio or reading about in their local news. I’m not sure the pick up dust up will really matter to them much. Most rural people who drive pick ups, generally put them to the use they were intended, as opposed to certain politicians from the city who use them to show boat.

    1. The statistics around the staffing shortages could be revealing:
      -has AHS really added 1,000 nursing positions over the past year?
      -has the nursing profession really experienced significantly above average retirements?
      -is AHS working through a backlog of vacation days, which would be typical for summer, and possibly exaggerated by deferred vacations due to the pandemic?
      -are sick days above trend, possibly due to union reps encouraging their members to fake sick days to manufacture a crisis in hope of influencing labor negotiations?

  3. It’s Looney Tunes time here in Alberta. Come on down and meet the cast: Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam. Or just hang out with the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, waiting for the anvil to drop. Acme brand pepper spray, you say?

    Is this the Best Summer Ever, or the summer of umbrellas, leaf blowers and bicycle helmets?

  4. The Laurentian Elites may not want our pick-up trucks, but they will never have our … FREEDUMB!!!!!

    Imagine a blue-faced Jason Kenney screaming an inspiring call to arms à la Mel Gibson. Well, they’re both uber-Catholics, so this comparison could work.

    Now that the T.O. Mop & Pail has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged Alberta to drag its knuckles that much harder and further, Premier Screaming & Crying Midget has taken up the challenge. Kenney throws another distracting morsel of victimhood to his base and demands that Ottawa obey Alberta … or else.

    Taking the CON’s peeing contest up another notch, Minister Shandro has decided to restart his war on public health care, demanding that pandemic-exhausted healthcare workers take a retro-active pay cut, or get out of Alberta’s green and pleasant land. I guess faith-healing at the local mega-church will be the default medical treatment before long.

    Meanwhile, Steve West’s commission to uncover the anti-Alberta global conspiracy has its report due on July 30th…unless there’s a need for another extension. I’m sure Minister Savage will approve another extension, as well as another $1 M to keep the boondoggle going. Promises made, promises kept.

    Now that the Greatest Summer Ever has been seared by rampant wildfires, hotter than Africa hot weather, never-ending drought, smoke-filled air, one can console themselves by keeping their pepper spray handy.

    Alberta’s R-value is about 1.46 at the moment, so may as well hop in that persecuted pick-up truck and head to the promised lands of B.C. or Atlantic Canada, where the provinces are governed by adults and grifting politicians are spotted the moment they step into the room.

    1. JUST ME: That is Steve Allan, not Steve West, a.k.a, Dr. Death. Steve West was in the Don Getty and Ralph Klein cabinets. Utility deregulation in Alberta, and other privatization tricks, had Steve West’s hand in those things. He could accomplish those things when Ralph Klein was premier of Alberta.

      1. One Steve didn’t fall from the tree too far from the other. So it is in Alberta’s CON reality.

        At least it could be counted on for one of the Steves to be drunk out of his skull. They other one is a sober grifter however.

  5. Pickup trucks are really the Canadian curse, not limited to Alberta. Yessir, check the sales figures, and we buy about 30% more per capita than the Americans. People come up with all sorts of lame excuses to buy these barges, most of which revolve around buying loads of mulch for the yard, or the ability to carry to purchase 96 packs of toilet paper from Costco. The latest trend, according to my long time pal who works at a Chrysler dealer, is $100K RAM paeans to monumental faux luxury bought by the wealthy instead of German luxury barges, so as to disguise who they are from the common folk. We can all tut tut these monstrosities which don’t fit into supermarket parking spaces, but boy, you’re going to have to pry these latter day prairie schooners from a lot of peoples’ fingers with threats of real menace, not waffling. And no, I don’t own one nor ever have. I just recognize reality.

    Unlike kenney, who couldn’t care less about the Delta variant spread in Alberta. In fact, it’s debatable whether he cares about anything besides his own hide. Any lie, any twisting of facts, well, it’s fair game for that man.

    Even deSantis, nutbar governor of Florida, and Mitch “Mumbles” McConnell of the US senate have recently come to the practical conclusion that a good proportion of the US anti-vaxxer population might go TU from the Delta variant. So now they’re urging vaccinations on the great unwashed. Alberta sits handily at the bottom of Canadian provinces in vaccination rates, but people are allowed to infect each other in the best summer ever. Same in Saskatchewan. The leading vaccination provinces in order are NS, NB and Ontario, all about 12% of their populations up on kenneyland.


    So, it’s likely that this fall will be an utter shambles as the Delta variant bites. Nurses and health workers in general are in very short supply across the entire country, not just Alberta. Worn out from the last 18 months of the pandemic, many are quittting. So, once again, the country is unprepared. Even worse for the Brits, the UK has abour 42,000 new Delta cases a day, but is wide open and maskless in the Tory fashion. Too bad Blighty never got around to vaccinating 12 to 18 year-olds, I guess. That country now lags substantially behind Canada’s vaccination rates and shots are down to Ontario daily rates despite 5 times the population.

    Combine all this general nonsense with wildfires in Canada, and even worse ones in the US West combined with no water there, and it becomes a distinct possibility that we will also soon be short of food. Yay. But reality will not be allowed to intrude on kenney’s “sensibilities”. He’s in it for himself, and so long as there’s a spare can of beans to be had, he will make sure he has it. And to hell with everyone else.

  6. I clearly believe that if Peter Lougheed were still around, he would be totally appalled at what the UCP are doing to Alberta. I think the UCP have the spirit of Ralph Klein inside them. It is disgusting to see what the UCP are up to. Albertans are going to have more suffering under the UCP, as they did under Ralph Klein. The foolish will sit there and take it.

  7. Obviously, Albertans need to suffer more and they will,

    When Albertans have had enough they can either force Kenney out via general strike. Or, they can patiently and passively wait for the next provincial election in 2 more years, and give Kenney another chance to cheat his way into office.

    Bye the way how is that RCMP investigation into the illegalities around his leadership campaign going?

    Karma is a bitch, as they say.

  8. The “interregnum” was pretty much an illusion, given that the NDP in no way challenged the real centres of power in the Calgary Petroleum, Ranchmen’s and Glencoe clubs. The Klepto-kons continue to follow their Twentieth Century playbook, unabashedly employing graft, influence-peddling and cronyism, but the new workerless global economy that rolls relentlessly toward us is making them less relevent every day. All the crooked judges, lawyers, geologists, developers and real estate hustlers won’t be putting Humpty together again. But it’s entertaining to see them try:
    “Nenshi calls alleged relationship between Davison campaign, third-party advertisers ‘extremely troubling'”

  9. Wow! I get to use bear spray for a change? Can I have a ten litre canister in my back pack? Just asking for a feind! Yeesh! Oh man, it’s gonna be ugly on Saturday night in the emergency ward! Look out Cardston! Here we come!

  10. I wonder if Jason ran that photo of him in his truck past his advisers. It really emphasizes his shortness. A bit of a booster seat might not be a bad idea – unless there already is one.

  11. Ah yes, Alberta…Land of the Pickup Truck. It really is refreshing to go to another geographic location and see one truck out of every 30 cars/small SUV’s instead of the other way around but I digress.

    My wife and I call those rolling monstrosities Penis Trucks. Built for those that are trying to over-compensate for their, um, shortcomings. A very apt description in Premier Randy’s case, for sure.

    By the way, perhaps someone could possibly find out (preferably via archived photographic evidence) what Kenney’s mode of transportation was when he was the toast of Ottawa? Because I’d bet a paycheque it sure as hell wasn’t a pickup truck! No, that accessory of his cosplay only came about once he came here, to be sure, solely to placate the plebes that he is indeed one of the unwashed masses like us. Yes, once again Kenney has earned himself yet another nickname: Premier Poser, anyone?

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