It seems appropriate that the United Conservative Party has chosen “Alberta on the rise” as the theme of its 2021 annual general meeting in November.

“Alberta is OPEN! Come join us in person for the AGM this fall,” the UCP’s convention website pleads. (Emphasis added.) 

Airdrie-Cochrane UCP MLA Peter Guthrie (Photo: Facebook/Peter Guthrie).

Call the UCP tone deaf if you like, but as one wag of my acquaintance tartly observed yesterday, this could be the theme for the whole UCP government! 

Temperatures are rising. So’s the deficit. And, above all, COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions are rising so fast they’re breaking records!

Over the long weekend, Alberta posted 4,903 new cases of COVID. That’s close enough to 5,000 for government work, as my mama used to say. Thanks to lackadaisical testing, it’s a certainty that the true number is higher, possibly dramatically higher. 

The province is not only leading the country in new COVID-19 cases, but active cases as well, the CBC reported yesterday, of which there are 15,486 across the province. 

By comparison, the broadcaster noted dryly, “Ontario, a province with more than three times the population, has less than half the number of active cases.”

Wild Rose Country leads all other Canadian jurisdictions for active cases per 100,000 people by a considerable margin as well, 349 compared to a Canadian average of 97. This is well ahead of our neighbours and closest competitors, the Northwest Territories (301), Saskatchewan (270) and British Columbia (113).

New cases in Alberta could climb to 6,000 a day by the start of next month – and with schools now open, without mask mandates in many locations, and the well-known infectiousness of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, they probably will. 

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, a weirdly Jason Kenney-like figure from history (Photo: Originator not identified).

If they do, the provincial health care system, which is in critical condition now, may succumb. 

This was all foreseen and publicly forecast in July when Premier Jason Kenney declared the province “open for good,” promised us the best summer ever, and spent most of August out of sight if not out of mind, on vacation at a still-undisclosed location. 

Mr. Kenney returned at the start of this month long enough to be caught grabbing a shawarma and to infuriate the province by announcing $100 for any vaccine-resistant holdout who would volunteer for a COVID inoculation, and then fell silent again.

Well, who can blame him? Our Mackenzie-King-like premier’s dream of becoming prime minister of Canada seems to have drifted away like so much campfire smoke in a breeze and his exit plan to get back to the bright lights of Ottawa now depends on the success of Erin O’Toole, the colourless federal Conservative leader. 

Under those circumstances, his nature notwithstanding, silence befits Alberta’s premier.

Better to suffer in silence, at any rate, than to have voters in other provinces connect such large and closely located dots as Mr. Kenney, Mr. O’Toole, Stephen Harper, the cultivation of anti-vaxxers and mask resistors, and Alberta’s soaring fourth wave of COVID infections. 

Even uncooperative MLAs in Mr. Kenney’s own government caucus can’t goad the premier into speaking his mind. 

Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie publicly apologized yesterday to his constituents for the premier’s reopening strategy – not because it is so obviously a spectacular failure, but because it’s not as wide open as residents of Mr. Guthrie’s mostly rural Calgary area riding would apparently like to see. He also urged the minister to ignore the pleas of many Albertans to create a “vaccine passport.”

This must have been embarrassing, but the premier, uncharacteristically, kept his own counsel. 

Neither Mr. Kenney nor whoever operates his normally frenetic Twitter account has tweeted anything since Friday. His Facebook account has also been inactive for four days.

Fitting, then, that Mr. Kenney’s smirking image on the sign-up page for the UCP’s celebration of Alberta on the rise appears to be fading into invisibility. 

Join the Conversation


  1. In any way you can think of, the UCP are a complete failure for Alberta. These Covid-19 statistics are alarming, but not surprising, given that Alberta was down this path before, so often. The UCP are making Alberta number 1 for bad reasons, and their financial abilities are abysmal. You will not expect anything good from these pretend conservatives and Reformers. The UCP are even proving they are worse than Ralph Klein.

  2. Mr kenney seems to have decided to let nature take its course with his second disappearance, because the Covid problem’s obviously beyond his limited capability to either understand or deal with. A fair weather demagogue, not a man to depend on in a clutch, he’s repeatedly shown he hasn’t got a clue or care about public health. The same might well be said of the rural-ish type people who wander around unmasked, trusting in god to not be infected and belief in conspiracy websites with slogans that convince them Covid is a hoax invented by the debbil himself, Trudeau. I’m reminded of the statistic that at least 38% of adult Canadians are functionally illiterate. And yet many of those wandering around in a mental fog appear vociferously and stridently oafish, like the louts pelting Trudeau with gravel in Ontario, egged on by suporters of that well-known intellectual Maxime Bernier, he of the simpleton libertarian smirk.

    I’m no Trudeau fan, nor of any of the party leaders for that matter. But O’Toole disappointingly hides out in an Ottawa media studio tapping the cover of his “platform” for the cameras as if it were a precious philosophical document shortly to be canonized with a Nobel prize for literature. He doesn’t get out much to rallies and is not a people person, quite obviously. Likely not experienced in dealing with heckling crowds, and not much of an insult comeback artist. He seems wimpy and distant and rigid and not mentally agile. At least Trudeau and Singh are out facing crowds in public, and exhibit some spine. Surely O’Toole’s support is more anti-Justin than pro-Erin.

    On a more important topic: these contract nurses kenney and co are supposed to be hiring — where will they magically appear from when there’s a 60,000 nurse shortage in this country? You might want to comment on that DJC, due to your day job knowledge. It seems a stretch to believe that there are unemployed nurses wanting to volunteer to step off into the Alberta healthcare void, no matter what the pay. Plus the likely cold-shouldering they’ll receive from existing nursing staff making less money is hardly an incentive to “step up” either.

  3. William Lyon Mackenzie King talked to ghosts. You can’t talk to ghosts without any ghosts, so it seems that Jason Kenney decided to make some of his own.

    In honor of his greatest achievement — his public health policies (let’s stop kidding ourselves about the figurehead CMOH) that have contributed to the deaths of more Albertans than any other premier before him — I hereby propose that Albertans dedicate their Halloween yard displays to him: skeletons, ghosts, lots of ghosts, and signs to explain it all. It’s the least we can do. There’s plenty of time to turn this into a social movement. In fact, we could start now, during the federal election campaign. Canada’s greatest ghoul surely deserves it.

  4. Oh that Kenney would fade permanently from politics in Canada.

    He has decimated Alberta’s healthcare, education and the public service, to name but a few areas, so we need to make sure that he gets evicted from the province at the earliest time. It will take decades to rebuild any semblance of the province, which so many of us have called home for decades. He truly is/was “Only visiting” and has used the premiership to attempt a comeback in Ottawa. #ResignKenney

  5. Alberta on the rise? Really? Did the people in the UCP who came up with that one think about the implications behind it? Oh yes, COVID cases on the rise, for instance. Well, maybe Premier Kenney does not have a monopoly on all the bad ideas of the UCP, although I suspect he vets them, so things like this get through. The greatest summer ever, which may actually have been Kenney’s idea, seems to be coming to a very disappointing and sadly somewhat predictable ending. Give up on enforcing even the most basic COVID restrictions and this is what happens.

    The third COVID wave was bad enough and almost did Kenney’s political career in. I have to wonder if his silence is as much or more in consideration of his perilous position in the UCP, as it has to do with there being a Federal election. You would have thought the $100 incentive might not have been something that upset anti vaxers so much, but it seems they are permanently outraged at anything encouraging vaccination. In any event, Kenney now has another dilemma to face, how to deal with another outspoken backbencher who seems to be challenging the leader. Does he still have the political clout to boot him out? If so, how long will it be before someone else challenges him.

    Perhaps the best strategy for Kenney is to just wait until after the Federal election and then announce his resignation. If O’Toole wins maybe he will get some sort of political appointment, so he won’t have to cut back on the personal lifestyle he is accustomed to from taxpayer dollars, while he waits for his pension. If not and he decides to hang on, he risks an excruciating Diefenbaker like period of rebellions popping up over how long he digs in for, with the end outcome likely the same, except with more bridges burned. As a bonus if he resigns, they could then rename and reschedule Alberta rises to a much more sensible and generic sounding Alberta UCP Leadership Convention.

  6. It isn’t hard to understand why the American oilmen I was involved with years ago called Albertans the dumbest people on the planet for allowing Ralph Klein to give away our royalties the way he was. “Don’t you people know they are non renewal was their question?”
    I have told that story to many of our Canadian oilmen over the years and they had all heard the same thing from American oilmen they were working with. I don’t think Albertans realize how many American oilmen from Texas , imperial oil has had working in Alberta over the years.

    Yesterday on the Calgary herald blog I pointed out why we shouldn’t support another Reformer in Erin O’Toole and all the senior idiots came out to play , attacking me with their idiotic comments. I found a lot of it down right hilarious with the things they dream up. As lawyer friends over the years have pointed out. They do it to convince themselves that they are right and you aren’t. The truth is they are only fooling themselves.

    They made it clear that they hate Liberals but are too dumb to realize they are supporting one in Jason Kenney. His record with the Liberals speaks for its self. Tried to become Vice President of the Young Liberals of Canada but was defeated in an election. He became Ralph Goodale’s assistant in the Liberal Party in Regina for years. It shows how stupid they really are. He has never been a true conservative, but anyone who pretends he is one is good enough for them.

    They don’t care that O’Toole is once again following in Reformer Stephen Harper’s footsteps promising to gut our public health care system , which is what reformers all try to do, and eliminate the CBC that is still needed in some remote areas of Canada.

    They don’t care that he is once again going against our oil executives wishes and telling the world they don’t care about global warming, when the world does care. Liberal turned Reformer Jason Kenney has convinced them that the carbon tax would financially destroy all of them, even though the carbon tax rebates were actually putting money in many of their pockets. They can’t explain why it has worked everywhere in the world where it has been tried and has been used in Sweden since 1991and it hasn’t financially destroyed anyone. It is the best way to make polluters pay and oil executives agree.

    The retired RCMP officers in our circle of friends aren’t surprised. They had to deal with these ignorant seniors who were dumb enough to let con-artists steal their life savings , using some of the dumbest schemes you imagine to fool them , and it worked. As a Royal Bank Manager it involved me also, and I didn’t appreciate it.

    I think you can rank Jason Kenney right down there with these ignorant seniors whose level of intelligence is the same as their’s and that’s why they love him. My senior conservative friends and I are a lot smarter. We are smart enough to know the difference between a true conservative and a damn reformer trying to pretend he is one. There really is no comparison.

  7. One can only presume from the deafening silence from Premier Crying & Screaming Midget’s social media feeds that he is VERY worried about becoming THE issue of this federal election that could dog Erin O’Toole until the bitter end.

    O’Toole’s performance during the French-language-only TVA debate has been described as being everything from lacklustre to being extraordinarily deceptive to the Quebec audience. LPC numbers in Quebec has exploded, leaving that province as a two-party race between the LPC and the BQ. Since the bromance between Premier LeGault and PMJT continues, it’s safe to say that the CPC maybe completely routed in Quebec.

    And this has been O’Toole’s strategium since the TVA debate: change the platform in the CPC edition of “Men’s Health” to make it less contentious. When asked about O’Toole’s imperious self-editing of the CPC platform, a platform that was supposedly formulated with the collaboration of all its riding associations, his reply was “I am the leader.” Louis XIV declared “L’etat c’est moi” once, but O’Toole is no Sun King. Judging by the quietish backlash in the CPC’s AB and SK ridings “muh gunns!” is a big issue. Can O’Toole be trusted with the CPC Second Amendment aspirations for Canada? Many don’t think so, now. And there’s the not so small matter of is O’Toole in the pockets of FIRE and the CFA? Representatives of these groups seems to think so.

    As for the continuing hiding of Alberta’s Dear Leader, it seems that he intends to lay low until after the election. If he puts his head up and goes all thin skinned on PMJT’s attacks on O’Toole, it will make more manna for PMJT’s assault on Toole-Time.

    I find it interesting that the UCP seems to be treating Kenney as some kind of non-entity, as though he already bolted Alberta, like he was running from a crime scene. I suspect the UCP’s obvious disregard for Kenney has a lot to do with trying not to scare away or annoy AGM attendees. And there’s that small matter that the fundraising as completely dried up.

    But the one thing that caught my attention is Matt Wolf, the UCP top-dog issues manager has now taken to retweeting Postmedia columns attacking PMJT and Jagmeet Singh, rather than actually doing any REAL work. I suspect that Wolf maybe considering moving on, maybe back to Ottawa, and maybe a plum appointment in some hoped for CPC government with PM O’Toole at the helm. In any case, being an Internets troll and making a cool $250K per year plus expenses is a great gig. It’s apparent that Wolf wants another one tout suite.

    1. “… bromance between Premier LeGault and PMJT” — it seems history has overtaken this assertion. Premier Legault has publicly endorsed Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party for the federal election, calling the Liberals, NDP & even the hapless Green Party “dangerous” to Québec’s autonomy. I do find it interesting that he didn’t endorse the Bloc instead …

  8. It is obvious to anyone that these people haven’t got a faintest idea of what they are doing.
    They silently dropped the 3% cut to the nurses and everyone outside the 30% cultists are wondering when they will resign and leave us alone. They are not doing much for the pandemic so what is it that we need these morons for?
    Peter Guthrie is upset that we did not open fully again despite the fact that hospitals are on the verge of collapse and 17 people died of COVID on the weekend alone. As long as it is not him, survival of the fittest is what God recommends.
    Great we are definitely preparing for another GREAT FALL (no pun intended).

  9. I don’t think for an instant that Jason’s band of merry men will equal those denominated by the infamous Grant Devine (greatest name ever for a politician). I do though contend, that they rapidly are approaching the event horizon, where a re-branding will be required! (C)onservative (R)eform (A)lliance (P)arty unfortunately, is all used up! I wish them… Music!

  10. I believe that Jason Kenney has become toxic to a majority of Alberta voters. The longer he remains the more toxic he will become.

    The UCP back room boys and funders must realize this.

    They made a big mistake by keeping Alision Redford around for too long after she too became toxic.

    Will they make the same mistake with Kenney or are there private meetings going on now regarding how to position the Party for the next election? With or without Kenney at the helm.

  11. Okay, that’s it! I’m just never gonna book at that Grey Eagle Resort ever, ever again!!

    …alright, I’m calmed down now (I’ve never actually stayed at that place, anyway) but still intrigued by the can’t-look-away disaster unfolding in one of my favourite provinces. Sure, it’s fun pot-shooting tin-K-Boy cutouts because he just keeps on stepping on his own banana peels; but, hey, this some serious shit goin’ on up in Wild Rose country.

    I’m intrigued at the equation between pudgy Kenney and King, in grey-tone (not least the potential for a King-Byng-like Trudeau-Simon affair that would influence Kenney’s position): one mightn’t expect K-Boy’s alleged Ottawa aspiration to be politically feasible anymore, not after the hash he’s made of Covid in Alberta (which is even more intriguingly interwoven with other threads of pseudoCon theology); but I suppose anything’s possible, like the art is supposed, and this dependency on O’Toole’s election performance at least offers a baleful glimmer of a path: the CPC loses to some arrangement of centre-left alliances in the newly elected parliament, reactionary Western hoplites disgorge from the steaming bowels (it says “womb” in the literature, but I adjusted it appropriately) of the Trojan Buffalo, mark their rage against O’Toole’s captaincy on the block, and hoist their modern-day Odysseus upon the shield, thence bursting through the Firewall (which Canada will pay for) with fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen, charming venomous snakes from there mothers’ bunkers along the way to join the xenophobic Anabasis home to the Capitol (‘Capital’, in Canadianese) to repose, Medusa-coifed, upon the divan of righteous power…

    …but, nah, I can’t see it…not, unless, Augustus commands this humble excuse of a Virgil to write it anyway. (The real Virgil dragged out the ‘offer-he-couldn’t-refuse’ from Augustus Caesar, all the way to his deathbed several years later—his benefactor champing at the bit for excerpts the whole while—but Virgil requesting there be no bequeathing of the nearly completed Aeneas which was only preserved for posterity when his son and heir was also made an an offer he couldn’t refuse: to render unto Caesar what Caesar had already paid for.)

    Okay, then: on the truly xeonphonic basis that K-Boy is fastidiously slow in responding (to charges of Covid irresponsibility) for reasons other than helping O’Toole to win by safe-distancing from him during this crucial fortnight of campaigning, then the image of the “colourless” CPC leader hammering a dirk into a widening fissure with seeming intent to crack the party asunder into a moderate faction he would like to lead— even, for now, in Opposition— and the immoderate one he wants to leave to its own divisiveness doesn’t seem too contrived. K-Boy, after all, has long been in training to pull the Excalibur of righteous revenge from the Philosopher’s Stone of conservatism for at least three informing episodes—Manning’s, Harper’s, and his own smash-and-smoosh of far-right brigands that marauded the high prairie during the legendary Notley regime: lose a substantial chunk of centre-right support? Pftt! Brave and wily Jason will simply entice the Soilers of Odium into the Argo and set sail for the Golden Fleece. He knows he knows, but that’s all he knows.

    Intriguing, indeed. But just when fade-to-black seems the best hope, K-Boy only goes to grey. Dang it all! I swear I’ll never, ever book at that Grey Penguin Resort—or whatever it’s called —on the principle, I confess, that I find Trojan Buffaloes quite frightening.

  12. It seems we might have have set a new record for daily Covid deaths: 18 in the past 24 hours. This is very, very bad.

  13. Kenney is clearly over his head. He has clearly demonstrated that he is unfit to lead so for the sake of Albertans, it would be best if he resigns and steps down.

  14. I am very new at politics and activism. But I am stoked to rid Our riding of this guy. The incompetence of the UCP is simply to much to bear for me. Can anyone with this post help me to start organizing to rid ourselves of this guy. I voted Conservative my entire life. 45 years as an Alberta Conservative and I will not stop until I have at least tried to get rid of these guys. Do I have an alternative? No! Could care less who is next representative as long as it’s not these guys. Please help. I have time, energy and passion for Alberta but not the UCP.

  15. The UCP will always be known as the Unlimited Covid Party lead by a slimy
    lying idiot for the benefit of selfish idiots!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.