Alberta Politics
It’s lonely under the spotlight – especially when you’re in an empty curling rink, like Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, and reporters are yelling questions about Jason Kenney and COVID at you (Photo: Twitter/@Travisdhanraj).

Jason Kenney proves that Alberta provincial leaders can still influence federal election campaigns!

Posted on September 17, 2021, 2:38 am
9 mins

Who says Albertans don’t have influence in Confederation? 

Jason Kenney proved once again Wednesday that an Alberta political leader, just by calling a news conference and speaking a few words, can single-handedly influence the course of a federal election! 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: Justin Trudeau/Flickr).

One imagines, though, Alberta’s premier would have preferred not to have influenced the 2021 federal election quite the way he did. 

Mr. Kenney did it by admitting Wednesday that he and his United Conservative Party messed up spectacularly with their high-risk Best Summer Ever strategy of reopening the economy in time for the Calgary Stampede in July, thereby setting the stage for the collapse of Alberta’s health care system in September as unvaccinated COVID-19 victims packed the province’s hospitals.

The effect on the federal election campaign of Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole wasn’t good – although it’s a couple of days to soon to say whether it will prove to be catastrophic. Federal Conservatives were furious. They thought Mr. Kenney had promised to keep his lips zipped until after the election. 

The federal Opposition leader’s campaign looked yesterday like it had thrown a rotor blade when reporters started rudely asking the former helicopter crewman about his past enthusiastic endorsements of Mr. Kenney’s way of dealing with the pandemic. 

A series of tweets with video clips posted yesterday morning by CBC Parliamentary reporter Travis Dhanraj showed the Conservative leader’s desperate efforts at a news conference in St. John to avoid answering reporters’ questions about his enthusiasm for Mr. Kenney without actually running out of the room. 

In the first, a reporter can be heard saying, “you have said that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has handled COVID far better than Justin Trudeau. With what we’re seeing in that province now, do you still think that’s the case?”

That seems pretty clear. But Mr. O’Toole responded by saying, “as prime minister I would work with all premiers, regardless of stripe, to fight against the pandemic,” and blaming Mr. Trudeau for the cost of the election. 

CBC Parliamentary reporter Travis Dhanraj (Photo: CBC).

“I want to follow up on that question, said the next reporter. Unfortunately you didn’t answer it again. And I think Canadians are sitting at home wondering about the pandemic itself. So, not specifically about this election, who do you think did a better job handling the pandemic? Provincial Premier Jason Kenney, or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?”

“Canadians are sitting at home, as you said, wondering why we’re in an election,” Mr. O’Toole started to respond …

“No, I asked about …,” interjected the second reporter, as the newser began to degenerate into Mr. O’Toole trying to speak over the reporters and reporters shouting, “Please answer the question, Mr. O’Toole!” 

No need to go on transcribing. Readers can listen for themselves. It’s not very illuminating, but it is entertaining to watch Mr. O’Toole stick manfully to his information-free talking points. The reporters sound frustrated, as they might well be. Mr. O’Toole sounds as if he’s prevaricating.

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The point is, it’s certainly not the way the Conservatives would have hoped to be spending the final hours of an election campaign in which their leader had been doing pretty well for a while. And it’s certainly not going to help him eke out a victory. 

Yesterday evening, CTV news reporters were tweeting that Mr. O’Toole, unlike all the other party leaders, had cancelled a scheduled interview with CTV News and refused to reschedule. Well, it’s not hard to figure out what his problem is. 

“I have had an off-the-record conversation with a longstanding senior Conservative backroom actor,tweeted Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt. “He says that not only has Kenney sewered the UCP in 2023, and the CPC federally in 2021, but has set back the Conservative movement in Alberta for a decade.”

I’ve never seen “sewer” used as a verb before, but it sort of works.

The O’Toole Conservative campaign has three days to come up with a strategy to remedy Premier Kenney’s reverse Midas touch. 

Victory Calgary Stampede 1919? Say what? 

For his part, Mr. Kenney took to Facebook Live last night, where he can pick the questions, lean back and answer without fear of shouted interjections. So never mind that. 

The Victory Calgary Stampede 1919 pennant (Photo: Screenshot of UCP video).

But what was with that “Victory Calgary Stampede 1919” pennant on the wall behind him? No chance it just landed there and no one noticed. 

Is this Mr. Kenney’s way of telling us he still thinks COVID was just “an influenza”? (Alert readers will recall that 1919 was the year of the 1918 Spanish Flu’s deadly second wave.) Or was he saying that the Stampede really matters more than anything else in Alberta? Or what? 

Given the gravity of the circumstances, let’s just say the visual doesn’t seem to be in particularly good taste. One wonders who among the premier’s aides came up with that one, or if it was an inspiration of the great man himself? 

UCP Caucus dirty laundry flaps on the line

Meanwhile, also yesterday, Calgary Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried took to Facebook to make sure voters understood that he, at least, had been advocating for stronger measures to combat COVID back in the summertime. 

Calgary-Fish Creek MLA Richard Gotfried (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“I am frustrated, embarrassed and angry that such defensible measures weren’t taken 30 days ago, but I will have to live with the solace that my outspoken internal advocacy finally bore fruit, albeit a day late and a few hundred ICU beds short,” Mr. Gotfried said, trowelling it on. 

This is the political equivalent of throwing oneself on the mercy of the court, probably not very persuasive to voters. But any old port in a storm. 

The government “clearly had 30 days’ notice that a crisis was looming,” Mr. Gotfried also said, revealingly. “Nothing was done while we lacked any leadership at the helm.” The point of that seems pretty clear. 

Former cabinet minister Leela Aheer, the Chesteremere-Rockyview MLA who was kicked out of cabinet by Mr. Kenney in June for daring to suggest he should apologize for his boozy and embarrassing mid-pandemic Sky Palace patio party, soon retweeted a link to the CBC’s story

Mr. Kenney’s acting press secretary, Harrison Fleming, publicly denied Mr. Gotfried’s account. 

Needless to say, disputatiousness among a premier’s staff and his MLAs is probably not a sign of a caucus that’s functioning like a winning team. 

47 Comments to: Jason Kenney proves that Alberta provincial leaders can still influence federal election campaigns!

  1. Dave

    September 17th, 2021

    Yeah, Kenney sure does seem to have quite an impact on things right now! However, perhaps not a very positive one. He seems to have become so politically toxic that the leader of his own Federal Party (I assume Kenney is still a member) now goes to great lengths to avoid saying Kenney’s name, or really anything about him.

    If CPC insiders haven’t already come up with this term, lets call it the K word or the K problem. Reporters seemed to be having great sport trying to get O’Toole say something about the current Alberta situation, good, bad or otherwise, but O’Toole acted as if Kenney and Alberta did not exist or he never heard of them. So, all we got was a few platitudes about working cooperatively with all the provinces, which I believe is political speak for letting them do whatever the heck they want. At least some other Federal leaders have a bit more spine.

    I don’t know how sincere, Mr. Gotfried’s comments are, but they are a sign that the lid has blown off the pot that is the UCP caucus and it is boiling over. We can probably now expect more candor from all sides of this by UCP MLAs.

    I wonder how much more of this Kenney will take before he gets the message his time is up. I suspect he is determined to hang on until at least after the Federal election. However, at this point perhaps the CPC might not mind if K called it a day a bit sooner.

    Reply
  2. jimmy

    September 17th, 2021

    Perhaps voters across the country will recall photos of a cowboy costumed Erin O’Toole pancake flipping in Calgary during this year’s Stampede celebrations. That particular super spreader event was allowed to proceed despite reservations and provided as expected photo ops for Messrs. O’Toole and Kenney. Conservatives wanted to suggest the pandemic was under control in Alberta and that everybody should behave as though it was a temporary inconvenience, not a dangerous disease that kills as identified and proven by medical science and sadly by actual events. Mr. Kenney had at an earlier time famously informed the Provincial Legislature that Covid is an ‘influenza that does not generally threaten human life.’ Since the Stampede Covid diagnoses are rising in Alberta, deaths are rising in Alberta, this week the resources of an Alberta regional hospital became overwhelmed and as it was unable to provide needed intensive care airlifted out patients away from their families and supports. The the remainder of the health service verges on possible collapse and staff are being coached on triage, i.e. deciding who receives treatment and who dies. O’Toole and Kenney showed their selfish and callous priorities lie with political publicity bought at the expense of the immeasurable pain and misery of others. I suspect voters will be consider carefully who are fit and who are unfit to lead and to hold office.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    September 17th, 2021

    These phony conservatives and Reformers, in the UCP have screwed things up so badly, and there’s no way they can get away from that. Too late.

    Reply
  4. !?

    September 17th, 2021

    Did O’Toole & Kenney commit covicide when they cooked up the deal not to implement restrictions until after the election?

    Reply
    • Neil Lore

      September 18th, 2021

      Very good question. I would like to see it being asked by lawyers in a court of law. Why are the wealthy and privileged allowed to make decisions that needlessly kill people?

      Reply
  5. Phlogiston

    September 17th, 2021

    There are reports (including a report in this blog) that O’Toole was furious with Kenney for his train-wreck presser on Wednesday, when Kenney finally implemented some stronger pandemic measures. The situation was bad enough that Kenney could not keep his promise to be silent until after the election on Sept. 20. That said, the situation was bad weeks ago, and it was easy to see where we were headed here in AB: rising rates of sickness, death, and hospitalizations, all putting our health care system at risk.

    If Kenney was holding back and keeping silent to support the CPC for the election because of an agreement he had with the CPC, that is appalling. We can only infer from this that the CPC itself is implicated in the unnecessary suffering and death that the UCP and Kenney has brought upon us with their incompetence and lust for power.

    How people can even contemplate voting for Erin O’Toole and the CPC at this point is baffling. They are willing to trade the lives of Canadians to increase their chances of election. Like Kenney and the UCP, they do not deserve to govern because they are not suited to it: they do not have the moral, ethical, or intellectual capacity to qualify for the role.

    Well, it is a good thing that Kenney (and now Scott Mo) are finally acting in a way that might actually cause some good, including reducing the chances that the CPC will win on Sept. 20. Another good knock-on effect is the fact that now Erin O’Toole has gone into hiding from reporters and their pesky, take-no-prisoners questions. In this regard, he is following in the great tradition established by Kenney and others cut from the same conservative cloth.

    Yes, brave O’Toole turned about.
    And, gallantly, he chickened out.

    With apologies and credit to Eric Idle and Neil Innis for the verse.

    Reply
  6. tom

    September 17th, 2021

    Alberta’s contribution to equalization may go from credit to debit in the next few weeks if the Kenney government can’t get this fourth wave under control.

    Reply
  7. tom in ontario

    September 17th, 2021

    Our good boy Premier Ford announced vaccine certificates would begin September 22, two days after the election. His handling of the pandemic, although not perfect, still makes Jason look like Oopsy the Clown.

    Reply
    • Neil Lore

      September 18th, 2021

      It’s a sad day when Premier Ford represents the high mark in terms of responsible behaviour from elected conservatives.

      Reply
  8. Mike J Danysh

    September 17th, 2021

    The vipers are fanging each other. Jason Kenney aimed at twin targets, the virus and PMJT (there may not be much difference in Kenney’s mind) but he hit O’Toole in the ankle. No wonder CPC king-makers are angry.

    Emboldened UCP back-benchers will be a worse headache for Kenney himself. Both sides will now see him as a threat to their personal chances of re-election. But I believe Graham Thomson is correct: Kenney won’t go down without a fight. I expect Kenney to destroy the party (and as much of Alberta as he can) rather than admit defeat.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-premier-jason-kenney-s-wounds-may-be-self-inflicted-but-are-they-politically-fatal-1.6179167

    Expect a LOT of noise about leadership reviews and rebellious riding associations in the near future.

    Historical footnote: what “victory” did the Calgary Stampede win in 1919? Or was it the Stampeders football club? (Nah.) If the Stampede was voted “best carnival” of 1919 or something, how the heck is that relevant? Oh, right–it isn’t. Just another attempt at deflection by the Prevaricator-in-Chief.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      September 17th, 2021

      What victory? The Great War, ended in November 1918, I presume. DJC

      Reply
      • Mike J Danysh

        September 17th, 2021

        …does that mean the Stampede got a Victoria Cross? Just askin’.

        Reply
  9. ema

    September 17th, 2021

    One of the previous FB (mostly one way) chats with JK featured a strategically placed Remington bronc buster sculpture, which was a clear dog whistle to his base. This latest one (CS 1919) is an absolute abomination and he should be ashamed of himself, as it’s essentially giving the finger to those who have lost so many loved ones, while he played footsie with his base and ignored the many warnings from doctors and scientists that AB was heading into a healthcare disaster. He ridiculed and sneered at experts and called them fearmongers, as well as those in the media who highlighted the obvious wrong way the province was heading.

    Many are asking how we got to this dire situation. Clearly it’s because of the incompetent trio ( JK, TS and DH) who used ideology and politics, rather than dealing with the pandemic with expert advice. It’s time for them all to be gone!

    #ResignKenney #ResignShandro #ResignHinshaw

    Reply
  10. Abs

    September 17th, 2021

    As we recall, virology and public health were still in their early days back in 1919. Down in the U.S., typhoid outbreaks were a big concern from coast to coast. One of those outbreaks in Spokane was successfully ended with public health measures and sewage handling improvements, but it took about a decade. One notable east coast case was Typhoid Mary, a cook who managed to infect many people during her lifetime.

    Here in Alberta, we have 2505 deaths from Covid and the pandemic rages on. No one at the highest levels in the CMOH’s office seems willing to admit that Covid is aerosolized, and airborne transmission is infecting children in schools across the province, who then spread it to their families and so on, out in the community. There is wilful blindness to airborne transmission; the false belief in droplet spread as its key source of transmission continues. The pandemic infects, with no end in sight.

    So here we are in 2021. Public health has been around for more than a century. Covid, like typhoid, can be stopped. We have the knowledge to conquer it and put effective measures in place to limit its harm. The problem today is that we lack the will and strength of character in high office to do what’s needed.

    Did you know that only three deaths were actually linked to Typhoid Mary? Did you know that 2505 deaths were linked to Covid Kenney so far, and there’s no end in sight? Covid is aerosolized, and it shouldn’t take 2505 deaths to understand that reality. We can’t return to the past, but we can and should learn from it. How many more people will die before we do?

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      September 17th, 2021

      @ABS: Despite its name, the “Spanish flu” did not arise in Spain. It actually emerged in the United States, as it recruited – and conscripted – millions of young men for its expeditionary force to go to the Western Front under ‘Black Jack’ Pershing. Those soldiers were encamped in tight quarters all over the US prior to shipping out, and a new strain of influenza virus – which we now know to have been very close kin to the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain – began to circulate amongst the troops. When they shipped out to Europe, they carried the virus with them, and in the trenches it spread like wildfire. But the first reports of illness were censored by wartime authorities in the belligerent countries. Spain was a neutral, and its press was not subject to censorship, so the first press reports were published there, hence the name.

      That was your trivia lesson for the day …you’re welcome lol :-).

      Reply
      • Abs

        September 18th, 2021

        Thank you, Jerry. I do know about the “Spanish” flu not originating in Spain. That’s your lesson about me for the day. You’re welcome.

        Abs, ex-GP

        Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      September 17th, 2021

      Oops…guess I should have opened your link before posting my last comment. Sorry :-).

      Reply
  11. Prairie Observer

    September 17th, 2021

    Here in Saskatchewan our provincial government on Thursday finally grew a spine and did the same as the Kenney government. (I apologize to all Albertans for the fact that Mr. Kenney was raised in Saskatchewan, just south of Regina at Notre Dame College. But our gain has been your loss, thank-you.)

    But only a man possessing Mr. Kenney’s unique abilities could negatively impact both provincial and federal fortunes with so little effort and thinking.

    I also honestly suggest that last two words of your article could work just as well with the phrasing “whining team.”

    Reply
    • Mike J Danysh

      September 18th, 2021

      I get the feeling that Scott Moe has been tagging along behind Jason Kenney for at least two years; there was some Con presser or something, where Jason did all the talking and little Scotty nodded and made approving noises. It sure looks like Mr. Moe waits till Kenney commits to a course of action, then follows in Kenney’s wake.

      Hopefully your folks will also follow Oilberduh’s example–daily vaccinations just tripled, from 8000+ Wednesday to 24,000+ on Thursday–one day after Kenney’s non-passport vaccine passport was announced.
      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-vaccinations-triple-1.6180529

      Reply
  12. brett

    September 17th, 2021

    Mr Gotfried should be embarrassed by his self serving comments about the 30 plus day delay.

    I anticipate that there will be more UCP MLA’s coming out of the woodwork next week with exactly the same story. I was the good guy in this, I wanted restrictions made a month earlier and a vaccine passport announced. It was that other guy, our Leader who did not want it.

    IF any of them felt so strongly about this then why did NOT ONE of them go public an month ago…or earlier.

    They have shown themselves to be a bunch of self serving toadies. They insult the intelligence of the voters who elected them.

    Gotfried just happens to be the first one out of the gate. There will be more.

    Reply
  13. Former Albertan

    September 17th, 2021

    My brother who still lives in Edmonton said recently it felt like Kenney was trying to take Alberta back to the 1950’s. Maybe what he really wants is to take the province back to the early 20th century-no vaccines-no lefties-men we’re men …. But wait does he know Alberta had a Liberal Government then. Nonetheless, hence the 1919 Stampede pennant. And wait the Bolshies!

    Reply
  14. ayeamaye

    September 17th, 2021

    I have the double vaccine. My wife although not an anti-vaxxer was somewhat hesitant. She got the first jab a while back, but dithered on the second. I finally talked her in to getting the second… not for the hundred clams, but for safety. She got the second jab yesterday and why not get the hundred bones…it was offered right. Well she left the pharmacy empty handed with a photo copy of some convoluted website information and not a peep about the hundred shekels. Just more smoke and mirrors from the grifters that brought us the ” Best Summer Ever” T.M.

    Reply
  15. Carlos

    September 17th, 2021

    Alison Redford must be delighted that her Gold Medal on ‘The Biggest Political Disgrace’ has been finally awarded to a closer to God, much more prepared freedom fighter from Ontario, trained in a basement in Alberta.

    Are we not so darn lucky to have him?

    Reply
    • Neil Lore

      September 18th, 2021

      I feel it’s fair to point out that Alberta had, for the first time in decades, a proven and effective non-conservative government. We are not lucky to have Kenney, we chose to have Kenney, fair and square.

      Reply
  16. brett

    September 17th, 2021

    If I were a mover and a shaker in the UCP Party I would be closely watching Monday’s election numbers.

    I would also be reviewing the UCP finances, the contributions over the past six months, and the polls.

    Seems to me they have only two choices. Cut their losses and dump Kenney. He is toxic and will remain toxic.

    Or wait until November, call a Leadership review for January, then dump him.

    Writing is on the wall. Kenney is a loser. We will hear the thud when it happens.

    Reply
    • Former Albertan

      September 18th, 2021

      From what I read a UCPee constituency association in southern Alberta has begun calling for a leadership review of Kenney’s disastrous piloting of the good ship Alberta. I think this will be a fight with much blood letting, as Kenney is proven to be a treacherous cut throat of low moral character in political street fights. There will be no winners here to be sure, as fight he will.

      Reply
      • David Climenhaga

        September 18th, 2021

        Agreed on all counts. DJC

        Reply
  17. Just Me

    September 17th, 2021

    It should be noted that Kenney’s endorsement of O’Toole was more to serve the purpose of handing O’Toole a SoCON’s endorsement. Since Kenney is widely considered to be a SoCON leader in the CPC (being a pious, single, childless, middle-aged male and all) his endorsement for a Red Tory, like O’Toole, was considered to be necessary for the CPC’s campaign success. And then O’Toole said he was Pro-Choice and that caused something of a tempest in the CPC caucus. O’Toole’s moderate position on LGBTQ2+ issues was also a red flag for the more vigilant of the SoCONs, which has obviously lead many to question the security of O’Toole’s leadership position in a caucus where a substantial percentage of the membership is completely opposed to everything O’Toole believes and supports. Therefore, any progressive legislation brought forth by the Liberals will cause immediate conflict within the CPC caucus, between O’Toole and his SoCONs.

    O’Toole has managed to cobble together the image of a moderate who is not that different from PMJT. The only difference, however, is that O’Toole declares he’s more honest and more capable that Trudeau on those progress issues that need addressing. So far so good. There is the matter than O’Toole could lose a fight with the SoCONs in his party, but he declared that he’s the leader and will not be challenged on certain issues. However, there are more than a few CPC MPs who have their long-knives out and waiting for their first chance to stab O’Toole in the back.

    This brings us to Premier Crying & Screaming Midget and his apparent desire to send everyone in Alberta to their divine judgement. (Catholics are not supposed to be concerned with stuffing souls in Heaven, but whatever.) Now that everyone knows that Kenney has botched Alberta’s COVID 19 response so badly that many believe he must be working with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, O’Toole’s best SoCON endorsement has become his biggest liability.

    The 2021 Federal Election is completely pointless and stupid. If PMJT would have waited one more year, at least to clear the COVID Delta Variant and allow the provincial vaccine passports to have their full effect, he would happily stroll to the biggest majority in Canadian history. If he would have waited one more year, O’Toole would be caught in open warfare with the SoCONs in his caucus and showing the CPC’s dirty laundry in public. I thought Trudeau was a patient man, but I don’t think that anymore.

    Back in 1974, P.E. Trudeau, having endured an embarrassing reduction to a minority government in the 1972 Election, pulled the trigger and called another early and unnecessary election. P.E.T. had a few things going for him: a strong economy, general contentment among voters, a young attractive wife to campaign with him, and an unbelievably unpopular Conservative leader to run against him. Robert Stanfield was a true moderate on every issue of that time, and was not liked at all by his party’s Alberta base. The result of that election was the complete isolation of the Progressive Conservative Party to the rural hinterlands and Alberta. P.E.T’s triumph was complete. Maybe PMJT wants the same achievement his father scored? He really should have waited.

    Reply
    • Mike J Danysh

      September 18th, 2021

      Just Me, a guy named Matt Gurney tends to agree with you. He gives an interesting perspective from the Conservative side here:
      https://theline.substack.com/p/matt-gurney-if-the-moderates-cant?justPublished=true

      Re the election timing, I’ve read recent analyses that say the political tea-leaves were ambiguous–go now and risk a backlash, wait a year and O’Toole might have firmed up the center-right support to offset the Prairies’ tendency toward SoCon Libertarian BS. It was apparently a judgement call.

      FWIW, I agree Trudeau jerked the trigger more out of ambition than for strategic reasons. He wanted a majority government–period. Now we’re gonna have (I hope) another Liberal minority supported by the NDP. It’s a dead heat for the Libs and Cons in the popular vote, but the Libs are ahead on seat count:
      https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/poll-tracker/canada/

      If Jagmeet Singh continues to keep Trudeau honest, we should be able to avoid any outright stupidity for the next couple of years. The Cons will continue to gnash their teeth, but without EVERY other party supporting them, they won’t be able to form a government. (Fingers crossed….)

      One likely result will be leadership reviews in both Liberal and Conservative parties. No telling what might happen after that. Hopefully not “Here we go again” because one unnecessary pandemic election is damn well enough.

      Reply
      • Neil Lore

        September 18th, 2021

        IMO JT knows he’s a bit of a himbo, knows he doesn’t really have a vision for the country, knows he’s out of his element, so he does what the Liberal party tells him to. IMO JTs mistakes should belong to the Liberal party, and should not be forgiven or forgotten when they inevitably shuffle JT out. Electoral reform would have been good for Canada but would not have benefited the Liberal party, therefore, it had to be welched on. A mid-pandemic election that had the government out campaigning instead of managing covid and the withdrawal from Afghanistan was obviously not in the interest of Canada, but the Liberal party thought it was to their advantage, so here we are. I see lots of posts here about “phony conservatives” and generally agree with them, but I think it’s fair to add that the Liberal party stands firmly for whatever is good for the Liberal party, NOT whatever is good for Canada.

        Reply
  18. Scotty on Denman

    September 17th, 2021

    Re: Sewering:

    As I recall from a wasted youth when the drinking age was 21 and pool halls were everywhere (they started disappearing when the drinking age was lowered to 18 years-old and youth thence got wasted in beer parlours to where pool tables had migrated), the term “sewer” is also a verb.

    It means sinking the cue-ball into a pocket—where it should never go— instead of, or along with, the object-ball. I guess the bumpers around the edge of the slate table look like street curbs and the pockets like sewer drains or, I suppose, “gutters”.

    At risk of waxing too much, ‘gutter’ can also be used as a verb: a candle gutters as its flame dies, making a guttering—or, perhaps, guttural —sound in a series of seemingly desperate but steadily diminishing throes. I suspect the ‘guttering’ probably refers to a candle’s flame drowning in a pool of melted wax which might be drained away by making a little gutter in the soft wax around the pond of liquified fuel with one’s butter knife, the brightening flame stretching upwards, one might imagine, thankfully relieved, and soft eyes twinkle once again across the wine glasses in its romantic glow.

    One can imagine Jason Kenney wishing his drowning flame guttering in a pond of smelted bitumen could be as deftly resurrected, that the discrete little restaurant where he once gazed enraptured into dark, glistening eyes wasn’t closed by cursed influenza, and he could once again affectionately gambol across the sands, lazily dreaming of exotic places he and his would love to go—like Burnaby or even, whisperingly, Nebraska—sprinkled with stardust and reveries, now, only of days gone by, seemingly so long ago.

    But, awakening, K-Boy looks around at silhouettes leaning silently on a forest of dimly lit pool cues, the echoing crack of ivory fading as he realizes under the spotted table lights he has just sewered on the eight-ball and lost the game after walking the table without allowing his opponents a shot, the most embarrassing shot a player can do—riding so high but then falling so low, all in a single stroke.

    At risk of mixing ball metaphors, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” The K-Boy can either rack ‘em up, double or nuthin, or cover his wager and leave. The one-time slickest cue on felted slate keeps us on tenterhooks —but there’s another big game coming up and a weekend to wonder what he will do.

    Reply
  19. Joe Waldron

    September 17th, 2021

    As a sobriquet “Kovac Kenney” has a neat alliterative ring to it.

    Reply
  20. Kang

    September 17th, 2021

    May I recommend the photography from the ICU in Alberta to get a sense of just how difficult this all is – a picture is worth a thousand words:
    https://www.heatherpattersonphotography.com/covid

    May I also recommend the briefings from Alberta medical people and others on “Protect Our Province Alberta” for detailed information about what is happening. You get to hear and see from real Alberta medical workers and their patients. They will restore your faith in the decency of our people, after the toxic gaslighting of the UCP and their creatures like Hinshaw.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXWblAge6ZMLkLFDjTtRwwQ/videos

    Reply
    • Abs

      September 18th, 2021

      Speaking of sewers, Ziad Fazel came to my attention when he started posting charts on Twitter, showing sewage monitoring for Covid by the University of Calgary. He has done much more since. Today he shared some of his charts on the PoP YouTube channel. The explanation is distressing. Perhaps the premier should study this video for visual and auditory cues as to how bad things will get in a few weeks.

      https://youtu.be/FVYVKkKIneE

      Reply
      • Kang

        September 19th, 2021

        Thanks ABS: I like graphs and this guy is really an expert on using them for explaining Covid. Thanks to our Bantustan Education* in Alberta , the majority of people are innumerate and most are illiterate, so this will go right over their heads.

        Bantustan Education* The Bantustans were areas, like native reserves, which the Dutch and later British set up as areas in which to drive the South African natives off their land and turn them into a labour pool. As part of that program, special schools were set up to intellectually cripple the population so they would have difficulty organizing opposition and even social services. In Alberta the same thing has been done to the population largely based on class distinctions (if you are poor, you get poor teachers in poor schools – come on down rural Alberta – all the better to produce expendable workers for resource extraction. Kenny’s innovation is to extend Bantustan Education from rural Alberta to the whole province.

        Reply
  21. e.a.f.

    September 17th, 2021

    I’m sure Allison Redford is looking a lot better these days to some Conservatives in Alberta and a lot more people are regretting voting for Kenny, when they could have voted for Notley. Horgan, B.C.’s NDP premier has advised Kenny we will not be able to help by taking Alberta patients. We may need the hospital beds for some of our own unvaccinated. Turns out Salmon Arm and Hope are very unvaccinated.

    Kenny did Trudeau and the other party leaders a big favour with his press conference. Vote for O’Toole and you may find he isn’t able to deal with a pandemic either. These Cons aren’t exactly science based people. Kenny comes across like a “princess”–its always about him. He thinks he’s smart but just because he was in a federal cabinet doesn’t make it so. He’s just not that bright.

    Come next election in Alberta, lets hope the voters have figured a few things out and send Kenny packing. One could say the people of Alberta did this to themselves, by voting Kenny into office. What is so unfortunate is that children under 12 can not be vaccinated and stand a good chance of getting covid and yes even dying. Some one ought to have asked Kenny and O’toole if it was worth it.

    Reply
  22. Pjp

    September 17th, 2021

    “disputatiousness”

    Thank you. I look forward to the glossologic gems you choose for your work.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      September 18th, 2021

      I felt I was reaching a bit, but what the hey? DJC

      Reply
  23. CovKid

    September 18th, 2021

    How wonderful it is to have the professional weasel, Kenney, become the poster boy for everything that could go wrong in the build-up to an election. Somehow, Kenney managed to get a reputation as being competent but the proof was never evident. All he managed to do was to become the Conservative federal candidate for Calgary South East (where I had the privilege to vote against him) which was one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. This guy has achieved nothing! He’s the exemplar of loud-mouthed, simplistic pontifications as if he knew what he was talking about.

    Let’s hope there are some criminal proceedings against him in the future.

    Reply
    • Mike J Danysh

      September 18th, 2021

      Kenney seems to be the classic case of, in business circles is called the “2IC effect.” (Thanks to Susan Wright, of https://susanonthesoapbox.com/ for the term.) The second-in-command looks brilliant while he’s carrying out The Boss’s orders, but put him in the big chair and the 2IC falls apart. That’s pretty much what happened with Don Getty after Peter Lougheed retired, too. Also Ed Stelmach–called “Steady Eddie” as a cabinet minister, too nice a guy to control the yahoos from the big chair.

      As for suing the government–I believe you need permission from the government to sue the government. The legal description is doubtless more nuanced (read “convoluted”) but the effect is simple–ain’t gonna happen. That’s a shame, because my take on Kenney et al’s handling of the Covid crisis is “criminal negligence.”

      Reply
    • Comment

      September 19th, 2021

      Yes. Among an endless list of other horrific things, Kenney now has blood on his hands.

      Reply
  24. Bob Raynard

    September 18th, 2021

    NDP MLA Sarah Hoffman said something a few weeks ago about having a public inquiry to look into Alberta’s handling of Covid, and I would really love to see that happen. Among other things, I would like to know if Jason Kenney did agree not to bring in restrictions until after the election. Given the demonstrated effectiveness of vaccine passports, this would be tantamount to letting people die to win an election.

    I generally takes two to make an agreement. As such, are officials in the CPC complicit in sacrificing people for votes?

    Reply
    • Comment

      September 19th, 2021

      My comment from above fits here, too.

      Yes. Among an endless list of other horrific things, Kenney now has blood on his hands.

      Reply

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