Alberta Premier Jason Kenney playing at being a constitutional lawyer yesterday (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

Deeply unpopular with Alberta voters, distrusted by many in his own divided caucus, and with his United Conservative Party in financial disarray, Premier Jason Kenney will try to spin the 62-per-cent yes vote in his dishonestly worded, constitutionally meaningless, low-turnout, anti-equalization referendum as the hugest victory in the history of hugeness. 

That’s what Mr. Kenney does: When in doubt, he attacks the Trudeau Government and tries to divide Canadians. If he doesn’t have anything persuasive with which to attack and divide, he’ll make up some new facts and do it anyway. 

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

So get used to it. Albertans can reasonably expect the flames from the premier’s gaslighting to burn so bright it’ll hardly matter that voters narrowly rejected his year-round-daylight-savings time referendum on Oct. 18. 

Indeed, upon release of the voting tallies yesterday, Mr. Kenney immediately claimed during a rambling, paranoid, and at times unhinged news conference that the anti-equalization vote sends a “powerful” message to Ottawa, and demanded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “sit down and negotiate in good faith.” It does no such thing, of course. 

Given traditional Alberta attitudes about Canadian equalization – based on widespread misunderstanding of how the program works, in particular that Alberta doesn’t write a cheque to Quebec every month – there are recent years when the referendum would have been a slam dunk here in Wild Rose Country.

But as often happened with the Klein government’s risible Senate-nominee elections, large numbers of voters who didn’t approve of the stupidity of the exercise just ignored the ballot. 

So voters in another low-turnout province-wide municipal election said yes, although a majority voted no in Edmonton, the province’s capital and second largest city.

Since the province-wide turnout was only 33 per cent, one can credibly make the case that only about 22 per cent of eligible voters supported the proposition. In other words, roughly the same as Mr. Kenney’s current level of approval in several public opinion polls. 

If you count spoiled and blank ballots as well, though, the yes vote would dip to about 56 per cent, 18 per cent of eligible voters.

Constitutional lawyer David Khan (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

This wouldn’t matter in a Parliamentary or city council election where not voting is widely accepted to mean passive acknowledgement of the result. It is quite another matter in a referendum supposedly to influence Canada’s constitutional future. 

Mr. Kenney, who loves to act as if he’s a constitutional lawyer, pointed to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the 1998 Reference Re Secession of Quebec on the legality of Quebec separation, to argue the equalization referendum results require Ottawa to negotiate constitutional change. 

He didn’t bother to mention, though, that the court’s ruling also says the percentage of total eligible voters voting in such referenda matters too. Tweeted David Khan, a real constitutional lawyer, yesterday: “50%+1 of ELIGIBLE VOTERS – at a minimum required – for constitutional negotiations.”

Using the fact local elections were administered by municipalities as an excuse, the supposedly non-partisan Elections Alberta refused to break out a turnout number for the referendum votes.

Nor do the premier’s supporters mention the fact that a substantial group of voters – First Nations citizens – were for all intents and purposes disenfranchised by the fact there were no polling places in their often isolated communities. 

Mr. Kenney himself admitted in the lead-up to the vote that the referendum question had no real meaning so voters should use it to “send a message” of generalized grievance to Ottawa. The wording of the question on the ballot falsely implied Albertans have constitutional powers others lack. And the UCP used public resources to advocate for a yes vote, including misleading commentary on the Elections Alberta site. With all that, the outcome of the vote can fairly be described as a resounding dud. 

A recent poll by University of Alberta researchers indicated that 56 per cent of Albertans believed a yes vote would mean Alberta would “withdraw” from the equalization program. Elections Alberta’s explanation of the question, itself drafted by an Edmonton advertising agency, suggested this was so. 

So the sensible response by Ottawa is to politely ignore this nonsense. 

Negotiating in good faith with a government that consistently acts in bad faith would not be a helpful strategy for either Canada or Alberta. 

Nor would there be much point reminding Mr. Kenney of how either the Canadian Constitution or the equalization program work. He knows perfectly well. Reminding him that the current formula was devised by a federal Conservative cabinet of which he was an influential part won’t gain much traction either. The man has no shame. 

The leading protest candidate in Jason Kenney’s Senate vote, Duncan Kinney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In case you missed it, Albertans don’t pay more into equalization than other Canadians, they pay the same, because all Canadians pay the same federal taxes and equalization payments come out of federal taxes. For Alberta to unilaterally withdraw from the program, Mr. Kenney would have to figure out a way for Albertans to withdraw from paying federal taxes!

If Mr. Kenney wants to change the formula by which those funds from all Canadians are distributed, he is welcome to advocate for a formula to replace the one that he and his colleagues in Stephen Harper’s cabinet came up with. 

If he truly wanted to change the Constitution to entirely eliminate equalization, he would still require the votes of two thirds of Canada’s Legislatures governing at least 50 per cent of the nation’s population. And when the dust had settled, no one in Alberta would pay more or less federal tax than any other Canadian in their tax bracket. 

Of course, that is not the goal here. The goal is somehow to find an issue on which the UCP can eke out re-election – because how it dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, managed the economy, or created new jobs sure as hell aren’t going to work!  

Three Senators-in-Waiting-for-Godot elected 

As for the “Senator-in-Waiting” election, Mr. Kenney did manage to get three of his supporters chosen by the limited number of voters who bothered to fill in the Senate section on their municipal ballot. 

Senator-in-Waiting-for-Godot Pam Davidson (Photo: Daveberta.ca).

Pam Davidson (18 per cent), Erika Barootes (17 per cent), and Mykhailo Martyniouk (11 per cent) – all affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada – each managed to receive pluralities of less than 20 per cent of the votes cast from among the 13 candidates for the non-job.

Ms. Davidson, endorsed by the National Firearms Association and an anti-abortion group in past election attempts, was one of the organizers of Mr. Kenney’s controversial 2019 Christian prayer breakfast. Ms. Barootes was president of the UCP from May 2018 to December 2019. Mr. Martyniouk is president of the Association of Canadian Ukrainian Free Trade Agreement. 

Since Prime Minister Trudeau certainly understands no good would come from appointing any of these marginal types, it would be fair to call them Senators-in-Waiting-for-Godot.* 

The leading protest candidate, Senate abolition advocate Duncan Kinney, who campaigned under the slogan “Fuck Kenney, Vote Kinney” received 6 per cent of the vote, not that far behind Mr. Martyniouk.

But as one wag observed, with well over 400,000 blank or rejected ballots, the clear winner of the Senate election was “none of the above.”

* Readers of this blog are expected to have a certain level of literary and political knowledge. If you don’t know who Godot is, we’re not going to wait while you look him up. 

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30 Comments

  1. Yeah, Kenney will probably be strutting around and crowing like a rooster about this referendum for a little while. I suppose this is the closest to the appearance of winning anything he has come to in quite some time

    I suspect Kenney will stop this when it becomes clear his referendum result is not accomplishing anything. Problem number one is the result is actually not about renegotiating or leverage with Ottawa. The actual question is only about removing equalization from the Constitution and Ottawa can not do this, as it requires the support of a number of provinces. Perhaps Kenney can then try negotiate with a number of provinces, but I am fairly sure most will not see Kenney’s goal as being in their interests.

    In the end I suspect it will become clear how little leverage or influence Kenney has, even less outside of Alberta than in it. It will not just be Senators in waiting, pathetically waiting for something not likely to happen.

  2. It sure looks like math and an understanding of how the equalization payment system in Canada works is quite hard for the pretend conservatives and Reformers who make up the UCP, and their shrunken base. The pretend conservative, Ralph Klein, also tried to make Albertans believe that Ottawa, or the eastern provinces took Alberta’s revenue away, when that never happened. These pretend conservatives and Reformers in Alberta in the UCP, are using that same type of trick. These pretend conservatives and Reformers in Alberta did the most priciest shenanigans for a very long time, losing hundreds of billions of dollars in the process. When Alberta is then lacking revenue, after oil prices shoot down, and the pricey shenanigans deplete the revenue further, it causes the blame game to happen. Peter Lougheed knew that you couldn’t trust these Reformers. He certainly had it right. Alberta wouldn’t be in this jam, had the Alberta government continued to do what he did, by collecting proper oil royalty rates, coming after the oil companies in Alberta to remedy their damage, collect proper corporate taxes, and not do very pricey shenanigans.

  3. What was especially interesting about Kenney’s unhinged statement about his so called mandate to make Ottawa respect Alberta is that it showed, in very stark terms, the emotional roller coaster Kenney is on.

    At the beginning, Kenney was in full attack dog mode, screaming the usual Alberta Uber Alles rhetoric, before turning all sheepish and consolatory about wanting to work with Ottawa. Rick Bell tapped into Kenney’s mood swings when he posed the question what happens when PMJT and Ottawa choose to simply ignore Alberta’s bluster — what then? Kenney offered no ultimatum, no timelines, no Plan B, because he doesn’t want to cause bad feelings with Ottawa. Is he Alberta’s Rambo or is he Capt. Canada? Kenney doesn’t seem to be sure.

    The reality is that Trudeau has made it clear is takes 7 out of 10 provincial legislatures to initiate a constitutional amendment — one province cannot do it alone. Has Kenney talked to the other provinces? Doubtful. Are they seriously on board? LOL.

    What everyone is witnessing is Kenney trying desperately to save his political career from going belly-up. Does Erin O’Toole even return his phone calls anymore?

    David Staples posted another opinion piece that reads like a War Room missive, attacking Trudeau, praising Kenney and the UCP, and denouncing Quebec’s pillaging of Alberta. Of course Ontario can be said to be pillaging Alberta as well, but no one dare go down that road. The UCP disinformation campaign is in full swing and all its issues managers and patsies are hard at work trying to save Premier Crying & Screaming Midget’s last hope of a shot at the PMO.

    More popcorn.

    1. “takes 7 out of 10 provincial legislatures to initiate a constitutional amendment — one province cannot do it alone. Has Kenney talked to the other provinces? Doubtful. Are they seriously on board? LOL. ”

      And even if they were, they would also want other changes, besides equalization, that Jason Whiny would not like.

  4. It’s important for readers to picture Donald Trump in their minds, while imagining Preston Manning’s uniquely accented voice when the Kenney camp uses words like “huge”, or “yu-u-uge”. Don’t forget the requisite hand gesture. There is a hand gesture for everything, nothing to do with ASL. You’re welcome.

  5. With apologies to the bard, the equalization referendum question is a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Last night on CBC, the National gave the results of the referendum about 15 seconds in its broadcast, noted it, and moved on silently without doing any interviews with the usual talking heads. I presume that is about the amount of attention the federal government and the other provinces will give it. It is a big Meh.

    If the feds or the provinces do take any note of referendum, they will also surely recognize that the results could hardly be considered as giving any kind of mandate at all. That 56% of the voters in the province believe that we can just withdraw from the program belies a deep ignorance of a significant plurality of the electorate and how easily Premier Bumbles and crew have manipulated this low-information segment of the electorate.

    It is fanciful to imagine Premier Bumbles fulminating and sputtering at some first ministers meeting about his clear mandate to argue for a “fairer” deal and the other first ministers laughing at him behind his back or possibly to his face.

    That said, I doubt Bumbles will bring up his “mandate” except in some kind of token way at forums such as a first ministers meeting or individually with his counterparts within the federation. He is just as likely as anyone to be able to gauge the reaction he will receive — he is not a completely self-deluded fool. And, he did acknowledge that the question was meaningless, that the results should be seen as something that could be used as leverage. Of course, the results, as he should know, do not give him any leverage with his federal counterparts at all for all the reasons the DJC has enumerated and others, for example, the fact that he is likely a bit of a laughingstock outside of the province. Unfortunately, he has also tainted the province with a similar reputation.

    Bumbles will, however, continue to use the results within the province in some attempt to prop up his pathetic, diminished popularity and to stump for a “fair deal” that is likely to include extreme proposals to remove AB from the CPP and establish a provincial police force. The danger posed by this incompetent government is, alas, far from over, even though the referendum was a meaningless exercise in folly.

  6. The biggest story may be the 400,000 blank or rejected ballots .How many were rejected ? They would be a rejection of both the Senate pseudo-election an the referenda . Of the blank ballots , were they completely blank or selectively blank? Does the 400,000 include spoiled ballots ?

    Dave , we need another chart here like the one you did on the figures in the Allan report .

    1. BP: The head honcho of the UCP has won nothing, and keeps on making a fool of himself, along with the entire UCP. You are deceived if you think anything was won by the UCP. The UCP never came about anything in an honest way either. The poll numbers still show support for the UCP is very abysmal. Time to wake up!

  7. When is someone going to suggest a psychiatric check on this idiot? Is there a law in Alberta that allows this to happen? It is the only way we can get rid of this second pandemic of absurdity and daily egomaniac shows that no one wants to watch.
    Is it possible that a human being can be so devoid of brain function to not even understand the disgrace this all is ?
    Is it possible that other close to him human beings are so afraid or as egocentric as him to not see 1 inch in front of their noses?
    What a sad moment in Alberta history this all is. We all are heroes to survive not one but two fatal diseases at the same time and come out ok.

    1. Anyone who has been on the receiving end of narcissistic rage knows that it is far easier to give a benign “uh-huh” in response to such people.

      At least one other politician in this province is so devoid of brain function as to not understand disgrace. Unfortunately, it seems nigh impossible to remove such individuals from office, no matter what their sins or crimes, as the case may be. It’s obvious that we are long overdue for meaningful electoral reform, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for recall legislation. Ego and false reality propel these “special” people through life. Unless some sort of spectacular, overwhelming scandal can burst their false self-image bubble, we’re stuck with them. Think something yu-u-u-ge. That oughta do it.

  8. We have to name a few
    a) Health care problems
    b) Large number of unvaxxed
    c) Opioid crisis
    d) Transition of the economy from O&G many unemployed
    e) High youth unemployment
    f) A debatable primary school curriculum overhaul
    g) Fights between the municipalities and the govt
    h) Cutbacks to post secondary
    i) Youth leaving the proivince

    yet we do cart wheels over equalization. Where the hell are our priorities?

  9. Thank you for this, DC. I don’t know much about referenda, but back in my union organizer days I was involved in more than a few strike votes: votes that always carry real life consequences for the participants. My rule of thumb was that a strike vote, to be an effective bargaining lever, had to have at least 90% turnout, and at least 90% majority. Not easy, but achievable with good organizing. On equalization, Mr Kenney’s mandate wouldn’t stand up in a pillow fight.

  10. “make up some new facts”… I don’t know, DC, but does Jason ever deal in FACTS? All I ever hear him do is “make up some new stories”… to cover his butt primarily.

    I can’t figure out why Albertans still resort to voting for all these well-known wingnuts and it is a really sad situation when the only option that “thinking” Albertans have is to simply pack up and leave their province.

    Alberta has so many other valuable assets available to exploit (I don’t like that word but you know what I mean) but they have a habit of voting in lacklustre and unimaginative politicians who can’t get past oil and gas – both non renewable resources.

  11. In Edmonton Journal today, David Staples declared the equalization vote as a “landslide vote”, ha ha. Pretty pathetic though.

    Another cannon ball for Jason Kenney’s cannon – yesterday Justin Trudeau appointed Steven Guilbeault, well known environment activist, as environment minister…..

    Just one more reason to keep bashing Justin Trudeau and the federal government. Or maybe his head will explode.

  12. Though it does appear to be a small minority of people who voted yes, it’s embarrassing anyway. Not the first time. I can imagine what the vote would have been, had you asked them…”Should your rich neighbour be able to decide how their taxes are spent”.

    1. Not a bad idea. Calgary and Edmonton should hold referenda on the question of whether the taxes generated by residents of those cities, whether in the form of income or property tax, should be used to provide or subsidize services in rural Alberta. Something worth pursuing. What’s good for the goose is good for gander.

  13. I can hardly wait for.. holy shit! Postmedia was out defending this steaming coiler before I even got up in the eastern time zone ffs!

  14. Kenney’s posturing on the equalization vote is meaningless and empty.

    Similar to his leadership and to this UCP Government. Hence the focus.

  15. And this is why opening any part of the Constitution for amendment is dreaded. As soon as it is done, it begins a never ending cycle of grievance among all the provinces.

    One need only look back to the national nervous breakdown that resulted from Mulhroney’s effort to bring Quebec into the Constitution via the Meech Lake Accords. The resulting referendum caused deep wounds to be torn into the fabric of Canadian society, but it also lead to the utter and complete destruction of the federal Progressive Conservative Party.

    Who in their right mind wants this Pandora’s Box to be opened again? No one.

    I doubt any of the premiers have returned any of Kenney’s phone calls, if he even made them. Well, Scott Moe might, but I suspect that even he doesn’t want to talk to Kenney these days.

  16. Jason Kenney is appealing to the chauvinistic disinclination of his dwindling base to review the numbers assigned to reality. Otherwise, much of the Referenda is revealed by resorting to the purest of sciences, mathematics (accepting that most UCP supporters are strongly convinced that any science is somehow evil because, unlike the quasi-religious narrative they prefer, fictive elements are precluded from the ‘narrative’ of science).

    The UCP is reduced to spouting blatant—almost celebratory—, absurd contradiction, even with themselves, a long-known feature of apocalypticism characteristic of evangelical Christianity. It’s own calculated, self-congratulating numbers, then, are completely dismissible. Except to blinkered True Believers, better are available.

    Rendered with voter-turnout and ballot spoilage in mind, the estimate of about 20% of actual support for K-Boy’s equalization position agrees well with his personal popularity, and only a tad less-so with his governing party’s. It thus appears strongly correlated to UCP support, itself apparently rendering to its intensely chauvinistic voter base who daren’t openly acknowledge the real numbers (including the nearly-concurrent release of the alleged ‘anti-Alberta energy campaign’ conspiracy theory which refuted that allegation with numbers incredible only to the choir), even if they do understand the basic math: they’re obliged to cleave to a higher, rapturous calling. My own rule-of-thumb is that 20% is as low as a small-but-considerable minority can go before flirting with fringe status (and I do believe I’ve spotted a few adherents of withering pseudoConservatism casting longing glances at proportional representation—perhaps a little less furtively than could hide their fear that the fringe’s most-favoured electoral system might be a contingency worth entertaining if they keep sliding toward or below 20% in the polls. As we’ve seen, this reflects the only rationale for SoCon shotgun marriage to urban UCP MLAs mostly of the ProgCon tradition: if they can’t make it work, pro-rep could look pretty good to the orphaned rump).

    And we may as well throw in the equally preposterous Senatorial ‘elections’: the fact that, like equalization, the exercise is constitutionally moot (an unlikely consensus between provinces is required to amend the Constitution) is not important to the convinced True Believer. Anyway, they are as intellectually adrift in the one respect as with the other.

    Never mind, True Believers, that the equalization protest is worth—aside from actual taxes every income earner pays—exactly zip in reality, and only slightly more useful in partisan politics. The Senate issue, on the other hand, is worthy of further debate—so long’s we don’t lose our sense of humour.

    The federal Senate is an anachronism inappropriately and incorrectly applied as inducements to prospective federates: federates (provinces —but not Territories which make up about two-fifths of Canada’s land base) were not awarded an equal number of senators as would befit the constitutional equality each has amongst each other. Further, Senate seats were assigned by some fuzzy formula of a federate’s popular weight and political importance, some federates thus being awarded a permanent number, absolute or relative, by logic prevailing at the time of their confederation that has little relevance to the present or foreseeable future, and with consequences that rankle—quite legitimately, I think— certain federates and unfortunately result in disunity.

    I cannot, however, truck with the notion that an elected Senate would be salutary —as it is, evidently, in partisan political terms (like in ‘full-patch’ Alberta, prospect Saskatchewan, and hang-out Manitoba). The fairest solution would be to abolish the Senate, but that wouldn’t necessarily make it easy, needing, as it does, a constitutional amendment which would open the door to all sorts of demands by the provinces (seven of ten representing half the national population are needed to ratify any amendment proposed). When, we should wonder, will Kenney reveal his plan to pitch his proposal to the other provinces (I suppose he’s claimed to have done so, thus we await whatever verification by way of response from any of them). Nevertheless— and perversely— provinces likely agree that the Senate is superfluous to their federal needs—well, almost all provinces, I guess. Maybe the fact that we’re already halfway to abolishing the Senate by virtue that no province has its own senate (like US States do) is another level of perversity baked into our Constitution. And, just to remind, we don’t need to duplicate the federal Commons by assigning Senate seats by provinces’ population weight.

    To me, the Senate, such as we’re stuck with, has some value as ‘chamber of sober second thought’ which better suits the federal government than it does the provincial ones, what with its principle concern about keeping the federation together (that is, a concern which no individual federate has with respect itself—at least not officially, Northern Ontario, Labrador, Cape Breton and Vancouver Island duly mentioned).

    I’m less amenable with the purported regional-representation rationale: there are few, if any provinces which represent a whole, distinct region— not by any metric (population, density, geography, strategic location, economic weight, &c.), with the exception of PEI with its tiny percent of national population.

    And finally, I’m not at all friendly with the idea that a Senate is needed to protect private property: this notion survives from an era when slaves and slave revolts were top of mind (eg, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Confederate States of America, and their ghost patriots); it evolved—or was reinstated in a different form—when land-holding rights were almost completely forbidden the vast majority of the population in post-feudal Britain and France (the Crown colonizers of what would become Canada)—and reiterated with mostly-misunderstood notions of private property in post-American Rebellion in the USA, to which certain Wexiteers look covetously with equal misunderstanding (the notion of Anglo-Saxon allods permitting total sovereignty to an American property owner is legendary but false: all land in the USA is held from federal, state or territorial commonwealths, these merely substituting for the Crown after the Rebellion and Independence-by-Treaty, 1783).

    It seems to me the Senate we’re stuck with should be fall betwixt the mostly-partisan politics of the popularly elected Commons and the completely impartial, nonpartisan Sovereign. The fact that its members are appointed, not elected, keeps it from leaning too far toward the former. As provinces prove, such a body is not strictly required to govern, sober second thought being the purview of the electorate. What Alberta (more accurately, the Alberta neo-right, post-Lougheed) proposes and preposterously postures is wholly partisan and, even if it wasn’t, would be inappropriate for our federation in any case.

    Perhaps this persistent controversy serves as a harmless (if Alberta taxpayers find it so) and often humorous pressure release valve; certainly many a politician (Reform and CPUCP, that is) has resorted to stirring the Senate pail when distraction from political troubles is recommended (JT rather looked to be scraping it off his boot by rebranding Liberal Senators as “Independent”). That serendipity is, at least, congruent with what the Canadian Senate was, is, and apparently will be for quite some time to come: anodyne levity.

    But, then, threatened secession from Canada is what the Alberta right is reduced to—that is, another absurdity all its own that supplies many of us a few chuckles. All the rest of this fuss is a firecracker shot across the bow of a supertanker marooned on the sandy seashores of the Wild Rose Province.

    Equalization, Elected and Effective!

  17. “Albertans don’t pay more into equalization than other Canadians, they pay the same, because all Canadians pay the same federal taxes and equalization payments come out of federal taxes.”

    Albertans pay more PER CAPITA into equalization than taxpayers in other provinces because Albertans still report the highest average income and therefore contribute the most per capita to federal coffers.

    Albertans pay more per capita, but not in total.
    Alberta taxpayers are treated no differently than taxpayers in other provinces. Same marginal tax rates apply to all. On $50,000 or $500,000 of employment income, Nova Scotians pay the same tax as Albertans.
    In 2019-20 AB taxpayers contributed 14% of federal revenues = 14% of funds for equalization. 86% of revenues come from taxpayers elsewhere. Ontario and Quebec taxpayers contribute 60% of federal revenues. BC taxpayers 14%.
    The top 10% of Canadian income tax return filers pay just over half of total personal taxes. In 2018 Canada’s top 10% paid $133 B in total personal income taxes to pay for govt services, programs, and infrastructure. Four times what all AB taxpayers (a slightly larger group) paid ($33.6 B = 13.6%).
    Most wealthy taxpayers and profitable companies who contribute the lion’s share of federal revenues do not reside in AB.
    Hard to argue that Albertans largely fund transfers including (Quebec’s) equalization payments when 86% of the funds come from taxpayers in other provinces. Trace back equalization dollars to their source. Most of those dollars do not come from Albertans.

    24% of eligible voters responded YES to Kenney’s stupid question. Staples calls that a “landslide”. What do referendum results mean when people don’t understand the question being asked?

    As Edmonton Journal columnist and UCP propagandist David Staples notes in his execrable column today, Kenney’s real beef here is with Quebec and pipelines.
    Where do AB conservatives get the idea that a province whose taxpayers contribute 14% to federal revenues should be able to dictate to other provinces on pipelines? Kenney cannot hold a federal program like equalization hostage to the oil industry’s wishlist.
    “Do what we want — or no equalization.” Sounds less like a binding principle for a nation and more like extortion. Alberta’s quasi-extortionist petro-politics build resentment, not pipelines.

  18. “Readers of this blog are expected to have a certain level of literary and political knowledge. If you don’t know who Godot is, we’re not going to wait while you look him up.” Oops, DJC, you’re letting a bit of intellectual snobbery slip out. All I know of Waiting for Godot is from some parody skit I saw many years ago … not sure of it was The Kids in the Hall, Wayne & Shuster, or Sesame Street (yes, they did one, called Waiting for Elmo ) … and from what I understand about the play, it’s akin to waiting for Death to mercifully take you before it’s over.

    Not all of your readers had the kind of broad-based education in the liberal arts you clearly had … some of those were more geared to the sciences, with a few mandatory humanities credits we were forced to suffer through.

    No issues with the body of your post, though. I do want to point out that it’s tough to calculate voter turnout without knowing the number of eligible voters, and since there is no master voting list for local authorities elections, that’s not possible to know with mathematical certainty.

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