Opposition Leader Rachel Notley, Alberta’s former NDP premier, during her news conference yesterday (Photo: Screenshot of NDP video).

The 10-day blockade of the main border crossing between Alberta and the United States had damaged the provincial economy to the tune of about half a billion dollars by yesterday.

Yet Jason Kenney – the self-described premier of jobs, economy, pipelines – has done nothing about the illegal blockade on the highway just north of Coutts by supporters of the ongoing occupation of Ottawa. 

Zip. Zero. Nada. Bupkes.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

The trouble is, what Mr. Kenney is expected to do later today is to give in to the foreign-funded extremists who are holding the province and the country hostage and drop virtually all the public health protections of Alberta’s COVID-19 response. 

Former premier Rachel Notley, now the leader of Alberta’s Opposition, took Mr. Kenney to task for his weak, self-interested performance at a short news conference yesterday. 

It was a bravura performance, reminiscent of the days when Alberta was led by grownups who put the interests of the province ahead of their own. 

“My message is simple,” Ms. Notley began. “It’s time for this lawlessness to end. It’s time for every Albertan to be able to move around their community safely, and spend time with their family in peace. It’s time for people and goods to be able to move freely across the border.”

She reminded media that just two years ago, Mr. Kenney and other members of his cabinet and caucus were in a swivet about environmental protesters blockading the Walterdale Bridge in Edmonton … for one hour. 

“The UCP were shouting from the rooftops about how intolerable it was to see blockades in other provinces,” she added, noting that on the first day the Legislature sat in 2020, they introduced a motion to “unequivocally denounce the illegal blockading of Canada’s core infrastructure, including railways, pipelines, ports, and roadways, and call for the law to be enforced without delay.”

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, 1869-1940 (Photo: Walter Stoneman, 1876-1958, U.K. National Photographic Record).

“Yet here we are today,” Ms. Notley said, “with Alberta’s most important economic corridor blockaded, and the city centres of Calgary and Edmonton obstructed, and the UCP has barely made a whimper.”

But Ms. Notley said that while the right to gather in the streets and protest is a sacred one, and is the reason she opposes Mr. Kenney’s likely unconstitutional Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, what the government is ignoring is not a peaceful protest. 

It’s an illegal blockade that is interfering with business, the ability of Albertans to travel freely, and has resulted in harassment, vandalism, and hate speech, she said. “We are a nation of laws and it’s time the UCP remembered that these laws apply to everyone – even if you want their vote at a leadership review.”

She called on the UCP to seek an injunction from the courts to disperse the blockade, and challenged Mr. Kenney to “come out of hiding and denounce this illegal blockade with the passion that their caucus members have displayed in support of it!”

Ms. Notley reminded her listeners how Mr. Kenney’s story about when COVID-19 protections will be removed keeps changing. Ten days ago he was talking about lifting restrictions by the end of March. When the blockade began that was moved up to sometime this month. By last week it had become this week. 

Alberta’s vaccine passport – always a burr under Mr. Kenney’s saddle – is expected to be the first to go. 

In other words, she said, “the UCP has tossed out their values for votes.” (This, of course, assumes the UCP has values beyond being a Frankenparty cobbled together for the sole purpose of holding power.) “The sight of an elected government being bent to the will of criminals should be of grave concern to everyone regardless of their political beliefs.”

“Public health measures are going to come to an end at some point, likely quite soon,” Ms. Notley said. But, “Albertans must be completely certain that this timeline is driven by their best interests and not the threats of people engaged in illegal activity.”

Appeasement is generally not seen as a winning strategy and getting rid of vaccination mandates was the far-right blockaders first demand, far from their last one.

Nevertheless, Mr. Kenney tweeted this morning, “today at 5 p.m. I will announce Alberta’s path back to normal – a careful and prudent plan to lift damaging restrictions if pressure on our hospitals continues to decline.” So brace yourselves for the Best Spring Ever!

Premier Kenney knows that channelling his inner Neville Chamberlain is unlikely deliver peace in our time.

Then again, he’s only hoping to deliver peace – in the form of settling down his party’s anti-vaccination, Q-adjacent fringe – long enough to keep his job at his scheduled UCP performance review on April 9 in Red Deer.  

Just do your jobs, ATA president tells premier, education minister after anti-vaxxers disrupt schools

Alberta Teachers Association President Jason Schilling (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The border disruption at Coutts isn’t the only dangerous protest being meekly ignored by the UCP. 

Alberta Teachers Association President Jason Schilling complained on the weekend that Mr. Kenney and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange have done nothing to stop anti-vaxxers from taking their protests right into Alberta schools.

Teachers have reported instances where protesters entered schools, shouting, banging on lockers, forcing lockdowns, and traumatizing students and staff, Mr. Schilling said. 

“The very least the premier and this minister can do is to state their support for and take necessary steps to uphold the law of the province in the face of those who would break it without consideration of those whom they may be harming,” Mr. Schilling said. “I’m just asking them to do their job.

Court grants injunction against constant honking harassment

A judge yesterday granted an interim injunction to silence the honking horns that have harassed residents of downtown Ottawa for the past 11 days.

The injunction, sought by Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ on behalf of clients residing in the downtown Ottawa neighbourhoods most severely impacted by the constant air horn use by the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” applies at all times for the next 10 days. 

NOTE: The story has been updated to reflect Mr. Kenney’s announcement this morning.

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45 Comments

  1. Excellent column as always.

    This lack of action from the bobbing and weaving carpetbagger however, does make a person wonder whom exactly in the U.S. he was meeting and to what ends, other than having Alberta taxpayers pick up the tab for his attendance at the annual politicians prayer meeting….

    Perhaps kenney will surprise everyone by taking the federal conservatives ‘advice’ to the Prime Minister and take a couple of his cabinet ministers (I am sure madu would be willing to go) and meet with the protesters (insurrectionists) at Coutts in person to discuss their concerns.

    After all, commerce is being impeded and most ordinary Albertans know that he values business above the lives of Albertans.

    Such a shame that he values his political career most of all and will remain hiding in the sky palace. Bet if a couple of hundred Albertans showed up with signs and horns to signal their displease outside, the police would arrive in record time to disperse them.

  2. I’m watching for when #KKKenney gives over every covid fighting principle protecting Albertans
    and then the #FluTruxKlan remains solidly in place at Coutts in solidarity with faux truckers everywhere.
    If your winning why quit playing?
    And anyway what’s a few more billion lost by this petty tyrant?
    Besides it is not lawless if a UPC conservative
    (or even any potential conservative voter) does it.
    And the police forces
    their response is to book overtime
    Every licence plate should be recorded by now
    with fines coming in the mail
    and cancelled CVORs as they have proven themselves to be a nuisance on the roadways.
    But I bet that is way too simple
    And any documentation will be “misplaced”
    Of the three players … politicians , truckers and police
    only police have an educational requirement
    tho it is well known that in many southern states
    the requirement reads NO applicants with an IQ OVER 90
    Plead that here as you will
    truckers have outwitted the police here so far

    1. Here’s whey the poilce in America need low IQ recurits:

      “Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training.”

      From: https://abcnews.go.com/US/court-oks-barring-high-iqs-cops/story?id=95836

    2. Have you ever wondered why policing is a profession that does not require a University education, and is in fact one of the most powerful & influential professions that doesn’t? Aside from soldiering, can you think of any other profession that is authorized from time to time to employ deadly force? Would our police be better if they had to do a degree — with mandatory courses in psychology, sociology & other humanities — instead of some paramilitary boot-camp training centre, like the RCMP’s Depot in Regina?

  3. The UCP was and is unfit to govern Alberta. Albertans were duped by these pretend conservatives and Reformers. The thing is that Albertans didn’t listen to those of us who gave warnings about this. How many more very costly shenanigans and problems will the UCP cause? Likely, lots more. Rachel Notley was similar to the true conservative, Peter Lougheed, and the head honcho of the UCP is similar to the Liberal turned Reformer, Ralph Klein. Ralph Klein’s policies were a very costly disaster, and harmed so many people. Here we are again, under the UCP.

  4. The reasons for Kenney is give in are abundant and relate closely to his beliefs.

    He has never had a problem with the right-wing’s dirty tricks. If anything he’s impressed by this amazing bit of organization and dark money trafficking. Though the method was applied against him, it’s well played. Kudos.

    But his leadership is in a mess and everyone in the UCP is now out to get him. Giving in is not so bad because at least he’s given into those who were once on his side. They are stupid enough to fool once and it shouldn’t be a problem to fool again.

    In light of Brian Jean breathing down his neck, giving in to the right wing mob isn’t so bad. Hell, Kenney’s the kind of person who would set the whole house in fire just to cover his getaway.

  5. Well, whatever the “crisis” everyone knows that kenney will attempt to wriggle out of any responsibility. He’s the ultimate “I’m in it for myself” pol. An anti-social cur if necessary to further his boundless plans for personal hegemony and the idolatrous waves of the crowd.

    As for the mindless truckers, so easily led up the garden path by right wing forces who must laugh their heads off at their docile stupidity and willingness to be led by the nose to spout nonsense and act like children, they’ll no doubt suffer most in the end. Pretty easy to identify and subject to Canada Revenue audits, for example.

    The other factor is handing out fines for equipment violations, not wearing masks in defined public places and not obeying a court injunction to stop honking like obese Canada geese. In my province, if you have so much as an unpaid parking ticket, you cannot renew your drivers licence or vehicle registration until you pay up. And there seems to be some interprovincial agreement on sharing info about such scofflaws. By some other agreement, insurance companies seem to know which of their clients have moving violation tickets and/or owe fines relating to either themselves or their vehicles. Declining insurance coverage is at the perogative of the company.

    As for the real problem, the right-wing racists driving this madness, carrying our flag and pretending to be patriots, one hopes the CSIS folk have collected some more intelligence as to their identities. They are far more dangerous than lefties or socialists protesting because they possess no personal honour whatsoever. None. They care not one whit how people voted, they intend to nullify it like Trump tries to in the US. These are your fascists intent on talking over our society by issuing untenable demands. Imagine these dolts and the ferrets like the yipping Poilievre running the country and telling YOU what to do and how to behave. The various hangers-on like university students out for a party and yuks, but with no real philosophy, need to be careful not to have markers besides their names for the future, courtesy of our intelligence services.

    Carney has of course labelled the blockades as sedition. If the government perceives it as such as well, then who knows how wide the net will extend, or how aiding and abetting in an insurrection will be defined. The SoCon MPs use Parliament to utter lies without consequence, destroying the concept of ethics and honour in the House. Candice Bergen wants Trudeau to talk to the truckers — why? Did anyone vote for those dumbbells in October such that they deserve to bleat nonsense and threats at the PM of our country and ourselves? Bergen is of course a SoCon dolt, and to me unCanadian. I have zero respect for people like that.

    1. Cool: Google certainly pays based on the number of click-throughs. What ads readers see, however, are not the same, because the notorious Google algorithm determines what you’re mist likely to click through on. Mine tend to focus on men’s shoes. DJC

  6. The UCP is the ultimate example of incompetence and so is our democratic system that has failed tremendously to protect us from a failure of this magnitude. We need to find ways to allow citizens to take action to stop any government that behaves like this one in the future. It is not enough to allow this to go on for 4 years.

  7. At this point I am hoping Jason Kenney survives his April leadership review just so Albertans in general can have the pleasure of turfing this guy. As Kenney contorts himself to bend to the wishes of a constituency that wouldn’t even support him if the People’s Party runs provincially, he is leaving Martha and Henry behind. I am wondering if he will even keep his own seat if he is still around to run next year.

    1. If the UCP shows Kenney the door, rest assured whoever get chosen to replace him will be even worse. That might make winning the 2023 election even easier for Rachel et. al., but it’ll make living through the next 15 months until then harder & more unpleasant.

      1. I have no doubt that you are correct, Jerry, but I would really love to see Jason try to explain away an incredibly embarrassing electoral loss, especially if he loses his seat as part of the process.

    2. Of course he will keep his seat. And UCP will quite possibly be re-elected. Albertans have, over the decades, happily supported equally incompetent or quasi-criminal “Conservative” governments, as long as they keep the evil union-supporting, godless, socialist/communist NDP (or even worse, the Pierre Elliot/Justin Trudeau National Energy Program loving traitor Liberals) from getting anywhere close to power.

      It is sad that the people of Alberta have been so completely brainwashed to support governments and government policies that are so far against their own interests (giving away Alberta’s oil almost royalty free, and allowing the abandoned wells to proliferate with no consequences comes immediately to mind, there are countless other examples).

  8. I moved here from BC 41 years ago for post secondary. I stayed as I saw it as a place where merit mattered, and a provincial mindset of moving forward. 41 years later I am sad and disillusioned. How could such a great place turn into a backwater run by those that only care about one thing, themselves. I am totally embarrassed by what is happening at the Coutts border and will not forget this at election time.

    1. Hammer our family spent countless hours volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments. A brother in-law in his spare time voluntarily flew the government plane for them. Lougheed’s energy minister Bill Dickie was a brother in-law of one of my uncles and like you we can’t believe what a farce they have become.

      However the former MLAs from the Lougheed era that I got to know weren’t surprised. As soon as this stupid Conservative party allowed these Reformers to get control it’s become one gong show after another. The MLAs were furious by what happened, yet stupid Albertans were quite willing to let it happen and look at the financial mess we are it.

      You can’t be any dumber than letting your arch enemy join your party and get control of it like these stupid conservatives did, can you?

  9. Does anyone else find it odd that the protestors/insurrectionists obey an injunction issued by a judge but won’t obey other laws? Is this just a PR stunt on the part of the faux-trucker convoy organizers to attempt to win back some public sympathy that they have plainly lost?

    I hope Albertans are listening to Ms. Notley and noting the stark difference between her principled, mature stance and the pusillanimous, craven, selfish, childish, churlish, and unprincipled stance of Mr. Kenney. Ms. Notley has the best interests of all Albertans in mind; Mr. Kenney cares only about himself and maintaining his increasingly tenuous grip on power, even if that means sacrificing our health, stoking division, and doing ill by the province as a whole.

      1. Really? Is this idiotic, vacuous, and stupid response the best you can muster? “But, officer/judge, I was parked legally when I robbed the bank/assaulted an old woman/[choose your crime].”

        I said nothing about the right to protest, which I also hold dear, even if the protests are for something I do not agree with. Yet somehow you managed to infer that from absolutely nothing in my post.

        Look, you, Murphy, and Ronmac really need to up your game here, if you want to engage genuine dialog rather than the shallow, reflexive, and tiresome trollery that characterizes your responses. Why not take some lessons from Jen Gersen, someone I used to regard as being just a shrill conservative, but has transformed herself into a trenchant and perceptive observer that has a perspective informed by conservative and libertarian leanings? Take, for example, her recent column on Covid mandate backlash: https://theline.substack.com/p/jen-gerson-the-backlash. I don’t agree with everything she says here, but what she writes is engaging, well thought out, and raises a number of interesting points that I can genuinely sink my teeth into. She may even be right that a consequence of this mess is that we end up with the weasel, Skippy Pierre, as PM.

        Please feel free to disagree, but please do it with some substance and thought with the goal of genuine dialog. And, perhaps, if you have not done so already, provide DJC with a donation for the entertainment the endorphin rush brought on by the satisfaction you receive when you post your trolls. You may not agree with DJC or with many of the respondents here, but you can’t deny that you enjoy trolling folks here.

      2. the right to protest, hmmm
        does that include the right to be a jackass as well as stomping all over other people’s rights and their ability to earn their crust ?

          1. sez you,
            apparently over 80% of the trucker that cross the border are vaccinated and the drivers stuck at th AB / USA border crossing and not able to deliver their goods of the protesters caccine in your estimation
            don’t count
            masks work, vaccines work, vaccine passports help

            the usual illinformed horseshit from the actual “snowflake” and “freedumB” loving slice of the population

  10. We are at the “government caucus meeting in secret, at an unknown location” stage of Kenney governance. This comes after the “stir up an insurrection, then leave the country” stage of Kenney governance. In other words, he is worse than a blow-up doll sitting in the pilot’s seat. This is Kenney’s “Airplane!” moment.

    Perhaps he will emerge from hiding suddenly svelte, like his role model Kim Jong-un, but I doubt it. We might, however, learn about the former U.S. president hiding a stash of so-called “love letters” from him in the future.

    One thing is certain: the juvenile games and manipulation of weak minds will continue. Anything to hang onto power — so what if the entire province suffers because of one tantrum-throwing manchild? Just like Kim Jong-un, I tell you.

    And sure, Covid hospitalizations are down by 42. Covid deaths were 39. So, if we run that through the Tandy 1000, the difference is three. You know what happens next. It’s such a good thing we have a leader with no education in the pilot’s seat at a critical time like this.

    How many worms are back in that can, KKKenney?

    1. At what point will you stop referring to the deaths of aged, frail people suffering from multiple comorbidities as “Covid deaths”? The average “Covid death” in Alberta has 3.5 comorbidities. 80% with hypertension, 53% with heart disease, 52% with kidney disease, 45% with diabetes. 6% of cases have 3 or more comorbidities, but they account for 74% of deaths. What happens next is you get out your slide rule and do the math on the excess weekly mortality in people under 45 in Alberta since the socio-economic restrictions and dislocations were imposed. Get back to us with your analysis when you have time.
      https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1310076801

      1. Murphy: I do know how to use a slide rule and I looked at the table you generated using Stats Can. Your table shows that in Alberta, BC, Quebec and some other provinces, as people get older, more of them die. As the kids would say: DUH! Even more amazing your table shows nobody at all died in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in that short time period. Now either you have stumbled on the fountain of youth in those provinces with zero deaths, or you don’t understand how to use the Stats Can web site.

      2. Are you pretending to be a doctor, scientist, or a coroner now, in addition to a failed statistician? It is often difficult to determine a precise cause of death, especially when multiple factors are at play. This is a determination best left to experts, say, the people who perform autopsies or have authority to sign death certificates. The number of people who died from Covid are those that experts have determined to have died from Covid. No doubt, if those unfortunate souls who died from Covid had comorbidities, these likely contributed to the organ failure that ultimately led to death. We can break that out as well. In fact, I would not be surprised if we do. Granted, someone with serious comorbidities is likely to have a decreased lifespan than someone without; however, if Covid pushed them over the edge and they would not have died at that moment were it not for their Covid infection, it is not inaccurate to refer to their deaths as “Covid deaths”.

  11. With hospitalizations and deaths from COVID declining, there is a case to be made for modifying restrictions sometime in the future. However, Alberta is not in a good place yet and there is also a case to be made for not rushing things. This would seem to be the prudent thing. I realize the public mood is also shifting some with more people tiring of COVID restrictions, both questioning their effectiveness given the number of people vaccinated and how easily the current variant spreads.

    Premier Kenney seems to be again seizing on the public mood and hoping to capitalize on it politically, but as the old saying goes – fools rush in … He was also trying to capitalize on the public mood in the summer of 2021 when he announced with great fanfare Alberta would be open for good. Unfortunately, it was premature and it ended up with a large number of Albertans being sick and hospitalized, so many that the health care system was overwhelmed. So, we ended up with restrictions being reimposed and a vaccine mandate being introduced provincially.

    I don’t think most Albertans have forgotten Kenney’s past missteps. I am very concerned that once again in a rush to deal with his short term political problems, Kenney will again mismanage an ongoing public health situation. Yes, no one really likes ongoing restrictions, but perhaps even less desirable is the roller coaster ride of introducing restrictions, relaxing them prematurely and then having to reintroduce them again because they were removed too soon. The arbitrariness and unpredictability of all of this is not good for individuals or Alberta businesses in the long run.

  12. We know Brian Jean will be even worse. We haven’t forgotten the lies he was spreading as leader of the Wildrose Party . The fact is they are all , including Erin O’Toole , well trained Preston Manning and Stephen Harper Reformers who don’t give a damn about anyone other than themselves and their rich friends and have been using Alberta’s oil and tax wealth to try to buy votes, and it all started with a Liberal turned Reformer in Ralph Klein and Kenney another Liberal turned Reformer thought he could do what Klein did and has found that people aren’t going to let themselves be fooled twice.

  13. [Sorry for typos, my hands are old and decrepit]

    The Kenney Government, the RCMP, and Alberta police forces have established clear precedents on which protest tactics are lawful or not or when lawful activities become unlawful. We now know that all protest disruptions, up to and including the blocking of an international border, is permitted for at least three days with no consequences. We know that if a protest lasts longer than three days, authorities will enter into good faith negotiations until a mutually agreed successful end to the protest is achieved. It is noted that if protesters do not negotiate in good faith, no consequences will come from that and negotiations with provincial government representatives will continue and will be proceed according to the protestor’s agenda.

    Jason Kenney has set an official Alberta government policy of negotiating with protesters. One wonders what peaceful and legal protests will be tolerated by the Kenney government in their future, short as it may be.

    All protestors can expect police to overlook all infractions and make sure that any citizens who express opposition to any protesters are intimidated in order to shut them up.

    All these things are observed behavior from all authorities towards the participants of this puerile conservative temper tantrum of adult-children. Of course, Canadian conservatives are falling all over themselves to associate with this band of anti-vaxxer lunatics. After all, they are easy marks for money extraction, which is every Canadian conservative’s main concern.

    https://albertanewsnow.ca/index.php/2022/02/08/alberta-open-for-protestin/

  14. Premier Crying & Screaming Midget has declared that only the right to “lawful” protest exists. Well, that should go down well with the FreeDUMB crowd.

    While the restrictions are being lifted, it’s slow and it’s got lots of caveats in it. FreeDUMB crowd will not like that.

    And Kenney admits that vaccination rates are frozen — no amount of prizes and freebees will move those numbers. May as well blame the FreeDUMB crowd for that, too.

  15. Blowback is coming. Covidmania is going to bring a Kon eruption as the absurd Covid story completely falls apart.
    800 000 infections in Alberta by mid-May, 2020.
    Science.
    It is a massive, complex psychological operation, but I still blame you people because you didn’t have to fall for it. If we get Skippy as a PM, it is on your heads.

    1. Brother the folks who have had their brains hacker are the ones who convoyed to Ottawa.

      Blowback is coming, but it’s coming from working people who have seen their wages decline since the 70s while billionaires literally ride dick shaped rockets into (nearly) space.

      Being concerned for others is not a mental Heath disorder. You know who isn’t concerned for others !? People with narcissistic personality disorder, sociopaths, and psychopaths.

  16. Somebody needs to remind Premier Stumble Bum that laws are made in legislatures. If they are made or taken at the direction of a mob, then the results, because the resultant laws are ill conceived, is pretty much a hideous disaster. Looking for proof? Look no further than the dismal results of American proposition laws. As usual, god have pity on Albertans under this regime of pseudo ideologues, and con artists.

  17. Re: protestors going into schools,— if the story is true, as reported by CBC &CTV ,that 25% of the seditionists have children with them ( using them as shields) ,and with Moe & Kenny dropping all restrictions ,the mob rules, and civilized people are in big dodo .
    34,845 people have died in vain, all the health care workers ,worked for not, and T&P are laughing their heads off.
    The thought bubble in my head is censored ,thus saving DJC the trouble,
    I have lost faith in all this country used to stand for, we were not perfect, but collectively we used to stand for something, the generous helping hands to our neighbors, our fellow humans in times of crisis & disaster , and now we are left with this stain . I feel wounded and angry and very very sad .

  18. Protests at schools has always been something that I am uncomfortable with, while I understand the frustration go to central office if you want to protest. Or go to ATA headquarters, they’re adults there and can handle it.

    Notley has really backed herself into a corner here politically, the next election is still a long way away and she won’t be going against Kenney. The pandemic will be over with all the numbers in and, as some have suggested, a public inquiry into AHS’s single focus on vaccines as a way out of the pandemic hopefully complete. Notley had come out firmly on the side of vax, vax, and only vax as the solution. As the numbers are starting to show this is a losing proposition, the families of the over 700 Albertans who have died of covid fully vaxed will not forget.

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