Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at yesterday’s election-campaign-style news conference (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

The adults definitely don’t seem to be in charge any more over in Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s office.

It didn’t take very long after the slap heard ’round the world during last night’s televised Academy Awards presentation before a sophomoric meme about the dramatic moment appeared on Premier Kenney’s social media accounts.

The offending meme produced by the Premier’s Office (Photo: Twitter/Jason Kenney).

The image – a screen shot of the slapper and slappee an instant after the blow landed – labels the victim of the assault, Oscars emcee Chris Rock as, “GREEN ENERGY POLICIES,” and actor Will Smith as, “REALITY.”

The meme, with no additional commentary, appeared on Mr. Kenney’s Facebook account at 8:32 a.m. It was posted on Twitter at 9:05 a.m. By any standard, though, this was pretty lame.

The reaction – instant, passionate, and almost universally negative – took issue both with the trivialization of violence in the meme and the premier’s continuing denial of any need for green energy policies.

Many commenters also accurately observed how childish this made the premier’s staff and the man himself look.

One would think that running a province with a determinedly resource-focused economy during a pandemic and a period of wildly fluctuating energy prices ought to be a serious business. Much of the time, Mr. Kenney tries to persuade us of just that.

On Sunday night, though, it looks as if it was a topic for adolescent jokes by Mr. Kenney and his political advisors, who after an exodus of smart operators over the past couple of years, now seem now to be mostly adolescents with smart mouths and smartphones to match.

Naturally, a couple of reporters revisited the topic at an election-campaign-style news conference yesterday at which the premier, Finance Minister Travis Toews, and Government House Leader Jason Nixon attacked the federal carbon tax and tried to make the risible case Alberta is suffering at the hands of a Trudeau-Singh-Notley-Putin Axis of Inflation.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

The theoretical purpose of the newser, which took place in the produce aisle of a grocery store, was to demand that Ottawa drop its scheduled April 1 increase to the federal carbon tax.

There was no planned mention of the increase the same day of Ottawa’s carbon tax rebates, although there was a comical moment when Mr. Kenney got a question he was not prepared to answer on that detail.

Also not mentioned was the fact that while complaining about a marginal increase in the federal carbon tax, Alberta is raising its own carbon tax on industrial emissions by 20 per cent.

Well, I guess we can see from this where the next Alberta provincial election campaign – which sure feels as if it’ll be sooner than later – is going to go. The phrase “the Green Left” passed Mr. Kenney’s lips frequently.

Judging from the expressions that flashed across his face, the premier was none too pleased by many of the questions reporters asked him.

Characteristically, not being one to concede he might be wrong, let alone apologize, Mr. Kenney let loose with a verbose defence of the tasteless meme.

Finance Minister Travis Toews (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

“That image and different memes based on it are basically the entire Internet today,” he huffed.

“A meme is defined, I see, as ‘a humourous piece of video, piece of text, etc. that is copied often with slight variations and spread rapidly by Internet users,’” Mr. Kenney rolled on pedantically.

“That’s what that is. It’s a relevant way of making a point, in this case the point that reality is intruding on the failed policies of the Green Left that have sought to make life more expensive for everybody, drive up inflation, food costs, fuel costs, and also reduce development of energy from democracies like Canada, which has led to geopolitical instability from Syria to Venezuela and obviously today to Ukraine.”

Of course, blaming this long list of ills on the federal carbon tax requires some effort, but as usual, Mr. Kenney seemed up to the challenge.

There was one startling moment that generated some headlines of its own when Mr. Kenney revealed in response to another reporter’s question that he has been interviewed by the RCMP about accusations of identity fraud during the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership race.

“Yes, I did an interview at the request,” the premier responded. “Once.”

Susan O’Donnell of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (Photo: University of New Brunswick).

This is hardly a surprise, but it’s the first time it’s been confirmed, as the four-year police investigation continues into the machinations that contributed to Mr. Kenney’s victory over former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean to lead the UCP.

Facing a review of his leadership in the UCP mail-in vote from April 9 to May 11, and with many rumours of an early election call soon thereafter, Mr. Kenney’s activities are starting to take on the appearance of a full-blown campaign.

The government issued five news releases yesterday in an obvious effort to look busy.

One dealt with what passes for green energy planning in Alberta nowadays: small nuclear reactors, euphemistically referred to by governments and the nuclear industry as small modular reactors, or SMRs.

The undated report seems to have been cobbled together just before the end of the federal government’s fiscal year end, possibly to meet a submission date, and says that the current plan “is to be completed in the spring of 2021” – which would be a year ago.

“Nothing here but happy talk,” observed Susan O’Donnell of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick. “This document is a ‘tick off the box’ report produced by the four provincial governments participating in the SMR program – New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“The document seems designed to convince the federal government to start opening the funding floodgates for SMR development,” Dr. O’Donnell concluded.

NOTE: Today marks the ninth anniversary of the death of Ralph Klein, whose record is oft discussed in this space, the 12th premier of Alberta.

Join the Conversation


  1. The strategy of the dear leader and his now somewhat amateur staff now seems to be create more controversy or distractions to distract from the last really dumb thing they did, which was change the format and dates of the leadership review. I suppose it is working sort of, but not necessarily in very a helpful way.

    So with the tweets now we are talking about how dumb they are and not how dishonest and manipulative which perhaps is progress for them. Of course, by bringing up the ongoing RCMP investigation maybe the discussion goes back to the latter. They may have at least been smart enough to cover it up this long, but perhaps that was when Kenney had better staff. It is a bit surprising no one thought to ask the Premier earlier whether the RCMP has talked to him. Maybe there were just too many more current mishaps to focus on and Kenney does seem to limit questions.

    In any event, it does seem like things are unravelling in Kenneyland. Perhaps he will pull a rabbit out of his political hat and manage to survive somehow, but surely his mythical political golden boy’s reputation will be much diminished even if a few political pundits still seem to believe.

    Personally, I don’t think it was that hard to get elected Federally as a Conservative in Alberta for all those years, so I doubt it really had that much to do with trenendous talent. Most likely it was being in the right place at the right time, but that can be a fickle thing. Opportunities or luck can eventually run out, even for the most clever opportunists.

  2. The moment at the news conference at the grocery store when the reporter asked Bumbles to comment on whether it was good that consumers had more money in their pockets because of the increase in the carbon tax rebate was priceless. Bumbles looked simultaneously surprised, perplexed, and embarrassed and then said, “I’ll let Travis answer that question.” That Bumbles was not prepared for that question belies either an astonishing ignorance or arrogance or both.

    It also revealed a stunning lack of professionalism. You are correct, Dave, the talent seems to have left the building, leaving only adolescents with “smartphones and smart mouths” running things. Based on the evidence of this presser, other news releases, and tweets, Bumbles’ communications staff is appalling: a bunch of hacks who lack judgement; who think violent assault is funny; and seem only interested in scoring shallow, dishonest political points against the opposition, both real and imagined.

    It is hard to keep track of all the nonsense that is coming out of the UCP communications hub in an apparent effort to distract from the real and serious issues that Bumbles is facing.

    One piece of nonsense that deserves to be mentioned is Bumbles’ pronouncement that AB is “open for cypto” and the apparent embrace of cryptocurrency as an unofficial government policy.

    God help us. Not only are crypto currencies risky, but they are also environmentally disastrous because of the enormous amounts of power that are required to perform the calculations to “mine” the coins and to create the digital, distributed leger for secure transactions. Crypto is best left to savvy investors who know what they are doing, not the bunch of amateurs in government or at the helm of AIMCo. Bumbles, as well as Skippy, should not be pushing commodities, which is what a cryptocurrency is, as a hedge against inflation.

    Disturbing. This is like betting the farm on tulips.

  3. I have heard it said that once politicians start using a certain meme for their messaging, that meme has become overused and tired with the public. And considering that the meme depicts an event where one black man is assaulting another black man over a joke about the other’s wife, using such a stereotype is par for the course with this UCP crowd, in terms of their understanding of everything. (As a side note, Will Smith IS in a lot of trouble right now over this incident, as it could pretty spell the end of his storied and illustrious film and TV career. This is Smith’s Mel Gibson moment to be sure.)

    As for Kenney, the crazy isn’t stopping anytime soon. Going for the whole nuclear energy ball o’wax has been talked about quite a bit of late, but the tiny reactors that are being proposed are going to be of no consequence in the larger sustainable energy generation scheme of things. And the questions that are being asked about this proposal are started to get to the really good issues, like what are you going to do with the spent fuels rods. It seems Saskatchewan might be willing to take them, but then Premier Moe had to furrow his brow and utter “What’s a fuel rod?” Sounds like the planning side of this still needs to be worked out.

    The bigger news was the further disintegration of the Resistance, as Premier Ford has put Ontario into PMJT’s win column for his early childcare initiative. Ford’s glowing and kind words for Freeland and Trudeau’s leadership on pretty much everything stand in stark contrast to Kenney’s endless raging on about whatever he’s raging about.

    Meanwhile, Kenney’s leadership review shenanigans continue as his base of crazy continues to turn on him. When you sup with the Qanon crowd, you may not like what’s at the bottom of the pot.

  4. Just when you think the UCP cannot stoop any lower, they manage to outdo themselves. That meme is just a very immature, very insensitive and a very pathetic thing to do. The head honcho of the UCP, and the UCP itself are very far removed from reality, and it shows. They attack green energy policies, yet forget that that type of concept was in Alberta for a long time. We have wind turbines in the south end of the province. Those were there because the Alberta PCs allowed them to be there, in the early part of the 1990s. Jim Prentice was a former colleague of the head honcho of the UCP. Jim Prentice thought it would be a good idea to expand on the concepts of solar energy, and wind power for Alberta, when he was premier of Alberta. Jim Prentice twice, first while holding the portfolio of the Environment Minister, in the CPC, and second, as the premier of Alberta, had an itinerary to have coal fired electricity generation plants decommissioned in Canada, by the the start of this decade, and in Alberta, within a certain time frame. The entire political spectrum in Alberta was also touting that they would decommission coal fired electricity plants, a couple of elections ago, and they were saying they would look into green energy alternatives. The head honcho of the UCP also doesn’t realize Alberta was first in Canada to adopt a carbon tax, under Premier Ed Stelmach. He also doesn’t see that conservatives also support the carbon tax, as does a Reformer. The conservatives that are on board with the carbon tax, include Andrew Scheer, Erin O’Toole, Michael Chong, Patrick Brown, and others. Also, the Reformer who has long touted the virtues of the carbon tax, is Preston Manning. The head honcho of the UCP also didn’t pay attention to the oil companies who have been long-standing champions of the carbon tax. Rachel Notley complied with the wishes of the oil companies. The head honcho of the UCP said he would remove the NDP’s carbon tax, but he reversed that stance, and he put it back in. In relation to Ralph Klein, he won’t be missed by me. The extensive damage that this Liberal turned Reformer did to Alberta wasn’t good. Very pricey shenanigans, the gutting of core services, wrecking healthcare in Alberta, just so he could privatize it, putting people’s lives in jeopardy, underfunding the public education system in Alberta, hoards of layoffs, including nurses and teachers, increasing the costs of utilities through dergulation, very poor tax policies that left Alberta with $150 billion less, tampering with Peter Lougheed’s oil royalty rate system, leaving Alberta with a loss of $575 billion, being lax with oil companies, and making Albertans have to pay $260 billion to fix this damage from them, and the list goes on. Ralph Klein also made a fool of himself and was under the influence of alcohol so often. Peter Lougheed wasn’t impressed with Ralph Klein, and if he were still around today, I don’t think he’d be impressed with the UCP either. Finally, the R.C.M.P are speaking with the head honcho of the UCP, and it will be interesting to see what becomes of this. How the head honcho of the UCP got to his position is very likely by dishonest means. The head honcho of the UCP wants the R.C.M.P abolished in Alberta, just because they are investigating his election related shenanigans. He wants to have his own police force for Alberta, so nobody can speak out against what he does.

  5. I still remember my father calling Ralph Klein that sleazy bastard long before he ever got into politics. I won’t forget how his father Phil and daughter Angie tried to help us vote him out, while fellow seniors called us Liars, Traitors, Communists, Left Wing Nuts, Lefties , or closet Liberals for not being as dumb as them and supporting him.
    Now these same seniors are doing it again for not supporting their hero Jason Kenney. I wonder what it’s like to be that stupid?

  6. Same old same old. This so called government learns absolutely nothing and cares even less. The cult continues with its dogma of drowning in its own lies and lack of reality.
    Here is a group of idiots than can hardly go a day without some form of scandal, trying to run a province.
    They can not deal with cleaning up what oil companies are leaving behind as gifts to the rest of us never mind now bringing in radioactive left overs from nuclear power.
    So here is what future generations of Albertans will have to deal with
    Possibly coal mining pollution right in our parks
    Thousands of oil wells to clean up along with tailing ponds which area is bigger than some European countries
    Possibly radioactive waste
    It will be paradise indeed.

  7. It really feels like we are watching a slow motion train wreck of Jason Kenney’s political career. In the span of 5 years he has gone from the conservative movement’s next great hope to the embarrassing uncle nobody talks about.

    The whole thing makes me wonder how much of this is because Kenney never was very capable, and his federal success was because Stephen Harper was able to keep him under control, and how much is just the result of trying to govern the ungovernable Alberta right wing.

    1. I am sorry Bob but if you look at Jason Kenney’s time in Ottawa, he was only successful in the eyes of his conservative colleagues. I remember the foreign worker disaster, his support against the hijab and others. I do not remember any success. The reason he was considered the next best thing in the Conservative ranks was because of his extremism that seems to be now a Conservative good trait.
      Just wait until Poilievre opens his mouth a little more often. He is a disaster in the making just like Jason Kenney and his goons.

  8. The town of Lytton reduced to ashes. Fort Mac in 2016. Slave Lake in 2011.
    Smoke-filled skies.
    At least 600 British Columbians dead in June 2021’s unprecedented heatwave. A billion dead marine organisms on the coast.
    Bleached coral reefs.
    Melting glaciers, reducing river flows.
    Disappearing Arctic sea ice.
    Severe droughts across the Prairies, crippling agriculture.
    Forests infested by the mountain pine beetle.
    Sea level rise, storm surge, and floods.
    Smog-choked cities.
    Oil spills devastating rivers and coastal wildlife.
    Pipeline, rail car (Lac Megantic), and oil rig explosions (BP Deepwater Horizon).
    Centuries of coal mine accidents and disease.
    A scarred, contaminated northern Alberta landscape.
    Tally the costs, Premier Kenney.

    Reality is intruding on the failed policies of the Denialist Right.

  9. The meme used an incident mocking a woman with hair loss due to alopecia: a tasteless comment followed by an act of violence. That’s hardly the kind of thing to form the basis of a election campaign. The wheels have fallen off the bully premier’s election wagon before it even left the playground.

    Here’s an interesting article about alopecia and air pollution:

    “Exposure to PM10 and diesel particulate matter lowered levels of a protein key for hair growth.” Now we know. Alopecia is linked to air pollution.

    “The carbon tax”? Jason Kenney and his government have made life significantly more expensive for Albertans by allowing increased insurance rates, utility charges and PSE tuition increases of up to 104%, etc. These increases far outweigh the federal carbon tax. Let’s not forget the weeks-long Coutts border blockade, which increased the shipping costs of goods, due to extra mileage.

    I’d say that if any of the people with alopecia in this province are paying attention, Kenney just lost their vote. How many people can one man offend? About that green energy, it could help people with alopecia, if only Kenney would stop slapping it down.

  10. I expect to see a snap election called if Kenney gets his 51 percent. After all…what will he have to lose. This is not about the UCP it is about Kenney. It will be interesting to watch any fundraising drives that the Party may have.

    Kenney seems to fancy himself as a Superman fighting the forces of evil inside the Party. From my perspective he is more akin to the Captain Kangaroo character.

    UCP have a huge HR problem. Complete lack of talent. Brian Jean may have appeal as an alternative UCP Leader but does that appeal reach the election ballot box. Certainly not for us. Moreover, I simply cannot see the UCP successfully attracting any top talent candidates. Really….who on earth would want to run with Jason Kenney at the helm?

  11. “On Sunday night, though, it looks as if it was a topic for adolescent jokes by Mr. Kenney and his political advisors, who after an exodus of smart operators over the past couple of years, now seem now to be mostly adolescents with smart mouths and smartphones to match.”

    Too much honesty and too much reality, in the form of cognitive dissonance, will simply ruin the game for all of the perpetually adolescent true believers that keep on voting for these particular grifters and their version of the Junior High School Student Council, redux. That of course, is simply wishful thinking on my part, as one expects that the average human, after they advance beyond a certain age develops the beginnings of insight; where, the obtained insight is often very threatening to that same over inflated ego and make believe image of the self that is both acted out in and presented to the public. That is why very few individuals ever bother to embark on that particular long term journey and see it through to its ultimate conclusion, because that particular road is often very difficult, painful, does not provide immediate rewards, is not rooted in materialism and is fraught with cognitive and psychological dangers.

    Adolescent shallowness is something that most people (and societies) should grow out of, eventually. But, then again, maybe that is who some people (and the larger society) truly are at their very core of both their inner and outer ‘being’.

  12. Kurt Cobb: “While it may be true that global warming threatens economic growth, it is far more salient to say that economic growth threatens us with global warming.”
    Cons like Kenney et al keep using the mantra of the “high cost” of alleviating climate change. But they are instead inviting us all to constantly fight a losing battle – all our technological prowess versus the reality of the depletion of the natural world that sustains us [“you cannot drink oil instead of water”]. They follow the underlying logic of so many ‘economists’ who claim that the clean energy transition will be too expensive, which is basically an abstracted version of “we cannot afford to not burn our house down”.
    On the other hand, the so-called left keep claiming that every thing can be fixed without our having to adopt lifestyles of less! Adaptation without mitigation is an ask for infinite spending [Liberal agenda of today with a cost of 9.3 Billions of dollars!], to constantly clean up a mess they/we refuse to stop making!!!

    1. Bruce T: Nine billion is chump change compared to the $24 billion and counting spent on the TMX pipeline for the benefit of Parkland industries and perhaps the tar babies, or the $260 billion clean up cost for oil field junk in Alberta. And how about the multi-hundreds of billions to clean up radioactive tailings and derelict nuclear reactors. Don’t get me started on the stupidity of carbon capture and storage or even expanding the Whitemud freeway to accommodate more cars to sprew more pollution.

  13. Premier Kenney seems overly excited about a green left. Does that Green Left include Premier Ed Stelmach who put in the five buck a metric tonne carbon tax in 2008, with the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation on the province’s largest emitters? The result is this year the last coal fired electrical plant will shut down. In Stelmach’s day most of our electricity was from coal, and created more CO2 emissions than the Tar Sands.

    Today Alberta’s 16 megawatts (MW) of electrical generation are mostly from natural gas, but the good news is that about 50% of that generation capacity is from co-generation facilities that recycle the heat from petrochemical plants and other facilities, to generate electricity (5,197 MW out of 10,895 MW). Wind is second with 2,269 MW, along with 869 MW of solar. Over the past couple of years 50 MW of battery storage capacity has been added to the Alberta grid and for years Alberta electricity generators have used BC Hydro dams as giant pumped-hydro storage units. Given its scale, Alberta’s generation is turning green rather quickly in part thanks to former Premier Stelmach’s carbon tax.

    But the biggest cost to consumers comes from paying private shareholders for building and maintaining the wires that connect everything up. Because Premiers Stelmach and Redford thought carbon capture and storage would allow business as usual for coal generators, Alberta has a grossly overbuilt grid designed for obsolete coal plants. Their so-called impartial regulators even committed espionage against those of us who pointed this out in public hearings. Showing once again that the Green Left is no economic danger compared to the comedy of errors from the conservative right.

  14. Clean up in the fruit and vegetables section please! Meanwhile Premier Bumbles is discovered to be lacking knowledge of the tax code. As somebody recently noted, the United Crap Party is becoming untethered.

    Premier Bumbles is resembling more and more President “flipped his lid” Trump. If the great leaders loses the leadership vote, will big Jay claim it was stolen? Using a line out of the book of Trump?

  15. I think the manner in which the Albertan government operates provides strong evidence that there are deep seated, structural flaws in the education system.

  16. Hear ye!—Hear ye! Come one!—Come all! Yes, friends, you are implored to attend the premiere of The Fresh Prig of Albetar deep in The Realm of The Throes of Mojo—an Alberta grocery store, produce aisle, stacked with the fruits of California.

    To list the litany of gimmicks that is the UCP premier of the Wild Rose Province would risk squaring irony, wouldn’t it? I mean, that would be the most reticent exponent of shark-jumping, the pithy euphemism for resorting to futile gimmickry that doesn’t revive a tired-out, increasingly irrelevant series of notoriousness. Is it irony? That depends.

    K-Boy’s mean-meme machine has once agin come up as short as a Snake River jump and as lame as a Winkler unwrinkler, yet he gambles again that it’ll work—this time in the nick of time, two days before the lead-up to the UCP’s leadership review pares down to single digits of days. His election campaign-like grocer presser, however, glaringly revealed one of the reasons he’s been absolutely piss poor at making an educated wager.

    As a question effectively nullified Kenney’s smug, ‘carbon-tax-equals-Satan’ proclamation began to sink in, the phases of grim realization danced upon the arc of the premier’s brow: first acknowledging the questioner, then rising to high surprise, then knitting into a sharp frown as cross as a burnt bun before he suddenly turned like he just remembered he left the bath running and dashed out of the shot. All that was missing was canned laughter, a loud splash and an answer: federal carbon-tax rebates will actually benefit most Albertans. In gambling terms, that’s called a ‘tell.’

    Mumbling that he should hand this prickly query off to Travis, did Kenney utter a castrato yelp for help?—as far as jumping ovoviviparous monsters to the nauseating two-tone heartbeat of F/F-sharp goes, Kenney dashed off stage right so fast, it looked like he just had a pup in his pants.

    Now, not to inspire another sort of “birtherism” conspiracy, but as far as reviving a tired, increasingly irrelevant K-Boy conjure, this new, reinvigorating advertisement oddly screams: That’s Depends!

    But did Chris Rock yelp, “Travis, help me!”

    So far, neither has the K-Boy sought blubbering forgiveness like Will Smith did. There’s still time, of course, but K-Boy’s remarkable consistency would inform the wiser wager.

  17. Jason Bumbles Kenney is what an Overdose of Hubris looks like.

    As someone who was born in Alberta 61years ago, I’ve concluded that the majority of voters that inconvenience themselves to actually participate in the democratic process of voting, are so intellectually, emotionally, politically immature and have become so tribal, that I’m convinced that if that if the NDP changed their name to:
    The New Democratic Conservative Party, they would win the next Provincial Election in a land slide.

    Afterall when the NDP were in power during their four years, they accommodated, massaged, expanded their political philosophy to the practical reality of Alberta’s dysfunctional economic model. With clear, rational reasons in regards to the benefit of the Province, they championed Oil & Gas as a means to and end to diversify Alberta’s Economy and at the same time introduce measures to meet climate change reductions of carbon intensive pollution.

    Did the Alberta NDP act like they were expected to act in their governance of our Province? Did they conduct themselves as does the NDP Government in BC? Could they perceived as acting in lock step to what would be expected from the Federal NDP apparatus? No, no and no.

    As I watched the NDP diligently, gracefully manage the Fort McMurray Firestorm and put forth policy, inacting it in a respectful, practical way; they kept reminding me of something. I time of predictable, rational governance, of straight talk. I had to go back into what’s left of my memory. And then I found it.

    The reminded me of the Progressive Conservative Party of Peter Lougheed.

    Were the NDP perfect? No. Name one political party that is. In my lifetime so far I have ranged from optimism of the Peter Lougheed era, to disappointment, frustration, and depression, as the foundation of a bright future Mr. Lougheed had set up for us was eroded and frittered away by subsequent PC Alberta Governments, who apparently were already compromised by the virus of Reform, unleashed by the shadow lurking, golly gee willakers, pious puppet master, Preston Manning.

    No wonder I became cynical. But out of that cynicism I came to realize that waiting, hoping, looking for the perfect politician or political party was going to lead to inevitable disappointment. I had to purge- “the Party out of my Politics”. With the severe tribalism of party politics, I had to vote for the individuals or Political Party that looked like the one that would do; “The Least amount of Damage”,

    In Alberta the only choice at this moment in our history is the New Democratic (conservative) Party.

    P.S. Thanks David for doing what you do, and thanks to the regular rational individuals commenting on this site who have enriched my thoughts, views, and vocabulary. I’m an old hippie with a high school education that just had to add my 2 cents worth.

    1. As someone who is only slightly older than you, I too remember the bright, optimism of the Lougheed years, made even brighter by the contrast to the Socred years that preceded them. Growing up in AB, I chafed at the claustrophobic restrictions that marked the era of Socred governments. While too young to appreciate the politics of the day, for the most part, I could feel the hypocritical righteousness that seemed to be everywhere and permeated daily life. Other provinces were no doubt similar in their repressiveness prior to the late 60s and 70s, in particular, Ontario, but I wonder if they experienced such a marked contrast and a change in mood with the advent of more liberal and progressive governments, such as that brought about by the Lougheed government, when it replaced Harry Strom and the tired Socreds who had clearly overstayed their welcome.

      It wasn’t just the change in age of majority, which I was able to experience firsthand, that caused the miasma and gloom to lift, but the optimism and the pride of place that were palpable features of the Lougheed government era. It helped that the Lougheed government made you feel they were genuine stewards of the province and had a vision for the future that was informed by the fact that O&G revenues were ephemeral and transitory. The Heritage Trust Fund, started by Lougheed, became the model for Alaska and Norway. Alas, when Getty replaced Lougheed, the wheels started to come off the bus, and AB has been in decline ever since, apart from the Notley years.

      The Bumbles era is the worst I have seen. We have a government that is interested only in self-serving power and enriching their friends at any cost, in particular, the truth. In an earlier post, I referred to Bumble’s communication staff as shallow and unprofessional. This does not mean they are not clever or shrewd. The fact that they and Bumble’s are doubling down on the use of violent assault of Black man against another Black man as a meme tells you all you need to know. They have gone full GOP and care naught about facts, truth, dignity, or responsible governance and stewardship — only about winning at any cost, even if that means stoking division among the various groups in our province with falsehoods and disinformation. They know that, in this apparently post-truth era where “nothing is true and everything is possible”, such tactics work even if Bumbles’ communications staff have only an instinctual feel for them and are only slavishly imitating the communication strategies of Russia, Trump, and the GOP: lie and attack your opponent aggressively.

      Of course, many wiser people than I have warned about this for some time. Here is Hannah Arendt on the subject from her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism:

      “A mixture of gullibility and cynicism had been an outstanding characteristic of mob mentality before it became an everyday phenomenon of masses. In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything is possible and that nothing was true… Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”

      Sorry to be such downer today.

    2. Left and right are along the spectrum (whereas liberalism is tangential to it); socialism and conservatism are communitarian philosophies so some spectral overlap is to be expected: for example, trade unionism is associated with the left—even the ‘radical left’—but, as anyone who’s familiar with unions knows, they can be very ‘conservative’ indeed; then there’s ‘Red Toryism’ which Lougheed easily exemplified by sharing capitalistic oil-profit with social services. Although both espouse an organically whole society in which everyone is afforded a place, one is ideologically non- , or anti-classist whereas the other admits social class distinction as ‘natural’. (Liberalism fools many that its notion of class mobility puts it philosophically somewhere on the left-right continuum but, among other things, its individualistic ideal actually puts it outside of it.)

      A socialist conservative party? Either NDP and Conservative naturally have elements of both so your suggestion is a bit of a ‘name game.’ But names are important (which, I believe, is the import of your idea): just look at how essentially neoliberals have usurped the name ‘conservative’ —but are there any real, Tory conservatives left? Can stateless corporatocracy and globalization possibly be truly conservative?

      Nonetheless, your suggestion, in the case of the Alberta electorate you describe, is well taken. IMHO, a New Conservative Party (NCP) would be just as plausible. The problem here is what we see now in so many jurisdictions: nominal ‘conservative’ parties struggle to control the far-right extremists they’ve invited in to make up for the steady erosion of moderate, real conservative voters—voters you might describe as matured enough to appreciate the difference between traditional Toryism and neo-right imposters.

      After four decades of ascent, then decline, forty years of obscene corporate profits and personal remunerations hundreds of times larger than the lowest paid employees, decades of increasing industrial-consumerist pollution and partisan demagoguery, the neo-right hegemon convulses in as yet unfamiliar electoral disaffection, obsessing for power to the extent of cheating to get it or keep it. Whatever real conservative faction remains implicated with these ‘Sixth Extinction Rapturists’ cannot scrape this power mania off their soles. And therefore cannot reform as the ‘NCP’ middle-of-the-road Canadians of the centre-right would like to vote for.

      Maybe your chimera is the compromise but, as you allude, the NDP is a federated party with significant factions which are very conservative about partisan aims and names. They would cite, I’m sure, that the “Workers’ Party” —even Rachel Notley’s rather Blue-ish kind—is a tad more mindful of sustained social services and collective bargaining than tradCons—even Red-ish ones—have ever shown.

      Perhaps, for now, you might acquiesce to the fact that at least the Dippers don’t have the ‘S-word’ in their party name. You’re correct: it matters. The old ‘neoCon’ war horses demonized the ‘L-word’ very thoroughly (and incorrectly since ‘liberals‘ might adopt leftist policy to win or keep power, but they’r neither socialists nor conservatives), so much so that the post-Soviet neoliberal explosion could not call itself by its own ‘L-name.’ After public spending profligacy of the 50s, 60s and 70s, power was to be had, by the 80s, by way of rhetorical tax-cutting and service-slashing, and neoliberalism duly shifted its intersection of the left-right communitarian spectrum to the right—nowadays, with a prognosis of moribundity and worse, waaaaaaay far to the right. Almost clean off the democratic scale. Unfortunately, it has dragged the conservative moniker along with it, even while ginning notions that public policy is an affront to individual freedoms and openly rationalizes the overthrow of psephological ethics and even elected governments themselves. This is about as far from communitarianism as it gets.

      I don’t believe neo-right parties are redeemable by real Tory factions: they’ve gone too far, farther than merely degree and well past the terminus of kind. IMHO, the centre-right really needs to create a new party for itself, a NCP, if you will. But names and words do matter so I wouldn’t recommend proselytizing by emphasizing that far-right extremists who’re destroying the partisan right’s prospects should be aborted. Nor that the the institution of political marriage need not be exclusively between a man and a woman of the same position or class on the spectrum. That would, naturally, be a tad too liberal—in the literal sense.

      Anyway, Notley’s party can genuinely claim to mind both social welfare AND free enterprise —and in a way that’s NOT liberal, paleo or neo. It just won’t call itself the NDCP—at least not anytime soon.

      Thnx for the inspiration!

    1. My apologies, Mr. Nobody, for taking so long to post comments tonight. I am pretty swamped right now with several unavoidable projects, including executor duties for a couple of dear relatives, as well as a remake of the blog’s website that I hope will improve the legibility of the site and its revenue potential. No post tonight for this reason. DJC

  18. Not so long ago, a former Health Minister was making a big deal about a meme he didn’t like, and the Premier was backing him up. Now, memes are totally okay! Isn’t it funny how quickly things change depending on how it benefits the ones in charge?

  19. I often ask my conservative friends wouldn’t it have been better to keep Notley’s carbon tax rather than go with the Trudeau-Kenney carbon tax that goes to Ottawa? Usually get a blank look as a response.

    Just a slight correction not the Annual (special) General Meeting on April 9th but the now virtual meeting with mail in voting up to May 11th. Perhaps followed another RCMP investigation.

    1. Disturbing trend emerging in politics. Nuanced, fact based arguments that focus on solutions tend to garner blinks and vacant stares. Sensational, absurd antics that focus on blaming problems on the “enemy du jour” tend to get a lot of engagement.

  20. JIM Those of us from the world of finance certainly agree with you. Albertans have lost billions because the Carbon Tax became a Federal government windfall thanks to these fools and their ignorant supporters.

    They also lost billions because Kenney canceled the rail cars Notley purchased that would have brought another $2.2 billion per year to our coffers we were told. It would have been a quick way to get our oil to market, while the pipeline was being built. Add that to the $9.4 billion Kenney cut from our corporate taxes to benefit the rich and add that to all the other stupidity these Reformers have become famous for like trying to prove Bigfoot was attacking our oil industry when oil executives knew it was a lie and didn’t support it, costing Albertans $3.5 million , and Don Trump was going to get re elected, costing us another $1.3 billion. As my conservative friends point out that none of us can afford another four years of these idiots.

    We thought Ralph Klein was bad but Kenney has him beat and you can bet Brian Jean would be every bit as bad.
    Of course Kenney is trying to save his ass and is throwing money around like a drunken sailor, and we doubt he has any intention of keeping his phoney promises.

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