Jason Nixon meets the media back in 2015 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

With Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s survival in the ongoing United Conservative Party leadership review vote far from assured, the spotlight was bound to shift onto some of his more obvious potential replacements. 

How tall is he? Taller than his former Wildrose MLA colleague Kerry Towle, that’s for sure (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

It seems to have found the UCP’s No. 2 Jason, the towering Jason Nixon, MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, Government House Leader, minister of environment and parks, and Mr. Kenney’s de facto campaign manager in the premier’s effort to hang onto his job. 

Mr. Nixon – 41 years old, six feet eight inches, and no stranger to eye-popping controversy – has long been rumoured to be the UCP politician most likely to replace Mr. Kenney if something goes terribly wrong for the premier. 

Perhaps that’s why he’s popped up on Alberta’s political radar a couple of times in the past few days. 

On Monday, Kenney rival and newly sworn-in UCP MLA Brian Jean gave his extremely unflattering opinion of Mr. Nixon to the editor of a rural newspaper.

And yesterday, a nasty recent scrap in the Legislature that saw Mr. Nixon drop an unparliamentary F-bomb on a fellow MLA was back in the news. 

Kenney rival Brian Jean (Photo: Brian Jean/Flickr).

Mr. Jean told a rural Alberta newspaper editor that if he becomes leader of the UCP, he’ll immediately reopen the nomination process in Mr. Nixon’s constituency to give challenger Tim Hoven another kick at the can. 

Mr. Nixon was acclaimed for the nomination after the party sent Mr. Hoven packing as nomination candidate, supposedly because the Eckville beef rancher had reposted messages on a far-right social media platform known for allowing white-nationalist sentiments and said bad things about the Mounties after the Coutts highway blockade at the U.S. border. 

Now, notwithstanding his forceful denials, there’s no question Mr. Hoven could have turned into a juicy target for Rachel Notley’s NDP in an election campaign. The trouble is, regardless, almost everyone in the rural Central Alberta riding expected him to easily beat Mr. Nixon, whose reputation has suffered with his vaccine-sceptical rural constituents by being too closely identified with the government’s COVID-19 policies. 

In an interview, Mr. Jean told journalist Danny Singleton that if Mr. Kenney is booted and he is chosen to replace him. “I will open up all the nominations that were not fair or were not under the rule of law. And the first one I would want to open up is Mr. Nixon’s.”

Anyway, Mr. Jean told Mr. Singleton, Mr. Hoven would be a far better candidate for the UCP.

Alberta journalist Danny Singleton (Photo: Mountainview Gazette).

I would never trust Mr. Nixon for anything,” Mr. Jean said. “I know Mr. Nixon personally. I do not think he is a well-qualified individual for representing the people. I do not trust him. I worked with him before and I hope to never work with him again.” (Emphasis mine, of course.) 

Meanwhile, yesterday, Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen, the MLA Mr. Nixon famously F-bombed in the Legislature on March 31, asked Speaker Nathan Cooper to sanction the minister for using the intemperate outburst to intimidate him from doing his work as an MLA. 

Mr. Loewen, who like Mr. Nixon was first elected as a Wildrose MLA, was kicked out of the UCP caucus on May 13 last year for calling for Premier Kenney’s resignation. He has since sat as an Independent. 

Mr. Nixon’s March 31 outburst took place after Mr. Loewen tabled documents to show he had not, as Mr. Nixon tendentiously claimed, called for Opposition Leader Notley to be seated at the UCP cabinet table during the darkest months of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Independent MLA and F-bomb target Todd Loewen (Photo: Facebook/Todd Loewen).

“On Monday, March 28 Alberta Hansard, page 427, the minister of parks again tried to dupe the House by accusing me of wanting the Leader of the Opposition in cabinet, which is absolutely false,” Mr. Loewen said. “So I’m tabling the 2019 election results showing that I ran as a Conservative against an NDP cabinet minister. In fact …”

At that moment, Mr. Nixon exploded out for his seat, rose to his full height, and shouted: “Mr. Speaker, the guy just called me a fucking liar in the middle of the damn Legislature!”*

Mr. Cooper, sounding out if his depth, responded squeakily: “Order! If the minister of environment and parks wants to call a point of order, he’s welcome to rise to his feet. Using language that’s unparliamentary, including an F-bomb directed at the Speaker, is wildly inappropriate. If you don’t like his remarks, call a point of order.”

Mr. Nixon: “Point of Order.”

The Speaker: “A point of order is called.”

The full exchange of is found on Page 593 of the day’s Hansard

Meanwhile, even Mr. Kenney’s supporters’ faith in his ability to hang onto the UCP’s leadership appears to be flagging. 

Conservative apparatchik Ken Boessenkool (Photo: democracyxchange.org).

Conservative apparatchik and Firewall manifesto signatory Ken Boessenkool seems to be trying to praise Kenney with faint damnation – arguing, in effect, that the premier is terrible, but everyone else who might take his job is even worse. 

“As depressing as it all sounds, when you lay it out like this, perhaps Kenney has actually hit upon the only political strategy that has any chance of keeping him in office and holding the government together,” Mr. Boessenkool lamented in a Substack post. “The alternatives at this point seem bad, very bad, or non-existent.”

Well, any old port in a storm!

Mr. Boessenkool got one thing right, though, when he observed that, “I wager that what Albertans need more than anything right now is good, boring government.”

I can assure you, dear readers, that no one would deliver good government more boring than Rachel Notley!

*There is no exclamation mark in Hansard. I watched the video, though, and it was definitely there in real life. DJC

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23 Comments

  1. What does it take for conservative Albertans to recognize that this UCP shambles should never be allowed anywhere near government?

    They can’t even get along with their own, never mind the Feds, the Opposition or any other group which may have alternative views.

    This is a completely dysfunctional “government” which should be removed at the first opportunity.

  2. I still wonder why Albertans still continue to be duped by these pretend conservatives and Reformers. Their policies certainly haven’t been beneficial for Albertans. Hopefully, the UCP will cave in from the inside, and we will have someone back in power that was like Peter Lougheed was. That is Rachel Notley.

  3. When Licia Corbella announced her retirement, after 35 years of working at something that is dubiously called, in her case, journalism, there was only one question that crossed my mind: who was going to say nice things about Jason Nixon?

    Corbella made allusions to her retirement life as pursuing a career of social service and assisting new Canadians (AKA. Immigrants) the enormity of that task will no doubt preclude any hope that she will continue to be Nixon’s most reliable cheerleader.

    However, any pandering to Nixon enormous ego will have to be tempered by the fact that he is tight and very close to Jason Kenney, and has served as his most loyal UCP gomba. I mean, at 6’6″, what other work is there for such a big ape?

    After being Kenney’s reliable goon for so long, how is Nixon supposed to garner the favor to present himself not only as a worthy successor, but as a clear alternative to Kenney?

    The smart answer is that he can’t, and his short political career will be as done as Premier Cry & Screaming Midget.

    1. Weird – spending 35 years working as a modern journalist then retiring to provide social assistance is much like spending 35 years as a professional arsonist then retiring to work at a volunteer fire department.

      (No disrespect intended to old-school journalists who responded to Neoliberalism co-opting their industry by getting or creating new jobs, it’s just that politicians have spend decades carefully creating a legal environment that tries to ensure that the press will only serve the interests of the property owning class, and now a large segment of the population quite rightly views the mainstream press as a bunch of villains, dupes and Quislings.)

  4. Why is it that I get an urge to look at photos of statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox every time Jason Nixon’s name come up? That story has nothing to do with Jason Nixon, of course, and reading about the origin of the myth online leads down a rabbit hole filled with headlines like “Hitler’s Teeth Reveal Nazi Dictator’s Cause of Death”.

    1. I had thought Paul Bunyan and John Henry were basically the same story – a parable about the decline of the importance of physical strength and constitution. Mythology is a minor hobby of mine, if you could elaborate a little more about about the connection between the myth, Jason Nixon and conspiracy theories, I’d appreciate it.

    1. Ayeamaye: Click on the three little bars to the left of the “AlbertaPolitics.ca by David Climenhaga” logo at the top of the page. Go to “All News.” A complete list of all stories in chronological order will appear. In addition, please subscribe to the Newsletter at the bottom of the same list and you will receive a weekly list of the week’s new stories on Fridays. Thanks. DJC

  5. Mr. Boessenkool is certainly correct in his assessment of Jason Kenney’s rivals. As we are seeing in both Alberta and in the CPC leadership contest, pursuing the unhinged vote seems to be the only way to win a leadership contest – and guarantee subsequent electoral defeat.

    Boring government would be a nice change, but it would certainly reduce my popcorn consumption.

  6. Another day another screw up. What a farce. You can bet you would never have seen anything like these boozes during the Lougheed and Getty years. Yet we still have fellow seniors believing their stupid lies and watching them helping their rich friends steal our wealth. They don’t care Kenney took Notley’s caps off their power and insurance bills, they love being screwed out of more money, to help Kenney’s rich friends become a lot richer.

  7. I watched this f…bomb fiasco unfold and could not believe what went on. It would be fun to watch Jason Nixon come un-glued if someone brought up the fact that as Environment Minister he brought his own Alberta Carbon tax and raise it by 25% this year, when he keeps barking about the Federal one, that actually gives a rebate.

  8. So, Mr. Jean, tell us how you really feel about Mr. Nixon – don’t hold back! I don’t know any of the details of their personal interaction, which doesn’t sound good, but I suspect another part of the problem, perhaps as significant or more so is what Mr. Nixon represents. In that regard Nixon’s nomination battle, or lack thereof, has become a symbol of how the Kenney regime has tried to control and manipulate his own party. I suppose Mr. Jean’s statement is very clear, if he wins, Nixon should look for another job.

    Of course, it is not just Mr. Jean, the UCP battle is wider than that, also Mr. Loewen is part of it and now Mr. Cooper and the rest of the Legislature got dragged into this ugly battle between Nixon and all the UCP rebels. I feel Nixon’s response to Loewen was over the top, especially as the issue/situation of accusing Loewen of supporting the opposition was created by Nixon himself. It seems to me Loewen was just defending himself and Nixon was the one who escalated it to a whole other level. Perhaps this is a sign how desperate the Kenney regime is becoming as it realizes it is losing control of things. However, over the last several years they have often engaged in vicious, uncalled for attacks and created distractions, so it is hard to tell.

    As for Boessenkool, I would say he is only partly right. I suppose it is possible any other potential leaders of the UCP might not be great, but that is, as they, say hypothetical at this point. However, if Kenney is terrible and Albertans do want a stable, competent (ie. boring) government and there are no good candidates to replace him in the UCP as Boessenkool argues, then the obvious conclusion is for Albertans to look to another party.

  9. Jason Nixon is a convicted poacher, was charged with assault, and has well-deserved reputation as a bully and a grade A a-hole.

    See https://www.sprawlcalgary.com/jason-nixon-ascent-to-power for a comprehensive account of his failings as a human being.

    DJC, I am sure you are correct in stating that ” almost everyone in the rural Central Alberta riding expected him to easily beat Mr. Nixon, whose reputation has suffered with his vaccine-sceptical rural constituents by being too closely identified with the government’s COVID-19 policies.”

    However, that is a sad commentary on the state of the electorate in his riding. As if his personal failings were not enough, consider that he is at least adjacent and likely has a deep involvement in the UCP plans to destroy the watershed and environment of the Eastern slopes of the southern mountains in this province through open-pit mining, implement a really bad K-6 curriculum, give profits to power generators at the expense of ordinary Albertans, privatize health care, keep car insurance costs high, reverse popular conservation plans established by previous governments to preserve backcountry area, and other efforts to ensure that we as Albertans are worse off and will ultimately have less power and ability to change things through honest elections.

    None of these egregious faults on the part of Jason Nixon or the UCP are sufficient to diminish his standing in his riding: no, his standing his harmed by the fact that he is associated with inadequate public health measures–that the riding constituents believe went too far, contrary to science and common sense–to deal with COVID-19 infections that the UCP government and Bumbles put in place.

    It is completely bonkers that some factions of the UCP consider Nixon to be too moderate and would prefer someone as extreme as Tim Hoven, as his alleged social media posts would suggest (retweets of Ezra Levant posts, support for the Coutts blockade, etc).

    This place just keeps getting crazier by the day.

  10. If you need — and you probably don’t – more eye-popping background on Jason Nixon, see the recent Sprawl article by Taylor Lambert on the legal controversies enveloping this guy for many years. They range from his arrest in the past decade or so ago for shooting a feral horse, plus charges for poaching and assault, and evidence of dodgy financial matters, etc. etc. Then, questions about his nomination process.
    Quite a resume. Makes you wonder how he was appointed to a responsible cabinet position. But, then again, not surprising at all for the UCP or its increasingly shabby-looking boss. Roll on next spring when Alberta voters will have the chance to say: “Enough!” They will, won’t they?

    1. Great comments guys and thanks for bringing it to our attention. It certainly proves what my late father, the strongest conservative I ever knew, would say . These ignorant Albertans vote for the name conservative and they don’t give a damn who is hiding behind the name. Any fool can call himself a conservative and that’s all they care about. You certainly have to question why anyone would be dumb enough to support him and it certainly explains why people want rid of him and his pal Jason Kenney had to save his ass recently, doesn’t it? I bet he will be gone next election.

  11. In response to Mr. Spiller, I just want to point out that Lougheed and Getty had their share of bozos in their cabinets — and let them get away with their shenanigans. Conservatives seem to attract a greater proportion of people on the make. Maybe they weren’t quite as scruffy as the current lot, though.

  12. Simply an example of the arrogance and the disdain for the Legislature that Kenney and his acolytes have displayed since day one.

    No different than their collective disdain for Alberta votes.

    They believe that they can do anything. Not certain how the voters will react to the past three years of this nonsense.

    Kenney has discovered the hard way that Stephen Harper’s management style of duct tape and blind obedience does not work so well with Albertan UCP MLA’s and with Alberta voters.

    The UCP Party Executive has, IMHO, acted against the interests of the Party. They are an extension and apparently in the control of Jason Kenney.

    1. I am not sure if Bumbles has learned that lesson about the long-term futility of blind obedience. He has recently stated that he thought he was too tolerant of dissent in his caucus. If he wins the leadership review, I expect the hammer to come down and a major purge. Perhaps he will use Jason Nixon as his enforcer.

  13. Well considering he poached on private property, intimidated the woman who owned the land THEN proceeded to try and intimidate the Fish and Wildlife officer called on-site this is not surprising. He is a complete waste of skin and needs to go

  14. A few notes to add background to all of this. One of the signatories to that famous “open letter” urging the UCP not to kick Kenney to the curb — which you blogged about on April 8th* — was Everett McDonald, former Reeve of the County of Grande Prairie No. 1, and PC MLA for Grande Prairie-Smoky for three years. Mr McDonald narrowly beat then-Wildroser Todd Loewen in the 2012 general election, 45.8%-41.2%. In 2015, however, the riding saw an essentially 3-way race between Mr Loewen, Mr McDonald, and the NDP’s Todd Russell, a City of Grande Prairie firefighter; the outcome was Loewen, 33.2%, Russell 31.1%, & McDonald 30.8%. Grande Prairie-Smoky had previously been held by quasi-prominent PC names like Walter Pazkowski & Mel Knight.

    By 2019 the riding boundaries had been dramatically redrawn. Instead of splitting the City of Grande Prairie in north-south halves, with the northern half added to the rural areas to the north & east of the City to make up GP-Smoky, the City got its own urban riding, Grande Prairie, which was won by the UCP’s Tracy “Aloha” Allard, and Mr Loewen found himself running as a UCP candidate in the new Central Peace-Notley, named after the then-Premier’s late father Grant Notley. He won that going away, garnering 75.2% of the vote, with NDP Cabinet Minister Margaret McQuaig-Boyd going down to utter defeat with 19.5%. I have no idea what Mr McDonald has been doing since he lost in 2015.

    *DJC’s previous blog post on the open letter: https://albertapolitics.ca/2022/04/dont-change-horses-in-mid-stream-rebellious-ucp-members-get-dire-warning-on-eve-of-jason-kenneys-leadership-vote/

    Sources of those election stats: https://www.elections.ab.ca/

  15. It would be a shame to miss this opportunity that Bill Nixon, Jason and Jeremy’s pappy is on the board of the mustard seed, a “charitable” organization that has benefited from the UCP funding shenanigans with supervised injection and community shelters in Wetaskiwin.

    Coincidental I’m sure.

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