What’s that annoying buzz?

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro, the latest occupant of Alberta’s revolving-door justice minister’s office (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

It’s too early in the reluctant Alberta springtime for it to be a fly trapped between the blind and the window. 

And we’re too far away from Havana for it to be a mysterious Russian microwave weapon frying the brains of American consular officials. 

Don’t worry, it’s just Alberta Premier Jason Kenney proving to the United Conservative Party base that he’s still relevant while there are a few days of voting left in his leadership review. 

Yesterday afternoon, the Premier’s Office published a news release on the official Alberta government website informing us that we’ll be paying for another pointless legal challenge, this time of the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to peacefully bring to an end last winter’s occupation of Ottawa, border blockade and would-be coup. 

Alberta got the nod from the Federal Court of Canada to intervene “on the non-constitutional issues” in several lawsuits brought by the Ottawa occupiers, border blockaders, anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, their ideological fellow travellers, and their mostly right-wing litigationists in hopes of getting Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act declared unconstitutional. 

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver, who early this year was begging Ottawa for help cleaning out the blockade at the Coutts border crossing (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Not much chance of that, of course, but it certainly presents a fund-raising opportunity for a number of the usual suspects mentioned above. 

For its part, the Alberta government will be arguing that invocation of the Emergencies Act was unnecessary “since the province already had the legislative tools necessary to stop illegal blockades.” 

Well, OK. I don’t know what the coruscating legalists hired by the province will say when Ottawa’s lawyers remind the court of how Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver begged two federal ministers on Feb. 5 for federal assistance cleaning up the blockade at the Coutts border crossing in Southern Alberta.

You see, Mr. McIver explained at the time, the border blockade was harming the economy, impeding the movement of critical goods and services, and blocking the free movement of people. 

The protesters – including several UCP MLAs, Mr. McIver omitted to mention in his letter to Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair – were not letting the police enforce the law. 

NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

So, he pleaded, “I am requesting federal assistance that includes the provision of equipment and personnel to remove approximately 70 tractor-trailers and approximately 75 personal and recreational vehicles from the area.”

“Thanks, Ottawa,” might have been a more appropriate response from Mr. Kenney, but even back in February he was threatening to challenge the constitutionality of the Emergencies Act, leading people at the time to observe that you can never please an Alberta Conservative if your last name happens to be Trudeau. 

Ottawa’s response will probably not be all that different from that of Alberta NDP Justice Critic Irfan Sabir, a lawyer, who said yesterday afternoon that “Jason Kenney’s argument that his government had the tools it needed to disperse the illegal blockade at Coutts underscores the fact that he refused to use these tools.”

“For 18 days, he refused to seek a court injunction to disperse it, and refused to use the province’s power to rescind the commercial drivers’ licenses and insurance held by the people illegally blocking a major trade corridor.”

Not only did Jason Kenney do nothing to disperse the blockade, Mr. Sabir said, “his UCP MLAs actively cheered on and participated in the illegal Coutts blockade, which caused $800 million in damage to Alberta’s economy.”

“The blockade was later raided by the RCMP, who found weapons, ammunition and body armour,” he added. “Several people are facing criminal charges, including conspiracy to murder police officers. Yet these UCP MLAs have faced no consequences or reprimand for their actions.”

As for Premier Kenney, he trowelled it on in yesterday’s news release: “We will protect our province from the dangerous precedent set by the federal government in pointlessly invoking the Emergencies Act,” he huffed. “Their decision to invoke the act violated the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Albertans, and all Canadians.

“It is our duty to do everything we can to protect Albertans’ freedoms and liberties from this kind of breach. No government should have the power to seize a person’s property or withhold access to their assets without due process of the law.” (Unless, of course, it’s the Alberta government arbitrarily seizing your car, even if you weren’t driving it. But, whatever. ) 

Tyler Shandro, the latest man through the revolving door of the office of Alberta’s justice minister, was quoted by the government’s busy press release writer saying pretty much exactly the same thing as his boss.

UCP meme-makers were busy trying to portray Mr. Kenney as a defender of civil liberties too – a strategy unlikely to impress the premier’s foes on either the right or the left, which nowadays adds up to just about everyone in the province.

Of course, with the federal leadership candidates all trying to outdo one another proving their fealty to the Ottawa occupiers, this approach is entirely on brand for Canada’s thoroughly Republicanized right wing. 

It’s important to note that just because the Federal Court granted the Alberta Government the opportunity to intervene, that doesn’t mean the court is endorsing the merits of the government’s legal grandstanding. 

Oh dear! … iconic Alberta Boot Company to sell Chelsea boots, encourage lifestyles

The author’s favourite pair of Alberta Boot Co. boots. Note the monogram. Sales of Chelsea boots and lifestyles by this iconic bootmaker simply cannot be a good thing! (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Uh-oh! It’s troubling indeed to learn that Calgary’s iconic Alberta Boot Company, relocating back to Cowtown’s downtown after years in a bleak industrial area off Macleod Trail, plans, as the Calgary Herald put it, “to expand the brand beyond its signature cowboy boots.”

It’s even worse than that, dear readers. “Chelsea boots and everyday footwear will be rolled into the company’s retail as it evolves into more of a lifestyle brand,” the Herald said in a puffy account of the company’s plans. 

Chelsea boots? A lifestyle brand? Oh dear!

It’s hard to believe this isn’t the beginning of the end of Western civilization as we have known it. At least in Calgary.

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32 Comments

  1. Yeah, ole J-Babe is really trumpeting this one, as though it’s the saving thing he has left that will save his hide from the UCP revolt that’s underway. But he base believes that he had no right to call himself a defender of freeDUMB when he was all in on restricting those same freeDUMBs.

    I would usually attribute Kenney’s on going confusion to dementia, but it appears his willing craziness to play both sides of an issue, and right out in the open, just confirms that if he’s not experiencing some progressive degenerative mental state, he must be really pounding into that mountain of Jameson’s brand cough syrup he loves to much.

    In the current climate, I’ve noticed that there’s an abundance of terminally single middle-aged men standing in any public square and shouting at the tops of their lungs that the end is nigh. Or, they have a special vision that can see truths that the Sheeple cannot. Or, maybe if they think if they holler long enough, they’re score the hot babes. Who can say, because it all looks like crazoid behaviour to me.

    V. Putin’s oldster rage notwithstanding, it’s all the same type of tantrum that inadequate males have been bleeching for some decades now. Now that they’re all doing it, maybe it’s time to consider that ritual that North First Nations practised when the elderly got too hard to handle: put them on an ice flow and let the hungry walruses solve the problem.

    In the end, Kenney will call his election, just to show them he still matters.

    Tantrums, tantrums everywhere.

  2. This Easterner confesses his unfamiliarity with signature western boots and thanks the blogger for showing off his monogrammed pair. For those of us accustomed only to rubber gumboots in the yard, can he explain this potential threat to Western civilization posed by lifestyle brand Chelsea boots?
    What are Chelsea boots anyway?

    1. Tom: Chelsea boots is an industry term for slip-on boots with elastic sides – popularized by the Blundstone brand but now made by a large number of manufacturers. Their main benefit is that they tend to be more comfortable for walking than cowboy boots, and they’re certainly easier to get on or off. Some quality brands can be almost as expensive as a good pair of Alberta Boot Company cowboy boots. Almost. The name comes from London’s Chelsea district, hangout of the Mods in those far-off days of the Sixties. The Rockers, their foes, presumably wore lace-ups. As for the threat they pose, it is not to western civilization, only to Western civilization, as found in Calgary and Oklahoma City. DJC

      1. “blundstone” style boots I remember from my youth being called “Romeo Boots”. Can anybody verify this or heard of this ?

  3. Sure why not waste a lot more of taxpayers money , we don’t care . What a farce and we still have stupid seniors trying to defend these stupid Reformers that’s how stupid they are. I just got attacked by other senior lunatics in the Medicine Hat News and Cochrane Eagle for being a lot smarter than them.

    1. Alan K. Spiller: Why isn’t this a surprise? These pretend conservatives and Reformers sure have been good at brainwashing people, and people can’t see how bad their policies are. In the end, we are no better off. Where’s the sense in that?

      1. Anonymous I met a retired university professor from Germany in 2000 and he taught me more about people and politics in an hour than I had learned in a lifetime. He pointed out that weak minded , easily lead, easily fooled people make up the majority of any population anywhere in the world and you and I can’t do anything about it. We are out numbered two to one. It’s why dictators become so powerful and how Jimmy Jones got 918 people to commit suicide. These dictatorships almost always end in a bloody confrontation. He was 86 years old and died of a heart attack three days after I met him.

        My senior friends and I have met some really stupid seniors over the years and none dumber than one guy who told me that Ralph Klein was the greatest premier Canada has ever seen. I told him about how Klein had almost killed my father with his health care cuts after dad had donated around $30,000. To the Alberta Conservative Party during the Lougheed and Getty days.

        His replay “I don’t care what Klein did to the health care system.I’m 69 years old and I’m in perfect health. It’s no concern of mine what he did”. Ironically he died in the back of an ambulance about 8 months later outside the Royal Alex Hospital. His wife told us that there were 11 ambulances in line ahead of his trying to find somewhere to offload their patients because of what Klein had done. Doctors told her they would have saved him if they could have gotten to him sooner. He had a blocked bowel. We asked her if she was going to sue Klein like other families had done and she said no Klein was his hero and he refused to listen to me or our children. We knew he was creating a disaster, but he refused to listen to us, he got what he deserved, she was a retired nurse.

    2. I also used to think the problem was stupid people, but I don’t think there are enough stupid Albertans for that to be the primary enabler of the upc party. I’m currently putting Alberta’s malaise down to the various inevitable consequences of implementing neoliberalism, and I expect similar results adjusted for local culture and history everywhere it is embraced.

  4. Seeing Jason Kenney trying to pass himself off as a Real Albertan by putting on western wear and driving a blue truck makes me think I can inconspicuously fit into an anti-carbon tax rally by hanging a set of truck nuts on the back of my bicycle.

  5. The discovery of how heavily armed some of the protestors at Coutts were was, in my mind, a deal breaker. With arms, ammunition and body armour, they were clearly equipped for a gun battle. It was not unreasonable, then, to suspect some of the Ottawa protestors were similarly armed, especially given some of the rhetoric we were hearing from them.

    Given that background, it was essential that the authorities found a way to disperse the crowd without a confrontation that could have turned the densely populated streets of downtown Ottawa into a battle ground. Squeezing off the flow of funds was just that solution. It is unfortunate that the Emergency Act was necessary to do it, but it did result in a successful dispersal.

    Perhaps the inquiry into the use of the EA will recommend legislation that allows the funding squeeze out without the use of the EA.

    1. Bob Raynard. I certainly agree with you.When you watch the videos of Pat Burns ,one of their organizers , you soon learn what a nut case he is and is likely capable of anything.Those guns were assault rifles capable of killing a lot of people very quickly like we saw in Las Vegas. Two of my relatives were in that crowd and never got hurt they were lucky. Both are police officers. To think these idiot Reformers were dumb enough to praise these truckers shows how stupid they are. We don’t want this idiot Poilievre as prime minister , no matter how much we don’t like Trudeau. In true Reform Party fashion he is promising to destroy jobs , not create them, just like the former MLAs from the Lougheed era taught me. After convincing stupid Albertans that he plans to destroy the CBC because it’s too expensive and doesn’t care that it will destroy the lives of around 7,500 young Canadians, you can bet he will start working on destroying our Public Health Care System also.It was Ed Stelmach who warned us of Stephen Harper’s hidden agenda to do just that. I think it cost him his job.

  6. I hear “some people” saying that the Sheriffs service was going to bring that whole kerfuffle to an end with coffee and donuts.
    Yeah. You know, “some people”.
    Heyyyy yup.

  7. Alberta Boot Company is moving into the low-rent district in Calgary, which is right downtown. Also, the new location is a few steps away from the Nixon family’s Mustard Seed shelter and on the street where a woman walking to work one morning was fatally stabbed by a random stranger in March.

    https://globalnews.ca/news/8699457/downtown-calgary-stabbing-victim-random-attack/

    Does the Chelsea boot-buying crowd shop mostly online?

    As for the premier, if he wanted the Coutts blockade to end, why didn’t he pick up the phone and talk to the Fort Macleod town councillor involved in organizing it, politician to politician?

    https://globalnews.ca/news/8753107/fort-macleod-councillor-van-huigenbos-reprimand-letter/

    1. As one who appreciates irony, it is fascinating that the RCMP have enlisted Alberta Boot as a footwear supplier. I mean, aren’t the RCMP conducting a criminal investigation of the premier and others for the kamikaze affair, and hasn’t the premier told us he wants to give the RCMP the boot?

  8. Following the social media conversation concerning the Emergencies Act…well, calling the clear and obvious disinformation campaign that’s going on a “conversation” is a real stretch. It’s apparent that the conspiracies theories concerning the whole Convoy protest and law enforcement actions that followed are infecting the process of both the inquiry and the CPC leadership contest.

    Skipping Pollivere has already made the announcement in a debate forum that challenging the so-called Trucker Convoy was an attack on the integrity of Canada and it’s people. So, the only true Canadians are the trucker protesters, and all who oppose them, in any way, are the enemies of Canada. While such a claim did in Kim Campbell’s and the PCs’ chances of re-election, times have changed. Now, Pollivere’s claim not only may secure him the leadership of the CPC, it may also be the means of causing even more suspicion over any effort to maintain the rule of law and peace in Canada. This is the formation of a very, very hostile future in Canada.

    Conspiracy and alt-right disinformation culture has come to Canada. Get ready for the mayhem to come.

  9. Oh, this is just Kenney being Kenney, trying to create a new distraction to take our minds off some previous distraction of his that flopped, fizzled or backfired. At this point it is hard to keep track. Yes, it is also a desperate attempt to try to seem to remain relevant.

    I suspect Kenney did not take well recent comments from UCP rebels that he was not fighting Ottawa. In a way, they are right – he has not been effective in fighting Ottawa. His actions tend to be mostly weak and ineffective political show boating. Another trip to the gas station to “protest” the carbon taxes, after your expensive legal arguments fail?

    I doubt Kenney will convince anyone he really is an effective political opponent to Ottawa. Mostly it just comes off as a grudge he is not as politically effective or powerful as Trudeau, his nemesis. Secondly, it comes across as a desperate appeal to party members to keep him.

    Almost also funny was his very earnest seeming advice to Federal Conservatives about party unity as the discussion between leadership candidates recently got a bit chippy.

    Kenney is about the last person anyone should look to advise about unity or how to manage an emergency.

  10. Some of us southern Albertans, and with regard to the illegal Coutts blockade, find the “christian nationalist movement” influence with this, disturbing. We are still wondering if these ‘organizers’ will be criminally charged. Do they just get away scott-free? Also, their, we feel, misuse of the Canadian flag, has soured some of us now on even seeing the flag, which is still, being flown by some of these folks in their, flawed spirit of the ‘freedom convoy.’ This explains the “christian nationalist movement” fairly well:
    “The Bible Brigade and the rising clout of the authoritarian religious right”
    http://www.lietracker.ca/2019/10/23/bible-brigade-and-the-rising-clout-of-the-authoritarian-religious-right/

  11. Again it’s “Oh, brother!” Not more of this pathetic neo-right, virtually nonsensical virtue-signalling again that my amateur mind-reading faculty senses in the large majority of Canadians. Like bewilderbeasts amongst the prides, most people turn back to the hockey game at first whiff of KeKangaroo Kenney, even though, in its inimitable Québécois-wannabe covetousness, Alberta’s petulant popper of peeve puffs is actually the poster punk of Canada’s partisan political peril. The harsh lessons of tRumpublicanism should remind that danger presents even as the fool.

    Even with the prospect of K-Boy losing his grip on the topknot of the UCP in a fortnight or so, he will still have the capacity to gin and provoke from the shadows whence the likes of him, Pierre le Puke Poilievre, and Stephen Harper, lurking in their talking-point advisory positions, burst onto the political scene. The danger of a radicalizing right doesn’t go away just because this kind of Special loses its K. It’s a serial threat.

    Indeed, it might turn out that the Emergencies Act has proved, by way of its complainants’ auditions and interventions, to be more than just occasionally required, but a good thing, too.

    The choir on its grandstand of course doesn’t really care how it pans out, and that makes the E-Act even more necessary. Just because the ragtag Soldiers of Odium—prospects and full-patch—are ridiculously absurd , it doesn’t mean the thin edge of the tRumpublican wedge can’t find a chink in Canada’s armour, be it in Windsor or Coutts.

    Let all such be revealed. (For my kid brother’s sake, Go Leafs Go! It’s nothing personal, Jason!)

  12. Critics of the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to put an end to the blockades on Wellington Street in Ottawa, and at the Coutts border crossing, claim that law enforcement had the tools they needed without it. I’m not sure that’s true, especially when it comes to the financial dealings side of the affair, but even if it were true, so what?

    The real issue was that law enforcement accountable to the provincial governments in both Ontario & Alberta weren’t acting to end those blockades. In Ottawa, neither the city police nor the OPP was taking any effective action, and in Alberta p,the nominally federal RCMP were actually wearing their Alberta rural policing hats in it doing anything. Everyone not supporting the convoyers was screaming for the federal government to do something, but without the EA, their hands were tied: none of it was really federal jurisdiction.

    The proof is in the results: once the EA was proclaimed, the tools needed to enable authorities to put an end to this were suddenly in their hands, and they used them — mostly peacefully & non-violently, let’s not forget.

  13. The letter from official Alberta on Feb 5 requesting federal aid to remove 70 rigs and 75 RVs and personal trucks from the highway at Coutts was a transparent ruse anyway. Get the feds to do the dirty work and thus blame Trudeau if anything went “wrong”. Guffaw, Tee Hee. Hearty har har. And the madmen on farm tractors rushing up and down the ditches? Does anyone remember those yahoos? Complete nutbars, er sorry, loyal patriotic Albertans who got away with everything.

    My recollection is that the Mounties put out press releases saying they were going to act under the Alberta Critical Infrastructure Defence Act. This was after they’d been in Coutts for some time starting in late January.

    Feb 1 was the date of the first RCMP statement: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2022/alberta-rcmp-statement-coutts-border-assembly

    Update Feb 2, merely blah blah: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2022/alberta-rcmp-statement-coutts-border-assembly-update-1

    Have a read for fun. Then recall the RCMP members sat on their butts for over two weeks total getting to know the truckers better, “complaining” those good ole boys just would not obey orders to disperse, darn it all.

    Feb 5 was when McIver sent his plaintive letter to the Feds for help. Nothing happened on the ground.

    Finally, Feb 14 was the day the Mounties got off their duffs, discovered dangerous weapons in a Coutts semi-cab, and did something. https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2022/alberta-rcmp-make-arrests-coutts-border-blockade

    It was after that and including Doug Ford’s plea for help in Ontario, and the interprovincial link between Alberta honkers and the honkers in Ottawa was established that Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act. My understanding, perhaps incorrectly, is that the feds could only act if the illegal goings-on occurred in more than a single province, and thus showed interprovincial conspiracy. Other than that, it was up to provinces to maintain law and order. Trudeau repeatedly said so, and was highly reluctant to even discuss the invoking the Emergencies Act. Meanwhile, citizens wondered what in hell the country could do when revolutionaries decided to flout not just law but common decency. Nothing, apparently.

    I haven’t a clue what point of so-called law Alberta is intervening on in that court case, claiming unconstitutionality, Can’t be bothered to read the link, because it’ll just be lies from my POV. kenney is incapable of truth-telling most days, it seems to me.

    There is an official Enquiry on the invoking of the Emergencies Act as required by the Act itself. This other legal “constitutional” court matter Alberta is involving itself in is the crackheads ganging up trying to change the narrative of what happened and braying about government over-reach. Did those truckers or did they not issue an ultimatum, as they sped to Ottawa, that the House of Commons with duly-elected MPS should dissolve itself and that the Governor General should institute a new government run by the truckers and the Senate? I’m certain they did, which is the height of insanity. If kenney and his brain-dead cabinet want to argue facts and agree with people issuing possibly seditious edicts (who knew then if they’d be violent?) that government step down, they deserve all the disapprobation they will undoubtedly receive. The other case before the courts is the class-action lawsuit brought by Ottawa citizens more than a little inconvenienced by the trucker idiots. That will likely succeed, and why not — we all saw the mayhem daily on TV, plus the zany extras there wandering about to see it at first hand and join in the “good-hearted” nonsense.

    Complete gorfs, kenney and the UCP. But the Alberta blue-rinse set cheering on Pepe Poilievre in his insanity as he jockeys to become Canada’s No 1 certified bitcoin freak, supporter of lawbreakin’ truckers and leader of the Federal Cons, can join the mindset of kenney in living in a la la land of total unreality if they so desire. They will get precisely nowhere, in my opinion, and deservedly so. After that, the moaning in the cups will begin. You cannot cure stupid. It festers and lasts forever and reality will be reinvented accordingly in their doughball minds to justify themselves.

    Like insisting the Liberals and NDP are fascists. Don’t laugh, internationally, both the extreme left and extreme right are constantly referencing Trudeau as a fascist for invoking the Emergencies Act, supposedly illegally seizing people’s property, and for forcing Canadians to get “experimental” vaccines “that have killed millions”. They are all firmly of the “don’t bother me with actual facts” stupid set. Plus they insist heavily-armed police strong-armed and beat-up “law-abiding” truckers while removing them and that a police horse trampled a little old lady to death. Utter nonsense, but that’s the story out there. Try reining that back in.

    I know that as an oldster with time on my hands, I read all sorts of websites most sane people wouldn’t. Just to see what the crazies are up to and what lies they tell each other to bolster their made-up stories. But I can assure you that, bereft of facts about the convoys, a total lack of knowledge of how Canadian government policing and public health is organized federally, provincially and municipally, foreigners in the US, European countries, Oz and Kiwi-land regard Trudeau as a complete Fascist. On the basis of nothing but the malformed beliefs in their tiny uninformed minds. Amazing to read all the left and right “experts” who’ve never visited Canada who claim to know more about this place than we do. As if.

    The world is going to hell in a handbasket when even many overseas lefties are prime dolts, and joining the extreme right in a glut of flat-out craziness.

    1. Kind of bizarre that the rcmp sat there making nice for two weeks with a group of people who included along them people scheming to murder rcmp officers. Then sang o Canada with them after they realized the score.

  14. I do know the definition for the word “huff” and I love the image it creates. However the urban definition of “huff” always comes to mind as well and I wonder who is supplying the glue.

  15. Here’s one for the host with the most! https://youtu.be/YlNfPyPZAoE
    They’re here. Or back again, if you prefer. When you hit them on their home turf? It’s like slow pitch with amoebas instead of a ball! Splat! But don’t count them out! Suckers are life blood! Plenty of them! That’s our Premier “smarty pants”! The smartest pants in the room!

  16. Curiously, the declarations are already out from various UCP members that there was a flood of memberships that were purchased in bulk, apparent over the course of the same week. There’s nothing like stuffing the ballot box, but stuffing it in plain view is enormously ballsy and stupid.

    And I need more popcorn.

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