Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre parades through Ottawa yesterday with his praetorian pals (Photo: @CarymaRules).

Last year on this day traditionally reserved for national celebration, the headline of the post that occupied this space read: “While Jason Kenney promises the best summer ever, it’s hard to shake the feeling of apocalyptic foreboding this Canada Day.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announcing the “Best Summer Ever” in 2021; it doesn’t look like we’re going to see it this summer either (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Once again, no one is now promising the “best summer ever.” Indeed, the sense of a looming apocalypse grows ever more distinct.

COVID-19 is still with us, thanks in part to feckless governments throughout the West unwilling or unable to deal effectively with the greatest public health challenge in a century. 

The best summer ever Mr. Kenney promised us last year turned out to be so bad that it seems likely Mr. Kenney himself will not be with us here in Alberta much longer. 

At any rate, one imagines that when his planned resignation finally takes effect in the not-too-distant future, he won’t stick around these parts for long, other than to pay the occasional visit to his elderly mom. (Say what you will about the man, he appears to be a devoted son, a rare mark in his favour.)

Last year’s commentary observed that “pickup trucks with their maple leaf flags may or may not be screeching around Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue tonight, laying rubber in celebration of the provincial government’s edict the masks must come off, Delta variant or not.”

The drivers of those ubiquitous gas-guzzlers should be happy now. The masks are all but gone. They probably aren’t, though. After all, there’s always the price of fuel to complain about.

Since then, though, other truck drivers have occupied our nation’s capital for weeks in a mid-winter attempt, thankfully not successful, to overthrow our country’s democratically elected government. 

Several border crossings were blockaded by the same extremists, at a cost of billions of dollars, and yet Canada’s supposedly conservative parties, of all things, are engaged in an attempt to lionize these thugs and vandals and excoriate the Trudeau Government for using the Emergencies Act to restore order and reopen the country’s borders. 

Last year, the leader of the federal Conservative Party told us that he wanted to “take back Canada,” although he never specified from whom. The dog-whistle was clear enough just the same. 

Since then, Erin O’Toole has been deposed by his own caucus, supposedly for his lack of electoral success in the September 2021 federal election, but just as much for his apparent moderation in comparison to fellow Conservatives who have drunk their fill of Trumpist Kool-Aid.

The Ottawa Occupation may not have seen violence on quite the scale of Donald Trump’s attempted coup the previous Jan. 6, but our home-grown Trumpists nevertheless deny the reality of the convoy crisis’s outpouring of anti-democratic sentiment just as their Republican counterparts do south of the 49th Parallel. 

Yesterday, the frontrunning candidate to take over the Conservative Party of Canada, a young man associated with economic conspiracy theories and bizarre cryptocurrency enthusiasms, paraded through the streets of Ottawa with an anti-vaccine leader of the so-called “Freedom Convoy” and a phalanx of his far-right supporters wearing bits and pieces of military uniforms. A whiff of neo-Confederate extremism lingered in the air.

Here in Alberta, the race to replace Mr. Kenney as premier and leader of the United Conservative Party seems to be focused on the nihilistic separatist sentiments of some leading candidates, instead of the problems that confront the province, among them the collapse of our health care system after two years of COVID and three years on UCP mismanagement. 

And whereas last year I commented in concerned tones that you might have to wait an hour for an ambulance in Alberta, today much longer waits or common and you may not get one at all if the 911 operator hangs up on you to process more emergencies. No matter how grave your condition, you’d better be prepared to find your own way to a hospital! 

In the United States, Mr. Trump’s attempted coup may have failed on Jan. 6 to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, but the constitutional coup he successfully conducted while in office, packing the U.S. Supreme Court with militant social conservative extremists, is now bearing strange fruit that bodes ill for the future of the American Republic and its 350 million citizens. 

And – of yes – there is a full-blown war in Europe, which seems to grow worse by the day. 

Partly as a result, a global collapse of the markets is said to have wiped $13 trillion from the value of world stocks, the worst rout on record. Inflation is soaring. 

Not all the auguries are bad. The weather’s been a little cooler – though that may not last. The Pope will visit Edmonton later this month, bearing a message of reconciliation to Indigenous Canadians for the disgrace of our national residential school policy that cast such a pall last summer. 

Still, as we wait nervously to see what happens in the streets of Ottawa today, forget foreboding, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this Canada Day, the apocalypse may be upon us!

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43 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, I don’t see things improving with the UCP at the helm. I just don’t. While there are those among the electorate who don’t necessarily endorse Justin Trudeau, we certainly don’t want Pierre Poliveire going all out with his very bad policies, that will harm so many people. This isn’t what we need. Homes that will deprecate in value, a pay as you go healthcare system, massive layoffs of people, including those in the CBC, if it were to be defunded, people’s pensions being put at risk, and bad investment ideas, like crypto. People had better brace themselves, because it is not going to improve. There are different tell tale signs that show this.

  2. If your just waking up today to the feeling that “the apocalypse may be upon us!” then you have been asleep for a good long time.
    We are about to inherit the world we have allowed for; we will harvest that which we have sown. We’re about to find out what kind of world presents when we allow things to proceed unhindered.

    If we want a world or country or society or community to be a certain way we are going to have to work for it. Work damn hard for it! Push other people around or away; get in other people’s faces and yell at them. No more Mr Nice Guy, noe more ‘wokeism’, no more “you do your thing, I’ll do mine”, no more fatuous ‘what-about-isms’.
    It’s long past time to stand up for the values we say we support. That support needs to be actual and physical today.
    We see now that we cannot have a world of egalitarian principles if we allow others to drag us down. If that’s a contradiction – deal with it! Choose a side. Prepare to fight for it – and then, dammit!, fight for it!

    It ain’t gonna happen by itself. You’re not going to be served democracy like a plate at dinner. If you want it, you make it, you take it – and you damn well defend it.
    You serve democracy or you are pressed into service of something else. That’s it! There is no third choice.

    1. The left loves to catastrophize. Always making enemies and straw men instead of doing the GOOD work to help your neighbors. Try the soup kitchen instead of Daves blog if you want to make a difference.

      1. If that is your horizon then you go ahead and spend time at the soup kitchen. Meanwhile YOUR masters and betters are making decisions in boardrooms and the Legislature that will impact YOUR life forever. Without a word or a consideration for YOU.
        We see these so-called conservatives all the time now in nominally democratic states using Orwellian doublespeak to scrape together power, for the sake of power, so they can impose their ignorant and superstitious beliefs on the population. These so-called conservative nutjobs don’t have one clue as to how to make a society safer, more productive, healthier, better educated, less anarchic and more peaceful, in a word; better. These so-called conservative no-nothing slobs are in it solely for themselves; they are quite happy to see you at the soup kitchen. They will ensure YOU stay there.

      2. How about we instead devote more energy to creating a society where soup kitchens & food banks no longer exist, because they are no longer needed?

        While soup kitchens & homeless shelters have existed forever, the first food banks in Canada opened right around the time Canada signed the first Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Coincidence? I think not. “Free trade” has led to a hollowing out of Canada’s economy & labour market, the downward spiralling of worker rights, remuneration, & the power of unions to protect workers, & the proliferation of full-time employees living in poverty.

  3. Is Pierre Poilievre doing his best imitation of Wally Cox playing Mr. Peepers in that old fifties sitcom? His tattooed buddies look enthralled and a campaign ad is born!

  4. Happy Canada Day, David, and fellow readers.

    In addition to everything David has listed above, I am afraid I no longer feel the same about our national flag. As a result of the Freedumb Hooligans, our flag has come to be the symbol of a small segment of people I feel total contempt for. Apparently I am not the only one.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/flag-convoy-canada-1.6505885

    I only hope the hooligans influence will be short enough that the effect it has on my feeling toward the flag will be short lived, and not permanent. It seems inconceivable today, but before the 1920s, the swastika was a popular, and admired symbol, until the Nazis commandeered it, and, seemingly permanently, tainted it.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29644591

    1. +1 on that. It’s beginning a symbol of how white conservatives can just flout the law and the rest of society watches it happen. Except the cops, who line up to take selfish and donate to the cause.

      Can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, Canada won’t be good until it follows its own laws.

  5. Harsh as it is to become realistic about jk’s attendance on his mother
    You do realize it is the circling of a buzzard?
    And PP Pawlivers Pretorian friends look like they are going to eat him. An obvious win win.
    Fun times.
    Can’t see a flag without choking on the “freedum”.
    Sorry.
    Just the way it is when the police come out in direct ratio to the flag-age.

  6. Sad but true. It’s as if a zombie apocalypse is upon us. Zombies eat brains, don’t they?

    While Theresa Tam gently warns Canadians to get their booster shots because Covid never went away, and a new surge is imminent, provinces are tossing unused vaccines into the garbage, while refusing to let young folks under 70 get a third booster. It seems as if everyone in charge of our provinces and provincial services has simultaneously taken leave of their senses.

    The anti-Confederation “truckers” continue to want to make Canada go away, or at least take it away from Canadians. The best statement I heard as Canada Day approached was from an immigrant who explained that he didn’t come to a province, he came to a country, Canada.

    Since the seizure of our nation’s capital city by a group of thugs and a further seizure of a border crossing by more thugs, we cannot fly our flag on our national day of celebration without at least a momentary twinge that we might be mistaken for anti-Canadian thugs. They stole our symbols and it’s quite possible that they will try to steal our day. I’m taking Canada Day back, but avoiding large gatherings out of concern for safety. It’s not the same. Eff ’em, and Happy Canada Day!

  7. The pic of Skippy really made me laugh because I realized that he kind of reminds me of JT at his most infuriating. Both of them annoy me viscerally in slightly different ways, Trudeau by being a vapid, perpetually-hypocritical moralizer, Poilievre by being an unctuous smarmy sleazebag.

    1. Agreed…the Mouseland message goes on, i.e. the false dichotomy offered to voters the choice of these two parties, neither of which represents our interests. It’s too bad that our voting system, and voters, can’t shake things up and deal with the tired entitlement of both the Liberals and the Conservatives.

  8. Maybe not so apocalyptic. There are bits and pieces of good news here and there. For example, in Europe the Russians and their assorted allies are incrementally grinding back the Ukrainian fascist paramilitaries which have been armed and trained by NATO with Canada playing a big role (see the reporting of David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen). It’s no secret Ukraine had been a magnet for white supremacist types and Hitler worshippers from around the world and it’s heartening to see the Russians rolling them up in one cauldron after another.

    While the Canadian political establishment went into full blown meltdown last winter over the presence of a swastika during the trucker protests last winter there is at least one country ready to take fascism head on -for the second time in 70 years.

      1. Mr. Cumming: I can assure you that Ronmac is not a bot of any kind. All comments on this blog are moderated. While anonymous comments are tolerated if they are on topic, I do my best to weed out bots. Sometimes I even communicate with commenters via email. Anyway, while you are welcome to take issue with other commenters, and to do so forcefully, I encourage you to keep it civil since you are dealing with real people. As it happens, not every individual who thinks the Russians have genuine security concerns no matter how regrettable their invasion of Ukraine may be, or who thinks that NATO may have contributed to the tragedy in that country, is a a Russian bot. DJC

        1. We are the freest country. Attacking our institutions, our democracy with meaningless phrases of freedom without either knowing or being aware freedom comes with Equality and Fraternity. It is essential they come as a package

        2. DJC: while I agree that Russia had legitimate security concerns over the expansion of NATO eastward into countries that were formerly either Soviet satellites or actual component republics of the USSR, none of them justified the unprovoked, naked aggression that Putin unleashed upon Ukraine.

          As for NATO “contributing” to the tragedy, the only “contribution” I see is a negative one: NATO was unsuccessful at deterring Putin from invading. NATO’s collective hands are tied by Putin’s reckless invoking of the nuclear threat should it intervene directly, and diplomatic means, such as sanctions, of encouraging Russia to withdraw will — even if they are ultimately effective, which remains in doubt — take time, and thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Ukrainian civilians will die and hundreds of thousands more will be forcibly displaced before that happens.

          Finally, with respect to neo-Nazi groups and organizations in Ukraine, they are, unfortunately, everywhere, including right here in Canada, and their presence in a country also does not justify invading that country.

    1. So you’re not a bot, but you’re also not a human. Watching the footage from Ukraine and seeing it as proof of Russians fighting against Nazis in inhuman. Seeing little kids and old people slaughtered and thinking that this is a good thing is inhuman. You may not be a bot, but you are not a human being if seeing what is happening in Ukraine is making you happy.

      1. Darcy: yes, war is inhumane. However, it all comes down to spheres of influence and national security. Russia can no more allow the Ukraine to join NATO, as it has requested to do, than the US could allow Canada to invite China or Russia to establish military bases on Vancouver Island.

        The Ukraine has always been a contested land and a wise Ukrainian leadership would have been better advised to seek a more neutral status after the fall of the Soviet empire. Of course, a wise Soviet leadership would have been better advised to take the Soviet speaking areas east of the Don River and call it a day instead of invading the whole Ukraine.

          1. Mike: I do recall that, but it was too little, much too late, especially after the Ukraine’s abortive attempt to hold Russian gas hostage on its passage to W Europe. Not to mention the 2014 colour revolution of dubious provenance. Contention over the Ukraine goes back to the 1700s and has always been a complex stew of domestic and international politics. The Ukraine and the Balkans were the crucible of the First World War which effectively destroyed European society. When it comes to great power relations we are all prisoners of our national pasts.

            Darcy: Unfortunately, your analogy is irrelevant to great power politics, but bless your good heart for hoping it is so.

  9. Once again we see Jason Kenney’s Reform Party pal Pierre Poilievre making a complete ass of himself. Some how he thinks getting in bed with the American Republican Party extremists is going to get him elected ,just like Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole tried to do. Yet , just like those fools Poilievre isn’t smart enough to realize that it got them both defeated. My senior conservative friends and I find it hard to believe how stupid these pretend conservatives are. Where do they find these idiots? They are certainly nothing like the conservatives we proudly supported under Lougheed and Getty.

  10. Yeah, probably not the greatest summer ever for Kenney, bit maybe a bit better for everyone else. Coincidence?

    Enough troubles though in the world and economically to make up for COVID diminishing. If last year was supposed to be the greatest summer ever, this one may be the summer of our discontent in a different way.

    Oddly, all Conservatives can talk about now are vague slogans about freedom, even though most COVID restrictions have been relaxed or lifted and separatism or its milder cousin autonomy. I suppose the word sovereignty association would not go over well with Alberta Conservatives, but it seems much the same idea. They seem to be living in the past.

    Meanwhile, the health care system struggles and the cost of living rises for almost everyone. Its as if the UCP wants to destroy health care and the economy, but not take credit for it. I don’t think the strange preoccupations of some leadership candidates while ignoring reality will work out any better for the UCP this upcoming summer than it did for the outgoing one last summer.

  11. From the smug look on PP’s face, he must be laughing to himself at how easy it is to manipulate the “praetorian” (thugs?) supporters he is deliberately welcoming to his version of ????. Certainly not Progressive Conservatism , as in socially progressive and fiscally conservative, in what was at one time the traditional understanding of it.

  12. So, Skippy Pollivere did actually join with the FreeDUMB LARPers in their courageous march to overthrow PMJT. Well, actually things were not that clear cut in the end.

    Pollivere walked with the brave FreeDUMB fighters for about a block and half before he was whisked away in a trailing car. I’m sure the group of proud warriors got a quick “Thank you for your service” before Skippy high-tailed it out of there.

    As for the official festivities, there were moved to Breton Flats. All the revilers had to enter a corral, where all were searched before entry. Once inside, two middle-aged ladies donned their hidden F*ck Trudeau t shirts and they were immediately surrounded by some throughly pissed off locals. But before the fisticuffs and the bellowing cries of “FREEDUMB!!” ensued, the ladies were pushed out by security and Ottawa Police. It’s good to see that everyone has learned their lessons from last winter.

    Meanwhile, the FreeDUMB Convoy, now denied access to Parliament Hill (because it’s a construction site) and the War Memorial (they were there yesterday but were not allowed to return) decided they would march on the Supreme Court Building. Why? Likely they were running out of places to yell “FREEDUMB!” Or, maybe they thought Tamara Lich was being held there, because it’s a kind of Tower of London? Ottawa Police, again showing the foresight that was absent during last winter’s troubles with the Convoy, blocked off the grounds and placed riot police in the area. Fool them once, shame on the cops; fool them twice, well, don’t get fooled again. (Kudos to GWB Jr. for that eternal nugget of wisdom.) With the Convoy’s obvious plans of attack being so obvious, they wandered back to Camp Eagle. No doubt there were numerous CPC MPs there to console them and offer donations of Tim’s coffee and Timbits.

    And so ends the FreeDUMB Revolution of 2022. Just about as useless and idiotic as the Federal Election of 2021.

  13. I still think that if Poilievre gets elected he has made a deal with Kenney to get him back into Federal politics . After all Poilievre was selling Reform Party Memberships for Kenney, in Calgary, when he was 16 years old, maybe it’s time for Kenney to work for him ? Funny how after Poilievre was in Edmonton spreading his lies all of a sudden Kenney decides to retire. I bet they have something cooked up.

  14. So while Poilievre caters to the vast minority of losers and mindless Canadians he somehow thinks that it will get him elected. It likely will we know how many stupid Canadians there are today. As the former MLAs I got to know would say “Just another reformer, trying to pretend he is a conservative, for Canadians to defeat in an election, when they find out what he stands for”. I think we had better make certain he doesn’t get elected in the first place. .

  15. *loooong sigh* okay I’ll bite. Do you have any evidence to support your claims of Ukrainian fascism?

    Also, given you are supporting a nation that is using its military to violate international law in order crush fascists in another country, would you support the Canadian government using our military to crush domestic fascists here in Canada?

  16. In an effort to remake himself as an everyman, Skippy Pollivere has taken to social media to prove that he knows how to work and do things with his hands, all the while narrating his video in halting and slaughtered French. It’s a funny effort, where Skippy tells of hand-finishing timber door frames and the heavy doors that will be held within. He mocks Home Depot because we have lost our attachment to labour and the value of work. (A dig against do-it-yourselfers?) Of course, he blames PMJT for all this. (Because Home Depot is obviously a Liberal/WEF plot.)

    The comedy from this CON is priceless.

  17. It’s still springlike weather on the West Coast, this year’s rain-drenched jungle needing extra work but, like always, a time to reflect on the changing season. The hay is incredibly thick and tall. You know winter is over, just barely as our “Junuary” struggles to end in early ‘Julyruary.’ But the farmers are already thinking of next winter even as clouds threaten mowed, raked, and unusually dense windrows of hay, nature seems ready to take away the bounty it just gave. Barring rain, at least overcast nights keep the dew off it until it’s baled and safe in the haymow. With the ongoing shortage of workers and their wages inflating as the peri-Covid economy bursts out of the blocks like hyped-up thoroughbreds, every farmer knows sudden good fortune teeters on the precipice of break-even or— even break-broke. The frantic work keeps mercifully quells contentious opinions that, come to think of it, might be another explanation for the fertility of the crop. The farmer spits out of his nostril and, like weathered sage outstanding in his field, ruminates that, yep, things is kinda different this year. The hands are too beat to argue as they might even though their dearth surely protects them from sacking, no matter what camp they would defend, no matter it might run counter to the sullen foreman’s perennial dislike of gov’mint.

    Me n the missus is about the same way: we’re just tired of talking about the tics and mites that pester our great country, greater yet for having survived the last quarter-decade of mounting challenges, no thanks to parasitic complainers, the swarm of hornets just mad about everything, bumbling down the Queen’s road, afoot now that analogous tank-traps are prepared because of their semi-successful semi-truck stunt. The weather’s fine, cab-warming fuel is exorbitantly expensive, and the backpacked file of would-be Boy Scouts camouflage their Kevlar utility vests, appropriated military issue, and surely mien with our beautiful nation flag.

    My dove and I have purposely called a truce because lately this noisy troop of AntiVa is so ridiculously infuriating —especially the Maple Leaf thing ‘round about what us two geezers still call “Dominion Day.” And, for me, although we generally agree on most things, I simply cannot stand her blaming JT for “provoking” these stupid “Freedumbmites.” (“Honey, you’re starting to sound just like them…” That certainly put a chill on conversation, and a pill into aching vertebrae hacking down the real invaders: California and Himalayan Blackberries, a distraction, at very least. I’ll apologize, maybe this evening…if I dare…)

    Lord!—it’s hard to keep one’s own counsel when you see the leering smirk of Pierre “le Dégueuler” Poilievre as he throws out his photo-op chest in the van of the AntiVa file. She cautiously ventures, “Why does this idiot think that’s a good image to propagate?” We might concur about his similarly impolitic glee captured in self-congratulating selfies and broadcast from the bitter cold of Ottawa’s winter of incontinence, but it’s skating toward thin ice for me to add, ‘You should be happy that he’s hooked his little Red-State wagon to theirs: it diminishes, as much, his odds of wining power.’ That I don’t engage and she refrains from refraining ad nauseam addendum is, believe me, symptomatic of our fatigue.

    She’s more consoled by visits from grandchildren than the little-mentioned fact that ‘we’ are the great majority which bore what we did and are rewarded as we are, and ‘they’ are the proverbial skunk whose diminishing number is compensated with the vapid muster of rabid bluster. At least she, bless her, is somewhat consolable, whereas ‘them’ are not in the least and, indeed, are only worse the more tolerantly they are corralled and/or turned aside.

    Having once been one a them field hands outstanding in a filed of thistle-nurtured hay, I recall the stance in the breeze, the whole skeleton become nose in the wind, sniffing the prospect of the season: I can still do that, all these decades later. And what I sense is the great majority, with its amazing cooperation and perseverance, its tolerance for dissent, its consistent attention to fairness during all of this earthquaking Covid pandemic, starting to become less tolerant of this boiling cyst of absurdist reaction. That in itself might be one more sign that things are changing a lot, that a big ole milestone has been passed, and we-all too busy to stop and slake.

    She and I agree: Poilievre—Mr “Fair Elections” (go ahead and read up on the fruit and eventual fate of that piece of shite)—is a fool, probably of diminishing danger, despite the bluster. But we do it by ESP, just to stay safe, and work instead on the blisters of the regular season.

  18. Great article, although I would say that COVID is here because it is a tough virus and no matter what we do we can’t eradicate it. The responsibility of the UCP for not working as hard as it could to handle it is very valid and it is one of the reasons why Jason is not the King of Alberta. When it comes to the summer, I am more hopeful because while COVID is still out there, it isn’t the same virus as it was in 2020 and we have more tools to deal with it. Hopefully we can get rid of this government and put one in that will do a better job.

  19. I don’t know what image Poilievre was going for parading around with what looked like members of a local airsoft club, but unless it was to drum up the support of cringey neckbearded keyboard warriors, I don’t think it worked.

    Although on second thought, that was probably the exact aim. Bravo sir.

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