Oil Sands Strong founder Robbie Picard held up a poster attacking environmentalist Tzeporah Berman at a Government of Alberta news conference attended by Premier Jason Kenney in 2016 (Photo: Screenshot of CBC news clip).

Many Canadians were shocked by the profane verbal attack on Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in Grande Prairie Friday by a thuggish convoy goon.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was assailed by a convoy goon in Grande Prairie on Friday (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Social media immediately exploded with legitimate concern about the undeniable rising tide of attacks on women in politics and journalism in Canada by Q-adjacent protesters and their ilk. Cautionary reminders of the brutal assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox a week before the June 2016 Brexit vote in the U.K. were inevitable, and justified. 

Politicians of all stripes – including Alberta Premier Jason Kenney – were quick to condemn the threatening outburst by a Grande Prairie man identified as Elliot McDavid, known for his association with far-right causes in the same northwest Alberta region where Ms. Freeland was born. 

“The verbal harassment and threats directed at Minister @cafreeland during her visit to Alberta yesterday were reprehensible,” Mr. Kenney tweeted on Saturday. “If you disagree with a politician, by all means exercise your right to protest. But screaming threatening language & physical intimidation cross the line.”

No reasonable person would disagree with the sentiment expressed by Alberta’s premier in that tweet.

But when he followed up with another telling Ms. Freeland that “you’re always more than welcome to come and visit us here in the province where you grew up & your family lives,” that may have been more in response to ironic comparisons of Mr. McDavid’s offensive message and the premier’s fatuous advertising effort to woo tradespeople and young professionals from other provinces to friendly Alberta. 

Environmentalist Tzeporah Berman, repeatedly attacked by the UCP and spat on at Edmonton International Airport (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Regardless, not so welcome in Alberta are suggestions that the right wing generally and the United Conservative Party in particular have in fact encouraged just this kind of response to politicians, especially women, who advocate ideas they don’t like. 

Yet it’s hard to credibly assert that this is not so, as Conservative politicians here are wont to do at times like this. 

There are just too many examples, among them, the way former Progressive Conservative minister Sandra Jansen was run out of the PC leadership campaign by young thugs-in-short-pants associated with Mr. Kenney’s campaign in November 2016, and the chants of “lock ‘er up” directed at NDP Premier Rachel Notley as grinning former Harper Government cabinet minister Chris Alexander waved his finger in time with the shouts a month later.

Indeed, a strong case can be made that Alison Redford, Progressive Conservative premier from October 2011 to March 2014, was driven out by her own caucus more for her Red Tory reputation and gender than for the comparatively minor scandals that bedevilled her premiership. 

One of the most striking examples of respectable mainstream conservatives engaging in activities that, intentionally or not, encouraged extremists to attack women who opposed their policies was the display of a poster identifying environmentalist Tzeporah Berman as an “enemy of the oilsands” at a government news conference in June 2019, soon after the election of the UCP government. 

A pro-UCP crowd led by a former Harper Government cabinet minister chanted “lock her up” about former Alberta premier Rachel Notley, now Alberta Opposition leader (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Ms. Berman had served for a spell in 2016 – at the request of some major oilsands companies, in fact – as co-chair of the Notley Government’s Oil Sands Advisory Group, charged with making recommendations on the NDP’s Climate Leadership Plan. The UCP demonized her, quickly turning her role into an effective attack on Ms. Notley’s NDP Government.

So where was Premier Kenney when Oil Sands Strong founder Robbie Picard held up the apparently uncontroversial poster attacking Ms. Berman at the news conference about the UCP Government’s then new Energy War Room and its assignment to “fight lies and defamation” about the oilsands?

Why, he was on stage with Mr. Picard!

Indeed, Mr. Picard was introducing the newly elected premier, singing his praises, as then Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers president Tim McMillan, controversial blogger and researcher Vivian Krause, and Energy Minister Sonya Savage, among others, looked on.

Former Progressive Conservative leadership contender Sandra Jansen, harassed and intimidated by supporters of Jason Kenney in 2016, leading her to drop out of the race (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

I can’t recall any tweets by Mr. Kenney or any of the Conservative allies on the stage with him condemning Mr. Picard for waving a poster that clearly, in the context of what Mr. Kenney had advocated in the 2019 election campaign, equated “enemy of the oilsands” with “enemy of Alberta.”’

As alert readers will recall, the public inquiry (which never met in public) that was the UCP’s policy bookend to the War Room was formally known as the “Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns.” (Emphasis added.)

Ms. Berman reported dozens of violent and sexist social media messages and threatening voicemails soon after the UCP news conference. She was spat upon and physically threatened at Edmonton International Airport. 

And when she was invited to speak to the Alberta Teachers Association in 2018, more furious, personal UCP denunciations followed, aided and abetted by Alberta media.

Former Progressive Conservative Premier Alison Redford – driven out by her own caucus (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

In a statement, now deleted from its website, the UCP falsely called her an “anti-Alberta activist,” and a chorus of friendly columnists contributed a supportive echo chamber. “The enemies of Alberta’s energy industry are running the province,” said one headline. Another described her as “Berman the pipeline-hater.”

The same “rage farming” techniques continue to be used now by more than one of the candidates vying to replace Mr. Kenney, most notably frontrunner Danielle Smith, and by federal Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre, University of Alberta political scientist Jarod Wesley told The Tyee yesterday. 

So when you hear those pious denunciations of Mr. McDavid’s crude tirade at Canada’s deputy PM, you might ask the Alberta Conservatives joining in where they were when similar attacks were being launched against other prominent women.

For her part, Ms. Freeland diplomatically tried to put an end to the matter last night, tweeting that “the Alberta I know is filled with kind and welcoming people” and “one unpleasant incident yesterday doesn’t change that.”

That was nice of her, but it doesn’t mean the problem’s gone away.

Join the Conversation


  1. The UCP likes to use “rage farming” tactics to distract our attention from the major legislative changes they are making to mould our province in their image.

    Criticize the Prime Minister while cutting taxes on profitable corporations. Lambaste the Laurentian Elite while gutting the health system. Unleash the War Room on a Sasquatch movie while allowing coal exploration on the Eastern slopes. Paint environmentalists as enemies of the province while allowing oil companies to avoid paying property taxes. Call the former government ideological while transporting our schools’ curriculum back in time.

    Anger, criticism and deplorable abuse directed at others will not solve complex problems. The way forward requires recognizing the multitude of opinions in a democracy and working with the people holding diverse opinions to find solutions. Yelling abuse at the Deputy Prime Minister or anyone else is simply putting another obstacle between us and a solution.

  2. Yes, there is a long list of women the UCP including Kenney has attacked in the past, so this is not something new. At this point I would say it is just a continuation of a tendency or trend by the extreme right wing.

    As I recall some of the attacks against Premier Notley and MLA Sandra Jansen were particularly nastly. While Kenney carefully distanced himself from them, he didn’t seem to ever completely condemn them. So its not surprising some in the right wing got the idea this sort of thing was ok and just keep on doing it.

    I’m not sure those people quite get how damaging this is. For instance, at a time when there are now jobs again to fill here and Alberta is still a very affordable place to live, the news in the rest of the country is lately filled with stories of bad and kooky behaviour by Alberta right wing extremists. So, it is not exactly enticing for someone, say from another province who may be considering moving here. On the home front, certain UCP leadership candidates who also seem to be trying to revive the war against doctors and health care, could also drive even more health care professionals out of the province at a time when more and more health care facilities are short staffed.

    There is a short sighted arrogance of some on the extreme right in Alberta. Their continued bad behaviour will damage the province and I think a lot of Albertans are getting tired with putting up with it.

      1. Anonymous want to bet the majority are ignorant seniors who have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing whatever these fake conservatives feed them? Ralph Klein had a ball doing it. I knew whenever he was lying by the stupid grin on his face, and others who knew him have told me they did to. I think our retired lawyer friends, over the years, have been right. Stop letting these mindless seniors hurl sarcastic comments at you. Start a class action lawsuit against them and invite them into court and watch them try to defeat well known concrete facts with stupid comments. It would be fun to watch, wouldn’t it? A band of idiots trying to look intelligent.

  3. It was pretty rich of occassional-premier Jason Kenney tweeted and condemned the behaviour of a FreeDUMB protestor when he cornered Chrystia Freeland in an elevator and screamed at her. Considering, Kenney built his political career on demonizing the opposition, propagating conspiracy theories of all kinds, and whipping up the culture of anger and fear that is swelling like a malignant tumour.

    And to make it all worthwhile, the big-bearded troglodyte did a victory lap in the parking lot and declared himself the GOAT of all douchebags. Yes, I bet this guy voted for Kenney and the UCP because they were as angry at Rachel Notley and the NDP as he was. Recalling that stunt that took place during a charity golf tournament, where some humanitarian posted a paper target in the likeness of Notley, so the charitable participants would blast golf balls at it. One genius even drove over it with his golf cart, before doing a victory lap for his triumph. When asked about all this violent nonsense, someone said it’s only a joke. Well, the jokes are getting louder and the threats move stupid.

    Of course, messing with Freeland (Codename: FRIDA) is a special kind task. Considering she, as a young university student, stared down and put up with all kinds of shenanigans from KGB agents, she’s not one to be trifled with by any FreeDUMB goof-off. But one wonders how much longer anyone can tolerate these louts? Another tipping point is coming and many Canadians want these twits to get a severe beating for their idiocy.

    It should also be noted that Skippy Pollivere didn’t join the chorus condemning the incident, preferring to keep quiet and not offend the FreeDUMB crowd he’s grooming. We’ll have to see if he will pay a price for his silence.

  4. I am an 88 year old Canadian who fears what I see happening in our country. The intolerance that is spreading in our political class is frightening and it is promoting a profound disrespect for the law. Without law no country can exist. Churches have been burned with no one charged. Green activists are openly threatened and abused by mouthy mobs and no arrests are made. I search for statesmen amongst our political leaders and find none. Surely we are better than this. We need some of our honorable citizens to step up and enter the political ring to save our country.

  5. Freeland will probably have he last laugh when this McDavid character goes to pay for his Tim Hortons coffee on Monday and finds his bank account frozen.

    1. You know that Ms Freeland can’t just arbitrarily freeze people’s bank accounts, right? I mean, I expect you intended your remark to be humourous, but we don’t need any more misinformation floating around, fueling the rage. Convoy bank accounts were frozen as part of the tools made available by the Emergencies Act. It has ended and so has access to those tools.

  6. The more we expect things to change, the more they will stay the same. This is so applicable to Alberta. Looking at Postmedia newspapers, there are so many who are in defense of what happened, with Chrystia Freeland that it’s repugnant. This type of thing has a history in Alberta. Liberal MLA, Laurie Blakeman, was bullied by Ralph Klein, for asking him to produce some type of receipt for an expenditure. He said, “Are you calling me a liar?” Ralph Klein made horrible comments about Belinda Stronach, involving Peter McKay (unprintable). One of Ralph Klein’s MLAs, also did this, after he was unhappy with Belinda Stronach crossing the floor to join the Liberal Party of Canada (also unprintable). I think his name was Tony Abbott, a Red Deer area MLA. UCP cabinet minister, Jason Nixon, also helped to get a single mother fired after she was reporting issues of being harassed at her place of employment. Rachel Notley was also receiving death threats when she was premier of Alberta. Another NDP MLA was intimidated by the police, because they didn’t agree with what she was doing. These pretend conservatives and Reformers just fuel this kind of thing, and Albertans let them continue to do it.

  7. Welcome to Albaturda of the early 21rst Century.
    Something that most, including most readers of this site, don’t quite get is that the low-life white-trash nutjob in Grande Prairie IS the average Albertan. He represents what Alberta is. He is exactly what any person can expect to bump into anywhere,, anytime in this jurisdiction. He is the guy that would “have a beer” with Ralph Klien. This stupid, offensive, unwashed jerk-off is what Alberta is today and what Alberta has been for more than a generation now.

    Oh! I know; all you educated, erudite, progressive professionals reading this are outraged that anyone would suggest Elliot McDavid is the poster boy and model of citizenship where y’all making such a great living. And you can point to any number of civic leaders who condemn this kind of gutter politics.
    But a half dozen thoughtful and civil leaders, even a few hundred of them in your neighbourhood or workplace doesn’t diminish the backwards, paternalistic, fascist white-trash culture of Albaturda. Serously, why the hell do you think wages are so high here? No normal, self-respecting person would choose to live here.

    Nope. This is just the latest example in a long, long list of examples of this kind of uneducated, boorish and offensive behavior that is demonstrated everyday all across this Province.
    It’ll blow over. Soon we’ll be talking about how great life is out here on the flats where the deer and the antelope play; the radio will play some wistful cowboy sounds while y’all drive around in yer shiny big truck.
    Until the next time.
    Then all the bullshit faux outrage will start up again.

  8. It isn’t hard to see why Albertans are in such a “Horrific Mess” as Peter Lougheed called it and we can all blame these phony conservatives, Reformers, starting with Ralph Klein and created by Stephen Harper and Preston Manning. Encouraged by some of our Newspapers to hurl sarcastic comments at anyone not as dumb as them. Weak minded, easily fooled, easily lead stupid Albertans letting themselves be treated like morons and too damn dumb to understand what they are doing to them. As a former lawyer friend used to say “You can’t be any dumber than a senior, pretending he is a great conservative, going around bad mouthing Liberals while you are supporting one in Ralph Klein”. Well nothing has changed now while they support Liberal turned Reformer in Jason Kenney they are still calling us Lefties and Socialists. I doubt they even know what it means. Can’t you imagine the whining we will hear when they wake up and realize what Smith is doing to them. People in Ontario are starting to whine about re-electing Doug Ford. Want to bet they are seniors.

    1. Alan K. Spiller: You are right. These seniors them brainwash the younger generations to support these pretend conservatives and Reformers. When you see Postmedia newspapers, in relation to this matter, such as The Edmonton and Calgary Sun, The Edmonton Journal, The Calgary Herald, and The National Post, the bulk of the comments are quite telling. In Ontario, there was a very low voter turnout, so that doesn’t help. I don’t know what it will take for people to come to their senses and see that these pretend conservatives and Reformers aren’t helping things.

      1. Worth considering a few things: firstly, the newspaper gets to choose which letters it carries and which it doesn’t. Secondly, many if not most non-right-wingers don’t ever read anything from the Postmedia conglomeration, recognizing it as for-profit disinformation, and people who don’t read it probably don’t write to it. Thirdly, very few people who don’t have grey hair see newspapers as a reliable, or relevant, source of information, and plenty of young adults see them as taxpayer-subsidized pollution, both literally (ie:newspapers used to be trees) and figuratively (ie:they think reading newspapers makes people LESS informed).

        Basically, I don’t think it’s reasonable to make assumptions about the character of “most Albertans” by looking at the comments/letters people submit to their echo chambers. Hopefully this is encouraging?

        1. Neil Lore: Actually, with Postmedia, they are very selective as to what letters they publish. In the Edmonton and Calgary Sun, these letters speak out against the Liberals, the NDP, and anything else that isn’t championing the Conservatives. The bulk of the columnists also support the Conservatives. Yes, anything that exposes the wrongdoings of the Conservatives is hardly ever published in a letter to the Edmonton and Calgary Sun. If it is, it gets extremely edited, and watered down. Postmedia is bedfellows with the Conservatives. Long ago, Ralph Klein would get Rod Love to punish any columnists who criticized what he did. That started it. If you look prior to any provincial, or federal election, a Conservative candidate is on the front page of The Sun. The Sun staff proclaim who they support. Also, when very costly shenanigans by the Conservatives happen, it is never front page news in The Sun. This is what’s happening.

          1. 100% agree. FWIW, I’ve had some small success citing this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmedia_Network#Controversies many times for people who didn’t already know who Postmedia is and what it’s about. For me the money quotes are “The creation of the Postmedia Network effectively concentrates more than 90 percent of all Canadian dailies and weeklies in one company,” and “In October 2018, it was reported that CEO Andrew MacLeod had declared the company “insufficiently conservative.” That resulted in Kevin Libin, who had played an active role in defeating a union drive at the paper earlier that year, taking charge of all political reporting and analysis in Postmedia newspapers to ensure the newspapers became more “reliably conservative.”

  9. Thanks for another great article, David, and for the links you provided. One line in the Global article introducing Kenney’s War Room really stood out for me:

    “Kenney has said one measure of the war room’s success would be improved public opinion about pipelines and resource development”

    So, after more than 3 years in power, are people in the rest of the country more supportive of Alberta’s O & G industry or less?

    1. They never had, or needed, the support of the Canadian public. All they need a government willing to use Police violence to ensure industrial megaprojects are built, and a Police force willing to follow orders. Has Canada ever lacked either of those things?

  10. Someone posted a faux “Alberta’s Calling” commercial on social media. It used Jason Kenney’s voice and the voices of the goons in Grande Prairie. Anyone who saw Friday’s harassment will surely get the message. Come here and you risk an “Alberta Welcome”. A ‘”Shawinigan Handshake” would have been the appropriate response, although as we recall, that was no laughing matter, either.

    This is us, Alberta. This is us. What are we going to do about it?

    As for the soon-to-be-ex premier of this province telling Chrystia Freeland that she can come here, what a patronizing thing to say. It’s still a free country. Canadians have a Charter guarantee of freedom of movement. Unlike the premier, she was born and raised here. She does not need some man’s permission to return to the province of her birth. What kind of country does Kenney think this is?

  11. Thanks for this background and context on what the hate, bigotry, and misogyny UCP has spawned, enabled and amplified in Alberta. It is inevitably going to get worse from all indications coming out of the content, and dirty political tactics, in the UCP leadership Combat by Ire Campaigns

    1. Thanks, Ken. That was just the low-hanging fruit. There are many more cases. As I have said many times, it would be interesting to actually see the number of threats when Alison Redford and Rachel Notley were premier, compared with other premiers of recent memory, including the current buffoon. I have no doubt they go up when a woman, especially a progressive woman, holds the office. DJC

  12. I viewed the tirade of the bearded Albertan who verbally abused and physically threatened Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, during her visit to Grande Prairie. It was a shameful act of violence that I am sure does not represent the citizens of Grande Prairie.

    We should all speak out against this display which threatens our democracy, freedoms, justice and honour. Our politicians deserve respect to represent all of us whether we agree or disagree with their policies or political affiliations. This includes fair, reasonable, accepting and tolerant treatment of all people independent of their gender, creed, sex, age, ethnicity, citizenship etc.

    Freedom of expression does not mean that we can engage in verbal and physical abusive behaviours without consequences. I hope that our laws and the public’s responses in condemning these behaviours will act as a deterrents to prevent radical views from becoming common practises in Canada. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression is a fundamental right and should not be confused with public displays of violence. There are many peaceful ways to express one’s point of view. Think and utilize this right in a thoughtful process. Will I, my family and friends be proud of the actions that I have taken?

    I am proud to be an immigrant Canadian since Canada represents peace, freedom, opportunity and justice to all peoples. We are proud of the progress that we are making to correct historical atrocities and restoring our trust and confidence in our government and institutions. Radical political views and populist politics that threatens our democratic systems are on the rise. Let’s call it out for what it is!

    I apologize Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland that you had to endure such shameful and aggressive behaviour! You have my support!

  13. This is all unsurprising given the situation Alberta is in. The heady boom times in oil and gas that gave the these people exaggerated expectations and senses of entitlement are in the rear view mirror, even though prices are now high. Much of the benefit of jobs and high incomes during the boom times was related to the capital investment phase, and that’s now a fraction of what it used to be. People like Elliot McDavid perceive an existential threat. In a way, they are right, but their reaction will help make the threat real. They can’t conceive of any solution other than to throw a tantrum and demand that everything not just stay the same for them, but return to the most heady days – e.g., circa 2006. Besides throwing tantrums, they look for someone to blame. It can’t be the worldwide economy, trade patterns, our land-locked status, our high cost of production, our history of incredibly bad provincial government policies, or (heaven forbid) the growing international consensus that our very lives and civilization depend on doing something about anthropogenic climate change.

  14. The attacker needs to be called out. The attack toward Freeland is just a tip of the discrimination iceberg. Immigrants of racial minority encountered, more in their first a few years in this country, worse verbal abuse/attacking than does Freeland. For example, if an immigrant expresses any opinion contrary to the mainstream, that new landed immigrant would often hear the following: why not go back to your own country?

  15. You have to figure Daniele Smith is relieved she doesn’t have to compete with Elliot McDavid for the leadership of the UCP, because he’d be leading the race, and probably would win.
    Perhaps, she’ll appoint him as minister of Alberta Culture and Status of Women, when she wins. Why not? It’s Alberta after all.

  16. Why are people who make a living from agriculture in Alberta and Saskatchewan extremely upset these days from upcoming federal legislation?
    A very simple question.
    Yet, the elite virtual signaling woke class snort and squeal away at what a frustrated Albertan said while not noting there is an actual problem being created by the federal Liberal party with western agriculture that will create food production issues.
    Only a really low information individual can see the low hanging fruit the legacy media and their ignorant following sheep try to destroy every day. And there are a lot of low information individuals. Look at what our schools and universities are producing.

    1. Well, I’m not sure what the “elite virtual signaling woke class” is exactly, but it sounds bad. I bet the biker-looking profanity-screaming guy was one of them and we can sure do without those types. I wonder if we could be vaccinated against them?

      And of course when you point out that “there are a lot of low information individuals. Look at what our schools and universities are producing.” you are absolutely correct. Thank you for being such a clear example of this to illustrate your point.

    2. Mr. Dickens was probably one of the deluded anti-vaxx “farmers” who illegally terrorized Edmonton with his scary tractor. They whine about our Prime Minister but can never enumerate anything specific.

  17. Perhaps authorities’ strategy is to ‘just ignore them and they’ll go away.’ Grant that the Freedumbites are a smaller minority than they appear, probably smaller than they themselves imagine, and that, of course, is largely due to social media which are also largely responsible for rabid tRumpbublicanism finding capillary egress into Canada’s Achilles’ Heel, Alberta.

    Are they going away while some of their convoy organizers are being prosecuted and church eviction procedures devolve into farce. Recall that the Ku Klux Klan developed their goofy dunce-capped bedsheet-robes to sarcastically suggest they was just funnin’ with not real ill-intent—no, no, anybody thought that was simply bereft of a sense of humour. But is that still sufficient rationale to get away with assaulting the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada with “F—king b—ch…traitor…and c—nt!” Was it ever?

    It’s a sad day, they say, when citizens in public employ have to entourage with security for their own safety. Had Minister Freeland been, say, the VP of the USA, that lout mighta been lucky to escape with being taken down hard, shackled and bundled off to jail, then court.

    Nobody among the middle-of-the-roaders who make up the vast majority of our nation really wants to estimate whether the Freedumbites are ascendant or merely a pest because, really, the jury is out: with all sorts of psephological events swirling about in North America’s partisan right these days, it’s just to hard to tell—and just too frightful to risk encouraging the bastards. The ultimate test is most apropos to democracy: the ballot boxes are soon ready in a number of races—maybe authorities are loath to respond to these kinds of verbal assaults and defamations for risk of, as ultra-partisans like to say, ‘making it political’ (really, it means ‘partisan’).

    But the law is the law, and uttering verbal assaults is only a notch milder than uttering death threats: both happen to be crimes. Why are these not prosecuted?

  18. “So where was Premier Kenney when Oil Sands Strong founder Robbie Picard held up the apparently uncontroversial poster attacking Ms. Berman at the news conference about the UCP Government’s then new Energy War Room and its assignment to ‘fight lies and defamation’ about the oilsands?”

    “Lies and defamation”?
    Hmmm. Where have we heard that before?

    At the time, Notley stopped just short of calling Tzeporah Berman a liar:
    “Notley says she needs to go [to the Alberta Teachers Association conference], in her words, ‘to counter misinformation and ensure that the whole story is told.'” (Canadian Press)

    Cheryl Oates, Communications Director for the Premier: “We have been clear that when it comes to Alberta’s oilsands, Berman is dead wrong.”
    “Braid: Note to Teachers’ Association: Expel Tzeporah Berman” (Calgary Herald, Sep 17, 2018)

    “Asked about Berman’s Tweet, Phillips bluntly replied: ‘I’m really not all that concerned about anything Tzeporah Berman says.'”
    “Varcoe: Despite Alberta’s climate efforts, Tzeporah Berman says pipeline to coast not acceptable” (February 17, 2018)

    “Alberta’s Minister of Education David Eggen: “When it comes to Alberta’s oilsands, Berman is dead wrong.”
    “Despite ‘vicious’ backlash and death threats, environmentalist Tzeporah Berman is determined to speak in Alberta” (StarMetro, Sept. 19, 2018)

    If, as per Notley & Crew, Berman was “dead wrong”, that would mean she was either ill-informed — or lying and deliberately peddling misinformation.
    Little doubt where the NDP stood.
    At the ATA conference, Notley countered Berman’s “misinformation” with barrels of her own.

    “it’s about the silence of the NDP Government, which appears to have thrown Ms. Berman under the bus”
    “The furious denunciations of Tzeporah Berman in Alberta are unprecedented, hypocritical and dangerous” (Alberta Politics)

    The “silence” from Notley’s NDP was perhaps only relative to the terminal outrage from the Unhinged Crackpot Party.
    I do not suggest the two responses are comparable. Only that Notley’s attacks on environmentalists gave Kenney and the UCP space to turn up their rhetoric to 11.
    Shifting the Overton window. When nominally progressive politicians throw their own under the bus, that gives the deplorables and the irresponsibles the greenlight to go haywire.
    Just a theory.

  19. Time to find this person, and press (verbal ) assault charges under the criminal code. The evidence is on video. Enough of this. The Criminal Code of Canada provides for this charge, and it’s time to show these thugs a bit of punishment to fit their crimes. Let them learn civil discourse, or they can learn to say nothing.

  20. This guy is such a loser. He literally got dressed up in his best finery, including his least-stained wife-beater and his fanciest 90’s era cell phone holder, and went out hunting for the deputy PM. He actually manages to not only find her, through utter dumb luck, but to find her basically alone. After all this effort of tracking her down, does he expound on the conspiracy theories that are bouncing around in the generously empty cavern of his skull? Does he confront her with any of the accusations of trying to destroy Alberta that he clings to like a security blanket? No, of course not. He swears at her and calls her a traitor. What a wasted opportunity.

    I wonder if he had anything scripted out in his mind before he met face-to-face with his great political enemy, but then completely lost his ability to make any argument beyond the most basic misogynistic slurs when actually looking a woman in the eye? Typical incel behavior. I think he was more intimidated by her than she was of him.

    To compound his pathetic performance, he takes a victory lap and tries to convince himself and his like-minded peons that he actually did something impressive, basically gaslighting himself in real-time. What a loser.

  21. There is a lot of anger out there I’m sure everyone can sense it that things aren’t right and it is, unfortunately, just a matter of time before it bubbles to the surface. It is also unfortunate that this fellow in Grande Prairie was unable to handle things in a mature fashion. You have to remember that Freeland is front and centre in promoting policies that aim to destroy many Albertan’s and other Canadian’s way of life and livelihood. Spreading talking points that attempt to make this about conservative politicians riling up the base against female politicians will not work well as a strategy on anyone who is paying attention. Fortunately we live in a time where information quickly and readily available, for example we can see what is happening in the Netherlands as their farmers are being attacked using similar policies to the ones Freeland is being told to promote. Instead of trying to use one incident to score political points and further divide perhaps we all should be asking the question what does the fertilizer reduction Freeland is promoting do to our food supply?

    1. What fertilizer reduction/shortage are you talking about?
      Yer spreading it on pretty thick. I think you have more than enough for a few acres.

      1. It’s a conspiracy theory. The federal government wants to decrease the amount of climate change that is caused by nitrogen in fertilizers. They are looking at improving efficiency and helping farmers deploy more strategic methods of using fertilizer so that they don’t have to use as much. They haven’t enacted any measures yet and have assured farmers that they aren’t going to arbitrarily force them to cut back on fertilizer use.

        However, the conspiracy theorists believe that the government is going to force farmers to stop using fertilizer all together, or at least to cut back by like 40%. This would affect yields and impact the farmers’ ability to earn a living, as well as possibly lead to food shortages. Of course, this is not real. No one in the Canadian government is suggesting that they are going to do anything like this. In fact, helping farmers use fertilizer more strategically and efficiently (which is actually something they want to do), will both help the climate and reduce the expenses of farmers.

        Complete morons will bring up events in Denmark where they are actually affecting farmers negatively, failing to realize that Denmark is not Canada. They will often also mention the WEF, because of course they do.

        1. Thanks for translating! I’ve long since lost patience with playing whack-a-mole with whatever the ‘crazy-BS-du-jour’ is.

          1. Perhaps I could clarify this a bit, since I use fertilizer on my farm. Nitrogen oxide emissions from fertilizer application were once a problem – 20 years ago. As prices went up fertilizer was reformulated so it had to be buried to become active, fixing the volatility issue. Other fixes around helping farmers use the stuff more efficiently have been standard operating procedure on prairie farms for decades. Some of the so-called fixes, like variable rate applications are only theoretically cost-effective when applied over vast acreages and are less cost-efficient on an average farm. Most of these fixes are being promoted by commercial agronomists employed either directly or indirectly by the fertilizer companies.
            The big problem in Europe is disposal of animal waste. Both Denmark and the Netherlands are major food exporters, and manure and phosphate disposal on their small land bases is just about impossible given the number of animals they raise. On the prairies this is much less of a problem since we have enough land area to naturally absorb the animal waste, BUT even here the economics of it are marginal since transporting the stuff any distance becomes prohibitive.
            Forgive all the “inside baseball” stuff, but sometimes a well-meaning program can have opposite unintended consequences and this is one of them.

      2. See what you’ve done there Ranger? You have jumped in and wailed about an issue you admit you know nothing about. Yes the cons are using this to rile up their base and yes what Jim said kind of aligns with this, but just blowing him off with a snarky comment is exactly what polarizes everyone which does less than nothing to help. Jim asks a perfectly good question at the end which other commenters have answered, but you just arrogantly ignored his concerns.

        Jim’s comment alludes to a deeper issue – the Rural/Urban divide. We have it in BC and it sounds to me like Alberta has it in spades. This division hinders discussion and is very destructive, especially when promoted for political purposes. Someone should indeed come down hard on this clown in GP but you should also address the issues.

        Also Tyler, this is not a conspiracy theory of morons – it actually is a thing although it’s used by morons to divide us, Denmark is not Canada but Jim referred to The Netherlands, and WTH said anything about the WEF? Also in Europe they have admitted that this may move to mandatory reductions if voluntary doesn’t do enough.

    2. Enumerate all these policies that are aimed at destroying the “Alberta way of life”. This kind of meaningless rhetoric is what the angry, violent UCP types are angry and violent about.
      I’m sure the fertilizer reduction program is personally overseen by our Deputy Prime Minister specifically to harm Alberta farmers and which has zero other reason for existence other than to harm Alberta farmers. (eye roll)

      1. https://agriculture.canada.ca/en/about-our-department/transparency-and-corporate-reporting/public-opinion-research-and-consultations/share-ideas-fertilizer-emissions-reduction-target/discussion-document-reducing-emissions-arising-application-fertilizer-canadas-agriculture-sector
        A long read, but it clarifies the method to reduce emissions from fertilizer use. Spolier alert: “The Government of Canada has been clear that the objective of the national target for fertilizers is to reduce emissions, and that the primary method to achieve this is not to establish a mandatory reduction in fertilizer use that isn’t linked to improved efficiency and maintaining or improving yields. Rather, the goal is to maximize efficiency, optimize fertilizer use, encourage innovation, and to work collaboratively with the agriculture sector, partners and stakeholders in identifying opportunities that will allow us to successfully reach this target.” So there!

  22. It should be noted that Skippy Pollivere is still incredibly silent on the whole ‘Dust in a Grande Prairie Elevator’ incident.

    He’s still doing is so-called rallies and building his “movement” to “oust the gatekeepers” and “make Canada the freest place on earth”. It’s heard to believe he doesn’t have anything else to say. But when you’re talking to the hard-of-thinking mob, you don’t need much as than a grunt and running drool.

    Thinking to my RPC days, I recall that there were two Reform MPs who frequently ran afoul of the characters in their own caucus. Presto Manning couldn’t control that herd of cats, so mayhem was an everyday sort of thing. These two MPs were kind of outliers in the caucus, in that they did have lives and considerable success outside of politics. And on certain issues, they were moderates and completely out of step with the rest of the caucus. One, interestingly enough for the time, favoured LGBT rights and protections, because he had seen too many people mistreated for being who they were. The other MP, while being pro-life, favoured family-oriented policies like those in European countries, such as family leave and a nationally mandated four weeks paid holiday for all. He even saw there was merit in a guaranteed income strategy.

    Needless to say, they got it all the time from their caucus colleagues, who were more content to spout off about ‘Murica, Rifle Jesus, and the End Times. One did not seek re-election after his first term, and the other left after two terms.

    Reformers are toxic to each other, that’s why they fail.

  23. There’s a lot to think about from this incident. There’s the issue of anger & hate towards women that scares many away from getting into politics. See Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s Twitter thread for her perspective.

    There’s this chauvinist idea that you have to be born and raised in Alberta to have any right to be involved in the province’s affairs — unless you’re a conservative, of course, since neither Stephen Harper nor Jason Kenney was, whereas both Ms Freeland and Rachel Notley were not only Alberta- but Peace Country- born & raised.

    Then there’s the “rage farming” (as U of A political scientist Jared Wesley called it) matter of people being told things by conservative voices that are simply not true — like the “fertilizer ban” that another commenter here seems to object to. For the record, the Liberal government does want to see farmers use less nitrogen-based fertilizer, but to achieve this by working collaboratively with farmers to reduce use of those chemicals gradually over time, which would also reduce their input costs. There is no fertilizer “ban”, cap or cut being contemplated or proposed.

    Finally, with respect, I do challenge our host’s opinion on the fall of former Alberta PC Premier Alison Redford as being related to misogyny. I feel it was directly a product of typical Tory entitlement. Canadian voters are, by and large, a penurious bunch, and we don’t like to see our politicians “putting on airs”. Just like former Harper Minister Bev Oda’s $16 orange juice, Ms Redford’s “fakes on a plane” and the infamous “Sky Palace” were the keys to her undoing.

    She also betrayed her alleged “progressive” credentials that led to members of the ATA taking out PC memberships in order to vote for her as PC Leader, once she was in government. Her government introduced Bills 45 & 46, two of the most anti-labour pieces of legislation before the Kenney UCP government took office in 2019. It also brought in objectionable legislation regarding workplace pensions in the public sector that died on the order paper under her successor Jim Prentice’s government.

  24. The article in the Calgary herald today made my blood boil and I would encourage everyone to google it because it brings back memories of 2003 for me. “ High time we talk about it: Calgary mayor speaks out about threats and intimidation she’s faced. “ In 2003 that’s what a group of us faced with ignorant seniors and you can bet the comments in the Calgary herald blog came from stupid seniors.

    1. Alan K. Spiller: It’s also no different in the Calgary Sun. You can see this for yourself.
      I did see the Calgary Herald article on this, and the bulk of the comments are appalling. They may not all be seniors, but they certainly are being brainwashed by the seniors into supporting these pretend conservatives and Reformers.

  25. Well, Skippy finally addressed the “Dust-Up in an Elevator in Grande Prarie” and his response could be bested summed up as he’s experienced far worse.


  26. wow you really hate Albertans don’t you. I wonder what is behind that . I found your article very insulting but that was the whole point ,right?

    1. No, what’s really insulting is your comment. Those of us who really love Alberta are dismayed at the ugly things that are happening and desperately hope for a more civilized dialogue to deal with real and perceived issues.

    2. Just reread that article looking for Alberta hate, and I think you may be conflating ‘the UCP and its politicians’ (who are roundly criticized in the article) with ‘Alberta.’ This isn’t Alberta hate, this is just reporting.

      That said, Albertans are on the path to being as looked down upon and shunned as Trumpers. In America, a bunch of epistemically victimized racist yokels traded their country for a red hat. Albertans still have time to change course.

    3. I see no hate in this article really. Pity perhaps for Albertans who are misrepresented by this scatological man mountain of fertilizer. In any event his mama forgot to teach him manners. Also the basis of logical dispute. I gained nothing from listening to his foul mouthed ejaculation. Which by the way was an assault too. I am sure underneath the fellow may have had a point to make, but what that is escapes me. In point of fact Minister Freeland’s mom was a longtime Albertan who I knew, and Chrystia, as you can find Beth, was born and lived in Alberta. Jason Kenney and his ilk are not natives of Alberta. I don’t believe I need to say more.

    4. Beth: Derogatory treatment towards female politicians, including with misogyny, crosses a line, that we all should not tolerate. You don’t understand that, or do you?

  27. There isn’t a lot of anger out there, just a small but noisy minority who whip themselves into a lather: that’s what passes for their “talking points.” Almost everybody else senses that this isn’t right, but the bubbles of lather aren’t much of a misfortune: most people are doing okay.

    It certainly was unfortunate for this lout that he achieved notoriety in such an immature way. Whatever things he was trying to handle should really be done in the private. As it is, he risks facing criminal charges.

    Citizens do not “have to remember” something that isn’t real: Chrystia Freeland is not “front and centre” of any plan to “destroy” anyone’s way of life because such a policy does not exist. But most citizens are paying attention and do remember that certain UCP and CPC politicians are on record for riling up their base against the federal government and certain of its MPs, commissioners, and even the odd Sasquatch . I wholeheartedly agree that it doesn’t work well except on that base (as for targeting females in particular, that appears to be the job of the base’s menfolk, big and strong enough to accost, in this case, a defenceless woman who is barely five feet tall).

    Fortunately we live in a time when misinformation is quickly debunked. For example, we easily can find out that what is happening in the Netherlands has little to do with Canadian farmers, that Canadian farmers are not being “attacked,” and that neither Minister Freeland nor our elected government is promoting anything that threatens our food supply (rather, the government is proposing farmers voluntarily avail programs aimed at reducing GHG emissions by using fertilizers more efficiently, in innovative ways, and from alternative sources—go ahead: check it out).

    Instead of using a single incident to propagate elaborate conspiracy theories that attempt to divide Canadians, we all should be asking “Jim” how he/she came to write his/her completely refutable (for the majority of us who are paying attention) and fact-checkable talking points here. If it was to score points, is he/she at all concerned that he/she has succeeded about as much as the potty-mouthed goon who attacked Minister Freeland?

    1. Too bad we don’t have laws on the books against incitement to violence, defamation, death threats, or hate speech.

      Oh wait, we do! Never mind. Too bad we refuse to enforce those laws when they’re broken by the white and wealthy.

  28. I notice some of the commenters here have tried to shift the discussion away from what actually went on — harassment and intimidation of an elected official — to other items on the disinformation Kool Aid menu.

    No one deserves this kind of abuse. No one. Those who argue that it is somehow the victim’s fault sound like what we’d hear from spousal abusers. Not surprising that this abusive man would pick a female half his size to threaten. Those who argue that she had it coming in probably take the side of those who mentally, physically and otherwise abuse domestic partners. Not surprising that this happened where it did.


    Not to worry, guys. I’m sure the proposed APP will look the other way. No wonder you want the RCMP gone.

  29. The contributions here and elsewhere excoriating the behaviour of young Elliot McDavid has devolved into ridicule and worse. I fear, like Nelson Mandela [“There is nobody more dangerous than one who has been humiliated”], that those who beset him from all sides (Trudeau, Pollievre, Kenney, and most others), and who thus proclaim him to be anathema in their so-called “real world”, will encourage him and others to become the thin edge of the wedge of increasing violence.
    In trying to ‘understand’ what this man and many others are about is ‘not to condone’. To simply dismiss them by ridicule is not going to stop the provocations. Belligerence on both sides needs to stop first before real dialogue can begin.
    I am reminded too that the NDP in government did not consult with farmers when new labour legislation was introduced concerning farm labour, including family members. How much conversation was had with farmers and ranchers before the 30% reduction in nitrogen fertilizer use was introduced? How much of the science of fossil fuel use, its decreasing supply and pollutant effects, and any forms of regenerative agriculture were offered for discussion?
    Far too much reliance on “experts” and not anywhere enough conversation with real people doing the real work! How long did it take for some to begin to learn from Indigenous peoples about what they had done for centuries to curb wildfires? Learning does take time, but that applies to not only those doing the ‘real work’, but also to those who spend several years with books. They have much to contribute to each other. And having politicians and civil servants in between these people is not all that helpful!!

    1. Cornering someone in an elevator, while threatening and harassing them verbally is assault. Ask a cop. There is no “both sides” when one person uses their physical size to initimidate someone, utters threats and prevents their egress.

      You attempt to excuse this individual and shift the argument to something other than this assault on an elected official. Invoking Nelson Mandela’s name? Forget about it. This man is nothing but a common thug.

      You may condone assault on a woman, sir, but attitudes like yours are why Grande Prairie tops the charts on domestic violence.


    2. Hey fertilizer conspiracy guy, you should put this on your crops and then the government won’t come and take your teeth, or whatever the hell you’re on about. Let’s see:

      Google “Elliot McDavid” and click on “images.” “Young Elliot McDavid” has a full, grey-streaked beard. I’ve noticed that closeted white supremacists will often call an adult white male “young” or “just a kid” when he has done something illegal and worthy of punishment in an attempt to argue that he should not be punished. This seems like the same thing, but far more egregious. Not calling you a “closeted white supremacist” btw, just saying where I’ve most often seen this tactic used successfully.

      If listening to Mrs. Freeland makes someone feel angry, that is not the same as her inciting violence. Listening to Pierre Poilievre makes me angry, but that’s not the same as him “inciting me to violence” and would not excuse me if I were to use (or threaten to use) violence against him or his supporters. If I were to do that, I ought to be prosecuted. This isn’t rocket science, it’s extremely basic morality, the kind we used to expect all children to understand and follow. Society has made it safe, legal and profitable to pour poison into people’s ears. I think we should change that. As an aside, literally every abuser blames their victim, doing this doesn’t make far-right nutcases special.

      “In trying to ‘understand’ what this man and many others are about is ‘not to condone’.” I think you’re trying to say that you are not trying to excuse his behaviour, just to explain it? Unfortunately, taken with the rest of this post, it reads as trivializing and diminishing his incredibly unacceptable behaviour.

      “Belligerence on both sides needs to stop first before real dialogue can begin.” I suppose I must have missed Mr. McDavid getting cornered in an elevator and assaulted. It seems you’re trying to do the Trump “fine people on both sides” thing and that is not gonna fly.

      re: the last two paragraphs

      What on God’s green earth does any of this have to do with a violent yokel cornering and threatening an elected official? I’m guessing the argument being made is “she didn’t consult with Mr. McDavid before implementing her policy, therefore his violence is justified?” I’m getting a strong “look what she made him do” vibe, which again, is textbook abuser speak.

  30. Beth– I was born and raised in Alberta, and right now I’m at the point that I do hate “the ignorant ,misogynist cowards” that feel they can get away with this kind of despicable behaviour. As a woman (?) You should be insulted by the behaviour of the low life and condemning it, if not you are a supporter of his actions (perchance short blonde hair and black shirt&leggings ??)
    And yes, P.Polievre did finally make a “statement” ,after one event in Nanaimo on his way to Saanich (next stop airport?).,I had no idea he was on the island, until it made the news and his sincerity was palpable..blink blink blink

    And for what its worth, my father & especially my grandfather who farmed until he was 72,are both rolling over in their graves ,listening to these “industrial agroculturists” aka farmers,with all the cr– ,they’re spreading, oh right ,it’s all artificial fertilizer, because when we had real farmers, they didn’t need artificial they knew how to crop rotate, use the animals contributions and sustain a healthy land, when you have “corporations” working on getting the most out of their investments ,it’s all about the bottom dollar, as quickly as possible, and once the land can no longer produce, because that is what happens when you add artificial continuously ,they will pack up, dump the land on some unsuspecting schmucks, take the money & run..
    And by the by, both my dad & grandfather (who was a great admirer of Diefenbaker) would take Mr McDavid out behind the cowshed to talk to him about manners and how a real man talks to a woman, politician or not..

  31. This has been fostered by the anti Ottawa sentiments that have be used by the UCP to distract voters from the abysmal performance of the UCP. It will be brought out over the coming months as we approach the run up to the next Provincial election.

    It is being used by others to further their own goals. It comes down to fostering hate and verbal violence for gain.

    It is not simply limited to politicians in the national, provincial, and municipal. It is directed at senior public servants and the judiciary.

    Media personnel, most especially women, who dare to criticize this nonsense are subject to the most vile and hateful comments and threats.

    Those threats and intimidation often include family members of the target.

    The challenge is that you cannot fix stupid , the views of those who wallow in conspiracy theories, or those who use their faith beliefs as an excuse for their actions, or change the mindset of bullies.

    I believe it is time to start applying the law and to meting out appropriate responses.

  32. Well folks as long as we have these reform party idiots trying to pretend they are conservatives, treating the ignorant Albertans like morons and them letting them do it nothing will change. It’s up to us to stop it, we owe it to our children to do so. Start flooding our newspapers with letters condemning what they are doing to us and pointing out what needs to be done to fix it. The sad problem is the fact that many of the newspapers editors would rather support the idiots rather than the intelligent Albertans who know what’s happening to us. You don’t need to be a genius to understand what oil wealth as done for Alaska and Norway and what these phoney conservatives have done to us by helping the rich screw us out of what’s legally ours as lawyers point out.

  33. I heard the thug called Chrystia a “traitor.” The real traitor was that woman with him, and I’ll go further and say ANY woman who still identifies as conservative is a traitor to her own sex after what has happened in the States with Roe v. Wade. Because that horror has legally sanctioned women being infantilized and relegated to some sort of auxiliary status as human beings who have no say in their reproductive choices, i.e. what happens in their own bodies. There is no more basic right. This outrage in 2022 for gawd’s sake, and despite the final season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” coming this month! Fetuses are not free-range despite all the misguided, psychotic warriors vowing to heroically protect “them.” As usual, religious doctrine guided by patriarchy and therefore fully laced with pure misogyny is the sanction for this tyranny. I live for the day when religion can be marginalized completely to the private realm where it obviously belongs.

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