Apocalypse Now at the Alberta Legislature? Well, it’s colder today than it was when this picture was taken. Brace yourselves! (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

With the Alberta Legislature resuming sitting today with a Throne Speech, one has to wonder what the United Conservative Government of Premier Danielle Smith will get up to next? 

Government House Leader Joseph Schow (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

The headline on the government’s news release Friday about the inaugural session of the 31st Legislature, the first since the May 29 election, says MLAs will reconvene “with legislation geared towards providing financial protection and securing Albertans’ interests.”

Now there’s a heavily coded phrase if ever I heard one that ought to send Halloween chills up and down your spines, my dear fellow Albertans. 

“Alberta’s government is returning to the Legislature with a mandate from voters to grow our economy, protect law-abiding Albertans, improve health care and defend our province from federal interference,” said Government House Leader Joseph Schow, the MLA for Cardston-Siksika who is enjoying his Warholian 15 minutes of fame, in the canned quote assigned to him in the government’s press release. 

Improve health care? I’ll bet! 

Proposed legislation will include “safeguarding pensions,” the release adds, and we all know what that means since the government’s absurdist planned Alberta pension plan grift has dominated provincial political coverage for a month.

Alison Redford … worst premier (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“Additional proposed legislation will include further strengthening Alberta’s case against those who helped create the opioid crisis,” the release also says – although you can count on it that whatever the UCP comes up with, it will do nothing to alleviate the opioid crisis or save any lives. The contrary, more likely. 

But what else will they do to appeal to the basest of their base and distract and troll the rest of us? 

Channel Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and use the Canadian Constitution’s Notwithstanding Clause to require parental consent before a child can use a “new gender-related preferred name” at school?

Set a punitive tax on electric vehicles to match the moratorium on renewable energy projects? 

Ban forest fire smoke forecasts and COVID-19 statistics on the grounds they’re fake news? 

Who the hell knows?

Jason Kenney … worse than the worst (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

I’ve tried to make these proposals ridiculous enough to educate through humour. Really, though, that’s very hard to do when contemplating the UCP Government here in Wild Rose Country, or the Saskatchewan Party Government in the province next door.

Either could very well introduce such ideas, or worse, if they haven’t already. 

This creates a real problem for those who dare to comment on Prairie populist politics.

We understand, after all, that most educated and thoughtful readers have an inherent distrust of extreme statements. 

So how do you even report accurately on many of the policies of the Smith Government, not to mention the ridiculous and contradictory statements made almost daily by Premier Smith, without sounding like you’ve slipped your mooring?

Danielle Smith … worst of the worst? (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

One can even hear frustration with this state of affairs creeping in to the staid commentary of respectable mainstream media columnists. 

Alas, sounding like an alarmist Chicken Little lunatic has become an occupational hazard of practicing journalism in Alberta. 

This may account for the number of Albertans telling themselves metronomically that the UCP doesn’t really want to set up an Alberta pension plan, they just want to have a fight with Ottawa. 

Nope. Sorry. They want your money. Gifters gonna grift. 

Living as we do in an age of superlatives, the superlatives keep getting more superlative – even when they’re true at every step. 

Alison Redford may well have been the worst premier in Alberta history, and she was going after pensions too – although not necessarily yours.

Jason Kenney was most definitely worse than Ms. Redford, though – and he refloated Stephen Harper’s pre-prime-ministerial scheme to grab Alberta’s share of the Canada Pension Plan, whatever that turns out to be. (Hint: Not 52 per cent.) 

Lo and behold, Premier Smith is worse than either of them – and she’s definitely after your pension!

You see what I mean? 

How can anyone report honestly on UCP plans for Alberta Health Services, or cleaning up the oilsands, using the Sovereignty Act, or whatever else occurs to them, without sounding hysterical?

Fasten your seatbelts! It’s sure to get worse. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Hello DJC,
    Does “providing financial protection and securing Albertans’ interests” mean trying to pry money from the CPP for whatever hare-brained scheme is D S’s flavour of the day, with even more subsidies of the oil and gas companies’ profits a major part of the plan?
    As for health care, it would be nice if D S improved it and stopped privatizing more and more of it.
    Really and truly, as you say, it isn’t even possible to predict what looney idea we will be presented with next.
    D S seems to think that she can do whatever she likes because she is premier and she doesn’t seem to think that the province has any existence outside of her personal wishes. “L’etat c’est moi” (I am the state) as Louis XIV of France might have said.

  2. I wouldn’t hope to know what educated and thoughtful people trust, but certainly a lot of folks seemed to trust some pretty extreme statements about the Pewtin, the Covids and the climate changers. But have no fear, Big Oil, the banks and the hedge funds are going green, and if you can’t trust straight-shooters like Exxon, Jamie Dimon’s JP Morgan Chase, and Larry Fink’s Blackrock to steer the ship of humanity on these stormy seas, well, you’re just crazy!

    1. That’s a strawman, absolutely no one is saying JP Morgan Chase should be steering the ship, especially anyone pointing out that many of those groups are rife with folks from the far right working hard to inspire fear and see division among the working class. Politics is a matter of nuance, diplomacy, and compromise, not one characteristic represented by todays meme obsessed far right.

  3. Smith’s unique talents include being drawn to bad ideas like a bug to light and her glib and confident presentation of them that gets some support or disarms some who should oppose them.

    Its not that Redford and Kenney did not have bad ideas too, but they were not front and centre as with Smith. Both also seemed to have an understanding of Canada – Alberta relations. Redford seemed to want to have good relations with the rest of Canada and Kenney with his Federal experience understood what was realistic, although he did not let that get in the way of his political rhetoric.

    In a way, Smith is in part a result of the failures of her predecessors, particularly Kenney who should have known better to gin up grievances and anger for his own political benefit.

    So, I suppose this is what happens when you have self serving leaders who can’t or won’t take constructive approach to relations with the rest of Canada. And yes, Smith is coming after our pensions and hoping that dislike and distrust of the Federal government will help her achieve that. Perhaps, fortunately in this case, a lot of Albertans dislike and distrust her too, even a number in her own party. So perhaps in this case she may not succeed, but there are plenty of other harebrained ideas for her to latch onto. Until she is gone, we need to remain worried and vigilant.

  4. Scott Moe and the UCP. What a pair. They remind me of the cartoon with the two dogs, Chester and Spike. Mirthful cartoon comparisons aside, they are going to cause deaths and ruin lives. Without a doubt, cruelty is their brand.

  5. It’ll get worse very fast. Nate Horner has promised the Alberta Pension Scam decision will be based on a “high level feeling from many sources.”

    Bullshit. The only feeling that matters is Danielle Smith’s. She decided to steal our pension money decades ago. She’ll give it to her friends in the oilpatch. The only way to stop her is to out-shout Barry Cooper and Rob Anderson.

    1. Mike J Danysh >> wiki
      “Little Jack Horner –first mentioned in the early 18th century , it was early associated with acts of opportunism, especially in politics. Moralists also rewrote and expanded the poem so as to counter its celebration of greediness.
      ( Little Jack Horner
      sat in his corner
      eating his Christmas pie
      he put in his thumb
      and pulled out applum
      And said, ” what a good boy
      am I” )

      L’ll Ms Danit
      stood at her pulpit,
      giving our money away.
      along came an insider
      and whispered quietly
      to her
      O&G all the way,
      never fear.

      Sing a song- dockets full of lies
      aw! nostalgia!! I’m not
      sure if memory serves

  6. During the pandemic, a friend sent me a pic of a sign, that is 100% applicable now in Alberta…

    Good lord, what the ‘ef now?

  7. I guess we’ll have a “better” idea of which rocks the good ship Alberta will wreck upon after the UCP convention. I keep thinking that the APP is a giant smoke and mirrors distraction. If she wins, she will be ecstatic. If she loses, she will have used the stir to gift us an Alberta police force or the like.

  8. I’m not sure if I heard it right on Question period yesterday, but I believe that VK said that for Alberta to withdraw, they have to give 3 yrs notice AND negotiate terms….??
    I’m not sure how that plays into DS’s plans.

  9. Hello Commenter Dave,
    I agree that what is so annoying about D S is the “glib and confident presentation” (your words) which she uses to try to make the most preposterous ideas sound rational. I think it’s probably a human trait to think that a rational-sounding presentation signals rational ideas, and it’s difficult to wrap our minds about the fact that it don’t necessarily signal rational ideas.

  10. The craziest part of the recent election campaign was the promise to have a referendum to approve any increase in personal or individual tax rates. So how does a government run in these constantly shifting times without predictable revenue sources ? There is great animosity to a provincial sales tax = does any new revenue come from the APP ?

  11. All one can do is watch the extended olive leaf ,numbers and manipulation and rate with a number 9 if need be

  12. Judging by Danielle Smith’s recent bellicose posturing toward Ottawa, one would think something important was going down in UCP Land.

    Actually there’s that AGM that’s around the corner, where TBA is plotting to grab even more of the influence and hand even more power to David Parker. He swears he’s not in it for the power, but the guy’s avatar on X is Napoleon Bonaparte. There’s no doubt that Smith’s beating PMJT has more to do with keeping TBA at bay than picking a serious fight with Ottawa. Besides, everyone of Smith’s ideas have been rule as either misguided to batsh@t crazy. I mean when Ontario’s finance minister requests a consultation over the APP, you know that they are close to running Smith out on a rail.

    1. I’m glad you brought up TBA. I hear they’ve restructured as a non profit and plan to expand to BC and Sask. in a bid to take over school boards. This is crazy and undemocractic territory. I read an article today about an attack on the freedom of speech at the Creston Public Library. We need to be very protective of democracy right now. I still blame Harper for unleashing these dogs of war in Canada. Solidarity.

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