Jason Kenney is official

It’s official: My all-time best friend and favourite politician ever Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney has been elected as the leader of Alberta’s currently defunct Progressive Conservative party. Now, in case you need a refresher for what this might mean for Texas North, here’s a list of Jason Kenney’s votes and political positions in no particular order:

And many, many more!

How many crimes can he commit before the police finally get off their arse? Who knows! Do any of the Albertan conservatives care that their messiah is an addled mess of corruption? Probably not! Will the PCs have a single rally without at least one jackass chanting “lock her up” referring to Premier Rachel Notley? I wouldn’t bet my boots on it!

Trump has officially come to Alberta.

-Shiv

“Cut the wage of public workers” crowd strangely silent after NDP’s executive pay cut

The Progressive Conservatives would have you believe that Alberta’s budget is going to turn into a Greece situation tomorrow. Often they have union busted, or at least union bruised, in the public sector, calling for hiring and wage freezes for front-line workers. But it’s not the nurse working 14 hour shifts who is bringing home the big bucks, and freezing those wages often nets the province a meagre amount compared to the budget. If the current government did that now, they’d net about $8 million.

So at first I was surprised to hear that the New Democratic Party has announced cuts themselves. But this time it came with a twist: They were targeting the executives.

Now here’s the really weird part–despite finding almost twice as much room in the budget as a result of these cuts ($16 million)–the “slash, cut and burn” crowd are nowhere to be seen.

You’d think this would have pleased the opposition. After all, just three weeks ago they were screaming that the NDP Government of Premier Rachel Notley must freeze the pay of front-line nurses, health care workers, teachers and civil servants who will be negotiating new collective agreements this year.

Back then, in an official statement, the Wildrose Party called a mediator’s recommendation of raises ranging for 29 cents to 88 cents an hour for 14,000 health care aides and licensed practical nurses represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees “a slap in the face to struggling Albertans.”

Some of those health care workers are currently being paid less than $20 an hour. Freezing their salaries for 2016 as the Wildrosers demanded would have saved the provincial treasury about $8 million.

By contrast, on Friday, the cuts made to the sometimes outrageous pay and perks of only about 270 ABC Sector executives – a hangover from the days when the ABCs served in part as a lush pasture for old Tory warhorses – will save taxpayers roughly double that.

Now, it would be entirely consistent for the Opposition to say, “good step, but not far enough.” Or even, “it was about time they stopped the gravy train!” Instead? Pretty much crickets.

There was nary a quote from the PCs (who are responsible for most of the executive pay rates to which Mr. Ceci took his axe), the Wildrosers (who are after all the Official Opposition) or the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (Canada’s self-described and routinely quoted tax watchdog) in any mainstream media report I noticed.

At any rate, tonight’s beer is dedicated to the NDP. Thanks for cutting the absurd salaries of the schleps who can afford it for once.

-Shiv

 

Conservatives blast NDP for following conservative energy plan

I’ve been blindly poking and prodding at the Mythical Centre everyone seems to insist exists in Albertan politics, insistently pointing out that our current government run by the New Democratic Party isn’t all that aggressively socialist after all. In fact, I don’t even have to go as far back as Peter Lougheed, widely considered one of the Progressive Conservative’s most reasonable and productive Premiers, to find similarities between the energy plan of the NDP and the PCs–Rachel Notley’s policy is nearly identical to that of the late Jim Prentice.

Which seems… odd… given how Canada and Alberta’s mainstream media has a never-ending lineup of pundits screaming of the coming plague over the NDP’s governance.

Yesterday, journalist Jason Markusoff published a story in Maclean’s Magazine outlining Mr. Prentice’s recommended approach to making Canada a true energy superpower, as opposed to the blustering would-be powerhouse we saw during the years Stephen Harper was Conservative prime minister.

“Prentice’s arguments are striking not only in their closeness to those of Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but also in how far they diverge from the orthodoxy of today’s Conservative Party, where Michael Chong is the clan’s black sheep for daring to advocate a price on carbon,” Mr. Markusoff wrote.

In the book, Mr. Markusoff observed, Mr. Prentice “gives Notley credit for instituting a carbon tax and suggests he’d helped lay the groundwork for her approach.” (Emphasis added.)

Mr. Prentice also credited the approach taken by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Notley with more success than the “amateurish” bullying favoured by Mr. Harper and his acolyte Mr. Kenney.

These so-called Centrists that everybody insists exists ought to then be confronted with the basic reality that Notley’s NDP is behaving a lot more like Lougheed’s PCs and not the Communist Diktatorship Post Media pundits have cooked up in their feverish imaginations.

Hell, Jim Prentice even answered the open-ended question I was concerned with regarding Indigenous treaty rights: (emphasis mine)

Mr. Markusoff quotes Mr. Prentice’s argument that if Canada won’t commit to serious coastal protection measures as demanded by so many people in British Columbia, “then we shouldn’t be shipping oil at all.” The late Conservative premier also advocated that Alberta help bear the costs of protecting the West Coast and include Canada’s Indigenous peoples as full partners in our national energy policy.

There remains the big question–with Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney slated to win the PC leadership race and steer the party into an iceberg, are the Centrists everybody insists exist going to wake the fuck up and vote for the not-terribly-liberal NDP? Or are they going to continue slamming back that delicious Red Scare whipped together in the dingy basements of Alberta’s gasbag political pundits?

-Shiv

Alberta political roundup

Trinity Christian, the private school that was caught cooking its books by the NDP, have had an administrator appointed to manage their finances while the RCMP conducts its investigation concerning allegations of fraud.

Professional douchebag Fred Henry, a Bishop in Calgary infamous for typical Roman Catholic Church douchebaggery, has resigned from his post. He accused the NDP of breathing “pure secularism” …and meant it as a bad thing.

Progressive Conservative supporters continue to cite the NDP’s progressive income taxation and vice taxation as primary reasons to oppose the NDP. Except both policies were also on the PC agenda. Oops.

The Progressive Conservatives have announced no findings of wrongdoing within their own party following the allegations of harassment by former moderate leadership candidate Sandra Jansen. Never mind that they investigated themselves. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Brian Jean still has no idea how he’s going to “Unite the Right,” but it’ll be good, he pinky-swears.

-Shiv

Take a Break from the US Election: Laugh at Albertans instead

I figure my American readers need someone to laugh at given the nauseating campaign they’re enduring right now. So, here, laugh at some Canadian political theatre. At least this clown isn’t calling for the extermination of Mexicans.

Or, at least, that’s my best attempt to describe this surreal chain of events, which David Climenhaga describes as “political performance art.” And honestly, it’s kind of difficult to disentangle the timeline here, because Conservative lobbies–ranging from the Wildrose Party to various far right-wing media outlets–all uncritically dove in face first to a character that represented the anxieties of Alberta’s shiny new progressive government. The corresponding mess ought to leave any reasonable person with at least a mild headache, and no janitor is paid enough to clean it up.

What is this political performance Climenhaga refers to? Why, it is none other than the lovechild of confirmation bias and political opportunism: Bernard the Roughneck.

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Jason Kenney generously runs a charity dedicated to himself

My best friend Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney is running a non-profit called Unite Alberta. Is he building homes for the homeless? Fundraising for disaster relief? Providing resources for battered spouses? Starting a pro bono legal network for civil rights prosecutions? Pushing awareness for prostate cancer?

Nah. He’s financing his campaign for the leadership of the “Progressive” Conservatives without subjecting himself to oversight from regulatory bodies–because it’s not a campaign organization–it’s a “non-profit”:

And the vessel for all of this, Jason Kenney assured us, would be a non-profit that would carry out his campaign. Even his campaign website says Unite Alberta is a non-profit corporation. Except Unite Alberta Ltd. isn’t a non-profit at all.

When you do a corporate search and pull what’s publicly available for Unite Alberta Ltd. you see that it is a “Named Alberta Corporation” with the corporate access number 2019802210.

When you ask a registry agent to explain whether there is any way that Unite Alberta could be a non-profit the answer is a steadfast no. Based on the first two numbers of the corporate access number (the 20) there is simply no way Unite Alberta Ltd. could be a non-profit.

It’s worth pointing out that if Kenney had registered Unite Alberta as a non-profit society he would have been obligated to file his financials with Service Alberta at the end of the year and we’d be able to do more than just take Kenney at his word when it came to how much money his campaign had raised and spent. It’s a far more transparent organizational structure and one Kenney didn’t choose.

It’s also worth pointing out that any gifts that Kenney receives while he is a sitting MP would have to be declared to the federal ethics commissioner. Any professional service that is provided would have to be done and paid for at market rates or it would have to be declared. Remember Kenney hasn’t resigned his seat and is currently still drawing a federal MP paycheque while campaigning all over Alberta to be leader of the Alberta PCs.

So why is Kenney saying on his website and in the media that Unite Alberta is a non-profit when it clearly isn’t? I haven’t the faintest idea but inquiries with Kenney’s legal counsel about the discrepancy went unanswered by press time.

Bah. Details. You want transparency from the same party that “misplaced” $29 billion? Ridiculous! Just more red tape to cut through!

Must be some of that good Christian charity he wants to bring to government.

-Shiv, Fashionable Communist, Annihilator of Man

Wildrose Party: We care about the taxpayers (unless we can antagonize the NDP instead)

The Dickweed Wildrose Party is at it again.

If you live in Alberta, you’ve probably heard of the scandalous energy clause that the NDP have been challenging in court known as the Enron Clause. As the NDP have been gradually repairing decades of PC damage, the Enron Clause is one such skeleton that the previous “Progressive” Conservative government tried to bury quietly approved–probably because it privatizes energy sector profits but socializes the business risk to consumers. But the most notable thing about the Enron Clause isn’t merely its unprincipled consequences–it was buried so deep passed so quietly that the NDP didn’t even know of the Clause when they raised the penalties for exceeding carbon emission targets for energy producers.

On Aug 18, 2000 a regulation (Reg 175/2000) was filed with the Registrar of Regulations.  It contained the AEUB’s Order approving the original PPAs plus “errata” letters setting out mathematical changes and the Enron Clause.

This regulation was not supported by a Ministerial Order or an Order in Council—it just materialized out of thin air. 

A month later Cabinet passed a regulation burying Reg 175/2000 (and the Enron clause).  It said Reg 175/2000 was available in printed form to those who wanted it and it was too big to go into the Alberta Gazette.

Let’s think about that for a moment.

Yes, the Reg containing the PPAs and Enron clause can be purchased from the Queen’s Printer for $246 or ferreted out of a legal data base if you have a subscription and an experienced law librarian handy—but you need to know the Enron clause exists in the first place before you can go looking for it and you won’t know it exists because you can’t read about it in the Alberta Gazette or search for it on CanLii, a standard free legal database.

So good luck trying to find it.

It appears the only people who knew about the Enron clause were those who were involved in the PPA auction (including Enron), the AEUB and Klein’s Cabinet (none of whom are in the Legislature today).

When the NDP finally discovered this loophole that had been built by the PCs, they promptly sic’d their lawyer attack dogs on it to challenge the clause as unlawful.

It makes perfect sense that the PCs are loudly complaining about the NDP challenging the Clause in court, considering it was a product of their posterboy, Ralph Klein. But as the Dickweed Wildrose Party has on multiple occasions stated it intends to “unite the right,” it makes little sense for them to also oppose the NDP’s challenge. This is a prime opportunity to discredit the PCs and move so-called moderate conservative voters to your reactionary party.

Instead, the Wildrose does what it always does: Knee-jerk reactions and unsubstantiated whinging into the microphone, cuz the ‘dippers are eeeeeeevil. Strange that people buy their whole “we’re on the side of the taxpayers” schtick, considering the Wildrose are trying to antagonize the closure of a scummy corporate loophole that would leave taxpayers holding the bag for bad business decisions.

-Shiv, Fashionable Communist, Annihilator of Man

Jason Kenney receives endorsement from another garbage fire

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney receives another endorsement from a gold star asshat conservative pundit, Sheila Gunn Reid. But this endorsement is a bit… erm, shall we say roundabout?

If you don’t support Jason Kenney’s bid to lead Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives, some of Kenney’s allies might launch gender-based attacks on you.

Just ask former Alberta PC MLA David Quest who expressed concerns about Kenney’s leadership bid on Ezra Levant’s right-wing Rebel Media website last week.

Shortly after, fellow Rebel personality Sheila Gunn Reid took to her YouTube soapbox to tar-and-feather Quest, denouncing him as a Liberal and even taunting the former MLA for losing to a “gender-queer Colombian immigrant” during the last election.

…Sure. Roundabout. 

Basically, David Quest criticized Kenney’s bid for the “Progressive” Conservative leadership, citing Kenney’s history of being the political equivalent of cucumbers pickled in gasoline. So one of Kenney’s biggest fans, suspected garbage fire Sheila Gunn Reid, decided the best way to discredit Quest was by pointing out he lost his election to a, quote, “genderqueer Colombian immigrant.”

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Jason Kenney: Alberta’s forced-birther Premier

Jason “I don’t get caught up in the details” Kenney, Canadian Trump-wannabe extraordinaire and prospective leader of the Albertan “Progressive” Conservatives, has a few ideas on abortion:

But now, now: Kenney claims his position on abortion has been “consistent since I first ran for Parliament in 1997,” and boldly alleges that “in my 20 years in Parliament I haven’t given a speech about this, let alone proposed a motion or a bill.”

That’s a creative interpretation of his record:

 According to Campaign Life Coalition, Jason Kenney has a perfect voting record on “life and family issues,” voting on a number of occasions in favour of legislation criticized as attempts to undermine the reproductive rights of Canadian women.

 In 2012, Jason Kenney voted in favour of Motion 312, a failed bid to redefine Canada’s legal definition of a human being, viewed by many as a backdoor to reopening the abortion debate – that motion that was even rejected by Stephen Harper.

Kenney voted in favour of Motion 83, a failed bid to examine “the medical necessity of abortion.” In the House of Commons, Kenney delivered a speech arguing many abortions are “medically unnecessary” procedures and that with “scarce and shrinking dollars” for healthcare, tax dollars would be better spent on MRI machines.

 Kenney delivered another speech in the House of Commons claiming “the right to life” is “inalienable” because constitutional rights are “granted to us by our Creator.”

And let’s not even get into how Kenney thought a women’s group spreading awareness of abortion rights at his old university campus was in some way comparable to allowing the Ku Klux Klan, pedophiles or the Church of Satan peddle their ideas too.

This is the same guy who received a prize from Michael Gove and started the niqab manufactroversy in the last federal election. The same guy complaining about hipster communists as the true threat to Alberta?

I’d like to think that even the members of Alberta’s “Progressive” Conservatives aren’t so fucking thick as to elect Kenney.

At least we know he has the endorsement of forced-birther Alissa Golob, the woman who distributed photoshopped gore on anti-abortion pamphlets distributed when Trudeau announced his platform on abortion.

Class acts, all around.

-Shiv, still a Fashionable Communist