Hey Alberta. Much like another beloved bald man (Steve Burns of Blue’s Clues), I have been watching how you’ve been doing and wanted to talk about the Sept. 15 night press conference.
As we have seen before and as we will likely see again in the future given the ineptitude on display, Premier Jason Kenney and his team came out to speak to the public. They announced a wave of restrictions which in practice will likely be confusing for many to follow, will see those who disobey them get a slap on the wrist or a stern lecture given they make up some, but not all of the governing United Conservative Party base and urged every Albertan to be kind to others.
While it is important to be nice and no sane person would ever dispute this, the time for platitudes more befitting the mouth of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is over. People are angry, crying out for some form of competence and this can only happen if Kenny is kicked from office.
I wanted to like the man when I made the area my home after several years of living in the United States (I am now back there with my wife, but still want to be engaged). I have never seen him as a ruthless autocrat in the making and have always viewed those comparisons as damaging for any democracy no matter who they are directed at. But it is clear he is out of his depth and sees the region as conservative as it was when he first got elected as an MP in 1997.
Why else would he act like a provincial version of his federal nemesis and think he and his team can govern by default and be re-elected even if the Alberta NDP has Jesus Christ as a candidate?
The collective punishment metered out last week to scores of people who did the right thing and expected a government to listen to experts who told them this would happen reminds one of the worst kinds of emotionally abusive parents. Say what you will about Notley, but if the balance of opinion from scientists and doctors on the virus file was against her, she would have listened instead of seeking out the optics of a Canada Day spectacle to boost chances in the next election.
Of course, this bad behaviour is just one molehill at the base of a very gigantic mountain.
There is the gaslighting about the illegal dinner on the roof of the so-called Sky Palace, driving doctors away through bitter contract fights at a time when every single one is needed the most, not expecting people in your party to avoid travel when any fool with a rudimentary intellect knows those in power are held to a higher standard and barely using a contact tracing app touted as a vital tool to save lives in the early days of this immense crisis. One can only imagine how tense caucus meetings are behind close doors and I suspect worse than reports have suggested.
I would hope MLA’s uncomfortable with all this grow a spine and move to force an election but I do not have a realistic outlook about this happening. I will instead remind everyone to never forget what this collection of malevolent Mr., Mrs. and Ms. Magoo’s has done and be sure to punish them at election time in a way which will be painfully enshrined in their minds forever.
Rachel Notley in 2023. Though, if not, does anyone have Brian Jean’s phone number?
Top Image: Premier Jason Kenney, in a sight too familiar, speaks during a COVID-19 update in Alberta in May 2021. Flickr
Evan J. Pretzer is a former full-time reporter and column writer for the Reporter/Examiner who left to start a life with his wife in Wisconsin in December 2020.