The confidence of Jason Kenney.

Alberta’s leader of the consolidated conservatives, Jason Kenney, is a strange man. I have never envisioned him as a person who brings people together. He has always seemed more interested in creating divisions. Since Stephen Harper first assigned him to the job of building bridges to Canada’s immigrant population, I have watched his career with interest.

Kenney followed a path I had taken decades earlier in finding ways to communicate effectively with Canada’s foreign-language media. He also developed the human wall backgrounds for Harper with the mix of ethnic colors and symbols.

He went much further when he arranged for the unofficial parliamentary ambassadors to major areas of the world. We saw the fruits of that scheme when MP Patrick Brown swamped the Ontario conservative party memberships with immigrants from the Indian sub-continent. What grated was that he did all that early organizing in India on the federal taxpayers’ dime.

But I can assure you that when Kenney talks about establishing war rooms, that is not an idea with which I would agree. The very idea of a war room or even an operational headquarters is contrary to my concept of a winning campaign. A campaign is won or lost on the door steps of the voters.

Kenney has been talking lately about using political war rooms as a propaganda base for the war between the environmentalists and the oil industry. What Kenney is ignoring is the danger of the public hearing different messages from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Considering the lies propagated by CAPP, it is hard to say what lies are left open for Kenney to add to the public confusion.

CAPP has been particularly successful in getting the CBC and other Canadian news media to describe ‘tar sands’ as ‘oil sands’ and diluted tar-sands bitumen as “oil.” It has been surprisingly successful in muting the complaints about Husky Oil’s diluted bitumen spill in the North Saskatchewan River. (Did you know that the city of Prince Albert has paid to install a second water reservoir for when the North Saskatchewan River gets polluted again.)

But how Jason Kenney is going to get the oil producers to work with the politicians is the question? CAPP has been trying to hide the mounting cleanup costs to the Alberta taxpayers for quite a few years. The cost of cleaning up the vast settling ponds, the open-pit scarring and abandoned mining facilities has now been authoritatively estimated as high as $260 billion. That would be five times the average annual budget for the province. How can politicians hide that?


Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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