Our beautiful Alberta hardly deserves what is happening today. The province’s medical system is being crushed under the severity and numbers of the fourth wave of Covid-19. Yet it is unfair to blame just one man or one political party. There is a sharing of blame to the situation.
It is not fair, for example, to blame just the extremists, the libertarians, or the former Wildrose party. They also had their supporters, those who gained from the extremist attitudes while others suffered.
How many saw what Jason Kenney saw back home in Calgary and across the province. Low or non-existent provincial taxes were the rule, the incentive. The bounty of the land and the richness of the minerals drew others, the needed investments, the jobs. And then there were the politicians of the right.
Jason Kenney was a wily one. When he saw the political opportunity in Calgary, Kenney took it. A former assistant to Saskatchewan liberal leader Ralph Goodale, he ran and won a seat in Ottawa for Calgary as Reform, and then Alliance, and finally the conservatives. He was an extremist as a Roman Catholic and as a member of parliament. He was former prime minister Stephen Harper’s ’go-to guy’ for contacts in Canada’s ethnic communities.
Throughout the Stephen Harper years, Kenney held a number of major cabinet portfolios. It was often suggested that he was Harper’s choice as successor. That came to naught when the conservatives lost the 2015 federal election.
Despite winning his federal Calgary seat again, Kenney saw no future for him in Ottawa. He headed west intent to ‘unite the right’ in Alberta. And that is where our success story really ends.
There were many complaints about Kenney’s tactics in uniting the right and absorbing the Wildrose party into the united conservatives. He was repeatedly accused of misogyny and improper tactics in the race to the premier’s chair. His greatest failure was to open up the province to a pandemic free summer when the fourth wave was clearly lurking and waiting. Though he can easily share the blame.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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