Rachel Notley and the NDP can thank their lucky stars for not winning last April


I don’t imagine running in Alberta is a lot of fun right now. I fear, however, that I cannot arouse much sympathy for Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party.

Be careful what you want, says the old proverb, you just might get it.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney yesterday at his disjointed presentation at the COVID-19 provincial daily briefing in Edmonton (Photo: Screen capture of a video from the Government of Alberta).

From the UCP’s point of view, this is not how it should have worked.

Jason Kenney’s political strategy, which seemed to work rather well for a while, was to make big promises to bring back the good old days and rely on the oil economy to take another turn for the better in time to show up. in the elections. smelling the proverbial wild rose.

When the money came back, it could be used to cover the impact of the neoliberal policies that Mr. Kenney and his cabal intended to implement, and if they caused grief to a future generation of Alberta Conservatives, this wouldn’t really be their problem.

But a global pandemic and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, causing what Alberta’s bitumen would go beyond the trading basement and into the liquidation sale on the bottom floor ? Who expected it?

Add 25 percent unemployment, without the ability to export the worst to Atlantic Canada as we traditionally do here in Alberta, the more the United States collapses under the leadership of a childish and ignorant sociopath who, embarrassingly, UCP guys cheered and, in a few cases, campaigned, and you start to have the formula for a real disaster.

Who could have predicted all of this at the same time?

Yes, I know, there were Cassandras of the last days who planned such things. We can all report repeated warnings in the online media of those predicting global pandemics, sometimes even with SARS-like coronaviruses. And there were certainly many people on the left in particular who were predicting the terrible results of the worst characteristics of neoliberalism – globalization, global warming and fragile just-in-time supply lines.

But this combination of circumstances, you have to admit, is the classic perfect storm – the “black swan event” that should have been obvious, was not, and now that it has happened is completely out of control.

Prime Minister Kenney will do what? Tell the Kremlin and the Saud house to stop playing rough or will they have to go inside? Shouting at the coronavirus to return to the wet market in Wuhan and go back to sleep? Good luck with that!

The UCP has very few options and no idea other than supporting the oil and gas industry. You can hear the panic in the tone of online cries from the mostly helpless ministers of Mr. Kenney, irrelevant MPs and the brains of troll-dominated communications.

Of course, no one else has good options, although some – like our suddenly grown prime minister – clearly have a better strategy for helping us get through the worst if the next few weeks with as little harm as possible.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw at the same briefing (Photo: Screen capture from a video from the Government of Alberta).

But it’s an unchanging political rule that if the thing hits the fan – even if it’s not your fault – you will end up wearing some of it. And the worst splash lands here in Alberta.

There is therefore reason to prove that the result of the provincial elections on April 16 was incredibly lucky for Rachel Notley and the NDP, as difficult as it must have been at the time for them to relinquish power as they felt it. they made things happen in the right direction.

The time the NDP spent in power seemed to be the story of one bad break after another – mostly things entirely beyond the control of the Notley government. However, as this tends to happen in such circumstances, they had to wear it.

But instead of being wiped out, they emerged as strong opposition – and, in the rear view mirror, the very model of moderate government that has faced tough times with thoughtful maturity and a firm hand. They even had a plan in a way to deal with the end of oil, which is certainly more than Mr. Kenney can say.

There is a worse place than in the Opposition when your province begins to resemble a plague ship without a rudder!

If the coronavirus and the price war had struck in mid-2018, or if the NDP had the misfortune of winning a year ago, they would really have been done. Now, maybe not so much. I bet even some of them know it too.

Well, as the Conservatives have always told us when it was not they who shed tears, no one has ever said that life is fair.

Who knows what the world will look like after COVID-19 has done the worst? Of course not, but I’m sure it won’t be the same. Dimes for dollars, this will not be a world in which demanding more bitumen mines and more pipelines, spending billions on a Montana job program and campaigning against carbon taxes will sound like a good bet .

But whether I am wrong or wrong, I can guarantee you that this is not the time for a guy with only one plan. And Jason Kenney looks like a guy who has only one plan.

Jason Kenney, micromanager, grabs the podium and hangs on for 53 minutes

Prime Minister Kenney’s very poor performance during yesterday’s COVID-95 briefing indicates that, even if the Prime Minister may have a new speech writer, no staff member can prevent him from micromanaging professionals who really know what they’re talking about.

Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services, during the briefing (photo: screenshot from a video from the Government of Alberta).

By dismissing Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services President and CEO Verna Yiu, two trusted Alberta doctors, Premier Kenney grabbed the podium and walked inconsistently a series of technical slides for 53 minutes.

When asked by a Globe and Mail reporter why he didn’t just let the doctors do their job, he said, “I presented the information because I am the Premier of Alberta …”

The quality of his presentation is illustrated by his rambling commentary on nurses and other healthcare workers who want access to personal protective equipment that is effective enough for the task at hand when treating patients with coronavirus.

“… Let me be frank, some people from different workplaces, uh, have demanded a constant supply of very high end end masks, the N95s, for example. Umm, and the vision of the pro-, the experts is that these masks are necessary and appropriate in certain clinical contexts, such as when you are dealing with er, er, incubate .. inba… in… er… I’m sorry, put someone on an ent, on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. Uh, but, that they are not, huh … generally necessary in daily functions. So please understand that we are doing our best, and if we can get redundant supplies, we will make them more generally available. But we need to make sure there is an adequate supply of certain protective equipment essential for our intensive care and our intensive care workers when we reach the top. “

I did not transcribe the Prime Minister’s verbal ticks to be mean, but to illustrate how ill-prepared he seemed when he made his way to the front of the briefing. It’s the opposite of reassuring.

You should know, Rachel Notley would have handled this with fewer words and more grace, and would have left Drs. Hinshaw and Yiu are doing their job.


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