On Twitter, Jason Kenney is often mistaken for the premier of Alberta.
You see, the man from Richmond, Virginia bears the same name as the prominent politician from Alberta.
This has led to many occasions when Albertans seeking a chat with the Prime Minister – instead end up getting a response from the American.
“It’s interesting,” Kenney said of receiving tweets aimed at the Prime Minister.
“My friends sometimes text me and say ‘Hey, you have a press conference at 3:00 pm. Prepare for your Twitter mentions to explode. “
It’s a common mistake – even Global News online staff admit to confusing the two accounts.
Kenney’s first confusion with the Albertan Kenney came in the early 2000s.
“He has had a political career for quite some time now,” he said. “Back when I had a Hotmail account, a sweet old lady emailed me thanking me for speaking at her church.”
The American had, of course, done nothing of the sort.
As the prime minister’s political career continued and Twitter’s popularity increased, American Kenney – who works at a nonprofit – began seeing more people accidentally interacting with him.
“I have had a Twitter account since March 2007. Since then, I am tagged from time to time,” he says. “Lately, it’s been more fun. It’s certainly busier.
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More recently, the provincial government’s travel scandal caused the Virginian’s Twitter mentions to fill with angry Albertans. Various hashtags related to Premier Kenney had been trending on Twitter for several days.
“I saw that something was going on [in Alberta] but then I saw it snowball and I realized, “Oh wow. This is a big deal. ‘ ”
Kenney says he had fun with the misdirected tweets. He created his own version of the backdrop for the Government of Alberta press conference room and also answered a few burning questions.
“People ask me, ‘Where has my practice gone? What am I going to do with my practice? I happen to be changing the hardware of the cabinets right now, ”he laughs.
“It’s firmly attached to the wall. There is no vacation.
He said he hoped the humor he provided from the misdirected tweets would bring some brevity during a stressful time.
“Hopefully being a little casual and adding a little humor can help simmer things up a bit,” he says. “He can be pretty angry on Twitter. ”
Kenney said the Prime Minister himself has reached out in the past.
“It’s been a long time. It’s always been a really good sport about it. He’s very busy, that’s understandable, ”he said. “But he asked, ‘Hey you know … if you ever want to swap names …'”
Being unwittingly associated with Alberta politics has helped Americans see parallels between what is happening in Alberta and everywhere else.
“It’s interesting to see the similarities between events and conflicts,” Kenney said. “It’s informative.”
Kenney also asks those who enjoy his Twitter account to consider donating to the nonprofit he works for: Global Pediatric Project, which provides medical aid to children in developing countries.
“We’re all human beings and just trying to go through it all together,” he said.
“I think I will continue to enjoy everything related to Twitter. “
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