Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is obsessed with Jason Kenney. The rest of Notley’s accidental NDP government are obsessed with Kenney. The obsession started almost immediately after Kenney romped to the leadership of the United Conservative Party.
Kenney was named the leader of the UCP a week ago Saturday. Rachel Notley’s first tweet directed at Kenney was congratulatory and reasonable. The respectful tone lasted almost two days. On Monday, Notley tweeted “We’ll stand against UCP’s job-killing, gay-outing, school-cutting, health privatizing, backward-looking, hope-destroying, divisive agenda.” Notley’s tweet is symbolic of a government that is absolutely fearful of losing power.
The next 18 months are likely to be a continuous stream of classless attacks from Notley and her cohort directed towards Jason Kenney. The past week was all Kenney, all the time, for the Notley government. Education Minister David Eggen introduced Bill 24, an Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances on Thursday. The timing of the announcement, within a week of Kenney clearing yet another hurdle to unseating Notley, could not have been more obvious. The NDP plan to use GSAs as THE wedge issue to salvage their government.
Kenney has made it clear that he wants to ensure that any discussions with parents about children joining GSAs are in the best interest of the child. The NDP hopes to portray Kenney’s position as a distorted version of the evil social conservative putting children at risk for their evil regressive ends. The NDP is trying to portray Kenney’s viewpoint as a plan to ‘out’ gay children and endanger their lives. The amateurish staffers advising Rachel Notley myopically act as if this one issue will be the centrepiece of their election campaign.
The Kenney obsession continued in Question Period on Thursday. Rachel Notely was unable to attend so Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman answered questions on her behalf. Hoffman brought up Kenney’s name in response to every question. The unparliamentary nature of Hoffman’s behaviour is mind-numbing. The Alberta economy is still mired in a recession. The NDP is running massive deficits because of an unwillingness to curtail spending. The NDP has created a business environment that is antithetical to private sector job creation.
Kenney Defends Himself
Kenney appeared on CTV’s Question Period on today. He took the opportunity to defend himself and his position. Kenney rightly pointed out about Notley’s government:
“They’re turning the volume knob on the anger machine up to 10, 20 months before the next election. My advice to them would be just calm down a notch, because you’re going to lose Albertans by using that kind of massively overblown rhetoric,” he said. “I guess the only play they have is that kind of crazy talk.”
Kenney is correct on this issue. Kenney’s job is to make sure he does not let the NDP define him on this issue. As long as Kenney does not let the NDP define him on the issue then he is correct. The biggest question at this point is when Kenney will be allowed to defend himself on the floor of the Alberta legislature.
When Will Notley Call the Calgary-Lougheed By-election?
The day after Kenney won the UCP leadership Calgary-Lougheed MLA Dave Rodney announced he would step down from his seat so Kenney can run for a seat in the Alberta legislature. Rodney officially stepped down on Wednesday, the day before Eggen announced his new bill on GSAs. Wednesday was also the day before Hoffman answered every, single question she faced during Question Period with a reference to Jason Kenney.
Alberta progressive blogger, union employee and frequent NDP cheerleader Dave Cournoyer found Hoffman’s behaviour on Thursday a little unbecoming. Cournoyer said, “the government should carry itself with a little more dignity than it did this week with it’s staged criticisms of the new UCP leader in the Assembly.” Notley can take the first step in conducting herself with dignity by treating Jason Kenney with a touch of respect.
Notley should call the Calgary-Lougheed by-election this week. She could wait until April to call the by-election. Waiting that long would likely be political suicide. It would provide Notley with the chance to repeat Hoffman’s attacks on Kenney without giving Kenney the chance to defend himself. Albertans are fair-minded people. Only the blindest of NDP partisans would support Notely delaying Kenney’s entry to the legislature.
Do the right thing Premier Notley. Call the Calgary-Lougheed by-election this week!