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Conservative base angered by Kenney’s leadership, say officials and analysts

The honeymoon phase has come and gone pending a 180 reversal on public health measures and mounting deficit spending.

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Anger over Premier Jason Kenney’s performance is growing in the UCP base with some officials calling for a leadership review.

A series of scandals and gaffes – including the Snowbird scandal, its coal mining policy and anger of COVID 19 lockdown policies – has seen UCP popularity plunge across the province to a point where if an election was held today, former NDP premier Rachel Notley would be returned to power.

Kenney suffered a caucus revolt last week when six UCP MLAs went public with their anger over the government not moving fully to their Phase 2 reopening of the province, something it finally announced Monday they were doing.

After the negative comments, Kenney put a gag order on his caucus.

“We definitely talked about a leadership review,” one constituency president from southern Alberta told CBC News. 

CBC News spoke to nine UCP constituency association presidents and members of constituency association boards from across the province, with one riding association president claiming about 80 per cent of their board expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s leadership.

“The UCP has always been a grassroots, member-driven party and members are always encouraged to be active and have their say,” said a statement from Kenney’s office to the CBC.

Peter McCaffrey, founder and president at Alberta Institute, took to social media, stating the UCP has “a big and perhaps intractable problem.”

“The problem isn’t fiscal conservatives going “rogue” by calling for the government to implement fiscally conservative policies that they were elected with a mandate to implement,” argues McCaffrey.

“The reality on the ground is those speaking out are only disagreeing with Premier Jason Kenney, as they’re saying exactly the same things Candidate Kenney said when he asked for Albertan’s votes.

“You can campaign as a fiscal conservative and govern as a liberal – many Alberta politicians have done this before, but you can’t campaign as a fiscal conservative, govern as a liberal, and then be shocked when fiscal conservatives are upset.”

Jodie Gateman, a rural business owner and the UCP’s first Vice-President Communications, urged the premier not to forget about the promises made to his base.

“Because you can get anything done with a vast majority and emergency orders during a pandemic, Premier Kenney can do whatever he feels with little to no recourse for anyone else,” said Gateman.

She said Kenney has taken on a “dictator role” and has gone further than previous conservative governments to disappoint the base.

“I cannot imagine how a politician such as Mr. Kenney, who laid a very tight, excellent campaign for both leadership positions, can be so tone-deaf to Albertans and so blatantly arrogant as to tell his MLAs they cannot speak because it’s overshadowing what he’s trying to do,” she said.

“They represent their constituents and are not there to do what the leader of a party tells them. They’re supposed to express themselves, and that didn’t happen with the gag order last month.

“All the opposition can do is squawk. The ratepayers can only post to social media and try to get a petition signed urging Kenney to listen to us.”

With the press unable to ask tough questions when Kenney first announced the gag order, he not only gagged his MLAs but the press as well because they couldn’t ask tough questions.

“They were all screened with planted questions,” she said regarding the press conferences on February 18 and 19.

“That’s unfair to the voters of this beautiful province, as he’s obstructing general democracy, which he claims is sacred to him.”

If 50 per cent of the constituency associations demand it, a special leadership vote could be called.

But Erika Barootes, Vice-President to Western Canada at Enterprise and the UCP’s first party president, argues government spending and partnerships with Albertans have done great work through construction and development to build-up this great province.

“It comes back to the 2021 Capital Plan, where the investments in critical infrastructure help reignite the economy long-term. It’s creating jobs for those who call Alberta home,” said Barootes.

Dhaliwal is the Western Standard’s Edmonton reporter.

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1 Comment

  1. Joc2257

    March 10, 2021 at 8:43 am

    There is an alternative to Kenney and Notley, they are both globalist that will cowtail to their masters. Take a membership in the WIPA and do something positive for a change. I hate to say it but “I told you so”. Brian Jean would have been a much better leader for Alberta, with her citizens number #1 on his mind.

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Top Ontario doc says separating vaxxed and unvaxxed best way to get COVID under control

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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One of the ways to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control is to stop “the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” says Ontario’s chief medical officer.

“Basic means of protecting individuals is stopping the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” said Dr. Kieran Moore at a Tuesday press conference.

“And if our cases continue through and after the holidays we would make recommendations of government to continue the certification process in play. But we’ll continue to review the data. We do have a very robust testing strategy in Ontario for the winter months as we’ve released previously. We’ve purchased … 11 million rapid antigen test for all students in Ontario.”

Moore was asked whether COVID-19 is “something we’re just going to have to learn to live with” and whether it would ever go away.

“We have a long ways to go with the World Health Organization and other international organizations to try to decrease the number of individuals in which this virus can mutate and/or spread,” he said.

“But I do see a time when we’ll have low, endemic rates and it will turn out to be like influenza or other winter respiratory viruses where there’s a seasonality to it, where it does have an intermittent impact on our health-care system and like influenza, you need an annual vaccine to protect against it.”

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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Trudeau’s beach denier demoted

Trudeau was photographed twice on a beach in Tofino after deciding to skip the first day of a holiday he created — the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

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The Justin Trudeau spokesman who told reporters the prime minister “wasn’t on a beach” when he was, has been demoted, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Trudeau was photographed twice on a beach in Tofino after deciding to skip the first day of a holiday he created — the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

Trudeau had promised to “set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government.”

Alex Wellstead will be “taking on new challenges” as press secretary to the industry minister, the Prime Minister’s Office said yesterday.  

Wellstead. Courtesy Twitter

Wellstead in a statement called it “a very difficult decision to make.” He had worked as Trudeau’s official spokesman for 20 months.

Wellstead on September 30 issued misleading statements to conceal the fact Trudeau spent the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at a beach resort in Tofino, B.C.

“He wasn’t on a beach,” Wellstead told The Canadian Press at the time. Global News and the weekly Chilliwack Progress photographed Trudeau strolling on the beach and enjoying a glass of beer on a beachfront patio.

The Prime Minister’s Office claimed Trudeau was in private meetings in Ottawa. Staff flew an Indian Residential School “survivors’ flag” and issued a solemn statement in Trudeau’s name.

“We remember the children who never made it home,” it said.

Wellstead did not explain his conduct.

“You as a communicator need to understand everything,” Wellstead said in a March 30 interview with public relations students at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.

The prime minister in 2015 Ministerial Mandate letters said officials must be truthful and transparent.

“Members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who by asking necessary questions contribute in an important way to the democratic process,” wrote Trudeau.

“Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.

“We have committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves.

“Government and its information should be open by default. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians.

“It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect. They expect us to be honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.”

Trudeau on October 6 apologized for the Tofino holiday.

“Traveling on September 30 was a mistake and I regret it,” the prime minister told reporters.

“What made you decide to take a personal trip on a day your government set aside to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools?” asked a reporter.

“Like I said, it was a mistake,” replied Trudeau.

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Feds threaten regulated businesses with COVID fines

The labour department in a statement said it would rewrite the Canada Labour Code to mandate vaccination for some 955,000 private sector employees in federally regulated sectors like air transportation, banking, broadcasting, grain milling, marine shipping, railways and interprovincial trucking.

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If they don’t mandate vaccination of workers, the Labour department is threatening to levy cash fines against airports, banks, radio stations and other federally-regulated employers, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

But the Liberals stopped short of repeating an earlier threat to strip workers of legal rights to challenge vaccine orders.

“It is time to move on,” said Government House Leader Mark Holland.

“Get vaccinated. That’s what Canadians expect to have happen.

“I think the country understands we have now 90% of Canadians who have had their first injection, over 86% with their second. All workplaces across the country” should promote vaccinations, he added.

The labour department in a statement said it would rewrite the Canada Labour Code to mandate vaccination for some 955,000 private sector employees in federally regulated sectors like air transportation, banking, broadcasting, grain milling, marine shipping, railways and interprovincial trucking.

First Nations businesses will be exempt.

“Employers who do not comply with their obligations under the Canada Labour Code may be subject to compliance and enforcement measures including administrative monetary penalties,” the notice said.

“The government will consult with key stakeholders, including representatives of small and medium-sized employers, as it works expeditiously to finalize the new regulations which would come into force in early 2022. The government will also develop resources to help federally regulated workplaces implement the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.”

The notice made no reference to a liability shield proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign. Trudeau on September 1 said a re-elected Liberal cabinet would shield employers from any legal challenge of vaccination orders.

“We’ll stand firm on our commitment,” said Trudeau, adding: “We’ll protect businesses that mandate vaccinations from unjustified lawsuits.”

Canadians who declined a COVID-19 shot were “more than just wrong, because everyone’s entitled to their opinion, they are putting at risk their own kids and they’re putting at risk our kids as well,” said Trudeau.

“What about my choice to keep my kids safe? What about our choices to make sure we’re getting through this pandemic as quickly as we can?”

The Liberal Party in its September 1 campaign platform stated: “A re-elected Liberal government will table legislation to ensure every business and organization that decides to require proof of vaccination from employees and customers can do so without fear of a legal challenge.”

Compulsory vaccination breaches federal law, according to a May 19 statement by Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien and 1996 National Immunization Report by the Department of Health.

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