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BARNES: Premier Kenney needs real world business experience

“He needs to take a step back from the partisan sniping of the day, and start listening to people who have a business perspective, something that he clearly lacks.”

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Two years into his first mandate and Premier Jason Kenney finds himself down in the polls and up in deficits. Now, more than ever, he needs to reevaluate his approach.

Kenney is clearly an old-school politician who enjoys the partisan thrust and parry. 

He claims victory for things over which he has no control, he never admits mistakes even when caught red-handed, and he demands nothing less than absolute loyalty from his party. He remains the most unpopular premier in Canada while simultaneously running the largest deficit in Alberta’s history (and that’s saying a lot).

This is not a new recipe for electoral success; even Justin Trudeau has been elected twice using this approach. The problem is this managerial style is not particularly useful when it comes to running a province or a country. 

In this regard, I believe Premier Kenney needs to stop taking lessons from career government insiders and start listening to business professionals. 

Business owners, unlike government bureaucrats, don’t hold monopolies on the services they provide. They have to compete. They have to produce quality products or services at a fair price, or they go broke. In the business world, inefficiency leads directly to job losses.

Furthermore, business owners have to prove their ideas are viable with well-researched business plans in order to receive financing. Compare these to the so-called business plans released by government departments, which read more like partisan buzzword infomercials, and the contrast is striking. 

Most importantly, business owners understand that the customer is always right, and gathering consumer feedback vital. In the government world, consultations are often designed to arrive at a predetermined outcome. Meanwhile, MLAs who dare put their constituents concerns ahead of the party leadership’s plans are punished. 

This is the kind of thinking that led Premier Kenney’s former communications director to publicly huff at UCP MLAs who voiced their constituent’s concerns over lockdowns. 

“Some of these folks,” she complained, “wouldn’t be capable of governing a lemonade stand on a hot summer day.” 

It was the kind of childish response that could only come from the entitled world of government. But it got me thinking: what if we handed the government over to a business-minded lemonade stand owner for a day? I suspect government services would improve, taxpayers would get better value for their investment, and the deficit would shrink.

Conversely, what would happen if we put Jason Kenney in charge of the lemonade stand for a day? Given his record to date, I bet the lemonade stand would be broke by lunch and burning through subsidies and bailouts by dinner.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. If you want to know what the business world truly thinks of this government’s fiscal management, you need look no further than the credit downgrades issued by S&P, Moody’s, Fitch, and DBRS over the past two years. Taken individually, they are noteworthy. Taken together, they illustrate a clear and damning trend. 

The premier, gaslighting Albertans as he so often does, likes to pretend these downgrades never happened.

He needs to take a step back from the partisan sniping of the day, and start listening to people who have a business perspective, something that he clearly lacks.

I’d be more than happy to take his call.

Drew Barnes is the independent MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat. He holds a bachelor of commerce degree, and is an entrepreneur and business owner with three decades experience in real estate, construction, property management and ranching. 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. David

    June 22, 2021 at 12:04 am

    “Some of these folks,” she complained, “wouldn’t be capable of governing a lemonade stand on a hot summer day.”

    Truer words have never been spoken. The real question is who were these words intended to identify?

    Who did they actually identify?

    Every thinking human knows what people “say” reveals more about the speaker than the ones being spoken about.

  2. Baron Not Baron

    June 21, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    Kenney is nothing more than a politician. Politicians don’t WORK. They PRETEND. They make sure they get all they can get for themselves, knowingly they can have a shot at it only once, because they know themselves who they are! Leader?

  3. Steven Ruthven

    June 21, 2021 at 7:26 pm

    Jason Kenney thought Albertans would be passive. He thought wrong.

    Is Jason Kenney set up for life? Money is no issue, Government pensions for life – prior to 60. The rest of us eat the table scraps. Why would Jason need business experience? When he has it so good.

    Kind of reminds me of another pampered well looked after Quebec stooge, but he has a trust fund also.

  4. Left Coast

    June 21, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Most lifer Govt Employees work in Govt because the could not make it in the Private Sector.
    For the last year we have watch Health Dept lackeys turn into Super Cops . . . handing out fines & closing businesses & churches. Of course we know today that it was just Kabuki Theatre, shutting business & churches didn’t save a single person from the Wuhan Flu, in fact it may have led to the deaths of many due to drugs & suicides.

    Kenny has proved beyond ALL reasonable Doubt in the last year . . . that he is NO LEADER.
    He is infantile & juvenile, reacting like a high school kid who was offended you didn’t like his skate board. Months went by and he & his Health Minister learned absolutely NOTHING . . . kept doing the same dumb moves over and over . . . spring came & the Virus went away . . . who would have guessed?

    But the virus will likely be back next flu season . . . hopefully Kenny has gone back to Ontario by then . . .

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Manitoba response to Freedom Convoy has politicians cowering

“Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.”

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Federal politicians and bureaucrats will probably be hiding in their closets or under their desks, frozen in fear, when the massive Freedom Convoy arrives in Ottawa.

And they should hide in shame until they get it straight — that they were elected to carry out the will of the people; that it’s long past time to start listening.

Maybe a crescendo of blaring horns in the capital will improve their hearing.

They’ve created a big COVID-19 mess, underestimated the Canadians they’ve tormented and tried to crush, pulled cheap stunts, and delivered fancy, empty condescending lectures.

Few are listening to them anymore. Truckers have taken the wheel and won the trust and respect and hearts and minds of countless Canadians who oppose vaccine mandates and freedom of speech being trampled on. 

Elected pooh-bahs who’ve lost any esteem they may have had just don’t know what to do about that. 

Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.

That’s why hundreds of freezing supporters braved -30C temperatures to greet the convoy when it blared into Brandon, Man., population 60,000, around noon Tuesday.

A driver going the other way told the Western Standard the convoy was 100 km long.

It was a magnificent, electric scene that has, and will continue to repeat itself along highways, roads and overpasses in towns and cities across Canada until convoys coming from several directions converge on the capital January 29.

The cheering Brandon supporters didn’t come empty-handed. They brought more than 1,000 bagged lunches — sandwiches, homemade cookies, muffins, puffed wheat cakes — prepared in kitchens throughout the province. 

Someone even very thoughtfully hauled in porta-potties.

These regular Canadians don’t have much use for most politicians (Of course, Carlton MP Pierre Poilievre is an exception).

But Canadians love, love, love the truckers!

“People have been dropping food and drinks off all morning,” said Virden’s Ingrid Wilkinson, who organized the bagged lunches served at several stations.

“I’m doing it for all the harm that’s been caused. I personally know many people who have been greatly harmed. I’m doing this for our parents who had to live through Nazi occupation. Thankfully, they’re not in this world now. I do it for the kids, their future,” said Wilkinson.

“This is not sustainable. It’s a big lie.”

Virden menu for truckers

The Virden group had $825 left over from money raised to buy food to donate it to the trucker’s GoFundMe which stands at $4.6 million and counting. This amazing feat was accomplished in just 10 days.

About 193 km away in Headingley, more food and support awaited the convoy where Hutterite communities prepared for the arrival of the “dear” truckers.

“We are setting up kitchens n gonna feed you all. We are with you, and we fully support this massive convoy for freedom,” tweeted Paul Kleinsasser. “May God protect you on your journey, keep on going, we are praying for you. God bless.”

The convoy was expected to arrive in Winnipeg a few hours later.

The truckers oppose the cross-border vaccine mandates that severely impact their livelihoods.

The truckers also oppose vaccine mandates inflicted on everyone else — nurses, police, military, worshipers, children, students — everyone. 

Canadians embrace and are emboldened by their courage and stamina. 

So yes, they are well fed, dearly loved, and, it appears, to be shunned by most politicians.

However, Conservative MPs Andrew Scheer and Warrant Steinley did show up to greet the convoy in Regina Monday night.

Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen blasted the Liberal government and threw her support behind truckers.

“I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates, and our truckers from Portage-Lisgar and from across Canada,” the Portage-Lisgar MP tweeted Tuesday.

Bergen said Trudeau “dealt our crumbling supply chain another blow” when he implemented mandates making 26,000 truckers unable to transport of goods across the Canada-U.S. border “which will only drive inflation higher than it’s been in over 30 years.

“Conservatives have been opposed to federal mandated vaccines since Trudeau introduced them: and we oppose the mandatory vaccine on Canadian truckers.”

Bergen noted that truckers bring much-needed supplies to Canada and “worked tirelessly over the pandemic” to keep supplies moving.

“Hamstringing this essential industry is nothing more than a political move to further divide Canadians.”

As for the main event in Ottawa, count on People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier to be there.

But hell will freeze over before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds the courage or respect to greet the convoy that speaks for a huge segment of the country.

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole repeatedly dodged questions Monday about whether he supports the truckers offering a wishy-washy non-committal word salad. So no, he’ll be absent. Lord help the Conservative party while he’s at the helm.

Let these two ‘leaders’ hide in the closet from the big rigs, blaring horns, and burly truckers headed their way.

Time has passed for them to speak. Nobody cares about what they have to say anymore.

The people have spoken. 

It’s time for the politicians and unelected bureaucrats to listen.

And with every blaring horn, the message gets stronger and clearer: Enough!

Exciting times.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

SELICK: Ontario’s health minister should get a second opinion

“In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. “

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of getting a second opinion from a different doctor when the first doctor’s advice doesn’t seem to be producing the desired results.

In a widely publicized speech she made on January 19, Elliott said: “I want to respond to some extremely concerning reports that some doctors are spreading misinformation about vaccines. At a time when it’s never been more important for Ontarians to have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, this [dissenting advice] is unacceptable. I will be sending a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) urging them to do everything that is possible to put an end to this behaviour. They should consider all options in doing so, including reviewing the licenses of physicians found to be spreading misinformation.”

It is certainly true that some Ontario doctors have departed from the “must-vaccinate” narrative of the majority and the CPSO. However, it is not a mere handful that are creating such stress for the health minister. Forty MDs were already under investigation by the CPSO before Ms. Elliott expressed her wish for an even broader witch hunt.

There are many other dissenters that the CPSO has not yet targeted. For instance, a group calling itself Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth posted a declaration on May 9, 2021 responding to the CPSO’s April 30th threat to impose disciplinary action on any physician who questions or debates COVID-19 orthodoxy. The declaration has garnered 718 signatures from healthcare professionals (many of whom have shown their credentials as “MD”), as well as 20,171 signatures from ordinary citizens. Those signing the declaration accuse the CPSO of ordering physicians to depart from the scientific method by shying away from debate on scientific subjects.

Another group, the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, is more protective of the identities of its members but indicates that it is an “alliance of over 500 independent Canadian doctors, scientists, and health care providers…committed to providing quality, balanced, evidence-based information to the Canadian public about COVID-19 so that hospitalizations can be reduced, lives saved, and our country safely restored to normal as quickly as possible.”

Health Minister Elliott must surely share those goals, so why has she moved so pre-emptively and harshly to demonize a contingent of her fellow travelers? She herself is not a doctor or scientist, and not independently qualified to determine which group of doctors really does have an accurate view of the facts.

Rational people – when faced with a choice between two opposing scientific opinions – examine both of them closely and give due consideration to the viewpoints of all the people more highly credentialed than themselves. They don’t behave like Ms. Elliott did – pretending to know that one group is wrong while the other has a monopoly on truth.

In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. Sometimes the second doctor, or even the third or fourth, has a more satisfactory answer than the first did.

Ms. Elliott must surely realize by now that the experts she has been relying on for the past two years have not served the people of Ontario well. It’s high time she abandoned her arrogant attitude towards those who are offering a different opinion and started listening to them instead of threatening them with the loss of their livelihoods.

Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

WAGNER: The benefits of a federal Western independence party

“As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows that he has nothing to worry about.”

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For Alberta to become independent, there must be a provincial referendum on independence that receives a clear majority vote. For the referendum to take place, there must be a party in power willing to hold one. That requires the election of a provincial political party that favours asking Albertans whether they want to remain in Canada or choose a path towards self-determination and prosperity. The need for a provincial independence party is clear and easy to understand.

But some people ask: what about a federal Western independence party? What would be the point of that? It could neither mandate the necessary referendum nor pass federal legislation benefiting the West. Such a party therefore seems pointless, they suggest.

However, there are some clear benefits to a federal political party that should be considered.

For one thing, a federal Western independence party gives pro-independence voters an option besides the pro-federalist parties currently on offer. Patriotic Alberta voters who reject the Central Canadian parties would at least have someone they can conscientiously support. They could “vote their values,” so to speak, and send a message to Ottawa that voting for other parties doesn’t accomplish.

Right now, many independence-minded Albertans support Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. The People’s Party has a unique and beneficial message that is attractive to conservative-minded Westerners, so that’s understandable. Bernier’s opposition to the Paris Climate Accord would mean that a Peoples’ Party federal government would eliminate the kinds of policies that prevent Western freedom and prosperity.

That is excellent, of course. However, because the People’s Party doesn’t restrict its focus to Western interests, it can’t represent the West in the same way that an exclusively Western party could. This is not to disparage the People’s Party, but simply to note that as a pan-Canadian party it must represent the interests of every region in the country, not just the West.

Having a federal independence party – such as the Maverick Party – does more than simply provide an option for Western regionalist voters. If it were to win a substantial number of votes (whether in a by-election or general election), that would alert Central Canadians to the increasing anger towards Ottawa in the West. 

As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows he has nothing to worry about. Conservative MPs from Alberta undoubtedly sympathize with the plight of the West, but their options to help are severely constrained by the need to appeal to voters in places like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The Conservative Party wants more than anything to achieve power, and the path to power runs through Central Canada. Thus, the interests of Alberta will always be a very low priority for the Conservative Party.

In contrast, were one or more Western independence MPs to be elected, Trudeau would see the West was not just going to lie down and let him run us over. He might finally understand that his anti-oil industry policies would be met by stiff resistance and that he was in for a real fight.

Most importantly of all, though, is that the election of one or more Maverick Party MPs would provide a significant morale boost for the entire Western independence movement. There would be lots of excitement that would lead to increased support, even at the provincial level.

There’s something about an electoral victory that generates credibility, even if power is not attained by the victor. That is, even though Maverick MPs would not form government or exercise power, the fact that they received voter support would provide credibility for the independence movement as a whole. In this kind of situation, quality leaders would likely emerge who could take the movement forward.

Some people point out that there have been Bloc Québécois MPs in Ottawa for years and they have done little for Quebec. Therefore, Maverick MPs from Alberta would be just as pointless.

However, everyone expects Quebec to send separatist MPs to Ottawa. They’ve been doing that for decades. Alberta sending independence-minded MPs to Ottawa would be entirely different. The election of Maverick MPs would constitute a political earthquake that would rock the nation. It would be the Canadian news story of the decade, and it would generate new interest and energy in the Western independence movement.

In short, a federal political party could potentially play a meaningful role in the move towards Alberta independence. A federal party is not as essential as a provincial party for the independence movement to succeed, but the potential benefits it could provide should not be overlooked.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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