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FILDEBRANDT: Sky Palace patio party aborts Kenney’s political recovery before it begins

“It’s naked gaslighting. They did break the law. Their own law, that they continue to enforce on rodeo hosts, Christian pastors, churches, and small businesses.”




Roughly two weeks ago, I wagered with a senior Conservative politician a bottle of good Riesling that Kenney’s political recovery would not be swift following the lifting of lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions. Said Conservative bet me once things were set to return to normal, Kenney would see most of his erstwhile base return, and his popularity would respectably recover .

At 2:10 pm on June 2, my friend texted me a picture of Jason Kenney and several of his key ministers enjoying a very un-socially distanced round of drinks on the rooftop of one-time Premier Alison Redford’s Sky Palace.

At 3:26 p.m., my friend sent me another text: “That Riesling is going to be expensive. I made the bet assuming he’d be smart.”

My prediction that Kenney’s popularity wouldn’t quickly recover wasn’t based on events getting in the way. It was based on a belief those who fled the UCP banner over Kenney’s on-again-off-again lockdowns, are deeply upset. And like a lover scorned, are harder to win back than to win over the first time.

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns by party voters, May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

In a recent Mainstreet Research poll ,conducted for the Western Standard, 57% of those who voted UCP in 2019 say that they disapprove of Kenney’s handling of COVID-19, mostly because of what they see as his draconian and overly harsh reaction.

Whatever my gloomy predictions, Kenney did have a path back. His reopening plan was bold, at least relative to other Canadian premiers who seem determined to cling to lockdown-theory as long as possible. While a good many Albertans may continue to resent how long it took him to get there, his jailing of Christian pastors, closure of churches, and raiding of businesses, the reopening for summer would still be a hugely welcome relief. If Kenney could follow through on the pledge – and not backtrack again – he stood a chance at political recovery.

But, I’m now owed an expensive bottle of Riesling.

When a picture began circulating on social media of Kenney, ministers Jason Nixon, Tyler Shandro and Travis Toews, and four others sitting around a nice table enjoying whiskey and wine on the rooftop patio of the Sky Palace, social media caught fire. When social media gets angry, that doesn’t necessarily mean that social media is correct. The Twitter mob can work itself into a headful of steam over very little.

The Western Standard’s original story on the controversy played the matter down until we had the facts. But get the facts we did. The next day, News Editor Dave Naylor published a thorough fact check.

In his defence, Kenney claims they didn’t break the rules, but it was under the category of an “outdoor social gathering,” and not “patio dining.” The Sky Palace’s rooftop patio is not the premier’s private residence – despite the best efforts of Allison Redford – and it’s licensed to serve alcohol and food. It might not be a commercial rooftop patio bar, but its a distinction without a difference.

But even Kenney’s defence that it was technically an outdoor social gathering lands him in clear hot water with his own temporary restrictions, now entering their 15th temporary month. By our count, even if it was the kind of gathering Kenney claims, he, his ministers, and the others in the photo are guilty on eight counts of violating their government’s own guidelines, and 16 counts of violating their own legally-binding regulations.

These kinds of gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people, however the guidelines strongly encourage those people be limited to a maximum of two households. As far as we know, all eight people pictured live in separate households. That’s eight violations of their own guidelines.

These outdoor social gatherings also require “mandatory physical distancing must be maintained at all times between members of different households.”

It doesn’t take an engineer to see from the picture every single last person in the photo is well within the two meter distance requirement. In most cases, very well within two meters. That’s eight violations of their own government’s orders.

Their regulations also require they “must not have an indoor component (movement in/out of homes is not permitted.”) The Sky Palace’s rooftop patio is about 12 storeys up. Unless Kenney and the cabinet parachuted onto the roof, they all came through the elevator and the door. The picture even shows two unidentified men with the group walking towards the forbidden door. That’s another eight violations of their own regulations.

For those keeping score, that’s eight violations of the guidelines, and 16 violations of the regulations.

Kenney’s response was the same as it was when a large portion of his caucus was caught traveling to warm, oversees destinations with no restrictions after locking down Alberta over Christmas.

“Nobody broke the law. Nobody should be upset. This is only the NDP playing politics.”

Well, words to that effect. Instead, he sent Nixon and Shandro out to say it for him.

It’s naked gaslighting. They did break the law. Their own law, that they continue to enforce on rodeo hosts, Christian pastors, churches, and small businesses.

Even if it was an outdoor social gathering – and not patio dining as the premier claims – they are still in violation of the eight guidelines and 16 regulations noted above. But these men make the rules. They don’t necessarily have to follow them.

Kenney is also playing a dangerous game if he believes only NDP partisans are unhappy with the matter. Indeed, New Democrats see an opportunity to score some goals – or at least let the Tories score on their own net – and they do seem to insist lockdowns remain in place for the foreseeable future.

But many a conservative is less than impressed by the impervious display atop the legendary Sky Palace, a coin termed and immortalized by Canadian Press reporter, Dean Bennett.

Longtime UCP member and Alberta Institute President, Peter McCaffery tweeted a picture of the gathering with the caption, “The Last Supper.”

If it was a 21st Century Alberta recreation of the Last Supper, one has to wonder if there was a Judas sitting around the table, as internal challenges to the premier’s leadership continue to roil.

McCaffery was also the miscreant who blew the whistle on Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s plan to spy on Alberta campers over the summer with drones. It was deliciously ironic that in all likelihood, it was a spy drone that captured the picture seen round Wildrose Country.

This is potentially much more damning than the Snowbird travel scandal of the New Year. In that case, it was only one cabinet minister and a series of backbenchers putting up their nose at their government’s own restrictions and lockdowns. Kenney dismissed it at first, but later had to discipline them.

In this case, he is at the centre of the action, and he can’t possibly discipline himself and most of his senior cabinet ministers. There’s just nobody else to let take the fall.

And unlike the Great Snowbird Scandal of 2021, the issue isn’t a series of words pecked out by reporters, but a photograph displaying it for the world to see. Every Albertan can look at it and make his or her own decision. There’s just no spinning his way out of it for the premier.

Kenney’s best course of action is to accept responsibility, apologize, and immediately repeal all regulations that he himself isn’t prepared to abide by.

You hold your breath while I sip my Riesling.

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher of the Western Standard

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher, President & CEO of Western Standard New Media Corp. He served from 2015-2019 as a Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the Wildrose and Freedom Conservative Parties. From 2009-2012 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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  1. Left Coast

    June 4, 2021 at 8:57 am

    Where have we seen this behaviour before?

    California Gov Newsome . . . who while Californians were locked down went to the Napa Valley with a dozen of his friends to dine at the Extravagant French Laundry.

    Gov Witless Whitmore in Michigan quietly flew off to Florida to live like a Normal Person while her constituants in Michingan were under strict lockdowns and then denied she went.

    This is a behaviour pattern of the “Elites” . . . Kenny thinks he is an “Elite”, so appropriate he got caught at the Redford Sky Pallace.

  2. John

    June 4, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Jason Kenney is Allison Redford’s evil twin and let’s not kid ourselves, Notley would have done the same to Alberta and Albertans, or worse.

  3. Westcanguy

    June 4, 2021 at 7:28 am

    The Wildrose Independence Party should be sending Kenny a thank you note for boosting membership in their party. This graduate of the Jim Prentice school of political leadership needs to figure out his next career move. This one is done.

  4. Steven Ruthven

    June 4, 2021 at 12:20 am

    In the old days, Jason Kenney would be tied up gaged and put on a train heading east; in an open air box car, with a sign around his neck that says feed me and push me off at Ottawa.

    Resign Jason Kenney your goose is cooked.

  5. Zeb

    June 3, 2021 at 11:56 pm


  6. Baron Not Baron

    June 3, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Pieces of sh!t. All of them, lizard servants.

  7. Seven-Zero-One

    June 3, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    UCP MLA’s are disgrace for Alberta

  8. Kelly Carter

    June 3, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I don’t care much about Kenney’s breaking of rules probably because I refuse to follow them. This photo shows too things to me…. 1) the old PC elites are running the province led this time by Kenney. It is Redford and Stalmach all over again. 2) Kenney’s COVID regulations are so convoluted and complicated no one can really keep track of them all Eden Kenney. For a while they were changing almost weekly. It was at that time I started refusing to be a good government minion, and stopped any attempts to follow the rules.

    I am furious over 3 pastors arrested and jailed, and what they have done to the Whistle Stop owners. The smearing of the rodeo and Tye Nortcott was also unforgivable. I will not be forginving Kenney.

  9. Jean Stewart

    June 3, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Kenney can not admit to mistakes. He will bumble through, not admitting that he’s become an embarrassment to his base. Albertans will judge him for being unfair and entitled. Jameson is his cheap whisky, which is a smack up the head for everyone who has been out of work or stuck at home or sick.

  10. Bobbi Potyok

    June 3, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    Kenney will not make an apology or repeal restrictions. I’d bet a Riesling on that.

  11. Cecil Jenkinson

    June 3, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Jason Kenny you have a responsibility “ to Man Up”.You are the Premier of one of the best provinces in Canada. Be a Man with character and integrity. Someone to look up to not a mirror of our incompetent Federal Leader . Stand up and admit your regulations are over the top and unnecessary. I don’t care if this event and your response about cheap whiskey is your idea or some of your colleges-make it right. I believe that you still have some character and you know what is right. So now do it or you will regret it . I am a senior citizen who has as others experienced making a bad decision with no one calling you out so you can fix it . Eat your pride because in the it is worthless.

  12. berta baby

    June 3, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Ya between the NDP and the standard I’m guessing lock downs are a thing of the past that we won’t forget

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WAGNER: Central Canada’s decades-long attack on Alberta oil drives the need for independence

“Within Canada, Alberta’s economy will be smothered by anti-oil policies and general hostility to resource development. Outside of Canada, Alberta’s economy can flourish and supply much-needed energy to willing customers.”




A new book by Western Standard Senior Columnist Michael Wagner makes the case that Alberta must become independent. The following is a brief excerpt from No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta.

Alberta is rich in fossil fuels, which are essential components for advanced modern economies. With the energy crisis of the 1970s, Central Canada benefited enormously from Alberta’s abundance through government-imposed low oil prices and an export tax on oil. Subsequently, as Alberta’s oil was later allowed to reach world price levels, the federal government continued to reap large financial rewards at Alberta’s expense.

Now, many voters in Central Canada want Alberta’s fossil fuels to be locked in the ground, supposedly to prevent climate change. What this would mean for Albertans is crystal clear: poverty and a future without economic hope. In effect, Central Canada wants Alberta to return to its status of a have-not province, like it was before the discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947. To see the future that voters in Toronto and Montreal envision for Alberta, simply look back to the economic struggles the province experienced in its first few decades. It’s not a pretty picture.

But there is absolutely no reason why Albertans should accept this fate. Albertans have the opportunity to determine their own future, and they should do so. Through entirely peaceful, legal, and constitutional means, Albertans have the power to choose a future of self-determination and prosperity. That is, Alberta can become an independent country.

Seceding from Canada to form an independent country is certainly a drastic step. But there really is no other option. Serious proposals have been made in the past to reform Canada so the West could receive a greater voice in national institutions. These kinds of reforms – with the Triple-E (equal, elected, and effective) Senate being top of the list – have been rejected and are no longer viable. This means Albertans face a stark choice between the status quo, with its inevitable economic decline, or independence.

Many people in Alberta are very hesitant to embrace secession due to strong personal and emotional ties to Canada. This is reasonable and completely understandable. There is much laudable about Canada, including the freedom and prosperity it offers to its citizens. Canadians also have much to be proud of in their past, such as the courageous exploits of the Canadian military in the world wars, as well as other conflicts. Indeed, there is much to admire about Canada when it is compared to the other countries of the world.

Nevertheless, Canada has been going in a rather unhappy direction since the late 1960s. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had a vision for a different kind of country that he did much to accomplish. It’s not a coincidence that the first efforts to create a separatist organization in Alberta took place during Trudeau’s first term as prime minister. Today, Pierre’s son, Justin, pursues a different set of policies that harm Alberta’s future. 

There is a lesson to be drawn from these two periods of Trudeau administrations: If Albertans don’t choose a new direction for their province, they will forever be entangled in cyclical periods of hostile federal policies.

In short, Albertans must choose between the status quo and independence. Within Canada, Alberta’s economy will be smothered by anti-oil policies and general hostility to resource development. Outside Canada, Alberta’s economy can flourish and supply much-needed energy to willing customers. This latter option will lead to prosperity for Albertans and their children. The choice is clear.

You can order a copy of Michael Wagner’s new book, No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta on Amazon

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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SLOBODIAN: Docs who speak out about COVID facing brutal suppression

Whistleblowers say doctors who disobey are investigated and face having their medical licences revoked.




Doctors and nurses, the heroes who bravely stand between COVID-19 and Canadians, are being bullied, threatened and censored.

They’re warned: Challenge the COVID-19 narrative or reveal serious flaws in how the pandemic’s handled and pay a heavy price.

Whistleblowers say doctors who disobey are investigated and face having their medical licences revoked. 

Nurses fear being fired if they expose manipulated and inflated numbers or cases of vaccinated patients with COVID-19.

Physicians and a researcher spoke on behalf of many colleagues at a press conference on censorship of doctors, scientists and medical information held on Parliament Hill Thursday, hosted by Ontario MP Derek Sloan.

“Many people at high levels across the federal and provincial governments are misleading the public,” said Sloan.

He recently issued a call to medical and scientific whistleblowers. The response is shocking.

Medical professionals are viciously muzzled.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) issued an April 30 statement warning doctors against going public with questioning the status quo or revealing what they witness in hospitals and clinics.

The College of Nurses of Ontario forbid nurses to talk about what they’ve experienced.

Dr. Byram Bridle, associate professor and viral immunologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph, dares to question vaccines. 

“I, along with a large number of collaborators both within Canada and internationally, have developed serious concerns about COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

He’s under brutal attack.

“I’m undergoing a very public smear campaign right now,” said Welsh, adding he also receives hundreds of supportive emails from across Canada and the world.

“Since the pandemic was declared, I’ve been trying to serve as a voice of objective, scientific opinion so that the public can make the most informed decisions for themselves possible when it comes to issues related to COVID-19,” said Bridle.

“I’m a publicly-funded servant. You pay for me, Canadians, with your tax dollars.”

In an interview, he was asked if there’s a link between COVID-19 vaccines and cases of heart inflammation in young males. The connection was recently flagged in Israeli studies.

Bridle, a vaccinologist whose research program is based on development of novel vaccines, said it’s possible.

“After the interview, five minutes, it was like a nuclear bomb went off in my world. My life was thrown upside down. I’m sure my life will never be the same again,” he said. 

A fake Twitter account slanders him. Calls and email attacks continue daily.

He’s harassed by some work colleagues. Fortunately, the University of Guelph administration supports him.

Bridle wrote a comprehensive guide for parents to make informed decisions about vaccinating their children.

“I accept that early in the pandemic and when we first rolling out these vaccines we’ve had to largely work based on assumptions. The scientific literature has exploded over the last 16 months. We understand so much more. Now we’re looking at vaccinating children and it’s no longer OK to proceed based on assumptions,” he said.

Proper studies haven’t been conducted, he warned.

“Mass vaccination of millions of healthy Canadian children demands that the level of safety associated with this, the assessed safety profile has to be exceptionally high,” he said.

“By expressing this my career may very well have been destroyed. It’s incomprehensible to me that this has happened.

“I don’t recognize the country that I was born into.”

However, warnings like that issued by the CPSO backfire.

“Doctors, nurses, scientists and other medical experts have indeed reached out to me through various channels to tell me their stories.” said Sloan.

“These honest and hardworking doctors are fully galvanized against the regressive, authoritarian overreach of the CPSO and other similar governing bodies.

“The purpose of governing bodies like the CPSO is to protect the public, not to stifle legitimate scientific inquiry or dissent by professional doctors.”

Dr. Patrick Phillips, an Ontario family and emergency physician went public after seeing his patients suffering “massive harms” from lockdowns, including those with advanced cancer walking into emergency.

“I’ve never seen so many suicidal children,” said Phillips.

The letter from the CPSO is “chilling,” he said.

“It basically saying it’s the professional responsibility of all physicians not to communicate anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-distancing, and anti-lockdown statements and/or promoting unsupported, unproven treatments for COVID-19,” he said.

He’s one of many physicians under investigation, facing his medical licence being revoked for promoting treatments like Vitamin D and Ivermectin, both proven to work in numerous trials.

“There’s something bigger than my medical career at this point because lives are being lost and we need to speak out.”

Dr. Don Welsh, a PhD and professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Western Ontario, laments physicians under attack.

“This behaviour’s unacceptable in Canada,” he said emotionally.

“We have been told by the public health community to follow the science. I want to be clear – science hasn’t been functioning properly the last 13 months as we address COVID-19.”

Welsh called for “full and robust Royal Commission to publicly address the many flaws that underlie this public response” to COVID-19.

Canadians also need to know who tells tyrants to issue shut-up decrees. 

Where’s Dr. Theresa Tam? Silent.

Odd, you’d think Canada’s chief public health officer would leap to the defense of besieged medical professionals.

Slobodian is a Manitoba based columnist for the Western Standard

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FROM: Property rights advocates should think twice about an Alberta constitution

“While there is merit to enshrining property rights in a potential new Alberta constitution, there are cautions that Albertans should consider first.”




Canada is nearly alone in the world as a liberal democracy having a written constitution lacking any explicit protection for property rights.  Albertans- many of whom are weary of confederation – have often bandied about the idea of a provincial constitution protecting property rights. While there is merit to enshrining property rights in a potential new Alberta constitution, there are cautions that Albertans should consider first.

Property rights are already protected by the common law. For example, in 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada said, “Anglo-Canadian jurisprudence has traditionally recognized, as a fundamental freedom, the right of the individual to the enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof, or any interest therein, save by due process of law.”

But the common law lacks the power of entrenched constitutional protection because any Canadian legislature could modify it by ordinary statute.

In 1978, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s government introduced Bill C-60, the Constitutional Amendment Act, in parliament.  The bill contained a guarantee of, “the right of the individual to the use and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with law.”

This may be a verboten topic in the West, but Trudeau (The First) even tried to have property rights included in the Charter in 1982. This was opposed — no surprise — by the NDP, special interest groups and others. The Liberal government eventually gave up trying.

But maybe that was a good thing. Constitutionally entrenching property rights has long been the goal of many on the political right, but is it the panacea many assume?

The Americans have explicit protection for property in their constitution’s Bill of Rights, and they have the advantage of a rich intellectual tradition acknowledging the moral and instrumental value of property rights. Nevertheless, their courts have whittled it away, piece by piece, until property rights have become wrought with caveats and exemptions borne of a similar rights balancing approach upon which our courts rely.

There is also a question regarding how effectively a province could protect property rights on its own. If Alberta were to entrench its own protection for property rights, it would apply only to the provincial government and municipalities. It would not prevent the federal government – which would not be bound by Alberta’s constitution – from continuing to violate our property rights. 

A perfect example of this was demonstrated earlier this year when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the federal carbon tax legislation, which greatly interferes with the property rights of Albertans. Unless something entirely unforeseen changes, Albertans will be forever powerless to stop this sort of federal violation of property rights. Entrenching property rights in an Alberta constitution will have no bearing on any federal violations.   

And lastly, the term “property rights” means something very specific to its advocates, but not to everyone. It’s a vague and uncertain term. Generally, advocates mean legal authority to possess, control, exclude and transfer an interest in something tangible, like land or chattels.  But there are others who believe property rights should include socio-economic rights to education, healthcare, pensions and other benefits. This is a debate Albertans have never thoroughly had, and thankfully our courts have shown reluctance to adopt socio-economic rights without that debate.

And lastly, if Alberta did entrench property rights, are we naive enough to believe all currently existing legislation would not be immediately grandfathered? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a very good chance that nothing would change.

In my view, property is both a moral and legal concept foundational to the success of all free and prosperous societies. Governments should be greatly circumscribed in their authority to take or devalue property. But this is a complicated topic, and property rights should not be entrenched on a whim.

Derek From is Columnist for the Western Standard and an associate lawyer with WKA Lawyers

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