Thursday, 19 May 2022


About Last Night

Chaos reigned supreme in Calgary Wednesday.

Yesterday evening Alberta Premier Jason Kenney won his party’s leadership review by a Sunday morning hangover whisker. His speech in Calgary following the announcement of the result was short and something of a shock, he abruptly resigned his post. His United Conservative Party (UCP) is destined to remain a deeply divided entity with a provincial election just 12 months hence. Party officials feared they couldn’t win it with him; perhaps they can’t win it without him.

Kenney’s immediate fate is unclear. He could stay on as premier until the UCP holds a leadership election. The party could appoint an interim leader and placeholder premier in the meantime. Conceivably, Kenney himself could stand as a candidate in the UCP’s leadership election. All of this as the Alberta body politic cycles into election mode. In the short term, Albertans will be represented nationally and internationally by a person citizens did not formally choose.

The tiny list of Kenney’s obvious and potential successors is blood curdling. Both Danielle Smith and Brian Jean are former leaders of Wildrose, a defunct breakaway party formed because the Progressive Conservatives were just too danged progressive. The talent in Kenney’s cabinet is thin. No minister has presented as his de facto Number Two, a dauphin. Kenney was something of an autocrat, prideful enough to keep the spotlight on himself. Though he whined about how Canada’s myriad of constitutional documents impinged upon his powers, he was canny enough to keep his views on some social issues to himself and therefore out of the public forum. For the most part, the church did not impede nor direct the state on his watch.

Kenney, after demanding God to bless Alberta, closed his conciliatory and concessionary remarks by urging Albertans to get on to what really mattered, round two, game one of the Flames and Oilers National Hockey League (NHL) playoff across town. That game was Iggy Pop hockey, a real wild one. Fifteen total goals when analysts insist there should be no room to move. Open ice is a rare commodity this late in the second season. Calgary hung on to prevail 9-6.

The venerable Canadian Broadcasting Corporation streamed the game live, no charge excepting annual federal income tax dollars. The match was one of those rare conversion tilts. A new or indifferent hockey viewer might well wonder what they’ve been missing and may become a fan. The nature of the sport suggests the possibility that there will be many more future games as engaging as last night’s. Hope is on offer.

Yesterday evening’s UCP invitation-only deflated, failed redux coronation suggests the party will continue to tweak its dogma, get that populist whistle pitch perfect. Eligible voters can expect the UCP 2023 campaign platform to be planked with inarticulate talking points, shrill ones, generic ones like anger and complaint. This, this is on offer for one of Canada’s “have” provinces (the price of oil is up – war is very good for a commodity-based boom and bust economy). May the saints preserve a majority of Albertans from the reconfigured UCP.

meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of all things Alberta since 2013. My novella Of Course You Did is my latest book. Visit to find your preferred format and retailer.

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