Jason Kenney Says You're An Extremist
If you're reading this, Jason Kenney thinks you're a "far-right extremist".
As ridiculous as it sounds, Jason Kenney says that our Free Alberta Strategy group and our supporters (i.e. you!) are "far-right extremists", simply for wanting Alberta to have the same sovereignty rights that Quebec already has!
Presumably, that means he also thinks the 10 MLAs who endorsed our plan are far-right extremists.
And let's not forget that all seven candidates running for UCP leader participated in our Free Alberta Strategy Town Hall event, and all seven said that they agree with at least parts of our strategy - are they all far-right extremists to him too?
(More on that later.)
Calling us all "far right" is just co-opting the talking points of angry blue check marks on Twitter who seem to believe that painting anything you don’t like as "far right" is a good way to discredit an idea without having to thoughtfully engage with it.
It’s nothing more than a scare tactic.
The real question is, how on earth did we get to this point?
Is this even the same Jason Kenney that was elected in 2019 on a promise to fight for Alberta?
Has the Premier been abducted by aliens?
Jokes aside, many of our supporters have told us about how they used to be big Kenney supporters - donating money, volunteering time, and voting for him for years - but that they barely recognize him anymore.
As you will know, we first proposed the Free Alberta Strategy (and with it the Alberta Sovereignty Act) in September 2021.
It received a good amount of media attention at the time and was endorsed by about 10 MLAs, but Jason Kenney refused to even consider the idea, while the usual political commentators wrote it off.
In June of this year, though, Danielle Smith announced her support for an Alberta Sovereignty Act as part of her leadership campaign.
Suddenly the idea was back in the news, even more prominently than before, and the position of Alberta in Canada became the key issue in the race.
Kenney's failure to robustly stand up to Ottawa on issues from energy, to the environment, to COVID restrictions were a major factor in his removal as Premier by UCP members, which led to this race in the first place.
Had he been willing to consider the Free Alberta Strategy, perhaps his fortunes would have been very different, but he clung to the idea that this feeling of disappointment was only held by a tiny fraction of people, and he still seems to believe that today.
Instead of going quietly, and keeping at least some of his legacy intact, he instead seems to have decided to destroy it on his way out the door, by interfering in the leadership race to replace him.
Which brings us back to his comments yesterday.
At a press conference, Kenney strongly attacked our Free Alberta Strategy and the Alberta Sovereignty Act, as he has done several times in the last few weeks.
He's been criticized for doing so by a wide range of political and non-political people, as it's highly improper for Premiers, on their way out, to get involved in the political race to replace them.
But then, Kenney has made it pretty clear that that's precisely why he stayed on as interim Premier in the first place - to give him the ability to skew things in favour of his preferred successor.
There's even been speculation that Jason Kenney or his office were involved in encouraging the Lieutenant Governor to speak out against the Act - a highly dangerous statement for her to have made, given she's in a constitutional role where it's critical to remain perfectly neutral on political matters.
Kenney - of course - has the gall to claim that he's not getting involved in the leadership race at all.
He has two excuses for this.
One, he claims he's just talking about policy and that he's just repeating his comments on our plan, that he's made repeatedly since we launched it last year.
The only problem with that excuse is that we can't find a single reported statement by Kenney about our plan from before it became an issue in the leadership.
In fact, the earliest comment we can find from him is from just three weeks ago - at the height of the leadership race.
(We would have noticed if the Premier had mentioned us sooner!)
Second, he claims he's just defending the UCP's official statement of principles, that include "loyalty to a united Canada".
The only problem with that excuse is that that clause isn't in the UCP's official statement of principles.
In fact, it was the only clause from Jason Kenney's draft statement of principles that was explicitly rejected by the UCP membership at their founding convention.
(Go and look it up on the party website for yourself!)
In other words, Jason Kenney claims that it's purely a coincidence that his attacks are aimed at a policy being promoted by his unpreferred candidate.
And he claims that it's purely a coincidence that his attacks are framed in the same way, and use the same language, as the attacks being made by his preferred candidate.
(Do you think he also thinks it's a coincidence that his attacks use the precise same talking points as the attacks on the plan by NDP leader Rachel Notley?)
All of this leads to another, unfortunate, question:
If Kenney is willing to ignore and disrespect the leadership race process so openly and offensively, can we be sure he will respect the results of the leadership race if his preferred winner doesn't win?
After all, he hasn't technically resigned yet, he just announced his "intention" to resign.
Alberta politics has seen crazier things.
In the end, who knows why Kenney is doing what he's doing.
Maybe Jason Kenney really, genuinely, hasn't read our plan and is just mistaken about what we're trying to achieve.
Or, maybe, he has read it and is just misleading Albertans for the political gain of his allies in the UCP leadership race.
We'll leave it to you to decide which is more likely.
The Free Alberta Strategy Team