Premier Jason Kenney has so badly bungled his responsibilities to Alberta that the time has come for him to resign.
In fact, massive sections of his own party are demanding it.
His own caucus is rife with MLAs that have “no confidence” in his continued leadership. More than 30 party constituency association presidents have agreed to push for an emergency leadership review. The UCP’s vice-president (of policy) and a member of the party’s central board of directors says that he must resign now.
Kenney has failed to live up to nearly all of his major election platform commitments: a successful fair deal fight with Ottawa, build pipelines, end corporate welfare, kill the carbon tax, balance the budget, implement recall legislation, and most importantly: make Alberta “Strong and Free”.
The premier was dealt a difficult hand with COVID-19, but his handling of it has been nothing short of disastrous. Rather than make Alberta “Strong and Free,” he has overseen an authoritarian growth in the power of the government over the private lives of Albertans.
Acting on his orders, police attacked a kid playing hockey.
Acting on his orders, police raided churches and erected barricades to keep worshipers out.
Acting on his orders, police arrested pastors for refusing to stop preaching.
Acting on his orders, police jailed small business owners and seized their property.
Acting on his orders, protests and rodeos were outlawed.
Acting on his orders, Health Minister Tyler Shandro failed to build sufficient hospital capacity for a predictable surge in COVID-19 cases, to point where now the Alberta government is begging the Canadian military to intervene.
While Albertans suffered under the weight of a creeping tyranny, Kenney enjoyed a nice dinner on the rooftop of Alison Redford’s Sky Palace, in clear violation of his very own restrictions. In that dinner, he was joined by Finance Minister Travis Toews, Environment Minister Jason Nixon, Sandro, and a group of young staffers.
Kenney is expected to make Shandro walk the plank this afternoon, and offer his political head up to appease his caucus and party that are demanding his own.
As terribly as Shandro has conducted himself as health minister, the buck does not stop with him; it stops with Kenney.
Shandro was not a rogue minister operating without supervision. He was following orders from his boss.
Kenney is a well-known micromanager. Kenney and Shandro both are members of the Priorities & Implementation Cabinet Committee (PICC) that oversees all of the major COVID-19 decisions. The decisions to impose, rescind, and reimpose restrictions were made not just by Shandro, but by Kenney and the rest of this powerful cabinet committee. The decision to retract Kenney’s solemn pledge never to impose a mandatory vaccine passport was made not just by Shandro, but by Kenney as well.
Shandro is to blame, but so too is Kenney and much of the inner circle around him.
If Albertans are right in demanding Shandro’s resignation, then they are at least as right in demanding Kenney’s.
It’s sad Kenney’s earlier, brilliant political career has degenerated to this. He was a smart and capable minister in the federal Harper government. He operated with boundless energy in his efforts to unite the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties. He triumphed in the UCP’s leadership race, and did Alberta a great service in dispatching Rachel Notley’s NDP after just a single term in office. He campaigned on a mandate of fighting for a fair deal for Alberta.
But Kenney’s continued presence in the premier’s office is now a grave threat to all of those accomplishments.
He played a significant role in Erin O’Toole’s defeat at the hands of Justin Trudeau, leaving Alberta in weakened position.
He risks splitting the United Conservative Party back up into its PC and Wildrose elements, something that’s already well underway with the growth of the Wildrose Independence Party.
His continued leadership seems certain at this point to lead to a return of the Notley NDP to power.
His presence creates the very real risk that Albertans will vote ‘no’ in the equalization referendum, as an opportunity to send him a message.
“You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately … Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”
For the good of the conservative movement, for the good of the United Conservative Party, for the good of Alberta, and for the good of restoring our freedoms, Kenney must resign. Now.
This editorial was jointly written by the Editorial Board of the Western Standard