Festivus: The non-commercial holiday’s celebration, as depicted on Seinfeld, occurs on December 23 and includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, and practices such as the “Airing of Grievances”
I’m going to throw a wild guess out there and bet that this is Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s favourite time of year.
After all, it’s Festivus, the time when we all share our grievances. And Kenney has plenty of those. So many in fact, that he can’t stop airing them every chance he gets.
Chief among his grievances are anyone who dares to criticize or question the man himself.
“Less than a year into his mandate, Kenney appears to be adopting the approach to political opponents practiced by the late Republican Senator Joe McCarthy in his hunt for un-American activities—guilt by association, loyalty tests, party affiliation as a permanent stain, the hyperbolic conflation of any and all criticism of the government with an outrageous offence verging on treason. In Kenney’s case, though, there’s a style and intent that seems less like the purging of a bureaucracy than the offhanded point-scoring and intellectual rigour found in the partisan corners of social media. Truth is irrelevant; the only thing that really matters is that your team knows who to boo and hiss in the next game. Let’s update it for the digital age and call it Facebook McCarthyism.”
That’s the less than flattering summation of Kenney this week in Macleans Magazine by Chris Turner.
Another grievance of Kenney’s appears to be against public sector workers. It’s an old trick for a right leaning government; get elected and immediately begin to slash the public service, whilst casting them as the enemy.
Kenny has announced that thousands of public service jobs are likely to be cut. He made the announcements right before the United Conservative Party convention last weekend, and then appeared to revel in the hundreds of protesters who showed up at the convention.
He appeared pleased as punch to have attracted that many protesters.
He also said this week that he wants to “find practical solutions to deliver services more efficiently”. That’s an ominous statement.
Doug Ford made the same sort of pronouncement in Ontario and now he’s got a teachers’ strike on his hands.
Of course, Kenney’s favourite grievance is against the federal government. Although the government has invested billions in trying to get the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion going, Kenney prefers to pretend that they are doing nothing — mainly because that far better suits his narrative that the feds are anti-Alberta, anti-oil, anti-everything that is right and proper.
Kenney’s views on, and grievances with, the federal government are unlikely to change until a Conservative is once again elected Prime Minister. On that magical day, his tune will change and cooperation with the federal government will be the message.
It’s fairly obvious what he’s doing. It’s the old us against them. Give your constituents someone to blame, other than your leadership, for all their ills. Keep throwing the raw meat of how everyone has done Alberta wrong, and fan the flames of discontent.
Is it working? Well, if you put any stock in polls, maybe not.
A Canadian Press poll recently found that 42 per cent of Alberta respondents had a somewhat positive opinion of Jason Kenney, while 50 per cent had a somewhat negative opinion.
In September, Kenney’s approval rating was 60 per cent. That’s a pretty steep drop.
Sounds like some Albertans are putting up the Festivus poles.
Carolyn Grant is Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin.