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Kenney will be in Washington the day before UCP decides leadership

Kenney will be in Washington the day before UCP decides leadership

There’s no shortage of rumours suggesting the vote count on the premier’s leadership review is rife with fraud, or claims by his opponents they will win if the vote’s an honest one.

A photo of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his new BFF, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his new BFF, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. Credit: Alberta Newsroom / Flickr

It seemed like a strangely bold move yesterday for Jason Kenney to announce he’ll be jetting off to Washington, D.C., to testify to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources the day before his United Conservative Party (UCP) announces whether its members have voted to let him stay on as leader.

You’d almost think Alberta’s premier knew how the vote count was going to go!

Well, there’s no shortage of rumours suggesting that might just be the case, while former Wildrose Party leader and recently elected UCP MLA Brian Jean’s campaign to unseat Kenney insists that if the vote is an honest one, they have enough support to unseat the premier and force a new leadership contest. 

Meanwhile, as the clock ticks and the vote counters count, an apparently worry-free Kenney will take Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment Minister Jason Nixon with him to Washington to pay respectful obeisance to the committee chaired by the premier’s new best friend forever, Democrat-in-name-only Joe Manchin.

“We must work closely with our U.S. partners to establish a united front on energy security and that means increasing Alberta’s energy exports to the United States and the world,” the premier gloated yesterday in a triumphalist news release.

Like Kenney, the Senator for West Virginia is widely perceived as being too close to the fossil fuel industry for anyone’s comfort except their own. Also like Kenney, Manchin sees eye to eye with the Senate’s Republicans on abortion rights, casting the crucial swing vote yesterday that allowed the Senate GOP to defeat the Women’s Health Protection Act by 51 votes to 49. 

During Manchin’s mid-April tarsands tour of Alberta, Kenney gushed that the senator is “probably the most influential member of the Legislative Branch of the United States.”

And it is true that thanks to the fact votes in the U.S. Senate spilt 50-50 in the November 2020 election, the former West Virginia governor found himself holding the key swing vote in the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress, allowing him to use his temporary power to stymie most of the good things Joe Biden promised to do, and probably ruin the Democrat’s chances of a second term as president as well. 

Now it looks as if Manchin is repaying Kenney’s adulation with access to his bully pulpit in Washington. 

Well, it’s nice to have somewhere Canadian Conservatives can go to see some friendly foreign faces now that their increasingly numerous Q-adjacent supporters have made them delete quality destinations like Davos from their travel itineraries. 

The inevitable video of Kenney testifying before the lofty senators the day before the leadership review vote is announced will make a nice backdrop for his gracious speech acknowledging his victory the next day – or, I suppose, in the event his opponents within the UCP manage to topple him, whatever he has to say about that. 

Naturally, a video of Kenney’s testimony will be broadcast on his social media channels for those of us who are gluttons for cruel and unusual punishment. 

Outpouring of anger forces government to drop changes to insulin pump access

An outpouring of fury over the Kenney Government’s plan to end its insulin pump subsidy program for diabetics has forced Health Minister Jason Copping to move the scheme to the back burner for the time being.

The government announced on May 2 it would drop the program Aug. 1, trying to pass the move off as an improvement that would help the approximately 4,000 Albertans affected to get access to more advanced insulin pumps, never mind the high premiums and co-pays they’d be stuck with paying. 

No one was fooled. When 3,300 outraged Albertans emailed Copping and the premier, as well as NDP Health Critic David Shepherd, within 48 hours, the government backed off, promising yesterday there will be town hall meetings and more talk before it decides what to do next. 

About 420 working-age Canadians with diabetes die each year because they don’t have adequate access to their medications, a 2018 report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions estimated.

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David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe…


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