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Jason Kenney: rule of lawbreaker

John Bell

February 22, 2020

Alberta premier Jason Kenney is forever going on about the “rule of law”.

In January of 2018 he tweeted “The rule of law must be enforced…” in response to protests blocking the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

In February 2018 he took to FaceBook: “It's time that we stand up for the rule of law in Canada. 'Protesters' cannot be allowed to indefinitely block construction of the approved TransMountain pipeline.” 

In September 2019 Kenney launched his opposition to the Liberal government’s Bill C-69, amending the regulation process for resource extraction projects, saying: “This is not about jobs in Alberta, although that is critical. It’s about the rule of law, it’s about the dream of an economic union, it’s about respect for the fundamental law of the land, the constitution of Canada.” (Never mind that C-69 actually strengthened corporate power over Indigenous land rights or environmental concerns.)

And now Kenney issues almost daily attacks on the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and those protesting in solidarity with them. Typical is this tirade from February 19, 2020: “Reconciliation doesn’t mean allowing a couple of people to shut down the national economy.” (Hundreds of actions and tens of thousands of people have shown support for the blockades.)

“What’s happening here is anarchy… To allow this to go on for weeks, I think, creates a license for illegal protests, and only emboldens those who are thumbing their nose at the rule of law.”

And if his rhetoric stirs up vigilante squads like the gang of white supremacists who tore down a solidarity blockade in Edmonton, he's good with that.

A theme emerges. Jason Kenney is an enthusiastic supporter of laws promoting oil and gas, and the pipelines that carry them. Other laws, not so much.

For a man so obsessed with the “rule of law”, Kenney has been known to break it to further his career and his reactionary politics.

Kenney’s United Conservative Party was under investigation throughout the 2019 election campaign, for various vote-rigging scams and dirty tricks.

After his election, he moved quickly to shut down the office of Alberta election commissioner Lorne Gibson. Gibson was investigating Kenney for breaking campaign fundraising rules when he was running for UCP leader in 2017. 

The attempt to shut down the investigation failed when the RCMP entered the picture. The pace of their progress can only be described as glacial.

But the stink lingers on, becoming so bad that in July a special out-of-province prosecutor was hired to investigate Kenney’s alleged rule of law-breaking. Independent media outlet PressProgress has been dogged in documenting the allegations of illegality surrounding Kenney and his UCP supporters. 

As recently as February 11, news continued to dribble out about Kenney’s malfeasance. In particular attention is focusing on a “kamikaze” candidate named Jeff Calloway. Calloway was on the ballot for UCP leader, ostensibly running against Kenney and his main rival Brian Jean. But his campaign was financed by Kenney supporters, and his role was exclusively to attack Jean. He then, on cue, quit the race and endorsed Mr. Rule of Law.

Kenney denies any knowledge of these dirty tricks. But his firing of the man investigating his election – justified on the grounds of money saving – smells of cover-up. Keep that in mind when the mainstream media dutifully repeats his hypocritical “rule of law” pronouncements.

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