You are here

Alberta politics has a new monster

LEFT JAB by John Bell

October 27, 2022
Just when you thought Alberta politics couldn’t get scarier, out pops new UCP premiere Danielle Smith. This is no joke – her arrival is a dark harbinger of things to come.
So long Jason Kenney, formerly the worst person in Canadian politics. His record, as a charter member of the Reform Party, as Stephen Harpers hatchet man for a decade in Ottawa, then pulling the right-wing fragments of Alberta conservatism together into the UCP, squandering billions on bad economic gambles, and racking up the nation’s worst public health record during the pandemic, is a complete disaster.
I remind readers of Kenney’s record because, on his way out the door, he issued a warning about Smith’s “extremism". Something to the effect: if you think I was bad, wait until you get a load of this shit. 
“I will not let this mainstream conservative party become an agent for extreme, hateful, intolerant, bigoted and crazy views. Sorry to be so blunt with you but you need to understand what the stakes are here,” he told his party. 
This is pretty rich, coming from one of the major drivers of a conscious, relentless move to the right that has been going on for decades. It is like seeing Dr. Frankenstein building his monster, and then suddenly trying to disown the kid because it is a bit “extreme”..
Well Jason, to quote the bad Doctor: “Its alive!”, and even if it turned on you in the final reel, you’re the one who breathed life into it.
Smith – dark forces
Kenney is right though; Danielle Smithis everything repugnant about conservatism, but on steroids. She was a self-professed Margaret Thatcher fan girl, and swallowed her Ayn Rand whole. She literally served her apprenticeship with the Fraser Institute. Greed is good, property rights beat human rights, and democracy is just window dressing for the chumps. In this she wasn’t fundamentally different from Kenney or Harper. But they came equipped with a filter, the pragmatic knowledge that if they ever let the truth be known they would be unelectable. They played up to racists while talking diversity. They courted the anti-abortion vote, but kept them simmering on the back burner. They were masters of the dog-whistle.
Times have changed. Smith has risen to the top, sometimes as a media “pundit” encouraging the far-right, sometimes as a politician channeling it. Now she has traded her place on the slimy periphery for centre stage, buoyed and financed by the “freedom” convoy movement and the dark forces behind it. Emboldened by them she has traded the dog-whistle for the megaphone. 
She has taken the anti-Ottawa/anti-Trudeau rhetoric of her predecessors and fanned it into murderous, irrational rage. The keystone of her election platform promised to turn Alberta into a semi-autonomous region by enacting the “Alberta Sovereignty Act”. I say semi-autonomous because they will always demand a slice of federal resources but now will refuse to answer for the spending. Legal experts pointed out that the act would be unconstitutional, but Smith and her camp have made careers out of ignoring experts.
Almost within minutes of being chosen to replace Kenney, she and her chief advisor, Rob Anderson began to moonwalk, admitting that the not-yet written act would “respect” Supreme Court rulings. So the Sovereignty Act, if it ever appears, will be a lot of huff and puff, playing to the pick-up and white-power crowd.
And within hours of that, to distract her supporters and forestall any post-election letdown, she decided to play up the connection between anti-vaxxer conspiracies and racism. She declared that people who refused to be vaccinated, refused to wear masks, and refused to obey any rudimentary public health measures “…are the most discriminated against group I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. That’s a pretty extreme level of discrimination that we have seen.”
Those words had to create fear in every Indigenous person, person of colour, Muslim and Jew in Alberta. Every LGBT+ Albertan must be looking over their shoulder, every young trans person must feel more isolated and unsafe. Every woman concerned about their access to reproductive choices should worry.
And every horn-honking, gun-toting, climate change denying, white replacement theory spouting extremist will puff up their chest and feel bolder to speak and act out their bigotry. They’ve found their political home.
Naturally, she anticipated some blow-back and began to hedge. She issued a standard “sorry, not sorry” statement. But a barrage of her racist, anti-Semitic, conspiracy driven posts to various convoy/anti-vax social media sites confirmthe sincerity of her bigotry. 
To seal the deal she announced plans to amend the Human Rights Codeto protect anti-science hooligans. She even threatened Alberta businesses that try to impose their own health mandates.  
Smith’s politics are ultra-right across the board. She would completely dismantle public schools, allowing teacher/entrepreneurs to open “micro-schools” in their own homes: “If we can get funding following the students directly to the schools and allow more teachers to set up their own schools as competition, its going to have a transformative effect.”
She announced that Chief Medical Officer Deena Hinshaw is to be fired. Hinshaw’s performance during COVID was feeble at best, but even that is too much for Smith and her cult. She announced plans to purge the Alberta Health Service of “experts” (i.e. scientists). She said they were disqualified because they refused to recommend a “therapeutic” responseto COVID – that is anti-vax code for horse de-worming medicine Invermectin. All this is made necessary to end the nefarious influence of the World Economic Forum.
Smith’s politics are a closed-loop of conspiracy theories and misinformation. Where Jason Kenney was Frankenstein, she is Freddy Kruger. Even if she is defeated in the next election (not a given thanks to the wretched weakness of the ANDP) she can do horrible damage in the short-term. Alberta organized labour faces an existential crisis.
If there is a tiny silver lining to this dark cloud, it is that Smith may be a millstone around the neck of Pierre Poilievre on the national stage. If he distances himself from Smith he risks eroding his Alberta base; if he doesn’t he will lose support among Conservative voters in the rest of Canada.
All that will be cold comfort for Albertans, soon to find themselves living in a slasher movie.
Geo Tags: 

Featured Event



Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel