January 19th, 2021

No lever left to use in promoting oil industry

By Letter to the Editor on March 18, 2020.

The former grand poo-bah of the now defunct Wildrose Party of Alberta, the otherwise estimable Brian Jean, is currently exhibiting the political acumen of a pocket gopher in his fevered pronouncements of righteous fury to do with Alberta’s place in the apparently grand shambles that is our national confederation.

The noise coming from him is perhaps made all the more puzzling by his sudden new-found bromance with Premier Jason Kenney – the very fellow who deked him out for the leadership of the new United Conservative Party of Alberta through a campaign of chicanery and Machiavellian subterfuge.

The thing is that the current affectation of so-called power politics by a noisy cadre of petroleum industry shills such as Mr. Jean, made manifest in delusional squawking about separation if certain “demands” are not met, is coming to a festering head at the exact moment when the Emperor Big Oil is revealed to be not only stark naked, but a horrible sight to boot. For it may be that Archimedes determined that with a long enough lever he could move the Earth, but you really have to wonder just what lever it is that Mr. Jean plans to deploy in his hard-ball game with Canada when the value of the very commodity upon which he bases this little tempest in a teapot has suddenly fallen off the global commodity radar as the value of a barrel of oil takes a Boeing Max 8 style nose-dive straight into oblivion thanks to the nasty spat just revealed between those two bastions of global citizenship, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Man, oh man. When will these guys ever learn? Even the most rapacious arch-capitalist hedge-fund managers and amoral stock market creeps are advising investors to flee oil options and speculation like it was the plague, which, in the deepest economic and environmental sense, it is. A burgeoning opportunity for economic diversification was just beginning to flower as of the last provincial election, but was subsequently cynically spurned in favour of a gross pandering to the very industry that is poised to gibble Alberta for several generations to come.

Somebody should give Brian Jean a wordfind puzzle to do – better use of his time.

Phil Burpee

Pincher Creek

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haha! sad truth, but humourous.
the amount of taxation in our country that is spent to pay salaries of so-called leaders is astounding. think of all the mps, mlas/mnas, city councils and the like. and do we get leadership? hardly. mostly followers and backpockets of whatever big corp demands; double-dippers as in addition to great compensation and benefits, many of these elected hacks further fill their pockets via handsome appointments and eventual stipends from big corp, if not always during but after their elected days have expired. even a loud-mouth lout like john baird got an opportunity for payback sooner than some, stuffing his pockets with world poisoner barrick gold.
meanwhile, here in heads-stuck-in-tar-sands alberta, it remains that everything is bad except ones wearing the cons moniker.

Seth Anthony

Agreed biff.

It’s not a matter of any political party, as the system in of itself is corrupt.

Tris Pargeter

Excellent, incisive letter, and very amusing! The humour is comparable to all the jokes on facebook about the pandemic effects, jokes that are tinged with some helpless desperation. Comparing conservatism to a virus harmful enough to deeply destabilize society makes sense though. Speaking of facebook, I just read an article, “Capitalism elevates sociopaths.” Or psychopaths; either way, people who are pathologically self-involved shall we say?
Conservatism is so interchangeable with religion now that you keep waiting for it to ALSO collapse under the weight of its own absurdity (like the “war room,” with a straight face–30 million allocated.)
We’re caught in a madhouse with the inmates in charge, solid conspiracy theory aficionados that they are, threatening to “separate.” If only they would….
Something to look for in our growing world-weariness for our jaded entertainment are the specifics of the conspiracy and hoax theories (wait for them to unfold) that will rival the thinking and attitude of a six year old.
Possible silver linings glimmer though, like the inescapability of hollow conservative “values” being fully exposed once and for all. Like the glaring hypocrisy of “small government” in such challenging and complex times, and “low taxes” while you blackmail and browbeat the other two levels of government so you can perpetuate your own myth of having a “spending problem,” when it’s actually a revenue problem. Which also decimates the tedious faux victimization of “fair deal for Alberta” when equalization is based on a province’s ABILITY TO GENERATE revenue. Which Kenney bloody well knows.
And Seth, it very much IS a matter of WHICH political party, especially in Alberta right now. Try though you may to sail above it all, systems don’t spring out of air, they are created AND perpetuated by people, and in the mature stage we currently find ourselves in, led by a certain strata of people that biff describes well. They can be seen as purely avid capitalists at best, and clever sociopaths at worst.


tris – thanks for a solid entry, again! i might clarify on behalf of seth – and ty, seth – where you point out, tris, that it is a matter of which party…. there are some differences depending on which name one is governed by, and where; however, what i am saying, and what i believe seth has agreed with, is the understanding that the system is inherently corrupt, regardless of party name in power. hence, it always most serves the uppermost few, no matter the name of the party in power. we cannot expect much when leaders are followers, and are too often socio/psychopaths at their core. the electoral process, and the combative nature of the largely partisan political arena, attracts the biggest egos – like moths to the flame – and they are dragging us all to the fire. the way many indigenous groups chose leaders (ie hereditary chiefs), and the way in which the likes of the dali lama are chosen, tends to deliver the real leaders. our process gives us: instead of the wisest we get the cleverest; instead of compassion we get ambition; instead of heart we get ego; instead of vision we get obfuscation.