January 15th, 2021

UCP mimics Trump’s style

By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on January 31, 2020.

Trevor W. Harrison


In the weeks leading up to the American election in 2016, many of my friends, relatives, colleagues and casual acquaintances spoke rather smugly of Canada’s political culture compared with that of the U.S. The idea that people would elect a narcissistic, misogynistic con man as president seemed beyond the pale. But they did.

Were Donald Trump merely a clown, one easily tossed back in the toy box after four years, the damage would have been severe, but not fatal. The U.S., like most countries, has had its share of lousy leaders in the past. But the meaning of the Trump years goes deeper than that.

The Trump presidency is not merely about lying – every American president in my lifetime has spoken lies – some small, some real whoppers; nor is it about self-aggrandizement – every recent president, save Jimmy Carter, has left office wealthier than when they entered; nor is it even about carrying out illegal activities, including trampling on the rights of the U.S.’s own citizens. Sadly, as reprehensible as these actions are, they fall within the ambit of “normal” politics. At the end of the day, however, the combatants – Republican and Democrat – have always returned to their corners, knowing that the Marquis of Queensbury rules, though shopworn and frayed, still obtain.

But the Trump presidency has changed that. Not satisfied with deceit, self-dealing and criminality in all their glory, Trump has slowly but surely changed the conventional rules – indeed, bent them to the breaking point. Raising himself up as the people’s saviour, he has gutted the idea of “checks and balances” on the executive – how dare the other branches question the swamp drainer? He, too, has all but abolished the need to obtain from Congress approval to wage war, arrogating to himself, delivered by button or a 3 a.m. tweet, the kingly right to kill. Finally, while railing against illegal immigrants and others he deems insufficiently patriotic, he has bribed, cajoled or threatened foreign governments to interfere in American politics for his own political gain.

Success breeds success. As there is a reasonable chance that Donald Trump will be re-elected in November, the new normal he has presided over has already spawned copycats around the globe. Fortunately, to date, Trumpian politics has largely bypassed Canada. In the years to come, we may take solace in a continuance of traditional politics in the form of bad, incompetent, and sometimes corrupt governments, at all levels and of all stripes. In one province, however, a Trump-like push towards a new authoritarianism is being served: Alberta.

Riding a wave of populist hate and anger, the United Conservative Party of Jason Kenney has, since the spring 2019 election, been bending and changing the rules of normal political practice. Kenney does not emulate Trump’s style, of course. He is a more practised speaker, less given to off-the-cuff rants, but no less calculating in his aims.

Consider that, in only its few months in office, the UCP has: fired the province’s elections commissioner – in the midst of an investigation into illegal activities during the premier’s leadership race – and tacitly threatened the independence of the office of Alberta’s Chief Electoral officer; established, partly out of public funds, a secretive and unaccountable organization, the Canadian Energy Centre (a.k.a., the “war room”) to attack those the government identifies as the province’s enemies; more generally fostered an environment of fear and anger directed at individuals and groups similarly singled out by the government as “un-Albertan”; through the budgetary process, threatened the survival of numerous civil society organizations; similarly, hamstrung the ability of municipal governments to function; threatened the independence of a host of bodies, including universities and colleges, and the Alberta Teachers’ Association; and made direct attacks on the Charter-protected rights of unions to collective bargaining.

Viewed in totality, the UCP’s actions betray a singular theme: the centralization of power around an increasingly secretive, smaller but privatized government – that is simultaneously a Big State – which seeks to ensure that nothing happens without its say. The Kenney government is doing this, of course, in the name of defending the people – a nebulous group to whom one may belong at one moment, an outcast the next. Ultimately, the UCP’s actions are designed for one purpose: to politically threaten, financially cripple and bring to heel any individual or group that dare stand against it. In a very Trumpian fashion, the UCP is subtly – or not so subtly – trying to bring about a new normal of authoritarian rule. Albertans of all political persuasions should be concerned.

Trevor W. Harrison is a political sociologist at the University of Lethbridge and director of Parkland Institute.

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Tris Pargeter

Precisely. Well said.
And you didn’t even touch on the Reform conservatives’ comparable attack on basic, evolving human rights, starting with women, that’s percolating in Canada with 28 pro-life MLA’s here (and 46 MP’s) duly elected.
Why aren’t more people worried that this manifestation of the good, old “hidden agenda” will continue its stealth takeover apace, especially when we have such a disturbing example of where it’s headed in the U.S.?

diplomacy works

Defining an enemy and rallying the base to hate and defeat that enemy is a time honoured political trick.

See lynching in the states.

But we’ve always had it here in Alberta as well. Klein’s railing against public sector workers, addicts put on buses to Vancouver, creeps and bums and even Lougheed’s, “let the eastern ___ freeze in the dark”.

Alberta victim mentality has always been the go to for Alberta govt’s with the notable exception of Notley’s NDP.

The difference now is that the Kenney gang seem to be absolutely and utterly bereft of any redeeming qualities.

And the always to be relied upon comatose electorate.


The phrase, “Let the eastern b**t**ds freeze in the dark,” belongs not to former Premier Peter Lougheed or to Ralph Klein when he was Mayor of Calgary. Rather, it was the creation of a bumper sticker promoter.

“However, there’s one additional famous quote that apparently has been incorrectly credited to the former mayor. While most think the line, “Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark,” came from Mayor Klein’s mouth during the highly charged days of the National Energy Program, in fact, it was actually the creation of a clever bumper-sticker promoter.”



Since 90% of academia is socialist by nature , it’s not surprising that they generally view all social conservatives in a negative light, as we see here in this article.
As far as Trump and Republicans are concerned they share the same undesirable characteristics as their Democratic party opponents. There is little to choose between them given that the Democrats have fielded the most pathetic list of candidates in a long time . If Trump wins a second term , it will hardly come as any surprise.

Dennis Bremner

Conservatives in Alberta have the same disease as their federal counterpart, they are literally defined, and, define themselves as either Red/Blue Tory’s. Every once and awhile one group splinters from the other and tries a spin off party. That lasts as long as it takes to realize all they did was split the vote and neither benefits. So you get this continual defocusing within the party and the caucus, trying to bridge differences. You can say what you wish about the liberals, if the are aholes, they are all the same ahole. So the infighting is nowhere as severe as the Cons are capable of. In fact you have two front runners of the Federal Cons, they spend all their time trying to unify the party and as a result lack “substance” as leaders! If they elect a Red Tory, then the influencers within the party inner circle will be Red, if they elect a blue, then the influencers within the party inner circle, will be blue. Conservatives are the most fragmented party in Canadian Politics, no matter what level.

They have an uncanny knack of eating their young and suffer continual foot in mouth disease. So specifically because this is a two party province, you either get the PCs under different names, attempting to bridge two different ideals in their own party while the only agreeable points are Unions are too big, inefficient and its time to balance the books against the only other party the NDP, (who, want bigger unions and spend like a drunken sailor).

There never will be a middle of the road party in Alberta, even if the Liberals decided to fill that middle of the road there are two many people in Alberta with too long a memory and if even if it were not long, Trudeau reminds them weekly why a Liberal will never lead Alberta.

So, you get the NDP who spent $57billion in 4 years, could not state categorically they had saved one tonne of carbon appealing to the X/Millenial who cannot figure out what gender they are and EVERYTHING is a crisis that must be solved because Facebook says so, against an antiquated out of touch Con party who create the opposite crisis and “slash and burn” in the name of balanced books.

If you leave the Cons in power to long, they corrupt themselves and destroy any possible growth, if you leave the NDP in power to long you will be broke and the Unions run your province and your government. So the only logical approach for Alberta is to flip flop every 4 years because you insist on being a two party system. You can see the parties are accommodating morphing into Republicans and Democrats more and more each day.


Sorry. I must be having a nightmare. What did you all say? I would suggest there has never been such a load of chromeplated turd put to print as I just read above. One cannot expect much from the others but even our normally grounded DB seems to have visited our drug abuse facility. Parkland Institute director, Prentice Institute, mote like Ponoka Institute.