UCP Candidate for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake Won’t (or Can’t) Talk About Trump Campaign Experience

The UCP candidate for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake assisted Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 but apparently is not willing to comment on it now.  Whether it is due to Trump’s attack on free trade, his disdain for Canada’s supply management policies that are overprotective of Canada’s dairy industry, or perhaps simply because Trump is Trump, Devin Dreeshen hasn’t made time to talk to a VICE reporter about his experience.  I’m not sure why he doesn’t want to about it now; it was one of the first things he told me when we first met.

At the final Progressive Conservative leadership convention in March of 2017, I was talking with a couple from Red Deer.  They asked if I knew Devin but we hadn’t yet been introduced.  “He worked on Trump’s campaign” one told me.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

They took me over to where Devin was standing with some other Kenney supporters and introduced us.  He talked about how Trump’s campaign had been desperate for volunteers because they were losing people who were concerned about their reputations in the states; “they took anyone – even Canadians” he said.

He seemed pleased enough with himself at the time but that was before Trump’s policies began to directly affect Canadians with an escalating trade war which, Trump claims, is due to Canada’s (and the federal conservative party’s)  protection of protectionist policies.  Does Dreeshen think his role in helping Trump get elected would hurt his chance of being elected in a conservative riding? Doubtful.

A number of Alberta conservatives think Trump is fantastic.  Wearing a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat is a source of pride for people who will happily vote for Kenney, and anyone else, as long as they have “conservative” by their name.   So why doesn’t he want to talk about it?

Could it be because Jason Kenney claimed he was “profoundly opposed to Donald Trump’s candidacy“?  “I happen not to be a Donald Trump fan” Kenney told the Calgary SUN’s Rick Bell in May.  As we saw in the legislature during Bill 9 debates, no member of the UCP says or does anything without Kenney’s permission.  In Kenney’s UCP, MLAs probably have as much access to free speech as they have to free votes.

This article contains both fact and opinion.  Links to supporting documentation within.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean