Charles Adler’s Not Playing Ball

I don’t know Charles Adler personally or professionally. I did, however, ask him for an interview which he politely declined. I pay attention to politics. I don’t just pay attention to one side though I am decidedly in favour of the “live and let live” left and right. 

A lot of people, me included, have wondered what has happened to Charles Adler. To be honest, I don’t know that he’s “changed” because I don’t know who he was before. I do know that I like who he is standing up for; but that isn’t new, to be honest.

I remember listening to Adler before he interviewed Jason Kenney on April 3, 2019; there was something in the air with Mr. Adler. I remember listening to him while he talked about LGBTQ youth in Alberta and how he thought things had changed. Or he hoped things had changed. But they hadn’t. 

I live in Alberta. I worked in career coaching in 2017, in southern rural Alberta. I recall the one outwardly gay gentleman who stepped into our offices. He said he was only back for a bit while he looked for work and a place to live in Calgary. He wasn’t comfortable in our town, he said. 

I’m open, I’m accepting, but I knew what he meant. I understood why he couldn’t wait to get out of rural Alberta and I wished him well even though I never spoke to him; he wasn’t my client, but I understood.

Charles Adler spoke about the people he had talked with, back in the day, when he was helping to launch talk radio in Alberta. He spoke about the people here. He spoke about the ones who didn’t have voices and he spoke about how he thought things would have changed for those in rural Alberta but how things had not changed at all. And he was angry. 

I remember listening to him before the Kenney interview. I remember hearing the faith. Charles Adler was a friend of Jason Kenney’s and he believed Jason Kenney would do the right thing. He had so much faith. It was saddening to me, as someone who opposed Jason Kenney, to hear. But even I, as someone who didn’t believe there was a shred of decency in Mr. Kenney, hoped Adler was right. 

Not for me, but for everyone else, I hoped Adler was right about Kenney. 

I, and many others, tuned in for the interview. 

People had goaded Mr. Adler. They said “don’t let him get away without answering” and “don’t go easy on him”. And Charles Adler pushed and pushed and pushed… and like him, we were all sorely disappointed. Kenney was given opportunity after opportunity to say “I’m sorry” or “I regret what I did” and he did neither. And Charles Adler thought he would. Hell, even those of us who didn’t think much of Kenney thought he might say he was sorry. But he did not. 

It was not much of a revelation to me but it was obvious that it was a revelation to Mr. Adler. He considered Jason Kenney a friend; a friend who would do the right thing if pushed to do that by a friend. That did not happen. 

I honestly believe that Charles Adler believed that Kenney would prove all the naysayers wrong. I honestly believe that Adler was offering Kenney the opportunity, as those who lob “puffballs” do, that Kenney would take the opportunity to have his say – that Kenney would welcome the opportunity to offer his peace – but that did not happen. 

“What happened to Charles Adler?” Well, he had faith in a friend. He thought he knew what he could expect from someone he considered a friend. And he was wrong. And it hurt. 

There are too many people who look at Charles Adler’s “conversion” and think it’s a traitorous move. It’s not. Adler struggled with this realization and I, for one, felt for him. Imagine, for a moment, that someone you looked up to, someone you thought was an equal…. let you down. 

The Kenney interview was sad; not just because Kenney let Albertans down but because I think Adler honestly expected him to shine. Adler expected Kenney to be the man he believed Kenney to be. It doesn’t matter that many of us didn’t believe it was possible; Adler believed in his friend – and his friend let him down. 

I wanted Charles Adler to tell this story. I was curious as to whether he knew, on some level, that this would happen. Listening to Adler’s commentary on his show, I don’t believe he did know but I do believe it hurt. 

I didn’t even want to showcase the hurt; I just wanted to hear from Adler himself what this meant to him and whether this experience changed his mind about the conservative movement. I, personally, feel like it did. I also feel like his comments over the months that preceded this “change” are lost now. I feel like he should tell his story because I don’t believe he is going this alone. 

@Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

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