Jason Kenney is kissing a lot of Alberta’s money goodbye and it hasn’t phased him yet.
Repealing the province’s wildly unpopular carbon tax – still in existence but no longer funding the Alberta Treasury – was a heartfelt thank-you to those who voted for Kenney’s United Conservative Party. It was also a repeal of almost $2 billion per year in provincial revenue.
And why not? Alberta’s never had a revenue problem it couldn’t cut its way out of.
Assuredly, $3.5 million is nothing compared to the $24 billion dollar deficit his government is projecting for the 2020-21 fiscal year – which was partially out of his control.
Yes, he could have told corporations that we are all in this together and held the line on further reducing Alberta’s corporate tax cut but, unsurprisingly, he chose to maintain a promise over the province’s finances. I suppose that if you have a few million secured in a publicly-funded pension, those choices are much easier to make.
But the $2.5 million sole-sourced pay out to Steve Allan to conduct the “most private public inquiry” into the “anti-Alberta activities“, made possible by “foreign funded special interest” groups with a “campaign of lies and defamation” against Alberta energy was a personal vendetta by Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party.
A band of merry-men and women who frothed and sputtered that Alberta’s oil and gas industry was, alone, at the mercy of unknown, unnamed, but definitely real “enemies”.
The adoption of this grand conspiracy, unearthed by Vivian Krause – with nothing but the internet for a resource – fueled the Kenney government in their quest to identify each and every one of Alberta oil’s foes, both those receiving and funneling the dark green menace.
One man, Steve Allan, would get to the bottom of this dastardly plan for $2.5 million (well, $1.6 million after he paid Denton’s, the law firm where his son is partner a $900,000… retainer?) and an additional $1 million as the deadline drew near (when he was also granted a four-month extension, and a revised mandate).
As the second deadline drew near Allan went back to the government and said that he had neither the time nor the resources to produce … anything.
When asked about the sudden announcement Tuesday, Kenney claimed he had not spoken to Allan since his appointment as the “process was independent”.
Jason Kenney, the second most unpopular premier in the country, whose party has dropped 15 points since being elected; the man who bestowed a $30 million dollar budget upon an unsuccessful UCP candidate to “fight misinformation” (poorly) about Alberta’s oil; the man who needs something – anything – to change the dial… hasn’t followed up with the one person who was going to name the names of every enemy of Alberta – since he was appointed in July of 2019?
That’s a punchline.
It’s not my fault the joke isn’t funny.
This post contains opinion.
Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a political commentator physically distancing in Southern Alberta. Connect: @Mitchell_AB for more, @thisweekinAB for posts