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Kenney’s aversion to public consultation indicative of opportunistic intentions

By Kayle Van’t Klooster, October 29 2018 —

Conservative parties have had it pretty easy the past couple of years. In Ontario, all the Progressive Conservatives had to do to ascend to power was criticize the former Liberal government, despite only releasing their platform mere days before the election. The same could be said for Donald Trump, whose ‘platform’ was an assortment of slogans, unhinged tweets and repealing anything Obama ever touched.

Now, United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney has mimicked this same strategy: attack or dismiss every government’s actions while not offering any specifics of his own.

Then came Kenney’s statement on Oct. 9, finally providing insight into what a UCP government would actually do. He proclaimed that he’d refuse to be “bogged down” by anything as trivial as public consultation, which is unfortunate as his role as a public official demands that he do just that.

You know, listen to people.

Furthermore, he said he will launch a “Summer of Repeal” in an apparent effort to bring Albertan environmentalism, workers’ rights and LGBTQ rights back to square one. Rather than offer any of his own solutions to the problems facing Alberta, such as its economic reliance on oil, Kenney opts for the easy road, blaming every problem imaginable on the actions of the Notley government.

This is not a platform.

It’s not productive nor feasible to repeal every legislative action of the past three years. But when it comes to the NDP’s more popular achievements, like the minimum wage increase, it again gets murky. In these cases, Kenney pitches ideas like a differentiated minimum wage for youth but refuses to commit to any solid proposals.

In addition, Kenney also promised to appoint a ‘minister of de-regulation.’ Whether that is actually his plan or if it’s just a soundbite designed to excite his small-government, free-market base is anyone’s guess. But what is clear is just how foolhardy that action would be. Setting or repealing regulations should be the job of the appropriate minister tasked with managing that specific sector. Appointing a de-regulation minister is redundant and would be a waste of public funds.

It’s indicative of Kenney’s view on the whole election. He’s an opportunist and a careerist at heart. He would never have left his position in the federal conservative party if he didn’t think he would easily win in 2019. He’s counting on the pendulum to swing back from the NDP “fluke” and usher him and his party into power. 

That’s why he made the decision to come to Alberta almost immediately after the 2015 election. He saw an easy road to the premier’s office. Kenney’s actions betray how he really thinks about the people of this province — that we aren’t engaged enough to care about the hard facts of governance and will vote blindly. It’s time Alberta shows him that we do care — and so should he.

Kayle Van’t Klooster is a fourth-year International Relations Major at the University of Calgary. He writes a column for the Gauntlet about Canadian national and international affairs called “For Your Consideration.”

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