Here in Alberta, summer Silly Season arrived a few hours early with the revelation moments past midnight yesterday that federal Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had dropped the A-Bomb on Thomas Lukaszuk, the province's deputy premier.
"The A-Bomb," of course, is a prissy euphemism for a seven-letter word beginning with A and ending with E that aptly describes the attitude of those federal Conservatives like Kenney who are working hard to bring the level of political discourse in Canada to historic new lows.
So "A-Bomb" is just the sort of squeamish circumlocution you'd expect from a fastidious old-timer who would try to "censor" Sun News Network commentator Ezra Levant's foul-mouthed on-air eruptions or take exception to Kenney's charmlessly frank assessment of Lukaszuk.
But there you go. Your blogger will now try to be up-to-date and in tune with the new neo-Conned Canada of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and tell readers exactly what was said by Kenney, who in addition to fulfilling the dual roles of Canada's Chief Censor and Commissar of Ideological Purity is at 44 the country's only known self-proclaimed 40-Year-Old Virgin.
To wit, apparently misunderstanding the purpose of the "reply all" button on his computer’s email application, Kenney sent to all the world the information that he thinks Lukaszuk is "a complete and utter asshole."
According to Edmonton Journal political columnist Graham Thomson, who owns the scoop, Kenney was explaining in the email to the office of Wetaskawin MP Blaine Calkins, chairperson of the federal Conservatives' Alberta caucus, why the distinguished federal minister wasn't about to break bread with Lukaszuk when he visited Ottawa as part of Alberta Premier Alison Redford's ongoing charm offensive.
This is a pity, because Lukaszuk had a short meeting with Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair during the New Democrat’s recent bitumen sands tour, after which he claimed after not to have been impressed with the NDP leader's observations. Lunch with Kenney could have given him some Conservative intellectual firepower to compare and contrast with Mulcair's. Plus, unlike his visit with Mulcair, they could have guiltlessly gone Dutch.
But Kenney’s response, sent to everyone in the Tories' leaky federal caucus and all of their assistants, read: "I say a definite 'no' to Lukaszyk. (sic) I don't think it makes sense to create a precedent to do a special caucus meeting for every visiting minister from the provincial government. Plus he is a complete and utter asshole."
Now, I have met and interviewed both Lukaszuk and Kenney over the years and I can assure readers that Lukaszuk is not what Kenney described him to be. Indeed, the deputy premier's measured and diplomatic response to the revelation illustrates this.
On a more serious level, though, Kenney's unexpectedly public ejaculation and his perfunctory apology late yesterday illustrates just how deep and broad the rift has become between Prime Minister Harper's Tea Party of Canada and Redford's Alberta Progressive Conservatives.
Indeed, Kenney's tepid apology came only after a full day of unexpected political fallout from his outburst, and, by the sound of it, a talking-to from the prime minister.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the Harperites despise Redford and her supporters -- all the more so because of their embarrassing failure to push the neo-Con Wildrose Party under former Fraser Institute apparatchik Danielle Smith into power in the April 23 Alberta election.
Blogger Dave Cournoyer reminds us of Kenney's connections to the Wildrose campaign. Kenney's former spokesperson, Candice Malcolm, returned to Alberta to work for the Wildrose Party during the campaign. In addition, his Regional Affairs Director is Peggy Anderson, who was allied with Smith on the dysfunctional Calgary Board of Education from 1998 before then learning minister Lyle Oberg dissolved it in 1999.
Clearly, with Kenney firmly entrenched on the banks of the Rideau thanks to the inattentive voters of Calgary-Southeast, where he is actively working against Redford, the ambitious Alberta premier will need her Ottawa lobbying office to "advocate Alberta's perspective on important federal and provincial matters," as it was put in her government's Throne Speech on May 24.
The fact a Conservative provincial government feels the need to create and staff an "ambassadorial" office in the Alberta-Tory-packed national capital brightly illuminates just what a bad job this province's wall-to-wall Conservative MPs do for the Albertans they are elected to represent.
Alberta's premier will no doubt breathe a private sigh of relief when Harper no longer heads the government of Canada, although she may leave the lobbying office in place for a spell to ensure better relations with whatever party replaces Harper's potty-mouthed ideological puritans.
Indeed, Redford may then even give some thought to going to Ottawa herself -- though not necessarily as the head of a mere lobbying group. Remember where you heard that first.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.