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Jason Kenney's 'anti-Alberta' inquiry gets increasingly compromised

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announces the launch of a public inquiry into foreign-funded anti-Alberta energy campaigns. Image: Government of Alberta/Flickr

Why, those perfidious Swedes!

First they sent their sneaky little agent Greta Thunberg in a sailboat to Alberta's shores to stir up our young people -- and that's no mean feat when you consider that we don't have any shores here in Alberta! Which, as we keep telling the rest of Canada, is a problem they need to fix!

There had to be big money behind that boat cruise, right? Probably bankrolled by the Rockefellers.

Now the Swedish central bank has sold off all its holdings in Alberta on the flimsy grounds our greenhouse gas emissions are three times higher than those of Ontario and Quebec, and they think those are too high.

What sanctimony! Don't they understand how energy intensive it is to live in a northern climate? … oh, wait.

Bloomberg News quotes one of the big shots of the Swedish central bank saying, "we can contribute to the climate work to some extent by giving consideration to sustainability aspects when investing in the foreign exchange reserves. We are now doing this by rejecting issuers who have a large climate footprint." (Emphasis added.)

In an official statement, Sveriges Riksbank's deputy governor Martin Flodén explained: "We have therefore recently sold holdings of bonds issued by the Canadian province of Alberta and the Australian states of Queensland and Western Australia."

Can somebody send Dave Knight Legg over to Stockholm to straighten them out? Put him in the Grand Hôtel by the Royal Palace. It's certainly suitable for aristocrats. And don't forget to make sure he flies first class!

Plus, call Steve Allan over at the inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns and get him to look into who paid for that damned sailboat. Plus the wind. What's wind cost nowadays? Plenty!

Steve should still have about half his budget left when the inquiry pays its lawyers, even with the $291,000 we're paying him.

OK. Enough sarcasm.

I don't care what anyone from the United Conservative Party says, this can't have been a good couple of days for Premier Jason Kenney and his government.

For one thing, it's not just the Swedes. As Bloomberg News went on to explain, "the Riksbank's initiative comes as central bankers around the world are becoming increasingly concerned with the threats posed by climate change." That includes the Bank of England, headed by its Canadian governor, Mark Carney -- from the UCP perspective, an obvious member of the accursed "Laurentian elite," even if he was born in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

As for Knight Legg, even if he used to be a banker and was working against that "misinformation campaign of defamation," as the premier's spokesthingy Harrison Fleming explained, Wednesday's revelations by the NDP aren't necessarily going to endear a lot of Albertans to his indulgent ways, especially if some positive results aren't evident soon.

Back in the days of the Progressive Conservatives, the Wildrosers who nowadays make up the core of the UCP used to call this kind of behaviour entitled. That wasn't a compliment.

I mean, you can blame the NDP for all your troubles for a while, and you can call Prime Minister Justin Trudeau names any day of the week, but sooner or later you'd think folks around here would cotton on to the fact that whatever it is that Kenney's up to isn't doing anything but costing us more money.

No sooner were Knight Legg's prodigal travel habits shoved into the memory hole by Kenney's capable propagandists than the CBC's Charles Rusnell and Jenny Russell revealed yesterday morning that 11 days after he was appointed, Commissioner Allan spent $905,000 of his $2.5-million inquiry budget on legal services provided by a law firm in which his son is a partner.

Well, the Dentons law firm is said to be the world's largest. So that's lots and lots of lawyers. So many it even used to include Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer in its legion of legalists.

But whatever it was that led to this decision, it sure as hell doesn't pass the traditional political sniff test.

Allan told the CBC he chose the firm because of his "long and successful history of working with counsel at Dentons through my professional career." After that, by the sound of it, he stopped returning his phone calls.

He probably won't be returning any calls today, either, seeing as someone has dropped the dime on the fact he's going to be making $291,000 for the year he spends as commissioner. Nice work if you can find it.

The inquiry he runs -- set up, as it is, to prove a thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory -- already had a strong whiff of jackassery about it. None of this is going to make anyone serious take it seriously.

If Alberta had a normal government, it wouldn't have done something like this in the first place. If the UCP had normal instincts, it would realize any conclusion the inquiry reaches is even further compromised by these developments. The sensible thing to do would be to pull the plug on it immediately, then maintain radio silence for a couple of weeks. After that, they could pretend it never happened.

That is not going to happen. The entire Prairie conservative movement is acting like it's undergoing a psychotic episode in the wake of Trudeau's apparently unexpected reelection on October 21.

Only the CBC public affairs department, Postmedia (which is bidding for the contract to write press releases for Kenney's "war room," a.k.a. the Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.), and a couple of Wexiters south of Fort Macleod appear to take Allan's inquiry seriously.

Nevertheless, it's said here, Kenney will double down on the inquiry, as well as the war room campaign to spread the same narrative about that conspiracy Knight Legg was supposedly battling from his sumptuous temporary digs in London. The general stream of unconstitutional, destructive and divisive policies the government has been churning out will continue unimpeded.

This is rather like the United States in the early days of the Trump administration. If you're thinking things are bound to settle down soon and get back to common sense governance, you're almost certainly deluded.

Meanwhile, in other news, Volvo Cars, the Swedish-based automaker, has just introduced its first fully electric automobile and says that half its line of cars will be electric by 2025, which, in case you missed it, is in five years, one month and 39 days. All Volvo cars will be fully electric by 2040, the company says.

Coincidence? I think not!

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions at The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: Government of Alberta/Flickr

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