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Make booing Alberta's premier at public events a 'Battle of Alberta' thing

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Image: Jason Kenney/Facebook

Is the United Conservative Party's honeymoon over?

God knows, it ought to be. Sadly, though, it's probably not. Yet.

Just the same, it was mildly encouraging to hear a few boos for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in a recording of the the opening ceremony of Sunday's Grey Cup game -- in Calgary, of all places.

I suppose those boos could have been because Kenney was dressed like dweeb in a lame "I-heart-mapleleaf-oil-&-gas" bunnyhug, thereby "politicizing" one of the sacred rituals of Canadian professional sports. You know, the east-versus-west championship contest of our very own underpaid American-style football league, which comes complete with its own esoteric rulebook that still astonishes our cousins south of the 49th Parallel. Twelve players? Three downs? Say what?

Some media tried to pass that off as the explanation. And it is true Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister was a more traditional good sport, showing up looking slightly less goofy in the jersey of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who eventually went on to beat the Hamilton Tiger Cats in a game that I'm sure was entertaining if you like that sort of thing.

Or maybe some of the scattered hoots of derision exited the pie-holes of determined Wexiters, displeased by the fact Kenney's hoodie* had a stylized Canadian maple leaf on it, instead of the sacred symbol of a free and independent Alberta. (We'll get back to you if we ever find out what that is. Suggestions are welcome.)

But most likely the ripple of disdainful hoots was the result of the fact Calgary's teachers and nurses still make enough money to afford tickets to a championship game, albeit for the continent's second-string league, on a cold day in late November, in a stadium with no roof.

Well, don't worry, Kenney has a plan to fix the problem of teachers and nurses being paid enough to live on -- and perhaps a few hundred more names to add to his always-expanding enemies list.

Some parents of public school students and drivers of insured cars may have joined in too. They will have to be dealt with later.

Canadians are polite by nature, so it's said here the boos weren't forceful enough to make much difference. About as many people audibly booed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to his face the last time he turned up in Calgary, although that got better press coverage for some reason. The crowd was bigger Sunday, though.

It's fun to imagine how Kenney's War Room will spin this: Maybe they'll say anti-Alberta Alouettes fans infiltrated the crowd, frequent tweeter Edwin Mundt suggested.

Still, we Albertans are going to have to do better than this if we want to get the point across to Kenney and his minions that we dislike the way they're dismantling public health and public education as much as New York UFC fans dislike what their former local slumlord Donald Trump's been getting up to lately.

Maybe we can get better results if we make this a Battle of Alberta thing, just like when the Calgary Stampeders play the Edmonton CFL team, whose name will not be repeated in this space for obvious reasons.

I bet the good people of Edmonton can do a better job of booing Kenney when he shows up in public than the folks in Calgary did, which in turn may inspire our neighbours in the former Cowtown to do better!

There's nothing like a good-natured rivalry to buck up folks' spirits in the middle of a government-inflicted recession.

So what about it, people?

*A term for bunnyhug commonly used in parts of Canada prone to misinformation campaigns of defamation.

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 Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Image: Jason Kenney/Facebook

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