It’s a relatively slow week. It would have to be, for Nunavut to make the news.
OH, MY GOD! THEY ELECTED KENNEY!
Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) is no longer a leaderless mass of right-wingers with no ideology or platform beyond getting angry at anything the provincial NDP government and Premier Rachel Notley do! They are now a mass of right-wingers with no ideology or platform beyond getting angry at anything the provincial NDP government and Premier Rachel Notley do who have now elected Jason Kenney as their leader!
Kenney, the former MP for Calgary Southeast who served in various ministries under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government (as well as the final leader of the withered husk of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta before its all-but-forced incorporation into the UCP), won the UCP leadership election with 61.1 percent of the vote. He defeated Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA and former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean (31.5 percent) and Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer (7.3 percent), who are both seen below onstage with Kenney celebrating the election result with varying degrees of suicidal depression.
The three candidates ran on campaigns of practically identical brands of populist fiscal conservatism, all promising to repeal the provincial carbon tax and the farm safety law if the UCP is elected into government in 2019. Where they mostly differ (and even then, not as much as they would have you believe) is on social issues, where Schweitzer claimed to be the only moderate in the race. Jean claimed moderation as well, but it became kind of nebulous when he got dragged into a pissing contest with Kenney over who was the better Christian.
Kenney, on the other hand, is a lifelong social conservative with a history of homophobia and anti-abortion activism, being a darling of the Campaign Life Coalition. He hasn’t even been able to go the Stephen Harper route of “pretending social issues don’t exist”, expressing the view that parents of kid in Gay-Straight Alliances should “have a right to know what’s going on with their kids” (Hot take: No they fucking shouldn’t), and that the Catholic School Board should be allowed to teach a sex-ed curriculum that ignores the existence of non-binary sexual orientations and gender identities, and a looser interpretation of just how necessary “consent” is in a marriage.
Kenney’s election doesn’t appear to make the UCP’s path to victory in 2019 any more certain, despite their large lead in recent polls. His history of American-style social conservatism and right-wing populist rhetoric may turn off more moderate individuals, as may be indicated by formerly PC Calgary MLAs Richard Starke and Rick Fraser leaving the UCP to sit as Independent MLAs, and by a membership bump for the centrist Alberta Party.
What this seems to be indicating (and I should stress that I’m not qualified to comment on this with any authority whatsoever) that the 2019 election will be a tighter race between the NDP and the UCP than the polls indicate, with the Alberta Party acting as a potential kingmaker in the event of a minority government. Or maybe the UCP will sweep every seat in Alberta. Or maybe the NDP will do that instead. Or maybe the rotted corpses of Peter Lougheed and William Aberhart will rise from the grave and announce that they have started a mutually necrophiliac homosexual relationship. I don’t know. Nobody knows. We’re all just grasping for meaning in one province in one country on one planet in an indifferent universe.
The only certainty is that the Alberta Liberal Party is fucking screwed.
NUNAVUT TERRITORIAL ELECTION 2017: A SAGA OF HOMERIC PROPORTION
Canada’s largest province or territory had an election on Monday night, and nobody outside of the territory noticed. The 85 percent Inuit Territory of Nunavut elected a new government to replace the outgoing 22-seat Legislature headed by Premier Peter Taptuna, who was not running for re-election to his riding of Kugluktuk. After all was said and done, half of the incumbents from the previous Legislature got elected, including a record number of women.
The main reason I bring up Nunavut’s election is the Territory’s unusual system of forming the government, unique only to it and the neighbouring Northwest Territories. Unlike every other province, MLAs are required to be Independent of any political party. After they are elected, the MLAs elect a premier and an executive council at the first sitting of the Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit. The elected premier and cabinet form the government, and the other MLAs, who form a majority, comprise the opposition. It’s a non-partisan solution that encourages consensus and co-operation over ideological bickering. It is also boring as sin, and would spur the collapse of the journalism industry if it were implemented nationwide.