The NDP’s effort to use it backfires badly. People care about jobs, not gay rights
It’s hard to imagine that anything could be more reassuring to the opponents of the besieged socialist government of Alberta than the seeming hysteria that has overtaken this government in the count down to the election on April 16. Consider their situation. They are governing a province that has suffered the loss of somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 jobs during their term in office. Many say the situation will grow much worse before it gets better. Now the big moment arrives. They call an election, and the government is setting up a special website that will, we presume, tell us how catastrophic is this economic crisis and what they plan to do about it.
In February, the website appears. Eagerly we look through it. Where is their program? What??? This seems unbelievable. The whole thing, page after page, consists in an attack on Jason Kenney, the opposition leader, and the inadequacies of his role in asserting the rights of gays, trans-gendered people, foot worshipers no doubt, and other activities once known as perversions, now as semi-sacred human rights.
Maybe somebody should have a quiet talk with our premier. “Listen hard, sweet lady. Try to grasp the idea that in the current circumstances probably nineteen out of twenty Albertans do not give one sweet damn about gay rights or the absence of them, or trans-transgenderism, or who uses what school bathrooms. What they care about is whether they’re going to have a job next week. And we were all rather hoping this would be your priority too.”
Our lady premier knows this as well as we do, however. So you have to wonder what possessed her to lead off the government’s re-election campaign by giving all this attention to the man who seeks to take her place, and if the polls are anywhere near right, probably will.
I suspect the answer, though I have no evidence for it. I think someone in her inner circle persuaded her to follow the winning example of what might be called “the Harper Assassination Formula.” It’s founded on the defeat of the government of Stephen Harper in Canada in 2015. While the Harper Conservative administration was not perfect, it had sustained and to a degree improved the national prosperity, with no great scandals or administrative disasters.
So how was he defeated? The formula consists of the manufacture of a false image. Harper was repeatedly shown as a clandestinely evil figure, a product of the much despised white male patriarchy, which has, as we all know since it was drilled into us in high school and beyond, oppressed all the minority groups for centuries. So we learn to hate these sinister people. In this we are further encouraged by doctored photographs, fragmented and misrepresented quotations, invented anecdotes — all this widely and effectively repeated until its acceptance turns it into the common assumption. This man is wicked so we must be rid of him. Such was the Harper Formula. For the Jason Kenney edition of it, go to https://meetjasonkenney.ca/truth-1, a website the Alberta NDP launched a full month before calling the election.
Since this is a blatant, though somewhat amateurish attempt to arouse such hatred for Kenney, and knowing well how fervidly the NDP deplores “attempts to stir up hate,” I had trouble believing this was for real. Was it fake news? I couldn’t imagine Premier Rachel Notley approving such things as altered photographs to make the subject look more malevolent. Would not a doctored photo constitute a lie? Surely Rachel Notley would not be partner to such a thing.
The message of the whole NDP report is to show that Kenney has consistently opposed the tendency of our society to divorce itself from its foundational institutions. The NDP now “accuses” him of doing just that. The response of Kenney will likely be to say nothing. This, anyway, has been his response to the NDP’s relentless campaign to lure him into a conflict over “social” issues.” And yet, why not try again to draw him into a fight. Desperate people do desperate deeds, and the NDP is desperate enough to try anything. Having other things to think about — like 150,000 lost jobs — Kenney rejects the challenge. Rachel, why don’t you give it up too? He’s not going to bite. Do try to address the economic problem. Everybody else is.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century, a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has aslo authored three little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters, The Revolution Nobody Covered and most recently The Time is Now. You can order copies here.
You may be correct, Kenney seems just as much hate filled as Harper is.
“People care about jobs, not gay rights.”
How dumb can you get? Seriously. It’s not one or the other. You can want both. And the NDP wants both.