Monday, January 30, 2023

SACPA presentation explores ‘rise and fall’ of Premier Jason Kenney

A new book releasing early next year will examine the United Conservative Party government and how Jason Kenney failed to finish his first term as premier. Blue Storm, The Rise and Fall of Jason Kenney.

“When you think about Jason Kenney — he comes into Alberta politics after a strong track record as a federal cabinet minister, as a key lieutenant in the Stephan Harper government, comes in, wins the PC leadership, helps to merge Wild Rose and the PC party into the United Conservative Party. Wins the leadership of the United Conservative Party, wins a majority government and doesn’t even fulfill his first term in office,” said Duane Bratt, who is currently working on editing the book. “It’s really almost a Shakespearian tale of rising and falling.”

Bratt is a political science professor in the department of economics, justice and policy at Mount Royal University. He did a presentation for the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA), hosted by the University of Lethbridge on June 2. He spoke on how the UCP leadership race could affect Albertans and about the new book.

“The book tells the rise and fall of the Kenney government’s ambitious plans to return to true conservatism,” he said. “It examines the Kenney government’s efforts to will the province out of its sense of decline by taking on national and international forces calling for a shift away from fossil fuels. It traces the way in which COVID-19 laid bare the internal tensions within the United Conservative Party and enumerates the tragic consequences of the government’s inability to manage the situation.”

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Bratt also co-edited Orange Chinook: Politics in the New Alberta — a book documenting the rise of Rachel Notley’s NDP government.

“We felt the election of the NDP and of premier Notely was such a notable event that it needed to be documented in a major academic study,” Bratt said. “If 2015 to 2019 was a dramatic shift away from conservatism, 2019 was the backlash and the restoration of conservative rule under the leadership of UCP premier Jason Kenney.”

Bratt said he believes Jason Kenney’s inability to be humble and admit mistakes played a role in his fall. At his first news conference since announcing his intention to resign, Kenney said he had no regrets.

“I think the lack of empathy during COVID, the lack of acknowledgment that 4300 Albertans are dead and his failure to ever admit error or apologize, I think that is part of the leadership issue that people had with Kenney.”

The UCP did not appoint an interim leader and Kenney will stay until a new leader is chosen.

Bratt’s full presentation can be found on YouTube.

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