Take this job & ??

“I DON’T NEED this job,” says Jason Kenney. These most telling words uttered by Alberta’s Premier are an admission of defeat. I know, because it’s what I told myself just before deciding to exit the PC leadership race against him in 2017. 

Faced with the reality that Mr. Kenney and his supersonic election machine were going to win, critical friends took me aside and encouraged me to let go of my attachment to the leadership role and step aside. They didn’t tell me to give up, they told me to give way. These friends couched their advice in this very language, “Donna, you don’t need this job.” It was prudent advice, and I took it. I didn’t give up on the possibility of influencing change in Alberta, but I gave way to the Kenney machine. 

Where are the critical friends whispering in Jason Kenney’s ear right now? Who is telling him, “Jason, it’s time to give way”? Assuring him that while the decision will crush his ego, he’ll recover and find another path. 

What’s at stake now for Albertans is far greater now—exponentially so—than was the case in 2017. Eastern media is sneering at our bumbling, describing UCP politics in Alberta as a circus or carnival act on the prairies. And the inane antics of a leadership race are a distraction from the real work that’s needed. Albertans have their sleeves rolled up, ready to pitch in and help Ukrainians in any way we can, including massive tasks like finding homes for displaced people, planting wheat to fill hungry bellies, and producing more energy to backfill gaps created by embargoes on Putin’s oil and gas.

Saying it out loud and in public—I don’t need this job—is a signal, at least to this Albertan, that Kenney’s days as premier are numbered. Rather than heeding advice that may have been offered (I’m still hoping the Premier has critical friends), Kenney is doubling down and grasping to hold onto any shred of control in this situation. In these few words, he’s trying to let us know he’s the guy in charge here, he has choices, and he is deciding to stay on as premier. 

Kenney is also laying blame at the feet of people who should be protecting his interests. While I’m here doing battle for Albertans—in a job that I don’t need—where exactly are you, my loyal subjects? You aren’t grateful enough for what I’m doing, for the sacrifices. It verges on martyrdom. 

As with most things, there is a trajectory here. We can all imagine that Volodymyr Zelensky has moments where he’s thinking he doesn’t need the job of leading Ukraine, but deep down he knows and his followers know, he’s the right guy for this fight. At the other end of the continuum, who isn’t praying that Vladimir Putin will utter those very words, and give himself permission to stand down? Where is Jason Kenney on this spectrum, right now? By uttering these words—I don’t need this job—I hear him signalling an exit. 

13 thoughts on “Take this job & ??

  1. You keep hitting the nails on the head!!!!
    Good advice. We have to be careful as in my opinion there is no one in UCP that can be trusted as leader. Where is Leadership?

    1. There is plenty of leadership in Alberta- we just need to create the conditions for leaders to have the opportunity to access political leadership.

  2. Well Donna

    You would have served Albertan’s far better than Kenney and his disciples. I suspect that we are at the cusp of a fracture of the Conservative parties both provincially and federally into subsets of principled centrists, social conservatives, libertarians and hands off my capital types, and the nasty Trump Wannabe right set that many would rather not admit exists.

    Will it resolve into a single party? Or are we likely to see the rise of a set of parties?

  3. Donna, as always, thank you for your commentary. Again, as always, I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with your various commentaries but your they do make me think.

    I said above that I don’t necessarily agree or disagree … but in this case I absolutely agree – almost. First, I really do think he needs to go. I signed up to vote at Red Deer, not knowing what my decision was but leaning to telling him to go. Now, with his nonsense about the way the voting will be held, his ever so “polite” commentary, it is clear to me that he does have to go. Now. There are credible alternatives to JK as leader; if you choose to run, you could be one, but there are other credible alternatives so all would not be lost and there would be a good case to be made against the NDP.

    Now, for a disagreement with you: you say, “… Eastern media is sneering … ” Yup, they are. On the other hand, I read into your comment that you are distressed by that. I am not. Simply put, the “Eastern bxxxxxxs” [thank you, Ralph Klein] are ALWAYS sneering at Alberta. Tough. We do silly things; we do good things; we do wonderful things; and all we get is sneering so pay no attention to the “Eastern bxxxxxxs.”

    To carry my disinterest in the “Eastern bxxxxxxs” further, I have some time ago given up on what those people say and believe. Truthfully, I am very much in the leave Canada camp. I do not want to become a part of the US, although I think that country is much more merit than many Canadians say, but I want to be an Albertan, not a Canadian.

  4. I agree Donna.As a longtime supporter of Jason both at the Federal and at the Provincial levels I believe that it is time for him to move on.The problem is that for me we do not have a replacement.I do not believe in Jean and I do not see a strong successor to Jason that could prevent a disastrous NDP government.So I will pinch my nose,hold my breath and go with the devil I know.

  5. A number of commenters have said that they don’t see a real alternative to Jason Kenney.

    I certainly do understand that comment.

    Now, having agreed with them so far, I would say that one needs to go further in that thought. Some of the commenters have urged Donna to run for the leadership should it become open; she has, of course, demurred – not outright refused (at least is that my take on her comment) but is not terrifically certain that she is interested, etc., etc.

    For those who say that they don’t see any real alternative to Jason, I suggest that you don’t simply look at those currently within the legislature. I also am not enamored with Brian Jean. Just because he says he wants the job doesn’t mean that a) he should get the job; or b) the party will want him to have the job.

    So, just two alternatives to throw out: (1) Donna Kennedy-Glans; (2) Danielle Smith. Two very different people who have their own degree of baggage. I am not trying to endorse either one or to push either one but simply to demonstrate that there are other viable people outside the caucus.

    [Hey, has anyone noticed that I mentioned two women and no men? Truly, it doesn’t matter to me. Unlike Justin T. I don’t think that gender parity is necessary; a flat fifty per cent women and fifty per cent men in cabinet is foolish. Give me 100% women if they are the best people for the jobs.]

    Anyway, as I say, I highly recommend that people think outside the caucus. Forget the “box;” you are all hung up on those in the leg. There are other good people around and that is the reason that I will vote to have Jason step down. Who will we ultimately pick? I don’t know but I am very optimistic that there are other good folks available.

  6. Jason Kenney, of course, is not the disease within the UCP – he’s just the most obvious symptom. Removing him (since he apparently won’t go voluntarily) is only the first step in a longer, more comprehensive, cure. But I’m afraid I don’t see the mooted return of Mr. Jean or Ms. Smith to leadership as part of that cure. They bring too much baggage from their own previous leaderships (which were not very successful times for the party they led). To put it bluntly, why would we replace a leader who actually won a majority government with either potential leaders who were rejected by Albertans when they sought the Premier’s office?

    If the UCP is to move forward, it must move FORWARD. We need new leadership that can offer an attractive alternative to Albertans. A leader with integrity who will not spend their time campaigning and playing politics every single moment they’re in office. A leader who will actually work to unite us, govern this province, and offer new solutions to the many challenges the 21st century is bringing to Alberta.

    I’d love to see Donna in that role but I would certainly understand why she would pass on it. Failing that (and I’m not the first person to mention this), Alberta is filled with leaders in the private and not-for-profit sectors as well as those with political experience. I’d love to see some ‘outsiders’ throw their hats in the ring to potentially offer Albertans a future that doesn’t involve refighting the political battles of the past.

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