We’re about to see a major inflection point in Albertan politics—maybe in a few weeks, or perhaps even today.
Jason Kenney’s up for review by his party on April 9th, and it’s not looking like he’s going to get a very high grade. His former rival for the UCP leadership, Brian Jean from the Wildrose Party, is his rival once again, having secured a UCP nomination and then a seat in the Legislature on a platform of unseating Kenney.
Kenney’s already started with the dirty tricks. In a last-minute surprise, the party announced that instead of votes being counted in-person, now mail-in-ballots will be accepted from across the province. It looks like a sneaky move to kneecap Kenney’s opponents, and a dozen UCP constituency associations voiced their outrage on Tuesday. What’s ironic is that the original setup was meant to favor Kenney, too: making the meeting expensive and a pain to attend was a trick to shut out the anti-Kenney crowd. But now that too many of the anti-Kenney folks have signed up, it seems like Team Kenney would rather roll the dice with the general population.
As a side benefit for the Premier, the expanded mail-in voting will take who knows how long to collect and tabulate, delaying his exit for some indeterminate time.
Though if Rachel Notley has her way, he’ll be out today. Notley is calling on UCP caucus members fed up with Kenney to vote down the budget, which is up in the Legislature today. The budget’s a confidence bill, so that would trigger an election immediately. I don’t know if Kenney’s caucus are upset enough about this ballot chicanery to take that step, but I suppose we’ll all find out this afternoon.
- Kenney denied it, but witnesses interviewed for this piece by Carolyn Dunn assert that the Premier was indeed in the room for the planning of Jeff Callaway’s ‘kamikaze campaign.’
Province-wide protests against the UCP’s deeply unpopular draft K-6 school curriculum are scheduled for April 2. For more information about the campaign, see the organizers’ website.
The Alberta government has reversed course and scrapped proposed changes to traffic tickets which critics say would have made false tickets very difficult to contest.
Dr. Hinshaw announced Wednesday that the BA.2 variant of Omicron COVID-19 is now the dominant strain in Alberta. Wastewater assays suggest that the sixth wave has already started.
MLA Thomas Dang released a report detailing how easy it was to pluck someone else’s vaccination files off the woefully-unsecure AHS website last year. The coverage of this story this week has been risible—I guess not many writers on the provincial politics beat are also computer types. While the UCP and a few attention-hungry writers are portraying Dang as a devious master hacker, his method was about as aggressive as pushing on a door to see if it’s open.
The Edmonton Catholic School District will not be holding elections to find a new trustee for Ward 73, which was left without representation after Carla Smiley threw a fit about vaccine mandates and quit less than a week into her term. ECSD estimated the cost of a by-election to be $287,000.
- My colleague Duncan is fighting to get his media accreditation with the Edmonton Police Service back after the force abruptly cut the Progress Report’s access off last week.
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