Will Kenney Cuck?
Many conservatives are excited about seeing Notley’s NDP annihilated in next year’s election. They’re also excited about the prospect of having a premier that stands up for Alberta and takes on Justin Trudeau with full abandon. Restoring the Alberta Advantage and reviving the oil and gas sector are also high on the agenda for Kenney’s first term. While my colleagues are pinning their hopes on Kenney to be the man on the white horse riding into town and setting things right, I’ve had deep reservations about what we’re actually going to get with him at the helm. Like Harper, he seems to be more conservative than he’s able to demonstrate and a big reason for this is the reality of our centre-left culture that politicians are forced to operate within.
Last year, I wrote an article called, "Ten Reasons Kenney Could Lose" and the number one reason I cited was that Albertans aren’t really conservative. Here’s an excerpt:
I remember around the time of the (2015) election or shortly thereafter, I read an insiders take on the polling that the PC’s were doing in order to craft their platform. This insider revealed that, “We’re doing all this polling and Albertans don’t realize it, but they’re actually New Democrats!”
Albertans realized it in 2015 and went all in on everything that I moved to Alberta in order to escape from. We can’t keep pretending that Alberta is conservative. Albertans love money...yes, but that isn’t all conservatism is supposed to be about.
Recently, the CBC confirmed this assessment. They did a poll with over a thousand Albertans asking them what they thought regarding a variety of issues and here are some of the horrifying results:
1. Do more to reduce the gender pay gap? This gets an 82% approval from Albertans surveyed? Do they not know that the “gender pay gap” is a myth? Haven’t they seen the Jordan Peterson versus Cathy Newman video?
No! Of course they haven’t! That’s something only conservatives are aware of and Albertans aren’t conservative.
2. Second on the priority list is, “Don’t make significant cuts to government spending”. Nevermind the deficit then? The fact that we are racking up more debt than ever before, and at a faster pace than ever before in history, apparently isn’t a big concern to most people. Just don’t cut... but don’t increase taxes either. Genius!
3. Alberta’s economy is too dependant on oil and gas? Okay...and? If it bothers you, then go start a business that’s not oil and gas. How is this a problem? Are we supposed to assume that the government needs to step in and diversify the economy like Lougheed tried to do with endless taxpayer dollars in the 80’s? Consult an economist on this before opening your mouth.
4. Do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor? Is this really still a thing? Have they never seen Margaret Thatcher completely destroy the politics of envy on YouTube? No they haven’t, because Albertans aren’t conservative.
5. More women in politics? Albertans are loving Justin Trudeau-styled identity politics now? We need quota representation? Apparently so.
6. Eliminate the carbon tax. Albertans aren’t fiscally conservative, they’re just tax averse. Suggest a tax to pay for all the leftist policy that they profess to desire and they recoil. Sure, eliminate the carbon tax because “muh money”.
7. Need more emphasis on family values? Fine. But I bet if you went around those tables everyone would have different opinions about what “family values” means. It’s like asking people if it’s nicer to be nice to people. For sure!
8. Do more for Indigenous people? Do more of what? Haven’t we done enough? Canada’s policy of apartheid mixed with heavy socialism has been catastrophic. I assume people mean more of the same when they suggest that more needs to be done, as opposed to “do more things that are actually effective in order to solve real problems.”
9. Leave it to the private sector to create jobs? Now we’re down to about a 50/50 split in opinion. So roughly half of Albertans think relying on the private sector to create jobs is a bad idea. We need more government jobs then. Got it.
10. It’s good for everyone when businesses make money? The majority of Albertans DISAGREE! It’s at this point that you have to really wonder about the poll and the people involved. I know over a thousand people is a pretty good number, but wow, how can this be possible?
11. Reduce immigration? Most say no. Whatever.
12. Introduce a PST? Three out of four hate this idea. Taxes?! But “muh money!”
I do think that democracies are very responsive to public opinion. Given the facts about public opinion, however, responsiveness is greatly overrated. When the public holds systematically biased beliefs, politicians who want to win have to pander to popular error. And that's precisely what happens in every major election: Pandering.
- Bryan Caplan, The Myth of the Rational Voter
So the question becomes... in light of even more new information about Alberta in the current year, when the dust settles, will Kenney cuck?
The answer is obviously yes.
Kenney is a system politician and that requires tons of compromise. When (if) he wins power he will have to moderate in order to maintain that power. Conservative-minded individuals will once again have to settle for a “not-too-conservative” conservative at the helm of our government and the brakes on progressivism will be slightly, gently, pumped for the next few years. Kenney will likely make a few conservative moves such as promoting our province as business friendly again and stopping the attacks on the oil and coal industries. Apart from that, he’ll just be spending years cleaning up the NDP mess and his political capital will be eaten up little-by-little trying to make some of the necessary fiscal decisions. Any other conservative initiatives will have to be implemented by stealth.
Stealth-conservatism was aptly learned by guys like Kenney during the Harper years, so at least we’ll have a bit of that for a silver lining. In the long term, however, it’s unlikely that Alberta will ever again be the province that many of us remember in our hearts and minds.
The one wild card in this estimation is of course is an oil boom. If the price of oil shoots up to over $100 a barrel within the next few years, then likely the reparative construction will take a fast-track and Kenney will be able to afford to give Albertans everything they want without raising their taxes. Is this conservative though? No, it’s not. It’s just populist socialism off yet another commodity boom.
Conservatism will remain in the Social Credit graveyard of 1971. Ernest Manning warned that if people voted for the PC Party in 1971, then within ten years they’d be voting NDP. He was off by 24 years, but correct nonetheless. The UCP will likely function as the next, less damaging phase of Alberta’s leftward drift.
Cuckservatism is the best that Canadian conservatives can hope for and it’s the only alternative to radical, leftist progressivism offered by every other mainstream political entity. Jason Kenney should be supported, but people need to temper their expectations. After ten years of degeneracy and incompetence, Albertans decided to stick their heads in a blender and vote NDP. Recovering from this will begin in 2019, but the road will be long and progress will be limited by our centre-left culture. Kenney will have to navigate carefully, implement policy by stealth and guide the reconstruction patiently. If he’s too aggressive or staunchly conservative, then Alberta could experience a Mike Harris-style backlash and the province could be lost for a generation... just like Ontario.