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Kenney’s UCP abounds with bigots

By: 
John Bell

April 7, 2019

Watching Jason Kenney’s UCP campaign in the Alberta election is like watching a clown car empty out in front of a Klan rally. Just when you think there can’t possibly be any more bigots in there, out pop a few more.

Caylan Ford was Kenney’s hand-picked star candidate for Calgary Mountain View riding; a young, attractive urbanite, Ford was meant to cut against the redneck, rural image of UCP candidates. But in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque massacre, social media posts from Ford’s past emerged bearing more than a whiff of white-supremacy. In one Facebook exchange she complained that Muslims get an easy ride after “Islamist” terrorist attacks, whereas conservatives are unfairly targeted in the wake of attacks by white supremacists. Elsewhere she indicated support for so-called white genocide conspiracy theories, saying she was “saddened” by the replacement of whites from their “homelands”.

She resigned as a candidate, but refused to apologize. Instead she charged she was the victim of a witch hunt that “represents a gross distortion of my views and it doesn’t represent what I believe in. I’m not interested in attempting to explain or rationalize what’s the context of an academic discussion.”

Kenney quickly appointed Jeremy Wong in the riding. Wong is an evangelical preacher with connections to an organization accused of offering “conversion therapy” for LGTBQ people. Journey Canada (formerly Living Waters) denies using the discredited practices designed to “cure” homosexuality”. Instead it offers workshops where people "experience a reduction in the strength or power of same-sex attraction/orientation and increased hope, strength, desire, and ability to live in accordance with their personal beliefs regarding sexual ethics." You say tomato, I say it sure sounds like conversion therapy to me. Oh, and there are those inconvenient misogynistic sermons about a woman’s place being subservient to her man. Nice sexual ethics there Jeremy.

Next clown out of the car was Eva Kiryakos. Across town in Calgary South East this UCP candidate too quit. “Someone outside of our party has been threatening to smear me, and I have had enough of the bullies and the threats,” she complained, clearly the victim here. She says she has been denied the freedom to declare her hatred of Muslims, her belief in “Christian Genocide in the Middle East” and “forced breeding” by Muslims. She also is on record stating that Gay/Straight Alliances are part of an NDP plot to turn kids gay.

Over in Edmonton South West, UCP flagbearer Tunde Obasan came under fire for crude, misogynist jokes posted on-line. Hey, I’m not a bigot Obasan protested, just a joker with bad taste.

And let’s not forget Grant Hunter, candidate in Taber-Warner riding. Back in 2010, Hunter wrote a letter to his hometown paper in Cardston extolling the large numbers of “highest standard individuals” in the small town. Then with a wink he continued: “Perhaps they just came from superior stock, but that though reeks of ‘Arian’ (SIC) undertones.” Hunter attributed his reeky worldview to youthful stints in communities “where ‘God and family first’ principles are not practiced.” You know, evil places like South Africa, Mexico and (gulp) Calgary.

Readers may recall that back in October, public shaming (thanks to alternative media outlet Ricochet) forced Kenney to expel a group of anti-Semitic white nationalists who had been running a shop selling racist paraphernalia on-line. One, Adam Strashok, had been director of Kenney’s phone banking during the latter’s bid for UCP leadership. The budding brownshirt has deep roots in Conservative circles, networking at Manning Centre events, working for MP Bob Benzen (alongside now-contributor to racist Rebel Media, Keean Bexte), and moving motions at CPC convention.

Presiding over the whole sad circus is ringmaster Kenney. If there is one consistent thread through his career, it is a mean festering string of homophobic attacks on human rights. The UCP platform promise to roll back protection of Gay/Straight Alliance clubs in schools is typical Kenney. It will literally increase violence and bullying against LGTBQ students. Remember, this is the man who smiled maliciously as he announced that gay partners of people dying of HIV had no right to visit them.

Kenney has enough spite for everybody, as evidenced by his plan to rob Alberta workers of their overtime pay. Workers forced to work overtime (which is most food service, low wage, and seasonal trades workers) have been able to get time and a half in the form of future time off. Kenney would end that; economists estimate the result would equal robbing vulnerable workers an average of $55 per week.

This is on top of slashing the minimum wage for young workers, ending holiday pay, and cutting the minimum wage across the board.

Heaped on this is an ongoing RCMP investigation into voter fraud and dirty tricks in Jason Kenney’s campaign to be UCP leader. Let’s put that off until after the election, argue lawyers for Kenney’s side. A tidy summary of Kenney’s long career of bigotry and religious fanaticism appeared a few years ago in the Tyee.

These UCP clowns are of the Stephen King variety, very scary. Sadly, thanks in part to their slavish devotion to tarsands and pipelines, Rachel Notley is leading the NDP to almost certain defeat. Even with all the scandals, corruption even before they take office, and naked neo-liberal attacks on workers’ rights and wages, polls still give the UCP a 19 point lead over the NDP.

The prospect of a Kenney win, joining forces with Ontario’s Dime Bag Doug Ford, is anything but funny.

 

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