Jason Kenney And Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor Are Undermining The Political Process

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on September 5, 2022

Current Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, as well as Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor Salma Lakhani, seem to be on a mission to undermine Albertan’s faith in politics by refusing to stay silent during the United Conservative Party (UCP) leadership race.

Recently both Kenney and Lakhani have spoken out against the hypothetical Sovereignty Act proposal that former Wildrose leader and current UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith has been putting forward. 

Kenney, while taking questions on a radio show, had said that the proposed Sovereignty Act would put Alberta in an “awkward” position with potential investors looking at our economy, and Lakhani had indicated that before giving the Sovereignty Act royal assent that there would need to be checks of its constitutionality, implying she may reject it.

In response to rhetorical interventions by Kenney and the Lakhani Danielle Smith said that:

This is unprecedented and entirely inappropriate political interference in our democratic processes…You want to talk about creating a constitutional crisis. Having a caretaker premier in the position where he is acting the way he is is what’s creating a constitutional crisis. I would ask him to stop. I would ask him to stop weighing in on this contest. And if he wants to continue in the position of being a caretaker, in the meantime, that’s exactly what he should do.

Smith, in this case, is absolutely right. Regardless of what one thinks of the Sovereignty Act plan created by the Free Alberta Strategy (FAS), having those who are expected to remain silent during a party leadership election start mouthing off about what they think about one candidate’s plans is a recipe for real chaos. 

And if anything the chaos has actually helped Danielle Smith.

It should be noted that in the same breath Smith was going after Premier Jason Kenney and Lieutenant Governor Salma Lakhani for their unethical intervention, she also pulled back on her Sovereignty Act plans. 

Rather than hard-charging to pass the version the FAS had created (like she was originally going to do), Smith now says she “will be announcing further details of the proposed particulars and mechanics of the Bill next week” before admitting caucus will control what the real version looks like if she becomes the next premier. This effectively means the Sovereignty Act may not actually end up being on Danielle Smith’s agenda if she becomes the next UCP leader, and the details of the hypothetical Act are still currently up in the air. 

Most people perceive Kenney and Lakhani’s speaking out against Smith as being unfair to her when in reality, it actually gave her cover to walk back her Sovereignty Act policy while everyone was busy focusing on the intervention by the Premier and Lieutenant Governor. 

Danielle Smith has always been part of the UCP-Wildrose Party establishments, yet once Kenney takes a soft swing at her she gets cast as the outsider in the UCP leadership race when her values and social politics are more in line with Michelle Rempel than the average grassroots conservative. 

This is exactly the reason an effectively interim Premier like Jason Kenney and representatives of the federal government need to stay absolutely silent during a political contest sensitive to influence from high-ranking government officials. The UCP leadership race should be free of outside information that makes the race about anything besides the quality of the candidates, their policies, and how they organize their campaigns.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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