Premier Jason Kenney, your absence is not making the heart grow fonder.
On Tuesday, Kenney is nowhere to be found.
He turfed his right-hand man, demoted some sun-and-sand holidaying politicians, did the deed on Facebook in a short statement and then … crickets.
No questions, no explanations. The square root of squat.
Trying to put out a fire with a garden hose dribbling water.
As one wise, or at least wise-cracking, dude put it.
“Kenney gets an F. I don’t make up with my pissed-off girlfriend on Facebook.”
Maybe Kenney isn’t in the making-up mood? Maybe he’s playing hard to get.
Instead we have Ric McIver, picking up the pieces after Tracy (Aloha) Allard had a good time in Hawaii and never made it back into Kenney’s inner circle.
It is McIver addressing angry Alberta. It is McIver stepping up to the plate.
It is not Kenney, a man some important United Conservatives tell me would be dumped as leader if the party faithful had a chance to vote now.
The province’s political elephant is definitely not in the room.
McIver tells us he’s been on the phone a lot.
People are angry.
“Sometimes they’re yelling. Sometimes they’re using hard language,” he says.
McIver says Albertans have every right to expect a high standard of conduct from their government and what he’s heard is the Kenney government has clearly not met those standards.
“If you’re yelling at us, interestingly enough, my message is thank you.”
You’re very welcome.
“I’m not asking anybody to stop yelling. I’m just saying we’re getting the message.”
Is Kenney getting the message? Oops … forgot. Don’t worry. We’ve filed a missing persons report.
There is no doubt in McIver’s mind the Kenney government has made a mess.
“What we have to offer is a commitment to get it right in the upcoming days, weeks and months.”
McIver says the Kenney government is not going to make excuses.
For the Kenney government’s clean-up hitter the only thing to make things better is a high standard of behaviour and Albertans will be the judge.
Tyler Shandro is in the house. He is Kenney’s health care head honcho. He’s gotten bad press in the past but not like this.
Shandro is another pinch-hitter for the big guy.
Shandro says he could say they’re sorry but he’s not asking for forgiveness.
“I don’t think we can ask for forgiveness at this time.”
He says Kenney’s United Conservatives campaigned on “hard work and humility” and some on his team forgot about that last part.
No kidding and with a big splash.
“It is going to take us time to be able to earn back that trust, to show people humility is still important.”
Shandro says he knows people have sacrificed and that’s why folks are rightfully angry.
A Leger poll actually shows Albertans were the best behaved in Canada during the holidays while saddled with the highest number of badly-behaving politicians, the lowest satisfaction with the handling of COVID-19 and a premier with popularity numbers no one will put on the wall unless it’s for a dartboard.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s top public health doc, is not completely in sync with the prevailing mood out in the real world.
Then again she’s a doctor not a politician.
The good doctor says all Albertans are really sick and tired of COVID “and sometimes that leads to lapses in judgment.”
It’s more than that.
She asks Albertans to be compassionate. She asks Albertans to take a deep breath and “continue towards that common goal of getting through COVID together.”
At least Hinshaw doesn’t actually utter the usual words. We’re all in this together.
Still, it all sounds hollow.
Meanwhile, at Calgary city hall, hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Like that’s a surprise.
Seems we have a political pandemic, the virus spreading with the same symptoms, self-entitlement oozing from every pore.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi a.k.a. Mayor Lockdown, because he sure likes to talk tough about COVID, fesses up.
Nenshi’s chief of staff and another staffer went to Hawaii over Christmas. He regrets not pushing hard against their plans and acting more as a boss.
They do not even get a slap on the wrist.
Still, we have to tie up this Kenney yarn first. He has to show his face.
While we wait, a quick question.
Premier, say it ain’t so.
But is your office really in former premier Alison Redford’s old Sky Palace?