Thursday, December 5, 2019

Alberta's Great Panderer

Four years ago during the 2015 federal election I suggested that Stephen Harper was basically throwing the election and that Justin Trudeau was the banking elite's favorite and would probably win.
The Conservative Party is a contender but I don't believe Stephen Harper really wants to win. I haven't talked about the Conservatives much in this post and that is for a reason which I will describe here shortly. I anticipate that should the Conservatives not win a majority Stephen Harper will resign his seat and exit politics and probably already has some cushy gig lined up.
Well we now know what that cushy gig was; Stephen Harper went on to create an international investment firm called Harper & Associates and also, in one must imagine his spare time, now chairs an innocent sounding adventure called the International Democrat Union. Along with sitting on the advisory board of Azimuth Capital Management.

Harper's IDU resume reads like a laundry list of U.S. and banker wishes. It's glowing. And then you get to the end.
An ally of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other multilateral development institutions, Prime Minister Harper sought to amplify the scale and impact of Canada’s contributions to these institutions by involving the private sector in issue-specific campaigns whenever possible.
Suffice to say Harper is part of the globalist system.

In January Harper gave a private talk to investors about Alberta's troubles, of which the remarks were not made public. However a few things in the report caught my eye.
“The reality is that institutional investors have lost confidence in Canada,” according to the CEO of the oil and gas company. “Harper highlighted a list of things making us uncompetitive and things we have to do to attract investment.

Anna Tomala, a spokesperson for Harper, declined to comment on the remarks made at the TD conference. TD Securities spokesperson Lynsey Wynberg also declined to comment because the event was closed to the media.
"He's not really seen as an oil patch insider and never was,” said investment banker Rick Peterson, who helps lead energy industry advocacy group Suits and Boots and ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2017, in an email to BNN Bloomberg. He was not in attendance at the TD conference.
He's much more on the investment banker side of things.
Some energy investors hoped to learn more about Harper’s views at a private event in Toronto on Monday, ahead of his trip to Chile for meetings with the International Democratic Union (IDU), which he chairs
According to a source who has spent time with Harper in recent months, the negative sentiment around investing in Canada has been echoed to him as he travels around the world for speeches and for work tied to his consulting firm, Harper & Associates.

“He’s been hearing it from other CEOs -- this idea that the cost of doing business in Canada is too high,” according to the source who was not at the TD conference and did not want to be named. “So it wouldn’t be unusual for Harper to express that view privately.”
Suffice to say he and many people around the world are very "invested" in Alberta. But these people have no commitment to Alberta, or our oil & gas, or our people.

So what does this IDU do?
Formed in 1983, the IDU provides a forum in which Parties holding similar beliefs can come together and exchange views on matters of policy and organisational interest, so that they can learn from each other, act together, establish contacts and speak with one strong voice to promote democracy and centre-right policies around the globe. Founder Members of the IDU included Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then US Vice-President George Bush Sr, Paris Mayor and later President of France Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and many other Party Leaders. 
(Ah, yes, George Bush Sr.)
Countries can only develop their full potential if they develop recognising the ideals of liberal democracy, freedom of the individual, and the need for economic growth to be based on individual initiative and free, competitive enterprise economies. The IDU has a clear role in a modern world, where today’s idea in one country is tomorrow’s policy in another
Through the IDU, member Parties can exchange policy ideas, assist each other to win the political argument, and to win elections. There are regular meetings of both the full IDU and its Regional Unions and Organisations. The officers of the IDU are elected at Party Leaders’ Meetings which are held every three or four years. 
At IDU Executive Meetings, briefings are given on local and topical issues, as well as consideration given to applicant parties. Apart from Executive Meetings and meetings of IDU’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, the IDU holds events such as the Young Leaders Forum, plus undertakes fact-finding missions and election observation. A major event is also held every four years to coincide with the Republican Convention, the last one held in September 2012 in Tampa (Florida). 
The IDU also organises campaigning seminars for politicians and party workers. These involve exchanges of information on campaign technology, fund-raising techniques, opinion polling, advertising and campaign organisation. The IDU plays an essential role in enabling like-minded, centre-right parties to share experiences in order to achieve electoral success.
If it seems like the same strategies are being deployed around the world, it's because they are.

Canadian bankers are pretty worried. They're practically pleading as an article put out yesterday would seem to indicate. It's a usual claptrap of all the talking points until you get to the end:
Why did Dodig speak out? If you assume it was primarily because the federal election was over, think again. More likely, it was because the Trans Mountain delay, the flight of foreign energy firms out of Canada, the loss of $30 billion in investments over the past three years, and the global competitive pressures Canada’s banks face every day are taking their toll on the banks’ ability to meet the expectations Canadians have of them —to continue to grow at a strong pace, to increase their dividends annually, to produce well-paying jobs and to help sustain broader economic development in Canada. 
Cost-cutting is now the mantra across Bay Street, especially in capital markets. CIBC reportedly just let go 15 managing directors from its own capital markets division. Such cuts are becoming common, as is the downdraft in salaries and bonuses. This trend is starting to surface more generally, with the October jobs report showing unexpected losses.
Hmm. I wonder if it's the slowing global economy? But we will get to the coming recession in another post.


This post isn't actually about Stephen Harper. It's about Jason Kenney, Alberta's Great Panderer, Stephen Harper's friend. Conservatives at the 2019 UCP AGM were greeted with a friendly message from their old pal.

Watch the video in full. Notice the language used, starting with the very first sentence: "For our movement here in Alberta [...]". Take note that he follows the UCP line of war against Ottawa and the NDP and blames them for the problems. We campaigned. We this. We that. The UCP is tied to Harper at the hip, and Harper is tied to the international investment community at the hip (which is feeling pretty sad right now) and chairs the IDU which if you remember from above helps win elections, organize campaigns, help with technology, yadda yadda. One might also conclude that could also involve leadership races, especially for a "friend", but I digress..

It's amazing to me however that the UCP was able to merge, organize, and yield such a strong force in less time than the NDP had been in power including a coordinated online presence.

There's been a lot of speculation about what Jason Kenney is really "up to". At least, based on the chatter I see around and on Twitter. For instance one theory I've heard quite frequently is he is gearing to be PM.

I dismissed this theory instantly. Kenney has been parachuted in here to do exactly what Kenney is doing. If he had had federal ambitions he would have been working at building a federal brand. No he was sent here to be the ultra conservative boy. He bought his cowboy hat, blue pickup, and drove across Alberta pandering to the messages he knew (because they've been molded for years) this province would be susceptible to in the same manor a millionaire metrosexual might sing country music.

His message and his mission are not going to sell across Canada. His dismissive arrogant smug fuckwad attitude isn't going to sell across Canada. His constant lies and refusal to address any problem his government is creating aside from blaming the NDP isn't going to sell across Canada. But they sure as fuck do in Alberta, especially when aided by his pals in Rebel Media where as we discussed in the last post has the cultists convinced that by supporting the UCP they're fighting the globalists and the "attack on Alberta". Keep in mind this is the same Rebel Media Hammish Marshall came from to go on to join the CPC to run their campaign. Harper's other project. Think maybe some people are being manipulated?

Kenney's messaging at this point is war. Everything is war.
"The enemy would no longer be Ottawa". The enemy? Kenney of course never comes out in force with such extreme language, playing it cool, but his messengers sure do and  their supporters eat it up. A constant war footing. One war, on to the next, and the next, and the next. There will not be a point in time where the UCP isn't at war with.. something, during their term. Their legitimacy and support depends on it.

Here's another one, in the National fucking Post no less, by Rex Murphy that Kenney recently did an interview with:
The greatest contribution to Alberta’s downturn, the flight of much of its capital, and the low morale in the industry generally, has been the continuous and furious assault the province, its oil industry, and Fort McMurray in particular, have endured for well over a decade. The globalist international movement of apocalyptic climate change has marked Alberta and its oilsands as its chosen target and symbol. There has never been so concentrated and focused an attack on any industry or project that equals in scale the relentless, propagandist denigration of the Alberta oilsands and the town of Fort McMurray.
There it is again, right in the National fucking Post: "globalist international movement".

Speed creates its own momentum. It also makes it harder for the opponents of reform to obstruct it- Jason Kenney
I also have to assume that when Jason Kenney takes his time it's done on purpose as well. One of Kenney's first acts in office was to grant corporations a tax cut long before his budget or blue ribbon panel. Husky got an immediate return this year from that of $233 million and then turned tail and left. It's not like it was a secret that Husky was reducing spending and putting everything into cash flow and stock buybacks either they had announced this was their plan back in May.. On May 28th in fact... That's the day the corporate tax cut bill was introduced! That's weird.

Stock buybacks are accelerating everywhere.
But why did buybacks just soar to an all time high? After all, isn't it naive and foollish to launch a record stock repurchase program with the S&P at all time highs? Well, no, when the one paying for it is the greatest fool of all - the yield-starved corporate bond investor. Recall that September saw a record monthly corporate bond issuance, with some $434 billion in bonds sold globally, $5 billion more than the previous all time high of March 2017.
Hmm. Helps corporate bond investors huh?

Kenney has been moving a lot of money around in his short time in office, most recently changing the management of teachers pensions to AIMCo along with worker's comp emergency funds and funds managed for AHS. It pretty well doubled the fund whose investments are quite localized.
If AIMCo were to take a greater interest in supporting the province’s fossil fuel industry — something that Kenney has neither endorsed nor ruled out — it would create a “double jeopardy” situation for Alberta retirees, Ambachtsheer said, as both contributions and returns would be dependent on the health of the same industry. 
An enhanced AIMCo would almost certainly also have to address its lack of geographical diversification.
I'll say. Especially given the CPP already relies on oil & gas companies overshooting their climate targets.

It's reasonable to assume exactly where that cash is going to go, the global economy just "recovered" from a liquidity crisis. None of this is going to translate to jobs, that's not where any of this is heading. No where close to the exodus of jobs already begun. Halliburton is closing up shop since starting in Alberta in 1926. 1926. Nearly a fucking century.

Now, one really has to wonder.. why now? Why under Kenney? He just passed the new tax break, we've got a war room, everything is supposed to be improving. Why wouldn't a company with the capital of Halliburton if so upset with the state of Alberta under Notley why wouldn't they leave under Notley? The exodus is a strangely orderly rush for the exits, company after company, one by one. And long after enough time has been given to factor in the UCP's benefits to them.

My belief is the rich know Alberta is toast. It was after all the Harper government that predicted Alberta's oil sector would be weighed down by it's labour, and costs. In effect predicting the layoffs that were yet to come. Today Jason Kenney accused Moody's of "buying into the European political agenda", which to his base may as well just say "globalist agenda". It might sound good to them but I highly doubt it's going to provide much confidence to investors, like isn't that supposedly where his investment banker expert spent $45,000 to drum up some investment? Maybe, just maybe, investor confidence isn't why he's here. Jason Kenney is not working for the people of Alberta, I'll leave you, dear reader, to ponder who he is working for.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for CenturyLink

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.


  1. .. well said.. well said !

    But maybe its time to inform the public that most 'oil' as its constantly called in Alberta especially.. just may be Bitumen. After all, 96 % of 'Canada's vast oil reserves' are not oil, but Bitumen. Yes, the coarse black granular substance.. that requires basic upgrading, then dilution with refined diluent and becomes 'dilbit'.

    An example of the exported 'synthetic oil' would be Western Canada Select.. bitumen.. currently valued (not discounted) approx 20 $ lower than Benchmark Oils such as Brent (North Sea) or WTI - West Texas Intermediate.. a light sweet oil.

    Thus, the tar sands or oil sands product gets many names.. 99.9999 % of the times its 'Alberta oil' from the 'oil patch'.. as if it flows from conventional wells. Its hard done by, discounted, plagued by wealthy US charitable propaganda.. (thus Kenney's War Room) and contributes approx 2 % to Canada's GDP.. or as Jason Kenney shrieks.. 'its driving the Canadian economy' .. What ? At 2 % ??

    Anyway.. have a thought to modulating your words & terms, lest you inadvertently add to the 'oil' echo chamber.. Pumping dilbit into a heated pipeline.. will not result in benchmark oil at the delivery point.. that's like presuming Alberta round steak shipped to St John NB or the Texas Gulf Coast or Washington State becomes Alberta tenderloin upon delivery.. that is fantasy, no matter how well spun and repeated ad infinitum


    1. Hi salamander, Glad you enjoyed my post. Typically when I'm discussing the more technical details of Alberta's low quality oil industry I make this distinction. For instance as I do here: However the "oil & gas" industry comprises oilsands, shale, conventional, etc. Referring to it as the oil industry I believe is correct as this is not fundamentally about the specific product but industry as a whole.