The animation at the end of this post is very helpful in understanding Authoritarianism. Its a term often used interchangeably with Totalitarianism and Fascism in a modern Western context. It outlines the key elements of how Authoritarianism takes over a government and political culture.
Let’s look at these anti-democratic elements in the Alberta context and under the political culture of our UCP Majority Government. Here is a series of specific examples of Kenney’s Authoritarianism. He is imposing Authoritarianism on Alberta and Albertans. These examples are illustrative and definitely not exhaustive. But they all relate to the elements of Authoritarianism outlined in this video and show how Kenney is applying them to Rule Alberta, not to be our Servant Leader.
So here is my Brief Summary of Kenney-controlled UCP Authoritarianism in Alberta, as outlined in the video below:
- The Authoritarian Playbook is always the same. the ultimate goal is to consolidate power: Kenney came to Alberta to Unite the Right. He consolidated power by taking over the Progressive Conservative Party and purged anything “progressive” in its political culture. He then”defeated” Brian Jean for the UCP Leadership. He used dirty-trick politics to discredit Mr. Jean in a Trojan Horse phony KamikazieCampaign. Once he questionably became UCP leader, he purged all former Wildrose political staff and operatives out of the Consolidate hard-right UCP. His personal power was consolidated.
- Technique #1 is to attack the Free Press: Mr. Kenney pays a lot of attention to the conservative press like the National Post, or the Breitbart copycat The Rebel. He is not keen on allowing questions or appearing on CBC, He also gave a directive that none of the UCP Caucus would be allowed to appear on the moderate-progressive Ryan Jespersen Talk Radio program broadcast out of Edmonton, an NDP stronghold. The UCP spends lots of money on social media ads and starves the traditional media of government ad revenue. This has added to the weakening of their ability to hold the government to account. They deal directly with Twitter and other social media with Issues. Government paid staff work out Kenney’s Premier’s office who write and push UCP party-based propaganda disguised as government announcements. Kenney acolytes often adopt the Trump tactic of claiming Fake News.
- Blaming Problems on Minorities: The most obvious targets in this context are LGBTQ minorities. This is driven by the Dominionist movement that politically abuses these citizens under the guise of Freedom of Religion. The abuse of the Public Inquiry process Kenney has applied to intimidate and harass the allegedly “foreign-funded” (so-called paid protestors) environmental groups is the blaming of “Others.” There is a blame approach taken against Pro-Choice advocates and “Feminists.” This feeds his Theocratic and Old-Oil Oligarchy political BASE and gins up vulnerable conventional oil sector service workers.
- Strengthening Internal Police Forces: Kenney has put a provincial police force on the Fari Deal Panel agenda and is intent on pursuing this internal police force. It is designed to be beholden to his government and to restrict the role of the RCMP, a national police service. There is also signals of a local armed civilian-based militia in UCP policy considerations. This is either an uncontrolled vigilante model or an American National Guard model of policing.
- Weakening Judicial Checks on Power: The politicization of the appointment of Provincial Court Judges is already in process. Kenney’s Minister of Justice and Solicitor General recent wholesale dismissal of the current diverse and very qualified Judicial Review Committee for a more UCP aligned and “friendly” group is a direct effort to weaken the independence of the Judiciary. In fact, one new Review Committee appointee was found to be posting racist and other examples of character that is less than satisfactory for such responsibility. He was either not vetted properly by the Minister of Justice his views were seen as acceptable to the Minister, at least until exposed by media. The fiasco around the Alberta Energy Regulator Board new questionable CEO appointment plus the politically motivated revised role and responsibilities with less governance and industry accountability is the quasi-judicial weakening of a check on power as well
- Rewarding Loyalty Over Competence: There are many examples of this in the vast array of Agency, Board and Commission appointments of UCP loyalists, donors and operatives, with little regard for competency but loyalty is an obvious dominant criterion. This is especially obvious in the Board of Governor appointments in Post-Secondary institutions. These appointments are not there to serve the best interests institutions they supposedly serve, but rather the demands of the government and more often, to serve Kenney himself
The Video is American but it translates well into the Alberta context. This is because the UCP is a political party that is closely aligned with the American Republican Party. They bring many of the political tactics of dirty-tricks, character abuse, and voter suppression techniques to undermine any effective vibrant democracy.
What to do about this? There is some reassuring commentary in the last part of the video. I will not comment here now but that is a teaser to make sure you watch to the end. So think about the way Authoritarianism takes over Democracy and how that is happening in Alberta’s political culture.