Breaking news! Jason Kenny has made himself look the part of a donkey in the national spotlight once again!
I want to thank the Montreal Simon blog for the delightful out of context imagery. This is what you get when you search “Jason Kenny Donkey”
Now that the silliness is out of my system, I can turn back to the real purpose of this post.
As readers of the recent years content of this blog know, I am not a fan of Jason Kenny. I am not a fan of any of the people that the PPC has to offer, but among them, Jason Kenny is one of the most idiotic. Having said that, however, even I have to admit that his attitude is completely in line with what I have come to expect from Alberta. A province filled with citizens proclaiming an inflated sense of importance based on a single economic resource of decreasing value in the overall worldwide marketplace. A delusional house of cards that seemingly can only end badly once the reality of the situation becomes impossible for even the most blinded to recognize.
Like a banana republic in an age where the world has moved on from consuming bananas in massive quantities. The sales are still there . . . just not nearly what they were in 2006 (or even 2019). Thus, investing in such an industry becomes asinine.
But this post is not really about Alberta, Prairie or Canadian petrol politics. It’s not really even about Jason Kenny’s policies. It is more about Kenny’s speechwriter. Or for clarity, my personal quest to see if the man should face reprimands for his actions. It would be easy to make the decision on a partisan basis. But since I get annoyed when people on the right do this, I won’t become a hypocrite of my own creation.
At least not in this instance lol.
I will be basing my quest on this CBC News article on the subject, published and posted on June 26th, 2020.
Kenney speechwriter said homosexuality is ‘socially destructive’ and called First Nation an oppressive regime
Government spokesperson said Paul Bunner’s views have evolved over time
Further writings by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s speechwriter came to light Friday, columns stating that homosexuality was “individually and socially destructive” and characterizing an Alberta First Nation as an “oppressive, collectivist regime.”
Calls by the Opposition NDP for the firing of Paul Bunner were resisted by Kenney on Thursday after a column from 2013 resurfaced wherein Bunner dismissed the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential school system and said Indigenous youth could be “ripe recruits” for violent insurgencies.
Multiple other columns and articles written by Bunner, shared with media by Alberta’s NDP, span a period starting in the late 1990s up until 2016.
Kenney hired Bunner in early 2019. Bunner worked as a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2009.
Harrison Fleming, a spokesperson with the premier’s office, said the overwhelming majority of the articles released by the NDP were decades-old.
“As I am sure you can appreciate, societal norms have changed greatly over time. For example, NDP ‘saint’ Tommy Douglas previously called homosexuality a ‘mental illness,'” Fleming said in an email to CBC News. “People’s views have evolved over decades — and that includes Mr. Bunner.”
Fleming said the matters addressed in the columns “have long since been settled law.”
During a news conference held Friday, NDP Children’s Services critic Rakhi Pancholi called for Kenney to fire Bunner and issue a public apology.
“Today, we know that Mr. Bunner has a long record of writing racist, sexist, Islamophobic and homophobic articles,” Pancholi said. “The sheer volume of prejudice he has published over the years is stunning.”
Oh wow, a reference to Tommy Douglas.
Don’t get me wrong . . . he does have some dabblings into eugenics that took me completely by surprise upon looking him up some time ago. However, this was in the 1930’s (and he later rejected the hypothesis). This was LONG before the late 1990s and 2016.
In a column posted in the conservative weekly newsmagazine Alberta Report in August 1997, Bunner wrote that “AIDS gets more ink than it deserves” and in a subsequent editor’s note attempts to pre-empt incoming criticism for a cover story.
“The story is an attempt to figure out why [Ralph Klein’s] government seems bent on delivering wards of the state to homosexual households, to summarize the arguments against gay parenting, and to search for some backbone in the ostensible social conservatives in the Tory cabinet and caucus,” Bunner wrote on Aug. 11, 1997.
That same year, Bunner wrote that a columnist was correct in his assessment that “100,000 abortions a year in Canada is a social tragedy, that homosexuality is individually and socially destructive.”
In 1998, Bunner wrote an editor’s note reflecting on criticism the Alberta Report received for a 1993 cover story with the headline “Can gays be cured?”
According to Bunner, that cover story provoked a flood of critical letters and phone calls, while others launched a campaign against Alberta Report’s advertisers to boycott the publication.
“The piece placed us about as far out on the ‘cutting edge’ of journalism as you can get,” Bunner writes.
Citing a Newsweek story published in 1998 titled “Can gays convert?”, Bunner appeared to celebrate the piece, writing, “If Newsweek is taking our angles, are we becoming mainstream?” and pondering whether then-premier Ralph Klein will notice a “golden opportunity for a thorough debate” on the future of homosexuality in the province.
“When [Klein] notices that the Republican party in the United States is standing firmer against the radical gay agenda than it has for years, and that an increasing number of bright, articulate homosexuals are either abandoning the lifestyle or urging their perpetually angry, dangerously hedonistic friends to tone down the political rhetoric and show a little sexual restraint,” Bunner writes, “perhaps Mr. Klein will let voters in on a discussion that for too long has been dominated by lobbyists, academics and journalists, human rights tribunals and the courts.”
Pam Rocker is the director of Affirming Connections in Calgary, a group that supports inclusive ministries and faith organizations.
Rocker said Bunner’s comments were unsettling given his position in the government.
“It’s extremely unsettling to know that somebody who is planning what our leader is saying and talking about, and how it’s being talked about, [is] somebody who has this history,” Rocker said.
And we’re just getting started.
On First Nations
In September of 1997, Bunner wrote about the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, writing about a provincial judge’s “bold call” for an investigation into the “scandalous political goings-on” at the reserve.
Citing what Bunner refers to as “unsolicited calls” from members of the First Nation and from information provided by “dissidents,” Bunner criticizes the First Nation and its leaders.
“A community of people who are willing to give up their personal freedom to an oppressive, collectivist regime is a pretty sorry excuse for a culture. Moreover, it is a perfect recipe for real genocide,” he writes.
Two years later, writing about the same First Nation, Bunner refers to its leaders as “corrupt despots” who “keep their subjects ignorant, sickly and poor in order to control them.”
Cora Voyageur, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and professor specializing in Indigenous sociology at the University of Calgary, said Bunner’s articles revealed a mean-spirited and unhelpful point of view.
“I think that Paul Bunner should be let go. Because what I’ve read in the various articles that he’s authored, there’s a trend there,” Voyageur said. “And it doesn’t necessarily show Indigenous people in a good light.”
On gender roles and feminism
In 1998, writing about the Eaton’s department store chain in Alberta Report, Bunner laments recent changes to the store’s marketing and corporate image.
“Post-makeover, the new Eaton’s men are either light-in-their loafers aesthetes, pathetic cuckolds or stay-at-home choreboys,” Bunner writes.
“The women are executive ice queens or wanton nymphs, universally young, sexy, skinny, tough and liberated from the stifling roles of mother and wife. There is no doubt who’s on top in the new Eaton’s culture: estrogen rules.”
That same year, Bunner expressed his doubts about the efficacy of attempting to recall childhood memories in the field of psychology, partly attributing such methods to feminist ideology.
“The hysteria surrounding child sexual abuse was swamping reason. And feminist ideologues were flooding into the counselling field, their barren hearts bent on overthrowing the patriarchy, whatever the cost,” Bunner wrote.
One thing is for sure . . . there appears to be no group that is oppressed by white, male, patriarchal cultural norms that Bunner doesn’t have strong opinions about. Long before online phenomenons like the Intellectual Dark Web became a thang and brought these (and all other) opinions straight to our collective fingertips, Paul Bunner was saying it.
We will now switch with the article to how Jason Kenny and how the Alberta Conservatives have chosen to handle this situation.
Speaking Thursday and commenting specifically on Bunner’s writings on residential schools, Kenney said that column did not reflect or change the policy of the government of Alberta.
Kenney said his government had worked to solidify the relationship between the province and Indigenous communities, investing in projects like the Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.
Voyageur, a residential school survivor, said Bunner’s writings were extremely unhelpful.
“I know what went on there. I saw it, I experienced it,” Voyageur said.
“To have other people say this didn’t ever happen, is … I don’t even know what to think about it.”
Paul Bunner is on the same level as a holocaust denier, a flat earther, or a climate denier. As a citizen of Canada, he has the right to make all of these views publicly known without interference from the federal government. Just as I have the right to call Jason Kenny an arrogant and ignorant twit, along with the rest of the naive supporters of bitumen in Canada who refuse to listen to both reason and read the market tea leaves.
To quote Elizabeth May and the Green Party, in the most ballsy public showcase of this viewpoint yet:
Like a true partisan, I hath gone on a tangent again. Whoops lol.
Anyway, Jason Kenny is thus far refusing to fire Paul Bunner as his speechwriter, despite calls from Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP (among others) to do so. An action that isn’t surprising, given that the man was once Stephan Harper’s speechwriter. There is nothing more boomer and conservative then banking on traditions (be they based on calendar days or biases).
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday that he “fundamentally disagrees” with the contents of an article written in 2013 by his speechwriter that dismissed the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential school system.
But Kenney did not commit to firing speechwriter Paul Bunner for the article, titled “The ‘Genocide’ That Failed,” written for the online magazine C2C Journal.
“Somebody who was a journalist for 40 years undoubtedly wrote things with which I disagree,” Kenney said. “That does not reflect or change the policy of the government of Alberta.”
He said his government had worked to solidify the relationship between the province and Indigenous communities, investing in projects like the Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.
Uh. The Canadian elected official equivalent of “I TOTALLY have a native American friend! I am NOT racist!”.
“Somebody who was a journalist for 40 years undoubtedly wrote things with which I disagree,” Kenney said.
Yes, I am sure that is the case for a great many of us in terms of journalists. However, with which we disagree doesn’t typically include flat out homophobia, racism, sexism and an otherwise refusal to see ones own privileged status.
As for my personal take . . .
Paul Bunner has the right to say whatever stupid, idiotic, biased and outdated shit that he chooses to publicly. Just like the rest of us. However, someone with his recent and constant history of standing by toxic vitriol should be FAR from ANY official capacity to influence the power structure.
Though the Alberta conservatives earlier argue that many of these articles are quote decades old, that is hardly the reality of the situation. Since he published most of his articles starting in the mid to late 90’s, that puts the oldest of them at 25 to 30 years old.
If I cite Tommy Douglas (as the Alberta Conservatives did earlier) . . . he wrote his thesis in 1933. 87 years ago . . . otherwise known as decades ago.
But even aside from the semantics generated by the timeframes involved, people can change. If people are always to be held to their old set standards and their changes in tune always diminished, how can we hope to gain any momentum towards the changes we seek?
If the person started in the wrong place but is working towards bettering themselves, then that needs to be considered.
However, that is not the case. Though Paul Bunner started his controversial writing career 25 to 30 years ago, his most recent article of biased controversy was published in 2013. While that may seem like a century ago in both Trump and COVID years, it’s only 7 years ago.
7 years ago, this was his conclusion:
The dangers in this ought to be obvious and can hardly be overstated. Already, vast swathes of the public education system are uncritically regurgitating the genocide story as if it were fact, thereby adding to the legions of Canadian voters who will be suckers for future Phil Fontaines and Harold Cardinals and their never-ending demands for more tax dollars and greater political autonomy. It will slow any progress on integration, democratic reform and financial transparency on reserves and do nothing to reduce the terrible social pathologies afflicting Indians on and off the reserves. Worse, if future generations of young Aboriginal people are indoctrinated in the belief that Canada wilfully tried to annihilate their ancestors, some of them, at least, will be ripe recruits for radical segregationist movements, perhaps even violent insurgencies as imagined in Douglas Bland’s frighteningly plausible 2010 novel Uprising, about Aboriginal terrorism in near-future Canada.
The man should be nowhere near any levers of power. Certainly not if he is making his bread and butter off of the taxpayer’s dime.
The fact that the man has had such a lucrative career in Canadian Conservative politics says a lot about the Conservative party in itself. Really, a message between the lines that those aware of these things were already aware of. None the less, it’s never too late to be the bringer of positive change, Jason Kenny.
Don’t get me wrong . . . appeasing them Millenial (and now, Zoomer) snowflakes isn’t exactly high on the agenda of the Boomer dominated Conservative Party. None the less, we are the future. The current conservative base is . . . the future up to 2050.