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Friday, June 4, 2010

Jason Kenney Broadens the Tent

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Once elected as Member of Parliament, Jason Kenney and his gang of "snack packers"* began to step up the movement to Unite the Right. The Winds of Change was barely a breeze, as the federal Conservatives appeared to have little interest in joining with the far right Reform.

By September of 1998, Kenney was doing the University circuit, where it was reported at Western:

"Broadening the tent" is the political metaphor Jason Kenney, Reform Party Member of Parliament for Calgary Southeast, spoke of at a visit to campus yesterday. This term has come to represent the Reform-launched idea of the United Alternative. The informal luncheon at the Wave drew mostly Western Reform Club members as well as a sprinkling of members from Western's Progressive Conservative Club.

"Basically it's an attempt at creating a larger coalition of people with similar political ideas for Canada," Kenney said. He explained the purpose of the unification as a means to find commonalities between people who voted against the Liberal government ... Should this United Alternative gain momentum it could signal a pivotal moment in Canadian politics with the possibility of the formation of a new political party. (1)

The students' views were mixed, but Kenney soldiered on. By the following year when speaking at the University of Calgary, with Ralph Klein's guru, Rod Love, there was a bit less optimism, though they now had a name for the initiative, Youth4UA:

The United Alternative may not be an official party, but it's not quite dead. In an attempt to further the cause of uniting the Reform Party with the federal Progressive Conservatives, the UA steering committee launched its Western Canada student wing--Youth4UAWest--at the University of Calgary last Thursday afternoon."

These young people [will] generate support for the UA by reaching out to other young people with like minds," announced Dianna Kyles, one of the two co-chairs of Youth4UA West. Headlining the launch party were speakers Rod Love--longtime Conservative and Premier Klein's former right-hand man--and Reform Member of Parliament Jason Kenney. Both Love and Kenney are fervent UA supporters with strong ties to Calgary, which is why they decided to launch Youth4UAWest at the U of C."Jason and I are both very active [in the UA], and we're both Calgarians," explained Love. (2)

I love that. "Jason and I are both Calgarians". Kenney was born in Ontario and grew up in Saskatchewan. He moved to Alberta with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. But Love did reiterate the fact that the PCs were not about to change their minds.
Love constantly pointed out that the Reform Party supports the UA, but his own party, the Tories, are holding it up."At this point, [Clark] is out," he said. "The Conservative Party is not moving, and that bugs me." (2)
It took the Two Cards, One Party initiative of Craig Chandler to change that.

United Alternative With a Social Conservative Agenda

When Jason Kenney was at the St. Ignatius Jesuit College, he led a group of students in a lawsuit against the University of San Francisco for allowing gays and planned parenthood groups to join the campus.

Jason was a leader of a group of students that sued USF for false representation. USF claimed to be Catholic yet failed to espouse the teachings of the Catholic Church. Kenney, who converted while at USF, was able to see the contradiction. USF began to fund campus organizations, which undermined the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Kenney concluded his speech with "'All that is needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.' It is my prayer every night that God sends young reinforcements to the ranks. If we are to restore this culture, it is to be done by people of great courage and conviction." (3)
And it became clear that he was planning on using this "new" party to "restore" the "culture" of Catholic orthodoxy.
For three days in mid-February, people from all over the country will meet in Ottawa to hear speakers and to discuss and vote on political principles at the United Alternative Assembly. Some pro-lifers see the convention as a new opportunity to significantly influence what may be a major emerging force on the
Canadian political scene.

Calgary Southeast Reform MP Jason Kenney told The Interim he believes many well-intentioned people spend a lot of time and money supporting individual pro-life, pro-family Liberal MPs, but get little in return because they make up a minority within their party and don't hold influential positions within the government.

While some pro-lifers fear any unite-the-right scheme will inevitably focus on economic conservatism and ignore social conservatism, Kenney argues that the United Alternative Assembly gives pro-lifers a chance to voice their concerns and promote their issues. (4)
Offering hope for the pro-life crowd, he went on to convince them that they must attend the conference to get social issues put on the agenda:

Debating the principles of the United Alternative will take place on the second day of the conference. Kenney says if pro-lifers do not make the case for the sanctity of human life, the United Alternative will not pay any attention to the issue; if they raise the issue and convince a majority of delegates, the United Alternative could recognize the sanctity of life as a general principle.

Kenney refers to the United Alternative Assembly as "an important moment for pro-family voters to be heard." He says he expects that some of the delegates "may want to focus on an economic agenda, so moral conservatives need to become involved .... (Moral conservatives) need to make an intelligent, rational, amid pragmatic case for their agenda." (4)

Of course they couldn't put those social issues into their policy or they'd never get elected, so he would have to bide his time.

Next: Holy CCRAP! If He Shakes Your Hand Count Your Fingers


*Jason Kenney, Rob Anders and Rahim Jaffer became known as the Snack Packers. (Globe and Mail, September 22, 1997), because of their youth


1. Uniting the Reform alternative, By Sharon Navarro, Western University, September 30, 1998

2. United Alternative launches youth movement at U of C, By Kevin Rothbauer, University of Calgary Gauntlet, September 30, 1999

3. A Mix of Morality and Politics, USF Grad Shakes Up Canadian Political Scene, By Rich Kunz, San Francisco Faith, June 2000

4. United Alternative meeting nears, By Paul Tuns, The Interim Pro-Life News, November, 1998

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