The Emperor Kenney's New Clothes - 2020-04-24
Last September, Jason Kenney was welcomed like a favourite son at the New York headquarters of the Manhattan Institute, which describes itself as "a leading voice of free-market ideas, shaping political culture." The think tank has helped mould the views of Republican presidents including George W. Bush and received millions of dollars from the oil refiner-funded Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, Exxon Mobil and the family foundation of Breitbart News funder and pro-Donald Trump billionaire Robert Mercer.
This night the premier of Alberta was lionized for his "character" and "largeness of vision and a fearsome work ethic," by Manhattan Institute president Reihan Salam. Thanks to Kenney, Alberta was a case study of the Institute's ideas put into practice, including "restrained government spending, a more modest tax burden." The conservative movement, Salam said, should be paying close attention. "Across the English-speaking world, few conservatives have done as much to adapt time-honoured principles to new realties, as the premier."
Kenney could barely contain a smile. "I am really deeply honoured by this invitation," he told the gray-haired, well-heeled group. "I grew up as a kid reading Manhattan Institute studies and books and articles." To approving chuckles, he described Alberta as "sort of Canada's Texas. We are the beating heart of free enterprise values in the Canadian political culture. We are the heart of Canada's enormous energy industry."