“Let me just say this: I personally do not believe that Jason Kenney is racist,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley told reporters on the morning she launched Alberta’s election campaign. The premier did not feel the need to also state that as far as she understands, Jason Kenney does not hate children like the ones who stood awkwardly but patiently behind her during this campaign kickoff.
Here’s how she did continue that thought: “But I do believe the UCP, as a party, has a problem with racism.”
It’s going to be that kind of bare-knuckle campaign, Alberta’s NDP have concluded, if they want a serious shot at survival.
Well behind in the polls—as they have been almost since the dawn of their first-ever term ruling Alberta—the New Democrats want to keep voters focused on something other than the province’s tepid economy and resurgent unemployment, which the election had long seemed destined to be fought over. The NDP’s preferred ballot question is: Sheesh, do you guys really want Alberta to be governed by a gang teeming with extremists, rogues and racists and led by a conniving, duplicitous neanderthal?
Notley got some timely bits of help in the days leading up to the election call as she tries to frame the political battle to best suit her. With fresh evidence that Kenney and organizers plotted to run a dubious “kamikaze” candidate in the United Conservative leadership race in order to bash his key rival, Notley has a quite credible excuse to call her opponent a cheater who lied when caught at it. (Even if rules allow such trickery, surely it tramples upon every principle of fair play and democracy to so brazenly do this.)