Well, it seems everyone's favourite bouncing baby boy, Jason Kenney, may be joining Kellie Leitch in bringing "Trump-style politics" to Canada.While Leitch is doing her damndest to infect the national core, Kenney is allegedly doing it in the heart of Canadian conservatism—Alberta. Although, he probably didn't have to work to hard to rally the base, Albertans seem to have a knack for this kind of thing.
The PC leadership race is currently underway in Alberta and former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who left national politics in an attempt to unite the right, is considered the top candidate. The party just held it's annual general meeting in Red Deer and, it seems, shit got a little out of hand there.When the dust settled the only two female politicians running, Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans, had dropped out. Jansen cited intense harassment both online and at the meeting as her reason for leaving the race."My social media has been filled with filth, my domain name purchased to direct people to smear pieces on me and finally, this past weekend in Red Deer, the final straw. Insults were scrawled on my nomination forms," she wrote in a statement."Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women's reproductive rights and my team was jeered for supporting children's right to a safe school environment."She also wrote Kenney had brought "Trump-style politics" to the conservative heartland and the "socially regressive element" of the party has been mobilized.Yay!
The usual suspects are attempting to normalize the situation. The sentient jar of expired mayonnaise that is Lorne Gunter wrote a column for Sun newspapers questioning if Jansen was exaggerating."OMG, say it ain't so!" he wrote. "Politicians harassed by their opponent's supporters!? Gasp! Politics polarized!? Oh no!"
Gunter goes on to suggest that while Jansen may have been harassed she may be exaggerating "in an effort to damage Kenney."Kenney, for his part, has tweeted out that he "profoundly opposed to Donald Trump's candidacy."While the only candidate endorsed by Harper has condemned the harassment, he won't directly acknowledged it came from people in his camp. However, Warren Mitchell, a Kenney supporter, both spoke to the media and posted some strong words on social media in regards to this."I'm a Jason Kenney supporter and she's not making shit up in her statement to save face," he wrote. "That I have seen that accusation on display from Kenney's supporters and official campaign staff is disgusting. It is a well known fact that Sandra has for months been a lightning rod for angry alt-right assholes."Kennedy-Glans, while not citing the same abuse as Jansen said she is dropping out because she doesn't believe there is "room for centrist voices" anymore. Alberta PC party president Katherine O'Neill told the CBC they will be probing the allegations and "will get to the bottom of this."Jansen has mulled over dropping out of party as a whole and vowed to fight this type of harassment from "behind the scenes."Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter