Saturday , 19 June 2021

EDITORIAL: Kenney can stop poking the bear and win the provincial election – so why the special effects?

I’ve never been much for editing video.

At NAIT, us radio students dabbled in Adobe Premiere and scratched the surface with the hoity-toity Final Cut Pro (exclusive to Apple computers) but I’ve never shown much flair for it.

Certainly not as much as Jason Kenney’s crack staff of video sleuths and editing wizards.

Unite Alberta, the official Twitter account of Jason Kenney’s office, showed off their proficiency for the dramatic this week when tweeting a video worthy of your favourite CSI.

It all came about when a few UCP staffers loitered in the lobby of the Federal Building in Edmonton and happened to see Jeremy Nolais, a high ranking advisor to Rachel Notley, walking out of an elevator, followed moments later by former UCP caucus whip Prab Gill.

Like any reasonable people in 2019, the dumbstruck government employees whipped out their phones and started recording. Duh.

They posted the video on Monday with the caption: ‘Wonder why Premier Notley’s senior advisor Jeremy Nolais was busy meeting with Independent MLA Prab Gill in the latter’s office this afternoon. Is the NDP Caucus about to gain a new MLA? Not sure if aligning with the NDP is a good move in Calgary, though.’

But not, of course, until the special-effects team had some time with the footage.

The black-and-white filter paired with the slo-mo-ed walk to the elevators made it seem like we were watching forbidden Watergate-era back deals from secret security cam footage in dark parking garages – not a meeting that Gill says was about a school in his riding.

The backlash and ferror came as a result.

Top comment from Gill: “creepy.” Others simply, “relax.”

UCP MLA Jason Nixon said the videographers happened to notice the “interesting” occurrence and decided to film it, but obviously weren’t waiting for them.

Kenney said on Monday to Global News that he thought the video was “relevant information” for people to know about.

Kenney, actually, is quite correct – the video is relevant information.

Prab Gill’s name may sound familiar because he alleged not even a month ago that fake votes were cast by UCP created email addresses during the UCP leadership race.

Gill left the party last summer after the first round of voter fraud allegations hit when strange video surfaced June 30 from the founding annual general meeting of the UCP’s Calgary-North East constituency association.

So something is rotten in the state of Denmark about this whole mess.

It’s no wonder the UCP are watching Gill very closely.

But if the smoking gun isn’t much besides the smoke and mirrors of the special effects crew – why blow this up at all?

Doesn’t that sound like courting more trouble on the doorstep of an election than really necessary?

So all Kubrick tricks aside, why is Kenney courting weekly – if not daily – reasons to make headlines for the wrong reasons?

Kenney has said he intends on taking the high road during the campaign and not resorting to the political tricks that all parties dabble in when government power is involved. But this seems hollow to me when you look at what’s actually happened so far.

The UCP will most likely win anyway and the voters will decide whose vision is better.

Wouldn’t the UCP, with great polling numbers and more candidates in more ridings than the NDP, just want to lie low, pick their spots – continue to offer attractive policies for Albertans like lower corporate taxes to help business –   and just wait for the New Democrats to float away when the voters speak?

The Albertan air is thick with politics right now.

My advice for Unite Alberta is at least wait until the election date has been set before the next shaky cam video is released.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.