Intraparty war in Premier Jason Kenney’s UCP sees Twitter fight over clown image

An internal fight plaguing Alberta’s governing UCP party has taken a new twist with one of Premier Jason Kenney’s senior political staffers comparing Kenney’s backbench critics to clowns.

Bryan Rogers, chief of staff to Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda, responded on Twitter to a Calgary Sun newspaper column that featured renewed criticism of Kenney from some of his backbench United Conservative caucus members.

Rogers says in a tweet that criticism comes from “the same old crew,” and an image was attached with gyrating, gesticulating clowns from the TV show The Simpsons.

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Deputy Speaker Angela Pitt, a Kenney critic, fired back, saying on Twitter that the comment from Rogers illustrates bullying, intimidation and ridicule levelled by Kenney’s staff to anyone who doesn’t fall in line.

Backbench legislature member Leela Aheer, who was dropped from cabinet last year after criticizing the premier, also joined the social media fight, saying know-it-all leaders who behave in a corrupt fashion need to find a home outside the UCP.

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The party is currently engaged in a mail-in vote to decide whether Kenney should remain as leader, a fight that has exposed deep divisions and given oxygen to what Kenney calls a distressing “soap opera.”

Read more: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney defends recorded comments about ‘divisive voices’

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