Rabble Endorses Negative Campaigning In Alberta

David Climenhaga, writer for Rabble, has endorsed negative campaigning and inciteful smear tactics. In an article published after the contentious Alberta election, on April 23rd, Climenhaga wrote:

There are plenty of serious mistakes the Alberta NDP made during their four rocky years in power, but one of them was not the negative campaign they ran that attacked Jason Kenney's character and the attitudes of many of the candidates and advisors around him. Indeed, it's said here the NDP's negative campaigning was the only thing that saved the party's bacon, relatively speaking. At the very least, it prevented a rout of epic proportions and allowed the party to survive with enough members in the legislature to fight effectively for a better day.

During the Alberta election campaign, the Alberta NDP used erroneous and deceptively edited references to Jason Kenney's past in an effort to smear him as a homophobic and misogynistic social conservative. Accusations and negative campaign ads from the NDP claimed that Jason Kenney had bragged about preventing AIDS victims from seeing their loved ones in San Francisco, while Kenney attended the University Of San Francisco. 

Vice reported on the audio clip that was initially released by lawyer and political activist, Kyle Morrow:

On Saturday, Kenney tweeted a video message encouraging his followers to support HIV/AIDS organizations and patient care facilities. Social media users were quick to point out the hypocrisy between Kenney’s supportive message and his past actions. Kyle Morrow, a lawyer and political activist, was one of those critics. He tweeted an audio clip from a campaign speech that Kenney gave back in 2000, where he bragged about overturning a spousal law in San Francisco that allowed gay men to visit their dying partners in the hospital during the AIDS epidemic.

"I became president of the pro-life group in my campus and helped to lead an ultimately successful initiative petition, which led to a referendum which overturned the first gay spousal law in North America,” Kenney said in the clip. In a statement to VICE, Kenney’s spokesperson Christine Myatt said, “The event Mr. Kenney is referencing in the audio took place in San Francisco when Jason was a student there. He would have been roughly 20 years old at the time. Mr. Kenney’s views on these issues have evolved since then, as have society’s.”

The audio clip itself does not make clear which parts of the gay spousal law Kenney had "bragged" about overturning. Despite Kenney's claims that his position has evolved over the past thirty years and his open and public support for gay rights, the Alberta NDP used such pieces of information to attack Jason Kenney during the provincial campaign.

These attacks failed and the Alberta NDP were eventually relegated to official opposition following a historic voter turnout of over 71%. 

David Climenhaga has made the claim, at Rabble, that these negative and defamatory attacks helped save the NDP from a complete collapse.

You be the judge. 

Media sources: Rabble, Vice


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