Brian Jean wants to kick social conservatives out of the United Conservative Party

By Jonathon Van Maren

So true to form, United Conservative Party leadership candidate Brian Jean has decided to make public his commitment to choice in education for Alberta parents, once he realized that his opponent Jason Kenney had received popular support for doing the same thing. “From what we have seen in the social studies curriculum,” Jean announced, bravely echoing others, “there is far more emphasis on ideological social change than in preserving what makes Alberta one of the best places to live in human history.”

As the leadership race in Alberta heats up, it is important for social conservatives to realize what the stakes are. Brian Jean, the leader of the Wildrose Party prior to its merger with the Progressive Conservative Party, is conservative in much the same way that Ontario’s Patrick Brown is—he’s a former Member of Parliament who decided to take a crack at provincial politics, but doesn’t have any specific principles or passions beyond utter contempt for social conservatives. Jean didn’t accomplish much during his time in Ottawa besides discovering his current wife, who was then his Parliamentary Assistant, and after leaving federal politics in 2014, he successfully ran for the leadership of the Wildrose Party in 2015.

While Jean is now attempting to underplay his hostility to a significant number of Alberta conservatives by copycatting Jason Kenney on policies like school choice, Jean loathes social conservatives and has made no secret of that. During the race for the Wildrose leadership in 2015, for example, Jean made it crystal clear that he wanted social conservatives to get booted out of any party he ended up leading. In fact, when the Calgary Sun asked him if he was a social conservative, he fell all over himself to get on the record:

“No,” says Jean, in a nanosecond.

“I’m a fiscal conservative and I’m more of a libertarian. It’s none of my business what people do behind closed doors in their personal life. It’s absolutely none of my business. It’s not any of their business what I do either.”

Still, there is the fear the Wildrose will be painted as a refuge for political whack jobs.

Remember the last week of the 2012 election when defeat was snatched from the jaws of an expected Wildrose victory.

Jean is quick to comment.

“There are nuts in every party. Everybody has these people in their party who others would classify as nutbars.”

“What do we do with them? Well, at first, we can try to manage them and then we get rid of them. That’s the truth of it.

“Albertans need to be able to trust us. When they see our reaction it will be quick. It will be ruthless. It will make sure Albertans know they can continue to trust us and know we’re not some little gang of crazies.

Right. Is that clear? For any social conservative—or conservative who believes that the United Conservative Party should be a coalition of conservative factions rather than those that suit Jean’s preferences—Jean’s response leaves no room for doubt. He wants to manage social conservatives, and then kick them out of the party. In fact, he plans to deal with them ruthlessly—he may promise a few policies that he hopes will garner him a few votes from them, but then the “gang of crazies” will promptly get the boot.

Jean, after all, doesn’t think that anyone who doesn’t hold the same libertine views that he does should be allowed to engage in politics in the first place. When a few comments showed up underneath a Wildrose staffer’s Facebook status announcing his plans to attend Pride, Jean was apoplectic, even though the comments simply expressed the views of plenty of Christians—that Pride showcases a lot of exhibitionism, that the government shouldn’t be involved in the promotion of sexual lifestyles (that used to be a good liberal position), and that, as one commenter noted, “You certainly may do whatever you wish in your own private time. But do not give viewers the impression that this is Wildrose-approved.”

Jean, the supposed conservative or libertarian or whatever he calls himself at the moment, called these comments “hate and abuse,” announced that he would investigate them immediately, and went on TV to assure everyone that anybody who held the traditional Christian view of sexuality had no place in politics, no place in the Wildrose Party, and “no place in any party.” He then made a lazy nod to “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion,” apparently oblivious to the fact that a few comments disapproving of Pride had triggered him into advocating for the disenfranchising of several religious groups.

So the stakes could not be higher for social conservatives, Christians, and others who hold traditionalist views in the upcoming United Conservative Party leadership race. Brian Jean has made himself perfectly clear: If you hold to Christian views, he doesn’t want you in his party. He may lie and pander a bit over the next several weeks, but he’s already said that you need to be “managed” and then dealt with “ruthlessly.” Jean doesn’t want a United Conservative Party, he wants a party that only contains people who agree with him on libertinism, and his libertarianism flies out the door the moment his own orthodoxies are questioned.

The choice for Christians and social conservatives is clear: If you want to make sure that you have a place in the new United Conservative Party, then make sure that Brian Jean doesn’t.


For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

17 thoughts on “Brian Jean wants to kick social conservatives out of the United Conservative Party

  1. Brian Jean Campaign says:

    How idiotic a post. Stop telling lies.
    -Brian Jean did his high school as a boarding student at Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills Alberta. He remains a financial supporter of the school.
    -He participated in various programs at Capenwray.
    -His first university degree was from Warner Pacific College, a Christian liberal arts college.
    -His family was instrumental in setting up the Northlife Fellowship Baptist Congregation that he attends in Fort McMurray.
    – Brian Jean usually attends services at North Pointe Community Church when he is in Edmonton and the Centre Street Church when he is in Calgary on Sundays.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      Interesting. You didn’t refute anything cited in the article, you just pointed out that he attended a Christian school, that his family is Baptist, and that he attends church sometimes. I will certainly admit that many politicians are hypocrites, and are quite willing to pander to Christians while awaiting the opportunity to stab them in the back. I’ll ensure that this article gets seen by many of the congregants at places like Centre Street Church so that they can become aware of what Jean thinks of them.

  2. Travis says:

    I would suggest one revision to this article in order to make it more intellectually honest. “Libertarian” and “libertine” are two very different things and should not be conflated. Calling Jean a libertine or saying he holds to libertine would be intellectually dishonest. See here for a thorough understanding of both libertarianism and libertinism I hope as honest and truth-seeking journalists, this change will be made.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      Based on the fact that he advocates for anyone who objects to attendance at exhibitionist events like Pride to be kicked out of any political party, his libertine tendencies seem to be an accurate characterization of his position.

    • Cam Wilson says:

      There is definitely a difference between libertarianism and libertinism. However, Brian Jean falls into the second category. There are many principled libertarians who I have great intellectual and moral respect for. A man who has flip flopped on almost every major issue in Alberta politics is not one of them.

      Brian Jean attacked Jason Kenney over parental rights. Two weeks later his platform was substantially the same as Kenneys.

      Jason Kenney attacked photo radar. Two weeks later (after all the danger of being attacked by the media had passed) Brian Jean also opposes photo radar.

      Jason Kenney starts his campaign to unite the two free enterprise parties of Alberta. For several months Brian Jean calls the plan impossible and derides it. Then, when all the work was done, claims he supported it from the start and is now seeking to be its leader.

      Brian Jean attacks social conservatives for years as leader of the WIldrose. When the time comes for the leadership race, and he needs so-cons again, he claims that he has always been one of us.

      He is a flip flopper who is without principles (libertarian or otherwise). He fits the profile of a libertine pretty well, especially considering how he abandoned his wife for a staffer while MP.

  3. Brian says:

    thank you for making people aware of who this guy is . he is in the wrong party and needs to be booted out.
    another attempt to undermine true conservatism by a left wing nut. DO NOT BUY it folks.

  4. John Zylstra says:

    Brian Jean apparently fell prey to the temptation to not be considered a nutbar. Politically, Stephen Harper did it better, but did something similar when he said that abortion would not be a major platform. Trudeau did it worse, and dictatorially by eliminating any candidates who were against abortion. It is difficult to be a viable political force if derailed by association with people like white supremacists, young earth creationists, etc. Yet, it is necessary to be brave and courageous to allow these people free speech, whether they are right or wrong. Leaders often lack the courage to be true. At least Trudeau didn’t beat round the bush with his allegiances. But part of the reason for the wildrose party, was the fact that it was perceived not to be politically correct. As it begins to be more and more polically correct, it loses support from many who previously supported it. Mere economic conservatism is not enough to sustain it.
    Now of course the parties have united against a common enemy. But the enemy is not just fiscal foolishness. The enemy is also the foolishness of extreme and excessive environmentalism, of extreme cultural and social revisionism, and of a revision of morality. The enemy is also an intolerance of free speech, an intolerance of faith based living, an intolerance of religious public life.
    To be fiscally conservative while denigrating social conservatism, removes 75% of the reason for support.

    • DT says:

      As a Christian and believer in a recent creation, for what I see as many very good biblical, logical and scientific reasons, I really don’t think it promotes “unity” or does the conservative cause any good to utter us in the same breath as white supremacists, thank you very much. I already don’t feel entirely at home in this current party, if it turns out the party and yourself would rather get rid of me and try to see me replaced, then you can sink or swim and I’ll get on with my life and fight against liberal insanity in whatever way I can. Yeah, okay, I know you think I’m a nutjob, but I at least hope you can see me as a person of good will. I’m glad you’re for my ability to exercise free speech in any case.

      • John Zylstra says:

        Although I mentioned white supremacists and young earth creationists in the same breath, it is not because I think they are on the same level, but because media often treats them the same. I have no problem with young earth creationism and often defend it. The point is that politicians are worried about what kinds of associations can cause the average voter, or the swing voter to vote against them. Stockwell Day got derailed once by the young earth creation issue, and politicians don’t want to fall into those traps. Yet, they must be brave and courageous, because if they can’t deal with the hot button issues in a reasonable fashion, then they have compromised their own identities, and merely become a tool in the hands of the left wing media and the radical fringes of the the ideological progressives.
        There is no reason on earth why any leader needs to support or attend a parade they do not support, such as the LGBT parade, or a Green Peace rally, or an abortion rights convention, etc. If they attend these things that counter their beliefs, then they lose their purpose.

        Sorry if my statement confused you.

        I do think that Brian Jean is a bit wishy-washy on some issues. But the fact that he is amenable to change, to support things that Kenney is promoting, means he is not adamantly nor ideologically against parent control of education, nor against some other socially conservative issues. Whether he would make a good leader is a good question, but I do not think that it is good to make the first reaction one of booting him out of the party. The UCP will continue to have to deal with a wide spectrum of perspectives on these issues, and there is some truth to the fact that there are limits to what governments should do about private moral behaviour. But the freedom to express faith based positions, and to practice Christian faith and life, is paramount.

  5. Tim Moen says:

    What a bunch of dishonest tripe. He says he’s not a social conservative in the sense that he wants government to leave people alone in their personal lives and that there are no room for nut jobs in the party and you interpret this as he hates social conservatives? Why? Do you think social conservatives are nut jobs, are you just confused, or are you trying to spin a story? Also you confuse “libertarian” with “libertine”, seems like a purposeful conflation with intent to deceive. Most social conservatives I talk to understand that restricting government results in a more socially conservative society. Ergo libertarianism is friendly to social conservatives whereas a set of policies that try to drive a socially conservative agenda from on high not only cause negative unintended consequences but also alienate people who aren’t social conservatives. In other words Brian offers the only position that can unify small government conservatives and social conservatives.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      Jonathon Van Maren You seem to have missed each and every one of the examples I cited, with direct quotes from Jean himself. Intentionally, I presume, because it illustrates that your response is either borne out of political affiliation, or you simply missed the point. When Jean is asked if he’s a social conservative, and he responds that he’s not a nut job, he made the conflation himself. When he states that those who dislike party representatives attending Pride do not belong in his or any party, he’s made his position quite clear. Which is not, I might add, conducive to restricting the size of government. Finally, I didn’t “confuse” libertarian and libertine. I used each term quite intentionally.

    • Cam Wilson says:

      So by saying that there is no room for people who oppose the Wildrose marching in Pride “in any party” he isn’t “ruthlessly” chasing people who he has already labeled as “crazies” and “nutbars” from the party? For the record, the “crazies” and “nutbars” comment was a response to a direct question about what the party was going to do about its social conservative wing.

  6. Wilma says:

    September 11, 2017 5:50 pm: This story is all about Alberta and this is Alberta time, why are comments stated in future time??? This was one of them: September 11, 2017 at 10:15 pm

  7. Beth Peterson says:

    Great article, I had heard Brian Jean was hostile to social conservatives but wasn’t sure what that was based on. Based on those comments he made, he does not merit any support. Bye Felicia.

  8. Mark Sutherland says:

    This is a good article, but I think to make the point stronger should really should have reiterated the mainstream media’s “bozo eruption” fake news collusion to get social conservatives alienated from Alberta politics. Allan Hunsperger, the oft Pastor and short-lived political candidate for the Wildrose, should have been Social Conservatives cross-to-carry, our hill to die on, but too many only caught the briefest of the story of him ‘condemning gays to Hell’ and none of the context. His sermon was not only Biblically coherent, but as loving a position as you will get for God’s position on that sin. Maybe Alberta isn’t as strongly Bible believing as we social conservatives wish it were, but we should have made our voices loud and clearly united when that supposed ‘scandal’ came up and made journalists back off and wise-up on counting us out. I only fear that us standing now will come as a case of too little, too late.

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