Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is speaking out against the so-called “Great Reset” theory, saying leaders should be focused on “protecting lives and livelihoods” instead of seeking “opportunity” in the pandemic.
In a video posted to his Facebook page Dec. 6, Kenney said many people have asked him about the controversial theory. In the pre-recorded response, Kenney said that though the Great Reset has been labelled by some commentators as a conspiracy theory, it’s an “actual set of concrete proposals” publicly advocated for by business and political leaders through the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Kenney said he and “probably every government leader around the world” received a book outlining the tenets of the reset from WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab. The thesis of the book, “COVID-19: The Great Reset” is that the pandemic presents “a unique window of opportunity” to re-engineer society through the rebuilding process “to create a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable world.”
“I think it’s perfectly legitimate for democratically elected leaders, for me, to say, ‘Heck no, we’re not going to exploit or take advantage of a crisis to advance a political agenda,’” Kenney said in the video.
“If we’re actually all in this together, like we keep saying, then how about we focus on the crisis, on protecting lives and livelihoods, helping people? And how about after that, instead of exploiting the crisis to impose on democratic societies a whole bunch of failed socialist policy ideas, how about instead we get refocused on generating economic growth?”
Schwab has advocated for a radical "reset" of the capitalist system itself, by dramatically increasing the power of government through expansive new social programs and transforming the global economy to “steer the market toward fairer outcomes.” He says this could be achieved with measures like “wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition.”
“To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions,” he wrote on the World Economic Forum website in June.
“Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a 'Great Reset' of capitalism.”
Other advocates of the WEF reset include Prince Charles and Al Gore, representatives from the United Nations and International Monetary Fund, Greenpeace, and CEOs and presidents of major corporations such as Microsoft and MasterCard.
Kenney said Schwab’s policies that advocate for a dramatic increase in “government intervention,” particularly in the energy sector through the abandonment of fossil fuels on a global scale, would create “massive poverty.”
“Those who have suffered most in the COVID era have been the poorest around the world. So the notion that we would then drive them further into energy poverty through a Klaus Schwab policy agenda—I just frankly find it offensive,” he said.
“I think it’s just very distasteful and regrettable that influential people would explicitly seek to take advantage of a crisis like this to advance their own political vision and values.”
The Great Reset theory has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after a video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking in support of a ‘reset’ at a United Nations conference in September was circulated online. Trudeau didn’t specify whether his remarks were in reference to Schwab’s idea.
"This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset," Trudeau told the conference. "This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to re-imagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change."
In a Twitter post last month, Opposition leader Erin O’Toole criticized Trudeau’s remarks as offensive, saying "It's hard to believe that anyone would look at the carnage caused by COVID-19 and see an opportunity."
Conservative finance critic Pierre Pollievre has also come out against a WEF-style reset, starting a petition last month to “stop the great reset,” which generated over 80,000 signatures in less than 72 hours.