The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
Get our free newsletter
Sign Up

Political Parasite Invades Alberta

Researchers worry the flourishing of ‘narcissisti’ will add to Delta woes.  

Andrew Nikiforuk 7 Sep 2021 |

Tyee contributing editor Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist whose books and articles focus on epidemics, the energy industry, nature and more.

A new and highly selective parasite has invaded Alberta posing a hazard greater than the surging Delta variant, say researchers.

Dubbed “the Kenney contagion” after a premier who shows many of its clinical symptoms, the novel parasite appeared about 18 months ago.

It now appears to have infected almost every member of the United Conservative Political party and politicians as far away as Texas and Florida.

Sources suspect that a contaminated batch of whiskey may have started the puzzling outbreak, but they don’t know for sure.

Researchers say the pathogen infiltrates the heart and brain of elected officials with tiny round worms called “narcissisti,” leading to irrational, selfish, erratic and pathological behaviour.

In particular, the parasite cripples the moral reflexes of politicians. Whenever they must act quickly to avoid exponential threats, they hide, drink or go on Facebook.

The parasite also blinds politicians to their responsibilities, such as upholding “the precautionary principle” in the face of complex challenges to the public good.

The afflicted act entitled, consider themselves infallible and think everyone else deserves to be intensely criticized and blamed for their failures.

Most worrisome, the parasite actually appears to entirely decouple politicians from factual truth, say alarmed scientists.

Dr. Sid Marty, who practices therapeutic satire in the foothills of southern Alberta, added that many of the infected have lost all touch with reality and “appear to be commuting to Edmonton from the 18th century.

“The health minister tried to get a grip on our reality, but unfortunately he broke the handle, so he now resides in a parallel reality to this one.”

Minister Tyler Shandro’s symptoms have baffled experts. After proposing to reduce nurses’ salaries by three per cent during the pandemic, he now is importing 500 nurses from across the country at double the normal wage rate due to chronic shortages created by the government’s reactive pandemic policies. 

“Stupidity is always amazing, no matter how used to it you become,” said Dr. Jean Cocteau.

The afflicted often have no awareness of the seriousness of their infection and often verbally attack those abused by the consequences of their irrational decisions as “fear mongerers.”

The symptoms appear to grow worse over time and include a public aversion to doctors, nurses, health-care workers, children, pregnant women, people of colour, the immunocompromised and anyone requiring health care.

When the Delta variant started to pick up speed in Alberta, for example, Kenney declared the pandemic over, and promised Albertans “the best summer ever” even though politicians have no control over the weather but are trying their best by ignoring climate change.

Serious symptoms grow more demonstrable over time, say researchers.

As the Delta variant accelerated through the population, Kenney abandoned the province and went on holiday for 23 days to parts unknown.

Ignoring problems and doubling down on mistakes like gamblers is another symptom of the parasite, researchers say.

“It’s almost as though many of the afflicted believe that farting and tap dancing are a coherent form of communication,” added Dr. Kurt Vonnegut, a deceased expert on the parasite.

Those infected by the pathogen can’t abide public exposure, grow fearful and tend to primarily communicate by Twitter and Facebook.

The parasite also appears to have infected Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Contrary to all scientific evidence and common sense, she cancelled most COVID-19 public health measures (everything from masks to testing and tracing) this summer, explaining that the province needed to focus on other respiratory diseases and syphilis instead.

Yet masks limit the spread of any airborne disease and syphilis requires the same test, trace and treat protocols as COVID-19 and its variants.

Public protests forced Hinshaw to retract her irrational decision, which indicates that in rare instances the parasite may be vulnerable to extreme public shaming.

Meanwhile, the outbreak appears to be growing worse among Alberta’s governing politicians.

After ignoring the pandemic for months, Kenney said he would pay the unvaccinated $100 to get vaccinated for “the love of God” — a policy that could cost the province $80 million because Alberta has the highest rates of unvaccinated people in the country.

Researchers calculate that “the love of God” bribe will have no impact on the immediate Delta surge overwhelming hospitals because of the time it takes for two doses of the vaccine to produce antibodies.

One critic called the Mafia-like policy “an equalization payment from the vaccinated to the unvaccinated.”

Researchers are still working on a cure for “the Kenney pathogen,” which has spread to Saskatchewan and other political jurisdictions.

Despite warnings about the hazards of experimental doses of ivermectin, a horse dewormer, politicians have lined up for treatments.   

Politicians, who appear to share the physiology and egos of 1,000 pound mammals, have evacuated the narcissisti worm with repeated doses along with several bodily organs including the spleen and liver.

But the treatment doesn’t seem to last long.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued this warning last week:


Other researchers suspect there is a way to take a page from Kenney’s latest offering and apply a form of outright bribery.

Offering the afflicted somewhere between $100 and $1 million to leave politics altogether and isolate at home may be the quickest solution to end the outbreak, they say.

“It’s immoral, and potentially very expensive. But consider the money and lives that would be saved over time,” said one researcher. “It’s worth a shot.”  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.


  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll