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'Creative way to make a point': Alberta premier defends using slap meme of actor

Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Pizzello

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is defending the use of a meme from the Oscars as a contemporary way to draw attention to what he considers failing green energy policies.

The meme, shared widely online, is a photo of actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage over comments Rock made about Smith's wife at the Hollywood awards show on Sunday. 

In the version shared on Kenney's social media accounts, the word "Reality" is written in text over Smith with "Green Energy Policies" in text over Rock.

Opinions on the premier's use of the meme have varied online, with some critics saying it promotes violence and questioning the intent of it.

During an unrelated news conference, Kenney defined the word meme to reporters as a "humorous image" copied with slight variations and spread widely. 

He says it was a "creative and relevant" way to draw attention to what he considers failed policies by the "green left" — such as a carbon tax — that make life more expensive.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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