Alison Redford’s Vision for Alberta–“Trust Industry” (gulp)

Brian Mason (NDP) is right.  The only way to find out what’s going on in Alison Redford’s head is to pay to attend a function in her honour.

Glenbow Museum

So on Monday night, Mr Soapbox and I were milling about at the Glenbow Museum, debating about whether to sneak off to see the A Y Jackson exhibit or parade dutifully into the lecture hall to hear Premier Redford expound on her vision for “Building Alberta”.

We’d paid $65 each for the privilege so we opted for the lecture hall and spent an hour watching Dylan Jones,  president of the Canada West Foundation, lob puffball questions to Ms Redford on issues that concern us all.  Her responses were shocking.

Redford’s Vision

Ms Redford was relaxed and confident as she set out her vision for Alberta.  Alberta would be a prosperous province with a diversified economy, a knowledge-based work force and a reduced reliance on oil and gas which is not sustainable.  So far so good.    

However this vision quickly melted into an incoherent mishmash of meaningless clichés—we need to change our values and expectations, we need innovation and a global perspective on dealing with our natural resources, the federal government isn’t playing nice, etc.     

None of it hung together…until she described the advice she gave to Christy Clark—we can have it all if we just trust industry.    

“Trust Industry”  

Ms Clark & Ms Redford

Apparently Ms Redford cajoled the stubborn BC Premier into supporting the Northern Gateway pipeline by explaining to Ms Clark that BC’s “Fifth Condition” (the one that requires a share of the benefits to flow to BC) would be satisfied by industry.  All Ms Clark had to do was trust industry, and like the field of dreams, industry would deliver munificence to her and her people.

Ms Redford said she trusts industry and it’s worked out very well for Albertans because, in her words, it’s a “complete circle”, if you open markets you can live within your means and focus on families.

Alberta’s Vision:  Through the lens of industry

The penny dropped.  Everything she said that evening started to make sense (in a perverse kind of way).

Ms Redford trusts industry.  Consequently all government policy must take its cue from industry.  She gave a number of examples:

  • Education:  We need to reshape education.  Don’t push kids to go to university because academic programs don’t lead to jobs.  Send them to technical schools like NAIT and SAIT so they can find a job in industry (and thereby solve industry’s labour shortage).
  • Healthcare:  Be innovative by selling our healthcare data to global investors.
  • Oilsands: Get rid of Harper’s ridiculous cap on temporary foreign workers.  Industry is suffering from a labour shortage and needs more foreign workers to reduce high labour costs.
  • Sales tax?  Forget it.  We can fund education and healthcare through the innovative use of P3s (ie. partnering with industry).

An Alternative Vision

Ms Redford’s “Building Alberta” vision is code for “Trust Industry”.  The “Trust Industry” vision leads to this:  harvest Alberta’s raw materials, be they fossil fuels or human health data, and sell them to global investors and hope that the global market makers will take care of us in return.

I propose an alternative vision:  “Trust Albertans”.  Consult with us on energy, healthcare, education and care for the vulnerable.  Consult with us on the budget and infrastructure needs.  Strive for balance between conflicting priorities so that all Albertans, not just industry CEOs, are faithfully served by their government.

The media tag line says it all

One last point to consider.  Prior to Nov 5, 2013, every major press release from Ms Redford’s government described her vision as containing two elements—opening new markets and living within our means.  Then some bright light in the Premier’s office discovered that the vision did not include people.   Voilà, a new element—a focus on family and community—was created to complete the vision.

Nicely timed on the Premier’s part.  The most critical element of her vision for Alberta made it into the press releases a mere 17 days before her leadership review.  I wonder if the PC delegates voting to confirm her as leader will notice.

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34 Responses to Alison Redford’s Vision for Alberta–“Trust Industry” (gulp)

  1. jillbrowne says:

    There’s an A Y Jackson exhibit?

    Sorry! I am just so flabbergasted by the meat of the post that my reptile brain has scurried for safety, refusing to deal with the hard stuff. Gulp.

    Looking forward to seeing you, Susan,


    • Jill, the event was surreal. Thank goodness I took notes or I wouldn’t have trusted my memory. She said a number of bizarre things. For example she’s introducing innovation into the public service by hiring young people who, she pointed out, think differently than we old folk. She said her young staffers talk like the gang from the TV show Happy Endings. I googled it. It’s a reality show with characters like “Crouching Moron” (a prankster), “the Ditz” (who thought the aliens Michael Jordan played with in Space Jam were real) and “Cloudcuckoolander” (way out there–has pig friends). As much as I’d like to better understand the Premier, I hate reality TV and can’t bring myself to watch this garbage. And I’m deeply disturbed that the Premier thought this program was worth mentioning to illustrate her point about anything, let alone innovation, which I believe requires a spark of creativity, something reality TV is sorely lacking.

  2. Just out of idle curiosity who pays 65.00 to hear a premier spout on and on all political reteric and motherhood statements concocted by a political speech writer. I think I have had enough of Alison thank you.

    • I take your point Tom but this is the only way for regular Albertans peek behind the curtain. Like I said to Jill, the evening was bizarre, I’m sure her political speech writers would have had a heart attack at half the things that she said. She went on a rant about the U of A’s MOOC program, an online paleontology course that teaches students the scientific method by studying dinosaurs. She said it was “ridiculous” because her grade 6 daughter could take it and then she’d have to take paleontology again when she went to university (at least I think that was her point, she wasn’t making much sense by then).

  3. Greg Clark says:

    Hi Susan,

    Excellent post as usual. The non-sequiturs were flowing free and easy on Monday night. Build a knowledge economy but focus on vocational training. Diversify our economy but continue to thrive by relying on the resource sector. Or my personal favourite, the Redford PCs are a different **political party** than the PCs of 15 years ago.

    To your point, consultation –real, meaningful consultation– is difficult and time consuming. It may result in feedback that isn’t politically expedient.

    It’s called democracy, and we need it back.

    • Greg, non-sequiturs is a good name for it. And yes, the comment about a different “political party” was perfect. Dylan Jones asked Redford to speak to the fact that government was running a deficit. She said “The government is not running a deficit.” She went on to say that 15 years ago “a political party” said there was a deficit and that it couldn’t continue. The person in the row behind me whispered “That was YOUR political party”, but Redford clearly doesn’t think so. Then she said we don’t have an operational deficit. We borrow for capital projects and we broke out the budget so you could track these expenditures more clearly. Unfortunately her own Auditor General disagrees, but that doesn’t seem to faze her. I miss Peter Lougheed!

      • Lunelle says:

        Susan, I was thinking the same thing about Peter Lougheed. I think he would be totally disgusted with what his party is today!!!

  4. Lunelle says:

    Hi Susan,

    Trust Industry????? Is Redford out of her bleeding mind???!!!!!

    The same industry that convinced the PC party to lower the royalties industry pays on gas and oil, thereby robbing ALL Albertans?

    The same global industry that is poised to take over ALL the hospital labs in Alberta, bring their US healthcare system here with their fraudulent billing practices?

    The same global industry that has participated in the P3s in the school systems, denying Albertans jobs?

    The same industry that manages and invests BILLIONS of dollars of public pension money AND THE HERITAGE TRUST FUND under a crown corporation? One of these pensions funds that at least one known member of industry manages is the LAPP – it’s been in the news alot lately and the PC government says it is unsustainable, and cuts to the benefits have to be made.

    Selling healthcare data to global investors??????? What does that include???? To me, healthcare data also includes personal information. Why would a global investor purchase our healthcare data? What are they going to do with it???? This is scary!!!!!

    Greg, I agree, meaningful consultation does take time and yes, it would not be politically expedient, but the PC government owes it to ALL Albertans to do things right. Instead of making hasty, uninformed decisions that later cost millions to rectify. Wasting millions of our precious tax dollars. We DO need our democracy back!!!!! The elected members of the Alberta Legislature, including the ministers and LEADER are there to represent the people, and yes, that means consultation. It DOES NOT mean secrecy, coverups, special appointments and hirings, shady back room dealings, and selling out our province and the Alberta people under the guise of democracy!

    Susan, yes, the PEOPLE of Alberta are our greatest resource! Yet this government continues to dismiss our opinions, knowledge, and the consequences of their industry/business based decisions, as well as the affects on Albertans now and in the future!!

    I hope this PC government, Leader Redford, and the MLAs in charge of the ministries do not destroy this great province and it’s people before they can be booted out! On this present course, damage WILL be done, in all aspects of our lives, which again will cost us millions to clean up, and some of it may be irreversible!

    • Lunelle, I loved your opening sentence!

      One of Redford’s themes was that the public (and opposition parties) are resistance to change. She condemned this as “parochial” and said it was “ridiculous” for the opposition parties to waste time in the Legislature on parochial debate about whether it was OK for the government to move forward. She said people always say they want change but are afraid of it when it comes. Her answer was to fill the public service with young people who think differently (like the Happy Endings crowd no doubt.)

      She also said “This is a different world with different expectations and different values, we need to thrive on change”. What she doesn’t understand is that the “expectations and values” of industry (make a profit, cut your losses) are dramatically different from the “expectations and values” of the public (quality healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc) and that when she places her trust in industry she’s blinded herself to what the public needs and expects. Not the kind of comment you’d expect from Alberta’s highest public servant.

  5. jillbrowne says:

    I want to be specific about what I found jarring, overall. It’s the idea that business and government should be expected to have the same objectives. This is not a good premise. Business and government are parallel, complementary actors with distinct roles from each other. The idea of government abdicating its responsibilities is what bothers me most. We need government. Not wasteful government spending, but responsible, prudent oversight and management of our complex society.
    There’s a reason that peace, order and good government get equal billing in our country’s constitutional history.

    • Exactly. The PC government’s abdication of its role is nowhere more evident than in the regulation of our natural resources. The “trust industry” strategy resulted in the government “streamlining” all of our energy legislation into the Responsible Energy Development Act which coincidently stripped away the public interest test that was contained in the prior legislation. The result is an increased lack of trust in the government’s willingness or indeed, ability, to properly balance the interests of landowners, environmentalists, the public and industry. Ironically when government fails to do its job, it hurts industry which is now fumbling around trying to find a way to regain public trust so that it will be granted the social license (don’t you just love that word) to proceed with their applications.
      Moral of the story: If you forget that you have more than one set of stakeholders you end up in a gong-show.

  6. Carlos Beca says:

    It has just been announced that the richest people in Canada have increased their fortunes about 15% this year. One of their fans and contributors is Alison Redford. The 2013 Ayn Rand award winner.
    After reading this post I have decided that I will not make a comment this time to avoid two things:
    1 – That I lose my job
    2 – That I am sued by Alison’s gang lawyers

    • Carlos, you’ve made me smile in the middle of a bizarre situation. Thanks. We’ll tip this apple cart yet! 🙂

      • Carlos Beca says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂
        One has to smile once in a while.
        I also do not like to be treated like I have a brain the size of a pea, especially when it comes from people that never had one in the first place.
        Roy says it very well in his post and I could not agree more. What is it that these people do not understand about the role of government. Do they even understand what their responsibility is? I now fully understand why Alison Redford did not have the support of most of the caucus when she was elected and I very clearly understand her visit to the Bilderberg group. She is bought, she is a traitor to her own province and she does not deserve any respect whatsoever. I really wish her the worse possible outcome on anything she does so that we can stop this cataclism as soon as possible.
        What is happening with us Canadians? Did we fall asleep at the wheel? Do we no longer care about our own country and our provinces. Are we now ready to sell even our own souls to money and greed? Where is our pride? Where is our sense of citizenship?
        The country is burning with conservative scandals, lies and a total sell out to foreign interests through trade deals that even put our legal system in jeopardy and we do not even yawn?

      • Carlos, I was talking with a friend about why the public doesn’t react when they hear the nonsense our premier was spouting on Monday. The best we could figure out is that Ms Redford is articulate and people have lost the ability to think critically (I mean that in the analytic, not pejorative sense) or maybe they just want the PC party to stay in power so the flow of perks and special favours continues, who knows, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that flooding the labour market with temporary foreign workers and oil field operators helps industry but doesn’t do much for creating the knowledge based society of the future.

  7. Roy Wright says:

    Mr. Soapbox keeps on getting dragged to these events, sometimes in part as a chauffeur, but in this specific instance, to act as a calming influence on Mrs. Soapbox (she can get pretty feisty when she gets fed drivel and treated as if she has the brain the size of a pea). Two issues floated up above all the chatter that requires a response from Mr. Soapbox (now that my duties of calming Mrs. Soapbox have partially subsided).

    The first was the notion that a vision was being painted of how Alberta would evolve. Ha! At best, I heard a “stream of consciousness” of unconnected and incoherent phrases and buzzwords around topics such as knowledge and innovation. The internal logic, the shallowness and the misunderstanding of the substance of the items, if acted upon as our vision, would not create a foundation to even hold a house of cards. If this is the vision for Alberta, then I am not sure how anyone could assemble a strategy to guide government in its long range plans and short term tasks. Perhaps that is why we seem to be going in circles. But, Alison came to the rescue once again…trust industry!

    This leads me to my second issue…what is the role of government. Someone should remind our Premier that industry titans are big boys and girls and that government is not supposed to pretend it is industry nor is it supposed to be a lackey to industry. I hate to say it again, but the father of capitalism understood what the respective roles of industry and government had to be. Government has to curb the excesses of capitalism, rather than give the keys to our provincial vault (i.e.: resources) and then cheer them on. Who is looking out for Joe and Jill Alberta…not our Progressive Conservatives! Adam Smith must be rolling over in his grave in Edinburgh right about now.

    • Mr Soapbox, excellent point about industry titans being big boys and girls–it’s called the free market for a reason, expecting government to prop up the big boys through corporate welfare (in all of it many forms) is also known as having your cake and eating it too. However a few slices of that cake, not just the crumbs, belong to the people. Okay I’ll stop now before I go off on a tangent about Marie Antoinette.
      PS I love it when you quote Adam Smith!

      • Ryan Dunch says:

        The Adam Smith is TMI, folks. Some things best left in Vegas!
        Seriously, though, THANK YOU for sacrificing your time and $$ to give the public this important intel on the lack of critical intel being displayed by our “highest public servant.”

      • You’re very welcome 🙂 It’s like a sore tooth, you just can’t leave it alone until it’s extracted!

  8. Julie Ali says:

    Hi Susan,

    I am not surprised that you heard all this Synergy spin at this expensive lecture by the Queen of the oil monarchy in Alberta.

    Synergy spin is all we get day after day in our media with reference to Redford and crew.

    Synergy, the CAPP party we have in power at all levels, the AER representatives are all part of the predators in the food chain that exists in Alberta that all seem to be dining on citizen meat.

    It is really quite interesting how many folks are getting rich in Alberta.
    I would say that if you look at the folks and corporations who contribute to the Tories at the provincial level, this would give you some indication of the incestuous network of giving and getting back that ensures that the Tories stay in power.

    Yes, we have been part of the problem of deMockracy—citizens were asleep and very sweet about their obedience to the Tories (I think Albertans are trained to be obedient starting with the requirement to have police in our high schools as a visible indicator to our youth that they’d better be pliable or else).

    Yes, it is very scary to speak out as Jessica Ernst speaks out because you can and do lose your jobs and livelihood and even your land (plus water in your well that inconveniently goes on fire).

    You can also be shunned in your community for not being resource-friendly. This is very discriminatory in my mind— but what can you do with folks who are brain washed by the Synergy groups in their communities? We even pay for this Synergy indoctrination with our tax dollars!

    How did we get to deMockracy in this horrific fashion?
    I think we did go on cruise control because it was just easier.
    The pace of life is so fast.
    We have kids to bring up.
    Our parents are old and we have to help them because there is no sort of network to help our seniors. I see the seniors at the Superstore all the time shuffling through the half price bread and selecting just a few groceries because they are hard up. It’s pretty sad.
    Siblings are sick, and the list goes on and on.
    Besides which we trusted the government folks to do the jobs we paid them to do.
    We didn’t know they were infectious particles of a plague that is now upon us.

    Despite the fact we have this sudden pandemic of Tory virions–I know I was suspicious of their job performance for a long time. I felt that they were doing dirty deeds– darn well for a long time.They were able to do this because they have propaganda machinery on their side, they are not transparent and they are quite willing to behave– badly.

    I think— we weren’t entirely dumb to this bad behavior–because we did have suspicions about their money handling business (budgets) and the fact that oil companies were making a ton of cash (company profit reports) — and so why did we always seem to have boom and bust economics in Alberta?

    So—I believe we knew there was corruption in our government but we couldn’t prove it and really why should we have to go about investigating our government at all levels?
    Isn’t this the job of our media?
    Where was the media in investigating the folks we hired to show us the rot in the deadwood?

    The forest –according to Alberta journalists and media–is all good–and not one sign of a Pine beetle infestation by the CAPP parties or the CAPP companies.

    The entire facade of this corrupted government is now hopefully coming down.
    This is the beauty of telling a whole pile of lies.
    Sometimes the lies are revealed.
    Of course someone has to go dig for the lies like Darren Boisvert of the Elephant Times is doing for us but at least we have one journalist working on the endless corruption files in Alberta.
    It gets tiresome losing faith in all these liars.
    If folks would just say the truth, they would probably be like a prion disease and be incurable but thankfully the Tories lie and lie and lie.

    As a consequence of the lies we will have messes in Alberta for a long time coming up.
    We will have an ongoing corruption show that will impact ordinary Albertans for the next three years at the provincial level, while at the federal level we have Harper and crew breaking the Senate day after day until we fire them in two years.

    It seems that only crooks can persist in power. And we cannot get our good men and women hired to government because of a lack of cold hard cash.

    What are we to do about it?
    I would say that we must speak out as Jessica Ernst and other brave rural Albertans have done.
    It’s pathetic that these poor rural Albertans have to prove their loyalty to CAPP before speaking out –they have to first say that they aren’t tree huggers before they tell us their horrors—that they simply can’t stay silent while their babies are being gassed.

    I would say that we need to listen to every single horror that is told to us by our fellow Albertans— and then we are to hold our elected hires accountable for every single citizen who has been damaged, impacted and suffered decades of contempt by this government.

    In the end, I believe we have to fire them.

    I suggest you all do not go Wildrosie when we do fire them.
    That’s a party that will be the worst version of the Tories we have now. Just look at the federal level for the sorts of deceit we will have to endure.

    As for the Queen Redford’s dumb chatter–she is frankly off her rocker.
    Why should we trust industry?
    They have proven to us that election contributions result in no sort of environmental oversight, no penalties, and the Alberta Advantage for them.
    And why should we trust Redford?
    She broke all her three promises.

    Why should we trust anyone except the ordinary man and woman who is brave enough to risk being fired, harassed and bullied by this government?

    We can’t trust our government, the AER, the industry, the judicial system in the case of Jessica Ernst at least, the auditors who were chatted up by CPC friends with reference to Mr. Duffy’s expenses; we can’t trust the people we have voted in at all or the people who hire us to work.
    The entire system has been infiltrated by these spores. And we only know this now, when we see the mycelium of lies about us.

    • Julie, you’re right, the development of the corporatocracy (a term I came across in Jeffry Sachs’ book The Price of Civilization) is alarming, but as long as it pays off for those in power it will be the over-riding influence on government. The price we pay is horrendous. You mentioned Jessica Ernst who’s fought a long hard battle and is the classic example of how difficult this government has made life for the people of Alberta.

      You and Lunelle ask a very valid question: Why would anyone trust Redford? Frankly I’m at a lost to find an answer. Carlos mentioned that 77% of the PC faithful confirmed her as leader. I can’t understand why these people aren’t concerned about failing healthcare, inadequate support for the elderly, mistreatment of landowners, and $3 billion contracts awarded on a sole provider for 15 years.
      The only explanation I can come up with is that they are blinded by ideology which has crippled their ability to think critically.

      There will be a seismic shift in 2016, in the meantime we do what you suggest, continue to speak up loud and long for all those who have been abused by this government.

  9. Ted Woynillowicz says:

    Redford hae gone over to the dark side in alarming fashion. What will trust industry lead to, ‘In Industry we trust’ on Alberta currency? Redford’s chilling dystopian view of the world is something that Chris Hedges continues to put forward in his work. It would have been fitting if Redford would have attended Hedges’ address last night (Friday Nov 22nd) at the Parkland Insitiute Conference.

    • Ted, quite a few people mentioned the Hedges’ address to me, unfortunately I was unable to attend. I need to learn more and will check out the Parkland Institute website to see what I can find. Thanks for bringing it up.

  10. Lunelle says:

    Has Redford been to visit Rob Ford lately?????

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Lunelle I wished the visit was to Rob Ford because then she would be a alchoolic rather than having mold in the brain.
      She is already using her usual Ted talks on how the PC has to be united like a family blah blah blah. She always uses the family, the people and the elderly when she is on election mode. Afterwards she turns into this Ayn Randian monster of the worst kind. With talks like the one Susan witnessed. She is definitely bi-polar, one for her ego and another for her wallet.

  11. carlosbeca says:

    Susan if you are not familiar with Chris Hedges you have to.
    It is not fun reading what he writes and watch his interviews because he is a realist and reality hurts, but he is without a doubt one of the few voices of sanity right now. I have followed him for a wile and the only reason I did not go is because I could not take more any more good news this week. He is everywhere and you can find a lot of stuff in where he is a frequent writer or In the first site another excellent journalist (my favorite) is the editor in chief and his name is Robert Scheer.

  12. shirley pierce says:

    Thank you Susan for your brave ascent to the Soap Box, once a respected attribute of democracy at work and as much a responsibility and expectation of citizenship as the vote at the ballot box. Democracy has been usurped by governments whose members have turned the Assembly of the People, OUR LEGISLATURE, OUR HOUSE OF COMMONS (people) into houses of corruption and deceit where elected Members represent their Party and Parties represent and reward their Benefactors to the detriment of the People for generations to come.

    I don’t think anybody would have thought it funny if they had realized Klein’s “I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shovelled and shut up ,” would be applied to nameless dead babies in the care of the government who were buried in deceit. It is indeed time to take back Democracy, starting with Freedom of Speech without retaliation. Our legislators pass laws that protect lawbreakers and risk public health, safety and security. They gave themselves huge raises from the savings achieved by depriving the most vulnerable members of our society of the ability to eat food and live indoors. They have elevated themselves to the Courts of a new Global Royalty and allocated the rest of us the realm of serfs, slaves and cannon fodder, sacrifices on the Alters of Greed and Corruption. Many have overlooked the poverty of the elderly, the sick, disabled and the downtrodden, as a necessary evil. They accept the poverty of the third world in the same way. I wonder when it will hit them that Canada is fast becoming a Third World Country as our resources dwindle and our debt multiplies.

    • Bang on Shirley. The PCs have thrown our democratic principles out the window–all in aid of industry. I wonder how the audience would have reacted if instead of saying “trust industry” Redford had said “trust the unions”. They’d toss her out of office for being biased in favour of one economic sector (unions) over another (industry). However no one batted an eyelash. Then this week she declared open warfare on the unions. She’s bitten off more than she can chew because in attacking the unions by bulldozing them with these draconian laws, she’s also attacking the rule of law and due process. Even the Wildrose leader Danielle Smith says Redford has gone too far. The WR are siding with the NDP and Liberals in support of the unions (can you believe it).
      Add that to the PC’s shameful defense of their behavior in “under-reporting” the 145 child deaths while in government care and you know they’ve gone mad. This is the topic of the blog this Sunday. I’m having such a hard time with it because the facts are atrocious and the PCs behavior beyond belief.
      How could the party of Peter Lougheed fall so far?

      • The mighty always eventually fall. Dystopia always emerges when the few believe they are living in Utopia and can have it even better. Another word that may apply is dotage. Senility is the slow decline of memory. The PC party culture is a delusion of a series of beliefs by those who consider themselves to be PC. Psychosis might be part of the condition. Thanks for your forum.

  13. That was the best synopsis of what ails the PC party that I’ve read in a very long time. Thank you holycow!

  14. Lunelle says:

    All such good comments and thoughts!!!!!!

    It’s interesting that in Redford’s propaganda about her “Vision of Alberta” it stated that MLAs agreed to a 0% increase for 3 yrs….I was confused….I hadn’t seen this, and I’ve been following their “work” fairly closely…then, a bit later, I saw coverage of this vote on the news. What???? This was already passed, according to the propaganda…. Hmm..the cart before the horse, AGAIN???? I was glad to see this was addressed in the legislature, the 2nd time in about a month this PC party has not followed legislative procedure, and has been brought to task on this! This time, the PC party really messed up and the speaker told them so. The remedy….a simple apology by Lukasic (sp?). An “I’m sorry” and it makes it all better???? I don’t think so!!!!!

    A question…do we have STUPID people in our government? I don’t think they are stupid. I think they are deceitful, conniving, and manipulative. I think they knew exactly what they were doing, and are now doing!

    This PC government has been, and currently are, introducing Bills into the legislature that are UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!! Bill 28, thank goodness a few municipalities refused to accept the bill as it was written!!!!! Gee, it looks like the PCs want control of every hamlet, village, town, and city in the province! I was actually told about this plan about a year ago….

    Currently being debated, Bills 45 and 46….as a result of one of these bills, freedom of speech will no longer exist in Alberta!!!!! The PCs are starting this process by muzzling ALL union members associated with the unions. I am sure they want to muzzle ALL Albertans! They are doing this in a few ways. Some of it is direct legislation against union members. An indirect method is fear.

    People have met with their MLAs to discuss Bill 45 and 46. These MLAs are backbenchers, pawns. At these meetings, these MLAs have said that their constituents don’t agree with these bills, and the MLA agreed these bills were wrong. HOWEVER, these backbencher MLAs, pawns, were scared to vote against this legislation, they were scared of Redford, and they would be voting in favour of this legislation!!!!!!!!!! Lots of manipulation there!!!!! The people of Alberta are fooled into thinking that their elected MLA is their voice in the legislature. NO INDIVIDUAL in Alberta can speak in the legislature! We rely on our elected Representatives (MLAs) to not only voice our concerns, but vote accordingly…..this doesn’t happen!!!!!! Tow the party line, or you’re gone!!!! Oh yeah, Democracy rules!!!!! PSHAW!!!!!

    Unfortunately, because the PCs have the majority government, and they have brow beaten their backbenchers, these bills will probably pass into LAW. As a result of this, I, with many others, will be muzzled. If we speak or act, in any way, against this government, that can be construed, or manipulated into supposed strike action, we can be CRIMINALLY charged! This means that I will never work in a field that I have been educated in, have saved many lives, have helped treat disease, and prolonged lives. This also means that my job choices outside this field are extremely limited!

    On Wednesday, I will probably have to make a VERY difficult decision……do I want to be a criminal, be criminally charged, just for speaking my mind and asking questions? OR, do I knuckle under to this PC government, bow my head to the Goddess, keep my mouth shut, and keep my job….hmmm, sounds like the backbench MLAs…..

    I’m, again, sorry for the long reply, but I know my time is limited to comment. I think I have one more day to speak my thoughts. I don’t know if I will even be able to quote facts…..being CRIMINALLY charged for voicing my opinions weighs heavy on my mind, soul, and body!

    As Heather Smith, (UNA Pres) said at the last legislature rally I attended, I will be wearing a large black square, to symbolize the death of democracy in this province. The AUPE is doing the same. I strongly encourage ALL Albertans, who have their voices unrecognized in the legislature (which is almost everyone!) to do the same!!!!

    How stupid does Redford think we are????How far are they going to take their agenda? How many more people will they crush, muzzle, and silence to maintain their agenda….”Trust Industry!”

    Maybe I will comment more in the last few hours I have left, of free speech….

    • Lunelle, thank you for your very moving comment. I was saddened, but not surprised, to hear that the backbench MLAs know full well that their constituents do not support Bills 45/46 but are too afraid of Redford and Horner to stand with the NDP, Liberals and WR against these bills. Even the back bench federal MPs in Harper’s command and control government are prepared to speak up when democracy goes awry. Michael Chong, a Conservative MP, is putting forward a private member’s bill today which would give individual MPs greater freedom to properly represent their constituents. It’s shocking that an MP needs to propose such legislation given what I’ve always understood an MP or MLA’s role to be–representing his/her constituents–but if that’s what it takes then we all need to get behind it.

      I hope you’ll be able to continue to comment on the Soapbox, perhaps under an alias. It’s shameful that this government has taken democracy so far off the rails but those of us who can will continue to expose them for what they are.

      Also do you know whether the AUPE has set up a way for ordinary Albertans to donate money to their cause. I strongly support their decision not to accept the government’s “offer” to return to the bargaining table and would like to ensure that the AUPE has enough money to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada if necessary.

      AUPE is reaching out to Albertans asking them to tell the Premier to scrap Bill 46. Here’s the link:

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