The Fair Deal Panel (The Circus Comes to Town)

On Dec 10 the circus rolled into town.  It called itself a “Fair Deal Panel Town Hall” but like the Ringling Brothers, its purpose was to distract Albertans from their troubles by dazzling them with spectacle.       

It took place on a bitterly cold week night, somewhere in the boonies well past the Calgary airport.  It was sold out.   

There were about 350 chairs in the auditorium.  At least 70 seats were empty when the event started.  A middle-aged man told us this was because “the union” bought up all the tickets.  Mr Soapbox asked whether he had any proof.  He said someone at the front of the room told him so.  When all else fails, blame the unions, eh?

The moderator introduced the Panel and the topic.  Albertans can be forgiven for assuming the town hall was a farce given the Panel includes three UCP MLAs, a former progressive conservative MLA and Preston Manning, the founder of the Reform Party, and the government justified the exercise with faulty assumptions (no, Alberta is not “the biggest contributing province to Canada’s prosperity by far,” Quebec and Ontario are bigger). 

Mr Soapbox made the wry observation that this was the “biggest collection of grey hairs and bald heads” he’d seen in a while.  He was right, there were more older people than younger people, more men than women, and way more whites than visible minorities.    

The submissions

Ms Soapbox assumed two minutes would not be enough time to make a submission.  She was wrong…and extremely grateful when the moderator pulled the plug on the separatist raging against the Laurentian elites and Gerald Butts who’d indoctrinated the nation on climate change.        

Fewer than 40 people made submissions.  They could be (roughly) grouped into the following categories: 

  • I’m a proud Canadian (“Canada First”)
  • I want a fair deal, either Kenney’s fair deal or a different fair deal
  • I’m a separatist
  • I’m not sure
  • Odd balls who wanted to decriminalize sex workers, change the federal regulations governing the sale of ammonites, or put CPP payments into escrow until this was sorted out. 

The Canada First people and the Fair Deal people made roughly the same number of submissions, about 35% each.  Two separatists presented submissions, but many fair deal people said they’d consider separation if they didn’t get a deal.  Five people made not sure/odd ball submissions.    

Canada First Submissions

The Canada First people are worried about losing their CPP and the impact the Alberta pension plan would have on labour force mobility between the provinces.  They said if Alberta collected provincial income taxes this would increase bureaucracy and red tape.  Some presenters were heartbroken that we were even having this conversation, others were adamant that they loved Canada, united and strong.    

The guy who said appointing a Chief Firearms Officer was a nod to the gun lobby was met with applause and boos, one from the guy behind me who took offence to the suggestion he was about go out and shoot somebody.    

The presenter who won my heart was the woman who said she was more concerned about getting a fair deal inside Alberta for kids’ education, seniors’ pharmacare and the vulnerable, because “I’m human, I’m not a jerk.” 

Fair Deal Submissions

This group was all over the map.  

Some were satisfied with the deal outlined in Mr Kenney’s mandate to the Panel.  Others wanted Kenney’s fair deal plus an Alberta immigration system, an Alberta Employment Insurance plan, and the abolition of equalization, guaranteed free trade across Canada and a Triple E senate. 

Another group demanded all of the above plus restrictions on the prime minister’s power, an overhaul of the Supreme Court of Canada, and a referendum on the Clarity Act (which requires a clear majority before a province can start negotiating on separation).     

Some Fair Deal proponents suggested their objectives could be achieved by “turning off the taps” and stopping the transport of goods from the Port of Vancouver to the rest of Canada.   

One fellow noted if Alberta had its own police force it could slow down Ottawa by refusing to enforce “bad laws” within Alberta.  Silly me, I thought this was an attempt to circumvent any investigations into allegations of corruption around Mr Kenney and the UCP leadership race.     

Many Fair Deal proponents said they wanted Alberta to fight for a fair deal and simultaneously prepare for separation.  They were annoyed Mr Kenney gave up the option to “walk away” by saying he was a nationalist. 

Separatist submissions

The Separatists were clear.  Alberta is the doormat of Confederation.  It’s in crisis and must separate.  It should enact the firewall now and consider its options which including joining the USA.  The sooner the better.

It’s a wrap

Many speakers had not had their turn at the mic when the moderator called time. 

It didn’t matter.  We’d heard enough.

The Canada First proponents are resolute and heartbroken.  They say the Panel lacks credibility and is being used by Mr Kenney to exacerbate divisions within the province and isolate Alberta from the rest of the country.    

The Fair Deal proponents are furious.  They’re convinced the Trudeau government wants to kill Alberta’s energy sector.  They accept Mr Kenney’s argument that it’s government policy not global oil prices that drive Alberta’s economy.  Interestingly no one believed this when the PCs and Harper Conservatives were in power during the previous oil busts.   

And the Separatists would be gone tomorrow if it were possible.   

Next steps

The Panel said it wouldn’t prejudge the outcome. However, it also said many of you are angry, partly because you’re not getting a fair deal from the federal government and our purpose is to define and secure a fair deal.  If that’s not prejudging the outcome, I don’t know what is. 

These town halls are nothing more than bread and circuses.  The ringmaster’s panel will write a report that confirms what the ringmaster has been saying all along, it’s all Trudeau’s fault.   

Albertans will divert significant time (measured in years) and resources (measured in millions of dollars) attempting to fix what one presenter called “a crisis in the making”. 

In the meantime, the Separatists will gain momentum. 

Conclusion: The circus is not worth the price of admission.

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53 Responses to The Fair Deal Panel (The Circus Comes to Town)

  1. Terry Korman says:

    … getting a fair deal inside Alberta for kids’ education, seniors’ pharmacare and the vulnerable, because “I’m human, I’m not a jerk.”

    Seems like the beginnings for some kind of collective hope … and not a bad basis for society’s endeavor to do for all of us what we cannot do for ourselves – government itself.

    Thank you for attending Ms (and Mr) Soapbox … good to be represented.

    • You’re right Terry. This young woman was remarkably brave. She started by saying she wasn’t going to speak because she was nervous speaking in front of crowds and she was afraid she’d be booed, but when she heard the others speaking up for Canada she decided she could do it. That got a big applause.
      This is the main reason I think it’s important to show up for these events (even if they lack legitimacy). We’re sending a message to others like us that you’re not alone, there are many of us and we will all stand together. This is noticed by the UCP supporters (who are surprised by our unity) and the UCP government. It’s highly likely the Kenney government will ignore our input but at least they’re clear they will be facing opposition if they proceed with whatever harebrained plan will come out of this exercise.

  2. Mare says:

    Grateful you were inside … doing that work. I imagine it was more challenging there than it was for us, protesting outside, despite the freezing temps. We arrived early and had coffee in the restaurant before the rally started and it made me extremely uncomfortable.

    • Mare it must have been brutal outside. Thank you for doing that.
      We went with some friends so we didn’t feel so alone. We were very pleased to see a number of familiar faces in the crowd. But you’re right, it’s a little intimidating to see burly men swaggering around in “hang Trudeau” t-shirts and others grumbling behind you about how stupid or naive a pro-Canada speaker is. I’ll say this though, the moderator was fantastic. She repeatedly told the crowd to respect the speakers, not to boo or cheer or interrupt because each speaker deserved an opportunity to say what they had to say in the short 2 minutes allotted to them.

  3. Public Servant says:

    Thank you Mr and Ms Soapbox for representing the quieter, more thoughtful Albertans who see through Kenney’s never-ending parade of distractions.

    A true “fair deal” would be a province where farm workers and labour in general are treated with the same respect and financial support as oil company CEOs.

    • That’s absolutely true, Public Servant. Sadly some of the Fair Deal proponents said it wasn’t the Kenney government that’s hurting nurses and teachers it was the Feds because we “give” them $18 billion/year. This man said the government should dip into the Heritage Trust Fund because it’s raining cats and dogs, He said the Feds are giving us lip service and the fact they own TMX means nothing because “they’ll jack up the price of transport.”
      His submission showed an appalling lack of knowledge about everything. First, the $18B/year number refers to equalization payments which are NOT paid by the AB government out of revenues, they’re taxes paid directly to the feds.
      Second, the Feds can’t “jack up the price of transport” on TMX without taking it through the regulator, the shippers would challenge the increased tolls and unless the Feds are able to justify the increase it would not be approved.
      Third, I don’t know whether Alberta’s economic decline justifies dipping into the $17B Heritage Trust Fund, but there are other more sustainable ways of addressing it (a PST for example) than blowing it all on a one-time fix. We need to completely rethink our fiscal framework, the strategy of draining the Trust Fund to patch holes in the budget didn’t work for the former Progressive Conservative government and there’s certainly not enough left in the Fund now to make a meaningful difference.

  4. Bob Raynard says:

    I really worry that the Fair Deal people will succeed in getting equalization payments abolished just as Alberta’s energy industry completely collapses and we need them.

    • Bob, wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony. Then Mr Kenney would have to reverse course (again) and argue equalization payments should be reinstated because Alberta is suffering. One of the pro-Canada speakers said once Albertans had a reputation for working hard, now we have a reputation for blaming others. Very true.

  5. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. You covered a lot of ground, and gave some very good facts. This “Fair Deal Panel” is nothing more than a charade.There is an outcome which was there before this panel was even created by Jason Kenney. There is nothing you, or any person with even any understanding of basic reality can do to change what Jason Kenney has in mind for Alberta. Unfortunately, many still take whatever Jason Kenney has to say as the gospel truth. Why are these forums in such obscure locations? The one in Edmonton was in the northeast side of the city, if I an not mistaken. The one in Calgary was also in an obscure location, by the looks of it. Given that Edmonton and Calgary have many hotels, with large enough conference rooms in them, located in the central parts of both cities, it would make more sense to have them there, as accessibility is easier for everyone. Why only one day, for these forums, when Edmonton and Calgary have an average population of at least 1 million people? The event you went to was “sold out”, yet why were there all these empty seats in the room? Apparantly, it was also confusing to register to this event. The notices for the dates were not done properly. If I would have went there, I would have said things they never would have been able to forget, including the obvious flaws with the Alberta pension plan idea, to where Alberta’s money was flushed down the drain, to Jason Kenney’s inconsistencies and contradictions relating to his support of the carbon tax, right through to him being premier by questionable means. The panel members and most of the attendees would have turned pale faced, from what I said. Maybe they would have cut me off. Instead, I went to a Christmas concert, which was much better to go to. I’m glad you and your husband went.

    • Dwayne, I absolutely agree with you about how these events are organized and publicized. The only reason I was able to register is I saw an email from the Project Confederation people (they want Kenney’s fair deal on steriods) saying registration was open. Project Confederation had signs and handouts available and it looked like they managed to get at least 3 people on the speakers’ roster.
      Given this is an official government endeavor that has the potential to change the face of Alberta forever, you’d think the government would treat it more seriously. It’s planned 10 town hall meetings, all of which will be held in the dead of winter, over the Christmas season no less, with inadequate notice in venues that are (at least in the case of Edmonton and Calgary) ridiculously small and out in the middle of nowhere. All this creates the impression, likely true, that the town hall meetings are all for show.

  6. A “fair deal” would be Kenney high-tailing it back to Ottawa where he REALLY wants to be p and getting into Scheer’s failed pants . . . maybe then Alberta rednecks would realize that their politics DON’T fly, and make a sincerely patriotic effort to fix the badly broken conservative bent in this beautiful province . . .

    • I agree rockymountain. Some of my friends are speculating about why Kenney is backing Rona Ambrose for the leader of the federal conservatives. So far they’ve come up with (1) she’s a woman and the party won’t support her for long, opening the door for Kenney to sweep in and rescue the CPC from itself, or (2) she’ll do a passable job for a couple of years but decide to step down to live a normal life rather than run in the next election, or (3) he’s afraid to endorse someone like Peter MacKay, because if MacKay gets the leadership Kenney will be shut out forever. Personally I favour (3).

  7. Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Susan – from ALL of us . . .

    On Sun, Dec 15, 2019 at 6:04 PM Susan on the Soapbox wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” On Dec 10 the circus rolled into town. It > called itself a “Fair Deal Panel Town Hall” but like the Ringling Brothers, > its purpose was to distract Albertans from their troubles by dazzling them > with spectacle. It took place on a bitterly cold w” >

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      Excellent choice of the clown graphic for this post, for so many reasons.

      I expect we’ll hear some “new deal” stock phrases brought back from London soon.

      • CallmeHall, I suspect you’re right. Jason is no dummy, he’ll come back with a suitcase packed with catch phrases used by Boris to convince former Labour supporters it was time to vote Tory.
        I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Kenney’s meeting with Mark Carney, who while he was governor of the Bank of England said companies and industries that aren’t moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt. Carney had just been appointed UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. I’m sure he’ll have many words of wisdom for Kenney. I wonder if Kenney will report Carney to the War Room when he gets back.

  8. Jean says:

    I am quite concerned that Kenney’s Energy War Room, now innocuously renamed Canada Energy Centre will become a proganda machine and many, many Albertans won’t be able to sift fact from fantasy/lies. By funding it millions of dollars from taxpayers’ money, what ARE the UCP going to do with this war chest? That money should have been redirected for health care and education in Alberta. UCP is entitled to their communications…for only $1 million …hire 2 business/data strategist and communications person. Is that huge budget to influence/give to the oil industry and major news media outlets?

    I would suggest an article be written for the CBC on questioning how the money for the Cnaada Energy Centre is being used. It’s actually dangerous since a lot of people are increasingly pulled in by incorrect facts and UCP is counting on people having short memory of terrible decisions they are making now.

    • Jean, I think your concern is well placed. If the UCP felt it had to do this to fulfill an election promise it could have gone ahead with the scaled down model you’ve suggested. Instead it’s created a $30 M/year propaganda machine. That’s $120 M that could have been spent on public services over the next four years.
      You’ve got to wonder why not one oil or gas CEO stood behind Kenney in the photo op announcing the launch of the War Room last week. When Notley announced her Climate Leadership Plan she was supported by the likes of Murray Edwards, the billionaire chairman of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Calgary’s oil and gas companies have been conspicuously silent about the war room. Perhaps they realize this has the potential to go sideways and they’d rather handle their PR themselves, thank you very much.

  9. Jerrymacgp says:

    The so-called “fair deal” panel is indeed a joke, but not a very funny one if any of those ideas go anywhere. The only one that is not completely offensive is replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force; there is nothing inherently wrong with this idea — after all, three provinces (Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador) have their own Provincial police services — but in the current climate, there is a major risk that an Alberta Provincial Police force might be used as the Premier’s private army, somewhat as the Sûreté du Québec was by the Maurice Duplessis regime in the 1950s.

    As to Alberta being the punching bag of Confederation, I fear these people are about to be given another reason to light their hair on fire. I’m referring to Teck Resources’ Frontier oilsands mine proposal, still awaiting federal Cabinet approval. On CBC’s The House, new Liberal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson states that the environment and climate change were key factors in weighing the merits of this proposal. Given that all three of the parties the Liberal minority government relies on for support in the House of Commons — the Bloc Québécois, the NDP and the Greens — are implacably opposed to expansion of fossil fuel extraction, do they dare to approve this project? Will they have to turn to the Conservatives to support them in any non-confidence motions that may arise if they do? Would the Conservatives hold their noses and vote confidence in the Liberals — led by (for most of them) the hated Justin Trudeau — to prevent the government from falling over this issue? In fact, from a purely political perspective, the safest thing for the Liberals to do would be to reject Frontier. They’d only lose support where they have so little of it anyway.

    Returning to the “fair deal” panel for a moment, it hits Grande Prairie this coming Wednesday evening. Sadly for me, it conflicts with a union meeting that will be dealing with our 2020 negotiations round — I’m a UNA member, so as you can imagine, that will be a meeting of great significance. But, really, is there any point in opponents of this “fair deal” notion even bothering to go, let alone speak? Doesn’t it lend credibility and legitimacy to a process founded on a completely illegitimate premise?

    • Withheld says:

      Jerry, haven’t you refuted your own idea of a Provincial police force with your statement:
      “an Alberta Provincial Police force might be used as the Premier’s private army, somewhat as the Sûreté du Québec was by the Maurice Duplessis regime in the 1950s.”

      The frequent wrongful convictions caused by the incompetence, racism, and just plain corruption of Provincial and City Police forces means the RCMP is really the only force with any credibility. I don’t want to go back to the days when having a fifty stuck to your driver’s license was all you needed to get out of a sticky situation. Union busting is another all to frequent characteristic of provincial police forces – no court orders needed. All you need to do is review what happened in the Alberta coal fields when Alberta had a provincial police force.

      • Withheld: these are excellent examples of why Albertans are not at all comfortable with the idea of a provincial police force under the direction of the Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer who has proven time and again he’ll do whatever the premier asks him to do as opposed to what is right. He of all UCP MLAs should have abstained from voting on Bill 22 which eliminated the role of the election commissioner. The Ethics Commissioner said any MLA being investigated by the RCMP in connection with the UCP leadership race should absent themselves from the vote. Mr Schweitzer said he didn’t realize the Ethics Commissioner had said that. In my opinion the person who holds the top legal position in our province shouldn’t have to rely on what the Ethics Commissioner says, they should be able to figure this out for themselves,

      • Jerrymacgp says:

        Withheld: I said there was nothing “inherently wrong” with a provincial police force per se … but with this government in power? Very bad, even scary idea.

    • Jerry, you raised many interesting issues in your comment. I agree with your concern that a provincial police force may find itself under the government’s thumb in ways that are too awful to consider. The guy who suggested a provincial police force would be a good idea because it could choose not to enforce “bad laws” introduced himself as Dale Bossert and said he’d helped run Kenney’s last four federal campaigns. This is hardly reassuring.
      I also agree that your time is better spent at the UNA meeting than the Fair Deal Panel, but I think those who don’t have a prior engagement should make an effort to attend. If nothing else they can applaud when pro-Canada speakers make their submissions or speak up like the pro-Canada presenter who said the Panel was a disingenuous attempt show that whatever changes they plan to make are being done with the consent of Albertans. The Panel needs to hear that the “fair deal” in whatever form doesn’t have majority support from all Albertans.
      The Trudeau government is in a tough spot with the Frontier oilsands mine. As I understand it, Frontier has been approved by the regulator and is now awaiting Cabinet approval. And while the other progressive parties can’t stop Cabinet from approving the project, they may have told Trudeau that if Cabinet approves it they will move forward with a no-confidence vote the first chance they get. I very much doubt the CPC will back the Liberals in any non-confidence vote regardless of when it arises. It’s a tricky situation: further inflame the West vs lose the support (tenuous as it is) of the other progressive parties.

  10. J.E. Molnar says:

    Not My Circus — Not My Monkeys!!

    When the majority of politically discerning Albertans read or hear anything related to the circus known as the “Fair Deal Panel,” most of us relegate it to the Jason “I’ve-Got-A-Panel-For-That” Kenney dumpster file: “Not My Circus — Not My Monkeys.” Has there ever been a bigger waste of taxpayer money? Oh yeah, I almost forgot — the Canadian Energy Centre (AKA the UCP propaganda war room). This is not want good government looks like folks.

    • J.E. what a great expression! I see the UCP propaganda room is in full swing. It’s going to refute allegations made in the Medicine Hat News. I’m still trying to find the article that set them off. Who knew that a little paper in Medicine Hat could wield such influence!

  11. Carlos Beca says:

    I love this post and I will make some comments but I cannot ignore the embarrassment this man is becoming and imagine what the consequences of all of this will be. Sometimes I feel that I am in a different country somewhere in the Lord of the Rings where reality is a fantasy.

    This is crazy and how did this crook managed to get the premiership of an educated (I thought) province like Alberta. How many people are actually reading the Enquirer as a routine?

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      I have been giving a lot of thought to climate change lately, and one of my thoughts is that climate change is bigger than the little man himself. It will matter even more in a few years. He will not. He will be irrelevant.

    • Carlos, thanks for the link. Given Mr Kenney’s ego, I’m sure he thinks he can go toe to toe with Mark Carney whose impressive resume includes being the governor of the Bank of Canada, and the Bank of England and who will be moving to the UN in January to ensure corporations properly disclose the risks of climate change. I note Carney is also a citizen of Canada, Britain, and Ireland. That would make him one of those “Anywhere” people so dreaded by Stephen Harper.
      In all seriousness I wonder how long it’s going to take Kenney, Harper, et al to wake up to the fact the world is changing and Alberta is being left behind.

  12. Carlos Beca says:

    You got that very right – in fact he is irrelevant now , he has not noticed it yet. It takes time for any person to realize something about themselves. If is support base does not diminish and by a lot I will leave the province because with conspiracy theories ideology the earth will be flat in Alberta and I would not want any of my descendants to go through that.
    They actually already left, they were not as dedicated as I am. I do not blame them at all. I am still trying to get over the fact that the very first world conference of Flat Earthers was in Edmonton and apparently sold out. This to me is not just amazing it is a very important and serious question about ourselves and what is our role in society or whatever is that they call it. Flat Earth? It is believed Pythagoras was the first humans to propose that the Earth is round in 500 BC. 🙂
    Seriously people??? Is this already pollution seriously affecting us?

  13. carlosbeca says:

    It is quite clear to me that this Fair panel is just another waste of money along with everything else he has done so far. Now another trip to London to go see Buckingham palace. Another couple million dollars that could hire teachers for our classrooms or nurses for our hospitals. He is just going to visit his counterpart Boris Johnson except he at least believes that the Earth is round and climate change is real.
    It is all a show and we know what the final report is going to be.

    • Carlos, the amount of money the UCP government has wasted on this panel, the public inquiry, the war room, and countless other panels and committees is astounding.
      The latest one was announced today. The UCP government is setting up an Innovation Capital Working Group to provide advice on incentivizing private capital investment in Alberta’s “tech and innovation ecosystems.” The committee will travel all over North America and examine the best practices of industries. It will also explore “the value of flow-through technology – or innovation shares – as recommended by numerous tech-sector stakeholders in Alberta.” (this appears to be a way of investing in tech companies
      Now I don’t have a problem with the government getting advice from experts on how to increase Alberta’s “tech and innovation ecosystems” but I’d like to point out that the Notley government enacted a number of policies aimed at increasing diversity through supporting the tech sector (including tax credits for venture capitalists) and they were working. The UCP ripped them up, a bunch of tech companies left the province, or refused to locate here (some made it crystal clear they were reacting to the UCP’s decision to kill the NDP tech policies) and now the UCP wants us to pat them on the back for setting up a committee to reinvent the wheel.
      Smart politicians are not afraid to accept the policies of the party now in opposition. Insecure ideological politicians throw out the opposition’s ideas and waste time and money replicating what the opposition has done, just so they can call the new/old idea their own. It’s beyond stupid. .

      • Carlos Beca says:

        You got that right – it is beyond anything I have ever seen in terms of bad government. These people were on their toes to criticize any group, any trip, any move that the NDP made that involved public money. Now is free for all and they react when someone says anything. It is beyond idiotic – this is repugnant to be honest
        I am getting to the point for the first time in my life where I cannot even hear the word UCP and not feel horrible as to what is happening.

        Another one – what is he doing in Britain? The British government is up to their noses with a Brexit cancer that does not go away, it is Christmas and this idiot ( I am sorry but I cannot find any other appropriate word) goes there with a entourage that rivals Queen Elizabeth, to do what? Just a Christmas vacation that is all that is. A free trip for him and his caucus on the taxpayers purse. So much for cuts to save money. Apparently today they cut some program for children. Next is seniors and in the meantime the Oil companies are sending their tax money to their shareholders probably including Jason Kenney.. I would like to see what is in his portfolio. I am almost positive that is why the cuts to corporate taxes. Would anyone be surprised? Me not a bit.

  14. Dave says:

    You have it exactly correct – a circus. Something to take our attention away from the real problems – they sure aren’t the RCMP or the CPP, and provide a diversion so people don’t notice that what the UCP is doing is not solving any problems, but probably making things worse economically.
    I suspect the UCP hope is when the Feds don’t go along with this firewall snake oil, that even Klein saw through and Lougheed would have ridiculed, voters will again blame Trudeau and not notice the UCP’s impotence or incompetence.

    • Dave, given the UCP’s sudden plunge in the polls it looks like the public is no longer being distracted by the circus. The ThinkHQ poll, like the Angus Reid and Dart polls, shows a serious weakening of support for the UCP. 53% DISAPPROVE of the UCP’s performance. Its performance can be reduced to two failed promises. The first was the UCP will create jobs by eliminating the carbon tax and cutting corporate taxes. There are fewer jobs than ever. The second was the UCP will balance the budget and reduce the debt with “no pain” cuts to services. The service cuts are causing tremendous pain (and it’s only just begun) and we’re no where near balance and the debt is growing.
      No wonder 21% of the people who voted UCP regret their decision and only 39% believe the UCP is a government you can trust.
      It’s safe to say the “honeymoon” is over.

    • Jerrymacgp says:

      If it’s a circus meant to distract us, where’s the bread to go with it? I’m feeling like something’s missing …

  15. GoinFawr says:

    “University of Calgary associate law professor Shaun Fluker said the Kenney government’s lauding of Pembina in a court submission will only serve to bolster the arguments from critics who contend the government’s “war room,” and a related public inquiry, are designed to stifle legitimate debate about the oilsands.

    Fluker said it is difficult to understand how the UCP government could target the Pembina Institute for allegedly disseminating false and misleading information, “yet on the other hand, rely on them.”

    Prof. Fluker is so much more polite than I am.

    • Great comment GoinFawr: I also liked what Kathryn Harrison, UBC political scientist and energy policy expert said. She believes Kenney’s strategy of “vilifying environmentalists (and) exaggerating the economic impacts of carbon pricing” is an attempt over the short term to avoid meaningful action on climate change.
      When I worked in the private sector one of my jobs as general counsel was to ensure whatever we filed on the public record (be it a court submission or a securities filing) was true and consistent with what we’d said elsewhere. Presumably the UCP believes what it said Pembina in its court submission is true. This calls into question the legitimacy of its attack on Pembina in the $30 M/year war room.
      This government is a gong show.

  16. A. Thomas says:

    We live in a “me first” province in an increasingly “me first” world. Another boom would solve Alberta’s problems for x years and we could all be a little richer for a time. It is very sad that so many seem to think that is what really matters. I wish I could just up and leave and move to Bhutan where people are happy.

    • A Thomas: I had a similar conversation with former Liberal MLA David Swann today. We agreed that UCP supporters seem to be prepared to accept the harm the UCP are doing to education, healthcare, the environment, etc in return for the promise of a well paying job. As long as I’m OK, I don’t care about you. They forget that while they may be OK today, they may not be OK tomorrow. But as a result of UCP service cuts, the services they need will no longer be available. Very short sighted and selfish thinking.
      You mentioned moving to Bhutan. I’ve talked to a lot of people who are seriously considering moving to BC.

  17. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Paris is in a state of unrest again, with another mass protest. It’s surprising how many governments have the same playbook at the moment.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Neoliberalism hitting the wall along with political corruption and democratic deficit due the control by big money and mammoth corporations. The ultimate moment of savage capitalism in full display in the middle of a full environmental crisis.
      Put on your safety belts the show in the center ring is about to start. Better sooner than later

      • CallmeHal and Carlos, I agree there’s been a rise in unrest brought on by citizens who no longer buy into the virtues of neoliberalism. That’s why I’m interested in what Jason Kenney will do next. He entered Alberta politics with the promise to reignite the conservative movement. When Scheer was defeated I think Kenney realized his vision of the conservative movement wasn’t going to fly anywhere but Alberta and Saskatchewan. So now he’s talking about a new conservatism based on what some conservative thinkers are promoting in the US. I don’t think the new conservatism will be much different from the old conservatism. A friend sent me an article about Kenney written in 1993 where he repeated the same mantra he’s repeating now, low taxes and austerity will save the economy. He hasn’t had a new idea in 26 years.

  18. Paul Armstrong says:

    I was there. Actually got my 2 minutes in. Was a real “dog and pony” show

    Paul armstrong

    On Sun., Dec. 15, 2019, 6:04 p.m. Susan on the Soapbox, wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” On Dec 10 the circus rolled into town. It > called itself a “Fair Deal Panel Town Hall” but like the Ringling Brothers, > its purpose was to distract Albertans from their troubles by dazzling them > with spectacle. It took place on a bitterly cold w” >

    • Good on you Paul! It would have taken real courage to stand up in that crowd and say anything that supported Alberta as part of Confederation. What bothered me the most was the complete lack of understanding most of the speakers had about whatever they were proposing. For example, Alberta will not be allowed to leave Canada on the basis of a simply referendum. The Supreme Court of Canada said a clear majority had to be in favour of separation before Alberta could start to negotiate with Canada. It also said a clear majority is NOT “50% plus 1.”. These issues are much more complicated than the fair deal/separatists would have us believe.

  19. CallmeHal2000 says:

    With Christmas quickly approaching, I wanted to share this memory from 15 years ago. As we were pushing back our chairs after Christmas dinner in 2004, word came in of the tragic Boxing Day tsunami in Indonesia.

    What does this have to do with Alberta’s Fair Deal, you ask?

    Putting things in perspective, $6.25-billion in international aid was donated to a UN fund for the recovery costs from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Contrast this to the $4.7-billion CDN cost of Jason Kenney’s corporate tax cuts in Alberta.

    A sum like $4.7-billion is not easily relatable. This Australian article pegged recovery costs to India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives combined at $4.7-billion.

    Even taking into account different currency exchange rates and change in value over time, it’s pretty clear that Alberta, a single province, could have covered a significant portion of the world aid to recovery from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami recovery effort, with $4.7-billion in today’s Canadian dollars.

    Imagine the outrage if Alberta had decided to donate the equivalent of today’s $4.7-billion to the tsunami fund. Outrage wouldn’t begin to describe it.

    Yet in 2019, our government has offered this amount to corporations, with about the same guaranteed rate of return. And to add injury to insult, our government then claimed hardship and sent Jason Kenney to Ottawa, demanding $2.4-billion in aid for economic recovery. Where is the outrage over this?

    Food for thought as we gather with loved ones to celebrate the holiday season.

    • CallmeHal: Wow, what an excellent point of reference. You’re right, it’s hard to understand just how large that $4.7 billion tax giveaway really is. Then to rub salt in the wound, the corporations benefiting from our generosity used the windfall to pay down debt, issue dividends and for share buy backs. I don’t blame the corporations, they’re legally obligated to act in the best interests of the corporation, this does include the unemployed masses. But I do blame Mr Kenney for being so bloody naive that he thought chopping public services to underwrite his tax giveaway would create thousands of jobs.

  20. GoinFawr says:

    Speaking of “fair deals” I have to say, the new NAFTA has some decent points to it.

    Not sure how Mr.Kenney is going to take the credit (credit that is probably mostly due to The Council of Canadians) for the Trudeau gov’t getting rid of the onerous “proportionality clause” which forced the sale of a certain percentage of our resources to the US at whatever price they happen to feel like paying that day, but I am oh so sure he will invent a way. You know; like he and his mouth-breathing lot like to talk about the Pembina Institute out both sides of their fat, gaping maws, depending on the audience.

    Naturally, there are some real downsides too, like the growth hormonal milk about to make our kids muscular and short-tempered, but kinda dumb, and our laid-to-waste grain farmers’ pool. Not to mention that while the ISDS removal is good news, it is still offset by private corps having an extra special line on 86’ing regulations before anyone else can have a look at them; but at least Canuks can’t be sued anymore if one happens to slip by.

  21. GoinFawr says:

    Just renewed my car insurance policy.

    No accidents, no tickets, perfect driving record, yet I paid over 20% more for the exact. same. coverage.

    Jason Kenney: putting money back into the pockets of Albertan(s)…who happen to own insurance companies.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      So you thought that Jason Kenney considers you an Albertan?
      He has cleared demonstrated who in his mind are Albertans – those he gave 4 billion dollars for free as soon as he sat in his chair as premier.

  22. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Just in time for 2020, hot on the heels of provincial agriculture cutbacks, there’s the “Farm Fair Deal Panel”, with about as many panel meetings as the other “Fair Deal Panel”. Created so that farmers can have equal say in fair deals, because why should everyone else have all the fun? Yes, there is a Calgary session for any city farmers interested in attending.

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