Checking In

How are you? Are you okay?  

The Soapbox family is fine. We’re the lucky ones, we’re doing reasonably well under the circumstances. We check in with each other every day. We go for walks and play more board games than we’ve ever played before (I still suck at Rummikub).  Emails, texts and phone calls keep us connected with friends and family.  We’ve discovered Facetime is perfect for Scatagories or simply catching up over coffee.

But it’s not enough. We need our community.

When my sister in BC spends her free time sewing masks for my family and says she’ll leave the house for the first time in two weeks to take the package down to the local post office instead of leaving it in her rural mail box for pickup and delivery so we’ll get it quicker, I tear up.  

When I walk the dog and meet someone coming the other way with his dog and we scramble to get away from each other, I understand but am saddened.    

When I attend a board meeting by conference call and our chairman starts the meeting by saying it’s so nice to hear our voices, I’m moved.  

Something has happened. Time slowed down. And we’ve learned a few things.

First and foremost, we now recognize the importance of every single member of our society, regardless of their position in the economic and social hierarchy.

Second, we know our local, provincial, and federal governments can move mountains in a very short space of time if they have to. It turns out there’s always enough money to do what’s right and decent.

Third, we understand that when this is over, we cannot go back to the old way of doing things. As the economist Armine Yalnizyan said, COVID-19 fast tracked the discussion of economic policies like universal basic income and modern monetary theory into the mainstream. The pandemic is changing the way we think about economic policy and how we implement it.

If we can tackle the fallout from a pandemic, then nothing is too big or too difficult to contemplate.

And you know what, the politicians can and will get it done…if they get a big push from the community.  That must be our focus when we reached the other side of this tunnel.  

Until then, how are you? Are you okay?

This entry was posted in Economy, General Health Care, Politics and Government and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Checking In

  1. Paul "kill the black snake" says:

    I’m doing ok..but I’m one of the ones’ in the danger zone, no spleen, COPD….so I really have to be conscious of who and what I interact with. I’m trying not to live in fear and get on with it. You’re right about not going back to the normal…it wasn’t good enough then, and it won’t be good enough in the new normal. The old normal got us into this mess, and I know that corporations and the like will try selling us everything under the sun…won’t work for me…I”ve actually had time to sit and contemplate. We need a paradigm shift …a small tsunami of new ideas to start us on a new path of a fairer country, a fairer world , where all can survive.

  2. Paul, you’re wise to take extra precautions, you’re at greater risk than many of us.
    I totally agree with your comment that the “old” normal wasn’t good enough then and it certainly won’t be good enough now. The usual suspects are pushing the narrative that the faster we get back to the “old” normal the better. I don’t think these guys have talked to the young people who weren’t impressed with the “old” normal and see this as an opportunity to change gears for the better. We’re in for interesting times ahead.

  3. Einar says:

    Hi Susan, I’m glad to hear you and your family are okay. I’m fine too, just finished Easter dinner.

    I agree that things need to change, but I fear our current crop of politicians on either side of the house or legislature are not the ones that are going to be doing it. Old orders don’t change unless the old order is gone. Ideology is the new religion! They will give China a pass even though this virus originated in the disgusting wet markets. They will give Trump a pass even though the US will lose more people to the virus that didn’t need too and probably the virus entered Canada from the US. Putin and the Saudis prince’s will get a pass even though they picked this time to destroy the global petroleum industry. So no it’s time for us to regain control of our destiny and tell the old order it is time they pack their bags.

    Out of bad things good things do happen and they are rarely influenced by the type of personality that makes up the current political class. I have hope that this is one of those occasions, things might change for the better. However that will need to wait until this pandemic is over. Until then we talk and hope. Happy Easter!

    Einar

    • I’m glad you and your family are okay Einar.
      I like how you put it: “out of bad things, good things do happen”. I think the pandemic will have a searing effect on our society and we won’t go backwards no matter how hard the old guard pushes us in that direction.
      Happy Easter!

    • David Watson says:

      We are good and happy that most of our friends and network is well too. Of course Especially pleased to hear Mrs Soapbox and family is well. You right too this slows thing down so if You can calm your mind, not something that I find easy, you can be more reflective and think about now and the future. One source I would recommend is the Munk Dialogue, a great one last week with M Gladwell, this week Fareed Kariara on Wednesday. I look forward every Sunday to your post a great public service!
      Take care stay safe.

  4. John Gulak says:

    “ … we know our local, provincial, and federal governments can move mountains in a very short space of time if they have to“ yes, indeed!

    Thanks, Susan

    Sent from my iPhone

  5. Lovely post! We are doing just fine, thank you! I forgot it was Sunday! One small inconvenience of working at home … what day is it? Another is not having a large enough pan to cook my Easter turkey in because I refuse to make a trip to the store for just a pan, something that is not a necessity – we shall just make due! A turkey, by the way, which only my husband and I will be eating this year due to stay at home policies. But our family is still in touch daily and we are all fine. No we can’t go back to normal, and that is a good thing. Everyone’s efforts, whether we considered them “big” or “small”, are important for survival. The skies are bluer and fish, birds and animals that haven’t been seen before are popping up everywhere. I certainly don’t care what the designers are doing unless they are making masks or scrubs for those in need. I think things are changing for the better!

    • Linda, I too was thinking about the climate as one of the big things we can tackle notwithstanding the old guard saying no, it will kill the economy if we do anything other than what we’ve been doing to date (which is moving too slowly on the climate change file). We’ve received a harsh wake up call. We’d be insane not to act on it.
      PS I’m sure your turkey will taste delicious notwithstanding the fact you have to squish it into a pan that’s two sizes too small.
      PPS Thanks again for the masks!

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. I am doing the best I can. I hope you and your family have a Happy Easter.

  7. ed henderson says:

    Hi Susan…My prayers go out to all including Paul. I’m an old fogey who never really looked after himself but so far so good. Smoked for 25 yrs and quit 33 yrs ago.

    It’s going to be a different world, as Susan suggests. Gunna take some adjusting but we have lived free and carefree for too long I guess. Wanna go to the Caribbean??? Be prepared to isolate before going and coming back perhaps.
    If we are lucky, it will not hit us as bad as the original Americans were hit in both North and South America when Europeans showed up about a thousand years ago.

    • Ed, I agree, many of us have lived a thoughtless and selfish lifestyle for far too long without taking responsibility for the damage we’ve caused. It’s time we grew up.
      All the best to you, (thank goodness you quit smoking at least you’ll have a fighting chance!)

  8. alice says:

    Hi Susan,

    “it’s time for us to regain control of our destiny and tell the old order it is time they pack their bags”. How many times has that actually worked in all of history? None. Because as soon as the old order is tossed out, usually with a lot of pain for those at the bottom of society, a newer but just ugly version rises again. The key perhaps is not so much to toss out the old order, but rather to start at the bottom, with kindness?

    Glad you and yours are doing well. I have cancer, but the surgery to remove the growing tumor has been delayed since March because the only surgeon in the area with the skill to do the needed delicate work has shut down due to covid-19. I cannot travel due to health issues so finding another surgeon is out of the question. Since I have no family (all killed when Britain bombed Dresden) this means sitting here, in pain, unable to walk for more than a few hundred yards, wishing Justin had passed more lenient right to die legislation.

    Be well,
    Alice

    • Alice, I’m so sorry to hear about your health issues. Your situation is truly intolerable. I hope there is someone in your community who can help you be more comfortable. Given all that you’re going through I really appreciate you taking the time to contribute to this post. You make a very good point about pushing for change at the bottom instead of solely focusing on the top. The journalist and writer George Monbiot points out that the assumption that society would fall apart in the face of a massive disruption (like COVID-19) turned out to be false because grass roots community groups stepped in to provide assistance when governments failed to do so.
      Community is a powerful bond. We must use it to push governments to do better.

  9. Susan in Palliser says:

    Susan
    Glad to hear you and family are doing well. My husband and i are very fortunate to have a house with lots of space, a well stocked pantry, interests to occupy us each day and a relationship built over many years which helps us unify under times of challenge like COVID 19. I write with thanks for your thought provoking blog. Thanks for introducing me to Armine Yalnizyan and her work. Thanks for your intelligent comments which inspire me to raise my voice… one small voice … to spend some of my time while ‘isolating’ in writing our provincial politicians to address some of the issues or injustices being played out currently. If indeed the ‘old normal’ is to give way to new social, economic and health frameworks, i want to seek out solidarity with those with strength and knowledge who will lead the way with constructive maps and practices. Thanks for your insights!

    • Thanks Susan for your wonderful comments! I really like what you said about using this time to raise your “one small voice” to write to our provincial politicians about the injustices that are playing out currently. All of us have “one small voice” but together we can make one heck of a racket! All the best to you and your husband.

  10. marwillar says:

    All well in Maders Cove, Nova Scotia. I am grateful for a wired world so that I can check in with people around the world.
    This is a sea change – and I will do my part to try to remember, learn, go with trembling courage if necessary, and tell the stories.
    Thank you for your work.

  11. mikegklein says:

    Happy Easter Susan! Happy Easter Everyone! All’s well here, thanks.

    Yes Susan, the totally man-made Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 was a dry run for what we must do and it turns out we can do. Please let’s all learn from these lessons.

    Mike

    • Marwillar: you’re very welcome. You’re phrase “trembling courage” is inspiring, especially in the face of oafs like Alberta’s premier. He’s becoming more bizarre with each passing day. Recently he announced Alberta was sending PPE and ventilators to BC, Ont and Que. He turned what should have been an act of generosity into political theatre by telling everyone that Alberta pays 20% more in taxes than it gets back in benefits (thus demonstrating his ignorance of the way the equalization formula works, this is the one he himself put in place when he was a federal MP) and making a veiled dig at Quebec by saying Alberta’s generosity should be rewarded with support for Alberta’s resource industry (read: Quebec stop killing our pipelines).
      He’s forgotten the number one rule: A gift is a gift, it doesn’t come with strings attached.
      Stay safe in Maders Cove. I googled it, it looks beautiful!

      • Carlos says:

        ‘He’s forgotten the number one rule: A gift is a gift, it doesn’t come with strings attached.’
        This is so typical of the evangelical way of donating – they make sure people understand how much better they are by rubbing it on one’s face. They are not donating, they are trying to get brownie points with their God.
        I am so darn tired of Jason Kenney phony attitudes – it is disgusting.
        How many times is this man going to talk about Quebec and how much they owe us the hard working Wexiteers.

      • Carlos, on the point of the Wexiteers, have you noticed they’ve gone silent. All these brave buffalo people (as in the Buffalo Declaration, a piece of trash if I ever saw one) who insisted Alberta would be better off without the rest of Canada are afraid to raise their heads above the parapet lest they be called hypocrites for accepting Trudeau’s money to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. I’m sure they’ll find something else to rail on about soon. Meanwhile the Yellow Vests were going to march on every city hall in the province to demonstrate against health experts saying they couldn’t congregate in large groups.
        There is something seriously wrong with these people.

    • Happy Easter Mike. You make an interesting point in your reference to the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 which, as I understand it, was made possible by the US government relaxing the regulations governing banks and investment houses to the point where financial institutions like Goldman Sachs could bet for and against flawed mortgage backed securities. When the dust settled Goldman and others came out on top and the people lost everything.
      We have to put a stop to conservative governments dismantling regulatory oversight and privatizing the public sector or they’ll be the death of us (quite literally as we’ve seen with the 31 covid deaths at the that long-term care facility in Dorval, Que)
      Stay safe!

  12. Another good post Susan. How am I doing? I have zero patience for anyone who can’t be kind to another human being. I look at the motorcycle illustrations I do and think really, I must illustrate something more meaningful. I am moved to tears when I see the heroes of our society: nurses, paramedics, doctors, grocery workers, truck drivers, police officers who are on the front line. Every night at 7:00 pm when I bang my pots to support our front line workers, I choke up. I am so grateful for our frontline workers and I am so grateful to be Canadian. On a funny note, I banged my wooden spoon on my pot so hard, I broke my spoon. My comments are kind of scattered, kind of like my focus. You and your family stay healthy. And like you said, we can not go back to our old habits.

    • Thanks for the kind words Joanna. I know exactly what you mean when you say you’re moved to tears at the thought of the courage and sacrifice displayed by our essential workers. While we’re being told to stay away from hospitals and shop only once a week, they go into work every day to make sure we’re taken care of.
      When this is all over we must remember what’s important and what’s not and govern ourselves accordingly.
      Take care of yourselves. 🙂

  13. Rose says:

    Glad to hear everyone is doing well. As you already know, I to am fine. I do miss the library though and can hardly wait until I can once again wonder through the stacks. I live next to a small park and duck pond and have noticed that more families have taken to walking in the park and around the pond. The unfortunate part is that we have to keep our 2 meter distances. I feel if everyone just sticks to it for a little longer this to will end and we will all be healthy and happy again, don’t give up now we are almost there.

    • Rose, I’m glad everyone is doing well at your end. I was thinking about your duck pond the other day, soon there will be ducklings running around all over the place. I’m sure the mama ducks will be wondering where all these extra people came from.
      I like your message of hope: don’t give up now, we’re almost there. 🙂

  14. Rose BRADLEY says:

    Susan: Thank you so much for asking. I appreciated that.

    I have a daughter who is the most amazing person any one of us could dream of. She has taken it upon herself to take great care of me and I am really in favour of that. I am trying not to be mean and nasty because she is stuck in here same as me.

    We have to be really alert and watching what will happen after the apocalypse. You know that the Big Oil State/Corporate State will fight for their very lives not wanting to give up their power or their Huge profit. We have to prepare for the long haul and have more than one basket full of tricks. After 50 years we cannot handle their abuse anymore. At this very moment we have lost every little thing we had left. And we now know what is most important to all of us. We want everything we lost back and more besides.

    Love your articles, Sincerely, Rose

    • Rose Bradley: how wonderful for you that your daughter is there to care for you. I’m sure both of you are learning a lot about each other as you go through this day after day.
      I agree with you 100% about the battle we’ll be facing when this is all over. We’ve learned that there are other ways to think about the economy; economist Armine Yalnizyan put it well whe she asked: is the economy here to serve us or are we here to serve the economy?
      One of the unintended consequences of the pandemic is it’s shown us how changes in community behavior will impact the economy and the environment. Just think what we could accomplish if the community worked together in a thoughtful and focused manner.

  15. jerrymacgp says:

    Good morning, Ms Soapbox. If I am not mistaken, you live in Calgary, which remains the epicentre of the pandemic in Alberta, for reasons I fail to really understand. To date, Calgary Zone has had 1,046 cases, over 63% of the provincial total, with 891 in the City of Calgary proper; in comparison, Edmonton Zone has had 395, or 24%, with only 270 in Edmonton proper. Death rates are also very different, with 30 of the province’s 44 fatalities having been in Calgary Zone, all of them in the City of Calgary. Edmonton Zone has only had 7 deaths, 6 of them in the City. [Sources: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-alberta-data.aspx; https://covid19stats.alberta.ca/%5D

    It will be interesting, when this is all over, to see what epidemiologists think about these geographic disparities. They are not limited to the differences between Alberta’s two biggest cities. North Zone also looks like it’s been hit hard on the Zone-wide statistics, compared to Central & South, but when you drill down to cities & towns, a different picture emerges. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, including Fort McMurray, has thus far seen 6 cases, 4 of which have recovered, and zero deaths. Grande Prairie City plus County have together seen 5 cases, with 2 recovered & zero deaths. So, the North’s two big population centres have only seen a total of 11 cases and no deaths between them. Yet, in the rural areas hardest hit by this — MD of Smoky River No. 130, which contains the Franco-Albertan communities of Falher & McLennan, & the adjacent Big Lakes County, which contains High Prairie & a number of First Nations & Métis Settlements — there have been 45 cases and 5 deaths. Why would this be? That remains to be seen.

    How are we doing? My wife & I are empty-nesters, who can’t see our grandchildren — even though we all live in the same city — due to social distancing. We’re also both nurses, although neither of us work in the hospital setting. She works in home care, & most of her clients live in a private, for-profit supportive living facility, so her caseload includes the population at highest risk for this disease — knock on wood, they have yet to see a case there. I work in cardiac rehabilitation & am limited to doing phone visits — all face-to-face services having been put on hold — and am on high alert for redeployment to another role based on where they might need me, but to date this has not happened. So, we’re still going to work every day. Working from home is not an option for us, for various reasons including IT issues.

    • Wow Jerry, your wife is on the front line and you may be redeployed there soon. I can’t imagine the stress you’re both under. If this experience has taught us anything it’s that we need to respect and value our healthcare workers who risk their lives and that of their families to help us.

      I was reading about Boris Johnson who just returned home after being hospitalized with the coronavirus. Apparently Johnson used to believe that people who became ill were weak and undisciplined, and they should just tough it out. Then he was struck down by covid-19 and realized his fate was in the hands of the doctors and nurses who stood by his beside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way. It’s a shame some politicians have to go through a personal health crisis before they finally understand the importance of a properly funded healthcare system.

      You’re correct, I live in Calgary and will be very interested in learning why our zone was hit so much harder than some of the other zones.

      Take care, Jerry.

  16. Carlos says:

    After witnessing the mismanagement and total disregard for our environment in the last 40 years of oil exploration in our province, I certainly hope that this covid-19 event will bring some changes to our provincial mentality. Our premier seems to be brainless so I doubt change will ever come from there. It is up to us to inform ourselves and make sure we are prepared to vote in the next election with our brains instead or just our wallets. The future of Canada and the world in not just economics, it is way more than that and we better at least inform ourselves. If we do not, we better stop blaming everyone else for our mistakes. It is childish and irresponsible. We complained ad nausea and continue to about the Federal Government but now we are begging them to help clean up the 260 billion mess we ourselves allowed to happen with fake Energy Regulations. We are begging for financial help for the Oil companies when we have nothing saved for our future. The 90 billion dollars we keep blaming Pierre Trudeau for taking from our province with the Energy program is peanuts compared with the what we gave away to the Oil companies year after year of complete mismanagement of our royalties and taxation levels.
    Our current premier is a master of deceit and we better wake up or we could sink this province for many generations to come if it is not already.

    • Carlos, I couldn’t agree with you more about our unhealthy reliance on and protection of the oil and gas sector. The big news this week was that Alberta’s Energy Minister sat in on the OPEC+ conference call and was pleased to report that the Saudis and the Russians didn’t insist Alberta make even deeper cuts in production. I’m not sure why we should be pleased about that. The analysts say that even with the OPEC+ cuts they expect the high cost producers to go bankrupt. Alberta’s oil production is much more expensive than Saudi and American production. So we’re going to be at the front of the line when it comes to companies going bust. And who do we have in charge as premier? Mr Kenney who continues to believe that investing in the fossil fuel sector is the way to go.
      If he’s not replaced in the next election, this province is doomed.

  17. Linda Munroe says:

    Hello MS Soapbox,
    I always appreciate your news but don’t often feel the need to comment. Thanks for asking — we are managing. I miss the casual way we used to run out the door for every little thing and hug those people we hadn’t seen for awhile!!! But Nelson Mandela did this for 27 years, so I am trying to keep it in perspective.

    Best wishes.

    Linda

    • Linda, thank you for the reminder that Nelson Mandela did this for decades and we really need to keep it in perspective. You mentioned the casual way we used to live, that really struck a chord with me. I live about a block away from a small library, I used to pop over there once a week to pick up books and DVDs. I got to know the librarians and the regulars. And then, poof, just like that they were gone. The library has done a great job of giving us online access but it’s just not the same as the human interaction that became an important part of my life.
      One unexpected consequence of this pandemic is we’ll all be more appreciative of the little things we used to take for granted.
      I’m glad you’re well. Take care.

  18. neil says:

    As a culture North America seems to react to anything faintly resembling socialism as somehow being evil. I think that the economic devastation that is being experienced by everyone…except the very wealthy…., is starting to wake people up to the reality that corporate capitalism is a recipe for inequality and extreme poverty, just to benefit the uber-rich.

    • Neil, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve noticed a few articles lately that suggest the cure is worse than the disease. At first I thought it was a concern that the longer people stay home the more the economy will suffer, but now I’m starting to wonder whether there’s another element to this. The longer people stay home with the support of social programs like CERB etc, the more they realize that the so-called socialist governments do a much better job of caring for everyone in society than conservative governments that make corporations and the wealthy their top priority.
      Interesting times ahead, that’s for sure.

      • jerrymacgp says:

        As I posted on Twitter, one thing we can all learn from this, is that governments “small enough to drown in a bathtub” — as one hard-right American libertarian once said was his goal — are unable to help people in a crisis like this. Not only have governments had to scramble to take action on the health front, but they’ve had to do the same on the economic front. We’ve seen the Government of Canada move with the speed of greased lightning on issues as varied as getting CERB payments out to Canadians in a matter of a couple of weeks, and Health Canada approving the quick bedside COVID-19 DNA test in record time.

        https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2020/04/09/did-you-get-covid-19-money-from-ottawa-this-week-heres-who-you-can-thank.html

        https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/spartan-covid19-test-kit-new-1.5530669

      • Jerry: I agree with your take that this crisis should put paid to the argument that the best government is one that’s small enough to be drowned in the bathtub, but incredible as it seems, staunch conservatives still hold fast to that belief. I just read an article by Gwyn Morgan arguing that this pandemic demonstrates the need to further privatize our public healthcare system. He didn’t address the carnage at the for-profit long term care facilities so I suppose we’re to rely on his extensive experience in the private sector which includes him being the SNC-Lavalin chairman of the Board throughout the corruption years and the head of Encana, a company created by the government of Alberta.
        You’ve got to wonder what these guys are smoking.

  19. Political Ranger says:

    Thanks Susan – doing as well as can be expected. (Im)Patiently waiting for spring to start.
    Best wishes to all your community here – such a lovely group; smart, generous and oh! so attractive! I wish all good health and good cheer!

    Regarding the old way and the new way: It’s well worth remembering that our current economic system was not always this way. For those who are too young to remember; reading is a short-cut to the forever memory.
    For myself, I have been reading up on Karl Marx.

    If we really are going to have a “new” way of doing things then hadn’t we best start to think about it. And talk about it, perhaps even write about it.
    What do we want, what can we accept, what is completely unacceptable?
    And how? What are the underlying imperatives that allow for a free people to make free choices?

    I really don’t think we need to invent something brand-new. A lot of thought and discussion and actual societal experience has gone into both good and bad ideas. But we need to know about this today so we can actually craft something that works in our new 21rst Century world.
    We can’t just ‘let it happen’ man.
    That would be a travesty.

    Start with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; they were there in the beginning.

    • Political Ranger, what a brilliant suggestion. Instead of re-inventing the wheel let’s look at some of the other wheels out there to learn what works and what doesn’t. And then as you suggest, get a dialogue going to ensure whatever model we’re gravitating to works for everyone.

      It sounds like you’re doing all right if you’re impatiently waiting for spring. I can’t belief it’s actually April. This weird inbetween zone we’re in makes it hard to figure out what day of the week it is, let alone what month we’re in. I’ll be reduced to looking it up on my cell phone pretty soon.

      Take care of yourself!

    • Carlos says:

      Political Ranger I applaud you for suggesting Karl Max and Friedrich Engels to all of us. Despite this blog being open and progressive, it still takes character to suggest those two people in Alberta. This province would have been a much better place if we had taken some of their ideas rather than Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand and other people that suggest that society does not exist. What does not exist in this world is a good open conversation about ideas instead of silly market fundamentalism.
      Covid-19 has shown to most of us how deep and important society is for all of us to survive and thrive. It is about time we sink this idiotic belief created more than 30 years ago. Enough.

      • jerrymacgp says:

        Carlos: Firstly, a disclaimer: I haven’t spent much time in my almost 61 years studying Marx or Marxism, so I can’t speak with any authority. However, from what I do know, while as an economic system, they may be some positives to Marxism, in the real world — which is the one in which we are all forced to live — no implementation of Marxism has, in all of human history, failed to be a disaster for human rights & civil liberties. Lenin was no democrat, Stalin was a genocidal dictator, and Mao was just as bad.

        That said, the current neo-liberal order is no picnic either. What Canada needs is a true mixed-economy democratic socialism, with ordered, regulated capitalism … strong measures to preserve competition where such is reasonable … widespread application of public ownership and public intervention in the economy where markets fail, i.e. by more policy-oriented use of Crown corporations … strong protections for workers … and tearing up all of those damned so-called “free trade” agreements, which are in fact nothing of the sort. Instead, set up a strongly nationalist, jobs-for-Canadians approach to international trade, with tariff walls and a system that says to international business, in effect, “if you want to sell to Canadians tariff-free, you have to buy from Canadians & hire Canadians”; I’m thinking something like an economy-wide Auto Pact writ large.

      • Carlos says:

        jerrymacgp – I am not by any means very knowledgeable in any of the so called Great Economists and I am not even a great believer in economic theory. We all know very well that maybe 8 out of 10 economic predictions are wrong. I mentioned reading Karl Marx and Engels only because in North America we were brainwashed to believe that Karl Marx is the cause of the Russian and Chinese dictatorships we witnessed at the beginning of the 19th century. I never understood and still do not, why people called them communism. Russia has always been governed by Mafias and the Chinese have their own system which we continue to call communist. I would challenge anyone to explain to me what is communist about the present Chinese system. If anything they are more capitalist than Canada. China has one ruler and a 3000 house of live on the back of government members that maneuver to decide who the next dictator will be. By the way I am not criticizing whatever the Chinese do but just clarifying that communism exist as much in China as in Canada. My post that you refer to was just to alert people that reading only right wing economists like we do, is not healthy and does not give us real perspectives of different ways of looking at real life. Marx never suggested systems like we saw in Russia or China. If you read some of his work you will for sure be surprised of the depth of his work including related to what we are now calling the Green economy. Leaving him out of the discussion is as crazy as banning his work.
        As far as your comment about the genocides and all the killing done under the flag of Communism I am not sure how we can connect that to the writings of Marx or Engels. I think that it is unfortunate that all of the horrible killings were under systems that we claim to be created with ideas from Marx or Engels. I am sure they themselves would be horrified to know that. Furthermore, we are extremely biased against any system that is not on our side of the political spectrum. We just witnessed not long ago the estimated 3 million people killed by American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and we seem to think that is somehow justified. If you put together everyone that has been killed by countries that are not communist you would be surprised that we are not that far off except somehow we have a moral justification. In many countries in the world right now people are murdered because they are poor and dispensable. We of course only know in detail about those that died in countries where our media, controlled by the interests that protect big money, concentrate to make sure we continue to stay in line with their interests. Here I suggest a book by Sheldon Wollin titled ‘Democracy Incorporated – Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism’. Sheldon Wollin passed away a couple of years ago and he was Professor Emeritus of Politics at Princeton University. I do not suggest Noam Chomsky because of course we have already been told that is a NO NO – too leftist.
        I also would like to say here that the countries in the world that have so far shown the highest standards of human decency and living standards are those that have economic systems based on socialism and adapted to modern times such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
        I agree with most of what you suggest in economic terms and specially Free-Trade which is the greatest invention pushed down our throats to allow free movement of profits and world control of cheap manpower. To me any system can be discussed and made to work as long as we are all at the table to build fair regulations that serve all of us. What we have had in the last decades is nothing but Neo-Liberal slavery protected with labels of democracy and free markets.

      • Jerry and Carlos, thanks for this discussion, it illustrates the need to be open to other ways of thinking about the economy. The limitations of the neoliberal view (markets are good, states are bad and only exist to bail out the markets when the markets fail) became obvious within two weeks of the economy shutting down in response to covid-19. One would think this would cause the Jason Kenneys of the world to admit their mantra (we can’t be a compassionate society until we have a prosperous economy) is fatally flawed. I really hope all those Albertans without a job or on a reduced income now realize that it is only through the generosity of other Canadians that they’ve still got a roof over their heads and food on the table. Sadly, this will not be the case, Kenney is already ginning up his propaganda machine to paint a Alberta as the victim of the Feds because when the Feds unveil their relief package for Alberta oil and gas I believe it will come with strings attached including getting serious about climate change and environmental cleanup. This would be the right thing to do but it will drive Kenney and the UCP insane.

  20. CallmeHal2000 says:

    Just when you think this can be a valuable learning experience for Alberta, it’s business as usual. I don’t know about you, but I have no interest in Jason Kenney as chief medical officer of health. Is this another misguided example of ideology trumping human welfare, or is it something more?

    https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/alberta-may-circumvent-health-canada-to-gain-access-to-covid-19-tests-and-drugs-premier-says/ar-BB12A1nn

    If it’s something more, then we have a problem. There was that one leader in the 20th century who had no problem with using human beings as guinea pigs. As for me, I have no interest in a vaccine or experimental treatment that has circumvented Health Canada’s oversight. No animal testing when I am the animal in question. Jason Kenney can track us all down by cellphone, apparently, but this is a step too far.

    This from the man who allegedly made yet another complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons about another pseudonymous Twitter doctor who hurt his feelings on the internet.

    • Hal, this is an unbelievable irresponsible thing for Kenney to do. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, we need to have faith in our public institutions, including Canada’s chief medical officer and all our provincial medial officers. My read is Kenney is angry that most Albertans believe Trudeau is doing a good job and (heaven forbid) think Notley would do a better job than Kenney in this time of crisis. So what does Kenney do? He reverts to form and finds someone to attack in order to distract his base from the drop in his approval numbers. Even Doug Ford is doing a better job than Kenney’s doing. That must rankle him to no end.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        I hope he rolls up his sleeve and gets those experimental vaccines and treatments. Perhaps one of the virtual Babylon doctors, or the Twitter doctors who annoy him so much can administer it. We can all stand by and watch what happens.

  21. Leila Keith says:

    Thanks for asking. The hardest part of this isolation is not going out wih friends or family. The connections via skype, zoom or any other media thing just can’t replace live connections. I think this self isolation has made the world slower, more introspective and I now value my friendships more.I am gratefull for what and whom I have in my life and it has given me a perspective that is needed right now in the world, valuable connection with others.
    I am looking forward to connecting once again with others physically when all these virus issues are over..
    Leila Keith

    • Well said Leila. It’s amazing how even the most introverted of us craves the company of others and while we try to cope by using zoom and Facetime, it’s just not the same. Like you I;m looking forward to the day when I can meet my friends at a coffee shop or pop into the library to pick up a book. It’s a strange time, isn’t it.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Thanks for asking susan! A closet full of boardgames (including ‘Pandemic’, from which we thought we had saved the world a number of times, until we figured out we were playing it wrong). RC cars! SCREEEEEN TIIIIIME! Working on my overbite and practicing the banjo!

        And don’t wait for that coffee with family and friends Susan, just go out and get one:

        Try to enjoy yourself if you can folks! Learn a new language, read a Dickens novel (just not “The Old Curiosity Shoppe” – CD owes me ~800 pages of my life back for that one- Worst. ending. ever.), Barnaby Rudge was awesome! Be safe.

      • Carlos says:

        This is priceless 🙂 🙂

  22. Carlos says:

    After years of not doing anything about old oil wells oil companies are now using the crisis to do what our premier has given them permission to do – pass the buck to us again. Took billions out of this province for not having to do anything about regulations and now come begging for more.
    Then blame Trudeau because it is not enough to do anything. Amazing what we are facing in this province after the party is over. We clean everything and we pay for their profits. It is astonishing but what these oil companies do in the third world where regulations are as good as how much they pay the politicians, they managed to do in our province as well. We can all thank our incompetent Conservative Governments we have had and still have in this province. Whoever comes next has no chance to recover anything, our kids will be moving to other places to make a living.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: The neglect of oil companies in Alberta to clean up their messes in Alberta, goes back to the early 1990s, and with the Alberta PCs. The Alberta PCs did not enforce the rules relating to the oil companies. Albertans now have to pay a whopping $260 billion to cleanup messes left behind by the oil companies in Alberta. It is not the federal government’s fault for this. Now, the UCP has used the pandemic as an excuse to stop environmental regulations to industries in Alberta. It won’t be temporary, like the UCP claims. What a shame! The other galling thing, is these oil company executives say it’s too late for Justin Trudeau’s help, after they were enabled by the Alberta PCs to make this mess. Peter Lougheed was the only good Conservative premier in Alberta. He had been employed in the oil industry, years before he was a politician. Peter Lougheed knew how oil booms can turn into a bust, very fast. He also supported responsible oil industry development. In 2015, Peter Lougheed went on a helicopter flight over the oilsands. He was far from impressed with what he saw going on. Peter Lougheed said that oilsands development should not be happening at a rapid pace, and that it would be best if only one oilsands project were done at a time. He said there would be bad results in the future if what he saw going on was able to continue. Hardly a surprise.

  23. Is it still gaslighting if no one with half a brain believes a word he says ?
    and the YouSeePee dumbasses who demand to be lied to are being lied to ?

    I don’t even grant him the presumption that he is sincerely attempting to deal with any of the problems.

    He is fixated on grift-graft with the PetroRacket.
    He is pursuing a corrupt reactionary austericist class-warfare agenda.
    The $12B+ hole in the budget, with no strings or performance conditions or reasonable hope of a positive ROI are deliberate – following the swamp-steps of the TangerineTurd

    Kenney and his UCP swampmates are cold-hearted calculating bastards who are abusing their access to public power to leverage their psychosociopathy over many more people than their self-loathing basement-dweller personas deserve

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