Jason Kenney’s Fight with Alberta’s Doctors

“The crisis we have in health care, rural included, is a void of leadership by the UCP government. They were voted in with a majority government, but do not seem to understand the difference between leadership and power.” —  Dr Ed Aasman

The Greeks defined hubris is a character flaw, a combination of pride and ambition so great they offend the gods and lead to one’s downfall.   

What level of hubris led Jason Kenney and his health minister, Tyler Shandro, to believe they could get away with passing legislation giving them the power to rip up the Master Agreement with Alberta’s doctors, violate the doctors’ right to fair negotiation and binding arbitration, and unilaterally impose a new fee structure that would dramatically cut physician compensation, without any pushback?   

Then when the doctors begged Kenney and Shandro to hold off implementing the fee changes until after the pandemic passed, why did Kenney and Shandro double down?  

The Kenney government’s draconian behavior is inexcusable and Alberta’s doctors, with the support of their patients, fought back.   

It was a tough slog.

It took hundreds of doctors telling Kenney and Shandro that over 400 community clinics would close or lay off staff, and countless doctors announcing they would leave Alberta after the pandemic was over, and thousands of Albertans flooding their MLAs with letters demanding the government reverse course, before the government paid attention.

Health Minister Shandro

Not my fault (again)

On Apr 24, Shandro gave a press conference. He was flanked by some rural MLAs (but no doctors) when he unveiled a $81 million package to support rural doctors.

He said the government:

  • would cancel rural fee changes because they didn’t realize an unintended consequence was a reduction in access to healthcare in rural areas (if they’d listened to the doctors, they might have had a clue),
  • was permanently reversing the fee changes for rural areas (that promise is as binding as the Master Agreement they ripped up in February)
  • would pause the fee changes in urban areas, pending further review (what’s to review? An appendectomy is an appendectomy regardless of where it’s performed; if the government wants to incentivize rural practice provide incentives, don’t mess with the urban fee)
  • was adding $57 million to top-up rural service (because if rural doctors distrust Kenney so much they leave, Kenney’s rural base will desert him in 2023)

Shandro stated repeatedly that the $81 million plan was the result of concrete proposals from the rural MLAs and was not, repeat, not, the result of consultation with the AMA. Furthermore the plan proceeded on an expedited basis because his government ripped up the AMA Master Agreement, and (here’s the icing on the cake), the government would not take responsibility for causing “anxiety” in the middle of the pandemic, it was the AMA’s fault, they spread “misinformation” to the doctors.   

The entire press conference felt like an effort to sweeten the pot for rural doctors, pit them against urban doctors, weaken the AMA and shore up Kenney’s rural base.

Doctors are unimpressed

This is shameful and Alberta’s doctors are not buying it.

The rural physicians (represented by the Rural Sustainability Group) issued a letter saying they appreciated the government’s support of rural medicine, but the government still wasn’t listening. What the rural doctors want is an agreement that allows for arbitration, thereby avoiding unilateral decision making by the government.  

The president of the Section for Rural Medicine is squarely behind the AMA, noting the AMA is the “venue for physician leadership and the vehicle through which Alberta’s physicians have worked with the government for 114 years.”  

The AMA said the temporary suspension of fee changes during the pandemic is a positive step, but if the government wants to find long term solutions to healthcare challenges it should work with doctors, not rip up their contract, continually misrepresent their compensation and take away their right to binding arbitration.  

Kenney’s attempt to pit rural doctors against urban doctors did not succeed, but it does raise the question: Why did Kenney do it?

What drove him to pass legislation allowing him to rip up the AMA Master Agreement and impose his own fee structure on Alberta’s doctors? What caused him to ram this ill-conceived plan down the doctors’ throats in the middle of a global pandemic?

Was it a desire to teach the doctors a lesson after the AMA refused to bow to Kenney’s demands for cuts? Was it resentment that Rachel Notley was able to negotiate doctors’ fees without a ripple of discontent?  

Was it plain old hubris?

One thing is clear, if the Kenney government is prepared to go after our doctors in the middle of a pandemic, then none of us are safe.

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

63 Responses to Jason Kenney’s Fight with Alberta’s Doctors

  1. Susan, this is NUTS! Kenny is behaving like a dictator. I’m not going to say anymore. NUTS!

    • Joanna, you’re right, Kenney promised Albertans he’d rush legislation through the House because Alberta was in such poor economic shape, then he gave corporations a $4.5 billion tax cut and invested $7.5 billion in Keystone XL. No money for teachers, nurses, and doctors, but lots of money for corporations.
      He finally went too far with Bill 10 which he pushed through the Legislature in less than 48 hours. It gives Cabinet the power to create NEW laws and penalties without the approval of the Legislative Assembly. No debate in the Legislature, means the public doesn’t have a clue what just happened. Kenney said he had to do it because of the pandemic, but the government already has the power to suspend laws, Bill 10 gives them the power to create new laws without oversight.
      Kenney ignored the outcry from the NDP, but when his key supporter John Carpay said Kenney had gone too far and he’d sue the government, Kenney said he might make some minor amendments.
      That’s the province we live in.

  2. Blair says:

    Answer is short and not so sweet.
    Janice Mackinnon!
    Cut , cut and more cuts.

    • That’s right Blair. Janice Mackinnon had her marching orders and delivered the recommendations Kenney wanted: cuts across the board (well, except for corporations who’ll continue to receive tax breaks and subsidies).

      • Christian de Marino says:

        I agree with you 100%. I just wanted to comment that nobody mentions the word Socialism when conservatives give subsidies to the corporate sector, but the minute you want it for health care, then you’re a radical socialist. What do people think subsidies are?

      • Good point Christian, there’s this unspoken message that companies deserve subsidies because they’re “job creators” (even when they cut jobs and use tax breaks and subsidies to pay dividends to their shareholders); but ordinary people don’t deserve subsidies because they’re lazy bums living high on the hog on tax dollars paid by hard working Albertans. I hear it all the time as the conservatives try to characterize a subsidy as a “hand out” (bad) or a “hand up” (good). If these guys weren’t such hypocrites they’d turn down the “hand outs” coming from Ottawa.

      • psponderings says:

        Interestingly, MacKinnon has been part of the University of Calgary Public Policy School (Jack Mintz’s corporate right wing promotion tool) for some time. She and Mintz co-published at least one paper that is a Coles Notes version of the MacKinnon Report prior to the task force even being announced, in fact it was in 2017, two years before the UCP were elected. She also authored a report on reducing surgery wait times in Saskatchewan through the use of private daysurgery clinics. That paper was published by none other than the Fraser Institute. What is not said by those touting the SK experience reducing wait times is that the results were only applicable to the surgeries targeted so long wait times remained for everything else, it increased the healthcare budget and the reductions came from increasing capacity, i.e. funding more procedures. MacKinnon is fixed on the ideology that public healthcare is the problem.

      • psponderings: Thanks for this helpful background. It’s beginning to look like the conservative brain trust for Alberta is quite small, both in terms of who contributes to it (Ted Morton, Tom Flanagan, Jack Mintz, Gwynn Morgan, Danielle Smith etc) and the range of ideas they present (free market mixed with government subsidies if you’re in the oil and gas sector). They’re dragging Alberta backwards when now more than ever we need a vision for the future.

  3. It was stupidity caused by slavish adherence to extreme right wing ideology. We’re better than this.

    • Reynold, I continue to get comments from Albertans who support Kenney’s position because, as one guy put it, everyone else is taking pay cuts so the doctors should take one too. Well, let’s start with the fact that everyone else (whoever they are) are working in industries that are experiencing an economic downturn; doctors are not. People keep getting sick and dying (especially now in the pandemic) whether the economy is booming or not.
      Also, I’d love to hear these Albertans justify Kenney’s decision to pay rural doctors more on a fee for service basis than urban doctors if the principle is everyone is getting a cut so the doctors should get one too. Apparently it’s okay to give doctors a raise to buy rural votes, but not okay to give doctors a raise (or even keep them whole) if they’re urban doctors. That makes no sense.
      Bottom line: doctors, nurses, teachers, etc do specialized work, the demand for their services continues to increase regardless of what the economy is doing, they deserve every dime they make.

  4. Carole Mitchell says:

    I agree with every word. This was wrong, wrong, wrong!

    • Carole, I think we’re going to have to start a letter writing campaign to protect our urban doctors who are still waiting to see what Kenney is going to do with their compensation. It’s tough living in a province where you have to fight for your basic services every day of the week.

  5. Hilda Royer says:

    I agree Kenney and his cronies do not care about anything except the oil and gas sector. They want private for profit health care and they are not stopping until they get what they want. I agree they are behaving like dictators and they are nuts.

    • Ron Christensen says:

      Ralph Klein tried this too and Albertans wouldn’t stand for it. Nothing has changed.

      • Ron, you make a very good point. Maybe Kenney thought the doctors would be too busy trying to save Albertans from covid-19 to fight for their rights. Boy, did he get that one wrong.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        Ralph Klein got a swamp (“wetland”) named after him. I wonder what Jason Kenney’s legacy project will be. Maybe an orphan well?

      • CallmeHal: naming an orphan well after Jason Kenney is brilliant! Since 2009, the Alberta government gave the Orphan Well Association more than $30 million in grants; it loaned the OWA $235 million in 2017 and an additional $100 million this March, but the only meaningful infusion of cash came from the Fed who recently announced over $1 billion to clean up orphan and abandoned wells. Given Kenney’s decision to suspend all sorts of environmental reporting because of covid-19 (although how the two are related is beyond me), I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves begging the Feds for more money to clean up orphan and abandoned wells 5 years from now. Another example of Alberta’s “ethical oil” industry in action.

      • Carlos says:

        The Tailing Ponds will be renamed ‘Kenney’s Swimming Pool’
        He is becoming the biggest Canadian Joke – here is a very good article from the TYEE


        The only question I have is that he says that the War Room was recently shut down and to the best of my knowledge we were not that lucky

      • Carlos, thanks for this excellent article from The Tyee. It came out at the same time Kenney attacked a 660News reporter for asking whether Alberta should reconsider going all-in on oil and gas. Kenney snapped back, saying his focus was on getting people back to work, not “pie-in-the-sky ideologies” and “that kind of question, in the middle of an economic crisis, from a Calgary-based media outlet–really frankly, throws me for a loop. It sounds like you’re reporting for the Tyee or something.”
        Jason Markusoff, a Maclean’s reporter, said Kenney’s comment indicates an assumption that Calgary reporters ought to be petro-patriotic hometown industry defenders; like there’s something un-Albertan about even asking about a Green New Deal or a sharp transition.” Reporters couldn’t follow up with Kenney because he abruptly left the room.
        Attacking the press who ask you a question you don’t like is Trumpian, it is not the sign of good leadership.
        Here’s the link https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-ask-about-albertas-future-and-suffer-fear-and-loathing-from-jason/

    • Hilda, what I can’t understand is why Kenney et al think the oil and gas sector will save us. Everyone from Peter Tertzakian (a well respected Alberta economist) to Oliver Jakob (a well respected international oil trader) says the energy transition away from oil is real. Instead of clinging to the old economy we have to start transitioning to the new one.

  6. jerrymacgp says:

    It’s simple. They fundamentally don’t believe in collective bargaining and don’t respect worker organizations, whether it’s the not-really-a-union AMA, or the real unions that represent every other health care professional in the public system — or, in fact the Alberta Teachers Association or AUPE, the union that represents the provincial public service.

    • Public Servant says:

      Amen. Remember that Kenney is a huge fan of the Temporary Foreign Worker program that abuses workers and kills unions.

    • Jerry and Public Servant, this is very true. I think the doctors were particularly successful here because (1) they were prepared to cut back clinic hours and withdraw ER and Obstetric services services, (2) they told their patients exactly who to blame for these cutbacks, (3) patients recognized they’d suffer as a result of these cutbacks and demanded their local MLAs force Kenney to back down, and (4) Kenney finally figured out the angry rural base would not support the UCP if he continued with this insane plan.
      Real unions have to be just as efficient in connecting the dots for the public: Show the public the pain Kenney’s cuts are causing to their kids’ education, their parents, their vulnerable family members and neighbours. It’s a slog because Albertans have been conditioned to hate unions, but I’ve run into many parents who were livid about Kenney’s cuts to education when their kids came home in tears because their teachers got the axe.
      Many institutions hold back for fear of reprisal from the government, but hey, what have they got to lose, if they’re going to get steamrollered anyway, they may as well put up a good fight and get the public involved.

  7. Leila Keith says:

    I just hope all Albertans(including Rural Albertans) remember this at voting time in 2023.Cant come soon enough to get Rid of Dictator Kenney and his cronies….

    • Dwayne says:

      Leila Keith: The question is will they? The Alberta PCs kept on making one very costly mistake after another, since Peter Lougheed was not the premier. The Alberta PCs kept on getting voted back into power.

    • Leila and Dwayne, this is a fair point. From what I’ve seen the doctors won’t forget and if they won’t forget, we won’t forget.
      Dr Paul Parks wrote an op ed in which he said Kenney’s decision to end good-faith billing (giving treatment to people without a healthcare number, eg homeless, etc). He said his concern wasn’t about how much pay he’d get for treating a homeless person without a number but “the utter disrespect the government is showing me and my colleagues on the front line…the growing distaste of having to work for a government that informs me that my training, my experience and expertise and my time, are worth absolutely nothing to them.”
      In my experience when someone has broken your trust, no amount of money will bring it back.

    • Mike in Edmonton says:

      How I wish you were right. But history shows Oilberduh is full of people who don’t understand history. In 1997, a guy named Mark Lisac toured Alberta for the Edmonton Journal. He was talking to people about Ralph Klein’s Tories. Lisac heard lots of complaints, but one lady summed up the insanity of rural Alberta perfectly. Asked if she’d vote against Ralph, she said, “They made the mess, I think they should clean it up.” (I think it was in Lisac’s book “Alberta Politics Uncovered”.)

      Our only hope is that times have changed so much, people will turn away from the Dinosaur Club.

      • Mike in Edmonton: Wow, your story illustrates how difficult it is to convince Albertans that those who made the mess are incapable of cleaning it up, they’ll only make it worse. I’m hopeful the NDP will be able to convince Albertans it didn’t have to be this way. The government didn’t have to chop education and healthcare, screw up doctors’ compensation, move pensions into AIMCo which just lost $4 billion, continue to invest taxpayers money in failing oil & gas and pipeline companies, or say they might put our CPP contributions into AIMCo.
        As you said, times have changed. This is the Dinosaur Club on steroids!

  8. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. Decades ago, the British prog rock band Genesis, had penned a hit song, Land of Confusion. (The same group that wrote the song Illegal Alien.) Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford were certainly ahead of their time, with what they wrote. With the UCP in power, it certainly is a land of confusion in Alberta. Tyler Shandro’s policies and backtracking on health care related matters in Alberta are more mixed up than items placed in a blender. He is only compounding problems, as is the entire UCP gang. It’s unlikely that Jason Kenney will make Tyler Shandro resign. Tyler Shandro will likely be put in another cabinet position. Regardless, Tyler Shandro has to go. The entire UCP government has got to go. This health care conundrum, hearkens back to Ralph Klein’s mess he made of health care in Alberta, with his mistreatment of health care professionals in Alberta, (one of my older sisters had to go to Texas for part of her nursing career), and improper maintenance of hospitals in Alberta. Furthermore, the UCP’s very costly mistakes keep coming. The UCP lost $4 billion in a pension fund debacle. AIMCo reared its ugly head, once again. Jason Kenney gave no consultation with Albertans, and borrowed around $25 billion. Altogether, the UCP have made about $50 billion worth of mistakes in a single year. Do the UCP supporters show any remorse for supporting Jason Kenney and the UCP?

    • Dwayne you ask a very interesting question at the end of your comment: “Do the UCP supporters show any remorse for supporting Jason Kenney and the UCP?” I’ve seen comments from die hard UCPers saying this was the last straw, however there are many more who continue to adore Kenney and view him as the one to save them from…what? He fans their sense of victimhood and gives them people to blame for the predicament they put themselves in. He hasn’t come up with any new ideas to lead them through the transition to a new energy future (and yes, it will take time, but let’s start now so we don’t turn into Detroit). They believe the baloney they’ve been told, that they’re special, they’re people of destiny (?!) and the rest of Canada owes them a living.
      Frankly, they’re hopeless.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: The Wexit crowd seems to be quieter now, but there are still people in Alberta who are supporting that nonsense. What are the Wexit supporters, and Albertans going to say when oil prices go even lower? With all the very costly blunders Jason Kenney and the UCP have made, more cuts are likely to come. The UCP will deem them necessary. The UCP were making foolish and costly mistakes, before this pandemic came upon us.

  9. CallmeHal2000 says:

    And now, to reinforce the confusion and lack of trust, the UCP has redesignated rural communities as urban. Does anyone really believe that Banff, in the middle of a national park, is an urban centre?

    • CallmeHal: yes, wasn’t this an interesting turn of events. First Shandro infuriates the doctors by ripping up the Master Agreement and cutting their fees, then he gives the rural doctors a reprieve, then his department issues a bulletin changing the definition of “rural” so 141 communities are no longer considered “rural”, then he says it was an “oversight” and will be fixed today.
      Either he got caught trying to pull a fast one, or he’s incompetent.
      Given all the examples of bad judgement and mistakes he’s made so far I predict he’ll be shuffled out of his portfolio once Covid-19 dies down.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Shandro IS doing his ‘job’: ie sow chaos in AHS in order to introduce more private health ‘care’ as the ‘only, inevitable solution’. It’s the neoliberal M.O.

        It’s just that’s not the job he was mandated to do; like he cares.
        In my opinion, and judging completely from his actions, he views his position as more of a “honey-do” occupation that serves his ‘Vital Partner’.
        I mean, if he will abuse his power to threaten a constituent on her behalf, it’s not that much of a stretch, is it?

      • Goinfawr, Shandro has certainly created chaos in Alberta healthcare. Even doctors who voted UCP are mad at him (although you have to wonder why they thought a UCP government would be better for doctors than an NDP government that supports public healthcare). Have you seen the youtube clip which adapted Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer to a Shandro montage? It’s very clever and there’s an interlude in the middle of Jason Kenney dancing in the street with John Tory. Wow, what an eyeful!

      • Carlos says:

        The doctors that voted UCP in the last election are the great supporters of private health care and the possibility of making big bucks.

  10. Doug Hart says:

    Do you remember how the Wildrose stirred the anger of Albertans when the NDP introduced legislation to protect farm and safety workers – there were demonstrations in the streets. It was out of proportion to anything that might have been wrong with the Bill. The UCP have ripped up Doctors’ contracts, attacked all public services, conscripted $40 Billion in public service contributions to invest in a struggling industry, downloaded tax burdens for policing to Municipalities, cut MSI funding, reversed all the good done by the NDP (like a climate leadership plan, and job creation in green initiatives, and what have we heard from Alberta voters?? CRICKETS. Wat is it about Albertans that we do not recognized the good done by the NDP, and the havoc wreaked by the UCP Government. Jason Kenney’s militia have been a pox on the Province, and we remain silent.

    • Withheld says:

      Crickets from rural Alberta? It is because most farmers and ranchers understand this is not a democracy with the rule of law. In our experience it is an authoritarian single-party state where we do not enjoy the rule of law. To quote Justice Fraser, “The rule of law is not the rule by laws where citizens are bound to comply with the laws but government is not.” After the Notley years, it is painfully evident that the Ab Gov only exists to give impunity to the oil and gas sector. You may note the changes in Kenney’s Bill 12 which make it very clear that for farmers and ranchers there is no security of person or property and we are to be ruled by diktat.

      The vast majority of rural Albertans were employed in the oil and gas service sector and they want their jobs back and have been convinced government is the only thing standing in the way of a return to their prosperity.

      • Withheld. this is an excellent observation. I recall talking to the former mayor of Hinton (a few terms back) who said his town was cut off from some conservative programs because he had the temerity to criticize a conservative cabinet member. When I ran for the provincial liberals in the 2014 by-election in Calgary some people refused to rent me office space because while they liked me they didn’t want to tick off the PCs.
        Just last week I read an article in the Globe and Mail where a doctor discussed his concerns about Kenney giving PPE to Que, Ont and BC. The doctor was granted anonymity because he feared reprisal from the government.
        This is not a healthy democracy.
        Your last point is bang on. When I studied anthropology we learned about cargo cults. I think we’re living in one.

    • Doug, this is a very important question. One wonders whether tribal loyalty, which in Alberta is extreme after the 44 year conservative reign, has knee-capped Albertans to the point where they’d rather stick with the “conservative” government they know that the “devil” they don’t know.
      The whole thing is ludicrous because the UCP aren’t conservative in the Peter Lougheed sense of the word, they’re reckless right-wing ideologues who subsidize corporations while at the same time espousing a belief in the free market. Also the so-called devil that was the NDP was a pretty centrist party more like Lougheed’s conservatives than Kenney’s UCP ever could be.
      Like I said, labels mean everything here.
      PS thanks for the list of all the things Kenney’s government has done that should be a huge concern to his supporters but isn’t.

  11. Jo-Ann Mason says:

    Spot on Susan!

  12. Joe Boivin says:

    Kinda tone deaf to attack medical workers when the public is hailing them as heroes. I expect the admiration will extend beyond the end of the crisis. Kenney is gonna lose this one!

    AHS only gives casual workers 89 day contracts so they don’t have to provide benefits. Would not likely incentivize anyone want to do the work in an environment with an enhanced risk of falling ill or dying and no chance for sick pay.

  13. Elaine Fleming says:

    There are obvious plans, and stated intentions by this government to bring in more for-profit players to deliver our health (and seniors) care. What better way to start discombobulating the public system of care than having a showdown with the doctors- and what better strategy to deal with the very powerful AMA than to ignore them? Bringing in Telus-Babylon virtual medical care during a pandemic- a stroke of genius or a Trojan horse? Just a few teensy issues around privacy of patients’ health information, not to mention quality of medical care, but who cares? As long as someone makes a crap-load of money. Demolition of the public Super-Lab that was just starting to be built under the Notley government was practically the first thing Kenney did after he got elected. We are still waiting with bated breath to see who he will be contracting with to take over all public lab services. But he can’t talk about that simultaneously while praising our Provincial Lab Services for their weeks of pre-pandemic preparation and having the highest Covid-19 testing rates in North America. That shoe will drop when the pandemic abates.

    The temporary correctional change that Minister Shandro announced Friday regarding doctors’ pay in rural regions is just a nod to the UCP MLA’s who were catching heat from their constituents about losing their doctors, and consequently their hospitals too. So many people in these communities, including mayors and other prominent community members have worked diligently for years- ever since the Klein years- to build up a local system of health care which hinged on recruitment of doctors. The hospitals represent more than a facility where a couple of babies are born, or for providing Urgent Care for a heart attack or a farm accident- they are sources of identity in these small areas, not to mention a source of employment for the locals and sometimes training centres for medical students. The mayors and prominent citizens in these rural areas were also the ones supporting the UCP election candidates and urging their people to vote for them- they can tell them not to, too. And that’s what made Shandro blink.

    • Elaine, very well said, thanks. Your comment about the mayors and prominent citizens in the rural areas urging their people to vote UCP was something I hadn’t thought about. I haven’t lived in a small town for years, but you’re correct that the civic leaders, mayors, doctors, lawyers, bankers in these small towns hold a lot of sway over public opinion.
      Shandro went to great lengths in his press conference to give the rural MLAs credit for the $81 million rural package. He stressed it was the rural MLAs (not the AMA) that came up with the “concrete” suggestions he put into the rural plan. I don’t know why rural voters would favour rural MLAs’ suggestions over the AMA’s suggestions on enhancing rural medicine, but when your objective is to attack the AMA I guess you go with what you’ve got.
      As I said in the blog, the frank language used by Dr. Ed Aasman, the president of the Rural Medicine section and the statement made by the rural physicians which they signed “Sincerely (unimpressed)” indicates their displeasure with the UCP. They won’t forget this breach of trust anytime soon. .
      Here are the links https://www.albertadoctors.org/news/ama-response-provincial-announcement-support-rural-health-care and https://www.albertadoctors.org/Media%202020%20PLs/statement-ab-rural-phys-rural-sustainabi.pdf

  14. Mary says:

    This government does not believe in collective bargaining and does not respect worker organizations, whether it’s the not-really-a-union AMA, or the real unions that represent every other health care professional in the public system — or, in fact the Alberta Teachers Association or AUPE, the union that represents the provincial public service. Teachers want their pension back. Teachers do not trust Kenney. Alberta doctors are retiring or moving out of Alberta. Jason Kenney has his own agenda and cares not for Albertans and their needs.

    • Mary, you’ve put your finger on the underlying problem many Albertans have with the UCP. We don’t trust them.
      Kenney is doing all sorts of things he never campaigned on. When his great plans go sideways he down plays them. He said he predicted oil prices going into negative territory months ago, this would be when he put out a budget based on $58/barrel oil.
      He dismissed the AIMCo $4 billion loss by saying “Things are so topsy turvy from day to day … it’s not surprising we would see investment funds of all scales and all places incurring losses right now,”
      This is not good enough. Even hard core UCP supporters must realize Kenney hasn’t a clue what’s going on let alone how to get Alberta safely to the other side.

  15. Erin Hickman says:


    Do you follow Susan on the Soapbox? I just love her!

    Erin Hickman erinhickman1@gmail.com


  16. Why is there not some way to oust this crowd of incompetents from office? Do Albertans have even an ounce of confidence in this crowd? I think not. They have chosen well, though, how do people manage to get together to protest the grotesque and ongoing failings of this “government” in the midst of a pandemic when we are isolated and practicing social distancing?

    I am saving every single link that portrays the truth of what the UPCs have done to this province and I plan to post them every day of the lead-up to the next election, including your articles, Susan. I thank you for keeping us informed and enlightened.

    • Carlos says:

      Carol we all have to do that before this before this nut case destroys our province for good.
      The man is obsessed with himself and cannot see anything else other than his own pathetic fundamentalist ideology. Now refuses to even talk about a new Green Deal. In the meantime the state of Texas is the second power house of wind and solar energy after California. I never thought I would ever witness what is to me the biggest failure in Alberta political history.
      He is scaring journalists but not us. Spread your lies with your War Room and we will deal with it.

      • Carlos, the hypocrisy of Kenney’s position became clear when he met with the billionaires at the Manhattan Institute and said he’s a huge fan of Oren Cass, who’s leading the charge on the “new” conservatism. Cass says its okay for government to intervene in the economy when the marketplace bears down too heavily on a particular group or sector. Sadly for us, that “group or sector” is whoever the government characterizes as “job-creators” whether they create jobs or not.
        This is well explained in the article you linked to in your previous comment. Here’s the link again for those who missed it. https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/04/24/The-Emperor-Kenneys-New-Clothes/

    • Thanks Carol. I really like your idea. We’re all at home, most of us have time on our hands, why not use it to educate Albertans about what’s happening and why it doesn’t have to be that way so they will make a wiser decision in 2023.

  17. Dave says:

    The PC’s stayed in power for so long, not because they didn’t do stupid things, they did plenty, but because they often retreated fairly well when necessary. Perhaps they could have written a book called The Art of the Climb Down. They also knew certain things should not be messed with too much, one being rural medicine.

    The PC’s could be ideologues, but often not rigid ones. The more right wing Conservatives who now dominate the UCP often looked at the PC’s with contempt for this and as being spineless. We’ll see how long the UCP political dynasty lasts, or as I strongly suspect there will not even be one.

    The UCP attempts to strong arm many people in a short period of time have alienated even potential supporters. It does not look like they will have any sort of economic recovery to help ease all the bad feelings from these political missteps. They are walking into the political grave yard right now, whether they fully realize it yet or not. Those that sufer from hubris are usually not very quick to forsee their own downfall.

    • Dave, that is an excellent point. I follow Thomas Lukaszuk, former deputy premier under Alison Redford, on Twitter. Lukaszuk can’t stand Kenney and is quick to point out instances where the PCs had the good sense to reverse a position before it blew up in their faces. Kenney (who holds the pen let’s remember) will never back down on the “wisdom” of these policies that were supposed to bring doctors’ compensation in line but will likely result in higher compensation for rural doctors, no change in compensation for urban doctors and a shortage of doctors across the board because they’re so angry they’re leaving anyway.

  18. Ken says:

    If you look at the ministers under the Klein government the cut cut cut mentality is very similar today with the UCP government. Cuts without looking at future consequences to the public is foolish. The cuts to universities and colleges are a prime illustration of how an ideologically driven government can damage public institutions while at the same time handing out more money to faith based colleges.

    • Ken, your comment about the cuts to university and colleges is bang on. Some academics have suggested the reason for these cuts is the UCP, like many ideologically driven parties, don’t like academics because they teach us to think which lets us spot the flaws in their ideologically based policies.
      For example, the UCP is working hard to convince Albertans they’re being victimized and taken for granted by the rest of Canada. The UCP supports this argument by saying oil and gas is the largest subsector in Canada. Albertans think this means that oil and gas is the largest economic driver in Canada and that Canada should be beholden to us. This is wrong. The energy SUBsector is the largest of the three SUBsectors in the natural resources SECTOR (mining and forestry are the other two SUBsectors), but the contribution of the oil, natural gas, mining and quarrying SECTOR to Canada’s GDP ranks behind the real estate SECTOR and the manufacturing SECTOR.
      It’s wrong for the UCP to play with these definitions to serve their ideological agenda.
      Here’s the link to the contribution by sector info:
      It’s https://www.statista.com/statistics/594293/gross-domestic-product-of-canada-by-industry-monthly/

  19. Carlos says:

    I am surprised that JK had been allowing Deena Hinshaw to have her own daily COVID update. Did not last long of course. Now she is the third act already and we get propaganda galore.
    His evangelical side won against science and there we go. We will see what happens.
    Good luck JK

    • Interesting point Carlos, I’d forgotten about JK’s evangelical side. I wonder if he’s right up there with all those nutbars in the US who said Jesus died for them to protect them from covid so they’ll damn well go to church if they feel like it. I hate to use kids’ slang, but “duh”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s