At last count there have been 1,550 Covid-19 infections and three deaths connected with the Cargill, JBS and Harmony Beef meatpacking plants in Alberta.
This is frightening in a province that prides itself on having the highest testing levels in the country and was so comfortable with its Covid-19 preparedness plan that it donated PPE to BC, Ont and Quebec last month.
The only way to understand why Alberta’s meatpacking plants turned into a national Covid-19 hotspot and to prevent a similar tragedy from reoccurring is to proceed with Rachel Notley’s call for a public inquiry.
Sadly, Jason Kenney rejected Notley’s proposal. He cited three reasons; all of which are ludicrous.
First Kenney reverted to his default position, rebuffing Notley’s call for a public inquiry by accusing her of “politicizing” the issue.
Covid-19 is a virus. A virus has no political affiliation. The coronavirus infected and killed thousands of Canadians, and brought our economy to a standstill without regard for who is sitting in the premier’s office (or in the prime minister’s office for that matter).
One would think both parties, the NDP and the UCP, would be equally concerned about spiking infection rates at the Cargill, JSB and Harmony Beef plants and the implications of these spikes on the surrounding communities of High River, Brooks, and Balzac.
Unfortunately, that’s not how Kenney sees it.
Kenney said a public inquiry isn’t necessary because his government followed the best expert advice it received from Alberta Health, public health officers, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Deena Hinshaw, OH&S, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Alberta Agriculture, and “all of our expert officials”.
Bearing in mind that this is the man who cherry picks experts’ advice—he likes Janice MacKinnon on balancing the budget, he doesn’t like Mark Carney on curbing investment in fossil fuels—he’s missing the point.
The issue is not whether the government received the best expert advice but whether it followed this advice in the most effective way.
A secondary question is: what advice, if any, did the government receive from executives running the Cargill, JBS, and Harmony Beef plants and how much weight it gave their advice compared to the weight it gave the advice it received from health experts.
We’ll never know because Kenney refuses to call a public inquiry.
Kenney’s third reason for rejecting a public inquiry is the government will bring forward a motion to allow an “extended debate” on Alberta’s Covid-19 response. If Kenney is suggesting an extended debate in the Legislature is an adequate substitute for an independent public inquiry, he’s mistaken.
A public inquiry is heard by an impartial commissioner, often a retired judge, who has the power to subpoena witnesses, compel them to give evidence under oath and provide documentation to support their testimony. Witnesses may bring lawyers and may be subject to cross examination. The process of collecting and analysing evidence takes months. At the end of the inquiry the commissioner writes a report describing his findings and setting out his recommendations so the government will be in a better position to protect the public the next time a pandemic rolls around.
Compare the public inquiry process to the legislative debate process.
The time for debate is compressed into days (not months). Politicians (not witnesses) make statements (which are not under oath and not subject to cross-examination) based on what they believe happened. The members’ statements are recorded in Hansard (there is no written report setting out recommendations based on the evidence). The press picks up the debate (assuming there aren’t more pressing things going on, like relaunching the economy or a precipitous drop in the price of oil). Columnists write about it for a few days and everybody moves on.
Kenney is not opposed to public inquiries on principle. He happily forked over $2.5 million for a public inquiry into foreign funded anti-Alberta energy campaigns, a “problem” significantly less pressing than a global pandemic that wreaked havoc at three Alberta meatpacking plants infecting hundreds of people, killing three, while also devastating Alberta’s beef industry and disrupting 85% of Canada’s beef supply.
So what’s Kenney’s problem?
Either he’s right and his government did everything it could to ensure the safety of Albertans working at the meatpacking plants and it still wasn’t enough; or he’s wrong and his government failed to do everything it could to keep Albertans safe. In either case a public inquiry would expose these shortcomings and provide recommendations that would make it safer for all employees working in close proximity in the future.
Given Kenney’s refusal to call a public inquiry let me save you the bother of waiting for the extended debate to appear in Hansard. Here’s a summary of how it will go:
NDP: the government should have acted sooner and done more.
UCP: the government did everything right, and if we didn’t, blame the experts
NDP: public officials give advice; cabinet makes decisions
UCP: there you go again, going partisan on us
We’re fighting for our lives, our health and our economy in the face of a global pandemic. We deserve a premier who will act in the public interest by calling a public inquiry into the failures at Cargill, JSB and Harmony Beef, instead of defaulting to political rhetoric.
I’d speculate the experts advice was not followed closely.
Sheldon, I suspect you’re right. As the premier said in the past, he holds the pen, nothing happens without his blessing and the debacle at Cargill rests squarely on his shoulders.
Why no inquiry will be held: Alberta’s Education Minister, Adriana LaGrange, is the aunt of Cargill’s general manager, who is Dale LaGrange. For further reading on this here is a link to the research article. https://kimsiever.ca/2020/05/09/the-family-connection-between-cargill-and-the-ucp/#comment-1081
Fascinating Nasan, thanks.
I think that there is one thing missing from your account of how the debate would go in the legislature and that is that UCP members would undoubtedly accuse the NDP of being doctrinaire socialists following “Leinin’s guidebook to socialism”. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the substance of the debate but that wouldn’t matter. For an example of how this goes, see the “debate” this last week in the committee of the whole on Bill 11, the Utility Payment Deferral Program Act (aka the Bill to protect utilities and retailers from market risk), Associate Minister Nally managed no less than five references to Lenin in the course of defending his “perfect” bill and rejecting every single proposed amendment. Here’s the link, and then control F “Lenin”: https://docs.assembly.ab.ca/LADDAR_files/docs/hansards/han/legislature_30/session_2/20200508_1000_01_han.pdf#page=16
Nigel Banks: I recall the issue of Jason Kenney using the word Neo-Stalinist to describe things that Peter Lougheed and Don Getty were doing, for diversification, so another UCP referencing Lenin, is no surprise to me, but I still find it reprehensible. I have roots, as well as relatives who came from the countries that were affected by brutal dictators in Eastern Europe. Two of my grandparents were from the near the Polish/Ukrainian border, and one grandparent was from Poland, and two great grandparents were from Czechoslovakia. I also have other relatives, like an uncle, who came from the Polish/Ukrainian border, and was captured by the Nazis, and forced into their army. Anyone who has parents, or grandparents from places like Hungary, Poland, the Ukraine, Romania, Russia, etc., will recall hearing personal accounts of how bad things were.
Precisely Dwayne, what Ms.Notley’s admin. provided (and is yet providing, eg. Dr. Hinshaw) can hardly be tarred as ‘Stalinism’ without the sad excuse for a person implying the analogy revealing themselves as a complete, and utter Mork.
Dwayne: you make an excellent point, mischaracterizing the NDP’s concerns as Leninist or Stalinist degrades our understanding of history.
I’m reminded of Trump’s speech commemorating VE Day. He praised the efforts of Britain and the US, apparently oblivious to the fact that other countries, including Canada, played a significant role in the war effort. Sadly this ignorance of history is typical. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with an American co-worker who refused to believe WW2 started in 1939. It didn’t start until the US got involved in 1941, said this college grad with a masters degree. (!!!)
GoinFawr: “Mork” is perfect!
You’re right Nigel. I went to the link; in addition to berating the NDP’s amendments as something straight out of Lenin’s guide to socialism, Mr Nally, the Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity, demonstrates his naivety when he says the industry is doing us a “favour”. I’ve worked as a lawyer in the private sector for decades. Corporations never do anyone a “favour” unless there’s something in it for them, to act otherwise would put them in breach of their duty to act in the best interests of the corporation.
PS I look forward to reading the ABlawg blog on this topic!
Thinks Kenney (perhaps?): When winning is the only recognized benefit from learning, and if doing nothing allows me at least the illusion (and message) of winning – what with actual learning ALWAYS entailing some measure of risk with its inherent comparisons of better from worse, then in doing nothing I have already (and obviously) learned whatever lesson this might possibly teach me … because I won.
Nothing ventured … nothing lost.
Terry: well put. Also as someone succinctly put it on Twitter. “Ask me no questions…”. She didn’t finish the sentence but we all know the second half is “and I’ll tell you no lies.”
Kenney does nothing unless it benefits him or his donors personally. He has nothing to gain and a lot to lose from an impartial public inquiry. In fact he’s probably terrified by the prospect of an inquiry that would reveal his government to be grossly negligent when it comes to worker safety. He knows that Dreeshen and Copping told these workers that everything was fine knowing that they were gambling with workers’ lives and that a public inquiry might lead to more serious criminal investigation. This fiasco was exactly why the Westray Bill C-45 was enacted.
Well said Public Servant. The latest development in the Cargill case is the revelation that under the OHS Act, Cargill was required to investigate the plant in conjunction with the joint work-site health and safety committee, but it failed to comply with the mandatory requirement. OH&S gave Cargill an extension to complete its investigation. What I can’t understand is why Cargill isn’t getting hit with stop work orders, or at the very least, fines.
This fiasco cries out for a public hearing, but as you said, Kenney will do nothing because there’s only downside, no upside, for him.
In the inquiry with Cargil there was also supposed to be worker input for the report.That was not done either and no inquiry has been done.The press reported this yesterday but to date no worker has been consulted about the work conditions…sad.
I think it’s time for Albertans…and yes, All Canadians, to think about how OUR meat is processed. Maybe huge plants like Cargill and JBS are not needed. Maybe a co-operative of ranchers have their own arbitoir and processing units. Much smaller than Cargill, but local to all areas of Alberta and Canada…smaller is better. As for a public inquiry, Le Grange the education minister would not have anything to say, as she would be in a conflict of interest…but that wouldn’t stop the UCP who have taken thousands in donations from Cargill and JPS. Another corporation buying a piece of our government…how typically Albertan.
Agree: The entire population depending on a 3 link chain for food supply is dangerous. The amount of money corporations spend on lobbyists, think tanks and any other devious form of mind and population control makes a mockery of “democracy”.
kb24oct – I agree with you but that is because we assume we live in a democracy. Calling a free vote system a democracy is not any different than calling Stalin a socialist. It is an important step to admit what we really are before we can change. For most people we are a democracy except that the majority does whatever they want when in power and if they are right wing they control through media, propaganda, lobbyists and corporation control when not in power. Stalin was a dictator and a murderer and we are a right wing corporate controlled province. We are literally a farm of the US corporate interests whether we care to admit it or not. The problem is that our premiers, all follow this schema and continue the vicious circle including the NDP that like most social democracies in existence today bought in the neo-liberal pyramid schema, probably one of the most successful political frauds after Nazi Germany.
Thank you for your comment
Thanks for this Carlos. I’d like to build on your comment about Alberta being the “farm of US corporate interests”. In my view Alberta is the “farm” of many corporate interests, American, Canadian, and international. Once Alberta fails to meet the targets set by these corporate interests, they pull up stakes and politicians like Kenney chase after them offering more and more in tax breaks and deregulation in the pathetic hope they’ll stay. Some stay a little longer, others leave, and most Albertans are none the wealthier for it.
Paul and Kb24oct: you both make an extremely important point about the influence of corporations on our democracy. I’ve just started reading Oil’s Deep State by Kevin Taft. It’s incredible just how entangled and entrenched the relationship between our government and the corporations has become. Ironically I think the only thing that will break this relationship is the crash of oil prices which will force Alberta to diversify the economy (and I’m not talking about diversification into other fossil fuel based products, but true diversification). We’ve got a long and rocky road ahead of us.
I wish it were not so but you are correct Paul.There used to be smaller meat processing plants not big US owned plants.I think a return to cooperatives might eliminate this problem of big and bungling of the rules.
Leila, interesting suggestion and one that more people might be open to once we come out of this pandemic. If nothing else, we’ve certainly learned the hard way the consequences of relying on monopolies and sole source supply chains.
Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It is apparent that this is a nightmare for the workers at Cargill, (including their meat processing plant in Quebec), and JBS. It appears that health and safety protocols for employees was neglected, big time. Profits of the CEO seemed to matter more. With Cargill, it is an American owned meat processing plant. Whose standards do they follow? Don’t forget Cargill was one of two American owned meat processing plants that were the prime beneficiaries of the Alberta PCs few hundred million dollars in mad cow aid funding, and not the farmers and ranchers who needed it. Someone must be held accountable, for this current debacle, but the question is will they? Why should someone be working in unsafe conditions, where their health is comprised? Also, I have heard people on other sites saying things like it’s Justin Trudeau’s fault for letting these workers, (I’ve used the word workers, and not the bad word one person used) into Canada. There are other people getting blamed, such as the union head of Cargill’s Alberta facility, Thomas Hesse. That is untrue. He wanted a stop work order, and it was for good reasons. It was denied. The CEO of Cargill, and the UCP have to be held accountable for this. I hope you have a Happy Mother’s Day.
Dwayne, thanks for your excellent comments. I was surprised (but quickly realized I shouldn’t be surprised) when you said some people are blaming Trudeau for letting these workers into Canada. Whoever said that clearly doesn’t understand anything. Here are just a few points: (1) Canadians refuse to do the work these workers do, (2) Hiep Bui, the woman who was the first to die at the Cargill plant, had worked there for 23 years, so no Trudeau did not “let” her (and many of her co-workers) into Canada and (3) Jason Kenney was a big proponent of the temporary foreign workers program when he was the federal employment minister because it gave businesses a source of cheap, cheap labour.
I agree with you that the CEO of Cargill and the UCP have to be held accountable for this.
PS thank you for your kind Mother’s Day wish. I had a lovely day with my family. I hope the moms in your family enjoyed it as well.
Yes indeed.I agree with Duane.
“The coronavirus infected thousands of Canadians, it’s killed hundreds”
You’re out by factors of more than ten! The wrong way. Why?
69,000 positives and 4,900 deaths is the actual tally.
Cargill High River exports its meat to the USA. It’s a Yankee outfit and privately owned with the Canadian meat packing branch plants run by low level execs. Yes, there’s a plant in Quebec too. JBS does the same. Parasites on Alberta and Canadian agriculture. Cargill started out by dominating the wheat business in the US, then got the Wheat Board erased by harper. Dave Climenhaga of Alberta Politics seems to be much more with it on this stuff and less parochial. There’s no shortage of meat for Canada unless one believes the mindless dopes of say Global TV news who think that Cargill being closed affects Canadian supply, because everyone just “assumes” it’s our beef. Nope, it’s destined for American consumption. As with Covid-19 numbers, there is this thing called the search engine. Use it.
Alberta is just a farm for the USA, oil and actual agriculture. Serfs for the Empire. Bribed with no PST, its citizens oblivious. Control of the world food supply is part of the US plan. They want foreign countries to supply quantities of monoculture food for US companies. with lberta it’s grain and beef. Indonesia has been burned down for palm oil coconut tree plantations. India is the latest place being changed over to mass GMO monoculture for “freedom”. Cotton by Monsanto. Presently it can feed itself but soon will have to import what it no longer grows. Mexican agriculture was decimated by NAFTA in the ’90s. Vast surplus US corn was dumped there at giveaway prices, and local farms/farmers were wiped out in a couple of years. The US has plenty of practice with this method. The way of Empire.
Alberta seems to pride itself on navel-gazing and paying little attention to anywhere else. Applies to both sides of the political spectrum. Time to come out of the cave and blink in the sunshine of a bigger social entity — your country. An enquiry into the Alberta meat packing industry concerning Covid-19 is like a meeting of a local town council with Mrs Smith saying one thing and Mr Jones the other. Mundanely parochial. It matters diddly squat unless bigger national politics is involved. We’d still have to listen to intellectuals like prairie gopher Scheer argue the toss, but a much broader perspective than some province or other which thinks it’s special is warranted.
Cargill is a player on the world stage and its name is attached to a lot of big international issues, including palm oil, soy, cocoa, deforestation of the Amazon, human rights abuses (including court proceedings involving child slave labor), pollution and on and on.
CallmeHall: thanks for this link. Very helpful.
Bill, with respect to the Covid-19 numbers, when I started writing this blog I was focused on Alberta, but switched to Canada in that sentence and failed to correct the numbers (I’ve made the revision).
I appreciate the additional information you’ve provided re: the ultimate market for Cargill beef, etc. but I would ask you to give some thought to those of us who have to live here in Alberta and can’t just pack up and move elsewhere. I’m thinking of your comment that a public inquiry into the Alberta meat packing industry is “mundanely parochial”. It may seem parochial to you, but its deadly serious to Albertans who’ve fallen ill or died of Covid-19 because the government mishandled the outbreak of Covid-19 at these plants. We continue to call out the UCP because that’s the government we’re stuck with and the damage they’re doing to our province is unfathomable to the rest of Canada.
WoulD someone please be good enough to tell me why politicians leap at the opportunity to castigate and criticize every action taken by other politicians during these desperate times when unity and working together would make things easier for Alberta and Canadian citizens?
I don’t care if it’s Notley or Kenney…they both seem to jump at the opportunity to grab the limelight at the expense of the other.
Ed, I agree it would make things so much easier if all our politicians worked together in difficult times, but I wouldn’t characterize Notley’s request for a public inquiry as the NDP trying to grab the limelight at Kenney’s expense. I think it’s a fair question and Kenney should embrace the opportunity to learn something about how best to protect employees working at close quarters during a pandemic.
Other conservative governments have called public inquiries even when their findings might make the government look bad. In 2013 Alison Redford convened an public inquiry into queue jumping (did people who belonged to private medical clinics get preferential treatment for colonscopies, etc). It turned out yes they did. So Redford fixed the problem.
That’s what Kenney should do.
There is a one more reason that is central to his position, Kenney neglects to mention at all – it would be quite embarassing.
A public inquiry would likely bring up all those uncomfortable questions Kenny would like to avoid. I suspect he would prefer we just forget all about it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found a way to distract our attention yet and may not be able to at all.
We probably should have also had a public inquiry into all the UCP leadership electoral and financial shenanigans too, but that never happened and probably never will as long as the UCP is in power. Count on our Premier to only have public inquiries into things he thinks will not damage him politically.
The only public inquiries we will see under this Premier will not be very useful and he will try to sweep everything else under the carpet. That is how he operates.
Good point Dave. I fully agree with your comment that we need a public inquiry into the UCP leadership race and financial shenanigans and that it won’t happen.
The premier gets bolder every day. Today the government issued a press release saying a number of peaceful protests (to end the ‘lockdown’) took place outside the Legislature. The protestors maintained physical distancing “largely without incident” but yesterday someone was arrested. The release says “Elected leaders do not direct operational decisions of law enforcement officials. We are inquiring why an arrest occurred yesterday, but not at previous protests. If we are not satisfied with the explanation, the government will modify public health orders to clarify that it is acceptable for individuals who are respecting physical distancing guidelines to be present in outdoor public venues, including for the purpose of protesting.”
This statement was made attributed to Jason Kenney, not the Justice Minister. Kenney is speaking directly to his base in true Trump fashion.
“Ass meet door” — let’s hope that’s the voter mantra when Jason Kenney and the UCP get kicked to the curb in 2023 for its raft of mangled political, environmental, economic and pandemic miscues.
No one should be surprised by Mr. Kenney’s aversion to oversight and transparency. The guy has nothing but contempt and disdain for true democracy, much like his mentor Stephen Harper. Those on the left often characterized Jason Kenney as a sleazy political grifter, a snake oil opportunist with his sights set on back-to-the-future conservative policies aimed at destroying Alberta — political piece by political piece. It now appears the chickens have come home to roost. Sad.
JE Molnar: I agree with everything you say. If and when Kenney decides to make his move back to federal politics he’ll have overcome his legacy of mayhem and destruction here in Alberta. Albertans may be willing to support Kenney because he’s their conservative and Alberta is true blue through and through, the rest of Canada isn’t that stupid.
In today’s news, reassignment as an “instant” federal meat inspector with a two-day crash course and possible suspension or dismissal if the assignment is refused.
CallmeHal, this is mystifying. It was somewhere around the middle of March that Canada got serious about fighting Covid-19. Didn’t the Canadian Food Inspection Agency foresee there might be a problem at meat packing plants where employees work in close proximity and gear up so they’d have enough inspectors on hand when they needed them?
I see Kennys contempt for democracy in all these issues.I just hope voters do and reject his party in the next election.And as for someone saying they should not be critical of Kenney in this covid era ,well I think that is obfuscating the fact that leaving Cargill open while we are in a pandemic is criminal and unsafe.I think like the nursing homes they should bring in the Army and make this yankee yahoo of a company comply.And now reexamine that a monopoly AMERICAN company is controlling our meat supply.This is serious.People’s lives are at stake!
Leila, “contempt for democracy” — you phrased it perfectly. I was going through Hansard the other day and saw Question Period concerning the indefinite suspension of environmental monitoring for air, water, and wildlife at 16 different oil sands projects. Marlon Schmidt (NDP) wanted an explanation. Jason Nixon (UCP) kept making cracks about Schmidt’s hair. The indefinite suspension of critical environmental monitoring that’s a condition of oil sands projects being granted a license to proceed is extremely serious. Nixon (our supposed environmental minister) eats up his time in Question Period with juvenile cracks.
What is wrong with these people???
This government UCP Jason Kenny is reluctant to do anything that he feels may jeapordize his position of power. He is a dictator that wants total control of Alberta and Albertans. He is looking like a fool fot all the failures since taking office.
UCP should be unable to participate in any further decision making from now until answer are public about all these meat processing plants.
Blair, getting the UCP to step back until we get answers to our questions about the meat processing plants would be a good solution. A friend pointed out that not only do we want answers from the government about why it decided it was OK to leave Cargill open after the first employee died and hundreds more fell sick, but we should also be demanding answers from Cargill to understand whether it acted in the best interests of its employees or itself. All of this would come out in a public inquiry. Very little of it will come out in the “extended debate” Kenney promised, which incidentally will cover the government’s response to ALL matters arising from Covid-19 not just the meat packing plants, so the amount of time devoted to this issue will be minimal.
There appears to be clear evidence suggesting the company failed to follow its obligations under the Occupational Health & Safety Code, and in fact continues to do so: for instance, it failed to engage the employees or their representatives in reinspecting the plant prior to reopening. Will they ever be prosecuted under the Code? I seriously doubt it.
The amendments to the OH&S Code strengthening worker rights in the workplace were introduced & passed under the NDP government, and you can bet your sweet bippy the UCP government has no intention of either honouring or enforcing them. The only reason they’re still in place, is that they didn’t get around to ditching them during last year’s “summer of repeal”. You can bet they’ll be gutting that legislation too, as soon as they can get to it.
Jerrymacgp: you raise an extremely important point. The Occupational Health and Safety Act confers very broad powers on an OH&S officer to inspect a work site. The officer has broad powers to issue compliance orders and stop work orders if he finds a violation. Failure to comply with such orders may result in administrative fines which can be significant depending on how they’re calculated. The maximum fine for an incident is $10,000, if the fine was calculated at the max for every employee who came down with covid-19 (something in the range of 950 people), perhaps Cargill and other employers deemed to be “essential” would take this pandemic more seriously.
All we’ve seen so far with Cargill is an extension of the time to complete the joint work-site inspection because it wasn’t conducted properly in the first place.
My biggest regret in years is having voted for that idiot. I will not make that mistake a second time. Since he took office he has not done anything good for Albertan’s. Albertan’s are his employers, and if an employer is not happy with your work you get fired. Why in God’s good name can we not do the same with Kenney. Get him out before he causes any more damage to Alberta. We do need a public inquiry even if he will not have one.
blueangel: thank you for your comment. It’s heartening to see some Albertans such as yourself are judging Kenney by his actions not his words. Hopefully more Albertans will follow your lead in 2023!
What is he afraid of ? Rachel thank god your keeping him honest. Unfortunately he will deflect because he is way out of his depth. So sad
Margaret, I agree with you that Kenney is way out of his depth. He continues to grind along the same old conservative path: low taxes, small government, privatize, privatize, privatize. But the oil crisis and the covid crisis upended everything and he hasn’t a clue how to react, let alone adapt.
Here’s the problem, and why Jason Kenney does not want an inquiry into the deadly and extensive outbreaks at the slaughterhouses.
Remembering whose name is behind the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Remembering, too, stories published in the media earlier on in this pandemic, which told stories of TFWs whose work visas had expired, and who stayed on to work in Canada illegally at slaughterhouses when the program ended. Remembering that Jason Kenney pulled the plugged on paying doctors to treat uninsured people who do not have a health card. It all adds up to the perfect storm: people who work in conditions that contribute to the spread of Covid-19, some afraid to seek medical attention because of their illegal status, others unable to get medical attention because they have no health card, cowed by fear of losing their jobs, and without a job ultimately being deported because of their visa requirements. This is more than bad optics for Jason Kenney. This is a career killer.
“This is a career killer.”
Maybe anywhere else, but this is Alberta, so bear in mind that even the most egregious actions in Kenney’s record didn’t resonate at all with voters last election, because all they needed to hear was the sound of him screaming ‘Giver ‘er!’ from a leased pick-up (that didn’t even have a lift kit).
“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?” – S. Clemens
Oh, of course it is not a career killer here in Alberta, for the reasons mentioned in the linked article. Very little is egregious enough here, and there will be no inquiry into anything that has happened regarding meat processing anyways.
It would take a lot more than things like corruption and influence-peddling to upset the fine people of the UCP, as if such things could happen here. Of course such things don’t happen here. We live in a democracy! Democracy means never having to say you’re sorry.
Jason Kenney should be aware that some things are egregious enough for his base. Metaphorical bridges are being burned at such rapid pace than an actual bridge collapsed in northern Alberta this week in sympathy. The day of wreckening is already upon us, but the day of reckoning is yet to come.
CallmeHal: I think Kenney’s attack on the doctors is the one that’s going to get him in the end. People respect doctors. They’ll respect them even more post-Covid. When Kenney went after the doctors, the rural docs said they were leaving and rural UCP voters put pressure on their MLAs to stop Shandro (Kenney’s puppet). Kenney threw rural doctors some relief, but that could vapourize with a stroke of the pen. He also made it clear he’s going ahead with fee cuts for urban doctors after the pandemic is over. When he does this urban doctors will leave or threaten to leave, urban UCP supporters will demand their MLAs stop Kenney, Kenney will ignore his MLAs because he’ll be deep into his austerity plan and nothing will stop him. Meanwhile Alberta public services will be in chaos. It won’t be pretty but it may be what Albertans need to see to understand what Kenney means when he says before we can be a compassionate society we have to be a prosperous one.
GoinFawr: what a great quote! I wonder if that leased pick-up was the one Kenney was referring to when he responded to a question from the NDP about skyrocketing car insurance with the comment his insurance went down $200.
Anon, thanks for this link. I was especially moved by the comments of Marichu Antonio, the head of ActionDignity who called on everyone to stop thinking of the people impacted by covid-19 at Cargill as statistics but as human beings. She pointed out an unconscionable fact: around April 12, there were around 38 covid cases at Cargill, a month later there were over 900, and the plant is still open.
Like you I hope that in the next election Albertans will remember the Cargill debacle as another example (this one deadly) of Kenney’s fine words not lining up with his actions. If he truly meant it when he said “Albertans of all backgrounds, are equally valued, and we must together reject attitudes of exclusion or suspicion. The only way we’re going to get through this is together” he’d urge OH&S to leave no stone unturned in figuring out what went wrong in the first place, but more importantly he’d support a public inquiry where the executives of Cargill could be compelled to testify about what they did (or didn’t do) and why.
Jason Kenney does not call an inquiry for the same reason he fired Gibbons to stop his investigation on his horrible behaviour. He is simply a coward.
In the meantime here is one more link of the ones the UCP somehow never finds or cares to read
Carlos, I don’t even know if Kenney even recognizes that firing the elections commissioner (Gibson) or refusing to call a public inquiry into Cargill is wrong. He’s like Trump that way, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect himself and his decisions, which means that anything that can expose how wrong he is, must be shut down.
That article at the link was fascinating. It lines up with what other investors are saying. For example a hedge fund shareholder is pushing Teck to divest its energy and coal businesses and replace its CEO who got them into the Frontier oil sands mine. You’ll recall Kenney put pressure on Teck to go ahead with Frontier and lambasted Trudeau when Teck pulled its application. Turns out some big wheel Teck investors aren’t happy about these investments either. You know you’re in trouble when your investors start pulling the plug.
There are turbulent times ahead for Alberta.
Hey Jason, get more money from our retirement funds and invest even more, now that the Norway Fund that we never created has excluded us as well. The communists no longer like us, get the war room on alert the pinkos are coming you idiots.
Carlos, thanks for the link. It’s interesting to see how some people reacted to this announcement. They say it’s a ploy by the wealth fund to promote Norwegian oil projects, but the reason given (that the four Canadian oil companies produce excessive greenhouse gas emissions) would apply to all oil companies including Norwegian ones. The real issue is this: when the Norwegian wealth fund dumps $1.15B in stock, other investors take notice. It’s what the investor said in the Tyee link you provided above. The old days are gone, fellas, get with the program or be left behind in the dust.
Kenney insists that China must have its day of reckoning, and China must be held accountable for its actions.
What, does he read here or something? A day of reckoning is coming for you, too, Jason Kenney. Blame shifting is a classic narcissist tactic. Look in the mirror. What did you do about those meat processing outbreaks? You can’t shift made-in-Alberta crises offshore. You are accountable for your own actions, and the decisions you made that allowed the outbreaks to take lives in Alberta. Human lives. Your decisions. Your day of reckoning. It’s coming for you.
You got that very right CallmeHal200
This is already his spinning team starting to clean up Jason Kenney’s filthy hands.
Never stops unless we continue to force FACTS rather than this useless government that keeps deflecting responsibility
Thank you for your comment. I think bombarding them with the truth is what we need to do and more than just here.
We need a Portal of Jason Kenney Garbage
CallmeHal and Carlos: If Kenney is going to follow in Trump’s footsteps and “punish” China, what are we going to do about TMX? Remember Kenney’s argument that TMX was critical for Alberta’s economy because it would bring Alberta bitumen to tide water where it would be loaded on to tankers and shipped to China who would pay us world prices (as an aside: global oil prices don’t do much for you when they’re in the tank). Anyway, how much does Kenney think China will be prepared to pay if he’s trashing it?
Also in this article Kenney says he’s going to make the US a lynch pin in his economic recovery plan. Today’s Globe carried an article by John Ibbitson (whose about as conservative as you can get) saying Canada’s hope of recovery from covid hinges on the American economy recovering first and “this is the worst possible news” because the US is “self-immolating.” If Canada’s in trouble depending on the US, then Alberta is doomed.
Instead of tying ourselves to the economy of a country over which we have absolutely no influence we should focus our efforts on Alberta-based programs for retraining, diversification, and job creation.
I fully agree with your last paragraph
‘Instead of tying ourselves to the economy of a country over which we have absolutely no influence we should focus our efforts on Alberta-based programs for retraining, diversification, and job creation.’
I could not agree more. In fact I think it should be all provinces. We have to become more self sufficient and much more resilience. It is the only way to survive what is coming which could be way worse than we are experiencing. No one knows. I was very pleasantly surprise to see Justin Trudeau asking Canadians to buy more Canadian products. That is a sign that we may have reached the end of more globalization on steroids. We need to get less dependent on exports and more on enriching our internal economy and create more jobs and be more focused on diminishing the awful inequality we have created in the last 30 years. Those who do not like it they can move to the US and become millionaires in waiting.
It is time to change our political system for the benefit of citizens instead of corporations and slowly create a more robust economy using our own resources instead of just giving it away under silly trade agreements that do not give us any advantage.
Susan, I love the way you thoughtfully analyze issues, organize them in a logical sequence, then articulate them in a compelling style that includes delightful injections of clever satire. Great to see your blogs are being posted elsewhere. NYT should post this one!