The Ignominy of Kenney’s Bill 1

 As Albertans flooded into the streets to join the hundreds of thousands of people around the world protesting systemic racism and police brutality, some of us worried about the UCP government’s move to limit our right to engage in peaceful protests by enacting Bill 1, the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act.

The UCP government dismisses such concerns as ridiculous (or words to that effect).

According to Jason Kenney the purpose of Bill 1 is to “strengthen penalties against those who would lawlessly trespass or jeopardize public safety by seeking to block critical public infrastructure, including roadways, railways, and other important infrastructure.”

Perhaps Mr Kenney was having an “earplugs moment” during the debate on Bill 1. Had he been listening he would have understood that Bill 1 goes way beyond this purpose.  

As NDP justice critic Kathleen Ganley pointed out: (1) Bill 1 is unnecessary, we already have laws that prevent illegal trespass on public and private property, namely the Trespass to Premises Act and the Petty Trespass Act, (we also have laws against looting and vandalism in the Criminal Code) and (2) Bill 1 is so broadly drafted that it makes it a crime to be present (let alone protest) on unmarked public property without permission.  

Mr Schweitzer and Mr Kenney

How? By giving the UCP Cabinet the blanket power to prohibit citizens from entering places it designates as “essential infrastructure.”

Essential infrastructure includes an exhaustive list of facilities, utilities, communications towers, mines, highways, roads, etc. The land on which these things are located and any land used in connection with these things are also essential infrastructure.

And if that isn’t enough Bill 1 contains a “basket clause” that scoops up “a building, structure, a device or other thing prescribed by the regulations” as essential infrastructure.

There are no limitations on Cabinet’s power under the basket clause; no criteria under which Cabinet must whether something is essential infrastructure or not. If Cabinet gets it into its head that the park at the end of my street is a piece of essential infrastructure, then it’s a piece of essential infrastructure.   

And if someone enters on essential infrastructure without “lawful right, justification, or excuse” they’re guilty of an offence and liable for a fine of up to $10,000 a day ($25,000 for a second offence) and/or six months in jail.

Let’s take an example.

What if we want to protest in front of the Legislative Building? Do we have to scour the Orders-in-Council to see whether Cabinet passed a regulation designating the Leg to be “essential infrastructure”? If Cabinet did designate the Legislature to be “essential infrastructure” do we have to get permission (from whom?) to make speeches, chant, and wave signs on the front steps? If we don’t have proof of permission to stand in front of the Leg when the police show up, are we and the organizers of the protest going to be slapped with hefty fines and/or jail time? 

Or are we still free to exercise our Charter rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly?

Overreaction?

When the Opposition raised these and other concerns, the UCP told them they were overreacting.  

Overreacting???

Browse through Hansard and check out why the UCP decided this draconian piece of legislation was its number one priority for this session.*    

Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said the UCP government tabled Bill 1 at “a time of turmoil in Canada. We had lawlessness across this country, where critical infrastructure was being obstructed.” He asked, “are we going to be a country of anarchy or a country of the rule of law?” The “turmoil” he was referring to was the blockades in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Other UCP MLAs riffed on the theme of “virtual anarchy across the land” where “a small group of radicals [held] our economy hostage through illegal blockades and protests.”

Turmoil? Lawlessness? Anarchy? An economy held hostage?

These are inflammatory words rooted in propaganda, not a legitimate justification for the state’s decision to curtail its citizens’ Charter rights.

The UCP denies it’s trying to subvert citizens’ right to protest. Mr Barnes made it “absolutely clear, right here, right now” [that] the right to freedom of speech and to protest does not give anyone the ability to commit illegal acts in the name of that right.”

First, we’re talking about peaceful assembly, a fundamental right under the Charter, not a bunch of anarchists throwing Molotov cocktails.   

Second, by letting Cabinet designate anything it sees fit to be essential infrastructure, Cabinet has the power to turn what would otherwise be a legal protest into an illegal protest simply by passing a last minute regulation deeming the meeting place to be “designated infrastructure”. The protesters would not realize they’d entered “designated infrastructure” or that they needed to get permission to be there.    

In the words of constitutional lawyer David Khan, Bill 1 criminalizes Albertan’s Charter rights of freedom of thought, belief, opinion, expression, peaceful assembly, and association.**

And for what?

Silencing protesters under Bill 1 won’t raise the price of oil, it won’t bring back oil demand that’s fallen off due to Covid-19, and it won’t create jobs by attracting investment—investors are looking for companies that effectively manage environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks, not those that are located in a province that suppresses citizens’ Charter rights.

Albertans won’t stop protesting in the streets. Some will be arrested and fined and jailed for violating the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act. But they’ll keep protesting until the Act works its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada and is struck down.

And Mr Kenney’s legacy will include the ignominy of trying to curtail our right to peaceful protest when the world was in the streets protesting for justice, freedom and equity.    

*Alberta Hansard: search “Bill 1” starting at Feb 4, 2020

**For an excellent overview of the Charter issues please see David Khan’s comments at https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1268209693370880000.html

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49 Responses to The Ignominy of Kenney’s Bill 1

  1. Public Servant says:

    Thanks for this Susan.
    What will it take for Albertans to finally realize that Kenney is a clear and present danger to our democratic freedoms? If this sham legislation doesn’t do it, what will?

  2. NeilRD says:

    The Government of Alberta: making our oil less “ethical” one bill at a time.

  3. CallmeHal2000 says:

    The people have spoken, loudly and clearly, in the tens of thousands last week. Putting in earplugs won’t drown them out. Critical infrastructure is our infrastructure. It belongs to the people. We can walk on the streets and on our legislature grounds because they are our streets and our government buildings. They do not belong to politicians.

    • CallmeHall: Agreed! As law profs Jennifer Koshan, Lisa Silver, and Jonnette Watson said in their post entitled “Protests Matter: A Charter Critique of Alberta’s Bill 1,” Bill 1 is an attempt by the government to penalize all group protests and maybe even individual entries onto “essential infrastructure”. They add “Bill 1 does not even pretend to facilitate and channel social protest demonstrations into locations that are acceptable and safe for both protesters and other members of the public.”
      Sounds like Jason Kenney cannot stand the fact that thousands and thousands of doctors, teachers, seniors, AISH recipients, students, environmentalists and others (the list is endless) are out there shining a klieg light on his failed policies. Pathetic.

  4. Bill Malcolm says:

    This Bill 1 has been discussed across the country for several months. My retired RCMP pal asked me about it three weeks ago after reading about it online, for goodness sake. I read Climenhaga’s blog to keep up, and he mentioned the bill back in early April. So this post is a bit behind the times, and hardly a revelation.

    Next thing you know, kenney will come out as Antifa which in his case is believable. Being a short little glib, sly and cunning runt of a would-be dictator for fascism, for how else can this unholy alliance of government and “bizness” be interpreted?, kenney just loves to stick it to what he regards as the left. He is an ill-educated person full of ancient social mores and likely a sociopath to boot. His world view is blinkered by his limited educational background, and nobody’s going to change his warped mind.

    Wetsuweten territory is nominally in BC not Alberta. Does kenney imagine his stolen provincial pension plan money used by AIMCo to invest in Coast Gas Link means he can intrude on BC’s affairs? I wouldn’t put it past him. The unconstitutionality of Bill 1 mirrors the harper method of drafting federal legislation without reference to the SCC’s reference legal service. No, these fascists write a law and make citizens have to take legal action which can take years to get to the SCC and be struck down. harper even started criticizing the Chief Justice if you recall, when some Act or other was struck down. A completely disgusting man as was his little sidekick kenney and Joe Oliver as well, the rest about five percent behind as right wing warts on the landscape.

    Then there’s the matter of the RCMP perhaps being asked to enforce Bill 1 diktats outside Alberta city or town police jusrisdiction (those people are likely to roll over for a spot of kenney tummy tickling). This is why my retired RCMP pal emailed me.

    As a federal force, will the RCMP mindlessly enforce a parochial provincal law their legal beagles no doubt have advised them is illegal and anti-Charter? Therein lies a possible flashpoint that the fat and dumb half of Alberta who woof woof right wing inanities will use to promote Wexit if the RCMP decline to enforce this crap. Good luck Alberta. Your “oil” resource is essentially worthless, nobody wants it, and after sponging off Canada during this pandemic, you’ll exit on the basis of being flat broke. All brought to you by moronic right wing ideologues interested in only themselves and not society.

    Alberta is rapidly becoming a sick nightmare. Thinking people should make plans to leave now and join the real rest of Canada, and leave the rats to eat themselves out of house and home, mouthing circa 1900 social mores. Your present government is beyond redemption, but you progressives hope and hope that somehow magically it’ll all change. It won’t – the right is relentless, always unethically probing the limits of how much power they can wrest from public accountability and get away with. Sickened and diseased minds at work.

    • Bill, I have to disagree, this post is not “a bit behind the times,” it’s a follow up to my Mar 1 post which dovetails with David’s posts on the topic and the ABLawg post written by three UofC law profs which was published this morning.
      Bill 1 just passed third reading, in the course of the debate Albertans were given a sense of what “ills” the UCP government was trying to “remedy” with Bill 1. These ranged from addressing the “anarchy” created by Trudeau’s so-called failure to stop the CN blockades, to attracting investment, fixing the economy, upholding the rule of law, and dealing with a crisis that never materialized when Extinction Rebellion blocked traffic on a bridge in Edmonton during the morning commute.
      Law prof Jennifer Kushan points out the debates in Hansard can by used by a court to determine the true intent of Bill 1. Based on her analysis it’s pretty clear the intent of Bill 1 does not address the problems outlined in Hansard; it’s nothing more than an attempt to shut down peaceful protests.
      Given that many of us can’t up stakes and leave Alberta (as much as we’d like to), we have to stay and fight. One way is to continue to protest notwithstanding the draconian penalties we’ll be facing once Bill 1 receives royal assent. The other way is to talk about Bill 1 as much as possible in the hopes that more Albertans will become better informed.

    • jj gibbons: Indeed. It’s interesting how in the US and Alberta law makers are enacting laws that chip away at constitutionally-protected protest activity.
      In an interview with Mark Hislop, law prof Jennifer Koshan touches on the rule of law argument and points out that the rule of law INCLUDES our Charter rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, the right to life, liberty and security. It’s not one or the other.
      This is something the UCP choose to forget (assuming they knew it in the first place).
      Here’s a link to the Hislop interview: youtu.be/twYaWVnqeeM

    • CallmeHal2000 says:

      https://theintercept.com/2017/05/06/oklahoma-governor-signs-anti-protest-law-imposing-huge-fines-on-conspirator-organizations/

      And into the midst of all this walks the U.S. president, with a political rally in Tulsa amid the Juneteeth celebration. June is also the anniversary month of the Tulsa race massacre of 1921.

      Jason Kenney and his UCP follow the president’s activity closely. Watch and learn, to see what they can get away with here? It might not be something they want to copy. We’ll find out in a week.

      There is a reason drones were circling over the crowds protesting in Washington, and it was to gather cellphone information. I suggest anyone attending rallies in Alberta from now on should turn off their Bluetooth, their phone’s location, and the phone itself, take out the sim card and even better, possibly leave their phones at home. Think about what that new Babylon app can do. It tracks you. No drones required. We have entered the Brave New World. Conspiracy is reality. Soon to come: notification of fines for attending a public rally, and maybe a summons to appear in court, mailed to your home, thanks to your phone. And some people thought photo radar was bad.

      • CallmeHal: drones tracking cell phones? What? Actually a while ago I saw an article about drones and CCTV taking photos of very large crowds and having the facial recognition technology to single out and identify one person in the crowd based on all the other photos he and his friends had posted on line. It was terrifying.
        I don’t know why Kenney’s base isn’t more upset about this, probably because they think these surveillance tools will be used against others, not themselves.
        You know what they say about letting the genie out of the bottle, once it’s out it’s impossible to put it back.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/11/politics/spy-planes-george-floyd-protests/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1kNSSVHAgaQPtNFyUX6Q7UdYw8RSipA9RDkVBnIOPVKHuqXNlECqwuuow

        Now think about this. Mostly young people attended the rallies against racism in Alberta last week. Many of them were likely students. So what could possibly go wrong in having McKinsey & Company working for the Alberta government in reshaping post-secondary education?

        https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/mckinseys-work-for-saudi-arabia-highlights-its-history-of-unsavory-entanglements

        As we recall, the Babylon app is a Saudi creation. So again, what could possibly go wrong?

        https://www.arabianbusiness.com/startup/443264-saudi-backed-healthcare-app-testing-coronavirus-chat-rooms-for-doctors-patients

      • CallmeHal: Wow! Thanks for the CNN article. As you said, welcome to 1984 and Brave New World. Although Kenney won’t need drones, he’s got Bill 1, your mere presence at a demonstration is enough to get you arrested, you don’t have to be doing anything unlawful.
        The announcement that the UCP hired McKinsey & Co (fee $3.7 million) to “transform” post secondary education is very troubling, especially since the UCP has already gutted the teaching staff and imposed ridiculous “performance measures” for the institutions to meet if they hope to get any additional funding. First Kenney attacks the institutions’ staff and funding, then he brings in McKinsey. What does Kenney expect McKinsey to do?

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        Whatever is going on, I sincerely hope the federal government is keeping an eye on foreign influence and interference in Alberta. The people of Alberta need someone to watch out for us, and it seems we can’t count our provincial government. Further and further encroachment on our freedoms and safety is happening right under our noses, at the hands of the UCP. What game are they playing with our democracy?

        I should have added that all those attending rallies would be wise to wear face masks to protect against contagion.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        McKinsey prepared dissident lists for the Saudis. Others might call these “hit lists”, but as McKinsey points out, they do research. They can’t control what others choose to do with their research.

        They are also involved with the Chinese government and the Uighur issue.

        https://www.businessinsider.com/mckinsey-china-uighur-corporate-retreat-china2018-12

        Kim Siever has written an interesting column on this company, and its connection to Kenney’s right hand man.

  5. Pingback: Protests Matter: A Charter Critique of Alberta’s Bill 1 |

  6. Carlos says:

    This is Jason Kenney’s attempt to move towards his favorite political system – fascism
    Just imagine if Rachel Notley had tried this?

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: I have one of Mark Lisac’s books, Alberta Politics Uncovered. In the book, he brings up a valid point. Why do Albertans complain about a democratic deficit in Ottawa, but ignores the virtual one party state in Alberta? It’s still questionable as to how Jason Kenney became premier of Alberta.

      • Carlos says:

        Dwayne I also have that book. Mark Lisac was one of the few people in this province that had the courage to say it like it was then. Unfortunately it got worse with the ascension of evangelic fascists. The ones that complain that everyone else is a communist including Susan who also has had the pleasure of being called that and probably worse and she does not tell us.
        Yes it is still questionable how Jason Kenney became premier and will be forever. He knew that Gibbons had to go to stop the process and he does not care about the RCMP because it is easily controlled. We never heard about it again and I can bet that it has been shelved for good.

      • Bob Raynard says:

        No need to speculate. Remember how the press set their hair on fire when the Notley government tried to exclude Rebel Media out of the lock-up? This even though Rebel had argued they were not a media outlet when they needed a defense in a civil suit.

    • Carlos, it’s inconceivable that Rachel Notley would ever try to trample our Charter rights, but as you rightly point out this move fits Kenney’s political ideology. A federal lawyer working in the Justice Department said Harper would insist a bill be pushed through if it has as little as a 5% chance of surviving a constitutional challenge. That means there was a 95% chance it violated the constitution. It looks like Kenney is operating in the same netherworld Harper did.
      The law profs point out that “there will always be those like Martin Luther King” who are not deterred by oppressive laws and will turn to civil disobedience and protest. They say mass arrests and charges are foreseeable.
      Can you imagine the turmoil that will result when Bill 1 is proclaimed and the police are out in the streets trying to enforce it. God what a mess.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Oh what a great idea Carlos, let’s encourage a game of “What-If”:

        Please, please, ‘cons’, ‘libertarians’, ‘small c’ cons, FUBAR worshippers, genuine Edmonton hosers, or whatever: try, please just try for a moment to imagine the dictates and policies actually coming out of Mr.Kenney’s office were coming from Rachel Notlety’s. Admit it: you. would. FREAK.

        It’s a real tragedy that those that applaud this Bill for absolutely no other reason than it ‘pwns the left’ are LEGION in Alberta…could anything be more moronic than their laughing while slapping themselves in the face?

        “When I was a boy,
        My big brother held on to my hands,
        Then he made me slap my own face.
        I looked up to him then, and still do.
        He was trying to teach me something.
        Now I know what it was!
        Now I know what he meant!
        Now I know how it is! ” – Jane’s Addiction

        No excuse(s) for not knowing anymore, in my opinion.

      • Carlos says:

        GoinFawr
        I am glad you like the idea. So do I.
        Everything this premier tries to improve turns to manure.

        Susan I agree that Rachel Notley would never try this silliness but I was just trying to see in my mind all of the mainstream newspapers in Canada going nuts about some premier trying to subvert our rights and freedoms. Because it is Jason Kenney, it does not matter because fascists right wingers always do the best for our provinces and country. Of course. They all respect freedoms except when it is not in their interest like Harper did with our scientists or with his support to the most reactionary prime minister in Europe Viktor Orban.

      • Yes, I understand Carlos. The fact that Kenney’s supporters are A-OK with Kenney passing Bill 1 etc, but would lose their minds if Rachel had tried it indicates how far down the partisan sinkhole we’ve fallen.
        You made the point that his supporters rage about us (me) being Communists and worse. What they don’t understand is when they send in their comments I can see their emails and figure out who they are. Recently I got some pathetic comments from an energy sector executive, The disconnect between what he said to me and and what he says on his company’s website is shocking.

      • Carlos says:

        This executive is lucky because if it was me i would publish his garbage.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. With the UCP in power, Alberta is becoming as backwards as you can get. Let’s just hope that people come to their senses and vote the UCP out of power. In a way, I doubt that will happen.

    • Dwayne, I’m hopeful that the huge protests in Alberta supporting Black Lives Matter as well as the take down of people like Stockwell Day and Brett Wilson indicate Albertans have finally reached a tipping point and are desperate to move forward.
      I think the Kenney knows something is changing but he doesn’t know what it is. Yesterday Doug Schweitzer, the justice minister, issued a press release saying Albertans were “rightfully outraged over an appalling act of police brutality in the United States” and “many Albertans have also raised sincere concerns about policing here at home.” He said since it’s his job to make sure Albertans feel safe he’s going to expedite the work the government is doing to modernize the Police Act and ask the federal public safety minister to review the legislation and regs governing the RCMP.
      What Kenney and Schweitzer fail to understand is it might not be the statutes that are the problem, it might be racist cops.

  8. GoinFawr says:

    “Silencing protesters under Bill 1 won’t raise the price of oil, it won’t bring back oil demand that’s fallen off due to Covid-19, and it won’t create jobs by attracting investment…”

    The UCP are not letting this crisis go to waste on their watch. To hammers, everything is a nail. This law will never hold up in court, no? Mind you: no one really wants to be the one to have to test it there. Which, of course, is the real idea behind this bill: to deter poor people from lawfully protesting by effectively making it inherently illegal. Richard Adams’ General Woundwort would be proud, this is right out the Efrafan social engineering playbook.

    As Albertans flooded into the streets to join the hundreds of thousands of people around the world protesting systemic racism and police brutality, some of us worried about… ”

    uh, the pandemic? That we are still in? Worthy cause(s), no doubt, but getting sick certainly doesn’t seem like a great way to teach anyone a lesson.

    • GoinFawr: That phrase, to a hammer everything is a nail, was used recently to describe why the Buffalo police pushed a 75 year old man to the ground and left him bleeding and motionless on the ground. Apparently police procedure when creating a riot line is to push the people in front of you out of the way because you can never let them get behind you. Of course the first question is why did the police think they needed a riot line, there was no riot.
      I understand your point about people showing up to protest in the middle of a pandemic. One sign summarized what I suspect was the view of many protestors: I’m more afraid of the police than of covid. Sad statement.

  9. GoinFawr says:

    PS
    “Which, of course, is the real idea behind this bill: to deter poor people from lawfully protesting by effectively making it inherently illegal…”

    or, at least: expensive.
    Protesting in Alberta: Free for those who can afford it, very expensive for those who can’t.

    • The ABlawg post makes the same point: “Mass arrests and charges are foreseeable, but the cost of challenging even some of these arrests will be prohibitive for most.”

      That’s another reason Bill 1 is so offensive. The Kenney government has far more resources than we do and those resources (which are funded by our tax dollars) will be used to deprive us of our constitutional rights.

      Makes you wonder what Kenney has in store for the next 3 years. It must be pretty vile if he decided to preemptively strip us of our right to peaceful protest. But here’s what he didn’t bank on: if people are prepared to risk getting covid-19 to protest racism and police brutality, they’ll be prepared to risk arrest and fines to protest an unjust and undemocratic government.

  10. Linda Pushor says:

    Susan, another good analysis of the dictatorial moves by Kenney and his band.
    I have a couple of questions. This could apply to all of the Yellow Vest types of protests as well, could it not?
    Does the Bill allow for them to declare something as essential infrastructure and then enforce it unevenly?
    If the government chose not to enforce it could it be enforced through a citizen arrest or complaint process?
    Perhaps it’s time to let the Kenney supporters, like those that protested loudly and often and in large numbers in support of the oil companies, the anti-Trudeau protesters, Wexiters, etc. grasp the impacts that this odious piece of legislation their rights. I’d love to see them protesting over this … Another convoy perhaps!

    • Carlos says:

      Linda
      Anything thing that Kenney does only applies to the terrorists of the left. His own people including his war room are working for the benefit of Kenney’s Landlords – the Oil industry.
      Sounds horrible? Yes that is what Kenney and his goons paradise looks like.
      Horrible for some of us.
      By the way he does not care a millimetre.

      • Linda Pushor says:

        Thanks. I agree. I am primarily wondering if citizens could take action to bring charges forward when Kenney plays double standards.

      • Carlos says:

        I would love that as well.
        The problem is that we are not organized enough to bring charges. Unfortunately it seems that the processes are all so convoluted and expensive that we end up staying the slaves of the reality of what we call our democracy that only seems to work well for those who have power or money.
        So much for pointing the finger to the third world. In the end we are all the third world. In fact, for example if you look at indexes of freedom of the press, you will see that we are now 16 behind countries like Jamaica and Costa Rica. We are not as free as we think and that is why Jason Kenney can control the system without any consequences.

      • Linda, only the government has the power to declare a thing or place to be “essential infrastructure” so using the Black Lives Matter protests as an example, we could have a situation where the BLM organizers send out notices that there will be a protest next weekend on the steps of the Leg. Kenney could call an emergency cabinet meeting tomorrow and pass a regulation declaring the steps of the Leg to be “essential infrastructure”, the only way we as protestors would be allowed to be there next weekend would be with “lawful excuse” (whatever that is), failing which the police can come in and arrest everyone.
        As law prof Jennifer Koshen said, expect to see mass arrests and hefty fines.
        Kenney can apply this law unevenly and likely intends to do so, otherwise the Yellow Vests and United We Roll and Kudatah guys would be going insane, but they’re not.
        This is not democracy.

  11. Dave says:

    I think the Alberta government has done quite a bait and switch here. This seemed to have started with being against protestors who are against pipeline expansion, or at least was partly sold to Albertans this way. Never mind almost all of those protests have happened outside of Alberta’s, or even Canada’s, jurisdictions so this law would have absolutely no effect on this.

    The UCP seems particularly good on grabbing on to the law and order banner when convenient for them and totally ignoring, in particular the law part, when not (election financing rules, contracts with doctors and others, freedom of speech, etc..). I suspect like most governments with totalitarian tendencies, they find the idea of anyone protesting against them, possibly successfully, quite inconvenient and embarrassing and have latched onto this as a way to try stop that.

    However, in their disregard for the law they probably have overlooked that the courts will probably not share their enthusiasm for suppressing any such inconvenient dissent. Expect drawn out legal cases and unnecessary legal costs, because this government either hasn’t thought this out well enough or is just too stubborn to care. We shouldn’t still have to be fighting for freedom of speech here in Alberta in the 21st century, we are not a banana republic or some political backwater, yet this is where we are and this is where our current provincial government has put us.

    • Carlos says:

      Dave, I respectfully disagree with you
      We are a political backwater and we are a banana republic and have been for decades. I have lived in Alberta since 1981 and never really saw much better than this. Just recently with Alison Redford it was a disgraceful abuse of power. Ralph Klein, a drunk that died an hero just because he happened to be premier when the check book was fantastically fat by accident. In my opinion we are where we have always been in this province.

    • Dave, the debate on Bill 1 in the Legislature could be summarized as the UCP arguing Trudeau’s inaction on the CN blockades resulted in country wide anarchy therefore Alberta had to step in to restore order and the free flow of commerce (as you point out we don’t have the jurisdiction to do anything about the CN blockades, but hey, who cares about the facts). From there the debate moved to looting and wanton destruction (which didn’t happen) and Extinction Rebellion holding up traffic in Edmonton and what would have happened if an ambulance had to get through (there was no ambulance, but if we’re going to speculate I’m sure ER would have let it through). No one ever mentioned the BLM protests in the US, but you could feel the shadow of those protests as the UCP MLAs raged about all this lawlessness and rampant loss of property (as if the loss of property is the same as the loss of human life). It’s the fear side of the law and order argument. Create a bogey man and pass laws to kill it, and kill democracy while you’re at it. All in the name of protecting the economy.

      I would agree with Carlos that there’s something terribly wrong with a province that votes for one party for 44 years, freaks out when a different party is elected, and rushes back into the arms of an even more extreme version of the party that left them high and dry after a 44 year reign.

  12. Dave says:

    I think the appeal of the UCP to voters in the last election was in part offering simplistic solutions at a time of some economic challenge. The PC’s for all their faults over their 44 years did not seem as inclined to offer simplistic solutions. The problem for the UCP is if their solutions do not work (and simplistic ones often do not), the voters sure will not be very happy with them in a few years. I could see the next election being a referendum on all the UCP has done and it may not go the way they want it, because they are really making a bigger mess of things that are already not very good.

    I realize Alberta hasn’t always been the most functional democracy and at times resembled a one party state, but I’m not inclined to give up hope at this point. If Albertans could boot the PC’s out, who were so very entrenched, I think they can more easily do the same to the UCP.

    • Carlos says:

      Hi Dave
      I agree but it is not a question of giving up hope, it is a question that because of lack of democratic choice – meaning a First Pat the Post system allied with a total oil corporate control – has not allowed the development of other views. Furthermore, the entrenched idea that democracy works better with majorities and the extreme propaganda against anything even in the center of politics created the situation we are in which in my opinion will very likely get our province in the have not provinces status very soon.
      They are now getting ready to continue their extreme program of privatizations and cuts and that is the reason for bill 1 which will allow them to stop any protests a la Viktor Orban style in Hungary who is Harper’s favorite right wing politician and by osmosis Jason Kenney’s. Harper is now the new Manning controlling conservative politics in Canada. For lack of support he was not able to do the same at Federal level so he is now the Mafia boss behind the scenes telling others to push further with his politics to adjust Canadians to slowly accept more and more of this sick ideology of inequality, privilege to their kind and less and less democratic values. This has been planned from the times of Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and has been slowly eroding our freedoms and rights and has increased inequality which will weaken the classes that can battle them. This is all clear to anyone that wants to look at the situation without bias. Rachel Notley on the other hand chose not to rock the boat and did not even see the writing on the wall. I am sure she really believed that the province had changed. NO WAY. You just talk to the regular Albertan and it is obvious not much has changed and will not without more exposure to anything other than what they have heard for 44 years and that is almost impossible right now because the NDP has very little to offer as we can attest since the UCP tool over. Just criticizing Jason Kenney’s politics will not go to far. With the media 90% in the hands of Jason Kenney’s goons makes it almost impossible. It is not a question of hope it is a question of reality.

      • CallmeHal2000 says:

        It looks like Mother Nature is piling on, opening up the skies on Alberta. Remembering that the dust bowl of the1930s was part of the suffering. The UCP under Kenney is throwing away environmental monitoring and controls, and strip mining public parks. Our watershed is in jeopardy. Scorched earth policies will bring the people into deep poverty and privation. This seems to be the end goal: completely collapse this province’s economy and environment. We’ll know the plan has succeeded when we see McKinsey executives setting up tents in the Alberta wasteland, where they saunter the red carpets without a care in the world, between amusing activities, not far from massive internment camps for the non-old-stock Albertans, and just plain old Albertans (60 and up, by Kenney’s pandemic definition). Building a wall around unsavory oldsters and “hostile, parasitic Canadians”, so the UCP can frolic and play with all our money. This is the glint in the emperor’s eyes. Those expensive suits don’t buy themselves, you know.

  13. GoinFawr says:

    And Bill 49 doesn’t pass in New Brunswick…

    Why that’s a Victory somewhere!

  14. Time to challenge this slide to authoritarianism and weakening or OUR democracy!

    • GoinFawr says:

      Sorry Dave it is no longer acceptable to challenge fascists or fascism these days because if you do you will be equated with the group that uses a contraction of that word as part of their name.

      “To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire.

      • GoinFawr says:

        …(attributed)
        Apparently, that quote is from someone else, ironically too. I mean, I suppose that I ought to have noticed that it is NOT IN FRENCH! Hahaha!

    • I agree David Swann, it is indeed time to challenge Kenney’s ongoing assault on democracy and the rule of law.

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