Alberta is Not for Sale

“Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works.” — Gordon Gekko in the movie ‘Wall Street’

Our Covid numbers are rising, GDP is falling and the UCP government is burying us in a blizzard of announcements promising a relaunch strategy that will return us to “normal”.

The challenge for Albertans is to find a way to keep up with the barrage of UCP changes to legislation, regulations, and policy that, under the guise of progress are dragging us backwards.

One way to sort through the flak that pours into your media feed every day is to read it with two principles in mind: mutuality of interest and follow the money.

Mutuality of interest

The UCP and corporate Alberta share a mutuality of interest.

The UCP depends on corporations and their well-heeled shareholders and executives for financial support to stay in power. Corporations support political parties that free them from regulatory oversight (aka “red tape”) and suppress organized labour because these policies drive down costs and increase profits.

(Sorry all you ordinary Albertans who voted for the UCP after Kenney’s blue pick-up tour of Alberta; you’re not part of the equation).     

The clearest examples of mutuality of interest are Kenney’s “job creating” tax cut and Bill 32, an act to “restore balance in the workplace.” The job creating tax cut did not create any jobs. Bill 32 does not restore balance; it makes things worse by undermining unions that advocate for greater equity in the workplace.

Nevertheless, both policies are a success in Kenney’s world because they reduce corporate costs and increase profits which lead to hefty dividends. If shareholders are happy, corporations are happy; if corporations are happy they reward those who made them happy.  

One hand washes the other, you know.

Follow the money

Given this mutuality of interest, it’s not surprising that following the money invariably leads us to the private sector.

Sometimes the money trail is picked out in klieg lights, sometimes it’s more subtle.  

It’s obvious Kenney’s $1.5 billion equity investment and $6 billion loan guarantee to the KXL pipeline bought him a heap of goodwill from TC Energy, its shareholders, and investors, even though energy leaders like Suncor’s CEO chortle when asked whether KXL will ever be completed (some experts put the likelihood of completion at less than 50%).

The money trail is less obvious when it’s obscured by rhetoric about boosting the economy and/or saving taxpayers money.

Two quick examples. Kenney’s decision to repeal former premier Lougheed’s coal development policies to allow open-pit coal mining in the fragile Eastern slopes is hailed as a boon to Alberta’s economy when in fact it’s a retrograde step that undermines everything Kenney has said about Alberta being a global leader in energy and the environment. But the Australian coal mining companies love it, right?    

Under the guise of saving taxpayers money, Kenney will fully or partially close 20 parks and transfer 164 more to third-party managers. If managers can’t be found, the parks will be sold. Given that a mere 6.4% of Alberta land is protected, it’s difficult to see how selling public land to potato farmers and other business ventures will produce a meaningful increase in revenue.

But Kenney’s focus is not on increasing revenue or protecting endangered species and Alberta’s watersheds, let alone promoting recreational fishing and camping; these policies will be a success if they ingratiate the UCP government with the coal industry and other business enterprises.   

Sometimes the money trail is disguised as a matter of “choice”.

Kenney is promoting more “choice” in healthcare by funneling taxpayers’ money into the privatization of healthcare, be it the Babylon Telus app which replaces real physicians with virtual ones or a policy that will increase private surgeries from 15% to 30% by 2023. If history is anything to go by this will slow down access to public surgeries and increase the cost of private surgeries.     

Some good news

Albertans are becoming increasingly aware that the objective of the UCP government is not to serve them but the corporate sector that keeps them in power.

They reacted by increasing their financial support for the NDP. For the first time since 2017 the NDP raised more money than the UCP. In the second quarter the NDP raised $1,032,796.85 while the UCP raised $642,677.29. More than half the NDP donations were in amounts of $250 or less, while almost two-thirds of the UCP donations were over $250.

The day Kenney was elected he declared, “Alberta is open for business.”

A year later Albertans are pushing back. It turns Alberta is not for sale after all.

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37 Responses to Alberta is Not for Sale

  1. I sincerely hope Alberta is not for sale. It is heartening to see the dollar amounts favoring the NDP. I am just hoping that by the time the next provincial election rolls around that Albertans remember everything the UCP did not do (and will never do) for the general population.

    • Carol, you make a good point about whether Albertans will remember everything the UCP did NOT do for them when it comes time to mark their ballots. Given Kenney’s focus on cutting the budget and his willingness to do whatever it takes to get there, I suspect we’re in for a lot more pain over the coming years. Surely Albertans will realize that there’s a huge difference between airy fairy campaign promises (“jobs, economy, pipelines”) and reality; and trying to distract the population with rhetoric about “anti-Alberta” enemies is not a substitute for good government.

      • Absolutely, Susan! And I am grateful to you for laying bare the ineptitude of this government – though it should be glaringly clear to most, if not all voters.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It is apparent that the UCP is simply another form of the Alberta PCs. Clearly, this is evident, with how the UCP are good at wasting big sums of money on debacles, and disregarding the public input on different matters. Peter Lougheed was the only responsible Alberta PC premier. He didn’t take Alberta, or Canada for granted, and used his experience in the oil industry wisely. He didn’t accept substandard oil royalty rates, didn’t let foreign owned enterprises take the oil and profits from this province, preferred responsible oil and industrial development, while never forsaking the environment, and built up a nest egg, the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, (shamefully, the UCP lost close to $2 billion of it). The Alberta PCs, beyond Peter Lougheed’s rule, simply didn’t think about the volatility of the oil industry. They also did a shabby job of coming after oil companies to rectify their messes. Peter Lougheed confirmed things were wrong, went he ventured over Ft. McMurray, in 2005, in a helicopter. The Alberta PCs bestowed us a very hefty cost of cleaning up oil industry related messes, which is $260 billion, and likely more. Also, the Alberta PCs lost $35 billion on a bitumen upgrader debacle, which has had structural problems, and cannot thrive, due to oil prices being so low. Since when has corporate tax cuts created jobs? They haven’t, and history proves that. It was close to $5 billion, for the first round of corporate tax cuts, by the UCP. Not a single job was created. Also, to add insult to injury, corporations did not stay in Alberta, after getting these corporate tax cuts. Why has the UCP given more corporate tax cuts, if the same result will happen? The pandemic is not an excuse for these corporate tax cuts failing. We know that oil prices have gone down in 2014. Combine the money draining corporate tax cuts, with the low oil prices, and austerity has to happen. We already lived (suffered is more accurate) through Ralph Klein’s devastating cuts, because he wasted money on fiascos, and we can still see what those cuts have done today. You might recall, in 2014, the Alberta PCs were laxadasic in coming after corporations to pay their provincial taxes on time. Over $1 billion was lost in 2014, and other large sums of corporate tax money wasn’t collected for a large number of years prior. That was more lost money for Alberta. Jason Kenney and the UCP made a foolish mistake on gambling on a pipeline. That’s over $7 billion lost, which we won’t get back. The seniors, and anyone who is less fortunate, are told they must do with less. So are teachers, students and the medical workers, like doctors and nurses. If Jason Kenney cares about jobs, why are teachers and medical workers jobs being threatened? The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program was expanded under the watchful eye of Jason Kenney, when he was in the CPC, as a cabinet minister. So, why would Jason Kenney care about jobs now? Jason Kenney is also betraying his late CPC colleague, and fellow cabinet minister, Jim Prentice, who was the Environment Minister in the CPC. Jim Prentice knew that coal fired power plants were a big contributed to pollution, and he wanted them gone in this country by this year. Jim Prentice also had the same plan to remove the coal fired power plants in Alberta, because pollution reduction was still on his mind. It was on all the political parties minds in the provincial election in May, of 2015. Coal is a major source of pollution, no matter what it is used for, in an industrial or power producing capacity. Allowing open pit mining in the foothills is a recipe for disaster. If anyone remembers the flooding that happened in Calgary, and in Southern Alberta, in 2005, 2013, and in 2014, (for other parts of Southern Alberta), it was attributed to the Alberta PCs allowing unrestricted industrial activity, like logging to operate close to the Rocky Mountains. After the 2005 floods, the Alberta PCs blindly allowed more logging to commence near the Rocky Mountains. More flooding happened. This will happen again, if these open pit coal mines are allowed to proceed in the foothills. Who will the UCP’s rabid rural fanbase blame, when their homes get destroyed by flooding? Selling off Alberta’s provincial parks to private interests, is another recipe for disaster. Where will wildlife thrive? A (late) cousin of mine was on a watershed protection committee in Alberta. He was a nature lover, and an outdoor enthusiast, as he also came from a farm, like me. If he were still around, he’d be appalling by what the UCP has done. So would Peter Lougheed. Again, the federal government is doing fiascos which are not as costly as what the UCP is doing, yet there is only outrage at what the federal government has been doing. Utter hypocrisy. We need to band together, and spread the word, and get the UCP out of power. The damage they are inflicting upon Alberta is happening fast.

    • Dwayne, you make many good points here. I’d like to pick up on a couple. You correctly point out that Kenney’s corporate tax cuts did not create any jobs the first time around, so we have to ask ourselves why would he accelerate the cuts and drop the corporate tax rate to 8% now as part of his economic relaunch plan. Kenney says he’s doing it to alleviate business uncertainty and create more jobs. Obviously he’s not talking to corporate CEOs about what they intend to do with the windfall. Cenovus CEO says he expects oil price volatility to continue and even if oil prices improve he is going to continue to drive down costs and reduce capital spending. This means NO new jobs.
      Like I said, Kenney’s gift to corporations isn’t really about new jobs, if so he’d make the tax cuts conditional on a company showing it had used the tax savings to create a significant number of new jobs. All Kenney has done is reduce Alberta’s revenue by $200-$300 million this year and another $100-$200 next year which means there will be even less money in the kitty for public services like health, education, seniors, etc.
      This isn’t a case of Kenney not understanding that corporate tax cuts do not create jobs, it’s an example of “mutuality of interest”. The fact that Albertans still don’t get it is amazing.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I just cringe at the thought of the UCP’s fall budget. I don’t think it will be pretty. It will impact many people.

  3. CallmeHal says:

    Alberta is for sale, and all Albertans in it. Kenney is selling us all to the lowest bidder. We are the throw-aways of Kenney’s Brave New World. We will be hewers of wood, drawers of water, back in time to be done like dinner. He will be set for life once all this is done. We are doomed. Maude Barlow described this dystopian dream in 1999, before the Alberta Oompa Loompa rose to power.

    http://www.internationaldonors.org/issues/maude.html

    Albertans bought his bollocks and sold their souls, all because a woman dared to step out of line. A woman, in the 21st century! Now we reap what we have sown. The illiterate children sent to waiter school at age five can look forward to a life of indentured servitude, and worse. Are Albertans going to do anything about this before the train derails? Nope, we like men in power here. No matter how deluded and corrupt, God knows a man is always better than a woman. The people who sold their children and grandchildren down the river can live with it on their own consciences. As Jim Prentice said, look in the mirror, Alberta. You did this. You got what you wanted. What are you going to do about it now?

    Too late, too late.

    You have made the IDU and too-bad-to-be-prime-minister Stephen Harper very happy. Peasants you will be, when the Once and Future King is done with you.

    • CallmeHal, thanks for the link, what I find sad is Maude Barlow and others have been sounding the alarm about the privatization of water for decades and their voices are drowned out by the proponents of the so-called free market. She referred to statements by executives that the goal was to privatize the entire global water supply and the degradation of that supply was a good for business. This fits right in there with Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” mantra. Interestingly I saw a comment by Michael Douglas who played Gekko in the movie. He couldn’t understand why people thought Gekko was a good guy.

  4. Carl HUNT says:

    Conservatives are corporate pawns by whatever name and donate our tax dollars and natural resources as welfare hand-outs to to big corporations for the first three years. In the last year, prior to an election, politicians use our tax money to gain public popularity and provide ‘petty cash’ for a long list of popular and much needed projects. Politicians buy popularity and photo-ops and the suckers (voters) take the bait and the fat cats hide their loot in tax havens.

    • Carl Hunt: I think you’ve accurately described Kenney’s strategy: take care of your corporate donors in years one, two, and three; throw a bone to everyone else in year four likely in the form of a personal tax cut, for all the good it will do given so many people will be struggling to make ends meet by that time.
      Having said that the destructive impact of Kenney’s policies are becoming more and more apparent. For example, Albertans are waking up to the reality of doctors leaving. Kenny’s government accelerated the war on doctors last night when Shandro tabled an amendment to Bill 30 to allow disclosure of “amounts payable” to doctors with no consideration given to the fact that the “amounts payable” cover overhead, staff salaries, etc, and do not reflect net income. They also don’t reflect the reality of what Kenney will do after Covid passes, remember he said he will revisit (ie reduce) the existing compensation structure for urban doctors after Covid is over. There won’t be much left in the way of public services by the time Kenney is finished. I hope Albertans understand who did this to them when 2023 rolls around.

  5. Joan says:

    I give generously for our income level to the NDP and will continue. My goal is to get as many out to vote for the NDP as ai can. I am so fed up with this corrupt and inept government.

    • Joan, that is an excellent strategy and one that we follow in our house: donate to the NDP and spread the word about the impact of the Kenney cuts so people understand what is happening to them and who is responsible for it.

  6. Mike Priaro says:

    “When Biden takes office, we will have nine years left to stop the worst consequences of climate change, and Biden won’t waste a single day,” said Stef Feldman, Biden campaign policy director in statement shared with BNN Bloomberg. https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/biden-vowing-to-rip-up-keystone-xl-approvals-if-former-vp-wins-white-house-1.1437973

    “Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President [Barack] Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”

    Knowing this, Kenney still gambled $1.5 billion of your money and mine in outright grants and $6 billion in loan guarantees that he can “sway” Biden to approve Keystone XL. See also BIDEN’S $2 TRILLION CLIMATE PLAN, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/14072020/joe-biden-climate-plan-coronavirus-build-back-better

    Keystone XL also appropriates volumes that should go to Canada’seast and west coasts, and on to new, diversified, undiscounted, world-priced markets, not to US Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries.

    • GoinFawr says:

      “Follow the money”, indeed.

      A few questions for the UCP supporter:

      How on earth is Tyler Shandro continuing to get away with such blatant, obvious, and apparent conflicts of interest? With his immediate family doing what they do how can anyone state with a straight face that the intent of his healthcare privatization policies are anything but self serving? So he got some unconscionable pass from a UCP appointed ‘ethics’ officer, surprise surprise, but that ‘pass’ wasn’t an eternally certified carte-blanche for Shandro’s family’s personal enrichment at the expense of the taxpayer, was it?

      And do you UCP’ers honestly think YOU and your families are going to be better off with a US style healthcare system? That delivery method of health ‘care’ has been proven as clearly as an azure sky of deepest summer to cost more than twice as much while providing less service for the general public.

      I mean: come on UCP base you seriously can’t be this blind, can you? You voted these horribly unscrupulous people into office, it is your responsibility to hold them to account, though I confess I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that.

      • Dwayne says:

        GoinFawr: The hypocrisy in Alberta is astounding. For example, the We issue, from the federal (Liberal) government was $900 million. Extreme outrage by Albertans. They want Justin Trudeau and the Liberals gone. How come Albertans are silent, when the UCP did far more costly mistakes, like the $4 billion pension fund mess, the over $7 billion thrown away on a dead end pipeline, and nearly $2 billion lost on the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, among other things? Albertans are also upset by Gil McGowan’s comments on the UCP, when he compared their policies to the Nazis, but never expressed anger over UCP MLAs, like Grant Hunter, when he was quoting a Nazi, co-authored a published opinion piece in a newspaper, comparing Rachel Notley’s carbon tax to the Holodomor, (Ukrainian genocide by starvation, from Josef Stalin), stating in another published article in a newspaper about people in a southern Alberta town having superior Aryian stock, or Jason Kenney calling the make work projects of Peter Lougheed and Don Getty Neo-Stalinist? It is really something, when these types of things, and more, go on in Alberta, but many Albertans ignore it.

      • Carlos says:

        You are so right and the blindness is pure and simple total cult like devotion to a man that only inspires those who refuse to read and understand the facts. It is very shocking and frustrating but I doubt that it will change before we can save this province from a deep corporate controlled feudal mentality that is so perverse but common in people of deep evangelical education like this government is. They will burn the house down before they even admit they are profoundly wrong. They have the power of their majority and it will go to the end now. They have been waiting for this opportunity for decades.
        I hope I am wrong but having lived here since 1981 I doubt it.
        They are the Stalinists but they know how to use propaganda like no one else. Interestingly enough very similar to Nazi propaganda. That is why they use so many panels. They justify their policies with lies that are put together by these corrupt panels with wonderful titles managed by their own experts.

      • Carlos, I certainly agree with your point about using propaganda. I’ve lost count of how many “issues managers” the UCP have on staff. These guys are all over social media promoting UCP policies and attacking anyone who dares to disagree. (I will concede that the NDP has its share of supporters and some of whom are more outspoken than others, but at least the official NDP message is factual).
        I found your comment about the use of expert panels particularly interesting. I always viewed them as a mechanism to give a veneer of credibility to a policy decision that has already been made, for example the MacKinnon panel which recommended budget cuts without looking at the revenue side of the equation, but you’re right about their propaganda value, the travelling circus also known as the Fair Deal Panel is a good example.
        What worries me as much as the attacks on public services is Kenney’s relentless effort to undermine democracy. He gets get away with it because the public is so focused on the here and now that they don’t understand the implications of what he’s doing. They think wearing ear plugs in the Assembly is a joke, but it was the first step in the destruction of Legislative conventions and protocols. Kenney has now moved to invoking closure willy-nilly to shut down debate on destructive bills. The beauty of debate is it allows the opposition, who’ve researched these bills help us understand their implications. This also helps the media who are too overworked or sloppy to do this research themselves. But poof, just like that, the debate is over and another horrible bill is enacted as law. Consequently, our only recourse is to take the government to court and who has the resources for that?
        These are terribly frustrating times, but we have to continue to stand up for good government. I truly believe the UCP will implode, but Alberta will experience a lot of pain before that happens.

      • GoinFawr: great questions re: conflict of interest. For the life of me I don’t know the answer.
        So the latest addition to Kenney’s list of health care initiatives that are ready made (“shovel ready”?) for privatization is Kenney’s plan to built 5 recovery communities across the province to treat people suffering from addiction. Kenney says these are based on the successful Portugal model. What he doesn’t tell us is that the recovery communities in Portugal are part of a larger strategy that starts with the decriminalization of drugs and is augmented by safe injection sites, like the ones Kenney is defunding even as we speak. Furthermore the Portugal model is a blend of not for profit plus profit centres and the for-profit centres charge up to 4000 Euros per month for treatment.
        It’s a repeat of Kenney’s pattern of proposing an idea based on flawed assumptions which, surprise, surprise, opens the door to increased privatization of health care. The public takes the risk of construction, the private sector reaps the benefits, and if it all goes belly up, the public buys it back again for pennies on the dollar. Brilliant.

      • Carlos says:

        Susan I agree with you r last sentence
        Before this ends a lot of damage will be done and Jason Kenney will find a way to load it all on the Liberals. Just wait.
        This guy is a follower of Ivan Ilyin, the Russian philosopher now considered the official word in Russia and that has become the behind the scenes of neo-liberal crazies. Timothy Schneider talks about him in his book ‘The Road to Unfreedom’

    • Mike, thank you for reminding us that Kenney’s bet on KXL is reckless beyond measure. It’s as if Kenney does not understand the US regulatory system. Trump reissued the presidential permit blocked by Obama, but KXL is still subject to the US regulatory process, it’s not as if Trump waved a magic wand and presto, KXL was home safe. So now Kenney’s relying on Plan B, a weak argument that the more pipe KXL gets in the ground before Biden is elected, the more likely it will be that Biden will change his mind and issue the presidential permit. As you point out Biden is crystal clear he opposes KXL, furthermore the US courts ruled in the Dakota Access case that even a pipeline that’s been in operation (ie. pipe in the ground) for years can be shut down.
      Kenney had a choice: he could invest Alberta taxpayers’ money in pipelines under Canadian jurisdiction like the ones you’ve mentioned in the past or he could take a flyer on a pipeline over which he has absolutely no control or influence.
      I predict KXL will hang around Kenney’s neck like a stinking albatross (to quote CPC leadership candidate Peter Mackey).

  7. James A Wachowich says:

    Bang on! The Red Tape complaint is the big corporate ruse. The monopoly regulated utilities are using it to try to avoid or limit regulatory oversight.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Yes, and we can all see how well that ‘deregulation’ worked out for consumers in the case of natural gas, thanks to the equivalent policies of Ralph Klein’s misinterpretation of Albertans’ mandate:

      Now that single gas line that ties into an Albertan’s house has been sold so many times to so many foreign entities that the ‘service’ costs exponentially more and more than any actual heating the Albertan might do; to my knowledge little of those profits are going towards cleaning up the mess generated from extracting the stuff, with even less being directly funneled back into the local economy.

      Lesson not learned, apparently.

      Does The Hinterland of Who’s Who have an official fish for Alberta? Because if not I have a suggestion:
      Catostomus Macrocheilus
      (The Largescale Sucker)

      • Carl HUNT says:

        Alberta has an Official Fish, the bull trout, listed as ‘Threatened’ and still not protected from habitat destruction. All Alberta trout are ‘Threatened’ by the political bull!

    • Good point James. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a political party say if they’re elected they’ll cut red tape by eliminating one, two, or three regulations for every one enacted. They suggest this will reduce the time and money it costs to get a project approved which will translate into better service for the consumer. But it can also detrimentally impact public safety, the environment, and the taxpayer’s pocket book when they find themselves at the mercy of a monopoly, let’s face it, the only game in town can charge whatever it wants for its good and services.

  8. Dave says:

    That an Alberta conservative government has a very cozy relationship with corporate donors and supporters is not a surprise. After all the PC’s did too, although that only became clear during the party’s long decline and well after the rot started setting in. What is surprising is how quickly the UCP, which has more populist roots has ended up in a similar position. This leads me to believe all that populist talk before the election was a sham. Interestingly, we don’t hear very much talk from them about the grassroots anymore. I suspect it is one of the words the UCP communication staff tries to avoid these days, lest the hypocrisy gets ridiculed.

    However, all this corporate support seems to be a bit of a one way street for Albertans Large corporations get tax cuts and then go on to lay off more staff or move operations elsewhere. However, I have no doubt if the UCP gets booted out by the voters here, prominent people like Kenney will find a financial life raft with corporate directorships, or lucrative “consulting” contracts. They probably will not have to worry much about our provincial ethics laws, which look nice on paper, but are not really that tough. The UCP and its PC predecessors, have also always been careful to go out of their way to find ethics enforcers who could be counted on to be modest in their approach and sympathetic to them.

    If these two things are not bad enough, the third and possibly even worse is the UCP really picks it corporate winners – say hello to developing new coal mines in 2020. It is as if their economic vision comes from the 1920’s or the 1950’s in West Virginia. Add to this 7 billion plus to building a pipeline in the US that will quite possibly get stopped again if the administration changes in the next election, which is quite likely given recent polls. If the UCP can’t resist engaging in cozy and incredibly self serving corporate relationships, couldn’t they at least pick something that might be helpful to get us to the economy of the future, like say South Korea did with Samsung or something like that?

    • Dave: very good point about the “grassroots”. One has to wonder how much abuse non-corporate UCP supporters will put up with. If Trump’s supporters are any example, it appears that they’ll put up with an awful lot before they finally figure out that their hero may say he’s saving them from [insert name of latest boogeyman] but in fact is only taking care of himself and his buddies. Just as Covid is exposing Trump’s incompetence and greed, so too will Covid coupled with an ailing fossil fuel sector expose the UCP because as you point out, these guys have no economic vision, preferring to defaulting to strategies that worked in the mid 20th century. We are in a time of unprecedented change. It’s confusing and challenging, but it could also be exhilarating under the right leadership. Stuffy old fashioned Jason Kenney simply doesn’t cut it.

  9. Carlos says:

    If you do not have time or interest to read ‘Road to UnFreedom’ by Timothy Schneider read this little article

    http://www.openculture.com/2018/06/an-introduction-to-ivan-ilyin.html

    amazing that something like this may interest any parties in a democratic system, but it does. It is food for people like our wonderful thinker Jason Kenney and all his goons

    • GoinFawr says:


      Ilyin “made of lawlessness a virtue so pure as to be invisible,” Snyder writes, “and so absolute as to demand the destruction of the West. He shows us how fragile masculinity generates enemies, how perverted Christianity rejects Jesus, how economic inequality imitates innocence, and how fascist ideas flow into the postmodern. This is no longer just Russian philosophy. It is now American life.”

      Strong words roundly describing the mechanics of the intellectually contorted “doubleplusgoodthink” of the UCP and its ‘base’.

      By way of example: for me it brings to mind the mental gymnastics required to hold forth specious suppositions like,

      “If you refuse to tolerate unjustified intolerance, then you yourself are ‘intolerant'”

      Another is the inverted idea that somehow the Franco’s of this world have been, and always will be, promulgators of ‘free speech’ and ‘freedom’ in general, when it is quite plain that the (Canadian) ‘left’ has always leaned towards increasing civil liberties for the general populace, while every single ‘Franco’ on historical record has striven for the very opposite, and obviously too.

      No wonder the UCP is going after teachers and the healthcare system: their worst nightmares are healthy, educated people with occupational options, they need the citizens ignorant and desperate,, and therefore willing to do the most dangerous work for the lowest bidder;

      the UCP needs as many Oliver Twists as they can force into existence.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Carlos, regarding, “…nothing seems to bother the population anymore”

        oh, they’re bothered, but responsible, careful, and mindful of others’ rights,

        unlike those who believe they have the right to oppress them with impunity.

      • Carlos says:

        GoinFawr
        You are right and there is some reaction, but my point is more to the fact that the way this government has behaved or better has not behaved at all, it should be a reason to be out there with pitchforks.
        It has been a disgrace in so many different ways. I guess the UCP fan base enjoys this kind of bully /lunatic / arrogant attitude.
        I continue waiting for the non investigation the RCMP was conducting on Jason Cheating Kenney.

  10. CallmeHal says:

    Now we know that Alberta’s health care is about to be privatized. Calamity Kenney managed to slip that bill in before his summer break. Albertans are being sold like cattle at auction, during this world pandemic and recession/depression. And even the meat won’t be safe to eat, after today’s red tape cutting ceremoney — I mean ceremony.

    Strangely, the local media is stone cold silent. They were sleeping, literally, when that bombshell dropped in the middle of the night this week. Don’t worry, though, because Premier Kenney isn’t losing any sleep over it. He doesn’t have a care in the world.

    Regular Albertans are left to sweep up the broken glass from their hail-shattered windows. Life in hailstorm alley seems more like a hellstorm now.

    “Let them eat offal,” might be the premier’s new catchphrase, as he heads off to another luxury hotel, on his government expense account tab.

    • Carlos says:

      CallmeHal the media is not stone cold silent – they are behind Jason Kenney and they are partly responsible for their consent in this scandalous abuse of majority power in what we call a democracy. Bill32 is passed with a couple hours of debate and it affects our health care system and labour laws dramatically.
      Jason Kenney bullies it through showing a complete lack of democratic understanding. All he cares is destroying universal health care and the unions.
      Opening the way for more deregulation Texas style so that corporations can do whatever they want. This is their playground. The media loves it because that is what they are big corporations.
      A complete show of total disrespect for those citizens that represent at least 40% of the Alberta population and did not vote for his circus.

      • CallmeHal says:

        “Alea iacta est”. We are crossing the Rubicon.

        UCP constituency associations ceded their control to Jason Kenney by allowing him to hand-pick all candidates, reject any not to his liking, and tell the associations to try again. They gave their power away, and ultimately ours. It was a dangerous move, one used by famous people whose tactics Jason Kenney has no doubt studied. I am referring to some of the most infamous and despised people in the 20th century. These same associations were silent, thus complicit, when dodgy and possibly illegal violations of rules surrounding elections occurred. Remember all that?

        Now we have seen boasts about how Alberta has passed more new laws than any other province in the first seven months of 2020, some of which were passed under cover of darkness, with time limits and restrictions on debate, during the worldwide pandemic. This goes hand-in-hand with part one.

        So, we have loyal lieutenants installed by the boss, who owe everything to him. Do not look to them for even brief moments of conscience. They are complicit.

        We have their base of supporters, silent and complicit, who gave their power and ours away.

        We have laws that crush our democratic rights, in violation of our constitutional freedoms.

        We have a government that conducts its business in the dark of night, when no one is watching, and an agency funded generously with public money that is protected from prying eyes and all public accountability. We have a governing party that has already made moves to kill education from the ground up, and turn kindergarteners into domestic servant trainees and low-wage slaves at age 13.

        The word for doctor and and teacher is the same in Japanese: sensei. Both of these occupations are moving targets for the Alberta government.

        We have media, usually complicit in promoting the people in power, and stone cold silent when those people carry off major manoeuvres that take away workplace rights and protections, along with health care, in the middle of the night.

        Here’s what happens when all of these events collide: consolidated power that is wielded abusively to control the people. Enslavement of the masses. All the pieces are in place. By the time we have realized it, it’s too late to do anything about it. The laws have changed, so there’s nothing we can do about it legally. History repeats itself.

        Does anyone realize what just happened? We are on the edge of a cliff. People keep asking what the end game is. It’s here. The damage has been done. We live in dangerous times. Fascism is the end game, but it won’t feel like a game when it happens to us.

      • Carlos says:

        Well said CalmeHall but we keep sleeping
        Nothing seems to bother the population anymore. Unless of course the majority really thinks this guy is a genius and should do whatever he wants.
        Where is Justin Trudeau and the minister of Health as far as the implementation of private health care? Well again he is busy with his ethics issues.
        No doubts a great country. Go Canada Go – I guess the NHL playoffs will makes us proud and numb again.

      • CallmeHal says:

        What we are seeing federally on our screens right now is not a coincidence. I believe Alberta’s puppet master is yanking the strings to bring this entire country to the same place Alberta is in now.

        As Alberta falls, so falls the country. This disease of fascism is as contagious as Covid-19. It does not happen in isolation. We need to quarantine it, and vaccinate against it in our schools and post-secondary institutions. We need to root it out before in infects everyone. There is no herd immunity. It is spreading quickly, and our time is running out. We need to wash out hands of it, and disinfect very surface it touches.

      • Carlos says:

        CalmeHall
        your point about to vaccinate against it in our schools and universities is exactly my point. We need to nurture democracy, we need to evolve it and make citizens embrace it and become real educated citizens. The problem is that the political class does not care about that because they do very well in the system the way it is right now. Citizens become consumers, democracy is just a word for elections where they make promises they do not believe in, corporations become the target for money for the party in exchange for influence, competition between the parties makes the system a joke but in the end there is a result that benefits the parties and their friends. In the meantime the rest of the consumers cannot consume much anymore because in the meantime the middle class has been devastated to create the super rich class and so does the process go round and round. Then they create commissions to find out what is happening because not only democracy is just a word, elections are a pseudo confirmation of their legitimacy but things are out of control. Greed is good and society does not exist and everything else they throw at us is not working anymore. It is like a drug at the end of its road. So now what? Well it is no secret that I truly believe we not only have an economic crisis, an environmental crisis but above all a very important political / societal crisis that resulted so far in electing people like Trump, Bolsonaro, Jason Kenney, Boris Johnson and others like Justin Trudeau that have no moral or ethical compass. If anyone believes all of this is coincidental think again. This is our construction pure and simple. The top leaders, media, rich elites and corporations are in bed against us and we are suffering so far of battered wife syndrome. Summarizing we seem to have 10 years to do something about the climate and I think we have less time to change our society rules if we want to avoid the last war fought on this planet. Revolution is just around the corner and it could be a good one or a bad one, the choice is ours.

      • CallmeHal says:

        Thank you, Carlos. I see it coming, too. Great suffering awaits while we sleep.

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