What Alberta’s School Re-entry Plan Teaches Us About Trust

On July 21, the UCP government announced 750,000 students will return to school in September under the government’s re-entry plan Scenario 1.

Scenario 1 means in-class learning under near-normal daily operating conditions with health measures.

These measures include two free reusable masks per student (mandatory for grades 4 and up where physical distancing is not possible), masks plus a discretionary face shield for staff, frequent cleaning, 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer, two thermometers per school, putting students into cohorts, and allowing schools to stagger start times for classes, recess and lunch.

Scenario 1 does not include capping class sizes at 15 or even 20,  presumably because this would require hiring additional teachers.  

Education minister, Adriana LaGrange, said her government is “determined to do everything we can” for the safe return of our students, teachers and staff.

Dr Hinshaw and Minister LaGrange

Dr Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer, said “we are committed to doing everything possible” to protect the health and safety of students, staff and family.

They both stand resolutely behind Scenario 1.

And yet Albertans across the province have taken to the streets demanding more funding to support additional safety measures. Unlike Ms LaGrange and Dr Hinshaw, they are not convinced that Scenario 1 does “everything possible” to keep our children, staff and families safe in the midst of a pandemic.  

Why the lack of trust?

It will be fine, trust me

When Ms LaGrange announced Scenario 1, she assured Albertans it reflected the input and support of “school authorities” and “education partners”. She failed to mention that throughout the process she refused to meet with the Alberta Teachers Association (gasp! the dreaded union).

By excluding the ATA she made three serious mistakes.

First she signaled her government’s contempt for the ATA which represents 32,500 teachers in the province, second she chose to ignore the best advice available on how to structure the teaching environment in a way that minimizes the risk of contracting covid-19, and third she threw away an opportunity to include teachers in the roll-out of the re-entry plan which would have given it additional credibility.  

Ms LaGrange finally agreed to meet with the ATA in the third week in August. The ATA expressed concerns around the need for increased physical distancing through reduced class sizes, funding for better protective equipment and better plans for screening and testing students and staff.

It is extremely unlikely the ATA’s concerns will make it into the re-entry plan.

No really, you can trust me

Sadly, we’re having trust issues with Dr Deena Hinshaw as well.

This is not surprising given all that Premier Kenney has done to marginalize Alberta’s chief medical officer. Never was this more evident than when Mr Kenney lifted the state of emergency without consulting Dr Hinshaw prior to announcing his decision. She was blindsided at a press conference by a reporter asking her to comment on Mr Kenney’s decision.

Dr Hinshaw says she supports the government’s re-entry plan because it’s been proven by the Canadian Pediatric Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others that the “safe return to school is critical to the physical and mental health and well-being of students and families.”

She added (1) if children are infected, they’re more likely to be mildly sick, (2) childhood infections don’t seem to drive community transmission, and (3) young children appear to be less likely than adults to infect others.  

All of this is interesting but it does not address the issue.

No one is disputing the experts’ position that returning to school is critical to the physical and mental well-being of students and families. And most of us are not in a position to comment on whether young children are less likely to infect others than older children or whether childhood infections drive community transmission.

However, given Dr Hinshaw’s commitment to do “everything possible” to protect the health and safety of students, staff and families, we’d really appreciate her expert opinion on whether the government’s Scenario 1 re-entry plan meets this standard.

No, we don’t trust you

And then there’s Jason Kenney.

He says the school re-entry plan is part of Alberta’s plan to relaunch our economy, but unlike other elements of Alberta’s recovery plan this one is not supported by a significant investment.

As far as we can tell the funds allocated to the plan are nothing more than (1) the return of funds stripped out of the education budget in the spring when Ms LaGrange fired 20,000 education assistants and staff, (2) giving permission to school boards to tap into their reserves and (3) accelerating capital spending already in the budget.     

Compare this to Mr Kenney’s generous gift of $1.5 billion in equity and $6 billion in loan guarantees to TC Energy’s KXL pipeline.

It appears the health and well-being of 750,000 Alberta students, 32,500 teachers, countless associated staff and their respective families don’t stack up against the iffy promise of 6,800 direct and indirect jobs in the oil sector.

Perhaps the real reason Albertans have taking to the streets to protest Scenario 1 is that they don’t trust a government that believes we must be a prosperous society before we can be a compassionate caring one.

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57 Responses to What Alberta’s School Re-entry Plan Teaches Us About Trust

  1. Leila keith says:

    Your last paragraph was bang on.I am glad my son is past school age.I do not have to make that decision to send him into that lion’s den of covid 19

    • Dwayne says:

      Leila Keith. Most of my nieces are in their 20s, one is in her 30s, and my nephew is 25. I feel for the younger people, who have to go into packed schools. One of my nieces is of school age. Coincidentally, her mother, which is one of my sisters, is some sort of senior employee at the ATA. The UCP are not making things any easier for Albertans.

      • caroline argao juan says:

        My grandkids are going back to school and I am not they should yet. Too early or either that decrease the class room to less than 15, u should hire teachers aid to assist the teacher’s. Just to make sure all kids are safe, distancing from other kids , wear masks, wash hands.
        Also school should open after labor day. This way teachers will have more time to prepare.

      • Caroline, thanks for your comment. Everything you’ve suggested makes perfect sense. I just wish the Minister of Education and her boss would listen to you.

    • Agreed. The last paragraph is bang on. We need to learn to elect governments the put people before profits. Unfortunately, we Albertans are extremely slow learners.

      • Reynold, well said. The interesting thing is countries with good social welfare systems, (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark for example) also rank high for quality of life. Fancy that.

    • Agreed. The last paragraph is bang on. We need to learn to elect governments the put people before profits. Unfortunately, we Albertans are extremely slow learners.

    • Leila and Dwayne, I too am relieved I don’t have school aged children, primarily because it’s almost impossible to make a reasonable decision on whether to send your kids back to school given the level of misinformation coming from the Kenney government. For example when Kenney said it was safe to return to school because Denmark did it he didn’t mention that before covid Denmark’s average class size was 20 students, and after covid average class sizes dropped to 10 to 14. In Alberta, it’s not uncommon to find classes in the 25 to 30 range. We’ve got a long way to go before we can start comparing our back to school plan with Denmark’s plan.
      Here’s the backup for the Denmark info https://www.brookings.edu/blog/education-plus-development/2020/07/06/reopening-the-world-reopening-schools-insights-from-denmark-and-finland/

  2. J. Currie says:

    Trust is also about following through on the values and principles you have stated are evidence based and the right response to contain Covid. Since early March it was all about physical distancing, avoiding confined spaces and large groups inside. So now these essential principles all cast aside because they aren’t convenient. And now ignoring asymptomatic infections which may be 30% or more. Kids and teachers and support staff all on the trash heap along with seniors who now won’t be able to see or provide support to their families.

    • J. Currie your last sentence really nailed it. A friend of mine said she’s sending her small children back to school (she works and can’t keep them at home). When she told her father who is 80 and in poor health, he said he’d risk dying early if that’s the price he had to pay to be a part of his grandchildren’s lives.
      The fact Alberta families are having these conversations because our government refuses to make our schools as safe as possible in a pandemic is simply abhorrent.

  3. Jaundiced Eye says:

    Deena Hinshaw should have resigned as Chief Medical Officer the moment she heard that Boss Kenney ended the state of emergency? At this point, Hinshaw knew she was irrelevant. As for Minister LaGrange, does any thinking adult really believe that these are her ideas? Let’s also keep in mind that this is not just Jason Kenney, this is a regime.

    • Jaundiced Eye: I’ve talked with a number of doctors who agree with everything you’ve said about the role of the CMO. As much as Dr Hinshaw seems to be a nice person, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, we expected more.
      And as for Minister LaGrange, she’s no different from the rest of the cabinet ministers, she’s got her marching orders and it’s damn the torpedoes full speed ahead.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Welcome back. I hope your vacation with your family was great. I must say that the UCP is an absolute mess of a government. What they are doing is putting Albertans at risk. They have no concrete policies, with school reopening, or with the covid situation as a whole. Dr. Deena Hinshaw was an NDP appointee, and the UCP couldn’t put her on their list of people who would be gone, from their “budget cuts”, due to covid happening. However, the UCP have now taken control over what Dr. Deena Hinshaw is able to do. This has made matters worse. Also, the UCP let go of educational support staff in the spring. It’s interesting to note that private schools in Alberta have all the support they need for children to return to school. The UCP provided it. The public education system in Alberta is left scrambling. Two relief packages totalling $16 billion, were made up by the UCP, one $3 billion, and the other $13 billion. Where did this money go to? It also has been reported that there has been an increase of cases with covid amongst kids. Alberta also has the highest per capita rate of individuals who have covid in Canada. I think after September, schools in Alberta will be closed once again. The UCP has more money to waste, on things like the dead end pipeline, which is over $7 billion, giveaways to the petrochemical industry, hiring their friends for big paying meaningless positions, and so on, created, the aforementioned relief funds, totalling $16 billion, and also lost nearly $5 billion on corporate tax cuts, which didn’t create any jobs, or attract investment, yet couldn’t come up with something like around $1 billion for helping the public education system get the help it needs to deal with the covid situation, like the NDP, (MLA Sarah Hoffman), said would be needed. Adrianna LaGrange’s nephew is also a senior manager at Cargill. Remember the UCP’s back to work order there, and what a disaster that was? The UCP’s fumbled back the school plans will have a very bad effect. The other not surprising thing is that Albertans are irate with the WE fiasco, from Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, which tops off at $900 million. How come there is no complaints about the UCP blowing away far more money? Here is yet another kicker. Recently, an article was put out by World Oil, and it mentioned the Alberta PCs less than desirable fiscal legacy, ever since Peter Lougheed was no longer the premier of Alberta. Alberta’s oil based wealth fund misses a $433 billion opportunity. By Kevin Orland and Kait Bolongaro. 8/6/2020 We would be able to survive these rough times, if we had that money now.

    • Dwayne, thank you for the detailed itemization of the UCP’s financial mistakes. They ran on the platform of fiscal conservatism, but these guys couldn’t run a lemonade stand in the middle of a heat wave. Sadly many Albertans don’t see it that way. Part of the problem is the UCP is adept at using smoke and mirrors to hid the truth.
      Case in point, the UCP claims it’s increased the funding for school boards. However the opposite is true. School boards receive less money per student now than they did two years ago, and this is BEFORE you factor in the additional funds they need to fund covid-safety expenditures.The ATA says the UCP created a lot of confusion when it changed how school boards would be funded and this makes it very hard for stakeholders and objective third parties to understand what’s going on.
      Hiding the truth and gas lighting your citizens is not the hallmark of good government. Here’s the link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/explaining-alberta-school-funding-1.5696222

      PS, yes my staycation at home with the family was lovely, thank you for mentioning it. 🙂

  5. Mike Priaro says:

    Another great post, Susan. I agree that adequate measures to protect children, teachers, support staff, bus drivers and parents are not in place.
    The Kenney government is not just tone deaf, it is deaf, period.
    Let’s not be too hard on Dr. Hinshaw. I believe she is doing her best while trying to keep her job in order that Albertans be best served.
    “The Chief Medical Officer of Health is a member of the Alberta Health executive team and reports to the Deputy Minister of Health. In extraordinary situations, such as a public health emergency, to ensure the welfare of Albertans, the Chief Medical Officer of Health may report directly to the Minister of Health.”
    A replacement of Dr. Hinshaw by Health Minister Shandro would undoubtedly be inferior to Dr. Hinshaw.

    • Thanks Mike, you make an excellent point about replacing Dr Hinshaw. Given who would be in change of the search committee (I use that term loosely because I suspect the search would start and end with the UCP cronies list) we’d likely be much worse off than where we are right now.

  6. Carlos says:

    I personally think that this is 100% Jason Kenney’s influenza plan. He still thinks that this is all an waste of money and a game of Thrones.
    These are all adults that show very little responsibility or character at all to protect their very well paid jobs. I have news for them, this is not War Games, this is real life and if kids or their parents or grandparents die as a consequence of this failed plan, you are responsible for it for staying silent in the face of something so bluntly bad.
    I think that Deena Hinshaw is as responsible as all of them behind this plan and if she does not have the courage to come out and say that she is against then too bad but you should. If you do not then you agree with it. I am not sure what is the doubt about this choice, Just because she is working for a bad government does not mean that she has to succumb to bad decisions. She clearly has a choice. She made it and disappointed many people including myself and confirmed an idea that I had from day 1 that she is very good at nice phrases of sympathy but I never felt that much more than that actually existed. When she was pushed aside because Jason Kenney and Shandro smelled opportunity for some brownie points by being present at the daily covid presentations she should have right away made it clear who was the doctor and who was in charge. She never did and that is when my first red light was on.

    • Carlos, your excellent comment made me revisit what Timothy Snyder said in his book “On Tyranny” about the role of professionals under authoritarian rule (and yes, I know people will argue Kenney is not an authoritarian but given the bills he’s passed and the political norms he’s flaunted there’s plenty of evidence of where he’s heading).
      Anyway, Snyder says authoritarians need obedient civil servants. He says professional ethics must guide us in exceptional times and that professionals can have conversations with government that are impossible between an individual and their government. Perhaps Dr Hinshaw tried to push back and was mowed down, we’ll never know, but when she said “we are committed to doing everything possible” to protect the health and safety of students, staff and family, then we the public are entitled to ask her whether Scenario 1 does “everything possible” or whether there’s more we can do. Given what the ATA has asked for I’d argue there is much more we can do and it’s incumbent on Dr Hinshaw in her role as CMO to point this out to the government and to us, the citizens who will be bear the brunt of the government’s school re-entry plan.

      • Carlos says:

        I fully agree. I am done with this ‘I was doing my job’ type popular song that just means weakness. In a case as important as this involving thousands of lives there is no excuse for lack of resolve. We are so used to excuse ourselves from full responsibility. There should be strong legislation to protect people from retribution from their superiors when cases like this happen.
        Deena Hinshaw may have been mowed down but in her position she had the obligation to say so. Whether Jason Kenney liked it or not is to me completely irrelevant. We are supposed to live in a democracy and not a cult.
        As far as people arguing Jason Kenney is not authoritarian I do not even bother think about it because the man is so obviously a tyrant that one needs sunglasses not to see it.

  7. GoinFawr says:

    ” (1) if children are infected, they’re more likely to be mildly sick, (2) childhood infections don’t seem to drive community transmission, and (3) young children appear to be less likely than adults to infect others. ”

    Well, I guess adult teachers and their families are about to find out whether (2) and (3) just “seem” or “appear” to be true.
    Is this just all a new section on the timeline of ‘flattening the curve’? Are we simply now switching to full-on “Logan’s Run” mode, (for teaching staff in any case)?

    Really, it would not surprise me to find out Mr.Kenney and his admin. derive great pleasure from the thought of teachers catching deadly illnesses, judging from previous smarmy behaviors like those illustrated here:

    • GoinFawr, wow, I hadn’t seen that photo of Kenney cocking a finger at the gallery. It will join the many other photos and videos I’ve seen of this man that are truly chilling.
      As to what’s really behind Kenney’s school re-entry plan, all I can say is Kenney, like many conservatives, values activities that produce products that can be sold for profit, they do not value activities that are focused on the young, the old, the sick, and the vulnerable. All of whom are at greater risk as a result of his bare bones school re-entry plan.

  8. Happy Strong says:

    I for the life of me do not understand the Canadian strategy of staying safe from the dreaded virus. But from what I’m picking up from all our leaders and so called experts is that it is totally unacceptable for kids to group together for hockey tournaments and such because they’ll get and spread the corona virus and on the other hand it’s totally fine for hundreds of thousands of kids across the country to cram into close quarters weather it be class rooms, school hallways, buses and what have you and what they won’t catch and spread covid this is what you people are comfortable spreading. With all the mixed messages coming from our so called top minds it’s no wonder people are left dazed and confused about just what to do. Great job but I’m glad I do not have school aged children and should be able to avoid any contact with this group because I truly believe they are going to be in a world of hurt this fall.

    • Happy, you’re right, the advice we’re getting is confusing and while I can understand that this is a novel coronavirus and the science is evolving, it doesn’t help when governments get in the mix and make things even more confusing.
      I’m an adult and I find the stickers on the floors in the stores and at my eye doctor confusing, can you imagine how tricky physical distancing is going to be for a child, especially if there aren’t enough teachers. educational assistants and others to keep an eye on 20 to 30 kids racing around the school yard.
      Today’s Globe and Mail carried a story about the courts using hotels, convention centres and even the Calgary Stampede grounds for jury trials because they need that much space to ensure physical distancing. The fact we’re not considering breaking up class sizes and putting these kids into unused spaces across the city like some of the European countries are doing tells me we don’t have our priorities straight.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Happy, I think the argument being made is that education is considered essential, while hockey is not (“I never saw someone say THAT before” -G.Downie), so AHS is trying to ‘limit’ the rate of spread by asking us to stick to ‘essential’ gatherings; keeping that curve ‘flattened’ as the goal.

      Regarding the ‘mixed messaging’, when it comes to epidemiology consider the advice of the pro’s, ignore the pols and trolls (when you can).

  9. Doreen says:

    I also want to know what happens to children who show symptoms of Covid while at school. Schools will have a quarantine room for them to go to but can the school board assure parents that we will be called to pick up our kid if this happens and not some health authority? I know that it’s stated in other parts of the world that health authorities will be called first, assess your child and then, if need be, take your child from school to a facility without parents consent for 2 weeks. This is happening in NZ, Australia and I think Ireland, maybe more…? If you don’t believe me then look up Covid-19 public health response bill under enforcement and powers of re entry. Also in South Australia Covid-19 emergency response act 2020 and the removal of children. This is what worries me if we should see a rise in cases as we’ve all been warned the the fall will be bad and we’ll have a second wave.

    • Doreen, very important question. Once again the government’s announcement isn’t much use. In the section entitled COVID-19 cases at school it says:
      -If a student or staff tests positive for COVID-19, a public health team will investigate to determine when symptoms developed and support the school to minimize transmission.
      -While each case will be addressed based on its unique circumstances, it is anticipated that in most cases only the group of students and staff who came in close contact will likely be required to stay home for 14 days, and not the entire school population.
      -Parents will be notified if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at school and public health officials will contact those who were in close contact with that person.

      Clearly public health is involved, but what’s not clear is when and how.
      Here’s the link: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=728677F3FD440-E50C-5C36-E8E7D05B8E93C3DC

  10. Sherry says:

    Sanitizer, masks and thermometers were not in the UPC back to school plan. It was a result of parent protest they were added the the plan in August. This is Kenney’s idea of providing a safe environment for Alberta’s students and teachers.

    • Sherry, I was unaware of this fact, thank you for pointing it out. How sad that parents had to take to the streets to advocate for such simple safety measures.
      I was reading the cleaning requirements in the re-entry document. It requires
      – enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices
      – cleaning ALL areas of the school DAILY
      – cleaning washrooms and high-touch surfaces MULTIPLE times a day
      – regularly scheduled deep cleaning when students are not present
      Who is going to do all this extra cleaning given that Kenney cut school funding per student even before the extra covid related safety measures were put into place. I looked back at the photo GoinFawr provided and was reminded of Kenney’s comment in the Legislature that teachers could “tidy up” after themselves.
      Here’s the link:https://www.alberta.ca/k-to-12-school-re-entry-2020-21-school-year.aspx

  11. Robert Condon says:

    Well said. Unfortunately none of the misguided folks currently in charge of our province have eyes to see, not ears to hear.

  12. Areej says:

    I’m sending my kids back to school as their dad and I working there’s no point of keeping them home, if one of us got sick at work places or somewhere else we don’t know. I think some of the teachers just finding online easier and less work for them. We all have family’s and we went back to work and some they didn’t even stopped working as medical fields, food industry and many other. I don’t think it’s fair for some to work and some just staying home claim the CERP.

    • Areej, I’ve got a few friends who are teachers, some at the junior high level and others at universities. They say they prefer teaching in classrooms to teaching online because it’s harder to keep kids motivated online.
      With respect to CERB, teachers would be taking a pay cut if they stayed home and collected CERB.
      In any event, the issue isn’t that the teachers don’t want to go back to work. All they’re asking for is that the Kenney government put in the necessary funds to make schools a safe environment for students, teachers, staff and parents. If schools turn into covid hotspots, then our infections will rise and there’s a chance the government will have to close down the economy again. No one wants that.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: There are relatives of mine who were, and who are teachers. Teachers work harder than many people realize. It’s a shame how Alberta is going back to the dark ages of the Ralph Klein era. Same thing with healthcare in Alberta. I also have relatives who were, and are medical professionals, including nurses.

  13. Susan Henze says:

    Great piece. How can we possibly trust a government that so obviously values big business more than people or the environment? How can we trust a government that removes environmental protections during the night? I’m sorry to say it’s disgustingly similar to the current government south of the border…

  14. MAS says:

    “she refused to meet with the Alberta Teachers Association (gasp! the dreaded union).” I notice on today’s The Tyee that in BC the teachers union is working with the government to make things safer for both students and teachers. Yet this bunch of numbskulls here in Alberta haven’t the wit they were born with to do the same thing.

    • MAS I suspect the Education Minister’s refusal to meet with the ATA was driven in large part by her government’s low opinion of unions. The Health Minister did the same thing to the Alberta Medical Association and look how well that turned out.
      Like you said, numbskulls, the lot of them.

  15. Mary Axworthy says:

    Great post Susan! Were you surprised by O’Toole’s win? Any thoughts? Mary

    On Sun, Aug 23, 2020, 8:55 PM Susan on the Soapbox, wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” On July 21, the UCP government announced > 750,000 students will return to school in September under the government’s > re-entry plan Scenario 1. Scenario 1 means in-class learning under > near-normal daily operating conditions with health measures. Thes” >

    • Thanks Mary! Yes, I was surprised by O’Toole’s win but then when I thought about it a bit more I realized O’Toole must have sized up his competition, two social conservatives and MacKay, played to the social conservative voters, gambling (correctly as it turned out) that the social conservatives would come to him when Lewis and Sloan fell off the ballot. The big trick now will be for O’Toole to soften his social conservative message enough to attract middling conservatives without losing his social conservative base. Kenney pulled it off here in Alberta, but I don’t think O’Toole can pull it off nationwide. Having said that Trudeau has run into a lot of trouble lately so we’ll see.
      Ain’t politics grand! 🙂

      • Carlos says:

        I am not because Harper was definitely behind him – he was not interested in Peter McKay normal Conservatism. It had to be right – to extreme right

  16. Susan In Palliser says:

    Susan in Palliser. Glad you are back Susan keeping us thinking.
    I was naive! I was hoping that the return to school plan during Covid 19 with a pandemic raging would force a revolution somewhere in Canada to reduce the pupil teacher ratio and invite creative responses for organizing children, young people, teachers and all those who become part of a school community.

    Ah, wishful thinking! I did know Alberta would be the last bastion for education reform given policies that give strength to private options and support back to basic programming approaches along with revised government funding allocations which undercut the major public systems in the province. Trust! It would take a will to listen, offer change and money to make health and good learning a priority.

    I do believe educators will try their best. Will it be enough to stand up to Covid 19?

    I will think more about Dr.Henshaw’s role. Susan and the responses help. When in the middle, does it become how to walk a tight rope? Can she raise her voice? Are the voices of protestors/ parents/teachers and others given an ear even when they have the potential to organize at election time?

    Mary asks about the O’Toole win. Not really a surprise. The analysis and the breakdown of the vote in Alberta suggests dark days as the rest of the country may follow the shift to the right (extreme right?) as the WE issue may reaffirm that the Gods… or perhaps it is the politicians…. have clay feet.

    • Susan in Palliser, thanks. I agree with you that educators will try to do their best, I really want to see how Kenney and LaGrange spend our share of the $2 billion Trudeau just announced for help schools reopen.
      Our share is $262 million. The Kenney government said this funding is in addition to all the funding the province gave schools, but as I said above, the so-called funding Kenney is talking about is simply the return of funds he stripped out of the education budget in the spring, accelerated capital spending already in the budget, and telling the schools to tap into their reserves. This is not additional funding.
      As the athlete in the movie Jerry Maguire said, “Show me the money!” and stop taking credit for Trudeau’s compassionate bailout (yet again).

  17. Leila Keith says:

    I think the alberta government is extremely stingy only providing 2 masks.I also think they are playing with children’s health and there must be another way to do this…revamp education so it is not set up as it is.Recipe for disaster…

    • Leila, I absolutely agree. What makes this situation even more ridiculous is if the school re-opening goes badly, infections will risk, hospitals will be full, regularly planned surgeries and treatments will be postponed, stores will be shuttered and the economy is in danger of tanking again.

  18. Carlos says:

    The Federal Government is sending another 300 million for safety in schools but without strings attached.
    We all know where that money is going to go. Maybe the coal mine companies this time.
    Some obscure bank account?
    Justin Trudeau is as naive as one can be despite all the experience he has had. Just cannot see an inch beyond is nose. Who outside his close warriors trusts Jason Kenney or anyone in his government?
    By the way I still do not know where to ask about the RCMP investigation. I guess it will be done when he leaves office. The usual. Talk about corruption.

    • I too am very concerned Carlos. It is absolutely imperative that the federal funds go to the schools as intended.
      What’s ironic about all this is remember how loudly Kenney squawked about the feds trespassing on provincial jurisdiction (that’s the essence of his carbon tax challenge case), and yet here he is scooping up federal funding for everything from schools to abandoned well clean up. When it comes to taking care of the environment or social programs like education Kenney is more than happy to let the feds do it.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes I remember very well and the only reason he has stopped is because he wants all the money from the Federal government and more. He criticized Quebec for doing that.
        This only shows the character this man does not have. He only cares about the brownie points he gets and being called the greatest conservative in Canada, more like a conservative Oracle where everyone comes for advice on how to screw up bad.
        I never doubted that he is what is obvious. Apparently 47% of people just cannot see it at all. He has no character whatsoever and goes with were the wind blows for his benefit.
        It is not a secret that I am not a fan of Justin Trudeau but along with Christa Freeland they show some class when dealing with the provinces. Jason Kenney does not believe at all this money should be distributed and if he had any class and any sense of responsibility he would decline the money. After all he does not need it for our schools. He already has a plan and should not waste 300 million dollars on what he does not believe in.
        The man is a disgrace but frankly this is probably what we deserve. This province has been mismanaged horribly in the last 35 years and the party is now over, Now the bill has arrived and the so called fiscal reckoning is coming. This is how it is resolved every single time. Albertans have a long way to go to mature and never mind to be independent. The only management skill we have shown throughout the years is waste. Reforms on anything never happened only cuts and resumption of the same bad habits. We are addicts and our politicians are corporate vassals. We are now the worst province in Canada in financial terms and we have nothing to help us reform our system. The 1 trillion the Norwegian communists saved is what we could have had with people that care for the province rather than cheapo brainwashed politicians. I am starting to believe that the very first thing we need to do is to eliminate the party system and let people run on their own merit and the prime minister is selected from inside the legislature by all of them.

  19. Carlos says:

    Here is what our premier is busy with

    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/jason-kenney-erin-otoole-leadership_ca_5f458b2ec5b64f17e13578b6

    I title it ‘Ping Pong meets Pong Ping’
    What a travesty this New Conservatism is all about. Erin O’Toole is now proud that he won the leadership race despite that he is pro-choice – Erin we are in 2020 remember – abortion was discussed in the 1960s – can you please move on? We have very important issues like CLIMATE CHANGE – by the way do you believe in science? I am not sure. I would like to know because your cousin here in Alberta does not know what science is or what reality is so he is investing in coal mines. This despite the fact that the previous government was able to get the lowest prices for wind energy in Canada and even lower than the one generated by coal. I understand the previous government were darn communist according to Jason Kenney. They even used laws comparable to the ones imposed by Joseph Stalin. You better check your cousin mental health before you talk about alienation because he and his troops have an alienation complex.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: Have you seen the UCP’s lastest financial updates for Alberta? Is it ever bad. Albertans need to come to their senses and take the UCP out of power, before they make matters worse. It will not be easy for Albertans to deal with this.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes I have seen the numbers and of course is all because of COVID-19 – their lower taxes has nothing to do with it – they do not even mention revenue only the CUTS coming.
        So Jobs and jobs will get worse because they are cutting more.
        24 billion deficit and the Federal Government took most of the of blunt of the COVID-19 financial burden so obviously it is a UCP made disaster.
        They will as always divert all the responsibility and blame Justin Trudeau or the doctors or even better the teachers. What else is new.

    • Thanks Carlos. There’s been a lot written over the last few days about the challenges facing Erin O’Toole. It all revoves around the excellent point you make which is Canadians have moved beyond divisive issues like abortion and LBGTQ rights, so when O’Toole says the conservative tent is big enough to include the social conservatives (those who are anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-immigration, etc), he painted himself into a corner. Firstly, the social conservatives think they got him elected and now he owes them, and secondly, the CPC will continue to be a party that is not attractive to most Canadians because it doesn’t reflect our values.
      It’s weird how we have to have these battles over and over again.

      • Carlos says:

        Eliminate the parties that is what the problem is – let people run on their own with some help from the government and with expense limits and then let them elect a prime minister in the House and then you will see whether or not they collaborate.
        Parties are destroying us along with their spinners and propagandists and whatever else is the fad of the moment. How to talk, how to read a speech, how to dress, how to look this and how to look that and the whole process is a circus. The process like everything else in our lives has been privatized into money making machines that serve the interests of groups or corporations that lobby the government to the limit and nothing is left to the reality of our lives. You just have to listen carefully to political podcasts and you will see how far they all are from us and from reality. They built a fake world that serves only a certain group. Michael Enright who use to do the Sunday Edition on CBC and one of the very few journalists I respect, until his very last program could not understand why politics are going so wrong? Seriously? Easy it is a bloody mess full of deceiving, corruption, interference from big money and the elites who now are all together hoping to see who is going to be the first trillionaire in the world. How any wonder what the problem is?
        Get to the ground, get rid of your ego, be truthful as your religion teaches, be kind and care for people as citizens and the province as a home. Stop being jerks and lying. That is the solution.

  20. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I wonder if you saw the UCP’s latest fiscal update for Alberta? Is it ever terrible. I think things won’t get any easier for Albertans. The UCP has got to be removed from power, before they make matters worse.

  21. Ingamarie says:

    Its all rather sad really……..but perhaps Albertans have to put their children at risk, in order to learn that much as you may rely on oil and gas……fossil fuels don’t love you back.

    Only people can do that…….children do it especially well. Shame on the lot of us for being willing to warehouse our youth, as well as our old………while pretending for so many years that we haven’t been giving them the short end of the economic stick.

    Pipelines? Only the damned put bitumen before their children. Particularly when its so easy to print money for uneconomic old technology….sending kids back into overcrowded classrooms to save a buck seems idiotic.

    • Ingamarie,that was such a poignant comment, “fossil fuels don’t love you back”.
      It seems to me that we’ve become so brainwashed over 44 years of conservative rule that when we had a chance to break free of the thinking that money is the answer to everything so everything must be sacrificed to money, we were incapable to understanding it, hence too many Albertans were prepared to turf Rachel in favour of Kenney (god what a mistake)
      Now we’re learning that the thing that’s supposed to create money isn’t doing it anymore, but after 44 years of conservative rule most Albertans have no idea how to switch gears and so we keep doing the same stupid thing over and over again.

  22. Pingback: COVID-19 and Masking in Alberta K-12 Schools |

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