The Day of (Fiscal) Reckoning

Jason Kenney’s warning came just prior to the government’s economic update announcement. He said “when we get through all of this there will be a fiscal reckoning”.

Reckoning. It has a biblical ring and in this context the implication is that no matter what calamity is visited upon us, we had it coming and we deserve to be punished.  

Judgment Day

Economic Update

On Aug 27, the Kenney government set the stage for the fiscal reckoning by opening the Legislature with a prayer. The Speaker asked the “Lord, the God of righteousness and truth” to “grant [Alberta’s elected representatives] the guidance of Your spirit.”*

It’s unclear which god the government was calling upon but as a result of his/her/their guidance the Kenney government is facing a $24.2 billion deficit this year and an accumulated debt of around $100 billion.

This in and of itself isn’t the end of the world—Alberta’s debt as a percent of GDP will be 22.3%, this is comparable to BC at 22% and Sask at 20.8% —however finance minister Toews made it clear that the path to a balanced budget and reduced debt was cutting expenses (aka an austerity budget) and not increasing revenues by reversing the government’s decision to cut corporate taxes or, heaven forbid, considering a provincial sales tax.  

Myths

Finance minister Toews introduced the economic update with an epic myth.

He said before Alberta was blindsided by covid-19 and the OPEC+ oil price war, Alberta’s economy was on the upswing thanks to the government’s job creating corporate tax cut and red tape cutting efforts.

This is not true.

Between Aug 2019 and Feb 2020 Alberta lost 24,400 jobs and not one major corporation relocated to Alberta to take advantage of the Kenney corporate tax cuts and its red tape free business environment. In fact, one major corporation chose to grab its tax savings and run to the US.

Furthermore, the government’s effort to cut red tape made Alberta even less attractive to investors.

Global investment managers like Blackrock are pulling out of Alberta because of its lack of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. Morningstar, a global investment research firm, lays the blame at Kenney’s doorstep saying that by cutting staff at the Alberta Energy Regulator and weakening environmental monitoring and oversight  “the Alberta government has become the oil patch’s own worst enemy.”

So no, the Kenney government’s economic policies did nothing for Alberta’s economy before calamity stuck.   

The sinners

The day of reckoning requires a bad guy, someone who must be punished for his transgressions.

In this case it’s the NDP. Mr Toews says if the NDP had cut spending as recommended in the MacKinnon report, the UCP would have inherited a $3.7 billion surplus, not a $6.7 billion deficit when it came to power.

Given that Mr Toews is trying to explain the $24.2 billion deficit that exists today, not the $6.7 billion deficit that existed the day the UCP came to power, it would be helpful if he included the impact of his government’s decision to decrease revenue by $4.7 billion in corporate tax cuts, $1.5 billion in equity investment in KXL, an additional $6 billion tied up in KXL loan guarantees, and the millions of dollars wasted on the war room, and the (non) public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns, to say nothing of the loss of efficiency and manpower resulting his government ongoing battle with Alberta’s doctors and teachers in the middle of a pandemic.

There is only one bad guy here and it’s not the NDP.

Judgment Day

The NDP finance critic, Shannon Phillips, made an insightful observation when Mr Toews presented the economic update. She said crisis is an opportunity for leadership but instead of leadership, the Kenney government is returning to the scene of old battles and old ideas.

She’s right.

This government’s retreat to yesterday’s failed policies is shocking given how much the world has changed over the last six months.

And while it may be too much to expect the UCP to adopt a provincial sales tax, there’s no excuse for the government ignoring the advice of an economic expert like Mark Carney, now with Brookfield, the world’s largest money manager, who says the transition to a net zero economy (where carbon emissions are offset or eliminated) is not only vital for climate sustainability, it presents “one of the greatest commercial opportunities of our time.”

One would think a net zero economy deserves a closer look, however instead of showing leadership the Kenney government prefers to do what Dr Lindsay Tedds describes as doubling down on thoughts and prayers.

All we can do is hang on. Yes, our children, the sick, the old and the vulnerable will suffer under the austerity measures that will be imposed by the Kenney government, but there will be another day of reckoning. It will occur in 2023 when Albertans will have the opportunity to reckon with the UCP government and vote them out of power.

That will be the sweetest reckoning of all.  

*Alberta Hansard, August 27, 2020, p2587

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60 Responses to The Day of (Fiscal) Reckoning

  1. Leila Keith says:

    Yes a day of reckoning is due this Kenny government…

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for sharing another great blog. If you were to mention Biblical references, there is more than one that springs to mind. One is when Joseph was in captivity in Egypt, and he had to interpret Pharoah’s two dreams. The ones where the damaged grain stalks consumed the healthy looking grain stalks, and the other where the lean fleshed kine ate up the fat fleshed kine. God mentioned to Joseph what the dreams meant, and Joseph told Pharoah, that there would be good years, followed by 7 years of famine. The other is where a king in the Old Testament was told by God, that he must show mercy to the poor, because the king didn’t do that. God punished the king for that. John The Baptist was also telling people to help the poor. Even Jesus, himself, also knew it was important to help the poor. These things do relate to our modern times in Alberta. Alberta has had an abundance of oil and gas. Peter Lougheed knew from his oil industry experience that oil booms cannot be around for an eternity. He also got the right oil royalty rates, without backing off, (oil companies never left Alberta either), saved money, by creating the Heritage Savings Trust Fund,cared for the environment, built things up, and planned ahead. Peter Lougheed was also virtually debacle free. Contrast this to the Alberta PCs, who came after Peter Lougheed. They falsely relied on oil booms to always be there, dramatically and permanently changed Alberta’s oil royalty rate structure for the worse, losing a very large sum of money, didn’t top up the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, and raided it for their own use, let foreign owned entities take control of Alberta’s oil, and get the bulk of the profits, never saved money, did the most costliest debacles, time and time again, let infrastructure and essential services get badly neglected, made utility costs go up exponentially, due to deregulation, put in a flat tax, which lost Alberta even more revenue, neglected to properly help the poor, the seniors, nurses, doctors, and teachers, and gave Albertans a gigantic bill of $260 billion to rectify the messes created by the oil companies in Alberta. There was an expert economist, who reported on August 6, 2020, that Alberta missed a $433 billion wealth opportunity. This was from the Alberta PCs, beginning in the Don Getty era. This was from mismanaging the oil resources we had. How come Albertans aren’t outraged over that loss of money, which would help us today? Oil prices took a downward trend in 2014. When the NDP come to power, in May, 2025, it’s automatically their fault for why Alberta’s pantry is bare. They, and the Liberals in Ottawa, are at fault. Fast forward to April, 2019, and we have the UCP come to power, (by very suspicious and devious means). They automatically blame the NDP for Alberta’s fiscal situation, try to come up with a (well paid) panel, to see what went wrong. Even the panel, called the Blue Ribbon Panel, even had to admit, that Alberta’s fiscal problems came before the NDP were in power. Notice how you mentioned the UCP’s corporate tax cuts. Immediately after this, the UCP went with their proverbial empty coffee cup in hand, going to Ottawa, and were saying Ottawa owed Alberta a certain amount of money. Those corporate tax cuts, never even created one job, and the corporations went away from Alberta. As of yet, the UCP’s blunders are in excess of $50 billion, and climbing. Again, it will be the youth, the vulnerable, the elderly, the teachers, students and medical professionals, who will be paying the price, just like under premier Ralph Klein. The compliant media columnists in Alberta, like David Staples, and Licia Corbella, are favouring cutbacks. It’s going to be hard, if we have more cuts. We are still feeling the effects of Ralph Klein’s cuts. How many Albertans will wake up and realize the UCP haven’t been helping Albertans?

    • Excellent points Dwayne. The hypocrisy of this government never ceases to amaze me. If they’re not patting themselves on the back for upholding Christian values (while at the same time putting the boots to the poor, the sick and the vulnerable), they’re clinging to the myth of trickle down economics and the return of high oil prices (both of which have gone the way of the dodo bird).
      Your comment about the economist who said our Heritage Fund would be worth $433 billion simply takes my breath away. It shows how poorly managed Alberta has been for decades under the PCs and how stupid Albertans are to believe the conservatives, especially in the more right-wing UCP iteration, will do any better now.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I see more cuts will be coming. How will this help Alberta, if we are seeing the not so good effects of the strong austerity that Ralph Klein did? The UCP are continuing to make a mess. Look at their fumbled school reopening situation, and the latest incident with covid at a meat processing facility. I can’t see things improving in any way, under the UCP.

    • Dwayne says:

      – May 2015, is when the NDP came to power in Alberta.-

  3. Kim Kelln says:

    Day of reckoning in 2023, indeed. That’ll be the day. Unfortunately, the UCP, like their brethren before them, know how to win elections. Lie. The truth only leads to defeat. Jim Prentice, may he RIP, found that out. Lie to get elected, then do whatever you want. The year before the election, start pumping taxpayers money back into the province and roll out more lies. Lies like you can cut taxes and revenue will flow into the treasury and we can continue living like kings. There will be no consequences. Oh yeah, the deficit. Don’t worry, the extra revenue from all that increased productivity from lowered taxes will fix that. No need to cut funding to education or health. Pre-election, it’s all about the economy. After the election, we’ll attend to the social agenda that we know and love first and then we’ll see about fixing the economy, which involves cutting taxes and decimating anything with the word public in it.

    • Kim, I think you’re absolutely right about how the UCP will position itself to win the next election.
      I hope Albertans will have the brains to ask themselves whether they were better off under the NDP (when we had a functioning education and healthcare system and a plan for a better economy) or whether they’re better off after four years of the UCP who will have cut public services to the bone and still done nothing for the economy.
      And if Albertans continue to re-elect the UCP, it will be time to seriously consider moving away.

  4. Erin says:

    Re: your last couple of sentences – from your lips to the deity of your choices ears! Another hit out of the park, Susan!

  5. GoinFawr says:

    Apparently ‘Fiscal Reckoning’ means something different to MMT’ers:
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/mmt-fed-budget-1.5035451

    McGeer monetary policy is similar, but when it was employed here it was bolstered by Strong national allegiances, and specie (coins). Also, the national debt was not sold to inscrutable private interests the way it is today, it was solely owned by the Bank of Canada; a critical distinction not made by that article, as far as I can tell.

    • GoinFawr says:

      or this one:

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/economics-modern-monetary-theory-spending-1.5704124
      Mr. Pittis is a busy man.

      Even if Magical Monetary Theory Mr.Pittis is promoting is proven ‘manageable’, or whatever, it has to be globally coordinated, which means someone, or some group has to be the Wizard(s) of Oz.

      My money is on those who own the debt… and remember: they are private and inscrutable.

      Imagine the jobs in the oil patch that would have been created if Mr. Kenney had taken all the money he has given to the oil companies (including that which they have packed up and left with) and, eg, built a refinery? A nice one even the NDP and Treaty folk would have been proud of ?

      OTOH, if Mr.Pittis and the MMT’ers are correct, then ~24 billion? pffft, I say double that again…

      • Carlos says:

        GoinFawr – I have noticed this move to MMT and I have been wondering about it as you have. I tend very much to stop and pay attention when someone tells me one can do whatever forever and does not matter. Unfortunately none of those infinite theories, especially when they are convenient to us ever works and in the end the bill is always horrendous and calls for major sacrifices. I am surprised that Don Pittis is promoting it.
        If this MMT is correct then why are concerned about how much is spent or the ad nauseum boring discussion of revenue versus spending?
        Why doesn’t the government create one billion or 2 for each citizen and end all poverty problems. Bezos already has 200 so he does not get anymore.
        Another fad to distract us from the realities of life which it seems we do not have the intelligence to discuss never mind resolve. With a population of 7 or 8 billion right now our lack of resolve can be a very problematic situation.
        The promotion of consumerism and aloofness and the control of liberal democracy by the political elites in the last 40 years if finally blooming and the flowers smell worse than the death flower that blooms once every few years in the Muttart Conservatory.

      • Carlos and GoinFawr: I must confess this conversation about MMT is flying over my head. The Globe and Mail ran an article on this recently, I read it carefully and still got lost with the discussion about central banks creating the money to fund other parts of government that tax and spend, etc. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a philosophy prof who’s writing a book about the role of money in society. He said money is magic. As long as we all agree to treat it a certain way everything works (at least for the guys on top) and the minute we stop treating it a certain way, it collapses.
        Here’s the link to the Globe article https://www.pressreader.com/canada/the-globe-and-mail-bc-edition/20200824/281964610096638

      • Carlos says:

        Interesting you say that Susan because no one really understands economics nor even economists who just talk about it with an authority that defies reality. This MMT is now the fad and we will see where it will take us.
        8 out of 10 times they are wrong but they continue using their language as the priests in Medieval times who were the only ones that could talk to God.
        Harper as you know believes that market economy was given to man by God so there you have it. No wonder they think they are the new priests.
        One thing I know and I think that has to be rectified. The production of money in any society should not be in the hands of private interests. It should be only controlled by all of us through the Bank of Canada. This idea that every 1000 thousand dollars I deposit in a bank gives them the right to loan 10 thousand just does not make any sense to me and sounds like clear legalized robbery. Then again that is just one of the questions never mind all the other ones which have the same explanation when asked of the minister of finance. There is no answer. At the top they benefit from our silence and our slave like attitude towards the establishment. I watched a video where ex finance minister Paul Martin was asked questions of this nature and it was painful to see his ignorance.

      • Carlos, you nailed it when you said no one really understands economics, not even the economists. Time and time again they’ve had to admit they got it completely wrong.
        Alan Greenspan, the former chair of the US Federal Reserve, said capitalism is morally superior to the welfare state (which he abhorred because it imposes regulation and bureaucratic oversight, he called it “snooping”). Greenspan said capitalism is superior because it’s based on self-interest and self-esteem and holds integrity and trustworthiness as cardinal virtues.
        Then in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis he conceded that he “made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”
        How naive of him not to realize that at the end of the day greed takes over.

  6. ronmac says:

    These new economic directions are coming down from on high. https://youtu.be/lI1JJZuopig

  7. John McWilliams says:

    Well said. Thanks Susan

    John McWilliams QC >

  8. Ken says:

    With both Black Rock and Morningstar pointing out the fallacies in the UCP government policies under Jason Kenney, one can only conclude that they collectively are either stupid or incompetent or both. This UCP government is doing absolutely nothing to protect the Alberta taxpayers. Both the Fraser Institute and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation should be hammering this government and demand change.

    • Mike Priaro says:

      Not only are Kenney and his UCP tone deaf, they are apparently pathologically deaf.

      • Mike, wouldn’t you loved to have been a fly on the wall when Kenney trekked off to London last Christmas for his one-on-one meeting with Mark Carney. Kenney positioned it as a “come to Jesus” meeting where he was going to set Carney straight on Alberta’s energy sector. Get the feeling he failed?

    • Ken, I’ve seen a few articles by Fraser and CTF criticizing the UCP, but nowhere near what you’d expect from an “impartial” think tank.
      The groups that are going after Kenney hard are the ones who expected him to deliver on his promise of a “fair deal” for Alberta by threatening to separate and actually doing it if the feds failed to fall prostrate at his feet. They’re furious and are calling for a leadership review to replace Kenney with someone who takes them seriously. Drew Barnes?
      Should make for an interesting side-show as life becomes harder and harder under Kenney’s rule.

  9. jerrymacgp says:

    Governments across Canada, of all political stripes, are leaving billions of dollars in potential revenue on the table that could be used to: support quality public services, drive our economy towards full employment, reduce & eventually almost eliminate poverty, and put food banks out of business for lack of need, while still balancing the budget averaged over the business cycle. The UCP are simply the most egregious and blatant in doing so.

    What are they going to cut? There is no fat left in our public services; all that’s left to cut is muscle and bone: core staff and physical infrastructure. What services are Albertans going to have to learn to simply do without, to satisfy the UCP’s ideological craving for ever lower corporate taxes? Is Minister Toews — whom I have the dubious privilege of having as my own MLA — going to be honest about those questions?

    • Jerrymacgp: these are excellent questions, particularly the last one in which you asked whether Minister Toews is “going to be honest” in responding to them. A little honesty would go a long way to building trust.
      When Toews introduced the economic update he started by saying that unlike other provinces Alberta kept 85% of businesses open and these represented 96% of our economy. I don’t know why he trotted out these figures other than to give the UCP a pat on the back. Then he blamed the NDP leaving the UCP with a deficit and launched into the MacKinnon report.
      As far as I can tell the sole purpose of all this talk was to deflect attention from the legitimate questions you’ve raised as well as additional questions about what the UCP is spending (wasting) money on and what if anything is happening to the federal funds that have been flowing into Alberta for months. I for one would love to know what Education minister LaGrange is doing with the $200+ million she just received from Trudeau.
      Like I said, no trust.

  10. Brent McFadyen says:

    Why did the voters elect these charlatans? I am not the brightest bulb on the tree but I knew in my heart of hearts as Kenny was maneuvering for the leadership that this would be bad for Alberta. It will be really bad for the less privileged because they don’t matter to the right wing evangelicals, they are poor because it is their fault and must be punished for their sins.

    • GoinFawr says:

      I actually have a post on Susan’s soapbox stating that Kenney becoming leader of the UCP was ‘the best thing’ for Alberta, because at the time I thought the only way they had a chance of being elected was if Brian Jean won… was I ever wrong on that one.

      Apparently all you need to win an election in this province is to roam around in a leased pick-up, without even a lift kit, making the appropriate quacking sounds; past actions, hypocritical, or even criminal, won’t matter.

      • GoinFawr, I remember that. So I had a post saying it would be difficult for Kenney to (a) win the leadership of the PCs, (b) change the PCs to the UCP, (c) unify the WR with the UCP and (d) win the next election. I was wrong, wrong, wrong for the very reasons you’ve set out above.

    • Brent, you nailed it. Books have been written about why conservatives are predisposed to moralistic authoritarian leaders who promise law and order, no freeloading on the public dime, and in fact no public dime when the private sector will provide a service (for a price which includes a profit margin of course).
      I’m coming to the view that conservatives and progressives are as different as chalk and cheese. I read a UofC public policy paper in which the author said one of the best ways to identify how a Canadian will vote in the next election (conservative vs progressive) was to ask them whether people who broke the law should be flogged in the streets. Three guesses how the conservative voters responded.

  11. I know I should not wish the years away, but in this case 2023 cannot come fast enough – let the reckoning begin!

  12. Carlos says:

    This is a circus and people will be sick of reading my posts about what I think of what is happening to this province but the fact is that just like in the US with Donald Trump, it is clear that many people in society today believe in this kind of mentality. I no longer believe Trump was a fluke and I do not believe it here either. It is quite clear that cheating for a purpose, cutting for the sake of destroying a public system, privatizing for no reason other than hating anything public, being religiously fanatic of the worst kind…etc is now a choice and it is very much connected with extreme right wing.
    I just read on the news this morning that Jason Kenney despite all we have seen so far still has 42% approval.
    So the reckoning at election day may very well not happen but the change to a total different province in the lines of fascism is very probable. The neglect, corruption and lack of democratic evolution of your liberal democracy has finally unraveled and the results are very worrisome.
    It tool way longer than expected but it is here and the more we think it is an anomaly the worst it gets because it is not. This is now reality and Trump is still neck and neck with Joe Biden as well.
    If he wins again we can all kiss peace goodbye.

    • Brent McFadyen says:

      I agree Carlos .

    • Great comments Carlos. The only thing I can add is that unlike the Americans, Albertans have the option of moving away. My husband and I talk about this more frequently now. The real problem isn’t that charlatans like Kenney or Trump exist, it’s that too many people are prepared to vote them into power.
      I’ve been listening to CBC interviews with Trump strategists and Trump supporters. The consistent message is I don’t like everything he does but: (1) he put right-wingers on the Supreme Court and I’m happy or (2) I he’s good for business because he cut corporate taxes and slashed red tape (ie deregulated the environment), or (3) he cut my taxes so I’m good.
      In other words, if he does something that meets my religious or financial needs, I don’t care about the rest. A very sorry state of affairs that doesn’t bode well for the future.

  13. Carlos says:

    Wow the communist do it again – in BC the NDP government despite the pandemic and all its consequences, ends the fiscal year with 321 million deficit. 23 billion less than us.
    We have to send our market fundamentalist Jason Kenney there to fix it.

  14. Carlos says:

    GoinFawr – I accept any correction but I thought that the numbers I used were correct. I have not read the 2 articles you posted but if by any chance I misinterpreted the numbers I apologize because propaganda or misinformation is never my intention, we already have enough of that.
    Thank you

    Carlos

    • Thanks Carlos and GoinFawr: I agree this should be emblazoned on the side of a truck, I suggest a blue pickup truck without a lift kit.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Carlos, I know where your heart is. I make an effort to double check every story I see (no matter how compelling), and three times the ones I myself come up with!!

      • Carlos says:

        No problem at all GoinFawr – you do the right thing
        Talking about problem – there is something funny either with this site or some of our IDs
        I know someone talked about this last week
        In my case I cannot post twice in a row because the second just disappears into cyber space
        So I change from chrome to IE and can do one and then the same thing but here if i try the second time it tells me it is there already.
        Strange site behaviour and it has been doing this for a while. This could be discouraging people from posting

      • Carlos, thanks for pointing out the difficulty of posting twice in a row. For the life of me I don’t know why that happens but I’ll ask my IT specialist (my extremely patient daughter) to take a look at the WordPress settings to see if something switched itself off during one of the many updates the WordPress people keep pushing through.
        Thank you to you and all the other commentators who continue to post regardless of this glitch. 🙂

  15. Dave says:

    Using biblical words like reckoning sounds so much more haughty and imperious than “look in the mirror”, doesn’t it? I suppose in that regard it suits Kenney and the UCP well. It also avoids casting blame in a politically damaging way, although some in the UCP apparently are still trying to blame their predecessors. As time goes on that becomes less credible. Any mainsrream journalist with any credibility, if there are any left in Alberta, would surely be tempted to point out the UCP clearly did not inherit a $24 billion deficit.

    At some point in the future of dreary, seemingly never ending cutting, perhaps some Albertans might start to notice that some other provinces, like BC and Quebec have managed to maintain reasonable public services and until recently also balanced their budgets. Of course, they didn’t so foolishly cut corporate taxes, so their revenue side is in much better shape, but no talk about the revenue side please – we’re Albertans! We are special in a special way and if we pray hard enough surely there will be another oil boom to save our bacon, so we wont have to manage our finances like other provinces do.

    I suppose Alberta may pay more attention to the province it secretly wants to be when it grows up – Ontario. Yes, a Conservative premier got elected there hinting of a reckoning a while ago too, but he seems to have changed his tune somewhat when he realized his electoral reckoning might preceed the fiscal one.

    I suppose there is a chance that Kenney will emulate his Ontario sometimes pal, but i think that is unlikely. Kenney and his gang seem like a herd of bufallo determined to charge ahead oblivious to the political cliff that awaits them. Yes, there will be a reckoning, but it may not be the one they are thinking about.

    • Carlos says:

      Dave I enjoyed reading your comments and agree with you.
      Awfully scary to think that the head of that herd of buffalo is considered to be one of the Tip Top conservatives in Canada today.

    • Dave, well said. Especially the part about Albertans acting as if they’re special. (American exceptionalism writ small?)
      For all our talk about being “people of destiny” our prosperity comes from sheer dumb luck, we live on top of gigantic oil reserves. Sadly, that will also be our downfall because these reserves are no longer black gold and we’re either too dense to let go of the past or too timid to head into the future.
      I worked with a fellow once who traveled a lot for business. He said when you’re lost in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language you have to keep moving, otherwise you’ll never find your way out.

  16. Political Ranger says:

    My goodness Susan! … I fear you have had too much sun this summer. You must wear a hat and light clothing.

    I cannot imagine any intelligent person in their right mind contemplating a loss at the ballot by the UCP. This is Albaturda. The latest polls have Kenney with an approval of 42%; way more than enough to support a decades-long dynasty.

    • Paul "kill the black snake" says:

      Well, i for one cannot stomach 3 more years of the Emperhorror of the West and his thug-lik minions. He’s still blaming the NDP (wrongly of course) for the decisions of his used car salesman and lypsincing energy minister. I have a mirror for you Mr. Kenney.

      • Paul “…black snake” : Isn’t it remarkable that the UCP can stand up in the Legislative Assembly or at a press conference and spout the stuff they spout without being struck by lightening. What does it take to get someone smited (smote?) nowadays?

    • Political Ranger, while the hot sunny days may have something to do with it, it’s more likely that I’ve taken to heart the advice a wise man once gave me. He said “Live with a hope that lies the other side of despair.” We were discussing a Chris Hedges article which as you can imagine, was pretty bleak.
      But if all else fails, I’m moving!

  17. Midge says:

    I don’t understand why Speaker persists in his opening christian prayers. They are obviously reaching deaf ears. #notworking

  18. Midge and Paul: For whatever reason each Legislative session starts with what Hansard calls “Prayers”. The NDP relaxed this practice. On Mar 18, 2019, the last day the NDP sat in the Legislature, the Speaker said “I would now ask that each of us in our own way pray or reflect.”
    The UCP ditched this more inclusive approach the minute they formed government. The Speaker’s first call to prayer was: “Let us pray. Father, on this day of new beginnings we ask for Your guidance in the responsibility we have undertaken and Your help in fulfilling our duties. As Members of the Legislative Assembly may we faithfully serve all Albertans and, in serving them, serve You. Amen”.
    It’s bad enough that the UCP is evoking images of the guy with the long white beard floating on a cloud, but to pretend that what they’re doing in the Legislature is “serving” God is too much.
    Nevertheless, it fits what Kenney said about answering the call to a “political vocation” after hearing what Pope John Paul II said about it in the Evangelium Vitae. I described this in more detail in this post: https://susanonthesoapbox.com/2019/03/24/jason-kenney-and-the-pope/

    • Paul "kill the black snake" says:

      and I always thought politics were becoming less secular and more inclusive..what do Muslim members do when the speaker launches into prayer? certainly this is an affront to every Christian who thinks this an afront to separation of church and state….but then we have Kenney to blame….again.

      • Paul and Carlos, I agree with you both. What I can’t fathom is why these so-called Christians don’t understand that Christ was a socialist. Remember the loaves and fishes story. Christ didn’t say, go find your own fish and bread, he shared his 5 loaves and 2 fishes with thousands.
        Maybe it’s just easier to be a hypocrite than a Christian.

      • Carlos says:

        Wow Susan I loved this comment.
        It is disturbing that people that promote greed, selfishness, survival of the fittest, cheating, disrespect for others, unethical behaviour, and even violence can call themselves Christian. Furthermore have the guts to point the finger at people like myself and call us people without morals. As an Atheist I understand what real christian behaviour is about better than all of them together. It is a disgrace.
        Thank you for your comment.

    • Carlos says:

      I think the reason is that in 1905 only religious people counted, followed by Christian.
      Now we are trying all lives matter but it takes about a century for regulations to change so I expect that to be dropped someday when we have a brain that functions

  19. John Clark says:

    Keep up the great work Susan!

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