Speaker’s Corner

Ms Soapbox is working on a project that will keep her busy for the next couple of weeks. Rather than allow The Soapbox, a virtual Speakers’ Corner, to fall silent, she’d like to invite her thoughtful readers to share their views on issues of concern; God knows, there are enough of them.

Perhaps you’re worried about the UCP government’s assault on democracy with Bill 1 (criminalizing peaceful protest) and Bill 10 (using the covid crisis to give ministers extraordinary new powers), or its failure to address climate change, or its campaign to undermine public health and public education.

Maybe you’d like to see meaningful support for Albertans struggling with the impact of Covid-19 (no, we can’t wait for the Feds to pay for it all), or maybe you’re just tired of Kenney’s hypocrisy—how can he sing the praises of Erin O’Toole who said there will be no Energy East pipeline ever but refuse to give Trudeau his due for rescuing Alberta’s energy sector by buying TMX (estimated cost: over $12.6 billion)?

Or maybe you want to talk about federal politics or … Donald Trump?

Tell us what’s troubling you the most and why. Ms Soapbox promises to read your comments and respond (albeit a little more slowly than usual).  

Welcome to Speakers’ Corner. The Soapbox is all yours.

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63 Responses to Speaker’s Corner

  1. omegaphallic says:

    I’ll positive and say if Premier Kenney keeps screwing up so badly, we will be see Premier Rachel Notley again, which for you Albertans I’m sure will be a relief.

    • Susan in Palliser says:

      To omegaphallic: Premier Kenny in your words is ‘screwing up so badly. I believe those of us who follow the thoughtful and insightful Blogger, Susanonthesoapbox are aligned. I wonder if any turning away from the UPC government actions by many Albertans will mean a turn to the NDP and a return to Rachel Notley as Premier. I admire your optimism! I am not so sure the NDP and my hero Rachel Notley could again carry the vote in this province without some realignment of political forces.

      • Carlos says:

        Susan I agree with you as far as the optimism related to Rachel Notley being reelected. I think she was doing a great job in many ways but failing to address the deficit in any way is to me unacceptable for the majority of Albertans including progressives. The deficit is not the end of the world like Conservatives preach all the time but it is not also to be ignores like the NDP did during their 4 years in power. Despite all the economic theories that usually are hollow the fact of the matter is that anyone that can count and that is responsible has to know that spending like we are doing will never take us to a good place whether we care or not about it. We need to have a clear policy about deficits and we need to adjust either with spending or revenue to make sure we do not loose control over it. The idea being promoted that deficits do not matter at all is as crazy as the one that Conservatives love that says that society only exist after prosperity. So lets have some brains and make sure we take care of it without having to make half the province homeless like the conservatives seem to want to do. having a sales tax is needed and if Rachel Notley does not address this issue I doubt she will be re-elected. She should have done it when she was there.

      • omegaphallic, Susan and Carlos, it seems to me many Albertans, even those who voted UCP in the last election, are unhappy with Kenney’s performance.
        I’ve heard quite a few say they can’t stand Kenney but they’re not prepared to vote for “the socialist” Notley. The nub of their concern appears to be the debt and the deficit (it’s this myth that the “socialists” spend money like water and the “unworthy” get a free ride).
        To Carlos’ point, I agree the NDP needs to articulate a clear policy that connects the dots between a provincial sales tax, higher corporate taxes and progressive personal income taxes to robust public services which in turn attract investment and people to our province.
        If this connection isn’t clearly drawn we’ll continue to be stuck in the great divide between those who believe going into debt to bail out corporations is good because they’re the job creators (UCP/conservatives) and those who believe going into debt to strengthen the social safety net is good because it’s the right thing to do (NDP).
        As it stands now, the UCP will lose more members to the Wexit extremists and maybe the Alberta Party; the NDP will hold steady but it needs to broaden its support because holding steady isn’t enough for a clear mandate to do the things that need to be done in order to pull Alberta out of this tailspin.

      • Mike in Edmonton says:

        The NDP is really the only credible alternative. The Alberta Party is a shambles of former Tories, the Liberal Party is merely a shambles, and the Green Party is a forlorn hope or protest vote, depending on whether provincial or federal. Lucky for us, they’re also the best hope for a civilized government.

      • Mike in Edmonton, re: Notley’s NDP, I agree 100%

  2. Carlos says:

    We can start with the news just out.
    The moral best president ever of the US paid 75o dollars of taxes 2 years in a row and probably none for 10 years. And he is proud of it just like I am sure Jason Kooky would be.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/trump-income-taxes-new-york-times-report_n_5f710b48c5b6cdc24c1ad415

    This is a millionaire of billionaire or bankrupt whatever is that he is. No one knows for sure. I think he is nothing but lives on the backs of the American people by cheating and somehow get around the law. No doubts a great man, a great example of integrity. It is just amazing.

    • Kang says:

      I do not share your optimism Carlos: Given the manifestly unfair nature of the taxation system and the absurd inequality of wealth distribution it has produced, I doubt many people will see this as a negative.

      • Carlos says:

        Sorry Kang but you confused me. You agree that the tax system has created inequalities and it is unfair and the fact that he paid only 750 dollars as a billionaire is not a negative?
        I think that for most Americans this is a disgrace and the reason for the inequalities and the fact that the rich control the system. My opinion

      • Carlos, I read Kang’s comment to mean people who understand the inequities of the existing tax system will see this as negative, and I sincerely hope Kang is right. But I worry that too many people, particularly in the US, will let Trump get away with this. I remember taking tax law in law school, it was drummed into us that “tax avoidance” was okay but “tax evasion” was not. Often it was hard to see the distinction.

    • Carlos, yes wasn’t this news (Trump paid $750 in taxes) sad. Trump supporters will say (a) it’s fake news and (be) even if it’s not fake news, then good for Trump for outsmarting the IRS. They forget that every dollar he doesn’t pay translates into a heavier tax burden on those who aren’t rich enough to hire accountants to shelter their income and/or crummy public services. The USA is well and truly broken.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I like this. I’d AISH, the treatment of the vulnerable, seniors, medical professionals, teachers and students, and where Alberta’s finances went, under the UCP, and with the Alberta PCs, beginning with Don Getty. Thanks!

    • Dwayne, you raise a very good point. The UCP says in order to save money it is forced to treat the groups you mentioned harshly (although they wouldn’t call it harsh treatment, they’d say they’re simply bringing Alberta’s level of service down to the levels offered in other provinces).
      So the question becomes, where did all these so-called savings go? The money they took away from these groups must add up to something; where is it? They issue press announcements every day about millions of dollars going out the door, but it’s hard to tell how much of it is re-packaged old money they announced in last year’s budget and how much is “new” money from all these savings.
      I’m very skeptical because of announcements like that of the Education Minister who said she’s increased the education budget by millions and it turned out that $120 M of that money was a partial return of the $128 M she took away from education support staff at the start of the pandemic and the rest was accelerating capital budget expenditures and allowing the school boards to dip into their reserves. This is not new money created by cutting the budgets for the vulnerable, seniors, etc.
      It’s just smoke and mirrors.

  4. Rose Bradley says:

    Yes I would like to hear about all of those subjects. Not so interested in Trump but apprehensive about what will happen after the votes are counted in November

    • Rose, I certainly share your apprehension about what will happen after the votes are counted in November. Trump is so slippery, if he loses he’ll say the election was a fraud and he’s not leaving office, if he wins (god help us) he’ll say he fixed the fraud and is a legitimate president. Either scenario will have people in the streets. I’m seeing articles now by accredited university professors who set out the steps the American people can take if Trump stages a coup and steals the election by refusing to count the mail in ballots. The first step is to call it what it is–a coup. The second step is to get out into the streets and protest as long as it takes until he steps down.
      Scary scenario.

  5. Susan in Palliser says:

    I too want to focus on local, provincial and federal issues. My worry is: I have close American family including 2 grandchildren in the US who are seeing demonstrations and violent eruptions in the streets. The right to bare arms in such gatherings means for very unsettling, fearful times now and in the days to come.

    • Susan, you’re absolutely right about how the Second Amendment has made the situation in the US much more dangerous. All we have to do is watch the evening news to see why the Trudeau government is trying to limit gun ownership. The fact that Kenney and other conservative politicians continue to slam the feds for doing so is beyond comprehension.

  6. Kang says:

    May I add one subject which continues to annoy me: the magical thinking around carbon capture and storage? Any one with a elementary school level understanding of physics knows this is a fool’s errand. Every time you burn energy to create mechanical motion, as in compressing CO2, refrigerating it, and pumping it underground, two-thirds of the energy is wasted as heat at each step. Trans-Alta did just that on one of its coal fired electrical plants using one billion of so dollars from the Stelmach government. Their electrical plant went from being 40% efficient down to less than 15% efficient and the project was sensibly abandoned. CCS is not going to save the coal and oil industry unless we are prepared to throw away 80% of better of the fossil fuel source as heat and it will certainly do nothing for the environment.

    • Kang, this is an excellent point. I must admit I don’t know a lot about CCS but many people I’ve talked to share your concern. My worry is it’s being promoted as a “green” solution when in fact it’s anything but that.

    • Mike in Edmonton says:

      I’m not an expert in electricity generation, but “40% efficient” sounds familiar. I think you’re referring to a more-or-less well known fact, older coal-fired power plants convert 40% of the input energy (heat from burning coal) into electricity. The process is multi-step: crush coal to a powder (it burns fast and completely) to create superheated steam (very high temperature and pressure) which spins a turbine that turns a generator. (If I got this right, the turbine spins VERY fast, a gearbox reduces the speed to 60 RPM which is what drives the generator.) Every step involves use–and loss–of energy. I believe the single biggest loss is unused heat from the burning process.

      I found a reference in the National Post to your TransAlta story: https://financialpost.com/news/transalta-abandons-albertas-1-4b-carbon-capture-plant
      They say they couldn’t find a buyer for the captured CO2. News reports are usually incomplete, and I didn’t look any further, so you may be right about the loss of efficiency. If they diverted power from the output side instead of adding generation at the coal burners then it serves them right. (Look up “Stirling engine” but don’t be fooled by the photos of toys. There are serious industrial engines available, at least in Europe.)

      Personally, my problem with CCS is that we’re starting way too late; the environmental damage is done. Alberta Innovates/ InnoTechAlberta (where I work–for now) started a pilot plant in Calgary to scale up CCS technology. It’s too little, too late, because of decades of passive resistance from the Old Tories and very active resistance by fossil-fuel businesses.

      It’s gonna hurt, but the only way to keep this global mess from getting much, much worse is to BURN LESS STUFF.

      • Kang says:

        The 40% sounds familiar because it is based on the Carnot cycle which shows that 66% of the energy burnt to produce mechanical motion is wasted as heat thus yielding a 34% utilization rate to turn a generator or car wheel. Older coal plants did not even do that well. Modern coal plants recover this through some of the techniques you mentioned to achieve 40% efficiency.

        The Trans-Alta plant pumped the CO2 into an old oil field in the hopes of generating income through tertiary recovery of oil. Unfortunately the carbolic acid created during the compression and refrigeration process dissolved the coral formation holding the oil. A decade or so earlier the same thing happened when a gas plant north of Calgary tried CCS. That project ruined a major natural gas storage reservoir.

        The engineering community in Alberta generated dozens of file boxes of analysis on these two expensive experiments most of which went down Alberta’s Orwellian memory hole when the energy regulators were privatized.

        The news story in your link is from 2012. At that time most of Alberta’s electricity was coal fired. Now it hovers around 20 to 30% with the balance mostly based on heat recovery from gas fired industrial processes (co-generation), wind, solar and hydro.

        However, there is some hope that Carbon Capture and Utilization (as opposed to Storage) could be used to create some useful products based on the recovered carbon and could be powered by wind or solar electricity. The first problem with this is you are still wasting a resource better saved for more sophisticated applications and the second problem is we already grow huge amounts of carbon sources as by-products of field crop agriculture. So the likelihood of profit seems remote.

        As you say, burning less stuff is the best approach. Electrifying as much as possible is also important since the energy loss penalties are much less because of the higher “utilization factors” involved. It looks like over the next decade or so grid scale electrical storage utilizing batteries and other methods (Alberta already uses BC hydro for grid scale storage now) will allow us to lower our CO2 footprint, but it will not save the coal industry.

        Electrical generators have a history of over-estimating future demand. In 2010 a landowners’ group was told that if they did not surrender their land for a major electrical transmission line Alberta would suffer rolling blackouts within five years. The line was not completed until 2016/17. No rolling blackouts and Alberta’s electrical consumption has gone from around 12,000 mega watts down to around 9,500 MW.

      • Mike in Edmonton and Kang, thank you both for this excellent information on CCS.

    • MIke in Edmonton says:

      Kang, thanks for the additional information. You’re much better informed on this subject than I am. There was an attempt in Saskatchewan to use carbon dioxide from an experimental (Carter-era) CCS power plant to increase production from yet another old oil field. As I recall, the plant was hideously expensive to operate, coal-fired power was so cheap it wasn’t CLOSE to economical (more of a demonstration project than a serious attempt to clean up coal-fired power)–and the injected CO2 eventually leaked out of the old oil wells. “There is nothing new under the sun”…darn it.

      I’m a bit surprised the TransAlta experiment failed as you describe–didn’t the bigwigs ask a geologist what happens to limestone when it’s exposed to acid? (Answer: “Fizz.”) Oh–it’s Oilberduh. Forget I asked.

      You’re right about generating companies’ “history of over-estimating future demand,” and it’s apparently universal. Same story in BC for the Site C dam (another dumpster fire for a different blog). Alberta’s going to get hurt badly, if we don’t pitch the Kenney Klowns and elect a government smart enough to start winding down oil and gas. Or the rest of the world will do it TO us.

  7. Jaundiced Eye says:

    I have issues with just about everything Boss Kenney is doing. I should add what the irksome UCP cabinet are doing, as well, but that would be redundant since Boss Kenney IS the Alberta cabinet. The list of UCP concerns is exhaustive and they keep adding to it every week. The UCP are giving us the shock and awe treatment because it works. We can not mount an effective defense as we are fighting a war on too many fronts. There is a precedent for these tactics as Ralph Klein did the same thing, brilliantly. Not to put too fine a point on it but this is what the NDP should have been doing. It pains me to say this but had the NDP not done so many things in half measures while in power, we would not be in the mess we are today. If by some miracle the NDP are able to catch lightning in a bottle a second time and win the next election, who is to say they would not be as meek and deferential toward the opposition and the Alberta media as they were earlier. This is politics, the NDP were in a street fight and they were going by Marquess of Queensberry rules. I would hope that someone, somewhere, has mentioned this to the NDP brain trust since the NDP lost the last election.

    • Jaundiced Eye, you’re not alone in your concern that the NDP are playing whack-a-mole trying to keep up with the avalanche of garbage coming at us from the UCP (and yes, you’re right, this is exactly the way Kenney wants to play it, hard and fast so Albertans can’t hold him accountable).
      We’ve swung from “if they go low, we go high” to “we’re going to go after everything they throw out there”. Neither of which is an effective strategy.
      As friend suggested what we need to do is create our own version of the Lincoln Project, an American political action committee dedicated to preventing the re-election of Trump and his supporters. Their ads are pretty hard hitting, I’m not sure how they’d go over in Canada, but here’s an example https://lincolnproject.us/news/the-choice/

  8. Malcolm says:

    You ask what’s troubling us most. With the current Alberta government that’s easy – EVERYTHING, They have to be the worst government since 1905. On the federal scene the only thing for sure is that we won’t vote of the O’Toole Conservatives. As for the Liberals we have concerns about Justin Trudeau and often wish that Chrystia Freeland was leading the Liberals.

    Right now I am reading Laurier LaPierre’s book on Sir Wifrid Laurier. At this point he is the leader of the Opposition but I feel that Alberta and Canada need someone of his abilities at this time.

    • Malcolm, you’ve summarized my feelings very well.
      Here’s my big concern: As we continue to be pummeled by horrendous UCP policy, the ongoing uncertainty of Covid-19, and the turmoil in the USA which will only get worse after the Nov election, people will burn out and tune out. This of course is the last thing we should be doing, we need to stay vigilant, to hold our politicians accountable, and take to the streets if we have to (masked and 6 metres apart of course).
      It’s an onerous responsibility but we must do it for ourselves and our families.
      PS I’ll check out the book on Sir Wifrid Laurier, it sounds like it’s well worth reading.

  9. Dwayne says:

    I’ll add more thoughts on what others have said, because I can’t respond to them. Certain things, like fashion, have cycles. The questionable looking clothing from the 1970s has seemed to have appeared again, like it did in the 1990s. (I’m sorry, but it should be left there, in the 1970s.) Other things, like oil used to have a cycle, that went boom, bust, boom, bust, boom… Now, for the past 6 years, oil went bust, to bust, to super bust. The oil boom is about as existent as leaves on a dead tree stump. Alberta is at a major crisis, because the UCP wants to continually rely on oil to get Alberta going, and they are attacking the federal government for not making it happen. Even amongst nature, different species of animals know they have to store up food for the winter, for their own survival. Peter Lougheed being the exception, the Conservative governments in Alberta have thought oil booms can always be there and coast us through, on autopilot. When they never saved money, but blew money like a kid in a candy store, the results weren’t good, nor were they surprising. It’s always the same retort. The (misunderstood) equalization payment system is to blame. Ottawa is to blame. Rachel Notley is to blame. Rather sad. Now, there is mention of the American government getting behind some type of shipping system for Alberta based products, (including oil) to Alaska, and then to port, for the world markets. It carries a price tag of at least $22 billion. This is quite a risky venture, in more ways than one. I believe it is by rail line. Now that oil booms are no more, Alberta is going to have to find another revenue source. Alberta did begin as the poorest province in the Dominion of Canada, and it appears to be returning to that state. On the subject of state, the warped Wexit crowd, even thinks it would be good if Alberta became an American state. America is basically falling apart, and has a monumental debt, and a plethora of problems. Who wants to be part of that?

    • Dwayne, you raise many good points here, let me pick up on the one you made towards the end of your comment about Kenney’s delight that President Trump issued presidential approval for a $22 B railway (known as the Alberta to Alaska line orA2A) from Fort Mac through the NWT and Yukon to the Delta Junction in Alaska, where it will connect with existing rail and continue on to ports near Anchorage. This is a railway project designed to carry all sorts of cargo like oil, potash, ore, container goods, and even people. It is NOT an crude-by-rail project intended solely to transport Alberta oilsands crude to Asia through the port at Anchorage.
      The A2A proponents say it will be completed by 2026, but it needs to go through many more studies before it get investment financing and then proceed through the consultation process with Indigenous peoples and filing for government approvals in both Canada and the US. This is against the backdrop where some, like BP, say oil has peaked and will decline from this date forward. Others say peak oil will hit in 2030, so we’ll see.
      On the upside, Kenney managed not to get talked into investing in this one, so that’s a plus.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: There are other problems with this. One is the instability of the land up there, because of freeze thaw cycles of the permafrost. What about the wildlife up there? How will it be affected by this project? They also have to clear forest areas to put in the line. If something were to go awry, who would they hold accountable for that? Who would pay the costs for cleanup?

      • Dwayne, your point about the environmental impact of the A2A railway line is well taken. As we know Trump doesn’t give a hoot about the environmental impact of anything, but if he’s defeated by Biden, the A2A line could be in serious trouble. Biden could revoke the presidential permit in a blink of the eye, his supporters are also expecting him to strengthen environmental oversight, and of course there’s the issue of consultation with indigenous populations. That’s why Kenney blathering on about the A2A rail line is such a waste of time. Kenney needs to focus on diversifying the Alberta economy now, instead of crossing his fingers and praying for another oil boom.

  10. Roy Wright says:

    I find myself struggling with the nastiness of politics, whether it be the UCP or the Trump Republican approaches to civil society. Then, I remember the adage that “We get the government we deserve” and that really scares me. Now we have a bunch of citizens out there who buy into the rhetoric, the false claims, the complete lack of empathy that these political groups espouse.

    I agree we need to work hard to replace some of these governments, and I am hopeful we will be able to do that in the next election cycle. But what do we do about the people who still believe in the UCP/Trump approach to civil society? Yes, we can change government, but if we cannot change public value systems for a sizable minority who supported these buffoons, we have a divided society and perhaps even a dysfunctional society.

    Let us get factual, science based information out there, let us get people to research the foundations of stories and let us remind ourselves, that we are all in this together and a bit of empathy would go a long way to making life better for all.

    • Carlos says:

      Roy it has been a while since you posted. You always have great words so you should post more often.
      I agree with you 100% and as you, I am struggling with the same issues you mention.
      We are all tired of the current political disaster in most democracies around the world for reasons that most of us understand but I cannot for the life of me comprehend what makes people fall for false claims and lies and even personal offensive attacks like we witnessed last night in that cruel show of disrespect and lack of character of the President of the United States as well as the top Democratic candidate.
      Donald Trump is completely unfit to be a business man never mind a president. The man is the clear picture of a psychopath. On the other hand we could see Joe Bidden struggling to remember words or ideas that he needed to talk about in his answers.
      The Democratic party has enough people to choose from but because of fears to abandon neo-liberalism, chooses the candidate closest to business interests who probably will be most of the same as before Trump and which has created the political and economic crisis in the first place.
      I am very concerned we will not get out of this crisis both in the US and here in Canada in time to not have a complete social / political meltdown.

    • As Roy and I have discussed many times around the breakfast table, we wonder whether we can continue to live in Alberta if the UCP is re-elected in 2023. Sometimes we think we should stay here to fight for a better life for the young, but then we see the young leaving in droves and wonder why we’re not going with them.
      Carlos your points on the presidential debate and why the Dems picked Biden instead of someone else are well taken. I hope for two things in the Nov 3 vote: (1) that Trump is defeated and (2) he hasn’t emboldened the white supremacists to the point where they show up armed to the teeth the day after the election and mow people down in the streets. The fact that I even have to consider (2) is a sad comment about the state of democracy in the US.
      Donald Trump has shown us what happens when political leaders fail to protect the rule of law and democratic norms. We can’t let the same thing happen here in Alberta, but frankly with Bills 1 and 10 we’ve already got one foot on the banana peel.

  11. Tarra Shipman says:

    Susan soapbox I have so much to say on the ucp and other issues in govt that you would be busy for years to come lol …..i am the creator and leader of THE ALBERTA HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT group on fb and it is run by disabled people for disabled people that took me 13 years to plan and get running you may want to fly there and see what we are about

  12. Carlos says:

    We now have a president of the United Sates that declared on global stage that he is a racist and pro white supremacist and got his Proud Boys on stand by for attack I guess.
    I wonder how many people will be affected by this encouragement on television.
    Hopefully in Alberta our rednecks will be busy with Cheezies, drugs and cartoons because of all the CERB money they are getting from the Federal Government against the will of the geniuses in the UCP provincial government who are gifting our money to the Oil Companies and their shareholders.

    • Carlos, that’s what I found so peculiar about the UCP MLA Shane Getson’s condemnation of CERB. Many many Albertans who are proud UCP supporters accepted CERB, heck the UCP party itself accepted CERB, and here’s one of their own saying they are wasting this “funny money” on cheezies and drugs. Are you kidding me?
      The depth of these guys’ stupidity never ceases to surprise me.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: The ironic thing is that the UCP accepted government relief money, while the NDP never took it. That says a lot.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes of course it does say a lot. The NDP(in Alberta) has way more integrity, ethics and morals than all of the other parties combined. They showed it in fours years of peace, good government and no scandals. Rachel Notley is to me one of the smartest and most reliable politician with integrity in Canada today, without any doubts.
        I just wished she was more of who she is rather than governing with the UCP on her neck constantly. Now that we have experienced the UCP one wonders what we were worried about? There is nothing there not even quality that apparently everyone was talking about in terms of business experience before the election.
        It is a total disaster as far as I am concerned and we have not seen the fiscal reckoning yet which I believe is going to be the final catastrophe that will move people out of this province for good.

      • Carlos, I was thinking about Kenney’s statement that the NDP government was an aberration and Albertans returned to conservative rule when they elected the UCP. The problem with this statement–well, there are many problems, but the one that I find most offensive–is Kenney’s attempt to portray the UCP as a continuation of the previous conservative government. As Dwayne rightly points out, the UCP is nothing like the Lougheed conservatives and I’d argue, nothing like any of the PC governments that preceded it. The UCP is harsher, crueler and stupider than any government Alberta has ever seen. It boggles my mind that Albertans who went nuts when Allison Redford built the Sky Palace and Jim Prentice wanted to enact healthcare premiums would sit quietly by while Kenney damages Alberta’s public services, economy, and reputation in ways his predecessors never dreamed of.

  13. David says:

    I suppose I am a bit worried about all the things you mentioned. I do see Kenney has autocratic tendencies and is trying to turn Alberta into a one party state where no dissent is tolerated. I would like to believe that will not happen, but I wish some of those Conservatives that talked so much about the grassroots and limited government powers before would stand up now, that would help some. On the other hand I don’t worry as much about Kenney’s pseudo populist tactics working. The guy is about as conservative elite career politician as one can get, so his attempts at populism are not that convincing.

    Alberta is trying to deal with COVID on the cheap and I think our Premier’s plan is to hope it somehow magically goes away as soon as possible, as he wants to get back to his real agenda which has been unexpectedly interrupted. I think whatever their political views most Albertans get this at some level, which is probably why unlike other Premiers, Kenney’s popularity had little to no boost from fighting COVID and is now going down again. If it falls much further I suspect the UCP will have serious trouble getting re-elected.

    O’Toole is an interesting one, it is hard to say if he really is a bit more moderate or not at this point, which if this stays the same probably ultimately helps the Liberals. O’Toole has to do more than just play footsie with moderation to win but I am not sure the Conservative party will allow that.

    As for Trump, I suppose that one is out of our hands and is for the US to decide, although much of what he does ripples through the world and has negative impacts for us and many others outside of the US. I really do hope they get rid of him. One mistake in choosing a bad President could be put down to carelessness, doing it twice would say something far worse about the US.

    • Dwayne says:

      David: I heard through a friend, (and then found it on news reports), that Donald Trump said he will not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. My friend and I also know the USA is falling apart, because of what we see happening down there. This is very telling. What goes on over there, will spill over into Canada.

      • Dwayne, I heard an American political analyst/reporter based in the UK talking about the American election. She said Americans have no idea how broken their system is because they’ve lived with it so long it’s become the norm. She gave the example of registering to vote. In other jurisdictions it’s a simple thing, but in the US (especially if you’re BIPOC) the paperwork will kill you. It’s the boiling frog analogy.

    • David, as I read your comment I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Kenney and Trump, especially when it comes to eroding democracy, the lack of concern for the environment, public services, particularly education and healthcare, and the plan/nonplan to tamp down COVID. One day when these dark days are behind us I’d love to read an analysis of how a religious ideologue like Kenney and an amoral narcissist like Trump could come out with policies that are so similar in the cruelty they inflict on the people they govern.

  14. Mike in Edmonton says:

    Is anybody surprised that Rob Anders, the former MP who was sometimes sleepy, sometimes delusional (he thought Thomas Mulcair killed Jack Layton with cancer), always tax-hating–is now in trouble for tax evasion? Rob Anders, the rebel without a clue….

  15. Mike in Edmonton says:

    Shane Getson deserves a pat on the back for Bozo Eruption of the Week. Sneering at people who lost their jobs and income when Covid-19 lockdowns (mandated by the UCP government!) forced people to stay home–people whose bosses hew to the old line, “You don’t work, you don’t get paid” and who have NO other choice–is low. He didn’t mention that his lord and master, Jason the Worst, only reluctantly agreed to “help” those unfortunate losers–until the hated Justin Trudeau CERB started up, anyway absolving Jason of fiscal responsibility for saving Albertans from bankruptcy. (I hear the UCP made it very difficult to apply for their “relief” program. Is anyone surprised?)

    Two other thoughts on this topic. Kenney’s making all the classic errors in dealing with Covid-19. Emergency relief for businesses over people; slow and inadequate responses (think seniors’ care facilities); re-opening too soon (moving up the date by a week was a mistake); penny-pinching refusal to protect school kids. Then there’s the UCP’s unique contribution of a deliberate feud with Alberta’s doctors. It’s a disaster in the making, and we’re gonna have to clean up Kenney’s mess.

    As for Shane–I wonder how many of the people he’s dissing are young-adult males, laid off from oil patch jobs (those that were left) who voted UCP? I wonder if they’ll stay loyal to Lord Jason and Court Jester #N Shane. Just sayin’….

    • Mike in Edmonton: Shane Getson’s rant is shocking in so many ways. He said his comments were taken out of context, but the context is worse than the comment itself. He alluded to Justin Trudeau as “That fancy sock-wearing, paper-straw sucking waterbucks kind of thingy sort of embezzling whatever blackface painting ethics infraction” and suggested that masks don’t work because Edmonton and Calgary made masking mandatory in public and they still had covid cases. This level of ignorance is shocking but not surprising. Many Albertans will continue to support the UCP as long as Kenney puts the boots to Trudeau. It’s sad, like a cult.

      • GoinFawr says:

        They can be as pathetic as they like, it’s their cult’s (sometimes/sometimes not) undercurrent of hatred and violence that is dangerous to everyone else; unfortunately that is just how bullies like it.

  16. Mike in Edmonton says:

    Donald Trump is making headlines for a brand-new reason–he’s got Covid-19. A friend suggested something even I wasn’t (quite) cynical enough to think of myself: what if it’s fake news?

    Has Trump released a printout of the test results? He can add it to his tax returns….

    • Mike in Edmonton: Trump has done such a good job of shredding the public trust that no one knows what to believe anymore. The historian Timothy Snyder says the goal of tyrants is to convince the people they can’t trust the experts, journalists, scientists, or anyone else for that matter, this means the only person they can trust is the tyrant himself. This plus the tyrant’s cult leader status means the tyrant can do whatever he wants with impunity. This kills democracy.

  17. Dump Doug says:

    What’s on my mind and many of my neighbours is the terrible representation that we have in Doug Schweitzer as an MLA. There is a massive recall campaign against him, sign up now to get rid of this guy! http://www.dumpdoug.info

  18. davidswann571gmailcom says:

    Thanks Susan I’d like to write on the importance of creating and formalizing Citizen Assemblies to revitalize our democracy… Have you written on this? Best David

    On Sun, Sep 27, 2020 at 5:29 PM Susan on the Soapbox wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” Ms Soapbox is working on a project that will > keep her busy for the next couple of weeks. Rather than allow The Soapbox, > a virtual Speakers’ Corner, to fall silent, she’d like to invite her > thoughtful readers to share their views on issues of concern; God” >

    • David: this is an interesting suggestion. I haven’t written about Citizen Assemblies and need to do a bit of research on the topic to understand them better. They certainly sound like a worthwhile effort, particularly in a situation like ours where all the power is consolidated in the hands of one man. It’s become obvious in the last year that Kenney does indeed “hold the pen” and the role of MLAs is to broadcast Kenney’s message to the people, not the other way around.

    • Carlos, as you said, “what a surprise”. The sad thing is that people would catch these, how shall I put it, “errors” if they took the time to double check what they’ve heard. (How hard is it to google Stats Canada?)
      If we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that blind devotion to a Dear Leader results in chaos and pain.

  19. Carlos says:

    Here is a good site to visit

    https://www.boycottucpdonors.ca/

    We have to do something about this Jason Kooky so read the site
    Kenney says that the site is UnAlbertan – he is the one who is unAlbertan and has to move on to Oklahoma where he probably will be welcomed with open arms

  20. Carlos, I think this is a great idea! The list of donors appears on the Election Alberta website so there’s no breach of privacy, Kenney is livid about it so it’s obviously he’s afraid it could be effective.
    Thanks for sharing it.

  21. GoinFawr says:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-health-services-job-cuts-tyler-shandro-1.5760155
    “Alberta Health Services to lay off up to 11,000 staff, mostly through outsourcing”

    Tyler Shandro and Jason Kenney: Eviscerating health care services during a pandemic. After all: you can’t bust unions without scabs, and they sure aren’t going to let this pandemic go to waste!

    “Outsourcing” to whom I wonder,
    does Vital Partners (connected to Mr. Shandro’s, the Health MInister of Albert, spouse) H.R. support staff? If so another brazen, egregious conflict of interest should simply waft past the new, UCP installed, ‘ethics’ commissioner.

    On a long enough timeline the efficiency of ‘outsourcing’ has proven, without a shadow of a doubting Thomas, to be yet another of a litany of the ‘invisible hand of the free market’ myths, because PRIVATE companies have to GROW, or shareholders lose money.

    Private services are are always offered very cheaply, at first in order to entice a public government to break the union, but inevitably, since profits must always be increasing to buoy shareholder value, service declines while costs rise. In the case of healthcare, with a ‘single’ payer (the Alberta taxpayer), this has always, always been the case. Why won’t the UCP types learn? Oh wait, nevermind, they HAVE learned; in fact it’s why they do it. (See T. Shandro’s conflict of interest)

    UGh, these Used Car Partiers are reprehensible; they are going to back every union worker into a non-living wage corner, forcing them to strike in order to demonize the workers in the eyes of the public, and use that to further destroy healthcare, and other essential services, all while lining their own pockets with Alberttans’ money.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Ode To A Scab

      After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, He had some awful substance left with which He made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a waterlogged brain, and a combination backbone made of jelly and glue. Where others have hearts, he carries a tumor of rotten principles.

      When a scab comes down the street, men turn their backs and angels weep in heaven, and the devil shuts the gates of hell to keep him out. No man has a right to scab as long as there is a pool of water deep enough to drown his body in, or a rope long enough to hang his carcass with. Judas Iscariot was a gentleman compared with a scab. For betraying his Master, he had character enough to hang himself. A scab hasn’t.

      Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Judas Iscariot sold his savior for thirty pieces of silver. Benedict Arnold sold his country for a promise of a commission in the British Army. The modern strikebreaker sells his birthright, his country, his wife, his children, and his fellow men for an unfulfilled promise from his employer, trust, or corporation

      -Jack London

      IMO, ‘outsourcing’ is a scab behavior, since it takes jobs and resources away from the community, by definition.

      “Christians: You and your Churches don’t get to be ‘millionaires’ while other people have nothing at all; they’re YOUR bloody rules, either stick to them or abandon the faith.”
      -Marcus Brigstocke

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