Hey Doc, Ya Wanna Work in Alberta?

“Nice business you got here, be a shame if something happened to it.” – Gangster in a B-grade movie   

Alberta’s doctors are tired. They’ve been fighting covid for over a year while at the same time fighting with the Health Minister, Mr Shandro, who has filled their lives with misery.        

In Feb 2020 Shandro ripped up the original AMA agreement (the AMA launched a lawsuit to protect their charter rights). He created chaos by cancelling programs, screwing up billings codes, bringing in Telus/Babylon to provide virtual doctoring, and shifting administrative responsibilities from the AMA to Alberta Health.

Then he reversed some of these decisions, but still rammed through changes to physician compensation (including reducing Business Cost Program payments, changing Z-codes and eliminating stipends) that caused nothing but heartache.  

Mr Shandro

Now when the doctors are physically and mentally exhausted from battling the worst public health crisis ever, he’s pushing them to ratify a new AMA agreement by the end of the month.  

This is like the gangster who trashes your store and says he’ll keep trashing it until you give him what he wants.   

Sign here…

Many doctors think the new Agreement is a bad deal. They’re understandably fearful, wary, and concerned it will negatively impact them and their patients.

They are not alone.

Albertans are also concerned and suspicious. We’ve seen how Shandro treated our doctors in the past and have no confidence he’ll treat them any better in the future.

So why would any doctors want to ratify this agreement?

Perhaps they take comfort in the language that says Shandro will “consult” and “discuss” matters with the AMA, but the right to consultation and discussion is meaningless given the Health Minister retains the sole discretion to do whatever he likes, including withholding physician payments if expenditures exceed the physician budget.

Would the Health Minister abuse his discretion?

Gosh I don’t know: the Health Minister has a statutory obligation to engage with the AMA in “good faith” and yet Shandro ripped up the original AMA agreement last February when negotiations weren’t going his way.

The AMA took Shandro to court to enforce its right to binding arbitration. The government says it will table legislation by December 31 that will prevent the Health Minister from ripping up this Agreement like the last one, but that doesn’t stop Shandro from ripping up any other agreements he may sign or even this Agreement in the nine months between now and December 31. Meanwhile he insists the AMA drop its lawsuit.

I don’t know about you, but I see this as a Checkpoint Charlie situation. I wouldn’t drop my lawsuit until the government passed (not just tabled) legislation protecting the AMA Agreement and any other agreements Shandro signed with the AMA. The fact Alberta doctors need legislation to enforce the sanctity of their contracts with the UCP government is mind boggling.        

Good faith and trust

Some doctors argue the new Agreement has some good points.

For example, it says the $200 million in covid-related underspending in last year’s budget will be redirected to physician programs and overruns in this year’s budget. It brings a level of certainty to the budget question, it returns the programs that were shunted off to Alberta Health back to the AMA, and it buys time for further negotiation on Z-codes and clinical stipends.   

They also worry that failure to sign the new Agreement will encourage the government to continue its aggressive agenda, keep cutting, shift the $200 million in covid-related spending elsewhere, and take away what little the AMA has gained.  

Yes, this is a risk, but at the end of the day this Agreement is about trust, it is not about making the best of an abusive relationship.  

The real question is this: Do Alberta’s doctors ratify the Agreement and trust Mr Shandro to exercise his discretion compassionately, or do they refuse to ratify the Agreement and trust Albertans to have their backs if and when Mr Shandro decides to escalate his fight with Alberta’s doctors.

Obviously I’m not a doctor, so if I’m missing something important here please let me know and I’ll post your comment below.    

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81 Responses to Hey Doc, Ya Wanna Work in Alberta?

  1. Diane Cooke says:

    Wouldn’t trust Shandro nor UCP as far as I could throw them

  2. First the authoritarian turns the rule of law on its head by abusing the principle so the only law that counts is the authoritarian’s law. Duly passes laws to be sure, but discards all other democratic principles at the same time, making the rule of law a farce.

    Trust the new law? Not without seeing it fully analysed and passed. Trust anything before that is completed, no.

    Trust that the new law will not be immediately replaced by another “law”? No.

    This is one of the clearest examples yet of the authoritarian’s total disrespect of anyone that is not of this gang.

    Thank you for your continuing good work Susan.

    Michael Klein

  3. psponderings says:

    Like a spouse-beating person, Shandro waits until the co-workers, and now the neighbours know whats been going on. He comes back with a trinket and bouquet of roses that will soon be dead. He says it won’t happen again, but we know it will. I hope the docs don’t engage in this cycle of abuse. The beatings will only get worse.

    • Gunther Trageser says:

      It’s no more than a bouquet of dandelions, lovely yellow flowers.

      • PSponderings and Gunther: in my mind the abusive relationship analogy is apt. When the AMA says its fearful that if they don’t take this deal things will get much worse, you’ve got to ask yourself what’s going on. People elected the UCP to take care of public healthcare (remember Kenney’s pledge) and here’s his health minister using the power of the state to rewrite the law to rip up the AMA agreement and wait for the AMA to take him to court. Court cases take years to be resolved, meanwhile Shandro can run our public healthcare system into the ground to prep it for privatization.

  4. John (yes, that John) says:

    Albertans trust Alberta’s doctors to do what is right to protect their health from predictable threats. It is predictable that this contract will be used only to kill the lawsuit, and make the UCP feel emboldened to destroy more of the public’s access to healthcare. The only healthcare stability that is foreseeable, is one where the UCP are not hovering over it, ready to pounce.

    • Amen to that John! It wasn’t until the doctors became really vocal about the need to shut down in early December that Kenney finally started to listen. So here we are, not out of danger by any means, and yet Kenney/Shandro are forcing the doctors to decide whether to ratify the new Agreement or lose programs and benefits they view as essential. These guys are gutter politicians, attacking when the doctors are exhausted.
      My doctor friend says more and more doctors are retiring early, switching to locums or seriously considering leaving.
      Sickening.

  5. Fred Brook says:

    That old and familiar refrain, When somebody shows you who they are; believe them!

    • That’s right Fred. Kenney showed us who he was decades ago when he boasted about working to prevent gay men from being with their partners who were dying of AIDS. Nothing should surprise us anymore.

  6. Sharon says:

    Do not sign it! Never trust Shandro or any of the UCP! I, as an Albertan, definitely have the doctors back! Tell the UCP to shove their unfair, ridiculous Agreement!

    • I agree Sharon. Sadly the doctors are tired and beaten down by this government. Many worry they’ll lose the few concessions they got from the government if they don’t sign. Frankly I don’t think they can rely on the government’s “good faith” to respect the Agreement given how little “good faith” Shandro has shown the doctors to date.

  7. Trudy G.. says:

    When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Tyler Shandro has shown Albertans EXACTLY who he is at the beginning of his fight with Alberta’s doctors. The fight he NOW denies happening. Once again Tyler shows us who he really is.
    I am not a doctor, but a lousy agreement is just that and will continue to assist Alberta’s government goal in tearing down Alberta’s public healthcare system. Here’s to hope that Alberta doctors vote accordingly.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Why on earth would Tyler Shandro, the elected person ostensibly appointed by another elected person to protect Albertans’ public health care system, want to ‘tear down’ Alberta’s public healthcare system? Especially when the UCP specifically promised not to as part of the last election campaign?

      All I can say is thank goodness that the UCP appointed ‘ethics’ commissioner has found there was absolutely ‘no conflict of interest’ there, despite all the as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer’s indications to the contrary.
      /sarc

      • GoinFawr: I have just two words to add to your cogent comment: Telus Babylon!

      • Mike in Edmonton says:

        Does anyone else remember “Tory Oil”? Several of Klein’s ministers had shares in some Calgary oil company or other. The public reaction? Crickets. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

    • Trudy, there are so many red flags in this negotiation process. For example, this year’s budget is the same as last year’s actual budget, this is bizarre given all that’s happened in the course of the year. Secondly, there’s $200 million in covid-related funds floating around, where did that come from and why hasn’t it been spent? Thirdly, and most importantly, Shandro has absolute and sole discretion over the budget, there’s nothing to stop him from starving the budget by shifting funds to his pet projects and leaving the rest underfunded.

  8. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. Basically, we see strong elements of Ralph Klein in the UCP. What Ralph Klein wanted to do was give Alberta private for profit health care. This was to come forth via very deep cuts to healthcare in Alberta. This is what the UCP wants for Alberta. This isn’t good at all.

    • You’re right Dwayne, this is a path the conservatives have been on since the Ralph Klein days. They’re just too cowardly to bring it out in the open where we could have a good discussion about it.

  9. Dwayne says:

    Susan: I’ll have to post separate links. Here’s one. https://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/medicare/medic-8h11e.html

    • Dwayne, it’s interesting how similar Klein and Kenney are in their approach to this issue. The link says in the Legislature Klein “consistently refused to discuss the objections raised by the Alberta Friends of Medicare, unions and concerned citizens.” He rammed the legislation through the House and it wasn’t until the Feds told him he could lose federal healthcare funding that he backed down.
      I fear we’re going down the same path, but in a more insidious manner with Kenney chipping away at things behind the scenes so Albertans won’t really understand what’s happening until it’s all over.

    • Dwayne, this is a fascinating article. Why is it that the first thing these neo-liberal governments do is attack women, seniors, people with disabilities and the poor. Is it because it’s harder for them to fight back.

  10. Elaine Fleming says:

    Susan, I would be shocked if any doctors would accept this contract, or what it is called. I think it is deplorable how Shandro is disrespecting physicians, especially after the brutal year they have had fighting Covid-19 in the trenches. And telling them they can’t speak in public about it? Or what? Is he afraid because the public will side with them, and maybe embolden them to reject it? Correct me if I’m wrong, but does this declaration say that if they go “over-budget” he will not pay them? So then what happens to them- and their patients? And, is Telus’ virtual clinic pulling money from that same pot? What about all the other for-profit virtual clinics and labs popping up where it seems anybody can tap into the health care budget by using your Alberta Health Care card? I have seen two advertising on Facebook, and both owners describe themselves as “serial entrepreneurs”. Are there not any red flags there? One of them is offering treatment for mental health problems, capitalizing on the extreme stress people have been under during Covid and the UPC government passing of Bill 30 where apparently anyone can hang up a shingle and bill our government for “services”. There are no links to who these people are, their practitioners, where they are, what their qualifications are- just give them your Alberta Health Care number. I would like to know what oversight Shandro is providing both for what kind of treatment is being provided, if they have malpractice insurance, and where our health dollars are going. Does he not have any duty towards that?Is health care just a free-for-all for anyone wanting to make a quick buck- no rules or regulation- except for our bonafide community physicians who are being put in a stranglehold? It is rather interesting to remember Jason Kenney’s brother and his wife being run out of B.C. after operating a sketchy adolescent treatment centre, and now seeing Susan Kenney resurfacing in Ontario as a brain expert. There are plenty of people with problems to exploit right now, and the Kenney government is gladly paving the way for that to happen. But do these serial entrepreneurs have ethics to guide them, or take oaths of duty, swear to “… do no harm”? I think not.

  11. rubennelson says:

    Susan, thank you ever so much. Another sound and alarming piece. Keep at it.

  12. rubennelson says:

    Susan, the Doctors of Alberta need to know that many citizens of Alberta will have their backs if they tell the UCP gov’t to stuff the “agreement” because, frankly, the docs do not see the UCP to be worthy of trust. We need an open letter (or some such) which Albertans can sign that encourages the docs to verify, then trust. Are you up for that? The docs need to know we support them in their struggle with the UCP.

    • Thank you rubennelson. I like your idea of an open letter for Albertans to sign that encourages the docs to verify, then trust. I’m not sure how we’d set one up, but in the meantime we should all be sending letters to our local MLA, Shandro, Kenney, and Rachel Notley to indicate our deep concern for and support of our doctors.

  13. Michelle Bartlett says:

    All I know is our town lost two awesome doctors they went to BC. All because of this idiot. He should be be asked to step down. He is in this to get his wife’s business up and running Babylon it is a total conflict of interest

    • Michelle, my daughter is a nurse. She says the recruiting material she’s getting from BC not only asks whether she’s interested in nursing jobs but also asks whether she knows any doctors who might like to move to BC. I fear we’re going to lose our bright young doctors immediately upon graduation. Why would they stay here to work in this hostile and unpredictable environment when they can move to a province where they’re appreciated?

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I have relatives who were and are nurses. One of my siblings had to relocate to the Lone Star State, in America, during the early 1990s, when Ralph Klein’s cuts to healthcare came into effect. Her nursing career would have been compromised in Alberta. My sibling and her husband came back to Alberta. No doubt, my sister had colleagues who were affected by Ralph Klein’s cuts to healthcare.

  14. Verna Milligan says:

    “…including withholding physician payments if expenditures exceed the physician budget.”

    Excellent, once again, Susan. And thanks to Elaine for her insightful – and frightening – addition as well.
    I, too, am asking: Will Shandro be doing the same minro-managing audit each month of the Bills that Telus Babylon are submitting for payment? Shandro consistently claimed Alberta doctors are overpaid. Why then did he, shortly after tearing up the AMA contract last February, agree to pay Telus Babylon doctors (living wherever) $ 38 per virtual consultation? He had been paying Alberta doctors, who can provide continuity of care (and who pay taxes to Alberta coffers) a whopping $ 20.!

    Is Shandro placing a cap – and checking each month – on the number of bills Telus Babylon submits, or are they all billing as individual doctors with no ‘tag’ to Telus Babylon? Is there a limit on their “referrals for diagnostic tests or specialists” as promoted on their website? How can UCP expect to conserve the limited pot of money at the same time they are allowing a huge communications corporation (whose fiduciary duty is to make a profit for its shareholders) to advertise widely for clients? Those bills will be paid from that same limited pot of taxpayers’ money.
    And how easy will it be for Mr. Shandro to “tear up” this contract with a mega-corporation if, for example, Albertans become concerned about the possible misuse or breach of their health-care data (as happened in the UK ) ? Has our Privacy Commissioner (who wasn’t consulted before the contract, I believe) made a ruling on Telus Babylon yet?

    • Verna, these are excellent questions. I would love to see the government’s contract with Telus Babylon, but as you know all the pertinent information would be redacted for commercial confidentiality reasons.
      As I thought about your question about whether Shandro could tear up the Telus contract, I remembered how Castro nationalized property held by American companies. The UCP would certainly object to the Castro government ripping up lawful contracts, but they didn’t bat an eyelash when they passed legislation allowing Shandro to rip up an agreement the Alberta government lawfully negotiated with the AMA.
      Funny how that works, eh.

  15. Baldwin P. Reichwein says:

    According to Minister Toews “the public service does not create jobs or generate wealth.” (albertaviews, April 2021, 40). Really?

    Thousands of healthcare workers in Alberta work hard to provide an essential public service. What Minister Toews does not acknowledge is that there is more to wealth than money. I support universal health care via a single payer system and gladly pay my fair share in taxes. Medicare is owned by Canadians and not by Minister Toews. Canada’s Medicare compares favourably with other developed countries and effective healthcare does not come cheap anywhere.

    As an aging Albertan I had a medical emergency that called for quick action in an pandemic atmosphere. It entailed EMS, ER, specialists, nurses, tests in acute care, home care and appointments in off site clinics, and my adult children helped. Everyone wore masks, kept distance and washed hands. I saw health care in action and was given five star treatment from committed healthcare workers. I am alive and back home. Gratias healthcare workers! I also observed how all levels of healthcare staff heroically cope with the pandemic. Very sick people need 24/7 care, many patients survive and some have died and the pandemic ain’t gone yet..

    CBC’s Nancy Carlson asked Minister Toews about the 1.3 billion committed to a pipeline to nowhere. Herr Toews fumbled and mumbled. The loss of 1.3 billion of our money will not create jobs or generate wealth.

  16. Carlos says:

    Try this a second Time
    First of all congratulations and thank you for the article on your blog in the last edition of Alberta Views. Very well done and I hope it brings more readers that are interested in being well informed rather than having to read the right wing media as well as the group of morons that call themselves government.
    I was driving when they announced on the news the new recall bill. I just laughed when it was discussed briefly just to come to the conclusion that will not be in effect until 2023 go figure.
    They asked the minister of Justice why the difference between the rules to recall an MLA and a city councilor and the answer was so garbled and without a direction that I doubt anyone understood, the usual for Kaycee Madu.
    Nothing is done in this province for the betterment of our citizens anymore. Everything has something hidden to protect these goons.
    As far as this doctors issue nothing is different than the usual. They deny a confrontation with the doctors, they take away all rights the doctors have and then they byte at the end to scare people off. I hope the doctors do not back down because very few Associations have the resources to fight back and they are one of them.
    I have no more comments. It is particularly stressful for me to live in Alberta these days, it truly makes me sick to witness the lack of honesty and integrity.

    • Carlos, thank you re: the Alberta Views article.
      You’re absolutely right about the recall legislation. This is just another tick in the box for Kenney: he promised it, now he can say he delivered it, the fact it’s meaningless doesn’t matter.
      Kenney used to publish his Promises Made, Promises Delivered document every quarter (as if he were a corporation issuing quarterly results) then he stopped publishing them all together. Likely because he’d have to untick the box that said he was creating pipelines by giving KXL billions of dollars (oops) and untick the box that said he was creating jobs, etc. Maybe he’s hoping we don’t keep track of these things but we do.

  17. Mike in Edmonton says:

    Shandro’s record of contempt for contract law would be astonishing in any lawyer–if he hadn’t been elected as a UCP candidate. His stubborn persistence in attacking doctors shows an utter rigidity of purpose, impervious to outside reality. (I wonder if he’d change his attitude if he himself became sick with Covid-19?) This attempt at window dressing, the promise to “consult” the AMA, sounds too much like the old “consultations” between Canadian governments and First Nations. (The Supreme Court of Canada eventually had something to say on that topic.)

    There are always people who are more afraid of losing what they have now, than of losing more in some uncertain future. Likewise, others would rather fight now for more later, knowing “now” could become better. Kenney is counting on Shandro to frighten the “protect what we have” crowd, hoping they’ll outnumber the “make them deal fairly” advocates. Shandro is forcing a bad choice on Alberta’s doctors. It’s “heads I win, tails you lose,” and Shandro’s using his own coin for the toss.

    Shandro has already shown his utter contempt for fairness, honesty and compassion. The AMA needs to change the game, force Shandro to play by their rules rather than his. We Albertans will have to support our doctors, in public and privately.

    • Mike, I think you’ve nailed it with your characterization of this being a debate between the “protect what we have now” crowd and the “make them deal fairly” crowd. The proposed Agreement gives Shandro sole unfettered discretion over the physicians services budget. It is stupid to give that kind of power to someone you trust, let alone someone who’s kicked so many times you don’t know which way is up.
      And just to be clear, when I worked as a lawyer in the private sector we NEVER agreed to give another party sole unfettered discretion over anything. It’s unheard of.

  18. Bill Albers says:

    Internationally Governments have learned that to give in in a hostage situation is only to embolden the hostage taker to use thie technique again and again with greater and greater harm being used as a bargaining tool. So, Governments now refuse to bargain with hostage takers.
    The point here is why should the AMA, or any other agency even try to bargain with this government that shows itself so ready to hold their (and our) rights hostage unless we do as they say?
    I say to the AMA and all other agencies say NO to the UCP. It’s past time to styand up to them.

    • Bill, that is an excellent analogy. All I can think of is there must be some in the AMA who think if they agree to this agreement, they’ll keep what little power they have left. The big question is what good does it do them when the Agreement they sign gives Shandro sole unfettered discretion. Shandro has the hammer, he can use it any time he wants for any reason whatsoever.

  19. Leila says:

    I think it is plain shameful how the UCP is treating the doctors.They should not sign such a discusting agreement.It is sad state of affairs and thank you Susan for bringing the truth to light.

    • Leila, “shameful” is exactly the right way to describe this. Small wonder that doctors have said, that’s it, I’m out. I fear we’ll be back into the situation my family faced when we moved back to Alberta in 2007 and could not find a doctor in Calgary. We had to join a private clinic which charged, get this, $3000 per family member per year. We forked over $12,000 a year before we were finally able to find a regular doctor and get out of there. And contrary to what some people think, belonging to a private clinic did not mean we got better medical service.

  20. Mike Priaro says:

    Susan’s excellent reporting and analysis as well as the many erudite comments by Albertans give me hope and lift my spirits.
    I’ll just use an adjective I’ll attribute to Keith Richards: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is a “shambolic” mess.

    • Thank you Mike! The most recent polls show Notley leading Kenney in Edmonton and Calgary, which is heartening. I suspect more rural voters will come on board as the implications of Kenney’s wretched policies (everything from the coal mining in the eastern slopes to not taking the feds up on their agricultural subsidy) come home to roost.
      Surely they’re not going to cling to the UCP because they’re trying to stick it to Trudeau. (I must admit the convoluted thinking here escapes me).

  21. Dave says:

    I suspect the doctors realize that the UCP is going to do things unilaterally whether they go along or not, so they are considering doing their part to tone down or halt this war, in the hopes that Kenney, Shandro and the UCP might also do the same. Perhaps that is hopeful and unlikely, but the confrontational approach hasn’t worked so far.

    Now there is still one big advantage doctors have – if they don’t like what Kenney and crew are doing, they can and will vote with their feet. Yes, they will have to be careful with mass closings of clinics and such, but they can reduce hours and some individuals will leave through retirement and other ways. Given the publicity about how Alberta treats doctors, it will not be as easy in the past to find replacements. Yes, the UCP can try to force clinics to stay open, but say if the sole remaining doctor is 75 with his own health issues, they will not come out of this looking good.

    At some point doctor shortages, long waits and difficulty in getting doctors will start to bite with the public and this will come back against the UCP, probably in a year or two just in time for the next election. So, Kenney and the UCP can try continue their war on doctors, but if they do, they may end up being the biggest casualty.

    • Dave, I was talking with some doctor friends who confirm what you said about doctors voting with their feet. My friends say older doctors are choosing to retire early and work as locums while the younger ones hightail it out of here right after graduating from medical school. From what I understand of the proposed AMA agreement the financial pressure on family doctors and psychiatrists will get worse, I’m not sure what will happen in the rural areas. None of this bodes well for Alberta. And makes it that much harder to attract people to our province. The energy sector is not paying big bucks anymore, heck, it’s not even hiring, So what’s the draw?

  22. Carlos says:

    Well try this a second time – wow this wordpress is in need of going the way of the DODO

    I thought I had seen most of the screw ups from the UCP but no, we have to have one a day.
    The vaccination process is another joke – I phoned 811 they were overwhelmed and told me to phone the pharmacy. Phoned the pharmacy, they do not accept more call because they are overwhelmed. Decided to go personally to the pharmacy. Well I am sorry she said but we already have a three page waiting list. So I asked ok do you have enough vaccines for those 3 pages? We do not know was the answer. So do you know how many vaccines you have and how many people on the list and see if you can actually make it? Well we do not know how many people we can vaccinate a day.
    I think by now you know where this is going as well as myself.
    Another joke. This government cannot even organize a vaccine rollout – too complex and none of them has math skills.
    This is absolutely amazing and in the meantime Jason Kenney is on the radio saying that we should have a choice. A choice of what?
    The Government and their very efficient private associates cannot deal with the vaccination.

    • Carlos, I’ve talked to others who’ve had the same experience. Apparently the pharmacies were told on Mar 9 they could start booking appointments for Phase 2 (65 to 74 year olds) who would start getting their shots on Mar 15. But no one told the public, some people found out by word of mouth and as you said the pharmacies were booked up solid by the time Mar 15 rolled around. The government sent out a press release today saying more pharmacies are or will be accepting bookings. It’s not clear to me how or when they’re doing this but here’s the link: https://www.alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=77753C13CCBD1-EF06-BB2F-F2DECBF1EB0B1CA4

  23. Carlos says:

    Sorry I forgot to mention the solution on the website
    Be patient we are in this together
    I bet the whole cabinet is already vaccinated including their families – they are not in this together, they are special

    • Carlos says:

      Oh and Yes – Keep your emotions down because you are just too excited.
      Well Jason Kenney I suggest you offer your resignation as soon as possible has we are all having PTSD with your non-government attitude. .

      • Carlos, I read somewhere that Kenney said he would get his shot when his turn came up. Who knows what he means by that, but he said people can choose to take the AZ vaccine or wait for Pfizer or Moderna if they have efficacy or ethical concerns. I have no idea where he’s coming from on the “ethical concerns” comment. I assume it’s a reference to people who refuse to be vaccinated with something that was developed using fetal cell lines, but from what I’ve read Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AZ.all used fetal cell lines (which are not the same as fetal cells) so what vaccine are they waiting for?

    • Carlos says:

      OMG BIGFOOT is coming to get us and he is taking all the Alberta children that are not brainwashed in loving oil

      • GoinFawr says:

        What really infuriates me about this waste of money, bigfoot distraction sideshow is the UCP has the doublespeaking gall to paint themselves as,

        “Albertans and people who defend our oil and gas workers…” JK

        Oh please, as if Jason Kenney and his UCP care about any WORKERS in any industry, past impressing them by rolling around in a leased blue pick up into voting for their own demise. When it comes to labour the UCP has been actively annihilating rights, or the exact opposite of ‘defending’ them.

        What JK really means is the UCP is composed of ,

        “Albertans and people who defend…” Albertans’ tax dollars lining the pockets of oil and gas CEO’s .

      • GoinFawr, you make an excellent point. Kenney talks about defending oil and gas workers but in truth he’s pandering to oil and gas companies by reducing taxes, letting them get away without paying their municipal tax bills, pressuring the feds to provide funding to clean up their abandoned oil wells, etc. Shabby government, through and through.

      • Dwayne says:

        Carlos: Here’s the latest proof of how the UCP’s corporate tax cuts are working out.
        https://beta.ctvnews.ca/local/calgary/2021/3/16/1_5349030.html

      • Dwayne, I saw the story about Cenovus laying off 1000 workers as a result of its merger with Husky as well as the story that Rogers will convert the Shaw building into one of its regional offices (ie not its head office which remains in Toronto) after it merges with Shaw. This tells you that big corporations make decisions about hiring and firing and where to locate their head offices based on their own internal needs, not whether Kenney cuts corporate taxes to 8%.
        He is such a neophyte when it comes to understanding what drives business thinking. But this isn’t a surprise given that he has zero experience in the real world.

      • Carlos the bigfoot story was the seventh most read story in The Guardian last week. The Guardian! We are an international laughingstock.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Susan the most interesting aspect about this Bigfoot story is that Jason Kenney was upset that the story suggested that Oil Companies are dishonest and kill people and animals.

        Well first of all one just has to get out of Canada and move to places like for example Ecuador to see what Oil companies did to the people there and yes it kills people and animals. For more examples a Canadian Company in Peru mining for gold had mercenary contractors that killed people to protect the companies assets. And this type of story with diamonds in Congo and thousands of other stories are not a secret they are just tabu to talk about.

        Secondly Jason Kenney is disgusted with the propaganda and brain washing this cartoon pushes on children. I ask Jason Kenney what he thinks about his own propaganda, spin and cheating pushed on us every single day including now with his minister of the environment trying to brain wash everyone that coals does not affect water quality.

        I just heard on the news that a couple that has lived in Edmonton for 50 years is leaving because out of those 50 only 4 had some leadership – this is what is happening and will continue to happen until Jason Kenney leaves us alone and even without government we would do better than this.

      • Carlos, I had the same thought. In Canada people argue oil companies aren’t that bad while turning a blind eye to the environmental damage their operations cause and the long lasting damage that results when they fail to clean up the mess they’ve made. However one has to be naive or stupid not to realize that oil companies and other extracting companies do horrendous damage to humanity and the environment in South America and other jurisdictions whose laws are even more lax than our own.

  24. Not Delusional says:

    Believe you left out where Alberta physicians are paid the most in the country and in many cases by a long shot, and are taxed the least. We know there’s taxes and insurance and overhead for clinics, but… those exist in other provinces as well.

    It’s a good thing none of our physicians threatening to leave the province (and the patients they claim to have so much care for) in search of higher pay didnt operate like our physicians 100 years ago, where house visits and free visits was the norm.

    I don’t agree with Shandros thug like stance, but perhaps some need a lesson in statistics. trying to milk sympathy from me, when we know you’re paid at the top comparatively, and taxed the least, then, as republicans told entitled celebrities who threatened to vacate America if trump were elected, bye 👋🏻 , Alberta won’t have any problem enticing new physicians to take your place with their hefty pay schedule.

    • Not Delusional: I’ve heard Kenney say Alberta’s physicians are (or at least were) paid more than their counterparts in other provinces, Maybe so, but it’s important to look at their contracts. The PCs negotiated a 7 year agreement effective 2011 that provided 0% increase for the first 3 years, 2.5% for the next 2 years, and COLA increase for the next 2 years. When the NDP came in they were negotiating for a 3 year agreement of 0% increase for the first 2 years and a negotiated increase in the third year. These were tough negotiations for the PCs and the NDP and never did it blow up like this.
      The doctors have a right to be upset. Since 2011 they’ve been held back while the rest of Alberta boomed. Now that the boom is over, people are saying the doctors have to be cut because other Albertans have been cut. The only way this logic makes any sense is if the doctors got whopping big increases when Albertans were making out like bandits during the boom.
      Kenney can’t argue share the pain when the government didn’t let them share the gain.
      Here are the links: https://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/doctors-say-they-will-work-with-province-as-government-eyes-physician-pay and https://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/ndp-government-doctors-still-at-odds-over-new-compensation-deal

    • GoinFawr says:

      Speaking of ‘milking’ things, quit trying to milk my empathy for some neoliberal/con, (whatever) race to the bottom of the salary pool for people who work their tails off on a daily basis for everyone, including your apparently very important self. For the record: I’m not Ralph Klein, so I don’t mind one teeny tiny little bit my tax dollars going toward quality public healthcare… during a global pandemic.

      And yes, just like in the private sector: you receive that for which you pay.

      If you think otherwise perhaps you ought to switch your handle to the much more appropriate “Absolutely Delusional”

    • Carlos, the pollster Mark Henry told Rick Bell that 2 years (until the next election) is not a really long time, it will be here before we know it. All the more reason to support the NDP now to put them in the best possible position to win when the election is finally called.

      • carlosbeca says:

        I agree and if Jason Kenney continues to double down on Bigfoot he could very well accomplish the destruction of the UCP as well which I hope is sooner than later

  25. carlosbeca says:

    I was reading the news and The Conservative Party of Canada is debating to declare that ‘Climate Change is Real’
    I believe I do not need a comment about this.

    • Carlos, I have an idea, when the conservatives are debating whether climate change they should also debate whether Bigfoot is real.

      • carlosbeca says:

        OMG this one just about killed me laughing
        And they are surprised they are behind in the polls despite Trudeau’s scandals and whatever else is going on
        Well what is the surprise really? Regular people versus idiots – well Canadians prefer regular people – doughhhhh

        🙂 🙂 🙂

  26. carlosbeca says:

    Bullseye with your comment about South America. Unfortunately it is not just there. In Africa and Central America it is worse. Even here we just like to ignore because it is easier that way but sooner or later we will have to face the real truth and then we cannot pretend it is a surprise.

    We are just lucky that we have a strong enough social structure that gives us more protection.
    If you google Ecuador and oil you can easily find articles like this one and much worse – can you guess why these articles are not in the newspapers here? Ask the war room?
    Try Nigeria and you will see even better
    Here is just one of them

    https://www.lifegate.com/oil-spill-coca-river-kichwa-court

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: There is another Carlos. Carlos Santana, the famous guitarist from Mexico. He has spoken out against what has been happening to Indigenous people around the world. The Indigenous peoples have their well being threatened by things such as corporate corruption. I do remember what happened in Nigeria, and with the oil companies. It goes back to the 1990s, and even before that.

  27. Carlos says:

    Lets try this again but outside the reply – it might work

    Yes Dwayne you are right about Nigeria and there is a lot more.
    Carlos Santana – yes remember him very well. Time went by fast and I miss the less complex life and the sense of hope of those days. Unfortunately we did not do a very good job since. Everything started to go down the drain when Neo-liberals convinced the world very effectively that their policies would serve us all very well. The results are obvious.
    I had very high hopes in the early 70s that we could really improve the world. The total population in those days was about 3 billion and until 1973 there was a sense of a possible better world for everyone.
    Corporations and the very rich soon figure out how to not allow that to happen.
    Furthermore the human population exploded to what it is now complicating the situation we are facing where all the planetary systems are being overwhelmed with pollution, garbage and what I think will be our next great challenge – disease. Covid was just the beginning. I am sure nature will take care of our numbers. One does not have to be a genius to understand that. We just have to understand we ARE NATURE.

    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: It doesn’t seem to get better with the UCP in charge.
      https://boereport.com/2021/03/19/column-state-of-the-alberta-economy/
      Let’s hope 2023 comes soon, and the UCP are gone.

      • Carlos says:

        No it will not because the UCP is governing for businesses not for citizens. That is of course what all parties do but the UCP is the ultimate expert on that and it is not that hard to believe that a lot is moving under the table.

        It is hard to believe that anyone would have thought the UCP to behave differently but again the whole process is a complete dream world. The UCP was very strategic on getting the addictive slogans out to convince those that live their lives in the slogan heaven which unfortunately in Alberta is a great proportion of the population.

        Albertans especially those in Fort McMurray think that 100 thousand a year is what everyone makes and so they become prone to believe in fantasies.

      • Carlos says:

        Conservatives have lost their way in the real world and I hope they continue lost in the desert because who the heck wants these people in government.
        They are still not sure climate change is an issue and most of them still doubt covid – they prefer to live in the world they created with their evangelical god and I wish them the best
        As you can see they have not been able to make up their minds about climate change or anything else for that matter rather than their extreme market views that have destroyed the world economy.

        https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2021/03/20/party-members-vote-down-resolution-to-enshrine-reality-of-climate-change/#.YFYky69KhaR

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