Easter in Alberta

Whether you observe Easter, Passover, or the rising of the first full moon after the spring equinox, this is the time of year when we emerge from the gloom of winter with renewed hope for the spring.

Sadly, some of us are crawling out of a pit that is darker and bleaker than in past years as Covid-19 ravages our families and our community. This ordeal has been exacerbated by the Kenney government’s mismanagement of the pandemic on all fronts.

Add to that the onslaught of cruel and misguided UCP government policies including:*

  • curtailing the right to peaceful protest
  • attacking workers’ rights
  • a boondoggle corporate tax cut that failed to create jobs
  • a billion-dollar gamble on Trump and KXL that blew up in our faces
  • a joke of the war room (was Bigfoot only two weeks ago?)
  • the undemocratic not-public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy activities
  • launching and losing a challenge to the federal carbon levy at the highest court in the land
  • surreptitiously green-lighting coal mining in the Eastern Slopes, then pretending to put it on hold when they got caught
  • selling, then not selling, provincial parks
  • sticking the public with additional fees and costs on everything from car insurance to electricity bills
  • downloading costs on municipalities and refusing to live up to funding commitments for capital projects while at the same time undermining municipalities’ ability to provide services by forcing them to give tax breaks to the energy sector    
  • slashing funding for public services including healthcare, K-12 and post-secondary education
  • trying to make an example of the doctors in the recent AMA contract negotiations by unilaterally ripping up their contract and taking away their right to binding arbitration causing additional stress in the middle of the pandemic  
  • signaling to nurses and teachers they’re next on the chopping block
  • pushing a curriculum revamp that is described by educators as “deeply Eurocentric, colonial, religious, ideological, capitalist, American, and ‘othering’” (and yet it’s endorsed by Jordan Peterson, fancy that), and    
  • framing policies as us-versus-them to pit Albertans against each other and against the rest of Canada.  

Some Albertans see nothing but dark gloomy days ahead. There is no light, there is no joy.

Here’s what I see.


I live in a relatively conservative neighbourhood represented by Doug Schweitzer. Our man is a cabinet minister who has held two formidable cabinet posts, first as justice minister and solicitor general, now as the minister of jobs, economy, and innovation. He’s responsible for implementing Alberta’s economic recovery plan.

You’d think we’d be happy, right?

And yet when I walk the dog past these lovely houses I see lawn signs, lots and lots of lawn signs—Defend Alberta Parks, Protect Our Eastern Slopes, Protect Public Health Care. Stop Post Secondary Cuts, etc.   

These are literally signs of resistance.

Mr Kenney’s destructive ideologically driven agenda has achieved something no premier has accomplished. He is uniting Albertans across party lines to throw him and his party out of office.


Albertans will continue to resist. We will stay on top of issues—the more Kenney throws at us, the greater the resistance becomes (this curriculum review just might be the last straw).

We will write letters to the government and our MLAs and even the odious Postmedia press. We will rally and protest (safely) in support of doctors and nurses and teachers and workers. We will join groups to amplify our voices.

And we will support Rachel Notley and the NDP who are the only credible alternative to Kenney and the UCP.

We take hope from polls that show the NDP’s support is at 39.1% while the UCP’s support is at 29.8% and falling.       

As a friend of mine said this Easter weekend: together we will make a difference.

Happy Easter!

*This is by no means a complete list    

This entry was posted in Alberta Health Care, Celebrations, Economy, Education, Employment, Energy & Natural Resources, Environment, Law, Politics and Government and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Easter in Alberta

  1. Liane Sharkey says:

    Hope you are all having a Happy Easter chez Soapboxes, Susan, despite Mr Kenny. Here in Ontario’s DoFo Land, we are under a 28-day emergency lockdown that was announced Thursday…except it started Saturday so that everyone could cluster in church first to be sure and infect each other with the variant! Our daily totals have done nothing but climb, ICUs are packed to the hilt….but our premier says no plan is a good plan. So keep on resisting, as many of us do!

    • Thank you Liane, and a Happy Passover to you and your family, despite Mr Ford. I’m not sure what it is with these conservative leaders but their decision to hold off lockdowns until it’s too late has backfired. You can’t save the economy without saving the people first.

  2. rubennelson says:

    Joy to you and all your readers, Susan.

    I trust someone is building a database of all of the host of ways Kenney is being destructive and corrupting. We will need it.


    • Thank you Ruben. I have seen some lists of the mayhem Kenney has wrought to date. Perhaps I should put these lists together and release them just prior to the next election. It will run to pages and pages and pages. What an unspeakable legacy!

      • rubennelson says:

        Please put the lists together, or find someone who is willing to do it and keep a mister list up to date. We will need it well before the election, since Kenney has politicised the upcoming municipal elections with his dark money and referenda.

      • Comment says:

        A list is a great idea and would be an easy way for people to see the facts – especially for those who refuse to vote for one party because they identify so strongly with another (and are blind to the destruction).

    • Dwayne says:

      ruebennelson: That’s easy to do. The UCP have mistakenly thought that oil prices would rise. The UCP gave 2 rounds of corporate tax cuts, which were around $8 billion, and did not produce a single new job. Immediately after these 2 rounds of corporate tax cuts failed, the UCP went begging for financial help from the federal government. The UCP wasted $120 million on their meaningless War Room, wasted almost $200,000 per year for a failed UCP candidate to operate the War Room, and waste large amounts of money every day on the War Room. The UCP have wasted money on plane trips to different destinations, which didn’t bring back any benefits to Alberta. The UCP wasted money on expensive hotel stays. The UCP wasted money on panels and committees, that have a set outcome, and pretend to listen to the concerns of Albertans. The UCP wasted $7.5 billion on a pipeline, this includes the $6 million in loan guarantees, that are still unaccounted for. The UCP made up 2 assistance packages for Alberta. The first was $3 billion, and the second one was $13 billion. They were not properly used in a balanced way. The UCP lost $4 billion in pension money, via AIMCo. The UCP went ahead and borrowed $25 billion without even asking Albertans if it was okay to do so. The UCP made close to $2 billion of the Heritage Savings Trust Fund disappear, again via AIMCo. The UCP loves hiring their friends with ties to the Conservative party for positions that have no value. There are over 20 of these positions, and they pay $100,000 per year, all the way up to $250,000 per year. The UCP have wasted money on grants to the petrochemical industry. The UCP have made an accounting boo boo, which cost $1.6 billion. The debt the UCP have given Alberta, is well over $100 billion. If you happen to be a needy person, someone who is elderly, in the medical profession, a student, a teacher, (both in the public education system), or even a rural property owner, the UCP does not care about you. The UCP are only interested in you, if you are one of their wealthy corporate friends. On the covid matter, the UCP have made it so that Alberta once again has the highest per capita rate of people with covid in all of Canada. The UCP have been just as fiscally negligent as the Alberta PCs have been, ever since Peter Lougheed was no longer the premier of Alberta.

  3. Thanks Susan, I hope E. Bunny was good to you. Great post. This curriculum rewrite was the last straw for me. Waste of time, waste of money and resources. If ever there was a case of: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”… and endorsed by Jordan B. Peterson? Give me strength!
    Please keep the info flowing. You do such a good job of illuminating the issues. Keep us on track. Bless you. Oh, and RESIST.

    • Thanks Esme. I have to admit of all the idiotic things Kenney has done, this curriculum rewrite was the absolute last straw for me too. The more I read about how twisted the rewrite is, the more concerned I become.
      Even stupid things like Kenney’s grandfather being added to the Grade 6 curriculum as an example of a great big band leader (when there are others people have actually heard of like Oscar Peterson) are troubling. Did Kenney know about this or was the guy doing this part of the rewrite just kissing up to Kenney? If Kenney knew why didn’t he ask to have it removed? Why does he think it’s appropriate? The man knows no bounds.

  4. lindamcfarlane says:

    thanks for the hope Susan Linda McFarlane403-999-9299 C

  5. kr.st@shaw.ca says:

    Additional items for your very concise list: the cancellation of oil by rail and the costly penalty for cancelling.
    I hope that you are right that the resistance is growing. Twenty five months is still a long ways off. Lots of opportunity for further damage by these marauders.

    • Kr.st: Good point. In Kenney’s rush to undo everything the NDP had done he ripped up these contracts and (according to the press) incurred a $2B loss. As Shannon Phillips said, “I don’t know anyone who would want to walk into a negotiation saying ‘I will pay anything.’ But that’s what he did.” Why? Because it was a campaign pledge–ill conceived, short sighted, and stupid like most of his campaign pledges.

  6. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP has done more very costly debacles, than what’s described on your list, costing billions of dollars, but we all know that. Postmedia is still bedfellows with the UCP, and the Conservative governments. As a recent example, Danielle Smith, (the former Wildrose leader who deflected to the Alberta PCs, under the goading of Preston Manning), tried to blame Rachel Notley for the rising costs of utilities in Alberta. This was in a column that was published in the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald. She was oblivious to the fact of things like Ralph Klein’s deregulation of utilities, the Power Purchase Agreement hefty costs, caused by Ralph Klein, TransAlta manipulating power prices 10 years ago, the Alberta PCs making power consumers pay for new power transmission lines, that were just for exporting the power to the United States, and the Enron affair having ties to electricity deregulation in Alberta. Postmedia will still try their hardest to defend the UCP. I hope you and your family have a Happy Easter.

    • Dwayne, your point about the billions in losses Albertans are incurring as a result of the UCP’s stupid decisions is well taken. We will have to watch the auditor general’s reports very carefully to tally them up because this government is nothing if not secretive. Even when they’re caught red-handed doing something major, like cancelling the 1976 Coal Policy, they pretend it’s no big deal.
      And as you point out Postmedia is right there to defend them.
      On a lighter note, I hope you and your family had a good Easter.

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Since I can only post one link at a time, I’ll share with you these things. Here is one of them.
    Who is supporting Postmedia?

    • Donna Kennedy says:

      It is so discouraging and seemingly hopeless! Reading your message brings a little ray of sunshine! Together our voices are stronger. May our resistance continue!

      • Donna, I’m glad you liked the blog. I must say the last few weeks leading up to Easter weekend were brutal and now with the variants running amok we’re in for one hell of a ride. So what’s left? RESISTANCE!!!

    • Dwayne, that was a peculiar article. It’s a Postmedia opinion piece that rails against the feds providing any funding for the news media because (in their view) this will make the media beholden to the feds and will warp the quality of their reporting. Then you click on the list of media eligible for federal funding and it includes Postmedia. Which makes me wonder, if Postmedia is offered federal funding will it turn it down “out of principle” so it can maintain what its standards of unbiased reporting. (I’ve got to tell you, that last sentence was hysterical, “principle” and “unbiased” in the context of “Postmedia”, that will be the day!).

  8. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is something else that is interesting. I haven’t been on Twitter for almost 3 years, but this is interesting. I still managed to copy this link.

    • Dwayne, this is a strange story. AIMCo bought Calfrac bonds, then later voted in favour of Calfrac’s restructuring plan, then Calfrac cancelled the bonds it sold to AIMCo, because it should never have allowed AIMCo to vote on its restructing plan because AIMCo was a “related party” to Calfrac as a result of having bought the bonds in the first place.
      What I find weird about this is Kenney keeps telling us AIMCo is a highly sophisticated pension fund manager. And yet all of AIMCo’s lawyers and investment bankers failed to see that AIMCo could not legally vote on Calfrac’s restructuring plan.
      Doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence about AIMCo’s ability to manage our CPP if Kenney finds a way to give it to them.

      • Paul "Kill the Black Snake" Armstrong. says:

        Kenney and Aimco are living proof that you CAN put lipstick on a pig..to lighten things up…lol

      • Carlos says:

        Paul you are right but Jason Kenney can do that on any animal that I know of
        The guy is a sleazy, opportunist goon

  9. papajaxn says:

    Just watched the Bigfoot family movie. It is an inspiring movie for the resistance movement. It lightened the mood and reminded me of the extreme greed of the AER’s risked-based approach to the O & G & pipeline industries extraction projects. Cold Lake – Fractionation – and Toxic waste disposal narratives that are actually real-life situations here in Alberta, past and present. The Bigfoot movie shows how the phrase “sometimes the truth hurts” which is being told in a manner anyone in Alberta can understand at any age. Since oil is leaving Alberta behind could this song the UCP will adopt for their next nightmare? Or perhaps this could be the theme song for those of us trying to make sense of it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xRCbdFrSSc

    • Papajaxn: you have a dry sense of humour. “They’re coming to take me away” fits the bill doesn’t it.
      And then there’s Alberta Einstein’s famous saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I don’t know how many times Alberta can bob up and down on oil prices, sinking deeper and deeper with each downturn and not finally figure out it’s time to try something else.

  10. Ruth Crites says:

    Susan thank you for your continued work to educate Albertans and encourage those of us who along side you fight the UCP agenda around this province.

    • Thank you Ruth! I know there are many of us out there and our numbers are growing. It gives me hope for a better future. Although I have to admit, this curriculum review really shook me up…it’s inconceivable to me that anyone would think these changes are an improvement on what we had before.

  11. Marilyn Johnman says:

    Steven Donziger, a US lawyer who succuessfully sued big oil for polluting the Amazon – remember his name – and follow him. See how Chevron reacted to being tried and convicted in court. Not only did it refuse to pay fines, somehow Mr. Donziger has found himself under house arrest and disbarred. The original Big Foot story.

    • My god Marilyn, what an awful story. After all Mr Donziger has gone through his concern is still for the Ecuadorian people poisoned by Chevron’s activities. The story ends with this quote: “The human suffering is immense,” he said. “It was hard to see. Ultimately, all this isn’t about me. It’s about what has happened to these people.”

  12. alco430 says:

    Good Monday morning

    I hope your Easter was an enjoyble period despite the shambles around us

    And while I commend the calls and signs of resistance and hope; there lingers in my mind; memories of past “bad” governments both here and in Nova Scotia, ((that I left behind as the result of, a job transfer and promotion))

    It seems, as provincial elections near; the King aka Premier will ride forth with his army of ((insert your own term)) and sprinkle shiny baubles and espouse words of; more and better paying jobs; a soaring economy; a balanced budget; relief from the overbearing and intrusive hated Federal Government et al And the peons will again bow and scrape, loudly announcing the coming the coming of the Messiah; who had for the last four years left us to struggle so that his coming would be even more glorious..

    To me; it seems we peons are stricken with very short memories; hence the glitter of a few baubles and the promise of great things to come wipe away all traces of the past. Unfortunately the numbers of us who do remember the past are crushed by the flow of the new believers and we are again relegated to living another term of(( again you provide the term))

    However; DO keep up the good work Susan. Miracles Do happen

    Kenneth Maynard

    • papajaxn says:

      Indeed there is a miracle happening right before our “old Alberta eyes”!. Keep the faith!

    • Thank you Kenneth. I suspect you’re absolutely right about what Kenney will do to win the next election–stardust and misdirection.
      The 2023 election will be the moment of truth for Albertans like me. If my fellow Albertans can’t see the damage Kenney’s appalling policies have done and will continue to do to this province, then I seriously question whether this place is right for me and my family.

  13. Joan von Engelbrechten says:

    Thanks for the consise list I have joined the NDP

  14. Paul "Kill the Black Snake" Armstrong. says:

    a lot of Albertans I know are resisting the attack on civil liberties, i.e. the right to protest. We have held demonstrations against the coal mines, car rallies, convoys etc. We are legion. We will not give up our Rocky Mountains to water fouling Australian coal companies. We are doing a demonstration at the Pincher Creek Courthouse on Tues. Sept. 6 at 9:45 AM. in support of Levi Williams Whitney, a student from Lethbridge who was fined $600 (ironically by a Conservation officer) for allegedly trespassing on leased public lands, leased by Riversdale Mining. We think the fine is excessive and is an attempt to bludgeon resistance to these open pit mines. We will not let it stand. We will, after the court proceedings, do a convoy to Blairmore to support people in the Crowsnest who are opposed to these mining operations and the destruction of the watersheds and the livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, tourism operators and the like. NO PASERA!!

    • Paul, this is a magnificent comment! I’ll repeat what you said:
      Where: Pincher Creek Courthouse
      When: Sept 6 at 9:45 AM
      Why: to support Levi Williams Whitney for taking a stand against open pit mining and the destruction of watersheds and livelihoods.

  15. Judy Johnson says:

    Another great post, Susan. Was feeling lethargic and gloomy until I read your signs of resilience and hope, which we all need in preparation for the BIG protest rally against creeping authoritarianism. Until it’s safe for that to happen, we need blogs like yours and neighbourhoods plastered with lawn signs to educate/persuade others that the UCP endangers us all. Hopefully we’re reaching a tipping point of citizen savvy.

  16. Anthony Bennett says:

    You mustn’t forget that they are trying to sneak through selling off our Land Titles to Ontario based Teranet. People don’t realize that the fee increases will kill the first time home buyers market.

    • Anthony: this is a very good point. Our Land Titles system is a treasure, not something to be sold to the highest bidder in a short sighted attempt to put some money in the Treasury’s coffers. Instead of selling off the furniture at bargain basement prices, the UCP could stop throwing millions and billions of dollars away on projects designed to inflame and solidify Kenney’s base (war room, anti-Alberta inquiry, fair deal panel, etc etc etc).

  17. Irene says:

    Yes, Susan, it is encouraging to see Albertans waking up to the damage Jason Kenney’s government is doing to our communities, institutions and environment! The wall of resistance is just getting more powerful. The latest I am seeing are the “Tiger Mothers” (and grandmothers) rising up over the UCP’s despicable and regressive school curricula. When you see this happening in conservative Red Deer of all places you know the UCP have stepped in cow doo-doo. Or maybe a land mine. https://www.reddeeradvocate.com. And this, right after our doctors told Tyler Shandro, “Nope!” to his “proposition” of a contract with the AMA- that they all knew wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. It is unfortunate that had to happen, but people have finally figured out that when the Premier’s lips are moving, he is lying. His MLA’s/caucus members, and supporters have figured this out now, and even the most self-serving amongst them are fearful Alberta is heading off the cliff with this leadership, and we need to make a sharp correction ASAP.

    • Irene, remember back in Nov 2019 when Kenney was riding high and said the future of conservatism was “reform conservatism”, one which doesn’t push laissez-faire capitalism and instead addresses the challenges facing people who’ve been left behind while the economy grows.
      And then he spends two years doing this, tearing down democracy, destroying public services and making it easier for big corporations to destroy the environment. This isn’t reform conservatism, it’s certainly not progressive conservatism, I don’t know what to call it. But whatever it is, people don’t trust him.

    • carlosbeca says:

      Yes this has no name – it is incompetent conservatisn

    • GoinFawr says:

      “….when the Premier’s lips are moving, he is lying. His MLA’s/caucus members, and supporters have figured this out now, and even the most self-serving amongst them are fearful Alberta is heading off the cliff with this leadership, and we need to make a sharp correction ASAP.”

      For certain Kenney is the pustulant head of the political lesion that is the Used Car Partiers, but he is not the whole running sore. They all, as individuals, of their own free will, chose to represent their constituents by deliberately and repeatedly voting for legislation that was clearly unconscionable. Every. Last. UCP’r.

      Never forget that, because it should be unforgivable.

      Just like ‘a cesspool by any other name would be just as disgusting’, the UCP can put any front man they want on the stage, the band still sucks, and everyone knows it.

      • GoinFawr: very true. For all of Kenney’s talk about valuing democracy and encouraging his MLAs to speak up to represent the views of their constituents I can only recall two instances when this happened. The first was when the rural MLAs pressed Shandro to back off on restructuring the doctors’ billing schedule because the rural doctors were moving out and the second was this last week when 16 or so MLAs publicly denounced Kenney moving back to Stage 1 of the pandemic restrictions. And notwithstanding Kenney’s public support of their right to voice their opinions, it appears that privately he threatened to pull the plug if they continued to challenge him.
        So yes, every last UCP MLA is to blame for the mess we’re in. Every last one of them.

  18. Keith McClary says:

    Commenters over at Alberta Politics (“MIKE IN EDMONTON” and others) have more items for the list.

  19. Dwayne says:

    Susan: As I can only post one link at a time, I’ll give you some links on electricity deregulation and TransAlta. Jim Dinning, a Ralph Klein era MLA, was on the board of TransAlta. The Enron affair, has correlations to electricity deregulation in Alberta.

  20. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here’s another link on electricity deregulation in Alberta.

  21. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Look at how the UCP keeps throwing our money away. Here’s another one, in the form of a grant to the petrochemical industry.

    • Dwayne, thanks for all these links. The one that really mystifies me (well they all do, but…) is the story about the UCP government giving Inter Pipeline a $408 million grant. Brookfield is trying to take over IPL in a hostile takeover bid ($7.1 billion), Analysts say that as a result of the government giving IPL the $408 million, Brookfield may have to increase its offer.
      Who benefits from Brookfield paying more for IPL? IPL’s shareholders and its executives who hold IPL shares and stock options.
      Who loses from the government giving IPL $408 million? Albertans who could have used that $408 million in healthcare, education, and bailing out small businesses that are going under due to covid.
      Something is wrong with this picture.

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: The vulnerable and the seniors could have benefited from this money. The UCP cut funding to them, which isn’t good.

  22. Dave says:

    The UCP’s list of mistakes, cruelty and mismanagement is already quite long and this government has only been in power for only two years. I would like to hope it will not get much longer, but I have a feeling it will continue to grow. Much of this is related to its economic agenda of cutting or passing on costs, but some of it is just unnecessarily bizarre such as the antics of the war room, the coal policy fiasco and curriculum revamp debacle.

    I suppose all those signs out there are not a good sign for the UCP government and this list plus things like the COVID vacationing aides, MLA’s and cabinet ministers explains why their popularity has fallen so much over the last year. I do still wonder if they will get to a point where they will stop digging – annoying so many people is generally not good politics. I had thought if an agreement was reached with the doctors, that might be a sign of that. Alas, Mr. Shandro did not come up with something good enough to fix that so far.

    I suspect many who voted for the UCP expected some fiscal and social conservatism, but they probably also expected some moderation from their campaign rhetoric. The UCP seems to be a gang of fairly rigid ideologues who do not seem eager to change despite all those signs out there. The last two years have felt like a long excruciating time. I suspect the next two will be similar.

    • Dave, I suspect you’re right, although at this point I’m beginning to wonder what’s left for the UCP to make a hash of. They’ve already sliced and diced education, healthcare, postsecondary education, AISH, Long Term Care, and the environment. They’ve given business the green light with their red tape reduction plan and corporate tax cuts. They’re decimating workers rights and democracy in general and their divisive policies have turned Albertans against each other, creating a divide that may never heal.
      As you’ve said, they’ve got 2 more years to go.
      What’s next selling off our water and our air?

  23. Mike in Edmonton says:

    For those interested in adding to the growing list of UCP gaffes, let me direct you to the blog of Markham Hislop, called “Energi Media.” The opinion piece I’ve linked to was published in April 2020. It’s the opinion of an oil-industry analyst who knows the Alberta oil patch from the inside.


    For the record, I disagreed then with Hislop’s opinion that Kenney’s Keystone XL investment (read “bet”) was a good idea. But before Joe Biden was a serious contender for the Presidency, it was easier to see Hislop’s point.

  24. Thanks for the link Mike. I find Markham Hislop to be one of the most thoughtful energy sector journalists around. I wholeheartedly agree with his conclusion, the UCP “was elected on a pro-oil and gas platform, yet has somehow managed to become the worst oil and gas government in recent memory, perhaps of all time.” At this point I’d say the UCP is managed to become the worst government period.

  25. loufair says:

    This isn’t exactly a list but a good compilation of the tsunami of disasters that this government will leave in its wake: https://www.standuptokenney.ca/kenneys_cuts_tracker

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