Shandro’s Disciplinary Hearing

The “boiling frog syndrome” is a metaphor used to describe the failure to act against a problematic situation which will increase in severity until reaching catastrophic proportions.—Wikipedia.  

Let’s talk about Tyler Shandro’s disciplinary hearing.

While it’s easy to get drawn into the melodrama and pathos (key elements in a good soap opera) this is deadly serious because it raises the question: how the hell did we get here?

How is it that the Justice Minister finds himself in front of the Law Society’s discipline committee?

Tyler Shandro Justice Minister

Shandro’s hearing

The Law Society is investigating three complaints arising from Shandro’s stint as Health Minister, namely:

  • he brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute by turning up at the private residence of a member of the public and engaging in inappropriate conduct
  • he used his position as Minister of Health to get personal cell phone numbers and contacted members of the public outside of regular working hours, and
  • he responded to an email sent by a member of the public to his wife by threatening to refer that individual to the authorities if they did not address future correspondence to his office as Minister of Health.  

To my mind the first allegation (confronting Dr Zaidi in his driveway) has a different flavour than the remaining allegations which allege a cabinet minister used the power of his office to contact and threaten citizens. Having said that it’s hard to separate the individual from his office when the office is that of a government cabinet minister.  

The Law Society hearing has been adjourned and it’s not clear when it will resume. Meanwhile the allegations hang over Shandro’s head.


It’s easy to lay the blame on Shandro, after all he was the one crying (or not) in Dr Zaidi’s driveway. However, he’s in this mess because of the extraordinary lack of judgment and the utter contempt of his bosses for democracy and good governance.

Jason Kenney should never have offered Shandro the position of Health Minister when it came to light that Shandro (together with his wife and sister-in-law) owned an interest in a private company that sells health insurance to corporations and individuals. The fact that the Ethics Commissioner ruled this did not violate the Conflict of Interest Act was cold comfort to those who felt Shandro’s credibility as Health minister had been compromised.  

Then when an independent inquiry found Justice Minister Kaycee Madu attempted to interfere with the administration of justice and there was a reasonable perception that he had interfered with the administration of justice, Jason Kenney should not have offered the position to Shandro who was facing three complaints alleging violations of the Law Society’s Code of Conduct.  

As ABlawg points out, the Justice minister is the “chief law officer of the Crown with the responsibility to uphold the rule of law.” Kenney should not have put the Law Society in this position and Shandro should not have accepted the appointment.

Then Danielle Smith made the same offer and Shandro accepted it again.

The law profs described Kenney’s actions (and by extension, Smith’s) as “disrespect for the processes of a professional disciplinary body, a body that also plays an important role in maintaining the rule of law in Alberta.”

And therein lies the problem.

Lack of respect

The UCP government under Kenney and Smith has no respect for democratic institutions, norms, and conventions, let alone the rule of law.

They’ve demonstrated this again and again.   

One of the first things Kenney did after the UCP formed government was hand out earplugs to his caucus so the poor dears wouldn’t have to listen to the Opposition debate on a bill impacting union rights.

Since then the UCP government’s attack on democracy and the rule of law has escalated.

The Kenney government used the covid crisis as an excuse to grant itself the power to amend legislation whether it touched on public health or not.

The Smith government passed the Sovereignty Act so it could ignore federal laws it didn’t like. It also tried, but failed, to give Cabinet the power to pass new legislation in secret.

And, last but not least, Smith admitted, then denied, contacting Crown prosecutors with respect to ongoing prosecutions of covid-related health restrictions and criminal charges (mischief, weapons, conspiracy to commit murder) in connection with the blockade at Coutts. And the so-called independent review of her staff’s emails is a joke.

Boiled frog anyone?

All this happened in four short years, leading me to wonder whether Albertans are boiled frogs, incrementally becoming so blasé about the erosion of the rule of law and democratic institutions, rules and conventions that they don’t notice they’re being cooked alive.

But here’s the thing. The boiled frog story is a myth.

Dr Victor Hutchinson of the University of Oklahoma says if you plunk a frog into a container of tepid water, the frog will become more active as the water heats up and eventually it will jump out.

If, on the other hand, there’s no way out of the container, the frog is doomed.

There’s an election coming up in May. Albertans have a way out of the container. Surely, we’re as smart as frogs.  

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66 Responses to Shandro’s Disciplinary Hearing

  1. M says:

    “Surely, we’re as smart as frogs.”

    Are we? I’m not sure.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. It’s getting harder and harder to defend the UCP, although people do try. I’m just hoping for the provincial election, where the UCP can be defeated, and we can have a better government. I’ll play some fitting music. This is a composition by Michael Bloomfield, and Paul Butterfield, Reap What You Sow. It is from 1969, and Otis Rush covered it. Duane Allman, does session work here, on guitar. He would later form the Allman Brothers Band.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my second song pick. This is from the blues rock group, Box Of Frogs. This is a John Fiddler, Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty composition, Back Where I Started. It’s from 1984. This is a group that features ex Yardbirds members, guitarist, Chris Dreja, bassist, Paul Samwell-Smith, and drummer Jim McCarty. John Fiddler is on vocals and guitar. Former Yardbirds guitarist, (the late) Jeff Beck is also on this track. Mark Feltham is on harmonica. Paul Samwell-Smith produced this album, from where this track came from. The Box Of Frogs did another album, and broke up. Another former Yardbirds guitarist, Jimmy Page was also involved with this band, as was (the late) Irish guitar icon, Rory Gallagher.

  4. keleemaui says:

    The sooner we rid ourselves of the UCP the better as far as I am concerned – their complete incompetency in running this province has gone on far too long.

    • kellemaui and PinkyDonna: I couldn’t agree with you more.
      I see that Smith’s utterly inexperienced Energy minister, Pete Guthrie, started a pilot project to test run the RStar program which would give oil companies credits for remediating wells they have a legal obligation to remediate anyway. The oil companies can sell the credits or apply them against future revenues which would reduce the royalties they owe the government.
      How nice, we reward them for complying with the law by setting up a program that lets them reduce the royalties they owe us.
      Before she was elected Smith was a lobbyist for the oil companies pushing this program and voila, here it is.

  5. PinkyDonna says:

    Gawd I hope so. This government is full of inexperienced people with no ethics.

  6. Jaundiced Eye says:

    How the hell did we get here you ask? The answer is laughably simple. The voting public got us here.

    • That’s true Jaundiced Eye…we can also blame those who didn’t like the UCP but couldn’t bring themselves to vote NDP because the NDP “wrecked” the province. I don’t know where this stupid lie came from but it continues to pop up when you suggest there is an alternative to living in Smith’s loony land.

      • Jaundiced Eye says:

        The people that believe the stupid lie that the NDP “wrecked” the province will never be convinced otherwise. As the saying goes, and I paraphrase…You know how stupid the average person is, half are even stupider than that.

      • Jaundiced Eye: that made me smile 🙂

  7. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Here is my final song pick. It is from 1997, and is from Bob Dylan. It’s his own composition, Not Dark Yet, Version 1.

  8. mikegklein says:

    Humanities and legal scholars may have decades of work to figure out how we got here and, more importantly, how do we get back, complete with the discipline to keep us never getting here again?

  9. jerrymacgp says:

    There is so much that is wrong about Shandro’s conduct, I don’t know where to begin. But I’d like to discuss, briefly, the third bullet in your list of the charges against him. He threatened someone with contacting “protective services” over some critical e-mails sent to his wife alleging a whiff of corruption and conflict of interest. At the time, the “protective services” he referenced was in fact, Alberta Health Services’ Protective Services department.

    Here’s the thing, though: AHS’ Protective Services is the organization’s corporate security arm, responsible for protecting AHS property, it’s staff, and the general public accessing health services. It consists of a mixture of AHS employees and contracted private security staff — Paladin Security, in fact. Some of its personnel are registered as Peace Officers. But they are not police and have no jurisdiction or authority outside the context of protecting AHS property and its users. The only way they could act to protect the Minister of Health would be if he is threatened or assaulted while on a site visit to an AHS facility, like a hospital or public health centre.

    Now this might seem like a nitpicking distinction to many, but as a lawyer he should be cognizant of such distinctions. AHS Protective Services could not have intervened in these matters involving his wife even if they were entirely legitimate concerns.

    [By the way, those of your readers who also read the Daveberta blog might know about the time back in the early 2000s, when its author, Dave Cornoyer, registered the web domain name “Ed” and set it to redirect visitors to his blog. It was intended to poke fun at the then-Premier’s staff who had failed to register that domain name to prevent just that very bit of cyber-mischief. He was sent a ‘cease & desist’ letter by the Premier’s lawyer — one Tyler Shandro].

    • Wow, Jerrymacgp: Thank you for this fulsome explanation of who “protective services” are and what they can and cannot do. Surely Shandro as the top official in the Health ministry would know this. So why would he use it in a letter warning the person who made the comment on Vital Partner’s public website to back off. The more we dig into this case the worse it looks for Shandro.
      PS loved the Daveberta detail at the end.

    • Carlos says:

      Very well explained and very interesting.
      Your last paragraph says a lot of how these UCP people operate.

      It is incredulous to me that they still have so much support. These people do not have any concern supporting corruption. They rationalize the lack of ethics and values as the cost of doing business. Unreal.

  10. My opinion says:

    Hearing ‘adjourned’ indefinitely?
    Judgement to follow results of JK’s ‘cheating’ investigation…I may well be dead by then.

    BTW – the ‘Boiled Frog Syndrome’ has been well known for decades… still few have appreciated the mire that the failure for the populus to understand the process. ‘’ and the IDU have been busy…

  11. Carlos says:

    ‘There’s an election coming up in May. Albertans have a way out of the container. Surely, we’re as smart as frogs.’

    Are we? We think we are but there is no proof.

  12. Dave says:

    One of the biggest problems in politics now is many people become trapped in their partisanship much like the mythical frog, so they are willing to ignore, justify or support all kinds of increasingly bad behavior. The sort of good news is Canada is a multi party system that party moderates excessive partisanship, however that is not the case now in Alberta.

    According to its advocates, the UCP was supposed to be a marriage between the best aspects of the PC’s and the Wildrose. A party that listened to the grassroots, but was moderated by that more practical business and conservative elite. It has somehow turned into the opposite, one that is hilighting the worst aspects – paying too much attention to extremists, with all its old arrogance and entitlement issues unresolved.

    So it’s not surprising in this environment that Shandro, facing push back, consistently behaved badly. It is not Kenney’s fault that Shandro initially behaved badly, but he should have got rid of him long ago. Likewise Smith also kept him, knowing all the problems, which is just as bad or worse. Shandro might not be a frog in a pot, but he sure is a sign of not just his own bad judgement, but that of his bosses and his party. So we are now left to other means to address the unresolved problems – the Law Society and ultimately voters.

    Perhaps the publicity the Law Society hearing is getting now is good, as many voters start to contemplate who to support in the upcoming provincial election. I suspect the UCP would rather focus on the temporary payments some people are getting, or its latest manufactured fight with the Feds, but Shandro’s bad behaviour is a reminder of the some of the enduring and fundamental flaws with the party they created.

    As the party was not able to fix them itself, the Law Society and soon after that the voters will have to try deal with this.

    • Dave, very good points. Let me pick up on your comment that this is now in the hands of the Law Society of Alberta. I don’t believe the LSA discipline committee was intended to deal with these kinds of allegations–did a lawyer who’s a cabinet minister responsible for health violate the lawyer’s code of conduct? This isn’t a clear cut question in my mind and I’ll be very interested in the LSA’s decision when it is finally rendered.
      I agree 100% with your comment that Shandro’s disciplinary action is drawing attention away from the things the UCP would like us to focus on in the run up to the election.For example, Smith’s objections to Trudeau’s Just Transition sank like a stone when Shandro monopolized the headlines.
      It’s interesting to note that Smith did not appear on her radio show last Saturday. She may have had a good reason to be AWOL, but one can’t help but wonder whether she just didn’t want to take any questions about her beleaguered Justice Minister. Or perhaps she didn’t want to justify her position that her 2 day review of her staff’s emails demonstrated that there was no communication between her office and the Crown prosecutor’s office.
      It’s going to get even messier the closer we get to May 29. God what a gong show.

      • jerrymacgp says:

        As a member of another self-regulated profession, I can attest that professional regulatory bodies can, and often do, seek to govern the conduct of their practitioners even in their personal lives; witness, for instance, the Strom case out of Saskatchewan — Strom v Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association, 2020 SKCA 112 ( Of course, in Strom the court of appeal eventually ruled against the professional regulator, and in favour of Ms Strom, but it did not state definitively that a professional regulatory body had no jurisdiction at all over a practitioner’s personal conduct — instead it set out criteria within which such jurisdiction might or might not be exercised: “in determining whether off-duty conduct constitutes professional misconduct, the possible impact on the professional’s personal autonomy is a key contextual factor”.

        So, while Mr Shandro was not acting as a lawyer in some of the impugned behaviour at the heart of this case, the Law Society would seem to still have an interest in how his conduct reflects both on him as a member of the Bar, and on the profession as a whole.

      • Well said Jerrymacgp. Whatever the Law Society concludes with respect to whether Shandro violated the lawyer’s code of conduct, it seems to me that Shandro the politician is deserving of censure for his actions. A brief stint in the back benches wouldn’t be amiss.

  13. Jim Mulvihill says:

    Excellent post, Susan. I have one quibble. Surely Danielle Smith didn’t merely “admit” that she had contacted Crown prosecutors about covid-related restrictions, she boasted about it. As she saw it, before all the backtracking started, interfering with due process was a feature, not a bug.

  14. E says:

    Oh i wouldnt count on that may election.Smith cant beat Notely so election will likely be postponed until votes can be bought giving the UCP a chance.

  15. Linda says:

    I read a Don Braid column this Sunday past concerning Shandro’s conduct review. Braid’s column doesn’t mention that Shandro confronted a doctor/member of the public on said doctor’s driveway. In fact, his column implies all the contact between Shandro & his accusers was solely via social media – text, email, phone etc. Said column mentions that ‘even a convicted murderer’ was, upon release from prison, able to obtain a law degree. By implication, Shandro is ‘just a hard working, kind man who always treated his staff with respect’ or words to that effect as per someone who worked for him. So since he isn’t a convicted murderer & treated his office staff with respect – something one would expect our public figures would do as a matter of course – we should obviously stop persecuting the man, because everyone ‘makes mistakes’. Sorry, not buying it. He behaved in a manner that most definitely deserved censure, not defense. The fact both Kenney & Smith did nothing to that effect tells me all I need to know about how the UCP thinks. Entitlement, check. Arrogance, check. Needs to be removed from office asap, check!!!

    • I agree Linda. It’s great that Shandro (apparently) worked hard and treated his staff well however that has nothing to do with the question of whether he violated the Rules of Conduct. Even if he didn’t technically violate the Rules his behavior demonstrates an astounding lack of judgment. That alone makes me question whether he’s up to the task of being a cabinet minister in any department.
      Remember when the NDP came into office. The PC government ridiculed their inexperience. Then along came the UCP and it’s been nothing but bozo eruptions: Devin (“shields down”) Dreeshen partying in his office, Tracey Allard and Aloha Gate, Shane Getson driving a dump truck in the trucker convoy, Kaycee Madu, Ron Orr, Shandro, and of course Danielle Smith, the nuttiest of them all.
      They all have to go.

  16. Cynthia Deans says:

    May can’t come soon enough! Excellent piece!👍🏼

  17. Survivor says:

    Unfortunately a lot of voters are able to shrug all of this lawlessness off just as they cheered on the convoy with the same mindset that got Trump elected.

    • Carlos says:

      Survivor that is the Alberta number 1 problem.
      We are definitely good at allowing lawlessness as a price of doing business. Furthermore the UCP is willing to crap the environment for the same reason.

      Unfortunately we allow anything as long as it does not affect us directly. It is called being selfish and we are pretty much at the top of the food chain when it comes to that.

      Example – Minimum salary should stay low as long as one is a business owner.
      The consequences do not matter to them because it is the price of making more money. Apparently business people are entitled to have the upper hand because they self declare themselves to be special and deserving of it.

      Importing cheap labour from poor countries is then justifiable because after all we do not know THEM and they are used to it anyway ( that is how they live where they come from). This kind of mentality was used to reduce minimum wage to our own students because “they do not need to make the same amount of money”. This of course implemented by Jason Kenney who should try to live with minimum salary even at his mom’s basement.

      They are the chosen ones though and they get their values from God . Harper was known for saying that the concept of market fundamentalism came directly from God.

      Just a bizarre ideology that was valid in the 12th century.

      • Carlos, what? Harper said the concept of market fundamentalism came directly from God? Wouldn’t it be nice if God told some of these guys to love their neighbours as they love themselves. No wait, he did, in Mark 12:31 (I looked it up). They just choose to ignore it.

      • Carlos says:

        Yes this was part of an article I believe written by Max Fawcett but I am not sure. The article was I think about Jason Kenney background and at one point it is mentioned that the whatever religion they believed in accepted the concept of market as one of the beliefs or revelations that was given to us by God.
        Just an absolute genius thought.

      • Survivor says:

        Carlos – my wife and I started a business and developed our own mission statement with a goal of paying employees as much as possible rather than as little as possible. I also was always willing to pay more taxes as long as others were also required to do likewise. I’m saying that not all businesses folks should be assumed to be conservative politically. We live in a very conservative riding and I’ve talked about putting up an NDP sign but my son objected as he thinks it would endanger our lives and property. So I find it challenging to hold to my values in this context. But don’t want to be assumed I support the UCP because we had a business.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Hi Survivor. Seems to me, there are two ways to run a business. One is to extract money from customers as fast as possible, for the least expense possible. The other is to provide good value for the customer’s cash and the employees’ labour. Congratulations, for having the intelligence and integrity to be a “good-value” owner!

        About the sign, I couldn’t say. But Lord, if your son’s right, maybe you should consider leaving. Have you talked to your friends about Danielle Smith? We keep hearing that life-long Conservative supporters are now saying “Not Danielle!”

      • Carlos says:

        Survivor I do not doubt your approach to running a business at all. I have nothing against businesses but our society is too tilted to the side of big businesses and the superrich. This kind of power never builds healthy communities. We need to get lobbyists out of Ottawa and start moving the government to do what it was created for – to protect our interests as citizens.

    • Survivor, excellent point. I keep forgetting that some people don’t care about lawlessness if it gets them what they want. It’s a weird belief, like applauding a runaway train when it mows down your enemies without stopping to consider that it could back up and mow you down as well.

      • Survivor says:

        Thank you. Looks like we want same thing. I just don’t like it when someone says “they try to run it like a business” – usually meaning something negative when businesses can be run ethically with generosity, care for the environment and genuine concern for others. And that is what we want from our government also.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        At this point, I’d settle for a government that isn’t openly against ordinary people.

  18. mikegklein says:

    One of the problems with branding that one would think Albertans would be aware of is that branding is only skin deep. Might scar forever, but does not change DNA.

  19. Mike J Danysh says:

    This whole sorry mess keeps getting worse. Prof. Lisa Young pointed out in her Substack blog “What Now?!?”, even the Alberta Law Society is not looking good in this thing.

    Now it’s even weirder. Tyler Shandro, during questioning, revealed confidential information on a private matter—NOT his, someone else’s—that wasn’t caught by any of the lawyers in the room. It was caught, and called publicly, by Charles Rusnell of The Tyee news organization.

    Presumably the Law Society investigators were articled long before the UCP came to power. So what the heck is going on? How far does the crazy spread in this province?

    Smearing the crazy gel even further, I was appalled when Rachel Notley echoed Danielle Smith’s ranting about the “Just Transition” legislation that’s pending. I knew Notley sucked up to the oil guys, but jeez…that shook my confidence in the NDP. I sure hope that was just public posturing, or we’re in even deeper sh…aving cream than I thought.

    • Linda says:

      Hi Mike: I read a couple of columns regarding Notley’s stance on the ‘Just Transition’ legislation. I wouldn’t call her concerns about the pending bill as sucking up to the oil guys so much as asking why our UCP government hasn’t engaged the federal government regarding this bill, other than to demand it be scrapped. Actual information as to how this bill will affect Albertans has thus far been limited to declarations that job losses will occur. I would expect our provincial government to be able to explain & back up such claims & also inform their constituents not only regarding possible issues but offer pragmatic, practical solutions to mitigate said issues. I guess the UCP are too busy checking emails to prove that Ms. Smith didn’t actually do what she said she did, which was pressure the AG to drop charges against convoy protestors & vaccine opponents. Which begs the question: if we can’t believe Ms. Smith when she claims she did something, should we believe any of her statements including whether the Just Transition legislation will destroy Alberta’s economy? Did not the PC progenitors of the current UCP proclaim they’d end the boom & bust cycle by diversifying the economy? Seems to me I recall similar promises made by the UCP. Should Alberta not be at the table to ensure the province gets the best deal possible to make such a transition in years to come? Why aren’t they? Did they not get invited, or did they refuse to participate? I seem to recall Ms. Smith refusing federal grants relating to this issue, so I think refusing to participate is probably why Ms. Notley is concerned. Because I’m pretty sure the NDP would be at the table pounding out a deal if they were in charge.

      • Linda, I liked the sentiment you expressed in your very last sentence: “I’m pretty sure the NDP would be at the table pounding out a deal if they were in charge.” I’m pretty sure you’re right. They worked with the feds on the carbon tax and on TMX. They worked with the power companies to eliminate coal fired electical generation. They can work with whoever they have to work with to get the job done. Unlike Danielle Smith’s UCP who seem to think yelling at someone and demonizing them will convince them to do it your way.

    • GoinFawr says:

      Seems to me it’s not the opportunity of having federally funded research and training programs available to Albertans that is bugging Rachel, it’s the timing of introducing legislation that the cretinous, soulless, mandateless back handed tools of Albertan politics will mislabel, misrepresent and mischaracterize as a “Justin Imposition”, spinning it as an ‘oilfied worker reeducation/pogrom’ instead of what it will in all likelihood actually be: a chance to sweeten your resume.

      This disingenuous UCP bemoaning and wild prognosticating about how ‘socialismly communistic’ it will simply have to be will go on all the way up until the actual bill is introduced, immediately following Alberta’s provincial election. At which time the army of silly strawmen composing what DS is saying about it will all be laid bare, for anyone who bothers to look. But she won’t care because, on the other hand, the wholly unwarranted damage to the NDP’s campaign by B’BBus Lady’s BS will have been done.

      • Linda says:

        GoinFawr, I agree this issue is politicized. The feds are trying to appease other countries by showing Canada is on board with GHG reductions. Unfortunately their efforts to appease have led to decisions that do impact Alberta’s economy in an adverse fashion. Ditto Newfoundland, which also has oil & gas resources. What puzzles me is the apparent disregard of reality. Canada’s climate is not conducive to living in grass huts, not even in the warmest parts of B.C. Also, even if all of us switched to electric vehicles, the fact remains that most machinery still requires oil based products to lubricate them. Not to mention that there is an environmental cost to producing batteries for the EV’s as well as the generation of sufficient power to keep all those EV’s fully charged. Point is, I do not see oil or gas becoming obsolete any time soon. As far as I know, a lot of folks on the east side of Canada still heat their homes during winter via an oil furnace.

      • GoinFawr at first I was nonplussed by Rachel’s response to the “Just Transition” announcement. Then I put it down to her recognizing that this requires a nuanced discussion which would be impossible with the UCP jumping on every word and twisting it to win the election.
        I don’t know if you saw Gil McGowan’s comments in the Herald. He says the feds have been consulting with the provinces since 2019 but the Alberta government refused to participate. He made the point that there’s a big difference between not being consulted and refusing to participate.
        The irony is that the oil sands CEOs say they’re not worried about transitioning to a net-zero emissions world because it will create even more jobs than in the energy sector.
        Here are the links:

    • Mike J: I agree with you that the Law Society has not covered itself in glory in this hearing. I was stunned when I read the Charles Rusnell article. Shandro’s lawyer is a partner at Bennett Jones. You don’t get that high without knowing your stuff.

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Well, Shandro’s lawyer might have realized it, controlled his expression, and hoped nobody else noticed. I doubt he’d want to call attention to Shandro’s gaffe right then and there—though he should have. Getting called out by an investigative reporter looks really bad.

        I wonder if the victim of Shandro’s loose-lips syndrome will sue, for violating confidentiality?

      • Mike J Danysh says:

        Speaking of Bennet Jones…look who they just hired as a “Senior Advisor”!

        I guess “knowing your stuff” includes who to lobby in the Legislature. I wonder if it’s a short-term contract?

  20. Mike J Danysh says:

    To Linda, GoinFawr and Susan, thanks for replying to my mini-rant about Rachel Notley’s public outburst over the “just transition” label. You raised many points worthy of a reply but (since environmental issues are off-topic to Susan’s original column, and I love to type) I’ll try to keep this succinct.

    GoinFawr, you make a good point about timing. Max Fawcett at National Observer opined that Trudeau’s timing did Notley no favours at all. Still, it galls me that Notley apparently chose to play to the dumbest, noisiest part of the crowd. We’ll have to see how the campaigning works out. But I fear that Notley is risking political self-harm if she parrots Smith’s outrage over “just transition.” She can’t attract Smith voters, and risks alienating progressive voters including me. With luck, smart Albertans will see through Smith’s posturing and knock down her straw man arguments.

    Susan, thanks for the link to Braid’s column. McGowan’s comments were revelatory. Learning that the UCP were invited to discussions, but refused to show up, is disgusting but not surprising. Jason Kenney refused fed money intended to top up pay for low-wage essential workers during the worst of the pandemic. Smith’s knee-jerk emotional reaction to “just transition” was just continuing the trend. This attitude is far too typical of the UCP.

    Linda, you wrote that the UCP should be able to justify its claims about “just transition” damaging the province. I wouldn’t expect or trust the UCP in general, and Smith in particular, to explain anything. Smith seems to rely on emotion and instinct, not reason. Smith & Co. seem blind to the need to plan the transition, and are treating the idea as a threat. Is it political theatre or actual stupidity?

    There’s lots of hand-wringing about environmental damage from lithium mining. Mining was bad—and could still be–but mining companies know they have to clean up their image, and their actions. We KNOW that carbon pollution is very bad and getting worse fast. Global heating will only be controlled by burning less stuff. NOT burning less fossil fuels will be much worse than lithium and cobalt mining in the long run.

    High-tech, high-energy society has environmental costs no matter how we power it. Now, we’re forced to choose between bad, worse and disastrous options. Bad: expensive, rushed conversion to renewables that leaves many behind but reduces carbon pollution—and reduces disasters like Exxon Valdez, Horizon Deep Water, and Putin’s economic war on Europe’s gas supply. Worse: dragging out the change even longer, while ignoring need to help economic victims of transition—what Danielle Smith is babbling about right now. Worst of all: business as usual, where the world changes too slowly and we all get crushed in the aftermath. Smith’s mindless blather does no good for anyone.

  21. Peter Hanson says:

    Just one question: how many members of the Law Society Disciplinary Committee are member of the UCP?

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