Greetings, everyone. From time to time we’ll be adding information to the CUPE Local 46 website that you may find relevant. This post comes to us from Progress Alberta via one of our members.
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Progress Report #200
Your weekly update on Alberta politics for January 21, 2020
Last year during the provincial election we made ourselves a real thorn in the side of the UCP. Progress Alberta was one of the key outlets getting the word out about a number of stories Jason Kenney didn’t want people hearing–the kamikaze scandal and stories of problematic UCP candidates in particular.
It got to the point where even die-hard conservatives were sharing Progress Alberta posts around and I can’t imagine that made the UCP campaign very happy.
So they took a swing at us. In the late weeks of the campaign, Kenney (with a little help from figures like Danielle Smith and Vivian Krause) started pushing a narrative that Progress Alberta was part of ‘the Tar Sands Campaign,’ an alleged foreign conspiracy to shut down Alberta oil and gas.
Progress Alberta has never been involved in that pipeline fight. I know a lot of folks wish we’d taken one side or the other, and sometimes I wish we had too. But the fact of the matter is that Kenney’s smear on us was just a straight lie, meant to keep folks from hearing things Jason Kenney didn’t like us saying. After all there’s no faster way to brand someone as a heretic in this province than to call them anti-industry (whether or not they actually are!)
Well now we’re hitting back. Jason Kenney’s multi-million-dollar anti-environmentalist inquiry is just an extension of what he did to us–only now he’s using not just the resources of his party but the public funds of the provincial government to push his conspiracy theory and smear his political enemies. So we’re taking them to court.
Our lawyer, constitutional expert Amir Attaran, believes this nu-McCarthyite inquisition is a threat to Canadians’ civil rights. This spring we’re going to make that case and fight to make sure Kenney can’t use his inquiry to smear anyone else. So stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll have a lot to report as our legal challenge proceeds.
UCP announce draconian new education policy
Yesterday advanced education minister Demetrios Nicolaides announced a dramatic change to how post-secondary institutions in Alberta will be funded.
Following the example of Doug Ford’s government in Ontario, funding for colleges and universities in Alberta will be cut for schools that don’t match up with certain performance metrics–and those metrics will be decided by the UCP government.
Considering this government has already signalled its desire to slash education budgets, it’s not surprising that public education advocates are very alarmed.
Writing for University Affairs back in October, Mark Spooner explains well why the Ford/Kenney approach is bound to fail. But you don’t need to get into the weeds to understand what’s really going on here: the UCP want to cut these budgets and they’re designing a system to legitimize those cuts. At least this time they didn’t have to strike a panel to do it.
- Alberta’s $25-a-day daycare is soon to end as the UCP have announced that all day care funding will be cut completely as of June. The NDP daycare program, which had expanded to cover over 10% of all daycare spots in the province, was saving families an awful lot of money; now those folks are going to see their child care costs surge by hundreds of dollars a month.
- Over the holidays we reported on AIMCO’s investment in the Coastal GasLink pipeline–a buy-in that could end up costing Albertans a lot of money if the project flounders. A couple of weeks later, it doesn’t look like CGL is in any less trouble: Wet’su’weten people are in a tense standoff with the RCMP and yesterday folks who sympathize with the land defenders blockaded the Swartz Bay ferry.
- Anti-racist organizer Desmond Cole is returning to Alberta as he tours his new book, The Skin We’re In. Catch Desmond at WordFest in Calgary, at the Memorial Park Library, on February 20th.
- Convicted fraudster and (literal) right-wing-media baron Conrad Black headlined a Wexit+climate denial conference put on by Alberta Proud in Calgary, joining a collection of the usual ghouls including Brett Wilson, Danielle Smith, Jack Mintz and Ted Morton to bloviate on their opinions of Trump, climate change, Canada ‘taking advantage of Alberta,’ and the usual Wexity nonsense. How many attendees do you think made some sort of joke during the afternoon about how climate change can’t be real because it was cold out? Like 100%? Or just 90%?
- The columnists over at the Medicine Hat News continue to be among the few published media folks in the province willing to bluntly and directly call the UCP out. This latest column from Scott Schmidt is a real gem. Choose each other before it’s too late, urges Schmidt–we agree.
- Working-class Albertans are struggling to keep up with all kinds of cost-of-living increases under this government–but many oil and gas companies are getting a free ride, reports the Narwhal. The amount owed by oil and gas companies in taxes to Alberta’s municipalities has more than doubled, to a massive $173 million, and these companies are just refusing to pay.
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