The 10 things you need to know about in Jason Kenney’s latest austerity budget

When the NDP were in charge they did a pretty bad impersonation of the Lougheed-era PCs. Now with all of the damage wrought by the pandemic Kenney has been forced to do a very bad impersonation of the NDP. 

There’s very little public appetite for the sort of huge cuts and austerity that Kenney and the UCP were planning to inflict this year, and you can tell that the government was trying to be a bit more restrained than they were last year. But only a bit. Spending on health, education and social programs are for the most part not going up, and for every example of a program getting slightly better funding, there’s one on another page taking a hit.

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Rural towns seek relief in Thursday's budget; local bigots seek attention in weekend tiki torch rally

This Thursday the Kenney administration will table Alberta’s 2021 budget, and it’s looking pretty grim. COVID has absolutely ravaged provincial revenues and we can expect the UCP to use the staggering deficit they’ve racked up as an excuse for cuts to all sorts of programs and services.

But one file I’ll be watching in particular is municipal property taxes.

Sounds pretty dry from a distance, but there’s a crisis growing in the balance sheets of rural towns across the province and the Rural Municipalities Association is getting very, very angry.

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RMA threatens to name and shame deadbeat oil and gas companies with $245 million in unpaid property taxes

File this one under oil and gas not loving Alberta back. The Rural Municipalities of Alberta, an advocacy group representing 69 of Alberta’s rural counties and municipal districts, reports that oil and gas companies are refusing to pay about $245 million in taxes that they owe to towns, villages and hamlets across the province.

And their president is prepared to escalate matters further. “The RMA will name and shame these deadbeat oil companies unless this problem is fixed by the Alberta government soon,” said Paul McLauchlin, president of the RMA. 

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POD: Treaty Six Outreach, mutual aid and the anarcho-curious

Robert Miller and Tabitha from Treaty Six Outreach join us to talk about the grassroots, street outreach, mutual aid work their group does, the Edmonton Police kicking homeless people out into -30 degree weather and whether human beings are fundamentally decent or not. 

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Cops keep making an excellent case for defunding the police

Cops sure keep making an excellent case for why we need to defund cops. 

Let’s look at Gracelife Church. This house of worship has, over the past months, continually violated public health orders around occupancy, masking and social distancing. Every Sunday we get a new story saying that the church is once again holding a service, that it’s packed to the gills with very few people wearing a mask and that the RCMP and AHS are there, monitoring the situation. 

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With B117 here we must aim for COVID zero or we will have a third wave and the worst lockdown yet

The Alberta government has rashly re-opened restaurants, gyms, and youth sports. In churches, Earls, and gathering-places across the province people are throwing caution out the window. And now new, extra-infectious variants of COVID-19 have established themselves in the province. Currently there are 156 reported cases of these new variants and they are growing exponentially

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POD: Pray for Kenney but meet your neighbors with Normal Quest

Tyler Ogilvie and Sean Willett of the Alberta Advantage join us to discuss a Youtube video encouraging Christians everywhere to pray for Jason Kenney even though, "he's been off his game lately," as well as a project they're working on called Normal Quest. It's a simple idea that could actually save the world – if we want to win we're going to have to log off and start talking to our neighbors and coworkers like normal people. 

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Oil company turned healthcare company got ‘significant’ COVID testing contract after hiring UCP connected lobbyist whose son works in health ministry

On February 26, 2020 Heavoil Tech Inc. changed its name to Equity Health Services. Just a few months later, on May 10, Equity Health Services announced it had won a “significant contract” for COVID-19 testing capacity with Alberta Health Services (AHS). It was an unusual windfall for a company that had been in the healthcare business for less than a hundred days—and a big win for a lobbyist and conservative insider whose son is a political staffer under the health minister.

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Kenney takes a few steps back on coal – but just a few

For months Alberta’s UCP administration has been painting critics of its plans to expand coal mining in the Rockies as cranks. Sometimes the word from on high was that they weren’t getting rid of the old coal policy. Other times, that the old coal policy didn’t ban open pit coal mines. Occasionally they’d just fall back on the argument that hey, coal mining isn’t even that bad, what’s a little toxic selenium in your drinking water anyway?

The UCP told us that their changes to Alberta’s coal policy were minor technicalities, but that’s not what the industry saw. Coal lobbyist (and former PC environment minister) Robin Campbell told the CBC just last May that it was very difficult for coal companies to get exemptions under the old coal regulations, and that rescinding the policy was a huge boon to them.

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Why is my hijab still a threat?

Bundled up in her scarf, tuque, and mask, my non-Muslim friend joked that she was as covered up as a Muslim woman in hijab. Yet she wasn't, she realized, subject to any of the harassment that those Muslim women face.

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