Now IS the time for politics

Progress Report #208
Your weekly update on Alberta politics fo
r March 10, 2020

(This is an online version of the Progress Report email newsletter which comes out every Tuesday morning. You can subscribe here)

To spite all the stress and anxiety that the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is putting on us, I want to open this edition of the newsletter with a story that fired me back up a little.

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Jason Kenney owes us $2000 + 2020 Budget analysis

The UCP government tried to stop us from reporting on their no-good, very bad 2020 budget. They called us an advocacy organization and tried to keep us out of the media lockup. But we didn't back down, we took the government to court and won and now Jason Kenney owes us $2000. We talk with Heidi Besuijen, Progress Alberta's lawyer, about the case and Jim and Duncan break down the worst parts of the 2020 budget. 

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Analysis: The trash can of conservative ideology and the Alberta 2020 budget

Today was bound to be a letdown. After the high of crushing the Alberta government in court and gaining access to the media budget lockup (not to mention winning $2000 in costs) spending a whole day locked in a room full of journalists, civil servants and political hacks sifting through hundreds of pages of conservative ideology, charts and financial tables was going to suck. Especially as the Kenney government continues its steady four year grind of brutal austerity and class warfare. But given that I was locked up all day with no phone and a 232 page budget to pick through here's what I think you need to know about.  

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Reconciliation is dead and Jason Kenney helped kill it

How did reconciliation die? Arresting peaceful land defenders so a corporation could build a pipeline through unceded Indigenous territory at the end of RCMP-held assault rifles didn’t help but Jason Kenney played his part too. He stoked the flames of petronationalism for political gain and continues to use the time-tested settler tactic of divide and conquer. We get into the specifics of Kenney’s reconciliation strategy with Rob Houle.

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The News Boys

We talk with Scott Schmidt and Jeremy Appel of the Medicine Hat News. We learn how they carved out a space for themselves in the Alberta political discourse as two of the only members of the mainstream media willing to say that THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS! when it comes to Jason Kenney’s regime.

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Free transit for all

Everybody's talking about it. It's the latest, best policy idea to come from the left since public healthcare and public education – it's free (and good!) public transit. We don't pay to go to the park, we don't pay to ride elevators, we don't have toll roads – so why do we pay for public transit? We already pay for most of the costs of public transit, "free" transit is just properly funding transit with public money, which we get by taxing the rich. When we eliminate fares for everyone we reduce carbon pollution, traffic and the cost of living not to mention all the positive economic effects and the reconciliation, racial justice and accessibility issues that are addressed with free transit. Can you tell we like the idea? 

We talk with Laura Kruse and Paige Gorsak with Free Transit Edmonton about their exciting new campaign to bring free transit to all. 

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From Green to orange

Progress Alberta speaks with the only person to provide even a halfway amount of drama in Alberta during the last federal election – Michael Kalmanovitch. He was the Green candidate for Edmonton-Strathcona who, just days before the federal election, threw his support behind NDP candidate Heather McPherson the only non-Conservative elected to parliament in Alberta. We talk about why he did it, what the Greens can learn from this and what's next for the Green part as Liz May steps down. Also, should Progress Report host Duncan Kinney run for leadership of the Greens? Email him at [email protected] and let him know.


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So you want to have a general strike

Jason Kenney’s brutal class warfare on Albertans on behalf of the rich means people want to fight back. And one of the biggest tools working folks have to fight back is the general strike – but it’s not to be undertaken lightly. We talk to Sam Gindin about the lessons learned from the Days of Action in Ontario in the ‘90s fighting Mike Harris and what folks who are considering a general strike today need to to think about.


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The Esso cover-up

Documents from the Glenbow Museum Archives show that Imperial Oil, a subsidiary of Exxon, knew about the catastrophic effects of climate change before anyone. Instead of telling the world and transforming their business they suppressed their research, started a climate denial PR war and started building dossiers and surveilling climate activists. We talk to Murtaza Hussain of the Intercept about his story on the Esso cover-up and on Iran and his investigative journalism on the Iran Cables.


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A giant in every way (the Jason Nixon episode)

Stanned by Herald columnists, protected by the old boys' club, and allegedly able to disintegrate a grown horse with a single strike: on this pod Duncan and Mav Adecer delve into the wild history of Jason Kenney's second-in-command, Jason Nixon.

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