Opinion: Meatpacking plant outbreaks are a disaster and Dr. Hinshaw shares responsibility

I understand the love for Dr. Deena Hinshaw but her "mistakes happen" approach to the unnecessary meatpacking COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southern Alberta is shameful and requires serious reflection.

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Timeline: What we know about the Cargill outbreak

The Cargill Foods meat packing plant in High River, Alta. employs 2,000 people and is responsible for processing 4,500 heads of cattle per day, more than one-third Canada’s total. It is home to the largest COVID-19 outbreak in Alberta. Here’s what we know.  

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JBS meat packing plant at risk of 'even greater tragedy' than Cargill: Union

The largest meat packing plant in Canada, the JBS Food Canada facility in Brooks, Alberta, has reduced its operations from two shifts to one shift after a significant portion of workers refused to show up due to COVID-19 concerns.

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COVID denialism turns deadly in High River

Last week the NDP and UFCW 401 warned that a coronavirus outbreak was underway at the Cargill meat packing plant in High River, urging Cargill to immediately put the facility staff on paid leave and stop the spread of infection.

Jason Kenney and the UCP, siding with the plant owners over the plant workers, called these warnings alarmist and refused to act. UCP MLA Roger Reid, who represents the Livingstone-Macleod constituency that contains High River, ranted last Thursday that “the misinformation and fear-mongering being put out by the Leader of the Official Opposition is dishonest to hard working Albertans and denigrates the work being done by the Cargill facility to protect their employees.”

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How many pipelines can I get for these masks?

Jason Kenney’s poll numbers are in the tank thanks to his handling of the coronavirus crisis, and he’s reacting by getting more and more belligerent.

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Foreign aid for Montana

On Monday, Alberta’s COVID-19 emergency benefits program came to an abrupt halt.

Barely 80,000 Albertans were able to access the service in the brief time it was available. Applicants complained that onerous ID requirements delayed their applications--pushing many people to Monday and then shutting the door on them entirely. For several days the website was simply entirely offline.

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POD: Jason Kenney is so laser focused on job creation he just laid off 26,000 people

Jason Kenney just committed the biggest mass layoff in Alberta's history in the middle of a pandemic. It's the kind of cruel and contemptible behaviour we've come to expect. To help us process and understand the fallout from the brutal decision to fire 26,000 education workers we have Edmonton Public School Board trustee Bridget Stirling on the pod.

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If you need to cash out your pension you could get way, way less thanks to the UCP

Buried in legislation that was passed last fall by the UCP is a provision that means people will see far less cash from their defined benefit public sector pensions if, for whatever reason, they leave or cash out their pension.

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Grocery store workers are critical infrastructure now

The pandemic has only just begun but the folks working overnight to stock shelves and spending exhausting days on their feet dealing with panicky, frazzled customers are absolutely critical workers. They are keeping our society together. And yet the workers at your local Safeway in Alberta have been fighting for a fair contract for months with an employer that wants to roll back wages and cut benefits for these heroes. 

To discuss the issues facing unionized grocery store workers in Alberta during this emergency health crisis we talk with Tom Hesse, president of UFCW 401. Also, if you have a second thank a grocery store worker on your next trip, they’re doing incredible and important work. 


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There's an app for that (and it's bad)

Progress Report #210
Your weekly update on Alberta politics fo
r March 24, 2020

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

We knew the UCP government would use the cover of the coronavirus crisis to ram through some wild policy, but even I’m surprised by the audacity of this one.

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