Shuffles, scuffles, and science projects

The Kenney administration’s slow war against organized labour continues, and a reckless school reopening in the face of COVID is only days away. Here’s our wrap-up of the week’s political stories in Alberta:

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Edmonton sports are dead

The official name of the Edmonton football team is now officially the Edmonton Football Team. After years of prodding and lobbying the team to change the racist name it finally did so, giving into public pressure after doubling down, over and again.

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POD: How to change a racist football team name

We speak with Inuk writer, professor and researcher Norma Dunning about her ultimately successful struggle to have the Edmonton CFL team change its racist and insulting team name. We also discuss Norma's powerful writing on Edmonton's actual historical relationship with the Inuit. 

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Progress Report Newsletter #229: Curriculum kayfabe

Alberta’s schools are set to re-open only a few weeks from now but we don’t appear to be getting any closer to a safe plan from the provincial government.

Mounting pressure from parents for more protective action against coronavirus has pushed education minister Adriana LaGrange to relent and require masks in schools. But the change has come so late that the provincial government didn’t have the time to openly procure these masks from the many potential local producers. Instead, the bulk of the masks are being ordered (at apparently no bulk discount! great deal!) from the American corporation Old Navy, with the remainder coming from a Red Deer company owned by a major UCP and LaGrange donor.

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Labour needs to join the defund the police movement. And it's not why you think

The worldwide groundswell against police brutality set off by Minneapolis police’s brutal murder of George Floyd has dramatically changed the politically possible. Organizing and direct action against police brutality have produced tremendous victories. Public perception of Black Lives Matter and anti-racist activism has swung incredibly positive. And a clear, coherent demand has emerged from the movement – defund the police and use the funding that frees up to invest in the community and stronger public services. 

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Progress Report #228: We're going to have to force Kenney to reopen schools safely

Students will get two reusable masks.

Schools will get hand sanitizer, face shields for staff and contactless thermometers. 

That's the response the Alberta government hurriedly instituted this morning after an extremely negative response from parents, students and staff about the UCP's plan to reopen our schools. It's still far from satisfying.

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AIMCo loaned an oil company $45 million, let that company pay out millions to shareholders and now it can’t make the interest payments

An oil and gas company that’s received $45 million dollars in high-interest loans from the province’s pension fund manager has recently deferred its interest payment on these loans, despite being able to pay millions in dividends to its shareholders and executives after receiving the loan. 

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Collective liberation through occupation. How Camp Pekiwewin brings a global struggle to Edmonton

Camp Pekiwewin is a project started by a collective of frontline outreach workers, Black, Indigenous, and racialized community organizers and unhoused or formerly unhoused people in Edmonton. They began occupying a green space currently designated as an overflow parking lot for a nearby baseball stadium in the Rossdale neighborhood on July 24. Camp Pekiwewin provides food, water, shelter and other resources to unhoused and at-risk people who the government has ignored before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its demands are broad, and cover issues that commonly affect Indigenous, racialized, queer, and unhoused people the world over.

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Edmonton’s historic relationship with the Inuit is one of death, loneliness and despair

The Edmonton CFL team has finally changed its name after years of Inuit and non-Inuit supporters speaking out against its name. Before the team finally changed the name, they claimed in an online survey that the name was “originally chosen more than 100 years ago out of acknowledgement, perseverance, and hardiness of Inuit culture.

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Jason Kenney's pox party

Alberta’s COVID-19 numbers are worse today than on the day the provincial government first closed the schools—and they’re trending higher and higher. Alberta’s curve is “no longer flat,” warns Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health. We have stumbled back into the realm of exponential growth.

But in less than five weeks, the UCP are planning to completely re-open our schools.

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