Postmedia, the American-hedge-fund-owned corporation with a near-monopoly over Alberta’s newspapers, is going hard this month on the narrative that Canada has “a left populism problem” and that our (actually centrist and not socialist at all) Prime Minister is engineering a “socialist coup.” But as we’ve seen very clearly in Alberta over the last few weeks, Canada’s extremist problem isn’t radical socialists--it’s the far-right.
After a participant in an anti-racist rally in Ponoka was targeted in what the RCMP believe to be a politically motivated car attack, Wexit organizer and noted far-right conspiracy theorist Pat King encouraged his followers to disrupt the next anti-racist rally, in Red Deer. The counter-protestors were recorded assaulting rally participants there, and the RCMP almost declined to investigate--until the story got a lot of attention online.
Organizers took a second crack at a successful rally against racism in Red Deer and pulled it off over the weekend. King and co again aimed to disrupt it, but couldn’t marshal enough people. In a perfect encapsulation of how the mainstream media constantly fails to properly cover incidents involving the far-right, Global News initially described King as a ‘barbecue organizer.’ Great work, guys.
You might wonder why the fringe of Alberta’s extreme right wing are so opposed to anti-racism demonstrations. The answer isn’t pleasant. The far-right in Alberta is, and has been for a very long time, thoroughly entangled with white supremacists. The latest example: the Alberta Youth Separatist League, an organization of young men closely tied to the Wexit movement. One member, Sam Bell, served on the board of the Wildrose Independence Party. Another, Eli Weisberg, was a founder and the secretary of the Alberta Advantage Party.
Leaks provided to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network reveal that the ASYL is significantly more sinister than just a political club for separatists. The ASYL organizers are apparently full-on Nazis, regularly posting on the infamous neo-Nazi forum Stormfront about their project to build fascist power here in the province through their involvement with the Wexit movement.
Duncan from the Progress Report podcast will be speaking with the researcher who broke the ASYL story tomorrow. Check the Progress Report site for that in a few days, or subscribe to our podcast on Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or Apple Podcasts, to get it sent right to you.
Many AISH recipients are in the middle of an absolutely horrible week as benefits were sent out five entire days late due to what Minister Rajan Sawhney is calling “a bank error.” No assistance is being offered to the folks who are now facing late fees and evictions for being late with their utility payments and rent.
Dr. Michael Houghton at the University of Alberta has won a Nobel Prize for his work in virology. It’s great to know that in the middle of this pandemic, we’ve got some of the world’s best virologists working here in the province. It’s less great that the U of A is now facing 650 layoffs thanks to funding cuts by the UCP government.
Alberta’s staggering rate of overdose fatalities continues to rise but Health Minister Jason Luan and the Premier are rejecting safe-supply programs, programs overwhelmingly backed by evidence that could be saving hundreds of lives. It’s the latest misstep in ‘the Alberta model,’ a moralizing, abstinence-obsessed approach to the opioid crisis. In September the UCP closed North America’s busiest safe consumption site, the SCS in Lethbridge, driving drug users back out onto the street and away from the people who were working to keep them alive and lift them out of addiction.
A request I received a lot after the election was--how do I know which businesses gave money to the conservative PACs that ran billboards and attack ads for the UCP? Well the AFL have compiled that information. If you want to know which businesses in your area funded the UCP campaign, take a look at the AFL’s online tool.
Scott Schmidt has a scathing takedown of billionaire blowhard Brett W. Wilson in the Medicine Hat News that you might enjoy.
Writing for Jacobin, Rawan Abdelbaki takes a look at the Westons, the billionaire family behind the Loblaws corporation, for whom “ripping off Canadian workers is a family business.”
- 150,000 litres of crude oil leaked from a pipeline south of Hardisty last week, says the Alberta Energy Regulator. You can thank AlphaBow Energy Ltd., based in Calgary, for that lovely addition to the ecosystem.
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