The UCP are caving to public pressure--but that's not entirely a good thing

Workers from Alberta’s few remaining unprivatized care homes for people with developmental disabilities, and the residents of those facilities and their families, won a significant victory against the provincial government last week, forcing the UCP administration to halt its plans to sell the homes off.

Nearly 90% of PDD care facilities in the province are already privatized, and workers and families both report the same sort of troubles there that also plague our privatized long-term care facilities. The last few facilities that are still publicly-operated are mostly in the vicinity of Edmonton and Calgary, and their workers are represented by AUPE Local 9.

Having caught wind of the government plans to privatize these homes the workers teamed up with families of their clients to fight back. Through January they conducted a classic public outreach campaign based on reliable tactics--identifying supporters with a petition campaign and then mobilizing them to door-knock the constituency of UCP MLA Rajan Sawhney, the minister responsible for the file. And running a smart campaign based on solid fundamentals, they won.

UCP continue to go easy on COVID rule-breakers

Unfortunately well-meaning folks aren’t the only ones whose pressure the UCP have been caving to lately.

Alberta is set to re-open restaurants for in-person dining next week after pressure from restaurant owners and lobbying by Restaurants Canada. Meanwhile more than fifty cases of the new, super-infectious variants of COVID-19 have been detected in the province. Gyms, too, are set to re-open; dozens of gyms across the province had planned to re-open this week, in open defiance of the pandemic control measures, if their demands weren’t met.

A large church near Edmonton, GraceLife, is continuing to violate the rules and hosted service for 300 of its members over the weekend. For six weeks now the province has been demanding the church comply with the rules and the church has been simply telling them to stuff it. Until now, the province has only levied a single, small fine of $1200.

Rambling conspiracy-theorist report embarrasses Allan inquiry

Long-time readers of this newsletter will know we have no love for Jason Kenney’s anti-environmentalist public inquiry into what conservatives allege is a global conspiracy to destroy Alberta’s oil industry. The latest batch of work commissioned by Steve Allan, head of the inquiry, prove it to be the utter joke we’ve been pointing at all along.

Jeremy Appel breaks down the most egregious of them on the Progress Report blog. Allan paid $28,000 for a report that weaves a tale of global conspiracy, featuring names the right wing loves to obsess about like George Soros and John Podesta, and which alleges that there’s a world-spanning Marxist plot to destroy oil and gas because socialism, somehow.

Meanwhile the ostensible targets of the inquiry--organizations like EcoJustice and Greenpeace--are complaining that the inquiry hasn’t even contacted them for interviews. Journalist Sandy Garossino, who has done quite a lot of digging searching for this alleged global plot, reached out to Allan to offer information, but says he isn’t even following up.

To put the inquiry’s $3.5 million budget in context--that’s just over a third of how much the UCP cut from AISH by de-indexing it in 2019. It’s a staggering amount of waste, outrageous when put beside the cuts that the UCP are slamming us all with, and an utter embarrassment to the province at the same time. Absolutely infuriating stuff.


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