One nice consequence of Jason Kenney losing the anti-masker constituency: at least now he doesn’t have any reason to keep appeasing them.
You could hear a touch of derision in his voice as he held an unusual ‘myth-busting’ variation of the usual COVID update on Monday. No, he said, COVID isn’t just in the cities, almost seeming to strain to not add you idiots at the end. No, he said, PCR tests actually work and are not a scam. No, it isn’t safe for young people to get COVID. Yes, there is an actual risk of ICUs being overwhelmed (as I’m writing this, there are only four available ICU beds in the entire province.)
It’s a pretty big shift for a Premier who not so long ago spent most of his bandwidth kissing up to the anti-science crowd, telling us that COVID was just the flu and stressing that infection control measures had to stay minimal because wearing a mask at stores and not eating at Boston Pizza would be such a horrible imposition on our rights. You’ve got to think he’s wondering at this point why he even bothered, now that the scofflaws he coddled for over a year are all turning on him.
But he’s getting a little revenge here and there. He must have enjoyed laying into Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin Johnston online this weekend after Johnston was finally arrested for his multiple threats against AHS workers. And most satisfying of all: getting to finally throw the constant embarrassment Drew Barnes out on his ass along with Todd Loewen after Loewen dared to pen a letter demanding Kenney’s resignation. They’ll join Pat Rehn in the penalty box, sitting as independents, while the UCP caucus shrinks to now only 60 members. Keep it up, Mr. Kenney! You’ve finally found some cuts we all can get behind.
Calgary’s Green Line LRT continues to languish in limbo while Minister of Transportation Ric McIver refuses to confirm its funding, but he announced $210 million on Monday to widen the Deerfoot Trail. Ironically freeway widening actually historically tends to increase congestion thanks to a phenomenon city planners call ‘induced demand.’ I remember during the election many voices warning that if the UCP were elected, they would scuttle the Green Line; the conservatives called us fear-mongers and alarmists. Sure ain’t fun being right all the time.
Former Liberal cabinet minister Amarjeet Sohi has declared his candidacy for mayor of Edmonton. Sohi is broadly seen as the heir apparent to current mayor Don Iveson, though he’ll have to fight it out a bit with obnoxious rival candidate Mike Nickel first. Sohi with a relatively progressive council behind him would be acceptable, but he’s not necessarily an ally of the left—as a cabinet minister in 2018, Sohi is partly responsible for back-to-work legislation that was used to break a strike by Canada Post workers, a despicable move especially given that Sohi is a former ATU brother himself.
Demonstrations were held in several cities this weekend in support of the Palestinians, who are suffering yet another surge in violence under apartheid rule in Israel. In Edmonton, a car rally in support of the Palestinians featured the internet-famous “Free Palestine Car Guy,” who many folks were surprised to learn lives right here in Alberta. My colleague Duncan called him up to get his story.
Suncor talks a good game about its environmental responsibility—and even committed to fighting racism after the murder of George Floyd. But that’s apparently not stopping them from releasing cancer-causing pollution all over this low-income Latino neighborhood near Denver, writes energy reporter Geoff Dembicki for Vice.
- Condolences to Steve Allan, who nearly got out of handing in his homework: EcoJustice, a Canadian charity which fights for environmental causes in the courts, tried to have Kenney’s anti-environmentalist inquiry shut down, but a judge turned them down last week. Allan, the inquiry commissioner, has received multiple deadline extensions and funding top-ups to produce the report, which is due at the end of this month, but still has yet to give notice of adverse findings to any of the enviro groups the inquiry is supposedly targeting. About all the inquiry seems to have accomplished so far is paying tens of thousands of dollars to cranks for rambling reports full of “textbook climate-change denialism.”
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