So now, on top of municipal elections, a provincial by-election in Fort McMurray, a fake senate election, and an even faker equalization referendum, we’ve got a federal election coming.
There’s just a plenitude of things to keep track of now. COVID-19? Still with us, and on the upswing, actually, as we’re more than a week into Alberta’s fourth wave. The opioid overdose crisis? Well, there’s been no firm action on that all year, so it’s still with us too—and getting worse. And investigators continue to identify more graves at the sites of Indian Residential ‘Schools’, with the count now well above a thousand.
And just in case that wasn’t all enough, climate change has been wreaking utter havoc worldwide all summer, and a rapidly-developing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is displacing hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are arriving now as refugees. These are interesting times, to put it mildly. It’s hard to tell how to proceed.
We might have one good example in the recent success of the folks who took to the streets to protest Alberta’s removal of COVID-prevention policies. A couple weeks of pressure and a great deal of volume from the many people who joined in letter-writing campaigns, marches, rallies got the UCP to blink—Dr. Hinshaw announced last week that plans to roll back testing, tracing, and other infection-control measures are being put on pause until at least late September. And that was without the media getting election-season fever; now that the election writs have been drawn up, public actions and demonstrations have the potential to be even more impactful.
We try our best at the Report to compile the most important local political information for you, but I can’t give you a road map to the end of all these crises. We don’t know the route. What I can tell you is that we won’t get there by standing still. To have crisis upon crisis in every direction is overwhelming; it’s hard to decide where to start; it can be paralyzing. But turn it around and look at the other side. If there are problems all around us then no matter which way you head, you’ve got something in front of you that really matters.
Interesting times are unstable times. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to tip the balance. So don’t rest—fight! There is work to do in every direction—and we can win!
Dr. Hinshaw has still not released the data that she says justified her removal of COVID infection control protocols, despite a commitment that it would be made available to the town hall event she held with Albertan doctors and pharmacists last night.
AHS has filed a complaint with the Alberta Labour Review Board, arguing that the United Nurses of Alberta falsely represented matters when the UNA revealed last week that at the same time AHS is demanding pay cuts from staff nurses, it’s contracting work out to the private firm Greenstaff Medical—at a much higher rate of pay than staff nurses are paid now.
UCP MLA Laila Goodridge, representing Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, is stepping down to run for the federal Conservatives in the upcoming election, which means we will soon have a by-election for a new MLA in that region. Kenney-averse conservatives are salivating at the prospect of getting Brian Jean to run for this seat; we can expect the Alberta NDP, flush with donations, to take a quixotic run at the seat too.
Despite claiming he’d de-policitize school curriculum that he claimed was tainted with “ideology,” the paper trail shows that Jason Kenney and cabinet have been closely involved in the elementary school curriculum development project—and that the influence of controversial curriculum advisor Chris Champion is more than we thought, too. My colleague Duncan has the details on the Progress Report blog.
- Activists in Calgary protesting police brutality—specifically the failure to remove CPS Constable Alex Dunn after he was found guilty of assaulting a Black woman in his custody, who he viciously slammed face-first into the ground while she was in handcuffs, breaking her nose and knocking her unconscious—were themselves roughly arrested last week after an off-duty officer showed up to pick a fight with them at the protest. Dalia Kafi, the young woman who was brutalized by Constable Dunn, was killed by an opioid overdose this summer.
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