Alberta politics started October 31, 2018

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Kenney’s cuts

On Thursday, October 24, the Alberta government released the provincial budget, which was nothing short of a brutal frontal assault on province’s public services, workers and the poor. The government outlined it would cut program spending by 2.8% over the next four years. This 2.8%, the largest cut to provincial program spending in 25 years, will reduce 7.7% of the public sector in the next four years, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.

Alberta’s Austerity 

The UCP budget will also give a 4.5 billion dollar tax cut to the rich and implement the ‘Alberta Job Creation Tax Cut’, which cuts the tax rate for large corporations from twelve to eight percent by 2022. Albertans will pay for these tax cuts in the form of layoffs, austerity and cuts to municipalities, social assistance and other services.

The budget follows the release of last months ‘MacKinnon Panel Report’, an 84-page document with 26 recommendations of how to “balance the budget” by 2023. The report was written by a six-person board made up of former deputy ministers, people from the academic sector, the CEO of ATB financial, and led by former Saskatchewan NDP finance minister Janice MacKinnon. It recommended cutting the operating budget of the province by $600 million a year off the backs of workers through cuts to Alberta’s public services.

The most concerning aspects of the MacKinnon report targeted education, healthcare and social services for cuts and privatization. The budget followed the recommendations of the report specifically related to post-secondary education, which cuts 5.1% across 26 institutions, with plans to link funding to “performance”, ends the five year tuition freeze, increases the cost of student loans, and allows institutions to increase tuition yearly by 7%, which could result in a 21% raise in tuition fees over the next three years. Private Christian post-secondary schools however, will be exempt from the cuts....  

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Tar Sands Trial boosted: Beaver Lake Cree awarded advance costs

This week, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench granted advance costs to Beaver Lake Cree Nation to allow it to proceed with its “Tar Sands Trial” treaty case against Canada and Alberta.

It’s a huge breakthrough for a case that’s been called ‘a gamechanger’ for Indigenous rights in Canada. Now, after years of fundraising and pulling funds from critical community development initiatives to fund the case, Beaver Lake Cree will have the majority of the resources they need to mount a vigorous, well-researched case.

Why? Because the Court ruled that a case that aims to determine just what treaties are worth in the face of rapid industrialization is of “national importance”.


With this advance cost award, Beaver Lake Cree Nation will have the financial resources  to pursue a case which could transform “business as usual” in the oil sands, slowing expansion and forcing every project to be evaluated according to impacts on treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Tar Sands Trial would force regulators to consider cumulative effects of industrial development, including fracking and in-situ oil sands extraction. At its core, the case is about upholding the treaties – which enshrine powerful Indigenous rights – ahead of approving projects, such as tar sands extraction, that could render those rights meaningless.

Today, we are one giant leap closer to setting a legal precedent that will uphold the treaties that this country is founded upon.....

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Corporation that received $55 million tax handout from Kenney relocates to the U.S.

Earlier last week, Canadian fossil fuel giant Encana decided to move its corporate headquarters to the United States. Premier Jason Kenney was quick to lay blame on the federal government. Encana’s CEO dismissed the notion that the move was a political decision.

Interestingly, what has been overlooked is the fact that Encana decided to make the transition despite incentives offered by Kenney’s own government.

Earlier this year, Alberta’s United Conservative government rolled out a tax cut for large corporations. The “Job Creation Tax Cut” was meant to appease companies that increasingly see Albertan oil and gas as a bad investment.

According to Encana’s internal documents, the decrease to the corporate tax resulted in them pocketing a cool $55 million.  Their departure from Alberta illustrates why government policy alone does not dictate corporate decision-making. Indeed, Encana’s CEO himself revealed that the move was made in order to tap into greener pastures in the United States.

Kenney had presented himself as the candidate that would return Alberta to an era of prosperity. His corporate tax cut, he promised, would lure investment and retain disgruntled corporations. So far this has not panned out.


He is playing. It is meaningless political theatre. He wanted to get a rise out of Kenny and he did. Interestingly it will play out well in their respective provinces for them.

There will be no new pipeline through Quebec. 


Kenney is whacked and over played his hand. 

Albertans aren't paying attention to what he said about this.  they are too busy being pissed about the new social conservative back bench bill. michelle rempel has even weighed in on it.

oh don cherry.

voice of the damned

quizzical wrote:

 michelle rempel has even weighed in on it.

mentioned here...


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Did you know there's a $1.6-billion federal bailout package for Alberta's oil industry?

Canada's $1.6-billion bailout package for Alberta's battered oil industry is well underway but with little transparency about who is getting the money and for what.

Almost $1 billion of the package of loans, guarantees and government grants announced last December is in the hands of companies but details are available for just a small fraction of the spending.

Two Alberta petrochemical projects each received $49 million for new facilities to turn propane into a type of plastic, while about $37 million flowed to various oil and gas companies to develop or buy technology to reduce their environmental impact.

The funds are flowing as pressure is mounting on Canadian banks and investment firms to reconsider their backing of fossil-fuel projects as major national banks in Europe have begun to flee the sector, citing climate change risks and a transitioning global economy.

Export Development Canada, which set aside $1 billion in the national bailout for loans and loan guarantees, said earlier this year it was getting out of the coal business but would continue to aid oil and gas companies.....

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Jason Kenney’s UCP Under Fire For Accusing High School Teachers of Being Disloyal to Oil Industry

Alberta’s Minister of Education is receiving low marks for her performance after she offered an anonymous, unverified high school test as proof teachers are engaging in subversive activities.

The antics began when UCP MLA Richard Gotfried told the Alberta Legislature that an unnamed parent sent him a copy of a grade 10 test from an unnamed high school containing “deeply concerning anti-oil and gas rhetoric.”

Gotfried claimed the anonymous test contained unspecified “attacks on capitalism,” including questions that suggest the development of Alberta’s resources could lead to the “destruction” of “forests.” He also said the test promotes the idea of placing unnamed “restrictions” on oil companies.

Reading from a script, LaGrange called the anonymous test “troubling” and asserted that “educators have a duty to tell the truth about our responsible energy industry.”

“This type of ideology has no place in our schools,” the education minister added.


The Alberta Teachers Association, which represents the province’s 40,000 teachers, issued its own statement questioning why LaGrange would not release a full and complete copy of the anonymous test.

The ATA also expressed concern that Kenney’s education minister was trying to “undermine faith in the public education system.”

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Seniors, family members struggle as UCP kicks tens of thousands off prescription drug program

Albertans are demanding the UCP Government reverse their cruel decision to kick tens of thousands of people off the Seniors Drug Benefit Program in order to pay for a $4.7-billion corporate giveaway.

The cruel Jason Kenney budget passed through the Legislature this fall will cause 46,000 Albertans to lose their drug coverage - Alberta Health officials confirmed this during estimates debate a few weeks ago..... 

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Crazy Days in Alberta: The Poison Wells File

The province let oil and gas firms create a $100-billion disaster. They expect you to foot the bill.

Gary Mar, when an Alberta politician, helped shield the oil and gas industry from having to deal with old, leaking wells. Now as an industry lobbyist, he says all Canadians should pay for the mess.

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Inside another kind of ‘war room’ — meet the Alberta climate activists who say they’re not scared of Jason Kenney

When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced his government would be creating a “war room” during the spring election campaign, a local activist group, Climate Justice Edmonton, saw an opportunity. 


The day after the election, on April 17, Climate Justice Edmonton launched its counter-attack — an online fundraising campaign for “A ‘War Room’ to Beat Kenney’s War Room.” 

The group’s initial goal was “30 hundred dollars” to combat Kenney’s $30-million investment in the war room. They laid out their plans: town hall meetings to work on a green new deal in Alberta, support for art and high school climate strikes and a “rapid-response fund to protect our allies and frontline communities as they come under attack from Jason Kenney’s politics of austerity and hate.”


The group would go on to far exceed their “30 hundred” goal, raising nearly $20,000 for a “war room” of their own — and they’ve been busy ever since.


There was a poll out yesterday putting Notley’s NDP at 46%, 4 points ahead of the UCP

Ken Burch

That's a higher vote share than the party received in 2015.


Wow! I expected that the NDP was well-positioned to land blows against Kenney's UCP, but I didn't think they would take a lead in the polls this quickly. Kenney himself still remains quite popular, but it looks like people don't like what the government is doing and expressing it as such.

Anyways, for now, good job NDP, but there is still a long way to go. The NDP in Saskatchewan led in a couple of polls this term, only to drop back to their historic lows. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Be smart. Talk to people outside your political bubble. Make a compelling case for your principles, and when something is worth fighting for, go all the way, don't back down.

This also has implications for federal politics too. Over the long term, we need to tear down the firewall that Ralph Klein put up. Instead of thinking that it's Alberta and your wins might be confined to a few seats in Edmonton, it's important to look at each riding and clumps of ridings, the demographic make-up, local communities etc, and work with people there to create a platform that speaks to their needs. Could you imagine the shockwaves that would move through federal politics if even half of the seats in Alberta were suddenly in play and the Conservatives could not necessarily take them for granted? On the provincial scene, I was certain the Liberals could keep their Edmoton seats, and also their 2 Calgary seats had the MPs not been discredited, simply because those seats have similar demographic make-up of other left-leaning anti-conservative urban areas in the rest of the country.

voice of the damned

Ken Burch wrote:

That's a higher vote share than the party received in 2015.

Doesn't surprise me. The impression I've got is that swing-voters in Alberta like Notley personally, and are largely okay with the NDP generally, but found one or two aspects of their economic policy unacceptable(and no, I'm not saying that those objections were correct, just that they're a pretty big part of the reality). So I can imagine some of them quite willing to entertain the possibility of returning them to power, if disenchantment with the UCP gets going in a big way.

That said, it's easy for someone with reservations about the NDP to say "Sure, I'd vote NDP, to get rid of that clown Kenney", when that voter won't actually be having to make the decision for another four years or so.


The Angus Reid Premier popularity rankings for March are out, and they show a very dramatic shift. After less than one year in office, approval for Kenney has fallen to 47%. This is a party that represents a united conservative movement, has the advantage of incumbency, is facing an opposition party uncertain about its leadership future, and can easily scapegoat the federal Liberals for Alberta's underperforming economy and his base eats it up. It looks like the corruption investigations and the cuts to public services are taking their toll. But after less than one year? That's very quick for the UCP government to burn its political capital the way it has.

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An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau from a Real Oil and Gas Worker

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Earlier this week, Jason Kenney tweeted out an article with the caption, “A must-read open letter for Canadians from oil and gas workers.” As an oil and gas worker myself, I opened it to find that it was actually a letter signed by 14 CEOs and Presidents demanding a multibillion dollar bailout from the federal government. It came just days after Kenney laid off 26,000 education workers in the province only to announce a $7.5 billion dollar handout to the Keystone XL pipeline.

While working families are being asked to sacrifice their public services and dig into their savings to make ends meet, some of the oil and gas industry’s wealthiest CEOs — many of whom make more money in one year than any worker can make in a lifetime — are demanding that the federal government give them a multibillion dollar bailout by purchasing their accounts receivable. As an actual oil and gas worker, I can think of no worse investment than to hand over billions of dollars to an industry with a very bleak future.

For the past 11 years, I’ve been a machinist in Edmonton, working in the oil and gas sector. I began my apprenticeship immediately after high school graduation in 2008, during the thick of the global financial crisis. There was a lot of uncertainty then about what kind of future my classmates and I were entering into. As bailout packages began to roll out across the country and around the world, I remember feeling no sense of relief as I watched governments hand billions to the banks responsible for the crash, while leaving hard working families to clean up their mess. From Bay Street to the Canadian auto industry, the 2008 bailouts left Canadians footing the bill for CEO bonuses and stock buybacks, while working people struggled to rebuild their retirement funds and recover from a gutted job market. And despite the billions doled out, manufacturing plants across Ontario are still shutting down ten years later.....

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Alberta Government Turns Hard to the Right

The Alberta United Conservative Party (UCP) Premier and his Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange have announced they are redirecting $128-million of K-12 education funding to the province’s COVID-19 response, following their decision to close schools on March 15th. Ms. LaGrange said “COVID-19 has changed both how we provide student learning, and the operational needs of the education system.”

The result will be the layoff of 25,000 education workers across the province, 16,000 of them educational assistants. The Minister’s press secretary said “[a]ny staff who are affected by this temporary funding adjustment are encouraged to apply for the federal government’s enhanced employment insurance program, as well as other support programs for Canadian workers.” Most of these workers, including office employees, were engaged in preparing online education resources for students. Principals and office workers were reaching out to families to assess the level of technology that families have available. In particular, the educational assistants were working hard preparing learning packages for students with special needs, many of which were going to be delivered to homes of students without access to technology.

Cuts to Education

“This is pure cruelty,” Sarah Hoffman, NDP Opposition Critic for Education said in a statement. “Jason Kenney is doing harm to students with complex needs, their families, and to tens of thousands of Alberta workers.” The NDP said this announcement comes just days after the UCP’s austerity budget would be cutting funds to post-secondary schools and municipalities in the province, resulting in thousands of layoffs: “Instead of standing by these hardworking Albertans, as he has asked private employers to do, Jason Kenney is pushing thousands of people onto a massively overwhelmed federal program.” They will also lose their benefits and salaries if they are laid off.


Support for the Oil Industry

The Alberta Premier then turned around and committed $7.5-billion in government funding to the oil industry, investing $1.5-billion directly and guaranteeing a $6-billion loan to get the Keystone pipeline built. Its purpose is to ship highly toxic tar sands oil to Texas. This comes at a time when oil is not doing well; the price is crashing to less than $5 a barrel – less than the cost of a pint of beer – and oil insiders predict “energy market Armageddon.” Here’s what Andrew Grant, of the influential UK think-tank Carbon Tracker, said about propping up the oil industry: “It’s not a bet I would want to make.”


Cuts to Healthcare

A third disastrous measure has been to cut doctor’s salaries by 30%, forcing them to lay off staff in 400 clinics, cut the number of services they deliver and pull back on the subsidies formerly paid for malpractice insurance. Some have been forced to close their practices. The UCP government also wants to pay doctors 20% less for the services they deliver in hospitals. A number of doctors have decided to seek employment in other provinces, and are already receiving offers. This has delivered a real blow to the quality of public healthcare, with a number of vital services, such as obstetrical care, unavailable to many.

Jason Kenney stands alone among Canadian premiers as one who cuts jobs and services in the midst of this pandemic.

Arbitrary Powers for Cabinet Ministers

To top it all off, his United Conservative Party (UCP) just rushed a – very likely – unconstitutional new bill through the Legislature on April 2nd. Bill 10, the Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act enables any current Alberta government minister to create and implement laws without consultation. It was introduced on March 31 and pushed through the Alberta Legislative Assembly less than 48 hours later. It stays in place as long as a public health emergency is declared.


COVID-19 is cutting a deadly swath through Alberta long term cares, just as it has in other provinces. 

 The real scandal is that “Everyone knew this could happen,” said Doris Grinspun, president and CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.  “It’s like somebody sat in a room and said, ‘This is a population we can live without.’ ”

In the Calgary nursing home, Nina Vaughan watches her father survive. ...

Lorne Vaughan has COVID-19. He lives in McKenzie Towne, where 21 fellow residents, including his sister-in-law, Doreen Gauvreau, have died of COVID-related conditions. Another 60 people, the same number that jam inside a TTC bus during rush hour, have tested positive for the virus.

Given the number of deaths at Toronto’s Eatonville Care Centre, reporting 27 as of Tuesday, Bobcaygeon’s Pinecrest with 29, or the 31 at Quebec’s Résidence Herron, odds are that a lot more will die in Vaughan’s home, too. ...

York University professor Pat Armstrong wants long-term care to move from provincial control to the Canada Health Act, the federal legislation for public health care. With national care priorities defined in legislation, Armstrong said federal money for nursing homes could require proof of improvement in a system that has long been underfunded and staffed by part-time workers.

“I think (governments) have got to realize that long-term care needs to be an integral part of the health-care system,” said Armstrong, known for her research into long-term care.

“They need to be doing the same thing (in nursing homes) as they are doing in hospitals. That means we need a new piece of national legislation, a national long-term-care act,” Armstrong said.

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Alberta insults taxpayers, shreds polluter pays and shorts workers 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney plans to feed federal dollars to zombie oil and gas companies, as well as to the oil giants still capable of funding their own cleanup.

Recent guidelines confirm how the province plans to spend $1 billion in COVID-related federal aid for inactive wells announced April 17. Unveiled just a week later, Alberta’s Site Rehabilitation Program is an insult to taxpayers and the legal mandate that polluters pay.

What’s worse, thumbing our noses at the polluter pays principle also diminishes the benefits of cleanup spending. It means far fewer desperately needed jobs will be created and far less overdue oilfield cleanup will actually get done.

If we invested that same billion in short-term loans for cleanup, instead of no-strings-attached grants, we could leverage 10 times our investment in industry spending.


Officials looking for law-abiding alternatives should consult the nascent Polluter Pay Federation’s Redwater Approach.

COVID-19 and the supply glut have acted as triggers, but the underlying cause of many looming bankruptcies is the increasingly unprofitable maturity of our oil and gas fields. And with maturity comes retirement.

Outside the wildly profitable and mostly foreign-owned oilsands, Alberta’s crude oil and natural gas industries have not turned a profit in a decade and have no savings or profits left to fund their retirement of wells, pipelines, and facilities. Companies have spent $50 billion more than they’ve earned since 2010 and have accumulated more than $100 billion in unfunded cleanup obligations for approximately 300,000 wells, about 400,000 kilometres of pipeline, and 100,000s of oil and gas facilities.....

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..lots of important info on this site 

Polluter Pay Federation​

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Ken Burch

Please tell me he's wearing shorts under that barrel.

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Jason Kenney’s Anti-Alberta Inquiry Never Bothered To Talk To All Those ‘Anti-Alberta’ Environmental Groups

Despite pouring millions of tax dollars into a public inquiry investigating “foreign funding of Alberta anti-energy campaigns,” many environmental groups targeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his right-wing allies say no one from the Inquiry has ever bothered to contact them.

Last week, Alberta’s Energy Minister announced the Inquiry’s final report would be delayed by another four months and require an additional $1 million cash infusion to complete its work after Commissioner Steve Allan missed his July 2 deadline.

It’s unclear why the Inquiry was unable to meet that deadline, although a June 25th order-in-council made a tweak to the Inquiry’s mandate by revising its mission as investigating foreign funding in anti-Alberta energy campaigns “if any” exist.

In a press release issued June 25, the Inquiry alleged that it had already conducted hundreds of interviews:

“In its work to date, the Inquiry has conducted more than 100 interviews with academics, researchers, industry officials, environmentalists, not-for-profit organizations and members of Indigenous communities to gather a variety of views.”


If passed, the Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act would impose limits on where unions can picket during strikes or lockouts. They wouldn't be allowed to block or delay someone from crossing a picket line, nor would they be allowed to picket a secondary work site without permission of the Labour Relations Board. 

The bill would also make Alberta the only jurisdiction in Canada to require union members to opt-in to having a portion of their dues go to "political activities."


josh wrote:

If passed, the Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act would impose limits on where unions can picket during strikes or lockouts. They wouldn't be allowed to block or delay someone from crossing a picket line, nor would they be allowed to picket a secondary work site without permission of the Labour Relations Board. 

The bill would also make Alberta the only jurisdiction in Canada to require union members to opt-in to having a portion of their dues go to "political activities."

They have likely gotten some good advise from the BC law firms that the Liberals used to gut workers rights in our province. They also would have learnt that they can get away with it for at least a half a dozen years, if not longer, so they don't give a damn if it breaches the Charter.


Surprisingly, the Alberta NDP are outrasising the UCP in donations. 

There's actual evidence in the political party financial disclosures published this week by Elections Alberta, which show that for the first time in 11 quarters Alberta's New Democrats raised more money than the UCP.

The 2020 second-quarter report for April, May and June shows the NDP raised $1,032,796.85 while the UCP took in $642,677.29. ...

This may not be quite the horse race it seems, of course, since the UCP has access to plenty of dark money via PACs ready to campaign on the party's talking points that is inaccessible to a party like the NDP -- except for a very few labour unions, a source of money the UCP has legislative plans to unconstitutionally block and defund.

NDP donations also tend to be smaller even if this time they were more plentiful. As Cournoyer pointed out on his blog -- "more than half of the donations to the NDP were in amounts of $250 or less, while almost two-thirds of donations to the UCP were in denominations over $250."

The Alberta Party received donations of $20,851.40 in the quarter; the Alberta Liberals, $14,344.53; the Alberta Greens, $3,915; and the Wildrose Independence Party, 2,997.70. A few fringe-of-the-fringe parties received even more paltry sums.

Interestingly, mainstream media, which covered the UCP's first-quarter fundraising success, seems to have been strangely silent up to now about this week's Elections Alberta disclosures. There have been recent news stories about the UCP's supposed recent financial problems. It pitched its members in March by warning them it would have to cease operations if more money didn't roll in -- a highly unlikely story. And it ended last year with a deficit of $2.3 million and net liabilities totalling $1.1 million, according to Elections Alberta's year-end disclosures.

The NDP, by comparison, ended 2019 in the black with a $748,548 surplus and a net liabilities of $376,977.

Shamelessly, in May the UCP also applied for -- and got -- funds from Ottawa's Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to keep its party staff busy assailing the federal Liberals for not forking over more dough to the oil industry and less to working people left jobless by the pandemic lockdown.

But the alternative, UCP communications director Evan Menzies said at the time, would have been to have to lay off eight staffers, who would then have had to apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to keep body and soul together until their federal employment insurance came through. 

The NDP chose not to apply for federal funds. Who knows? Maybe donors approved of that, too.


The latest poll shows the NDP and UCP tied as dissatisfaction with Kenney's party grows.

A year and a half of governing appears to be souring Albertans on the UCP. While it swept to victory in the April 2019election, capturing 63 of the province’s 87 legislative seats and 55 per cent of the popular vote, the latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds the party now well short of majority territory.

Indeed, 38 per cent of residents say they would support the UCP if an election were held tomorrow – remarkably putting the party in a tie with the Alberta New Democratic Party, which it dispatched to the opposition benches after just one term.

The problems for Kenney’s UCP are twofold. The first is that three-in-ten of its party’s voters from last year are now parking their vote intent elsewhere.

Many of these votes are going to the centre-right Alberta Party and the secessionist Alberta Independence Party.

The second is a widespread dissatisfaction with this government’s handling of several core provincial issues. Three-in-five Albertans say the government has done a poor job in handling health care in the province. The government has been in a protracted, intense dispute with doctorsover pay and third-party arbitration.

Further, as it posts its largest deficit in history, just one-in-three residents say the government has done a good job in handling government spending and said deficit, as well as the economy more broadly. They are similarly unimpressed with its record on jobs and unemployment, which is higher in Alberta than most other provinces, and public education, following much angst among parents around returning to school during a pandemic.

More Key Findings:

  • Support for the UCP has fallen most among middle-aged (35-54) voters: though 55 per cent of
    them voted for the UCP last year, only 35 per cent would do so if an election were held tomorrow.
  • The overwhelming majority (96%) of those who voted for the NDP in the last election say they
    would do so again.

    Notably, an inverse occurrence in vote intention trends occurs in Alberta when it comes to provincial politics. Nationally, the right-of-centre vote is solidly committed to the federal Conservative Party of Canada while those left-of-centre are split between a handful of parties. In Alberta, however, it is the NDP led by Rachel Notley which commands the loyalty of the rock-solid vote base that is as supportive of the party today as it was in the last election. Nearly all (96%) of those who supported her party in 2019 say they would do so again. By contrast, the UCP is bleeding 30 per cent of its past voters to other parties. (


Don Braid weighs in:

The leaders who do well — including Doug Ford in Ontario and Quebec’s Francois Legault — are maintaining a sense of social and policy stability while they struggle with the pandemic.

They seem to realize it’s no time for internal conflict or deep systemic change.

Ford, a cost-cutting hawk in the Jason Kenney mould, paused some measures.

“I gotta protect anyone who is not working,” Ford said. “I’m not comfortable with laying provincial front-line people off.”

He’s also been effusive in his praise of everyone who helps Ontario with COVID-19, including Ottawa.


The UCP’s loss of popularity is propelled by a host of factors, including the weakest economy west of Atlantic Canada, and the failure of UCP corporate tax cuts and other measures to bring new activity.

But the deeper problem may be the UCP’s determination to continue upending government systems and funding levels while the pandemic is on.

The fight with doctors has been especially damaging. Conflict with school boards and municipalities have hurt.

And it’s inexplicable that with so many lower-income people struggling, the UCP would even talk about changing eligibility rules for Assured Income for Severely Handicapped, or AISH.

Kenney and his MLAs sincerely believe that Alberta must learn to spend much less money now or stagnate for decades to come.

But the plans and the combative style project instability to voters, whose main fear is the pandemic and its effect on their families, schools and incomes.

COVID-19, in short, is more than enough to worry about.

Henry’s poll also shows that the core of the UCP agenda — cuts and cost containment — are not popular right now.

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'This truly is a jobs crisis,' says Kenney as Suncor announces it will eliminate up to 15 per cent of staff

Suncor Energy has announced plans to eliminate up to 15 per cent of its workforce, a move that could affect up to 2,000 jobs and which prompted Premier Jason Kenney to plead with the federal government as well as energy companies themselves to do all they can to staunch the economic bleeding in Alberta.

Calgary-based Suncor — which is one of the country’s largest oil and gas producers, with approximately 13,000 employees — confirmed Friday it will reduce its workforce by five per cent in the next six months, and by between 10 and 15 per cent over the course of the next year and a half....


No problem, send those unemployed workers to BC.

Maybe we will have back to back NDP social democratic governments in BC and Alberta, eh!


Kenney is such a con job. His parting gift to Albertans will be a Provincial Sales Tax. Premier Rachel Notley will be back before we know it!

The actual significance is that Canada will probably be looking at 2 progressive back-to-back NDP governments on Canada's West side., Alberta and BC. Who knew!

John Horgan rides a wave of popularity while Jason Kenney sinks



Hurtin Albertan

We were supposed to hear last week about further cuts but I think the news about, and the reaction to, the AHS cuts has put the damper on any further cut-related press releases from our Premier, at least until things quiet down about it.

Thanks for the link to The Star article, I was trying to read it earlier today but it was behind a subscription wall.


Hurtin Albertan

Well, sure was wrong on there being any delays before further cuts were announced.  57 positions cut today in my little corner of the Alberta public service, no doubt more bad news to come.  So far haven't seen anything official from either AUPE or the Alberta gov't, I'll maybe post some links if I see any worth posting.


Best wishes for your own situation HA

Hurtin Albertan

930 positions total at the moment, Agriculture and Forestry seem to be of particular interest in this round, guess we will see where round 2 takes us later on in 2021 when we get closer to our next budget. 

Luckily for me I have some seniority, 2 of my co-workers in my office were not so lucky, another co-worker might be able to keep working in a different capacity but that will have to be something for them and their family to discuss.

AUPE will be doing a press conference later today at 2:00 PM local time.

“Jason Kenney promised us jobs, but all he’s brought is pain, with layoffs, abolishments, cutbacks, cuts to public services, and tax holidays for billionaires that hurt everyone. He’s not the premier of Albertans, but the premier of betrayals.”

I'm pretty sure our next round of contract negotiations will be a real shitshow.


When's the earliest we can have another election in Alberta to rid Canada of Kenney and others who hate the poor?

People who live in the past die of remorse!

Hurtin Albertan

In the legislature Monday afternoon, Toews said he was “very disappointed” with the job action.

“This action is irresponsible. We will ensure that union leaders will be held to account for this,” said Toews.

Worth a try at any rate.  No point in going down without a fight.


Kenney's hatred against working people, especially health care workers during Covid-19 pandemic is sickening.

Alberta’s Public Health Workers Strike Back

As COVID-19 rates hit new records, Kenney’s plan to lay off 11,000 sparks wildcat walkouts across the province.


Garth Rowswell, the UCP MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright continues to deny that climate change is real and is coming under criticism. 

After a UCP MLA’s statement in the Alberta legislature on Wednesday expressed skepticism about the effects of climate change, the leader of the Opposition called on Premier Jason Kenney to publicly reject the comments.

“The science on climate change is settled,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley said in a news release.

“We cannot expect to attract investment to this province when members of the governing party are denying the science of climate change.”

Notley was responding to comments made by Garth Rowswell, the UCP MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright.

Rowswell’s statement referenced a letter to the United Nations secretary-general signed by 500 people — including some scientists — that argues there is no climate emergency and questions what impact climate change has had on the Earth.

“Michael Shellenberger, a famed environmental activist, argued against the alarmist rhetoric by the supposed experts,” Rowswell told the legislature. “It is important to recognize that the dominant narrative is not the only narrative. ...

Rowswell added that he believes there is an effort by “extremist agitators and malcontents, who stand against capitalism and free markets, to undermine our great energy industry.”

“Access to fossil fuel-derived energy has been one of if not the greatest thing that has happened to the human race,” he said. “We need to expand the use of fossil fuels — not restrict them. I’m proud that the Alberta government eliminated the oppressive carbon tax and continues to fight the federal government on this front.” ...

This summer, a UN weather agency said the world could see average global temperatures 1.5 C above the pre-industrial average for the first time in the next five years. The 1.5 C mark is the level to which countries around the world have agreed to try to limit global warming.



The United Conservative Party Kenney government is facing an enormous backlash over MLAs and Kenney's Chief of Staff travelling out of the country despite travel restrictions during the exponential growth in Covid-19 that the government has done little to stop. 

The frustrations of Albertans continue to boil over as several United Conservative Party MLAs, and a number of party staffers, elected to travel over the holidays despite recommendations from both the provincial and federal governments to stay home.

CTV News has confirmed six UCP MLAs and three high-ranking staffers left the country in December.

Political watchers expect Premier Jason Kenney to address the mounting fury in the near future.

The opposition NDP has planned a news conference for noon Monday calling for the resignation of Tracy Allard, Alberta’s minister of municipal affairs, who recently travelled to Hawaii.

Allard responded Friday, calling her trip the continuation of a "17-year family tradition", but the explanation did little to quash criticism of her tropical travels. Signs were posted outside her Grande Prairie constituency office over the weekend with messages of "Aloha Allard" and leis adorned the door.

The constituency office of Jeremy Nixon, MLA for Calgary-Klein, has also been postered with calls to resign and leis after his recent tropical travels. ...

Scott Cyr, who was elected to represent Bonnyville-Cold Lake under Alberta's Wildrose Party in 2015, the apology Kenney issued last week rang hollow with many Albertans. "The premier's office is saying that they didn't know. This is insulting for everybody," he told CTV News in an interview Sunday. Kenney told reporters on Friday he wasn't aware of who was and wasn’t out of the province until the news became public, and he then ordered all traveling members to return to Alberta. Cyr believes the premier is quickly losing support after saying that none of the government members or party staff who went against government advice would be disciplined. ...

Minister of Energy Sonya Savage drove to a property she owns in British Columbia over the holidays for what her staff called "essential maintenance."

Minister Savage’s press secretary claims the Calgary North West representative went to check on the property located outside of Kelowna following a water line replacement — and that she was not there for a "vacation trip" over the holidays.

"The Minister did not intend to spend any of the holidays in British Columbia and returned home to her riding in Calgary after 72 hours," said an email from press secretary Kavi Bal.

The governments of Alberta and British Columbia have both asked people to avoid all non-essential travel during the pandemic.

High-ranking staffers also left the country in December including the premier’s chief of staff, Jamie Huckabay, who travelled to the U.K. and Matt Wolf, the premier’s executive director of issues management, who says he travelled to Saskatchewan for the holidays to stay with his parents.


As a result of their international travel six UCP MLAs, including a minister, have resigned from their duties and Kenney's Chief of Staff has resigned from his job after widespread anger over the travel, far greater than the revelations of former Conservative Premier Alison Redford's very extravagant expense spending and her filling out private flights with phantom passengers to make the trip justifiable. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has accepted the resignations of Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard as minister of municipal affairs and of Jamie Huckabay, his chief of staff. 

They join a growing number of politicians across Canada who have admitted to travelling outside the country despite pandemic restrictions, leading to resignations in some cases. They include former Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips, a Progressive Conservative; Liberal MP Kamal Khera; and New Democrat MP Niki Ashton.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Kenney said he has also demoted five other United Conservative Party MLAs who travelled internationally over the holidays. 

Calgary-Klein MLA Jeremy Nixon has been stripped from his position as parliamentary secretary for civil society, while Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan has been removed from Treasury Board.

Three MLAs — Calgary-Peigan's Tanya Fir, Tany Yao of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo and Lesser Slave Lake's Pat Rehn — have been removed from the legislature committees they sat on.  ...

"Millions of Albertans have made real sacrifices over the past 10 months to help keep each other safe. They are right to be angry about people in positions of leadership vacationing outside of the country," Kenney wrote." ... By travelling abroad over the holidays, these individuals demonstrated extremely poor judgment." Kenney's announcement comes after days of intense criticism by Albertans over the holiday trips.

Social media has been dominated by calls for Kenney and Allard to resign, while MLAs have been bombarded with emails and phone calls from angry constituents.

CBC News first confirmed on Dec. 31 that Allard had been in Hawaii over the holidays. 

The next day, Kenney held a news conference, during which he told Albertans he was at fault for not telling MLAs they shouldn't travel — even though public health officials have advised against non-essential international trips for months.

A few hours later, Allard held a news conference and apologized for taking the trip. But in a statement that likely sealed her fate, she explained that the Christmas trip to Hawaii was an annual tradition for her family. That prompted more outrage from Albertans, who began listing the traditions, travel and gatherings they had eschewed this year due to COVID-19. 

"We can't see our grown children in this city yet they can fly to Hawaii," Edmontonian Glen Mullins told CBC News on Monday. "My parents live in Newfoundland. My tradition is to go see them. I couldn't go."


In two of the last three Alberta polls, the NDP led the UCP.  In the poll before the last three polls the two parties were tied in support, so it will be interesting to see how the latest Covid-19 scandals affect party popularity in the province. 

               NDP%       UCP%

Dec. 4     43                40       Research Co.

Nov 30   39               43       Angus Reid

Nov 26    47               40      Environics

Sept 1      38              38      Angus Reid


And the suggestion in the last post that the disastrous performance by the Kenney government on the Covid-19 crisis could lead to a large change in voter preference from the already existing growth in NDP support since the summer has been answered with the release of the January 7th Mainstreet Research poll showing a NDP lead of 17% with the NDP at 48% and the UCP at 31% among decided voters. The UCP is now doing worse than the Jim Prentice  PCs. The ultra-right Wildrose Independence party is now at 10%. 

A new poll commissioned exclusively by the Western Standard shows Jason Kenney’s UCP would face decimation if an election was held today with the NDP’s Rachel Kenney returned as premier, and a strong possibility of the new Wildrose Independence Party breaking into the legislature.

The Mainstreet Research poll was conducted January 6-7 and shows 41 per cent of Albertans would vote NDP, and only 26 per cent would cast a ballot for the UCP. The Wildrose Independence Party would take 9 per cent of the vote.

The Alberta Party was supported by 3 per cent, the Liberals and Greens 2 per cent each, and another 2 per cent for other parties. Another 16 per cent were undecided. ...

“This is horrific news for the governing UCP and for Premier Jason Kenney,” said Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi. “It’s absolutely terrible.”

At 26 per cent, the UCP are polling lower than the 28 per cent received by the Progressive Conservatives under Jim Prentice in 2015. Maggi noted it was a whopping 28 point drop in popularity for the UCP, leaving them 17 per cent behind Notley’s NDP.

He said the NDP have an unprecedented 50 point lead in Edmonton and 15 per cent lead in the former Tory fortress of Calgary. The UCP has also dropped 30 points in rural Alberta. And the NDP currently leads in support among men, something Majji said was unheard of before.

The drop in rural support opens the door for the Wildrose Independence Party, currently polling at nine per cent. Majji said the WIP could start to win seats right now with its concentrated support in rural areas. He said WIP would like see its support continue to climb if it gets a high profile leader. While Wildrose polled a distant third in Calgary and Edmonton, its strength was clearly in rural Alberta at 13 per cent support. The new party was constituted from a merger of the Freedom Conservative party and Wexit Alberta last year, opting to reclaim the Wildrose mental, which Maggi says is still a “very, very strong brand” in the province, and has already endured its near extinction after mass floor crossings in December 2014.

According to Maggi, the Alberta Party is in trouble because they don’t have a leader in place, nor a professional team behind them. Majji added the centrist vote is largely parked between the NDP and UCP. “For another centrist party to enter the space, and take away oxygen, is almost impossible,” he said.

But Majji said it’s way too early to count the UCP out with the next election not scheduled to occur until 2013.

“There is a way out. A week is an eternity in politics – two years is forever,” he said, adding the NDP had was hardly on the map before the 2015 election while the Tories were widely expected to sweep.

Removing the undecided vote, the NDP would get 48 per cent, the UCP 31 per cent, Wildrose gets 10 per cent, Alberta Party four per cent, Liberals three per cent, Green two percent and others two per cent.

The poll of 1,003 adults has a margin of error of +/- 3.09 per cent and a 95 per cent confidence level.

Ken Burch

If Notley does get back in, can she please give the pipeline obsession and the war against the BCNDP a rest?  There can't still be that many Albertans insisting that she not put pipelines above everything else in the universe, or that BC somehow owes it to Alberta to accept pipelines in its coastal waters.


Ken Burch wrote:

If Notley does get back in, can she please give the pipeline obsession and the war against the BCNDP a rest?  There can't still be that many Albertans insisting that she not put pipelines above everything else in the universe, or that BC somehow owes it to Alberta to accept pipelines in its coastal waters.

I agree. However, the fossil fuel base voter is built on the belief that the oil and gas industries will make a comeback when there is growing evidence that China, the US and other economies are starting a shift away from fossil fuels. Because of Alberta's addiction to fossil fuels,there therefore will be a large resistance to moving away from them. Whatever Notley does, I think Alberta is in for a traumatic transition with a succession of one-term governments because it is so dependent on fossil fuels, and expensive ones at that that will face even tougher sales as market demand shrinks, so the transition for this provincial economy will be difficult. Unlike Norway, the Conservative governments never built up much of a heritage fund compared to Norway's $1.1 trillion dollar soverign wealth fund that can be used to soften its transition to a new economy. 


Thanks for that great news Jerry!  I was thinking history turns on the most random events because Covid was the spark for this but now I am thinking if it were not Covid there would be another spark because the right is splintering. 


Pondering wrote:

Thanks for that great news Jerry!  I was thinking history turns on the most random events because Covid was the spark for this but now I am thinking if it were not Covid there would be another spark because the right is splintering. 

Before Covid struck, I think that Kenney's campaign pledges of a rebirth of the oil industry were already creating major problems for him, as many people started to realize that his promised return of the glory days of the oil industry were not likely to happen. In the April 2019 election, the UCP won 54.9% of the vote to the NDP's 32.7%. By November 2019, the UCP had already dropped to 42% to the NDP's 46% in a Stratcom poll. In February 2020 when few people were seeing Covid as a global threat and little evidence of disease had hit the province, two polls showed the UCP at 47% and 40% compared to the NDP at 36% and 38%. In other words Kenney had already lost significant support before Covid. By September 2020 the two parties were tied. And with the utter incompetence of Kenney and the UCP's handling of Covid's second wave, the downward slide accelerated because, after all, nothing focuses the mind like the prospect of death. Nevertheless, Kenney was already facing major problems before the Covid avalanche hit.