From the Desk of John Wodak
Progress Report #175
Your weekly update on Alberta politics for July 15, 2019
Disability funding suddenly disappears
Has the UCP quietly cut funding for persons with developmental disabilities?
Inclusion Alberta, a non-profit advocating for children and adults with developmental disabilities, is warning that an alarming number of families are being denied PDD and also FSCD (family supports for children with disabilities) funding by Kenney’s new government.
Star Edmonton reported on this over the weekend–relaying stories of families who have been told their funding is frozen, ‘on hold,’ or that all of a sudden they no longer meet the government’s requirements.
According to the Star report, non-profit Autism Calgary says they’ve heard from families that the government is clamping down on applicants with a new “higher level of scrutiny” which is making it much harder, and making it take much longer, to access support.
It’s a grim situation for families that have had the proverbial rug yanked out from underneath them, and a signal of just how deep the coming austerity is going to cut. But what’s most disturbing about it is that there was no official announcement. The funding just… disappeared.
Actions this week
There are a few time-sensitive actions this week you should know about.
First, if you or a family you know has been impacted by the disappearing PDD and FSCD funding mentioned above, Inclusion Alberta wants to hear from you.Please write to them at the email address here on their website. If you know other folks who access PDD or FSCD funding please share that link with them, too.
The Health Sciences Association of Alberta is organizing an information picket on Bill 9, the UCP legislation that breaks collective agreements with nurses and teachers, at the University of Alberta hospital in Edmonton today from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. If you’re free, join the rally at the east side of the hospital on 112th St. (facing the Tim’s.)
Organizers in Calgary are trying to push back against the sudden lurch towards austerity that has already put $60 million in budget cuts before city council. The group is called the Calgary Alliance For the Common Good and if you want to support their campaign, take the first step by joining their pressure campaign targeting city council–details here.
- Regarding ‘foreign funded radicals’: it turns out Enbridge has been funding astroturf groups in Minnesota as part of an $11 million campaign lobbying for a pipeline. Do you think they’ll be summoned to confess before Jason Kenney’s foreign funding inquisition?
Speaking of Enbridge here’s a bit of trivia that reporter Charles Rusnell dug up this week: did you know that back in 2010 when Enbridge’s Line 6B leaked nearly a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan (a spill exacerbated by Enbridge ignoring spill alarms), the lobbyist representing the company was Sonya Savage–now Minister of Energy for the UCP? Small world, tangled webs, etc.
- The province will be giving a tasty $23 million handout to natural gas producers, the UCP government announced last week. It’s in the form of a break on taxes these producers would normally owe to municipalities and to the provincial education budget. The government is desperate to keep these producers afloat–every one that goes under adds toAlberta’s looming orphan well crisis.
- The Edmonton Police Service continues to earn the worst kind of news stories: a criminal investigation has been launched to examine a brutal arrest from earlier this year (sounds like EPS will be investigating themselves, conveniently); and several community groups are demanding a public inquiry after an officer involved in an allegedly brutal and racist arrest was put back on duty. (That officer was cleared by a–you guessed it–EPS investigation.)