Progress Report #193
Your weekly update on Alberta politics for November 18, 2019
Not everyone is sharing in the pain of the UCP austerity programme. In fact over the last two weeks we’ve heard some stories of people who are doing very, very well.
People like Jason Kenney’s principal advisor David Knight-Legg–on top of the $195,000 he now takes home annually, thanks to his appointment by the UCP government, he also was revealed to have expensed more than $18,000 on trips to England, which he enjoyed from several of London’s most expensive hotels.
People like Jason Kenney’s conservative Premier colleagues, who Kenney treated to $16,000 in private jet flights after hosting them for political photo ops at Stampede this year.
People like Steve Allan, a former colleague of now-Justice-Minister Doug Schweitzer, appointed by the UCP to lead their anti-environmentalist inquiry. Allan isn’t just taking home a tasty $291,000 salary for less than a year of work–after being appointed he turned around and gave a sole-source contract paid with a whopping $905,000 in public funding to his son’s legal firm.
The venerable Muttart Foundation comes out swinging against inquiry
Allan’s anti-environmentalist inquiry isn’t just drawing criticism for its unethical expenditures. It’s also under fire for the threat it poses to civil rights.
You might remember from just a few weeks ago that Amnesty International was urging the UCP government to back down.
“The [order creating the inquiry] construes criticism of the oil and gas industry–or, depending on one’s perspective, concern about the environment–as ‘anti-Alberta,”‘ the letter says.
“Surely, in a democracy as lively and as firmly entrenched as that of Alberta, it cannot be anti-Alberta or ‘unAlbertan’ to engage in serious debate about significant issues.
“Disagreeing with government or with those involved in the energy industry is not evidence of wrongdoing. It is simply what happens in a free and democratic society.”
The letter is more than just an opinion piece, but a thorough report on the legitimacy of the inquiry and war room projects. The Muttart Foundation’s researchers do a deep dive into records of Alberta’s charities and non-profits, presenting reams of data that argue Jason Kenney’s ‘foreign funded conspiracy’ theory is an absolute scam. If the inquiry and war room are concerning to you, read the full Muttart Foundation report and open letter here on their website.
- November 20th is the Trans Day of Remembrance, when we mourn the deaths and tragedies that our society has inflicted–and continues to inflict–upon people here who are transgender. In Lethbridge, a vigil will be held at city hall from 6:00-6:30pm. In Edmonton, there will be a march from Beaver Hills House Park (105th and Jasper Ave) to the Legislature at noon. Calgary OutLink is hosting the creation of a memorial wall at their space in #320, 223 12th Avenue. There are other vigils and events across the province, too–check social media for events in your area.
- Bill 207, the private member’s bill put forward by UCP MLA Dan Williams, can impact you in more ways than you might think. “Suffering from COPD or alcoholism? Your teen daughter was raped and wants an abortion? Want a vasectomy, tubal ligation, birth control, or the morning after pill? Want to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease? Your clothing reflects beliefs that differ from those held by your doctor? In all those cases, Bill 207 allows treatment to be refused by everyone licensed to practice any sort of medicine,” writes Sharon Polsky of the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Associaton.
- A follow-up on our recent podcast episode about Edmonton’s Nazi collaborator statue—Daniel Moser writing for Edmonton’s Jewish News digs into the ugly history of this monument with the help of journalist Paula Kirman. On a lighter note, there is a new Progress Report podcast, and it’s about the what-took-you-so-long firing of national embarrassment Don Cherry.
- Conservative dirty-work-doer Craig Chandler was spotted representing the UCP at the latest Wexit rally, apparently at the behest of Premier Kenney. Chandler is also attached to a political action group in Calgary that is allegedly preparing a slate of very right-wing folks in an attempt to capture city council in the next election.
- The UCP may not have concrete plans yet to get their hands on your CPP but this week they’re tabling legislation to go after some other pensions–the pensions of Alberta’s public service workers. Teachers whose pensions are with the ATRF, and government workers whose pensions are with the LAPP, are set to have their pensions handed over to AIMCO. We need to stand in solidarity with these workers whose pensions are under attack now, and fight this thing back, before the UCP move on everyone else’s CPP. Keep an eye on our Progress Alberta social media this week for news.
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