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Progress Report #199
Your weekly update on Alberta politics for January 14, 2020

I have to open this edition of the newsletter on a somber note. By now, you’ve probably heard of the horrible tragedy of the 8th, when Iranian air defense mistakenly shot down a passenger plane leaving Tehran. According to the Iranian military, they thought they were under attack by an American missile.

This horrible incident has had a terrible impact here at home. Many of the people who were killed were Canadians, and others had ties here. A lot of these folks were living here in Edmonton. Shayesteh Majdnia is collecting donations towards a memorial service and an endowment fund at the University of Alberta in memory of the victims. If you’ve been looking for a way to send your condolences, this looks appropriate.

I’m utterly shattered by the scale of this disaster. The Middle East has been stricken by too much violence and injustice over the past century for me to recount here. For Iran, and for its neighbours, I hope for justice and I hope for peace.

Stats Canada reports troubling surge of unemployment in Edmonton

The latest labour force survey numbers are out and they look absolutely appalling for Edmonton.

LFS data tends to be a bit ‘spiky,’ or high-variance, because it is extrapolated out from a modest sample size. (Stats Canada isn’t literally asking everyone if they’re employed!) So we’ll need another month or two to be fully certain of these numbers. But if they’re true, they’re bad: Stats Canada estimates that Edmonton now has the highest unemployment of any major city in Canada.

It’ll be unsurprising if true. As the capital, Edmonton had a high concentration of public sector workers, and with the UCP taking an axe to budgets everywhere a lot of folks are ending up laid off. Edmonton has taken a bit of a beating under the UCP already, with the provincial government clawing back tax revenue, downloading big costs onto municipal governments, and shutting down several big Edmonton projects like the ‘Super Lab.’ 

Ironically, the person with ostensibly the greatest power to intercede is an Edmonton MLA–Kaycee Madu, the UCP Minister of Municipal Affairs. But it’s becoming abundantly clear that the minister is more concerned with representing the UCP in Edmonton than he is representing his Edmonton constituency in the government.


That’s all for this week. Please share our newsletter with any friends or family who you think would like political news and commentary from a progressive point of view. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up for it here. Donations to support our ongoing work are always welcome and if you’re interested in volunteering with us, just reply to this email.

Jim Storrie