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Allow me to put on my cynical hat for just a second to analyze the recent legislative flip-flop by the Alberta Government. I’d like to investigate why it is wrong to paint the narrative of this picture as anything other than shameless pandering to the people of Alberta.
We’ll let the Edmonton Journal set the stage:
“EDMONTON – In a stunning about-face, the Progressive Conservative government Tuesday passed a new law making the approval of gay-straight alliances mandatory in Alberta schools, a move celebrated as a leap forward for human rights in the province.”
This is good news. I’m all for more support systems for people who are often marginalized and bullied within the school system. I have no contention with the actual passing of this bill.
“Education Minister Gordon Dirks tabled a surprise amendment to the government’s Bill 10 on the first day of the spring session. Dirks said he spent months consulting with Albertans since Premier Jim Prentice put the legislation on hold in December. Some of those moments were very moving moments as you heard students telling their stories of being bullied, discriminated against, feeling suicidal, even attempting (it),” Dirks said. When that happens and you have those kinds of intimate, frank conversations with students, it goes from your head to your heart.”
I’m going to call bullshit right here. This is the same government that is dismissively slashing the funding to the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta. You know, the people responsible for the welfare of children in Alberta, and also tasked with inquiring into why so many children are dying when they become wards of the state. Let’s get the money quote here on the supposed benevolence of your government –
“Afterwards, Progressive Conservative MLA Genia Leskiw was asked by reporters why there is money available for the Auditor General but not the child and youth advocate. […] She said she doesn’t believe the advocate’s office “sharpened their pencils as sharp as they could have.”
Of course slashing the budget of the Youth Advocate has nothing to do with said advocates’ involvement in bad PR tidbits like this:
“The Alberta government has dramatically under-reported the number of child welfare deaths over the past decade, undermining public accountability and thwarting efforts at prevention and reform. A six-month Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald investigation found 145 foster children have died since 1999, nearly triple the 56 deaths revealed in government annual reports over the same period.”
Yep, they (The CYA) had better start manning the pencil sharpeners, stat! Clearly, they lost their funding because of the glaring inefficiencies in their department…
Ah, but let us return to the sunny and fresh idea that we have democracy and our leaders listen closely to the
peons people who elected them.
“Passage of the law Tuesday all but took the issue off the table weeks before Prentice is expected to call a spring election. This is a case of a government responding to what they are hearing from the citizens of the province, including — I would emphasize — young people, who have had a significant say in this, who have moved me, and who have moved the minister,” Prentice said. “
WOW! Watch our keen government action; responding with adroit swiftness to issues that, to the government, have no meaning outside of the opportunity for some beneficial PR on the embarrassing social conservative front (hey look at us, we are not completely regressive ftw!).
Citizens of the province have been demanding more royalties from oil companies.
Citizens of this province have been demanding an end to the environmental chaos being sown in the Tar Sands region.
Citizens of this province have been demanding a fair and progressive tax structure.
Citizens of this province have been demanding prudent use of oil revenue and the establishment of a fund that would benefit all Albertans.
Citizens of this province have been demanding a rational plan of action to facilitate the ‘boomer bump’ in demand for medical services.
On these issues dear friends – there are no fucks to give – because these all involve diminishing the status of the moneyed few that help our elected officials ‘properly’ govern this fine province. So, hoi-poli, revel in your amazing victory and in making the government really “listen” to your concerns, especially you, younger Albertans.
Meanwhile, back at the Child Advocate office:
“Last May the government expanded the responsibilities of the advocate’s office, effectively doubling the number of child death reviews that need to be done each year, Graff said. In July, the committee agreed to increase Graff’s budget, “so there was acknowledgement that the additional work demanded additional resources,” he said. This is an absolute example to do more as a result of legislative amendment and then with the decision yesterday being provided with less resources to do it.”
Graff [Alberta’s CYA] is worried they may have to reduce their workload.
“The very best we can do is delay some of investigations,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to be making decision about whether or not they’re ever done based on dollars.”
Yes, I believe we should celebrate the GSA ruling, but realize that this small victory and frame it in a context of a government that will “listen” only when the perceived cost of doing said thing, is politically expedient.
Hey Jimmy Boy, you certainly have shown where you priorities are and what you think of Albertans.
I don’t blame you though; we let you take power basically through acclimation – no fucks were given, as long as got rid of that WOMAN who was single-handedly ruining the province. The flyby-night parachute (Hi Steven Mandel and other assorted Tory hacks! Your exercise in nepotism and narcissistic self-aggrandizement is noted) elections that merely waved at the trappings of democracy, that shit was cool here in Alberta where the electorate gave an enthusiastic “hell ya“. It’s all okay thought because the electorate would enthusiastically vote in a bag of empty shirts as long as was the right shade of Tory blue.
Not that any of this fucking matters here in Blue Zombie Tory PC land. The latest example of the Alberta Tories pouring shit on the people of Alberta came from the priemier himself. Corporate shill-master Jimmy Prentice was dropping truth left and right on CBC radio.
‘Speaking on CBC’s Alberta@Noon Wednesday, Premier Jim Prentice told host Donna McElligott that “in terms of who is responsible, we need only look in the mirror. Basically, all of us have had the best of everything and have not had to pay for what it costs.”
Damn son, you just said a mouthful. I mean your predecessors have all at least tried to cover their contempt for the public and the public good. You may as well just get a T-Shirt that says “privatize the profit and publicize the risk” it would simplify your PR and keep the rest of your team on message. You could do it here in Blue-Zombie Alberta, they’d still vote you in, I guarantee it.
“I’ve never said Albertans are the problem,” Prentice told the Calgary Herald Thursday. “I’ve never, ever said that or anything like that. What I’ve said is that Albertans have to be part of the solution.
Prentice admits he “touched a nerve,” but is not backing away from his tough line.”
Oh, I get it now. We all have to buckle down and tighten our belts!
“Premier Jim Prentice says Alberta has no plans of raising corporate taxes to deal with the current economic woes in the province.”
Well, that was completely obvious wasn’t it? We certainly can’t raise the lowest corporate tax rates in the country that, fellow peons, would be virtual seppuku for EVERYBODY. Instead, lets gut the public service, education and healthcare – the real culprits. Let’s watch Jimmy helpfully explain why we must not tax the rich:
“[…] if we increase our corporate taxes, we will simply make ourselves uncompetitive and it will result in losing jobs,”
Oh, right. Because of all the other competing Tar Sands projects located in politically safe areas will completely take all the business… I’m not sure how much more clarity is required for Blue-Zombie Voters to see fealty expected of our elected public officials toward their oil-overlords.
Oh hey, it’s also spring election time in Alberta. And I bet that we’re going to vote these craven corporate sycophants in *again* because penury is awesome!
I was looking for an image to describe the Alberta electorate and their behaviour. I think I’m getting closer with this one. The last person in the human centipede is the typical ‘Alberta Voter’ getting all the shit, and just loving it (and clamouring for more!).
Fascinating article by Thomas Barker- here is the conclusion. Find the rest on Counterpunch.
As with so much of the racial tension in the United States, the origins of the present situation can be traced back to slavery. In his ground-breaking work on the American slave system, the historian John Blassingame has suggested that black passivity in the antebellum South existed primarily in the minds of whites—on the one hand, to justify white paternalism, and, on the other, to dispel the fear that they felt toward slaves: ‘Like a man whistling in the dark to bolster his courage, the white man had to portray the slave as [passive].’ Although, of course, much has changed since the transatlantic slave trade, there is no reason to suspect this ideology has been altogether vanquished. The underlying cause, it seems, is still fear – a fear which drives liberals to identify black victimhood only with the passive. However, fear does not only manifest itself as whistling in the dark, or in the lies told to maintain high spirits, but also in the clenched fist – poised, ready to defend. The liberal media’s bitter condemnation of black radicals as mindless killers is the expressive form of this anger, of this perceived insurgent threat. And so they should feel threatened – they have no stake in eliminating racial oppression. It is, simply put, not in their class-interest.
Though, of course, the Eric Garners and the Trayvon Martins of history are deserving of immense respect, and their murderers bitter condemnation, we must not be fooled into canonizing only those who the liberal media consider to be true victims. In the fight against racism in the US, it is frequently those who fight the hardest, who in every respect give their lives to the struggle, that are excluded from the liturgy of black victims. Indeed, such individuals are frequently portrayed as the opposite, as perpetrators of unjust violence. The ideology of black victimhood which predominates in the liberal media would have us believe that only the helpless can be victims – on the contrary, I argue that those who use violent methods in the struggle against racist oppression are victims nevertheless, and worthy of remembrance. To be sure, it is only through an appreciation of such individuals that a legitimate strategy for racial equality will emerge.
Remember Garner, yes. But also remember Little Bobby Hutton, Fred Hampton, and Malcolm X.
This guy is an elected official, and he’s serious.
Some beliefs are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them. – Sam Harris.
This is a dangerous quote from Mr.Harris because it muddles the line between action and intent. How can there be any sort of dialogue when one faction can be singled out for death for nothing that they have done, but their beliefs.
Consider how easy it would be for opponents of US policy to follow this same doctrine – would they too be taking ethical action?
Harris, in this context, is not adding clarity to the complex problem of the interaction of secular and religious ideals.