Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dance with the ones that brung you Allison

The PC party of Alberta has a proud history of being progressive and conservative and as we go forward from this place tonight we will honour both of those traditions.- Premiere Redford's Victory speech Monday night. 

Translation: "Thanks for bringing me to the dance after those other guys dumped me, would it be OK if I still flirted with them now that we're here?"

In a word, No.

Alberta's progressives saved Premier Redford's bacon and that of her party on Monday. Here's what that support will cost, please note, this is not a wish list. This is a price tag.

  • Labour - Alberta has the highest worker fatality rate in Canada. It also has the single most anti-worker labour laws in the country, a prevalent attitude of contempt for labour and the most chummy pro-management policies of any province in Canada. It's not a coincidence, there is a direct correlation between these things. If Redford wants to keep the progressive support that saved her from the unemployment line, the current state of affairs is not going to fly anymore. She needs to bring farm workers under Occupational Health and Safety rules and remove the second class citizen status that forbids them from even tyring to form a union. An exception originally justified for small family farms has resulted in ruthless, often deadly exploitation by huge corporate Agribusiness giants. A human rights lawyer who countenances such a thing is, to put it mildly a despicable hypocrite. Among many other concerns for Labour like a blatantly in the management tank provincial Labour Board is the Temporary Foreign Workers program, which is under federal jurisdiction, but its in Alberta that it has achieved its full flowering of racism, abuse and exploitation. All of this needs to change if Redford's vaunted 'Progressiveness' is to be anything but tattered fig leaf. 

  •   Health Care - Redford has many soothing words on this file promising major new investment and labour peace. We will be watching to see if this government continues its sub rosa campaign of underfunding and mismanagement that for years has been a clearly intentional effort to manufacture consent for privatization. The government has zero good will and trust from the Alberta public on this file and would be advised to remember that. 

  • The Environment - Sure, unlike Danielle Smith Redford concedes the existence of global warming caused by man. Good for her. But acknowledging the problem while resolutely doing nothing about it is less than meaningless. And no, carbon capture, an expensive useless pr boondoggle with numbers that will never add up does not count.
These are the top of the list on the bill - I'm sure others can think of more examples. It's due now, when can we expect payment?

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