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No public celebrations or fireworks in Edmonton this year. But that’s okay, eh… :)

How not to run an academic institution. My Alma mater is demonstrating some worrisome (read batshit fucking stupid) decisions regarding firing female staff for having the absolute gall of teaching the ‘unorthodox’ view that biological sex is important to women and their struggle against patriarchy.

Her feminist views are apparently causing a small segment of students to feel unsafe and thus because if we are not walking on eggshells around entitled gender deluded males one must be doing the whole academic thing wrong.

Something very wrong has happened at the University of Alberta. A professor has been fired from part of her academic job for views on sex and gender that break with current orthodoxy.

In late March, Kathleen Lowrey, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, was asked to resign from her role as the Department of Anthropology’s associate chair, undergraduate programs, on the basis that one or more students had gone to the University’s Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights and the Dean of Students, André Costopolous, to complain about her without filing formal complaints. All Professor Lowrey has been told is that she is somehow making the learning environment “unsafe” for these students because she is a feminist who holds “gender critical” views. 

Apparently, Lowrey’s very openness about her views is a problem. Should a course have gender or sex as a central theme, on day 1 she offers a summary of her views along with the declaration that no student need agree with her about any of it, as she did this year with her course “Anthropology of Women.” As she cleaves to a feminism that asserts the continuing importance of biological sex and feminist projects of resisting patriarchal oppression, her views put her out of step with much current thinking about the nature of gender, which from the seminal work of Judith Butler forward takes sex to be a social construct. Lowrey also posts statements related to her views on her office door — something she is entitled to do. She contends that in asking her to resign from her service role the University is endorsing ideological conformity. 

Lowrey refused to resign from her service role and insisted that if the University wished to dismiss her from it, it would need to put its reasons for doing so in writing. She subsequently received a letter from the Dean of Arts Lesley Cormack dismissing her from her service role without offering any specifics as to why. The letter simply declares that the Dean believes that “it is not in the best interests of the students or the University” for Lowrey to continue in it.”

This is unbelievable.  Exactly what part of a healthy part of academic debate does this help?

 

“The University of Alberta takes the position that Lowrey had to be dismissed from her service role “for the good of the department” because at least one student claims that for the University to let her continue in the role would be for it to run the risk of the department losing students to another field of study. The argument, in effect, is that Lowrey could not be allowed to let the Department suffer a financial penalty for her views. (In the University of Alberta’s budget model, government funding “follows” students to the departments in which they take their courses.) With its worry that Lowrey’s views will have financial consequences for the Department of Anthropology, the University of Alberta lets an unfortunate development of the academy over the last few decades, in which students have become tuition-paying “customers” upon whom universities rely for more and more of their revenues, come into direct conflict with academic freedom principles. This is a very serious problem. No department at any university in Canada should be taking the position that it has to concern itself with how a professor’s intellectual views may affect a department’s bottom-line. 

Finally, the University of Alberta takes the position that it had to dismiss Lowrey from her service role because if it did not do so students would feel that the University “cared more” about “supporting” the professor than it did about them. This is a terrible line of reasoning, which pits students against a professor when what ought to be of paramount concern to all is the commitment to intellectual engagement and critical scrutiny of ideas as fundamental to the University’s flourishing. Quite simply, at a university, unorthodox or controversial views must be actively debated, and never suppressed, if the university is to meet its societal obligations. 

The University of Alberta needs to restore Professor Lowrey to her role as associate chair, undergraduate programs, in the Department of Anthropology, and university administrators elsewhere need to make sure that they do not fall into the University of Alberta’s mistake. It is essential that our universities never become homes for orthodoxy of any kind. “Dogma is bad for people,” writes UBC professor emeritus William Bruneau elsewhere on this blog. But for universities dogma is much, much worse. It is anathema to the academic mission.”

 

Kathleen Lowrey needs to reinstated yesterday.  This sort of totalitarian anti-academic thinking has to stop.

 

Oh and email the Dean about this travesty – artsdean@ualberta.ca

 

 

Our dear government’s stalwart obsession with fossil fuel is again jeopardizing the economic well-being of the Province of Alberta.  Kenny is investing heavily in a project that may evaporate with the stroke of the Presidential pen.

The company said Alberta has agreed to invest approximately $1.1 billion US as equity in the project, which substantially covers planned construction costs through the end of 2020.

The remaining $6.9 billion US is expected to be funded through a combination of a $4.2-billion project-level credit facility to be fully guaranteed by the Alberta government and a $2.7-billion investment by TC Energy.

“TC Energy is essentially saying, ‘We don’t want to take that risk’ … Alberta is essentially saying, ‘OK, we’ll take that risk, we’ll put in $1.5 billion Canadian, and if it ends up that no one pulls the presidential permit, then we’re all going to work on getting the rest built over 2021 and ’22.”‘

We need jobs, we need economic advancement, but most importantly, we need to stop running hail-Mary plays based on the fossil fuel industry with public money.  The government of Alberta should represent all of its constituents and refocus on diversifying our economic contribution instead of playing this dreadfully expensive and foolish shell game with Alberta’s future.

Our tarsands oil just isn’t environmentally or economically sound anymore.

“He said what’s also worrisome for the industry is the political signal this sends internationally — especially on the heels of a major Norwegian investment fund blacklisting four Canadian oilsands producers.

“In terms of the bellwether of the political appetite for support for the oilsands south of the border, I think it’s obviously problematic,” Johnston said.”

I sincerely hope that we can elect the NDP as our government again in Alberta, as their dirty oil plan focused much more on economic diversification and benefits for the people of Alberta.  The Federal government of Canada is standing lukewarmly with Alberta for the moment, but with a Democratic win down south it looks like the Keystone pipeline will go back into limbo once again.

“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room [of the White House] again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”

A spokesperson for Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, responded by saying the Canadian government supports Keystone XL: “It is a good project that will create jobs for Canadians and it fits within our climate plan.”

Fossil fuels need to pave the way to Alberta’s new economic future, maintaining them and the industries that sway our government, cannot be the way.

Quoted news stores from cbc.ca.

Here in Alberta I am really enjoying our neoconservative UCP government.  They replaced a government that sough to balance economic investment and diversification with support of the public good.  The UCP essentially tore up that balanced economic plan and went ‘all-in’ on ramping up the Oil & Gas industry and making building pipelines a major campaign promise.

The UCP budget forcast included oil prices to be well north of $50 a barrel.  And here we are speculating that the current oil prices (April/May 2020) may hi the (negative)-40 dollars per barrel figure.

Yep, they were elected on the premise of killing the deficit and now are forecast to run some of the largest deficits in Alberta’s history.  But this is nothing new for Alberta under conservative rule.  Allegiance to the large business sector and Oil & Gas has always been a fixture.  The people of Alberta and the public services they need have always come a distant 10th.

So, the price of Oil has now cratered and is tunneling downward toward the core.  What next dear UCP?

 

“Alberta’s oilpatch history is full of ups and downs, dating back to the province’s first big oil rush more than 100 years ago near Turner Valley. But who would have thought oil would one day be worth less than $0?

On Monday, the price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the North American benchmark, fell more than $50 to close at negative $37.63 US.

“It’s certainly not something I ever thought I would witness,” said Matt Murphy, a Calgary-based equity research analyst with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.

“I won’t wager a guess how it may trade [Tuesday]. Could it go worse than negative $40? I don’t know,” he said.

Oil companies in Western Canada and offshore Newfoundland were already drastically reducing costs, slashing payroll and pulling back on oil production in recent weeks with commodity prices hitting multi-year lows. Now, the cuts are being accelerated further with Husky Energy and Crescent Point Energy both on Monday cutting spending more than previously announced.


It was a crazy day on the markets.

WTI prices swung wildly as oil traders began to panic as time runs out to get rid of oil contracts for May. The price of oil is determined by investments known as futures contracts, which are agreements to buy and sell a certain amount of oil at a certain time in the future. Typically, the contracts are bought and sold countless times before the oil is actually delivered to the final buyer.

But the May contracts are set to finalize on Tuesday, meaning anyone left holding one will have to physically receive the oil — and storage options are filling up, especially in the U.S. Midwest. No one wants to be stuck with the oil and traders were willing to take heavy losses to ditch the contracts before they come due.”

It galls me the level of disregard for our society being exhibited by our Alberta UCP government. The naked capitulation to business interests over the public well being is infuriating.

 

We all know the UCP are scum. Just terrible garbage people. Broken promises left and right, austerity for everyone, and harming the poor, the young, the old, the severely handicapped, and everyone. Then they lie about doing these things even as they are doing them. This is pretty much neo-liberalism 101. It’s been going on since Reagan, Thatcher, and our very own Brian M. and Klein. What’s also true is that your average UCP supporter is also trash.

Yup, that’s right. I’m calling you all trash. That, after all that’s been going on, the UCP would still win an election if it was called today is reprehensible. It means one of three things is happening. It means either you don’t know what’s going on, or you don’t care what’s going on, or you support what’s going on. In any of these three situations you are trash but it’s the people who don’t know what is going on that are the worst of you. Not that this distinction matters much as the scale ranges from sewage byproducts to nuclear waste. But ya, those of you who don’t know what is going on are the nuclear waste.

Seriously, if you are in ignorance of what is going on all that means is that it is purposeful ignorance, the worst of all ignorance. It would take a concerted effort to avoid all media and be unaware of how your choice at the polling station is decimating this province. But I’m guessing if you are reading this then you aren’t one of those people because they are likely unicorns. As in they don’t exist or if they do they are so rare that they’ve never been spotted by another person.

As for the other two, which is worse you ask? Well, you guessed it, it’s those that don’t care. At least those who support this selling off of our province stand for something. I mean it’s a terrible and evil something, but at least it’s something. If you are one of those people that just shrug your shoulders and go “ehh.. one politician is as bad as another” then you are the problem. You’ve literally just lived through a politician that kept the lights on during one of the worst economic downturns we’ve ever had and are seeing a politician that took a bad but improving situation and immediate turned it into dog shit  and see no difference. Honestly, you are bad and you should feel bad.

But wait, there is still time! You can contact your MLA, tell them you voted for them and you are very angry and will not be voting for them next …. BWAHAHAHAHA. Nope. Sorry. It’s too late. Kenney is an unaccountable king for the next few years and by the time he is done with his first term the damage will take generations to repair. But don’t worry, because that won’t happen either because you idiots will still keep voting UCP because one politician is as bad as another, am I right?

So to sum things up, the UCP are trash and so are their supporters. Their austerity is causing generational damage to our province and everyone will suffer, especially the most vulnerable. Nothing they do will bring back the heydays of $100/barrel of oil and nothing they can do can even affect that. So we’re all screwed because garbage people are voting for garbage politicians.

 

 

 

 

To Solidarity and Liberation!

Please go and support feminist organizations that are carrying on the struggle for female rights and safety.

 

 

Also, why women are joining the Canadian Women for Sex Based Rights group:

 

 

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