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This is a special thank you to UCP Voters. This is special because it is discussing the new UCP Bill 8.

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I like to call it the “We’re a bunch of small minded bigots and we’re going to take it out on children” bill. It’s also the bill that removes the protections for LGBT people in Alberta, specifically those that allow those in school to form GSA clubs. These clubs save lives. These protections not only allowed them to be formed, it also prevented the schools from outing these youth to their parents. Something that most assuredly will happen from those within the Catholic School System at the very least.

But this really isn’t about Jason Kenney, or the Catholic School System. This is about you, the UCP voter. These people are just doing exactly what they’ve always said they will. It is you, the UCP voter who have elected these people. That the UCP is now doing exactly what they always said they would do is no surprise. That means that you, the people who have elected these goons, are directly responsible for giving them the power to do so. This means one of two things in this specific case.

  1. You are a hateful bigot that thinks dead kids is preferable to kids being both gay and alive.
  2. You don’t actively hate gay people but you are comfortable enough with gay kids offing themselves so you can vote in someone who will ensure that this happens just so you can vote in a party that has the name conservative in it. This despite there being two other neoliberal parties that would have governed almost identically to Kenney economically without being regressive on social issues.

 

And that’s the crux of it. Either way the blood of every dead kid that kills themselves because they didn’t have the support a GSA club could have provided is directly on your hands. You had a choice and you chose the party full of hateful bigots. YOU are the problem dear UCP voter. I would wish you would choke on the blood of these dead kids but I can’t. Because I care that these kids don’t kill themselves. You obviously don’t though. Perhaps I’ll leave you with this: Go fuck yourself UCP voters.

So today Jason Kenney officially scrapped the Alberta Carbon Levy (which has been successful in reducing emissions and transition us to clear energy sources) while Edmonton is covered in smoke.

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A move so garish that even Kenney couldn’t go through with the planned celebrations and instead pretended to care about the wildfires for a minute. So ya, way to go UCP voters. You elected a government that promised to accelerate climate change and subsequently make these wildfires worse. I hope you choke on this smoke. I know your children and grandchildren will (while there is still trees at least).

So the NDP lost the last election and the UCP has formed the new government in Alberta with Jason Kenney at the helm. Old news. So I’ve been pretty demoralized about this because I see a lot of bad shit coming. So I’ve decided to share it with everyone, here, in an ongoing series where I personally thank all the UCP voters for the shitty things the UCP are going to do to the people of Alberta; all the shitty things the UCP voters have done to Alberta. So without further ado, here we go!

  1. UCP cancels gay conversion therapy ban working group. Why? Because bigots love torturing gay kids. That’s it, that’s all. Just pure, unadulterated evil. It also comes as no surprise that Jason Kenney’s brother runs these torture chambers. Now to suggest that this is solely fueled by nepotism would be wrong. Because it isn’t. It’s fueled by nepotism and the party’s deliberate choice to cosy up with bigots (and electing one of them their leader).

So there is my first entry. Don’t expect this list to be exhaustive because I’m exhausted by all this. I will try and update with anything worthy of such a list though.

knowyourlimitsI would like to thank a recent commenter here on DWR for the placement of a tidy swarm of bees squarely in my bonnet. The honour, of course, goes to Godless Cranium for this nugget of wisdom shared on a previous thread:

“And I’m not saying sexism doesn’t exist or doesn’t play a factor sometimes, but I don’t think it’s as pervasive as you think, and I certainly don’t think all men are oppressors like patriarchy theory demands we believe.”

Before you can say “not all men…” check that thread for my response, I have it covered – but I think such a clearly stated denouncement of the patriarchal nature of our society requires a response with a little more… hmm… vibrancy than just a text based reply.

As chance would have it, current political events in my dear home province of Alberta have served up a glorious(?) example of the sexist and patriarchal attitudes that continue to flourish in our society.

The political event that I refer to is the leadership race for the Alberta provincial Progressive Conservative party. As of November 8th, the women who were in the race have both dropped out citing extensive misogynistic threats and physical and social intimidation.

  “The only two women vying for the leadership of Alberta’s PC Party have both dropped out of the race.

  Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans — socially progressive voices within the party — both gave notice on Tuesday that they were withdrawing.

  Jansen, the PC MLA for Calgary-Northwest, cited intimidation and harassment for her decision.”

   “In all of that time, I have never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend in Red Deer.”

Hmm.  What is going on in the upper political echelons of our political class?

“In the release Jansen said she has been harassed online and her social media feeds have been “filled with filth.” The final straw in Red Deer was when “insults were scrawled on my nomination forms.”

“Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”

Hey now, politics is a rough and tumble affair, one should expect to face slings and arrows – it is a part of the process.  I mean male politicians get the same calibre of flak, right?

Wrong.

“Sandra should stay in the kitchen where she belongs.”

“What a traitorous bitch.”

“Now you have two blond bimbos in a party that is clueless.”

“Dumb broad, a good place for her to be is with the rest of the queers.”

Let’s listen to what she has to say about the harassment she, like other women, face every day.

“Jansen was highlighting an issue that is bigger than her experience, according to Nancy Peckford of Equal Voice Canada.

“The vast majority of elected women are encountering some sort of misogynistic behaviour, online bullying, or harassment on a fairly regular basis,” she said.

“I think what’s very disturbing for Equal Voice is the misogynistic and sexist undertones and explicit commentary that’s used to diminish women’s contributions to public life and also undermine the confidence and the leadership female elected officials are offering.”

The misogyny she is experiencing is systemic, it happens everywhere all the time.  Watch as Ms. Jansen explains her motivations as to why she made her speech.  It is a damning look at how patriarchal our society actually is.

“Other women have also spoken out about the sexism they encounter in public life, including Conservative MP Michelle Rempel. 

“The everyday sexism I face involves confronting the ‘bitch’ epithet when I don’t automatically comply with someone’s request or capitulate on my position on an issue,” she wrote in a National Post opinion article in April.

“It involves my ass being occasionally grabbed as a way to shock me into submission. It involves tokenism. It involves sometimes being written off as not serious when I’ve clearly proven I am.”

“That combination of the immediacy and the anonymity means that it’s sort of exploded into a new culture of pretty vicious, vitriolic attacks,” she said. 

“Unfortunately, the attacks are particularly vicious toward women, and the attacks against women aren’t just violent, they’re sexualized violence. So it’s quite disturbing to see that some people will behave in this way, and it’s a challenge for our political culture to respond effectively to it.

She hopes more and more people will come together to condemn misogyny in politics and said it’s important for party leaders to forcefully and unequivocally reject the attacks.”

Yep.  Misogyny needs to be addressed and kept in the spotlight, not only as the struggle for this generation but also the next generation of women and girls to show that having political aspirations (or professional ones) doesn’t mean facing a constant stream of harassment and misogyny.

But wait!  There is more!  Let’s go to another profession and and listen as Danielle Campbell describes what women have to face if they want to join the Police.

“Danielle Campbell walked into the canine unit 20 years ago as the first female graduate of the Edmonton Police Service dog handler program.

She faced insults, taunts and the reek of urine on her belongings.

“When I was in the unit they drew Xs on my eyes and they drew cocks around my face, a whole bunch of them … they would urinate on my gear.

‘It was ridiculous,” she said, referring to how a picture of her and her dog was defaced. “The sergeant in charge did nothing about it. Nothing.”

Campbell, 51, is no longer a police officer with EPS. She ended her 27-year-career in August 2016 when she resigned as deputy chief of police, the highest rank achieved by a woman within the city’s police force.”

The common saying is that women have to work twice as hard to get half as far ahead in society.  Danielle Campbell is the embodiment of this, as her hard work and dedication – her proficiency at the job – eventually fought her way to the level of Deputy Chief of Police.

“A high-ranking officer in the human resources division told her she had to sign a document saying she wouldn’t get pregnant.

She was also told she could never become a dog handler because of her gender due to concerns over her menstrual cycle affecting the dog.

“I burst out laughing. But he didn’t laugh with me, he was dead serious,” she said.

“I just stood up and I said ‘This conversation is over. You have absolutely no empirical data to support that. That is just ridiculous,’ and I walked out. And to be honest with you that’s when I thought I was going to be fired.”

She wasn’t fired and neither was the officer or officers who sent her a Barbie doll in the mail, noose around its neck with the note: “No split tails in the dog unit, take a hint bitch.”

So yeah, I’m thinking there might be something to it when women say there is a culture of harassment and misogyny that makes their careers and lives more difficult than it needs to be.

  “I really believe that so much has improved, and there’s so much more support for diversity and inclusivity and gender equality.

“But we’re not fully there yet,” she said, adding what she sees happening in the United States and, closer to home, in Alberta politics, is concerning.”

Please note the sentence – “we’re not there yet”.  This is the key right here.  Liberal dudes are so very quick to say the need for feminism is over, or sexism isn’t that bad, or that prevalent.  Dudes…  *you* don’t get to say any of that shit.  When we hear it from women, then, and only then, can we declare sexism to be ‘over’ and no need for feminism.

It’s not your call.  Stop trying to make it your call, it isn’t always all about you.

[Source: cbc.ca – 1, 2, 3, 4]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us hope the NDP surges to victory finally sweeping the rotten PC dynasty into the dustbin of history.  I’m still very wary though, we might need round “N” of PC guided political seppuku, as 41 years of one party rule might not be enough.

Polls

From the CBC

Of course, this is all based on the premise that the polls are accurately gauging the state of the race in Alberta. With the 2012 debacle still in everyone’s mind, that is a risky proposition. No wonder, then, that many Albertans think the PCs will still win.

While voters will have the final word on the accuracy of the polls, there is good reason to doubt that the same phenomenon that saved Alison Redford in 2012 will work in Prentice’s favour in 2015.

Only two parties, Redford’s PCs and Danielle Smith’s Wildrose, were in the running in the last election. And with both parties being adjacent to one another on the political spectrum, a swing from Wildrose to the Tories in the final days was hardly unimaginable. The PCs may have also benefited from Liberal voters moving over to support a centrist like Redford to block a right-wing Wildrose government.

But those dynamics are no longer at play. There are now three parties in the running, and their supporters do not so easily move from one party to another. If there is a shift in the final days to block one party, it is not so clear that the move would occur all in the same direction as it did in 2012. In many parts of the province, the NDP has become a better option to block Wildrose than the PCs. Similarly, any move to block the NDP might go to Wildrose rather than the Tories.

Only in Alberta does the the electorate consider ending the 40 year term of the staunchly right wing Progressive Conservatives with a party that is, you guessed it gentle reader,  further to the right.  It is only the false populist veneer of the Alberta Wild Rose Party that makes it appear palatable to the people of Alberta.

My progressive bones shudder with the thought of electing a party that is considered the fast-track to completing the journey to the dark-side of corporatocracy.    Make no mistake, the WRP party was spawned by the Conservative effort, namely the Royalty Resource Review, to give the people of Alberta a more reasonable deal when it came to the extraction of resources from this province.  The Royalty Review, even in its gutted state, cost Ed Stelmach his job as premier and cries rang out through the oil patch of ‘never again’; cue the WRP resurgence – a party for the oil companies people of Alberta.

Fortunately, for sanity’s sake, the WRP is made up mostly of dyed in the fool social and fiscal conservatives.  These conservative-clowns have now been unleashed on the public and have been busy finding ever larger calibre of guns to shoot themselves in the foot with as the election draws near.  Let’s begin with Allan – Homos Will Burn – Hunsperger’s thoughts on sexual orientation –

Musing on the Lady Gaga song ‘Born This Way,’ which preaches tolerance, Allan Hunsperger wrote that: “You can live the way you were born, and if you die the way you were born, then you will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering.

Wow, now that is Christian bigotry Love in action.  All the stupid fuckwittery of religion and intolerance on display, you would think the leader of the WRP would kick this sack of bug-frak crazy out of the party.   It would be the rational course of action…

Time to burn homos. Love Jesus. How can you believe in shite like this in the 21st century?

At a campaign event in Calgary, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith refused to condemn Hunsperger’s views. From Postmedia:

“When a person is making personal statements in their capacity as a pastor, which he was, I don’t think anybody should be surprised that they’re expressing certain viewpoints,” she said outside a Wildrose photo opportunity at the Calgary Hindu Society’s temple.

“It was a year ago when he was talking in his capacity as a pastor. He now understands, we’ve spoken, we’ve communicated on this, that we will not be legislating on contentious social issues. He understands that. He accepts that.

Hey, in the WRP upfront religious delusion is A-OKAY.  Nothing like this will go into making secular public policy…honest..we swear on the very tears of Jesus!!!   Oh and there is bonus material as well apparently Captain Crazy also has his pastor mojo on over another great evil in society – The public school system!!1!!11!  In his own frothy words:

This includes those students, staff, and families who identify or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, two- spirit, queer or questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Board expects all members of our diverse community to be welcomed, respected, accepted, and supported in every school.” Why this from our public educators? Because they believe people were “born this way” and have a right to die this way. The blind leading the blind! Now every Christian school that has come under the Edmonton Public School board will have to adopt this as well. Trapped! For years I have warned Christian educators that you can’t partner with public education because public education is godless. As far as public education is concerned, there is no God

Yes, there you have Admiral Nut-Butter Von Douche-Bigot of the good ship Homophobia whinging on about the anti-bulling policy of the school board.  How dare it be tolerant of the devil children and all their evil!  Frak me jebus, why isn’t this man running the party!

Religious delusion aside, the Wild Rose Party of Alberta also happens to be chock full of privileged while males…

And Everywhere the Wild Rose Party is as well.

I believe that for the people of Calgary-Greenway they need a change. They need someone who has a passion for their community, someone who will represent their community and I believe that as a Caucasian I have an advantage that for the Punjabi community I am able to speak for the whole community and to lift the community up in our region,” CTV reported Leech as saying on the video.

“I believe when I come to our community here I am very concerned that the Punjabi community have not been esteemed, lifted up. When a Punjabi leader speaks for the Punjabi, the Punjabi are listening but when a Caucasian speaks on their behalf everybody is listening.” The host of the program then said he agrees with Leech’s statement.
Wildrose officials said the video was recorded about two weeks ago, before Leech made similar controversial comments to Fairchild Radio on Sunday.
“I think as a Caucasian I have an advantage,” Leech said during the radio interview. “When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian I believe that I can speak to all the community.”

Leech, a long-time a pastor, apologized earlier this week for his radio comments, […]

This is lobe exploding material – Ron Leech who honestly believes that by default White is RIGHT when it comes to representing a constituency.   Because isn’t it superobvious that the white man represents all people much better than any of those colour folk.  Amirite?  Y’all?!?

Damn, you would think that bigots and racists would have learned by now to keep this kind of shit holstered until after the election.  And unfucking surprisingly, we get these progressive words from yet another kindly loving Man of God.  The vile duplicity of religion is being put on glorious display, you would think that our news media might mention that fact somewhere…  but no we get the lukewarm saccharine mewings from our media about candidates questionable behaviour.

Certainly now, Denial Danielle Smith (The science is still out on whether or not Danielle Smith has more than two neurons to rub together) would apologize for this carnival of crazy and boot these loons out of the party.   Instead we get a rancorous “Oh Hell No!” from Danielle Smith –

“EDMONTONWildrose Leader Danielle Smith on Friday headed into the final weekend of the Alberta election campaign on the defensive, insisting that a candidate who said a white politician was better able to represent the community had simply misspoken.

Ah yes, let us NOT hold Mr.Lake of Fire and Mr.White Power accountable for their reprehensible actions, just STFU Albertans and elect them already; the WRP has a province to run in the interests of the Oil companies.

Vote for the WRP party! Embrace Corporatism!

Alberta is facing many challenges as the next boom approaches.  It is more than likely that bounty of this boom will once again only benefit the rich and the larger corporations while yet again the people of Alberta must take a few of the crumbs that slip off the head table.  The last part of the Parkland Institute report deals with what we can do make Alberta a better province for everyone, not just certain classes of society.

“1 STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY SERVICES:
Shift away from a business approach to one based on core service delivery and away from reliance on generosity and charity to one based on rights.

Recommendation 1: Develop a more inclusive and supportive attitude toward community service providers including:
• increased funding that is stable and longer-term;
• funding for staffing compensation equal to comparable direct public sector programs;
• accountability that is based on appropriate and manageable indicators and data collection; and
• funding and support to expand on community hub models for community-based service grouping and delivery.”

Accountable and based on data rather than whims of the rich?  Novel idea.

“2 A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL ALBERTANS:
Improve access to quality social programs, increasing leisure time and reducing stress on families.

Recommendation 2: Provide greater support to improve the quality of life for all Albertans including: increased spending and program expansion related to culture and leisure, childcare and early learning, education, health care; and reduce working hours through shorter work weeks and increased vacation. Key recommendations include:
• expand community based public health services for Aboriginal communities and implement no child left behind policy;
• fully fund and deliver early learning programs based on the public school model (including junior and full-day kindergarten);
• fund universities to reduce tuition rates to $1,000 per year across all programs;
• increase paid leaves and reducing work hours to match European averages; and
• create adequate publicly funded, non-profit child care spaces at $7 per day.”

Will it be expensive to implement?  Oh yes, but no more expensive that paying for the results of our current societal choices in terms of health care, police and prisons.

“3 INVESTING IN HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
Recommendation 3: Fulfill promise to eradicate homelessness by 2019 by complying with commitment of $3.3 billion in spending and building the necessary 8,000 new housing units.”

Are we just 8,000 units of affordable housing away in Alberta from making it a reality that no person needs to die of exposure during the winter?  Instead of squabbling over powerlines and utility deregulation(still a bad idea) why isn’t this at the top of the political agenda?

“4 ENSURING DIGNITY AND AN ADEQUATE INCOME FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE
Recommendation 4: Strengthen the province’s social safety net through the development of programs that are universal, accessible and delivered in a non-stigmatizing manner. This includes:
• phase in a livable guaranteed annual income (GAI) to bring together programs for seniors, people with disabilities, unemployed workers, students and low income workers; and
• while working towards the GAI, social assistance rates need to be increased to the poverty line, rates must be indexed to inflation, asset levels increased, application process simplified, eligibility expanded and wait time shortened.”

Whot?  Free handouts for the lazy??  How dare they?  There will always be people who unfairly profit at societies expense, we stigmatize the poor because the rich do not want us to closely examine their privileged state and the dodges they are currently employing to game the system in their favour.  Better to hit the poor hard and then cry for more police and prisons to warehouse the poor, all the while neglecting the conditions responsible for a good portion of the criminality.

5 PROTECTING WORKERS:
Improve income security, equality and quality of life through expanded worker protections.

“Recommendation 5: Provide more comprehensive protection and assistance to those working full-time, full-year to ensure an adequate standard of living. This includes:
• implement a living wage policy;
• strengthen labour protections including both employment standards and labour organizing procedures; and
• abandon the temporary foreign worker program, and expedite and better support foreign credential recognition.

Nothing radical here, just making working conditions adequate for all Albertans, not just those lucky enough to be part of a union.

“6 DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE
Recommendation 6: Reform the democratic process to ensure that it accurately represents Alberta’s population diversity and distribution. This includes:
• adopt a proportional representation electoral system;
• establish an independent body with representation from Aboriginal, newcomers and women’s groups;
• implement an accountability and reporting system based on well-being indices; and
• work with Aboriginal groups to increase funding for and expand a comprehensive, community-based, culturally appropriate policy agenda with targets for improving quality of life and reducing disparities.”

PR would be a breath of fresh air in the stagnant backwater that is Alberta politics.  Proof? The PC have been in power for longer than I have been alive, it really is time for a change.

“7 PROGRESSIVE REVENUE REFORM
Recommendation 7: Re-establish the link between taxes and public services. Revenues should be returned to levels that allow continued support commensurate with changing demographics and inflation for public goods like health care, education, and social programs that Albertans feel are citizenship rights. This includes:
• reinstate progressive taxes, with increased progressivity at the top end and brackets indexed to inflation;
• raise corporate taxes to the Canadian average;
• reinstate the liquor tax;
• remove gambling revenues from general revenues and instead adequately fund arts and culture, communities and early learning from progressive taxes; and
• collect all natural resource rents and keep them out of general revenues for use in building a future for the province.”

The first sentence is the most important – “Re-establish the link between taxes and public services.”  This linkage needs to be reestablished so people can see the results of their taxes working for them making their lives better.  The current decline in the standards of living in Alberta can be traced back to when this link was broken and we have been picking up the pieces ever since.

“Alberta is at a crossroad. This report has highlighted what it means to have economic growth at the expense of social cohesion. With over 80 per cent of incomes concentrated in only half of households and the lowest ranking in the nation for sense of belonging to their communities, Alberta needs a new policy framework. This report provides the framework for a new development path; one where economic growth serves social goals and where disparity is minimized, ensuring an adequate income, quality of life and dignity for all Albertans.”

Could not say it better myself.  :)

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