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Jason Kenney wins Alberta United Conservative leadership: A warning shot against the working class

With Paul Brandt’s “Alberta Bound” playing over the convention speakers, the United Conservative Party (UCP) announced their first elected leader last Saturday. Jason Kenney, the former Progressive Conservative leader, won an overwhelming majority of 61.1 per cent of the vote, leaving his main opponent Brian Jean far behind with just 31.5 per cent. This is yet another chapter in what has been a tumultuous 16-month journey to unify Alberta’s conservatives after their crushing defeat at the hands of NDP in the last election. Kenney said to cheers that he would work hard to “ensure that this deceptive, divisive, debt-quadrupling, tax-hiking, job-killing, accidental socialist government is one-and-done.”

Another rift in the United Conservative Party of Alberta

On Sept. 21, another conservative MLA in Alberta dropped out of the newly formed United Conservative Party. Rick Fraser, the MLA for Calgary-South East, became the third MLA to quit the party to become an independent following the likes of Derek Fildebrandt and Richard Starke. This string of resignations followsthe unity vote of the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservative Party in July as part of a abid to gain control of the government back from the Alberta NDP, who ended 44 years of Progressive Conservative (PC) rule back in 2015. From the outset, the attempt to bring together the fractured conservative forces in Alberta has created divisions amongst members of both parties, and these divisions seem to fester even after the unity vote.

The Edmonton terror attack and the way forward

edmonton terror attack police responseOn Sept. 30, at around 8:15 pm local time, a Chevrolet Malibu plowed into a police barricade just outside a football game in Edmonton. After knocking a police officer to the ground, the driver exited the car and attacked the injured officer, stabbing him multiple times. The attacker, now identified as Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, a 30-year-old Somali refugee, then fled on foot.

Capitalism kills: The Alberta suicide crisis and beyond

Homeless individualIt has been almost three years since Alberta was shocked by plummeting oil prices in mid-2014. A province booming with industry and employment opportunities was suddenly faced with an economic collapse, characterized by capital flight and unemployment. Despite being responsible for creating 87 per cent of the net job growth in the country in 2013, Alberta has become an industrial ghost town.

The Fall of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta

o JASON KENNEY FOREIGN WORKERS facebookJason Kenney, the newly elected leader of PC Alberta, might well be the last leader of the party that governed Alberta for 44 consecutive years. Selected as the new leader with a mandate to effectively dissolve the party, though masked with a softer rhetoric of “Unite the Right”, Kenney will oversee the end of an era. 

Crisis in Manitoba: Sweeping Austerity

Brian Pallister Budget 2017Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government has launched an all-out attack on workers and youth with the introduction of eight austerity bills and spending cuts in their 2017-2018 budget. PC Leader Brian Pallister ran on a campaign to look inwards to save on costs by cutting so-called unnecessary management in government. However, the focus of Pallister’s cuts has been rank-and-file workers such as Manitoba Hydro employees.

Saskatchewan austerity budget declares war on poor and working class

regina sk november 16 2015 saskatchewan premier brad wa4The Saskatchewan government has presented its budget for 2017-18, and the news is not good for the vast majority of the province’s residents. Desperate to reduce a ballooning budget deficit that stood at $1.29 billion at the end of the 2016-17 fiscal year, the government of Premier Brad Wall has unleashed a wave of austerity measures in the form of tax hikes and service cuts that will have their most severe negative impact on workers and youth, seniors, and the poor. Even as it mercilessly attacks the most vulnerable sections of the population in the name of balancing the budget, the Wall government has pushed through a series of corporate tax cuts, dispelling any doubts about which side it is on in the province’s intensifying class war.

Hellfire in Alberta – The Notley Government One Year On and the Fort McMurray Wildfire (Part Three – Capitalism and the Wildfire)

Fort Mac Fire AftermathWe have seen how a complex interaction of both natural and human factors developed into the catastrophe of the Fort McMurray wildfire. There was no way this specific fire could have been predicted or prevented. One of the key factors in all of this has been human activity. The issue of historic wildfire management and suppression techniques reveals the limits imposed on us by chaotic and complex systems, and shows us the current limits of our scientific understanding and our ability to manage nature. Without complete knowledge of how a given complex system works, our actions can have unintended consequences.

Hellfire in Alberta – The Notley Government One Year On and the Fort McMurray Wildfire (Part Two: The Cause of the Fort McMurray Wildfire)

lead 960The massive wildfire that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray has raised many questions and led to more than one or two intense public debates. How did this happen? How did the fire start? How did it get out of control? How was it able to enter Fort McMurray? Was there more that could have been done from the stand point of wildfire management? What were the roles of climate change and El Niño? These are just some of the questions people have been asking in the aftermath of the evacuation.

Hellfire in Alberta – The Notley Government One Year On and the Fort McMurray Wildfire (Part One: Politics and Natural Disasters)

Fort Mac FireThe people of Alberta, particularly those in Fort McMurray and surrounding communities, have had misfortune piled upon misfortune. With the collapse in oil prices and the resulting downturn the city has been hit hard by powerful, seemingly uncontrollable, global economic forces resulting in a slowdown in production, wage cuts, sharp increases in unemployment and layoffs, along with rapidly rising inequality and poverty. From the dizzying heights of the boom to the situation now, the realities of capitalism in decline are all too glaringly obvious in Alberta.