Friday Focus: Wrong Turns Ahead
Politics for the Highest Bidder
The contentious Bill 81 (The Election Statutes Amendment Act) passed in the Alberta Legislature this week. One of the numerous faults with this legislation is that it opens the door for single individuals to mass purchase party memberships and gain undue influence over internal party elections. This anti-democratic law is yet another example of the UCP creating a way for wealthy Albertans to game the system.
The UCP tries to justify this by arguing that political parties are private clubs akin to a cross country ski group. This is absurd. The outcomes of internal political party elections directly impact our public institutions and democracy. They can literally decide who becomes the Premier of the province. The failure to acknowledge that reality is both an act of deep political cynicism or extreme anti-government ideology. Given this is the UCP, it could be both.
Dr Deena Hinshaw has stated that Alberta will continue to take a cautious approach to the Omicron variant. But, quite frankly, this response simply isn't good enough. So far, the government's pandemic approach has been anything but cautious, and Albertans have paid the price. The UCP government needs to clearly explain the contingencies for an Omicron outbreak and the thresholds for implementing them. No more last-minute half-measures. Alberta needs to do more to be prepared.
Speaking of COVID-19, many older Albertans have received their booster shots this month. While I'm happy to see us strengthening our populations' immunity, why have pregnant women not been prioritized? They are more at risk from severe outcomes than healthy people between 60 and 70 and should be prioritized alongside them, if not ahead of them. This is one more reason why the UCP has a vote of no-confidence on COVID-19 from me.
There's nowhere to go but … up?
"Alberta's back". That was the message Jason Kenney delivered at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce this week. To a certain extent, the Premier isn't wrong. Economic forecasts are looking rosier. But, unfortunately, this recovery may be short-lived, thanks to Kenney's short-sighted leadership.
Kenney outright denied that Alberta is on a resource roller-coaster. Instead, he insists rising oil prices show the continued importance of energy. He doesn't seem to grasp reality. Oil and gas prices have always been volatile, and alternative energy sources are becoming more and more viable. As those alternative energy sources become cheaper and more accessible, our products will inevitably face more competition.
The Premier is irresponsible in pretending this economic boom will last indefinitely. The Alberta government must act now to prepare for the challenges ahead. This could be our last chance to do so.
Now, more than ever, we need the forward-thinking leadership the Alberta Liberal Party has offered for decades. So if you aren't already a member, please join us.