Discover more from Women of ABpoli
Lies, damned lies, and Danielle Smith
Seriously, what the actual f...
This Week in AB
Bad for business
Maybe you’re new to Alberta politics or know someone who is. This is actually a fairly simple story that had a lot of complex calculations and decisions involved and I’ll try to summarize it briefly here.
When oil prices tanked in 2014 — thanks to Saudi Arabia flexing their oil muscle — it was on the precipice of a perfect storm. Hedge funds were divesting and insurance companies were backing away from oil-related projects. Economists of all stripes were saying that this downturn was different. They said it was more likely to be a “U-shape”, rather than our more commonly experienced “V-shape”-type recession.
All of those issues combined caused executive decisions to be made that halted further investment in capital-intensive (aka; new) projects.
That meant that people kept working in the oil industry past the downturn that everyone else felt. This was because there were projects nearing completion that the oil industry essentially went into debt to get to the production phase. Production is much less labour-intensive than construction.
It’s important to note here that most oil sands workers are temporary employees, hired based on the contract their employers signed. When one contact (site job) was completed, those temporary employees typically moved to another site with the same employer or to another who was contracted to complete construction on another site.
In 2015, however — due to decisions that were made in 2014 — there were no new jobs to go to because there was no new investment.
Some called the oil sands rebound “a jobless recovery” — the big oil companies were making bank but all of the contractor work was gone — as in, it didn’t trickle down.
Few new investments meant few available jobs.
Astute observers may recall that it was a problem while the NDP was in government but ceased to be an issue once the UCP was elected — despite oil companies refusing to invest in massive new employment-intensive projects.
Back to the issue at hand, oil is not the largest employer in the province (never has been for that matter) and neither will it become so in the future. Green energy projects, however, are a multi-billion-dollar industry and they’re now looking at the UCP’s self-imposed business uncertainty and saying “maybe we’ll hold off” — and that means jobs are on hold in Alberta, too.
In case anyone is curious, that’s a very un-conservative, gatekeeping, government overreach move to make.
This is a segue…
I’m sure I’ve said this before but I really dislike when people who have no experience with Alberta’s education system want to crap all over Alberta’s education system.
I attended kindergarten to grade 12 in Alberta, as did two (so far) of my children. I don’t mind saying that there is some discriminatory racist AF garbage in our curriculum.
I know this because when my eldest sent me a note about some perceived injustice in Canada’s Treaty obligations, I was reminded that I thought something incredibly similar at her age. I realized that wasn’t a coincidence.
I took a number of “Indigenous People in the Justice System” classes in university and learned a hell of a lot more than I’d been taught up until that point.
The point, though, is that there is a group of people listening to some random dude about what should be taught in our schools.
This guy doesn’t have any kids (let alone kids in school) and he was homeschooled so I have no idea where he purports to get his information from.
Yet, he’s commanding crowds across the province to demand that Alberta remove discussion of sexuality and gender identity from schools.
I suppose I was lucky enough to have a cousin who was a lesbian and told me that there were non-heteronormative ways of being when I was about nine. I suppose I was also lucky enough to have met a guy in grade eight who was super obviously gay but my girlfriend dated for some weird reason. He’s an attractive dude and all but, seriously, we all knew.
Or my other friend’s brother who, despite his fascination with Samantha Fox (and who didn’t enjoy that phase?) was also gay.
It was just the way things were and maybe we were relatively evolved enough to be, like, whatever about it, but for a rural Alberta school, I think we might have been not awful.
Teaching kids that families are families no matter their makeup and that people don’t have to be exactly like you to be worthy of respect or belonging is important.
Be happy and comfortable in your desired space and form, my friends.
The race to the bottom…
As many of you already know, Canada’s provinces (with the notable exception of British Columbia) are mostly governed by conservative parties — although east of Saskatchewan they still identify as “progressive conservative”.
Calgary’s Catholic School District adopted an administrative policy in 2022 that requires a school to deadname a child if it is their parent’s preference that a complete lack of basic consideration for a child’s wishes be extended on their behalf.
The public weighed in on an Angus Reid poll and I had a different take than some.
Allow me to digress.
Whether it was actual policy or not, decades ago, when I was in grade five in a rural Alberta school, I tried to get the school to adopt a nickname I’d never had — Deirra.
For reference, “Deirdre” (deer-dree) is mispronounced on the regular [no thanks to the myriad of actual pronunciations that exist — “deer-drah”, “dee-drah”, “dee-dree” and the one that still makes me cringe to this day (ahem, Ms. Hawking) “dare-dree” — but I digress further]. My well-worn nickname in the family was “Dee-Dee”. Spare me.
Anyhow, the school told me I had to get my mom’s permission and she refused. End of discussion. I get the deflation. As further detriment, my middle name is Winter. Was I going to use that? Hells no, I am no Winnie, either (my apologies to the Winnies — it’s just not me).
It wasn’t life-altering for me but it was this moment where I thought “how is this her damned choice?” My parents saddled me with an extremely difficult name, one that was reduced to a ditzy nickname, and I can’t offer something that isn’t even a complete deviation from it as an alternative at school???
I remember the feeling of powerlessness. I remember feeling anger and resentment over that and — I cannot emphasize this enough — it was not life-altering for me.
Or maybe it was. We’ll never know for sure.
All I can say is that I remember those feelings and none were positive.
As parents, we make a decision on names before we even know these little people — as was the case with my first two, sometimes before we’ve even met. Surely we can accept that maybe we got it wrong without condemning them (or ourselves) for that incredibly obvious fact.
Canada’s Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland got a speeding ticket in the middle of nowhere Alberta and somehow did what no one who hasn’t also received a knee-slapping, laugh-out-loud snarky letter from Alberta Traffic Enforcement (me) would: claim she’d never do it again.
I, of course, haven’t (smiley-face emoji with halo).
I possibly once hit 170 on the QE2; no one knows for sure.
I definitely hit 150 on my way to Fort Mac and there was evidence but by the time my court date rolled around, the ticketing officer was transferred and I had an amazing defence. The former may have mattered much more than the latter in that instance.
The only thing that really drives this message home is that letter telling us to “rethink” our driving habits. After the laughing stops, that is.
Don’t say “Minister of Small Business”
It’s all the (out)rage.
While Canadians struggle to meet massively increased grocery store corporate profits, small businesses who rely on Canadians being able to go out for dinner have no idea just how many people they are offending by selling such delicacies as lobster on a bun.
Well, landlocked (is that discriminatory?) provinces might know but I doubt it’s reached the ears of elite ocean-front properties in *checks notes* Prince Edward Island.
Anyhow, the bit only works if you leave out the fact that Rechie Valdez is, in addition to being a Liberal elite (obviously), Canada’s Minister of Small Business and *clutches pearls* is out there promoting her employer-subsidized lunch at a local small business.
On changing your name…
On the Jordan Peterson hearing…
On the woman who refused a life-saving vaccine and ipso facto, a life-saving transplant