AlbertaPolitics.ca is shutting down for a week.
I expect to be without a wifi connection for much of the next seven days, so if there are posts at all on this blog, they will be poorly illustrated and limited in number. There may have to be none at all.
But I don’t like to leave you just hanging, dear readers, especially when some of you make generous donations to help with this blog.
So unless I’m turned back at the B.C. border, which could happen, I’m telling you now I expect to be back in harness on Aug. 27, not long after Finance Minister Travis Toews gives his first-quarter fiscal update.
I don’t think one has to be a psychic to predict that the fiscal update will involve plenty of red ink and even more bad news.
I expect the United Conservative Party government led by Premier Jason Kenney will use the fiscal update to try to redirect political discourse in Alberta away from the global coronavirus pandemic and back to party’s platform of austerity and cuts, cuts, cuts.
If so, this will not be the economic remedy Alberta needs for its economic troubles, but the UCP is a band that only plays one song, so its almost certainly going to be what we get.
A significant element of this will be the application of the shock doctrine — not letting a perfectly good crisis go to waste to enable more privatization, public sector downsizing, tax cuts for billionaires and other market fundamentalist bromides with a record of not working as advertised.
None of this will be particularly helpful for the majority of Albertans, and it will be very painful for many, but perhaps it can be a teaching moment that elections have consequences.
The fiscal update will be followed by the UCP’s minimalist public school reopening — which stands a high probability of being a COVID-19 disaster, although I hope I am wrong about that.
It’s certainly not a reassuring sign to hear our chief medical officer of health now telling us that while we may now have the highest infection rate in Canada, we’re still doing better than lots of places in the States.
This may be true, but it’s hardly a recommendation. Wear your masks, people!
Comments will be posted when opportunities arise.