Alberta Politics
Premier Jason Kenney and Environment Minister Jason Nixon prematurely toasting “Alberta Day” in May 2019 (Photo: UCP social media via the Toronto Star).

Thinking about Alberta Day: Don’t count on having two holiday weekends in September, fellow Albertians!

Posted on October 02, 2020, 2:17 pm
7 mins

Should we be getting ready for “Alberta Day,” my fellow Albertians?

To put than another way, does Jason Kenney have a plan to erase Labour Day and replace it with something called Alberta Day on or about September 1?

It certainly wouldn’t be out of character.

U.S. President Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons).

Labour Day celebrates labour, which in practical terms often means organized labour. We all know about how our Dear Leader and his party feel about that.

Consider Policy 3 submitted for consideration at the upcoming United Conservative Party virtual annual general meeting and policy convention on Oct. 16 and 17 in cyberspace: “The United Conservative Party believes the Government of Alberta should make Alberta a right-to-work jurisdiction.”

What’s more, Labour Day is also a federal holiday and we’re starting to get a feeling for how Mr. Kenney feels about that too, now that he seems to have been denied the chance to become prime minister of all the little Canadas.

For evidence of this, check the AGM’s policy resolutions document to see how the celebrated Mr. K’s many sovereignist hobby horses are now on their way to becoming government policy – Alberta pension plan, Alberta police, Alberta tax collection and so on. As an old song says, in this way Mr. K will challenge the world.

This may sound far-fetched enough to be what’s nowadays known as fake news, but as Albertans are starting to learn, this being the Age of Trump and all, nothing is necessarily too bonkers for Alberta’s premier and the fringe remnants of the old timey Conservatives who ran this province for 40 odd years that now mainly populate the UCP.

Nor is this blog the first publication to ponder such a development. Last year, the entirely respectable Toronto Star – then still trying to create a commercial beachhead in Alberta – entertained much the same thought.

It was May 2019 and Mr. Kenney was bumping beer cans in a UCP social media video with the province’s honorary chief game warden, environment and parks minister Jason Nixon, while he mused about the good people of this jurisdiction someday soon celebrating Alberta Day on Oct.. 1.

The premier’s press secretary told the Star then, however, that Alberta Day was “just an alternative that people choose to use.”

That was then, though. This is now.

The Star, which always celebrated Confederation as a great cause, has retreated from our virtual shores, leaving behind only a small bureau or two – the journalistic equivalents of a couple of consulates.

And Alberta Day, according to Mr. Kenney’s pronouncement last month, is now an actual thing. “Our government has officially declared September 1st as Alberta Day to celebrate our great province and all that makes us, as our provincial motto says, strong and free,” he said in the statement just before Labour Day.

Mr. Kenney failed to mention that Alberta became a province in Confederation by a benevolent act of the Canadian Parliament in 1905, choosing instead to focus on what he called “the protracted fight to wrestle ownership of our own natural resources from the federal government in 1930.” The negotiations leading up to the Alberta Natural Resources Act of 1930 and those affecting other western provinces were protracted. A fight? Maybe not so much.

To make this really work, of course, Mr. Kenney would have to legislatively adopt the formula of holding Alberta Day on the first Monday of September so that the UCP could pretend we were celebrating a different holiday on the same date everyone else was marking the accomplishments of labour.

It’s safe to assume that there’s no way Mr. Kenney will give Albertans two days off in September. The premier’s friends at Restaurants Canada were probably on the line pretty quickly making sure that wasn’t not the plan.

This has worked before, of course, as when the early Christian Church adopted the pagan practice of celebrating the winter solstice to mark the birth of a Jesus, which is said to have likely taken place around the end of June.

Welcome to a new era, where the people of the land, the common clay of the New West, have something politically correct, Alberta style, to celebrate at the start of September.

The First Virus enters the White House

Already I’ve had a text message from a dear friend suggesting the affliction of U.S. President Donald Trump with the First Virus is probably the work of the Deep State.

Considering the source, I imagine this is sarcasm. But we don’t have to imagine very hard to conclude that we’ll soon be hearing the same thing said in all seriousness by Mr. Trump’s supporters, quite possibly some of them in the UCP Caucus.

Nor is it hard to imagine that when the president recovers, assuming he does, this will not infect him with any humility or common sense.

Could some kind of sympathy vote carry him to victory? If you’re looking for a conspiracy theory about this startling development, that might be a better one.

17 Comments to: Thinking about Alberta Day: Don’t count on having two holiday weekends in September, fellow Albertians!

  1. Jim

    October 2nd, 2020

    With a global pandemic going on and living in a province where the poor pony who only did one trick has died it is nice to know that our dear leader in taking time to try and erase labour day. A decision he seems to want to make without an expert panel’s recommendation no less. Was “old man yells at cloud” guy, who’s name I have already forgotten, too busy? Preston likely isn’t doing anything meaningful right now maybe he is available. I hear Stockwell Day is looking for work as well.

    Probably not a deliberate infection by the deep state of Trump with covid and he will likely recover quicker than most. The one factor that seems to correlate with chances of recovery is money. I would suggest another conspiracy theory after watching the debate, yes it was painful, the democrats are throwing this election. Why else would they run Biden and Harris?

    Reply
  2. Joe Waldron

    October 2nd, 2020

    The current ratings for Mr K. are putting him “through a hogshhead of real fire.”

    Reply
  3. Abs

    October 2nd, 2020

    Whatever Kenney calls Labour Day, we can all call it Labour Day. Didn’t Stephen Harper do something similar?

    I think we can expect the War Room to steal a song for Kenney’s new holiday anytime soon.Perhaps “O, Al-ber-ta”?

    Reply
  4. Mike in Edmonton

    October 2nd, 2020

    Well, it’s finally out in the open. “Right-to-work” is exactly what Jason’s aiming for. When the Wexiters–oh wait, they’re mavericks now–separate, we won’t need to go it alone. We can become the 51st state. Yay. Glory hosanna. Yippee kiyay and similar sentiments.

    Memo #N to Rachel Notley: WHERE’S YOUR FISCAL PLAN AND ECONOMIC PLAN? We need a credible alternative to “Make the rich richer and make everyone else pay more”–and we need it NOW.

    I must have missed the “Alberta Day” announcement completely–both of ’em, last year and this. It’s probably because I get physically ill listening to Jason Kenney. I much prefer to wait till the next day, and read the analyses by competent people. My first reaction was, “What the…?” Then (with disgust): “Yeah. Figures.”

    Still, I can’t quite blame this on “old timey Conservatives,” though it’s almost a conditioned reflex after so many reasons. It seems more like the dying remnants of the Social Credit party, the inadequate inspiration for the Reform party and far-right magical thinking.

    Remember how Family Day got started? Don Getty desperately needed a boost in the polls, so he declared the third Monday of February would be a provincial holiday. Predictably, small business owners (doubtless with Restaurants Canada in the front lines) threw a hissy fit. Getty backed half-way down, and made the day off “discretionary” or some such. The result was that, for the first several years, non-unionized workers didn’t get the day off–but unions DID.

    So, can a provincial government declare a federal stat holiday null and void, then replace it with a non-statutory non-holiday? Stay tuned….

    Reply
    • Abs

      October 3rd, 2020

      Workers in federally-regulated industries also didn’t get this holiday. So let’s say you worked in a bank, but needed child care. The schools and day cares were closed due to Family Day, so you would either have to scramble to find someone who had the day off and was willing to look after your children, or you would have to take time from your holiday allotment, or you would do what some parents did and bring your children to the office, where they would draw and watch videos in the conference room with all the other children who did not have care for the day. Some people were not happy to have to shorten their summer holidays with their families, due to someone forcing them to spend their holiday time with their families in the dead of winter. Not everyone wants or can afford a ski holiday.

      There are consequences to these things, but surely a wealthy man with no family of his own has thought this through.

      Reply
    • Northern Loon

      October 5th, 2020

      The actual plan was that unions (AUPE) would give up the August Long Weekend, which is a discretionary holiday. However the government didn’t do it right and had no mechanism to take away that LW so had to give us both. This was a nice win for AUPE who had just signed their collective agreement with named holidays and would not give up a negotiated benefit. By the time they got to the next round of bargaining the Family Day was entrenched.

      Reply
  5. Mike in Edmonton

    October 2nd, 2020

    So Trump got Covid-19. Democrat plot? Fake news? Or is he truly ill? With this guy, it’s impossible to know.

    Maybe he should publish the lab report. He can add it to his tax returns.

    Reply
  6. Caron

    October 2nd, 2020

    Your picture title should be “guile meets clueless.” Poor little Nixon.

    Reply
  7. Just Me

    October 3rd, 2020

    Given Kenney’s raging propensity to remake the world (or Alberta anyway) to conform to his own narrow vision of the world, I have no doubt that Alberta Day will be proclaimed in the place of Labour Day. Another UCP initiative to piggy-back onto something federal, like a holiday, and claim it as his own.

    But why stop there?

    There’s no reason for Kenney to stop piggy-backing an alternative holiday onto an existing holiday and appropriating for his own.

    Declare Thanksgiving Day to be the brand new “Capitalism Day”, a day to honour the free-market, self-interest, and the profitable manna that rains from conservative heaven.

    Remembrance Day will be appropriated and declared “Oil and Gas Freedom”, where the toil of the fossil fuel industry will be honoured and passionately defended from the restored War Room. (Remembrance Day is about war, so there’s has to be a War Room.)

    Christmas Day, considering Kenney’s complete lack of shame, he will declare that day to be “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Day” and order all of Alberta to keep it as a holy day, where feasting and gift-giving will be banned. Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas during his tenure as England’s Lord Protector. Isn’t Kenney behaviour like that of the puritan Lord Protector?

    New Years Day isn’t a holiday, but Kenney will declare it “Alberta Year Day” because every year is Alberta’s year. Or the next year. Or the one after that.

    Good Friday will be declared “Alberta Premier Day” in honour of the sacrifice borne by the premier.

    Family Day will be declared “Honour Life Day” where women will be reminded of their sacred duty to give their bodies to men and bear the plentiful fruit of their wombs. Looks like Labour Day made a comeback after all.

    Canada Day will be declared “Freedom from the Liberals Day”. Yes, things are going to get that weird.

    Victoria Day will be declared “Rural Alberta Day” in honour of those bumpkins and rubes who unfailing vote UCP just to own those city slickers.

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      October 10th, 2020

      “Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas during his tenure as England’s Lord Protector. Isn’t Kenney behaviour like that of the puritan Lord Protector?”… Not to be overly pedantic, but to Cromwell & the Puritans, the Roman Catholic Church — of which our Premier claims to be a faithful communicant — was anathema. Catholics were routinely jailed, even beheaded, in Puritan England during the interregnum.

      Reply
  8. Dave

    October 4th, 2020

    Well another holiday in September would be nice, but I suspect if we get one, one would be taken away sooner or later. This government’s math skills seem to only include subtraction, not addition. The UCP does seem to have a bit of an ideological agenda, so I am sure they would relish the opportunity to get rid of labour day if they thought they could easily get away with it. However, it is one of those things that seems particularly petty, so it could backfire. I suspect in the back of their minds they realize this and may have concluded what could be achieved here (basically not much) might not be worth a fight or creating more animosity.

    Things in the US seem to be getting stranger and stranger, if that is possible. Mr. Trump with his health situation has perhaps inadvertently created one of the biggest distractions ever. Of course, the problem for him is that while it distracts from the election campaign, it doesn’t really distract from the issue of COVID. I could be wrong, but I feel that all the drama around this may not change much in US politics in the end. If Trump recovers in a week or two, he will probably use this episode to make further claims of invincibility and continue diminish the seriousness of COVID, although he might start to wearing a mask more often. One wildcard is that several US Republican Senators now also have COVID and so this could throw a wrench in the confirmation of the proposed new Supreme Court Justice. Of course, quarantines are only temporary, so this is probably at most a delay, unless more unexpected things happen.

    Reply
  9. pogo

    October 4th, 2020

    Listen up! I want the boss here to unpack the TFW program. Yes. The Alberta advantage! Wage slavery in service to depressing market force wage increases while undermining labor power. If you can actually believe it, that program is driving negative migration in our province, while certain beneficiaries are clamoring for it’s expansion. Is it peonage? Is it post modern slavery? I want an accounting, because I believe if you’re good enough to work here you’re good enough to be a citizen! Oh! Beyond that? Bring your family, because I know you and they wanted to be here like I do!

    Reply
  10. ema

    October 4th, 2020

    The picture of the two Jays having a beer is as phony as a $3 bill! Doesn’t everybody know by now that JK is a total abstainer?!!! His deceptive photo-ops at various brewery events never show a drop passing into his mouth. Instead they are representative of his ongoing pattern of misleading, especially to the unquestioning sheep in his party.

    Reply
  11. Murphy

    October 4th, 2020

    “Organized Labour” is done like dinner. I’m a unionized public sector worker, and I have two others meeting that description in my household. No effort is being spared at any level of government in this province to supplant us with privatized workers (TFW colonial refugees if possible), and the wretched and sadly irrational response to Covidmania has served the masters better than even the xenophobic characterization of the collapse of oil prices. Although my job is rendered more stressful by the bosses at every opportunity, it still exists. The aforementioned other members of my household have not worked since St. Patrick’s Day, and the positions of both are likely to have disappeared permanently into the private sector’s rooting snout, directed to the winfall by the clearing of all obstructions by the acceptance of the patently absurd picture of the threat of SARS CoV-2.
    The “Deep State” is a very real phenomenon, and it has consisted of things like the British East India Company, the KGB whose apparatus transcended even the temporary colonization of Russia by the US in the nineties and produced Putin, and Claire Chennault of Flying Tigers fame and the China Lobby. The fact that the Orange Cretin picked up the term and added it to his two-cent appliance salesman vocabulary does not make it any less real.
    I remain sadly dismayed by the continued use of the term “conspiracy theory”. We are beset by conspiracies at all times, with no more stark example than the installation of the odious First Minister of this province.
    I remain equally dismayed by the acceptance of the concept of the threat of “Covid”. There is no getting around the fact that the response of health authorities in this province was predicated on the presence of a pathogen that they said in the most probable scenario would produce 800 000 infections in Alberta by mid-May, with a possible elevated scenario producing 1 060 000 in the same time frame. The do-nothing prediction was 1 600 000 infections. All three scenarios entailed massive numbers of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths. Nothing even remotely like this was observed here, and as the lone example of reason, not in Sweden either. The acceptance of the forced use of masks is probably the saddest expression of the lack of personal intitiative among the population to educate themselves about their own circumstances. There is no scientific evidence to support the use of masks to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, and there is no emerging body of evidence to support this notion.
    Perhaps some bright young thing will try to figure out why we experienced a consistently observed rise in mortality in folks over 65 for over three months before the launch of Covid, a rise that remained constant through Covid up until the end of July, the most recent month for which statistics are available from the Federal Government. But perhaps not. People accepted mandatory masking in Calgary for a bug that had flatlined in terms of positive test rates three months previously, so I don’t have high hopes.

    Reply
  12. Comment

    October 4th, 2020

    As UCPers like to say (over and over again), Albertans gave us a clear mandate to do x, y, z.

    Everything is justified.

    Reply
  13. Scotty on Denman

    October 6th, 2020

    Mr K isn’t asking for much: just a provincial holiday all Alberta’s own…and likewise a police force and a pension plan, possibly even a separate nation. Heck, a heroic history all its own, too, would be fantastic—literally. And why not? After all, he insists Alberta has to fight to keep the ROC(+Q) from undermining the flagging bitumen industry: he has a “war room” whose objective is equally fantastic—in the sense the enemy has not been identified, at least not yet by sightings, anyway. But he might just as well fabulate a hard-fought anticlimax for his hero’s tale: Alberta the victorious belligerent defeating Canada’s evil clutches on its natural resources, maybe photoshop some anachronisms and false flags for the history-book revisions—just like Stephen Harper learned him when the Prime Minister spent large on patriotic War of 1812 parades and re-enactments —celebrating a time, that is, before there was a Canada to be patriotic to—not quite the tRumpesque dyschronation of General Andrew Jackson’s ruminations on the US Civil War he didn’t live to know about, but really a 55-year anachronism the increasingly unpopular PM hoped would change his luck by way of distraction. Mr K was a good student of convenient history (or, as they say in Salt Lake City, “Apologetics”).

    While Mr K is revving up to time-warp speed, he’s chronoflexing the 1947 Drayton Valley oil strike Alberta to conflate with the Act of 1930 when, in the process of tidying up Canada’s first attempt at confederating non-colonial commercial charters, the young country settled its dominion over the vast North West Territories and Arctic Archipelago with the Mother Kingdom and with the Aboriginal nations of the Great Plains. The feds had been carrying the cost of policing, railways and immigration on what was legally British domain during the period from confederation of the two “spare-cloth provinces” in 1905 (the year Numbered Treaties were completed East of the Rockies) and the Act of Westminster which allowed Alberta and Saskatchewan complete sovereignty over their natural resources (excepting that Alberta could not impede or divert the eastward flow of rivers out of the province for arid Saskatchewan’s sake).

    But not only had oil not been discovered yet in 1930, there was no “fight to wrestle ownership” of the few natural resources then known from the federal government. After the constitutional bookkeeping was tidied up by the Act of Westminster in the early 30s, Canada was only too happy to let Alberta start paying its own way. As for all that federal effort and expense to put down rebellions and settle treaties with indigenous nations, the feds were then, like they are today, fairly generous and forgiving of the new provinces’ actual indebtedness.

    But Mr K is in a bellicose mood because the black swan’s laying infeasible, unprofitable bitumen eggs. This means war—at least with lead soldiers on the quilted squares of his bedspread as the premier nods off each night, dreaming of the hard fought wars that gave life to Alberta, doubtless himself at the helm: the Conquest of New France, the American Rebellion, War of 1812, Fenian raids and Upper and Lower Canada Rebellions, the end of the Civil War when the idled weapons of the world’s first industrial conflict worried the remaining British North American colonies into confederating for mutual protection —of which the Mother Kingdom wouldn’t assist— and on, of course, to the Prairie Rebellions at Red River, Batoche and Frog Lake—all bundled together like piled autumn leaves marked by a rugged, old wooden cross or perhaps a statue of brave soldiers raising the national flag of Alberta in 1930, its motto: “Never Forget”…

    …and then the K-Boy falls fast asleep. Sweet dreams, Jason, sweet dreams…

    Reply

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