Happy May Day! 

Today is the International Day of the Worker. Normally there would be big parades in the capitals of Europe, a few smaller ones in North America and even a measly procession or two here in Wild Rose Country. 

This year, presumably, it’ll be a rather restrained affair most places, owing to the continued presence of the coronavirus in locations whose governments either can’t or won’t manage COVID-19.

In still officially but not really very communist China, where it was already May 1 as this was being written last night, record-breaking throngs of domestic tourists were hitting the road at home for the May Day break, seeing as it’s too dangerous for them to go anywhere in the mismanaged West and the more neoliberalized corners of Asia, thereby giving the domestic economy a powerful boost in the process. 

In Singapore – hardly a bastion of raging socialism – the prime minister has already given a cheerful May Day message that praised the entrepôt nation’s unions for their role in helping workers during COVID-19, and bragged about how unions are growing there, not shrinking as they are in the West.

Don’t expect to hear anything like that from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney today, or anything at all about May 1, the ruling United Conservative Party’s Government’s idea of a healthy state religion being a virulently anti-union form of neoliberalism. 

Well, have a fine May 1 just the same. If you can’t think of any way to celebrate, you can always sing this:

Arise ye, prisoners of starvation,
Arise ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world is in birth!

As for the tune, we’ll hum a couple of bars and maybe Mart Kenney can fake it! 

And now for something completely different …

One week ago today, I spent an hour and a half chatting with Scott Schmidt and Jeremy Appel on their weekly Forgotten Corner podcast. (The Forgotten Corner, presumably, being Medicine Hat, where they both worked on the local newspaper, pre-COVID).

Mr. Schmidt writes a tartly critical column on politics in the pages of the Medicine Hat News. Mr. Appel decamped for Calgary after the News laid off many of its reporters early in the pandemic. There, he’s been doing excellent investigative journalism for The Sprawl, Progress Alberta and other online publications. Mo Cranker handled the technical end of the podcast. 

It’s a sad commentary on the state of mainstream journalism in Alberta that a pair of fine young journalists like this don’t have high-profile positions with established news media. 

The sorry state of Alberta journalism was one of the principal topics we discussed, along with a little bit about Alberta politics, and my own favourite topic – me. 

Anyway, it was fun and interesting and, even though I’m not a podcast kind of guy, I think we discussed some worthwhile topics. 

You can listen to the podcast, which was published for all listeners the day before yesterday, here. 

Join the Conversation


  1. Let us remember what this May Day of 2021 looked like, before the young fled the grim UCP wasteland for greener pastures, which is just about anywhere else now. No dancing around the May pole to Mart Kenney ditties in the Lord’s Sky Palace. Alberta is not a place for joy and hope and celebration. Anyone intent on such things had better load the wagon and high-tail it out of here, like the generation we are losing right now. Hope, like chalk, is headed for an ignominious future in Alberta. Hope, like chalk, comes in rainbow colors. Hope, like chalk, is probably top on the UCP list of things that should be illegal under the Criminal Code. Grey skies, nothing but grey skies from now on. Lord Farquaad of the Sky Palace has decreed it so.

  2. No Tom Kenney has been anti trade union for years just like all the rest of the phoney conservatives Reformers. They can’t find anything to blame them for other than teachers who they love to attack. They don’t like people who are smarter than them and that’s not hard to do.

    1. ALAN K. SPILLER: Teachers, doctors, nurses, those on A.I.S.H, other people who aren’t well off, and seniors. These are the people the UCP love to punish, for the UCP’s costly follies. Does this remind anyone of a certain former Alberta premier, by the name of Ralph Klein? Ralph Klein is one of the UCP’s mentors. It’s no longer May Day for Alberta, but SOS.

      1. UCP punishing people who need social assistance? It’s exactly the opposite. Creating the environment for people to succeed and earn a good living leads directly to people in need being helped as people who have enough make decisions to help other people.

        So, what Im saying is, the milk of human kindness flows from people, not from big government and bureaucracy.

  3. Seeing as socialists are just communists who havent resolved the fight over whos going to be der leader, I cant say as Im disappointed to hear news that May day needs a mayday.

    As for unions shrinking, the current problem with unions is not a problem with unions. I think its all good if workers want to pay for and organize to negotiate with employers. I just think they should have competition for those jobs to make it a real competition. Another union, or people who dont want to be in a union would suffice.

    Also, with new laws limiting money people can give to political entities, you just got to think that the union law structure needs a revamp.

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