The Alberta Distance Learning Centre’s headquarters in Barrhead, now closed (Photo: Google Maps).

With this pandemic disrupting education in Alberta, if only we’d had an institution that could have supported students forced to learn at home, help their parents, and provide digital curriculum resources province-wide!

We did, of course. 

Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange in 2020 (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Before it was closed by the United Conservative Party, it was known as the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

The UCP shut down the ADLC in 2020, just as COVID-19 was being recognized as a global pandemic. 

Adriana LaGrange, the education minister then and now, pulled the plug. 

The Alberta Teachers Association protested the move. ATA President Jason Schilling and other education advocates said it was a big mistake. They were ignored. 

A few people remembered the ADLC on social media this week after Ms. LaGrange announced the creation of an “e-Tutoring Hub” during her school-reopening news conference Wednesday. 

That “new tool to address learning disruption” will provide “free online tutoring resources” for students in Grades 4 to 9 and their parents to help them “catch up on important skills and learning students may have fallen behind on due to the pandemic,” the government’s news release promised. 

“The e-Tutoring Hub will be launched with pre-recorded video tutoring sessions students and their parents can access any time to build literacy and numeracy skills,” the news release said. “Later this year, Alberta Education will expand the online tutoring services to cover more grades and subjects, including live tutoring. Feedback from school authorities, parents and students will inform topics and needs for new tutoring sessions.”

William Aberhart, premier of Alberta at about the time provincial correspondence courses took to the airwaves (Photo: Provincial Archives of Alberta).

It could also provide a way for the government to pilot its unpopular and controversial new K-12 curriculum if school boards continue to refuse to co-operate, suspicious online commentators suggested darkly. 

Regardless of that possibility, it would be a case of reinventing the wheel – doubtless badly – to replace something the UCP killed off less than two years ago. No estimate was provided for what this might cost. 

The ADLC had a storied history, in the low-key manner of public institutions in the Canadian West.

It was founded in 1921 to keep a promise made by the United Farmers of Alberta to overcome obstacles to education in rural and remote areas. This was because, it must be said, the UFA and other Canadian governments of that era all understood public education was a huge international competitive advantage and a way to build a better, healthier world. 

Originally, it was called the Alberta Correspondence School Branch – that being the quaint era when governments believed their departments should have names that explained in plain language what they did, which in this case was to provide correspondence education to children in remote areas.

During World War II, with so many patriotic teachers serving in the armed forces that there was a teacher shortage, the Social Credit Government of premier William Aberhart let the branch adopt radio instruction. Soon courses were being broadcast on CKUA, the Alberta Government’s public broadcaster, which operated as part of the University of Alberta to get around the fact broadcasting came under federal jurisdiction. 

Master pork-barreller Ken Kowalski during his time as Speaker of the Alberta Legislature (Photo: U.S. Mission to Canada, Public Domain).

In the 1970s, lessons were televised on the province’s publicly owned educational cable TV channel. 

In 1980, less than a year after master pork-barreller Ken Kowalski was elected MLA for Barrhead, the government moved the branch from Edmonton to that rural community. But it continued to do important work, over time increasing its emphasis on services for vulnerable students and adults hoping to complete high school.

But in 1996, Premier Ralph Klein’s Progressive Conservative government offloaded the ADLC onto the Pembina Hills School Division. A year earlier it had sold off the educational TV channel.

Still, in 2014 the ADLC launched the ADLC Learning Network, which in addition to student instruction offered support for teachers with resources that could be customized to meet the needs of individual students. Unlike what came later, small school divisions didn’t have to pay for ADLC resources they used. 

But in early March 2020, less than a year after the election of Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP, Ms. LaGrange announced all funding for ADLC would be phased out by the end of the 2021-2022 school year. 

A spokesperson glibly promised at the time that over the two-year transition period “we are confident that these changes will not prevent current ADLC students from completing their high school diploma.” About 80 teaching jobs would be eliminated. 

Alberta Teachers Association President Jason Schilling (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“It is just another strategy in the undermining of access to quality public education that’s going to be a real hurdle for rural folks and for adults who are looking to upgrade to get to post-secondary,” Barbara Silva of the Support Our Students advocacy group said presciently at the time. 

Despite the government’s pledge to phase it out over two years, it was shut down a year early. “We honestly just couldn’t figure out how we could run the second year on $7 million,” said the superintendent of the Pembina Hills School Division.

Now, Ms. LaGrange is going to try to rebuild something a little like it, in a hurry, and on the cheap, possibly even with an ulterior motive. 

If pressed, the UCP may argue no one could have predicted COVID-19 when they decided to close the ADLC, or that it would have been handy to keep around through a pandemic.

Of course, by March 2020, COVID was already here. 

On Feb. 25, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said COVID-19 was headed for pandemic status. The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on March 11. UCP hero Donald Trump declared it to be a U.S. national emergency on March 13. Premier Kenney declared a public state of health emergency on March 17.

Still, it just goes to show that Mr. Kenney, Ms. LaGrange, and the UCP not only have a penchant for destruction, they have an instinct for it! 

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34 Comments

  1. There is a certain type of shameless politician who destroys things, then tries to fix them and invariably only takes credit for the fixing part and conveniently, totally forgets about the destroying part. I think that sounds like Kenney. I don’t know if it also applies to LaGrange, but I suspect she will happily take the cue from her boss here.

    Yeah, who knew about that COVID thing in March 2020? Well apparently everyone except Kenney and his gang. I guess in hind sight, even for them, distance learning doesn’t sound so bad now.

    I also have to wonder how the good folks of Barrhead feel about the UCP now that the Distance Learning Centre has closed. I suspect they prefer the good old days, you know when the PC’s kept the cuts mostly to the cities and spent more money in the rural areas.

    Kenney sure has seemed to alienate and annoy rural Albertans as well as urban ones over the last few years. I guess at least he has a little bit of consistency in this regard.

  2. Just one more of kenney’s ideas for keeping the rubes barefoot and pregnant, isn’t it? One that is actually gender neutral, but you get the idea. One can imagine the horse manure this “resuscitation” of the service will beam out to the citizens. It’ll be a Champion revue, no doubt. I consider kenney a threat to the country, but have zero faith that our “security” services are any more modern in thought than he is. They have always been protectors of conservative thought and the old boys network. Much more up their alley to spy on perceived commies, socialists and intellectuals of the progressive and left who might upset profits and disturb the equanimity of the plutocracy, while ignoring the racists, fascists and mouth foamers. And, of course, to act like yokels from the days of yore when it comes to the treatment of women and minorities both within and without their ranks. When you are as far down the rathole of skewed ideology as kenney, even passing illegal bills and enacting illegal laws is fair game, but somehow this criminal and completely aberrant behaviour stirs no hackles with those charged with state security. Amazing but true. How long have the Mounties farted around on kenney’s UCP leadership shenanigans? How many charges did Duffy face when harper forced the RCMP to go after him? 31, and acquitted on every one while the judge excoriated harper’s PMO behaviour. These Cons are dangerous people yet get away with it time after time. The general incuriosity of the public to the antics of those they elect, a bought-and-paid-for press and pundits just fill out the scene, so that these scumbags get away with essentially whatever they want as if it were just a game.

  3. Leftys want a generation of kids who are afraid to go to school. Your fear makes me sad for you, but not so sad I’ll let you destroy a generation. Lockdowns and vaccines saved a lot of people in the beginning, but more lockdowns and endless boosters will destroy us. Stop being so stupid and check your fear for the sake of the kids and their future. Stop SELFISHLY putting your old miserable lives first. I’d rather see all the old folks (boomers, planet killers, economy destroyers) die of covid than see all the kids kill themselves. Stop being so evil. Especially you, Dave.

    1. Oh dear,

      Another foaming at the mouth conservative who couldn’t be bothered to know anything about politics calling everyone who disagrees with him a “lefty” and projecting conservative beliefs onto this “left”

      The UCP literally developed this curriculum because they believe, without any evidence, that children are being indoctrinated into becoming communists in elementary school.

      This irrational fear has caused the right in this province to repeatedly own themselves with this ridiculous, internationally ridiculed “curriculum”

      Do you even have kids that are school age ? I rather highly doubt it.

      Shout all you want about “lefty’s” it just makes you sound ridiculous and no one, other than like minded fools, is listening to you.

    2. B. Maybe you should get your head out of your ass and get into the real world. The true conservatives in my world are sick and tired of you guys who go around pretending you are a conservative and call anyone who isn’t as dumb as you a Lefty’s especially when you are the one dumb enough to support one. I doubt you even bothered to look into Klein or Kenney background did you and of course you find it smart to hide behind a fake name.

    3. People on the left want kids afraid to go to school? Mass child suicide because of lock downs and booster shots? Well, that’s quite the load of nonsense there, B.

    4. I believe we are getting to the place in the pandemic where business as usual with an nod to new normal practices to keep the healthcare sector afloat should be the main focus for any moral administration.

      So, yes are are all in this together. And no, the metric applied to success is not deaths, but perhaps life years lost versus loss in the educational and professional development of the next generation of taxpayers.

      Who of course will need to be productive to supply the commodities and services necessary for life as we know it.

    5. B: I would venture to guess that you don’t know how severe Covid-19 is, and what it does to people, including children. These children can get it, and they can also spread it to older relations, putting them at risk too.

    6. I am speechless, after reading your post! A song then, for you oh mighty one! https://youtu.be/yRIWAJDzXP0?t=4 Then a toast for an idiot mountebank:
      “May those who live truly be always believed,
      And those who deceive us be always deceived.
      Here’s to the men of all classes,
      Who through lasses and glasses
      Will make themselves asses!
      I drink to the health of another,
      And the other I drink to is he
      In the hope that he drinks to another,
      And the other he drinks to is me.”

    7. Absolutely appalling comment. You should be ashamed of yourself. Advocating for some Darwinian mass kill off of the old, infirm, and immune compromised is really out there in the land of deranged and baleful ideas. And, you are calling DJC evil? Wow. One would think by your inane and illogical comments that are skewed at right angles to reality that your wits are stored in a glass vial on the moon and haven’t been near your corporeal form for some time.

  4. More reinventing the wheel by the hapless UCP, whose slash and burn methods will come back to haunt Alberta. With all the other dim and ideological blunders, this ADLC cancellation, plus the Super lab, will be reason enough to dump this govt. in 2023.

    2023 can’t come soon enough!

  5. This is another example of how destructive to the public interest the UCP are. Let’s also remember that the ability of public health to trace and contain the Covid pandemic was crippled when the UCP destroyed the new Alberta Health Lab at Edmonton. As a result of that, there is blood on Shandro’s and Kenney’s hands while the Education Minister has merely tried to create more pig ignorant colleagues by cutting public education. None of this is accidental. The UCP are not stupid, they are building for the future they want to create.

  6. Maybe if the 100,000 oil and gas jobs trashed canned by the NDP hadnt happened some nice things could be afforded.

    Its not too late now, just get the NDP, Federal and Provincial I think are the same party, to support the development of infrastructure and commerce, then we might be able to afford such things again.

    If wishes were horses beggars would ride.

    1. I would like proof that 1. 100,000 jobs were lost in oil and gas from mid 2015 to mid 2019 and 2. that it was the NDP’s fault.

      I have a sneaking suspicion it was because of the huge drop world wide in oil prices. If you think Notley caused that (hint, it started well before she took office), I would like you to provide proof of that.

      I’d also like you to look at government statistics as to barrels of oil produced since 2012. Every year we’ve produced more and jobs have been lost. How is it possible to produce more oil with fewer jobs? Could it be that the industry doesn’t need those jobs? That they’ve been able to increase profits by reducing payroll?

      You are an idiot.

      1. The election was because of the oil drop, so you are sort of correct. However, any government that decides to trashcan their most lucrative industry in a downturn deserves to be pilloried.

        And they were in the next election. The only government in Alberta history to not get a second term.

        They did offer opportunities to put a smile on peoples faces. For instance when they finished their review of oil and gas royalties in the province. Here is the CBC story on it:
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/alberta-royalty-review-changes-1.3424556

        And we all know who the CBC’s ideological partners are. You just have to count the hail Heather stories after the election to get a firm idea on that. What me to post those for you too?

        Main finding: “Albertans are receiving their fair share.”

        The faces of the NDP supporters in Allard hall were precious. Half way between sucking on a lemon and imbibing something significantly less nutritious.

        And yes, the NDP government gave all the majors a great reason to leave the province and they did so because they were providing top dollar for resources and were being treated like they were thieves by the government in power.

        Here is the CBC article which describes Total chewing off their investment to get out of the trap: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/suncor-total-fort-hills-conocophillips-tim-mcmillan-1.5668095

        I also had an opportunity to pick up propaganda items from Calgary. “The bottom line is Calgary’s LRT and city operations are running on 100 per cent renewable energy, making the city a leader in Canada. Jul 6, 2015”
        (google it for yourself)

        Course that’s another fake news item. They run off the grid, and no worries they dont stop when the sun doesnt shine or the wind doesnt blow. Course its dangerous fake news because it implies its possible to do such a thing, though its technically impossible, but I guess they figured nobody going to the event would understand that. Such is the way of snake oil salesmen.

        1. BRET LARSON: I think you have been duped by these pretend conservatives and Reformers, including Ralph Klein and also with the UCP. Albertans never got their fair share revenue from oil royalty rates, after Peter Lougheed’s oil royalty rates were changed to the worst rates possible. $575 billion is a very large sum of money that we don’t have right now. $260 billion more is not available, because Ralph Klein didn’t do his due diligence and make sure oil companies cleaned up after themselves. Ralph Klein gave away Alberta’s oil to oil companies from other countries, and let them gobble up the profits. These very poor tax regimes by Ralph Klein left Alberta with $150 billion less in revenue. Ralph Klein, like most of the other Alberta PC premiers, did many other very pricey shenanigans, losing Alberta billions of dollars more in much needed revenue. The UCP has done that too. The NDP are not responsible for causing oil prices to crash, in 2014. Nor are the NDP responsible for the American shale oil production, and other cheaper oil sources undercutting the oilsands in Alberta. Oilsands oil is the most costliest kind of oil to extract and prepare for the market. The UCP’s $10 billion in corporate tax cuts hasn’t created one bit of employment. More money we simply do not have. The UCP also threw out $7.5 billion with blind thinking that Donald Trump would still remain the president of the United States of America. When you have pretend conservatives and Reformers running things, don’t expect anything sensible to come out of it. Peter Lougheed knew that you can’t trust Reformers. He was right about that.

          1. Anonymous: Duped, schmuped! This blog always has one UCP troll, and they just keep getting worse. Mr. Larson makes me positively long for the days of Farmer Brian, who seems to have moved on. He probably sold the farm and moved to Vancouver Island. I do feel that with the emergence of “B,” who is considerably more toxic and wishes all Boomers dead, that Mr. Larson will probably move along soon as well. DJC

        2. That’s an article with Minister Savage, so not an NDP government, when Total quit CAPP and the oil sands, which apparently was because they didn’t agree with about climate change. I don’t think you’ve proven that the NDP trashed the oil industry. I also suspect that Albertans swallowed Kenney and the UCP’s lies about “jobs economy and pipelines”. There’s so much damage to the province because of the conservatives you can’t expect to get it done in one mandate.

        3. This is a biased spin. Like all previous governments, the provincial NDP got captured by the oil and gas industry, to the dismay of their counterparts in the ROC. The NDP bought rail cars to transport our oil and negotiated with Trudeau to purchase a pipeline to transport our nasty dilbit to the west coast. The oil and gas sector is too large and too important to ignore it or to not treat it with the utmost care and caution. The NDP government knew that it was competing with other jurisdictions, such as Sask., Texas, or North Dakota, when it comes to oil sector investment. The oil companies are going to go where they can make the most money.

          Stelmach learned that lesson when he tried to meddle with royalty rates – it is like the third rail. The oil companies are trying to make as much as a profit as they can. It is part of their business plan to do all they can to keep royalty rates as low as possible. It is a most unfortunate situation that the oil companies have so much power that they can call the shots. That has to end.

          The difference between the current UCP government and the previous NDP government is this: the NDP was a responsible government and tried to find a balance. Ms. Notley and her government tried to create policies that benefited all Albertans, both inside and outside the oil and gas industry, while at the same time trying to purchase social license for carbon-intensive resource extraction.

          The NDP was not encouraging oil companies to leave. The oil companies do not need any encouragement from the government to do this. Your reference to Total’s withdrawal is a complete non-sequitur and does not advance your argument (if you can call it that) one iota. Extracting bitumen from the tar sands is expensive and requires a long-term financial plan. It is not for the faint of heart or companies that do not have deep pockets. It is a high-risk endeavor, made even more complex and high risk because of climate change and the impact of carbon-intense processes. Total left because the carbon intensity of their tar sands project did not align with their own carbon reduction goals. Full stop. They did not leave because of royalty rates or any other nonsense. They left because the project did not align with their business plan, not because they were pushed out by the NDP.

    2. Horses and buggies, now if only the rest of the world would get on board with Kenney and ride backwards into those halcyon days. It can be done, with one more on term in office. This horse is a pony and it has one trick.

    3. Not sure what province you are living in, but it does not appear to be the same one as the rest of us. The NDP did not can 100,000 oil and gas jobs. That is just false. If these jobs were lost, the NDP was not responsible; rather the factors that were responsible for the downturn in our oil and gas sectors were oil and gas prices, the petroleum companies, competition from abroad, social movements that favor green energy, the economy in general, etc. There were a lot of forces at play here. The agency of any provincial government against these forces is limited in the effect it can have. The writing is on the wall for oil and gas economies.

      We need to see a way out of our almost exclusive reliance on oil and gas. And, providing subsidies to oil companies, if that is what you were hoping for, that abandon wells and don’t pay their fair share for the resources they extract does not seem a wise decision to me.

      The NDP tried to diversify the economy by, among other things, providing tax incentives to industries other than oil and gas. And, one of the first things that the UCP did when they got into power was to remove these policies. This resulted in a number of companies packing their bags and leaving. I know personally of one instance where the BC government took advantage of this short-sighted response and actively solicited a company to move from AB to BC when the UCP pulled the rug out from under them. I assume that other provincial governments were doing the same as well.

      And, news flash: having a highly educated work force is central to any hope of having well-paying jobs, a high standard of living, and a healthy tax base. We simply must invest in education to have any hope of meeting the complex challenges that are headed our way. It is not a luxury item.

      1. Alberta does have a well educated population. Mostly expertise in hydrocarbon technology. For instance my father helped open up the offshore oil industry in the North Sea and the sea of China. In a global free trade environment, jurisdictions have to concentrate on industries where they have an advantage. Alberta has large oil and gas reserves and the technology to develop those resources. Currently the development of those resources pay the rent in Canada to the tune of about 2 million barrels a day. At $60 us a barrel that is ~ 100 million a day 365 days a year. This is why we can afford nice things s like healthcare. And the Notley government tried really hard to sabotage the further development of those resources and they and their allies were successful. Which trash canned the afore mentioned good paying jobs.

    4. That never happened, these jobs were primarily lost to automation, cheerleading the most destructive industry in the history of the planet , and pretending we can go back to the fifties just makes folks eyes roll out the back of their damn head give it up.

    5. Bret Larson Are you going to be able to prove in court that Notley created an international oil industry crash in 2014 , trashing 100,000 jobs, before she was even elected, do you want to try?

      Why don’t you take the advise of someone who had ties to the oil industry for 32 years and stop believing the lies these fake conservatives feed you. We saw the exact same thing happen in the 1980s and the American oilmen that I was involved with certainly knew happened. The Vietnam war ended in 1975 , the oil industry didn’t cut back production and we ended up with a massive surplus around the world. Oil prices fell from $35 U.S. per barrel to $10 and it literally shut down the oil industry .

      We saw it happen again when the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars ended and once again we ended up with these surpluses. To make matters worse Russian and Saudi Arabia got into a race to see who could produce the most oil and they made the situation even worse. Oil prices fell 40%.

      Then add in the stupid Klein and Stelmach governments who refused to listen Peter Lougheed who told them to slow down the growth of the oil sands, get control of the pollution, collect proper royalties and taxes and run this province properly, like he did and Alaska and Norway are doing. They refused to listen and instead slashed royalties and taxes, just like Kenney has done, invited the world to come and get our next to free oil and weren’t smart enough to insure there was a proper way to get our surplus oil, that it created, to market. Cut royalties from 35% to 3% and taxes from 16% to 10%

      Notley knowing the mess we were in ordered rail cars to help get our oil to market, which Kenney scraped, and she worked with Trudeau getting the $4 billion pipeline bought for Alberta to get our oil to foreign markets, namely China , that the Klein and Stelmach should have made certain was in place. Rail cars would have increased our royalties by $2.2 billion ahead of waiting for the pipeline to be built we were told. Kenney killed that plan, costing Albertans a lot money.
      The true conservatives in my world are smart enough to know all this and know Notley was on the right track, so why aren’t you?

    6. BRET LARSON: If these pretend conservatives and Reformers hadn’t messed with Peter Lougheed’s oil royalty rates, Alberta would have $575 billion more to help us out. Had these pretend conservatives and Reformers, specifically, Ralph Klein, made sure that oil companies looked after their messes, Alberta would have another $260 billion to help them. These pretend conservatives and Reformers also lost Alberta $150 billion from very poor tax regimes. Also, these pretend conservatives and Reformers kept on squandering billions of dollars on the most priciest shenanigans, money that could help us out right now. This would include the UCP. We don’t have $10 billion, because of the UCP’s corporate tax cuts, and no employment gains happened. The UCP also squandered $7.5 billion, because they assumed that the Donald would still be America’s president. The UCP’s inability to understand basic accounting principles, lost Alberta $1.6 billion. Those pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP squandered much more money on other very pricey shenanigans. Money that could help us out right now. Oil prices took a nosedive 8 years ago. Somehow, the NDP are responsible for the follies of these pretend conservatives and Reformers, not managing Alberta’s financial situation better, and making a dog’s breakfast out of what the true conservative, Peter Lougheed did.

      1. Always with the negative ways huh moriarty? I mean really? Things change, it’s sad you keep bringing it up. However, I have to admit, it’s almost become comforting.

  7. Regardless of whether the pandemic could have been predicted or not, the decision to scrap the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC) was short sighted, at the very least. Advances in technology have made distance education more effective and convenient than it was in the past and, I dare say, a more popular option for many, especially those who must juggle work commitments or who live in remote areas. We should have been ramping up the ADLC to meet the challenges and opportunities created by the wealth of new and constantly improving applications, such as Moodle and Blackboard, and high-speed broadband that together facilitate online, distance education.

    I suspect, however, that another agenda is at play here, one that is related to the efforts to revise the school curricula to a throwback to the 50s. There is ample evidence that the new curriculum was drawn from and, in some cases, plagiarized from curricula popular in the US among Christian home schoolers. Why do you need an ADLC and its associated expenses when people can just purchase Christian home-schooling materials from US suppliers? And, if our own retrograde curriculum aligns with these noxious imports, all the better.

  8. Yet another lost opportunity for Albertans who wanted to upgrade and retrain, possibly after losing a job in the oil patch, which they got with a Grade 10 education.

    Yet another opportunity lost for those who do not fit into the four walls of a classroom, or have to patch together a living in the gig economy while learning on the side.

    Let there be no doubt that education in all its forms has been under attack from the enemy within — Kenney and the UCP. Kenney is the guy who sees people as human capital, whether they are five years old in kindergarten, or an adult. All boys should go forth and sell used cars. All girls should…well, they’re on their own.

    Who will do all the poorly-paid, menial jobs this province has to offer? Not those people with dreams and aspirations of a better life. Anyone can succeed and become premier of a province without an education. Look at Jason Kenney. He did.

  9. The UCP is writing a winning campaign platform …for the NDP.

    It’s almost surprising such a retrogressive, poluphobic party which has served modern Alberta so very poorly would be so magnanimous to its ostensible rival which, in only one term, contrasted with even a progressive conservative party by serving the province very much better. Thus the NDP compares so very, very much better to the UCP, it stands a good chance of winning a second term of government in 2023.

    The UCP’s generous favours to the NDP Loyal Opposition —which include extremely low scores on just about everything from the economy, to the environment, education, healthcare, social welfare, federalism, and epidemiology —are doubtlessly not intended. And, granted, it would be unfair to compare the UCP’s shockingly cavalier attitude towards Covid to the NDP which, of course, was no longer government when the pandemic hit; but the UCP’s performance in all these subjects also compares very poorly with the rest of the nation (and the entire developed world), especially on Covid, and surely therefore to the Alberta NDP which, unlike Jason Kenney, condemns—along with the rest of the world —the dismissal of Covid by America’s tRump and Brazil’s Bolsonaro, two presidunces whom Kenney emulates.

    Given Kenney et al don’t take opportunities to ameliorate their current electoral unviability, pundits around the globe wonder how this party will implement the exceptionalism it loves to crow about by losing the next election, and how its supposed “united” factions will remain so in opposition —assuming they don’t go full-schizo before then. Any government so low in the polls would have to work doubly hard to turn such unpopularity around with only fourteen-or-so months remaining in its freshman mandate. Yet the UCP instead doubles down on the very polices which have made it so unlikely to be re-elected government. Truly, it is a wonder.

    Some speculate the UCP, at least the SoCon faction represented by the premier, is relying on prayer to achieve a seeming impossibility, or that maybe a “Redoubter” scheme to ‘purify’ the province by encouraging all UCP opposition to move away is plausibly corroborated by secessionism both implicitly and explicitly threatened by Kenney (certainly the prospect of the UCP taking charge of the federal retirement pension plan is enough to make many consider leaving Alberta). If, however, religious petitions really were answered, it’d be apparent by now (especially with respect Covid which has killed many Albertans and probably weighs most heavily against UCP prospects ), and if secession really were a threat, Wexiteers would make up more than the few percent of Albertans that they ever have. But I think DJC has the best explanation as to why the UCP persistently hurts others when it’s not in its interest to do so.

    Consider the fable of the scorpion and the frog: a scorpion asks a frog to carry it across a river on its back, but the frog is afraid it will get stung and die; the scorpion assures the frog that it can’t swim itself and would drown if it stung its ride; but halfway across, the scorpion does sting the frog which, as they both sink to their deaths, asks the the scorpion why it did so knowing it will drown, and the scorpion replies, “Because it’s my nature…”

    [bada-bing! blub-blub-blub-blub…]

    UCP ministers can’t help their destructive tendency, as DJC astutely observes: “they have an instinct for it.” Like the scorpion, it’s their nature, even if it kills them. It’s as if their piss-and-vinegar policy ingredients have to be so precisely apportioned they must be hermetically sealed before mixing: the resulting recipe can’t be adjusted to meet the contingencies of the unforeseen. Umberto Eco noted that some people “cannot conceive that things happen by chance…they have a holy terror of chance,”— which is why a chance mutation of a Corona virus which became the human pandemic of Covid 19 (already varied by several more chance mutations since 2019 because hundreds of millions of humans in whom the virus is actively reproducing are infected around the world) is more believably blamed on whatever cognarrative prejudices conspiracy theorists cultivate: scapegoating—whether JT, “Democrat hoax,” or “Kung Flu” —requires exquisitely complicated rationales, no jot or tittle added, subtracted or rearranged until elaboration becomes typically incredible—then absurd like Q-Anon. Indeed, the more elaborate the theory, the more likely it will gull the gullible who are so afraid of coincidence and chance they cower under the security blanket of zany twaddle. Contrast with general principles of public good and acceptance that unforeseen events do happen: it’s the purpose of timely legislation and active government to adapt policy to unforeseen events as they occur instead of neglecting prudent measures which happen to be inconvenient for religiously rigid ideals already polished to preposterous patina. (Qv Ockham’s Razor.)

    Not reinstating the distance learning facility is politically stupid when it could help meet pandemic protocol objectives (safe distancing to stem contagion) but, on second-take, the conspicuous boneheadedness of keeping it shut down suggests it’s part of an elaborate theory whose many ingredients cannot be adjusted one iota or dot. One gets the impression that, as the election ineluctably nears, UCP MLAs are thus chained to their forward defensive positions from which they can neither advance, retreat, nor redeploy —like “dog soldiers”— else their leader’s teleography becomes unattainable—unattainable like a sustained bitumen bonanza or therapeutically converting modern Albertans to pre-1921 social attitudes would be without a strategy of fantastic complexity.

    Given this nature, Albertans shouldn’t trust any UCP promises and, if it there’s any electoral river it needs to cross in the Spring of 2023, better let it be the River Acheron (L. “Styx”) with the ferryman Charon at the helm.

    Stay safe, my friends, so you can help the worst government in Alberta history embark, and then wave it good riddance as the beaming-eyed Charon poles his ferry to Hades on the dark, opposite bank. Take no chances: bring the fare of 87 obols.

  10. A word of warning for Bret Larson and any other seniors dumb enough to believe the lies Jason Kenney feeds them.

    The true conservatives in my world have had it with these stupid seniors , and we are all seniors, who aren’t smart enough to bother to do any research on anything before believing the lies these fake conservatives feed them. One of the lawyers in our circle of friends said for years that we should stop letting them hurl sarcastic comments at us and start hauling them in to court to make them look like damn fools. You guys have all the facts you need to win he said. He passed away about ten years ago, but I think he was right.

    I had coffee with a guy a few weeks ago who told me that his father was a retired lawyer and he was warning their senior friends and family members that they had better not repeat the lies Jason Kenney was feeding Albertans . Helping Kenney hurl sarcastic lies at Rachael Notley, a lawyer with a lot of lawyer friends likely wasn’t very smart. I think it was damn good advise for all of us, what do you think?

    1. ALAN K. SPILLER: I agree with you completely. The seniors brainwash the younger generations to support these pretend conservatives and Reformers, and we are no better off. Look at what these pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP are trying to do, and doing, with our healthcare, education, the R.C.M.P, those on A.I.S.H, and our elderly population. They are trying to do what their hero, a Liberal turned Reformer, Ralph Klein was doing. It’s a shame that people are buying into these lies. The UCP are even duplicating Ralph Klein’s vote buying schemes. This isn’t the way the true conservative, Peter Lougheed, had been running things.

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