These days supplies of Russian vodka cannot be found in Alberta (Photo: Veikia, Creative Commons).

On Sunday, Premier Jason Kenney announced the provincial government has directed the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission to stop accepting Russian-made liquor products and to quit selling current stock to retailers.

The announcement also indicated without details that retailers had been instructed to stop selling Russian vodka and the like.  

Steel pipe made by EVRAZ (Photo: Steve Kalny/Linkedin).

“Alberta stands in solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine and we will support those fighting against tyranny any way we can,Mr. Kenney said in the short statement published on the Alberta Government’s website and sent to media.

He also tweeted that “Alberta stands with #Ukraine. We have directed the @AGLC to suspend the purchasing and sale of all Russian-made products.”

Understandably, the announcement of the vodka ban generated positive media coverage without many questions about whether stores with stock on their shelves would be permitted to sell off their inventory. 

Meanwhile, the Progress Report said yesterday that the Alberta Investment Management Corp., better known as AIMCo, owns some 500,000 shares of a Russian investment fund worth millions of dollars.

This is highly significant because AIMCo is the underperforming provincial investment Crown corporation that Mr. Kenney’s United Conservative Party Government has forced all Alberta public sector pension plans to use to manage their funds. 

And it’s to AIMCo that Mr. Kenney dreams of transferring all Albertans’ Canada Pension Plan savings so he can set up an Alberta pension plan that is easier to access for politically motivated investments.

Yet, surprisingly given the Alberta premier’s enthusiasm for the boycott and sanction of Russian companies in the wake Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine last week, no one at AIMCo or the Alberta Finance Ministry returned Progress Alberta’s phone calls about the investment. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

So does the Alberta government have a plan for divestment of these funds? Inquiring Albertans deserve to know. 

Not atypically for AIMCo, the VanEck Vectors Russia Exchange Trading Fund in which the Crown corporation invested $13.2 million last year is now worth only $5.4 million and will probably go lower. 

This is not as heavy a loss as the $2.1 billion AIMCo lost on a high-risk volatility gamble in 2020, but you have to wonder what the company’s investment experts were thinking when they sank millions into a fund that has at least half the shares it holds in companies with their revenues and related assets in Russia. 

After all, the tensions that led to the current crisis in Ukraine date back at least to 2014 when Russia occupied and annexed Crimea, resulting in some sanctions. There has been no secret since then that tensions between the two former Soviet republics have been growing ever since. 

The fund’s largest holdings are in Gazprom, Sberbank and Lukoil. The majority of Gazprom and Sberbank shares are owned by the Russian state. Lukoil is Russia’s largest non-state-owned corporation. 

The fund also holds shares of EVRAZ, the parent company of EVRAZ North America, owner of the only steel mill in Western Canada capable of making pipe suitable for pipelines.

The EVRAZ steel mill in Regina is maker of 75 per cent of the pipe for the ongoing Trans-Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project.

While technically EVRAZ has been structured to be legally a U.K. corporation so it can sell shares on British stock markets, 60 per cent of the corporation is owned by three Russian men who meet the commonplace Western media definition of oligarchs, at least one of whom has ties to President Putin. 

Mr. Kenney has been tweeting that “if Canada really wants to help defang Putin, then let’s get some pipelines built.

So far, however, he seems to have had nothing to say about the use of steel from a Russian owned mill for the TMX project, or the dependence of the province of Saskatchewan on such a company for well-paying jobs in Regina. 

Some thoughtful comments on the way forward from Mr. Kenney, and from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe as well, would seem to be in order. 

Join the Conversation

45 Comments

  1. The creep of Russian oligarch money into every western economy has established a stranglehold in many quarters.

    The removal of Russia’s commercial and central banks from SWIFT was hard fought for, mainly because the amount of resistance from many commercial users of the messaging service to the removal was considerable. A lot of bonuses and bribes are tied to Russia’s activities; and like addicts, western commercial institutions fear being cut-off.

    The only thing I’ve noticed since Russia’s removal from SWIFT is that troll activity has really collapsed. The usual alt-right suspects have completely vanished. Those that remains active, and surely not being paid to ply their grift, are likely mentally ill and doing it for the rush to own the liberals. There are plenty of CONs who are backing Putin’s actions because he’s against Biden. That’s how simplistic the CON mind operation has become.

    But the challenge to Russian actions, like banning Russian vodka is equally simplistic. Many of the brands that are popularly considered Russian vodka are non-Russian. Smirnoff is a product owned by Diageo, who bought the name of a defunct Russian brand. The product is made in multiple countries and is clearly has nothing to do with Russia. As for actual Russian-made brands, they are hardly seen in North America or Europe, and their quality is very questionable.

    As for that Russian pipeline steel, I guess using that ten year old and rusting pipe that was for Keystone is out of the question. Russian steel has bad as Russian tanks.

    1. “The creep of Russian oligarch money into every western economy has established a stranglehold in many quarters.”
      Much of this is stolen from Russia. This is possible because the West provides “havens” for the money and sanctuaries like “Londongrad” for the thieves. This system used by oligarchs other than Russians.

  2. Would Albertans be smart enough to trust the head honcho of the UCP, and the UCP itself, to look after their pensions? I think they shouldn’t trust them, if they have seen what has happened, even when the head honcho of the UCP was in the CPC cabinet. The CPC lost $35 billion of people’s life savings, due to an income trust blunder. It left many people with nothing, frustrated and angry. What they worked for, and saved, was all gone in the blink of an eye. They never could recoup their losses. The UCP have done many very pricey shenanigans, including losing $4 billion of people’s pension money, via AIMCo, and through AIMco, the UCP also lost nearly $2 billion from the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, which Peter Lougheed created. It’s an absurd idea for the UCP to create an Alberta Pension Plan. The UCP took over the pensions of teachers and other public sector workers in Alberta, and without their consent, and put them in AIMCo, which is a very risky pension fund management system, which has ties to volatile commodities, like oil. Going back further in time, the Alberta PCs were foolish, and were messing around with Peter Lougheed’s oil royalty rate regime, drastically reducing the rates to a pittance. Alberta lost $575 billion in revenue, because of this. The sooner the UCP are dumped, the better. Alberta doesn’t need anymore pretend conservatives and Reformers doing anymore damage. Many seniors in Alberta are struggling as it is, and people’s retirement will be put in jeopardy. These seniors didn’t know better, and were duped by these pretend conservatives and Reformers, like Ralph Klein, and the head honcho of the UCP, and Albertans aren’t better off. They mislead the younger generations to support these pretend conservatives and Reformers, and it makes things worse. This is absolute absurdity at its best.

  3. It’s interesting to learn that them Rooskies are helping pave the way for the export what some term ‘ethical oil’. They helped out during the 1940’s with massive contributions and suffering while helping save western Europe from the brutal yoke of the German Reich.
    Consistency in virtue signaling regarding the banning of selected imports would be refreshingly welcome. Russian vodka will be barred yet the continued availability of American whiskey and British gins and whiskeys seems not to have been affected by the invasion and pillage of Iraq.

    1. There was a relationship between Soviet Union and the Reichswehr during the period that Weimar Germany was subject to the Versaille Treaty. German officers and technical personnel did the development of amoured vehicles at facilities in the Soviet Union. These designs would become the tanks that swept the West, Poland and the Soviets.

    2. “Ethical oil” .. is it ethical for us to make money pillaging the environment our children are going to have to live in? Are we not stealing from the future of our species so that we can afford more consumer goods?

      One day the oil will be gone, and all our descendants will have to show for it is a bunch of tailings ponds, abandoned wells and leaky pipelines.

      1. Neil: I disagree with you when you say one day the oil will be gone. Alberta, in my opinion, will never run out of oil, just as it’s never run out of beaver pelts. It’s the market for oil that will be gone, and probably sooner than we think. DJC

  4. DC, excellent comments, especially about AIMCO and Evraz. I would add that there’s a win/win available with Evraz. Canada could declare Evraz’s Canadian assets to be an industrial operation essential to Canada’s security interests, and nationalize those assets. That would preserve the jobs of the Regina plant’s steelworkers, and the jobs at various distribution sites across Western Canada. C’mon Mr Moe and Mr Kenney, get on board with this!

    1. Thanks, Simon. I agree with you and in fact gave some thought to suggesting that in the post last night, but got bogged down in a mental debate with myself about which government could and should nationalize it. I note that Max Fawcett of the National Observer has also published a good piece on this topic today that contains some information not in my story. It’s found here. DJC

    2. Would love to see this happen, but I suspect our billionaire overlords will not allow us to nationalize things. I suspect they will worry about the precedent – if we go around nationalizing things just because it is in the national interest and those things are owned by criminals, billionaires might not own very many things in Canada when the dust settles!

    3. If Canadians lived in a real democracy, where the people had the legalized right to introduce and vote on government bills, you can bet that Canadians would nationalize Russian corporations in Canada along with other foreign corporations for the benefit of the people. There is nothing worse than hearing that sucking sound of foreign corporate profits leaving Canada unnecessarily. Yes we need jobs, but we need profits too in order to build a stronger economy and Nation. Our governments don’t keep profits in Canada when they allow foreign corporations to control the majority of resource extraction in this country or when we have policies that allow the foreign corporate take-over and control of Canadian corporations. The Foreign corporate take-over and control of industries just adds to inflation as well.

      If we lived in a real democracy where the people rule rather than clowns like Kenney, Alberta would have built many more refineries decades ago to add much more value and wealth to our resources for the benefit of the people. The people would have demanded that. Because we don’t live in a real democracy Russia exports huge amounts of gasoline to the USA now, as a result of the undemocratic Conservatives that just wanted to build pipeline south to the USA to export primarily raw resources. The USA gets 21% of its total gasoline exports from Russia and only 17% from Canada (see: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenroberts/2022/02/24/russia-is-united-states-top-source-of-imported-gasoline/?sh=238a58da1b18). Real democracy, as opposed to the fake democracy we live in, would improve our economy and wealth. The absence of democracy reduces our wealth.

      Conservatives, like Jason Kenney, greatly reduced the wealth of Alberta and Canada for the benefit of the Russians and Americans when they fought against the National Energy Program which would have built refineries to add value to our oil along with eliminating all oil imports as pipelines would have been built across this country back in the 1980’s. Kenney and the Conservatives basically fought against our National Interest and in doing so gave economic leverage to the Russians and Americans to go illegally take-over countries in wars.

      1. “Democracy” is both easy to define and very vague and slippery. Imagine ancient Athens, where only land-owning men could vote, compared to Canada, where all adults can vote but the system is structured to ensure that most votes will not matter, compared to Russia, where all adults can vote but the system is structured to ensure that only one vote will matter. All three can, to the best of my knowledge, be described as “democratic.”

        I think the biggest thing limiting democracy in Canada is the fact that very few Canadians have enough inherited advantage and leisure time to be able to afford to develop nuanced, innovative solutions to modern problems. I consider myself blessed in both areas, but I have spent WAY more time working to make someone else rich because I didn’t want to be evicted than I have participating in Canadian democracy.

  5. The purpose of sanctions is to punish the Russian economy. As such, boycotting Russian vodka will have a direct, but small impact on Russia’s economy. If AIMCo were to sell its shares in the ETF, however, they would only be bought by someone else, and there would be no impact on the Russian economy. The Progress Report story reports that the drop in value of AIMCo’s investment has happened since the first of the year; I would guess a closer look would show the drop has probably happened since Putin invaded Ukraine.

    Perhaps another question that should be asked is why is AIMCo investing in ETFs at all. ETFs are wonderful for small investors to gain diversity in their portfolio, and to take advantage of the expertise of the fund manager, but this comes with a price paid to the ETF. In the case of Van Eck’s ETF the price paid is 0.6% of the value of the ETF every year. Why is AIMCo paying their financial experts, if their experts are simply passing the research work onto the ETF’s experts?

    As I type this, the share price of the ETF has dropped from the $10.85 David reported to $9.34 as of 11:04 EST.

  6. Some thoughtful comments on the way forward from Mr. Kenney, and from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe as well, would seem to be in order.

    That would be unprecedented. While we’re at it, why don’t we all wish for a pony?

  7. I would hope that David will take the time to put this information in all major newspapers in Alberta . Being from the world of finance all Albertans need to know this. Thanks David for pointing it out.

      1. As we folks can see from David’s blog, his views run completely counter to the junk you read in the Herald, Journal or any mainstream paper owned by multi-nationals. Those establishment mouthpieces would rather chew ground glass than put his writing where the ordinary Joe would see it. Albertans and the rest of us are lucky to have him.

    1. ALAN K. SPILLER: Postmedia would never publish anything of this sort. Even comments like yours and mine would be discarded. We know the reasons for that.

  8. Since the pipe in question has been (mostly) made already, there’s not much to be done about the mill’s ownership. Boycotting Russian oil, and replacing it with Canadian bitumen, might sting a little. Replacing Russian natural gas with renewable energy would hurt Putin a LOT more–and European governments know this. Look for Germany to expand renewables significantly in the near future. (Canada won’t be much affected either way.)

    As for Aimco (or “Aimless”), the phrase “investment experts” seems misplaced. Likewise the suggestion that Kenney and his sidekick Scott Moe should provide “thoughtful” comments on anything. Whatever happens inside their heads isn’t something I’d describe as thinking.

  9. Let’s not forget that Kenney once praised Putin’s treatment of dissidents:

    https://pressprogress.ca/jason-kenney-vladimir-putins-jailing-of-dissidents-is-instructive-on-how-to-deal-with-environmentalists/

    Now, his tune has changed, I guess, along with the views of the former fans in the GOP of Putin, such as the reprehensible Elise Stefaniuk and others. Even Marie LePen is trying to distance herself from Putin. Will wonders never cease!

    Yes, it is a good thing that we should not purchase Russian-made liquor or other goods made in Russia or do anything to benefit the Russian economy at this time. However, we should not punish our own retailers. Let them sell off their stock — it has already been purchased from Russia and will have no effect on the Russian liquor industry or economy. Either that or compensate the retailers for their losses — the AB treasury is benefitting significantly from this war because of its effect on oil prices. Let’s make sure we sanction the right people.

    @Jimmy seems to be getting some talking points from the crackpot left, eg, Glenn Greenwald, who try to downplay the current crises with references to Iraq, etc. And I think he forgets or does not know that origins of the Koch fortune have a lot to do with Nazi Germany:

    https://www.salon.com/2016/01/12/koch_brothers_father_did_business_with_the_nazis_book_claims_just_like_prescott_bush_henry_ford_some_u_s_corporations/

    Oil has always been a dirty business, whether it is labeled as ethical or not. And, the fact that one of the most notorious sources, the Koch Brothers, of dark money to finance the destabilizing of western democracy has its origins in refining oil for Nazi Germany should not be surprising.

    In any event, it is clear the Kenny government is incompetent, purely ideologically motivated, and focused only on maintaining its grip on power. Like Putin, it needs to go sooner rather than later.

  10. “Some thoughtful comments on the way forward from Mr. Kenney, and from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe as well, would seem to be in order….”

    Thoughtful comments coming from Jason Kenney or Scott Moe? Ever?

  11. This is very fortunate news. The ucpea and kenney are going to resign! Unless I misinterpreted when he said he and his circus would do anything they could to support those fighting tyranny.

  12. Off-topic, but Skippy’s sure going out of his way to show us what a terrible idea it would be to make him Prime Minister. Sure am happy it’s not Canada’s PM who just said a bunch of unspecified European allies are “cowering” before a “tyrant’s invasion.” Too bad the only job he has ever had has been as a shameless partisan attack dog or he would probably know that behaviour that is rewarded in Question Period is considered dishonest, disgusting and/or amateurish if exhibited anywhere else.

    I think my favourite is, “The countries that have been weakest on Russia’s aggression are the ones that rely on Russian energy to heat their homes, drive their cars and power their economies.”

    Gosh, if only someone could have foreseen that being reliant on a country to provide your oil might make you reluctant to criticize them!

  13. David Unfortunately they won’t print my letters anymore either, most seem to be supporting Kenney and it’s obvious it’s coming from their head offices in eastern Canada. I wonder if Conrad Black has something to do with it. The Sun is definitely their major mouth piece.

    1. ALAN K. SPILLER: We know who Postmedia is joined at the hip with. This includes The Sun. It’s the pretend conservatives and Reformer types.

  14. Clearly the UCP as a sophisticated business party is a fantasy. Another fantasy is Russia must tolerate a NATO outpost in the Ukraine while giving no thought to what the Yanks would do to Canada if we invited the Russians or Chinese to establish military and naval bases on our west coast. We aren’t even allowed to set royalty rates on our oil and gas resources.

    Next to getting involved in a land war in south Asia, getting involved in blood-soaked eastern Europe is perhaps the stupidest thing Canada can do.

  15. The hilarity builds. NATO is literally a criminal entity, having attacked Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya in the last twenty-five years. The single greatest crime against humanity thus far in the twenty-first century was the destruction of Iraq in 2003, to which Canada was an active party.
    The CIA-installed government in the Ukraine conducted a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Donbas, a campaign to which Canada also contributed. When the Ukrainians were driven out of Debaltsevo by DPR forces in 2015, the DPR forces seized equipment from Canada and tweeted their thanks.
    The United States and, to coin a phrase, the running dogs like Canada, fostered radicalization of Chechens to destabilize the region, resulting in two barbaric wars. The Chechens were sent to the same Pakistani camps to which the US assets that became Al Qaeda were sent.
    The Ukrainians continued to bombard the Donbas republics, the citizens of which would not acknowledge the legitmacy of the US coup in 2014, up until December 24. At the same time, the Ukrainian government continued to push for membership in the NATO criminal organization.
    War is a great crime, but since it was embraced whole-heartedly by the western “democracies”, who continue to topple governments or, failing that, militarily destroy any state that bucks them, Russia was left with the existential threat of NATO expansion, and they refused to accept inevitible destruction by the people who blew up Iraq.
    Canadians who have accepted the degenerate second-rate militarism of this grovelling satrap are deluded, and frankly, repellent.
    The Ukraine should have been a neutral country, and the Republics should have been allowed to federalize with the Ukraine. The US imperalists refused this, and the Ukraine was allowed to refuse to implement the Minsk agreement.
    Now NATO is fighting to the last Ukrainian, and frankly, that total should be reached in the next few days, whether or not you buy vodka, and whether or not AIMCO divests of Russian holdings.
    10 000 people lost their lives in Donbas between 2014 and now, and the Canadian state bears a portion of responsibility for that.
    Corporate propaganda is bawling about Russian thermobaric weapons, when the US has used those weapons since 1945, although, admittedly, not against white people, which is, apparently, the red line for Progressives in the west.
    You can’t watch RT anymore in this country, as only NATO propaganda is allowed, but by all means watch the videos on Southfront.
    You can watch Canada’s perverted foreign policy go up in smoke in real time. Enjoy!

    1. Can’t watch RT anymore? What a pity! No more crackpot ravings and misinformation from the unhinged left, which is just as bad as the unhinged right. Fewer useful idiots appearing on TV and social media is a blessing.

      Yep, I agree that Iraq war was a terrible thing. I am sure many readers here would also agree. That said, I am not really sure that the two are equivalent and am growing increasingly impatient with this asymetric “whataboutism” to justify Russia’s war crimes and put the blame on Nato. The Realists, such as John Mearsheimer, claim that the origins of the conflict date from April, 2008, when “at the nato Summit in Bucharest, where afterward nato issued a statement that said Ukraine and Georgia would become part of nato”. See https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/why-john-mearsheimer-blames-the-us-for-the-crisis-in-ukraine. However, there is a compelling counterpoint argument to that: the reason for the war is that Putin is terrified of a flourishing Ukranian democracy. See https://www.journalofdemocracy.org/what-putin-fears-most/.

      People can make up their own minds, but nothing justifies Putin’s invasion. And, if you look at the response of the Ukrainians, including Russian-speaking Ukrainians, there is no appetite for the embrace of Russia. The Ukraine people, it would appear, would rather be independent of Russia and would rather side with the west. And, why should they not be allowed to do so, if that is their wish? Also, take a look at the change in attitude of Sweden and Finland. They are now suddenly very interested in joining NATO. Why? Because Russia, specifically Putin, is an existential threat to them. Putin’s illegal war has only made NATO and the EU stronger. Crazy stuff.

      We have dirt on our hands and are not entirely blameless. I am particularly bothered by the antics of our man in Europe, which is a real cause for concern, if true:

      https://therealstory.substack.com/p/in-plain-sight

      Anyway, thought this might be apropos:

      ” A person who sees themselves as an Independent Thinker can come to resent and despise liberal hypocrisy so much that they don’t notice themselves becoming careless and reflexive thinkers, and buying into conservative propaganda that looks like “common sense” but isn’t.” https://www.currentaffairs.org/2021/06/how-to-end-up-serving-the-right

    2. Very strange blend of education and… wtf-ness… to this post. Feels sort of like standing on the freeway and having outlandish, unsubstantiated claims zing past you like speeding vehicles. I can tell you have some background education and a lot of passion, or I wouldn’t bother responding. Would respectfully offer some thoughts:

      RE:NATO as a criminal entity – when it comes to international politics, laws are only respected by the powerless. Not saying it’s right, just saying what it’s like. Fair to call NATO a criminal organization… if we also acknowledge that all nations and organizations with real political, economic or military power are also criminal organizations.

      Canada fought in Afghanistan, not Iraq. NATO fought in Afghanistan because 9/11 invoked Article 5. NATO did not fight in Iraq, although NATO did eventually help train the Iraqi army.

      It is a fact that the Canadian government is elected, not sure why there are quote marks around “democracy.” I mean, yes, our democracy is an absurd, insulting shell game predicated upon the systematic disenfranchisement of people who don’t see things “the right way”, but it could actually be significantly more rigged than it is while still being democratic. “Democracy” does not equal “good”.

      “Ukraine was allowed to refuse to implement the Minsk agreement.” I have some time for the “NATO spreading east was interpreted by Russia as aggression” argument, but I also have some questions. Who “allowed” Ukraine? Aren’t they a sovereign nation? Who should have overruled them? Should they also be allowed to overrule other countries? Which ones, and why?

      “10000 people lost their lives in Donbas between 2014 and now, and the Canadian state bears a portion of responsibility for that.” Canada did deploy troops there so I see your point, but would Canada not bear equal responsibility for the consequences of inaction? I am not generally one for beating the “big bad scary Russia” drum, but it is a fact that no one has ruled Russia without the use of organized state terror in centuries. Russia has not been shy about exporting the use of state terror to its satellite countries. I’m not sure if there was a decision available that would have left Canada’s hands clean.

      “Canadians who have accepted the degenerate second-rate militarism of this grovelling satrap are deluded, and frankly, repellent.” With some work and study, you can become much more persuasive. One of the most valuable resources I have found that teaches how to form and assess arguments using normal english can be found by searching youtube for ‘philosophy tube logic’. I find the visual presentation off-putting but have listened to it in the background many times and recommend it very highly.

      Hope this is helpful, your post kind of reminds me of a younger, angrier me. Good fortune to you!

      1. Just googled ‘southfront’ – are you aware that it is widely described as a Russian misinformation/propaganda site? I get that these types of allegations will boil down to “which sources do you trust,” and FWIW a cursory google did not turn up any sources I particularly value, one way or the other.

        For those reading comments on the internet and, especially, Facebook, that come across as “pro-Russia” I would respectfully remind you that it is established fact that the Russian government is one of the global leaders in cyberwarfare, and that they have invested a lot in sowing dissension among the west via their “troll farms.” Seems likely to me that their trolls are working overtime right now. Worth your while to be a little bit extra critical when evaluating arguments. Are people providing evidence for their claims? Are people proposing solutions, or stoking divisions?

  16. Also in the category of useless gestures, I see that the prime minister has banned the import of Russian crude oil. Which seems good until you realize that Canada did not import any Russian crude in 2021.

    1. I think the Candian Energy Centre had to go back 20 years to find statistics to provide support for their assertions to justify the ethical oil argument that we import significant amounts of oil from Russia. Most of what we imported was by the Irvings for resale in the US, if I remember correctly.

  17. Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital and the head of Global Magnitsky Justice campaign that is responsible for the Magnistky Act legislation in the US and other countries, points out that Russia is uninvestable, and that “any fund manager who owns shares in Russia has some serious explaining to do to their clients about why they ignored all the warning signs.”

    https://twitter.com/Billbrowder/status/1498738227867492353

    I guess Kenney should also have to do some serious explaining about AIMCo’s Russian investments in its portfolio to the voters of AB.

    1. Browder went to Russia with a few borrowed millions, not even speaking the language, and somehow quickly acquired vast wealth, some of which he got out of Russia. I guess he does not qualify as an oligarch because he is not ethnically Russian.
      _____________________________________

      I wonder if our oligarchs have more $ in Russia than Russian oligarchs have in Canada? And if we export more than we import.

      OK, I looked it up
      “In 2020, Canada received more than $1 billion in imports from Russia and delivered more than $600 million in exports,”
      and
      ” “Of all the rich countries that could impose sanctions, Canada has the least to lose,” Mark Manger, associate professor of political economy and global affairs at the Munk School, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview prior to Russia’s attack. “Basically, anything that Russia exports, Canada exports as well, just to different partners.” ”

      https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/where-russia-canada-trade-relations-stand-as-ukraine-is-attacked-1.5757128

  18. Yesterday, a few hours after David posted this column, and Progress Report reported AIMCo’s Russian holdings, Jason Kenney announced AIMCo would be selling all of its Russian holdings.

    There is an interesting spinoff from this announcement. When Kenney directed that AIMCo would be taking control of the teachers’ pension, the spokesflaks made all sorts of reassuring announcements about how the funds are apolitical, and it would not be possible for a politician to direct AIMCo to make a politically motivated investment. Given how quickly Kenney has been able to announce AIMCo will be divesting its Russian holdings, I guess those reassurances couldn’t have been less sincere if Kenney had them printed on chloroplast for a public signing.

  19. I have been very pleased at the international effort to bring Russian oligarchs to justice. My only regret is that we are only doing this to Russian oligarchs. Darkly humourous to me reading people calling Russia a “kleptocracy,” I’ve been using that word to describe our leaders for more than 10 years.

  20. Perhaps a better investment would by in arms manufacturers, going to have to restock after sending all that equipment to Ukraine. War really is a racket, makes you wonder what strings are attached to the $500 million loan and what corporations will benefit.

  21. To: ANON …buhler tractor manufacturer (New Holland)…(Winnipeg) being called out/ cbc news , interesting that they got a $32 m loan from the provincial gov….??

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