A tired-looking Jason Kenney at yesterday’s news conference on what looks like the set of a minimalist post-modern theatre production (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

There was a whiff of desperation in the air at Jason Kenney’s health care news conference yesterday morning, which had been touted in advance to journalists as “an update on priority work to build health system capacity and add more critical care beds for Albertans.”

Health Minister Jason Copping at yesterday’s news conference (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

It turned out to be a stale re-announcement of a promise in last February’s provincial budget to add 50 new intensive-care-unit beds throughout Alberta, with the only real news being that 19 of them have now been completed and opened. 

This is not a bad thing, but it does not solve the crisis now bedevilling health care in Alberta – an acute shortage of medical staff, in particular nurses, that is resulting in horrendous Emergency Room waits, parking-lot paramedicine, cancelled surgeries, exhausted health care workers forced to work mandatory overtime and pondering leaving their professions, high costs, and an impending feeling of doom that is starting to frighten voters. 

Late as usual for the 9 a.m. news conference in a partly completed construction site at Calgary’s Rockyview Hospital, Mr. Kenney didn’t look as if he was feeling all that well. Hospital beds arranged helter-skelter behind him had the appearance of a minimalist set for a post-modern theatrical production. 

Social media wits speculated that putting empty hospital beds in an unfinished renovation site must have been the inspiration of desperate political aides who couldn’t find any medical workers willing to show up and support the premier. This is in fact quite plausible.

The political bosses did bring along Gregory Turnbull, chair of the Alberta Health Services Board, and a couple of senior AHS managers to decorate the stage. The news release included an uninformative boilerplate quote from Mauro Chies, the interim president and CEO of Alberta Health Services who replaced the respected Verna Yiu, fired by the UCP apparently because she was too effective an advocate for public health care.

Alberta Health Services Board Chair Gregory Turnbull (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Someone should have bought the premier a double espresso and made him drink it. The next time the United Conservative Party strategic brain trust tries to design a theatrical set, they should hire the services of a professional dramaturge

It didn’t take long before it was clear the Kenney Government has no idea how to deal with the crisis – this, too, is no surprise, as it wouldn’t be easy for any government to fix, let alone this one.

But the work can’t really start until someone admits there is a crisis – something the UCP is not prepared to do. 

Above all, the solution requires more medical professionals, especially nurses, be hired. Without them, hospital beds are just furniture. 

But there is a worldwide shortage of qualified nurses, who the market says can now command high salaries and secure jobs in places willing to make it worth their while. 

Former Alberta Health Services President and CEO Verna Yiu (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Instead, the Kenney Government has spent much of the past three years making Alberta as unwelcoming as possible to nurses and physicians. 

Before the pandemic, acting on government orders, Alberta Health Services warned the union that represents most Registered Nurses it planned to eliminate the jobs of 750 RNs throughout the system. Then AHS started contract negotiations with United Nurses of Alberta by demanding retroactive pay cuts! The government’s war with doctors saw the health minister of the day arbitrarily tear up their contract, an act for which the UCP has never been forgiven by many physicians. 

Those actions have consequences that continue to be felt, even though AHS eventually signed a collective agreement with United Nurses of Alberta that dropped the demand for pay cuts and contract rollbacks and even included a modest pay increase. 

Today, the health care system couldn’t operate without using high-cost “agency nurses” with temporary contracts who are paid as much as $100 an hour.

NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The Opposition drew the obvious conclusion: “Thanks to Jason Kenney and the UCP, we don’t have enough staff to operate the beds we already have, or the ambulances we already have, or the primary care clinics we already have,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips in a response to the update. 

“The UCP war on front-line professionals has created a profound crisis in health care,” she said in a news release. “There are 21 communities in Alberta right now where the hospital is partially closed due to staff shortages caused by the UCP.”

In the government’s news release, Mr. Kenney said: “We promised to build a stronger health-care system for Albertans and we are delivering on that promise.” It sure doesn’t feel like it, though.

“AHS plans to recruit to fill another 425 clinical and support service positions to support the total bed numbers,” said the news release. But where are they going to find them? 

“COVID-19 is still putting pressure on Alberta hospitals, but we’re countering that with a bold plan to ensure our health system is resilient and can respond to any health crisis,” said Health Minister Jason Copping. There is no evidence of a bold plan, though, or much of a plan at all beyond privatizing surgical services, an ideological solution that will only work as long as the government pours money into it. 

If you doubt the continued emphasis on privatization, consider the responses to a reporter’s question about what kind of manager the AHS Board wants to replace Dr. Yiu.

“We need to transform our system,” said Mr. Copping. “…And we need to drive that transformation quickly.” His answer was sometimes almost incoherent, but the privatization jargon that popped out of his mouth was revealing: Innovative, transformational, flexible

“We’re embarking on a local, national and international search,” said the Board chair, Mr. Turnbull. “We’re really looking at someone who’s a visionary leader. … We’re looking for a unicorn in some ways.”

Remember, though, if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s almost certainly not a unicorn.

Alert readers will also recall that the last time Alberta embarked on an international search for a transformational health leader who was something of a unicorn … we got a cookie monster!

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38 Comments

  1. Throwing more money and more bodies at it wont fix the problem. We already spend the most and get the least. Privatization does NOT mean Canadians will pay more or get less, its just a different way of providing publicly funded health care. The current system wastes BILLIONS on administration. Privatize or continue to watch these lefty hospital “managers” line their pockets with our tax dollars.

    1. NOTE TO THIS COMMENTER: See? All comments here are monitored. So a comment, even wrong-headed, even strongly stated, will be published. However, those containing profanity, wishes for violence, and other gratuitously unacceptable commentary go straight to the trash like water off the back of the proverbial duck. So when the inevitable responses to this come, I suggest govern yourself appropriately. DJC.

    2. Privatization ALWAYS means we pay more and get less because the public model does not include the necessity of profit. This is obvious to anyone who has lived in alberta for ten minutes. Car insurance !? Highest in the country, cellphones ? Ditto ! Electricity !? Should I keep going ?

      In addition to that alberta has already privatized many aspects of health care delivery, like medicentres ! Pay more, get less.

      Finally, we live next door to the greatest public health failure of all time. The worlds richest country , but the only developed nation without some sort of public option, leading the world in infant mortality, death in child birth, covid deaths, and if you break you leg you might lose your house.

      I’m dunking on your ridiculous premise, but really, the idea that corporate boards and HMOs are better at delivering health care than well run public systems is an obvious farce.

    3. The United States spends four thousand dollars more per person for the sham healthcare system they have, according to public figures. Who’s wasting billions ?

    4. Hi “OutofBox”: You might be interested to learn that Alberta’s health care system has the lowest administrative cost of any system in Canada at around three and a half percent. NB and PEI are close seconds with Ontario topping out at just under six percent.
      https://www.afl.org/alberta_s_health_care_administration_costs_lowest_in_canada

      As I mentioned, private delivery requires private profit, which adds expense to any health care system. That expense is income for the private insurance companies and you need only look at the mess in the US to see that administration is where multi-billions are wasted counting every cotton ball for billing purposes. About one-third of US household bankruptcies are caused by health care costs, and of course there are countless unnecessary deaths because people run out of private insurance coverage. And that puts a lot of people inside a box of another sort, permanently.

      1. Thank you, Kang, this is the data I was thinking of when I mentioned 3.6% of staffing. I thought it was number of admin workers, not cost of admin work.

        In fact–and sorry–we were both wrong. The data says 3.3% is spent on administration, not 3.6%. PEI may be second-lowest at around 3.5% administrative costs.

        Regardless, Alberta has cut so much administration our hospitals spend a LOT less than anyone else on “administration.” This includes the top bosses in the hospitals, and probably Dr. Verna Yiu (before she was fired without cause).

        There’s a hidden cost, though. Hospital wards have “unit clerks,” who do routine admin work for the nursing staff. What happens when a unit needs TWO clerks, but the government says, “No, you can only hire one clerk”? Right–nurses have to take over! They don’t count as “admin staff,” but routine filing leaves them less time for their real work of helping patients. So much for saving on labour costs….

    5. Dear Outside the box

      Privatization’s purpose is profit generation. Healthcare’s purpose is to cure ailments and keep people healthy.

      Next time you or one of your family members gets sick, do call me so that I can profit from your sickness or ill-health, while providing you with life saving care.

      That, is privatized healthcare. Is that simple enough for you to understand? Oh, and while we are at it, let’s privatize water and the air that you breathe. There would be a lot of profit in that too.

    6. OtB, I’m afraid you suffer from selective amnesia. Ready for a history lesson? Stay with me….

      “Spend more…”: Albertans generally earn more than the average of other provinces. It’s not just government employees and government ministers (tell your UCP MLA he’s overpaid for me). It’s pretty much every kind of job. That’s because of Ralph Klein’s construction boom during the early 2000’s. Remember, there were thousands of guys stampeding into Alberta because of sky-high wages, and two jobs for every newcomer—more, if they had a trade. Fast-food joints were offering $15 per hour in 2006. No takers, they were all trying to get jobs in either construction or the oilpatch. Professionals like engineers could write their own ticket. Result: rapid increases in pay for all professionals, almost all trades and most labourers. Not, repeat NOT just government employees.

      Doctors and nurses, not so much; the Old Tories limited the number of hires in hospitals. They cut government spending—then restored the cuts—then cut again. The result was chaos in the health-care system. That was before Ed Stelmach appointed a Saskatchewan high-school dropout with an attitude problem to run Alberta Health. Ron Liepert set out to break the Alberta Health system, and very nearly succeeded.

      “… and get less”: Every cut forced hospital administrators to re-organize their departments, wasting time and money. Nurses quit their jobs and left Alberta, disgusted by wage cuts (remember, Alberta was booming before 2008) and chronic understaffing. Being told by a hostile government that they weren’t worth their pay hurt morale, too.

      Then Ron Liepert tried to remake the hospitals as businesses. The hospital boards in Edmonton and Calgary must have told him it wouldn’t work, so he fired them. Then Liepert fired ALL the hospital boards and replaced them with a superboard for the whole province. Yet more chaos, more wasted time and more wasted money while hospitals tried to figure out just who they were supposed to answer to.

      “…wasting BILLIONS….”: Somewhere in that time, the Old Tories asked a consultant to look at administrative costs. To everybody’s surprise (except hospital administrators, those who were left), Alberta Health had the lowest, repeat LOWEST level of administrative staff in Canada. I believe the number was 3.6% of total staffing. Alberta also had less doctors per 1000 people than most provinces (maybe all; I don’t recall for sure). Now you know why Albertans have trouble finding a family doctor, and our hospitals constantly have long wait times.

      All this, mind you, before the UCP’s War on Doctors.

      “Privatization does NOT mean Canadians will pay more or get less…”: the evidence shows you’re wrong. In 2006, a booklet was published by the Parkland Institute that refuted the old corporate talking points: “The Bottom Line: the truth behind private health insurance in Canada”. The authors discuss seven myths about private insurance:
      1. It’s new. (Nope, that’s how it was before Medicare—IF you could afford it).
      2. Better access and more choices. (More clinics means more jobs for doctors and nurses. Great if you can afford to pay membership fees for exclusive access. For the rest of us, not so good.)
      3. Private insurance is cheaper. (My health insurance costs $219 per month to supplement Medicare coverage. I get back SOME of what I spend on prescriptions, dental and eye care. Tell me again how Medicare is worse.)
      4. Expanding private delivery is a new “Third Way.” (Nope, it’s Americanization of health care. Nothing new except more for-profit health clinics—and adding profit drives up prices.)
      5. Medicare is unsustainable. (Really? It’s been sustained for decades, even by Cons determined to replace it with for-profit hospitals. Medicare costs, even in Alberta, are closely controlled by governments. Prescription drugs and private insurance costs have risen fast for years.)
      6. Private insurance saves money for the public system. (Where’s the proof? At best, private insurance covers some gaps in Medicare. At worst, it diverts public funding into mixed public/private clinics, paying for profits instead of health-care outcomes.)
      7. Private clinics will reduce public wait times. (See point 2. There are only so many doctors and nurses in Canada, and provincial governments control enrolment in medical schools. Tempting doctors into for-profit clinics with higher pay and bonuses is good for the individual doctors—but bad for the public health system, because there ain’t enough doctors already. That’s why there are waiting lists in the first place! Lack of doctors and nurses is the problem. Proof: the Sherwood Park hospital. It opened after years of delay just getting it built. Then it opened as a drop-in health clinic—because they couldn’t hire enough doctors to staff it as a full-service hospital.)

      “…hospital “managers” line their pockets with our tax dollars”: I’ll ignore your “lefty” smear. I assume you’re referring to Dr. Verna Yiu, and the way she was fired without cause. Her payout, as per the contract approved by Alberta Health and the UCP minister of health, was about $500,000. Look at the AHS web site and find out what AHS does:

      https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/about/org/ahs-org-about-ahs-infographic.pdf

      Dr. Yiu was in charge of all that AHS does. Look at the web site, then tell me with a straight face that the CEO of a private, for-profit company this big wouldn’t make AT LEAST five times more. That’s what “lining their pockets” means.

      Medicare is public, not-for-profit medical insurance, It’s based on the principle of access for all, despite anyone’s inability to pay. Private insurance is based on making money off people who need help. Ironically, private insurance, like for-profit hospitals, only make money off rich people—because they can afford to pay. That’s why most Albertans, who are NOT rich, disagree with you.

      OutsidetheBox, I’m sorry. You’re a victim of Con politicians spouting corporate talking points.

    7. @ Outside The Box. Want to bet? My American relatives would call you a fool. If you think Jason Kenney has any intention of paying for privatized health care out of the public purse think again. This guy has cut $9.4 billion off corporate taxes to benefit his rich friends and certainly has no money to do so. Have you noticed the horrific mess our roads filled with potholes are doing to our vehicles, Kenney can’t even provide money to fix them.

    8. OutsideTheBox:An American style healthcare system is a proven recipe for a disaster. Their healthcare system leaves so many people flat broke, or even bankrupt. Do we want that? Ralph Klein certainly did, as does the UCP. Think twice about that.

    9. I remember when a number of doctors headed down to the US because they decided hat Public Health in Canada was too paper intensive, plus they felt that they could earn more money.

      It didn’t take long to find out that dealing with a large contingent of private insurance companies (each with different demands for their paper work in order to pay said Drs., and the resulting huge increase in the number of clerical staff they had to hire to create and process this paperwork, plus there was no guarantee these insurance companies would pay the full amount billed, many of them came back to Canada.

      Met a nurse in 1999 who was working in Yuma when my partner went to Emergency because he had passed out. Met a nurse from Alberta working there and my partner commented that she sure must be making more money (CDN$ was suffering terribly) but she said it worked out much the same as she would have made at home. So, why did she decided to go work in the US rather than stay in Alberta? Her response was in Yuma, she was employed full time and had a 10 day/4off work schedule (as a permanent employee) and therefore could plan her days. Unlike Alberta where she was always “part time” which meant little benefits and had to be on call all the time, resulting in often working far more than permanent nurses and had no personal life because there were hours of work implications for her if she wasn’t available whenever they called her in. THAT WAS THE ONLY REASON TO WENT TO THE U.S.

    10. Why stop there? Let’s privatize everything! Do you know our firefighters are a bunch of dirty socialists? Do you know our army doesn’t turn a profit? Or our police? Outrageous! Scandalous! The only reason anything exists is to earn profit, and the sooner we accept that, the quicker we can have a brief, hellish dystopia that renders our biosphere uninhabitable to humans.

  2. “Social media wits speculated that putting empty hospital beds in an unfinished renovation site must have been the inspiration of desperate political aides who couldn’t find any medical workers willing to show up and support the premier. This is in fact quite plausible.”

    1. Perhaps the Premier’s comms staff inadvertently scheduled this announcement on the set of a TV show … maybe HBO’s “The Last of Us”, a post-apocalyptic series based on a video game, which just recently finished filming an episode in Grande Prairie’s recently vacated Queen Elizabeth II Hospital — now formally known as the ‘Queen Elizabeth II Ambulatory Care Centre’ since all acute-care inpatient services decanted to the new 240-bed, billion-dollar Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. The production then moved to Calgary, so …

      https://www.facebook.com/100023091666052/posts/919549012158146/

  3. Why are Reformers so damn stupid they constantly attack the most important people in our lives, doctors, nurse, and teachers? My retired doctor friends have said repeatedly Canadian trained doctors and nurses are some of the mostly highly respected in the world and can work where ever they want to. I will never forget the nurses bawling their eyes out in my office when Klein destroyed their careers. Some were single moms with teenage kids and they could no longer make their monthly mortgage payments and some needed help with temporary loans to relocate out of this province , which is why a Bank Manager was involved. I helped nine doctors and at least two dozen nurses relocate out of this province. In fact a nephew, our next door neighbor and a friend’s sister were all kicked out by Klein . My nephew received the highest marks ever recorded at the U of A in nursing and switched careers thanks to Klein. My next door neighbor is now in the oil industry and my friends sister went to Vancouver and became head of nursing at one of their hospitals. Nurses Alberta should have had. We were told that Alberta lost 14,783 health care workers all thanks to Klein, and now Kenney is promising to cut 11,000 more and his pal Pawliver wants to destroy around 7,500 more careers by scraping the CBC . The MLAs from the Lougheed era were right Reformers don’t create jobs they destroy them. If the CBC is too expensive just think what Pawliver will do to our Public Health Care System or maybe Bombardier. I doubt destroying 64,000 jobs would be any concern for him. He doesn’t care.

    1. Alan K. Spiller: You have it right. I have relatives who were, and are nurses, and teachers. They know what harm Ralph Klein’s policies have done. It is what the UCP wants to emulate, and Pierre Poliveire would likely follow suit. The head honcho of the UCP, and Pierre Poliveire never had a job in their lives, and they were in the political sphere. They have no clue as to what a working person would go through. Peter Lougheed was absolutely right, when he said that you can’t trust these Reformers.

  4. The UCP government tried the same thing at the University of Lethbridge: demanding retroactive pay cuts. Make no mistake; the UCP gave the board of governors their negotiating orders. Voilà, a six-week strike followed, That bargaining chip was like a shot off the bow.

    Once again, the UCP is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. The nurses to staff these new hospital beds came from elsewhere in the system: robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is not a solution. Maybe try expanding the nursing programs at places like the University of Lethbridge and Athabasca University, instead of system-wide PSE cutbacks? Think ahead longer than the next poll? And desist from further threats of layoffs and wage cutbacks?

    The previous health minister claimed to have oodles of new docs in a box, ready to replace any that left Alberta. How’s that working out? Apparently not too well. The town of Fort Macleod recently announced a $10,000 signing bonus for any doctor willing to spend five years in that burg. I doubt that $2,000 a year will have any doctor packing a U-Haul. Obviously demand for doctors outstrips supply. Market forces are not in their favor. Maybe they should pay bonuses to the doctors already there, to encourage –no, beg — them not to leave, too.

    These free marketeers seem to lack any clue about the real world, and “human capital”.

  5. Unicorn wanted – apply at Rockyview Hospital. An imaginary person to go with their imaginary hospital ward.

    They do among other things, first need a better set designer. However, perhaps it it a theatrical interpretation of the state of Kenney’s current political health. It also didn’t help his messaging that he looked like he needed to jump into one of those beds. Alas, with no medical staff in sight, it is not likely to help much. So, some advise to Kenney and crew, if you are going to travel around making Potemkin villages, you need a better Potemkin.

    On a related note, back to that empeheral unicorn they are looking for to supposedly for, be careful what you are looking for. Mr. Duckett stumbled in part because of unfamiliarity with local customs and politics. However, once freed of his political restraints and having time to reflect later, he has offered some zinging and insightful commentary on Alberta’s situation.

    So, perhaps trying to make the best of the situation, our current health minister realizes the only person who would probably take such a job is someone from far, far away who doesn’t realize what a mess the meddling politicians have made of health care here. They probably also won’t realize the political constraints placed on them.

    However, once they figure it out the unicorn will run away screaming or eating a cookie.

  6. “…union-employer provincial workload advisory committee…” Have they started their work yet?
    “Today, the health care system couldn’t operate without using high-cost ‘agency nurses’ with temporary contracts who are paid as much as $100 an hour.” What is the annual cost, and where is it spent?

  7. Instead of privatizing, here’s a not-so-novel idea: stop budgeting the entire system from the top down, and allow the hospitals to operate more or less as businesses and treat the patients as customers instead of burdens.

    The “cookie incident” linked here is just one example showing how these systemic issues have existed for well over a decade. ICU’s were already operating at or near 100% long before COVID. I prepared a bid for part of the Rockyview ICU expansion project, and the RFP package included a feasibility report that was nearly 20 years old.

    Neither party is interested in actually fixing the system. The UCP will privatize, and the NDP will just throw more money into an already broken system.

    1. No hospital should ever be run as a business. As many folks here have laid out what actually is required is more money for healthcare in alberta. More money for hospitals, more money for supervised injection and addiction counselling, more money for lots more nurses and doctors. There isn’t another way to overcome this problem, the Klein Tories starved healthcare for decades in this province, famously going as far as to BLOW UP A HOSPITAL. How do you think we got in this mess ? Market ideology isn’t going to get us out of the problem market ideology got us into.

  8. Sadly taking shots at nurses is nothing new, and started at least with Klein. It is the conservative way of attacking unions, the way they have continually done for at least 35 years. Somehow nurses are an easy target? From my experience the problem at emergency rooms are too few doctors (about one doctor for 25 to 30 beds) plus too many at the ER for things that should be dealt with at clinics.
    Last summer I had a heart attack and waited 5 hours to get in at the U of A, not because there were so many serious cases there, but because there was a waiting room full of Covid patients who listened to bobandy and did not get vaccinated. The nurses were great, but they clearly could have used more doctors.
    Throwing the doctors under the bus is in my view the worst thing the UCP could have done.

  9. My spouse spent her career in health care. There is a significant nursing shortage in Alberta and there will continue to be.

    Lot of reasons. Layoffs and forcing staff to work part time. Some RN’s are working a full 8-12 hours but are doing it at two hospitals so both are counted as part time. Short staffing, 10 days of 12 hour shifts, burn out, and abuse/wage reduction threats from the Ministry.

    Worse still….enrollees in the Alta nursing degree programs are looking outside of Alberta for employment. They have seen what has transpired over the last three years and want no part of it. And nursing grads who are working in a hospital environment are advising them to do just that.

    Exact same for others in the professions. Bottom line….it is hurting rural areas the hardest. Right where the UCP have (or had) strength. Moreover this cannot be shielded from voters. Rural folks are well aware when their emerg closes at night or on weekends from lack of staff. They also notice when, over a year or two, most of the physicians in a practice leave the province. The critical state of EMS services can be hidden a certain extent, but not the rest of the mess.

  10. New nurses is a good idea. The only issue is that union nurses would further destroy the economic basis of Alberta as their unions are ideologically at odds with good governance. It’s a big problem that has existed well before kenney was around and a solution doesn’t seem possible as it is mixed with fed/prov politics.

    1. Unions are the lifeblood of the working class and the only real protection we have against the crimes of the capitalism. They’re also pretty milqetoast captured entities these days so I’m not even sure what you’re talking about, but you make ridiculous unsupported assertions all the time.

        1. Lol Venezuela is a capitalist country. That the best dig you could come up with ? Something tells me the issue you have is how they increase wages and benefits for workers at the “expense” of the poor capitalists who did none of the work.

  11. I recall, during the Civil War, Confederate soldiers would pull the neat trick of making and setting up an assortment of props, dummy soldiers, wooden cannons and the like The purpose of these props was to confuse and distract the Union soldiers into believing that the Confederates were more powerful than they really were. For the most part, the stunt worked. And there was the famous “Potemkin Villages” that were built to distract Czarina Catherine the Great, during a tour of the Crimean region of her empire. She was led to believe that the Crimean region was wildly prosperous and filled with productive farms and bustling towns. In other words, everyone loves a good ruse, provided the joke is on someone else.

    Kenney and the UCP have done everything in their power (and more) to destroy any presence of a functioning public healthcare system in Alberta. The race to become more like Mississippi has lead to one train wreck after another in pretty much every aspect of a functioning and competent government. I suppose the majority of the UCP’s partisan staffers got their easy money jobs in the belief that everyone who works in government is stupid and lazy, so they’ll be stupid and lazy as well. It’s great work, if you can get it. Of course, these same staffers know that the only reason Kenney is even the premier of Alberta is so he has something to do while he awaits for his return to Ottawa, the big pond he really wants to play in. If the premier is not committed to the task at hand, why should they?

    The best part is that if Kenney fails his leadership review, he’s going to call an election. The reason will be some trumped up claim that his government needs a new mandate to do something that is something-something, because something-something. Oh, yes. And something-something.

  12. Consider the day lost if you don’t learn something new. With that in mind, my new word today is dramaturge!!

    The press conference was yet another massive FAIL for the UCP, as described so well by our blogger friend. Shame on Copping for continuing to show up, selling the same snake oil, when he knows he has sold his soul to the devil, by continuing privatization by stealth. This is the same week as he was forced to apologize in the assembly and put the disastrous insulin pump program on pause.

    2023 can’t come soon enough.

    1. Sorry, Ema, I’m quite certain Jason “#3” Copping isn’t the least disturbed by his performance. He wouldn’t be with Jason “#2” Nixon in Jason “#1” Kenney’s cabinet if he felt any remorse.

  13. The good news is it appears that easterners are seeing through this phoney conservative, Calgary trained reformer Pierre Poilievre and that’s a good start. He is getting bashed in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star , and the Ottawa Citizen . Let’s hope he doesn’t win the leadership race but that’s likely hoping for too much. After all Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole both were elected weren’t they? Their own party had to kicked them out.

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