The Alberta is Calling vanity advertising campaign featuring the voice of the province’s soon-to-be-retired premier continues to tout benefits for would-be newcomers to Alberta that Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party Government has striven to undermine.

The Jason’s Calling vanity ad touting the University of Alberta (Image: Government of Alberta).

This weekend Mr. Kenney was tweeting about the University of Alberta’s ranking among the Top 100 on a list of 2,500 world research universities.

“Top notch education,” Mr. Kenney, or his campaign surrogate, enthusiastically tweeted on Saturday. “Alberta is calling.”

The little web image attached to the tweet cheerfully proclaimed: “Alberta is calling to say … THE U OF A IS RANKED IN THE TOP 100 UNIVERSITIES GLOBALLY.” 

Who knew that irony was part of the Alberta Advantage? 

Which is not to say that the Edmonton-based U of A isn’t a fine institution … for now. 

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

But Mr. Kenney’s United Conservative Party Government has certainly worked hard during its tenure to ensure the U of A is a worse university than it was when the party came to power. 

That’s a fact would-be emigrants from Vancouver and Toronto with academic ambitions might want to ponder before picking up the phone to learn about the relatively low fuel and real estate costs in Alberta’s capital region. 

In 2021, the Kenney Government imposed a massive $126-million cut to post-secondary education in Alberta – more than half of it to be borne by the U of A. 

In that one year, the U of A’s provincial grant was slashed by $60.1 million.

“This 11-per-cent reduction, combined with cuts in 2020-21, totals a $170-million reduction in our provincial funding over the last two and a half years,” University of Alberta President William Flanagan lamented in February 2021

University of Alberta President William Flanagan (Photo: Twitter/Bill Flanagan)

“Twenty-five per cent of Alberta’s post-secondary students attend the University of Alberta, yet the province has required us to bear nearly 50 per cent of the reduction in provincial funding,” he added at the time. 

Among the impacts of those cuts were “exceptional tuition increases” – in some cases more than 100 per cent – in professional programs. (Those increases come into effect with the term that begins this September.)

More than 1,000 U of A employees lost their jobs as a direct result of the cuts. And there were other, less obvious, impacts as well, such as cuts to subscriptions to academic journals that harm the ability of U of A students in many fields to do research for advanced degrees.

There was talk at the time of the 2021 provincial budget this was the cost of the university’s previous president’s refusal to knuckle under to then-Opposition-leader Kenney’s unhinged demands the institution drop its plan to award an honorary degree to scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki – seen by the UCP as its environmental arch foe. 

Last February, the U of A lost another 10.7 per cent in provincial funding, saying in a news release it had lost $222 million in revenues over the previous three years. 

High-profile environmentalist and U of A honorary degree recipient David Suzuki (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

President Flanagan, however, sounded more optimistic, telling a local newspaper that the U of A stood to benefit from additional planned funding for fields the province has identified as winners, such as energy, finance, and technology.

Still, the consequences of UCP policy on post-secondary education in Alberta and at the U of A in particular have been doleful, notwithstanding the Edmonton university’s inclusion at No. 92 on that list of world research universities that apparently captured the attention of Mr. Kenney’s communications brain trust. 

This was the first time the U of A had made it into the top 100 on the list of more than 2,500 universities that, according to the university’s press release, counts such factors as the quality of faculty, the number of Nobel Prize winners, and the number of scholars cited in academic publications.

Four other Canadian universities are among the Top 100: The University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, and McMaster University. 

For some reason, Mr. Kenney’s communications boffins didn’t bother to mention that the respected list is compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University. In 2020, the premier was sharply criticized in Canada and abroad for comments he made about the origins of COVID-19, which presumably played well in Ponoka.

Last week, readers will recall, we observed the irony of Mr. Kenney bragging that Alberta has the highest average wages in Canada as part of the campaign – after beginning his term as premier considering legislation to impose pay rollbacks on health care workers, including nurses, while claiming Alberta could no longer afford to be a high-salary outlier.

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36 Comments

  1. Irony abounds with these pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP. Shades of their hero, Ralph Klein, with their cuts to education and healthcare in Alberta. Then the head honcho of the UCP wants to boast how great the University of Alberta is. Sadly, we have people still falling for the lies of the UCP, and other pretend conservatives and Reformers, like Pierre Poliveire.

  2. Isn’t Kenney supposed to be leaving very soon?

    At this point, normal politicians would be focusing on whatever they might be doing next and perhaps rediscovering the fact they have families. Kenney, who seems to not have much of a life outside of politics, seems to be doubling down in this last minute push to rehabilitate his image or something for some reason.

    It is very ironic that this premier who spent much of the last few years trying to damage or destroy higher education in Alberta, particularly the U of A, now seems to be discovering how wonderful it is.

    Maybe this is missed by some of the out of province audience who presumably this campaign is aimed at, but Albertans surely get the irony. Perhaps this is part of Kenney’s plan to try go back to Ottawa and Federal politics. It is a bit desperate, but this is a guy who has no profession, degree or work experience outside politics to fall back on. In order for this to work, he needs to convince Conservatives outside Alberta he was not a total debacle. It is a a bit of a stretch, but perhaps he feels they are gullible enough for some reason.

  3. I recently took a stroll around the Leg grounds. It’s a beautiful spot with impressive buildings, magnificent gardens and a real nice pool facility.
    At least it was.

    The buildings are wrapped in construction tarps while they replace the golden sandstone façade with plain grey concrete. A shame.
    The pool facility has been drained and just sits empty and dry. A real shame.
    The driveways and walkways are in complete disrepair – another shame.
    The gardens are bright and colourful with annuals; one can’t help but wonder when these too will fall into disrepair. An utter shame and disgrace.

    This government is comprised of individuals only interested in their own wealth and prosperity and too stupid to understand the success of all depends on the ‘common-wealth’ of the jurisdiction. They embarrass us all with their transparent and superficial self-promotion. Meanwhile real people and the real economy are being robbed as the real infrastructure decays into disrepair.

    1. Don’t forget them ripping out the living wall inside the federal building, at a cost that exceeded the cost of its annual maintenance, without a plan to regulate the airflow and oxygen in the building, which the living wall was engineered to do.

      The UCP are a party of vandals.

  4. In the state of Mississippi, the state’s university can be found in the town of Oxford. This town is an idyllic place, filled with higher education and progressive mindsets. Nobel laureate, William Faulkner, dedicated his life’s work to elevating the masses from his home in Oxford. Faulkner believed that it was humanity’s burden to elevate all through education and cultural endeavors. On the matter of civil rights, he emphasized that it was the responsibility of the whites to elevate the freed blacks by enforcing their civil rights and assuring that they have all the means to live better than they did before. These were laudable principles coming from a person and a place in Mississippi.

    In the case of Alberta, idiocy is a virtue and that is all.

  5. It really is hard to believe how stupid these fools are. They increase tuition fees by 40% and cut minimum wages for our students, treat our doctors, nurses, teachers and students like third class citizens then try to convince students from other provinces that they should be dumb enough to want to come here. Where is the intelligence in that? I still remember parents who were doctors and nurses telling me their children were following in their footsteps but had no intention of doing so in Alberta after seeing how their parents had been treated by these phoney conservatives, reformers, under Ralph Klein. Most of the young people in our family have been going to B.C. In fact three of them will be there this fall.

  6. “There was talk at the time of the 2021 provincial budget this was the cost of the university’s previous president’s refusal to knuckle under to then-Opposition-leader Kenney’s UNHINGED DEMAND the institution drop its plan to award an honorary degree to scientist and broadcaster David Suzuki – seen by the UCP as its environmental arch foe.”

    Then-Premier Notley’s response was calm and reasonable by comparison:
    “Speaking personally as an alumni (sic), I’m not a big fan of this decision. It struck me as being a bit tone deaf.”
    “If I’d been on the senate, I wouldn’t have personally voted for it.”
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/rachel-notley-suzuki-honorary-degree-university-of-alberta-1.4635006
    Given Notley’s disapproval, Kenney naturally turned it up to 11. Shifting the Overton window, I think they call it.

    Our top educational institution was “tone deaf” because it chose to honour Canada’s pre-eminent science educator in his old age?
    Is that worse that having a Premier deaf to science, blind to ecological reality, and mute on our disastrous legacy to future generations?
    No science supported the NDP’s emissions-boosting climate plan.

    Quasi-NDP Premier Notley and her troops attacked David Suzuki, Jane Fonda, Jagmeet Singh, Tzeporah Berman, etc.
    Any NDP supporters still under the illusion they have a green leader who accepts, respects, and understands the science?

    1. Yeah I don’t remember that happening ; Notley “attacking” Tzeporah Berman, and I have to say it’s been a long time since Hanoi Jane was relevant politically.

      I have long thought that Ms. Notley, as the daughter of an attempted oil industry reformer ,has a good idea of what’s possible, and what is a death warrant, (either literally or figuratively) and tempers her ambitions to what she believes is practical.

      The oil industry plays for keeps.

      Is it bad ? Absolutely. Does it compare at all to the UCP or PCAA? You would have to be delusional to suggest as much.

      There will never be a top down challenge to the oil industry in alberta. The political scene is entirely captured, the regulator is captured, the media and banking sector, both hooked on those bitumen dollars. Forget about any political party changing any of that in our lifetime, and start thinking about a different way to challenge them.

      1. 1) No love lost between Notley and Berman:
        Cheryl Oates, Communications Director for the Premier: “We have been clear that when it comes to Alberta’s oilsands, Tzeporah Berman is dead wrong.” (Calgary Herald, 2018)
        Tzeporah Berman: “The courts ruled in favour of indigenous rights and acknowledged the risk to the dwindling Orca population and so Notley … pulls out of the climate plan? What?! We are going to acknowledge indigenous rights and protect the whales? Well screw the climate then.”

        The Pipeline Queen fought like h*ll for Trans Mtn and Alberta oil barons. Notley didn’t fight like h*ll for climate action. She didn’t fight like h*ll for your grandchildren.
        With PM Trudeau, Notley moved the ball on the Trans Mountain pipeline down to the ten-yard line. Their signal achievement was to “push countrywide support for pipelines from 40% to 70%.” Something Harper, Scheer, O’Toole, and Kenney could never dream of doing.
        AB NDP: “While in government, the NDP brought Canadian premiers together, completed the Canadian Energy Strategy, launched a campaign that was vital in moving support for the Trans Mountain expansion from 40 per cent to 70 per cent, and was successful in getting construction started on the pipeline.”

        After the Federal Court ruling on TMX, Notley pulled her support for a national “floor price” on carbon.
        Notley: “Until the federal government gets its act together, Alberta is pulling out of the federal climate plan. And let’s be clear, without Alberta, that plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
        Pipelines or climate. You can be on one side of that debate or the other. Not both.

        A little bird wrote: “it’s been a long time since Hanoi Jane was relevant politically”
        Fonda’s visit to the oilsands sure riled up the oilpatch:
        “Last week, many in the province were setting their hair on fire over a visit by movie-star activist Jane Fonda and later comments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about Alberta’s energy future. (Globe and Mail, 2017)

        “Premier Notley blasts Jane Fonda for oil sands criticism” (2017)
        “I would suggest that if someone’s going to come to Alberta, a province that is going through significant economic downturn, fly over a city that’s going through a significant economic downturn that’s just been through the largest natural disaster in the history of Canada, and then lecture them about where they should get jobs elsewhere… that’s super tone deaf.”
        When is the right time to criticize the oilsands industry?
        Any connection between “the largest natural disaster in the history of Canada” (Fort Mac fire 2016) and global warming?

        Notley seemed to prefer the company of conspiracy theorist Vivian Krause:
        Krause: “I have been working since July 2018 with Notley’s govt to provide information and assist her team in taking the necessary steps to break the pipeline gridlock.”
        Look who bought into Krause’s discredited conspiracy theories:
        “‘I’m frustrated by it, of course,’ Notley says of the [anti-oilsands] campaign. ‘Vivian Krause (the B.C. researcher) and people like her have done a good job of really laying bare the details of this and really showing us the degree to which this had been going on and building over time.'”
        Question for AB progressives: Notley was on side with Vivian Krause. How about you?

      2. 2) A little bird wrote: “I have long thought that Ms. Notley … has a good idea of what’s possible, and what is a death warrant … and tempers her ambitions to what she believes is practical. Is it bad ? Absolutely. Does it compare at all to the UCP or PCAA? You would have to be delusional to suggest as much.”

        Notley’s embrace of pipelines failed to prevent the NDP’s landslide defeat. No one did more to fuel pipeline hysteria in this province than Notley. The same hysteria that swept the NDP away in the 2019 election. The NDP lost more than half its seats. All of its rural seats. Outside Fortress Edmonton, Notley held onto a mere handful.
        Pandering to fossil fuel dinosaurs just fed the right-wing frenzy. Stoking Albertans’ perennial resentment over pipelines and everything else under the sun only helped the UCP. Most pipeline boosters would not vote NDP if Notley built a billion pipelines. Conservatives who want oil industry flunkies in power will vote for the real thing.
        As pundits recognized at the time:
        David Climenhaga: “Indeed, the more [Notley] fights for the pipeline, the stronger Mr. Kenney seems to get because the file is seen, however wrongfully, by too many voters as a United Conservative Party strength.”
        Markham Hislop: “Exploiting industry difficulties for political gain helps no one but Kenney and the UCP.”
        Jason Kenney: “I’ve never believed there is a large number of Alberta voters whose ballot question is energy or pipelines who are likely to vote for the NDP. The NDP electorate is not people who get up in the morning passionate about pipelines and energy.”

        What I suggested is that Notley shifted the “Overton” window to the right: moving the goalposts on public — and especially progressive — discourse on energy and climate. This allowed Kenney and the UCP to move even further right. If the NDP shills for the oil industry, what is to stop Kenney? Once Notley endorses Vivian Krause wacky theories, it’s no longer right-wing and no longer conspiracy theory. Notley took it mainstream.

        Which brand of denialism is worse?
        Conservatives generally deny the problem and reject the science. Petro-progressives like Trudeau, Notley, and Horgan claim to accept the climate change science, but still push pipelines, approve LNG projects, promote oilsands expansion, subsidize fossil fuels, and let fossil fuel interests dictate the agenda.
        In fact, the federal Liberals and provincial NDP parties (AB and B.C.) have proven far more effective than the Conservatives in delivering on Big Oil’s and Corporate Canada’s agenda. Trudeau & Notley persuaded many Canadians that we can both act on climate and double down on fossil fuels.
        Trudeau and Notley did something else Harper and Kenney could never do: lead progressives over the climate cliff. Make fossil fuel expansion an acceptable option in face of climate change. Many of Trudeau’s and Notley’s supporters now embrace a form of climate change denial. Or are willing to look past their leaders’ climate transgressions.
        With her pipeline hysteria, Notley led progressives astray to support oilsands and pipelines, downplay the science, and ignore IPCC warnings. Something Jason Kenney cannot do.
        In opposition pre-2015, the AB NDP were the only voice of sanity on climate and energy. Notley eliminated that option. Disastrously, Notley led a sizable contingent of progressives to support Big Oil’s priorities: new pipelines and a “climate plan” that sabotages Canada’s climate efforts. None of these notions carried any sway among progressives before 2015.
        Notley’s brand of denialism lulls the public into a dangerous complacency and paralysis. Notley led many of her progressive followers to embrace a fossil-fuel future and deny reality. By pushing pipelines, the NDP sent a clear message that climate change is not a global emergency.
        We no longer have a mainstream party that champions science. We no longer have a progressive party in the NDP.

        When Harper, Poilievre, and Kenney says no to a shift away from fossil fuels, the progressive option is still ON the table.
        When Trudeau and Notley say no, they take the progressive option OFF the table.
        When Kenney denies the science, progressives reject his arguments and head in the opposite direction.
        When Notley denies the science, progressives accept her arguments and enable her climate sabotage.
        NDP policy eliminates the progressive option and all hope for real climate action in AB.

        “The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention” (2016)
        thenarwhal.ca/new-climate-denialism-time-intervention

    2. I don’t think it’s a big secret that Notley had to sell at least a portion of her soul to “broaden” her appeal to the knuckle dragging conservative voters. We all know how that turned out.

      Either way, when you ask if “any NDP supporters still under the illusion they have a green leader who accepts, respects, and understands the science” the answer may be no, but they accept, respect and understand the science a whole hell of a lot more than the current batch of clowns that steer the ship.

    3. Hi Geoffrey,

      It is possible for two things to be true simultaneously and I would argue the planet needs humans to reduce their CO2 production AND it was tone deaf to award Dr. Suzuki at that moment in that way. Either the University was intentionally courting risky notoriety (in which case, they sowed the wind and have reaped the whirlwind) or they were completely out of touch with the cultural, social, and political mood of the community they exist within. In either situation it was a desperately ill-conceived move and Ms. Notley and others could have gone much further in their critiques without fear of giving up their green credentials. Public institutions that depend on public and political sentiment for their survival must always be cognizant of the local mood.

      1. Oh, how far we have fallen.

        Quaecumque Vera (“Whatsoever things are true”)
        The purpose of a university (and journalism!) is not to pander to the political sentiment of the day. On the contrary.
        The university’s sacred mission is to resist political and corporate meddling, speak truth to power, stand up for academic freedom, protect freedom of thought, and uphold the search for truth.
        Just because the government has been captured by the oil industry does not mean academe should be.

        Quaecumque Vera: A day in the life of a motto
        https://sites.ualberta.ca/~publicas/folio/35/06/03.HTM
        Dr. Lewis Klar, Dean of Law: “The pursuit of truth, or perhaps more importantly, the pursuit and advancement of knowledge, defines a university. It is an apt motto. I think that especially in today’s political and economic environment, when the “bottom line” seems to many to be more important than the quality of life and the importance of knowledge, such a motto ought to be brought to mind.”

        Dr. Victor Chan, Associate Professor, Art and Design: “Democracy only works if the majority is intelligent and able to judge for themselves. That is why we’re committed to education, because we hope through education people will be enlightened … to be fair and just and all those things.”
        “Higher learning is about uncovering the truth, no matter how awkward or painful or embarrassing it may be.”

        “Discover the UAlberta Motto”
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSZIgAbZvPo

        From the Epistle of St. Paul to the Philippians 4:8:
        “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
        “whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
        “whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
        “whatsoever things are of good report;
        “if there be any virtue, and there be any praise, think on these things.”

        1. 100% agreement. Someone has to speak the truth, even if it is unpopular, especially when that truth is creating our own extinction. What the heck is the point of knowing what is true if you fear to speak the truth?

          It was a novel treat for me to see someone quote the Bible to defend the idea that ‘knowing what is true is good,’ thanks for that. I’m more used to Ecclesiastes 1:18 – For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

          1. Hi, Neil. Good points.
            I quoted the University of Alberta quoting the Bible. Quaecumque Vera is the UofA’s motto. Latin for “Whatsoever things are true” from Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians.
            I am willing to bet that 99% of UofA students pass through that institution without ever knowing its motto or what it means or where it comes from.

      2. You are correct, as far as “business as usual” goes. Respectfully though, you’re missing out on something:

        We are literally causing an Extinction Event, the sixth in Earth’s history, and I, for one, do not want universities to be silent about this issue. I have been trying and failing my entire adult life to get Canadians to acknowledge this – that has largely, finally, happened, and now I’m trying to get them to care about it, and who would have thought that would be such uphill sledding? “The world is overpopulated anyway,” is an all-too familiar refrain, which, upon close examination, seems to translate as “there are too many non-white people.” (Consider the implications of the same, white, individual believing both of the following statements – ‘there are too many people’ and ‘white people aren’t having enough children.’)

        We have already caused events which will kill a percentage of humanity – maybe it’s 5, maybe it’s 20, maybe it’s more, but we have passed a bunch of climate thresholds and, although we have not fully felt the effects yet, we know we cannot prevent them. Why did we cause them? Because it was easier and cheaper than taking responsibility for our actions. So that an entitled minority could live a lifestyle they did not deserve. Because we believed it would be someone else who suffered, not us. Because we’re lazy, entitled, selfish, greedy, stupid assholes. Because we are bad ancestors.

        We shelter smugly under our inherited advantages and willful ignorance, but these events will cause calamity here for us and for our descendants. America is a great example – they are, very belatedly, rationing water because they are, again very belatedly, acknowledging that in several places they will have to choose between having fresh water to drink and irrigate crops with, or having hydroelectricity to run their air conditioners when the temperate outside is literally hot enough to kill people.
        When America no longer has enough fresh water (which is coming real soon now), do you think they’ll just shrug and wait to die of thirst, or do you think they’ll come for ours? That issue is just the tip of the iceberg – we are completely screwing our own society and pillaging our own future, and it is so completely needless!

        Our descendants are going to hate us. HATE us. White ones too! If they’re lucky enough to exist at all.

    4. How ‘climate science’ works in Canada:
      If the climate were changing, it would be an expensive and difficult problem.
      Therefore, the climate is not changing.
      QED

  7. Interesting point about recruitment, David. I know of a highly-regarded scientist who was offered a job at my university and, after some heart-searching, declined, because of the UCP’s handling of the higher education portfolio.

  8. As an alumni, I am happy that U of A has returned to a top 100 ranked university in the world, but this is solely the function of Dr. Michael Houghton’s Nobel Prize. Overall, if you look at citation rankings or tri-council funding over the last 10 years, U of A ranks 6th in Canada (below U of T, McGill, UBC, McMaster and Montreal). U of C has also fallen down the rankings, and sometimes even falls outside the top 200 (such as the 2022 Times Higher Education rankings).

    If Albertans want to go back to having two top ranked universities in the world (which is a prestigious accomplishment considering our population levels), we are going to have to invest long-term funding back into our programs. Short term envelopes, like those lauded by Flanagan, cannot be used to hire tenure track researchers/professor since they are not base-operating-grant funding, and disappear once the envelope ends.

    A real plan to improve Alberta’s PSE would involve: 1) increasing the number of full time, tenure professors (that do research and are the single biggest category in international rankings), 2) building a graduate student research funding program, similar to Ontario”s Trillium Scholarship, 3) rehire the laid-off support staff whom work behind the scene in research and student services, and 4) to cap, reduce, or even remove the expensive tuition and fee structure (many countries, both the the global north and global south do not have tuition for students).

  9. Jason Kenney has no shame. Assuming this top 100 list to be something near accurate, then he appears to be working to knock the U of Eh, as I fondly called it, off the list. Jason is pretty twisted. A man opposed internally so to speak.

  10. .. mebbe folks could cease ‘conflating Bitumen & Oil’
    Alberta DOES NOT HAVE AN ‘OIL PATCH’ it’s a ‘BITUMEN PATCH’
    97% of Canada’s Vast Oil Reserves are Bitumen..
    3% is ‘conventional oil’

    Yes.. ‘all that wealth in the ground’ is Bitumen
    located in the vast Alberta Tar Sands

    ‍☠️

  11. Geoffrey Pounder, your analysis of the pro-fossil fuel position of Rachel Notley is absolutely accurate. That leaves voters with no one, really, to vote for on the progressive energy side. Notley’s social agenda was much better – increased, but still inadequate $15 per hour minimum wage but no talk of a living wage, a provincial public lab rather than a for-profit one which was, regrettably, nixed as soon as the UCP was voted back into power, beneficial but poorly explained requirement for improved worker safety on farms etc. Has the provincial NDP improved its policy on oil and gas increased capacity or pipelines for this election? I haven’t seen anything, recently, about the NDP position. With the market price of fossil fuels increasing and, presumably, corporations paying more in royalties, it will be difficult to persuade Alberta voters to move towards more environmentally sustainable forms of energy. I’m not sure where this leaves the NDP as far as offering good policy on energy and persuading voters to elect the NDP. Any thoughts?

    1. When is a good time for Alberta to “move towards more environmentally sustainable forms of energy”?
      Good question.

      Not when the oil price is up, obviously, when the province is dining out on royalties, repairing its finances, and erasing its deficit. And when (some) Albertans are making a killing.

      Not when the oil price is down, either, because, as Notley would say, “That’s super tone-deaf.”
      How dare anyone attack our oil industry when it’s down. We need to support “working people” (NDP-speak for oilpatch workers).

      Notley: “Here in Alberta we ride horses, not unicorns, and I invite pipeline opponents to saddle up on something that is real.”
      Notley called the Leap Manifesto naïve, ill-considered, and tone-deaf.

      “Both Enoch and Eaton pointed to a public relations strategy used by the oil and gas industry in recent years to deflect criticism. They describe efforts to use workers as the face of the industry, rather than executives, in an attempt to make criticisms of the industry synonymous with criticism of the workers.”
      https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/12/15/news/how-powerful-big-oil-just-ask-regina-city-council

      A rhetorical sledgehammer wielded by Alberta NDP politicians, too. Notley’s NDP Govt used that phrase to bludgeon their critics on the left.
      Notley cited the concerns of “working people” to justify support for Big Oil’s agenda, even as the oilpatch automates jobs out of existence, while returning billions of dollars to shareholders.
      Notley: “Ignoring the very real needs and concerns of these working families only feeds the growing inequality that fuels so much of the extreme politics we see around the world.”
      “…climate action, a strong and competitive energy industry, and the well-being of working people go hand in hand in hand.”
      “On this issue of standing up to B.C., and their attack on working people across Canada, we are very aligned.”
      “(There are) those who want to write working people out of climate action…”
      “To do that and forget the needs of working people, or to throw working people under the bus, means that both economic growth and environmental protection are bound to fail.”

      Premier Notley heaped scorn on federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh several times over Trans Mtn:
      “To forget that and to throw [working people] under the bus as collateral damage in pursuit of some other high level policy objective is a recipe for failure and it’s also very elitist.”
      “To do that and forget the needs of working people, or to throw working people under the bus, means that both economic growth and environmental protection are bound to fail.”
      Elitist? In subservience to Big Oil CEOs, Notley travelled the country, preaching salvation by pipeline to choirs of business elites.

      NDP Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman: “I recall many times Jagmeet Singh has not been a friend to Albertans, to working people or to our nation when it comes to energy policy.”

      From Premier Notley’s 2018 address to the Alberta Teachers’ Association:
      “And I submit that the approach of anti-pipeline activists is a disaster not only for working people but, quite frankly, for effective climate action as well because if we write off the jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of working women and men, I guarantee you we will write off the ability to move forward on climate or, quite frankly, on just about any other progressive change.
      “…But here’s the bottom line. Climate action is not free. There is a cost. And to cover that cost, we must grow our economy. We must diversify our economy. We must create jobs. We must fund the things working people depend on. And, that’s why we need to build Trans-Mountain.
      “…And I would say to those who oppose our fight to build this pipeline that they are being extremely foolish.”

      No climate action possible on the oil & gas front. Emissions to rise indefinitely. Because “working people”.
      Blatant deception. Neoliberal energy policy doesn’t help working people. It helps the rich get richer at the expense of working people.
      Fossil fuel expansion doesn’t protect working Albertans. The oil & gas sector has been shedding jobs for years.
      The NDP did “working people” no favor by enabling oilsands expansion. That just sets us up for bigger crashes and economic ruin down the road. AB’s over-dependence on oil & gas is our vulnerability, not our strength.

      The only “working people” the AB NDP seem to care about work in oil & gas.
      How about “working people” in First Nations’ communities in the oilsands region? Already paying bigtime with their health and loss of culture. What will be left for them when the oilsands industry collapses?
      The livelihoods and communities of “working people” in Canada and around the world are threatened by climate change.
      Who is really defending working people?

      In short, it’s never a good time for Alberta to “move towards more environmentally sustainable forms of energy”.
      It’s never a good time for Alberta to accept and act on the best available science.
      It’s never a good time for Albertans to act like moral, rational adults who care about their grandchildren.
      Because that would be “super tone-deaf”.

  12. Hi Geoffrey Pounder, Good point, I nearly fell off my chair when Rachel Notley spoke favourably of Vivian Kruase’s conspiracy theories. Krause, apparently, finally repudiated one of her conspiracy theories about, I think, America trying to land-lock Alberta oil. Nevertheless, it was shocking that Rachel Notley spoke about Krause’s theory in positive terms. I believe that the damage that Krause did was incalculable. Many ordinary Albertans were persuaded by Krause to subscribe to theories which could be described as conspiracy theories and fantasy. Many Albertans hold these views even now.

  13. Reading the comments here, I think it’s safe to conclude that none of the U of A alumni here took Latin: ‘alumni’ is plural; ‘alumnus’ is the masculine singular & ‘alumna’ the feminine singular. BTW I never took Latin either, but a lot of medical terminology comes from either Latin or Greek so I have picked up some principles along the way.

    1. Be careful, Jerry. There is more than one declension in Latin. It’s not as simple as you make it sound, although you’re right about alumnus, alumni and alumna. I must have fallen down on my duty to protect commenters from needless errors, for which I apologize. It is also, in my opinion, quite roper to apply English plurals to commonly used Latin nouns. For example, it’s silly to insist that media, normally used as a singular but collective noun, rather like army, must be expressed in the singular sense of one med1a organization or business as “medium.” Let medium (plural mediums) refer to people who sniff out the future through psychic means. The plural of octopus in English is octopuses and in Latin is octopodes. It is octopi in neither language, regardless of what Microsoft’s deluded spell-check thinks. DJC

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