Edmonton’s Labour Day Parade moves along Jasper Avenue in 1910 (Photo: Peel’s Prairie Postcards, University of Alberta Library).

Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party are trying to cancel our Labour Day weekend.

Labour Day in Alberta in 1904, when plumbers and pipefitters had uniforms (Photo: AlbertaHistoricPlaces.com).

Surely that’s why they’ve invented the bogus “Alberta Day” non-holiday – the perfect neoliberal celebration: no time off, no overtime pay for holiday work, and no family time, just more badly paid work and more opportunities to shop for cheap foreign-made trinkets.

The timing of the day Alberta became a province in 1905 – on Sept. 1 – was convenient for the UCP’s plot to use the fake Alberta Day announced by Mr. Kenney during the Calgary Stampede to supplant the traditional Labour Day weekend. 

This means that so-called Alberta Day (the same as any other day) will always fall close to or even on the same weekend as Labour Day (a statutory holiday for all Canadians). 

Indeed, in 2025, “Alberta Day” and Labour Day will fall on the same day – Monday, Sept. 1.

I can almost imagine Mr. Kenney cackling as he was cooking up this brainstorm about what fun it would be to put out a press release on Sept. 1, 2025, celebrating “Alberta Day” and not even mentioning Labour Day. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, the father of “Alberta Day,” in working-man drag (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

God forbid in the neoliberal dystopia the UCP would like to create that we have an official holiday that celebrates not just honest labour, but the right and successes of working people to bargain collectively for better pay, workplace rights, respectful treatment, due process, pensions, benefits, overtime pay, and, yes, weekends.

If it hadn’t been for the coincidence of the day Alberta became a province, they probably would have tried to change the name to “Entrepreneur’s Day,” or, maybe, “Kenney Day.” (Than again, maybe not Kenney Day. According to the people now taking over the UCP, he’s way too woke.) 

Trust me when I say that big business, big oil, big fast food, and their Conservative friends in Alberta’s Legislature are “woke” to the dangers of reminding working people about what they have won for themselves and their co-workers through collective action, and therefore why now is no time to stop fighting for a better, fairer society for all.

As an aside, most readers of this blog will already have noticed that according to the Usual Suspects on the Alberta right, now is never the right time to fight for a better world. 

Once Mr. Kenney’s War on Labour Day moves to the next stage and the Labour Day weekend is always referred to by the government as the “Alberta Day weekend,” our reeducation will have begun. We will be using the UCP’s politically correct, ideologically motivated, Kenney Curriculum for adults. 

UCP leadership frontrunner Danielle Smith (Photo: Tolko Lumber).

What do you want to bet that soon we’ll be told we ought never to say “Labour Day” for fear of offending some oversensitive “entrepreneur” snowflake. 

It won’t be long after that, mark my words, they’ll be using the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act to ban traditional Labour Day parades in Edmonton and Calgary. You know – just too upsetting. Plus, they interfere with traffic. 

That might be found be unconstitutional, of course, but that’s not going to trouble Mr. Kenney’s immediate successor, whomever she may be, since the UCP is in the process of trying to give itself the right to ignore the courts and the constitution whenever it suits them.

We know what Danielle Smith will so, of course. 

I’m sure she’d love to make it illegal even to say, “Happy Labour Day”!

I’m sure she’d like to ban Labour Day music, too – no more Solidarity Forever, no more The Workers’ Flag is Scarlet Red! And Billy Bragg? Forget about him! Take this Job and Shove it? Illegal! (Although, to be fair, nobody knows the words to Solidarity Forever, any more anyway, or it would be illegal already. Too Marxist!

But here’s the really big question: What will Premier Rachel Notley say on Sept. 1, 2025? 

Jason Kenney’s War on Labour Day must end!

NOTE: I wrote this as a satire. But when I re-read the draft last night, it didn’t sound all that satirical. But what the heck? I thought I’d publish it as I wrote it anyway, because … it actually isn’t satire, probably. This year, Labour Day will fall on Sept. 5. DJC

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22 Comments

  1. May as well toss in a few more potential special UCP days that can be plugged into the usual holidays…

    Thanksgiving Day will now be called “I’m Alright, Jack Day”. The purpose of the day is to make sure everyone knows who’s better off.

    Remembrance Day will be called “Die for Capitalism Day” as that is the highest sacrifice for the CON’s favourite fetish.

    Christmas will be known as “Shopping Bonanza Day”. Kind of like Christmas, except it will be more about the gettin than the givin.

    Family Day will be redubbed as “More Mouths to Feed Day” and will be meant to remind everyone to get a better job and pull yourself up, you lazy lout.

    Good Friday will be renamed “CEOs’ Sacrifice Day” to remind everyone who the most important people are, rather than that weirdo hippie on the cross. Eastern Sunday will also be renamed “Quit Bitching Day” just to remind everyone how that weirdo hippie wound up on the cross.

    Victoria Day will be renamed “Colonial Masters Day” and will be used to remind the unwashed savages who their masters are and that they’re lucky to be alive.

    Canada Day will be renamed “Dominion Day” or the “Second Colonial Masters’ Day” because it’s important to rub it in.

    There. Okay, ‘Berda. Git er dunn.

  2. Danielle Smith. The mind she boggles! Anyway. Back to the subject at hand! Happy labour day pals! It only took centuries for us serfs to get Sunday off! Er.. sort of! Oh but now we have to abuse ourselves because the bosses need more of the fruits of our labour! Yay! https://youtu.be/P30zKmCEtRM?t=2

  3. Nothing these pretend conservatives and Reformers does is even remotely close to being funny. The head honcho of the UCP and Pierre Poliveire never had an actual job in their lives, beyond the realm of politics, so what would they know about the plight of the working person?

  4. North America observes Labour Day on September 1, whereas in Europe it is May 1. It used to be May 1 in North America too but it was changed. No one ever talks about this.No one really mentions the Haymarket affair or the Haymarket Massacre as some call it. Probably the best example of the ” Woke” at work and how effective it is. Kenney is ” channeling” Grover Cleveland.

    1. I hadn’t known about Labor day being a clever way to get us to not say “International Workers Day,” but that is very clever of the owning class. I knew the owning class used (and continues to use) a combination of extralegal Police violence, their ownership of news media, and their ability to “influence” our elected politicians (“Nice economy you got here, be a real shame if all your factories shut down and your investment capital dried up”), to ensure that mainstream Canadians are/were not allowed to pass their values and memories down to their descendants, instead, Canadians remember the past as seen through movies and pop culture, which, of course, are owned by the owning class, and it is a simple matter to filter out ideas and perspectives that might remind the working class of who they are and where they came from.

      Also did not know Solidarity Forever was a thing. The melody to the Battle Hymn of the Republic is super played out and cliched but the lyrics are still bleeding-edge relevant… which is kind of depressing, if I’m honest. Wikipedia says those lyrics were written in 1915, it’s been 107 years. The problem isn’t “the evils of progress” it is the ability of the wealthy to halt progress when it does not benefit them.

      What we don’t know keeps the contract alive and movin/They don’t gotta burn the books they just remove em

  5. Mart Kenney must have written some little ditty that would be the perfect anthem for his grandson’s special little pretend holiday. Discovered in a dusty box in Jason Kenney’s mom’s faux basement, it will be added to the faux Alberta curriculum so that all the little kiddies can be mandated to sing its derivative lyrics. It could be called “O Canada” once Kenney’s replacement takes a handsaw to the Alberta border soon and sets the province adrift. Free at last! Solidarity for never! Wait — couldn’t this song be reworded? It has fertilizer and everything.

    https://youtu.be/8G_L9tXEwmc

  6. I am not the most literate fellow around, but how should I define the presence of a Brit army recruiting team, with our Labour Day parade?

  7. Has anybody noticed Kenney is Stalin like? Rewriting history, same weird smile, same ability to deliver boring speeches, and spectacularly bad propaganda? Just wondering? I mean he isn’t as excessive but?

  8. Oh, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the real goal – to do a bait and switch by promising two holidays and then later trying to get rid of or diminish Labour Day somehow. I suppose the completion of this task will be up to whoever is Kenney’s successor, but it seems like he has put the process in motion.

    In any event, he seems to have a number of odd or controversial pet projects he is still working on, so much for him going away quietly after the Pope’s visit, like he implied to his party he would. I am sure at that point his party didn’t believe him either, but perhaps no one really wanted to be interim leader of this mess. It probably would have been a thankless task fraught with difficulty.

    I suppose on a more positive note for the UCP, when Kenney finally goes there will be some relief and whoever takes over can then better spin the party as being under new management. Of course, Albertans might quickly come to the conclusion the new management is no better or more competent than the old management.

    While the mainstream media is focused on the horse race aspect of the UCP leadership race, I think one thing they may be missing is more Albertans are quietly getting fed up with all the drama and incompetence of the UCP.

  9. David in a normal world this does sound quite satirical, but sadly the intent described is actually what drives the UCP. Ever since Lougheed was embarrassed by a so called illegal one day strike by public servants in the early 1980’s, the Conservatives and the other pretend Conservatives have been out to tear apart unions and stomp on workers rights. The UCP wants to bring in an Alberta Pension. As a pensioner myself, it is very obvious what is going on: Right now employers and employees each contribute 50/50 to the Canada Pension plan. Under the Alberta Pension, all the costs will be born by employees and nothing from employers. The result is bigger contributions for employees and drastically lower pensions for workers. If what Kenney holds true, Albertans are making so much more money that folks in other Provinces that they probably don’t even need a pension (I once did hear this muttered by an Alberta premier).

  10. DJC, regarding the question by Dfjo….I usually trust my “spidey senses” when reading something new, and I like a challenge (hey, I’m 70yrs old, and look forward to learning something new today).
    Anyway , googled ” British army recruiting in Alberta in the 1940’s””
    As first try , and got an interesting hit.
    https://read.aupress.ca
    Just started reading the article, will go back to finish ..
    I have learned something new!!

  11. Ran across this quote and wanted to share it with you folks today.

    “Labour is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labour, and could never have existed if labour had not first existed. Labour is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higgher consideration.” – Abraham Lincoln’s first annual message to Congress, Dec 3 1861.

    As an interesting aside, Lincoln and Karl Marx had a sort of mutual-fanboy-thing going on, and exchanged letters. Also, for anyone feeling alienated from their labour, google r/antiwork, and anyone feeling discontent with capitalism who needs a good chuckle should google ‘comrade gritty meme’ and click on ‘images.’

    You’re welcome 🙂

  12. I used to work for my uncle on his farm, combining wheat and baling hay and rounding up cattle and calling hogs and collecting eggs and greasing machinery and mending fences and…and…and so on, and so on.

    Occasionally we’d spend a few days swimming in Lake Huron at Grand Bend. He had a theory about holidays I’ve never forgotten. He’d cheerily say,” When you’re a farmer, every day is a holiday—now lets get back to work.”

    I always reckoned it was the same for labour days—least ways when I was a young fella.

  13. Satirical or not, it’s a little early for an April Fool’s Joke piece.
    Or then again? Perhaps this is one of your few remaining opportunities to take some more pot shots at an outgoing Premier whose time is coming to end way before April 1, 2023. Being a Premier or PM can be a real tough gig.

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