Have I got this straight? Preston Manning just made a recommendation to give politicians absolute authority over public health that was so excellent the Alberta government accepted it a week before they got it? 

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Can someone remind me why we gave the superannuated godfather of the Canadian right a budget of $2 million and paid him $253,000 in personal pin money if we weren’t going to wait for his recommendations and at least talk about them for a day or two before implementing them? 

Yesterday, Mr. Manning, 81, dropped his 116-page doorstopper report and another 253 pages of appendices advising us to stop putting doctors in charge of public health emergencies and quit listening so much to scientists and medical researchers in the event of another pandemic so we can give equal time to “alternative scientific narratives.” 

The six-member “Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel” chaired by the former Reform Party leader and son of a Social Credit Alberta premier, would like us to strengthen individual rights at the expense of collective survival rights in the face of another deadly pandemic.

The panel’s recommendations included such gems as calling for the government to be “expressly forbidden” from halting in-person school classes during a public emergency, unless there are undefined “exceptional circumstances.”

Another recommendation calls for amending the Employment Standards Code and Health Professions Act to make it easier for anti-vaccine health care workers to endanger their patients and co-workers in health care facilities.

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Seven days earlier the government announced its plan to dismantle Alberta Health Services and put all the responsibility for running it in the Premier’s Office, which is pretty much the same thing as the Manning Panel wants. Please don’t tell us the government’s right hand didn’t know what its left hand was doing! 

That said, the panel also recommended “streamlining system administration,” and the UCP plans to do the opposite, so there’s that.

We don’t have to list all of the panel’s 90 recommendations, a few of which may even make sense, to know that this is nutty and dangerous talk from a guy who only a decade ago was saying he saw need for Green Conservatism if conservative parties were going to survive.

But that was before Canadian Conservatives downed the MAGA potion – so I guess as goes Preston Manning, so goes the conservative movement. 

Premier Danielle Smith said in a statement to media by her press secretary that her United Conservative Party government will “will review and analyze the report and consider the panel’s recommendations as we prepare for future legislative sessions.”

Former UCP premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

But you’ve got to know that since Mr. Manning has pretty much delivered what Ms. Smith was looking for to satisfy the wound-up rage machine that engineered her entrée to the Premier’s Office last year, she’s likely to follow up on at least some of this stuff with dangerous legislative changes.

During the pandemic, and presumably since, the premier was an enthusiastic booster of such quack COVID cures as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

“This report marks a clear deviation from scientific integrity and rational public policy, suggesting that conspiracy theories and pseudo-science be given the same legitimacy as evidence-based medical treatment,” Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said in response. “This is not only irresponsible but also incredibly dangerous.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with that assessment. 

“The report’s recommendations pave the way for fringe extremists, like David Parker and Artur Pawlowski, to have control over the health and safety of Albertans,” she continued, naming two prominent anti-vaccine allies of the premier. “By undermining the expertise of dedicated experts, health professionals, and front-line workers, the UCP is failing Albertans all over again.

University of Calgary political science professor Lisa Young (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“Recommending that ‘alternative scientific narratives,’ such as Danielle Smith’s promotion of a horse de-wormer for treating COVID-19, will undoubtedly harm Albertans,” she added. “Such an approach to public health undermines the hard work and dedication of our health-care professionals.”

Again, all true, but equally unlikely to dissuade Ms. Smith and her anti-vaxx cabinet and caucus. 

University of Calgary political scientist Lisa Young, who is bravely trying to read the entire report, noted last night that “the word ‘death’ appears 6 times. And the word ‘freedom’ appears 262 times.” A telling detail. 

As for Mr. Manning, I guess the question now is what he’ll do next to keep himself occupied? 

This time last year he was stepping away from his fake “national citizen’s inquiry” into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to end border blockades and city occupations by the Convoy crowd. Whatever happened to that thing, anyway? An “interim report” attracted little attention in September.

Before that, in 2019, Mr. Manning was taken on by then premier Jason Kenney as a member of Alberta’s so-called Fair-Deal Panel, a nine-member committee struck to overcome Alberta’s perpetual case of péquiste envy.

Well-regarded pension expert debunks Alberta pension scheme 

The loud thud created when Mr. Manning’s doorstopper dropped yesterday unfortunately drew attention away from the release of a scathing report by pension lawyer Murray Gold on the Smith Government’s Alberta pension plan scheme.

Pension and benefits lawyer Murray Gold (Photo: Koskie Minsky Law).

The report by the well-regarded expert in pension and benefits law – Big Risks, No Rewards, Debunking the Alberta Government’s Plan to Secede from the Canadas Pension Plan – deserved more attention than it got. 

The report, published by the Alberta Federation of Labour, concludes that “an APP would be smaller and riskier than the CPP. It would also be exposed to the whims of a single government in a way that the CPP is not.” By contrast, changes to the CPP may only be made with the support of two-thirds of the provinces representing two-thirds of the population, which is an even higher bar than the amending formula of the Canadian Constitution. 

The report demonstrates that Albertans are not “over-contributing” to CPP, as the government falsely and repeatedly claims. All Canadian workers contribute the same amount to CPP and get the same benefits.

“The Alberta government’s plan hinges on the notion that Alberta would be entitled to pull $334 billion out of the CPP fund – 53 per cent of the total, even though Alberta represents only 12 per cent of Canada’s population and 16 per cent of CPP contributions,” Mr. Gold’s report says. “There is absolutely no way that the federal government and other provincial governments – who, along with Alberta, run the CPP – would ever allow this to happen. 

“Without this fantasy number, none of the Alberta government’s claims about lower contribution rates or higher benefits would be possible.”

Join the Conversation


  1. This goes to prove that Reformers cannot be trusted at all. Anyone who knew Peter Lougheed, and any of his MLAs would easily tell you that. Peter Lougheed would be saying the same thing if he were still alive. Preston Manning had got $253,000 and a $2 million expense account to produce a Covid-19 report that did not hold the UCP responsible for carelessly looking after the pandemic, and the report has recommendations that will further endanger the population, if more waves of Covid-19 happen, or if some other pandemic comes upon us. His beliefs that the provincial government should be responsible for handling public health emergencies, instead of doctors, is very foolish and extremely dangerous. Preston Manning has no medical credentials at all. The only thing he has done is sat as a politician for his working life. As if his political pension isn’t large enough, he needs more money, while so many others in Alberta live in poverty. It is certain that Danielle Smith and the UCP are very intent on having private for profit healthcare in Alberta, as Ralph Klein wanted to do, all those years ago. The UCP are also very intent on having a provincial pension plan, and it is not a sensible thing to do, and the evidence shows it. The UCP had a problem when $4 billion of pension money disappeared. There are also problems with skewed numbers, twisted figures, deceit, and a lack of proper public consultation on it. When people bring up how bad these phony Conservatives and Reformers are, they get called nasty names, and have insults hurled at them. One person who commented on a newspaper comment section, and said how bad the UCP are, was called a communist. We definitely have a horrific mess on our hands, and this was easily avoidable if people listened to those of us who said the UCP aren’t good.

  2. I did glance over Preston Manning’s report. It is utter garbage. There are other words I could use to describe it, but I won’t, because what if a youngster were to read it?

  3. I finished reading the provincial pension plan report by Murray Gold, and it is very accurate, and well detailed. Alas, the UCP has their own overpriced “experts”, who are phony Conservatives and Reformers, and Danielle Smith is relentless and stubborn, and doesn’t seem to want to budge on the provincial pension plan. She has recently made the case that Alberta is being treated unfairly by Ottawa, and this is one of the reasons why a provincial pension plan is on the table. It includes her assessment that the Liberals in Ottawa are trying to hinder Alberta’s energy production. These claims are bogus, and for more than one reason. The federal government cannot control the price of oil. Even as I am typing this, oil prices are sliding down. Second, the sound provincial government of Peter Lougheed was taken over a set of premiers, who were the antithesis of what a true Conservative government is supposed to be. Ralph Klein is a very good example of this. They allowed the absolute worst in oil and tax rates to happen, which lost Alberta hundreds of billions of dollars, and did the most expensive mistakes, which cost us a whole lot more. Saving money never happened, voter bribes were issued, and core services were cut to the bone, while other things saw privatization, or deregulation, which compounded problems, and cost us more. When the money tree withers away, the fingers always point to Ottawa, or to Rachel Notley, but it’s never a look in the mirror issue with these phony Conservatives and Reformers.

    1. Looking in the mirror is so offensive to the partisan right in Alberta that, when premiere Jim Prentice suggested it, this notoriously chauvinistic faction of the electorate was so outraged it went and elected a party of the left to govern, mortally wounding the conservative party which had governed for 44 years hitherto. Ouch!!

      now, if that isn’t a warning to never do that again…

  4. Manning’s gig reminds me of consultants who are hired by corporations. Those consultants are often brought in to deal with some intractable or tricky problem the bosses want to deal with, but distance themselves from. Those consultants often quickly figure out what the bosses who are paying them want to hear and craft their reports accordingly.

    Of course, Kenney’s leaving made this task easier for Manning. Simply put: hallelujah – restrictions bad, cash the cheque! Manning got a nice supplement to his pensions and perhaps the UCP, which will unfortunately still be in charge of our provincial funds for at least a few more years, will come back to him again for more well paid reports.

    On that note, even Manning could probably do a better report than Telus did on leaving the CPP, so this sort of thing could continue to be lucrative a lucrative gig for him. I suppose it is a good time for him to cash in on whatever credibility he still has. Although Manning is getting up there, so perhaps he really should think about getting out of the business of political consulting and pleasing the ones currently in charge.

    Of course private corporations are free to waste their money on all sorts of consultants and reports. Unfortunately, in this case it is public money being spent to try build a case for what those currently in charge of our province want.

  5. I could probably go along with the idea of politicians having the final say on health restrictions IF the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s report was made public, in its entirety, not just the select passages the government wants to show us.

    1. THAT is one thing that bothers me about Alberta and its “freedom” nonsense. If the Chief Medical Officer writes a report the government doesn’t like, why can the government quash it? Is it because the government says, “We paid for it, we can quash or censor it?” Well, government, you represent me and spend my taxes. If there’s a report, I want to read it and make my own decisions (freedom!) I am already tired of the shrill and tedious bleats of Danielle Smith but put up with them for the sake of HER freedom. She can do the same for us.

  6. Do I have this right? The UCP wants to make health decisions, rather than rely on medical professionals. No point in acknowledging expertise since that notion is elitist from a conservative point of view. Nope we don’t want any fancy ideas in Alberta. Let LPN make medical decisions as a baseline. Perhaps doctors will become consultants, moving the bar from medical care to a business model. This will undoubtedly make way for private medical practices. Tis a time of plague when madmen lead the blind and the UCP is a party of the unhinged, unless one prefers dictatorship over democracy.
    As far as pensions are concerned, the UCP is promoting their ideology over any other point of view – a way of operating that silences voices that differ from their ideas. True too that the MSM supports the Alberta government, overtly and tacitly. The people are told what to think, say and do. Will the cognitive dissonance be our collective downfall?
    Danielle Smith and the TBA, UCP group are out to destroy Canada and anyone who does not agree with them can go and pound sand – yeah I think I got their message. Smith called Albertans Nazis, ironically. Upon writing this, I have decided to rage until the dying of the light. Nope I am not a Nazi nor will I go and pound sand.

  7. I find it hard to accept that 12% of Canada’s population contributes 16% to CPP, as CPP contributions have an annual maximum contribution limit per working person whether it be a farm worker, roughneck or highly paid CEO.
    My point is that places like Fort Mac depended heavily on flying in workers who lived, and continue to live in other provinces. Their CPP contributions are paid by Alberta companies, but their pensions will be paid to them in the provinces where they live.
    Do the CPP contributions from the out-of-province workers form this 16% less 12% gap? DJF

    1. Mennis: You have identified the simple (and simplistic) scam behind the UCP’s dishonest 53% Solution. CPP is financed ONLY by enrolled individuals. All enrolled individuals pay the same rate. Any claim that Alberta “overpays” is simply a lie. DJC

      1. Actually, David, the employer matches the employees’ CPP deductions penny for penny, and are remitted by the employer to the Receiver General for Canada together, with the necessary paperwork. DJF

        1. Mennis: My bad. You are correct. I was reacting to the suggestion, frequently made by the Alberta Government, that CPP is another federal program that receives a cheque from “Alberta.” DJC

    2. Hi Mennis and DJC. Too many Albertans long ago accepted an earlier Big Lie: “Alberta pays too much equalization.” Now, CPP contributions have been conflated with equalization payments. The paranoid conspiracy-theory victim-wannabes have added another lie.

      1. It’s an old Alberta ‘slight of hand’ to trick people into thinking that they are Albertans and not Canadians. Thus it’s Albertans that ‘pay too much taxes/equalization/CPP’, not Canadians who pay their share of federal taxes (which funds CPP and all the transfer payments that even Albertans enjoy). It’s the scam of the street huckster – to distract your attention while they rearrange the peanut under the shell. But it’s also the easily fooled mark who falls for it.

        1. Expat: While I agree with the general thrust of your comment, it’s important to note that CPP is not paid out of taxes, but from CPP contributions, which are the same for all Canadians enrolled in the plan. DJC

  8. If a politician can find someone like Manning that will give them the wrong answers but the answers they want, this person is worth their weight in gold. I am convinced these people hate Canada. This group is a bigger threat to Canada than any foreign Government.

  9. Your article demonstrates the difference between non biased expertise with experts analyzing the evidence. The Manning report found devious ways to arrive at a pre determined answer- kind of the top down approach Trump took to maximize his net worth and make the assets match his expectation. What a farce to pay $2 million of our dollars to produce the pseudo science document !

    1. On the U tubes, Robert Reich does a good job debunking the fallacy.
      The entities that originated “Tax Freedom Day” have off loaded their obligations onto the lowest on the totem pole.

    2. Some flunky from Fraser emailed me that the “tax freedom day” crap is essentiallly nonsense to be used as propaganda by far right politicians.

  10. Who is putting out anti-vaxx disinformation? How could this backfire on nations that go down the anti-vaxx, anti-expert, anti-science, anti-germ, anti-microbe rabbit hole?

    For those who have forgotten, Russia is sitting on a supply of smallpox virus.


    Now we have a situation where a segment of the population has stopped believing in anything that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This segment of the population has the ear of right-wing governments in places like Alberta. This segment of the population has obtained funding in forms not subject to public scrutiny. Now in Alberta, the power over future public health emergencies will shift to non-science, non-expert committees, unlikely to respond with agility to any new public health crisis.

    Russia has us where Russia wants us. Does this sound like a conspiracy theory? If so, the U.S. is wrong and all world powers act in good faith.

    1. Let me muse further about Russia. Let’s say it wanted to infect western nations with the smallpox virus, when the time is right and the balance of power can be tipped. Just find a place where the Proles have been duped into disbelief in all things science, in a place where the Proles travel in and out from other places to work, and resident Proles love to travel far and wide for vacations. No fanfare required, no Cold War toxin-tipped umbrellas, just a quiet release in a busy public place. The time is right when the Proles stop believing in public health, and in protecting themselves from harm. This time is when the Proles will sacrifice themselves at the altar of their cult-like cause. Honk, honk.

      1. I’m guessing things are probably just as bad, or worse, in Russia, as far as conspiracies and anti-vaxxers go. Russia is probably just as vulnerable to this sort of thing.

        1. What good is a stockpile of vaccines when there are a significant number of people and politicians telling people that vaccines are bad, that they just need to rely on their own body defenses?

    2. Orac at “Respectful Insolence” site is a good source. His actual name is David Gorski. He is an actual doctor who backtracks to refute these scams.

  11. “the word ‘death’ appears 6 times. And the word ‘freedom’ appears 262 times.”

    “When politicians and experts say that they are willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths, for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy, is that not premeditated and reckless indifference to human life . . .?”


    So what of “accountability”?

    Chapter 2: Leading the Response to Emergencies–General Recommendations

    2.1 “Ensure that it is the elected officials accountable to Albertans and the assembly (the Premier, cabinet and key ministers) who have the ultimate authority and responsibility:”

    “Accountable” is an interesting word meaning, “answerable,” literally “liable to be called to account,”. Yet, if there are no penalties involved with being ‘accountable’, then the idea of being “answerable” becomes little more than additional political theater involving more ‘inquiries’, committees, ‘review panels’, 6 figure pay days, and all of the phony hand wringing and teary eyed apologies involving the word ‘sorry’ that accompany them.

    Because, “. . . no simple mechanism can be devised to hold politicians and governments accountable for the series of often-unrelated decisions that they take during the period they are in office.” And where, “The practice of modern governments rarely conforms to such a standard, relying on the obvious (and occasionally self-serving) justification that too many hands were involved and that higher officials should not take the blame for operational mishaps.”


    So, accountable how? In what meaningful way? To your bank account?

    And then,

    7.28 “That the Alberta Bill of Rights be am ended to define and guarantee academic freedom, i.e., “The right of every member of the higher education community to engage freely and without doctrinal, ideological or moral constraint, such as institutional censorship, in any activity through which that person contributes their knowledge, experience, and expertise.”

    HINT [1 of many to be found online.]: “Peterson is not just a self-help guru, though. He’s also a demagogue who pushes reactionary talking points about how transgender people and socialists pose a threat to the social order.”

    1. In my view the UCP are suicidal. It is one thing to have a loved one die after getting the best medical care and advice available. It is another thing to have a loved one die because medical decisions are made by political loons. The former is tolerable, the latter calls for vengeance.

  12. Preston Manning is the same guy Canadians learned to hate and refused to elect him as prime minister because they knew how dangerous he was. Mainly with his privatization of healthcare promises. When his pal Harper tried to do it, after Klein and Stelmach warned us he would, they kicked him out. Now we have another Harper trained Reformer in Pierre Poilievre treating these gullible Canadians, mostly seniors, like morons and they are letting him do, just like they did in Alberta. We just can’t get rid of these idiots, ignorant Canadians won’t let us. All Manning has done for a pathetic $2.2 million of wasted taxpayers money is put in a study exactly what we saw happen. Reformers refusing to listen to doctors during the pandemic and didn’t give a damn about the people who lost their lives because of how it was handled . In other words nothing has changed. How many doctors will be leaving is the big question, like we saw under Klein. As they told me when they we leaving under Klein “Canadian trained doctors are highly respected and we can work wherever we want to”. In other words we don’t need Albertans but they certainly need us.

  13. The UCP appears to be intent upon destroying or suborning any secular centres of power or expertise not under their direct control or aligned with their values. We see this with their underfunding of the post-secondary education system (and thus degradation of undergraduate education and of research), the attack on the autonomy of Athabaska University, and the ongoing war on the medical profession.
    Manning’s report is the latest salvo in this last, and he really came out of the woodwork, explicitly privileging ideology over expertise and objectivity. Deena Hinshaw may have had it bad, having to contend with Kenney’s urgent need to keep the economy open even if it cost lives and his constant blame-passing for any bad outcome arising from his venality and incompetence, but any future Chief Medical Officer of Health is going to have their professional integrity constantly under fire from the likes of Smith. Unless she crowns herself CMOH, which would be right in line with her subordinating science to her ideology.

  14. Alt-right Albertans are unable to do math and so are easily bamboozled by David Parker and his power mad TBA cult.

  15. I think the biggest laugh came when ol’ Presto Chango said (paraphrasing) “if you think there’s any bias in my report then by all means come talk to me about it”. I would sure like to take Presto up on his generous offer. The problem is my last name isn’t Smith or Parker, nor do I have a quarter million dollars kicking around that will grant me access to the Godfather of the Far Right. Makes his offer rather disingenuous, doesn’t it?

  16. “Thoughts and Prayers”, for Freedumb from preston manning, the Christo Fascist icing on the Cake. The Circle is complete. The Idiocracy part is already well represented in Oilberduh.
    For Context, I’m 63 years old and born in here.

  17. I guess that all this means that the outbreaks of Polio, Rubella, Scarlet Fever, and a host of other preventable illnesses BECAUSE of vaccines will be commonplace again. Small Pox? Why not?

    We all live in a time of Woo, where the Chiropractor can call themselves a doctor and your naturopath is the only health authority you need. And Hot Yoga can cure anything.

  18. Had to check my hairdo in the mirror this morning. Phew, no 80’s perm! Rest of the world though? Preston Manning? Lyle Oberg? Lorna LaGrange (AFWUF) decrying ‘feminist journalists’, and ‘homosexuals as role models… in schools’. Oops, not that LaGrange?

  19. As much as I find our reinvigorated lunatic fringe exhausting, I also see energy springing up! We can! But more importantly? We must resist!
    My father and his father were after these goons. They will never be gone, but they can be beaten! https://youtu.be/Yz_WS4cnHcI?t=1

  20. Majority governments are a defacto dictatorship. The party with a majority can do whatever they want for 4 years and nobody can do anything about it. This is the exact reason why we want minority governments. If there were a half a dozen Alberta Liberal Party seats or any other party for that matter, they could join with the NDP to call a non competence/competence vote and get rid of this notoriously bad UCP government and premier. Albertans also need to load their brains and quit drinking the kool-aid from the political parties. Albertans need to do their own fact checking and just assume that everything that a political party is saying is a lie until proven true. As an Albertan, I am exhausted from the left and right politics we need to get back to centre ground where the politicians are running the province for the good of Albertans and not their party politics. If Albertans truly want to take Alberta back going forward (and not back to 1900), we need to have at least 3 parties and minority governments, then all 3 parties need to watch their p’s and q’s and work for us

    1. And nobody can do anything about majority governments? Hmmm…does that mean there are no constitutional constraints inherent in a federated nation like ours? Or no independent judiciary branch of government? What about Citizens’ Initiatives (I know, not every province has such legislation, but you are talking about majority governments in general)? And, finally, is there no opportunity for voters to ‘do something about it’ every four years (or sooner if a government loses parliamentary confidence)?

      Governments cannot do ‘whatever they want.’ They are limited by the constitution and rule of law —just like rights and freedoms are—and, of course, by voters.

  21. And have no worries about the lack of ambulances. Any Uber or Lyft driver with medical training will be required to work extra shifts moving the uninoculated from one overcrowded ER to another.

  22. Just saying, but IMHO, readers of this blog should donate $$ to fund Climenhaga’s costs for hosting the site and doing the public service of explaining and critiquing Alberta’s politics and governance.

    Climenhaga’s doing an important public service. There are so very few commentators and analysts in conventional media doing this work.
    Sam Gunsch

  23. Methinks the UCP has not thought this through. When the next pandemic comes, rather than some poor CMOH, it is THEY who will be held responsible. Look what happened to Hinshaw – the rage, the vitriol, from all sides. And she had a brain, tact, and a sense of decency.
    UCP politicians have none of these, and with their thin skins, short tempers, and cruel dispositions, it’s going to be wild. The mind boggles at the incompetence.

  24. It only took a couple pages of Manning’s report before I realized I would need hip-waders to go all-in. When I realized that, even then, my hat would soon be floating on manure if I went much further, I turned back.

    Thence relieved of blinkered, rote partisanship, I found Murray Gold’s analysis of the preposterous Alberta Pension Plan proposal to be clear and sensible. The APP makes no sense, he concludes.

    —except that it does make sense in the typology of the UCP government. Indeed, Gold noted that in contrast to the APP proposal, the CPP can only be amended or updated with the consent of all provinces whose citizens contribute to and are eligible for benefits from it, whereas an APP would require the ‘consensus’ of one—of only the Alberta government. The concern is that an APP could be amended by the political whim of the Alberta government alone unlike by the consensus of several governments where, presumably, political whim is virtually a non-starter. Or, in other words, APP beneficiaries’ pensions would be put at high risk that an amendment wouldn’t be in their best interests but, rather, could be predicated by other interests ulterior to pensioners’. The immediate example most-given is some of the APP poke could be used to prop up a declining industry instead of letting it innovate or expire, the negative effect likewise obscured by propping up current pensioners at the expense of future retirees. After all, Alberta has already burned through the Heritage Fund and forfeited Big Petroleum royalties and corporate taxes to do just that. Where the heck else are friendship payments supposed to come from?

    It’s important (perhaps in a pilpul kinda way) to note the alternative ways the term ‘political’ is used here. Gold is saying amendments to the CPP are done by political process—the art of the possible—between several positions which must find the right compromises. The risk posed in amending an APP is that it won’t be done by way of politics in the diplomatic/brokerage sense, but rather by way of partisan gain, given that the positions of all governing party members are, for the purpose of legislating amendments, whipped by the leadership—that is, without room for dissent, compromise or cooperation.

    The risk to pensions is considerable considering the UCP government’s leadership has proved ham-handed, hackneyed and prejudicially trite many times before; therefore, by inference, will probably do it again. With respect a pension plan, the UCP’s almost complete substitution of narrow partisanship for consensual politics is the exact opposite of prudent management of pensioners’ retirement incomes. APP pensions would be in grave danger.

    But this is typical of the UCP and most other neo-right parties which have usurped the name ‘Conservative’ (or ‘Republican,’ in the USA). It’s supposed ‘political whims’ are really partisan whims—that is, not even cogently calculated partisan plans, but almost pure whimsy. UCP panels and inquiries and reports are intended to look like political processes full of references and bureaucratic legalese, but for the chauvinistically gulled susceptible to demagogic tactics like ad hominem, scapegoating, and all sorts of conspiracy theories, whimsy is quite effective in identifying who is friend and who is foe. The UCP, for example, unjustifiably scapegoats Justin Trudeau all the time. The goofy APP is just one more way of painting the feds as the enemy.

    Heavens!—it’d be galling to think the rest of us might be so gullible as to swallow all that hyperpartisan twaddle but, really, the stuff’s more akin to wagon-laager virtue-signalling than to persuasive rhetoric. As former energy minister Sonya Savage rationalized the costly Inquiry into alleged anti-Alberta-energy campaigns—the one that only turned up a animated cartoon Sasquatch—, it doesn’t matter: the main point was that Albertans are—or are convinced to be—angry at the federal government.

    Manning typifies himself in this report: he always said, back at the beginning of his political career, that conservatives only have to look and act popularly progressive to get the votes and then implement unpopular policies. ‘You can be anti-choice, just don’t say so until we win power.’ He also typified the right-wing ‘think-tank’ movement intended to look equivalent to progressive academia while contrasting in supposedly clever ways: it’s still “science”— even prefixed with “pseudo—“; statistical probability is the same as mathematical absolutes because they both have numbers in them; the Bible is just ‘alternative science’ that every student should be taught in science class, and the like.

    The biggest take-home of Gold’s report for me is the important feature that, like Brexit (which the K-Boy—remember him?—congratulated), it’d be a lot easier to get out of the CPP than to get back in—a “one-way street.” To me this is the clincher that the UCP isn’t doing politics for the public—or pensioners’—benefit but, rather, doing partisan manipulation for ulterior interests: undermining sovereign democracy is what the neo-right is all about and, since its base is shrinking, it must convince it that democracy won’t get them what they want so violence, presaged by violation of the rule of law, is justifiable (eg, tRump has recently added “crushing vermin” to his partisan rhetoric)/ Throwing a wrench into the works, or “draining the swamp,” or imposing a provisional “government” are all in play on the furthering right. Model tRumpublican rhetoric has already broached the notion of getting rid of elections—or at least the ones they don’t win. Will Tucker ask Danielle about this?

    The point is the same for an APP: it’s another step in undermining democracy because it can’t likely be reversed—truly a kind of sabotage. Voters need to see through Manning’s frequent ejaculations about freedom and democracy. The UCP is out to destroy both.

  25. Nice gig if you can get it. That is a lot of change to gift some old dry ball who also seemed creepy when younger and now even more so. He’s 81 with no medical education or exoperience and they handed him over $2M?Some times ex politicians are “rewarded” with these types of contracts It always seemed to me it was just a way to spread money around without being accused of theft.
    Perhaps a re read of, On the Take, the Mulroney years might refresh memories.
    Leaving politicians in control of provincial health is a receipe for disaster and death. During COVID we had Dr. Tam and Dr. Henry. Both were great and provided sound advise. If we had followed the advise of some politicians a lot more Canadians would be dead. Now I do recall Manning is a bible belter, right a lot of those types think they’re going die and go to heaven. It will all be lovely.
    Nut bars of the first order.
    Science is why we have an improved life span, praying never got you anywhere. Many of us are alive today because science and doctors knew how to deal with organ failures and nasty diseases.

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