By Medicine Hat News Opinon on November 16, 2019.
Equalization referendums, Canada pension threats, separation, national unity, fair deals, booting the RCMP, war rooms, panels galore, inquiries galore, fights with Trudeau, fights with B.C., fights with Texas, fights with environmental groups, fights with Quebec, fights with the Bloc Quebecois and fights with the Alberta NDP.
Gee. It’s almost as if the non-stop rhetoric floating around is the Alberta government trying to tell us something. What could it be? Oh, I know.
“Hey! Look over there!”
The entirety of this useless anti-everyone campaign has been crafted as a purposeful distraction, and the fact that it’s a thousand things all at once is the entire point. A populace that is confused, overwhelmed and angry is not an attentive group.
Yet, not one threat, not one suggestion, not one panel and not one fight has a single lick of relevancy or hope of seeing fruition. Premier Jason Kenney knows Alberta can’t do squat about equalization (and he should, since he was a cabinet minister in the government that wrote the formula). He knows pulling out of CPP is a terribly risky idea that won’t have the same returns. He knows a provincial police department would be a massive and expensive overhaul. He knows the war room is fighting against nothing. He knows talk of national unity is nothing more than political theatre. He knows the panels won’t accomplish a thing. He knows the inquiries will only tell him what he wants to hear (or, more accurately, what he wants you to hear). And he knows Alberta can’t win a single fight that he’s gone out of his way to pick, since some are with jurisdictions he has zero power over and the rest are completely imagined.
Meanwhile, the “shock and awe” campaign of policies promised during his campaign has continued in the form of a smorgasbord of cuts and a side plate of cruelty. While you’re watching the bout with Trudeau, Kenney already has his hands taped and gloves on for the battles he’s picked right here at home.
Parents, children, seniors, students, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, anyone who owns a vehicle, municipalities, doctors, patients, the entire public sector (more than 400,000 workers across the province) – you name the category, and the UCP laser scope is pointed its way.
And while the barrage of cuts, price-cap removals, cancelled subsidies, gutted service departments, pending wage decreases and restrictive policies continue in impossible-to-keep-up-with fashion, Kenney and his caucus want you to blame literally anyone but them.
Honestly, when was the last time you even heard the premier speak about Alberta in a way that wasn’t who we’ll fight, or who owes us their livelihood, or who will do their part to make Alberta great again?
Even our own local MLA, Drew Barnes, who was just bombarded by worried teachers at a town hall meeting, wrote his latest column for this newspaper and focused every word on what Justin Trudeau can do for Alberta.
Here’s a thought, Drew: What can YOU do for Alberta besides join a Fair Deal Panel that has no tangible use?
How about you address what your party plans to do for the growing number of Albertans freaked at what the government has planned for them next? I know you have “1,011,036 reasons for more free enterprise, more room for families, more local decision making and less government.” What say you elaborate on just one of those in a column instead of tweeting the exact same thing 36 times a week? Can you even bring yourself to pretend that what your government is doing is creating “more room for families”?
If so, I have a family of my own that would sure love to hear it.
But instead of taking the time to address the real issues of his constituents, it seems Barnes would rather help his leader peddle the idea that Albertans are getting ripped off by anyone but them. He says he’ll take the concerns he’s heard to the UCP cabinet, but spends his time tweeting Fraser Institute reports that oh-so inaccurately suggest Alberta taxpayers contribute $5,000 a year to Quebec – each.
It’s non-stop smoke and mirrors, and unless this government is nothing more than inept, the entire wave has been constructed with intent.
As long as you know to be angry at anyone and everyone who isn’t in Alberta professing their unconditional loyalty to the UCP, then you might not notice as the premier and his caucus take aim at Albertans – all Albertans.
There is definitely a big fight in all of our futures. It’s just a lot closer to home than you’re being told.
Scott Schmidt is the layout editor at the Medicine Hat News. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org