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Alberta Politics

A spectre is haunting the UCP – the spectre of communism

From the columns of Postmedia newspapers to the halls of the United Conservative Party caucus, the the spectre of communism and socialism is striking fear in the minds of political elites who see Bolsheviks breeding in every corner of Alberta, from City Council chambers to voluntary blood donor clinics.

Kaycee Madu Edmonton South West
Kaycee Madu (Source: Twitter)

Using the same abrasive approach that got him promoted in cabinet, Justice Minister and Edmonton-South West UCP MLA Kaycee Madu warned against reforms to the Calgary police budget, describing City Councillors in the province’s largest city as “a bunch of socialists who would prefer to have a chaotic world. That is how they win elections and that is how they demonize people they disagree with.”

Last week, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo UCP MLA Tany Yao described labour unions and advocates opposed to his private members’ bill to legalize corporate for-profit blood donation clinics as socialists who want to harvest organs from people without consent.

This was not the first time Yao had warned against the perils of the Red Menace.

Tany Yao UCP MLA Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo
Tany Yao

In July 2020, Yao stood on the floor of the Assembly and claimed that Edmonton-Ellerslie NDP MLA Rod Loyola was the former leader of the Communist Party. Yao was later forced to withdraw his claim because it was not true.

Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland UCP MLA Shane Getson posted on Facebook that there was a “VIP section” in hell awaiting the “Socialist NDP.”

And in a video on Facebook, Getson described the federal Liberal Party as communists.”They think it’s the red they used to vote for twenty years ago. Well, the only red that’s happening there is so akin to that hammer and sickle right now, it’s not a centrist, it’s that slow dance to socialism,” Getson said.

In February 2020, Airdrie-Cochrane UCP MLA Peter Guthrie wrote an entire MLA column warning about the dangers of communism. Guthrie’s column was syndicated on the websites of weekly Postmedia newspapers across Canada.

Red Deer-South UPC MLA Jason Stephan referred to the NDP’s elected term in government as a “socialist occupation” and described other provinces as “hostile, parasitic partners” that depend on Alberta for welfare payments.

Former UCP cabinet minister Tanya Fir has referred to the former NDP government as a “socialist dumpster fire.”

Ron Orr UCP MLA Lacombe Ponoka
Ron Orr

And who could forget the time Lacombe-Ponoka UCP MLA Ron Orr warned that the legalization of marijuana could lead to a communist revolution.

Former Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis, who led the votes in Alberta, published an op-ed in the National Post that accused Trudeau of plotting a “Socialist coup” in Canada.

Even Premier Jason Kenney is known to toss around flamboyant warnings about the rise of ‘bohemian Marxism’ or radical European green-left eco-socialists who have undue influence over the international banking system. A fixture on the libertarian think tank symposium circuit, Kenney frequently indulges in attacks on socialism in his responses to the opposition in Question Period.

Peter Guthrie MLA Airdrie-Cochrane UCP Communism
Peter Guthrie

Of course, this kind of rhetoric is nothing new.

It appears that there could be a competition among UCP MLAs about who can sound the most like a paranoid Social Credit MLA from the 1950s.

In Alberta, history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

Of course, it has been a long time since any major political party in Alberta could have been described as socialist or communist.

UCP claims that Rachel Notley and the NDP are dangerous socialists are meant to marginalize and discredit the opposition or bait their opponents into a debate. But it is increasingly clear that in the minds of some government MLAs, the talking points have become reality.

The anti-communist terminology is from another era and, quite frankly, it is very weird.

As a government and now as official opposition, the Alberta NDP were only slightly to the political left of the Progressive Conservative Party it defeated in 2015.

In reality, the NDP government only moved Alberta to the mainstream of labour laws compared to other provinces and the only industries it ever seriously mused about nationalizing were driver’s road tests and hospital laundry services.

In most other provinces, the Alberta NDP would be considered closer to a centre-leftish Liberal Party than anything resembling anything Karl Marx wrote about.


Secret Public Inquiry delayed again

The final report of the McCarthy-esq Public Inquiry into Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns has been delayed again. The $3.5 million public inquiry, which was lauded by Kenney as part of his “Fight Back Strategy” against alleged enemies of Alberta’s oil industry, was granted a second extension to submit its final report to Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

The public inquiry that has operated in near-complete secrecy under the leadership of Commissioner Steve Allan will now submit its final report to Savage on Jan. 31, 2021, at least until the deadline is extended again.

22 replies on “A spectre is haunting the UCP – the spectre of communism”

Wow. Did Jason tell his trained seals to bark “Socialist” at the mere sight of a microphone? I don’t know anyone who’d fall for this BS. Maybe it plays better in rural Alberta. Maybe the grey-hair crowd get equally riled when you say Communist and National Energy Program.

Steve’s behind schedule again? Because of Covid-19 this time. Never heard of Zoom, I guess. At least this time Sonya Savage, our lady of the oil barrel, isn’t giving him any more money.

Mike in Edmonton: The old National Energy Program story. At that time, oil prices collapsed worldwide, and places like America were suffering greatly, and they never had any National Energy Program. We aren’t seeing an uptick in oil prices anymore than we will be seeing 8 track tapes sold in record stores. Sonya Savage doesn’t get that the National Energy Program doesn’t exist anymore, as it was shelved by Brian Mulroney in 1987. She also doesn’t see that the price of oil has been under the control of the Saudis and Russia, since her boss was still in the CPC cabinet, in 2014. The UCP has no plan B, and they won’t get very far by attacking boogeyman that simply don’t exist.

The NEP was instituted to support consumers in Eastern Canada by nationalizing oil companies. Not to help the oil industry in the West. So yes, the price of oil had collapsed putting your livelihood at risk and what is the response of your government? They make it even harder to recover. Much like the Notley government in 2015 making a review of the oil deals in a price collapse which and convincing every company to leave the jurisdiction. Another great progressive achievement!

Bret Larson: It seems you didn’t remember the royalty rate numbers Peter Lougheed got for Alberta’s oil. They were as high as the late 30s, and greater, percentage wise. There was no exodus of oil companies in Alberta. Peter Lougheed also was an oil industry employee, in the 1950s. He happened to see that oil is a commodity, and that we shouldn’t expect oil booms to remain indefinitely. The oil royalty rates were changed for the worse, right after Peter Lougheed was no longer the premier of Alberta. They were changed for the worse, and the changes that were made, couldn’t be reversed. This was an epic mistake, which lost Alberta over $400 billion. It was in the middle of the last decade (2014, to be exact), when we experienced oil prices that were $100 bbl, or greater. In 2014, oil prices plummeted. Russia, Saudi Arabia were controling the oil prices. There also happened to be a shale oil boom in the United States, which was why oil companies left Alberta and went to the United States. The shale oil boom in the United States has petered out, and the saturation of cheaper oil did them off. There is no National Energy Program in America, let alone Canada, because America never had one to begin with, and the one we had in Canada was nixed by Brian Mulroney. The Alberta PCs squandered an exponential amount of money on the Sturgeon Refinery. It’s well over $30 billion. It cannot sustain itself with very low oil prices. The UCP squandered $7.5 billion on a pipeline to nowhere. The UCP were also squandering money on grants to petrochemical companies. Those darned progressives, eh? It will be a tough ride, as oil prices are going to be remaining low indefinitely.

You do realize that the oil market is global and the amount you can extract from a resource depends on what other countries will offer the oil companies to work on their resources?

Which, of course, is the exact thing the NDP found out when they trash canned the ‘Alberta advantage” in 2015 with their review and in the fullness of time concluded that Alberta was getting a fair deal. But of course, that wasnt the deal existing in Loughheeds time.

Maybe you should stop living in the past and believing fantasy’s about Laugheed being a dipper.

You do realize that the oil market is global and the amount you can extract from a resource depends on what other countries will offer the oil companies to work on their resources?

Which, of course, is the exact thing the NDP found out when they trash canned the ‘Alberta advantage” in 2015 with their review and in the fullness of time concluded that Alberta was getting a fair deal. But of course, that wasnt the deal existing in Loughheeds time.

Maybe you should stop living in the past and believing fantasy’s about Laugheed being a dipper.

As to buying refinery capacity, I will note that the UCP are not the PC’s. And the Notley NDP wanted to build more refinery’s. Which proves the point that all governments waste money, so smaller government is the way to go.

“the only industries it ever seriously mused about nationalizing were driver’s road tests and hospital laundry services.” – As I recall, they did nationalize driver’s road tests – something about a bus/truck cash that killed 16 people and injured 13, and even caused Saskatchewan to reconsider its approach to driver training. And they never considered hospital laundry services – just not privatizing more of it. Damn socialists!

David Harrigan: That tragic bus crash all had links to Ralph Klein privatizing driver training in 1993. This was a very foolish decision to do, and Ralph Klein didn’t heed the warnings about it. Very unfortunate that the UCP is returning to this. If another calamity like this happened, (hope it doesn’t), the UCP will be sued.

If you replaced the word socialist with capitalist, you could be forgiven if you thought Madu was talking about the UCP instead. Gee, any demonizing happening there? I suspect if you make it on the UCP’s long list of enemies, you probably will be called a communist or a radical socialist at some point, regardless of how true it is or not.

They seem to casually throw around phrases like this often for any one who they don’t like and see as a threat to their power or even just an inconvenience to carrying out their plans. If you are lucky, you might attract the ire of the premier, who is slightly more colourful in phrasing and you too can become a bohemian marxist.

I’m not sure what the difference between a bohemian and regular marxist is, but I have a feeling the former might be more fun at parties – except of course at a UCP party. I don’t think the Premier would approve of fun any more than he would of Marxists, so perhaps this is why he has a special disdain for bohemian marxists.

The UCP’s red scaremongering is so absurd, it beggars understanding. Had the Notley NDP government been truly socialist, here are some of the things they might have done while in power:
– nationalized public utilities like power & gas
– mandated physicians to enter into salaried employment relationships with AHS or Alberta Health, instead of remaining independent practitioners on fee-for-service as they are now
– implemented universal pharmacare & universal public dental care
– radically raised taxes on corporations & wealthier Albertans, including financial transaction taxes, wealth and/or inheritance taxes, etc.
– dramatically streamlined union organizing & slanted labour laws in favour of unions, instead of the modest, middle-of-the-road reforms they did bring in
– created a Crown corporation to operate inter-city bus transportation to replace Greyhound, instead of stepping back & seeing what the free market might create

They did none of these things, heartily disappointing their most radical lefty members. Socialist? Not even close.

jerrymacgp: If you were around in Alberta prior to 1995, you would have seen Alberta with utilities that weren’t deregulated. Ralph Klein and his cabinet members, Steve West and Murray Smith changed all of that, and utility costs in Alberta went up so high, that it was difficult for people to cope with this. A combination of electricity deregulation, along with Power Purchase Agreements, cost Albertans more than $40 billion. Ralph Klein has admitted that he couldn’t understand what those agreements said. Power company executives made big windfalls at our expense. The Enron scandal also has links to electricity deregulation in Alberta. To add another shocker, (no pun intended) the Alberta PCs, made bills that would make the Alberta power consumers pay for new power transmission lines, with the sole purpose of exporting the power to the USA. A decade ago, there were power outages happening in Alberta. TransAlta was doing this on purpose, to manipulate power prices in Alberta. Who sat on the board of TransAlta? Ralph Klein era Alberta PC MLAs. I believe Jim Dinning was one of them. Fast forward a few years later, and TransAlta was handed a hefty fine of about $56 million. They aren’t paying for this. We, the power consumers are. The Alberta PCs, under premier Ralph Klein, privatized other things too. One was driver training in 1993. This was a major mistake. What this did was increase traffic fatalities. Another, was the privatization of registration services in Alberta. Identity theft related crimes soared after this. Liquor stores were also privatized by Ralph Klein. Complaints of liquor stores being problematic in neighbourhoods became a concern. There were other things that Ralph Klein privatized too. The UCP clearly wants to follow suit, and will try to privatize things that Ralph Klein wanted to privatize in Alberta. This would include healthcare. This is the exact opposite of socialism. Canada Pension is another component of socialism. Albertans better brace themselves for a broke retirement, when the UCP gets a hold of their pensions, like they did to the teachers. We all know how AIMCO faired, don’t we?

Another thing you can add to your list, Jerry, is government car insurance, like Saskatchewan has.

I do find it interesting that Saskatchewan has had a ‘free enterprise’ party in government for a decade, and they still haven’t had the time to make insurance ‘more efficient’ by moving it to the private sector. I expect they know it would be extremely unpopular if they did.

I think the UCPs snitch line should be posted and Albertans can bombard them with the same kind of stuff that Trumps election snitch line received! i would be first in line! LOL

NDP is nowhere near being socialist. A bunch of petty bourgeoise pretenders. Rachel is decent enough, but the party has been sliding into liberal mediocrity for years.A pile of planks without a platform but willing to jump on the latest band wagon and spout the most recent pop -slogan. Yammering on about Critical theory,intersectionality, unscientific gender issues,race issues, and God knows what’s next, while moving ever further away from economic determinism. Why should a worker or a farmer support a party that spends its time squeaking about how many genders there are ? Identity politics is just individualism,in a pink candy coating. I spent years working for the party in Alberta,B.C. and Ontario. I was on provincial executive ,provincial council and constituency executives and ran twice provincially. There’s no way I would engage in any of that with the current state of affairs. The bunch of knuckle dragging PCs have no idea what socialism is about and neither do current bunch of whining ,self righteous, social warriors, who control the NDP. ”
” I think more desirable an authentic capitalism… would be than a false
revolution” – Ernesto Cardenal
We don’t have an authentic capitalism in Alberta, and only a pale pink ,limp wristed “left”

Sir: so, do you have any evidence to support your apparent contention that a truly socialist political party could find electoral success in Canada, or in Alberta in particular? I haven’t seen any such evidence. Instead, I’ve observed that Canadians are, by & large, fairly centrist in political orientation. Albertans do tend to sit a bit more to the right than most Canadians, although maybe not as extremist right as their political masters would have us believe.

It’s not so weird, when you realize: it works. Red-baiting has a new life in Canada and the USA, but you could say that it also never went away. We make fun of the UCP for “not even knowing what socialism, communism (and sometimes anarchism) are!” But I’m positive that a good many of UCP MLAs know that they are using it “incorrectly.” But they also know exactly what they’re doing. Using it “incorrectly” doesn’t really matter because to their base, the word congeals their contempt for a kind of stereotyped lazy person “who wants things for free” with a threat to their way of life, socially and economically. So it’s a quasi-floating signifier that is really useful to them. I’m sure it has some kind of disciplining effect on the NDP to disavow socialism, although they will never be “not-socialist enough” to not get red-baited. So this talk has a lot of uses for them.

It is quite the contrast, from decades ago, isn’t it? Long ago, it was either left or right. Now there is alt right, (remember, there is no such thing as an alt left), and other extremes. Communism and socialism get thrown around these days as buzzwords and catch phrases, without any actual knowledge of what they really mean. It’s actually quite sad.

Ever heard of “Vote CBC”? What do you think that means? If you want to write a entry on the war room maybe you should contend with stuff like Vote CBC. The progressive media has an agenda and they dont care about making a living in Alberta.

The closest they come to caring is when they have articles on how we should be making a living. So basically the same as Lord Farquassd from Shrek: Shrek. “Some of you may die, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.”

Bret Larson: What progressive media? I think you need to pay more attention to who the media in Alberta, and in Canada actually supports. It’s the Conservatives. Look at any newspaper in Canada that is owned, or operated by Postmedia. It’s as plain as day.

Post media may have an agenda, they all do. But it isnt supporting Albertans. What makes you think federal Conservatives care either? They have to get majoritarian votes from Ontario and Quebec also. The progressives dint are just more egregious.

I wonder how effective this threat would be given that Communism has been dead for more than 30 years. It seems to me that the people who complain about socialism or communism tend to be people who are in their fifties or older or they tend to come from Communist countries and think that everything in the West is great and everything that is associated with Communism. One of the most popular podcasts is the Alberta Advantage which is run by people who aren’t afraid to identify as Communists and they are largely young people in the 20s and 30s. We need to laugh at these charges at every they are made.

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