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Kenny vs China:  The first Casualty is Academic Research

In a move which reveals the clownish willingness of the Kenney government to subordinate policy to ideology,  the provincial government has sent letters to the four major universities in Alberta demanding a witch hunt against research that involves cooperation with China.  

Typically,  this move is both a ridiculous manouevre to contribute to the fact-free and dangerous cold-war propaganda against China,  and a display of the government’s hostility to science and research.   It is entirely in line with their previous deep cuts to funding for secondary education,  which undermines all science and research in Alberta as well as reducing the prospects of Alberta’s students.   

True cutting edge research is more and more a global endeavour.   Students come from and study in institutions all over the world,  many researchers pursue careers outside their native countries, and innumerable research projects large and small are international collaborations.    Scientists who are limited in collaborating internationally are likely to be prevented from making their best contributions to knowledge and to technology.   

Researchers who have to look over their shoulders at Big Brother and arrange their collaborations according to ideological edicts from government will produce stunted and biased results.   This is presumably just what the Alberta government wants to happen to researchers at Chinese instutitions,  but in the overall global trend of increased development in China and more austerity in capitalist countries,  it is more likely to hamper Alberta researchers instead.  

"I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships with the People’s Republic of China may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies," said Alberta's Advanced Education Minister Demtrios Nicolaides.

This is a ludicrous and trumped up concern.   While Canada has been involved directly and indirectly in unjustified invasions of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya,  raining death and destruction on civilian populations and destroying civil society, and is currently embroiled in NATO’s aggressive expansion towards Russia and China, selling arms to Saudi Arabia, cheering on a Nazi resurgence in Ukraine and attempting to overthrow democracy in Venezuela,  China’s military excursions have been limited to participating in a truly global campaign alongside the US, Russia, Japan, European and African countries in campaigns against Somali pirates;  with 23 African countries and France against ISIL and other Islamic terrorist in northern Mali;  assisting the government of Syria against terrorists, and sailing but not shooting in disputed areas of the South China Seas.   

If the Alberta government is genuinely concerned about the mis-use of research and technology for military purposes,  it would be scrutinizing Canadian complicity in US military and intelligence agencies,  and would be raising a voice in criticism of the increased militarization of Canadian foreign policy.

Instead it is willing to throw Alberta scientists and engineering researchers under the bus to promote fear-mongering and war-mongering against a country that has never remotely threatened Canada.  

From the Communist Party - Alberta - June 12, 2021

Alberta Communist Party Coal Policy


The Kenney government has been dancing all over on the coal policy. They set up deals with  Australian coal mining companies before they let Albertans know that they were planning for mountain top removal coal mining and rescinded the 1976 coal policy in the process. Albertans were outraged at this cavalier abandonment of a popular policy which protected large areas of the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies.   The government wavered and announced they would cancel 11 coal leases, but this was a deception - these 11 leases amounted to less than .2 percent of the 420,000 hectares that the government had made available for open pit mining in the eastern slopes. Now Minister Sonya Savage says they made a mistake and they are bringing back the 1976 coal policy and will consult with the people who must live on the land after these decisions are made.
However the battle is not over. Benga Grassy Mountain is in a category 4 area and by that policy  would still be allowed. There are still 5 coal mines being considered. As the population tries to catch up to what their elected ministers are doing and what the impacts will be they must be wondering, "What are they thinking!"  Here are some of the reasons coal mining is not good for Alberta.
Coal mining is bad for our health:
*Excess selenium increases risk of cancer, kidney and lung disease. Reclamation problems have not been solved at previous mines in Alberta and British Columbia. Selenium can remain in the water system for hundreds of years.
*Sulphates, nitrates and heavy metal such as arsenic and cadmium can leach into the groundwater and streams for decades.
*Silica and Selenium dusts among other air pollutants can be spread by chinook winds far and wide.
*The Appalachian region, which is synonymous with mountaintop removal coal mining shows higher rates of cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease and birth defects.
Coal mining is bad for our environment
*Species at risk, such as cutthroat trout and bull trout, are more sensitive than introduced species and might not survive.
*Cut off mountains can't be replaced.
*Selenium can cause reproductive failure in fish and elk. This has already been seen in the B.C. Teck coal mine in Elk valley.
*The removal of the forest cover by this type of mining will exacerbate the flooding problems that climate change will bring.
Coal mining is bad for indigenous people.
*Severe threats to the remaining cultural expression of indigenous people living in the region.
*Social disruption and threats of abuse of women and girls if large numbers of workers who are transient and not connected to the community flood into the area
Coal mining is bad for the economy!
*Loss of water-quantity as well as quality. The proposed changes to the water allocation for the Oldman River Basin increase the industrial portion from 1.4% to 63.9%, taken away from irrigation and all other uses.  The washing of coal requires far more water than we have to give. This endangers ranching, farming, and drinking water in southern Alberta which is already dry and prone to drought.
*Loss of agriculture and food processing jobs, and more dependence of food imports
*Loss of jobs and income in tourism
*The royalty rates offered are only 1%
*Unpromising precedents in BC.  Promise of jobs was inflated 1.7 times over real jobs created. Actual corporate taxes in Elk Valley were only 34% of those promised. Corporate tax revenue did not begin until a full decade and a half later than initially predicted. Up until 2016 net corporate taxes were zero.
*More boom and bust. The three mines in BC were shuttered for a third of their operating lives. The boom and bust we suffer from oil prices could be made more extreme by trying to rely on another boom and bust sector.

The Coal Policy of the Communist Party - Alberta
*Immediately halt all mines, leases and exploration permits and put a stop to exploration road building and other development projects related to coal mining.
*All consultations must be transparent and independent of corporate influence and must include issues of water quality and quantity, Indigenous rights and sovereignty, wildlife, health of the citizens, other industries such as tourism, agriculture, and ranching, reclamation costs, provincial responsibility to neighboring provinces and climate change.
*Pressure this government in every way possible, including supporting land defenders, if necessary.
*Elect a government, including Communists, unifying all in opposition to the present policy.
*Nationalize the entire resource sector with democratic control. This capitalist system has looted the province and failed to serve us.
*Full Employment with no loss of pay during the transition. The key to keeping us united in pursuit of these objectives is a policy of full employment. Cleaning up abandoned oil wells, supporting green energy projects such as wind, solar, geothermal, energy efficiency refits, and fully funding social services, health care and schools should free us from the boom and bust cycle and provide enough work to keep everyone employed.

Statement on the Current Situation by Alberta
Committee of the CPC - August 10

Kenney wants to Privatize Everything

Since coming to power less than 15 months ago,  Jason Kenney and the UCP government have been on a rampage of cutting and privatizing - reducing or eliminating necessary services, laying the burden on individuals or downloading them onto already cash-starved municipalities,  forcing tens of thousands of layoffs,  creating problems that can only cost more to fix in the future.   

Direct privatizations already carried out or announced include:
Housekeeping, food and laundry services in hospitals
 Emergency departments
 Opening the door to non-medical corporations hiring doctors
 Continuing care facilities
 Medical labs
 Blood donations
 Administration of 164 provincial parks
 Selling off crown lands

Indirect privatizations,  that is cuts to services that will force people to pay non-government providers include:

Support services for special needs in education
 Reduced coverage of medical prescriptions for seniors and their dependents
 Reduced per capita budgets for public education and Increased subsidies to private schools

Besides directly selling off or giving away essential public services,  the government has been reducing spending on health and education,  which also has the effect of pushing people towards private schools and medical services out of desperation.  

Privatized services cost more than public services.  Instead of paying the costs of the service, either the government pays the costs plus an additional bundle for profits to companies providing the same (or worse) service,  or else people wind up paying the costs plus an additional charge for profits out of their own pockets.   In the second case there is the added problem of distribution of services according to ability to pay instead of need.  This can only lead to the poorest going without the necessary services,  and this can only lead to more serious and more expensive problems later on.

Furthermore, either the government abandons its role of monitoring the quality of services,  or else besides all this additional cost there is yet another additional cost of monitoring the private agencies and companies.   Governments like the UCP tend to choose the abandonment option -  monitoring is often haphazard, infrequent and ineffective.   The Corona virus has brought into focus what was already well-known to families of frail seniors - private, for-profit nursing homescan get away with truly horrible conditions and levels of neglect,  and this is truly a question of life or death.  

So in many cases, privatization of human services results in more suffering and increased long-term costs, without even creating any short-term savings.  

So why do they do it?    We know that balancing the budget is not a consideration, because they have cheerfully announced corporate tax cuts and billions in unconditional subsidies for pipelines, and put the Alberta tax payer on the hook for billions more of liability in the future.  The only possible explanation is that they aim to create profit-making opportunities, and guarantee profit levels no matter what.   We can only assume that the UCP is a party blinded by ideology, ready to sacrifice everything to profit margins of the corporation in defiance of logic, humanity, their own promises, and standard accounting principles.

What would a rational government do?  With a pandemic raging in the world,  it would increase funding and extend public services in health,  not just to provide current necessary services, but to maintain a margin for possible future emergencies.    It would greatly increase spending on education,  allowing school boards to hire a lot more staff to improve maintenance and greatly decrease class sizes - the only possible route to a safe re-opening.   It would pump billions in subsidies into the most advanced technologies, i.e. green energy and green transportation systems,  not the obsolete and complacent fossil fuel sector,   and only tied directory to job creation and environmental responsibility up front and enforceable.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has made a world wide economic crisis more extreme.   Governments at all levels will be pouring billions into recovery plans.  Will it be a recovery based on corporate greed or human need?   Alberta’s working people have a big struggle ahead of them to answer that question.

Communist Party - Alberta 2019 election platform:  https://www.facebook.com/CommunistPartyAlberta/posts/2142788515808749

Alberta:  for a People’s Recovery - online presentation from May 25

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