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Have you ever noticed how many people who claim to love our province seem to support a lot of activities which cause incredible pain and hardship for everyday Albertans?
These are the people who start a lot of sentences with the phrase "I love Alberta, but..."
In fact, if you were to listen to them talk with their friends for a few minutes, you might get the impression that they don't so much "love" Alberta as "completely hate it."
Of course, we're talking about the Alberta Teachers' Association - a group who professes to love Alberta students but don't want any of them to actually ever find jobs or prosperity when they're adults.
Earlier this year, the ATA brought in David Suzuki as a speaker to their annual conference.
Suzuki is a well-known anti-Alberta oil activist who has called the oil sands "immoral" and compared the entire oil sector to "slavery".
In reality, despite his constant protests against capitalism, having many children, lobbyists, owning large homes, and doing business with oil companies, it turns out that David Suzuki has actually engaged in all of these things.
Not to mention that he made some downright creepy requests of a Canadian university when he spoke there a few years ago - namely, asking the university to provide a couple of college girls to accompany him while he was there.
This is the person the ATA decided should address their conference in February.
Now, the ATA has decided to go even further.
They've invited anti-oil sands activist (and former Alberta NDP insider), Tzeporah Berman, to come to speak to their conference.
Berman, who used to co-chair the Alberta NDP government's Oil Sands Advisory Council, compared our oil sands to the fictitious hell-on-earth evil realm of Mordor from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
Clearly, Berman is a role model for Alberta students.
This latest guest speaker by the ATA is just the next chapter in what we've decided to call the Alberta Teachers' Association "We Hate Albertans" Speakers Series.
Why does the ATA invite speakers who hate Alberta's oil sector, not to mention advocate flouting the rule of law, to their conferences?
Why do they want to see Alberta students face bleak job prospects by supporting those who relentlessly attack our most important industry, particularly during these incredibly difficult times?
The answer is because while the ATA may claim to love Alberta, they just happen to not like a lot of Albertans - particularly those who may think that it's time for the government to tighten their belts while we run record deficits.
It's part and parcel of the anti-Alberta sentiment which has seeped into our provincial and federal governments. As Licia Corbella notes in her column today, despite their recent conversion to the pro-oil cause, the Alberta NDP has a long history of opposing our energy sector - and their federal NDP cousins have fought against our energy sector relentlessly.
And the incredible tone-deafness of the ATA reflects just how out of touch they are with the struggles of hard-working everyday Albertans, hit hard by low commodity prices and constant pipeline blockages.
It's time the ATA was called to account for their anti-Alberta actions.
It's time the ATA apologized for recommending that teachers refer to students as "comrades" rather than boys and girls.
It's time the ATA recognized the absurdity of recommending that schools host drag shows and creating a "gender unicorn."
It's time the ATA started advocating FOR our energy sector rather than opposing it at every turn.
And if they won't change course on this most recent outrage, then maybe it's time for the Alberta Teachers' Association to be sent packing here in Alberta.
Alberta Can't Wait
It's also a pretty accurate description of Premier Notley's response to the indefinite suspension of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (TMX).
Since the devastating news that the Court of Appeal has put the breaks on the TMX project, immediately throwing 8,000 people out of work and sending the message that Canada really is closed for business, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has been vocal in her outrage.
Just today she said that Alberta "can do everything by the book and still get shortchanged."
In speaking for Albertans, she said: "we are frustrated and, let’s go with it, angry about the recent court decision on Trans Mountain."
But here's the thing about outrage: actions are much more effective in expressing outrage than words.
To quote another famous line from Robin S. Sharma: "Talk is cheap. Actions speak."
So, what has Premier Notley actually done to express her outrage other than speak?
Has she turned off the taps of Alberta oil to British Columbia to send home the message that this pipeline is critical for Alberta success? No.
Has she repealed the carbon tax - a tax designed to earn "social license" - to get pipelines built? No.
Has she severed ties with her federal NDP brothers and sisters who cheered the court decision which was a full frontal assault against Alberta and the energy sector? No.
Has she demanded the Trudeau Liberals suspend all federal transfers and investments to BC until this pipeline gets a permanent green light for construction? No.
Has she railed against the failure of the Federal Liberal government to support pipelines instead of appeasing Quebec politicians and environmental zealots? No.
Then what has she done about this most recent example of the failure of the Canadian Federation?
She held a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau - from which nothing came - and she announced Alberta's withdrawal from the national Climate Plan, although declaring that Alberta will maintain its already sky-high carbon tax.
In other words, to again quote Shakespeare, she was "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
You see, the problem here is that the only way to really get this pipeline moving forward again is for the federal government to launch an all-out campaign in support of the TMX project AND Alberta's energy sector in general, and for Premier Notley to become Prime Minister Trudeau's worst enemy until his government does just that.
Except that Premier Notley has reliably been Prime Minister Trudeau's biggest ally and supporter since they were both elected in 2015.
Justin Trudeau won't commit to any meaningful action on this recent pipeline setback, and Rachel Notley won't stand up for Alberta against her best political friend.
And until both of these things happen, we're left with what might be described as a pipeline tragedy.
Which leaves us with just one more Shakespeare (mis)quote to describe this situation:
"For never was there a pipeline project of more woe, than one mismanaged by Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau."
Alberta Can't Wait
If you've been following the social media accounts of any NDP politicians, you'll see the same message repeated over and over again: Alberta's economy is recovering - thanks to NDP leadership - and that we need to re-elect the NDP to keep the recovery going.
This begs the question - what economic recovery?
Statistics Canada has released the latest employment figures and the news isn't good for Alberta.
The unemployment rate in Alberta, already well above the national average, shows that the unemployment rate has actually gone up since last month.
Even more worryingly, the number of full-time jobs is down, while the number of part-time jobs is up.
This means that more Albertans are now out of work, and those with jobs are only able to find part-time ones.
Calgary's unemployment rate also increased from last month as the city continues to struggle.
In the eyes of Premier Notley and the NDP, these things are apparently something to be celebrated.
A quick recap of the NDP's record on supporting private sector job creation:
1. They've hiked taxes on businesses and families by introducing a multi-billion dollar carbon tax - the largest tax increase in Alberta's history - which didn't get mentioned once in the NDP's 2015 election campaign platform.
2. They've imposed a huge minimum wage hike that has led to higher youth unemployment and forced struggling small businesses to either cut staff or close their doors permanently.
3. They've forced businesses to pay workers extra pay on statutory holidays even if the business isn't open! Many businesses close for statutory holidays to give workers time off to spend with their families and to keep costs down. Now, even if they're closed, businesses are required to pay workers on statutory holidays - a direct hit to their bottom lines. For some small businesses, this has added tens of thousands of dollars in new costs.
4. They've refused to refund employers for their excess contributions to the Worker's Compensation Board. In the past, when WCB payments from employers exceeded the costs of the program, employers were refunded the over-payments. Now, the NDP has decided to hold on to these over-payments and use the money to fund new programs.
5. They've layered on new red tape and regulations which make doing business in Alberta harder and more costly. This has driven away investment and made the cost of doing business in our province significantly more expensive. How can we attract new investment and new business when the NDP are hanging a "closed for business" sign across Alberta's front door?
This NDP government would have you believe that they're responsible for Alberta's economic recovery.
The truth is, Alberta is still stuck with high unemployment, a lack of investment, and anti-business policies which are driving many businesses out of work.
And for this the NDP think they should be rewarded with another term in office.
Instead of closing the doors on Alberta businesses, it's time to close the doors on this anti-business NDP government.
In 2019, let's make sure that we're handing the NDP their pink slips!
Alberta Can't Wait