I was born into this now I'm dying because of it.

Congratulations to everyone. We did it. We beat COVID. Everything is back to normal. Please don’t look behind this curtain. Yes I am aware you can see the hospital behind the curtain. Yes I am aware it’s full. Yes I can see the line of hearses. Yes I can see all the doctors leaving the province. Yes I can feel that nurse stabbing me in the kidney. You are fearmongering. Everything is going great. We did it.

Did you hear the one about the giant parkade that can turn into condos if they are “needed”. Of course not, it’s a stupid premise for a joke. But it gets you thinking about some of the stupid shit landlords will do instead of building things people need at prices they can afford.

Landlords know that governments are toothless they just sit and wait on empty units and never, ever, ever lower the rent on commercial property. It’s in their best interest for a lot of reasons and some desperate party will always come by with a bag of money. Oops, it’s your turn, intrepid Calgarian.

The owners of downtown buildings and units typically have a lot of options they can take before lowering rent to market prices to attract tenants. They can open another fucking bank branch, look like creative social philanthropists, or just sit on the space and watch the value go up on a spreadsheet because it’s 2021 and bubbles are profitable if you get out before it pops. This is a problem, however, for parties who depend on the proliferation and success of businesses that rent their space. Oops.

In 2021 you don’t need to have many, or even successful businesses; they just need to be big and keep revenue moving. Every corporation is a game of musical chairs, and so long as your bonds get paid out, or you find a new job before the holes you bore in the hull take on water, well, fuck em’ if they can’t take a joke. The ripples to the public purse from business not having to make products or profits travel far.

If there aren’t a whole lot of businesses in downtown buildings paying taxes, landlords know someone will pay them to take no risk pulling some bullshit that should be undertaken by a state acting in the best interest of its citizens using the power to nationalize. Calgary will shell out half a billion dollars saving our precious landlords from risking their bottom line converting dead office space into residential properties. We’ll accelerate the building of hated bike lanes, maybe build some parks and, hell, suck the toes of someone at Loblaw’s to open some sort of groceteria in some of the shittiest, most corporately desolate areas of the city to get the money flowing again. Their property will never be expropriated for the public good because everyone is afraid of angering some phantom “ma and pop landlord”, who represent a tiny fraction of the total landholding population, to say nothing of the political influence of the corporate landlords themselves. Is there anything more disconnected from the lives of typical Canadians than landlords that can make more money letting units sit empty than lowering rents to usher in new tenants?

Calgary won’t be the last city throwing wads of cash seasoned with politician tears at these people, begging them to change format from “empty carpeted ballrooms with leftover cubicle parts” to “something, anything, please fucking god do something that makes revenue”. Nobody can afford housing, nobody is downtown past 6 P.M., and they all know they have us by the balls. All they have to do is wait in their office in Raleigh or Manchester or Singapore until we’re put on our knees by our own tax models and political weakness. The demand is there, the structural cracks are as wide as your palm, but they won’t blink before a suitcase full of money clicks open.

🏹New whistleblower line open to report UCP corruption.

🎻If you mix together a bad government forcing through drafts, a bunch of people who couldn’t and didn’t do the reading, and a weird rush to release supportive statements despite not, actually, supporting the latest drafts as they are, you get the Very Competent Alberta Curriculum Rollout, Baby (VCACRB)!

🏍Imagine 99% of your employees voting to say you suck ass at your job and they hate you and NOT crumbling into a pile of writhing viscera and hiding from public life forever. Only idiots would stick around.

🛸Alberta energy was good case study why “self-regulation” is pretty bad. The industry runs on a shocking amount of honour system reporting. California didn’t get the memo.

⛲️A new wave of gentrification will be defeated by an unlikely and powerful foe - the previous wave of gentrifiers.

Australia, as usual, is trying hard to be as shitty as Canada.

📡The Brazilians are threatening our national unity under donuts.

💉Canadian pension plans should, as a rule, try not to immiserate other people by investing in dogshit.

🪒They hate to see a girl boss droning weddings.

🧼Less of a “cease-fire” and more of a “don’t shoot at us while we continue to fuck up your shit”.

🧉The B.C. NDP sucks so bad.

🧸The wildfires are starting pretty early this year.

📯A beautiful PR maneuver will make this “tiny” fund run by ex-Blackrock executives the first name in “green” investing. They’ll lose this bid to change Exxon and reap the dividends for decades to come but making a little flap will make them look like they’re standing up for some invisible little guy. Fun to watch in real time.

🧉Eli Valley does not miss.

📵“Essential workers” and “social reproduction” are colliding in a post-pandemic landscape.

☢️Remember that time black people in the United States were lynched for being too successful?

📉Soviet internet? Sign me up! I will not listen any further to what actually happened.

🎧Big Shiny takes talks about Tristan Hopper. Is he the one who beat up the raccoon to save his family? Who can keep track of raccoon murder.

🔇I personally want to teach kids that I invented Funko Pops. The Progress Report says that might not be good.

🎚️Alberta Advantage boys showed up on Kino Lefter to talk about a smokejumping mother of six, and the Smart Crew made podcasting history by getting mad on the internet about idiots. They did it the best out of anyone, believe me.

🍲Sign this petition so we can, uh, learn about how we helped do a coup in Haiti.

🍷Time to soup up your car.

A Quick Note: if you want us to include an article, petition, link to an event, or just want to drop us a quick line, reply to this newsletter or reach us at albertaadvantagenewsletter [at] gmail [dot] com. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to send some old timey mail, grab those stamps and send tributes/cake/not anthrax to Alberta Advantage Podcast, PO Box 52167 Edmonton Trail, Calgary, AB, T2E 8K9. Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.
Our editor is Clinton Hallahan. Newsletter subject lines are stolen from these songs.

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