Sundown in the New Arcades
Our intrepid newsletterman has absconded from his newsletter duties to take care of
some bullshit that he probably made up
. Please forgive the poor imitation of a newsletter that I have assembled in his absence.
I heard a rumor the other day that Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, keeps a sleep schedule of 4:00 a.m. to noon. Meaning that when he shows up at 4pm for a news conference (more like 4:30 p.m. because he’s always late), we’re basically seeing Jason during his lunch break, there to puff himself up with some announcement and then ignore a few questions from journalists before he goes back to eat some hot dogs and begin his afternoon.
These somewhat nocturnal working hours might make sense for those working shift work, or for an eccentric artist who requires silence and isolation to summon creative inspiration. But becoming a night-dwelling creature who seldom comes into contact with the common folk takes on a bit of a different meaning if you’re a Transylvanian Count living in a huge castle, or if you’re the Premier of Alberta.
Imagine being the hub of executive decision-making power in a province of 4.3 million people, in the middle of navigating multiple health, economic and social crises (some of your choosing, some you just chose to make worse) and effectively halfing the number of waking hours that most other people will be conscious enough to pay attention to you, or perhaps even ask something of you! Incredible.
What might Jason Kenney be doing, between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m? That’s basically a full workday. I’m sure there are evening meetings and briefings to contend with, and those can probably eat up a few hours. But since he won’t tell us (in fairness, we didn’t ask), it’s only fair to speculate. Maybe he gets a full manicure and pedicure to make himself feel fresh and make Sonya Savage jealous. Perhaps some hairshirt-wearing and self-flagellating happens to help clear his head. He might leaf through some vintage issues of the Alberta Report, reminiscing on his Reform days, when being a conservative was easy. Maybe Jason plays Fortnite with Ben Harper, age 24 and son of Stephen Harper. Albertans are paying Ben a salary less than $111,395 for policy advice, which may or may not include Fortnite strategy.
The cherry on top of this little rumor is that Jason Kenney apparently pressures his staff to keep the same sleep schedule so that they can best attend to his needs. Imagine being dragged into a world where your waking hours largely exclude your family, your friends, and normal business hours, all so that you can attend to a beady-eyed little man whose grand vision of capitalist innovation involves distributing medical supplies at the drive-thrus of A&W, Tim Hortons and McDonalds. If anybody knows these staff personally, please remind them that unionization is an option, and that Alberta’s labour movement is standing by to help them.
— Joël Laforest
🥩 The High River Cargill plant has a new COVID-19 outbreak (yes, the very same plant that was the site of Canada’s largest outbreak). UFCW Local 401 staged a protest.
✊ Meanwhile, another outbreak cropped up at the Olymel plant in Red Deer. The site is now temporarily closed.
🚔 The cops that investigate the cops want more funding. (Their investigations rarely result in much.) We should do Citizens’ Tribunals instead.
📉 The UCP wants to privatize the operation of land titles, corporate, and personal property registries, which are currently generating healthy revenues. Probably a bad idea.
👨⚖️ An Edmonton-area church pastor was jailed for repeatedly and flagrantly violating a public health order, putting hundreds of people in danger. We think that’s good.
✏️ Students and advocates are pushing to rename Calgary’s Langevin School to a name that doesn’t refer to an architect of the residential school system. Calgary renamed a bridge for similar reasons in 2017.
⛰️ Kenney’s UCP did a big about-face about mining the Rockies for coal. Here’s what didn’t actually change.
🍊 The Sprawl argues that Rachel Notley was much too cautious and didn’t do nearly enough.
💀 Long-term care operators are lobbying the government because they don’t want their pants sued off for gross negligence that contributed to people dying. Of the 21,498 people who have died from COVID-19 in Canada, 15,269 have been linked to 1520 residential facilities.
💰 Canada appears to be developing into a caste system, where your wealth and status are tied to your parents more than ever before.
🔥 Bruce Livesey, author of Thieves of Bay Street, has a greatest-hit compilation album about Jason Kenney’s Very Bad Year Or So in the National Observer.
🚄 Free-market think-tank capitalists think Air Canada needs a bailout. Can we just build some dang trains across this enormous country instead?
🔌 Climate change makes the polar vortex super warbly, so Texas got hit with a snow storm. Because their electricity market is deregulated, power is generated based on ability to pay, not need.
🇬🇧 The leader of the U.K. Labour Party did not listen to our episode about small businesses.
😄 Rush Limbaugh died, making the world a slightly better place.
🏝️ Cuba, still subject to U.S. sanctions, is on the brink of mass-producing a coronavirus vaccine. Canada sold off labs that could’ve done similar work in the 1980s.
😞 Socialist theorist Ed Rooksby has died at the age of 45 of long-COVID causes. Listen to these great interviews with him on Dead Pundits Society and Politics Theory Other, and read this collection of his work.
📉 Team Advantage spoke to the National Farmers’ Union about farming and climate change, pointed out that small businessess are in fact capitalism, and hit the books to figure out what to do about the nation-state.
🎧 The Progress Report was kind enough to have our very own Sean and Tyler on to discuss praying for Jason Kenney.
🎚️ Sweater Weather interviewed Ian McKay, historian of the Canadian left.
💪 Edmonton-based CESSCO collected federal wage subsidies and is carrying out a union-busting lockout. Support the Boilermakers Lodge 146 and visit endourlockout.org.