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Has CERB turned Alberta into a Welfare state? “Money for nothing, watching their MTV.”

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Has Alberta become a welfare state? Have Albertans become the largest welfare recipients on a per capita basis?

Being old, I remember the terms; welfare and pogey. Welfare was the provinces’ responsibility for people who could not work and did not qualify for unemployment cheques or pogey. Welfare and Pogey were things to be avoided, if at all possible.

I remember make work projects for welfare recipients where they were hired, for jobs, just long enough to qualify for pogey, (or unemployment cheques or employment insurance cheques).

There were times when I felt piqued when a welfare recipient called their cheques paycheques. I was young, healthy, could find a job, make good money and I thought everyone but a few could do the same.

When you are dealing with frostbite, a short-handed crew, swinging a sledgehammer against an unyielding flange at -45, you don’t have a lot of kind words for those “getting money for nothing watching their MTV”.

Corporate welfare was another sore point, none of that money trickled down to the camps or the leases. Suits drove nicer, newer cars and wore fancier suits while I still had to work in bad weather to pay for my pick up truck needed to get to work.

Times have changed, cheques have become direct deposit, welfare, corporate welfare, and pogey have new names but they are still wefare. One term bandied about is “CERB”.

There are news stories and graphs that show that Alberta, Albertans, Alberta businesses, Alberta groups are the highest recipients of this welfare called CERB.

Former Prime Minister Harper collected CERB for his consulting firm, Premier Kenney’s UCP the governing party of Alberta collected CERB while the official opposition’s party, the NDP, did not.

Alberta has collected the most welfare money from Trudeau’s government than any other province on a per capita basis and yet has allocated the least to Covid related programs. Leaving it to help lower the deficit in April, would be my guess.

Interesting enough a lot of Albertans fattened up their savings and did not spend their welfare funds on necessities to survive. Crews are working short handed, some claim that CERB disenfranchises people from working.

What happened over the last 5 decades? Are Albertans now, only in it for the easy money? I would like to think that Albertans, as a whole, are hard working, industrious folks that may have fallen into the mob mentality of easy money, ripe for the taking.

Will we return to the time when Albertans are proud of their accomplishments, their hard work, the hardships they endured, or will they talk about their “Money for nothing, watching their MTV.”

Just asking.

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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Alberta

City of Calgary says it could cost millions to repair damage to municipal building

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Calgary – City officials say it could cost more than two million dollars to repair the Calgary Municipal Building after someone broke in and set fires that triggered the sprinkler system earlier this month.

Carla Male, who’s the acting city manager, says in a news release that there’s extensive water damage on three floors of the building.

It includes the equipment on those floors and the building itself.

Male says it will be several months before the final bill is in, but the initial review shows it could cost between $1.3 and $2.2 million.

The tally includes the emergency response required to minimize the damage as well as the relocation of services and restoration of the building, furniture and equipment.

The city expects 80 per cent of the costs to be covered by insurance.

Alberta’s police watchdog continues to investigate the arrest of a man who’s accused of breaking into the building on Aug. 2.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has said that police tried to talk to the man, but were unsuccessful.

It says several officers fired non-lethal weapons and the man was arrested with the help of a dog team.

ASIRT says the man was transported to hospital after “sustaining significant injury” during that arrest.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.

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Alberta

Alliances shift to Danielle Smith in final days to sign up for UCP leadership vote

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By Dean Bennett in Edmonton

Seven candidates scrambled Friday to sign up last-minute memberships in Alberta’s United Conservative Party leadership race while political observers say that without hard data on which contender has a leg up, follow the feet.

Danielle Smith, who started out with a handful of supporters in the United Conservative caucus and cabinet, has seen more in-house support in recent days, including some who had initially pledged to back rival Travis Toews.

“Sometimes when you see people starting to shift allegiances, it sort of gives you a sense of where the momentum is going,” political scientist Lori Williams, with Mount Royal University, said Friday in an interview.

“It’s those people who want to be in cabinet or in a position where they can work with whoever the new premier is. They think things are moving in that direction and they’re moving with them.”

Labour Minister Kaycee Madu was the latest convert, announcing his support for Smith at rally in Edmonton on Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, former cabinet minister Devin Dreeshen said he would support Smith. Earlier in the week, Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish switched his support from Toews to Smith.

Before that, Toews supporter Pat Rehn switched his support to Smith, joining fellow backbenchers Devinder Toor, Peter Guthrie and Nathan Neudorf.

Toews, who quit as finance minister to run in the contest, still has the lion’s share of support, with about two dozen cabinet and caucus members openly in his camp.

Political scientist Duane Bratt said even so, by any metric from crowd sizes to polling to the fact Smith is the focus of attacks by her opponents, she is clearly the one to beat as party members being voting next month, with results to be announced Oct. 6.

“She’s drawing the biggest crowds, we’ve got (MLA) endorsements that are now coming her way because they see her as the front-runner,” said Bratt, also with Mount Royal University.

“All the other candidates are responding to her in some fashion (and) some are adopting the same policies.

“I wonder after midnight, (when membership sales end) if there is some soul searching among the other candidates and whether they drop out or not.”

The party says hand-delivered-memberships were due by 5 p.m. Friday, with the cutoff for online memberships by midnight. These are to be the only memberships allowed to vote in the race.

Final count totals on memberships aren’t expected from the party for about two weeks.

Smith, a former Wildrose party leader, grabbed headlines out of the starting gate in the contest with her proposed Alberta sovereignty act. The act, as pitched by Smith, would seek to give Alberta the right to ignore federal laws and court rulings deemed not in its interest.

Legal scholars and most of the other candidates in the race have labelled it an outrageously inflammatory, bizarre and illegal scheme that would create a domino effect of economic and investment uncertainty bordering on chaos.

But Bratt noted the other two main contenders have excoriated Smith’s plan while adopting versions of it.

Toews has promised his government would seek to levy tariffs on goods and services or imports from specific regions to counter rules and policies deemed unfair to Alberta. Brian Jean has pledged to affirm that the Alberta Bill of Rights is paramount over Section 1 of the Constitution.

“It’s an attempt by the sovereignty act by a different name,” Bratt said.

Candidates Rajan Sawhney and Rebecca Schulz have been equally critical of Smith’s sovereignty act, but have in recent days adopted more combative policies when it comes to federal relations.

Schulz has promised a protecting provincial rights summit within two months of winning, while Sawhney is pledging to pursue go-it-alone initiatives such as a provincial pension plan and police force.

Both Bratt and Williams said Smith has done a better job capturing and harnessing latent anger within the party’s base when it comes to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government

And they note Alberta’s 4.5 million people could, come Oct. 6, be propelled in a new direction dictated by 40,000 or so UCP voters.

“To me, it looks like it’s only the really animated, diehard, engaged and largely angry folks that are driving the narrative right now,” said Williams.

“They’re angry and they want to see change not just provincially but federally, and they want someone who is going to fight.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2022.

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