Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan
IT'S HARDBALL ALL THE WAY NOW for the Alberta Fed. And the UCP (United Conservative Party) government in Alberta doesn’t like it one bit.
A new AFL (Alberta Federation of Labour) campaign will name the villains and urge people to make them pay by boycotting them.
The AFL campaign website* offers a list of businesses that made substantial donations to the UCP and a handy map to help locate exactly where those businesses are.
Make ‘em feel the pain
The website proclaims: “These are the people who are bankrolling Kenney’s attempt to make Alberta look like Donald Trump’s America.” That’s the last thing the AFL wants. They say not doing business with those who bankroll Kenney is a good way to deliver a little pain to those Albertans who are ready to deliver a lot of pain to a lot of Albertans.
The UCP reacted with well-practiced shock and horror. They demanded to know: How could you kick businesses when they’re down? Don’t you know we’re in the middle of a pandemic?
One well-known mainstream media commentator even called the AFL campaign “McCarthyism.”
All of which ignored the fact the AFL boycott does not target all business in Alberta. It only targets businesses that used donations to political action committees as a sneaky way around Alberta laws that prohibit donations to political parties by companies and unions and impose limits on the size of donations.
Why give money to those who would hurt you?
AFL president Gil McGowan didn’t pull any punches in the news release announcing the boycott. He said: “Why should a nurse, a teacher or a firefighter buy a car from an auto dealer who wants them to be fired or have their wages cut?” asked
“Why should workers spend their hard-earned money in establishments run by people who want to suppress their wages, eliminate their overtime, silence their voices and limit their rights?”
All Albertans would do well to ask themselves similar questions says political commentator David J. Climenhaga. He asks: “Why should any Albertan who wants a secure retirement do business with any donor to the generously funded Conservative PAC that’s been trying to persuade us to let Premier Kenney grab our Canada pension plan?
‘Kicks Albertans when they’re down’
Barely a week after the AFL boycott launch the UCP government delivered their own “kick ‘em when they’re down” moment with an October 13 announcement it was cutting up to 11,000 jobs at Alberta Health Services through outsourcing support services such as laundry and community lab service.
The job cuts were recommended in a $2-million dollar report commissioned by the Alberta health minister on ways to save money.
“This government kicks Albertans when they’re down,” said Guy Smith, president of the AUPE (Alberta Union of Provincial Employees) “exploiting a pandemic that they’re failing to manage by killing jobs and endangering health care at the exact moment we need it most." AUPE represents about 35,000 AHS employees.
The government claims the cuts will not affect any worker on the front lines fighting the pandemic. “Premier Kenney and I have been clear, there can be no job losses for nurses or front-line clinical staff during the pandemic,” said Alberta health minister Tyler Shandro.
‘UCP moving ahead with the unspeakable’
“Jason Kenney believes the Albertans who are cleaning rooms, washing bedding and preparing food in our hospitals during a pandemic are expendable to pay for his $4.7-billion corporate handout,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley said.
“Let’s be clear: these Albertans are front-line workers. They are heroes and they deserve better treatment from their government."
“This government has decided to tear apart its best line of defence against the ongoing pandemic,” HSAA president Mike Parker said in a news release. “Money isn’t being saved; it’s being transferred to private pockets instead of being used for patient care.
“The UCP is moving ahead with the unspeakable,” said AFL president Gil McGowan in a news release. “ They are actually cutting health care during a global pandemic.”
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