Are these the actions of a democratic government?

To the Editor:

Re: “Gratifying to see the recognition been given to Dr. Deena Hinshaw” (April 1, 2020)

The author starts by praising Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer (all the provinces’ chief medical officers should be praised for their services to our country), but, as usual, he diverts to denigrating the NDP and the prime minister while praising Kenny (Ever notice that he also praises Trump, the NRA, and the separatist movement?).

The author sees his political world through “rose-coloured glasses. He claims Trudeau is a dictator (he must put the prime minister up there with the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, and the present leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and North Korea, eh?), and he even asks God for divine intervention in removing the prime minister. If we were to ask God to remove Kenny and Trump from power, we might be labelled heretics, zealots, and fanatics.

Of course, the author is correct in attacking Trudeau over the SNC-Lavalin affair and on other blunders, but he never mentions anything negative about his favourite politicians (Harper, Kenny, and Trump). I guess in his world, he doesn’t attack the “good old boys”.

Let’s talk about the cutbacks to public education. Did the gov’t consult the teachers? In the 2018-19, the province allocated $8.222 billion to K-12 education. Out of that budget, private schools received $286 million. In the 2019-20, the provincial gov’t allocated $8.222 billion for K-12 education while allocating $291 million to private schools. In the 2020-21 education budget, the provincial gov’t allocated $8.322 billion for K-12 while giving private schools $295 million. So, over three years, the total education budget went up by $100 million.

Now, on paper those figures may seem okay, but the education budget doesn’t truly reflect the actual costs since the school population goes up every year while the education budget stays basically the same. More students costs more money; special education costs more money; school busing costs more money; maintaining facilities cost more money, and teachers, teacher aides, custodians, secretaries, heating, water, sewage, etc. all cost more money.

Mr. Kenny says his gov’t must balance the budget by cutting back funding to public education, to municipalities, to public health care workers (nurses and doctors), to police services, to firefighters, to FCSS, etc, but he has the money to create a new bureaucracy (the War Room) to the tune of $30 million per year. He created a new bureaucracy called the Aboriginal Indigenous Opportunity Corp. Where did he get the money for that agency? He is allocating over $100 million to clean up the Orphan Wells (How come the energy companies did not pay damage deposits like renters have to do?) Where did he get the money for that project?

How come the province allowed energy companies to skip-out on paying their taxes to municipal governments? If a person doesn’t pay his/her property taxes, the property may be confiscated. Correct? If a home owner doesn’t pay his/her mortgage, the lender can repossess the property. Correct? If a person doesn’t make payments on his/her vehicle, the auto dealership may takes back the vehicle. Correct? Where is the accountability?

He is kicking-in nearly $2 billion dollars to the pipeline project that is heading for the Gulf of Mexico. Where did he get the money? Maybe he hasn’t heard that there is an oil war and an oil glut caused by the Saudis, the Russians, and the Americans.

The author calls Trudeau a dictator, yet he doesn’t mention that Mr. Kenny has usurped the teachers’ pension fund without consultation. He has done the same with other public sector pensions. He made cuts to public health care without consultations with doctors, nurses, and the public. He has sold off crown land (Mr. Jason Nixon, Min. of Environment and Parks, promised not to do so) without consultations with the public?

He has made cuts to social programs like FCSS without consultations. He has made cuts to programs that train firefighters without consultations. He has made changes to the education curriculum without consulting the teachers.

Are these the actions of a democratic government? When Mr. Kenny and the UCP were in opposition, they demanded democracy, transparency, and accountability from the NDP gov’t, but now that they are in power, they seems to have forgotten those demands. By the way, we shouldn’t forget that he “fired” the person who was investigating him and his party for possible election skulduggery. Does that behaviour resemble democracy? It seems more like the actions of Trumpus Maximus in Washington, DC. In my opinion.

George Thatcher

Trochu, AB