I thought I came up with a pretty good metaphor for 2020 in Alberta the other day when I accidentally pepper-sprayed myself. It was particularly apt, because not only did I mace myself, I got my neighbour, too.
Luckily, the can was pointing at the ground when I unintentionally popped the safety and hit the trigger, discharging a cone-shaped cloud of super spice, but the experience certainly left both of us coughing and retching—and, to my neighbour’s credit, laughing—in the wake of the mishap.
Nevertheless, after learning about our provincial government’s latest political maneuvers I don’t think my analogy was completely on the nose. Now had I sent my neighbour to the emergency room to wait for a health care worker who was just fired, sputtered moistly all over a classroom of students and their overrun teacher, and knocked a barrel of coal slurry into nearby Cabin Creek while writhing in pain, perhaps then I would be close to drawing a proper parallel.
What is happening in this province? Between making it illegal to protest with the draconian Critical Infrastructure Defence Act (Bill 1); siphoning off funds meant for victims via the Victims of Crime Amendment Act (Bill 16); selling off 184 provincial parks and recreation areas; rescinding a decades-old policy that restricted coal mining in sensitive ecosystems; slashing labour rights of workers; and sending students back to school with no increase in funding to manage COVID-19 protocols, the UCP government is doing to Alberta’s institutions, workers and environments what those dough-heads rough-camping in the Bighorn Backcountry have been doing lately: making a damn mess of the place.
The UCP government is doing to Alberta’s institutions, workers and environments what those dough-heads rough-camping in the Bighorn Backcountry have been doing lately: making a damn mess of the place.
You’d think that a government could only defecate in the well water for so long, before those drinking it would get sick of their crap, but Albertans are somehow still supporting the premiere and his lackeys—a group I’m lumping our West Yellowhead representative Martin Long into, by the way, whose voting record and lack of accountability to local media doesn’t exactly indicate otherwise.
If my words seem disrespectful, if my tone sounds harsh, consider how harsh and disrespectful the policies that the UCP government has ushered in under the cover of COVID-19 have been for Albertans. Consider the marginalized people who are, under Bill 1, going to have a much more limited ability to collectively pressure for change. Consider the victims of crime or tragedy whose already threadbare services will be undercut by Bill 16. Consider the folks downstream of the headwaters of Alberta’s eastern slopes where open-pit coal mining will soon be allowed. Consider your kids who are going to be at increased risk of catching COVID-19 in their schools.
Sure, a blast of bear spray makes me gag. But bear spray’s not lethal. This government’s current direction, on the other hand, is killing Alberta.
Bob Covey// firstname.lastname@example.org