9, 2014 - No. 71
New Alberta Premier
No Time to Wait and See!
Organize to Defeat the Neo-Liberal, Anti-Social and Anti-Worker Agenda
of the Rich!
• No Time to Wait and See!
Organize to Defeat the Neo-Liberal, Anti-Social and Anti-Worker Agenda
of the Rich!
Prentice: Champion of the United States of North American
Monopolies - Peggy Morton
• Treaty 8 First Nations Step Up Fight to
Affirm Human, Constitutional and Treaty Rights -- Alberta Bill 22 Has
the Fight for the Rights of All!
• Stop the Layoffs at
Shepherd's Care in Edmonton!
• Shepherd's Care Foundation
and the Issue of Value
New Alberta Premier
No Time to Wait and See!
Organize to Defeat the Neo-Liberal, Anti-Social and Anti-Worker Agenda
of the Rich!
The ruling elite anointed Jim Prentice as the
Premier-designate of Alberta following his win in the provincial
Progressive Conservatives' leadership race on September 6. In the vote,
in which 23,396 PC members participated, Prentice received 17,963
votes, or about 77 per cent, Calgary MLA Ric McIver followed with 2,742
votes, while Edmonton MLA Thomas Lukaszuk
received 2,681 votes. The election was the lowest turnout of voters
since the PCs replaced leadership conventions with voting open to
anyone who takes out a PC membership. The number dipped even lower than
the "worst case scenario" predictions of the monopoly media.
The election of a premier-designate took
following a year in which the working people were very active in
organizing to defend their rights and rights of all. Public sector
workers and their unions spearheaded the campaign to defend their
pensions and fight for the right to security in retirement for all.
and their allies stood firm against the shock-and-awe attack of the PC
Redford government of Bills 45 and 46, which aimed to
impose collective agreements on public service workers through force.
The action of the government to use force in place of negotiations was
met with stiff resistance and determination
not to permit this all-out assault on rights to succeed. First Nations
are waging a determined fight to defend their hereditary, treaty and
constitutional rights and are demanding the repeal of Bill 22, the Aboriginal Consultation
Levy Act which negates First Nations' right to exercise control
over their reserve lands. People from many sectors have
organized opposition to the wrecking of social
programs and supports for the most vulnerable, the attacks on public
health care and education.
The past year left no doubt that the Battle for
Alberta and Canada are on, a battle to defend the rights of all, for
empowerment and democratic renewal so that the working people can set a
new direction for the economy and gain control over those social and
political matters that affect their lives.
The PC leadership race took place in a self-serving
reality of the ruling elite, a capital-centred world that recognizes no
other right but monopoly right. The efforts of previous leadership
contests to claim some legitimacy for the crowning of the new premier
were essentially abandoned, showing the extent to which
the present process has been discredited beyond repair. The Alberta PC
Party made virtually no attempt to engage Albertans in the leadership
race unlike the previous one where it was even said that labour had
formed a coalition with Redford and big pressure was exerted on the
workers' movement to defend their
interests by participating in the sordid affair of the rich.
This time, the preoccupation was to install a
premier with as little fanfare as possible who the ruling
elite hopes will be more effective in addressing the agenda of the oil
gas monopolies and banks with which they are merged. The monopolies
with major interests in the oil sands and shale gas and oil in BC and
Alberta have been sounding the alarm that governments must put all
their resources into disarming the people’s opposition and realizing
their demands. These include pipelines to move bitumen to the west
coast and then to Asia and liquefied natural
gas (LNG) terminals to export LNG to Asia.
The lack of legitimacy of this anointment of a
premier is very stark and should be denounced by all. It is no time to
wait and see what Premier-designate Prentice has in store for Alberta.
The neo-liberal agenda that the PCs and Wildrose serve is violently
anti-social, anti-worker and anti-immigrant. It is not dependent on
individual becomes Premier or what declarations they make. They are all
willing to commit any crime to serve the monopoly master. The change in
premiers and even ruling
parties from PCs to Wildrose is to mask the complete takeover of
government by the most powerful monopolies, to obscure the outmoded
relations of production and the destruction
of a public authority that should in fact be rejigged to serve the
public interest on a new basis which requires blocking the monopolies
from tearing society asunder.
Only the working people are capable of giving rise
to the new in the form of people's empowerment and democratic renewal
so that elections become a means to transform the popular will into the
The fight for the democratic renewal of the
political process is a central part of the work to stop Canada's
destruction and integration into the United States of North American
Monopolies and its constant predatory wars. The time is now to organize
to defeat the neo-liberal, anti-social, anti-worker and anti-immigrant
the rich! The time is now for a pro-social agenda of the working people
to take centre stage!
Jim Prentice: Champion of the United States of
North American Monopolies
It was no contest as Jim
Prentice trounced the
other contenders in the Alberta Progressive Conservatives' leadership
race that had been decided from day one. He was
elected Premier-designate without a seat in the Legislature and with
only 17,000 votes in a province where the population reached 4 million
this year. His acceptance speech was full of the usual
platitudes about how great Alberta is, and how his job is to restore
the confidence of Albertans in the PC Party -- a confidence game indeed!
Prentice kept his cards close to his chest during
the leadership contest, but as Senior-Vice President and Vice-Chairman
of CIBC bank he has been a most prolific speaker making the rounds of
gatherings of the political and economic elite, and also occasionally
speaking to meetings of First Nations.
As a top executive of CIBC, he aggressively
promoted the annexation of Canada into the United States of North
American Monopolies. He presented the preoccupations and problems of
the owners of monopoly capital who are demanding big scores from the
continued expansion of the oil sands and natural gas operations. He
stated what the monopolies expect from governments and state
machine. As Premier-designate, he is now ready to deliver and bring the
Alberta state apparatus fully into play to wage a fight for their
narrow private interests.
Prentice cannot conceive of any alternative for
Canada but the total loss of sovereignty. He sees no future for Canada,
alternative to the total integration of Canada into the United States
of North American Monopolies, with energy and its transportation to
markets as the most important single factor. He extols
the "genius" of the Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free
Trade Agreement, a "genius" that unfortunately he says has been
undermined by the Obama administration and certain forces in Canada. He
cites as negative examples the non-approval of Keystone XL and the
carbon emission standards at the
U.S. local and state levels designed to block oil from the oil sands.
Prentice represents the agenda wherein the entire
human and material assets of the government and other parts of the
state are mobilized to fight to re-divide the world in favour of the
narrow private interests of North American monopolies. He says free
trade is "trade for mutual benefit."
How can free trade under the monopolies
for mutual benefit? Free trade under the domination of the most
powerful global monopolies has never been about mutual benefit but
about world domination and exploitation. It leads not to mutual benefit
between nations but to aggression and war, as can be
seen at this time with the threat staring us in the face of another
global cataclysmic war for the re-division of territories and strategic
areas of influence, raw materials and cheap labour and zones for the
export and import of capital. For trade to be mutually beneficial it
must lead to the cooperative development of
all the trading partners not their exploitation and deprivation.
A growing number of Canadians are organizing to
deprive the global monopolies of their reign of free trade and monopoly
right to exploit Canada's working class and natural resources, as well
as those of all other countries. The working people in Alberta hail
from all over Canada as well as the world. Collectively
they have vast experience with the wrecking carried out by monopoly
right. Many workers and their families have direct experience of the
monopoly wrecking of manufacturing, the forestry industry, the
fisheries, of entire communities in Canada, and the plunder and
destruction of nations and countries all over the
There is an alternative! A new direction for the
economy is there to be organized, a direction of economic self-reliance
based on the recognition of the rights of all, the humanizing of the
social and natural environment, and cooperation in international trade
for genuine mutual benefit not inter-imperialist competition
destined for mutual destruction.
The starting point for the Workers' Opposition is
a nation-building project to develop a Canadian sovereign self-reliant
and independent economic base, which restricts monopoly right and
guarantees the well-being and rights of the people. A public authority
must play a central role in promoting cooperative trade
for mutual benefit and development, and deprive the global monopolies
from interfering in the sovereign economic and political affairs of the
peoples of the world starting with our own country and province.
End Colonial Justice!
Treaty 8 First Nations Step Up Fight to Affirm Human,
Constitutional and Treaty Rights --
Alberta's Bill 22 Has to Go!
against Bill 22, August 28, 2014.
First Nations in Alberta who are part of
territory have taken a strong stand against the Alberta government's
refusal to engage in meaningful consultation, and its violation of
their human, constitutional and treaty rights. They are demanding that
the government withdraw Bill 22, the Aboriginal Consultation Levy
was passed on May 15, 2013, without their consent and despite their
Sweetgrass of the Chipewyan First Nation
points out that, "The Aboriginal
Consultation Levy Act controls if and how consultation for
development on First Nations reserve lands is to be carried out. It
establishes a process matrix that outlines the time period for
consultation required depending on the type of development; establishes
monies that will be provided to First Nations in order to carry out
consultation; creates a consultation office, which reports directly to
the minister of Aboriginal Relations and which determines if
consultation is required; and offers no recourse for appeal of a
decision rendered by the minister responsible."
First Nations have expressed their shock at the
blatant colonial outlook, false claims about consultation, brazen
violations of aboriginal rights and significant expansion of executive
or prerogative powers through use of "regulations." They are determined
to force the government to withdraw Bill
In their most recent action, the Chiefs organized
a boycott of a meeting with the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations set up
to discuss the government's Guidelines on Consultation with First
Nations on Land and Natural Resource Management. The government
released the Guidelines July 28,
2014, against and without any genuine consultation much less consent of
The Chiefs informed Frank Oberle, Minister of
Aboriginal Relations that they will not participate in discussion of
the government's consultation policy. Instead, they set up a picket
outside the hotel where the meeting was to take place and held a news
conference. The Chiefs are now organizing
direct consultations with each of their respective 24 First Nations.
"It is a violation of our human and constitutional
treaty rights," said Rose Laboucan, Chief of the Driftpile Cree Nation.
"We need to eliminate the paternalistic view that someone has to speak
for us. We can speak for ourselves."
"We are upset that our input isn't being heard and
we're just being pushed aside," said Beaver First Nation Chief Trevor
Mercredi. "Anytime we make a recommendation it's not taken into
account. Since day one, everything has been the same -- they [the
government] just laid it out for us."
"The Alberta Government is always finding ways to
undermine our Treaties," said Mikisew Cree Chief Steve Courtoreille.
"The Consultation Levy Act is a prime example.
We're going to put our foot down and our statement is to let them know
that we're not happy."
Courtoreille referenced the 2005 Supreme Court of
Canada case where the Mikisew successfully argued that the Canadian
Government had failed to consult with them when it attempted to take
lands in Wood Buffalo National Park. The landmark court case set a
precedent for consultation with First Nations, said Chief Courtoreille.
Some Nations of Treaty 8 are
preparing to legally challenge Alberta over Bill 22 if needed.
"First Nations have that right to determine what
their consultation will look like and most First Nations in this
country have their own consultation policies. So they have to honour
those policies on a case by case basis. When they originally signed the
Treaties they went around from community
to community. This is the same situation; we're not going to go to
them, they're going to come to us," Courtoreille said.
Treaty 8 Grand Chief Richard Kappo called on the
government to end its paternalistic treatment of his people and their
sovereign governments. "If you want a process to be successful create
it with the Chiefs and communities, from the ground up, and work with
us to build policies that work
for First Nations, industry and Albertans alike."
Treaty 8 First Nations also sent a letter to
Christy Clark at an international LNG conference in Vancouver. "While
B.C. consistently and publicly states that the relationship between
First Nations and the B.C. provincial government is extremely
important, the actions of your government show
a pattern of token consultation with the Treaty 8 First Nations," the
Treaty 8 Chiefs are demanding greater scrutiny
over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, especially the huge quantities
of water that are mixed with chemicals and then pumped into the ground.
They expressed the concerns widely held regarding water contamination
from fracking, air pollution from
sulphur emissions and the BC government's plans to fast-track LNG
plants and exempt them from proper environmental assessments.
The stand of Treaty 8 Chiefs is just and deserves
the full support of the workers and all people of Alberta and BC. This
is a fight to end monopoly right, establish a new direction for the
economy and affirm the right of the people, including First Nations to
The development of natural resources must become a
decision of the body politic including First Nations, and the wealth
generated should go directly into the public treasury to benefit all
the people including First Nations and the general interests of society.
Demand that Governments
Recognize First Nations' Rights
and Nation-to-Nation Relations!
Our Security Lies in the
Fight for the Rights of All!
Stop the Layoffs at Shepherd's Care in Edmonton!
Shepherd's Care Rally, September 6, 2013.
With no advance warning, on September 4 Shepherd's
Care Foundation delivered lay-off notices to 157 seniors' care workers
at its five seniors' care centres in Edmonton. The layoffs are
effective October 2 and their work will be subcontracted out. The
workers are represented by the Alberta
Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
The five Shepherd's Care Foundation facilities affected by the
subcontracting decision are: Millwoods, Greenfield, Kensington,
Vanguard, and Southside Manor. Shepherd's Care is refusing to name the
outsource contractor they have hired to take over housekeeping, food
services and maintenance.
Shepherd's Care owns and manages seniors' housing
and care centres for more than 1,600 seniors, with a range of services
funded and provided by Alberta Health Services, including home care
services, supportive living, care for seniors with dementia, and long
AUPE President Guy Smith immediately responded,
saying "We will certainly fight this move through every possible
channel. They gave us no warning they were considering such a drastic
Some of the workers who are losing their jobs in
housekeeping, food services and maintenance have worked at Shepherd's
Care facilities for up to 30 years. They provide services that are
vital to the well-being of the seniors in these facilities. Many are
part-time, working two or three jobs to
make ends meet. Under Alberta's labour laws, the outsource contractor
will not be required to hire the existing staff. The aim is clearly to
break the union and drive down the already extremely modest wages and
benefits these workers claim on the value they provide.
The decision to lay off 157 workers is presented
as a "business decision" and a private matter for Shepherd's Care to
decide. This retrogressive outlook cannot be accepted. Seniors' care
and security in retirement are modern rights for all, part of the
modern rights that belong to all people by
virtue of being human. This means the right to these services are a
concern for the entire society and a matter of the public interest.
Humane seniors' care requires that both the rights of seniors and those
who care for them must be respected and upheld. An attack on either one
is an attack on public
right and unacceptable.
Just as an attack on seniors is not a private
matter, neither is an attack on workers' rights. Through their union,
workers have collectively negotiated wages and working conditions in
accordance with the existing labour laws. How can an employer be
permitted to tear up the collective agreement,
throw the workers out onto the street and hand management over to a
contractor who will cut wages and transfer the value into the coffers
of the contractor and other parasites. What kind of bargaining rights
are these when employers can act with impunity! A modern definition of
that employers be restricted and not permitted to treat workers as a
"cost" to be chopped.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is a major factor in
realizing the value these service workers produce. AHS, as the main
public authority in these matters, must be forced to intervene to stop
these layoffs and attack on rights. As well, the government must render
a full public accounting of how
the value workers produce at Shepherd's Care facilities is realized and
At Shepherd's Care it takes seven years of
full-time work to reach the top of the pay grid. For a part-time worker
at 0.5 full-time equivalency, it would take 14 years to reach the
top rate of pay. As a starting point, AHS must come clean about its
funding formula, and to what extent it is
a factor in this assault on the workers and residents at Shepherd's
Care. Does the funding formula put pressure on employers to fire
existing staff who are at the top of their pay grid in favour of a
revolving door of low-paid workers, which harms both workers and the
seniors they care for? Does it
provide sufficient hours of care for residents? All these questions are
vital matters of public interest, and in no way can they be considered
private business decisions.
Out Support for the Shepherd's Care Workers!
Stop the Layoffs and Defend the Rights of All!
Shepherd's Care Foundation and the Issue of Value
Shepherd's Care Foundation refers to itself as a
"non-profit" foundation. This designation is very common but does not
represent the reality. Workers caring for seniors produce and reproduce
value for the economy. If they do not provide the care then the value
is lost and the seniors, society and the economy
suffer the loss.
Workers providing seniors' care and those
throughout the health care sector produce value above and beyond what
they receive in wages and benefits. This added-value exists, whether
realized or not, and should lead to increased investments in public
seniors' care and other health care programs. The term "non-profit"
is misleading as it obscures the reality that seniors' care and health
care workers generally produce value beyond the value consumed during
their work. This extra or added-value forms the basis for profit and it
cannot be negated out of existence through unscientific terms such as
"non-profit." The economic forces
that seize the added-value seniors' workers produce can be determined
with precision through a scientific accounting.
Lowering workers wages and benefits, as
Care Foundation is attempting to do, transfers value from workers to
those who claim the value as profit whether they call it profit or not.
The added-value is disbursed either openly or not and may be claimed by
the directors of Shepherd's Care Foundation,
government or other forces such as outsource worker traffickers or
contractors, or those companies that employed the seniors during their
Under the neo-liberal anti-social agenda,
governments are actively intervening on behalf of private interests to
permit them to seize added-value produced within the seniors and health
care sector and pocket it as private gain mostly to be taken out of the
sector and even out of the economy altogether. Those sectors
of the economy needed to guarantee the rights of all, such as health
care and education, should be fully comprehensive and public. Employers
in those sectors must recognize the rights of workers and ensure that
all added-value workers produce is reinvested in the sector to meet the
ever-increasing needs of the people.