Hey, Hi, Hello,
If you’ve been following my series “Government Intimidation in the age of the Internet”, you’ll know that the story that the CBC published today about health minister Tyler Shandro is not news to me. Now that it’s news to everyone else though, let’s take a look at what has gone down with the UCP so far.
First, we have the kamikazi scandal, which includes accusations that Jason Kenney ran a “kamikaze candidate” during the UCP’s 2016 leadership race. Allegations of bribery and fraud were brought against UCP MLA Peter Singh and several party members (including Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer, Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda and MLA Joseph Schow) were included as part of the investigation into allegations of voter fraud during the 2016 race. Ethics Commissioner Lorne Gibson handed out several fines and was in the midst of his investigation when the UCP fired him. When Rachel Notley asked Marguerite Tussler (Alberta Ethics Commissioner) to request a delay of bill 22 while the investigation was underway, Tussler said that it would be “improper” for her to interfere with the political process. “Those individuals who are in the process of being investigated by the Elections Commissioner or the RCMP would be in breach of the Conflicts of Interest Act if they were to discuss the portions of Bill 22 pertaining to the Office of the Elections Commissioner or vote on the bill,” she wrote in her response to Rachel Notley on the matter. Coolcoolcool.
We also have Jason Nixon, who was charged with assaulting an Alberta woman in 2009 and eventually signed a peace bond, though he denies that the allegations are true. Jason Nixon again makes the scene again with his handling of a sexual harassment complaint filed in 2005, in which he decided to fire the woman.
There’s the recent behaviors in the Legislature, ministers refusing to answer questions, the premier openly calling the opposition “Socialists” and Kenney threatening to withhold $500 Million in emergency funds as a way to force through the UCPs ridiculous budget.
Last but certainly not least, there is the ongoing pattern of government harassment and intimidation which has reached the point where our Minister of Health has gone to a citizens home and yelled at him over a meme.
When I stared this series, I reached out to Twitter to ask people about their experiences with this government and I got 53 public responses from people sharing their stories of being targeted for public attacks by UCP ministers or representatives. I also received 20 private messages from people who were so worried about retaliation from their own government that they were not comfortable commenting publicly. Now, you may be thinking, “that’s only 73 people” but 1 person being afraid that their government is going to harass of threaten them is too many.
All told, I’d say that this government is corrupt and something needs to be done.
Step up. Speak out. Protect each other.