Are Alberta’s Parks Tomorrow’s Coal Mines?

Alberta’s UCP Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon is planning on partially closing 20 parks, and handing over management of 164 parks to private companies— and internal disclosures suggest a further sell-off of Alberta’s parks is in the works. Alberta has also rescinded the 1976 Coal Development Policy, raising the possibility of open-pit coal mines in Alberta’s Rockies and foothills. Join Team Advantage as we discuss the sell-off of parks, and work to imagine what parks could look like in an era of Land Back and climate change.

A Good Time, Not a Long Time: Dave Barrett’s BC NDP 1972-1975

In 1972, the B.C. New Democrats led by the charismatic Dave Barrett won an upset victory in British Columbia, defeating the 20-year reign of Social Credit’s W.A.C. Bennett. In a stunning “legislation by thunderbolt,” Barrett’s government passed 367 bills in three years, introducing a wide range of progressive reforms. Join Team Advantage as we survey what the Barrett government accomplished, and consider more generally the possibilities and limitations of social democratic strategy within the Canadian context.

Further reading:
The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power, 1972-1975 – Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh
Barrett: A Passionate Political Life – Dave Barrett and William Miller
The 1200 Days: A Shattered Dream – Lorne J. Kavic and Gary Brian Nixon

Illegal Protests and Pickets? Alberta Bad News Update

Kenney’s UCP government has used the pandemic to their advantage, passing a number of outrageous laws that accelerate handouts to Alberta’s most profitable corporations, while cracking down hard on the rights of citizens to protest. Team Advantage convenes to discuss Alberta’s Job Creation Tax Cut, Bill 1: Critical Infrastructure Defence Act, and Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act.

Are Calgary Police Above the Law?

Are Calgary’s police officers being held to account when they abuse their power? Calgary-born filmmakers Marc Serpa Francoeur and Robinder Uppal join Team Advantage to discuss their recent CBC documentary, Above the Law, an eye-opening investigation into police brutality and the lack of accountability in the Calgary Police Service.

Find out more about the documentary here:
https://www.cbc.ca/cbcdocspov/episodes/above-the-law

Follow updates from the film on twitter @losttimemedia and on Facebook.

Killing the Welfare State: Liberals and the 1990s

Remember when the Liberals campaigned on expanding national child care, but eviscerated the welfare state instead? Oh, the 90s!
Doug Nesbitt, founding editor of rankandfile.ca, joins Team Advantage to discuss the reign of Canada’s Liberal Party through the 1990s. How did austerity and double-digit unemployment become normalized? What happened to Canada’s social programs? How did the business lobby exert such influence? How did the media manufacture a fiscal crisis?

Fossil Capital: Nova Scotia Coal Edition

“A Simple Life, House 8 x 10 Mill Cove, N.S.” From Ian McKay, The Quest of the Folk: Antimoderism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia.

What happens when a community depends on fossil fuel extraction and the industry always calls the shots? Team Advantage digs into the history of coal mining in Nova Scotia, examining the role of the labour movement, deindustrialization and attempts at nationalization, the history of mining disasters, and the long-term effects of regional decline. What might Alberta glean from Nova Scotia’s experience?

Special thanks to Socalled for the intro track “Springhill Mine Disaster” (also known as the Ballad of Springhill).

MINI-EP: Wealth Tax!

What if we started taxing the accumulated wealth of billionaires? Alex Hemingway, Economist and Public Finance Policy Analyst at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, joins Team Advantage to discuss his recent piece, A wealth tax on the super rich is within reach. How might we tax wealth, and what do the proposals to do so look like? What are the effects of massive wealth inequality in our society? How would we enforce a wealth tax? What other measures can be taken to address the growing inequality we face?

Follow Alex on Twitter @1alexhemingway, and follow his work at policynote.ca and policyalternatives.ca.

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Shelter in Place? Canada’s Housing Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted a range of problems with housing in Canada, and in particular the relative failure of the market to deliver safe, accessible, and affordable housing to Canadians. As Canada’s housing market heads into a likely decline, Team Advantage assembles to discuss why housing should not be a commodity to be bought and sold, Kate’s important opinions about landlords, and what could be done to bring housing into common or public ownership.

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Your Home Is A Factory: Social Reproduction and COVID-19

How might we consider all the unwaged and unpaid work that goes on “behind the scenes” of waged labour? Why is it that the work that makes waged work possible in our society —like cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing— is rarely paid for by capital? How has the COVID-19 crisis made evident the importance of this labour, and how might we envision a society that accounts for this work in a fair and equitable manner? Join Team Advantage as they discuss social reproduction in the age of COVID-19.

Further reading:
Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression – edited by Tithi Bhattacharya
Family, Economy & State: The Social Reproduction Process Under Capitalism – James Dickinson and Bob Russell
The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries – Kathi Weeks
Women and the Canadian Welfare State: Challenges and Change – Patricia Evans and Gerda Wekerle
A crisis like no other: social reproduction and the regeneration of capitalist life during the COVID-19 pandemic – Alessandra Mezzadri
Social Reproduction Theory in and beyond the Pandemic – Aaron Jaffe
Constituting Feminist Subjects – Kathi Weeks

Fear of a Green New Deal

Across Alberta’s political spectrum, no one dares to utter three terrifying words: Green New Deal. Jason Kenney famously had a meltdown about it, but even Alberta’s NDP MLA Shannon Phillips, former Minister of the Environment, isn’t sure if it’s a good idea. What gives?
Emma Jackson, organizer with Climate Justice Edmonton, joins Team Advantage to discuss the lack of imagination and political cowardice that seems to be plaguing our province.

Excerpts from this episode are taken from an interview Shannon Phillips conducted with the Forgotten Corner podcast. Check out the full interview here: https://www.forgottencornerpod.com/episodes/episode-2

Special thanks to Scott Schmidt, Jeremy Appel and Mo Cranker allowing us to use clips from their podcast.

Follow Emma Jackson on Twitter @emmajackson57, and follow Climate Justice Edmonton on Twitter @CJEdmonton and on Facebook at facebook.com/ClimateJusticeEdmonton.

For further information on using polarization as an organizing tactic, see this blog series based on Mark & Paul Engler’s 2016 book, This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping The Twenty-First Century:
https://masscommons.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/this-is-an-uprising-dividing-to-conquer/

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