The ship that is the Province of Alberta continues to languish in the doldrums of partisanship, as made evident by recent decisions by your NDP government.
Premier Rachel Notley’s government recently offered pay raises for members of Local 58 of the Alberta Union of Public Employees, which negotiates with Alberta Health Services. Apparently a few weeks ago, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the early 80’s, AHS agreed to hike Local 58’s salaries 1 per cent for three years. Not bad when provincial revenues are in deep trouble, school projects are hanging in limbo and food banks are seeing massive over-demand. Not bad at all while completely and utterly inappropriate at this time.
The union pay hike really shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s paying attention to Notley’s decisions. It’s become clear the priority of her government is to take care of those who’ve supported her NDP party over the years, including, of course, the labour unions. A few weeks ago Notley’s NDP government named Kevin Davediuk as the Government of Alberta’s chief labour negotiator. Davediuk was, until he got his new job, chief negotiator for AUPE. So a few days ago he was fighting tooth and nail to get a fair day’s pay for the working stiff and now he’s going to fight tooth and nail to ensure the taxpayer’s best interest is protected?
Ask anyone who knows, union people tend to be militant and adulatory; it’s part of the nature of solidarity. For someone to switch their loyalties from fightin’ for the workin’ man to ensuring the taxpayers of Alberta are represented fairly and properly represented seems to be a lot to ask. Don’t believe that? Think maybe it’s exaggeration coming from critics who think the NDP government is stinky? Do you feel Davediuk is getting a raw deal, no pun intended?
Then take the word of another lefty. Even Liberal leader and MLA Dr. David Swann was taken aback by this appointment (it was an appointment, by the way; the negotiator job was never advertised in any meaningful way). Swann said, “This is a clear conflict of interest,” stated the Liberal leader. “This government has made a bad habit of hiring insiders but this particular appointment is the most flagrant. As of (Mar. 9), Davediuk’s name was still on the AUPE website as their negotiator.”
“By the Minister’s own admission there were other qualified negotiators available – the government should have chosen one not currently employed by AUPE,” Swann countered. “Further, this was an appointment rather than a posted position with a selection of candidates, making the Minister’s argument even weaker.”
Whether it’s conflict or not is moot. It sure looks bad in the newspaper though.