Updated: Jul 25, 2020
First things first, there is A LOT OF STUFF happening in the world right now!
And you can't do ALL THE THINGS!
But perhaps you have enough spoons to do one or two things...
Here are two things that made me scream out loud this week that I will be taking action on. A big part of my inaction over the past few years is that I never knew where to start. Well, now I know where to start and I want to pass that knowledge along to folks just starting out in their activism or organizing. I'm still learning, but one thing I know for sure is that there is always strength in numbers. Even when those numbers (aka people) don't do it "perfectly"
Spoiler alert: there is no perfection in activism.
Moving right along...
THING NUMBER ONE
We watched the news last night for the first time in a long time because I get kind of shouty. And last night was no exception. Bill 32 is a union busting bill, plain and simple. The UCP have named it "Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces", but I like how writer David Climenhaga expressed it better. "Alberta is about to make child labour great again!
If you think this is a breakthrough, you're probably a fast-food franchise owner." Yes, it allows for employers to hire 13 year-olds without the previously required permits under the guise of "helping Albertans take care of their families." In addition to these weird provisions, it makes it illegal to slow down people who try to cross picket lines, secondary picketing could be banned, and it would allow Cabinet to set union dues. Among other union busting activities. Many are saying this is step one toward Right to Work legislation.
THING NUMBER TWO
My nurse pal Kelsie posted about Bill 30 on IG stories the other day. Another screamer. According to Friends of Medicare, "Bill 30 provides the legislative framework for the privatization of our health care...with little consideration to best health outcomes or impacts to patient care." When you get down to it, this Bill will move public health dollars into private corporations without addressing the basic health care needs for the majority of our population. When you bring in private service to health care, profit is put before patient outcomes, and you create a tiered system that has never been proven to actually reduce wait times, which is most often the reason governments try and pull crap like this. No thanks.
HOW TO TAKE ACTION
Spread the word in your family and social circles! That can be on social media, but even better to have the actual conversations face to face. (I have a tip below to make this a bit easier).
Contact your MLA and the Minister responsible for presenting the Bill. Write a letter/email AND make a phone call. You can probably guess which one has more weight!
Bill 30 Health Statutes Amendment Act
Tyler Shandro, Health Minister
Bill 32 Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act
Jason Copping, Labour & Immigration Minister
You can find a list of all Alberta MLAs here, along with their contact information.
I wrote a letter to my City Councilor and posted it here. In case you're looking for an example.
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper or magazine. This may seem like something your Grandpa would do, but Grandpas are sometimes great and really smart! I shout at the news all the time, but my voice would be better spent telling them what their viewers/readers are interested in. So they do better news.
And remember to make it personal if you can. Facts are great and you should always be confident you are speaking truths. But when you are talking to people you know, stating how these Bills will affect you directly is even more compelling.
Progress Report (Patreon)
"Making Child Labour Great Again! Alberta's new labour law breaks old ground while undermining unions" by David J. Climenhaga (Progress Report)
"Opinion: Alberta labour needs the UCP’s union busting bill" by Abdul Malik (Progress Report)
More on Right to Work legislation here: "Conservative Lobbyist Pushes Jason Kenny's UCP to Adopt Anti-Union Policy at Convention" (Press Progress)
And here: Right to Work Legislation (Wikipedia)
List of Alberta Ministries is here. You can pull up each Minster's contact information through this link, but it's about 4 clicks in.