January 18th, 2021

Blaming Albertans isn’t helping

By Letter to the Editor on October 15, 2020.

UCP MLA Shane Getson comments about recipients of CERB only eating Cheezies and watching cartoons, spending CERB on drugs and implying disaster when the “funny money” runs out, is among the worst statements made by an elected official in this province. Just as bad as when Jason Kenney stated the value of someone’s life ends at age 83,

My family is a recipient of the CERB as my husband permanently lost his job during this pandemic. If it wasn’t for the federal government stepping in and protecting Canadian Families with CERB when they did, more of us would be in far worse shape.

The comments made by Shane Getson is an example of the UCP manipulating the public by taking a complex issue, such as the difficulty for businesses to hire during a pandemic, and simplify it by blaming the unemployed population of Alberta and calling them lazy drug addicts; it’s beyond comprehension. It’s downright horrible and elitist. And placing blame is ineffective and is not helping anyone, especially business owners. What’s their plan?

Business owners should be just as upset by this as I am and need to speak out and put away their cheque books. Employment in Alberta is a circus of complex problems and this elected MLA obviously does not have a plan to address any of those complex employment issues, so instead he simplified it to people being lazy drug addicts. “Sure, John, you can’t hire anyone cuz they all get funny money right now and there’s nothing I can do about cuz I’m just the elected MLA who doesn’t know what I’m doing, so I’m going to gaslight the issue and hope you don’t notice.”

I think that the UCP have forgotten what a government’s purpose is. The purpose of a government is to maintain the well-being of society. How is insulting and blaming unemployed Albertans taking care of the society that you were elected to take care of? The conservatives of Alberta used to be fiscally conservative but socially responsible, but what are they now? Divisive and despicable! I think that conservatives need to take a hard look at the values the UCP are displaying with their actions and really try to understand what their end game is and does it still fit with your conservative values, when they are no longer taking care of you. Shame on them!

Marlaina Ditrich


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Fedup Conservative

Former MLAs from the Lougheed era taught me that these Reformers are only interested in looking after their own well-being and that of their rich friends is all these phoney conservatives are concerned about. Replacing the RCMP with their own government controlled one when they are being investigated by the RCMP isn’t surprising, it’s what you would expect from a dictatorship. Destroying our health care system, like their hero Klein did is also not surprising. All of it is designed to dump the costs onto the backs of the people like Klein did with deregulation and the orphan well mess and we must get it stopped.

Tom Johnston

Had Gretson not been elected in the last provincial election, he may well have found himself unemployed — one more victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and would probably be a CERB recipient.


On the one hand, I understand Getson’s concerns. 5 minutes in social media gives a strong impression of people very opposed to work outside an ideal profession, if not a strong view that work was a conservative plot to ruin their life of leisure. Even professionally, people were asking if CERB was going to be morphed into a Universal Basic Income program.

On the other, I was given a 6 month lay off citing financial reasons I could not see when I looked at the profit loss where I worked. Interest free loans were given out with little regard and I’ve heard of people just putting them in something interest bearing and not using them to keep people on the payroll. I doubt they use the CEWS any more legitimately as even before it was expended, it could be taken for any drop in revenue, not just coivd related making it so a business could have downsized staff and operations and get the benefit anyway. There’s as much room for abuse on the business end of covid relief as the employee’s, but I don’t hear about a crackdown to ensure anyone getting covid benefits better need it and use it for its intended purpose of keeping people hired.

Meanwhile, Indeed locally isn’t exactly filled with the best of opportunities, but rather a lot of minimum wage and part time work. I could go on at length about how that is disincentive to get off assistance programs even under boom times. With covid, there’s no path to normalcy that doesn’t involve a period where businesses have to take the hit if they can. People need situations where they aren’t afraid of income loss before they return to old spending habits, and that means full time, decently paid jobs first, return to higher sales second because it will not happen the other way if we have to count our pennies.

It’s already an age old problem: people don’t like paying for social assistance programs, but they don’t aid in getting a quality job either, and would rather blame us. As I said, I get it. We’re working against some strong examples to the contrary, but most of us would like to work and would even do our best at whatever we were asked to do within our power. Covid has made that situation worse and we’re going to need a more active role in getting us employed, especially if career transitioning is involved.

Last edited 3 months ago by chris