Stuff Still Happens, week 25: Brexit, stage right

The huge story this week was the result of the so-called ‘Brexit’ referendum. United Kingdom voters (that would be Britain, Scotland and Northern Ireland) were asked whether they wanted to stay in the European Union, or leave. The vote was a stunner — 51.9% voted to leave. If all of the measured, well thought out commentary I’ve read is true, the result means THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT!

Or at least the end of the United Kingdom. And the European Community.

I won’t pretend to understand all of the intricacies of this vote, but it does appear that no economic good will come of this. We won’t know the full impact for a couple of years (that’s how long they have to negotiate the exit), but the immediate impact was massive. Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum to appease the right wing of his party, immediately announced he would resign, leaving a huge leadership void to be filled by who knows what. The Labour Party is hardly in better shape. Scotland, which voted to stay, is almost certainly going to hold another separation from the UK referendum, which the separatists are chomping at the bit for because they can see a win. And perhaps most importantly, it revealed a huge divide in Britain. Voters from 18-25 voted 64% to remain, but then the numbers fell as the voters aged — voters aged 65 and older voted 58% to leave. Younger Brits were comfortable with the new, Eurocentric United Kingdom, while older English voters pined for the days of old, lily white England.

I’ve read a lot about the Brexit, but I can’t find one single story or opinion piece saying that the Brexit result is good for the U.K. What is seems to be, more than anything, is a repudiation of the ruling class by the working class — and in Britain, class means everything.

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The NDP’s carbon tax plan — sorry, that should be ‘climate leadership’ plan — is getting the full-court press from the government. A revealed by the Wildrose this week, the Rachael Notley government is spending $5 million dollars — that’s $5 million tax dollars — on feel good, utterly vacuous ads touting the climate change plan. If you watch TV, you’ve seen them, and you will no doubt wonder what exactly the climate change plan is. You’ll never know from the ads, because they don’t tell you. They are typical government ads, filled with feel goodery, cliched images, flat-out falsehoods, and soothing talk of how wonderful the new NDP world is going to be, without mentioning the unfortunate little fact that the climate change plan will cost Albertans billions of dollars, with no guarantee that any good will come of it.

Speaking of government money …

The NDP expanded the so-called ‘sunshine list’ this week, revealing the salaries of top earners at the provinces agencies, boards and commissions. Some of them were shocking — the head of the Workers’ Compensation Board took home almost $900,000 in salary and compensation. The WCB, in fact, looks like a great place to work for the upper echelons — six of the top 13 spots are taken up by WCB people. The NDP government released the information in a way that made them pretty much unsearchable, saying it was too time consuming and expensive to compile into one database; the Wildrose compiled the numbers if a database within 24 hours, which you can see here You may want to avoid looking at it if you’re prone to high blood pressure.


Ralph Stanley, 89, one of the giants of bluegrass music.


By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

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