The UCP and Alberta Women
Alberta’s UCP government is waging a “war on women.” If you follow Alberta politics at all, you’ll have heard this rumour at least once. It’s likely pure political spin designed to win support and votes, so I didn’t buy it. I didn’t vote for the UCP in the last election, but they did have some good ideas in their election platform. I was hopeful that they’d do something good for Alberta. Would a political party in this day and age wage war against 50% of the population? I decided to see for myself.
Why Examine Women and Policy?
I’ll admit that I’m not a stereotypical feminist. I’m not looking to burn bras along with the patriarchy and have a female-only government. I aim to treat people fairly. I will judge you by how you treat those you don’t stand to gain from. Stepping on others to get ahead tends to make me pretty vocal. I also measure the success of a society by its most vulnerable members, and that often sees me pushing for equality and the rights of women, LGTBQ2, disability, minority, and other groups. I feel Canadians are held to a high standard and should behave accordingly. These values put me in a bit of an odd position here.
I wasn’t a women’s studies or political science major in school. Many other people would be far more qualified to examine these issues than I am. However, I am still a female voter who has lived in and around Alberta her entire life. And because I understand that politics can, do, and will significantly impact my life and the lives of those around me, I feel I must pay attention to what’s going on around me.
Lastly, I need to look for myself because I don’t fit current political labels and don’t have the option of merely following my party’s leader. The NDP tends to veer too far into socialism and spending. They seem to forget that everything comes with a cost. The UCP, on the other hand, supports big business and capitalism at the expense of the average person, and that tends to make me cranky. (Historically, I’ve been a happy Alberta Party member and a multi-generational conservative voter prior to that.
While my views tend to lean a bit to the left of the center these days (I’m chalking that up to the increased pubic need caused by COVID and open corruption / political tactics used by the current government to fight the NDP — more on that later), I am a firm believer in the concept that a good idea is a good idea, regardless of its source. Opposing sides should be learning and working together by hotly debating topics so that, in the end, the people always get the best possible solution. I know. Idealistic, but I feel it’s an important goal. Anything less would do this province (and this country) a great disservice.
How I Dug Into the Issue of Women and the UCP
As grandpa always said, if you want to know the truth, ignore people’s words, and pay attention to their actions. To accomplish this, I went through Hansard, line by line, for Legislature 20, Session 2. I also went through the social media profiles of prominent government members to see how they phrased and worded things, which topics were important to them, and how they reacted to various issues. My final step was to trace some of these guys back as far as I could to understand where they stood on various issues before being elected.
Once I organized and divided the information into topics, I began to examine each bill introduced during this session as well as the aspects of life they affect. My goal was to decide if women benefitted (or were protected) in each of the industries examined.
Note: When women benefit, I do not mean that women don’t benefit from a healthier economy. It does not mean that governments should only look at ways to help women, or that they should release women-centric policies. It does not mean that a decision is detrimental for women if it’s favourable for men. This is purely an attempt to gauge the effects each decision or policy has had and understand where the role of women lies with the current government.
Where Women Stand with Alberta’s UCP
To make it easiest for me and you to understand, I wrote an article explaining what I’ve found in each area. Then, I divided all 37 bills, the topics, and other miscellaneous discussions into three categories: the good, the meh (neutral), and the ugly. In the end, I included my final decision on where I stand and what I expect to see in the future. (I’m updating as I get them completed, so please bear with me.)
The Good – Positive Policies and Decisions for Alberta Women
The Meh – Neither Helpful, Nor Harmful
Bill 4, 5, & 6 – Money Matters (Marked as neutral to allow for topical discussion.)
The Bad – UCP Policy That Holds Alberta Women Back