In news that surprised absolutely nobody, Alberta's government refused to shutter Cargill's High River, AB meat plant even after half of its workforce tested positive and over 1510 people became infected due to it; the owners only briefly closed the plant for a week after a worker died – only to reopen it this morning despite union efforts and despite justified health panic from its majority Filipino staff.
According to Cargill's website, the High River plant is a 'fully integrated beef processing facility where 2,000 employees process 4,500 head of cattle per day', responsible for 40% of Canada's beef supply. Cargill, a privately owned multi-national giant headquarted in Minnetonka, Minnesota, has cornered the Canadian beef market.
Hyper-consolidation has led to an inhumane calculus where the Alberta government is happy to sacrifice the lives of Alberta's Filipino community and worker lives in general to keep the cattle train rolling. But that might be giving the Alberta government more credit than it deserves: this is, after all, the same government which hijacked public pensions and promptly lost $2billion, after it tossed billions in bribes to oil companies including Encana, who promptly fled to Colorado and rebranded as Ovintiv, Inc.
Alberta: parks open now, reopening business 14 May
Despite experts calling for a year-long lockdown, Alberta plans to re-open for business May 14, forcing precarious and at-risk residents back to work, including restaurant and bar staff. Yes, that's right: Alberta bars and restaurants are re-opening on 14 May 2020. (They'll be limited to just half of their fire department rated capacity, which effectively means unlimited.) Good news for Karens: Hair stylists and retail shops including clothing shops will be re-opening, too – sacrificing worker health for a hair trim.
're-open' is only slightly hyperbolic: concerts and actual fun stuff will remain closed; workers will be expected to sacrifice their health and risk death in their public-facing jobs but will not have access to theatres or gyms, limiting recreation to bar visits and hitting the public parks – or at least those that haven't been closed or sold off, yet.
Alberta's restless masses are advised to order their herbs online from the Alberta government site or stick to delivered liquor.
A reader pointed out that the plant is High River, Not High Level. Article has been updated to reflect this. Thank you, MalevolentPixy!
Photo Credit: Max Ogden via Unslpash