International News Desk – At Home and Abroad

At Home: David Hancock become Premiere
If you’ve been following the news at all, you’re already aware that the Premiere of Alberta, Allison Redford, has resigned from the leadership position. She’ll be remaining on as an MLA, but no longer leading Alberta’s government. In six months or so, the Provincial Progressive Conservative party will have a leadership campaign to determine who their next leader (and Premiere until the next election) will be. Until then, however, Deputy Premier and Advanced Education Minister Dave Hancock is stepping into the role.

While it would seem like having the serving Minister of Advanced Education at the helm could only be a good thing for post-secondary in the province, in reality, the PC party will very likely be far more concerned with attempting to right their sinking ship before the next election. And with Premiere Redford’s record of slashing post-secondary funding despite promises made during her campaign, coupled with her statements on leaving which essentially blamed the party apparatus for preventing her from achieving her goals suggests that any help to come for post-secondary education in Alberta is unlikely to come from the PC party unless this coming election gives us a significant shift in membership.

A recent poll showed the Wildrose party to be the top contender to replace the government currently, but with an election close to two years away there is still a lot of room for change.

Around the Globe: Alberta Unions not the Only Ones Unhappy
When you think about iceland, you probably think about glaciers, perhaps fishing, the 1994 Winter Olympics, or maybe even the Netflix series Lilyhammer. One of the things you probably don’t think about is any sort of civil unrest. But on March 17th, teachers in Iceland went on strike according to a report by Education International. The strike aims to improve the teachers’ salaries and working conditions, with the union pointing out that new regulations in Iceland require teachers at any level to now hold a Master’s degree, and that their wages are, on average, 17% less than other university educated workers in the public sector.

Meanwhile, in Alberta, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which is the union that the administrative staff of Athabasca University are part of, are rallying to protest changes unilaterally imposed by the Alberta government that would take the current cost-of-living amounts that applies to pension benefits and change them from their current guaranteed status to a target that the government hopes the fund can meet.