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Alberta county calls for independence referendum

Wheatland County in southern Alberta passed a resolution on Tuesday demanding changes in confederation – that if rejected by Ottawa – would trigger a referendum on Alberta’s independence.

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STRATHMORE, AB: Wheatland County in southern Alberta passed a resolution on Tuesday demanding changes in confederation – that if rejected by Ottawa – would trigger a referendum on Alberta’s independence.

The resolution, by Jason Wilson, a councillor in Wheatland County, was passed unanimously and will now be sent to municipalities and cities across Alberta for their input.

The motion calls for the province’s withdrawal from the Canada Pension Plan, a start to collecting it’s own income tax, the end of equalization payments, Senate reform, replacing the RCMP and better control over immigration into Alberta.

Wilson’s resolution says if those issues aren’t dealt with then a referendum on independence would be held Oct. 18, 2021.

“We can’t silence debate. I’m not a separatist. I’m an Albertan and I want to fix confederation,” Wilson said at the council meeting near Strathmore Tuesday.

Wheatland County Councillor Jason Wilson

“If things aren’t fixed we are going to continue to bend over.”

Wilson was a Jason Kenney delegate for his 2017 run for the PC leadership, and currently holds memberships in the United Conservative Party of Alberta, Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, and the People’s Party of Canada.

People’s Party of Canada candidate for the area’s Bow River constituency Tom Ikert is also a Wheatland councillor, and voted for the motion.

The reeve of Wheatland County, Amber Link, said she expected the motion to be met with strong support across the province.

In an interview, Wilson told the Western Standard it was a deep sense of frustration that led to him bringing forward the motion.

He said while door-knocking for a friend running for office, all he heard from voters was their frustration where Alberta is at the moment in Confederation.

“I’m a sixth generation Albertan. Our family has lost members in both World Wars. They were fighting for a better future that might now be getting thrown under the bus. Our family didn’t lose (a member) in World War One to have Justin Trudeau throw away all our values,” he said.

Wilson said he will now work with other municipal officials across the province to “tweak” the motion to have it ready for a central zone meeting in February, followed by a province-wide meeting in March.

Wilson’s entire motion can be read below.

Whereas: Alberta contributes more, per person, to the national economy than any other province.  With only 12% of Canada’s population, Alberta attracts one quarter of all capital investment in the country and is responsible for more than one fifth of all Canadian goods exported.

Whereas: Albertan workers contribute far more to the Canada Pension Plan than its retirees take out.  In 2017, 16.5% of all CPP contributions came from Alberta workers, while just 10.6% of CPP expenditures made their way back to the province. If Alberta were to remove itself from the Canadian pension Plan, the current CPP rate (9.9%) would have to increase to 10.6%, resulting in up to $367 in additional contributions (in the form of payroll taxes) for workers outside of Alberta. Meanwhile, Albertans would pay just 5.85% for a CPP-like program for the province.

Whereas: A Statistics Canada 2017 report states that the Government of Canada generated $50.3 billion from Alberta taxpayers and only spent $28.5 billion in Alberta. Albertans pay more in federal taxes than we get back in federal spending. Meanwhile, the federal government generated $53.7 billion from Quebec taxpayers and spent $70.1 billion in Quebec.

Whereas: The Province of Alberta is under-represented in both houses of Parliament. While holding 12% of the nation’s population, Alberta only commands 10% of the seats in The House of Commons with 34 seats, and 5.7% of the seats in The Senate (6 seats). The Maritime provinces; Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island hold 5.1% the total population of Canada, yet they hold 22% of the seats within The Senate (24 seats).

Whereas:   The North-West Mounted Police were founded in 1873 with a military culture, and that remains a central aspect of the RCMP culture today. Over the last number of decades the changing of society has caused the RCMP to change into an inefficient and poor service. As Wheatland County has found, having five different Divisions and many detachments under staffed, with no future plans of reaching the organizations own recommendation of officers per capita, the national police force is no longer fulfilling local needs across the Province of Alberta.

Whereas: Alberta accepted 38,683 immigrants in 2018 and Quebec (with a populations twice the size of Alberta), accepted 47,903 immigrants. The Province of Alberta accepted 61% more immigrants per capita than Quebec, while having no way to regulate or refuse immigration. Alberta is allowed only to choose 5500 economic immigrants, unlike Quebec which has stronger authority over the province’s immigration.

Therefor be it resolved: The Government of Alberta act on the following recommendations in order to insert Alberta’s constitutional rights within confederation.

  1. That the Province of Alberta withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan and create an Alberta Pension Plan offering the same benefits at lower cost while giving Alberta control over the investment fund. Pensions are a provincial responsibility under section 94A of the Constitution Act. 1867.
  2. That the Province of Alberta collects its own revenue from personal income tax, as the province already does for corporate income tax. There is no reason to have Ottawa collect Alberta’s revenue. Any incremental cost of collecting our own personal income tax would be far outweighed by the policy flexibility that Alberta would gain.
  3. That the Province of Alberta use Section 88 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Quebec Secession Reference to REMOVE EQUALIZATION from the Canadian Constitution. The federal government and other provinces must seriously consider a proposal for constitutional reform endorsed by “a clear majority on a clear question” in a provincial referendum.
  4. That the Province of Alberta again uses Section 88 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Quebec Secession Reference to demand Senate reform.. Alberta has acted decisively in holding Senate elections. Now is the time to drive the issue further.
  5. That the Province of Alberta start preparing options to replace the RCMP as the province’s police force.  Alberta is a unique province and needs a police force operated, owned, and directed by the people they serve. Like the other major provinces of Ontario and Quebec, we should have our own provincial police force that answers to the Government of Alberta and understands the regional needs throughout the province. We have no doubt that Alberta can run a more efficient and effective police force than Ottawa can.
  6. That the Province of Alberta enter into an agreement with the federal government, similar to the Canada-Quebec Accord, allowing Alberta to oversee its own immigration that depicts the regional, cultural and economic needs of the Province.

Further be it resolved: If the federal government does not deal with these demands in good faith; if they block, hinder, or otherwise prevent Alberta from exercising its rights as outlined above, that the Government of Alberta will hold a Referendum with a “clear question”, as defined by The Clarity Act, on the secession of Alberta from the Canadian Confederation on October 18th 2021. 


Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

Manitoba announces quarantine rules for all visitors and returning residents

Alberta officials announced they have seen 20 cases of the virus variant from Great Britain and five from South Africa – something Manitoba wants to avoid

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Thinking of visiting friends and family in Manitoba – prepare yourself for a 2-week quarantine.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday that anyone coming into the province – including those from the West – will have to quarantine for 14 days.

“These measures are necessary to protect us from a more deadly version of the coronavirus that is not, as some would sadly hope, a short-term thing,” Pallister said at a press conference.

“If I have a regret from last year, I would suggest it was that we were trying too hard to educate, perhaps, and not enough maybe to make it clear that there are serious consequences if you don’t want to abide by the rules.

“We don’t want to make those mistakes again. We want to learn from them.”

The order also applies to Manitoban returning home and is designed to stop non-essential travel, by land or by air.

The rules come into effect Friday at midnight. Anyone who lives east of Terrace Bay, Ontario, will not have to isolate.

Alberta health officials announced Monday they have seen 20 cases of the virus variant from Great Britain and five from South Africa. That’s something Manitoba wants to avoid.

“Early analysis shows, depending on the study you’re reading, that it can be up to 70 per cent more communicable and have the same impacts on morbidity, mortality and hospitalizations, if not worse, depending on what study we’re looking at, compared to what we have in the community right now,” acting deputy chief public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal said in a conference call on Tuesday.

“We want to try to get ahead of it. We want to try to protect Manitobans, right? We want to ensure that those things are in place that mitigate that risk of that virus coming into Manitoba and if it does come into Manitoba, that we’re able to respond to it quickly.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Former finance minister Morneau drops bid to head OECD

Morneau said he hasn’t been able to gather enough support to win the job.

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Former Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau – forced to resign during the WE scandal – says he is dropping efforts to become the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

In a Tuesday tweet, Morneau said he hasn’t been able to gather enough support to win the job.

“I am proud to have had this opportunity to talk about issues that matter to Canadians and to the world,” Morneau said.

The OCED is an intergovernmental economic group with 37 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

Morneau resigned August 17, after clashing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of the WE charity scandal.

Morneau also resigned as a Toronto MP effective immediately.

Reports out of Ottawa said Trudeau was unhappy with Morneau over how his department crafted some policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as Morneau’s testimony at the finance committee studying the WE charity scandal.

Morneau told the finance committee that he had forgotten to reimburse $41,000 in free travel offered by WE to his family and himself back in 2017 until the day before the committee meeting.

“I wish that in hindsight, we had done things differently around the WE Charity. As I’ve said, I think that it would have been more appropriate for me to recuse myself from that decision,” Morneau told reporters.

“I’ve done my best, I’ve apologized for that, and then move forward. And I know that the important work that we’re doing is more important than that problem that we that we had.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

Tory MPs banned from wearing face masks supporting energy industry

The Speaker made the ruling after Liberals MPs complained about the masks during an emergency debate on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project

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The Liberal Speaker of the House of Commons has banned Conservative MPs from wearing face masks that show support for Canada’s beleaguered energy industry.

The Speaker made the ruling Monday night after Liberals MPs complained about the masks during an emergency debate on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project by US President Joe Biden.

“This is absurd! The Liberals just pushed to have Conservative MP’s stripped of their face masks because they support Canadian #oilandgas,” tweeted Melanie Paradis, the director of communications for Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole.

“Speaker just ruled Conservative MP’s can’t wear their oil & gas face masks!!! #cdnpoli

Alberta has billions of dollars tied up in the project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

Premier Jason Kenney told a Wednesday press conference he had “no regrets” about staking so much taxpayers’ money on the project.

Kenney has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his help getting the money back. Kenney has also said Alberta will sue.

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s money.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would have run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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