Canada is failing Alberta. Period.
Our province is under economic attack from the political leadership of our very own country. And let’s not just blame the politicians like we don’t understand how democracy works. The majority of Canadians voted for these individuals, who are, therefore, a mere reflection of the majority of the Canadian people.
How are we being attacked you ask?
Attacks on Alberta
We now have every major political party, other than the federal Conservatives, actively campaigning and implementing policies overtly designed to, as Mr. Trudeau put it, “phase out” Alberta’s primary industry and job creator. The only difference between these same parties regards how long that planned “phase out” of the oil sands will take. Some want it now (the NDP and Greens); the Liberals over the next 10 to 20 years; and ironically, wish to use the wealth created by that same industry during this period to facilitate its very demise.
And this is no empty rhetoric. The Liberals have commenced this phase out plan through the passage of Bill C-69 making it, as the Liberal’s newly elected star MP, Steven Guilbeault, bragged during the recent campaign, virtually impossible to build any further interprovincial pipelines after the TransMountain expansion is completed (if it is built at all).
The Liberals have also passed Bill C-48, the “No Oil Tanker bill”, which effectively bans the transport of any Alberta oil to Asia or elsewhere from off the vast majority of BC’s coastline, thereby killing any hope of the Northern Gateway pipeline or meaningfully expanding our customer base to Asian markets, and thereby ensuring our energy commodities are forever discounted to the Americans.
The above two laws alone virtually guarantee that no new oilsands projects (and the hundreds of billions of investment that would otherwise flow to Alberta and Canada) are ever built, as no thoughtful company will make a 20 year investment with no guarantee they can even ship what they produce to market long term.
It doesn’t end there. How about the fact Alberta has sent $600 billion in predominantly energy-sourced equalization payments, primarily to Quebec and Atlantic Canada over the last 55 years — and those same provinces won’t even let us build a pipeline to sell our energy to their provinces and Europe. But don’t worry, they’ll still take the equalization money. Do you think Alberta could have used that $600 billion for its hospitals, schools, roads, our current sky high deficit and debt, or the Heritage Savings Fund?
There’s more…Alberta, with a population of 4.4 million, has as many seats as Atlantic Canada with a population of 2.4 million. Yup – the same Atlantic Canadians that have voted for predominantly anti-Alberta Liberal and NDP governments and policies while sending so many of their population to work in the Alberta oilsands and to send their earnings back home, with Albertans welcoming them all along the way.
And I won’t even get started on the carbon tax (aimed disproportionately at Alberta’s economy and businesses), the runaway tax increases to the middle class, the massive deficit and debt, etc, etc, etc. It just goes on and on and on.
Do I need to continue to list the special kind of crazy this country has become? Quebec and Toronto would rather buy oil from countries that stone girls for being raped and don’t give a damn about any environmental regulation of any kind, rather than buying oil and gas from Alberta. Let that fact settle in for a moment.
Alberta is clearly under full assault from within its own country. And the Trans Mountain pipeline or a federal election victory here and there by a federal Conservative party kowtowing just enough to Ontario and Quebec that they slip into power, is going to change absolutely nothing as we have seen time after time.
This is where you and I must shoulder some of the blame and responsibility moving forward. If Albertans do nothing after all of the above, and we continue to watch our primary industry (and all the industries that stem or benefit from that industry) bleed out over the next 1 or 2 decades; if we sit idly by and allow hundreds of thousands of layoffs, and the broken families, crumbling infrastructure, moribund social services, and our children moving elsewhere for work; if we allow this to continue any longer, we can only point the finger in one direction…ourselves.
The time for talk and wrapping ourselves in the Red and White flag is long past. We’ve started reform movement after movement to let the West in. We’ve elected a prime minister from Calgary. We’ve elected an NDP Premier who uselessly spent billions on purchasing a so-called “social license” to develop our resources. Absolutely nothing has worked.
Albertans must stop asking nicely and take control of our destiny.
We must demand a new and equitable deal within the Canadian confederation under an updated constitution; or failing that, we must separate and form a new country with those of our neighbours who wish to join with us.
I don’t know of one Albertan that wishes this to be the case. We desperately want Canada to include Alberta. But the economic tyranny over our province by the majority of Eastern Canada…and that’s exactly what it has become…cannot be allowed to continue.
If it does, what other reasonable choice do we have? The answer: None.
The Renewed Alberta Agenda
We, as a people, must call on the Federal Government to immediately implement the following reforms. These are the non-negotiable terms Canada must concede to should it wish to keep Alberta as a provincial member of a reformed confederation:Repeal and make unconstitutional all federal and provincial legislation that specifically targets and taxes, limits or otherwise restricts the production or movement of Alberta’s resources to both interprovincial and international markets. This includes the immediate repeal of the federally imposed carbon tax, oil tanker ban and ‘no new pipeline’ laws.
One: Amend the constitution to end all equalization payments between provinces…full stop. It’s a failed program that rewards poor government and penalizes growth. It is unjust in every way imaginable. It must end.
Two: Alter representation in the House of Commons to be entirely proportional to the population of each province.
Three: Establish a national resource corridor that allows for the construction of any pipelines, electrical lines and other infrastructure required for the complete free flow of Canada’s resources and energy to the east, west and northern coasts and to our southern border. Other than ensuring safe and proper construction, no further regulatory approvals should be necessary to undertake these projects.
Four: Transfer Alberta’s proportional share of all federal transfers and spending in provincial areas of jurisdiction (such as for health, education, infrastructure, social spending, etc) directly to our province through the transfer of a portion of federal taxation rates into Alberta’s provincial tax rate.
Here at home, we must require our Provincial Government to immediately undertake all of the following 5 initiatives to protect the current constitutional rights of our province and prepare us more fully for the option of separation should the Federal Government fail to implement the previously outlined demands.
One: Withdraw from the Canadian Pension Plan in favour of a newly established Alberta Pension Plan just as Quebec and Ontario have done, and guarantee Albertans that their pension benefits earned under the CPP shall be fully transferred to the new APP.
Two: Just as Quebec and Ontario have done, establish an Alberta provincial police force to replace the RCMP and offer our Alberta located RCMP officers an opportunity to take positions therein.
Three: Just as Quebec has done, have Alberta immediately begin the collection of its own provincial taxes.
Four: Just as Quebec has done, establish our own immigration protocols to attract the skilled workers from other countries that we need to meet the specific and unique needs of our economy, while ensuring current unemployed Albertans are offered first crack at new employment opportunities.
Five: Commence immediate outreach to our provincial and territorial neighbours and the United States, in order to facilitate trade agreements that shall be enforced whether Alberta remains a province within confederation or not.
When Alberta completes the above initiatives, and if the Canadian Government continues its failure to implement the previously outlined federal reforms necessary to Alberta’s continued participation within Canada, the next step is obvious; the Province of Alberta must hold a referendum on separation from Canada and the formation of a new and independent nation.
The above renewed Alberta Agenda plan is obviously a large undertaking and many will have to be involved to have it successfully implemented. So how can you help being as busy as you are?
I would suggest that you (and any of your interested friends and family) join both the federal Conservative and provincial UCP parties and become a member of their local constituency associations. Attend those parties’ AGMs and local meetings. Meet with your elected Conservative and UCP MPs and MLAs. Be vocal. Don’t apologize. Don’t take no for an answer. These policies, as outlined above, need to be the official policies of these parties moving forward if they aren’t already. If they are rejected or ineffectively pursued by those parties, new political parties will be necessary. Let’s hope our conservative parties and leadership don’t make us go down that road. There are great leaders within those parties, and ideally, they would form, and even lead, this movement.
It is also incumbent upon those of us with political experience, business acumen and financial means to come together and organize at a grassroots level a political action group that organizes efforts towards the above plan in all 87 provincial and 34 federal ridings.
This Alberta Agenda Action Group should raise funds for the purpose of performing any necessary public policy research furthering this agenda and to influence all levels of government to implement the renewed Alberta Agenda. It should act to hold our provincial and federal conservative parties to be accountable and strong in the face of the opposition they will face from the plethora of anti-Alberta, anti-oil, pro-socialist and special interest forces that have been attacking our province for most of the last 30 years.
If those same provincial and federal parties refuse to implement and fight for the above policies, or are defeated in their efforts to do so but refuse to take the next logical step of holding a referendum on separation, it may be necessary to transform this Alberta Agenda Action Group into federal and provincial parties.
Again, let’s hope that doesn’t have to happen and that our current leaders in these parties are up to the challenges ahead. We should support them in a united effort until we have no other choice. But time is limited – and we can’t postpone what needs to be done any longer.
As for me personally, I’ll be working locally in Airdrie, and with like-minded Albertans across the province, to move this renewed Alberta Agenda forward. Let me know if you would also like to be involved.
Enough anger and talk. It’s time to get to work. The very economic survival of Alberta and the future of our people hangs in the balance. I hope you’ll join me and hundreds of thousands of your fellow Albertans in this fight!
Rob Anderson is the former MLA for Airdrie and served as the Wildrose Finance critic and in the PC
MORGAN: It’s time for Kenney to resign
“I say this regretfully, but it’s time for Jason Kenney to resign as premier of Alberta and as the leader of the United Conservative Party. I wish things had ended differently.”
Premier Jason Kenney gambled and lost.
His move to declare Alberta as being permanently open for business was a hail-Mary pass for a beleaguered government and it has failed in the worst possible way.
Alberta is in the midst of a health care crisis, deaths are on the rise and we are entering a new period of mandatory vaccine passports, lockdowns, and other restrictions.
I say this regretfully, but it’s time for Jason Kenney to resign as premier of Alberta and as the leader of the United Conservative Party.
I had the highest of hopes for Kenney. I was enthusiastic as he won multiple leadership races and merged the previously intransigent Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties. I was thrilled when Rachel Notley’s NDP government was trounced in the general election. I thought we’d be looking forward to some steady, competent, conservative governance for at least a couple of election cycles.
I was wrong. Boy, was I ever wrong.
Love him or hate him, Jason Kenney is undeniably one of the brightest and hardest working politicians in Canada. He worked his way from advocacy into elected office and then became a respected cabinet minister in a number of portfolios. It appears Kenney met his match when it comes to the party and provincial leadership. He has managed to alienate both the left and the right within the province and I don’t see how he can recover from this.
Kenney’s leadership woes were already appearing well before the COVID-19 pandemic appeared on the scene. The shotgun marriage of the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservatives was showing cracks as caucus infighting began to smolder. The pandemic crisis exacerbated the issue and Kenney is now heading up a deeply divided caucus with multiple members having been tossed out of the party or disciplined. This inability to manage his own caucus has shaken the confidence Albertans had in Kenney to manage the province.
The Kenney government has been noteworthy for setting high targets and then failing to move toward them. The Fair Deal panel appeared to be an act of deferral, rather than an exercise to build a stronger, more independent province.
Kenney refused to take strong actions against Ottawa despite the open hostility shown to Alberta by the Trudeau government. This has fed the theory Kenney is using Alberta as a stepping stone towards pursuing a federal run. We can safely say Kenney’s federal career is finished at this point.
It seems that everything Kenney has touches turns to scheiße. The energy “war room” has turned into a running joke and with long and constant delays on its launch. The Allen Report examining groups that attack Alberta’s energy sector has been a waste of time. Energy producers seeking a sense of confidence in Alberta have been left disappointed.
In picking a battle with Alberta’s doctors and nurses, Kenney has drawn fire from all sides of the political spectrum. While there certainly is room to reexamine the agreements with health care providers, it has to be done carefully and with strong leadership. The UCP has appeared ham-handed and virtually leaderless on the issue.
The Kenney government has become election fodder used to hammer the O’Toole Conservatives on the federal front. The UCP looks so inept and unpopular that Trudeau is using it to attack O’Toole, and O’Toole hides from any association with Kenney.
Politicians are by nature self-interested beings. Caucus members within the UCP are surely weighing their options as the Kenney government continues to crash and burn in public opinion. With less than two years to go before the next provincial election comes, they know the window for getting rid of Kenney is closing quickly. The only hope the UCP has of winning the next election is to get a new leader and show some sign of new direction, and soon.
Rumblings from caucus are soon going to become a roar.
There are two options for the UCP right now. They can keep Kenney into the next election and most likely hand Rachel Notley a second NDP term, or they can get on with finding a new leader and reconnecting with Albertans. The UCP now is simply too wildly unpopular to regain the trust of the electorate under Kenney’s leadership.
I still respect Jason Kenney and appreciate what he did on the federal front, along with his efforts to unite conservatives in Alberta. I would like to see Kenney retain what dignity he can by resigning for the sake of Alberta and his party. It would hurt his pride, but it still would be a better end to a political career than being kicked out by his own caucus, or by the electorate in a general election. His “best summer ever” strategy failed and it’s time to face the music.
I wish things had ended differently.
Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist for the Western Standard and Host of the Cory Morgan Show
FILDEBRANDT: In the face of tyranny, freedom demands our defiance
“Our silence is compliance. Our compliance is surrender.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has crossed a line.
When and where he crossed it is not easily discerned, but he has most certainly crossed it.
The premier announced at an early evening press conference Wednesday he was putting Alberta back under lockdown, the fourth so far. It didn’t work the first three times, but government is nothing if not a mandatory recurring set of bad ideas.
Yet he went much further than another routine lockdown this time. This time, he imposed a vaccine passport, a policy he and his party had been fundraising in opposition to just days earlier. Will the hapless UCP members who handed over their cash be refunded for these donations?
It is a nakedly authoritarian policy, designed to deprive men and women of free choice over what to do with their own bodies. Kenney’s vaccine passport will create a two-tiered, legalized segregation of society.
As the Hindu caste system did in times of old, society will be divided between the “clean” and the “unclean.” Alberta’s government will create a legally required class of untouchable people lowered to the status of second-class citizen. These Albertans will have vastly fewer rights and freedoms than do their betters.
Political disagreement too often leads to overheated rhetoric, with unjustified labels thrown around too casually. Every conservative is a ‘fascist’, and every liberal is a ‘communist,’ in Twitter political parlance.
Bad government does not always equal tyrannical government, but tyrannical governments do exist.
At what point does a government cease being merely “bad”, and become tyrannical?
Most dictionaries define a tyrant as “a cruel and oppressive ruler.”
It’s a broad definition that can admittedly be applied haphazardly. Not every ruler we strongly disagree with is a tyrant, but we know tyrants do rule.
A single act does not a tyrant make, but at some point, Alberta’s government has become tyrannical.
Was it when they sent police to beat up kids for playing hockey?
Was it when they jailed Christian pastors?
Was it when they raided and barricaded churches?
Was it when they seized small businesses that were going under for staying closed?
Was it when they outlawed rodeos and protests against the government?
Or was it when the rulers were caught on camera enjoying a nice dinner on the rooftop of the Sky Palace—in contravention of their own laws—while the ruled were locked down in the confines of their homes?
If it was not at any of those moments, it certainly must have been when Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the legalized segregation of Albertans into a new stratified class system.
A keystone marker of an authoritarian government is ‘otherism’, or scapegoating a minority.
It’s true the overwhelming majority of currently infected COVID-19 cases are among the unvaccinated, and the government is not wrong to point this out; but it’s language used to demonize the unvaccinated as a selfish, dirty, untouchable ‘other’ is dark and divisive.
The vaccine passport will have one set of rules for one class of people, and another set of rules for the other.
This is a difficult position for those of us in the minority of the majority – who support and encourage COVID-19 vaccinations – but oppose the authoritarian imposition of mandatory vaccines or vaccine discrimination. Until now, I have always encouraged my friends, family, and colleagues to get vaccinated as a generally safe and largely effective defence against COVID-19. But I only ever encouraged them to do so as a free choice.
Now, getting vaccinated is no longer a free choice, but an act of compliance with an authoritarian government. The ‘decision’ to get vaccinated has ceased to be a matter of making a good choice.
When government legislates personal morality, the act of compliance with the law ceases to be an act of morality.
Giving to the poor through charity is a moral act. Giving to the poor through mandated taxes is an empty fiscal transaction.
Getting vaccinated under threat to one’s liberties from the government ceases to be a selfless act for the good of others when compelled to do so by force.
It’s questionable that a vaccine passport will see more than a moderate increase in vaccination rates, as the vaccine-indifferent give in to forced compliance.
The refuseniks—those who range from anti-vaccination and vaccine-hesitant—now see reason to dig in. The hardcore anti-vaccination crowd will be unchanged regardless, only more entrenched in their beliefs as they are discriminated against by their own government.
The vaccine-hesitant, however, may well see a hardening of their views into a kind of conscientious objectionism.
The wife of a friend—an acclaimed biochemist—has not been vaccinated, but had every intention of doing so once she had enough time to observe the results in the general population. Since Kenney and Shandro’s announcement of a mandated vaccine passport Wednesday, she has made a decision not to be vaccinated. For her, it is no longer a matter of making a good choice, but a matter of refusing compliance with an unjust government order.
As much as I may think she would be better off getting the jab, I have a hard time blaming her.
The “my body, my choice” pro-choices are nowhere to been seen. Most of them have scurried under the rocks of paternalistic authoritarianism with nary a word to say about the sanctity of personal sovereignty.
Free men and free women–vaxxed and unvaxxed alike–have a duty to resist.
An unfree society is not one worth protecting and is deserving of resistance. A free society is worth everything we have to give and sometimes demands it by choice.
Churches should refuse to turn away worshipers. Restaurants should refuse to require discriminatory vaccine passports. Bars should refuse to stop serving beer after 10 pm. Employers should refuse to shut down their offices. Kids should refuse to stop playing hockey. Ordinary men and women should demonstrate openly in the face of oppression.
Our silence is compliance. Our compliance is surrender.
Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard
FILDEBRANDT: Two years to flatten the curve
“The result of the premier’s weak & indecisive leadership is that Alberta is going to enter its second year to flatten the curve, with no end in sight.”
“Criminal incompetence” was the term used by one senior UCP member today.
“If these guys were running a business, the whole lot of them would be fired for it,” said conservative continued.
It’s been more than a year and-a-half since COVID-19 started to lap Canada’s shores.
Governments overreacted at the time with draconian lockdowns and other mandatory restrictions. That initial overreaction could arguably have been forgiven. Little was known about the virus, and the Chinese Communist Party was jailing doctors and journalists that tried to speak out. For all we knew, it was the doomsday virus of our worst Hollywood nightmares.
As it turned out, it wasn’t. It was serious, but not the Spanish flu that was feared. It may have been an overabundance of caution, but not entirely unwarranted under the circumstances.
But the actions of the Alberta government since are beyond excusable.
“Two weeks to flatten the curve” was the mantra.
It’s now more than probable that we’ll soon be entering “two years to flatten the curve.”
Premier Jason Kenney admirably recognized some of the errors of the first lockdown, like shutting down most independent retailers while allowing big box stores to continue on with only mild interruption. As summer 2020 approached and cases declined, he ended the lockdown and loosened restrictions to more-or-less tolerable levels.
And then fall 2020 approached. As the regular flu season set it, so too did a surge in COVID-19 cases. NDP Leader Rachel Notley called for a return to lockdowns and a few weeks later, Kenney did just that.
It was Lockdown Number 2.
A majority of Albertans supported it at the time, but some resisted, including one teenager who was attacked by incompetent police officers for the offence of playing hockey.
“I’ll f**king take you!” was heard as the outlaw attempted to skate away from the scene of the crime.
It lasted all the way through Christmas, with the government prohibiting most family members from visiting loved ones over the holidays. That is, unless you travelled to warm sun destinations without restrictions, as did a sizeable number of UCP MLAs, staffers, and a cabinet minister.
If we’re going to mark a moment in which the government lost its moral authority, we can draw a straight line to this event. It is at this moment that Kenney and his government began to lose the plot.
Several refusing congregations declined to shut down their churches or follow other government orders. Their pastors were arrested and jailed, while police raided the churches and took control. Real Free World stuff.
In May, a rebel farmer near Bowden, Alta. held a ‘No More Lockdowns Rodeo’ in defiance of the government.
Soon after, Kenney told his caucus, “If they are our base, I want a new base,” according to several MLAs present.
More than a dozen UCP constituency associations passed a special resolution demanding a leadership review before Kenney headed them off at the pass by having his review scheduled for soon before the 2023 election.
Then, 17 UCP MLAs signed an open letter criticizing Kenney’s handling of COVID-19 and demanded an end to lockdowns and restrictions. MLAs in the caucus told the Western Standard at the time the premier threatened the rebels with an early election if they didn’t fall in line.
It was a clear sign that Kenney was losing his iron grip on caucus.
Then on May 31, MLA Todd Loewen called for Kenney’s resignation, and was joined in his call by fellow MLA Dave Hanson. Kenney responded by having Loewen fired, alongside trouble-maker Drew Barnes. MLAs inside the caucus told us they believed the vote to be razor close, but the actual tally was never revealed. At least to them.
It was a political bloodbath, with a serious revolt against Kenney’s leadership on the move.
The revolt gained steam days later, when photos emerged of Kenney, Environment Minister Jason Nixon, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, and Finance Minister Travis Toews — along with an assortment of staffers — have an illegal dinner on the rooftop patio of the Sky Palace in clear violation of their own rules.
The revolt threatened to spin out of control, until Kenney’s announcement on May 26 that all restrictions will be lifted in stages. By July 1, Alberta would be “Open for Summer™.”
In fact, it would be the “Best Summer Ever™.”
The Tories were so confident in this that they sold merchandise with the jovial slogan plastered across hats.
The rebels in caucus weren’t quite happy campers, but it more-or-less shut them up. The caucus revolt was dead.
At some point in August, a man approached the premier at what appears to be a Stampede gathering, surreptitiously taping their conversation.
“It’s open for good. Open for good,” Kenney tells the man.
“I swear to God,” Kenney said, making the sign of the Cross.
On September 2, Notley called for Kenney to reinstitute forced-masking and impose a mandatory vaccine passport. In short order, Kenney followed the NDP leader’s demand for masking, but not on vaccine passports.
For good measure, the government made it illegal to serve beer or booze after 10 p.m. because well, you’ve got me stumped there.
COVID-19 case counts are on the up this fall, just as they were last fall. They will probably go down again when the weather gets warmer in 2022.
Hospital and ICU capacity are severely strained.
But how is that possible? How is it after one and-a-half-years of COVID-19 as the overwhelming priority of the government and massive sums of money borrowed to pay for increased spending, and 70% of the population now vaccinated, that our healthcare system does not have the capacity to handle a relatively predictable surge in cases?
How is it possible that after the suffering, sacrifice and toil endured by Albertans since March 2020, that Alberta is back under another lockdown, as of Friday.
Oh yeah, that would be Lockdown Number 3.
The UCP Caucus is bitterly divided over whether to return to lockdowns or impose mandatory vaccine passports.
Sources in the caucus tell the Western Standard that three MLAs openly said that they had “no confidence” in Kenney’s continued premiership and leadership during their emergency Tuesday meeting.
Much of the caucus is on the warpath over Kenney breaking his word that Alberta was “Open for Good™.”
Others in the caucus, like Leela Aheer, are openly blasting the premier for botching the whole thing by reopening too early, in their minds.
Kenney has tried to straddle both sides of the fence since the beginning, with predictably inconsistent results.
The mandatory-vaxers and lockdowners are furious at what they perceive as Kenney’s inaction and weak leadership. The refuseniks and anti-lockdowners are equally furious at the premier’s overreaction and weak leadership.
The result is Alberta is going to enter its second year to flatten the curve, with no end in sight.
Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard
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