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MCCOLL: Carpay is wrong on “conscience rights” bill

In no universe – even some esoteric legal one – should a teenage girl looking for an IUD referral be equated to men violently cutting off her clitoris.

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Writing in the Western Standard in defence of Alberta’s Bill 207 (“conscience rights”), John Carpay equated providing a woman with a referral for legal healthcare to being morally akin to a referral for female genital mutilation. 

Providing a referral is active participation. This is why the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario prohibits doctors from performing female genital mutilation (FGM) and also prohibits doctors from referring for this medical service. If it’s wrong to remove portions of a young girl’s genitals, then it’s also wrong to refer her to another doctor who will provide that same service. As in Ontario, Alberta’s College states that ‘no physician should perform such procedures, irrespective of cultural norms in other societies, and no physician should be complicit in allowing such procedures to go ahead.’ To refer for FGM is to be complicit in FGM. Requiring doctors to refer for a service they believe to be wrong is to violate the conscience of doctors.”

In no universe – even some esoteric legal one – should a teenage girl looking for an Intrauterine Device (IUD) referral be equated to men violently cutting off her clitoris.

In no universe – even some esoteric legal one – should a victim of a violent rape be lectured about how god wants her to have her rapist’s child when she asks for an effective referral to a doctor willing to prescribe the morning after pill.

In no universe – even some esoteric legal one – is a woman’s sovereignty over her own body secondary to the religious freedoms of a doctor who’s paid by the taxpayer to act as the gatekeeper to our universal healthcare system. 

John’s remarks came in a Western Standard Debate feature where Cory Morgan – a strong UCP supporter – presents the argument that the existing balance struck by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta is adequate, and that Bill 207 could derail conservative hopes across the country. 

Politically, the damage caused by this bill may be catastrophic. If enough government members support this pointless bill to become legislation, the election of conservative governments across the entire nation will become much more difficult. How can we federally campaign against hidden agenda accusations when a provincial government just passed backdoor legislation to hinder abortion? How can we say (and we did) that a conservative government will never change or legislate on these things?”

If Carpay’s support of Bill 207 is the best religious conservatives can come up with, then this bill deserves to die in committee. Should this bill pass, then Carpay’s comments will forever be linked to this bill and conservatism in general, and the leftist media will repeat it at every opportunity.

I’ve long believed that the answer to bad speech, is more speech. To compare women’s reproductive rights to female genital mutilation is vile, particularly given how many women in less secular parts of the world are so maimed in the name of religious purity. I don’t think Mr. Carpay should be censored, fired or deplatformed; but I do think he should issue an apology.

Opinion

LOEWEN & BARNES: Kenney’s democratic reforms are obsolete on arrival

Todd Loewen & Drew Barnes write that the UCP’s recall & initiative legislation are designed not to be used.

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In product design, there is a concept known as planned obsolescence. Basically, it’s the idea of designing a product with an artificially limited lifespan so that it becomes functionally useless over time, forcing the consumer to purchase a new model. Anyone who has ever purchased a smartphone, only to find a year later that it can’t hold a charge or use the latest operating system, has experienced planned obsolescence.

With Bills 51 and 52, the Kenney government is taking the concept of planned obsolescence to the next level. Instead of designing a product that loses its functionality over time, this government has designed products that won’t work in the first place.

We encourage you to take a long, hard look at Bill 51, the Citizen Initiative Act, and Bill 52, the Recall Act. We have, and the problems are glaring. 

Under Bill 51, the government has set both a high threshold for the number of signatures required to force a referendum, as well as a short timeline to gather the signatures.

Suppose you wanted to bring forward a referendum on a basic legislative matter, like Daylight Saving Time. You would have to gather the physical signatures of about 283,000 Alberta voters in just 90 days. 

Now imagine you want a referendum on a constitutional matter, for example, property rights or equalization. Now you would have to collect more than 566,000 signatures in just 90 days. However, that still isn’t good enough to meet the bill’s requirements, because you would also need to meet thresholds from various constituencies around the province. 

But wait, there’s more. The law also prevents you from seeking a referendum on any one issue more than once every five years. 

For a government elected on streamlining regulations, this bill is overly bureaucratic.

Bill 52, the Recall Act, might even be worse. In addition to imposing many of the same problems as Bill 51, this bill goes even further by potentially stretching out the process. A recall effort can’t even begin until 18 months following the previous election, and the process itself can potentially take another year and three months – that’s 33 months into a 48-month term. It also leaves angry voters with ineffective representation for up to two years and nine months, which is simply not acceptable.

Another flaw in the Recall Act is that it requires an extra step to get rid of an MLA when compared to elected officials at the municipal or school board levels. This extra step includes a vote in order to have a vote – offering an MLA the potential for up to six months of reprieve prior to a by-election, something that is unfair, unnecessary, and needs to be scrapped.

With these flaws and many others in mind, we are planning to put forth amendments to both Bills 51 and 52.

These amendments are meant to be constructive. We believe that both Citizen Initiated Referenda and MLA Recall are important policies, and we want them to work in the real world. 

In fact, we believe the entire concept of grassroots democracy is based on the idea that regular people, rather than political insiders, can be trusted to make the right decisions for ourselves and our families. 

With Bills 51 and 52, we see the government throwing up a wall of bureaucracy and regulation to manage and delay public input in our democratic institutions. 

We see the government instituting policies on promises that “something is better than nothing” and “we can fix the bugs later.” 

That’s exactly the kind of sales pitch you expect from the purveyors of planned obsolescence. But this government forgot something: For planned obsolescence to succeed, the product must work in the first place. Bills 51 and 52 won’t work. They need to be fixed.

Our message to the grassroots of the conservative movement is this: If you care about democratic reform, citizen-initiated referenda, or MLA recall, please call your MLA and demand changes.

Albertans deserve better.

Guest Column from Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes

Todd Loewen is the Independent MLA for Central Peace-Notley 
Drew Barnes is the Independent MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat

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Uncategorized

WAGNER: Alberta’s first sovereigntist

Alwyn Bramley-Moore was the first to ask the question “Is Alberta always to be in a state of tutelage to the East?” Many others would ask it after him.

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In a recent Western Standard feature entitled 65 signs that you might be an Albertan, point number 63 reads, “Newcomers: You are a more fanatical Alberta patriot if you weren’t born here.” It might be funny, but it holds largely true. This albertanism goes back to the very beginning of the province. The first identifiable Alberta sovereigntist was Alwyn Bramley-Moore, who came to the province from England.

Alwyn Bramley-Moore was elected to the Alberta Legislature as a Liberal (long before it became a quasi-socialist party) in 1909. In 1911, during his time in office, he wrote a book about Alberta’s subservient place in confederation entitled, Canada and Her Colonies: Or Home Rule for Alberta. He wanted to rouse Albertans to demand that the federal government give the province control of its own resources. None of the three prairie provinces had been given control of their natural resources when they entered confederation. As a result, he considered Alberta to be a “colony” of Canada.

The lack of resource control was the crux of Bramley-Moore’s complaint. As he wrote, “The self-evident injustice under which Alberta labours consists of being deprived of her natural resources when all the other provinces own their own resources.” So, what did he want for Alberta? “Management of her own local affairs and resources, that is what is demanded.”

Of course, this was easy to justify, as he noted: “In demanding the transfer of her lands, Alberta is only asking to be placed upon the same footing as the older provinces. If Canada had a right to her lands when she was a colony under Britain, Alberta has a similar right to her lands though she is but a colony under Canada.”

The Alberta government of that time was largely dependent on annual subsidies from the federal government for its revenue. The federal government received large royalties from Alberta’s resources, and returned some money to the province in compensation. The subsidy was insufficient to cover the provinces expenses, and Bramley-Moore dismissed it as “pocket-money.” However, if Alberta controlled the resources and received the royalties, its financial situation would be much stronger. 

As Bramley-Moore put it, “Alberta is unable to meet her own ordinary requirements, not because she is a province poor in natural resources or peopled by a lazy and shiftless population, but because the revenues raised locally are commandeered by Ottawa.”

To correct the situation, he proposed that Albertans take various measures to gain control of their resources. First of all, the province should appeal to the Imperial Parliament in London, England “to redress her wrongs.”

Secondly, Alberta’s seven members of Parliament should band together “to harass the Central Government on every possible occasion, to expose her perfidious practices, and to cheer any reverses Fate might have in store for her.”

Thirdly, children in the schools should “be taught to regard this Canada, this stepmother, as the incarnation of greed, tyranny and oppression.”

And as a last resort, Bramley-Moore proposed the nuclear option – declaring independence: “A radical procedure, and rather a practical one in its way, would be to hoist the flag of independence, which would ipso facto make the province owner of her own resources.”

However, this was not his final goal. It was a step to strengthen Alberta’s position to renegotiate a better deal with Canada. For as he wrote, “After a banquet or two and patriotic oratory the province might express a desire to be reinstated in the Confederation, and then she would be in a position to make a bargain. This seems the most sensible plan; there is no objection to forming a partnership with the Confederation, but there is an objection to being used as a step-child and deprived of local autonomy.”

In other words, Alberta would declare independence as a way to gain control of its resources, then rejoin confederation on better terms. 

Unfortunately, Bramley-Moore held to primitive views on racial matters. One of his grievances with the federal government was that it was allowing “coloured people” to immigrate into Alberta, which he saw as “a possible menace to the supremacy of the white race.” Some of his comments on this matter are well beyond the pale. His views may have not been unique at the time, but they very much detract from an otherwise worthwhile book.

He distinguished himself by joining the Canadian Army in 1914 to fight in the First World War. In 1916, he became the only Alberta MLA to be killed in action.

Alwyn Bramley-Moore was the first to ask the question “Is Alberta always to be in a state of tutelage to the East?” Many others would ask it after him. Although most of the problems he addressed would be eventually resolved – including provincial control of resources in 1930 – new problems would arise ensuring that Albertans would continue to feel subservient to their masters in Ottawa. In this sense, he pioneered a political stance toward the East that is more relevant than ever. 

In 1911 Bramley-Moore was a lone voice crying in the wilderness. But in 2021, many Albertans are now willing – as he would put it – “to hoist the flag of independence.”

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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News

POLL: Huge majority of Canadians support vaccine passports

The Ipsos poll found 72% of Canadians supported the idea a vaccine passport should be used to allow people to access air travel.

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A large majority of Canadians would like to see vaccination passports brought in for a variety of circumstances, a new poll shows.

The Ipsos poll, done for Global News, found 72% of Canadians supported the idea a vaccine passport should be used to allow people to access air travel. The level was higher – 74% – to have a passport to be allowed to a seniors’ facility.

The poll found 67% of Canadians favoured passports for indoor concerts, theatres, museums, post-secondary education attendance.

Six in 10 people said they also wanted the passports used to allow attendance at outdoor events, like concerts.

But it all may be a moot point; last week, Canada’s privacy commissioners said any vaccine passport would be illegal and a breach of the Privacy Act.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports for each intended purpose,” Daniel Therrien said in a statement.

“It is an encroachment on civil liberties.”

Mandating vaccine passports for Canadians who choose to travel or attend public facilities would require “a newly enacted public health order or law,” he said.

“A vaccine passport can take a number of different forms, such as a digital certificate presented on a smartphone app or a paper certificate, but it essentially functions to provide an individual with a verified means of proving they are vaccinated in order to travel or gain access to services or locations,” wrote Therrien.

“A vaccine passport presumes individuals will be required or requested to disclose personal health information, their vaccine status, in exchange for goods, services or access to certain premises.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last January 14 called vaccine passports an “extreme measure” and said cabinet would never enact any scheme that compelled Canadians to get vaccinated.

“I think the indications the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea, but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Cabinet introduced regulations January 7 under the Aeronautics Act requiring any citizen returning from abroad to prove they are COVID-19-free before boarding an aircraft. The mandatory COVID-19 test on February 22 was extended to drivers arriving at land borders.

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a vaccine even if it was locally available. Twenty-six percent said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to Statistics Canada.

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

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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