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UPDATED: Alberta MPs issue declaration on province’s future

Four Alberta MPs are speaking out – with what they are calling their Buffalo Declaration – aimed at fixing the province’s role in Confederation.

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Four Alberta MPs are speaking out – with what they are calling their Buffalo Declaration – aimed at fixing the province’s role in Confederation.

Saying “Canada is in crisis”, Michelle Rempel Garner, of Calgary Nose Hill, Blake Richards, of Banff-Airdrie, Glen Motz , of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, and Arnold Vierson, of Peace River released their manifesto to the Western Standard on Thursday afternoon.

Buffalo Declaration

The group said there are four main reasons why Alberta is not working within Confederation.

They say Alberta has not been recognized as being culturally distinct, it has never been an equal partner, is physically and practically separated from power structures and is “treated as a colony”.

Michelle Rempel Garner
MP for Calgary Nose Hill

“Our federation has reached a crossroads at which Canada must decide to move forward in equality and respect, or people in our region will look at independence from Confederation as the solution,” the four write.

“We believe a Canada united in equality is in the best interests of its inhabitants. However, that is not the current state of Canadian federation.  Immediate action must be taken to permanently correct inherent inequities that privilege some at the expense of others.”

Blake Richards
MP for Banff-Airdrie

“The economic and social challenges faced by Canada today are not the cause of the strains on our union, but rather are the symptom of the colonial power structures from which Alberta and Saskatchewan were born.

“Defeating the incumbent Liberal government, or building a pipeline, will not permanently address the systemic inequities Albertans face. For confederation to be sustainable, Canada must commit to permanent nation-building structural change within its institutions of power.”

Glen Motz
MP for Medicine Hat-Cypress

The quartet has listed numerous points in order for the situation to be resolved.

• Recognize Alberta is not an equal partner in Confederation.

• Balanced representation in Parliament, including an elected Senate.

• Recognize Alberta – or Buffalo – as a culturally distinct region within Confederation.

• Acknowledge, in the House of Commons, the devastation the National Energy Program caused to the people of Alberta.

• Fix the Equalization program.

• Retrench and clarify free-trade provisions in Canada in the Constitution.

• Constitutionally entrench resource projects as the sole domain of the provinces. 

• In the event Alberta begins to collect its own taxes, enable the province to also collect federal taxes and remit the federal share to Ottawa.  

• Enact structural change within Canada’s federal government to ensure all regions have a voice within its political and justice system.

• Mandate regional balance in all federal infrastructure funding programs.

• Mandate equitable regional distribution of funding to arts and culture as part of federal spending programs. Ensure Western art is prominently displayed in national museums.

• Recognize rural areas of Western Canada are isolated from the power structures of urban Eastern Canada and face unique challenges.

The Declaration continues: “The tone has changed because gains made during previous governments were erased in the first months of the current Trudeau Liberal government, and worse, more inequities have been put in place.

“Therefore, we acknowledge without immediate and permanent structural change, this cycle of paternalism towards Alberta is doomed to continue. This is especially true as Eastern Canada continues to urbanize, and the divide between our way of life and the power elites of the Laurentian consensus becomes more acute.”

Arnold Viersen
MP for Peace River

“The path forward starts today. One way or another, Albertans will have equality.”

In an exclusive interview with the Western Standard, Rempel-Garner said she came to the realization after the last election something needed to be done.

“After the last election it was just a case of history repeating itself. Nothing was going to change and that’s a statement of fact,” she said.

She praised the three other Alberta MPs for signing onto the declaration.

“A lot of people in our caucus have expressed their concerns. I think others will sign on,” she said.

Asked how optimistic she was about getting the declaration accomplished, Rempel Garner said: “It has to be done.”

And any further talk about Alberta independence would depend on “how the rest of Canada reacts.

“I worry about independence. Unless a clear effort is made in all of Canada to address these inequities, I think, in a very short period of time, that’s a question my constituents will be asking themselves.”

And she said it was critical that candidates in the federal Tory leadership race discuss the issue.

Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall praised Rempel Garner in a tweet.

The Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta also lauded Rempel-Garner.

The FCP fully supports this action and is encouraged to hear that mainstream politicians in Alberta are beginning to champion the ‘Equality or Independence’ stance. We know all to well that it takes guts to break from a party line and defy establishment politics. We support this 100 per cent,” said FCP president Bill Jones.

The entire Buffalo Declaration can be read here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor on the Western Standarddnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter: Nobby7694

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

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Woke readers would not, could not read these Dr. Seuss classics

Six Dr. Seuss books out of the 60 he wrote will no longer be published because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the business that preserves the author’s legacy said

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Woke readers of children’s books might like Green Eggs and Ham, but a half dozen classics from the immortal Dr. Seuss are heading for the moral dustbin.

Six Dr. Seuss books out of the 60 he wrote will no longer be published because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the business that preserves the author’s legacy said, CNN reported.

Books that will no longer be published are: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer.

If I Ran The Zoo

CNN reportes Dr. Seuss Enterprises said it made the decision after consulting educators and reviewing its catalog. 

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said in a statement. 

The Cat’s Quizzer

The statement came Tuesday, the birthday of the venerable children’s book author. 

Theodor Seuss Geisel has over 650 million copies of his books in print.

But CNN reported Geisel has “a long history of publishing racist and anti-Semitic work”, spanning back to the 1920s when he was a student at Dartmouth College. There, he once drew black boxers as gorillas and perpetuated Jewish stereotypes by portraying Jewish characters as financially stingy, according to a study published in the journal Research on Diversity in Youth Literature.

Scrambled Eggs Super!

That study, published in 2019, examined 50 books by Dr. Seuss and found 43 out of the 45 characters of colour have “characteristics aligning with the definition of Orientalism,” or the stereotypical, offensive portrayal of Asia. The two “African” characters, the study says, both have anti-black characteristics, said CNN.

“In The Cat’s Quizzer, the Japanese character is referred to as ‘a Japanese,’ has a bright yellow face, and is standing on what appears to be Mt. Fuji,” the authors concluded.

Seuss book

In If I Ran the Zoo “the three (and only three) Asian characters who are not wearing conical hats are carrying a White male on their heads. The White male is not only on top of, and being carried by, these Asian characters, but he is also holding a gun, illustrating dominance. The text beneath the Asian characters describes them as ‘helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant’ from ‘countries no one can spell.'”

Seuss book

The study argues since most human characters in Dr. Seuss’ books are white, his works center whiteness and thus perpetuate white supremacy.

Geisel was born 1904, passing away September 24, 1991 at the age of 87.

Seuss book

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

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Chinese-Canadians were working to contain COVID weeks before feds sounded alarms

The Commons public safety committee was told one MP said he learned of the risk not from the feds, but organizers of a Chinese-Canadian fundraiser in his BC riding.

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Some Canadians of Chinese descent learned and acted on the dangers of COVID-19 more than a month before the Public Health Agency started sounding warnings.

The Commons public safety committee was told Monday, one MP said he learned of the coronavirus risk not from the feds, but organizers of a Chinese-Canadian fundraiser in his BC riding.

“I just want to relate a story in my riding,” said Conservative MP Tako Van Popta (Langley-Aldergrove, B.C.).

“My first exposure to the virus – we weren’t even calling it COVID-19 at the time – was in January of 2020, six weeks before the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 to be a pandemic.

“There was a scheduled Chinese New Year here in my riding that I was going to attend. It was cancelled because people from the Chinese community here in my riding of Langley-Aldergrove, which is quite a significant community, said, ‘There’s something going on in China. We want to stop that, so we’re going to cancel this meeting.’”

A Chinese New Year celebration was to be held January 25, put on by The Langley Chinese Association.

But the group warned of “the coronavirus concern” and refunded all tickets.

“It’s just so sad but we do believe it is the smart thing to do,” one organizer told the Langley Advance Times that day.

“It is just getting worse and worse.”

The PHA at the time said there was little chance of a pandemic in Canada.

The Agency in memos said “the risk of this virus within Canada continues to remain low at this time” as late as March 9, two days before the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.

A day after that proclamation on March 12 , the PHA hosted a scheduled Ottawa convention of epidemiologists at a biannual Canadian Immunization Conference.

The cost of hosting the event was $319,167.

The event even came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged people to “figure out how to stay home from work and work from home.”

Government waited until last March 18 to restrict all foreign air travelers from Canada except permanent residents and U.S. citizens.

Orders requiring all returning Canadians to quarantine for two weeks were not issued until March 26.

“This has been with us for thirteen months, and the Liberal government has been very, very slow in securing our borders,” said Van Popta.

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

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Feds considered buying GM plant to make electric cars

GM said it was shuttering its plant in Oshawa in 2018 after more than 100 years

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A plan by cabinet to buy a closed GM plant and start building electric cars has be shelved.

Blacklock’s Reporter said internal memos show supporters of the plan had urged the Liberal government to purchase the plant to make all-Canadian vehicles.

“We seem to have some pretty fundamental differences of opinion about the role of industry and the private sector in all of this,” a political aide to then-Industry Minister Navdeep Bains wrote in an April 14, 2020 email.

GM said it was shuttering it’s plant in Oshawa in 2018 after more than 100 years.

The announcement drew some anger because it followed a $10.8 billion bailout of General Motors by federal and Ontario taxpayers in 2009.

An organization called Green Jobs Oshawa and members of the NDP caucus petitioned the government to take over the plant.

“The general concept is that the GM Oshawa workforce would be tapped to make electric vehicles and the government should bankroll this transformation,” said one staff memo.

“The specifics of the proposal have always been a moving target.

“The dollar figure was north of $1 billion and some versions of the proposal called for the Government of Canada to buy the plant outright from General Motors.”

“Are we considering the proposal?” asked Sabrina Kim, then-director of communications in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“No,” replied Sam Eberlee, a special assistant at the industry department.

“They seem to be making their pitch through petitions and headlines.”

“Discussions with General Motors Canada on the retooling are ongoing. We have a good story to tell on supply side work with the auto sector.”

The company received a $10 million contract last March to retool a plant to manufacture high-grade N95 pandemic masks.

GM also announced last November it would reopen the Oshawa factory by 2022 to manufacture Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks.

On October 8, cabinet gave a $295-million grant to Ford Motor Company of Canada to produce electric vehicles in Oakville, Ont.

“This is a win-win,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at the time.

Electric vehicles account for just three percent of sales nationwide despite $5,000 federal rebates.

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

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