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MCCAFFREY: Teck rejection could be the last straw for Albertans

A failure to approve the Teck project will lead to an existential crisis for Alberta, and a constitutional crisis in Canada.



If we aren’t in a national unity crisis yet, the federal government seems intent on creating one.

The $20 billion Teck Frontier Project is an oilsands mine that would be located 110km north of Fort McMurray, could produce up to 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day, and Teck has already spent ten years trying to get all the required permits and approvals.

With a decision due at the end of February, rumours began swirling earlier this week that the federal government was considering ‘delaying’ the project.

Well, we in Alberta know what the federal government means by a ‘delay’ – we’ve seen this all before.

A ‘delay’ is code for constant, never-ending regulation, litigation, and negotiation with special interest groups until project backers run out of time and money and have no choice but to give up, letting the federal government claim they didn’t cancel anything.

We must not let that happen again, which is why Project Confederation launched a petition calling for the immediate approval of the project.

Let’s also not forget that all this debate is happening over a project that Ottawa really has no right involving themselves in at all.

Alberta fought hard for decades to enshrine in the Canadian constitution the right to control our own natural resources.

Yet, somehow, we’ve once again acquiesced to the point where federal approval is required, and where that approval can be withheld until the federal government’s demands are satisfied.

That’s why yesterday’s news was even more concerning.

Never mind a ‘delay’, five separate sources confirmed to the media that the federal cabinet is seriously considering rejecting the project entirely, with an “aid” package for Alberta being planned as consolation instead.

If true, that would be a disastrous decision for Alberta, and for Canada.

The project has come to represent hope to a beleaguered workforce, those still employed who go to work awaiting the next round of layoffs and think, every day, “I could be the next to go.”

It cannot be understated how damaging it would be for the federal government to cancel yet another of the few remaining bright lights that could help revitalize Alberta’s economy.

It’s not just this one project either. The signal that a rejection would send to the international investment community would be devastating.

It would make it clear that no matter what Alberta does, no matter what policies are implemented provincially, the federal government intends to shut down the lifeblood of the Alberta economy – energy.

Alberta is already engulfed in a resurgent spout of sovereigntist sentiment over inequities in confederation like Equalization payments, pipeline delays and cancellations, and federal over-reach on areas like firearms laws.

Travelling around the province over the last two months, attending the provincial government’s Fair Deal Panel meetings, I’ve spoken with many people who have given up on Canada, but also many who are willing to give it one more shot – one more attempt to negotiate a better deal for Alberta.

However, those who are open to giving Ottawa another chance also made it clear that it would only be one more chance, and that one more wrong move might tip them over the edge.

Some even explicitly mentioned the upcoming decision on Teck as being that potential last-straw moment.

Most Albertans don’t want to leave Canada. Rather, they feel like Alberta is being pushed out of Canada and this debate is confirming their fears.

Albertans don’t want aid. We don’t want handouts. We want jobs!

We want Ottawa to get out of the way and let us do what we do best – developing our natural resources to the highest environmental standards in the world, creating jobs, raising families’ incomes, attracting capital and people to move to our great province, and paying the bill for much of the rest of the country while we’re at it.

A failure to approve the Teck project will lead to an existential crisis for Alberta, and a constitutional crisis in Canada.

Now is the time for every Albertan to stand up and tell the federal government that enough is enough, that our voices matter too.

Sign the petition and volunteer for the campaign to get Teck approved here.

Peter McCaffrey is the Founder and President of the Alberta Institute, an independent, libertarian-minded, public policy think tank that aims to advance personal freedom and choice in Alberta.


SLOBODIAN: Doug Ford’s daughter could teach her father a thing or two about freedom

Daughter champions freedoms, daddy seizes them. Some who despise Premier Dad’s authoritarian decrees say the wrong family member heads Ontario.




Krista Ford Haynes, daughter of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, is going to make for some interesting Thanksgiving Dinner family conversation.

On Tuesday, Krista issued another dire warning against governments forcing vaccine passports, urging people to “collectively wake up” and not be obedient and unquestioning.

The following day, her father, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, launched COVID-19 vaccine passports, forcing people to choose between taking the jab, or losing many of their most basic freedoms. He claimed the passports are temporary.

Sure, they are. And 14 days would flatten the curve. No government relinquishes control it grabs. When COVID eventually passes, the newly established government powers will be turned elsewhere.

Daughter champions freedoms, daddy seizes them. Some who despise Premier Dad’s authoritarian decrees say the wrong family member heads Ontario.

Ford family get-togethers can’t be fun. Hopefully, they’re amicable. That’s not always the case.

Polarizing COVID-19 views about forced-masking, lockdowns, vaccines, and mandatory vaccine passports are dividing and destroying families and friendships.

Screaming matches and brawls over masks and social distancing aren’t confined to the aisles of Walmart among strangers.

Loved ones nearly, or maybe do, come to blows at dinner tables before the soup gets cold. That only happens when the government permits them to visit in between intermittent lockdowns.

Everyone’s ready to fall on their swords, convinced that their side — whichever it is — is solely righteous and right.

Haynes, 30, is an anti-vax crusader. Insults are hurled at her. The indignant demand she is reported. She’s been called “ignorant.” She makes people’s “blood boil.”

The feisty Haynes won’t back down from views some declare extreme.

Haynes, with thousands of followers, delivered her latest message in a video posted to Instagram after the federal election.

“Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. As we could have all expected, the Liberal government won last night with a minority government,” said Haynes.

The Liberals will carry on “stripping our freedoms away one day at a time,” she said.

Haynes has long warned that forced masking was a steppingstone to vaccine passports. She was mocked. Few are laughing now.

The passports are here. Alberta succumbed, despite Premier Jason Kenney’s solemn vow to gallantly fight the feds if they forced them. Then he did a 180 and imposed them with a vengeance.

Now Haynes warns vaccine passports are a steppingstone to more controls and lost freedoms.

“When I posted in May or June of last year about the upcoming mask mandates and not to comply, this is why I wanted people, urged people, not to comply,” she said.

“We found out right away that masks weren’t very effective at all based on how people were wearing and revising them, and it actually could have made things a lot worse for some people and are making things a lot worse for certain age groups today.”

“That was one, but we complied, we complied. We could have put our foot down collectively, and we didn’t.”

So, the worst of it has arrived?

“You think it’s just going to be movie theatres, restaurants, gyms. That’s the first step. The first step. They’re going to take it all. They’re going to take it all and we’ve allowed it.”

Australians wore their masks and obeyed ‘temporary’ lockdown orders. The former penal colony turned into one of the freest countries, has become an effective police state. Citizens face the most extreme lockdowns globally. Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets into a crowd of 400 unarmed and peaceful protestors against severe lockdowns and vaccine passports.

Chaos erupts around the world. People fear pandemic “mandates” have morphed into a sinister grab for complete control over their lives to advance ever-greater government control.

Many are losing their jobs for no good reason.

Citizens are enraged their children suffer abuse, being forced to wear masks with little proof they effectively prevent transmission of COVID.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s booster (third) shot six months after full immunization for the elderly and high-risk. It rejected an application to approve booster shots for all Americans 16 and older. They’ll circle back to that.

Haynes urged people to ask questions, discuss, research. She, like others who advocate this, are ridiculed, attacked, discredited, even fired.

Their critics just want everyone to comply with the latest orders and shut up.

Fear, anger and distrust over this curse called COVID-19 prevail. There’s little common ground.

Doctors who question the official doctrine are dismissed, shamed, and now, being fired in some cases.

Asking questions is a good thing. Blindly complying isn’t.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

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NARVO-GENIE: Harsher restrictions don’t save lives

Infected Albertans have so far survived COVID-19 at three times the rate of Quebeckers, and nearly at twice the rate of the average Canadian.




The most cited reason for COVID-19 lockdowns has been the protection of health care systems. The claim is that such protection saves lives. So, it is fair to ask how health systems are performing in their lockdown life-saving duty? 

There are several points from which one can compare health jurisdictions and how they have done in their fight against COVID-19. One can compare rates of infection, number of deaths, deaths per capita, survival rates, and so forth. No point of comparison is perfect, and each has its own limitations. The size of a country, the concentration of its population, its geography, its wealth, its pre-COVID-19 healthiness, and its policies can all be influences or justifications for the difference.

One way to compare jurisdictions is to ask about the survival chances of those confirmed to have been infected by SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus. Among those infected, how many die and how many survive in a jurisdiction might tell us something about the health of the population or about how a health system reacts and copes with crises.

Some will complain that it’s unfair to evaluate health systems in populations that are older or poorer in such a way. And the criticism would be justified. Comparing Canada to Bolivia, for instance, would be unfair. But comparing Canada with Sweden would be less unfair. And how do Canadian provinces compare to one another? In Canada, we have mechanisms designed to equalize programs delivered to citizens so that Canadians receive accessible and comparable levels of service. This is the case with healthcare.

All things being equal, care for COVID-19 patients in Manitoba should therefore not differ greatly from the care given in Saskatchewan, or even further away in Nova Scotia. Comparatively, regardless of how much each province spends, Canadian provinces have a similar capacity for their health systems, or so we are told.

On a per-capita basis, more COVID-19 patients have died in Sweden than in Canada. As of September 23, Sweden’s 1,449 deaths per million doubled Canada’s 720. Sweden’s case numbers per million (112,713) are three times larger than Canada’s (41,517), even though Sweden’s population is less than one-third that of Canada’s.  Many Canadians have pointed at these ratios, including Alberta’s government, to justify lockdowns by contrast to Sweden’s “softer touch” in dealing with COVID-19.

However, as a percentage of their own respective cases, more have died in Canada than in Sweden. Among people who have contracted COVID-19, the Swedish medical system has saved 34% more of their patients. Or, flipped around, Canadians who contracted COVID-19 have died at a greater ratio than Swedes. This begs the question why, with three times the comparative number of cases, the smaller country’s health system has coped and has saved more of their sick than Canada has: 1.3% of infected Swedes have died versus 1.73% of Canadians.

And what of our provinces? Here are the current percentages of deaths among the confirmed COVID-19 cases: 1.06 in British Columbia; 0.91 in Alberta; 1.03 in Saskatchewan; 2.02 in Manitoba; 1.66 in Ontario; 2.8 in Quebec; 1.34 in New Brunswick; 1.47 in Nova Scotia; 0 in PEI; and 0.44 in Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are far too many variables at play to generalize as to why these numbers are so. But for all that is being said about Alberta today, infected Albertans have so far survived COVID-19 at three times the rate of Quebeckers, and nearly at twice the rate of the average Canadian.

Albertans with COVID-19 have had a better chance than infected people in any other province except for PEI and Newfoundland. Manitobans would do well to ask how their COVID-19-stricken have died at twice the rate of those in Saskatchewan. Urban Ontario’s lockdowns have been quite brutal but the ratio of death per case in the province is roughly on the Canadian average.

The ferocity of police enforcement with border closures and tight general curfews in Quebec’s lockdowns stand out with the worst record of deaths per infected case in the country. Theirs is more comparable to Italy, which has the worst record among Western European states, and it is worse than Russia’s. Quebecers must ask themselves why.

In Western Europe, like in Canada, the jurisdictions with the most repressive lockdowns have typically had the higher death rates per case. The harder these jurisdictions have professed to protect their health system, the less well they have done at protecting people who are actually infected. It seems more than irony. It looks like a correlation.

Marco Navarro-Genie is a columnist for the Western Standard and is president of the Haultain Research Institute, a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. With Barry Cooper, he is co-author of COVID-19: The Politics of a Pandemic Moral Panic(2020).

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Makichuk: Memories of Peter Lougheed, and a different time

After the tumultuous and some might say disastrous administration of Jason Kenney’s UCP party, I feel the need to look back upon a time, when Alberta was being guided by a man with sterling character and vision.




Randy Hill’s voice was knowing and sure as we chatted over the phone.

A good friend for, what … four decades? … he was the legendary photographer for the Calgary Sun, who covered every major story in the city.

I am asking him to recount his media relationship with one of Alberta’s greatest political leaders, none other than Peter Lougheed.

After the tumultuous and some might say disastrous administration of Jason Kenney’s UCP party, I feel the need to look back upon a time when Alberta was being guided by a man with sterling character and vision.

“My relationship with Peter Lougheed was just amazing because I knew him before he really got into politics,” said Hill, who is now retired and living in a rural area.

The Harvard grad who played two seasons for the Eskimos, who would later battle his political adversary Pierre Trudeau and the National Energy Program, who helped fortify Alberta’s infrastructure by building roads, schools and hospitals and would protect Kananaskis Country, had humble beginnings as a politician, said Hill.

“When I first met him, it was in the Lougheed building, and I was there to get a picture of him. He was stuffing envelopes — the start of his political career. My assignment for the Albertan was to photograph this guy.

Randy Hill

“So how do you get a good picture out of a guy stuffing envelopes? I had to come back with the best picture I could get.”

Hill suddenly got an idea.

He sliced open an envelope and placed his camera behind it, with a wide-angle lens, which expressed the moment perfectly. There was this guy, Peter Lougheed, stuffing envelopes, and hoping for a political career.

It would run on the front page and apparently Mr. Lougheed would remember.

So let’s fast forward to another momentous occasion — the moment when Peter Lougheed toured what is now the Kananaskis region with a pilot and photographer Hill in back.

A small four-seater aircraft was getting kicked around like a toy by the strong winds coming off the mighty peaks.

Says Hill: “All I remember was that Peter was sitting up front, on the right next to the pilot and I was sitting behind him, with a camera around my neck.

“The point,” says Hill, “was to get a picture from up there, with Peter Lougheed looking down, at whatever he was looking at.”

Hill remembers they were flying very close to the mountain peaks, coming from west to east to get a good view, when the winds picked up.

After passing a ridge, the plane literally dropped out of the sky, catching a downdraft. Hill thought the wings would tear off. He thought it was over.

Despite having seat belts on, both he and Lougheed would bash their heads on the roof of the plane, so dramatic was the fall-off. Hill’s camera also smashed him in the face, temporarily stunning him.

Thankfully, everyone made it back OK, and Hill got the photo he needed, as usual.

While the date of this flight is not known, what we do know is thanks to lobbying efforts by Calgary-based environmentalist Bill Milne and MLA Clarence Copithorne, in 1978 Lougheed would create a large protected area to preserve the magnificent ranges and valleys, flourishing forests and emerald-green waterways which we now call Kananaskis Country.

A protected, ecological reserve and recreation area, it covers 4,000 square kilometres (1,544 square miles) of formally designated wildland parks, provincial parks, recreation parks, ecological reserves and cultural zones.

However, it was not only Lougheed’s political accomplishments and visionary approach that was admired, it was also his way of doing business.

Fast forward to a dinner party in McKenzie Towne with assorted media types and I happen to be sitting next to a woman who was in Lougheed’s inner circle during that era.

I make the mistake of asking her, what was it like “being in power with Peter Lougheed.”

She was horrified by the question and told me so. But then she went on to explain why.

The staff were never, ever allowed to say or express the equivalent of the word “power” in front of Peter Lougheed.

According to this woman, Lougheed vehemently insisted, demanded that his staff understood clearly, that they represented the people of Alberta and power had nothing to do with it.

God help you if you used the word “power” she said, adding that working with Lougheed was “an amazing experience.”

It was also Lougheed who instructed his cabinet to have nothing to do with a certain high-level German arms lobbyist, who would later be embroiled in a scandal with a former prime minister and end up serving a term in a Munich prison.

Lougheed simply didn’t tolerate that kind of nonsense.

Hill would also remember a fancy dinner function that marked the purchase of the Albertan by the Sun, which was attended by bigwigs, a.k.a. carpetbaggers from Toronto and, the premier and his wife.

Hill, who was assigned to get a photo, was tossed into a corner away from the action, when Lougheed shouted across the room: “Hey Randy, what are you doing sitting there?”

He called him over to the main table, moved his wife aside, and made room for him — which stunned the Sun brass into silence.

“You know, from taking the photo of him stuffing the envelope, to the airplane flight, to these people from Toronto who didn’t know me from Adam … and here the premier of Alberta is making it seem like I’m somebody important and making a fuss.”

And we wonder why Alberta is in the mess it’s in. Perhaps we should start by looking at the people at the top.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the military editor for the Asia Times.

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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

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