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NDP demands UCP throw Drew Barnes out of caucus for “separatist” letter

Drew Barnes has written his own report to Kenney urging a much stronger stance against Ottawa for the province to get a fairer deal in confederation, adding that the issue of Alberta independence needs to be on the table.

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The Alberta NDP says Premier Jason Kenney should boot MLA Drew Barnes out of the UCP caucus after he demanded tougher action than the provincial Fair Deal panel wanted.

The NDP is now calling Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Barnes, who was on the Fair Deal panel, the leader of the Alberta “separatist” movement.

And a former provincial Tory cabinet minister, Donna Kennedy-Glans, also on the panel, is slamming Barnes for having his own “personal agenda” by sending out a letter dissenting from the majority report.

“Jason Kenney has been recklessly fanning the flames of separatism to distract Albertans from his failed economic record,” said Sarah Hoffman, the NDP’s Deputy Leader.

“He selected Drew Barnes to help lead this panel. Did he know Barnes was a separatist when he appointed him?  

“As the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney must denounce and disavow Barnes’ calls for separation. While Albertans are struggling with massive job losses, business failures and a global pandemic, there cannot be a separatist caucus within the government. Drew Barnes is obviously claiming the leadership of that faction. Jason Kenney must act.”

Kennedy-Glans, a member of Kenney’s transition team when he came to power, said she and other panel members were stunned when Barnes released his own report.

“After we had all reached a consensus on the report, I find it incredibly cynical to release his own letter at almost the same time,” Kennedy-Glans told the Western Standard in an interview.

“We talked through many, many issues and not once did we not listen to Drew. We all made accommodations.

“It sends a terrible message when we can’t even reach a consensus.”

But in an interview with the Western Standard, Barnes said his report should have come as no surprise to Kennedy-Glans or other panel members.

“There were two or three times I said filing a dissenting opinion was an option for me. It shouldn’t have been a shock,” said Barnes, adding he hasn’t heard from Kenney since the report was filed.

“Alberta needs a better deal and we shouldn’t be afraid to make it stronger.

“But try try and get a better deal, there may have to be consequences.

“I want a better deal for Alberta within Canada.”

Barnes has written his own report to Kenney urging a much stronger stance against Ottawa for the province to get a fairer deal in confederation, adding that the issue of Alberta independence needs to be on the table.

“I am grateful to you [Premier Kenney] for giving me the opportunity to listen to the thousands of Albertans that came to share their vision with the Fair Deal Panel,” said Barnes in a press release moments after the Fair Deal Panel report was released Wednesday.

“With an increasingly hostile government in Ottawa, you have had the foresight to understand that Albertans will no longer accept the inequities of being a second-class people under the constitution. My colleagues on the panel have given thoughtful consideration to the proposals before us, but it is necessary for me to express clearly to you and to Albertans what I feel in my heart must be done.”

In his letter, Barnes recommends the following:

  • A firm referendum date six months from now expressly forbidding Ottawa from legislating any kind of Equalization program.
  • Alberta should collect its own provincial and federal personal and corporate income taxes.
  • Alberta should hold a referendum expelling Ottawa from spending inside areas of provincial jurisdiction and transferring the tax points of the Canada Health and Social Transfers to the provinces.
  • Albertans should elect a constitutional convention to draft a provincial constitution, to be ratified in a referendum.
  • An Alberta Constitution should include the right to initiate referenda and recall elected representatives.
  • Alberta should immediately take back control over its own immigration under its provincial jurisdiction.
  • Albertans should hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment to not only elect senators, but to equally and justly determine how many seats each province holds.
  • Alberta should hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment to clarify and strengthen internal free trade provisions, including the right to move our resources across provincial boundaries.
  • Albertans should hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment to strictly firewall off any encroachment by the federal government over the internal development of our natural resources.

Barnes said his proposals should be voted on in two broad questions proposed to Albertans in a referendum: one on actions that Alberta can make unilaterally without federal consent, and one on constitutional amendments requiring the consent of the federal and other provincial governments.

“As we do so, we should be clear with Ottawa and the other provinces that if the people of Alberta vote for a fair deal of constitutional equality within confederation, but these proposals are rejected, that Albertans will be given the opportunity to vote on their independence,” said Barnes.

“While I appreciate that my colleagues on the panel do not believe that Alberta can raise the prospect of independence under any circumstance, I must respectfully disagree. A free people must be willing to at some point of injustice without rectification, to draw a line and make a stand.

“I do not make any of these recommendations, and the last in particular, lightly. I was born a Canadian, and sincerely wish to build a reformed Canada that treats all of its people equally and fairly.

“In fact, this is another opportunity for Albertans to lead the way, for by finding equality and fairness for ourselves, we can create the framework for others to find the same. Ultimately, this will help to build a stronger, freer, prosperous, and more united Canada.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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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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