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UCP MLA Barnes demands tougher stance – including possible independence vote

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes said the issue of Alberta independence needs to be squarely on the table.

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UCP MLA and member of the Alberta Fair Deal panel, Drew Barnes has written his own report to Premier Jason 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.

“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@westewrnstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby769

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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Penticton joins list of cities cancelling Canada Day celebtations

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

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The city of Penticton has become the second municipality in BC to cancel Canada Day festivites.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

“When we heard what happened in Kamloops and they found the 215 unmarked graves of those children, we thought it was appropriate to hold back and wait to see what the federal government was going to announce,” Mayor John Vassilaki told CBC.

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

“The Chief also made a note that if we were to cool down the celebrations this year, it would be greatly appreciated by the Penticton Indian Band,” said Vassilaki. 

“And we wanted to show respect and reconciliation with what happened in Kamloops.”

St. Albert this weekend became the first city in Alberta to cancel celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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

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News

St. Albert cancels Canada Day fireworks

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

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The city of St. Albert has become the first municipality in Alberta to cancel some Canada Day celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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

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BREAKING: Alberta to drop all COVID restrictions on Canada Day

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3 which was a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

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It’s all systems go for Alberta to launch into Stage 3 of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3, which included a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

He said Alberta will drop all COVID-19 regulations on July 1 and “our lives will get back to normal.”

That means:

  • All restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain

“This is a great day for Alberta! Thanks to the diligence of Albertans and the decision of 2.7 million folks to get vaccinated, we are now just two weeks away from getting our lives back to normal,” said Kenney at a Friday press conference.

“This is an important milestone and a great achievement, but we will not stop here. We will keep administering first and second doses as quickly as possible so we’re not just open for summer, but open for good.”

Kenney said the general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings.

And the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton have said they may continue with their municipal mask bylaws.

“With more than 70% of eligible Albertans now vaccinated with a first dose and more receiving second doses every day, the end of this pandemic is near,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

“Thank you to the Albertans who have rolled up their sleeves to get protected. For those who are still thinking about getting a shot, you have only one week to get your shot before we draw for $1 million and other great prizes.”

Anyone in Alberta aged 18 and over can still enter the first Open for Summer Lottery draw for a chance to win $1 million. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 24 and proof of vaccination will be required to claim the prize. The winner will be announced on July 1.

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

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