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Buffalo Party goes into its first Saskatchewan election

The new party will get its first baptism of fire on October 26th.

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Saskatchewan will head to the polls before on October 26, giving the province’s new Buffalo Party its first chance to test itself with the electorate, while Premier Scott Moe seeks to extend the Saskatchewan Party’s 13-year reign.

This will be Moe’s first time leading his party into an election, having gained the leadership in 2018 following Brad Wall’s retirement.

The sovereigntist Wexit Saskatchewan registered as an official political party in March but later rebranded itself as the Buffalo Party

Interim leader Wade Sira says that he wants a strong West. 

“I’m more on the independence side. I’ve always been very [pro] independence for Western Canada whether it was in Canada or out of Canada, but we do need a stronger voice and stronger say in what’s going on in this country. We’re kind of left as a colony of Eastern Canada. I’ve never liked that ever since I was in high school,” Sira told the Western Standard.

Although the second term of a Trudeau government is a fertile time for sovereigntists like the Buffalo Party to gain ground, a pandemic is not. Covid-19 restrictions have lowered legal attendance to 30 venues in some places. The economic setback from the lockdown makes it a difficult time to fundraise.

“It’d be nice to . . . have more funds because we’re taking on the juggernaut of the Sask Party. The NDP don’t have a lot, and any other party out there is in the same position we are–that some of our fundraising is going to be back to our own account for making sure we can at least get some advertising,” Sira says.

Sira says the party is picking up support, especially from disaffected Saskatchewan Party supporters.

“We always known there was no one who was going to be able to replace Brad Wall. That was just a given; but the fact [is] that he [Moe] hasn’t done much in the last two years except close down our power plants and helped to close down our oil fields. He keeps sending off letters down to Ottawa saying that he wants pipelines built or he’s not happy with the gun laws, but there’s not a lot of action coming out of him,” Sira says.

The NDP chose Saskatoon doctor Ryan Meili as their new leader in 2018. Sira says the NDP’s embrace of “identity politics” has not sat well with some old NDP voters.

“More people in Saskatchewan are traditional people, whether they are the NDP or whether they are right of the spectrum or left of the spectrum. And a lot more people believe that all people matter. Yeah, some people have been treated worse than others throughout history but we need to move past this,” Sira says.

Sira believes the Buffalo Party could snag six of Saskatchewan’s 61 seats. He expects just 12 to 16 candidates will fly his party’s banner in October, though at present only five have been confirmed.  Sira will run in Martensville-Warman just north of Saskatoon and former PPC candidate Phil Zajac will run in Estevan, where many are upset at the federal move to shut down coal-fired power plants.

“Carbon capture is there and it’s proven and it’s working. Estevan, they feel they’ve been let down by the province and let down by the feds, because they’ve got both industries down there, oil and gas and coal,” says Sira.

“I drive truck right now so I drive all over Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan…There’s a lot of people unhappy. You know as well as I do, can you turn that frustration into actual votes?”

University of Saskatchewan political science professor Joseph Garcea believes a Sask Party majority is a “foregone conclusion.” Garcea says the NDP lack an overarching vision to counter Sask Party attack ads aimed at Meili and the legacy of the Romanow-Calvert era. Garcea says a few seats in Regina or Saskatoon could be at play, but little else will change.

An EKOS poll released August 31 showed the Sask Party enjoyed 60 per cent popular support, compared to 28 percent for the NDP, and 12 percent for other parties. The SP/NDP spread was 12 and 13 points in Regina and Saskatoon respectively, and just 9 points among university grads in the province. The poll did not ask respondents about potentially voting for the Buffalo Party.

On the Buffalo Party, Garcea says, “They will get some votes, but I think it’ll be more along the lines of what the Green Party gets, where the Green Party gets a particular type of individual that believes primarily in one thing…They’re against the federal state but they’re also against the provincial state. And they’re going to get these really, if I may say so, angry and sense of marginalized, anti-statist [voters]. They will gravitate to that party, but I do not think that there are many constituencies where it is likely to garner enough support to come in second.”

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Affairs Columnist for the Western Standard

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Affairs Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and is the former Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

News

COVID lockdown remains as new virus variants found in Alberta ‘a serious threat’

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There is no sign of Alberta relaxing COVID-19 lockdown regulations as numerous cases of virus variants are showing up in the province.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the variants are “a serious threat.”

Shandro said 20 cases of a variant from Great Britain, along with five cases of a variant from South Africa, have been discovered in the province.

He said the variants are one of the reasons the province will not be easing lockdown regulations as they make sure the health care system is not overwhelmed.

Shandro said any easing of the restrictions will be based on the amount of “risk” involved.

When asked about numerous Alberta businesses opening despite lockdown regulations, Shandro said: “Our hearts go out to all business.”

Shandro also blasted the federal government as Alberta currently has no COVID-19 vaccines to hand out. Manufacturer Pfizer has said Canada will not receive any doses this week.

“We need more doses – now,” said Shandro, adding Alberta is currently ready to vaccinate 50,000 people a day when the shipments resume.

He noted Canada has only vaccinated two per cent of the population, while in the US, the figure is six per cent and the UK, ten per cent.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said regulations will be relaxed “as soon as it’s safe.”

She said in the last 24 hours, Alberta has found 362 new cases of the virus, along with 25 deaths. The positivity rate is 5 per cent.

It’s is the fewest number of new cases in a day since Oct. 23.

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

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News

Alberta RCMP find man who was wearing KKK hood in Grimshaw

The picture hit social media in early January with townsfolk wondering in the KKK has set up a chapter in Grimshaw

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RCMP in Grimshaw say they have identified a man who was photographed at the town post office wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Now it’s in the hands of the Crown to determine whether charges are laid.

The picture hit social media in early January with townsfolk wondering in the KKK has set up a chapter in Grimshaw, located 25 km west of Peace River.

The photo was passed on to the RCMP who launched an investigation.

“Following several investigative steps, Peace Regional RCMP believe to have identified the individual involved in this incident. The Peace Regional RCMP’s investigation remains active and all information has been presented to the Office of the Crown Prosecution for review and opinion,” RCMP said in a statement Monday.

The day the photo appeared, Mayor Bob Regal posted on Facebook: “The Town of Grimshaw and its residents in no way finds this type of behaviour appropriate or acceptable along with the insinuations made that have been made by several commenters that Grimshaw is somehow a racist community! “

Media reports said the hooded man had been seen at the post office numerous times.

The KKK hate group has been around in one form or another since 1865. Membership peaked at 6 million in 1925. There are currently up to 8,000 members of the white supremacist group.

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

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Energy

Former Shell head says Biden’s Keystone move ‘makes no sense’

John Hofmeister said Biden’s move will create huge uncertainty in the energy industry.

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The former president of Shell Oil says President Joe Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project “makes no sense for the future good of the American people,” warning “we will pay a price for that.”

John Hofmeister made the comments on FOX Monday morning.

“Oil is not going away. Anyone that thinks it is, certainly doesn’t understand how the economy works and how science works and so it’s just going to be a struggle,” he said.

“We’re in for a number of years of struggle while we also work on the next set of alternatives.”

In addition to halting Keystone, Biden renewed the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate accord last Wednesday, the first day he was in power.

Hofmeister said Biden’s move will create huge uncertainty in the energy industry.

“It creates a great deal of uncertainty, which is very difficult to manage in a business that requires billions of dollars and years of planning,” Hofmeister, who retired as head of Shell in 2008, told Fox.

“We’re not going to get rid of fossil fuels in a four-year term or an eight-year term of an administration. It’s just not going to happen. What will happen is that the price of oil will go up and the production of U.S. oil will go down.”

Alberta has billions of dollars tied up in the cancelled project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to operator TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

In a letter to Trudeau Friday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney claims when Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project on Wednesday, he broke several free trade regulations.

“At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the US Administration to compensate TC Energy, and the Alberta government, for billions of dollars of cost incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date,” Kenney’s letter said.

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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