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WAGNER: Alberta’s independence movement needs the right leader

“Not long ago, Jason Kenney was able to “Unite Alberta” to rescue the province from the NDP, and he deserves credit for that. But now someone is needed to rescue the province from Ottawa.”

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What will it take to galvanize an effective independence movement in Alberta? Needless to say, a number of elements are necessary for any political movement, including an internally united political party, committed supporters, and financial resources. However, a particular kind of charismatic and high-energy leader is likely essential for taking the independence movement to the next level.

The necessity of dynamic leadership for building a new political movement is commonly seen in history, especially from Alberta’s own history. Although this point may seem like common sense, it is disputed by some. For example, Marxists consider successful political movements to be the result of economic forces. In their view, the role of particular leaders is merely incidental. 

But the Marxists are wrong, of course, and there are a number of instances where a particular leader has made an essential contribution to the success of a political movement or party. Just think of the role of President Donald Trump over the last few years.

In Alberta, the most striking example of indispensable leadership would be that of William “Bible Bill” Aberhart and the Social Credit Party. The essential part played by Aberhart in the rise and success of that movement is explained by University of Toronto professor John A. Irving in his 1959 book, The Social Credit Movement in Alberta, which is volume 10 of the University of Toronto Press’ multi-volume series of academic books entitled “Social Credit in Alberta: Its Background and Development.” 

Irving presents a very detailed account of the origin and spread of Social Credit in Alberta. Aberhart was the principal of Crescent Heights High School in Calgary and a popular Bible teacher. As a pioneer radio evangelist, he had amassed a very large and loyal audience throughout Alberta. However, Aberhart was not active in politics until one of his favourite Grade 12 students committed suicide in 1932 due to hardships resulting from the Great Depression. After that heartrending event, he read a book about Social Credit theory, which needless to say, he found convincing.

Aberhart began to use his religious broadcasts to promote social credit economic and monetary theory. The idea caught on like wildfire and he was invited to speak about it all over the province. Ultimately, candidates were selected to run in the 1935 provincial election, and his new political party won 56 of 63 seats in the Legislature.

In three short years Social Credit went from being an obscure economic theory to the guiding philosophy of a new political party dominating Alberta’s government. Irving explains that Aberhart himself was key to this success. “It is doubtful if the movement would have won political power in Alberta without his leadership.”

Needless to say, Aberhart’s access to a large radio audience was a vital factor in his ability to create and develop a political movement. It gave him a way to spread his message quickly and widely. Furthermore, he had considerable prestige as a popular religious leader. Those factors, though, were not sufficient for political success. As Irving writes, “the people of Alberta were also profoundly impressed by certain traits of leadership he possessed in addition to his religious influence. His presence and his voice, for example, contributed to inspire in his followers a fanatical and mysterious zeal: they felt that he spoke as one having authority.”

Aberhart’s public speaking abilities were second-to-none. Accounts of his political meetings bring to mind the kinds of rallies held by Donald Trump in recent years. For example, during the 1935 provincial election campaign, the United Farmers of Alberta and Liberal Party candidates had trouble attracting audiences. Aberhart, by contrast, could draw large and enthusiastic crowds anywhere he went.

As Irving recounts, “Wherever he appeared, the roads leading to that place would be jammed with traffic all headed for the meeting place. The large audiences that always assembled would await his arrival with spontaneous expectancy. His appearance on the platform would be greeted with waves of thunderous applause. Even in small or remote villages like Sylvan Lake or Marwayne there was no relaxation of the heightening tempo of his campaign. The people who flocked to his meetings, invariably over-crowded, wanted a good show and they always got it. The great spellbinder never failed to lift his audiences to a state of hysterical enthusiasm.”

In short, Aberhart was able to do what no other figure could do. He made a uniquely significant contribution to the political direction of Alberta. Irving writes, “previous to Aberhart’s decision to take the Social Credit movement into politics, Alberta had never seen his like as a political leader. He was, indeed, a unique phenomenon, not only in the political experience of Alberta but in that of Canada at large.”

Quite simply, without the leadership of Bill Aberhart, it’s very unlikely that Social Credit would have become the dominant force in Alberta politics for three decades. His particular leadership was a key factor.

To some degree, certain subsequent leaders have had a profound influence on Alberta politics as well. Peter Lougheed took a moribund provincial Progressive Conservative Party with no seats in the legislature, and turned it into the governing party within six years. And in 1993, Ralph Klein delivered his “miracle on the prairies” when many knowledgeable observers believed that the days of the PC dynasty were finally over. Even the NDP election victory of 2015 is difficult to explain without acknowledging the leadership qualities of Rachel Notley. Of course, there is more to political success than leadership, but it can be the decisive factor in some cases, as it was for Social Credit.

When the right leader comes along advocating Alberta independence, the widespread but largely unaggregated support for renegotiating Alberta’s place within Canada – or out of it – may come together into a powerful political force. Not long ago, Jason Kenney was able to “Unite Alberta” to rescue the province from the NDP, and he deserves credit for that. But now someone is needed to rescue the province from Ottawa. 

As in the early 1930s, the situation is getting desperate, and Alberta needs another special individual to lead the fight for an independent West.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

Michael Wagner is a Senior Alberta Columnist for the Western Standard. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. His books include 'Alberta: Separatism Then and Now' and 'True Right: Genuine Conservative Leaders of Western Canada.' mwagner@westernstandardonline.com

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Mr Jay

    December 29, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    Most importantly we need a leader who is not afraid to talk about the big global problems of the day. That is the NWO and the socialist agenda’s that are already being propagated on us by a controlled bought leftist media, even from Alberta. They no longer offer objective news or are open to dialogue. They exist to propagate and have become an enemy to freedom loving people.
    A new leader who first identifies with people on these issues can then try to get the message through, that really only Independence is the way to escape the majority globalist voters from eastern Canada who are dictating our demise. Alberta needs control over radio and television communication in our province and pull licenses on the networks whose news is propagating the socialist NWO agenda.
    As well, get this propagating out of our schools and universities.
    This new leader must find a way to get the message out to the public which the MSM is likely only going to cast in a bad light same as they have with Trump. So maybe the rally’s (like with Trump) are the way to go even if they start small. Also use new social media like Parler who do not suppress free speech.

  2. Ron Voss

    December 29, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Hard to think of Lougheed as a “kind of charismatic and high-energy leader”. Are you promoting style over substance? How about genuine?

  3. Cytotoxic

    December 26, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    “Just think of the role of President Donald Trump over the last few years.”

    He’s killed the GOP and ended conservatism as a serious political force. This is not the data point you want.

    Yeah, Albertan separatism could use a good leader. What it really really needs is better separatists, not these illiterate yokel MAGAtard types whose contribution is ‘Ottawa bad’. Albertan separatism needs a political right that’s intellectual and populated by serious people, and that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere in North America at the moment except maybe Mexico.

    • GonadTheRuffian

      December 27, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      If Trump manages to kill the Republican Party, that is fantastic. Half or more of Republican politicians are RINOS anyway. They and the Demonrats are nothing more than a de facto American Uniparty. They serve themselves, the Chinese. and other wealthy interests; not the American people. It took Trump to unmask the selfish RINOS and show them for what they are; greedy, millionaire, career politicians; selling the USA out to any foreign interests for money. McCain is a prime example.

      • Cytotoxic

        December 28, 2020 at 3:35 pm

        Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden thank you for clearing the way and keeping them in power for a very, very long time.

      • GonadTheRuffian

        December 29, 2020 at 10:28 pm

        The only way the Demonrats will be in power for a long time is if American patriots allow the 2020 Demonrat Cheat to stand.

    • Charles Martell III

      December 27, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      Donald Trump saved the USA from the Uni-party . . . the folks that have tried for 5 years to get rid of him.
      Why you ask? He upset the “Status-quo” where they all played at running the country while ALL GETTING RICH. Endless Wars feeding the Weapons Industry that in turn funded the Politicians . . . Had ole Hillary won the USA would be more like Cuba today !

      Trump in just 3 years created the Best US Economy in 50 years . . .
      The Lowest Unemployment since the 70s and lowest Minority Unemployment EVER !
      He called out the Fake Media who have been lying to us since the 70s . . .
      He called out China that has been stealing Technology & Patents for 30 years . . . put Tariffs on them and brought back 1/2 Million Manufacturing Jobs to the USA.
      Obama, the feckless loser, said it would take a “Magic Wand” . . . lol

      So why didn’t Obama do that? Instead he added 13 Million to Food Stamp Rolls . . .
      Sent Billions in Cash by air to Iran . . . watched 200,000 manufacturing jobs leave.
      But he was so cool . . . the media just luved him . . . as he bombed in 7 countries turning Libya into a disaster and hugging tyrants like the Brotherhood & Cuba. Obama sent his Social Justice Fakebook warriors to Canada for 6 months in 2015 to help get Justin elected.

      Now we have just watched the Biggest Election Fraud in History . . . and you don’t know anything about it because the far-left FakeStream Media ignore the facts.
      The also ignore the Biden Crime Cartel . . . for decades they have been selling out the USA and ole Joe is on the Payroll of the CCP. FBI Investigation going on right now . . . but don’t wait to see it on the CBC . . . lol

      Average Canook is so poorly informed . . . and proud of it !

      • Cytotoxic

        December 28, 2020 at 3:32 pm

        “Trump in just 3 years created the Best US Economy in 50 years .”

        No he didn’t. 2017 was basically the same as 2016 and it only went downhill from there.

        “Had ole Hillary won the USA would be more like Cuba today !”

        It’s your fantasy. I have no interest in indulging it.

        “brought back 1/2 Million Manufacturing Jobs to the USA.”

        No he didn’t. Those jobs are gone forever, and good riddance.

        “Now we have just watched the Biggest Election Fraud in History ”

        That’s a lie.

      • Mr Jay

        December 29, 2020 at 11:39 pm

        You clearly are informed only by leftist media.

  4. working ant

    December 26, 2020 at 8:24 am

    In my humble opinion there appears to be two issues at play, both significant and interdependent upon each other. The first challenge relates to creation of a federal level political party that mirrors the Bloc Quebecois in focus; their regional constituents and enough influence in Canada’s parliament to counter-balance Eastern weight. The second component relates to provincial level of support. Currently, Saskatchewan appears to have found the right mix of participants and messaging, Alberta has most of the ingredients but is still fragmented and Manitoba is in its infancy with lots of rhetoric but very little obvious activity. Manitoba needs a wake-up call to start the process. That may be closer than people think if Mr. Pallister shows any indications of an early exit.

    • Exiled Maritimer

      December 26, 2020 at 11:39 am

      While I agree with the tone of your comments, the federal party route has been tried by Reform and led to a decade of liberal rule. In order to get into power Reform had to absorb the Central Canadian agenda which has led to their latest position of giving the anti-west provinces a veto over our economy. Rather than cement Trudeau in power for another decade there is another path. There already exists in the CPC caucus a number of MPs who have developed the Buffalo Declaration. A successful strategy would work at the riding level to nominate pro-Buffalo candidates running for the CPC. Approximately 80 ridings in western Canada (say BC 22 of 42, Alberta 34 of 34, Sask 14 of 14, Manitoba 10 of 14) are available. By contrast Quebec controls the agenda with 78. Imagine a CPC government with a majority of MPs with a pro-western agenda. No longer would the western agenda be given a lower priority so as not to upset the central canadian agenda. So give your CPC riding candidates an ultimatum – Buffalo declaration or be replaced.

      • Cytotoxic

        December 26, 2020 at 12:03 pm

        I don’t think Quebec is as powerful as people like you are claiming. Your view is outdated. It’s Ontario that has the control.

      • David Elson

        December 26, 2020 at 12:57 pm

        The Toronto-Montreal corridor has one third of all parliamentary seats. Outside of that, the Toronto-Montreal power base needs only a few votes to obtain at least a minority government.

        What the majority of that area wants, they get, and the majority there are big government, velvet glove socialists. They don’t care for Alberta and weird idea’s about freedom, independence, and market capitalism.

        If Alberta does not go its’ own way, those people will soon become big government, iron handed socialists.

        Only Alberta making a unilateral declaration of independence can change the awful trajectory Canada is on.

      • Cytotoxic

        December 26, 2020 at 8:04 pm

        Fair enough, and probably true to at least a large degree. Keep in mind Ford won in Toronto and then so did Tory. Tory’s no socialist.

        I think that area isn’t as homogeneous as it looks. If the political right weren’t a shambles and had serious leadership it would at least a lot of the GTA.

      • David Elson

        December 28, 2020 at 4:09 pm

        You are correct, in both Montreal and Toronto the case is that they are not as homogeneous as their voting records might imply. However, there are significant reasons why their voting record is the way it is. I see zero hope for Toronto ever swinging to a conservative majority barring a major economic downturn.

        To be honest. They like the country the way it is and they don’t mind a pretty boy PM taking a bit on the side.

      • Cytotoxic

        December 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm

        Probably true. What’s actually much worse is that the ‘conservative parts’ of Ontario (usually non-NDP rural holes) and other provinces are Red Tory-tastic or otherwise crummy. Comprised of ‘conservative progressives’. Alberta might be different enough to rise above all, and that’s what makes separation worth pursuing.

        That being said, the Albertan penchant for ‘rock ribbed individualism’ is kinda BS. It was only really on display during the Klein times. Once USD devaluation made oil expensive, that surface-level ‘rugged individualism’ peeled right off.

      • David Elson

        December 26, 2020 at 12:55 pm

        The federal route has been tried more than once. The UFA was the “Reform Party” of it’s day when it swept to power in Alberta in 1921. It represented Alberta at the Federal level in alliance with the old Progressives before the Progressives merged with the Conservative Party to form the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. In all of these iterations, genuine reform has been an Alberta concern.

        The truth is any western based party bent on reform, no matter what it’s called has been soundly rejected in Ottawa.

        Ottawa is the colonial power in Canada, and the eastern folk like it that way. They won’t do a dam thing until we say enough is enough and mean it.

        Alberta will be much more successful when it adopts Home Rule by unilateral declaration of independence. Only then will the rest of Canada negotiate for a free and fair trade deal.

  5. Guest

    December 26, 2020 at 3:15 am

    Crime Minister Trudeau choked on Proportional Representation because he knew that would give Western Canada a larger voice then First Past the Post voting. Trudeau lied, again, like he has been doing ever since he came to power as Canada’s village idiot.

    Trudeau’s just another Eastern elite dancing the Quebec/Ontario voter fraud of Confederation.

    • David Elson

      December 26, 2020 at 1:17 pm

      Proportional Representation won’t work in a large country with a parliament modeled after that of a small unified nation (the U.K.).

      PR would return a minority government every time, and a perpetual minority government would quickly turn Canada into a basket case.

      You would need to have a powerful senate with equal representation for each province to counter those effects, and dammed if the west hasn’t been trying to make that reform in one way or another for the last 100 years.

      Canada does need structural institutional change, but the majority of its’ population has no real incentive to alter something that works for them, and won’t have until Canada is faced with an existential crises.

  6. That's DOCTOR #SAND to you...

    December 25, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Boot the RCMP out as the first move and install a provincial police force.
    That way Jackboot Justin can’t use them.

    • GonadTheRuffian

      December 25, 2020 at 10:24 pm

      Yeah, its not the rank-and-file, its the corrupt leadership at the top of the RCMP. They have proven time and again that they are just another tentacle of the Federal Liberal Party. Look how they have turned a blind eye to the theft and dishonesty of Turdeau and his Librano Gang. Pathetic!

      • Cytotoxic

        December 26, 2020 at 12:03 pm

        Oh it’s also the rank and file. The RCMP has lots of problems.

      • David Elson

        December 26, 2020 at 1:37 pm

        Well, let’s see. The rank and file won’t show up at Justine’s door to arrest him for public corruption, but they have shown up to arrest Saskatchewan farmers for selling their own wheat, and broken into the homes of Albertans to steal guns.

        What could possibly be wrong with that?

        “I was just following orders” is not an excuse.

      • GonadTheRuffian

        December 27, 2020 at 8:58 pm

        You’re right. Maybe I spoke too soon.

    • David Elson

      December 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm

      This is wrong, just plain wrong. Provinces with their own provincial police forces are still policed by the federal RCMP.

      To get rid of the RCMP, you must remove the authority of the federal government.

  7. David Elson

    December 24, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Good article. I agree with the conclusion. A leader must be recruited and given all the tools necessary to take a party from obscurity to power. Aberhardt did it. So did Peter Lougheed. Aberhardt did it fast, Lougheed did it slow. Contrasting the two is enlightening. Yet both have things in common. Both went out to meet with the people and inspired their confidence.

    Angry people yammering about problems or offering ill thought out solutions will not work. The idea of independence is simple and can be summed up in two words: Home Rule.

    Only by taking control of our future, can we be in control of our future.

  8. Born30

    December 24, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    Unless you change this voting system from FPTP the most corrupt to PR the least corrupt nothing will change The best-run countries are PR, Sweden builds its own jets and submarines, Canada buys used junk subs and used fighter jets, Norway has 1 trillion in its rainy day fund from oil revenue and according to Forbes mag. is the best country for business in the world…Australia is creating about 1000 jobs a day and has GDP over 3% Canada just over 1% and they have had dental and pharma care for years and their min wage is about 20 dollars and goes up every year …remember Trudeau got elected PM with far less than 50% and so did Harpur, in some ridings 40% are not voting…CON/LIBS same party… check these vids…https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo https://youtu.be/uif249ZoaEg https://youtu.be/o5PtXrjdYTQ https://youtu.be/3L8vJVe_MLI https://youtu.be/xPpTnHaemDY Support Fair Vote Canada https://www.fairvote.ca/

    • Charles Martell III

      December 27, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      Swedes also have enormous taxes . . . and of course a massive Welfare State to fund.
      You are confused if you think Sweden is doing well . . . they are just getting by.
      VAT in Sweden is 25% . . . 200 Bombings last year in Sweden, things are great!

      Norway? Small country about 8 million and they got into the Oil Business big time 40+ years ago . . . StatOil was in 36 countries, building pipelines, marine industry, etc. etc.
      Meanwhile . . . Canada fretted about Gorebull Warming and did nothing . . .

      Proportional voting tends to breed Political Parties . . . it is complex and can lead to more fraud. Canada’s disease is almost 60% of citizens vote for Free Stuff . . .

      Canada should be TWO Countries . . . the East & the West have little in common, the Election is over at the Manitoba Border as a rule.
      The Fact that the East has been bleeding the West for at least 100 years . . . . while making all the decisions. Like the 4 pipelines that were approved 6 years ago and still don’t exist.
      Or the CNG facilities that have been kicked around for a Decade and still don’t exist.
      The West would be thriving today on it’s own . . . without the leadership of the Dumbest PM in Canadian History. I am sure the West could have picked a better leader out of a Phone Book.

      Western Canada would be far more successful on its own . . . trading North/South with the USA.

      • GonadTheRuffian

        December 27, 2020 at 3:27 pm

        Try telling these truths to imbeciles like Cytotoxic. Good luck.

    • Charles Martell III

      December 27, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      Nothing to do with the Voting System . . . ALL about who’s in charge.

      Andrew Coyne is a certifiable moron . . . ditto for the rest of your videos.

      Remember when . . . .
      World’s Richest Middle Class . . . NY Times
      World’s Best Reputation . . . Reputation Institute
      Best Wage Growth in G7 Nations . . . 2007-2012
      Best Oilfield Salaries in the World . . .
      Best Oilfield Enviro Regs in the World . . . Harvard Bus School
      Best Country to do Business . . . . Forbes
      World’s Best Debt to GDP Ratio , . . OECD

      ALL of that is in the REAR VIEW Mirror today Canada . . .

      Canada’s present dilemma can be laid at the feet of our FakeStream Media . . . who are mostly Far-Left and strive to pick winners & losers. Unfortunately today the Citizens are the losers. A complex voting system solves nothing . . .

      • Born30

        December 27, 2020 at 6:05 pm

        Really,I think your deceived and you will not succeed in seperating…better look for another job …take a look at this vid on how well they are doing in Norway .. best run countries are PR Today, the Alberta Energy Company is the second-largest oil-and-gas producer in Canada, but the province privatized it in 1993, leaving Albertans with no ownership stake in their oil industry or the corresponding wealth that goes with that…Thanks to the conservative party of Alberta and Canada, a vote for conservatives is a vote for poverty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKbD08I6odw and this vid about Denmark https://youtu.be/JXecLXlzEXE are you anti maskers?

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Opinion

WAGNER: Hydrocarbon based fuels are here to stay

“Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”

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Alberta’s future is threatened by a national campaign to dramatically reduce the production of hydrocarbons.

The political and media elite repeatedly assure everyone that such fuels can be replaced by new “green” energy sources such as wind and solar power. People currently employed in the oil and gas industry will supposedly transition into green energy production and life will continue on as before, except with fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Indeed, Justin Trudeau’s federal government has committed to transitioning Canada’s economy to producing net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Trudeau’s scheme is a fairy tale. Hydrocarbons are going to be required for a very long time because current green energy technology is nowhere near where it needs to be to replace them. Currently, there are no realistic alternatives to oil and gas, so reducing their production will only lead to energy shortages.

As Dr. Henry Geraedts put it recently in the Financial Post, “The ultimate goal of net-zero politics is to impose a radical energy transition that demands a top-to-bottom physical and social-economic restructuring of society, with no credible road map in sight. Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”

Geraedts’ Financial Post column is a brief description of a policy report he produced in June 2021, and how it was ignored because its conclusions contradict the ideological perspective that university professors are expected to support. He didn’t toe the party line, in other words, and therefore got the cold shoulder.

Geraedts’ report, Net Zero 2050: Rhetoric and Realities, is available online at the website of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy which is affiliated with both the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. It’s a very credible piece of work.

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons and Geraedts points out “hydrocarbons are nature’s most efficient embodiment of primary energy: the combination of high energy density, abundance, stability, safety, portability and affordability is unmatched by any other source of energy.”

Currently, hydrocarbons comprise about 80% of global primary energy. This is essentially the same percentage as 30 years ago, when the global warming craze began. Despite years of favourable government policies and billions of dollars in government subsidies, green technology such as wind and solar energy remain relatively small contributors to the world’s energy supply.

Geraedts also describes the negative environmental impacts caused by so-called green energy technology. Among the most interesting details he mentions is: “Neither turbine blades nor solar panels nor lithium-ion batteries are physically or economically recyclable. They are instead, at an alarming rate, ending up in landfills leaching toxic chemicals — an estimated 10 million tons/year of batteries by 2030 alone.” So much for protecting the environment.

Geraedts is not a so-called “denier.” He points to data from reliable sources indicating global temperatures have increased by one degree Celsius since 1900. But he also explains “the projections used to justify net zero policies and the Paris Accord, are based on fundamentally flawed computer climate models that overstate warming by some 200%.”

Not only that, but “observational, empirical evidence remains agnostic as to what, with requisite confidence levels, is attributable to anthropogenic influences vs. natural variability.” In other words, it cannot be determined with certainty to what degree the gradual temperature increase is the result of human activities.

But climate change worries aside, there is still a fatal lack of realistic alternatives to hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency forecasts that even if all countries fulfill their Paris Accord commitments — an unlikely prospect — hydrocarbons will still account for 60% of primary energy in 2040. With accelerating energy demand in Africa and Asia, Geraedts expects hydrocarbons will remain the dominant energy source for decades to come.

This is what it all means: If we put progressive ideology aside and take a hard, honest look at the energy situation, hydrocarbons are here to stay for quite a while. Knowing the ingenuity of human beings in a free society, the discovery of new energy sources is likely at some point in the future. For now, though, we need oil and gas, and Alberta has lots of both.

With strong international demand for hydrocarbons forecast to last for decades, there is no reason why these resources cannot continue to provide the foundation of economic prosperity for the province. The biggest obstacle to such prosperity, of course, is the federal government. Due to its determination to prevent the development of hydrocarbons, independence may be the only way to maintain and increase the resource-based wealth that is Alberta’s birthright.

An independent Alberta could implement policies maximizing economic growth and avoid the suffocating policies of Canada’s central government. A free Alberta would be a prosperous Alberta.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

Stirling: Suzuki is a superspreader of alarmism

By actively denigrating people who hold rational, dissenting views on climate change, Suzuki and his fellow travelers have created a very dangerous situation today.

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Guest Column by Michelle Stirling, Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society

In 2015, Reader’s Digest counted David Suzuki as the number one most trusted influencer in Canada. He had already lost his shine with the oil patch working people of the West thanks to his performance in the appalling 2011 CBC co-production shlockumentary, “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands.” Others recoiled at the equally dreadful, “Where Will Santa Live?” fundraiser which suggested to kids Santa will drown unless your parents send cash. Yet for many, he still resonates as a kind of wise elder.

People of influence should be very careful about what they say.

For decades, Suzuki has been calling scientists and scholars who challenge his climate catastrophe narrative ‘deniers.’ He’s called for them to be silenced and censored, despite the fact when interviewed in Australia on television, the self-styled king of climate change was unable to understand a question from the audience that referred to the commonly known temperature data sets used in climate science. It seems he’d never heard of them.

By actively denigrating people who hold rational, dissenting views on climate change, Suzuki and his fellow travelers created a very dangerous situation today. There are many people who are genuinely frightened there might be only “10 years left” as Suzuki claims and they are like a tinderbox looking for a flame. Suzuki lit a spark for them a couple of weeks ago with his irresponsible musing about pipelines being blown up. His tepid apology will not put that genie back in the bottle.

Imagine if we had had open, civil debate on climate change in the media for the past 20 years. Imagine if, when Suzuki claimed there was a climate crisis, an atmospheric scientist like Dr. Richard Lindzen could show him why this is imaginary and how claims of a climate emergency are just a means for renewables promoters to push their wares.

Imagine if when Suzuki claimed Santa would drown and take the polar bears with him, an expert like geoscientist Dr. Ian Clark, who actually hikes the Arctic for his research, could show him that during the Holocene Hypsithermal of about 8,000 years ago, the Arctic was ice-free, rather balmy, and the polar bears were all fine.

Imagine if when Suzuki invokes “consensus,” (which forms the basis of the Toronto Star’s refusal to run any report that conflicts with the alleged 97% consensus), if someone like astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv could have been invited to explain that science is not a democracy, it’s about evidence. While all scientists agree climate does change, they disagree on what ratio is human-caused versus natural influences like the sun and oceans. Scientists don’t all agree that taxing people will stop climate change, and most scientists are not convinced anymore that carbon dioxide is the control knob on climate.

This kind of open, civil debate, based on facts and evidence rather than emotional hyperbole would take society a long way toward more rational responses on climate and energy policies.

Unfortunately, it looks like things will get much worse as “The Climate Coverage in Canada Report” has run a consensus survey of its own, and Canadian journalists concluded that “large majorities … somewhat or strongly agree there is a climate crisis and the news media should report on it that way.”

In the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (AR6), the word “crisis” is only used once, and only in reference to media coverage on climate. Otherwise, there’s no crisis stated in that 4,000-page science report.

The mainstream media in Canada has been parroting Suzuki’s hyperbolic words, republishing his op-eds posted by the David Suzuki Foundation and obligingly blocking any dissenting views for decades.

Canadian media have made his incendiary words go viral — making him a super spreader of a contagious social disease called anarchy. Suzuki began this soft incitement years ago asking people if they were “radically Canadian” or not.

It’s time the media and Suzuki stopped the spread of alarmism and incitement and asked people to be rational instead.

Guest Column by Michelle Stirling is Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society. This op-ed expresses her personal opinion.

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Opinion

MAKICHUK: Fear, loathing and the desolation of late night TV

My generation is fading fast, and soon, it will be gone — but at least we had the best of late night television. It was great, while it lasted.

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I miss David Letterman.

I really, really miss him and his Late Night television show.

I even miss Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, for God sakes.

They were great entertaining programs and Dave had the best band going, led by Canada’s own Paul Shaffer.

It never got better than that, in my humble opinion.

And it was just about a window on the world, not only politics.

Conan is OK, he can be funny, especially when he goes abroad and I think he got screwed over. Fallon, the young gun, and making $12 million a year … I just want to punch in the face.

Cordon, he’s always shouting and I think he’s over-rated as a celeb although his bit with Paul McCartney in Liverpool was epic.

Colbert, I fear, has jumped the shark and Meyers is a lightweight. Don’t even know why that guy has a show.

I also didn’t mind Craig Ferguson, the Scottish comedian, I thought he was good. But then, he too got shown the door.

The greatest of them all, of course, was Johnny Carson. The king of late night television.

During his three-decade tenure, virtually every North American with a television set saw and heard a Carson monologue at some point. At his height, between 10 million and 15 million viewers slept better weeknights because of him.

I actually got the chance to see his show live, in the summer of 1976, in L.A. My buddy Whitey and I waited all night at the door in Burbank for tickets.

It was well worth it — we got to see the entire show, which was during the Montreal Olympics. No big stars but it was great just to see Johnny do his thing and admonish us for not laughing at his terrible opening monologue.

Legendary Carson sets made the careers of people like Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carey, Garry Shandling, Steve Martin and many more.

On any given night, comedian Don Rickles (“Mr. Warmth”), Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Bob Hope could show up. Mayhem would ensue and Johnny just rolled with it.

“Anyone looking at the show 100 years from now,” said Tom Shales, The Washington Post television critic, at the time of Mr. Carson’s retirement from “Tonight” in 1992, “will probably have no trouble understanding what made Carson so widely popular and permitted him such longevity. 

“He was affable, accessible, charming and amusing, not just a very funny comedian but the kind of guy you would gladly welcome into your home.”

But then I go back to another late night show, which was just as good as Johnny, the Steve Allen show.

Despite all these attempts to re-invent late night television, Allen always said that it basically came down to a desk and some chairs, nothing more.

But then he had brilliant comedians such as Don Knotts, Louis Nye and Tom Poston to call on. The crazy man on the street stunts were hilarious, and no doubt influenced Carson.

And even before that, I remember the brilliance of Jack Paar. Check out some of his interviews on YouTube, you will be amazed by the people who appeared on his show.

Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, himself, Senator John F. Kennedy, William F. Buckley Jr., Nobel laureate Albert Schweitzer and Richard M. Nixon, among others.

“Anyone who saw him when he was in his prime knew he was a great television original,” Ron Simon, a television curator at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York, told The Washington Post. 

“You never knew what was going to happen . . . He was the catalyst for ways the talk shows would go.

“The whole idea of intermingling politics with entertainment on a talk show really began with Jack Paar,” Simon said.

Now, it’s just a parade of beautiful people, musicians and singers. The problem with late night TV these days is that it has no soul. 

It lacks the interpersonal humanity of a Jack Paar, a Steve Allen or a Johnny Carson.

These guys could make you laugh. It made your life a little better. 

Aside from Jimmy Kimmel, who’s actually not a bad guy and the only late night guy I PVR, it’s a late night wasteland.

As for Dave, The Atlantic reported he might have been the last true innovator in late-night comedy and I totally agree with that.

In his interview with The New York Times, Letterman says his disorderly streak was honed early on by NBC’s strictures.

“[The network] came to us and he said: ‘You can’t have a band. You can have a combo. You can’t do a monologue. You can’t do, like, Aunt Blabby. You can’t do Tea Time Movie Matinee.’ There were so many restrictions. So that was the framework we were handed, which was fine because then they gave us an excuse not to think of that thing to do.”

Letterman came across as someone who had stolen a camera crew and broken into an empty studio, The Atlantic reported. 

“Stupid Pet Tricks,” for example, became an audience favourite and reflected his unique brand of caustic humour. 

Chris Elliott’s “Guy under the stairs” skits also added to the fresh approach to comedy. His spearing of an aging Marlon Brando remains a comedic classic. 

And again, Paul Shaffer and his fabulous band, along with numerous musical guests, many of which can still be seen on YouTube. 

As Christmas approaches, I will definitely miss hanging with Dave, hearing that great story of the Lone Ranger (Google it) as told by Jay Thomas, and of course, the spectacular Darlene Love belting out Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

My generation is fading fast, and soon, it will be gone — but at least we had the best of late night television.

It was great while it lasted.

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 Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news
makichukd@gmail.com

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