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FILDEBRANDT: Collapse in support should be a wakeup call to the Tories

“Jason Kenney and the Tories are faced with the same political choice that Jim Prentice was: turn right and nip the Wildrose in the bud, or left and push the NDP back across the centre. Prentice decided to osculate between both, with disastrous consequences.”




“One and done!”

Jason Kenney repeated those words ad nauseam during and in the lead-up to the 2019 Alberta election. He was of course referring to making Rachel Notley Alberta’s first and only one-term government.

He was right about part one (first), but unless things change, he will be wrong about part two (only).

In a Mainstreet Research poll commissioned by the Western Standard, UCP support has cratered from 55 per cent on election day 2019, to just 26 per cent as of January 7, 2021.

That is less than half the votes they received less than two years ago. Put another way, that is fewer votes than Jim Prentice’s Progressive Conservatives received when they were routed to third place in 2015. If these numbers were to hold up, it would be a total collapse.

Among decided voters, the NDP are actually just where they were on Election Day 2019: 41 per cent.

What is really bleeding the Tories white is lost support to the upstart Wildrose Independence Party (WIPA), and the large pool of undecided voters.

The other parties (Alberta Party, Liberal, Green, and other) were all between 2-3 per cent each.

“This is horrific news for the governing UCP and for Premier Jason Kenney,” Mainstreet Research President and CEO Quito Maggi told the Western Standard’s Dave Naylor.

The NDP are ahead of the UCP by an eye-watering 50 per cent in Edmonton’s Fortress Orange. With numbers like this, the Tories stand to lose their lone seat in Edmonton-proper and all of the suburban ridings surrounding it.

In Fortress Blue – Calgary – the Tories face huge losses as they trail the NDP by 15 points.

The NDP are – for the first time ever – even leading amongst men.

But it’s not because the NDP has picked up all that much support amongst Edmontonians, Calgarians, or men. It is because the UCP has been slowly – and now rapidly – bleeding support to their sovereigntist/populist-right flank.

Readers familiar with me will know that I am not an entirely objective observer of that sovereigntist/populist-right flank, but I will do my best to give a fair analysis.

‘The Flank’ has been a growing threat since June 2020, when the Freedom Conservative Party merged with Wexit Alberta to form Wildrose 2.0 (WIPA). Since then, the party’s interim leader, Paul Hinman has been trying to repeat what he did as the original leader of Wildrose 1.0: slowly but surely do the gruelling work of building a party from the ground up.

Despite this, the party has had very little in the way of mainstream media attention. It’s no wonder that much of the media are wondering ‘who the hell are these people?’

The party ignored by the MSM polled a distant third in Calgary and Edmonton, but a respectable 13 per cent outside of those two big cities. Based on past performance of Social Credit, Reform, and Wildrose 1.0, it’s reasonable to assume Wildrose 2.0 support is strongly concentrated outside of the cities in the rural south and central parts of Alberta.

According to Maggi, these numbers are likely to lead to at least a few WIPA MLAs getting elected if they hold, but we have to wait for the advanced modelling to more accurately predict how that shakes out.

Undoubtedly, much of the collapse in UCP support is driven by the still fresh Great Snowbird Scandal, but it would be a mistake to lay the blame entirely at its feet. As polling later this week will show, the Tories are bitterly divided down the middle on questions of independence and lockdowns.

And as Maggi points out, the Wildrose brand is remarkably resilient in Alberta. It was assumed dead by the entirety of the media and political class after the mass floor crossings of December 2014, but bounced back from the dead months later to win a record number of seats and be in contention to win the May 2015 election.

While a majority of 2015 Wildrose voters are still a part of Kenney’s UCP coalition, actions of the government have led to a slow, but steady exodus. The recent scandal has likely accelerated this. Perhaps time will heal all, and these voters will drift back to the mothership. Perhaps not.

Kenney and the Tories are faced with the same political choice Prentice was: turn right and nip the Wildrose in the bud, or left and push the NDP back across the centre. Prentice decided to oscillate between both, with disastrous consequences.

It’s a war brewing on two fronts, for which Kenney needs his own Schleiffen Plan.

Kenney has two years and change left in his term. He needs to decide which front he will attack.

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher of the Western Standard

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher, President & CEO of Western Standard New Media Corp. He served from 2015-2019 as a Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the Wildrose and Freedom Conservative parties. From 2009-2014 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Mars Hill

    January 9, 2021 at 11:55 pm

  2. Mars Hill

    January 9, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    UPC has been playing ‘politics’….people are of sick of that….the NDP stand for what they stand for, ccp cabal msm will be behind them, sneer at that thought at your peril.

  3. John Farren

    January 9, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Wild rose our best bet by far ! Separation referendum ! The referendum on equalization he is pissing down your leg and saying its raining ! Too many other provinces need to agree to it

    • David Elson

      January 11, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      Not just the other provinces but also the Federal government needs to agree constitutional changes.

      Needless to say, the constitution will never change unless one province forces the issue by UDI, which may or may not shock the ROC into reform.

  4. David Elson

    January 10, 2021 at 12:24 am

    Kenney is in a cleft. His party will not create an Alberta CPP, or provincial police force, or make any demands for reform of the Feds.

    Yet Kenney needs to engage the political right to keep his party afloat.

    Now would be a good time for the Wildrose to start releasing concrete policy proposals.

    • burma1234

      January 11, 2021 at 6:04 pm

      Tough talking candidate for premier, Jason Kenney, conned us into believing he was about to put Ottawa and the Trudeau mob in their rightful places, if he was elected. He was going to be the John Wayne of Canadian politics and the days of taking anymore nonsense from the Trudeau mob were over. Interestingly, one of Kenney’s first proclamations was, “first and foremost I am a federalist”, and it quickly became apparent that he was also a Trudeau patsy., and he has made no effort to relinquish that position!

    • millerkv

      January 11, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      We’ll have to wait for the 23rd for Wildrose. The AGM isn’t until then. But I expect they’ll start communicating the policies once they are approved. They’ve been adding to their website, so they have some good information there.

  5. ninetyninepct

    January 9, 2021 at 9:04 am

    People wonder why there is increasing support for the Wexit / Maverick concept. The NDP simply want to shut down the entire resource industry and have everyone live off the Government. Horgan has the same attitude. They get this sense of godliness and entitlement from trudeau. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0e0d0e0a22601f55e45eb9182a3a3670a5c88a5e098214239ec2feacb53b137c.png

  6. John

    January 9, 2021 at 8:40 am

    The best Albertans can hope for is either a UCP or WIPA minority in the next election. What’s holding WIPA back the most is being completely ignored by the government controlled media.

    If Trudeau stays on and Notley is being re-elected Alberta will experience a mass migration out of Canada, unlike anything ever seen before. It will be brutal for those who stay behind.

  7. millerkv

    January 8, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    I’m hoping the Wildrose Independence Party wins. I’m done with Canada. But it’s way too early to count Kenney out. He’s a sharp politician, usually. He will twist and turn and do his best to get back to victory. He’s got a strong political machine, if he can hold on to it. WIPA is making a good effort and has had a tremendous few months, but we have a long way to go. Two years will go by very quickly.

  8. Ken Browne

    January 8, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    My support will remain with the REAL Independence Party of Alberta.

    • millerkv

      January 8, 2021 at 9:22 pm

      Wildrose Independence seems to have the momentum. While IPA is older, WIPA has a leader and appears to be doing much better at fundraising. Personally I like the WIPA approach, and think the IPA approach is too aggressive for most Albertans. But we’ll see what happens once IPA elects a new leader this spring. Either party would be better than the status quo, and infinitely better than the NDP.

  9. warrenzoell

    January 8, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    Albertans can be the dumbest Canadians that ever walked. I can understand not supporting the UCP. But going back to supporting the NDP? Really? Helloooo Mcfly!!

    • millerkv

      January 8, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      I think the NDP has a loyal base. That base has neither shrunk nor grown. They are a serious player on the left, since they absorbed all those from central-left through to socialists. Notley is a better leader than the usual Liberals, and so has created a progressive movement. I think what we’re seeing is a repeat of 2015. Large numbers of Albertans who are disgusted with the current government but aren’t sure where to go so are “undecided” or just staying home. We need to get the Wildrose Independence message out to Albertans.

      • burma1234

        January 11, 2021 at 5:58 pm

        It won’t happen! The NDP exposed themselves as poor business people, pro unionists, social immoral and degenerate. I can assure you we will be voting for Santa Claus before that mob ever gets a chance at power again!

    • burma1234

      January 11, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      Re-electing the catastrophic NDP in Alberta will not happen. We may not be the smartest people, we believed Kenney’s con job, however, giving the degenerative NDP communists another chance is beyond comprehension. We have enough problems with the federal Liberal party who are of the same ilk!

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SLOBODIAN: Manitoba response to Freedom Convoy has politicians cowering

“Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.”




Federal politicians and bureaucrats will probably be hiding in their closets or under their desks, frozen in fear, when the massive Freedom Convoy arrives in Ottawa.

And they should hide in shame until they get it straight — that they were elected to carry out the will of the people; that it’s long past time to start listening.

Maybe a crescendo of blaring horns in the capital will improve their hearing.

They’ve created a big COVID-19 mess, underestimated the Canadians they’ve tormented and tried to crush, pulled cheap stunts, and delivered fancy, empty condescending lectures.

Few are listening to them anymore. Truckers have taken the wheel and won the trust and respect and hearts and minds of countless Canadians who oppose vaccine mandates and freedom of speech being trampled on. 

Elected pooh-bahs who’ve lost any esteem they may have had just don’t know what to do about that. 

Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.

That’s why hundreds of freezing supporters braved -30C temperatures to greet the convoy when it blared into Brandon, Man., population 60,000, around noon Tuesday.

A driver going the other way told the Western Standard the convoy was 100 km long.

It was a magnificent, electric scene that has, and will continue to repeat itself along highways, roads and overpasses in towns and cities across Canada until convoys coming from several directions converge on the capital January 29.

The cheering Brandon supporters didn’t come empty-handed. They brought more than 1,000 bagged lunches — sandwiches, homemade cookies, muffins, puffed wheat cakes — prepared in kitchens throughout the province. 

Someone even very thoughtfully hauled in porta-potties.

These regular Canadians don’t have much use for most politicians (Of course, Carlton MP Pierre Poilievre is an exception).

But Canadians love, love, love the truckers!

“People have been dropping food and drinks off all morning,” said Virden’s Ingrid Wilkinson, who organized the bagged lunches served at several stations.

“I’m doing it for all the harm that’s been caused. I personally know many people who have been greatly harmed. I’m doing this for our parents who had to live through Nazi occupation. Thankfully, they’re not in this world now. I do it for the kids, their future,” said Wilkinson.

“This is not sustainable. It’s a big lie.”

Virden menu for truckers

The Virden group had $825 left over from money raised to buy food to donate it to the trucker’s GoFundMe which stands at $4.6 million and counting. This amazing feat was accomplished in just 10 days.

About 193 km away in Headingley, more food and support awaited the convoy where Hutterite communities prepared for the arrival of the “dear” truckers.

“We are setting up kitchens n gonna feed you all. We are with you, and we fully support this massive convoy for freedom,” tweeted Paul Kleinsasser. “May God protect you on your journey, keep on going, we are praying for you. God bless.”

The convoy was expected to arrive in Winnipeg a few hours later.

The truckers oppose the cross-border vaccine mandates that severely impact their livelihoods.

The truckers also oppose vaccine mandates inflicted on everyone else — nurses, police, military, worshipers, children, students — everyone. 

Canadians embrace and are emboldened by their courage and stamina. 

So yes, they are well fed, dearly loved, and, it appears, to be shunned by most politicians.

However, Conservative MPs Andrew Scheer and Warrant Steinley did show up to greet the convoy in Regina Monday night.

Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen blasted the Liberal government and threw her support behind truckers.

“I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates, and our truckers from Portage-Lisgar and from across Canada,” the Portage-Lisgar MP tweeted Tuesday.

Bergen said Trudeau “dealt our crumbling supply chain another blow” when he implemented mandates making 26,000 truckers unable to transport of goods across the Canada-U.S. border “which will only drive inflation higher than it’s been in over 30 years.

“Conservatives have been opposed to federal mandated vaccines since Trudeau introduced them: and we oppose the mandatory vaccine on Canadian truckers.”

Bergen noted that truckers bring much-needed supplies to Canada and “worked tirelessly over the pandemic” to keep supplies moving.

“Hamstringing this essential industry is nothing more than a political move to further divide Canadians.”

As for the main event in Ottawa, count on People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier to be there.

But hell will freeze over before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds the courage or respect to greet the convoy that speaks for a huge segment of the country.

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole repeatedly dodged questions Monday about whether he supports the truckers offering a wishy-washy non-committal word salad. So no, he’ll be absent. Lord help the Conservative party while he’s at the helm.

Let these two ‘leaders’ hide in the closet from the big rigs, blaring horns, and burly truckers headed their way.

Time has passed for them to speak. Nobody cares about what they have to say anymore.

The people have spoken. 

It’s time for the politicians and unelected bureaucrats to listen.

And with every blaring horn, the message gets stronger and clearer: Enough!

Exciting times.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

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SELICK: Ontario’s health minister should get a second opinion

“In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. “




Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of getting a second opinion from a different doctor when the first doctor’s advice doesn’t seem to be producing the desired results.

In a widely publicized speech she made on January 19, Elliott said: “I want to respond to some extremely concerning reports that some doctors are spreading misinformation about vaccines. At a time when it’s never been more important for Ontarians to have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, this [dissenting advice] is unacceptable. I will be sending a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) urging them to do everything that is possible to put an end to this behaviour. They should consider all options in doing so, including reviewing the licenses of physicians found to be spreading misinformation.”

It is certainly true that some Ontario doctors have departed from the “must-vaccinate” narrative of the majority and the CPSO. However, it is not a mere handful that are creating such stress for the health minister. Forty MDs were already under investigation by the CPSO before Ms. Elliott expressed her wish for an even broader witch hunt.

There are many other dissenters that the CPSO has not yet targeted. For instance, a group calling itself Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth posted a declaration on May 9, 2021 responding to the CPSO’s April 30th threat to impose disciplinary action on any physician who questions or debates COVID-19 orthodoxy. The declaration has garnered 718 signatures from healthcare professionals (many of whom have shown their credentials as “MD”), as well as 20,171 signatures from ordinary citizens. Those signing the declaration accuse the CPSO of ordering physicians to depart from the scientific method by shying away from debate on scientific subjects.

Another group, the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, is more protective of the identities of its members but indicates that it is an “alliance of over 500 independent Canadian doctors, scientists, and health care providers…committed to providing quality, balanced, evidence-based information to the Canadian public about COVID-19 so that hospitalizations can be reduced, lives saved, and our country safely restored to normal as quickly as possible.”

Health Minister Elliott must surely share those goals, so why has she moved so pre-emptively and harshly to demonize a contingent of her fellow travelers? She herself is not a doctor or scientist, and not independently qualified to determine which group of doctors really does have an accurate view of the facts.

Rational people – when faced with a choice between two opposing scientific opinions – examine both of them closely and give due consideration to the viewpoints of all the people more highly credentialed than themselves. They don’t behave like Ms. Elliott did – pretending to know that one group is wrong while the other has a monopoly on truth.

In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. Sometimes the second doctor, or even the third or fourth, has a more satisfactory answer than the first did.

Ms. Elliott must surely realize by now that the experts she has been relying on for the past two years have not served the people of Ontario well. It’s high time she abandoned her arrogant attitude towards those who are offering a different opinion and started listening to them instead of threatening them with the loss of their livelihoods.

Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard

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WAGNER: The benefits of a federal Western independence party

“As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows that he has nothing to worry about.”




For Alberta to become independent, there must be a provincial referendum on independence that receives a clear majority vote. For the referendum to take place, there must be a party in power willing to hold one. That requires the election of a provincial political party that favours asking Albertans whether they want to remain in Canada or choose a path towards self-determination and prosperity. The need for a provincial independence party is clear and easy to understand.

But some people ask: what about a federal Western independence party? What would be the point of that? It could neither mandate the necessary referendum nor pass federal legislation benefiting the West. Such a party therefore seems pointless, they suggest.

However, there are some clear benefits to a federal political party that should be considered.

For one thing, a federal Western independence party gives pro-independence voters an option besides the pro-federalist parties currently on offer. Patriotic Alberta voters who reject the Central Canadian parties would at least have someone they can conscientiously support. They could “vote their values,” so to speak, and send a message to Ottawa that voting for other parties doesn’t accomplish.

Right now, many independence-minded Albertans support Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. The People’s Party has a unique and beneficial message that is attractive to conservative-minded Westerners, so that’s understandable. Bernier’s opposition to the Paris Climate Accord would mean that a Peoples’ Party federal government would eliminate the kinds of policies that prevent Western freedom and prosperity.

That is excellent, of course. However, because the People’s Party doesn’t restrict its focus to Western interests, it can’t represent the West in the same way that an exclusively Western party could. This is not to disparage the People’s Party, but simply to note that as a pan-Canadian party it must represent the interests of every region in the country, not just the West.

Having a federal independence party – such as the Maverick Party – does more than simply provide an option for Western regionalist voters. If it were to win a substantial number of votes (whether in a by-election or general election), that would alert Central Canadians to the increasing anger towards Ottawa in the West. 

As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows he has nothing to worry about. Conservative MPs from Alberta undoubtedly sympathize with the plight of the West, but their options to help are severely constrained by the need to appeal to voters in places like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The Conservative Party wants more than anything to achieve power, and the path to power runs through Central Canada. Thus, the interests of Alberta will always be a very low priority for the Conservative Party.

In contrast, were one or more Western independence MPs to be elected, Trudeau would see the West was not just going to lie down and let him run us over. He might finally understand that his anti-oil industry policies would be met by stiff resistance and that he was in for a real fight.

Most importantly of all, though, is that the election of one or more Maverick Party MPs would provide a significant morale boost for the entire Western independence movement. There would be lots of excitement that would lead to increased support, even at the provincial level.

There’s something about an electoral victory that generates credibility, even if power is not attained by the victor. That is, even though Maverick MPs would not form government or exercise power, the fact that they received voter support would provide credibility for the independence movement as a whole. In this kind of situation, quality leaders would likely emerge who could take the movement forward.

Some people point out that there have been Bloc Québécois MPs in Ottawa for years and they have done little for Quebec. Therefore, Maverick MPs from Alberta would be just as pointless.

However, everyone expects Quebec to send separatist MPs to Ottawa. They’ve been doing that for decades. Alberta sending independence-minded MPs to Ottawa would be entirely different. The election of Maverick MPs would constitute a political earthquake that would rock the nation. It would be the Canadian news story of the decade, and it would generate new interest and energy in the Western independence movement.

In short, a federal political party could potentially play a meaningful role in the move towards Alberta independence. A federal party is not as essential as a provincial party for the independence movement to succeed, but the potential benefits it could provide should not be overlooked.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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