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McALLISTER: Nenshi’s regional board is at war with rural development

Bruce McAllister writes that a radical move by the Calgary Regional Metropolitan Board will kill development in huge areas surrounding the city. And the province is letting it happen.

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With the stroke of a pen arbitrary drawn across a map, many thousands of acres of rural lands surrounding Calgary are about to be sterilized of their economic potential. Land that owners intend to develop – creating thousands of jobs – has been rendered useless.

We used to take pride in the ‘Alberta advantage’. The record shows that when we let good people use their land, they return the favour with growth, jobs, and wealth that build our schools and hospitals. Alberta’s innovation has done even more. It has produced enough wealth to share with those provinces with more limited opportunities. But it seems this is coming to an end.

The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) has been plodding along since Rachel Notley created it to impose a growth plan for the entire region that is highly prescriptive and anti-competitive. The central planners in urban municipal think-tanks and lobby groups in Calgary and Edmonton think they can build Alberta from behind a one-way-mirror at a focus group. They’ve had their chance, and they’ve failed.

Last week all the warning shots that we have been firing hit the target. The hammer dropped, the shoe fell, the truth was revealed. The CRMB made public the maps they are working on to plan the region, and what they reveal is very telling about what the future holds if the central planners at Calgary City Hall and the CMRB get their way. 

In short, there is a good chance that if you own land in the areas surrounding Calgary, it was just sterilized by this unelected fourth layer of government. They have just dictated from behind closed doors that you will now be severely restricted from building your business and contributing to the economy. You’re out.

The Board’s consultant – an urban planner from San Francisco – included three future development areas for the region, two in Rocky View and one in Foothills County. If you own land in one of those, you have a chance of moving something forward, but there’s a catch.

The CMRB growth plan will take precedent over any other land-use. That means that if a developer wants to amend his current plan and add units or do anything to remain nimble and adjust to the marketplace, they will have to do it according to the CMRB’s plans. 

But the most egregious act of this plan is what happens to lands outside these designated joint planning areas. Effectively, that land is frozen to any business or future development. 

Future development potential will now be restricted to urban locations, period. Their plan is to eliminate the competition. They did not present a better service or product. They just lobbied hard enough to change the master plan. It’s a toxic turn for southern Alberta’s economic future. 

We have been warning for some time that Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has been using this Board and his allies from urban municipalities (not coincidentally those who buy their water from Calgary) to stifle growth in competing rural districts. 

If you own land near Calaway Park and you had a good idea for a business to serve families out for some fun on Sunday afternoon, you can forget about it. 

If you had a project on Highway 8 that would provide housing choice in the region, and competition for the marketplace, forget about it. That’s not on the map. But what about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that’s been spent getting projects through the approval process in neighbouring municipalities? It doesn’t matter. The Board has spoken. Well technically, not yet, but it’s about to. These draft plans move forward to the province for approval on March 1st.

Before we hold out hope that the province won’t approve the plan, we have to look at their track record on the CMRB. They have caved to the lobbyists at every turn. They prop up the CMRB when they should be dismantling it. The simple fact is that they need the votes and rural Alberta makes an easy loser in their eyes. 

It’s not like the UCP hasn’t been made aware of this. They appear to have other priorities.  Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, you can understand why they are distracted. But the Minister of Municipal Affairs, or Jobs and Innovation, or Red Tape, or somebody who even remembers what the Alberta advantage is all about had better act before it is too late.

If this land-use plan gets implemented there are thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment that will go with it.

Gone will be the Gardner project and its $3 billion investment along Highway 8. Gone will be the Qualico Elbow View. Gone will be any potential to amend the Glenbow Ranch project along Highway 1A. Anything near Calaway Park: gone. The second phase of The Omni by Genesis and its 4,000 jobs east of Calgary: gone. 

The central planners may think that nothing stands in their way as they begin to mount their master plan in Mayor Nenshi’s office and pour a round of drinks. They know that between a pandemic and a deadline of March 1st, so few eyes will see their plan. They know the development industry and landowners’ lobbying efforts to the province have failed, and they know that while eyes are turned elsewhere their master plan can take effect. They know that the CMRB is stacked in their favour, it was designed that way. But we can sound the alarm. 

What happened to the Premier Jason Kenney’s rallying cry to “make Alberta the best place to do business in North America”?

The UCP, Jason Kenney, and his ministers can stop this madness. The only question is, will they?

Bruce McAllister is a columnist for the Western Standard, Executive Director Rocky View 2020 & is the former Wildrose and PC MLA for Chestermere-Rockyview

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. warrenzoell

    January 22, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Why do Calgarians keep re electing this guy? He’s a destructive bastard.
    I thought Calgary was supposed to be the most conservative city in Canada. What the hell.

    • Cytotoxic

      January 22, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Artificially high oil prices ruined Albertans. It doesn’t help that he’s had mostly bad or, in one election, dead opponents. Last election was kinda close though.

      Calgary needs to be broken up like Victoria is.

      • Charles Martell III

        January 22, 2021 at 4:48 pm

        Victoria is a Govt Town . . . full of useless eaters aka NDP supporters.

        Oil is a Commodity . . . trades around the globe, supply & demand usually control the prices . . . except in Canada where weak, feckless govts and lack of transportation discount Cdn oil a further $15 a barrel to our sole market the USA.

      • Cytotoxic

        January 22, 2021 at 9:37 pm

        1) Victoria is a government town with mostly reasonable local taxes, because if your muni goes nuts you can leave for a reasonable muni a short distance away.

        2) The 2000s oil boom much like the one in the ’70s was a result of USD devaluation. Demand nothing to do with it.

      • Charles Martell III

        January 24, 2021 at 7:52 pm

        Victoria is full of marxists like you . . .

        The high oil prices in the 2000 – 2014 were the result of Supply Issues & WARS.

      • Cytotoxic

        January 24, 2021 at 9:46 pm

        1) Entirely besides the point

        2) Nope. The ratio between the price of gold and oil didn’t change much. It rarely does.

      • Charles Martell III

        January 25, 2021 at 4:41 pm

        And of course the Fact that the clueless Manchurian Pres Obama shut down the drilling on Federal Land in 2010. Gas at the pump hit $4 a gallon.

        Trump reversed that, made the USA self-sufficient and it dropped to $2 . . . Senile China Joe Biden just went back to the Failed Obama Policies . . .

        Meanwhile Canada giving oil away at $38 a barrel compared to the Texas Price of $55. Why you ask? Cause Canooks are too stupid to succeed!

      • Cytotoxic

        January 25, 2021 at 10:09 pm

        Besides the point. Obama’s stupid drilling policy didn’t affect drilling on private land which continued to surge. The drop to $2 a gallon happened way before Trump.

        The price of oil (and gold) collapsed in 2014 with the end of quantitative easing. It was a monetary event, not a S&D event.

  2. Charles Martell III

    January 22, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    “The Board’s consultant – an urban planner from San Francisco ” ? ? ?

    What could go wrong . . . lol
    Lots of videos on U-Tube on life in San Fran these days . . . it’s the chits !
    While you’re at it . . . have a look at Venus Beach . . . million dollar homes that no one will buy as the beaches & streets are taken over by squatters.
    California has been a solid Demokkkrat State for decades . . . they own this !

  3. Guest

    January 22, 2021 at 5:51 am

    I think it was 2012 and Mayor Nenshi had gone to a Rockyview Council meeting. As I remember Nenshi threatened Rockyview County with the “Mother of all annexations”.

    Commie Notley’s commie regional board needs to be dismantled Premier Kenney. Mayor Nenshi likes it because he’s the big boy in the room.

  4. Manorly

    January 21, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Actions seem to be in accordance with the first three “pillars” of the (1992) United Nations Agenda 21 . . . “a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations system, governments, and major groups in every area in which human activities impact the environment.”
    1. Move citizens off private land and into public housing.
    2. Create vast wilderness spaces inhabited by large carnivores.
    3. Eliminate cars and create walkable cities.
    Number 7 is also of interest: Use bureaucracies to make sweeping decisions outside of the democratic process.

    • Cytotoxic

      January 21, 2021 at 11:06 pm

      Please stop with this crap. Argue the issue or STFU.

      Your conspiracy blather could be 100% true and it just doesn’t matter. It’s just noise.

      • GonadTheRuffian

        January 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm

        This “conspiracy blather” is on the UNs web site if you care to look for it.

      • Cytotoxic

        January 22, 2021 at 9:38 pm

        It. Doesn’t. Matter.

        Argue the issue. A21 or whatever is not an argument.

        Hey I just realized A21 is a film making studio.

      • GonadTheRuffian

        January 22, 2021 at 10:49 pm

        It is self-explanatory evidence. If you want to hide from the truth no one can help you.

      • Manorly

        January 22, 2021 at 2:45 pm

        At one time, I was among those who were of the opinion that “it just doesn’t matter”. Hence the observation by Edmund Burke: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” . . . because they think it doesn’t matter.

      • Cytotoxic

        January 22, 2021 at 9:45 pm

        Then do something constructive: pressure your MLA and the UCP into killing this thing with serious arguments, not psychobabble about Agenda 21.

      • Manorly

        January 22, 2021 at 11:31 pm

        None so blind as those who will not see. You are indeed toxic. You have my sympathies.

      • Charles Martell III

        January 22, 2021 at 5:45 pm

        Next to China . . . the UN is the most dangerous organization on the Planet !
        3rd & 4th are interchangeable . . . Radical Izzzlam / Radical Leftism aka marxism !

    • Guest

      January 22, 2021 at 5:54 am

      Ya fuck, another moron living on another plain of existence eh Manorly? You for culling the human over population also Manorly? I think Russia tried some of your suggestions and that and didn’t work out so well.

      • Manorly

        January 22, 2021 at 2:50 pm

        You need to raise the level of your reading comprehension, and then your language skills. The “suggestions” you refer to are not mine. They come from the United Nations. It would be most appropriate (and useful) if you directed your vitriol to the U.N.

      • Guest

        January 23, 2021 at 12:13 pm

        I don’t say this often Manorly, but you are bat shit crazy !!

      • GonadTheRuffian

        January 24, 2021 at 5:59 pm

        He’s actually arguing against the UNs evil plans.

      • Guest

        January 26, 2021 at 1:11 pm

        Actually, I really don’t care.

  5. Cytotoxic

    January 21, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    “they need the votes”

    What votes? Is there anyone in Calgary or Alberta thinking ‘the CMRB is my red sacred cow’!

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Opinion

WAGNER: Central Canada’s decades-long attack on Alberta oil drives the need for independence

“Within Canada, Alberta’s economy will be smothered by anti-oil policies and general hostility to resource development. Outside of Canada, Alberta’s economy can flourish and supply much-needed energy to willing customers.”

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A new book by Western Standard Senior Columnist Michael Wagner makes the case that Alberta must become independent. The following is a brief excerpt from No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta.

Alberta is rich in fossil fuels, which are essential components for advanced modern economies. With the energy crisis of the 1970s, Central Canada benefited enormously from Alberta’s abundance through government-imposed low oil prices and an export tax on oil. Subsequently, as Alberta’s oil was later allowed to reach world price levels, the federal government continued to reap large financial rewards at Alberta’s expense.

Now, many voters in Central Canada want Alberta’s fossil fuels to be locked in the ground, supposedly to prevent climate change. What this would mean for Albertans is crystal clear: poverty and a future without economic hope. In effect, Central Canada wants Alberta to return to its status of a have-not province, like it was before the discovery of oil at Leduc in 1947. To see the future that voters in Toronto and Montreal envision for Alberta, simply look back to the economic struggles the province experienced in its first few decades. It’s not a pretty picture.

But there is absolutely no reason why Albertans should accept this fate. Albertans have the opportunity to determine their own future, and they should do so. Through entirely peaceful, legal, and constitutional means, Albertans have the power to choose a future of self-determination and prosperity. That is, Alberta can become an independent country.

Seceding from Canada to form an independent country is certainly a drastic step. But there really is no other option. Serious proposals have been made in the past to reform Canada so the West could receive a greater voice in national institutions. These kinds of reforms – with the Triple-E (equal, elected, and effective) Senate being top of the list – have been rejected and are no longer viable. This means Albertans face a stark choice between the status quo, with its inevitable economic decline, or independence.

Many people in Alberta are very hesitant to embrace secession due to strong personal and emotional ties to Canada. This is reasonable and completely understandable. There is much laudable about Canada, including the freedom and prosperity it offers to its citizens. Canadians also have much to be proud of in their past, such as the courageous exploits of the Canadian military in the world wars, as well as other conflicts. Indeed, there is much to admire about Canada when it is compared to the other countries of the world.

Nevertheless, Canada has been going in a rather unhappy direction since the late 1960s. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had a vision for a different kind of country that he did much to accomplish. It’s not a coincidence that the first efforts to create a separatist organization in Alberta took place during Trudeau’s first term as prime minister. Today, Pierre’s son, Justin, pursues a different set of policies that harm Alberta’s future. 

There is a lesson to be drawn from these two periods of Trudeau administrations: If Albertans don’t choose a new direction for their province, they will forever be entangled in cyclical periods of hostile federal policies.

In short, Albertans must choose between the status quo and independence. Within Canada, Alberta’s economy will be smothered by anti-oil policies and general hostility to resource development. Outside Canada, Alberta’s economy can flourish and supply much-needed energy to willing customers. This latter option will lead to prosperity for Albertans and their children. The choice is clear.

You can order a copy of Michael Wagner’s new book, No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta on Amazon

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Docs who speak out about COVID facing brutal suppression

Whistleblowers say doctors who disobey are investigated and face having their medical licences revoked.

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Doctors and nurses, the heroes who bravely stand between COVID-19 and Canadians, are being bullied, threatened and censored.

They’re warned: Challenge the COVID-19 narrative or reveal serious flaws in how the pandemic’s handled and pay a heavy price.

Whistleblowers say doctors who disobey are investigated and face having their medical licences revoked. 

Nurses fear being fired if they expose manipulated and inflated numbers or cases of vaccinated patients with COVID-19.

Physicians and a researcher spoke on behalf of many colleagues at a press conference on censorship of doctors, scientists and medical information held on Parliament Hill Thursday, hosted by Ontario MP Derek Sloan.

“Many people at high levels across the federal and provincial governments are misleading the public,” said Sloan.

He recently issued a call to medical and scientific whistleblowers. The response is shocking.

Medical professionals are viciously muzzled.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) issued an April 30 statement warning doctors against going public with questioning the status quo or revealing what they witness in hospitals and clinics.

The College of Nurses of Ontario forbid nurses to talk about what they’ve experienced.

Dr. Byram Bridle, associate professor and viral immunologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph, dares to question vaccines. 

“I, along with a large number of collaborators both within Canada and internationally, have developed serious concerns about COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

He’s under brutal attack.

“I’m undergoing a very public smear campaign right now,” said Welsh, adding he also receives hundreds of supportive emails from across Canada and the world.

“Since the pandemic was declared, I’ve been trying to serve as a voice of objective, scientific opinion so that the public can make the most informed decisions for themselves possible when it comes to issues related to COVID-19,” said Bridle.

“I’m a publicly-funded servant. You pay for me, Canadians, with your tax dollars.”

In an interview, he was asked if there’s a link between COVID-19 vaccines and cases of heart inflammation in young males. The connection was recently flagged in Israeli studies.

Bridle, a vaccinologist whose research program is based on development of novel vaccines, said it’s possible.

“After the interview, five minutes, it was like a nuclear bomb went off in my world. My life was thrown upside down. I’m sure my life will never be the same again,” he said. 

A fake Twitter account slanders him. Calls and email attacks continue daily.

He’s harassed by some work colleagues. Fortunately, the University of Guelph administration supports him.

Bridle wrote a comprehensive guide for parents to make informed decisions about vaccinating their children.

“I accept that early in the pandemic and when we first rolling out these vaccines we’ve had to largely work based on assumptions. The scientific literature has exploded over the last 16 months. We understand so much more. Now we’re looking at vaccinating children and it’s no longer OK to proceed based on assumptions,” he said.

Proper studies haven’t been conducted, he warned.

“Mass vaccination of millions of healthy Canadian children demands that the level of safety associated with this, the assessed safety profile has to be exceptionally high,” he said.

“By expressing this my career may very well have been destroyed. It’s incomprehensible to me that this has happened.

“I don’t recognize the country that I was born into.”

However, warnings like that issued by the CPSO backfire.

“Doctors, nurses, scientists and other medical experts have indeed reached out to me through various channels to tell me their stories.” said Sloan.

“These honest and hardworking doctors are fully galvanized against the regressive, authoritarian overreach of the CPSO and other similar governing bodies.

“The purpose of governing bodies like the CPSO is to protect the public, not to stifle legitimate scientific inquiry or dissent by professional doctors.”

Dr. Patrick Phillips, an Ontario family and emergency physician went public after seeing his patients suffering “massive harms” from lockdowns, including those with advanced cancer walking into emergency.

“I’ve never seen so many suicidal children,” said Phillips.

The letter from the CPSO is “chilling,” he said.

“It basically saying it’s the professional responsibility of all physicians not to communicate anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-distancing, and anti-lockdown statements and/or promoting unsupported, unproven treatments for COVID-19,” he said.

He’s one of many physicians under investigation, facing his medical licence being revoked for promoting treatments like Vitamin D and Ivermectin, both proven to work in numerous trials.

“There’s something bigger than my medical career at this point because lives are being lost and we need to speak out.”

Dr. Don Welsh, a PhD and professor of physiology and pharmacology at the University of Western Ontario, laments physicians under attack.

“This behaviour’s unacceptable in Canada,” he said emotionally.

“We have been told by the public health community to follow the science. I want to be clear – science hasn’t been functioning properly the last 13 months as we address COVID-19.”

Welsh called for “full and robust Royal Commission to publicly address the many flaws that underlie this public response” to COVID-19.

Canadians also need to know who tells tyrants to issue shut-up decrees. 

Where’s Dr. Theresa Tam? Silent.

Odd, you’d think Canada’s chief public health officer would leap to the defense of besieged medical professionals.

Slobodian is a Manitoba based columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

FROM: Property rights advocates should think twice about an Alberta constitution

“While there is merit to enshrining property rights in a potential new Alberta constitution, there are cautions that Albertans should consider first.”

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Canada is nearly alone in the world as a liberal democracy having a written constitution lacking any explicit protection for property rights.  Albertans- many of whom are weary of confederation – have often bandied about the idea of a provincial constitution protecting property rights. While there is merit to enshrining property rights in a potential new Alberta constitution, there are cautions that Albertans should consider first.

Property rights are already protected by the common law. For example, in 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada said, “Anglo-Canadian jurisprudence has traditionally recognized, as a fundamental freedom, the right of the individual to the enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof, or any interest therein, save by due process of law.”

But the common law lacks the power of entrenched constitutional protection because any Canadian legislature could modify it by ordinary statute.

In 1978, Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s government introduced Bill C-60, the Constitutional Amendment Act, in parliament.  The bill contained a guarantee of, “the right of the individual to the use and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with law.”

This may be a verboten topic in the West, but Trudeau (The First) even tried to have property rights included in the Charter in 1982. This was opposed — no surprise — by the NDP, special interest groups and others. The Liberal government eventually gave up trying.

But maybe that was a good thing. Constitutionally entrenching property rights has long been the goal of many on the political right, but is it the panacea many assume?

The Americans have explicit protection for property in their constitution’s Bill of Rights, and they have the advantage of a rich intellectual tradition acknowledging the moral and instrumental value of property rights. Nevertheless, their courts have whittled it away, piece by piece, until property rights have become wrought with caveats and exemptions borne of a similar rights balancing approach upon which our courts rely.

There is also a question regarding how effectively a province could protect property rights on its own. If Alberta were to entrench its own protection for property rights, it would apply only to the provincial government and municipalities. It would not prevent the federal government – which would not be bound by Alberta’s constitution – from continuing to violate our property rights. 

A perfect example of this was demonstrated earlier this year when the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the federal carbon tax legislation, which greatly interferes with the property rights of Albertans. Unless something entirely unforeseen changes, Albertans will be forever powerless to stop this sort of federal violation of property rights. Entrenching property rights in an Alberta constitution will have no bearing on any federal violations.   

And lastly, the term “property rights” means something very specific to its advocates, but not to everyone. It’s a vague and uncertain term. Generally, advocates mean legal authority to possess, control, exclude and transfer an interest in something tangible, like land or chattels.  But there are others who believe property rights should include socio-economic rights to education, healthcare, pensions and other benefits. This is a debate Albertans have never thoroughly had, and thankfully our courts have shown reluctance to adopt socio-economic rights without that debate.

And lastly, if Alberta did entrench property rights, are we naive enough to believe all currently existing legislation would not be immediately grandfathered? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a very good chance that nothing would change.

In my view, property is both a moral and legal concept foundational to the success of all free and prosperous societies. Governments should be greatly circumscribed in their authority to take or devalue property. But this is a complicated topic, and property rights should not be entrenched on a whim.

Derek From is Columnist for the Western Standard and an associate lawyer with WKA Lawyers

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