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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

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.”

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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
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

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. “

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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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Opinion

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.”

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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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