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MORGAN: Alberta needs less talk, and more action from Kenney

“Premier Kenney needs to pick a lane and to stick to it with authority.”

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Support for the United Conservative Party under Premier Kenney’s leadership has collapsed. Exclusive polling for the Western Standard has the UCP languishing at an abysmal 26 percent support while the NDP is at 41 percent while the new and still leaderless Wildrose Independence Party has climbed to 9 percent province-wide. This trend is nothing less than catastrophic for the UCP and they will need to make some major changes if they hope to be re-elected in 2023.

With nearly two years in power now, it is tough to point to any concrete changes or policies from the Kenney government. While Jason Kenney talked a great game at campaign time, we have seen little follow-through. Where is the promised democratic reform through citizen’s initiated referenda and recall legislation? Where is the fiscal conservatism and moves to get the budget under control? When will the government act on even one of the Fair Deal panel recommendations?

While Premier Jason Kenney continues to try to be everything to everybody, he is losing support on all fronts. The NDP-left will never learn to love the UCP, yet Kenney remains reticent to take on the government unions which are opposing all efforts at fiscal reform or efficiencies. Kenney has talked tough with unions, but won’t act. It’s time to take a stand and start cutting spending, not just haircuts. We are running out of money and taxpayers are running out of patience. It won’t become any easier for waiting.

On the democratic reform front, Kenney needs to implement the promised referenda and recall legislation. It has been nearly two years and this doesn’t need to be studied any longer. We know what we need and we know what we voted for. Give it to us already.

On the Western alienation front, Kenney has been at his most disappointing. This again has been clearly indicated in the recent polling commissioned by the Western Standard. Support for independence is exploding to new records in Alberta. While the UCP was not elected with a mandate to pursue independence, they were elected as a party expected to stand up to Ottawa. It is time that they did it.

Ottawa has more control over Alberta today than when Jason Kenney came to office. Tough talk is clearly not working.

No more panels. No more “expert” studies. No more kicking the can down the road. Albertans want some leadership and they want somebody to protect Alberta’s interests from an increasingly hostile federal government.

We have made it clear that we want a provincial pension plan. I doubt that I will see it implemented before I am old enough to collect it, and I am only 49 years old.

Why more study on whether or not we want a provincial police force? We know we want it. Now start working on what it will take to create it. What did we get? The province commissioned yet another study.

Where is the Alberta Chief Firearms Officer we were told we would get? How hard is it to appoint somebody? Instead, we got an Alberta Firearms Advisory Committee. More talk.

We are getting a referendum on equalization at least, but Kenney has made clear that there will be no ‘or else’ consequences if Ottawa and the other provinces fail to make reforms.

We are living in tough times. Citizens want to see leadership and that means seeing leaders making tough, definitive decisions. Wishy washy approaches to issues aren’t acceptable.

Premier Kenney needs to pick a lane and to stick to it with authority. If you oppose lockdowns, don’t impose them. If you support lockdowns, do it unapologetically and do it in full. Trying to appease both sides only alienates both sides.

Talk is cheap and we are tired of hearing it. If the current government can’t discover how and where they want to actually act on things, they will be replaced in the next election, and I fear for what that replacement may be.

Cory Morgan is the Podcast Editor and a columnist for the Western Standard

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. ninetyninepct

    January 16, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Way too late for Kenney to pick a lane. He should know where he is going by this time. Kenney has lost his way. This Country and many Provinces need real leaders.

    • Guest

      January 17, 2021 at 1:02 am

      Yup !! A leader who will act on Premier Kenney’s promises of more autonomy for Alberta or a leader who will take Alberta out of the failed Federation all together.

  2. Guest

    January 15, 2021 at 2:30 am

    Premier Kenney showed his true colours when after he was elected he stated he is a committed Federalist. Kenney should have made Albertans aware of this before his bullshit campaign promises of taking on Ottawa and fighting for Albertans. I suspect Premier Kenney’s next step will be the Prime Minister’s chair on Albertans backs.

    Premier Kenney has been the biggest bait and change hypocrite in Albertan history. Don’t expect that to change any time soon Mr. Morgan.

  3. David Elson

    January 14, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    Kenney is a charlatan. In two years the only significant thing he’s done other than bringing in unnecessary lockdowns is to shelve the fair deal panel.

    Those things alone tell you who Kenney really is.

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Opinion

MAKICHUK: Legendary Wings’ goalie Crozier deserves to be in the Hall

I also remember the smell of the hotdogs, the walls of cool Wings souvenirs and paraphernalia, none of which we could afford and watching the warriors come off the ice on a red carpet at the end of the game.

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My dad thought he looked familiar.

He was working on this car, at a GM dealership in Windsor at the time, doing front-end alignment, wheel balancing and new car pre-delivery inspections.

Suddenly this friendly little guy comes along, introduces himself … it’s Roger Crozier, the Red Wings goalie.

Dad has a nice chat with him, discovers he’s a nice, humble Canadian boy. He also happens to be one of the best rookie goalies in what was then the Original Six in the NHL.

So good, in fact, he won the Calder trophy in the 1964-65 NHL season. (I actually own the engraved silver ice bucket, that teammates gave him as a memento.)

Anyway, Dad came home and had a great story to tell. He met and shook the hand of Red Wings goalie Roger Crozier!

I was mesmerized. Who was this guy? He even gave Dad an autograph on the back of a dealership card.

Previous to this, I was a Maple Leafs fan, and Frank Mahovlich was my favourite player. I even had a Mahovlich calendar.

Well, overnight I became a Crozier/Wings fan. My Dad and I started listening to the games on the radio, a new way that we could bond together.

Whenever I played road hockey, which was often, I was Crozier. My Mom would even knit me a Wings logo to stitch onto a sweatshirt, as we could not afford to buy an actual jersey.

Makichuk in his road hockey gear

Check out this description of his amazing, acrobatic style, from HockeyThenAndNow.

In an era where stand-up goalies were the norm, Crozier resembled a fish out of water. His acrobatic movements were a thing of pure delight. On many plays around his goal crease, Crozier would be flat on the ice. His legs and arms flapping to reach the puck or cover as much space as possible. It was poetry-in-motion when Crozier moved to the front of or beyond his crease to confront a shooter head-on. By doing this, he took away the angles, which suddenly narrowed, as Crozier moved out from the net. As the opposing player advanced, Roger “The Dodger” would back-up in order to adjust to the situation. If a cross-ice pass was completed, the Detroit goalie reacted by propelling his extended body laterally to protect the open-side.

And keep in mind, all this was sans a goalie mask! 

Crozier would suffer two broken jawbones, had part of a front tooth knocked out by an errant hockey stick and sustained a shattered cheek.

I once saw a Bobby Hull slapshot go right past his head during a televised game against the Chicago Blackhawks which shattered the glass behind him. 

Such was the life of an Original Six goalie.

That season, the Wings would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens (whom I would learn to hate, to this day).

Crozier had started all of his team’s games, the last goalie to do so in the NHL, and led the league in wins and shutouts with 40 and six respectively. His 2.42 GAA was the second-lowest in the league.

This little man had singlehandedly changed the league overnight and even earned the attention of Sports Illustrated, in a Nov. 23, 1964 feature story.

The SI piece quoted Wings’ coach Sid Abel as saying: “Crozier has the fastest hands of any goalie I’ve ever seen … and he is the quickest to get back on his feet after a fall.”

Getting to the Cup final was not easy, they had to beat the Chicago Blackhawks who had a fellow by the name of Bobby Hull, and, the great Glenn Hall in goal.

During that series, which the Wings won 4-2, Norm Ullman would score his famous two goals in 5 seconds — which we heard play out on the radio.

The Wings were rolling, and Crozier was killing opposing teams — with elan. The acrobatic goalie was making incredible saves, in a manner that had never been seen before.

Anyway, they made it to the final against the Habs.

To make a long story short, the Wings won the first two games in Montreal and Crozier was red-hot and shutting the door.

Windsor Star sports columnist Jack Dulmage, who followed the series closely, would quote tough guy John Ferguson as saying, “Crozier kills you when he’s hot.”

It would be a prophetic statement.

Whether they had done it intentionally, or not, they ran him — still a sore spot with me, to this day — and took him out. It was nothing short of the Bobby Clarke slash on Soviet star Valeri Kharlamov which happened decades later.

“At first, I thought my leg was broken,” said Crozier. “I was stretching for the corner of the goal when (Bobby) Rousseau fell going through the crease, jamming my leg against the post. 

“There was a searing pain and my leg went limp. It started to quiver, I couldn’t control it and couldn’t regain my feet.”

Hank Bassen, the backup, was forced into action. Crozier would eventually return, but he wasn’t 100%.

The Habs, led by the amazing Jean Beliveau, would win the series 4-2. But the last game remains controversial to this day.

It went into overtime, 2-2, at Olympia Stadium. Henri Richard slid straight into the net, unpenalized, with Wings defender Gary Bergman, who said he held onto his stick.

Columnist Dulmage would call it, “the unseen hand.”

Somehow, the puck ended up in the net. Referee John Ashley ruled it a goal and the rest is history. 

Crozier and Bergman, to their dying days, insisted Richard put it in with his hand. We will probably never know.

The diminutive goalie from Bracebridge — he weighed 160 pounds soaking wet and stood 5-ft. 8-ins. — would win the Conn Smythe trophy on the losing team, with an amazing playoff GAA of 2.34.

After the game, an angry JC Tremblay would kick things around the Canadiens’ dressing room, feeling he should have deserved the MVP award.

But the facts stood out — the 23-year-old backstopped the Red Wings against the two highest-scoring teams in the NHL.

Detroit managed just six goals over those last four games on Gump Worsley, the final two of which Crozier played with a sprained knee and twisted ankle.

In addition to the $1,000 cash award for the Conn Smythe, a $5,000 Mustang sports car was thrown into the mix.

Media reports say Crozier motored around Bracebridge, Ontario during that summer, as he recovered from the Stanley Cup final disappointment.

Of course, I would beg my Dad to take me to a game in Detroit and I will never forget that first experience. It was late in the season, in 1967, and the Wings were hosting the mighty Leafs.

There were no seats left when we arrived on a cold, windy night in Motown, it was a sellout — they just had $3 standing room tickets, which we took.

Struggling to see the action, and, getting repeatedly kicked off the stairs by ushers, I saw my first goal. 

It was none other than Gordie Howe, No. 9, on a breakaway on NHL great Terry Sawchuk. I remember how casually he flipped it in and how the Olympia exploded in sound. 

I also remember the smell of the hotdogs, the walls of cool Wings souvenirs and paraphernalia, none of which we could afford and watching the warriors come off the ice on a red carpet at the end of the game.

The Wings would lose the game and the Leafs would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, Crozier’s health would take a turn for the worse — he would suffer from pancreatitis and ulcers, which forced him to miss 12 games out of 70 in 1966-67.

He would win only 22 games and recorded a 3.35 GAA, as the Wings missed the playoffs, and after another bout of ill health at the beginning of the 1967–68 season, he announced his retirement due to stress and depression. 

A Wings teammate who went to visit him to try to talk him into returning, found him hammering shingles onto a roof of a house in Bracebridge, Ont.

Crozier’s comment was: “If I bend a nail up here, I don’t have 12,000 people booing me!”

But six weeks later, he would return after a stint with the Fort Worth Wings of the Central Professional Hockey League, playing two more seasons on a mediocre Wings team before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 1970.

GM Punch Imlach knew that solid goaltending would be the cornerstone around which a competitive team could be built. Crozier gave the Sabres instant credibility while playing in 44 games in their inaugural season.

His experience and poise gave the Sabres a chance to win any time he was between the pipes.

Still suffering from pancreatitis, ulcers and now afflicted by gallbladder problems, he would help backstop the Sabres to a winning record in 1972-73 with an impressive 2.76 GAA.

He would post 17 wins and two losses in the 1974–75 season, helping the Sabres rank first in the Adams Division. During the NHL playoffs Crozier played five games, including two in the Stanley Cup finals. 

The Sabres would trade him to the Washington Capitals in exchange for cash in 1977. He played only three games with the Caps before retiring after 14 NHL seasons.

Crozier played in 518 regular season games, winning 206, losing 197, tying 70, and played in 32 NHL playoff games, winning 14 and losing 16.

He died at age 53 after a battle with cancer on January 11, 1996.

Taking all of this amazing hockey history into account, it is outrageous to me that Crozier is not in the NHL’s Hockey Hall of Fame.

In fact, he remains the only No. 1 goaltender for a team of the NHL Original Six during the 1960 to 1979 period not elected.

No goalie, not even to this day, stopped pucks so creatively and magically, as Crozier. Had health issues not cut him down, there is no telling what he could have achieved.

It should be noted that he was also active in civic and charity work. He served on the board of directors of the Boy Scouts of America, receiving its Distinguished Citizen Award in 1984. 

He also established the Roger Crozier Foundation to aid underprivileged children.

If ever there was a man, who should be in the Hall, it is Roger Crozier. And I hope and pray it happens, before I join him on that big ice rink in the sky.

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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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Liberal MP Atwin wants racist theory taught to kids

CRT is based on a Marxist radical left-wing definition of culture and history designed to create factions, to pit people against one another.

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Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin appears to have shifted her focus from trashing Jews to promoting tainting the minds of school children.

Good fortune befell the Green Party of Canada when Atwin threw a hissy fit and bailed last June to join the Liberals.

That’s when Atwin condemned former Green Party leader Annamie Paul’s appeal for dialogue and de-escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Violence and confrontation will not bring resolution, only more suffering,” Paul, who converted to Judaism years ago, tweeted last May.

Atwin indignantly maintained there were “no two sides to this conflict, only human rights abuses” committed by Israel. She denounced Paul’s “inadequate statement.”

“I stand with Palestine and condemn the unthinkable airstrikes in Gaza. End Apartheid,” Atwin tweeted.

Atwin was either clueless about Israeli-Palestinian affairs, or guilty as charged by critics who blasted her remarks as “inflammatory” and “anti-Semitic.”

She ignored the fact that Israel was attacked and forced to retaliate. During the 11-day conflict 4,350 rockets were fired on Israeli civilians from the Gaza Strip, killing 13 Israelis, and wounding 312, including children.

Many of the 253 people, including civilians, some of them children, who died in Gaza, were killed by rockets misfired inside the strip by the terrorist group Hamas, not by Israeli Defense Forces weapons. 

Nonetheless, the Liberals celebrated Atwin crossing the floor to enter their fold as a coup. 

Atwin, no doubt pressured to do so under intense criticism, dutifully back-peddled on her anti-Israeli diatribe.

But the Liberals knew what they were getting.

Atwin has now diverted her attention to teaching your children more than science and engineering. 

Last week, Atwin, who won her New Brunswick seat by a thread in the September federal election, delivered a reply, as MPs do, to the November 23 throne speech.

Included in her comments about reconciliation, seniors, and the earth being “in danger” was something sinister that should alarm Canadian parents.

“I want Canadian kids to feel good about going back to school and about planning their futures. We need them to study engineering, science, sustainable agriculture and critical race theory (CRT).”

“We need them to embrace their role in the transition, the transition that is under way. I want them to trust in their government and feel comfort in our demonstrated actions.”

Notice how she casually slipped in a push for CRT? 

Atwin speech

And exactly what is the transition underway that she spoke of? That sounds ominous.

Trust? Hardly. 

First, an MP who spews easily disproven falsehoods about a major conflict doesn’t inspire trust. 

Also, it’s wise to be very wary of a government that peddles CRT which is really hardcore systematic racism camouflaged as something lovely and necessary and just.

CRT is based on a Marxist radical left-wing definition of culture and history designed to create factions, to pit people against one another.

It sees racism everywhere. It teaches children to judge and distrust skin colour. It condemns white people just for being white. Anyone who dares question CRT is accused of supporting white supremacy. It is against individualism and free societies.

This racial division is already being taught in many Canadian schools, indoctrinating children from kindergarten through to Grade 12. 

The Ontario College of Teachers boldly embraced CRT. Some are being encouraged to read Ibram Kendi’s book Antiracist Baby to children in kindergarten. 

According to this wing nut Kendi “by six months old babies show racial preferences.” And wing nuts tasked with teaching children believe him.

CRT isn’t just an American problem. But it’s a big American problem dominating the news. More than half of the U.S. states have bills, either passed or introduced, preventing school boards from forcing teachers to expose children to the ugliness of CRT.

If CRT is so noble why are parents across America revolting against it? And why are they being attacked for doing so? The insanity prevailing in President Joe Biden’s government that has reeled radically left, labelled these parents who speak out at school board meetings as domestic terrorists.

The justice department unleashed the FBI on them. Those who promote what they pretend to be a doctrine of love can be cobra venomous when challenged.

Yet in Canada, an MP stands in the House of Commons and declares that kids “need” to be taught CRT. 

And her fellow MPs from all parties remain mute.

Many weren’t silent when she wrongly condemned Jews. But they can’t seem to find the courage to protect children from being taught about inequality and hate.

Did you hear PC leader Erin O’Toole denounce her push for CRT? Or the NDPs Jagmeet Singh? Anybody?

Apparently, it’s safer to be a cowardly racist who supports CRT than to risk being wrongly accused of being racist for opposing it.

And so be it if some children’s minds are corrupted to believe they are victims, and that all young minds are indoctrinated to believe skin colour is more important than things like, heart, character, and actions.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

MORGAN: It’s time to break up the Alberta Teacher’s Association

ATA representative Jonathan Teghtmeyer said the ATA is not under any obligation to report any potential criminal behaviour of teachers to the police.

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Is the Alberta Teacher’s Association (ATA) a professional organization, a disciplinary body, or a union? The answer to all three questions is ‘yes’, and it has created a gross conflict of interest.

The ATA is a union by every definition but name. It takes mandatory dues from teachers, it negotiate collective agreements, and has the ability to call a strike. It advocates on behalf of teachers to the government and the public.

The ATA is also a professional organization. In that role, the ATA is responsible for broader oversight of the entire trade of teaching. According to the Alberta Teaching Profession Act the role of the ATA is to advance and improve the cause of education in Alberta and to improve the teaching profession.

The ATA is empowered as a disciplinary body that forms a professional conduct committee stacked with 17 ATA members and 3 members of the public. The committee has the ability to impose fines and suspensions of certification of teachers under the oversight of the provincial education minister. This is where the most egregious conflict of interest exists.

All three of these roles filled by the ATA need to be broken into independent bodies.

The role of a professional organization is important. It needs to monitor and maintain the quality of the profession and educational outcomes. It needs to look at teaching practices with the interest of students in mind and needs to contribute to curriculum development with a clear eye. Curriculum development has become hopelessly politicized in Alberta as the ATA has put on its union hat. The ATA has been encouraging opposition to any proposals made by the UCP government, but had nary a word to say about proposals from the ideologically copasetic NDP when it was in power. There is no way for an association to give an unbiased review of the curriculum when it is embroiled in union-driven political battles with the government.

When it comes to disciplinary actions, the ATA has consistently put the interests of the teachers ahead of those of the students. This puts students in danger and the practice has to stop. How could it? It’s also the teachers’ union after all.

In 2014, Education Minister Jeff Johnson was forced to overturn 20% of the cases that came before him during his term.

Here are three of the cases where Minister Johnson overruled ATA recommendations and imposed a lifetime ban for the teachers involved.

The ATA recommended a two-year suspension for Darcy Robert Steele who had been found to have yelled at, kicked furniture at, and thrown things at his Grade 5 and 6 students. Steele also had been criminally convicted of assaulting children who were not his students in 2010.

Faryn Schnapp was given a four-year suspension from the ATA for talking to students about penile and clitoral tattoos and piercing along with texting a student about masturbation.

The ATA felt a three-year teaching suspension for Amanda Chilton was appropriate after she had a sexual affair with one of her students and attempted to cover it up.

This was just in the period of two years. Each one of these teachers would still be teaching today if the ATA’s judgements were not overturned by the minister.

During his four-year reign as education minister with the NDP government, David Eggen never overruled a single ATA ruling. The will of the union was more important than the interests of the students while the NDP was in power.

In 2019, the ATA recommended a two-year suspension for a teacher who had been groping Grade 5 and Grade 6 students on a number of occasions. Eggen accepted the recommendation, but now UCP Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has overruled the ATA’s judgement and imposed a lifetime ban for the teacher in question.

Not only does the ATA impose light penalties on teachers found to be abusive of students, but they also seem to be rather blind when abuses are in progress. The ATA recently imposed a $32,500 fine upon and recommended the cancelation of the teaching certificate of Southern Alberta teacher Frieda Anne Mennes. The problem is, Mennes’ acts of abuse went back over 36 years and she is 65 years old now. Banning a retiree from teaching isn’t much of a punishment and it has to be asked why it took decades for the ATA to take notice of her actions?

A class-action suit has now been filed against the Calgary Board of Education on behalf of a number of students who had allegedly been sexually assaulted by Michael Gregory. Gregory taught at John Ware Junior High school from 1986 until 2006. He took his own life when charged with 17 sexual offenses against his students. Lawyer for the plaintiffs, Jonathan Denis has said Gregory may have victimized upward of 200 students during his 20-year career.

While the ATA did act and suspended Gregory’s license when his actions came to their attention, they also didn’t report the allegations to the police when they came to light.

ATA representative Jonathan Teghtmeyer said the ATA is not under any obligation to report any potential criminal behaviour of teachers to the police. While there may not be a legal obligation to report, there should at least be a moral one. The ATA again was more concerned with the interests of the teacher rather than the students.

The ATA can’t effectively juggle three roles under one umbrella. The union and professional body need to be separated from each other. While the union can and should represent its members when it comes to disciplinary hearings, it should not also be running the hearings. They cannot be trusted to be the judge, jury, executioner, and defence. An independent body needs to be created to deal with investigations and rulings when it comes to misconduct by teachers.

The hybrid organization of the ATA is failing our children and it has to be dismantled.

Cory Morgan is Assistant Opinion & Broadcast Editor for the Western Standard
cmorgan@westernstandardonline.com

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