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Alberta group fighting the Fiscal Stabilization program

Fairness Alberta says the province has been shortchanged billions of dollars under the program.

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A new grassroots organization is taking on the fight to have Alberta get a better deal under the federal Fiscalization Stabilization Program.

Fairness Alberta says the province has been shortchanged billions of dollars under the program.

“Fairness Alberta has repeatedly called for the removal of this $170 Fiscal Stabilization cap,” says its executive director, Dr. Bill Bewick.

“The federal government missed a golden opportunity to recognize that Alberta has had Canada’s back for the last 20 years, so hopefully they take this opportunity to make up for it partially.”

At the height of the energy boom in 2014, Alberta contributed 18.8 percent of GDP despite only 11.6 percent of its population.

However, between fiscal years 2014-15 and 2016-17, resource revenues declined by $5.9 billion, and non-resource revenues declined by an additional $3.3 billion.

During the initial collapse in global oil prices, revenues declined substantially with little help to the province from the federal government.

Despite the budding economic hardship felt heavily across the province, former Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced a five-year extension to the previous Equalization regime in February 2018, extending from April 1, 2019, until 2024.

Receiving Royal Assent in June 2018, the federal government will gradually increase Equalization payments to neighbouring provinces from $17.9 billion in 2017-2018 to $22.1 billion by 2022-2023.

“Albertans have been ‘stabilizing’ federal revenues at an average rate of $5,000 per person every year, but all we can get back is $170 per person in our time of need,” says Bewick.

“Stabilization only applies when a province faces a big drop in revenues. Lifting the cap is reasonable,” he said.

“It is clear that fiscal flows are broken.”

“Overall, between 2015-16 and 2016-17, total Stabilization payments to Alberta were $2.25 billion lower than they otherwise would have been,” says Bewick.

As a recommendation by the Fair Deal Panel, Albertans called for a referendum on Equalization and removed constraints to the Fiscal Stabilization Program.

Calgary-Shepard MP Tom Kmiec heard from his constituents in 2019 that Equalization was inherently unfair to Albertans. Specifically the Fiscal Stabilization fund per capita cap removal.

That’s one of the reason he proposed Bill C-263 in the House of Commons this week to revamp the program.

“My proposal complements this year’s referendum, and much of the content was agreed to by all premiers at a previous Council of the Federation meeting,” says Kmiec.

“We are working on sending a letter to each recognized federal party to ask for their support.”

Dhaliwal is an Edmonton-based freelance reporter

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Calgary lawyer applauds Shell’s reversal of vax mandate

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said lawyer James Kitchen.

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In the wake of Shell Canada temporarily removing its mandatory vaccine policy at its Scotford site in Alberta, Calgary lawyer James Kitchen called it a “good and lawful” move.

Kitchen — a civil litigation lawyer focused on constitutional rights, human rights, and health freedom — represents a number of clients in the oil and gas sector, including CNRL staffer Naomi Smart who was the first employee dismissed without cause for refusing to adhere to the mandatory vaccine policy.

“There are two potential things happening here,” Kitchen told the Western Standard in reference to Shell’s decision to change its vaccine policy at the Scotford site.

“Either Shell is concerned with defending themselves legally — as the vaccines have little to no effect on transmission — or, there are decent human beings (who) run Shell who are looking at the science and they realize this is the sensible thing to do.”

Kitchen said Shell could be “showing some good business sense” and now, after “spending all this money and realizing nothing we do will stop it (the spread of COVID-19),” they are looking to get back to work.

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said Kitchen.

When asked if the move from Shell to reverse its vaccination policy might affect the outcome of current legal cases — including some of his own — Kitchen said he’s doubtful.

“Generally speaking, the court doesn’t care. The industry does what it wants so in a strictly legal sense, no. But in a broader sense, it does matter,” said Kitchen.  

“It’s like a band-wagon effect,” he said adding if other companies follow suit, “it could give pause and change course for policymakers.”

“I don’t expect others to follow, but I’m hopeful,” said Kitchen.

Kitchen applauded Shell for what he called, “the most reasonable, lawful positions I’ve seen in a long time.

“They have chosen not to be willfully ignorant of what is good, right and lawful and have chosen against coercion and tyranny,” said Kitchen.

“I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Madu called Edmonton police chief after getting $300 distracted driving ticket

Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt says Kaycee should resign.

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After being pulled over by Edmonton police for talking on his cellphone while driving through a playground zone, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu then dialled up Edmonton’s police chief, CBC is reporting Monday afternoon.

CBC says they have a copy of Madu’s March 10, 2021 ticket that shows he was fined $300.

He soon phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, and discussed the ticket with him. 

“Minister Madu did contact me via the telephone concerned about a ticket. But just to be very, very clear, he never asked to get out of the ticket,” McFee told CBC News in December, adding he didn’t know exactly what was on the ticket.

“Everybody has to wear their decisions.”

McFee did say during their discussion, Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers. Madu is black.

The chief also said the pair talked about the ongoing problem of political tensions within the Lethbridge Police Service.

According to court documents, Madu paid the fee by the end of that week, CBC reports.

The Western Standard has reached out to Madu for a statement but hasn’t heard back.

The NDP quickly called for Madu to resign.

“It is wholly unacceptable for the Attorney General to engage with senior law enforcement regarding a penalty levelled against him, said NDP MLA Irfan Sabir.

Mount Royal University political science professor Duane Bratt says Kaycee should resign.

“Even if Madu didn’t call the police chief, it is a major story for the Justice Minister to receive a distracted driving ticket in a school zone. Even if it was somebody else who got the ticket (family, friend, neighbour, acquaintance, stranger), Madu still can’t call the police chief about an active case,” tweeted Bratt.

“Either Madu didn’t know that it was inappropriate to call the police chief about a ticket (which is really bad), or knew and didn’t care (which is even worse). Regardless, Madu needs to step down.

“Jean Charest resigned in 1990 as Minister of Sport for calling a judge about a case. Calling a police chief about a case is very similar. Madu needs to resign, or Kenney has to fire him.”

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New Virginia Gov cancels vaccine and mask mandates first day in office

Youngkin’s second order was the elimination of mask rules for students in the state’s schools and his last directive was to abolish the vaccine mandate for state employees.

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New Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin ain’t fooling around.

On his first day in office, the new Republican governor brought in a plethora of conservative orders and canceled many liberal ones after being sworn in on Saturday.

The 55-year-old for a former private equity CEO campaigned on a pledge to get rid of the teaching of critical race theory (CRT) from state classrooms. CRT is an academic practice that examines the ways in which racism operates in US laws and society.

After taking the oath of office, Youngkin moved on nine executive orders and two executive directives, with the first on the list described as a directive to “restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education,” as reported by the Guardian.

A total of 22 states have now taken steps to limit the teaching of CRT.

“There’s no place for critical race theory in our school system, and that’s why, on day one, I’m going to ban it,” Youngkin said in an interview with Fox News in the closing days of the campaign last fall.

Youngkin’s second order was the elimination of mask rules for students in the state’s schools and his last directive was to abolish the vaccine mandate for state employees.

Currently, COVID-19 cases in Virginia are up 288% in comparison to last winter.”

A total of 15,803 have died in the state from the virus since the pandemic began.

State Democrats, who hold a majority in Virginia’s Senate, have vowed to oppose Youngkin’s orders, meaning they are unlikely to become law.

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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