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KUREK, MP: Trudeau pushing Westerners toward independence

In his guest column, Conservative MP Damien Kurek says that Trudeau is pushing Westerners toward independence.

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Guest column from Damien Kurek, Conservative MP for Battle River-Crowfoot

Alberta has become one of the best places in the world to live, work, and invest in, even though the current challenges we face can overshadow those accomplishments. I’m both a proud Canadian and Albertan. I take pride in the knowledge that my nation has benefited immensely as a result of my province’s success. However, it’s clear that Alberta has not always been treated as an equal and respected partner in our federation.

Recently, I asked a senior Liberal a question in the House of Commons about whether the Liberals were intentionally trying to push Albertans toward separation. The response was not unlike the responses my colleagues have received when asking similar questions: I was first dismissed and then accused of politicizing the issue. I wish that were true, but since first being elected in 2019, folks in Alberta are increasingly telling me they feel like Canada has given up on them. These are not simply a few vocal voices at the fringe. These people include business owners, community leaders, health care professionals, athletes, teachers, and lawyers. And by and large, they don’t want to give up on Canada; they simply feel left behind. This challenge transcends political affiliation and, if not taken seriously, the consequences could be grave.

Over the last century, many actions have contributed to the feelings of disregard. The delay in constitutional devolution of provincial resource management, the National Energy Program (and similar policies), and in the last five years; the “oil tanker-killing” Bill C-48, the “no more pipelines” Bill C-69, the imposition of the carbon tax, and most recently, the inaction by the government to stand up for Keystone XL. These examples are symptoms of a bigger issue.

Many folks who have entered into this debate are quick to blame the foundations of our country for these problems and suggest the “deck is stacked against us.” I see how one could easily come to that conclusion. Yet when I look at the founding documents and history of Canada, I see the solution. Canada was built as a federation, a nation that was forced to balance regional differences with a need for national cooperation and understood the strength that came with it. The only way the Fathers of Confederation came to an agreement in the lead up to 1867, was recognizing the need for unity that included safeguards that respected regions, cultures, economies, and languages.

Government needs know what they are responsible for as well as but where they should not be involved. Government must respect the jurisdictions of other levels of government, regardless of political differences. Over time, we have seen an unprecedented consolidation of power in the federal government, intrusion into provincial decision making, and a blurring of the constitutional metrics which were designed to keep this from happening. Now, the Trudeau Liberal government has demonstrated they are incapable of respecting provincial jurisdiction, all while expanding the size of government, the bureaucracy, and spending.

While there is no question there are specific concerns that need to be addressed in order to strengthen our federation, the solution must start with regional respect. Those concerns include reforming the Senate, representation in the House of Commons, fixing the equalization formula, and revamping the justice system. There are ways to do that; both from a federal and provincial perspective. But these needed reforms are nearly impossible with a government who refuses to take its role and limitations seriously.

It’s tragic that folks are questioning whether they can be both a proud Canadian and a proud Albertan. Yet, the trajectory we are currently on is causing deep divides that threaten to tear our country apart. The fact that many Albertans, and folks from other western provinces, are even considering separation should concern every Canadian. Especially when the answer to addressing these divisions was built into the fabric of our nation.

It’s clear change is needed. With the stakes so high, it’s clear Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are incapable of delivering what is required to heal the deep divisions they have contributed to. This change will need to take place at polls. We need a new government that understands its constitutional limits and responsibilities. I won’t give up fighting for the region I have the honour of representing, this province, and this country. This situation is serious. I truly believe Albertans want Canada to remain united, but Canada needs a Government willing to pursue an agenda that unifies, not divides.

Guest column from Damien Kurek, Conservative MP for Battle River-Crowfoot

Opinion

GEROW: Canada’s Libertarian leader bids adieu after fighting the good fight

“The liberty movement, the country, and myself personally, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Moen for his principled, steadfast stand to make Canada a freer place to live and do business.”

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“I want gay married couples to be able to protect their marijuana plants with guns.” 

When Tim Moen was the newly elected leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada, his viral meme with this unforgettable passage garnered attention across Canada, and even overseas. 

His philosophy is a simple one of non-aggression and peaceful, voluntary cooperation. It can be boiled down even further to, “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.” Unfortunately, too many Canadians don’t appreciate that sentiment. Since its founding in 1972, the LPoC has never won a seat in parliament, or even come close. 

Moen is an anarcho-capitalist and draws influence from the great liberal enlightenment thinkers from John Locke, through to the Austrians – Mises and Rothbard – and appreciates the work of present-day intellectuals like Jordan Peterson. He thinks winning elections will happen when there’s more people who share his philosophy, hence the LPoC’s focus on ideas for the time being, over electoral success. His strategy has been to inspire people, and he has succeeded in doing that; at least for myself.

He took over as leader of the Libertarian Party in 2014, has ran in several elections. He’s not a career politician and it shows. He’s genuine, caring, and real.

His influence has reached outside of Canada as well. He was the opening speaker at the American Libertarian National convention – to record breaking attendance – and he’s shared a stage in Acapulco with libertarian heavyweights like Ron Paul. For LPoC faithful it has been difficult to reconcile his popularity abroad with the lack of traction here at home. That hasn’t stopped him from showing up every day with his work boots on for liberty movement.

Despite the lack of electoral success, there have been victories. The LPoC had advocated for cannabis legalization since the party’s inception. Likewise for same-sex marriage. Both are now the law and are broadly supported by the major parties. 

Advocating for liberty in Canada is not easy. People have confused cumbersome bureaucracies – like the health care system and rent-seeking corporations like Air Canada and the railways – into a disastrous national identity crisis. Thanks to those types of institutions and the political class that have enabled them, the strong and free country that built them and incorporated them into the national fabric no longer exists. Tim Moen tried to explain this to people and was met with disdain, repudiation, and insults, even from some fellow travellers on the libertarian journey. 

Moen rolled the dice in supporting the candidacy of Maxime Bernier for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. He saw it as a rare chance for a libertarian to mount a real challenge for Canada’s top office, and it nearly panned out. 

In 2018, after years of friendship and collaboration, the two had a falling out over Bernier’s creation of the PPC. It appeared at the time the party might be finished. It would have been easy for him to walk away. Instead he muscled through the storms and kept the ship on course until he found a safe place to land it.

Moen will not be seeking re-election as party leader. It is a blow to a very important voice on Canada’s political stage. He’s not walking away from movement, and he says he will retain his membership with the LPoC. The small party will now have to elect his replacement. 

The liberty movement, the country, and myself personally, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Moen for his principled, steadfast stand to make Canada a freer place to live and do business. Most Canadians may still not know him, but they owe him as well. 

Darcy Gerow is a columnist for the Western Standard 

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Opinion

SELICK: Skelly trial will demolish Ford’s justifications for lockdowns

“Will the judge have the courage to accept evidence that flies in the face of all the propaganda we’ve been fed for the past year and a half?”

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Remember Adam Skelly?  He’s the owner of Adamson Barbecue, the Ontario restaurant that refused to close down indoor dining when Ontario issued yet another lockdown order in November 2020. You may recall the videos of police arriving several days in a row to shut the place down, as Skelly continued to defy the order and enthusiastic patrons swarmed in to support him. Ultimately, Skelly was charged with six different offences, some provincial and some federal.

On June 28 and 29, his numerous charges will be heard in court. An expertly run crowdfunding campaign has garnered more than $338,000 to be used towards his legal fees and related expenses. He plans to make good use of it. 

Skelly is challenging the constitutionality of the legislation that gave rise to the charges. In my view, the lockdown and stay-at-home orders violate several provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and the right to life, liberty and security of the person – to name a few. 

But the Charter also contains what I call the “weasel clause,” section 1, which gives governments the right to trample all over individuals’ rights and freedoms provided it can later convince a court the trampling was “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” 

This is where the big fight will occur. The Ontario government’s position is lockdowns have been necessary for public health purposes. Skelly’s legal team and expert witnesses are eager to demolish that argument. 

Ontario’s evidence is contained within a single 14-page affidavit, sworn by Dr. Matthew Hodge, a member of the province’s public health team. It contains the usual talking points that Premier (Doug) Ford and his minions have made throughout the pandemic, referring to guidance from the World Health Organization, and relying on 19 exhibits, including an article from The Toronto Star. If you want to finally find out what the premier has been relying on when he chose to destroy Ontario’s economy and bankrupt many of its citizens, these exhibits are the place to look. 

By contrast, the evidence on behalf of Skelly is contained in 10 affidavits from five expert witnesses (each witness provided an initial affidavit and a rebuttal to Dr. Hodge). The witnesses’ credentials and the subjects they have testified on are summarized in a video posted to Rumble. The evidence covers a broad range of issues, challenging each and every assumption made by provincial authorities in their decision-making process. 

For instance, the province advances uncritically the proposition that there had been 499,412 “cases” of COVID-19 at the time Dr. Hodge swore his affidavit on May 14, 2021. However, the evidence of Dr. Byram Bridle in his 48-page affidavit contains a detailed discussion of the flaws in the PCR tests that the government used to establish its case count. Anyone who has been reading alternative media throughout the pandemic is already well aware that the PCR tests were never designed to be used as diagnostic tools, and that they are being operated at cycle thresholds which even the famous Dr. Fauci has admitted will return large numbers of false positives. Dr. Bridle drives this point home with numerous cross-references to scientific studies. He concludes: “PCR testing…in the context of high Ct values (i.e. greater than 22-30 cycles), is an inaccurate way to diagnose cases of COVID-19. A substantial, but unknown number of cases of COVID-19 that have been reported in Ontario…were never true cases of disease.” 

In other words, the government based its actions upon false beliefs. Garbage in, garbage out. 

One of the constant criticisms made of Ontario’s lockdown policy by individuals such as MPP Roman Baber (who got thrown out of the Conservative caucus for his pains) is lockdowns have done – and continue to do – more harm than good. Bankruptcies, suicides, cancer deaths, crime and family violence have all risen dramatically since the start of 2020 and are now causing more death and suffering than the virus.

This is corroborated by the evidence Dr. Douglas Allen, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University. Professor Allen examined over 80 studies to perform a thorough cost/benefit analysis of Ontario’s policies, something the government apparently never bothered to do. Stated in terms of life-years lost, and using a range of assumptions, he calculates that the lockdowns cost the population somewhere between 3.6 years of life and 282 years of life for every year of life they saved. 

There are many more goodies in store for those who watch the hearing, including a discussion of ivermectin, an effective and inexpensive COVID treatment governments across Canada have steadfastly ignored. The existence of this safe, effective treatment completely undermines the government’s case that lockdowns were justified. 

Will the judge have the courage to accept evidence that flies in the face of all the propaganda we’ve been fed for the past year and-a-half? We’ll know soon.

Karen Selick is a Columnist for the Western Standard. She is the former Litigation Lawyer of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and is the owner of KeenEyesEditing.ca.

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Opinion

WAGNER: By delegitimizing Canada, the woke-left helps the cause of Alberta independence

“By undermining citizens’ attachment to their country, the leftists are helping to clear the pathway for an independent Alberta. If Canada is such a horrible place, then there’s all the more reason for Alberta to leave.”

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It’s somewhat disconcerting to see the way Canada is being portrayed by the left in 2021. Statues of major historical figures are being vandalized and torn down while the country is widely condemned in the media for “systemic” racism and discrimination. Canada, it turns out, is not the wonderful country we were led to believe it was. 

When I went to government schools decades ago, Canada was considered to be a welcoming and tolerant place. According to the new cultural leading lights, though, I was sadly misled by the government’s school teachers.

Jonathan Kay’s recent column in the National Post provides an excellent description of the new wave of anti-patriotism.

“Once imagined by the left as a light unto nations, Canada is now trashed in newspaper columns and the social media feeds of blue-check Can-con culturati as an incurably bigoted colonialist artifice. At the Toronto Star, one author recently instructed us to avoid singing the national anthem on Canada Day, and instead spend the day reflecting gloomily ‘on the many lives that the building of the Canadian state has cost.’ Another Star writer described Canada’s creation as coterminous with ‘intentional genocide,’ as if we were, and remain, a snowy version of the Belgian Congo.”

This, of course, is a very distorted view of Canada based on extreme “intersectional” ideology. Canada is being misconstrued in order to lay the groundwork for political change. It is historical revisionism of the worst kind. When the country is situated within a proper historical context – and in relation to the other countries of the world – it doesn’t look all that bad. But defending Canada in the current atmosphere could get one cancelled.

Alberta sovereigntists, however, might consider sitting back and letting the woke-left rip apart the moral fabric of the state that now appears to have become a mutual enemy. How can people who see Canada as an inherently sinister regime defend it against those who wish to seek independence from it? How can the Canadian state be an indivisible, sacrosanct light unto the nations and simultaneously be an evil, genocidal blight on human progress that must atone for original sin? It can’t. 

Anyone who really believes Canada to be little better than a crypto-fascist imperial state will be unable to mount a credible defence of its existence. In fact, if Canada is as bad as progressives claim it is, then they should celebrate its break up.

Years ago, Dr. Roger Gibbins of the Canada West Foundation recognized the argument for Alberta remaining in Canada was fundamentally based on emotional attachment to Canada. As the Globe and Mail put it in 2003, Gibbins described the case for Alberta to remain part of confederation as, “An affair of the heart, not of the head.” That’s because there are no credible economic arguments in favour of Alberta remaining in Canada. It was only love for Canada that kept the province in. But how can anyone love a country as horrible as the progressives say Canada is?

The economic arguments for Alberta to remain in Canada became obsolete generations ago. The remaining cornerstone of emotional attachment to Canada is rapidly being undermined by the country’s intellectual and media elites. Judging by the kinds of statements they’re making, these elites hate their own country, so they shouldn’t mind when Alberta leaves.

There might be a temptation to defend Canada because the extreme denunciations cast upon it are so obviously over-the-top. Instead, however, sovereigntists may just sit back and let it play out. The progressives are plowing the ground so that the seeds of independence can more easily take root as commitment to Canada is undermined.

In effect, the leftists are handing Alberta secessionists a stick with which to beat the federalists. Secessionists can now ask federalists – in tones of feigned moral indignation – “How can you defend an incurably bigoted country like Canada?” 

The attacks upon Canada as a systemically racist and all-round illegitimate state are sad. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the world pour into Canada every year – and millions more want to. Clearly, most of the world judges Canada to be a much better place than our homegrown leftists do. 

Be that as it may, by undermining citizens’ attachment to their country, the leftists are helping to clear the pathway for an independent Alberta. If Canada is such a horrible place, then there’s all the more reason for Alberta to leave.

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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