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UCP executives ask for support from base after Recall Act introduced

Premier Jason Kenney suffered a caucus revolt two weeks ago when six UCP MLAs went public with their anger over the government not moving entirely to their Phase 2 reopening of the province, something it finally announced at the start of March.

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UCP president Ryan Becker says his party still had plenty of holes to plug, particularly in its governance documents and bylaws.

Becker commented in an email to UCP constituency presidents on the weekend obtained by the Western Standard.

“It’s hard to believe, but four years ago at this time, our party didn’t even exist. An agreement in principle between our legacy parties didn’t exist either,” wrote Becker.

“Since that time, we have united our conservative movement, established 87 constituency associations, held our founding AGM, and won the last election with the largest vote total of any party in Alberta history.”

A series of scandals and gaffes – including the Snowbird scandal, its coal mining policy and anger of COVID 19 lockdown policies – has seen UCP popularity plunge across the province to a point where an election was held today, former NDP premier Rachel Notley would likely return to power.

Premier Jason Kenney suffered a caucus revolt two weeks ago when six UCP MLAs went public with their anger over the government not moving entirely to their Phase 2 reopening of the province, something it finally announced at the start of March.

After the negative comments, Kenney put a gag order on his caucus.

Until 2020, the UCP’s governance documents were silent on conducting a leadership review or election, which were standard features in Alberta’s legacy parties and for many political parties across Canada. 

Last year, the provincial policy and governance committee (PPGC) identified the UCP had no leadership selection rules and leadership review rules passed by our membership. 

On par with its commitment to the grassroots, the party executive provided assurances to its membership that they would have a direct say on membership accountability and the leader selection process.

At the 2020 Virtual AGM, a resolution – sponsored by a team of constituency associations, including Calgary-Currie, Calgary-West and St. Albert – was debated on virtually and passed with 58.99 per cent of the vote as an Article 10 constitutional document.

Seven hundred fifty-one members total voted on Resolution GR-01.

In a separate email to party members, Executive Director Dustin van Vugt reminded them a motion to hold a leadership review every three years – not including when the Election Act fixes an election date – was passed during the party’s 2020 Virtual AGM.

“Our board consulted broadly with members regarding how these rules should be applied, while our Leader Jason Kenney believed it was important to have a leadership review vote during the current mandate,” said van Vugt. 

The board recently voted and passed a resolution resoundingly 16-1 for the vote is to be held in 2022.

“As a board, we spent the past few months receiving legal advice and consulting with our CAs and members regarding our responsibilities for when a leadership review needs to be held given the wording of the resolution that says, “one out of every three Annual General Meetings of the Party, which must be years where an election date is not fixed by the Election Act,”” said Becker.

“We believe this keeps us fully compliant with our bylaws and strengthens membership engagement with our party.”

Becker notes Kenney also chimed in his desire for a membership accountability measure to be held during the current mandate regarding the party’s bylaws.

The Alberta government has introduced Bill 52, critical legislation enabling constituents to petition for their government representative’s legislative recall. If successful, constituents would vote in a by-election if they felt their representative underperformed.

The application costs for those concerning MLAs and the bill’s proclamation date have yet to be determined.

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. mppower@telus.net

    March 22, 2021 at 6:12 am

    Both the recall legislation, and the leadership review are toothless. Recall is too onerous to ever be used, and the leadership review is 6 months before the election.This isn’t conservatism, this is Red Tory policy, or right out of the liberal book of skullduggery to mislead the public. What did I vote for?

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NDP support holding strong across Alberta

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

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The UCP would be gutted and Rachel Notley back as premier if an election were held today, an exclusive new poll done for the Western Standard shows.

The Mainstreet Research poll shows Notley’s NDP currently has the support of 41% of Albertans with Jason Kenney’s UCP well back at 25%

That’s enough of a lead to form a majority government, say pollsters.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

The upstart Wildrose Independence Party collect 11% support in the new poll, with 5% siding with the Alberta Party, with the Liberals and Greens at 1% each. A total of 14% of voters were undecided.

Wildrose leader Paul Hinman polls best among people who are refusing to get vaccinated. When they were asked, 34% chose Wildrose, 29% for the UCP and only 2% for the NDP.

If the undecided are removed from the poll, the NDP checks in with 45%, the UCP with 29%, the WIP with 13% and the AP with 6%

In that poll, the NDP is also leading in Alberta’s two major cities. In Edmonton, the NDP has 62% support with the UCP at 21% In Calgary, the NDP leads with 48% support and the UCP at 31%.

Rural areas seem split. Northern rural areas favour Kenney 34% to 29% for Notley. Southern rural areas like Notley at 32% with Kenney at 29%.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

“Things are looking pretty grim for Kenney,” said Mainstreet CEO and President Quito Maggi.

“It’s 18 months until the next election, and that can be an eternity, but numbers in this realm for the better part of a year, with no positive movement, shows the trouble he is in.”

Maggi said he was a little surprised by the lead of Notley in Calgary, normally a Conservative bastion.

“It speaks of the personal unpopularity of Jason Kenney himself. The policies of the NDP probably aren’t supported in Calgary but they are willing to vote for the candidate that will defeat Kenney,” he said.

Maggi noted Kenney is now getting it from both sides of the political spectrum and the WIP is taking enough to leave Notley with a majority victory. He predicted an NDP victory would only be by one or two seats.

The analysis in this report is based on the results of a survey conducted on October 12-13 2021 among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Mar- gins of error are higher in each subsample. 

Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding. 

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People not getting COVID jabs a diverse group

Deonandan predicted Canada will not achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 until at least 91% of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated. The rate is currently 81%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Canadians against getting a COVID-19 jab are not just a group of crazed, anti-vaxxers, says a leading epidemiologist.

Four million Canadians who’ve declined a COVID-19 are an assorted lot, said the executive editor of the Interdisciplinary Journal Of Health Sciences .

“The unvaccinated are a diverse group,” Dr. Raywat Deonandan, of the University of Ottawa, told Blacklock’s Reporter.

“They include the hardcore anti-vaxxers. They include the vaccine-hesitant who are just afraid of the vaccine.”

“They include those who want to get vaccinated, but can’t get time off work or get child care. And they include the apathetic. The apathetic tend to be the young people who think the disease is not serious to them. Vaccine passports really do well on that group.”

Speaking during a webinar with a federal union, the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, Deonandan said he generally supported domestic vaccine passports, likening them to a driver’s licence, but strongly opposed mandatory immunization of young children.

“Vaccine mandates are controversial,” said Deonandan, adding compulsory shots for children under 12 “just creates far too much distrust in the population and doesn’t rub people the right way.

“I have a small child. I’m not happy about injecting him with strange things. I will if his mother agrees. But it does not fill me with comfort to do so. I get it.”

Deonandan said he thought compulsory vaccination for federal employees was legally defensible, but acknowledged it would draw protest.

“The weakness is our democracy,” he said.

“Our biggest value is our freedom and our democracy. That is the thing that’s our Achilles’ heel here. Authoritarian governments do better with COVID because they control the messaging and compel behaviour. We don’t want to be that. So we need to empower the citizens to think more rationally to their own ends.”

Deonandan predicted Canada will not achieve “herd immunity” against COVID-19 until at least 91% of eligible citizens are fully vaccinated. The rate is currently 81%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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Freeland says Canada has to stop cutting business taxes

The Liberal Party has proposed $4.2 billion a year in new taxes mainly on corporations.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada has to put a stop to cuts to corporate taxes, calling it a “race to the bottom.”

Blacklock’s Reporter noted the Liberal Party proposed $4.2 billion a year in new taxes, mainly on corporations.

“Part of building an equitable recovery is strengthening international tax fairness, ending the global race to the bottom in corporate tax and ensuring that all corporations, including the world’s largest, pay their fair share,” said Freeland.

“We will stem the world tendency to reduce the corporate tax rate.”

The Party’s August 25 campaign document, Asking Financial Institutions To Help Canada Build Back Better, proposed an increase in the corporate tax rate from 15 to 18% on banks and insurers with revenues more than a billion dollars a year.

It also proposed an unspecified Canada Recovery Dividend to be “paid by these same large banks and insurance companies in recognition of the fast-paced return to profitability these institutions have experienced in large part due to the unprecedented backstop Canadians provided to our economy through emergency support to people and businesses.

“The allocation of this dividend between applicable institutions will be developed in consultation over the coming months with the Superintendent of Financial Institutions,” continued the document.

It would be “applied over a four year period.”

Cabinet estimated all new taxes, including a new charge on tobacco manufacturers and tighter collections on offshore accounts, would generate $4,241,000,000 next year and nearly twice as much, more than $8.2 billion, by 2025.

The figures were calculated by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

“Big banks got a windfall,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters August 25.

“So as we rebuild we’re going to ask big financial institutions to pay a little back, to pay a little more, so that we can do more for you.

“Big banks and insurance companies have been doing very well over these past many months. Canada’s biggest banks are posting their latest massive profits of billions of dollars.

“Everyone else had to tighten their belt. We’re going to ask them to do a little bit more.”

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh said September 21 he expected cabinet to raise corporate taxes with support from his caucus.

“People are worried about who’s going to pay the price for the pandemic,” said Singh.

“We don’t believe it should be small business,” said Singh. “We remain resolute that it should be the ultra-rich.”

The New Democrat platform proposed a general increase in the income tax rate on all large corporations from 15% to 18%, not just banks and insurers, and a hike in the top federal income tax rate from 33% to 35% for individuals earning more than $216,500 a year.

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