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Kenney dodges O’Toole carbon tax question from reporter

Last Thursday, O’Toole tore up his leadership campaign’s signature promise and will be campaigning on a large, re-branded carbon tax in the next federal election.




Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has made his first public comment on federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s carbon tax plan – by declining to answer.

Kenney – who endorsed O’Toole for the Conservative Party of Canada’s leadership – has remained consistently silent since O’Toole did a shocking about-face and brought in his own carbon tax last week, despite a written pledge signed with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

At a Tuesday press conference, Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella asked specifically if Kenney had plans to bring in his own carbon tax similar to O’Toole’s, but he dodged the question.

“We continue to be opposed to carbon taxes because we think they just punish people for living normal lives, filing up their gas tanks, heating their homes,” Kenney told reporters.

“We don’t think that’s an effective environmental policy. Our focus has been on technological changes that can really make a big difference.”

Kenney also noted his government has subsidized green energy corporate welfare programs in the province to the tune of $750 million.

“We are also working with the federal government and the energy sector on massive upscaling of things like carbon capture utilization and storage. We were happy to see some commitment in (Monday’s) federal budget…to expand critical CCUS technology.”

While Kenney did not respond to the question about O’Toole’s, he did pivot to attack NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley’s carbon tax, which Kenney partially repealed.

Mount Royal Political Science Professor Duane Bratt noted that despite Kenney’s well publicized criticism of the Notley and Trudeau carbon taxes, he continues to not comment on O’Toole’s.

“I appreciated the question. Kenney has avoided comment about O’Toole’s carbon plan, and despite Corbella’s [question] still hasn’t.”

It has been a month since the Supreme Court threw out a challenge to the Liberal carbon tax and that the federal government had the constitutional authority to intrude on provincial jurisdiction if it was in the national interest of “Peace, order, and good government.”

“We regret we did not win the Supreme court reference,” said Kenney, adding his next step would be to talk to the people of the province “looking for the lowest cost for Albertans.”

He did not rule leaving it at the status quo.

Kenney vowed to campaign for the federal Conservatives in the next election as the last way to repeal the carbon tax.

It is unclear if that commitment still stands, with every party in the House of Commons now supporting carbon taxes.

Last Thursday, O’Toole tore up his leadership campaign’s signature promise and will be campaigning on a large, re-branded carbon tax in the next federal election.

O’Toole is proposing to charge a $50/tonne carbon tax on everything from gasoline, to home heating fuel, and use the money to fund government-controlled savings accounts, which Canadians can use to purchase government-approved environmentally friendly products.

“We recognize that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms,” notes the plan. Until this week, Conservatives had labeled “pricing mechanisms” a euphemism for “carbon taxes”.

O’Toole said under the new Conservative plan, Canadians would pay a carbon tax beginning at $20 per tonne, increasing over time to $50 a tonne. But the Tories promise it would go no higher than that, however, O’Toole had promised emphatically that there would be no carbon tax at all under his leadership.

When running for party leader, O’Toole signed a CTF pledge to oppose the federal carbon tax. The pledge said: “I, Erin O’Toole promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.”

O’Toole repeated his pledge to fight against any consumer carbon tax repeatedly during the campaign for the Tory top spot.

The O’Toole carbon tax may also leave less money in taxpayers pockets than the Trudeau plan.

Under the Trudeau plan, a portion of the federal carbon tax is rebated to taxpayers to spend as they see fit. Under the O’Toole plan, revenues will go into personalized “green” savings accounts, that Canadians could only spend on government-approved environmentally friendly products.

People could then draw on those accounts for “things that help them live a greener life,” the document says. 

“That could mean buying a transit pass or a bicycle, or saving up and putting the money towards a new efficient furnace, energy-efficient windows or even an electric vehicle.”

The Conservative carbon plan calls for the accounts to be managed by a private sector consortium, appointed by the government.

Giving Canadians control of the money is so leaders “won’t be tempted to use the carbon tax revenue to fund his big government plans.”

The government control of the account however will severely limit what Canadians can spend their carbon rebates on, like gasoline, groceries, or housing.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com


Alberta gov’t granted injunction to ban weekend protest at Whistle Stop Cafe

Chris Scott and others, outraged by the province’s lockdown regulations, planned to protest the closure with a campout over the weekend adjacent to the restaurant.




It hasn’t even happened yet, but an Alberta court has already ruled a weekend protest at the Whistle Stop Cafe is illegal.

The Court of Queen’s Bench has granted a pre-emptive injunction against, Chris Scott, the owner of Whistle Stop, because the restaurant plans to host a rally over the upcoming weekend called the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.” The injunction was granted at the request of Alberta Health Services (AHS), an agency under Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

Last week, the RCMP raided the establishment and carted away all its booze. On Wednesday, the RCMP and AHS officials showed up en masse and padlocked the building.

Undeterred, Scott continued cooking pancakes, making burgers and serving coffee to his customers in the parking lot outside his shuttered restaurant. The UCP government recently banned outdoor patio service for restaurants.

He and others, outraged by the province’s lockdown regulations, planned to protest the closure with a campout over the weekend adjacent to the restaurant.

But the AHS, which sought the injunction, said the judge ruled it illegal because it would not comply with public health restrictions on mandatory masking, attendance limits, and social distancing.

“The order restrains the owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event and includes police enforcement and imposes significant consequences on the organizers of this event,” AHS said in a statement to media.

“AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions.”

The Western Standard has reached out to Scott but hasn’t heard back on what effect the injunction will have. Scott said earlier in the day he will now seek elected office by running for the Wildrose Independence Party in the upcoming 2023 election.

Scott is the only gas station or restaurant in Mirror, a town of about 500, 50 km northeast of Red Deer, and now he’s seeing people from all over the province stopping in.

“The law is garbage – it”s doing more harm than good,” said Scott in an earlier interview with the Western Standard.

“If they want to throw me in jail for trying to earn a living, go ahead,” said Scott.

Scott has owned the cafe since July 2019, but it has been a fixture in town since 1967.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP Secretary quits over ‘lies’

Smith has worked with conservative parties since 1976.




The former secretary of Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) says she decided to resign from the board because she “was tired of all the lies.”

In an exclusive interview with the Western Standard, Cathy Smith said she handed in her notice on April 6, after a string of statements and actions about the COVID-19 pandemic by Premier Jason Kenney.

Smith said the beginning of the end started when Kenney held a press conference over COVID-19 and warned of a pandemic so extreme there would be “body bags coming out of McMahon Stadium.”

“I said to myself ‘Are you kidding me’. There will never be body bags coming out of McMahon Stadium,” said Smith.

“I know nurses. Nurses at the time told me there was nothing going on in their hospitals.”

Smith said Kenney then started to condemn the “right-wing, the conspiracy theorists.”

“I said wait a minute, I’m right-wing. And then the way we treated Dr. (Dennis) Modry. I thought this wasn’t the right way to represent our 40,000 members,” she said.

Kenney and Modry have been in a battle of letters. Modry published an open letter to the premier on the Western Standard saying lockdowns don’t work. The letter went viral and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of time. It took Kenney three months to reply with his own letter.

As party secretary, Smith dealt with more than 100 e-mails, either from party members or people who voted for the UCP, about how the lockdowns were affecting their lives.

“We had an e-mail from a family whose grandfather died because his heart operation had been postponed. I e-mailed everyone back. I explained I was not writing as a representative of the party. I told them I didn’t agree with what the party was doing,” Smith said.

Smith said she was aware of a group of men in Medicine Hat who went to high school together – 20 of whom have committed suicide since the pandemic started.

“I told everyone to get involved at the (constituency association) level if they really want to make change,” Smith said.

She said the last straw for her was when Kenney appeared on talk show host Danielle Smith’s last show on QR77 and said he wasn’t aware the party board had approved a leadership vote in 2022, just six months before the next election.

“I was just tired of all the lies, Kenney pretended he didn’t know about the leadership vote. I thought ‘This is not the way — where’s the trust’,” Smith said.

“I was tired of all the lockdowns (without proof they work). But I said to myself, I will never quit, never, never, never.”

Finally, after talking to several other board members, Smith handed in her notice.

Smith has worked with conservative parties since 1976. As to where she will vote in the next election: “I’m still waiting.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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WATCH: Alberta’s costume lady forced to sell treasure trove of outfits because of lockdowns

“Fifteen months later, there is no coming back.”




It took Vickie Friesen more than 30 years of sewing to create 5,000 different costumes – everything from pirates to princesses.

Now, after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns, she is being forced to sell the lot.

Friesen and her husband, Darrell can no longer afford to keep their Three Hills Tickle Trunk outlet open and the business running after income vanished after lockdowns banned everything from school plays to Halloween.

Some of Vickie’s creations

“We just can’t afford to stay in business. There’s no theatre, there’s no parades, there’s no parties,” Vicki told the Western Standard on Thursday.

“In 2019, we were busy every week of the year with rentals. 2019 was booming. It was fabulous.

“Once word of our business got around, we started having the same customers repeated over and over. I started to ask customers to ask me what costumes we didn’t have, it was just easier.

“Now, nothing.”

Vicki recalled she sent out costumes for shows last March, but after the lockdowns, the costumes were returned and customers wanted their money back.

“Everything came back. I sat by the phone, but it didn’t ring anymore,” said Vicki.

Roman centurion outfit

“Fifteen months later, there is no coming back.”

The couple has made the heartbreaking decision they will have to sell all the costumes. A sale will be held at the store the next two Saturdays. A deal to sell their building should be signed next week.

All kid’s costumes will be sold for $10. Adult merchandise is 50% off, between $25 and $50 at their Three Hills store at 519 Main Street.

Need a storm trooper outfit? It will be there along with full ball gowns, Second World War uniforms and German lederhosen. Antique furniture is also on sale.

“They are all going for a song,” Vicki said, regret in her voice.

But some of the stuff they aren’t parting with includes all their Christmas outfits. The couple created a costumed “Christmas Convoy” through the town last year, and plan on repeating it, all over the province if asked.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus… really the Frieses

The couple did receive some federal COVID-19 aide which went to fixing a leak in the building, but not enough to even cover basic utilities.

Vickie proudly boast she has shipped her costumes all over the province: “From High Level to High Prairie.”

Tickle Trunk promo

She started sewing as a kid in Manitoba, creating costumes for theatre troupes and school plays. She also handmade graduation dresses for area high schoolers.

She stored her works of art in a 12×12 granary but it soon became full.

The Friesens and their two young children decided to move to Alberta and they set up shop in Three Hills, eventually buying a building in which to operate their business and store their dresses.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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