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Barnes defiant after expulsion from Tory caucus

“Is this the party of grassroots conservatives or not? Today, that question was answered clearly by the expulsion of myself and Mr. Loewen from caucus.”

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Newly minted independent MLA Drew Barnes spoke out Thursday night two hours after he and Todd Loewen were expelled from the United Conservative Party Caucus.

“I am saddened by today’s events, but not surprised”, wrote Barnes. “Many members of caucus have tried, in vain to help the Premier make better decisions in recent weeks and months. I am also disappointed that the vote was not conducted by secret ballot. Moving forward, I continue to believe Alberta can and should be the most prosperous and free jurisdiction in North America, and I will continue to use my voice to advance this cause.

“The United Conservative Party was meant to be a team, but the leader of a team must also respect the rest of the team. I supported unity, and continued to work within the parameters of the caucus to represent my constituents. However, the views of my constituents were ignored, and the man who campaigned on servant leadership no longer exist.”

Barnes, who was first elected as a Wildrose MLA in 2012 also took aim at Kenney’s democratic credentials.

“Instead of MLAs representing the views of their constituents to caucus, MLAs are expected to represent the views of the Premier to their constituents. I could never abide by this – this is not why I entered into politics – and this is not how a grassroots political party is meant to work.”

In the first minutes of May 13, Barnes’ colleagues published a scathing letter calling on Kenney to resign. Barnes pointed to it in his own statement

“For me, the question at the core of this letter was simply this: Is this the party of grassroots conservatives or not? Today, that question was answered clearly by the expulsion of myself and Mr. Loewen from caucus.”

“Today, the Premier’s promises of servant leadership, grassroots democracy and political transparency were again abandoned in favor of caucus discipline above all else. However, I am no longer shackled by the chains of caucus discipline, especially when the goals of the Premier do not align with those of my constituents. I will continue to speak as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Cypress-Medicine Hat. I will continue to stand on the principles and beliefs that the United Conservative Party was elected to govern under and has since abandoned.”

The Western Standard has not yet received a statement from Loewen.

Barnes has increasingly clashed with Kenney over the last year.

Nearly a year ago, Barnes published a dissenting report on the Fair Deal Panel, saying that it does not go far enough and should independence on the table. Barnes was also an outspoken critic of continued lockdowns imposed by the Kenney government.

Todd Loewen’s comments earlier in the day triggered a firestorm of political intrigue in the UCP.

“The government’s response to a hostile federal government has been perceived as weak and ineffective. Albertans have lost trust in the leadership of our government and are no longer willing to extend to us any benefit of the doubt on most issues,” said Loewen in the letter.

“Albertans perceive our government as out-of-touch and arrogant, and they expect our caucus to bring their issues of concern to the government. Many of us have tried to do so repeatedly, only to be ignored and dismissed. When the Premier chooses not to listen to caucus, is it any wonder why the people choose to stop listening to the government? Our supporters and those I represent can no longer tolerate this. These folks have not abandoned the principles and values of the UCP, but they have abandoned you specifically.”

The letter comes as Kenney’s leadership is already on the ropes. More than a dozen UCP constituency associations have already passed special resolutions demanding a leadership review, however Kenney poured cold water on the idea, pushing the vote to just six months before the next election

Growing caucus tension also bubbled to the surface when 17 UCP MLAs signed an open letter condemning Kenney for putting Alberta back under a third lockdown. Kenney’s dismissal of the letter led to a series of leaks from the UCP caucus, with several MLAs telling the Western Standard the premier threatened them with an early election if they did not have confidence in his leadership.

Soon after the rogue rodeo in Bowden, Alta. to protest the third lockdown, UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney said in reference to the attendees, ““If they are our base, I want a new base.”

Kenney denied the story as “fake news” and said that the comments were only referring to people making death threats against him, but UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney was “lying.”

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    May 14, 2021 at 11:05 am

    Kenny is just another Eastern Progressive . . . like O’Foole !

    He has demonstrated he has no ability to LEAD or to absorb Science to modify his radical Chinese style approach to the CCP Virus.

    Numerous other jurisdictions have been open for months, some for over a year . . . and Kenny has made no effort to learn from them. But he does apparently call Justin Trudope regularly to ask for advice. Justine is the Second Dumbest Leader on the Planet, China Joe Biden being No. 1 . . . Kenny is in the running for No. 3 !

  2. Amma

    May 14, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Well Kenney, you have really blown it!!The anger towards you is palpable in my area. You’re done, your ego just keeps going. To have a public vote shows you have no guts nor morals. So afraid the truth may come out?? Well I’m from “your base” and I will be doing a lot of letter writing to get rid of you!

  3. Wesley

    May 14, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Mike P. you couldn’t be more wrong. Barnes and Lowen do represent the majority of the true conservative Albertans. Kenney had 80% approval last November and now has 23%. An amazing reversal
    as he took the more progressive approach aligning himself up with the NDP and liberal media wishes. This is also what the previous PC government would have done and they are now basically extinct.
    The majority of Albertans are looking for true Conservative leaders who will follow through on those values!

  4. Baron Not Baron

    May 14, 2021 at 9:34 am

    The UCP has bet on the dead horse. Probably they don’t want to ever win another election in AB.

  5. John Lankers

    May 14, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Barnes stepped forward to fight an uphill battle against Redford’s corrupt regime, he didn’t fall for Jim Prentice fake promises (may he rest in peace) and he didn’t sell out to the corrupt Kenney regime either. Pastor Artur from Calgary hits the nail on the head in his latest interview with Rebel where he calls out Jason Kenney and AHS for what they are.

  6. Claudette Leece

    May 14, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Kenney has let power go to his head, he’s never been in a position in his political career, where his ideas were questioned. Thank you to Drew and Todd, gives small comfort to see there are a few MLA willing to stand for their constitutes, not to sell their leader. Time for you to go Kenney, because if NDP get in, you can look in the mirror

  7. Mike P

    May 14, 2021 at 7:24 am

    Glad to see them expelled. The clear majority of Alberta is not aligned with the opinions of these nitwits, and they have the potential to tear down the party.

    Despite loud cries from a small vocal minority, Alberta is, at its core, a centre-right political landscape. People like Lowen and Barnes will never lead the province, but could well usher it right back into the hands of Notley.

  8. Kelly Carter

    May 14, 2021 at 6:35 am

    Barnes and Lowen show true leadership and have earned my respect for their determination to properly represent their constituents. I am disappointed that more MLA’s did not stand behind Barnes and Lowen and stand up to Kenney.

  9. berta baby

    May 14, 2021 at 3:53 am

    Drew and Lowen are where they need to be, I have tried and tried to have the Mla’s from sherwood park take a stand , the move to make the vote open was a power move by kenney to know who was against him… only 4 MLA’s spoke out against lower publicly …. that says a lot and im glad Nate Glubish was not among them.

    Wildrose here we come , Either of these two would make great leaders but so would Brian … someone who is actually from and for Alberta

  10. Mars Hill

    May 13, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Drew is an Alberta Patriot, he had served the province well and will continue to do so.

  11. Josh

    May 13, 2021 at 10:23 pm

    I’m glad to see there “was” some good in the UCP.

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News

Edmonton anchor fuming after pride flag ripped down

Karstens-Smith said she has called police and urged people to share her post so the culprit can be found.

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An Edmonton news anchor is furious after a Pride flag was ripped down from its pole outside her home.

“I am LIVID right now,” tweeted Breanna Karstens-Smith, a Global anchor.

Karstens-Smith

“This just happened at my house. Someone came and tore down our Pride flag. No one touched it for a year when it was a Canada flag but now that it’s for pride this happens.

“THIS IS WHY WE NEED PRIDE MONTH.”

Karstens-Smith said she has called police and urged people to share her post so the culprit can be found.

Pride flag torn down

“And they are greatly mistaken if they think we’re not putting another one up. Ordering a new flag pole now. Flag is thankfully fine but we got it from @thequiltbagyeg and would love to see more in our city,” she tweeted.

“Our flag is back up and our house feels right again. Thank you for the kind messages of support. The best part is hearing from people now putting up their own flags. I’d love to see photos of them. Happy Pride.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Regina chamber CEO calls COVID-19 protesters ‘narrow, dimwitted, racist’

“I personally do not support the anti-mask movement at all. I find their views narrow, dimwitted, racist and teetering on the edge of outright lunacy,” said John Hopkins.

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Regina Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins denounced COVID-19 protesters and their message in an email sent to the organization’s members.

“The anti-mask group in Regina are a very small but loud group. They have been protesting for months. They believe that they have a right to not wear a mask,” Hopkins wrote.

“Some are of the view that there are tracking devices in the masks and still others believe that this is a global conspiracy.

“…the anti-maskers have crossed the line. They have been harassing business owners, people on the street and now their latest target, kids at schools. In my opinion targeting kids is too far, way too far.

“I personally do not support the anti-mask movement at all. I find their views narrow, dimwitted, racist and teetering on the edge of outright lunacy. They certainly have the right to say what they want but the same rights and privileges extend to the rest of us….

“Racism is a vicious challenge that we need to address as a country, province and community. The time has come to act and stand up.”

The Western Standard asked Hopkins what harassment had occurred in Regina.

“There’s a candy shop on 13th Avenue,” Hopkins said.

“The business owner asked them to put on a mask and they refused and business owner refused to serve them.”

The incident from May 26 was watched almost 30,000 times on a YouTube video. The would-be customers were standing outside on the deck of the business across from the serving window.

“There has been some altercations between anti maskers and other people, actually on the street, I believe on Albert Street,” Hopkins said.

“And throughout the course of the last 14 months on, generally speaking, it’s just been people on the side of the street.”

Hopkins’ accusation of racism concerned comments made about Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“There were some very troubling remarks about Dr. Shahab that the premier addressed. We were quite concerned about that… as well as other sort of comments on telling people to go home and that type of thing on some of the signs.”

At a December 14 press conference, Premier Moe said the “end was in sight” for COVID-19 restrictions, but he was “embarassed” at “racist”,”foolish”, and “idiotic” comments made by a protester at the legislature. In a video posted days before, a man tried to say Shahab’s name a few times unsuccessfully before commenting, “can’t get these foreigners’ names right.”

Regarding students, Hopkins said, “I’ve heard that they were at a school and that they were talking to kids at a school this past week….and parking in the school parking lot….I just think going to the school is a bit much.”

Hopkins said masks help.

“It blows my mind that somehow when the Chief Medical Officer – not only one, but many across the country, and in fact, globally – are saying, wear a mask, I think it’s pretty straightforward wearing a mask is one of the things that can help people stay safe…Even though we’re making headway against the virus, it’s still out there that masks aren’t doing anything. And I find it just bizarre.”

The email was posted on the Freedom Alliance Facebook page by Kevin Volk.

“Check out this crap that was sent to me,” Volk wrote, urging people to phone the chamber to express their displeasure.

Volk told the Western Standard he had a cleaning business and had been a chamber member “for well over ten years.”

“This is just another slap in the face for business owners. The chamber has been pushing for businesses to remain closed even tho they are supposed to help businesses. They have done absolutely nothing for small businesses owners,” he said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Canadians hit with millions of dollars of COVID fines

Cabinet tabled in the Commons detailed enforcement actions under the Quarantine Act.

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The feds have issued tickets for close to $3 million for COVID-19 scofflaws who have refused to quarantine at hotels after arriving back in the country, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Other tickets handed out include fines for fraudulent COVID-19 test results.

Cabinet tabled in the Commons detailed enforcement actions under the Quarantine Act.

“I think it is important that we adhere to the public health advice that we are all getting, that we do our part as Canadians to try and protect our health care system,” Health Minister Patricia Hajdu earlier told reporters.

Records show a total 988 air passengers were each ticketed $3,000 for “refusing to go to government-approved accommodation” on arrival in Canada. The majority of tickets, 621, were issued at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport followed by Vancouver (194 tickets) and Montréal (173).

Cabinet on January 7 passed an order requiring all air travelers to prove they were COVID-19-free with tests taken a maximum 72 hours prior to arrival. An identical order for cross-border drivers was invoked February 22.

The Canada Border Services Agency found 62 travelers with fake tests, said the report, and four were each ticketed $3,000.

Another 9,003 travelers were cited for not having proof of a valid test, including 4,583 drivers and 4,420 air passengers.

“This would include individuals who did not test at all, who were in possession of tests outside the required 72-hour time frame, tests that did not originate from the required country of origin, tests that are suspected fraudulent and other reasons,” wrote staff.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair defended the enforcement.

“Cancel your vacation plans,” Blair told reporters February 12.

“Stay home. Respect the rules. We believe that through these effective measures, appropriate screening and the testing measures in particular that we have put in place coupled with robust and enforced quarantine orders, it is the best way to prevent variants from spreading across our borders into Canada.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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