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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

Michael Wagner is a Senior Alberta Columnist for the Western Standard. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. His books include 'Alberta: Separatism Then and Now' and 'True Right: Genuine Conservative Leaders of Western Canada.' mwagner@westernstandardonline.com

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Sunrae

    June 24, 2021 at 7:05 am

    As a relatively long-time supporter of The Western Standard, I look at it as our “Western Canadian news and commentary focal point. However, as a strong supporter of Western Independence I find that content seems to be predominately focused on “Alberta Independence”. There is little content about Saskatchewan or Manitoba. As a former Alberta resident and staunch “Westerner” who has lived and worked all across the West and now retired in rural Manitoba, I see a need for more input and commentary relating to the other Western provinces. Manitoba has challenges that need support from neighbors here..
    The Maverick Party is working hard to gain support here and needs sustained support which The Western Standard might be able to focus on..

  2. Andrew A

    June 23, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    This article mirrors my thoughts exactly.

  3. Andrew

    June 23, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Let’s gooooooo Alberta. Wildrose Independence Part of Alberta.

  4. RM

    June 23, 2021 at 9:07 am

    It has been awhile since I felt like celebrating Ontaribec Day on July 1. Canada, it’s political leaders, it’s Supreme Court, it’s official media, and many of what is left of it’s institutions are completely centred on the needs of eastern Canada and is constitutionally incapable of even seeing what is west of the Manitoba border. But why stop at Alberta independence? I think that Alberta, the interior of BC (including the port at Prince Rupert), Saskatchewan, and Manitoba would make a viable nation with shared values and economic interests. Eventually such a nation could have a very close affiliation with the “fly over” states in the US from our border to the Gulf of Mexico. Leave the east and the coastal cities of southern BC to enjoy their totalitarian leftist utopia.

  5. Steven Ruthven

    June 22, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Canada is not governable as a nation anymore. Justin Trudeau has divided Canadians very skillfully.

    Western Canada has it’s own western culture, including many other cultures & First Nations who live on the prairies & mostly get along with each other. While Trudeau & others stroke the fire of division.

    I’ve lost faith in Erin O’Toole & many of the western CPC Party members who voted yes in the Quebec motion, a short time ago. How did that benefit Canada or Western Canada CPC? It benefited Quebec & O’Toole’s mad dash for seats in Quebec. Crazy, just crazy.

    I’ve hitched my wagon to the Maverick Party. I won’t vote for a dominated Eastern CPC brand again.

  6. David

    June 22, 2021 at 7:17 pm

    If Alberta does exit confederation, those leftist wokesters wouldn’t bat an eyelash. They’ll continue living in their alternate reality, and most of them won’t even understand what’s happening as their life savings evaporate due to the decline of the Canadian currency.

  7. Rose

    June 22, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    On the surface, it may appear that we want the same thing, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, polar opposites.

    Separatists are trying to save a portion of Canada as a safe haven & refuge from the undeniable incoming darkness.

    The woke, radical, terrorists on the left are themselves the darkness.

  8. Rose

    June 22, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    I’m all for western independence, however, not to destroy Canada, but to preserve what little good remains.

    The anarchists & terrorists are aligned, aided & abetted by media and all major political parties, (except PPC & Maverick).

    We were on the Titanic, the captain deliberately steered us into an iceberg, the ship is sinking, and now we’re swimming in freezing water towards a life raft. Denying the ship is sinking as the music plays is suicidal.

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Pickup trucks are a plague on Canadian streets — Gee, did he get it wrong?

Nasty pickup-driving soccer moms rolling coal in mall parking lots are the ones killing the planet!
At least, that’s how Globe and Mail writer Marcus Gee sees it.

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Across Canada’s untamed urban frontier, when pickup truck drivers aren’t wrestling wild hogs, they’re on the road tailgating electric cars and cyclists for sport.

And the biggest polluters aren’t factories in China, India and elsewhere ceaselessly spewing smoke and chemicals into the air.

Nasty pickup-driving soccer moms rolling coal in mall parking lots are the ones killing the planet!
At least, that’s how Globe and Mail writer Marcus Gee sees it.

Thank goodness he ventured out of his urban bubble to set people straight on the devastating impact of the vile permeation of pickup trucks in North America.

Hopefully, Gee’s Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino, with a heaping topping of utter contempt, didn’t dribble down his elitist chin whilst he penned a recent snobbish attack on the character of pickup truck drivers.

It doesn’t take long for the initial surprise at the absurdity of his sanctimonious reasoning to turn into laughter.

Gee lamented that last spring – in the midst of a pandemic yet – Americans bought more pickup trucks than cars. And, if you can imagine, for years, Canadians have had the audacity to make Ford’s F-150 a best-selling vehicle.

“For heaven’s sake why? Most people no longer use pickups to haul bales of hay. They drive them to the mall to shop or the soccer field to drop off their kids. Why anyone thinks they need to do that is an abiding mystery,” anguished Gee.

“Once the vehicle of the cowboy, the contractor, and the good old boy, pickups have become the continent’s mainstream ride,” wrote Gee.

“A vehicle that started as a practical tool for hard-working people has become, for many, an obnoxious assertion of dominance and division,” wrote Gee.

What a clever ploy! Pretend you’re purchasing pickup trucks to haul things, make a living, or for safe driving in brutal weather conditions, when the real intent is to achieve dominance and create division.
Do pickup truck drivers hold super-secret meetings like the Illuminati or the Bilderberg Group to achieve this nefarious goal?

Gee referred to a survey – no, he didn’t identify it – that claimed three-quarters of pickup drivers use their trucks only once, or not at all, for hauling each year.

That would come as a shock to farmers, contractors, tradesmen, delivery companies, utility repairmen, movers, people who haul loads to the dump or the whole team’s gear to regular sports events, and a host of other pickup truck drivers.

“Buyers can drop $100,000 on luxury models, which most will spend more time polishing than loading,” he wrote.

“Even if they weren’t polluting and dangerous, the parade of pickups would be a blight on the roadscape and a finger in the eye of other drivers – a way of saying to everyone else: ‘I am bigger, badder and richer than you.”

No, Gee didn’t say what message is sent by purchasers of the $93,000 Audi e-tron Sportback or the $170,000 BMW i8 Roadster, or other expensive electric or hybrid vehicles he prefers.

Gee’s entitled to his opinion. But it evolved into a personal attack on people who drive vehicles he doesn’t like. He portrayed them as reckless bullies on the hunt for targets.

That’s inexcusable.

“In the charming practice known as rolling coal, some pickup drivers blow past cyclists and electric vehicles and deliberately spew black smoke at them,” claimed Gee.

Yup, those hordes of pickup truck drivers – even the soccer moms – spend their spare time modifying diesel engines so they can hunt down targets to spew sooty exhaust fumes on. Great fun!
Can anyone possibly be so detached from reality?

But Gee wasn’t finished flinging wild accusations: “Then there is safety. Anyone who has travelled a Canadian highway lately has been tailgated by a speeding pickup driver. Being up there in that big cab over the huge engine seems to make the drivers think they own the road; lesser vehicles be damned.”
Now that’s a fabricated, irrational fear, right up there with monsters hiding under the bed or in the closet.

And the good old boys Gee mocked still drive pickups. They’re everywhere. They’re the first to stop on the highway in frigid, stormy weather to pull vehicles that jackknifed and slid off the road out of the ditch, never expecting more than a thank you.

He’s right about farmers not using pickups to haul bales, particularly in Manitoba now. That’s because there are no bales to haul to feed the cattle they’re forced to sell because of drought and grasshoppers.
Meanwhile, many people, especially in Alberta, are using their pickup trucks to move their possessions out of the homes they’ve lost because clueless and destructive environmentalists successfully campaigned against the energy industry.

Gee was applauded by his colleague Gary Mason who tweeted: “This is a column I wish I’d written.”

These Uber boys are so sadly out of touch.

Most Canadians are fed up with condescending so-called elitists who look down on them believing they have the right to tell them how to live and what to buy.

Rev those engines, folks!

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard  lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

WAGNER: Election of Maverick MPs would send a clear message of Western defiance

But what if – instead of business as usual – the Mavericks picked up a few Alberta seats?

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The May poll showing emerging support for the Maverick Party is good news for Alberta. The party is beginning to build its profile and may become competitive in some ridings. As time goes by, more and more Albertans will hear about the party and see it as a viable alternative worthy of their vote.

A federal election will likely occur this year (very soon, according to Brian Lilley in the Toronto Sun), and almost all of Alberta’s seats are currently safe havens for Conservative MPs. A result like 2019 where every seat except one goes Conservative will be met by a shrug in Ottawa. That’s just business as usual. 

But what if – instead of business as usual – the Mavericks picked up a few Alberta seats? A result like that would set off a firestorm. Nothing would catch the attention of people in Central Canada more abruptly than Albertans sending some so-called “separatist” MPs to Ottawa. Bloc Quebecois MPs don’t raise too many eyebrows down there. They are, after all, from Central Canada too, and share the same “progressive” values and anti-oil sentiment exhibited by most of the other parties. But sovereigntist MPs from Alberta? That would be something else altogether.

There are many good Conservative MPs from Alberta who undoubtedly do their best for their constituents. But right now, the West needs MPs who can speak out publicly without the fear of retribution by party leadership whose ambitions are always to please Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal – MPs, that is, whose only loyalty is to Alberta and the West.

From a Western regionalist perspective, a vote for the Conservatives is a vote for the status quo. Alberta needs something different now, something that offers a full-frontal challenge to Central Canada’s political elite. Electing politicians from the old-line parties just won’t do it. But electing Maverick candidates might.

The ridings most likely to show support for Maverick candidates are in rural Alberta. Ridings like Battle River—Crowfoot and Red Deer—Mountain View are unfamiliar to people in places like Toronto. But if those ridings sent Maverick MPs to Ottawa, people in Central Canada would suddenly hear about them, for all the right reasons. 

The large Wexit meetings that were held in the wake of the October 2019 federal election generated some attention down East. A prominent Toronto-based magazine, The Walrus, even produced a cover feature on Wexit with two major articles, The New Separatists and Meet the Albertans Who Want to Start Their Own Country. But as the Wexit meetings dissipated due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and perhaps declining enthusiasm, Central Canada once again forgot about Western discontent.

Having a Maverick presence in the House of Commons would ensure Western concerns would not be forgotten or ignored. Maverick MPs would be a continual reminder that things are not okay and big changes are needed. 

It’s true that only a provincial government can hold a referendum on independence. Even with elected MPs, a federal party cannot initiate any measures that would lead to Western independence. As a result, some people question the necessity of a federal sovereigntist party. However, if a referendum on Alberta independence were held under the Clarity Act, the House of Commons would determine whether the referendum question on independence was “clear.” The presence of MPs whose only loyalty is to the West could be crucial in getting a fair judgment on that point. 

Maverick MPs would represent the West’s interests in other important matters as well, of course. We know that Quebecers believe there are advantages to sending committed sovereigntist MPs to Ottawa because they repeatedly elect candidates from the Bloc Quebecois. The West can do likewise.

If Alberta and Saskatchewan send full slates of Conservative MPs to Ottawa after the next election, no one will be surprised and Canadian politics would continue as usual. However, if Alberta – and perhaps the other Western provinces – send some Maverick MPs to Ottawa, that would convey an unmistakable message of defiance.

It would be a clear signal that the West has had enough.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Help too little, too late for Manitoba farmers

Severe drought and a grasshopper invasion have left parched watering holes and destroyed crops and pastures, forcing producers to sell cattle they can’t feed at emergency auctions.

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A disaster relief program announced Thursday for drought-stricken Manitoba farmers is too little too late to save too many.

And the package, although welcomed, doesn’t address other critical problems.

Severe drought and a grasshopper invasion have left parched watering holes and destroyed crops and pastures, forcing producers to sell cattle they can’t feed at emergency auctions.

Farmers are exhausted from hauling water to thirsty animals and a prolonged fight for survival.

An exodus from the devastated industry is underway. Forage livestock commodity producers – beef, sheep, goats, buffalo and horses – are planning, in some cases, permanent exit strategies.

“This could be the end of the industry here. By the time most people are forced out, they’re not going to have enough money to go back into it,” Orval Procter, a beef producer and councillor for the R.M. of Woodlands, just north of Winnipeg, told the Western Standard.

“These announcements are wonderful but there needs to be strong dialogue provincially, federally, with all the commodity groups to figure out as best a path as we can to benefit everybody.

“This is a small drop in what we need. Not all of what we need is money. We need good planning and regulations or restrictions to add some control to the marketplace.”

Agriculture contributes $7 billion a year to Manitoba’s economy and $1 billion of that is attributed directly to livestock. 

The ripple effect of an exodus would devastate communities and businesses within them.

Manitoba’s suffering its fourth year of drought. Areas where cattle production is prevalent are hardest hit.

“Livestock producers are unique in that we’re struggling, and we have live animals that we’re dealing with. Grain producers who are struggling aren’t putting animals at risk,” said Procter.

Over the past two years with feed in short supply, farmers have had to sell one-third of their breeding stock.

But for 11 years, the resilience of economically crippled farmers and producers has been severely tested by a string of blows including BSE (mad cow disease), flooding, drought, economic recessions, and the impact of COVID-19.

“Because we’ve had so many issues, nobody has the financial resources, and nobody knows where we can get enough feed. It’s dire,” said Procter.

Through it all, they’ve mostly had to go it alone because there was “minimal recognition” by the government of the crushing economic damage to the industry, said Procter. 

He helped organize a July 21 rally to call for immediate federal and provincial government help. Nearly 100 producers showed up. Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Ralph Eichler didn’t attend for health reasons and didn’t send anyone from the agriculture department in his place.

Federal agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau visited drought-stricken areas Thursday and announced federal/provincial relief programs.

Through the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation’s Hay Disaster Benefit, insured livestock feed producers will get an extra $44 per tonne to offset replacement feed and transportation costs. Changes to the AgriInsurance program allow some crops damaged by drought to be sold as feed.

“What they’re really announcing is a top-up to the insurance programs to make sure there’s enough money to increase benefits to producers for hay shortages based on the extra cost. That price is typically set almost on a national scale, so when you get in situations like we have, where the price is triple what it was last year and they pay you out on last year’s costs, it doesn’t let you buy much,” said Procter.

He’s concerned about the cattle.

“There’s about 450,000 cows in Manitoba. Most producers are being affected by this,” said Procter.

“One of the biggest things that scares me, and nobody’s talking about it, there’s obviously going to be a huge influx of cattle into the market. Where are these cattle going to go? Are we going to have days with 5,000 head showing up an auction mart with three days selling? How many days before they’re moved? Who’s going to want them?” 

Every bit of hay that comes into the system is desperately needed. Eight bales saves one cow.

But pleas for more Crown land and wildlife management areas to be opened for haying and grazing, appear futile.

“The department has let land out, but they’ve not let all of it out. Areas still aren’t open and that’s to no one’s benefit,” said Procter.

“There’s no engagement. We asked for a contact to meet with, it’s been three weeks and we haven’t been given that. We got a roundabout response that it probably wasn’t going to happen.”

Meanwhile, skyrocketing feed costs and negative sales returns have resulted in producers receiving up to $400 less per animal than the cost of raising it.

“We haven’t even been in a break-even position for some time. We get 19% of the final cost, feed lots get 19%, and the rest is taken up by slaughter plants and retail,” said Procter.

“I’ve got receipts from 2002 – $1.87 a pound for a 400-500-pound steer was pretty common. I got the same price a month ago.” 

Producers are demanding a “government-driven investigation into the system that prices meat products, from the farmer’s gate to the consumer’s plate.”

The price producers receive isn’t reflected in what consumers pay for meat products.

“What’s hamburger worth? That’s your cheapest cut,” said Procter.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard 
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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