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Kenney livid as Trudeau appoints Senator for Alberta

“The Prime Minister’s decision shows contempt for democratic decision-making, and for Alberta voters in particular.”




Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has blown his top at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he appointed the Mayor of Banff as Senator for the province, despite an election for a candidate coming in October.

Trudeau appointed Karen Sorensen to sit as an Independent from Alberta in the Upper Chamber.

“Today, Prime Minister Trudeau showed contempt for democracy in Alberta by appointing a hand-picked representative of Alberta to the Senate of Canada in advance of our province’s Senate elections,” said Kenney in a Thursday statement.

“The Prime Minister knows full well that Alberta will be holding elections for Senate nominees in October of this year. I personally informed him of our forthcoming Senate elections at our July 7 meeting in Calgary, and told him that the Alberta legislature had adopted a motion calling on the Prime Minister not to fill the two current Senate vacancies but to wait for Albertans to choose their own preferred Senate candidates.

“Alberta’s tradition of electing Senate nominees goes back to the 1980s. We have had four Senate elections in the past, and five nominees to the Senate selected by Albertans in these elections went on to be appointed and to represent Albertans in Parliament democratically.

“The Prime Minister’s decision shows contempt for democratic decision-making, and for Alberta voters in particular.

“Sadly, the Prime Minister’s decision to snub his nose at Alberta’s democratic tradition is part of a pattern of flippantly disregarding our province’s demands for a fair deal in the Canadian federation and the desire of Albertans for democratic accountability.”

Karen Sorensen. Courtesy CBC

Sorensen is currently serving her third term as Mayor of Banff. She previously served as a municipal councillor for six years and as a school board trustee for four years. After a successful 17-year career in the hotel industry in Ontario, BC, and Alberta, she founded Catalyst Enterprises Consulting in 2000.

She resigned from her post as mayor when the appointment was announced.

Trudeau also appointed David Arnot, for Saskatchewan, Michèle Audette, for Québec, Amina Gerba, and Clément Gignac, for Québec.

Trudeau has now appointed 60 Senators.

Trudeau said: “I am pleased to welcome Parliament’s newest independent Senators. Their combined experience, perspectives, and dedication to serving Canadians will further strengthen the Senate and help shape our country’s future. I look forward to working with them, and all Senators, as we take steps toward our recovery and to building back a more resilient and inclusive Canada for everyone.”

The Senate election is being held on October 18, the same day Albertans go to the polls in civic elections and the Equalization referendum.

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 Division 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

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  1. SaskFreedom

    August 3, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Kenney is a douche that keeps getting owned by Trudeau because he continues to play by his rules. Kenney is weak. He’s controlled because the people who decide things whispered in his ear, if you play by our guidelines, maybe, perhaps, one day, we’ll rig an election like we did for Trudeau to get you elected. So Kenney continues to play the game by the referees whispered promises in hopes the NWO will give him a go next.
    The guy is a dork. Slightly less simple than Moe, but entirely more corrupt and willing to sell his soul to get an invite to an Ottawa event.

  2. David DeCosse

    August 2, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Kenney has been weak all his term why is he surprised at what the TRUST FUND BRAT DID. kenney reminds me of trudeaus other servant loyal singh. Why waste money on another election trudeau already has a majority in those who let him run wild like Kenney does

  3. David

    July 30, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    No surprise here.

    An elected senate was rejected by Canada decades ago. There will be no representation for the Alberta people within this increasingly tyrannical confederacy.

    Kenney knows this, and he is just posturing to give people the impression he will fight for Alberta. He won’t. At best he’ll send another fairness commission around so he can ignore it and you at the same time.

  4. Seven-Zero-One

    July 30, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Why complain? You choose to be part if Disney+ Federation and u r paying for it. Until Albertans wake up. Enjoy Canadian ” Democracy”

  5. Andrew

    July 30, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Wildrose will fix!

  6. Barbara

    July 30, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Why doesn’t he just expose Trudeau’s lies. I bet there’s a lot of great information he could reveal about the covid corruption coming out of Trudeau’s office. Especially since the CDC, as of Dec. 31 2021 wants PCR TO STOP BEING USED because they can’t tell the difference between Covid and Influenza .
    So people did get the flu last year lol. That means all the so called cases , their numbers were a lie.
    If he exposed Trudeau he could be a National hero.

  7. francis witzel

    July 30, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Hey Kenny , now you know what it feels like to be betrayed. That’s what you did to the people of Alberta , sucks doesn’t it !!!!!!!

  8. Woodrow George

    July 30, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Harper left 50 unfilled Senate seats. Anyone could see what was going to be the result of this. I blame Harper and that crossgrained streak he has.

  9. Dennis

    July 30, 2021 at 6:14 am

    Wildrose.party 2023

    In the meantime Jason, perhaps one of your Stern Letters to Mr Librano will turn this around.

  10. Stew James

    July 30, 2021 at 12:12 am

    We need separation as soon as possible! Kenney or Notley, pick your poison, either way we are in for a big dose of it if we don’t leave.
    Wildrose Independence Party is the only way I see out of this mess and way over due. We don’t need the east! We don’t need there taxes. We don’t need there direction, we’re not communists!

  11. Steven

    July 29, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Kenney says he is a staunch federalist. Well that came back to bite the blue boy from Ontario.

    Don’t worry about it Jason. The Wildrose Party will step up where you stepped back. Jason Kenney is as important to Alberta as he thinks he is. Many of us seen this coming concerning Senate appointments & it isn’t a surprise, but it appears to be to the Premier.

    Good job Jason, not! Go have a dinner on the deck and have a think of what former Premier Redford did to appease the people of Alberta….she resigned & you should toooooooo!

  12. Kelly Carter

    July 29, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    R3, Harper had been trying to change the senate into a triple E senate. He ended up going to the Supreme Court and lost. I forget what the SCC said, but they basically we’re going to force Harper to open the constitution plus he requred something like the approval of 8 provinces representing 70% of Canadians if my memory is good. Basically the SCC made it impossible to ever get a triple E senate. So Harper decided what he could do is “starve” the senate and refuse to nominate any more seniators. This only works of course if you remain in power definately. Bad decision!

  13. Rose

    July 29, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Is anyone really surprised?
    Kenney’s bark has no bite.

  14. Bryan

    July 29, 2021 at 4:26 pm

    I’m actually surprised that the Prime Mistake did this now. I would have thought that he would have waited a little longer and then named his buddy Numbskull Nenshi as a Senator. After all, the ‘Mare’ (as in East end of a Wet-bound mare) checks off a lot of ‘woke’ bowes. He’s a socialist, od African descent, a mohamedan and appears to be a homosexual. THAT should have set True-dope’s heart all aflutter.

  15. William

    July 29, 2021 at 3:44 pm

    If whining was effective then things would be absolutely great here in Alberta. It’s way past time to elect some people willing to do what it takes and get us out of this shit show known as confederation.

  16. R3

    July 29, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    Does anyone know why Harper left about 50 Senate seats for Trudeau to fill?

  17. Matt C

    July 29, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    Kenney has backed himself into a corner with his “I’m a committed federalist” statement.
    He foolishly threw away leverage that Quebec clearly knows how to use.
    Kenney is a dud.

  18. Matt C

    July 29, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    Christ said “don’t throw pearls to swine”……”they will turn and attack you”.

    Not only does swine not appreciate what it has been given, it bites the hand that feeds it out of contempt and jealousy. That is a good analogy for how a significant part of the rest of Canada views and treats, Alberta.

    Maybe we need 4 more years of NDP to really damage this province and wake people up from their cheetoh/Netflix-induced stupor.

  19. Declan Carroll

    July 29, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    I hope Trudeau does more of this. At least the mask is off and we know where we stand. Maybe this will force Kenney to reconsider his stance on Federalism. This action and others will force a referendum on Albertan sovereignty. The sooner we leave confederacy the better off we will all be.

  20. berta baby

    July 29, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    Fleck all liberals

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Loophole benching minor hockey in Cochrane

Within hours of sending out the e-mail, Oaten confirmed between 30 and 40 kids had withdrawn from the program.




Although new restrictions announced this week allow for recreational sports to continue for youth under 18 without proof of vaccination, one minor detail is benching minor hockey players in Cochrane.

Thursday morning, Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) President Cory Oaten, was sent an e-mail from Hockey Alberta stating: “…based on Hockey Alberta’s interpretation of current information, minor hockey games and practices can continue, subject to the updated temporary measures that came into effect at 12:01 am this morning.”

However, Friday morning, Oaten was notified by his local facility, Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, it would be requiring proof of vaccination for those 12 and older entering the building.

That morning Oaten notified families registered with CMHA of the new requirement and included a provided statement from the facility and assured families the decision was not that of Hockey Alberta or CMHA.

“… all persons entering the Cochrane Arena or SLSFSC (ages 12+) must show proof of full vaccination, proof of a single dose as long as the dose was given more than two weeks ago, a negative test result or a medical doctor approved medical exemption.”

“Tonnes of kids are withdrawing,” Oaten said.

Within hours of sending out the e-mail, Oaten confirmed between 30 and 40 kids had withdrawn from the program.

“I’m not against the vaccines, but I’m pro-choice,” Oaten said.

The Western Standard spoke with one father who pulled his CMHA player as a result of the facility mandates. He requested to remain anonymous.

“Obviously the government is just passing the buck on this and it’s the businesses that are going to take the brunt,” he said.

A father of four children under the age of 12, he was also in line to coach his son’s team, but will not be permitted inside as he is not vaccinated.  

“We’re not the type of parents that are just going to drop our kids off at a facility and leave them unsupervised,” he said, adding those decisions effectively ended his kids’ participation in CMHA’s sports programs.

He said he also has concerns for the liability involved with those businesses being ill-equipped to manage peoples’ sensitive health records.

“Forget the legality of all this. Morally, we just can’t support businesses that take this approach.”

Alberta Country Singer and former health care worker at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Paul Brandt, took to Facebook on Friday to express his thoughts on the vaccine passport issue.  

Facebook post

“I want to be clear, I am not against vaccines,” his post confirms. “What is troubling to me is this: Why aren’t people who have had COVID and recovered being included in the conversation?”

Brandt’s son is a CMHA player. Both have recovered from COVID-19.

“Why are we not being recognized as people who have adequate immunity?

As of today, my son has also been told by the arena that hosts his hockey association he will not be allowed to participate in sports unless he is vaccinated—even though he has immunity to COVID-19, and is of no greater risk to his peers than anyone else.”

Oaten pointed out that players who have yet to be vaccinated will be eliminated from the important tryouts happening now and, because of wait times between doses and the 14-day waiting period to be considered fully vaccinated, many will miss a chunk of the season.

“It’s about the kids,” said an emotional Oaten.

“What makes me upset is kids are going to have to quit hockey because they don’t want to have to choose a medical procedure in order to play.”

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

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WS EXCLUSIVE: UCP vice-president calls for emergency meeting to initiate leadership review

“I think we need to carefully consider the option of initiating a leadership review. I believe the future of our party may be at stake.”




The Western Standard has obtained an email from the vice-president (policy) of Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) calling for an emergency meeting of the province-wide board of directors to discuss a leadership review of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Joel Mullan e-mailed the party’s board of directors at 8:33 pm MST September 17, under the subject line “Leadership review—request for meeting.”

“In light of events this past week, I believe we should meet and therefore request a meeting,” wrote Mullan.

“Specifically, I think we need to carefully consider the option of initiating a leadership review. I believe the future of our party may be at stake.”

The Western Standard spoke to a member of the party’s board of directors who received the e-mail who said—on condition of anonymity—a timely review of Kenney’s leadership has “become inevitable.”

As of publishing it’s not known if the request for an emergency meeting has been accepted by party president Ryan Becker or the board at large.

One day before, the Western Standard reported the UCP constituency association (CA) in Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills voted almost unanimously to trigger a prompt leadership review of Kenney.

The party currently has a review scheduled for late 2022, but that could be within six months of the next election, and for local CA president Robert Smith, that’s not good enough.

By a vote of 27-1, the CA’s board voted to send a letter to the party demanding a review before that as soon as possible, but before next March, said Smith.

“We would love for it to happen tomorrow,” Smith told the Western Standard.

“In talking to people, mainly rural people, it’s fair to say we have no confidence in the premier.”

While the letter was sent on the heels of controversial new COVID-19 lockdown restrictions introduced by Kenney—including the imposition of a vaccine passport—Smith stressed the letter wasn’t as a result of that, but had been brewing for months.

But he said those restrictions could help the momentum to reach the mark of 22 ridings needed to spark a leadership review.

Smith said he gets a sense in talking to other constituency association leaders “critical mass of 22 ridings could have been reached now.

“I feel confident in saying that target can now be met. I’m surprised it hasn’t been met before,” he said.

Clockwise, Jason Nixon, Tyler Shandro, Jason Kenney, Travis Toews, and an unidentified guest on the rooftop patio of the “Sky Palace”

One of the biggest concerns for the board was when the now infamous pictures f Kenney holding an outdoor dinner on the balcony of the “Sky Palace”—in contravention of the government’s of laws, regulations, and guidelines—were published.

“The entitlement and the double standard incensed the board,” said Smith.

In April, a UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney will be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who spoke with the Western Standard on the condition of anonymity.

The Western Standard reported earlier there are at least eight ridings now on board for a review.

Even earlier this week there were signs of dissension with the UCP Caucus.

During a tense meeting of caucus Tuesday, three MLAs told Kenney they had “no confidence” in his continued premiership of the province and leadership of the party, multiple sources told the Western Standard.

Sources inside of the caucus told the Western Standard the emergency meeting saw sharp polarization around the issues of putting the province under another lockdown, a potential mandatory vaccine passport, and firing healthcare workers who did not agree to be vaccinated.

According to the MLAs who attended the caucus meeting, three MLAs openly told Kenney they had “no confidence” in him, and several others implied as much using softer language.

The sources all gave the same three names, but none of the three MLAs responded to request for comment or confirmation from the Western Standard.

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THOMSON: An Alberta solution to the drug poisoning crisis

A regulated drug supply is the best deal on offer to shrink public health costs and enforcement budgets and repossess the drug market from organized crime syndicates, while creating good jobs and preserving the lives of thousands of working-age Albertans.




Dr. Euan Thomson is an entrepreneur, scientist and director of EACH+EVERY, a coalition of over 100 Alberta businesses calling for policy action to end the overdose crisis.

Drug poisoning is the leading cause of death among working-age Albertans, claiming more than 1,800 Albertan lives since the beginning of 2020. Almost all of these people were between the ages of 15 and 60, and people in the trades are vastly overrepresented.

These tragedies are more accurately called poisonings because people typically cannot be certain what they’re taking when they consume illegal drugs. Surviving through an unregulated drug supply is its own small miracle, particularly as elephant-strength synthetic opioids like carfentanil now slip through our sieve-like borders.

Let’s face it: synthetic opioids have extinguished any hope of “winning” the war on drugs, given the entire 2016 American fentanyl supply could fit into a dozen oil drums.

Albertans are free thinkers, and this crisis calls for a made-in-Alberta solution that centres personal autonomy, free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, and a healthy irreverence toward federal power. A century into drug prohibition with nothing to show but accelerating body counts, it is time to regain control through a regulated market.

The idea that in a regulated market, we would walk into corner stores and find crystal meth between the Mentos and Tic Tacs would be laughable if it wasn’t so widely cited. For experimenting adolescents, alcohol is at least as hard to obtain as illegal drugs precisely because its access is controlled—a distinction that also encourages open conversations and harm reduction measures. We can implement regulatory barriers as needed to keep kids safe, but only once we control the supply. For adults, the question is much simpler: shouldn’t we be allowed to put what we want in our bodies?

Decriminalization is the first step toward a legal market. Since decriminalizing drugs 20 years ago, Portugal has among the lowest youth drug use rates in Europe and effectively left its drug poisoning crisis behind. Our federal parties are short on details around their vision for ending Canada’s crisis, but the Western Standard Editorial Board recently gave the federal NDP’s platform section on drug policy the only A-grade for endorsing decriminalization and other measures emphasizing personal autonomy and freedom from harassment by authorities. (For the record, it was one of the only high-scoring parts of the NDP platform from the Western Standard.)

It turns out, people across the political spectrum agree after a hundred years, criminalization has failed to even slow down drug use, let alone end it.

While personal autonomy and market philosophy are intuitive drug policy cornerstones, the fiscal argument is at least as compelling. The Cato Institute reports ending the War on Drugs would eliminate $27 billion USD a year from American enforcement budgets and siphon $40 billion a year from organized crime. For Canada, this translates to billions cut from our enforcement, judicial and incarceration balance sheet and billions added to taxable sales. Meanwhile, reducing hospital visits due to drug poisonings could single-handedly solve the chronic ambulance shortages squeezing our emergency response capacity.

A regulated drug supply is the best deal on offer to shrink public health costs and enforcement budgets and repossess the drug market from organized crime syndicates, while creating good jobs and preserving the lives of thousands of working-age Albertans.

How can we propel this plan against the drag of federal inaction?

First, set up a province-wide exemption from Section 56 of the federal Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to abolish police enforcement of drug possession laws.

Next, support Albertan pilot projects to prescribe safe supply options to encourage more widespread access and choke off the demand for a street supply. Non-profit compassion clubs would cover those who cannot afford their prescriptions, as we saw during cannabis prohibition.

Finally, establish the first provincial Section 55 exemption to allow for drug manufacturing and distribution here at home, a move that would instantly benefit a Lethbridge-based operation and their partners in the nearby Blood Tribe. Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis already looks after compliance for legal drugs; we can apply similar stringency around labelling on the new products so people know what they’re taking.

Then watch as other provinces struggling with the same crisis adopt this updated, evidence-based Alberta Model; one that aligns compassion for people who use drugs with core values shared by so many in this province: personal autonomy, free enterprise, and fiscal responsibility.

While we’re at it, we can thumb our collective nose at a century of bad federal policy—all together, on brand for Alberta.

Tell your local federal and municipal candidates, as well as your provincial MLA, you want to see your values reflected in our drug policies.

Dr. Euan Thomson is an entrepreneur, scientist and director of EACH+EVERY, a coalition of over 100 Alberta businesses calling for policy action to end the overdose crisis.

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