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SLOBODIAN: Gay Alberta NDP MLA openly mocks believers of God

And she sported a huge grin during a stunning display of reprehensibly rabid intolerance on Friday.

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Edmonton NDP MLA Janis Irwin mocked Jesus and the Bible, used bully tactics, interfered with a citizen’s right to free speech, and encouraged vigilantism against a street preacher.

And she sported a huge grin during a stunning display of reprehensibly rabid intolerance on Friday. 

In a climate where Christians are perceived as fair targets and churches are being burned and vandalized, a politician promoting this appalling behaviour shows pathetically poor judgment at best.

This is Alberta’s Official Opposition Deputy Whip, critic for women’s and LGBTQ2S+ issues, someone who peddles herself as committed to social justice (apparently only for whom she agrees with).

Irwin proudly tweeted and posted a photo on Facebook of herself intimidating a street preacher. She included childish emojis and an invite for others to join in the harassment “every Friday” at Pride Corner, located on Whyte Avenue and Calgary Trail, not even in the Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood riding she represents.

Irwin in street protest

She posted these comments:

“On my way back home and I couldn’t possibly drive past Pride Corner without stopping.”

“Stayed just long enough to hear about my sins and dance a little too.”

“Stop by! They’re there every Friday night til late, drowning out the hate.”

Stop by to do what exactly? Sounds like an invitation to harass, or possibly worse, a street preacher. 

Mission accomplished. Several fuming people promised to head on down to do just that.

The photo shows a male holding a sign saying: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be Saved.’

A female, attempting to block him, holds signs saying: ‘Respect my existence or expect my resistance’ and ‘Keeping YEG hate free.’

Fine. Two people expressing their views.

The problem is the other person in the photo, that being Irwin, holding signs saying: ’This is homophobia disguised as Bible quotes’ and ‘Hate speech is not welcome here.’

A politician inserting herself into this is a pure intimidation tactic against someone she disagrees with.

It takes imagination to conclude the male’s sign spews hate.

One person who commented on Facebook was hardly impressed.

“The Christian has every right to be there – freedom of speech – preaching what he genuinely believes. You are the ones invading his space to make a scene and to provoke a reaction.”

Amen, brother!

Another person wrote: “I am confused, the scripture on the sign has no reference to homosexuality. How is that hate speech?”

Irwin retorted that the preacher says “hateful and harmful” words but neglected to elaborate.

“His preacher friend across the street confirmed to me that I am, in fact ,going to hell,” she claimed, not elaborating on how that alleged encounter transpired.

“I can laugh, but it’s not about me. It’s about that young kid struggling with their sexuality,” she added.

Oh, save it. That young kid deserves a role model who doesn’t condone double standards.

Irwin’s openly gay. 

Yeah, about that…don’t care. The concern here is character and actions, not where one’s affections lie.

When a politician promotes tolerance for me, but not for thee, there’s a serious problem.

Irwin’s Facebook page is saturated with selfies, promoting LGBTQ2S+ issues, and condemnation of Kerry Diotte, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach, who defeated her in the 2015 federal election.

A red flag about her credibility with facts swirls around false accusations that Diotte promotes conversion therapy.

He has stated that “conversion therapy is a harmful practice and should be banned.”

But he voted against a final “flawed” Liberal Bill C-6 failing to address what would be considered conversion therapy on the grounds that it could “jeopardize or even criminalize some conversations with religious leaders and others when counselling someone.”

The point is Irwin has dishonestly, relentlessly portrayed Diotte as an intolerant hater.

Having known Diotte for many years, it can be stated with absolute surety that he is decidedly not intolerant of gays or anyone, regardless of skin colour or religion.

A new attack appeared Friday on Irwin’s Facebook page spewing the same lies.

When contacted to get his take on whether Irwin crossed a political line, Diotte wondered what her performance has to do with provincial politics.

“People have a right to free speech no matter who they choose to worship. If somebody is fomenting hatred, we have laws against that. The correct thing to do is call the police and make a complaint. If a person is saying something hateful, it is your duty to report, not to incite,” said Diotte.

“What on earth is wrong with spreading the word of God? What kind of world do we live in when people are mocked for that? It’s seriously a sick world when that happens,” he said.

“There are many homeless people in the market with various addictions and maybe the preacher will reach even just one of them and turn their lives around,” said Diotte.

Irwin is obliged to fairly represent Christians in her constituency. With her intolerant bias, can she?

Christians leaders must step out from behind the safety of their pulpits and tell this MLA to respectfully stop mocking Jesus and those who, in Irwin’s view, have the audacity to worship Him.

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

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    July 21, 2021 at 11:23 am

    @ Ostbear . . . .

    Last time I checked the Street Preacher was NOT a Politician . . . and for a little while yet Free Speech is still lawful in Canada . . . yes?

    Irwin IS a Politician and represents ALL the people of her district, not her own personal hobby horse. She like many on the far-left is not bright enough to understand this obviously.

    Like is so often the case . . . these same-sexers become unhinged . . . here’s a perfect example.

    Author of the world-famous Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, is one of the few celebrities calling out the hypocrisy of the left’s so-called equality. Rowling, who has been in the “woke” movement’s crosshairs before, fired back against trans activists who have made deadly threats against her.

    Rowling retweeted the thread, responding, “Judging by the tsunami of supportive emails and letters I’ve received, if women learned anything from the response to my post it wasn’t that they should sit down and shut up. Solidarity to the brave and fabulous @millihill (and I love your books, by the way!).”

    Another trans activist user then Tweeted to Rowling, “I wish you a very nice pipebomb in mailbox.” It’s doubtful Twitter will suspend the activist’s account for inciting violence, but we digress. One user responded to the discussion asking, “Is this still because of her comments about the safety of women in toilets/changing rooms if men can use them by simply saying they identify as a woman?”

    Rowling screenshotted the condescending tweet and laid out the reality of these “loving activists” who just want equality. “Yes, but now hundreds of trans activists have threatened to beat, rape, assassinate and bomb me I’ve realized that this movement poses no risk to women whatsoever.”

  2. OSTBear

    July 20, 2021 at 11:39 pm

    Help me understand the logic here: That street preacher can stand out there and yell condemnations — she didn’t need to elaborate. I’ve been down Whyte, I know EXACTLY the kind of things they yell at people — but she can’t go there, hold a sign… and dance? This really has my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ up in arms? Who cares that she’s a politician, that means she’s a guardian of the very freedoms we enjoy… So why is she not allowed to enjoy them?

    If the issue is a power dynamic, might I remind you the same kind of power dynamic exists for the priest as well; As an anointed clergyman he’s intimidating children of God and, apparently, condemning them to hell.

    If you’re going to attempt to call Janis a hypocrite here, I think you yourself need to own your hypocrisy.

  3. Fred

    July 20, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Wow she is just a wonderful human. Standing up to the intolerance that that man puts up every day. Bravo Janis you are the real hero.

  4. liarspeaksthetruth

    July 20, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    You didn’t even have the gonads to publish an actual comment from an actual long-time conservative.

    I’ve been cancelled. How ironic.

    Thank you, but no, your journalism is skewed, vapid, and blind to the circumstances real people face.

    In turns, we’ll do the same. I won’t expect anyone to reach out – I’ve been cancelled by you, after all. It’s no real comfort that no one on staff possesses the intellectual aplomb or emotional depth to write serious journalism.

    Fringe radicals are as fringe radicals do. The Western Standard is where unemployed journalists go to die.

    Cheers.

  5. Ken Durham

    July 20, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Dear Linda Slobodan,

    Mocking the Bible, Jesus, and every single other aspect of your batshit crazy beliefs is the very epitome of the right to Free Expression.

    Your religion does NOT have rights.
    It’s an idea and ideas don’t have rights.
    People do.

    Fucking moron.

  6. Mary

    July 20, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    More people should stand up to the bigoted street preachers on Whyte Ave. Way to go Janis! We need more politicians like Janis!

  7. David Ross

    July 20, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Linda Sobodian, for someone who “doesn’t care” that Janis is gay, you sure like to bring it up and discredit her for it in every other sentence… Seems fishy

  8. Clash

    July 20, 2021 at 11:43 am

    This is obviously a “Media Stunt” to garner some notoriety, and some press. The worse thing in the World is happening to the Gays and the LGBTQ2S community, The public no longer care!! Go live your lives as you wish, “BE HAPPY” with your chosen life. “NOBODY CARES”!!!

  9. JamesHaIifax

    July 20, 2021 at 10:40 am

    What a singuIarIy ugIy individuaI; both outside and in.

    Based upon what I couId see, the onIy Iesbian who wouId be interested in her huge ugIy moutch and bad skin….wouId be a woman who wanted to date a guy…but hates penises.

  10. Desiderius Erasmus

    July 20, 2021 at 9:54 am

    What good Christians we have here. “Vile c*nt.” “I wouldn’t believe in God either if I was born with a face like that.” “horse-face” I’m sure those are the exact words Jesus would have used in this situation. You don’t have to like her or believe in what she’s doing, but attacking her based on her looks is pathetic. Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” You really think Jesus wants people like you in heaven? I don’t think so.

  11. Left Coast

    July 20, 2021 at 9:43 am

    One look at Irwin and you can see that the Elevator does not go all the way to the TOP!

    This marxist Heterophobe is one of many who have infiltrated our Politics, Media, School System and all areas of Govt. They have an Agenda . . . as some of their more radical members like Irwin are happy to announce.

    When the left calls for “tolerance,” are they asking parents to “tolerate” pedophilia and sexual abuse? Are they asking parents to “tolerate” others teaching their children about sex? What is it that the left themselves are required to “tolerate”?

    Anyone who was old enough in the early 80s & the Aids outbreak surely remembers the Bath Houses in San Fran that were closed down by the City because they were a transmission vectors. The “gay” community would hand out memberships at the local High Schools . . .

    “Hundreds of homosexual activists rushed out of bars and swarmed a group of Christians who were singing songs in San Francisco’s Castro District – and some even threatened to kill the worshippers.”
    https://www.wnd.com/2008/11/81310/

  12. Dennis

    July 20, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Wildrose.party 2023

  13. Josh

    July 20, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Does seeing the sign “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” convict this person?

  14. Wesley

    July 20, 2021 at 8:48 am

    This is only one reason I could never support the NDP. Although they spout that they are the tolerant ones these social warriors are the most intolerant!

  15. Olwyn

    July 19, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    That street preacher is NOTORIOUS for spewing hate at people on Whyte Ave and if you’ve ever been on Whyte in the evenings or at night you’ve liked heard some of the bigoted and disrespectful things they’ve said to passersby unprovoked. People like that make me embarrassed to be a Christian. I don’t blame these people for trying to fight back after all these years. Bright signs and smiles are hardly a violent response.

  16. Baron Not Baron

    July 19, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Marxism = Marc6sm = Mark 6(ism) = Mark 666. Choose wisely.

    WIPA !!!

  17. Baron Not Baron

    July 19, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Gordo the weirdo!

  18. Concerned Christian

    July 19, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Does anyone else see the hypocrisy here? I do and it’s probably not what most of you are thinking. As a practicing Christian I have been the target of street preachers in Edmonton who told me that I was a sinner and going to hell. Why? I had just exited a pub…. exiting a pub = eternal damnation? You claim the right to free speech but tolerate attacks on others in the name of Christianity? These two individuals are called out for their behavior but are viciously attacked on social media and even in the comments of this article? I choose to stand with the God of love, grace, forgiveness and understanding because I believe that was and continues to be the example of Jesus.

  19. Brent Altheim

    July 19, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    You conveniently left out the fact that the ‘street preacher’ in question regularly spews intolerance and thinly veiled misogyny and homophobia as part of his ‘sermons’. Listening to his words have made me, a straight white christian male, uncomfortable. It would be 100x worse for someone who looked different. Freedom of speech is different than freedom from consequences. The action taken to counter his ‘preaching’ is perfectly appropriate. Of course, I don’t expect you to consider anything the NDP does as appropriate, since it would be bad for your bottom line, and that is all that really matters, isn’t it?

  20. berta baby

    July 19, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    what a hate filled bigot…. just sad how angry she comes off, why does she feel so much blatant rage by a human holding a sign ? I think she has mental problems to be so intolerant of other people.

    Notley obviously embraces this kind of hate because she hasn’t condemned this intolerance

  21. NeverKerry

    July 19, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    As a long time born again Christian I am appalled by the unloving, unkind, un-self-controlled, impatient, unfaithful comments on this article (fruit of the Spirit anyone?) and shake my head at the writer of this article. My representative, Janis Irwin, is certainly not bullying or intimidating. In fact she is positively and kindly responding to what this “preacher” is doing. Shouting at people, saying “you are going to hell”, saying “God hates…” etc. This is not the approach Christ used with those who did not know Him. Christ treated the prostitute with compassion, the sinner with mercy, the doubters with patience. If Janis sins (in any way, for example by being overly proud of her cat Oregano lol) as we all do, it is primarily between her and God. If you are her friends or her community or her loving neighbour and you believe she sins or does wrong, then you have the relationship to suggest this to her in LOVE. At any rate I am pretty sure no one here including me has this right.
    And Kerry Diottes comment? Right. I’m sure he would be just as supportive of a extremist Islamic screaming on a street corner than “Infidels must die”. Right Kerry? Just as supportive of Christians as of Muslims? Doubtful. Because this guy on the corner is an extremist Christian who preaches not out of love but out of self righteousness and condemnation.

  22. Ray

    July 19, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Oh you poor lil fragile loons. Anything to keep the truth from people. There is not a genuine bone behind anything you write. It’s pathetic. I have pics of my comment as I figured you’d censor it while approving men making fun of women’s’ appearances (very on brand)🙄🙄🙄🙄 You truly are so weak, that’s why no one is worried. Take care out there.

  23. Ray

    July 19, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    You all are so easily duped!! Not even a Google search, just straight up full blind belief in a propaganda opinion section😂😂😂😂 That dude with god sign, who you all seem to be running to their defense, has been out on that corner of Whyte Ave day and night for years calling queer life an abomination and using slurs any chance he can. People fight back with love and you loose your minds. Y’all are simple.

  24. Steven

    July 19, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    That’s a very good point Willian. I wonder what former Premier Notley would have to say if she attacked the Muslim faith & mocked them? Hmmm?

  25. Steven

    July 19, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    She’s exposing herself as a gay bigot with no tolerance for others whom don’t fit her lifestyle. Her lifestyle isn’t under attack like it was years ago, but what she needs to remember is, now she is now doing the dirty work of which the church use to be so hated for. Crazy world we live in.

    I say live and let live because in the end we will all meet the maker; one way or the other. Not her job to condemn or judge. One of the hardest things I have to work at also.

  26. Penny4YourThouhts

    July 19, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Shame is as powerful as fear and this MLA is carrying around a TON of shame. Perhaps if she actually took the time to learn the teachings of Jesus Christ she would learn how to accept herself and quit projecting her shame onto Christians.

  27. Gloria Bult

    July 19, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    I pray for her conversion.

  28. William

    July 19, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    What would be the NDP reaction if she was mocking Muslim?

  29. Adam Bartlett

    July 19, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    I wouldn’t believe in God either if I was born with a face like that.

  30. Andrew

    July 19, 2021 at 11:49 am

    She needs to be voted out of office. I encourage everyone in the riding she is elected to get it done! Wildrose!

  31. K

    July 19, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Pathetic and reprehensible behaviour, but not shocking coming from that horse-face. The more they engage in acts like this, the stupider they look. I say, bring it on. The best way to bring attention to your mental illness is to show it off for all to see. God will not be mocked.

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Manitoba response to Freedom Convoy has politicians cowering

“Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.”

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Federal politicians and bureaucrats will probably be hiding in their closets or under their desks, frozen in fear, when the massive Freedom Convoy arrives in Ottawa.

And they should hide in shame until they get it straight — that they were elected to carry out the will of the people; that it’s long past time to start listening.

Maybe a crescendo of blaring horns in the capital will improve their hearing.

They’ve created a big COVID-19 mess, underestimated the Canadians they’ve tormented and tried to crush, pulled cheap stunts, and delivered fancy, empty condescending lectures.

Few are listening to them anymore. Truckers have taken the wheel and won the trust and respect and hearts and minds of countless Canadians who oppose vaccine mandates and freedom of speech being trampled on. 

Elected pooh-bahs who’ve lost any esteem they may have had just don’t know what to do about that. 

Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.

That’s why hundreds of freezing supporters braved -30C temperatures to greet the convoy when it blared into Brandon, Man., population 60,000, around noon Tuesday.

A driver going the other way told the Western Standard the convoy was 100 km long.

It was a magnificent, electric scene that has, and will continue to repeat itself along highways, roads and overpasses in towns and cities across Canada until convoys coming from several directions converge on the capital January 29.

The cheering Brandon supporters didn’t come empty-handed. They brought more than 1,000 bagged lunches — sandwiches, homemade cookies, muffins, puffed wheat cakes — prepared in kitchens throughout the province. 

Someone even very thoughtfully hauled in porta-potties.

These regular Canadians don’t have much use for most politicians (Of course, Carlton MP Pierre Poilievre is an exception).

But Canadians love, love, love the truckers!

“People have been dropping food and drinks off all morning,” said Virden’s Ingrid Wilkinson, who organized the bagged lunches served at several stations.

“I’m doing it for all the harm that’s been caused. I personally know many people who have been greatly harmed. I’m doing this for our parents who had to live through Nazi occupation. Thankfully, they’re not in this world now. I do it for the kids, their future,” said Wilkinson.

“This is not sustainable. It’s a big lie.”

Virden menu for truckers

The Virden group had $825 left over from money raised to buy food to donate it to the trucker’s GoFundMe which stands at $4.6 million and counting. This amazing feat was accomplished in just 10 days.

About 193 km away in Headingley, more food and support awaited the convoy where Hutterite communities prepared for the arrival of the “dear” truckers.

“We are setting up kitchens n gonna feed you all. We are with you, and we fully support this massive convoy for freedom,” tweeted Paul Kleinsasser. “May God protect you on your journey, keep on going, we are praying for you. God bless.”

The convoy was expected to arrive in Winnipeg a few hours later.

The truckers oppose the cross-border vaccine mandates that severely impact their livelihoods.

The truckers also oppose vaccine mandates inflicted on everyone else — nurses, police, military, worshipers, children, students — everyone. 

Canadians embrace and are emboldened by their courage and stamina. 

So yes, they are well fed, dearly loved, and, it appears, to be shunned by most politicians.

However, Conservative MPs Andrew Scheer and Warrant Steinley did show up to greet the convoy in Regina Monday night.

Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen blasted the Liberal government and threw her support behind truckers.

“I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates, and our truckers from Portage-Lisgar and from across Canada,” the Portage-Lisgar MP tweeted Tuesday.

Bergen said Trudeau “dealt our crumbling supply chain another blow” when he implemented mandates making 26,000 truckers unable to transport of goods across the Canada-U.S. border “which will only drive inflation higher than it’s been in over 30 years.

“Conservatives have been opposed to federal mandated vaccines since Trudeau introduced them: and we oppose the mandatory vaccine on Canadian truckers.”

Bergen noted that truckers bring much-needed supplies to Canada and “worked tirelessly over the pandemic” to keep supplies moving.

“Hamstringing this essential industry is nothing more than a political move to further divide Canadians.”

As for the main event in Ottawa, count on People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier to be there.

But hell will freeze over before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds the courage or respect to greet the convoy that speaks for a huge segment of the country.

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole repeatedly dodged questions Monday about whether he supports the truckers offering a wishy-washy non-committal word salad. So no, he’ll be absent. Lord help the Conservative party while he’s at the helm.

Let these two ‘leaders’ hide in the closet from the big rigs, blaring horns, and burly truckers headed their way.

Time has passed for them to speak. Nobody cares about what they have to say anymore.

The people have spoken. 

It’s time for the politicians and unelected bureaucrats to listen.

And with every blaring horn, the message gets stronger and clearer: Enough!

Exciting times.

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

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Opinion

SELICK: Ontario’s health minister should get a second opinion

“In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. “

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of getting a second opinion from a different doctor when the first doctor’s advice doesn’t seem to be producing the desired results.

In a widely publicized speech she made on January 19, Elliott said: “I want to respond to some extremely concerning reports that some doctors are spreading misinformation about vaccines. At a time when it’s never been more important for Ontarians to have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, this [dissenting advice] is unacceptable. I will be sending a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) urging them to do everything that is possible to put an end to this behaviour. They should consider all options in doing so, including reviewing the licenses of physicians found to be spreading misinformation.”

It is certainly true that some Ontario doctors have departed from the “must-vaccinate” narrative of the majority and the CPSO. However, it is not a mere handful that are creating such stress for the health minister. Forty MDs were already under investigation by the CPSO before Ms. Elliott expressed her wish for an even broader witch hunt.

There are many other dissenters that the CPSO has not yet targeted. For instance, a group calling itself Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth posted a declaration on May 9, 2021 responding to the CPSO’s April 30th threat to impose disciplinary action on any physician who questions or debates COVID-19 orthodoxy. The declaration has garnered 718 signatures from healthcare professionals (many of whom have shown their credentials as “MD”), as well as 20,171 signatures from ordinary citizens. Those signing the declaration accuse the CPSO of ordering physicians to depart from the scientific method by shying away from debate on scientific subjects.

Another group, the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, is more protective of the identities of its members but indicates that it is an “alliance of over 500 independent Canadian doctors, scientists, and health care providers…committed to providing quality, balanced, evidence-based information to the Canadian public about COVID-19 so that hospitalizations can be reduced, lives saved, and our country safely restored to normal as quickly as possible.”

Health Minister Elliott must surely share those goals, so why has she moved so pre-emptively and harshly to demonize a contingent of her fellow travelers? She herself is not a doctor or scientist, and not independently qualified to determine which group of doctors really does have an accurate view of the facts.

Rational people – when faced with a choice between two opposing scientific opinions – examine both of them closely and give due consideration to the viewpoints of all the people more highly credentialed than themselves. They don’t behave like Ms. Elliott did – pretending to know that one group is wrong while the other has a monopoly on truth.

In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. Sometimes the second doctor, or even the third or fourth, has a more satisfactory answer than the first did.

Ms. Elliott must surely realize by now that the experts she has been relying on for the past two years have not served the people of Ontario well. It’s high time she abandoned her arrogant attitude towards those who are offering a different opinion and started listening to them instead of threatening them with the loss of their livelihoods.

Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

WAGNER: The benefits of a federal Western independence party

“As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows that he has nothing to worry about.”

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For Alberta to become independent, there must be a provincial referendum on independence that receives a clear majority vote. For the referendum to take place, there must be a party in power willing to hold one. That requires the election of a provincial political party that favours asking Albertans whether they want to remain in Canada or choose a path towards self-determination and prosperity. The need for a provincial independence party is clear and easy to understand.

But some people ask: what about a federal Western independence party? What would be the point of that? It could neither mandate the necessary referendum nor pass federal legislation benefiting the West. Such a party therefore seems pointless, they suggest.

However, there are some clear benefits to a federal political party that should be considered.

For one thing, a federal Western independence party gives pro-independence voters an option besides the pro-federalist parties currently on offer. Patriotic Alberta voters who reject the Central Canadian parties would at least have someone they can conscientiously support. They could “vote their values,” so to speak, and send a message to Ottawa that voting for other parties doesn’t accomplish.

Right now, many independence-minded Albertans support Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. The People’s Party has a unique and beneficial message that is attractive to conservative-minded Westerners, so that’s understandable. Bernier’s opposition to the Paris Climate Accord would mean that a Peoples’ Party federal government would eliminate the kinds of policies that prevent Western freedom and prosperity.

That is excellent, of course. However, because the People’s Party doesn’t restrict its focus to Western interests, it can’t represent the West in the same way that an exclusively Western party could. This is not to disparage the People’s Party, but simply to note that as a pan-Canadian party it must represent the interests of every region in the country, not just the West.

Having a federal independence party – such as the Maverick Party – does more than simply provide an option for Western regionalist voters. If it were to win a substantial number of votes (whether in a by-election or general election), that would alert Central Canadians to the increasing anger towards Ottawa in the West. 

As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows he has nothing to worry about. Conservative MPs from Alberta undoubtedly sympathize with the plight of the West, but their options to help are severely constrained by the need to appeal to voters in places like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The Conservative Party wants more than anything to achieve power, and the path to power runs through Central Canada. Thus, the interests of Alberta will always be a very low priority for the Conservative Party.

In contrast, were one or more Western independence MPs to be elected, Trudeau would see the West was not just going to lie down and let him run us over. He might finally understand that his anti-oil industry policies would be met by stiff resistance and that he was in for a real fight.

Most importantly of all, though, is that the election of one or more Maverick Party MPs would provide a significant morale boost for the entire Western independence movement. There would be lots of excitement that would lead to increased support, even at the provincial level.

There’s something about an electoral victory that generates credibility, even if power is not attained by the victor. That is, even though Maverick MPs would not form government or exercise power, the fact that they received voter support would provide credibility for the independence movement as a whole. In this kind of situation, quality leaders would likely emerge who could take the movement forward.

Some people point out that there have been Bloc Québécois MPs in Ottawa for years and they have done little for Quebec. Therefore, Maverick MPs from Alberta would be just as pointless.

However, everyone expects Quebec to send separatist MPs to Ottawa. They’ve been doing that for decades. Alberta sending independence-minded MPs to Ottawa would be entirely different. The election of Maverick MPs would constitute a political earthquake that would rock the nation. It would be the Canadian news story of the decade, and it would generate new interest and energy in the Western independence movement.

In short, a federal political party could potentially play a meaningful role in the move towards Alberta independence. A federal party is not as essential as a provincial party for the independence movement to succeed, but the potential benefits it could provide should not be overlooked.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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No Media Bailouts

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