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LISTEN: Harper lambastes Trudeau on COVID, economy, China

And in another tangent, Harper took aim at what he called the “woke university crowd” for trying to tear down North American values.




Former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has lashed out at his successor Justin Trudeau over numerous issues including the COVID-19 economic response and the country’s vaccine rollout.

And in another tangent, Harper took aim at what he called the “woke university crowd” for trying to tear down North American values.

“It’s not a good reaction, it’s been overkill,” Harper said on an episode of the podcast American Optimist, which was released on Tuesday.

Stephen harper on American optimist

“This is bad macroeconomic policy on an enormous scale.”

Harper warned the massive borrowing at the moment threatens to spur inflation, something which already seems to be happening.

And Harper lambasted Trudeau for the country’s trouble-plagued vaccine rollout of COVID-19 innoculations.

“When we were in government, we never had any trouble or problem making sure we had vaccinations and vaccines well in advance of getting them distributed,” Harper said.

“So it’s just a matter of competent execution.”

The “woke” movement has also drawn the ire of Harper.

“I’m just fascinated by this notion that is just everywhere now, the so-called woke notion that America is a fundamentally racist country,” he said.

“And yet what I see is all of these supposedly repressed races trying desperately to become Americans and to join the United States.

“It’s not that there aren’t problems, historical and present, that are real, but the core of our countries are great, they have great futures and there is no alternative.”

Harper also called Trudeau’s response to Chinese aggression as too timid.

“I would have urged our allies to respond more forcefully to that,” Harper said. 

Harper served as Conservative prime minister from 2006 to 2015.

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. Woodrow George

    July 30, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Harper, please STFU! You left 50 vacant Senate seats full-knowing the result.
    Sorry, but I don’t want to hear a peep out of you. Phuck off!

  2. Baron Not Baron

    July 29, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Harper would have done the same thing, as the current imbeciles in power – the agendas “must be fulfilled”.. He signed into them, deeply. It is easy now to talk about the others – this is just to ease the conservatives’ painful opinion from the public. Cons are done, just like the commies. Cons are commies, too, these days. They all have one master, the one that kills all the Creation: from burning trees, poisoning the air daily with chemicals.. to animals and people.

  3. Left Coast

    July 29, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    @ K

    Not one time Harper pushed UN Agenda 2030 nonsense?

    He paid lip service to AGW as well, but did not instigate Karbon Taxes or Economy killing stuff like our Justin. Didn’t Harper have 4 pipelines approved in 2015? Had they been all built Canada & Alberta would be much better off today.

    You do understand that many in his Conservative Party were Globalist loons as well. Perhaps even Kenney!

  4. K

    July 29, 2021 at 7:44 am

    LEFT COAST Maybe he was, but he also went to Bohemian Grove and signed UN AGENDA 2030 as Kramer states, which is dictating all the radical green policies we see coming down the pipeline now — And that is only the beginning. They don’t even want air travel by 2030.

  5. Left Coast

    July 28, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    Cosmo . . . you are confused !

    Harper was criticizing the CCP well over a Decade ago . . . of course there was nothing little Canada could do. But Harper was way ahead of Trump criticizing the CCP.

    Justin was attempting to buy a Chinese Vaccine . . . have you forgotten?

    Harper was the Most Conservative PM since Diefenbaker . . . FACT !

  6. j n

    July 28, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Maverick and WIPA all the WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Andrew

    July 28, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    Voting Maverick will be the temporary help the Wildrose Independence Party and the people of Alberta need to show Albertans the way to Alberta sovereignty!

  8. Cosmo Kramer

    July 28, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    I agree with Andrew. No complaints regarding Chinese trade, Chinese espionage, nor Chinese biowarfare (covid-19) but complains about Chinese aggression which does not affect Canada. His statement about him making sure vaccines are distributed early and orderly says it all. If he were PM the past year would not have been any different and we would be experience the pressure to take experimental mRNA gene therapy injections and possibly the same persecution against those who refuse the jab.

    He was not an ideological conservertive (libertarian or paleoconservative) but a neocon.

  9. Andrew

    July 28, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    I don’t trust him. He signed the UN Agenda.

  10. Matt C

    July 28, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Harper was a solid prime Minister…. almost 10 years of responsible, sensible governance with no big gaffes. The “big scandal” was the mike Duffy scandal, which turned out to be much-ado about nothing. Then we have Justin…. blackface (multiple times), sexual assault allegations, SNC Lavalin bribery, Attorney General interference, WE scandal,….

    The mainstream media is the enemy of the people and at this point in time, the only way for a conservative politician to be successful is to do have thick skin and do what Trump did: call a spade a spade which includes labeling the media as corrupt and going after them. The time for being overly polite and diplomatic is past…. Kenney is proof of that.

  11. Left Coast

    July 28, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Can anyone imagine Senile Pres. Biden or Canada’s Crime Minister Justin Trudope taking part in a discussion like this?
    Of course not, they would look like babbling fools and most questions would go right over their empty heads.

    Harper was undoubtedly the Best PM in the last 60 years in Canada . . . too bad there are so many dumb Canooks. In the last 6 years Canada has become an economic wasteland while adding almost a Trillion Dollars to the National Debt.

    2015 . . . the Year 39% of Canadians voted themselves Off the Island . . . . who needs Balanced Budgets and Surpluses anyway . . . when you can give Billions to the UN, the CBC and Despotic Regimes around the globe.

    Remember when . . . .
    World’s Richest Middle Class . . . NY Times
    World’s Best Reputation . . . Reputation Institute
    Best Wage Growth in G7 Nations . . . 2007-2012
    Best Oilfield Salaries in the World . . .
    Best Oilfield Enviro Regs in the World . . . Harvard Bus School
    Best Country to do Business . . . . Forbes
    World’s Best Debt to GDP Ratio , . . OECD

    ALL of that is in the REAR VIEW Mirror today Canada . . . . as you wallow towards European Failed State Status.

  12. Andrew Red Deer

    July 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Absolutely I agree with K. Dont moan and complain. Challenge the communists, and the only way to do that is go FULL BORE TRUMP.
    He is getting sellout crowds and multiple standing ovations. I dont agree with forced vaccinations of am looking for leadership with the same notion.

  13. K

    July 28, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    Then do something about it. We’re in fight or die mode here.

  14. Paul Bryce

    July 28, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    “Another tangent” Sounds like the Western Standard is staffed by some of that same university crowd. The Universities in the west have become incubators for Marxist CRT theory and extremist socialist policies.

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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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