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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

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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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Seven-Zero-One

    August 4, 2021 at 10:48 am

    I would like to replace all Federal ” Fake Conservatives cough cough J.Kenney” cross the West with Maverick party.Would make difference. Of course not.The real change will happen.When Alberta puts
    Alberta Revenue Agency
    Alberta Pension Fund
    Alberta Police
    Alberta Immigration Agency ( Alberta begins to control it’s own borders)

  2. Kieran

    August 4, 2021 at 10:29 am

    SASKFREEDOM,

    You can contact Mavericks and apply for running in one of vacant ridings. Candidates don’t come from Mars, they are humans.

  3. SaskFreedom

    August 3, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    So I looked at Maverick Party candidates in Saskatchewan. Barely represented. Maverick Party says they don’t want to “split the vote” which is commendable… But there’s no representation in Souris-Moose Mountain (Sask).
    You could nearly split the conservative vote 11x and the ndp and liberals wouldn’t win. Why is there not a maverick party candidate in every saskatchewan riding? Saskatchewan beat Alberta last election in a full stop conservative win. Alberta had one riding go full communist ndp. Saskatchewan, no. We cleared house of all ndp/libs. Even punting Goodale. Not one Sask riding was anything but conservative in the last election, and it gainedvus nothing.??
    For F sakes Maverick, fill at least 10 of 14 seats with a Candidate. You have so few. For crying out loud. Get a clue. Saskatchewan is your base, along with rural Alberta.

  4. Kieran

    July 26, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    If we have less Ottawa dictate here, we will figure out what policies we need in province ourselves. We don’t need a federal party for that. In particular, the party ruled by red tories from the east.

  5. Rose

    July 26, 2021 at 6:28 am

    Steven, The most relevant sentence I could find appears only on their GUIDING PRINCIPLES page, but has no related policies.
    .
    Quote…
    “We believe the rights, freedoms, and security of all who live in Western Canada must be respected and protected regardless of age, ability, ancestry, race, faith, sexual orientation or gender identity”.
    .
    Good start, but they need to specify which rights & freedoms they will respect & protect.
    eg) Freedom of speech? Freedom of assembly? Freedom of movement? Freedom of health? Freedom of choice? Freedom of religion? As written, it’s very vague, and as only a guiding principle, it has no teeth.
    .
    It should also include… “Regardless of vaccine status”, and a clause for “Equal application of the law with no exemptions for the powerful or connected”.

  6. Rose

    July 26, 2021 at 3:38 am

    Steven, There’s really no need for such hostility. Maverick has a lot of really great policies, and it’d be an easy “yes” if they’d update their policies to include protecting & defending our most basic rights & freedoms from Ottawa’s attacks.
    .
    Yes, I read through every page of Maverick’s policy platform (several times), and just re-read it again (in case it was updated), but no… it still doesn’t mention a single word of my listed concerns. If I somehow missed it, please do provide the specific link, not just their main policy page, as I’d really love to see them address it.

  7. Steven

    July 25, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Rose I’m calling your bullshit. Your smear job on the Maverick Party is just that smear.

    Read the Maverick information on their web page. It addresses all your complaints.

    https://www.maverickparty.ca/

  8. berta baby

    July 24, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    PPC is the only freedom first party , Mad Max should have won the conservative leadership with Andrew scheer we would be sitting in a minority conservative government

  9. Rose

    July 24, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    This is a tough decision. I joined Maverick too, because they are the only pro-independence federal party. However, it’s concerning that they have no plan to defend our basic human rights from the tyrants pushing censorship, lock-downs, vaccine passports, medical-discrimination, CRT, raced-based policies/services/protections/favoritism, religious persecutions, unequal application of the law, ability to protest, etc.
    .
    Since our basic freedoms are under imminent attack, PPC may indeed be the better choice as they’re the only federal party calling out all of these current problems we’re facing.
    .
    After all, independence is a provincial issue, and we have Wildrose for that.
    So switching to PPC is the most logical decision.

  10. Bryan

    July 24, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    I read a post by someone else on WS, a few days ago, stating that Maverick was PRO lockdown. If so, I may have made an error joining this party. Now I’m not sure if PPC or Maverick is the better choice.

    At least provincially, there is only ONE choice, WIPA. Would be CONservative ‘Justin’ Kenney can jump back into his ‘pick ’em truck’ and head east until he gets to Lake Superior and then head south, back down to the GTA, where he came from.

  11. Penny4YourThouhts

    July 24, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    At this point, I’m all for change because it’s become crystal clear that there are only cowards holding public office across this country. Two months after the lies surrounding covid began and we learned there was NO THREAT, someone should have had the courage to put an end to the silliness, but no one did. Why?

    Obviously, the only way to effect change is to vote as oppositional to Ottawa as possible. Unfortunately, the more politically separated we become, the less impact there will actually be. The entire country will continue to move left until the government completely controls us and we become full-on communists just like China.

    Is Canada strong and free? Time will tell.

  12. Andrew

    July 24, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Volunteer, become a member, donate, spread the word. We need boots on the ground Alberta. Our generation and our children are and future generations are dependant on it. Our way of life is at stake. Go Maverick! Go Wildrose!

  13. Dennis

    July 24, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Actually, it doesn’t matter how we vote west of Winterpeg because the election is called in Ontario & Quebec before we get to the polls. A vote for maverick or PPC is like sending a Stern Letter to Ottawa. There is only one viable option for Alberta. And that is Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta in 2023. Wildrose.party

  14. Andrew

    July 24, 2021 at 10:31 am

    I’m a Maverick member/donator and will be voting Maverick. Why? Wildrose Country, Wildrose Nation!

  15. Scott Simpson

    July 24, 2021 at 9:46 am

    If a fedaeral election is called, I hope that there will be a Maverick candidate to vote for in my riding. Voting Conservative seems to only make things somewhat less bad for Alberta, until another Liberal government gets elected.

  16. Bill Mccann

    July 24, 2021 at 9:23 am

    I’ll be supporting Max and the PPC.

  17. Kelly Carter

    July 24, 2021 at 9:14 am

    O’Toole’s carbon tax was the last straw for me. I will not vote for any party promoting that kind of policy. I plan on voting Maverick!

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Opinion

McCAFFREY: Don’t let Calgary ruin the region

Central planning doesn’t work and the current government should reverse this mistake as soon as possible by abolishing the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board and allowing municipalities to return to cooperating on a voluntary basis.

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The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) was created in 2015 by the NDP government to control planning and development for the entirety of the Calgary region. 

Since then, this unelected body has been working on creating a new growth plan for the region that contains some of the most radical changes to development and planning rules ever proposed in Alberta.

With the enactment of this growth plan, the CMRB is set to become what will effectively be a fourth level of government for citizens of the Calgary region and will allow Calgary to export its bad policies across all the other municipalities of the region.

Yet barely anyone in the Calgary region has even heard of the board.

How is it possible a new level of government could be introduced without anyone noticing?

Well, in part, that’s thanks to a very deliberate effort by the former NDP government, and the board itself, to keep the powers and potential wide-ranging influence of the board as below the radar as possible for as long as possible.

The board, at least according to its designers, is simply meant to help manage planning and development issues, in order to help manage the significant population growth that the Calgary region is expected to experience in the coming decades.

Make no mistake about it, though, the CMRB and its growth plan do much more than this.

The entire growth plan is based on the philosophy that a small group of people, in this case, bureaucrats and city planners—particularly in Calgary—can do a better job planning and managing population and employment growth than the free market can.

The central planners believe the challenges of growth are better addressed by forcing the municipalities in the Calgary region to cooperate rather than compete to provide these services and facilities.

Rather than merely permitting cooperation between municipalities as claimed, however, the creation of the CMRB and the implementation of the growth plan actually forces Calgary and the surrounding municipalities to cooperate on many issues, even when this goes against the wishes of the municipalities and their residents.

Requiring municipalities to cooperate even if they believe it’s against their and their residents’ interests to do so is bound to lead to less fair and less equitable outcomes for the whole of the Calgary region.

Even worse, the forced co-operation doesn’t go both ways.

Despite claims the board is based on cooperation, the 10-member municipalities are being forced to participate in the organization, they cannot leave, and the voting system of the board effectively gives a veto to the Calgary on every issue.

In effect, this puts Calgary politicians and bureaucrats in charge of planning and development for the entire region, as without Calgary’s approval, no plan or development can go ahead.

This is no accident, the board was very deliberately created to do exactly this.

For years, Calgary has pursued bad public policies that have increased rules, regulations, red tape, and taxes on businesses and residents of Calgary.

The situation has become so dire that now many businesses and residents are leaving Calgary entirely and setting up their operations and family lives outside of the city in one of the many surrounding municipalities, where regulations and taxes are lighter.

Essentially, Calgary has become noncompetitive with other municipalities in the region, but planners in Calgary don’t see this as a problem, rather they see it as an opportunity.

But Calgary didn’t want to fix the problem by cutting red tape, getting taxes and spending under control, and working to become competitive again.

Rather, the city lobbied the provincial government to help them out by giving Calgary the power to impose the same high levels of regulations across the entire region—essentially killing off the competition.

It was perhaps not surprising that the former NDP government was willing to give Calgary this power, as the NDP government do not understand or believe in the benefits of free market competition to begin with.

But the current Alberta government has repeatedly stated its core focus is on reducing red tape and unleashing Alberta’s economy. They have put significant effort into achieving this goal in many other policy areas.

Yet, when it comes to regional planning they have, so far at least, permitted the exact opposite to continue.

Rather than reducing red tape and regulation to get the Calgary region’s economy going, in almost every policy area the growth plan goes in completely the other direction and essentially centralizes planning decisions for the entire region.

All types of development—single family houses, row houses, apartments, shopping malls, retail stores, manufacturing, warehouses, agricultural services, and more—will now have to be approved not only by the local municipality but also by an unelected board dominated by Calgary.

Thrown out the window is any concept of the free market, individual choice, property rights, competition and, frankly, basic economics.

This dramatic centralization will impose a series of significant direct and indirect costs on the economy of the Calgary region, none of which are considered by the CMRB in its growth plan.

These costs include the millions of dollars spent creating and operating what is effectively a fourth level of government, the significant costs to Calgary businesses, residents, and the economy as a result of this extra bureaucracy, the dramatic costs that would be incurred by projects being reduced, relocated, or cancelled under the growth plan, as well as indirect and intangible costs.

The plan also runs roughshod over local democracy in the member municipalities, and over the property rights of the residents of those municipalities.

What, exactly, is the point of electing a local council in your district or town, if planning and development rules—until now one of the most important tasks of a local government—will now be controlled centrally by an unelected board?

Worse yet, this move from voluntary cooperation to forced cooperation will not solve the very problems the CMRB and the growth plan were designed to fix.

The end result of a growth plan that replaces voluntary cooperation and competition with forced collaboration will be higher taxes and higher fees, more regulation and red tape, increased housing and infrastructure costs, less efficient delivery of utilities and services, and worse environmental outcomes for the entire region.

There are far better ways to accommodate future population growth in the Calgary region than via a top-down, centrally controlled regional growth plan that violates the values that made Alberta what it is today: individual freedom, personal choice, fiscal responsibility, property rights, and a free market built on competition rather than government diktat.

The proposed growth plan would block billions of dollars of investment, redirect billions more out of the Calgary region, and cost tens of thousands of jobs. This is the exact opposite of what the Calgary region needs right now.

The CMRB, and the requirement for them to create a growth plan to control development in the region, were an ideological creation of the former provincial government, based on the idea that top-down central planning is the best way to run an economy.

Central planning doesn’t work and the current government should reverse this mistake as soon as possible by abolishing the CMRB and allowing municipalities to return to cooperating on a voluntary basis.

Peter McCaffrey is the President of the Alberta Institute, an independent, libertarian-minded, public policy think tank that aims to advance personal freedom and choice in Alberta.

The Alberta Institute has prepared an academic research paper outlining the history of regional planning in the Calgary Region, and looking at the implications of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board on jobs, investment and democracy for Alberta.

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Opinion

Krahnicle’s Cartoon: September 17, 2021

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Opinion

MORGAN: It’s time for Kenney to resign

“I say this regretfully, but it’s time for Jason Kenney to resign as premier of Alberta and as the leader of the United Conservative Party. I wish things had ended differently.”

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Premier Jason Kenney gambled and lost.

His move to declare Alberta as being permanently open for business was a hail-Mary pass for a beleaguered government and it has failed in the worst possible way.

Alberta is in the midst of a health care crisis, deaths are on the rise and we are entering a new period of mandatory vaccine passports, lockdowns, and other restrictions.

I say this regretfully, but it’s time for Jason Kenney to resign as premier of Alberta and as the leader of the United Conservative Party.

I had the highest of hopes for Kenney. I was enthusiastic as he won multiple leadership races and merged the previously intransigent Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties. I was thrilled when Rachel Notley’s NDP government was trounced in the general election. I thought we’d be looking forward to some steady, competent, conservative governance for at least a couple of election cycles.

I was wrong. Boy, was I ever wrong.

Love him or hate him, Jason Kenney is undeniably one of the brightest and hardest working politicians in Canada. He worked his way from advocacy into elected office and then became a respected cabinet minister in a number of portfolios. It appears Kenney met his match when it comes to the party and provincial leadership. He has managed to alienate both the left and the right within the province and I don’t see how he can recover from this.

Kenney’s leadership woes were already appearing well before the COVID-19 pandemic appeared on the scene. The shotgun marriage of the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservatives was showing cracks as caucus infighting began to smolder. The pandemic crisis exacerbated the issue and Kenney is now heading up a deeply divided caucus with multiple members having been tossed out of the party or disciplined. This inability to manage his own caucus has shaken the confidence Albertans had in Kenney to manage the province.

The Kenney government has been noteworthy for setting high targets and then failing to move toward them. The Fair Deal panel appeared to be an act of deferral, rather than an exercise to build a stronger, more independent province.

Kenney refused to take strong actions against Ottawa despite the open hostility shown to Alberta by the Trudeau government. This has fed the theory Kenney is using Alberta as a stepping stone towards pursuing a federal run. We can safely say Kenney’s federal career is finished at this point.

It seems that everything Kenney has touches turns to scheiße. The energy “war room” has turned into a running joke and with long and constant delays on its launch. The Allen Report examining groups that attack Alberta’s energy sector has been a waste of time. Energy producers seeking a sense of confidence in Alberta have been left disappointed.

In picking a battle with Alberta’s doctors and nurses, Kenney has drawn fire from all sides of the political spectrum. While there certainly is room to reexamine the agreements with health care providers, it has to be done carefully and with strong leadership. The UCP has appeared ham-handed and virtually leaderless on the issue.

The Kenney government has become election fodder used to hammer the O’Toole Conservatives on the federal front. The UCP looks so inept and unpopular that Trudeau is using it to attack O’Toole, and O’Toole hides from any association with Kenney.

Politicians are by nature self-interested beings. Caucus members within the UCP are surely weighing their options as the Kenney government continues to crash and burn in public opinion. With less than two years to go before the next provincial election comes, they know the window for getting rid of Kenney is closing quickly. The only hope the UCP has of winning the next election is to get a new leader and show some sign of new direction, and soon.

Rumblings from caucus are soon going to become a roar.

There are two options for the UCP right now. They can keep Kenney into the next election and most likely hand Rachel Notley a second NDP term, or they can get on with finding a new leader and reconnecting with Albertans. The UCP now is simply too wildly unpopular to regain the trust of the electorate under Kenney’s leadership.

I still respect Jason Kenney and appreciate what he did on the federal front, along with his efforts to unite conservatives in Alberta. I would like to see Kenney retain what dignity he can by resigning for the sake of Alberta and his party. It would hurt his pride, but it still would be a better end to a political career than being kicked out by his own caucus, or by the electorate in a general election. His “best summer ever” strategy failed and it’s time to face the music.

I wish things had ended differently.

Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist for the Western Standard and Host of the Cory Morgan Show

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