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WAGNER: Bad Moon Rising, the imminent threat of another NDP government

Well, things could get much worse, and probably will. The current trends in political support indicate that Alberta will elect another NDP government in 2023. And this time it won’t be an accident.

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These are not good times for Alberta or the conservative movement in Canada. Justin Trudeau has been reelected with a commitment to phase out Alberta’s oil industry, and the Conservative Party of Canada is led by a liberal wannabe who can’t win for all the pandering in the world. On top of that, COVID is wreaking havoc on our freedoms and our health care system.

How much worse can it get?

Well, things could get much worse, and probably will. The current trends in political support indicate Alberta will elect another NDP government in 2023. And this time it won’t be an accident.

The first words of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 hit, Bad Moon Rising portend what is coming.

“I see the bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today”

The main reason for the impending doom is the fact Premier Jason Kenney’s political future looks bleak, as does the future of the United Conservative Party itself. The NDP has been leading in the polls for a while. A few weeks ago Lorne Gunter wrote a column reporting polls showing the NDP at 39% to the UCP’s 29%t. A June Angus Reid poll had the Wildrose Independence Party at 20%.

Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid noted recently that with Kenney’s extremely low approval ratings in Edmonton and Calgary, “the NDP could win the province with little help from rural Alberta.” In rural Alberta, the Wildrose could make it a deadly pincer move on two fronts.

Of course, Kenney’s unpopularity and the UCP’s low standing in the polls aren’t the only indicators of the NDP’s apparently bright future. Braid also pointed out the “NDP has vastly outstripped the UCP in fundraising all this year.” In the last quarter, it was by an incredible two-to-one margin

Currently, it looks like Alberta is on a path to elect another NDP government with Rachel Notley as premier.

If you thought the last NDP government was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

As Braid’s 2016 book (co-authored with Sydney Sharpe) Notley Nation: How Alberta’s Political Upheaval Swept the Country explains, the NDP caucus elected in 2015 was “comparatively young, both in experience and age, with just four returning MLAs and a high quota of members in their twenties and thirties.” Such inexperience may have slowed the implementation of the party’s agenda, at least in the early phase.

By contrast, an NDP government elected in 2023 would include a cadre of experienced and highly motivated MLAs, bent on rapidly accomplishing a radical policy agenda to transform the province. An NDP government elected in 2023 would have a clear mandate to go “full NDP” without the hesitancy caused by the perception they were an “accidental” government in 2015.

That agenda would likely be similar to the plan outlined in the NDP’s 2015 election platform, which was described by Braid and Sharpe as “nothing less than government engineering of a new economy, through a shift from non-renewable resources to green industries that either didn’t exist or were still in corporate infancy.” They hastened to add, “All this would require government action and intervention on a scale that most Albertans, through the long decades of conservative rule, never conceived possible.”

Besides radical economic policies, a second NDP government would undoubtedly complete the educational policy changes initiated during its first term. The curriculum developed under the current UCP government would be thrown out altogether, and a new curriculum, more in keeping with the hardline ‘progressive’ ideological bent of the government and its friends in the education establishment — notably the education faculties and the Alberta Teachers’ Association — would be adopted.

Most fearful of all for private education supporters, the NDP’s war on religious minority schools would undoubtedly recommence. The NDP’s demand that private schools remove Christian teachings about marriage and sexuality from their “Safe and Caring” policies — as indicated by the “rainbow reprimand” of 2018 — would be aggressively implemented. The “rainbow reprimand” demonstrated that Dippers enjoy nothing so much as shoving their morality down the throats of non-governmental education supporters.

In short, Albertans can expect a hard left turn from the next NDP government.

Of course, if the UCP is able to pull a rabbit out of the hat, perhaps things won’t turn out as bad as they currently appear. It’s hard to see how Jason Kenney could improve his popularity to the point of getting re-elected, but the unexpected has occurred before. If he were to resign on the other hand, perhaps his replacement could restore the good-standing of the UCP in the voters’ eyes. But that, too, would be a steep hill to climb. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem that the Wildrose Independence Party is making big enough inroads into Alberta’s two largest cities to make it a contender for power at this point. At present, it stands to make serious inroads outside the two big cities, but that’s all. Thus, the odds appear to favour another NDP government in 2023.

A bad moon is rising.

Michael Wagner is 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.’

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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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Eldon

    October 12, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    WILDROSE INDEPENDENCE PARTY!!!
    READ THIER PLATFORM. This party is the only way forward for Alberta. All others are completely comprised.

  2. Left Coast

    October 10, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    It’s 2021 and 39% of Albertans are Really this friggin Stupid?

    Rachael Nutley is a fraud . . .
    the NDP is a marxist/socialist group whose goal is redistribution & failure!

  3. Declan Carroll

    October 10, 2021 at 8:01 am

    I do not see any difference between the NDP and the UCP. They are both one in the same. They are the Uni-Party. I mean look at what is happening we are being coerced through threat of violence from the AHS to participate in Nazi style vaccine passports using a disease with a 99.9997 percent survival rate as a pretense. Businesses have been shuttered. peoples family’s are dead or seriously injured from the vaccines. Pastors are being arrested. Churches are being seized. The papers are nothing more then Pravda Canada. How much worse can it get? We are a hop, skip and a jump away from cattle cars and gas chambers. Canada is Nazi Germany already might as well go all the way.

  4. Andrew

    October 9, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    wildrosenation.com Get a membership, donate and volunteer!

  5. Stew James

    October 9, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Allowing the ndp into power after what has befallen Alberta with the likes of Kenney the liar, would be no different than letting a wolve, not a fox, but a wolve loose on this province as the chicken coop! Carnage and slaughter is what will happen!
    Notley and crew will completely devastate our province and plunge us deeper into ruin!
    Our only hope at this point in time is the Wildrose independent Party, eventually leading to our freedom from this sad broken country.
    The time to stand up is now, for be sure if we don’t the canadian govt will make sure there is not a next time!
    Our younger generation need to pull their heads out of there proverbial asses and grow up! Learn some history, learn where these political groups are taking us. Believe me when I say, it’s not in our best interest but theirs!

  6. K

    October 9, 2021 at 10:04 am

    No mention of WIPA? If every CINO voted WIPA we would be clear of 95% of our problems.

  7. Bill Mccann

    October 9, 2021 at 9:26 am

    I’m not sure who should replace Kenney but if it is just one of his minions from within the party the UCP is doomed. They need someone fresh, an actual Big C conservative who is for the people of Alberta.

  8. Clash

    October 9, 2021 at 9:24 am

    I Challenge Notley to an ICE Water over the head challenge. I am old and in bad health but I think I have a 64% chance of survival. But I am 93% sure that Notley would melt like the W.W. of the West. 29% chance, I like them odds!!

  9. David

    October 9, 2021 at 9:05 am

    A vote for the NDP is just another vote for the Uni-party National Socialists.

    Members of the UCP have to choose a side. Get rid of everyone in the government and civil service who supports medical tyranny or you will be replaced with up front flag waving socialists who will laugh at your stupidity.

  10. Pamela Bridger

    October 9, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Again, if we didnt have a compromised Premier, maybe UCP wouldnt do the bidding of others. If UCP is worried about the NDP winning, the members should take the time to find a suitable candidate that cannot be extorted.

    Then they can root out the Chinese infiltrators that have been installed in AHS that are holding the current Premier hostage.

  11. p

    October 9, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Kenney= Notley
    UCP=NDP
    What is the future under the UCP or NDP? “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever.’ George Orwell

    Jason Kenney is single handedly destroying Alberta. He has destroyed UCP support and created the Wildrose. We are sleep walking into communism.

  12. berta baby

    October 9, 2021 at 7:07 am

    What’s this guy talking about notley is in power currently , she says lock down and kenney “ okay boss” …. Fire nurses!!…. “ you got it boss”
    Jail bussiness owners and pastors” with pleasure “

    There is not one thing different between communist kenney and his band of liers and notley.

    At least notley isn’t dumb as shit and we know what flag she flys

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Opinion

LANDAU: Ontario Human Rights Commission seeks to pre-ban ‘offensive’ statues and street names

We should be alarmed at how some human rights bodies have strayed into the weeds in recent years, not driven by their mandates, but swayed by prevailing and contemporary political sentiments.

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The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has announced it is in the process of developing “a new policy statement on the discriminatory display of names, words and images, and wants to hear from the public about this quickly-evolving issue.”

The OHRC is contemplating the expansion of “human rights” violations to include such names as “Sir John A. Macdonald,” “Sir Egerton Ryerson,” for example, because these names might offend or trigger some people. Controversy around these historical figures from two centuries ago is ironically “quickly evolving.”

I’ve re-read all 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – drafted by McGill Law Professor John Peters Humphrey in 1948 — upon which most human rights commissions are founded. There is no human right for protection against being offended. If there was, rappers like Cardi B — or almost any rappers for that matter — wouldn’t have careers. Should freedom of speech and expression now be trumped by someone’s hurt feelings?  We agree tyrants need not be honoured, but do we need to go full-Jacobin and expurgate any evidence our offending founders and culture existed?

With this attempt by the OHRC to institutionalize “right thinking,” we are squarely in an era of revisionism. Is someone being “disturbed” by a team name or place or historical fact — in and of itself — proof of anything? In fact, what is the burden of proof? If human rights challenges will now be decided by what offends people, will we return to removing D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Arthur Miller’s Tropic of Cancer from all public view?

We should be alarmed at how some human rights bodies — not driven by their mandates, but swayed by prevailing and contemporary political sentiments — have strayed into the weeds in recent years. The OHRC is thrashing about seeking a purpose. It’s a classic case of organizational mandate creep.

Literature students have long known technical and stylistic brilliance are not always accompanied by opinions we respect. Poet Ezra Pound was an admirer of fascists. Talented writers Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Bertolt Brecht were mouthpieces for totalitarian communism. Wunderkind record producer Phil Spector was a convicted murderer and wife beater. The personal lives of Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Pablo Picasso offend many, for good reason. Even such historic luminaries as Winston Churchill, Mohandas K. Gandhi, biblical King David all had spotty records as paragons of virtue. Do we cancel them all?

You can’t whitewash or cleanse history. There are going to be streets and buildings and institutions named after people whose behaviour and opinions may offend some among us. Censuring their mention is not how you defend or advance human rights.

Meddling human rights commissions have become the land of groupthink. Tearing down statues and changing street names is no answer. We cannot replace the ‘N-word’ with the word “slave.” In fact, we need that word as a record, in the mouths of haters, and in the history books to remember its dehumanizing intention. 

The answer may be to erect more statues and name public places after others.  Until September 2021, there was no US statue of Nat Turner, the brave leader of the first slave uprising. How about more statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, or the three brave women on whom the film Hidden Figures was based? Why not celebrate with more projects like the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota? Or Windsor Ontario’s joint monument to War of 1812 leaders Tecumseh and Brock. Manitoba is considering a monument to Chief Peguis. In a Saskatoon park, Métis hero Gabriel Dumont is honoured.

Forget censorship. This is how you honour and reflect history accurately.

Landau is a contributor to the Western Standard

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: The insansity of families being asked to care for seniors in Manitoba LTC

Clean? What does that mean? Clean their rooms? Clean them? Surely, these seniors wouldn’t be stripped of dignity having family members give them the widely practiced standard one — yes only one — bath per week. 

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Planning to ensure there’ll be enough staff on shift at the lodge to help grandma dress in the morning or dip her dentures in Polident for a night-time soak seems kind of important.

It’s not like Monday’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and testing deadline for frontline workers in Manitoba arrives as a colossal shock.

Yet two Manitoba personal care homes seem to have suddenly realized a staff shortage, created by employees exercising their right to opt-out of the requirements, might occur. How many? They probably know by now but claim they’re not quite sure.

They scrambled to alert family members of a worst-case scenario contingency plan to care for their elderly loved ones. 

It’s them. Family members are the contingency plan. They’ll likely be called upon to step up this week and do the work they’re paying the province to do. 

Family members only found this out in a letter sent October 13.

Cleaning grandma’s teeth — be it brushing or soaking — would hardly be the only caregiving task at Salem Home in Winkler and Taber Home in Morden. Volunteers will be asked to pitch in to do laundry, plan entertainment activities, feed, dress and clean residents.

Clean? What does that mean? Clean their rooms? Clean them? Surely, these seniors wouldn’t be stripped of dignity having family members give them the widely practiced standard one — yes only one — bath per week. 

The alternative to volunteering at the facilities? Family might be asked to take seniors off the home’s hands.

“If we do not have staff, we may have to go one step further and ask that you would take your loved one home to look after them,” says the letter.

Public health orders dictate that as of October 18 unvaccinated staff are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result 48 hours prior to each shift. Officials are concerned some workers will refuse the test.

Salem Home, in the Southern Health Region, is in an area with the province’s lowest vaccination rates. The health districts of Winkler and nearby Stanley have rates of almost 43% and 25% respectively.

The region, under more restrictions than elsewhere in the province, claims to have a high number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Last month there was a COVID-19 “outbreak” at Salem — two residents tested positive — and isolation was mandated even though vaccinated visitors were allowed in.

Despite all this, health officials think the solution to staff shortages is a parade of volunteers — even vaccinated volunteers pose a risk — traipsing in. 

Or, as an alternative, shove vulnerable residents out into the community.

That’s insanity.

Manitoba’s Health Minister Audrey Gordon couldn’t provide the number of unvaccinated health care workers. She met with health representatives in the region Friday to discuss other contingency plans.

Think about that. Friday. How long has this mandated vaccination deadline been anticipated?

Seniors shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Deploying staff on standby from elsewhere is one Hail Mary someone pitched. From where exactly? These two homes won’t be the only ones left short-staffed. 

To be fair, Gordon was left with the train wreck that unfolded under the watch of the previous health minister Heather Stefanson, who bailed to run for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. The vote is October 30.

But back to what is being asked of families.

They have placed fragile senior family members in homes to be cared for by trained professionals. Care and accommodation are not free. They pay for it. Handsomely.

Many of these family members are seniors themselves, also fragile and struggling with health issues. 

What stress that ridiculous letter must place on many of them.

And what about family members who threw dad or Uncle Bob in a home and forget to visit? Oh sure, they’ll get right on that volunteer gig.

One certainly feels sympathy for health care workers in senior’s facilities who will carry extra workloads on top of already heavy workloads. These facilities are rarely adequately staffed.

One almost feels sympathy for health officials who have been at the mercy of, and struggling though, provincial planning that has proven erratic and abysmal.

Until then one of them proposes this as a contingency plan…

“We’re looking at things as simple as our menus and ramping down some of our menus, so they are easier recipes to produce,” Jane Curtis, CEO of the Southern Regional Health Authority, told CTV News.

What exactly does that mean? Mealtime is one of few highlights in the day at the lodge. Residents don’t like change. 

Don’t mess with their meals. Get in there and cook them yourself if you must!

Seniors deserve the best. The best! Yet it seems their care might be a casualty in this COVID-19 mess the province created.

Is it because they are the last to complain? Or are so fragile, they can’t?

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

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Opinion

WAGNER: Isabel Paterson – Alberta’s link to the founding of libertarianism

It’s possible — even likely — that her political views took shape while she lived here.

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Three women are often credited with laying the foundations for the modern libertarian movement: the well-known philosopher and author Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane — daughter of Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie fame — and Isabel Paterson, the author of the book The God of the Machine, one of the founding texts of libertarianism.

What is notable from an Alberta perspective is Isabel Paterson — although born in Ontario — was raised in southern Alberta. She is a powerful Alberta link to the origin of libertarianism.

Paterson’s The God of the Machine was republished by Transaction Publishers in 1993, and it contains a new introduction by Stephen Cox, a literature professor at the University of California, San Diego. Cox’s introduction provides a brief biography of Paterson that highlights her contribution to the modern libertarian and conservative movements.

Paterson was born Isabel Bowler on Manitoulin Island in Ontario in 1886. While still very young, her family moved to southern Alberta where she grew up on a cattle ranch. In her late teens, she moved to Calgary where she worked at various odd jobs and eventually became a secretary for lawyer R. B. Bennett who would later become prime minister of Canada. Bennett saw potential in Bowler and offered to have her article as a law student in his office, but she declined.

She married Kenneth Birrell Paterson in Calgary in 1910. It was a short-lived marriage, but she nevertheless kept his surname. During the 1910s she moved a number of times to different cities, mostly in the United States, writing for a number of periodicals. She also began to write novels. Her first, The Shadow Riders, appeared in 1916. The story is set in Alberta and involves intrigue between businessmen and government.

Paterson became the literary editor for the New York Herald Tribune in 1924 and remained there until 1949 when she was fired due to her political views. The Herald Tribune was a prestigious periodical with a national circulation, and due to her position there, Paterson became a well-known and influential writer.

It was during this period that she became friends with Ayn Rand, who Cox describes as Paterson’s “protégé.” Indeed, Cox writes that Paterson “exerted a substantial effect on the individualist philosophy that Rand was evolving; no one else, certainly, had so great an influence on it as Paterson.”

When Rand wrote The Fountainhead, a work of philosophical fiction, Paterson used her column to promote it. Eventually, however, Paterson and Rand fell out. As William F. Buckley later remarked, “Paterson fought over principles; and she had a lot of principles to fight over.”

Paterson’s greatest work, The God of the Machine, was published in 1943. Cox writes that it emphasizes two principles: “an ethical and economic individualism based on the concept of inherent rights, including property rights; and the institutional complement of individualism, limited government.”

Cox further explains that the “individual’s right, in Paterson’s terms, is the right to be left alone, to develop in his or her own way; government should act to protect this right, not to pursue its own schemes of social betterment.” That’s a message that needs to be heard again.

Unlike a great many other journalists of her time, Paterson was not enthralled by the Soviet Union. While many viewed communism as the wave of the future, she wanted people to know that the communists were using starvation and slavery to advance their self-proclaimed  “humanitarian” goals.

As Cox notes, Paterson rightly believed that the “real danger to liberty and prosperity is intellectual, not military.” For this reason, K-12 education is a key battleground for the future, and Paterson forcefully opposed public (i.e., government) schooling which she considered to be “a system of state compulsion.”

In the end, The God of the Machine “made a significant contribution to a significant group of people, an isolated band of intellectuals, far outside the mainstream, who were seeking alternatives to collectivist ideals.”

Albert Jay Nock, one of the best-known early twentieth century individualists, stated The God of the Machine and Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom (also published in 1943), were “the only intelligible books on the philosophy of individualism that have been written in America this century.”

When William F. Buckley founded National Review in 1955 — the flagship magazine of modern conservatism — he eagerly pursued Paterson to write for it. She did for a few years before falling out with Buckley.

The point, though, is that one of the founding intellectuals of the libertarian and conservative movements grew up in Alberta. It’s possible — even likely — her political views took shape while she lived here. No doubt her philosophy would still find wide appeal with many people in the province, especially readers of the Western Standard. Perhaps a new generation of Albertans will read The God of the Machine and benefit from its advocacy for individualism and limited government.

Wagner is a Western Standard columnist

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