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Calgary Wexit rally draws 1,700

Nearly 1,700 people attended Saturday’s Wexit rally. Some wanted clear independence, while others wanted leverage against Ottawa.

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CALGARY, AB: The parking lot of the Notre Dame High School in Calgary began to fill one hour prior to the official start of the Wexit rally Saturday evening. By 7:00 p.m., late-comers were forced to find space on the lawn of the school or head home disappointed. Inside, the gymnasium had filled beyond its 1,500-person capacity.

You didn’t need to go inside to understand the movement called Wexit. Supporters arrived in vehicles adorned with anti-Trudeau, pro-oil and gas bumper stickers and a 3-meter display just outside the entrance to the venue read “Wanted for Treason” with a smug-looking picture of Canada’s prime minister. The battle cry of Twisted Sister’s hit song We’re Not Gonna Take It played on a loudspeaker to set the mood and welcome quests.

The nearly 1,700 people who attended the rally in Calgary seem to agree on one thing: Alberta is not being treated fairly by Ottawa and it’s time for serious action to fix the political situation or exit confederation. While there was agreement on the problem, the path forward for Wexit supporters remains less clear.

Wexit lawn signs available at a Calgary rally (source: Western Standard)

I joined former MP Rob Anders in the bleachers of the gymnasium before the speakers began. While Anders is not a sovereigntist, he calls himself a “sympathizer” and thinks the economic case for Alberta independence is “rock solid.” Anders – like many Albertans – is watching Wexit closely but not yet ready to join the movement.

Speaking to those around us, I heard heartbreaking stories of unemployed and underemployed parents worried about making ends meet, and wondering if the prosperity they’ve enjoyed will ever again be available to their children.

UCP activist Craig Chandler (source: Western Standard)

Long-time conservative activist and Jason Kenney ally, Craig Chandler, was the first speaker of the evening and encouraged the audience to support local Alberta businesses and conservative candidates running for municipal office. It was a tepid speech that made no reference to independence. In an interview with the Western Standard prior to the event, Chandler was less cautious.

“I believe we need to have a referendum on separation; not a useless referendum on equalization. We will get a ‘Yes’ vote and then we will have real negotiating power. We get the ‘Yes’ vote and put that vote in our back pocket and then sit down with the rest of Canada,” Chandler said.

There were a number of speeches before Wexit founder Peter Downing took the stage. Callie Temple with Women for an Independent Alberta (AFIA) said people have been “pushed to the brink.” Zuzana Janosova Den Boer, who survived communist rule in Czechoslovakia before immigrating to Canada, warned of growing socialism in her adopted country. Kathy Flett, a Wexit leader, spoke of the need to work with First Nations and said of the movement:  “We’re not left. We’re not right. We’re Albertans.”

Downing opened his speech declaring “Justin Trudeau, you are not pushing us around anymore,” and closed by leading attendees in a chant of “the West wants out!”

A lone anti-Wexit protester showed up dressed in black and wearing a ski mask and told the Western Standard that the Wexit movement “has too many Christians” in it.

An anti-Wexit protestor says the movement “has too many Christians” (source: Western Standard)

While Wexit supporters are ready for a fight with Ottawa, many are cautiously optimistic that newly-elected Premier Kenney will keep his promise to implement the Alberta Agenda and fight for a better deal for Alberta within confederation, making independence unnecessary. The Alberta Agenda – also known as the Firewall Letter – was co-authored in 2001 by future Prime Minister Stephen Harper and outlined a strategy for Alberta to protect itself against interference from Ottawa by asserting its constitutional authority over areas like policing, pensions, and tax collection.

Carmen Lasante, the volunteer organizer for the event, said the threat of separatism is “going to be used as leverage, but, if that leverage doesn’t work, we’re gone. Separation if necessary, but not necessarily separation.”

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Kaibosh

    November 17, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Greta got 8,000 people to rally in Edmonton… hmmm….

    • FOX

      November 17, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Creepy Greta got a bunch of screeching teenage girls who skipped school and their single moms.

  2. Mr Jay

    November 17, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    All patriotic and freedom loving Albertan’s need to wake up to the fact that we have a federal government that wants an end to ALL fossil fuels in 20 years. We cannot work with a government like that. We will be like Newfoundland’s economy by then.
    Time to Wexit or bust.

  3. K2shifter

    November 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Nonsense… There was nowhere near 8000. That was a media embellishment.. there was children who skip school and there was children dragged there as part of their school day curriculums… There was very few adults and even less men that could be bothered to see what this high school dropout was all about.!!

  4. Trevor Gordon

    November 17, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Alberta has been and is currently under a massive and well coordinated economic war. Instead of battling this economic war with our supposed countrymen at our side, we are being attacked by these same folks who proclaim that they are our countrymen. The only reason we are seeing such a prolonged period of extremely hard times, is because our very own nation is hindering, obfuscating, and hamstringing any and all avenues to prosperity we are attempting to partake in. I believe with all my heart that independence is our only way to achieve our full potential and become prosperous once again, and that independence must be gained, whether through preferable peaceful means, or other less savoury measures of need be.

  5. Colin Day

    November 18, 2019 at 7:27 am

    “too many Christians”? Godless trash.

  6. Tim England (Veteran)

    November 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Why should the west ( excluding the lower mainland and Vancouver island) want to stay a part of confederation?

  7. Ed George Whitehorse

    November 19, 2019 at 9:08 am

    Separation & Independence. We cannot bring old Canadian systems into our new country eg. Bilingualism. Indian Act (reservations/two tiered citizenship)

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New Brunswick breaks ranks with Alberta on carbon tax

New Brunswick is breaking ranks for Alberta and fully complying with Ottawa’s carbon tax

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New Brunswick is the latest province to present a carbon tax plan on fossil fuels with its Gasoline and Motive Fuel Tax Act introduced in the Legislature Thursday.

“For us and for New Brunswickers, climate change is real, man-made, and worthy of action,” said Finance and Treasury Minister Ernie Steeves.

“One of our key priorities is to energize the private sector. With our made-in-New Brunswick carbon tax plan, we will protect New Brunswickers and ensure the sustainability of our environment, as well as that of our communities and our economy.”

The “made-in-New Brunswick” carbon tax on fossil fuels will go into effect April 1, 2020

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister introduced the new Ministry of Conservation and Climate Change when his government was sworn in on October 23, 2019.

Sarah Guillemard, MLA for Fort Richmond was appointed to lead the Ministry.

“(T)he new Department of Conservation and Climate (is) a single department charged with environmental and climate stewardship,” according to a news release on the Manitoba government’s website.

“The department is responsible for ensuring responsible growth including delivery of the made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, and Efficiency Manitoba.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in Alberta received federal approval of his TIER program, which maintains a carbon tax on about 50 per cent of Alberta’s emissions, on December 6th.

Kenney repealed the NDP’s “made-in-Alberta” carbon tax plan in May and eliminated programs through Efficiency Alberta that had been funded by the carbon tax.

“Albertans made it clear over the course of the election that they have no interest in taxpayer-subsidized home renovations schemes,” Jess Sinclair, spokesperson for Environment Minister Jason Nixon told the Calgary Herald in an email at the end of October.

Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are still moving forward with their carbon tax challenge in a three-day hearing at Alberta’s Court of Appeal next week. New Brunswick officials have not said whether they are still intervening in the challenge.

Ontario and Saskatchewan appeal courts have both upheld the federal government’s jurisdiction.  

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Alberta premier’s approval rating plummets

Jason Kenney’s approval rating has gone from being in the top three of Canada’s premiers to bottom three in less than a year.

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Jason Kenney’s approval rating has gone from being in the top three of Canada’s premiers to bottom three in less than a year.

The Edmonton Journal commissioned poll of approval ratings show Kenney has a 40 per cent approval rate, a notable decline from his pre-election approval rating of 55 per cent.

An earlier Leger poll reported Kenney’s approval rating at 42 per cent at the beginning of December.

Former NDP Premier Rachel Notley had 40 per cent approval as well – pre-election.

The poll showed Quebec Premier Francois Legaut was the most popular and Ontario leader Doug Ford the least.

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Bernier rules out another Tory run

The second-place finisher in the last Conservative leadership race says there is “zero chance” he will run again.

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The second-place finisher in the last Conservative leadership race says there is “zero chance” he will run again.

Maxime Bernier, who went on to the form the People’s Party of Canada, made the statement shortly after Andrew Scheer resigned the leadership on Thursday.

“The party is morally and intellectually corrupt. Scheer was a weak leader who pushed it to the centre. The next leader will do the same,” his tweet read.

“I started a principled conservative alternative. I’m sticking to it.”

Bernier, who served as a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, came a close second to Scheer in the 2017 leadership race.

He lost by less than 2 per cent.

Shortly after that Bernier started the People’s Party of Canada but didn’t meet with any election success in October, failing to win his own Quebec riding.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

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