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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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The world wants to move to Canada

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination.

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Canada is the top country most people around the world want to move to, a new survey reveals.

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination. Japan trailed badly in second place with only 13 countries selecting The Land of the Rising Sun to move to.

On the map – generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented by their residents’ most yearned-for spot to emigrate to.

The majority of Canadians said they would prefer to move to the U.S.

The map has been drawn up by financial services provider Remitly, which looked at search data from Google for 100 countries. It says it created a ranking by looking at average monthly search volumes for phrases commonly associated with a move abroad and the most-searched-for locations within the 100 countries, the Daily Mail reported.

“It says that Canada, known for its friendly locals, beautiful scenery and well-paid job prospects, proves a clear favourite for relocation for everywhere from Qatar and the Seychelles to Belgium,” the Mail reported.

“Featuring prominently in the Global Peace Index as one of the safest places to live, and boasting low unemployment rates alongside a high amount of immigration options, it’s arguably no surprise that Canada is head and shoulders above the rest of the world.”

The Mail reported Jago McKenzie, business manager at Remitly, said: “Some of the main reasons people seek a move to another country are for greater job prospects, better pay, quality of life and to send money back home to their families, and I think for many, 2020 has been a year for assessing the choices that could change our lives for the better.

“With that in mind, I wasn’t surprised to see that many are searching for this change and potentially thinking about making it when worldwide travel resumes.

“While Canada topped the list, it was encouraging to see the variety of where different nationalities are looking to move to, with many places home to great job prospects with high earning potential.

“With the need for digital remittance services for immigrants even more important after the pandemic, we hope we’ll be able to make any transition smoother.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

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Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox

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The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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