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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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25 Comments

25 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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BREAKING – Supreme Court rules against B.C. in battle over TMX pipeline

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against B.C. and their attempt to control what can be shipped in the TMX pipeline.

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In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against B.C. and their attempt to control what can be shipped in the TMX pipeline.

Chief Justice Richard Wagner said the court will let an earlier B.C. Court of Appeal decision that the pipeline was a federal issue stand.

If B.C. had been successful they could have effectively blocked heavy oil from being shipped through the pipeline.

The court’s ruling came the same day as both sides made oral arguments for their cases.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has opposed the pipeline that could carry 890,000 barrels of crude oil a day to the west coast for export.

The Trans Mountain expansion project went through a years-long federal review by the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency .

It has also been twice approved by the federal Liberal cabinet.

“If you have a pipeline and you can’t put anything through it, it’s totally useless. That frustrates the federal permitting process does it not?” Justice MalcomRowe said Thursday.

“Today, it’s heavy oil. Tomorrow, it could be anything else.”

Ottawa bought the $7.4 billion project from its original U.S. proponent, Kinder Morgan, in 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the pipeline “in the interests of Canada.”

–more to come

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

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Manning Centre to rebrand as namesake retires

The retirement of Preston Manning has the centre he created looking to rebrand under a different name.

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The retirement of Preston Manning has the centre he created looking to rebrand under a different name.

In a note sent to supporters Thursday, officials from the Manning Centre said Preston, 77, was retiring and stepping down from the group’s board.

Manning Centre logo

The Manning Centre was founded in 2005 to support “Canada’s conservative movement by networking best practices and ideas pertaining to limited government, free enterprise, individual responsibility and a more robust civil society.”

It’s stated mission is “to strengthen Canada’s conservative movement by nurturing, supporting, and facilitating exchanges and stronger relationships amongst the movement’s various components.”

In their note, the non-profit Manning Centre said Preston’s final book is coming out next month and he’s off on a cross-Canada tour Feb. 24 to promote it.

“Preston is not all that is going into retirement…the Manning name will be coming off the Centre and its networking conferences,” said the letter.

The group is now considering ideas on how to rebrand but stress their mission will remain the same.

Manning was a founder and the only leader of the Reform Party.

That party evolved into the Canadian Alliance party which, in turn, merged with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the Conservative Party of Canada.

Manning represented the federal constituency of Calgary Southwest in Parliament from 1993 til 2002. He was leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2000.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

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Unifor won’t apologize after doxxing wrong man

Doherty acknowledged the mistaken use of Patel’s photo but did not offer an apology for the mix-up.

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A restaurant owner in Regina was surprised to learn his photo was being circulated in a Unifor union video called “Meet the Scabs”.

Kalpesh Patel discovered a photo from his Facebook account was used in the video after receiving calls on January 10. Patel then contacted a lawyer who wrote a letter to Unifor asking them to remove his photo.

Initially, Unifor defended the accuracy of the video but it was taken down from the union’s Twitter account and Mr. Patel’s likeness was edited out.

Chad Zipchian, co-owner of Birmingham’s Vodka and Ale in Regina said they aren’t taking sides but said Patel and the restaurant would defend themselves after being wrongly identified as having anything to do with the strike or the replacement workers.

Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President, acknowledged the mistaken use of Patel’s photo but did not offer any apology for the mix-up.

“A photo of a person named Kalpesh Patel no longer appears in Unifor’s ‘Meet the Scabs’ video posted on Twitter. We are still trying to locate a photo of another individual with the same name who is working at the refinery for our next video, in an attempt to discourage scabs,” Doherty said in an emailed statement.

‘Scabs’ or ‘replacement workers’ allow a company to continue operations while a union is on strike – or in the case of Local 594 who represents employees from Co-op Refinery in Regina, Saskatchewan – locked out.

Doherty says unions aren’t breaking any laws when they publicize names and photos of people who cross picket lines.

“To be clear, no one crossing a picket line has an expectation of privacy,” he said.

“The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed a union’s right to photograph scabs in (a) 2013 decision”.

The case, Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 2013, SCC 62, upheld the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision that the union’s right to freedom of expression was unduly hampered by the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) and granted a constitutional exemption.

Local 594 president Kevin Bittman said his team did not make the video nor had they shared it through their social media channels.

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