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FORSYTHE: Meghan Murphy: The woman at the centre the fight between feminism and transgenderism

An up-and-coming young feminist, she could do no wrong until she went a bridge too far; believing that declaring yourself a woman, does not make you so.

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Meghan Murphy used to be adored by the social justice crowd. An up-and-coming young feminist, she could do no wrong until she went a bridge too far; believing that declaring yourself a woman, does not make you so.

Meghan Murphy believes that there are biological sexes; that minor children should not be given hormone replacements and puberty blockers; that men are not women by simply declaring themselves to be so. Most radically, she believes that women (biological women) have a right to their own spaces, like bathrooms and changerooms.

These are her ‘controversial’ positions, denounced by Toronto Mayor John Tory, along with an assortment of trans activists and anti-free speech protestors when she presented a talk in that city on October 29.

On November 2nd, she was back in her hometown of Vancouver and once again found difficulty securing a venue. Moving from Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus to the Pan Pacific Hotel at the last minute presented little problem, much to the chagrin of the protestors.

“It was awesome. I’m so proud of the event we put on. We actually sold 100 more tickets. I think 300 people in total attended,” said Murphy, when I caught up to her a few days later.

Jessica Yaniv (source: Twitter)

Murphy is a journalist and founder of feministcurrent.com. More recently she has been in the news for presenting talks on gender identity and the media bias that informs the debate (or more accurately, shuts it down).

When it comes to the mainstream corporate media, Murphy doesn’t mince words. “I think they’re cowards. Reporters, editors, they’re all afraid of losing their jobs. So they toe the party line. Until recently, they didn’t even acknowledge there was a debate. They presented it as a few transphobic bigots on one side and the rest as progressive, enlightened people.”

She specifically targeted Bill C-16, the bill that enshrined gender identity into Canadian law and arguably makes it illegal to mis-pronoun someone. Murphy was at the forefront in challenging that bill.

“I went to the Senate to speak against it. No one else really said anything. People didn’t understand what this law was going to mean, everyone was just sort of, it’s for trans rights, what’s the big deal? How could anyone disagree with this legislation?”

With Bill C-16 in place, men are allowed into women’s prisons to serve their terms. Murphy recounted tales of female prisoners who have been assaulted by these men.

More famously is Jonathan (or Jessica) Yaniv who made international headlines for insisting female beauticians give him a bikini wax despite having male genitalia. His insistence that these women wax his bits even went all the way to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

“He found a way to get money from these women – many of them immigrant women –who lost money because of him and at least one lost her business.”

Bill C-16 and the federal Liberal’s approach to gender identity in general hasn’t given any rights to trans people they didn’t already have says Murphy. There already is anti-discrimination legislation in place. But, as she notes, it has taken rights away from women to have female-exclusive spaces such as rape crisis centres, transition houses, or just everyday female domains such as washrooms and change rooms. 

Jessica Yanic (source: TwitteR)

She also feels children are falling prey to a trans trend.

“Yes, this has become a social trend. One with potentially tragic ramifications. The schools go along with it. The teachers lie to them [children], telling them if they take these drugs and hormones they’ll be happy and everyone will accept them. We don’t know the long-term effects of these drugs, but we do know they prevent a body from developing properly. These kids aren’t equipped to make these decisions, they don’t know if they want to have children, they could be in danger of increased cancer risk. They don’t even talk to their parents. It’s just cool and trendy and schools are actually encouraging it.” 

The gender identity business is also proving harmful to girls and women in sport. Men who were mediocre athletes can now declare themselves to be women, and dominate the field. 

“This is so awful. So unfair. Girls just can’t win against a dude. It’s totally unfair. Feminists fought for fair competition for years, for girls and women to have their own competitions. Now, all of a sudden that’s gone, because any man who says he’s a woman can compete, win and get scholarships. It’s a total joke.”

It should be obvious that men, who are generally larger framed, have greater muscle mass and lung capacity should not be competing with women. But holding that old-fashioned view has the formerly ballyhooed feminist Murphy, vilified as a bigot. 

“I was appalled that mayor John Tory wanted to shut us down, saying the [Toronto Public] library isn’t the place for these types of talks. That’s exactly what public institutions are for. It should also be happening in academic institutions. For him to apply pressure to shut down a conversation on women’s rights is just so gross, shocking and awful, it’s completely out of line for a mayor, who should know how democracy works.”

Murphy adds that her detractors never want to engage and debate with her. Just silence her. 

“Honestly, the reason activists won’t engage is because they’d have to agree with me. What I’m saying is a very reasonable concern for women only spaces. I’m not a scary person, so it’s easier for them not to listen and instead turn me into a villainous monster.”

Accordingly, when Murphy gave her talk in Vancouver, there had to be a sizable police presence, security for the venue itself, and Murphy’s own personal bodyguards.

Biological men threatening and silencing a feminist for speaking up for woman’s rights appears to be acceptable now. 

Vickery Bowles, the Toronto librarian who gave Murphy’s talk the go ahead has since been attacked online and in the media.

“This is appalling,” says Murphy, “It’s free speech, it’s what libraries are for. It’s especially appalling that some of the people calling her a fascist are writers.”

Murphy adds that some women have spoken up against Bill C-16 and the human rights abuses it has encouraged, but several have lost their jobs for doing so. “I wish more people would speak up, but I also understand they don’t want to become criminally unemployable.”

Still, she remains optimistic that there will be a pushback against this legislation and others like it, but she knows it won’t come from the current government.

“The Liberals won’t back this up. In fact, they’re doubling down, and the NDP are fully on board.”

So, for the foreseeable future any man who declares himself a woman legally has access to the lady’s room. And to declare yourself against it, is to invite condemnation as a bigot and a fascist. Somewhere, the struggle for women’s rights took a strange turn. 

Features

The semi-communist European country you haven’t heard of

The Western Standard takes a closer look at what is going on in Transnistria – one of the last Communist hold-outs in the world

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By NIKOLA MIKOVIC

The era of frozen conflicts is coming to an end.

Recent clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh – Azerbaijan’s region that has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces for 26 years – as well as in Western Sahara – a disputed territory on the northwest coast in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa – suggest that some decades old disputes could soon be resolved through bloodshed.

Is Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria another point of confrontation between Russia and the West?

Transnistria – the tiny Eastern European self-proclaimed country, officially called the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR), does not formally exist.

Map of area. Courtesy Wikipedia

It is unrecognized as a nation by any member of the UN despite declaring its independence in 1990.

The only three states that recognize Transnistria are also disputed territories – Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as the Republic of Artsakh.

PMR is sandwiched between Moldova in the West and Ukraine in the East. Although it is often described as a communist rule, this entity has more similarities with modern Russia than with the former Soviet Union.

Its economy is dominated by oligarchs, and despite tense relations with Moldova, Transnistria preserved strong economic ties with the Eastern European country.  

After Maia Sandu, a former Moldovan Prime Minister who is backed by the European Union, won the presidential election on November 15, Transistrian leaders warned that a peaceful outcome of the frozen conflict remains uncertain.

During the Soviet ere, Transnistria was the richest region of Moldova.

Nowadays, Moldova is the poorest European country, and the breakaway region is facing serious economic hardships. The average monthly salary is only about $200, which is why many PMR citizens immigrated to Russia. 

According to local analysts, there have been attempts from Chisinau to pressure Transnistrian banks, which is why some PMR residents, primarily pensioners, have to cross the border and go to Moldova to withdraw their money. The COVID-19 pandemic is making their travel even more difficult, and Moldovan authorities reportedly blocked the import of certain goods into the territory of the PMR.

In spite of that, there are no food shortages in Transnistria, and the unrecognized republic de facto gets free gas from Russia. According to the Russian energy giant Gazprom, Moldova owes $7 billion to the Russian company, even though $6.9 billion is a debt for gas supplies to PMR. That is why the Sandu recently announced that her country will not pay off the debts of Transnistria to Gazprom.

“The local authorities in Transnistria did not ask Chisinau if it was interested in gas supplies from Russia. They should pay off the debts themselves”, said Sandu.

Ministry of State Security of the PMR recently conducted combat training of the Cossacks-border guards.

Such a measure could mean that the breakaway region of Moldova is preparing for a potential conflict with Chisinau.

Transnistrian army has a force of 4,500. Moldova, on the other hand, has 5,000-7,500 active personnel.

Reportedly, 70 per cent of Transnistria’s budget is funded by Russia, which provides subsidized gas and worker pensions.

Russia has roughly 1,500 military personnel stationed in the PMR. The peacekeeping operation in the region started in 1992 after Transnistrian and Moldovan authorities, on the initiative of then Russian president Boris Yeltsin, signed a ceasefire agreement which ended a short war that resulted in the PMR’s victory.

Ever since, the truce has been holding and is being monitored by a joint peacekeeping force, which includes 402 Russian military personnel, 492 Transnistrian, 355 Moldovan and ten military observers from Ukraine.

Although previous Moldovan President Igor Dodon was often portrayed as a pro-Russian leader, unlike Sandu who is seen as a politician that is pushing for stronger ties with the West, including neighbouring Romania, there is no fundamental difference between them when it comes to the presence of the Russian peacekeepers in Transnistira. They both agree that the Russians must go, although Sandu emphasizes that more often. On the other hand, the head of the unrecognized Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic Vadim Krasnoselsky said that the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers was out of the question.

“The problem remains, the Transnistrian-Moldovan issue is still open, therefore there can be no talk of the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping forces,” Krasnoselsky stressed.

Russian troops in the breakaway region are stationed on a permanent basis, even in two forms – as the remnants of the 14th Army, now the Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria, and also as the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation. Participants in the political format of the conflict regulation are the PMR and Moldova as parties to the dispute, Russia and Ukraine as mediators and guarantors, OSCE as a mediator, while the United States and the European Union are observers.

Prior to presidential election in Moldova, Russia accused the U.S. of plotting a “color revolution” in the Eastern European country. However, the voting process went smoothly and the transfer of power will almost certainly be peaceful.

On the other hand, the U.S. Ambassador to Chisinau, Dereck Hogan, recently criticized the conduct of the last parliamentary elections in Moldova in February 2019 over what he called “the organized vote and transportation of voters from the pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria.” This year such an action was reportedly prevented, which could be the mean reason why allegedly pro-Russian Dodon was defeated.

It is worth noting that several years ago Sandu announced that she would vote for the unification of Moldova with Romania, which is something that worries Russian and Ukrainian population of Transnistira.

Dodon, on the other hand, pushed stronger ties with Moscow, but unlike Transnistria that is a de facto presidential republic, Moldova has a parliamentary political system, which means that the government and the parliament have the final say on such important questions.

Still, both Igor Dodon and Maia Sandu firmly reject not only the possibility of recognizing the independence of Transnistria, but even the very settlement of the conflict on the Dniester River through the confederation or federation. Also, the two politicians agree that the section of the Transnistrian-Ukrainian border should be controlled by Chisinau, rather than by the PMR forces. 

Maia Sandu

After the 2013/2014 violent protests in Ukraine, which resulted in the overthrow of allegedly pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s border policy regarding Transnistria has reportedly become more aggressive, apparently in an attempt to prevent smuggling activities. Some authors from the PMR believe that Ukraine will soon join Washington, Brussels and Bucharest in an attempt to put a strong pressure on Transnistria. Such an action could eventually result in the elimination of the PMR’s de facto statehood, and could also weaken Russian influence in the region.  

“Squeezing Russia out of Transnistria is an integral part of the U.S. and the EU plans to create a ‘cordon sanitaire’ around the Russian Federation”, wrote Andrey Safonov, Transnistrian political analyst. 

However, it is highly uncertain if Moscow still intends to keep this small portion of Moldova in its geopolitical orbit. On Sept. 2, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic celebrated its 30th anniversary, but it was never recognized by Russia. Also, a referendum in 2006 expressing popular desire for Transnistria to become part of Russia was quietly rebuffed by the Kremlin.

Still, if relations between the West and Russia decline further, in the foreseeable future the frozen conflict in Transnistria’s could turn into another hot war. 

NIKOLA MIKOVIC

Mikovic is a geopolitical analyst and freelance journalist specializing in Russia/Belarus/Ukraine issues.

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Features

Global Warning is the must-watch documentary on the climate change debate

‘Global Warning’ explores both sides of the climate debate shaping our times, and its effect on Western energy workers.

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Calgary filmmaker Mathew Embry set out to make a documentary on global warming that was fair with people on both sides of the contentious issue.

With his 95-minute documentary Global Warning he has certainly done all that, and more.

“It’s a film I wanted to make since 2008 when I started seeing problems developing in the oil patch and in Calgary and how it was being portrayed in the media,” Embry told the Western Standard in an interview.

Embry met with producer Peter Beyak, who shared a similar interest, and after some fundraising, the project was underway.

The issue is not a new one for Embry; his fifth-grade science project on global warming was an early sign.

Embry and his Grade 5 project

But the father of two knew it was time to jump into action and Global Warning is the end of almost a decade of work.

“I want my kids to live in a world that is [as] good or better than the one I live in,” said Embry.

“People have to be realistic – cheap energy is part of our quality of life. We need energy to survive.”

Embry describes himself as a “social justice” filmmaker whose past projects have included a look at the opioid crisis and multiple sclerosis. Up next is a project on concussions.

The argument about climate change has been ongoing for years. Some scientists say the research is obvious that climate change is underway and that mankind is responsible. Other scientists disagree.

The documentary provides both sides of the argument and wraps up with a debate between University of Ottawa climate scientist Dr. Ian Clarke and Catherine Abreu, the executive director of the Climate Action Network, which represents more than 100 different activist groups.

Catherine Abreu

Abreu, along with the Pope, has been named one of the top 100 influential people on climate change in the world. Clark has devoted 30 years to researching the effects of CO2 on climate change.

The exchange comes at the end of a documentary whose maker travelled the world in his research.

It starts with an ominous warning from controversial U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,” AOC has said.

Embry notes the effect an international social media campaign has had in casting the Alberta oil sands in a negative light. Hollywood heavyweights, including Leonardo DiCaprio, have visited Fort McMurray and have been part of the campaign. DiCaprio said that the oil sands looked like a scene from Mordor in the Lord of the Rings.

Distressing scenes are shown in the film of the “chilling effect” of empty Calgary offices, and former politician turned radio talk-show host, Danielle Smith fighting back tears as she discusses a caller who was about to layoff 25 per cent of his workforce.

Calgary protest

About 25 per cent of downtown offices in Calgary sit empty after the world price of oil dropped because of a price war between Russia and the Saudi, and a chronic lack of pipeline capacity which effectively landlocks Alberta.

“This is not the city I grew up in,” says Embry.

Calgary environmental protests are recognized along with footage of a heckler being dragged away by Calgary police after interrupting a forum at the Global Petroleum Show.

But the oil industry is starting to fight back and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. – one of Canada’s largest producers – gave Embry “unprecedented access” to their oil sands operations to show what they are doing to help the environment.

Joy Romero, CRNL’s vice-president, Technology and Innovations, said the reclamation projects the company has done “look like national parks.” A CRNL worker is shown in front of a pipe discharging effluent into the notorious tailings ponds that have drawn worldwide attention.

Tailings pond

“It doesn’t look pretty,” admitted CRNL Manager of Mine Technical Services Todd Draper.

But looks do not tell the whole story, as Draper points out, detailing all the efforts made by CRNL are making on the environment protection side and cleaning up tailings ponds.

Embry said documenting the open pit mining by CNRL “was uncomfortable filming” and the scenes looked “surreal.”

“Mining is not pretty,” said Embry adding it’s difficult to show the 100 year difference reclamation will do for the environment in a single National Geographic photo.

Alberta mining site

Legendary oilman Gwyn Morgan – founder of EnCana – told Embry the energy industry is currently in “political purgatory.”

“Albertans are resiliant, they are hard to keep down,” said Morgan, adding he now senses Albertans have “lost hope.”

Gwyn Morgan

Embry argues the main problem Alberta is facing is the lack of pipeline capacity.

And while a large number of Indigenous groups support, and would benefit economically from pipelines, others are using treaties signed by the federal government in the 1700’s to make their case against them.

“It’s the white guys who make the rules,” said Raymond Owl, founder of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Elders.

Raymond Owl

“We mean business. We’ve been too timid. What would you do if you had the government by the balls?

“Science is a farce, a theory. It’s not a fact.”

Embry notes the large quantities of oil imported into Eastern Canada because of the lack of a cross-Canada pipeline.

Embry drives across Texas, where close to one million wells are pumping and firing the state’s economy. The U.S. is now on course to be the biggest oil producer in the world.

Abreu is shown attending a UN climate change conference in Germany. She told Embry most of the information she uses are from the independent UN group Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Abreu is shown attending a UN climate change conference in Germany. She told Embry most of the information she uses are from the independent UN group Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

One of the key interviews in the film is with Dr. Patrick Moore, one of the original founders of Greenpeace.

Moore proudly shows off photos of the Greenpeace Zodiac getting between whaling ships and their prey, along with a photo of him protecting a baby seal from being clubbed in Labrador.

Dr. Patrick Moore

But Moore has now left the organization after it turned from a volunteer group to an international business with more than 2,000 staff.

He describe some of Greenpeace’s work now on climate change as a “racket” and have “manufactured a climate crisis.”

“I found it surprising a well known environmentalist has a counter position to the current environmental argument,” said Embry.

The University of Ottawa’s Clark noted there have been warming periods every thousand years, from the Roman era to the Middle Ages, to now.

“The science is never settled. Open debate is what we need to have,” said Clark, adding there is “zero evidence” of CO2 emissions causing climate change.

Dr. Ian Clark

“The hysteria is inbred and ingrained in the younger generation. They don’t have a clue what they are talking about.”

German climate scientist, and wind power expert, Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt told Embry climate action benefits countries like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia who don’t play by the rules.

Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt

He said it will lead to “exploding” energy prices and increasing blackouts around the world.

“The real players need to be at the table,” said Vahrenholt. “Other countries just won’t follow Canada.”

Embry said the part of the film that strikes with him the most is seeing all the wind farms across the length of Germany. “There is a vastness to it that is hard to capture.”

Geopolitical author John Perkins argued that Canada faces the real threat of falling into a crisis like the one that Venezuela is currently experiencing.

Embry argues a third way of thinking, a middle-way approach, is needed to help address the issue in Canada, which has the third largest energy reserves in to the world and some of the best “clean energy” technology.

“We can show the world how it can be done,” said Embry.

The documentary ends with Clark and Abreu arguing passionately their side of the story. Both agree, their hearts are in the right place. They want what’s best for their children and grandchildren. And that’s what Emry says he wants for his children.

“I hope people on both sides of the issue take the time to watch the documentary,” said Embry.

Global Warning is a must watch for people on both sides of the debate.

You can watch a trailer and buy the VOD here: www.globalwarningdocumentary.com

The main trailer is on Youtube at https://youtu.be/-W29sxthdME

It’s also available on SuperChannel in Canada.

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Features

Italian magazine spotlights Alberta’s independence movement

Atlantico is an Italian libertarian magazine normally covering issues in Europe. But with the rising tide of the Western independence – or “Wexit” – movement beginning to gain attention around the world, Atlantico reached out to speak with Western Standard Publisher Derek Fildebrandt for more information.

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The full article in Italian can be found at atlanticoquotidiano.it.

Alberta between Canada and independence: an interview on the future of the Canadian West
By Marco Faraci

One year ago Justin Trudeau won the Canadian federal election for the second time, albeit with lower votes and seats than in 2015. Trudeau’s Liberal Party has substantially built its parliamentary plurality in Eastern Provinces, without hardly winning any seat West of Ontario.

The Liberals failed to make any inroads into the provinces of the Prairies and it is no surprise that the strongest rejection of the federal Liberal government has come from Alberta, where voters overwhelmingly supported the Conservative Party.

However, once again, the will of the citizens of Alberta has been outvoted by the Eastern progressive bloc. Alberta seems to be doomed to be structurally in opposition, without any real chance to have a say in federal politics.

But can things be changed? Is there still a place for Alberta and the other Western provinces in the current federal constitutional framework? And what can be the long term political alternatives for the neglected conservative provinces?

We have discussed all these issues with Derek Fildebrandt, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for the conservative-libertarian Wildrose Party from 2015 to 2019, and now the publisher of the magazine “Western Standard”.

Fildebrandt holds genuine right-libertarian views and is an adamant advocate of self-government for Alberta.

Mr. Fildebrandt, a popular expression to describe the malaise of the Western Canadian provinces is “Western alienation”. Do you think that it captures the feelings of most of the Alberta citizens accurately?

I think that in some way “Western alienation” is an old expression. This expression has been circulating since the 70s and 80s and in my opinion, it understates the current political conditions of Alberta. The word “alienation” just hints at the concept that the federal government ignores us. Unfortunately, this is not true anymore. Ottawa does not just ignore Alberta; it is actively hostile to the interests of Alberta.

I think that a more representative notion would be “Western siege”. I think that Alberta is under siege. We are attacked and besieged by a distant and increasingly foreign government.

This is a rather strong statement. Could you explain to our readers how the federal government harms Alberta and the interests of its citizens? 

It does it in many ways. It is not just about milking Albertan taxpayers’ money, which has always happened. Now, with the rise of the green New Left, our oil and gas industry is overtly under attack and this is really worrying for us. The federal government is implementing policies that are disastrous for our provincial economy.

Do you think that only economic interests are at stake or do you also see a cultural clash between Alberta and the dominant East? In other words, is Alberta “different”?

I think that the issues between Ottawa and Alberta are primarily economic: keeping more money home and defending our right to work without undue confiscations and regulations. 

There are also a number of cultural issues, but they are different from those inspiring Quebec nationalism. Quebec nationalism is about ethnolinguistic claims; we do not have this type of cultural divide with the majority of the Canadian provinces. We speak the same language; we eat the same food. Our cultural differences are more in terms of values: our approach to work, our approach to family, our approach to liberty. In these regards, we have more in common with Montana than with Toronto. 

Do you believe that a strategical alliance between Alberta nationalists and Quebec nationalists is possible?

It happened in the 80’s, when Brian Mulroney managed to form a broad coalition uniting discontented Westerners and Quebec nationalists, but the truth is that the two approaches are rather distant. On the one hand, Quebec nationalists are disproportionately positioned on the Left of the political spectrum. On the other hand, the kind of decentralization that Quebec seeks is different from the kind of decentralization that we seek. Quebec wants cultural and social decentralization from what they see as a domineering English government, but is not interested in fiscal decentralization, because Quebec is and always has been a net recipient from the federal budget – while Alberta is and has for generations been a net contributor. In other words, Quebec wants to decentralize the power of spending money but strongly supports taxation at a central level. 

Do you think that Canada is a structurally liberal country, where conservatives will always be a minority ?

Canada is structurally liberal in the sense that it is structurally Eastern. As Eastern provinces are predominantly liberal, then the result is that the federation is by default liberal – but the core issue is the uneven balance of power between the different parts of the federation.

And why then is Canada structurally Eastern? Is it a matter of demography?

Certainly in demographic terms, Easterners outnumber Westerners, but it is not just a matter of demography.

The dominance of Eastern provinces is enshrined in the Constitution and there is very little we can do to change that. Some provisions are ludicrous, such as the composition of the Senate.

We are virtually the only democracy in the world with an unelected Upper House and we are the only federation in the world where the Upper House is not conceived with any kind of regional balance.

Our Senators are appointed by the federal Prime Minister, like they were bureaucrats. Justin Trudeau, who is highly unpopular in Alberta nominates the Senators for Alberta.

But the issue with the Senate goes beyond that. The Senate was created in 1867 and the distribution of seats was negotiated by the colonies that existed at that time. Western provinces had not been created yet and were later allocated only a handful of seats. Alberta is the fourth Canadian province by population; it has twice the population of all four Atlantic provinces combined, but has nearly half of the Senate seats given to New Brunswick.

The opportunities for Alberta to play a role in federal institutions are also hindered by official bilingualism. If you grow up in a province like Alberta, there is very little incentive to learn French, but this also means that Albertans will less likely qualify for federal offices requiring bilingualism, including roles in the Supreme Court.

The position of Alberta within Canada is much weaker than the position of the Red states within the United States. The American framework guarantees a much stronger system of checks and balances and no state finds itself in the position of being structurally kept out from the federal political dynamics.

Do you think that Canada is a “lost cause”? Or is it still worth fighting to bring Canada back on track?

I believe that Canada is worth trying to save, but I’m sceptical that it can be. 

We would need to reform the Constitution to allow real free trade between provinces, to have an elected and fully representative Senate and to abolish the “Equalization formula”, which transfers money from Alberta to Eastern provinces. But that reform is virtually impossible because the Constitutional amendment rules render the status quo effectively unalterable.

Canada is a great country, with a mostly great history and I believe in the idea that it is worth fighting to save. I just have extremely little faith that it is politically possible to do so.

In these conditions, is independence for Alberta a viable alternative?

Yes, it is. Alberta’s GDP per capita is among the highest on the planet. We would be in the company of countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg or Singapore. An independent Alberta would keep between 20 and 30 billion dollars a year of taxpayers’ money in Alberta.

The critics of independence say that Alberta is landlocked. This is certainly true. Alberta is landlocked and there is nothing we can do about it. But it is also landlocked as a province and, as a landlocked province, we are in an extremely weak position. We cannot push for free trade, for example – as we do not even have free trade between provinces in the current Canadian framework. And we cannot get the government we want; Alberta did not elect a single Liberal in the last election and yet we got a Liberal federal government.

I think we would have much more leverage as an independent landlocked nation than as a landlocked province, barring the unlikely scenario of constitutional reform. A sovereign Alberta would be in a position to force free trade and market access, while as a province we can only continue to elect Conservatives bound to be outvoted by Eastern Liberals.

So you are saying that independence would be economically viable. But is there a viable political path to independence?

There is definitely increasing support for independence in Alberta, but circumstances are not ready yet. I was the first elected representative in Alberta since the 1980s that openly supported independence if constitutional reform fails. I campaigned on the platform of a set of two referendums for Albertans to consider. The first referendum would be to demand full equality with other provinces. Then if either Ottawa or the provinces reject constitutional reform to make Canada fairer, the second referendum should be on independence.

Currently polls show that 52 per cent of the voters of the mainstream conservative party governing Alberta (the United Conservative Party) support independence. I am not sure if mainstream Conservatives will ever be ready to go forward on independence – they are too divided on the issue and they will try to avoid it. However new political parties and movements with a crystal clear commitment to independence are gaining ground and I am sure that they will play a political role. 

Summing up, will we ever see an independent Alberta?

The path will be long and far from smooth, but I believe that independence is a realistic possibility if things do not change.

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