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JAY HILL: East and West are worlds apart

And, they’re perplexed that some of us have become resigned to the fact that independence is the only viable option left. No longer just frustrated and angry… but resolutely resigned.

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If men are from Mars and women from Venus, then the majority of Calgarians must be from Mercury and Torontonians from Uranus. While we are just 3500 kilometers apart by road, in reality we are worlds apart in our thinking and there is no evidence this will change anytime soon.

At its epicentre, this fact is why I’m convinced that any efforts to achieve greater autonomy within confederation will never produce a “Fair Deal” for Western Canada.

The majority of Canadians from the “middle east” triangle of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa have become so consumed by the mass climate change hysteria – propagated by no less an authority than the youthful Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg – that they will never see the real world as we in the West see it.  

I cannot understand, and never will understand, how they fail to see the absolute hypocrisy of their position on so many issues connected to what they consider to be a four-letter word: oil.

They don’t see the hypocrisy of imposing a tanker ban (Bill C-48) on most of the Pacific coast of Canada while allowing tankers importing unethical foreign oil unfettered access to our Atlantic ports.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks to the Manning Centre in Red Deer (source: Western Standard)

They don’t understand, or even care, that the imposition of unworkable regulations (Bill C-69) ostensibly to combat climate change, will cripple future development of our greatest wealth generating and job creating natural resource industry.

They don’t see, or want to admit, the hypocrisy of snootily turning up their collective noses at our own Western Canadian oil and gas industry as they pull up to the pumps to fill their gas guzzling SUVs with fuel produced from oil imported from the USA, Saudi Arabia, or Iraq.

For example, despite sitting atop an ocean of proven oil reserves, Canada continues to spend billions every year buying oil from Saudi Arabia, a country that executes homosexuals, stones women, flogs dissidents and has a nasty habit of funding Islamic extremism.

Over a ten-year period, Canada spent over $20 billion importing Saudi oil, 20 per cent more than the estimated cost to build the Energy East pipeline that would substitute Western Canadian oil produced under the most stringent environmental, labour and human rights laws in the world.  

While Canadians in Canada’s middle east continue to turn blind eyes to oil importation from the USA, Americans continue to fund environmental activists that spread lies and work to keep our oil land locked and only available to themselves at a vastly discounted price, as they increase their own oil production. 

All this with not a bleat from the Liberal sheep in Central Canada! 

And, they’re perplexed that some of us have become resigned to the fact that independence is the only viable option left.  No longer just frustrated and angry… but resolutely resigned.  

I fail to see how Premier Kenney’s Fair Deal Panel will ever be able to address the fundamental and unalterable fact that even under future Conservative governments issues like amending the Equalization formula, imposition of a national carbon tax (which some are now advocating increase from $50 to $210 per tonne) and reversal of Bills C-48 and C-69 will never happen without a 180 degree change in the thinking of Liberal voters in Central Canada.  And, if you believe that, I’ll sell you a pipeline across Quebec. 

Is there someone – anyone – who can convince them of the folly of their thinking?

I’m not saying that ideas such as withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan in favour of a new provincial agency, replacing the RCMP in western Canada, collecting taxes and submitting a fair share to Ottawa, gaining greater control and autonomy over healthcare, or establishing a formalized provincial constitution are bad ideas.  I just don’t see how they will ever get pipelines built, attract investment back to our oil patch or get what most of us consider a Fair Deal from our Mideast.

Why? It is actually quite simple: that is where the people are, millions of voters. This is why even Conservative leaders will not be willing to enact or advocate policies contrary to the thinking of Central Canadian voters.  

Or, they will lose, just as happened on October 21st.   

Hon. Jay Hill, is a frequent guest columnist for the Western Standard and the Interim Leader of the Wexit Canada Party. He was the Member of Parliament for Prince George – Peace River for 17 years, held the position of Whip of his party four times, and served twice as House Leader.

Opinion

BARNES: Albertans deserve the right to make the big decisions in referenda law

Guest column from Drew Barnes says that Alberta’s referendum law should be expanded to allow votes on big constitutional issues.

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Guest opinion column from Alberta MLA Drew Barnes

“I am and I will remain a populist, because those who listen to the people are doing their job.” Matteo Salvini.

At its core the word populism is the action that government policies should be determined by the will of the people, not the will of the elite. Direct democracy is the institutional populism in action.

There is debate over whether populism should be termed as a movement or an ideology. Since the actions of populist engagement can transcend the ideological spectrum, I believe it should be viewed as a movement, that can sometimes manifest itself ideologically. As a movement, populist participation can take place on all points of the spectrum. Ultimately, that is what is wanted from a democratic society – engagement from all points of the spectrum.

Now more than ever, we need a new grassroots-populist approach to politics. Grassroots politics by its nature suggests that it is a movement that is sparked from the bottom-up. Politicians who came from grassroots movements must never forget where they came from, or lose sight of what they came to do. We need more of the bottom-up approach to politics, and make listening to the people that elected us a priority.

This is taking place in some measure here in Alberta. Political party policy processes allow for constituency associations to generate policy proposals for conventions, where they are voted on by the membership. Every party in Alberta – with the exception of the NDP – uses a ‘one member, one vote’ system.

Another grassroots/populist tool is referenda, that when used the right way are a valuable democratic tool. Referendums however, must stay true to their purpose, and the process for bringing them forward must allow for citizens to craft their own – fair – wording on a question. This is not to say that any question – however subjectively worded – that anyone wants to ask should be put to a referendum. Therefore, the rules on the use of referendums must not be overly onerous, nor overly temperate.

Switzerland is a prime example of a country that takes full advantage of referendums, including citizens’ initiative. In their democratic system, referendums can occur up to four times annually. All citizens registered to vote can cast their ballot on issues affecting decisions within both their federal government and their cantons (autonomous provinces). Before each vote, all registered voters receive a package of booklets in the mail which provide details on the coming referendums. Since these referendums began in 1848, just under half of the referendum proposals have passed. Even if they don’t always pass, the process is crucial to starting conversations and keeping citizens involved in debate. Referendums also force political parties to reach beyond partisan lines to reach consensus.

Alberta’s legislature recently passed a bill that guides referendums on non-constitutional matters. While this is a positive step forward, there are issues in this bill that need improvement. 

For example, Albertans initiating a referendum might go through the process of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, only to have the cabinet alter the wording the question. While fair wording of the question is critical to the integrity of direct democracy, that issue is not best dealt with by politicians who may have a stake in the result. Instead, clear guidelines should be established in law on question wording, and left to non-partisan officials at Elections Alberta. 

And while the new referendum legislation is a big step forward over the status quo (that is, nothing), it deliberately bans citizens-initiated referendums on constitutional questions. This means that if Albertans wished to force a vote on adding property rights to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that they would not be allowed. Similarly, Albertans are barred from forcing a vote on reforming the Senate, equalization, or internal free trade. Ominously, Albertans have no right to force a vote over the heads of the legislature on independence or other forms of sovereignty. 

I believe that Albertans can be trusted with the right of citizens’ initiative on all questions, both constitutional and non-constitutional. 

We trust the people to elect a government to run our systems, so why can’t we trust them to bring their own questions forward? 

Drew Barnes is the UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat

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Opinion

LETTER: Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East

A reader says that Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East.

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In this ‘Era of Wokeness” along with the ascension of Black Lives Matter into the public consciousness, I believe that it would be detrimental to the Conservative Party of Canada to have Erin O’Toole as
it’s leader.

Mr O’Toole recently refused to use the word ‘racism’ and did not answer clearly when pressed on whether he believes it even exists. Erin O’Toole will hand the Trudeau Liberals an easy victory during the next election, should he become Tory leader. Canada cannot afford another four years of Justin Trudeau. 

Like it or not, most people in Ontario and Quebec (where all federal elections are ultimately decided owing to their number of allotted seats), are very much ‘woke’ on the issue of racism, as well as
sexism, homophobia, ect. In my experience, this also includes most Conservative Party of Canada voters in Eastern Canada.

Right-wing populism and social conservatism does well in Western Canada – but centrist Red Toryism is all they are prepared to accept in most of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. CPC members in Western Canada need to keep this in mind when voting for their next leader. 

CPC members need to be sensible and realistic if they want to win the next federal election. 

Gila Kibner 
Edmonton, Alberta

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Opinion

LETTER: While Trudeau mislabels regular guns “military-style”, he is handing real assault weapons to the police

A reader says that Trudeau is militarizing the police while disarming Canadians.

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RE: Canada’s cops worried Liberal gun ban will hamper training

I enjoyed your article on the gun ban and how it will affect cops. A point of view the CBC would never share.

Perhaps another topic should be brought to the public is this: Although Justin Trudeau said there is no place for these weapons in Canada and Bill Blair said these  weapons have only one purpose – and that is for one soldier to kill another soldier – they gifted more deadly weapons to our local police forces through the Canadian Armed Forces., as was done recently in my hometown of St Thomas, Ontario.

What is the government’s agenda in giving true military assault weapons to the police and banning “military-style” (no legal definition) weapons from civilians. 

John Siberry
St. Thomas, ON

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