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JOHNSTON: Scheer didn’t kill himself

If the members of the CPC vote for a leadership review, it will be the beginning of a ritualistic sacrifice to exorcise the dark spirits of chaos and discord manufactured by Conservative Victory.

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The character Tom Reagan in the Coen brothers’ film Miller’s Crossing observed that “You don’t hold elected office in this town. You run it because people think you do. They stop thinking it, you stop running it.”

It’s a fascinating observation about power and politics.

Occupying the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition gives Andrew Scheer only as much power as his caucus and the party brass are willing to yield. If these people stop thinking you’re in charge, you stop being in charge – and the grassroots members of the party matter almost not at all in this power dynamic.

A handful of power brokers within the Conservative party have created an organization called Conservative Victory to force Scheer to resign as leader. If he gives in to this demand, he stops being in charge. If he doesn’t, this group will create intolerable chaos and disunity that will cause party members, who might otherwise support Scheer, to insist on a leadership change – and he stops being in charge. There is no way out for Scheer and it’s too late for him to get in front of this and claim the idea to resign was his own.

There is still grassroots support for Scheer. The comments in response to a Western Standard news story concerning a #ScheerMustGo online campaign and petition were almost entirely supportive of the leader. A quick survey of social media comments on the campaign to remove Scheer also reveal a significant base of support for the leader.

Many of our readers rightly point out that Scheer won the popular vote and carried himself with dignity throughout the campaign. He faced a predictable media attack designed to make the election about gay marriage, a policy that was put the bed in 2005, and abortion, which hasn’t been seriously debated in Canada since 1993 – and only then in the courts. Scheer wanted to talk about taxes and trade and Canada’s declining middle class. His campaign slogan was “It’s time for you to get ahead” – lame perhaps, but not a call to burn witches or whatever nonsense the CBC might be accusing him of advocating. But Trudeau’s media army was not going to let this economic discussion happen. Not as long as they could find any reason to resurrect decades-old policy battles about gay marriage and abortion.

What’s dispiriting about some of the attacks on Scheer from senior people within the conservative movement is that they are repeating the dishonest narrative that Scheer has a hidden anti-LGBT agenda. This may serve to oust Scheer as leader, but it will hobble any and all future conservative candidates who refuse to disavow privately held religious beliefs — and it will alienate grassroots party activists who are being told by people claiming a superior understanding of politics that they are a liability to the future success of the conservative movement.

Conservative party members don’t have to believe Scheer is too conservative to be electable – they don’t – or that he fumbled the ball during the campaign. They only have to believe that sacrificing the leader is the cost of peace and a requirement to move forward as a united party. The reason the attacks on Scheer are being made loudly and publicly now is because those who oppose Scheer do not want to leave the leadership review question to the riding associations and party members, any more than Democrats want to try their luck against Trump in the general election.

The narrative that Scheer has a secret agenda is intended for the media, who are more than happy to seek out anyone willing to confirm their bias against conservatism generally. This group wants Scheer to resign now – and maybe he should. Not because this group is right, but because they will not stop until the party is in complete disarray, at which point the members will demand a leadership review and euthanize Scheer if he refuses to go away quietly.

Kory Teneycke, a member of Conservative Victory, made the case in a CBC interview that Scheer “…should resign and run again for his job. If he’s confident that the party membership backs him, that’s the way to test that.” This is transparently disingenuous. If the members of the party vote for a leadership review it will be the beginning of a ritualistic sacrifice to exorcise the dark spirits of chaos and discord manufactured by Conservative Victory. A leadership vote that keeps Scheer in place will not satisfy those who are prepared to publicly criticize the leader – and the members of the party will no doubt understand this. CPC members don’t really get to decide if they want Scheer as leader. They only get to decide if they are prepared to accept the consequences of standing by him.

This campaign against Scheer will not convince grassroots conservatives of the laughable claim that the conservative leader is a firebrand moral crusader — but it might convince them that party unity requires that he disappears.

I have my own objections to the socially conservative views of many in the CPC, but they are not exclusive to Scheer and nor do they have anything to do with marching in Pride parades 50 years after same-sex relationships were decriminalized.

My sense of things at this point is that the deafening silence from the Scheer camp means the campaign to replace the leader has already won — and when Scheer realizes his support in caucus and within the CPC political apparatus is gone, he’ll offer his resignation without regard for whatever support he might enjoy among party members.

Whatever the outcome here, understand that CPC members are not being asked whether or not they support Andrew Scheer. They are being tested as to how much chaos and discord they can stomach.

Opinion

GEROW: Western Canada needs its own currency

Darcy Gerow writes that currency manipulation from Ottawa is a hidden tax on all Canadians, but robs the West more than others.

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With a united Wildrose Independence Party in Alberta and Jay Hill at the helm of Wexit Canada, the independence conversation has gotten serious. A May 2020 poll conducted for the Western Standard found that 45 to 48 per cent of Albertans supported independence. That’s real close to a 51 per cent tipping point. Though, for a lot of Albertans, independence is only an opportunity to lean into Ottawa for a fair deal on equalization and the constitution.

There is enough support for a fair deal to build a solid footing for Western independence, but that foundation will be useless if this house is framed using the Canadian dollar.

The Canadian dollar is consistently hitting new lows every year when measured against indicators like the consumer price index, which measures the price impacts of inflation caused by the Canadian government’s manipulation of the money supply. 

An independent West (or just Alberta) should reject a foreign government (in this case Ottawa) devaluing its currency. Unlike Quebec sovereigntists – who want to continue using the Canadian dollar – Westerners would be better off with their own currency, a Western dollar which is free of manipulation.

Junior high civics classes have conditioned Canadians to trust the government with the money supply as a noble endeavor, that the marketplace can’t provide a product sound enough to be used as a medium of exchange or a store of value. The federal government took that trust and printed up a trillion dollars in debt for all kinds of corporate welfare programs. Most recently, to give to their buddies in the mainstream media and WE charities, or to conduct the massive Covid-19 vote-buying welfare scheme, and they’ve done it at the expense of impoverishing those who trusted them with what little wealth they had. All while the marketplace has given us a product that is sound enough to be a medium of exchange and a far superior store of value – gold. 

The Canadian Dollar was backed by gold until 1914 when the Finance Act was passed. This allowed the dollar to be artificially devalued to fund the First World War. The dollar reached a new all-time low measured in gold at the end of 2019 from which it will never recover.

A fair deal on equalization, or better yet, the end of equalization is a great thing, but if the West keeps the Canadian dollar, the door to unfair treatment by Ottawa will always be open. The ability to manipulate the money supply is akin to a tax. Instead of confiscating the actual dollars – like they do with equalization – they are confiscating the value of a dollar. They are stealing purchasing power. As Western provinces have historically out-performed Eastern ones when it comes to productivity, a tax on purchasing power disproportionately affects the West.

If Albertans or the entire West succeed in achieving independence, it would be foolish to continue paying the inflation tax to Ottawa. 

While the West does not have the gold to completely back a currency yet, it isn’t necessary to get the ball rolling. The Western dollar can be pegged to the price of gold at a rate similar to the Canadian dollar and legislation will be required to restrict devaluation by Western governments. As Canada continues to devalue the loonie, our share of the Canadian debt – which would presumably follow us into independence – will be wiped out by inflation.

Here in the West, people are dumping dollars and turning to gold. Remember that Western Standard poll? Having a gold backed Western dollar on the table is enough to tip the scales towards independence.

Even for those not convinced that independence is the right course, Westerners should be demanding sound money as part of a fair deal with Ottawa. What’s the point of keeping those equalization dollars if the money itself is worthless?

Darcy Gerow is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

LETTER: Stop repatriating ISIS fighters to Canada

A reader says that Canada must shut the door on returning ISIS fighters.

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RE: Calgary man charged with terror crimes after allegedly training with ISIS in Syria

The arrest of a Calgary man by the RCMP on terror-related charges linked to his time with the Islamic State should be a stern reminder to Canadians that the old foe of Islamic extremism hides beneath current tensions. The RCMP say there are 190 Canadians linked to Islamic terror groups. Sixty have returned to Canada. The most notorious organization, Islamic State, butchered its way across nations and conquered sizable territory and resources.

We should never forget that these groups intend us harm. ISIS, more than any other, seduced many individuals into committing crimes for them – many of these persons were never officially linked to Islamic State. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is right to counsel Ottawa to never allow the repatriation of ISIS fighters back into this country. Last month, Human Rights Watch accused Canada of abandoning some of these people inside prison camps variously controlled by the Kurds and the Turks.

The problem of terrorist repatriation is a global one. The Kurds and the Turks, by turns, have demanded their return and an end to their unwanted global responsibility. Britain’s appellate court has been lambasted by critics for allowing its former citizen, dubbed the Jihadi Bride, an ISIS member, to return home. Shamima Begum left Britain for Syria and stayed with the terror group for three years. Now sitting inside a refugee camp, she apparently begged to be repatriated. Britain’s Conservative MPs argue her return sets a dangerous precedent. They are correct in saying so.

Global, indeed Middle Eastern, security has always depended on a powerful alliance between the U.S, Israel, and a few Arab nations. States like Egypt and Jordan share military and economic partnerships with Israel. The American withdrawal from parts of the Middle East like Syria was a mistake. They enabled the Taliban to rebound and Hezbollah to resume attacking Israel. The China-Iran alliance could enable the tracking of Western forces. 

Christopher Mansour
Barrie, ON

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Opinion

LETTER: There won’t be any accountability for WE in this Canada

A reader says that Canadians shouldn’t hold their breath that any accountability will come in the wake of the growing WE Scandal.

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The Kielburger brothers are like the prime minister; they think most people would believe the WE charity along with the founders wouldn’t benefit from administering a near $1 billion dollar program. The Conservative’s have called for a RCMP investigation of WE and Trudeau’s involvement. I can’t see that happening.

Brenda Lucki, the RCMP Commissioner in the SNC-L affair, could have applied to the courts for release of cabinet documents, but she chose to hide behind the PM’s cabinets privilege. The Ethics Commissioner has no teeth to impose any real penalty on these ministers who again, abuse Canadian finances. This is a failed federation, lead by a corrupt PM and finance minister along with the PMO that has its head in the sand.

On another point.

WEXIT is sounding better, every day, for Albertans, but I don’t think Premier Kenney had any intention of taking the next step to give Albertans a say. Premier Kenney changed his tune after he was elected to the Premiership. I am not impressed with him as he was all fire and brimstone prior to the election, but now I feel he is just another politician who pulled a bait and switch on his real intensions. To bad I didn’t hear him tell Albertans that he was a committed Federalist prior to saying he was fighting for Alberta. I would have changed my vote for sure. 

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB 

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