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Preston Manning: “Secession needs to be a part of the strategy, but not the whole strategy.”

“A referendum on secession needs to be part of the strategy, but not the whole strategy,” Manning told the crowd during the mornings first panel discussion.




RED DEER, AB: The Manning Centre’s annual Alberta conference saw several prominent conservatives discussing the future of the West and wrestling with the question of independence.

The organization’s namesake, Preston Manning, took to the stage in Red Deer alongside former PC Finance Minister Ted Morton, former Wildrose Leader and PC MLA Danielle Smith, writer Diane Francis, and Conservative operative Ken Whyte.

Manning himself surprised some in the room by saying that independence needs to be on the table.

“A referendum on secession needs to be part of the strategy, but not the whole strategy,” Manning told the crowd during the mornings first panel discussion.

Manning made the case that Alberta and Saskatchewan need to define “what is a fair deal for the West” within confederation and put it forward to Ottawa, but added that if it fails an independence referendum needs to be a part of the plan.

Former Alberta finance minister and PC leadership contender Ted Morton was less optimistic that any fair deal will be won for the West within confederation.

“Despite the efforts of Preston Manning, the Reform Party, and Stephen Harper, we’ve lost ground.”

The former finance minister and PC leadership contender made the case that while he backs the federal and provincial Tories, continuing with status quo federalism is a losing game.

“If he [Kenney] goes too fast, he losses moderates. But if he goes too slow, he risks Wexit and other groups rising up,” continued Morton.

Conservative political operative Ken Whyte argued that Westerners should drop any notion of independence or even fire-walling off provincial jurisdictions, and instead focus on returning the federal Tories to power.

“A referendum on opting out is dumb.”

The room of mostly conservative activists reserved most of its applause for calls for an independence vote.

Ontario writer Diane Francis argued that her part of the country simply won’t give the West a fair shake, and that Alberta and Saskatchewan should make hard demands fast, backed by an independence vote.


Albertans show Canada how to deal with illegal blockades

Blockades have been going on across the country for weeks now but Alberta has shown the rest of country how to respond to economic hurdles – take them down.




The Edmonton-area blockades of CN Rail line lasted less than 8 hours before residents arrived on scene to help them pack up.

Rail blockades have been going on across the country for weeks now but Alberta has shown the rest of country how to respond to economic hurdles – take them down.

There were no threats, no fights, and no resistance.

Area residents who heard about the blockade set up west of Edmonton arrived with manpower and trucks to remove debris from the CN Rail line even before the CN Rail police came on scene with a court injunction.

It was peaceful, but above all else, it was purposeful.

“I’m just here to clean up some garbage, man – it would be really nice if you would help,” one counter-protester said to a protester.

Responding to an inaudible comment the counter protester laughed, clapped his hands and said “ah listen to you – you know the words to push my buttons eh? Tryin’ to get a reaction – it’s not going to work today bud,” he said as he turned and went about his work.

Another interview with a local business owner was equally insightful.

“This province, I hope, is the one province that’s going to stand up and say ‘no way”,” she said.

“I have a business in Spruce Grove and it’s made up of mostly industrial clients that are going to feel the impact – if not today, right now- then certainly down the road.”

Deirdre is the Senior News Reporter for Western Standard @Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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Ottawa demands Alberta adopt NDP Carbon Cap to get Teck approval

The emissions cap was recommended by the NDP government’s controversial Oil Sands Advisory Group (OSAG) in 2017.




Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson made a formal request Wednesday that Alberta enforce the NDP’s 100-megatonne greenhouse gas emissions cap on Alberta’s oil industry.

The emissions cap was recommended by the NDP government’s controversial Oil Sands Advisory Group (OSAG) in 2017.

OSAG’s membership included anti-oilsands radical Tzeporah Berman, who counted her opposition even after the recommendations were adopted by the former government.

At the time, the oilsands industry was hovering around 70 million megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

The Wednesday letter was the latest exchange between the province and Ottawa.

“For the feds to come in now and all of a sudden say the rules change, I will remind you that Minister Wilkinson provided equivalency for our large emitter program, which the Teck Frontier mine falls under,” Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon said in a Feb. 4 video.

“So the idea now that you change your mind, or change the rules, or ask for more is something that Albertans fundamentally reject.”

Nixon responded formally to Wilkinson with a letter on Feb. 12, accusing Wilkinson of “changing the goalposts”.

“During our discussions, at no time did you communicate to me that the 100 megaton(ne) cap on sector greenhouse gas emissions needed to be in regulation,” Nixon wrote.

“In fact, when I directly asked you whether you thought the cap needed to be formally brought into regulation, you told me it was fine as it was. Similar assurances were provided at the official’s level.”

Wilkinson replied on Wednesday saying the federal government had expected the cap to be brought in through the province’s legislative process.

“We continue to encourage Alberta to follow through and fully implement its legislation to limit emissions to 100 million tonnes (of greenhouse gas emissions) from the oilsands,” wrote Wilkinson.

The federal Minister’s letter also alludes to the fact the project was considered to be in the public interest by a joint review panel assigned to assess the project. That same review panel also determined that the project would likely have “significant adverse environmental effects”.

“It is our government’s strong view that all parts of Canada must work together to ensure our country continues to attract capital, create jobs, protect nature and cut pollution as the world transitions to lower carbon energy resources,” Wilkinson wrote.

“Alberta is the largest emitting jurisdiction in Canada, in both real and per capita terms.”

Wilkinson added that the two levels of government needed to “work together” in order to meet Canada’s goals under the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.

The federal decision on the Teck Frontier mine project is due by the end of February.

Deirdre is the Senior Reporter with Western Standard @Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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BREAKING: New train derailment at Lac-Mégantic may have been intentional, says source

A CN freight train has derailed near the town of Lac-Mégantic, and a source tells CTV that they believe it to have been intentional.




Reminiscent of the disastrous derailment six years ago, a CN freight train has derailed near the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic around 9:00 a.m. EST. Wednesday.

While the derailment was relatively minor and no one was killed, a source told CTV that they believe the derailment was intentional, with objects being placed directly on the tracks.

CN would not comment on the possibility that the derailment was intentional, and said that the matter is “still under investigation.”

This marks the second CN derailment on the same day, with a train in Ontario carrying crude oil coming off the tracks.

Both derailments come as a second week of illegal blockades by climate activists – acting in the name of the Wet’suwet’en people – have sought to bring Canada’s rail network to a halt. The Wet’suwet’en’s elected band council supports the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project while a minority of hereditary chiefs oppose it.

As yet, no link has been established between the blockades and either derailment.

The illegal blockades are in their second week, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls for “dialogue”. Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called for the law to be enforced, but backed down from calling a motion of no-confidence in the Trudeau government.

With the crisis spreading, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called a premier’s conference to discuss a solution after he said that the federal government “fails to show leadership.”

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