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Kenney urges calm from Alberta labour unions

Premier Jason Kenney has told Alberta union leaders to tone down their rhetoric after a United Conservative Party convention saw journalists assaulted.

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Premier Jason Kenney has told Alberta union leaders to tone down their rhetoric after a United Conservative Party convention saw journalists assaulted.

There have also been union rumblings of a general strike across Alberta after it was revealed the government has plans to lay off 6,400 workers.

About 600 protesters gathered Saturday outside the convention at the Westin Calgary Airport. At one point two members of Rebel media were verbally and physically assaulted. Police are investigating.

“I would ask Ms. Notley and the government union leaders to be careful about their language. Inciting people to violence undermines their own cause. It doesn’t respect the kid of civility that Albertans respect,” Kenney told reporters at a press conference as the three-day convention wrapped up.

A protester shoves Rebel reporter Sheila Gunn-Reid outside a UCP conference on Saturday Nov. 30.

“In a period of fiscal restraint, any government is going to face protests and opposition from government unions. That is absolutely their democratic right.

The protester who assaulted Rebel staffer Sheila Gunn-Reid outside the UCP convention on Nov. 30, 2019

“But it should never cross the line into abuse, aggression – particularly against women which I understand happened yesterday. Some union or NDP activist physically assaulted a woman who is from a media outlet… that is totally unacceptable and I hope that we hear from the organizers of that protest that they will completely disavow that…(and make) an effort to moderate their rhetoric, not to whip people up into a frenzy.

“Lets try and seek a path of cooperation and collaboration – nor confrontation.”

Kenney said the NDP is trying to make government cuts seem like the “arrival of the Apocalypse.

“This is ridiculous. By modern Canadian fiscal standards this is one of the most modest periods of fiscal restraint. I just wish everybody would be a little more objective in their language,” he said.

Kenney blasted some union leaders for “being out of touch” seeking whopping eight per cent wage increases.

He said many government workers receive higher pay and better benefits than their counterparts in the private sector.

“I would just plead with them to look at the general economic and fiscal situation in of this province. I do not think something like a general strike demanding eight percent increase in wages while we are in the fifth year of economic decline will be well received by Albertans.”

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees boss Guy Smith will hold a press conference in Edmonton Monday to address the government’s plan

Meanwhile, Kenney urged federal Tories to keep supporting current leader Andrew Scheer, who spoke to the convention Friday night.

Since the October election, calls have grown for Scheer to step down before a scheduled party leadership vote in April.

Kenney pointed out 70 per cent of Albertans voted for Scheer and he picked up seats from the last election.

“There’s no point into getting into a partisan civil war,” said Kenney

“There’s no secret there will be a review vote in spring and I’m sure there will be a lot of noise between now and then. Stability makes a lot more sense than internal conflict.”

dnaylor@wersternstandardonline.com

Twitter: @Nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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UCP has no plans to debate their own anti-independence motion: source

Sources tell the Western Standard that the UCP motion meant to skirt an NDP anti-independence motion will die on the order paper.

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A UCP motion intended to shut down debate on rejecting Alberta independence is likely to die on the order paper without any debate or vote, sources tell the Western Standard.

On Monday, NDP MLA Heather Sweet introduced a motion  asking for the Legislature to reject independence and support a united Canada.

But the UCP refused to give it the unanimous consent needed to allow debate. Instead, the UCP gave a notice of their own motion, which makes no explicit mention of the independence question.

The resolution would “affirm its [Alberta’s] loyalty to a united Canadian federation, and urge the Government to obtain a fair deal for Alberta within the Canadian federation.”

But now, sources inside the UCP tell the Western Standard that the government has no plans to allow their own motion to come forward for debate, instead letting it die on the order paper.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon did not respond to requests for comment, however after this story was originally published, a spokesperson told the Western Standard, “Oral notice for the motion was provided yesterday, and the motion is now on the Order Paper. This is standard procedure.”

Nixon’s spokesperson did not say if and when the motion would be debated.

The NDP motion appears to have been an attempt to try and divide the UCP caucus between its federalist leadership and sovereigntist-leaning elements in the backbenches; most notably, MLA Drew Barnes who said that a referendum on independence should be on the table in negotiations with the rest if Canada fail to secure Alberta a fairer deal within confederation

“Repeatedly, UCP Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes has, without challenge or objection  from Jason Kenney or any member of the UCP Cabinet and Caucus, supported the idea of Alberta separating from Canada,” the NDP said in a release on Canada Day.

Kenney slammed the independence movement after Barnes’ first comments were made public.

Heather Sweet, NDP House Leader, said, “This motion will force Jason Kenney and the UCP to finally take a stand. Fanning the flames of separatism is this Premier’s way of distracting Albertans from his failed $4.7-billion corporate handout, which hasn’t created jobs or drawn in new investment.”

In an earlier interview with the Western Standard, Barnes dismissed the motion at NDP politicking.

“I am very, very disappointed the NDP with the motion would try and diminish the role of Alberta within Confederation,” Barnes said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Yet another U.S. court blow for Keystone XL pipeline

The court kept in place a lower court edict that blocked a key permit for the project.

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The Keystone XL pipeline project has been handed another legal hurdle in the U.S., this time by that country’s Supreme Court.

In a Monday ruling, the court kept in place a lower court edict that blocked a key permit for the project.

It’s yet another legal blow for Calgary-based TC Energy which has been trying to get the pipeline built for years.

Another blow could come in November with the U.S. election. Democrat candidate Joe Biden has vowed to cancel the pipeline’s permit that was brought in by President Donald Trump after it was cancelled by Barack Obama.

Last week, Premier Jason Kenney held a press conference to celebrate work getting underway in Alberta on the project. The Kenney government has invested $1.5 billion in the pipeline and has given TC access to $6 billion more in loan guarantees.

Work on the Alberta section will continue will the U.S. legal morass continues.

It’s been a bad few days for pipeline in the U.S. with the cancellation of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipeline in the Southeast and on Monday a ruling that shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota.

In the Keystone case, an April ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana had threatened to delay not just Keystone but more than 70 pipeline projects across the U.S., and add as much as $2 billion in costs, according to industry representatives, the AP reported.

TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha told the AP the company is not giving up on Keystone, but it will have to delay large portions of the 1,900-kilometre pipeline. 

Keystone was proposed in 2008 and would carry up to 830,000 barrels of Alberta crude daily to Nebraska, where it would be transferred to another TC Energy pipeline for shipment to refineries and export terminals on the Gulf of Mexico.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Former Alberta NDP Minister: People shouldn’t jump to conclusions about Communism

“I know some people will see the word Communist and jump to all kinds of conclusions but I’d say give it a read before you do that, it may surprise you,” Shaye Anderson said.

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Just give Communism a try, you might like it.

That’s the message from former Alberta NDP cabinet minister Shaye Anderson, who served as municipal affairs minister under Rachel Notley’s government.

“This is a good read. I know some people will see the word Communist and jump to all kinds of conclusions but I’d say give it a read before you do that, it may surprise you,” Anderson tweeted Monday in response to an article written by Elizabeth Rowley, the leader of the Communist Party of Canada.

Anderson tweet

The article, in a Communist website called The People’s Choice, covered a variety of tops including the COVID-19 pandemic and the rioting over police racism.

“The pandemic has underlined all the ills of capitalism. These include privatization and deregulation, tax cuts for the rich and the corporations, trade deals that destroy manufacturing and secondary industry, low wages and precarious work, growing poverty and insecurity,” Rowley wrote.

Elizabeth Rowley
Courtesy YouTube

“Eighty percent of COVID-related deaths in Canada have occurred among residents and workers in long-term care (LTC) homes. Most of these are private, for profit operations that are under-staffed, under-funded, and largely unregulated. LTC must be brought under public healthcare and treated as a public service with federal standards, needs-based staffing and funding.

“It is now clear to everyone that ‘we’re not all in this together.’ The wealthy have managed quite nicely. But the poor and unemployed, and those living and working in cramped or unaffordable housing without childcare, are in desperate straits and much more likely to become infected by the virus.

“While Cuba and China have been providing supplies, equipment and teams of healthcare workers to countries around the world, private producers of essential supplies and equipment in the capitalist countries have raised their prices, selling to the highest bidders.”

In the wake of race riots in the U.S., Rowley called for the disarming of police forces.

“The Central Committee received Party Executive’s previously issued statement supporting the protests and demanding an end to police killings and the systemic racism and violence against Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples. The statement noted that this oppression is a built-in feature of capitalism, which helps generate vast super-profits for the biggest exploiters, the large national and transnational corporations,” she wrote.

“The CC reiterated the Party’s long-standing demands for radical reform of policing. These include charging, prosecuting and sentencing police for crimes such as murder, rape and assault; demilitarizing police forces and disarming most police units, and putting an end to racial profiling and carding; enacting strong civilian control over police; slashing police and military budgets and redirecting those funds to civilian and social spending; and abolishing CSIS, the CSE and RCMP, as well as “anti-terrorist” legislation that threatens civil and democratic rights.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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