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WATCH: Iran, MEGXIT, and the Tory Leadership Race

Fildebrandt, Holmes and Naylor talk Iran, MEXIT and the Tory leadership race.

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ANDRUS: We need a Referendum on Equalization, and we need it now.

The latest news about the Teck Frontier Project makes an Equalization referendum more urgent. We simply cannot wait until late 2021.

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The decision by Teck to withdraw their application for their Frontier Project is devastating, and will likely have implications that are more far reaching than we can imagine now.

The mounting tension between the federal and Alberta governments has reached a fever pitch, and we are now entering of a full-scale national unity crisis.

While Alberta’s economic downturn has lasted years, the pressure has been building dramatically since last October.

First, Husky Energy laid off hundreds of workers the morning after the federal election, shortly followed by Encana announcing that it was packing up and moved to Denver.

Then, just as TransMountain construction finally got under way, it was announced that the pipeline is now way over budget – costing taxpayers billion of dollars and reigniting fears it won’t ever get built.

In the middle of all this, the Teck Frontier Project returned to the news.

Teck is a project that spent almost 10 years getting the approval of everyone you could imagine – First Nations, government regulators, independent panels, etc – everyone except the federal cabinet.

In a five-page letter to Justin Trudeau in early February, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney told the federal government to approve the Teck Frontier oilsands mine to avoid “roiling Western alienation rising to a boiling point.”

In an instant, disaffected Albertans – already fraught with frustration – looked to the Teck mine for salvation.

Teck’s decision to withdrawal its application represents nothing short of a total defeat for Alberta, and sends a clear message to investors: Alberta is closed for business.

Inaction is not an option.

Federal-provincial relations must be amended immediately, or Alberta’s economy could collapse.

The time has come to force open the Constitution, by whatever means necessary.

Alberta needs a legitimate platform on which to plead its case to the rest of the country.

As the Buffalo Declaration outlined last week, “constitutional change must happen within Confederation or a referendum on Alberta’s independence is an inevitability.”

In particular, three key constitutional changes were outlined – the exact same three constitutional proposals that we at Project Confederation began advocating for with the release of our “New Alberta Agenda” in October.

First, balanced representation in Parliament is the key to achieving equality in the federation. This includes our medieval Senate.

Second, reaffirming and clarifying the free-trade provisions of the Constitution that guarantee free movement of goods, services, and infrastructure such as railroads and pipelines, is an absolute necessity when it comes to national unity.

Third, and perhaps most urgent, is the question of Equalization.

Why should Alberta, a province being crushed by the thumb of a possibly deliberately indecisive government in Ottawa, be contributing over $20-billion a year to the rest of the country when all we get in return are rail blockades, layoffs, and project cancellations?

Premier Kenney campaigned on holding a referendum to abolish Equalization, and has recently indicated that could take place in conjunction with Alberta’s municipal elections in October 2021.

But this latest news about the Teck Frontier Project makes an Equalization referendum more urgent. We simply cannot wait that long. 

Manifestos aren’t going to be enough to save us.

We need a referendum on equalization, and we need it now.

Josh Andrus is a columnist with the Western Standard and the Executive Director of Project Confederation.

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MORGAN: If the Government Won’t Protect Pipeline Construction, Citizens Will

Illegal blockages on the Trans Mountain line will be cleared whether by the state, or through citizen action. The choice is up to the authorities. Doing nothing is not an option.

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The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is the last major energy project standing in Western Canada.

The Northern Gateway, Energy East, and Mackenzie gas pipelines all succumbed to an unreasonable regulatory environment where the goalposts are constantly moved by an ideologically driven federal government.

Among L.N.G. projects, Pacific Northwest, Aurora, Prince Rupert and WCC have all been canceled. Only the half-built Kitimat L.N.G. remains standing, and it is under serious threat as Chevron has divested their investment in it, and the possibility of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline being completed in order to feed the project is in serious question due to years of illegal blockades hindering construction.

The Frontier oilsands mine project has now been shelved as Teck Resources has withdrawn its application after nearly a decade of fruitless efforts to get government approvals.

In total, we have seen nearly $150 billion in energy projects shelved in Canada in the last decade. Only the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion remains, and only because the federal government stepped in and bought the project while Kinder Morgan retreated from Canada’s unreasonable regulatory environment.

Both the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project and the Frontier oilsands mine followed all the rules. They danced to the government’s tune. Years passed by while billions were spent. Studies were done, licenses were gained, consultations were held and deals were made with every First Nation which could possibly be impacted by the project. Their efforts were for naught. The mythical “social license” never was gained and mob rule calls the shots in Canada. It is little wonder that Teck bailed out and it will only be a matter of time before the Coastal Gaslink project is permanently halted if we don’t see some definitive government action soon.

Since it is clear that playing by the rules is futile, and mob rule is the only way to get things done in Canada, it is time that we stopped playing by the rules.

Jason Kenney said it best when he described the national eruption of civil disobedience over the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline as a “dress rehearsal” for what will come once the Trans Mountain pipeline begins real construction in B.C.

Activists have been threatening to “warrior up” in order to stop T.M.X. and it is clear that they are not bluffing. The weather will be nicer and students will be off for the summer holidays soon. What better job for a student than to sit in an encampment for the summer in order to block pipeline construction, while being paid a few bucks through the Tides Foundation? Ideologues, left-anarchists and eco-extremists from all over North America will be converging on British Columbia in order to shut down this last major energy project.

Playing by the rules means waiting for the government to negotiate, fail and then attempt to enforce the law on people illegally hindering the pipeline project. That will mean that nothing will get done and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will lose yet another construction season. Governments have proven themselves too callow to deal with illegal blockades where the protesters number in the dozens. There is no way they will find the strength of will to take on hundreds or possibly thousands of illegal blockaders.

If the only way to get things done is through mob rule, then it is incumbent on energy proponents to build a bigger mob. If the state will not enforce the law when illegal actions hinder T.M.X. construction, then citizens must step up and enforce the law. The silent majority can no longer afford to let the state capitulate to the radical minority.

It is clear that the state will only act against criminal protesters when they are absolutely forced to. When it came to rail blockades which lasted weeks, it was only when it became clear that Quebec was going to run out of propane before authorities finally began to act. Blockades on the T.M.X. will not hinder Quebec, so it will take something more in order to prompt an unwilling government to enforce the law. I can’t think of a better way to encourage state action on this than for there to be a large and organized contingent of people heading out to B.C. in order to ensure that the pipeline construction remains unhindered by illegal activists.

There are tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed Westerners who will not be taking kindly to seeing the last hope for their industry being killed due to government inaction in light of illegal construction blockages. It won’t take too much to encourage many of them to take a weekend road trip this summer in order to express their feelings towards the activists who are blocking their ability to make a living.

Groups are already forming and coalescing in preparation for summer actions. We watched as a small group of people in Edmonton managed to take down an illegal rail blockade within hours, while the rest of Canada remained somehow paralyzed in fear of these small groups of activists. Every new blockade is being met with growing numbers of counterprotesters and it is prompting the state to clear the blockades. People are no longer content to wait for the government to solve this issue any longer.

Whenever we play by the rules, we lose; so we have nothing to lose when we toss out the rulebook.

The Trans Mountain pipeline is where the line will be drawn in the sand. Westerners are not going to stand by and let a complacent state let a minority of activists kill this final, critical project. To let this project die would be to admit that we have given up on our energy industry and are content to let foreign powers supply Canada’s energy needs. That is simply unacceptable and the West won’t let this happen without a fight.

Illegal blockages on the Trans Mountain line will be cleared whether by the state, or through citizen action. The choice is up to the authorities. Doing nothing is not an option.

I see a number of trips to BC in my future.

Cory Morgan is a Columnist for the Western Standard

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HARDING: Regina gets a hard lesson in Cancel Culture

Cancel culture has made a dog’s breakfast out of the Moore affair. They discredited the City of Regina’s event, made a mockery of themselves, and served to give an even larger platform to the target of their hate, hosted by Rebel News, which they likely hate even more.

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Leftist censorship campaigns have been racking up the wins, but mark one down for the good guys. Their latest censorship attack wildly backfired in the birthplace of Canadian socialism: Regina, Saskatchewan. 

Patrick Moore was invited, then disinvited to a City of Regina conference. The end result is that he will overshadow that event by speaking just before it happens, and to far more people than he would have otherwise. And the local far-left newspaper hates it.

The City of Regina wants its facilities and operations to be 100 per cent renewable by 2050. To educate and inspire the public towards that goal, the city scheduled a Reimagine Regina Conference for May 20-21 of this year. Patrick Moore was invited to speak.

The last time I had heard Moore’s name mentioned in Regina was over ten years ago when a visiting David Suzuki called him, “the Judas of the environmental movement.” Moore joined Greenpeace in 1971, a year after it was founded, and became its the president in 1977. But he left Greenpeace because he felt it “took a sharp turn to the political left” and “evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas.”

Following the announcement that Moore himself was coming to Regina, those left-leaning, politically-motivated environmentalists lit their hair on fire. They took to social media and sent angry messages to city hall, protesting Moore’s prominent place in the schedule.

The complainers weren’t enough to change minds at city hall, at least not at first. At a January 31st press conference, Regina Councillor Mike O’Donnell told the media, “One of the things we’re aware of is he would probably create some interest. And he has. You’re here today.”

Of course, cancel culture doesn’t give up easily. It came to light that Moore’s talk would be titled “Fake, Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom.” Of course, that perspective undermines the very premise upon which the city’s direction was based. If man-made, carbon-driven global warming was not an imminent, apocalyptic threat, then Regina did not need to be “reimagined.” The same old fossil fuels could power it for the foreseeable future.

Moore had his supporters too, and the furor overshadowed the conference. As a result, Mayor Michael Fougere urged organizers to reconsider Moore’s engagement. On February 7, Councillor O’Donnell, who co-chairs the committee responsible for the event, held another press conference to say Moore was out.

“The conference topic we suggested to [Moore] was a sustainable energy future. He had done some work previously and presented previously on the transition away from traditional fossil fuels to an alternate. That’s what we wanted to pick up on. He has now announced in the last while that he wants to speak about a different topic. We’re not interested in that.”

For his part, Moore tweeted a response that was later slamming the City of Regina and the activists behind his cancelation.

Moore’s snub was not a failure, but a back door to greater success. Like a rubber ball thrown hard to the ground only to bounce up with equal force, the series of events only brought more attention to his message and ruined the city’s event. 

Besides all of this, the city still has to pay Moore $10,000 for speaking fees and $1,400 for expenses he won’t occur. (The city is combing through clauses in the contract trying to get those fees reduced.)

Meanwhile, the catastrophists remained sour at their civic overlords, and started to bash the conference itself. Prairie Dog, Regina’s far-left paper, dedicated an entire cover story to what it called “PatrickMooreGate.” Its subtitle asked, “Why on earth did Regina’s sustainability conference hire a climate-science denier?”

The paper said the controversy “was a lightning rod that jolted people who’d supported the Renewable City motion into wondering why the city is even hosting a regional conference in the first place.” They wanted action, not a conference.

The paper then asked why oil executives were invited to the conference, and if the pricey $300 attendance fee was “a deliberate tactic to keep out the rabble-rousing public” and maintain the status quo. Sustainability groupies decided to ignore the conference and host their own events instead.

To top this all off, Moore is coming to Regina anywayRebel Media booked him at the Conexus Arts Centre for the evening of May 19 – right before the two-day city conference begins. Whereas Moore would have been just one of three keynote speakers amongst a total 45 presenters, he will instead speak to thousands by himself. Tickets will range from a very accessible $25 to as much as $500 to include VIP events before and after the main address.

Cancel culture has made a dog’s breakfast out of the Moore affair. They discredited the City of Regina’s event, made a mockery of themselves, and served to give an even larger platform to the target of their hate, hosted by Rebel Media, which they likely hate even more. 

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Affairs Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and is the former Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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