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UPDATED: Alberta MPs issue declaration on province’s future

Four Alberta MPs are speaking out – with what they are calling their Buffalo Declaration – aimed at fixing the province’s role in Confederation.

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Four Alberta MPs are speaking out – with what they are calling their Buffalo Declaration – aimed at fixing the province’s role in Confederation.

Saying “Canada is in crisis”, Michelle Rempel Garner, of Calgary Nose Hill, Blake Richards, of Banff-Airdrie, Glen Motz , of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner, and Arnold Vierson, of Peace River released their manifesto to the Western Standard on Thursday afternoon.

Buffalo Declaration

The group said there are four main reasons why Alberta is not working within Confederation.

They say Alberta has not been recognized as being culturally distinct, it has never been an equal partner, is physically and practically separated from power structures and is “treated as a colony”.

Michelle Rempel Garner
MP for Calgary Nose Hill

“Our federation has reached a crossroads at which Canada must decide to move forward in equality and respect, or people in our region will look at independence from Confederation as the solution,” the four write.

“We believe a Canada united in equality is in the best interests of its inhabitants. However, that is not the current state of Canadian federation.  Immediate action must be taken to permanently correct inherent inequities that privilege some at the expense of others.”

Blake Richards
MP for Banff-Airdrie

“The economic and social challenges faced by Canada today are not the cause of the strains on our union, but rather are the symptom of the colonial power structures from which Alberta and Saskatchewan were born.

“Defeating the incumbent Liberal government, or building a pipeline, will not permanently address the systemic inequities Albertans face. For confederation to be sustainable, Canada must commit to permanent nation-building structural change within its institutions of power.”

Glen Motz
MP for Medicine Hat-Cypress

The quartet has listed numerous points in order for the situation to be resolved.

• Recognize Alberta is not an equal partner in Confederation.

• Balanced representation in Parliament, including an elected Senate.

• Recognize Alberta – or Buffalo – as a culturally distinct region within Confederation.

• Acknowledge, in the House of Commons, the devastation the National Energy Program caused to the people of Alberta.

• Fix the Equalization program.

• Retrench and clarify free-trade provisions in Canada in the Constitution.

• Constitutionally entrench resource projects as the sole domain of the provinces. 

• In the event Alberta begins to collect its own taxes, enable the province to also collect federal taxes and remit the federal share to Ottawa.  

• Enact structural change within Canada’s federal government to ensure all regions have a voice within its political and justice system.

• Mandate regional balance in all federal infrastructure funding programs.

• Mandate equitable regional distribution of funding to arts and culture as part of federal spending programs. Ensure Western art is prominently displayed in national museums.

• Recognize rural areas of Western Canada are isolated from the power structures of urban Eastern Canada and face unique challenges.

The Declaration continues: “The tone has changed because gains made during previous governments were erased in the first months of the current Trudeau Liberal government, and worse, more inequities have been put in place.

“Therefore, we acknowledge without immediate and permanent structural change, this cycle of paternalism towards Alberta is doomed to continue. This is especially true as Eastern Canada continues to urbanize, and the divide between our way of life and the power elites of the Laurentian consensus becomes more acute.”

Arnold Viersen
MP for Peace River

“The path forward starts today. One way or another, Albertans will have equality.”

In an exclusive interview with the Western Standard, Rempel-Garner said she came to the realization after the last election something needed to be done.

“After the last election it was just a case of history repeating itself. Nothing was going to change and that’s a statement of fact,” she said.

She praised the three other Alberta MPs for signing onto the declaration.

“A lot of people in our caucus have expressed their concerns. I think others will sign on,” she said.

Asked how optimistic she was about getting the declaration accomplished, Rempel Garner said: “It has to be done.”

And any further talk about Alberta independence would depend on “how the rest of Canada reacts.

“I worry about independence. Unless a clear effort is made in all of Canada to address these inequities, I think, in a very short period of time, that’s a question my constituents will be asking themselves.”

And she said it was critical that candidates in the federal Tory leadership race discuss the issue.

Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall praised Rempel Garner in a tweet.

The Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta also lauded Rempel-Garner.

The FCP fully supports this action and is encouraged to hear that mainstream politicians in Alberta are beginning to champion the ‘Equality or Independence’ stance. We know all to well that it takes guts to break from a party line and defy establishment politics. We support this 100 per cent,” said FCP president Bill Jones.

The entire Buffalo Declaration can be read here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor on the Western Standarddnaylor@westernstandardonline.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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Calgary cops seeking suspects in three hate crime attacks

“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan,

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Calgary cops are hunting for two men who attacked a same sex couple as they strolled down a northwest street.

It was one of three attacks over the weekend against members of Calgary’s LGBTQ2S+ community.

The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m., on Monday, as a same-sex couple was walking near the intersection of 9 St. and Memorial Dr. N.W., when two men and two women on electronic scooters approached them, police said.

“An altercation occurred and it is believed the two men on scooters assaulted the couple because of their sexual orientation. A belt, rocks and a recycling bin were used as weapons and then the group fled,” said police in a press released.

Suspects wanted in connection with a same sex attack
Courtesy Calgary Police Service

“Our officers arrived shortly after and searched the area but could not locate the group. The victims received medical care for non-life-threatening injuries.”

The two suspects are both described as being about 30 years old, average height and build, with trim black beards and short black hair. The one was wearing black framed glasses, white polo shirt, dark pants, brown loafers, and white socks. The other was wearing a grey polo shirt with white collar and sleeves, grey pants, and white runners.

The first incident happened when man was assaulted near the intersection of 17 Ave. and 12 St. in the middle of the day on Friday. It is alleged that a group of men attacked the victim while calling him homophobic slurs and then fled.

The second incident occurred around 1 p.m. on Saturday on the Rainbow Crosswalk at the intersection of Centre St. and Stephen Avenue Mall. A Drag King recording a video was spat on by an unknown man walking past. The incident is now being investigated and video and CCTV footage is being collected by us to help identify the man responsible, said police.

“It is shocking to see anyone targeted for a crime because of a personal characteristic, but it is extremely disturbing to see the same community targeted three times in one weekend,” said Sgt. Arlene Padnivelan, with the Calgary Police Service Diversity Resource Team.

“It is unacceptable that this is happening and we will absolutely investigate anytime a crime is motivated by hate or bias.”

Police encourage anyone who has been targeted for ill treatment or a crime because of their sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or some other similar trait to report it.

“We fully recognize that sometimes people do not want to involve the police or don’t feel comfortable coming to us for help,” said Padnivelan.

“We respect the wishes of those who are most affected by the incident and never force a victim to participate in a police investigation. However, if there is a way we can help make a person feel safe enough to come forward, we want to try do that.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Mountain guide trashes Alberta litterbugs

“There was more trash left on the ground after every weekend than ever before,” said guide Michael Vincent

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A Lake Louise mountain guide is trashing Albertans for the amount of garbage they are leaving behind in the mountain parks.

Michael Vincent, a 25-year veteran guide, said in a Facebook post he has noticed the problem has been getting worse, with the tipping point coming the last weekend with the Heritage Day holiday.

“As you all may know, long weekends in summer are traditionally VERY busy at the most famous lake in Canada,” he tweeted.

“This years is no exception…even with COVID there are thousands of visitors per day. The difference this year is who they are: 99.9 per cent Canadians because no one else can get here. Of those, 90 per cent are Albertans. At first, I loved the fact Albertans were enjoying their own backyard more than ever before…what a place to be trapped.

“And then we started to notice a change…there was more trash left on the ground after every weekend than ever before.

“Today I was shocked…this is one day of litter from one of the most popular hikes in the area, Lake Agnes. The staff at the tea house gave me some gloves and a bag so I could pick it up on the way down. Thanks to my guests for helping me spot all the trash.”

After seeing the picture on Twitter, Alberta Parks Minister Jason Nixon lashed out at the litterbugs.

“This occurred in a nat’l park, but it’s a critical reminder to all Albertans to leave the land better than you found it — in our nat’l parks, provincial parks & public lands. Our backyard is beautiful. Let’s keep it that way,” Nixon tweet.

“We’ve stepped up enforcement and added garbages and portable toilets in parks & on public lands but folks need to make better choices. It would be a shame if a few careless ppl ruined it for the rest of us.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Canada’s cops worried Liberal gun ban will hamper training

“Officers who wanted to frequently practice their patrol carbine skills could purchase their own AR-15 and practice on their own time, beyond the once or twice a year mandated qualification,” Rob Welsman wrote.

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Canadian cops are worried the Liberal government’s new gun grab will hamper their training with their automatic rifles.

Writing for the police’s Blue Line website, Rob Welsman, a police officer and a firearms and defensive tactics instructor, said prior to the ban, most of the patrol rifles in use in Canada were classified as restricted firearms and those models could be purchased privately by anyone holding a restricted firearms licence.

He wrote with the passage of the new law, all private sales of these firearms have stopped. The most common firearm in Canada that appears on the list of banned rifles is the AR-15 (Armalite Rifle model 15) and its variants, which also happens to be the most common type of patrol rifle in Canada for general duty/patrol use, as well as for many specialty teams.

“During its time as a restricted firearm, officers who wanted to frequently practice their patrol carbine skills could purchase their own AR-15 and practice on their own time, beyond the once or twice a year mandated qualification their police service provides. These officers must now be aware that such privately owned firearms are prohibited and can no longer be trained with,” Welsman wrote.

“Because the ban goes beyond the AR-15, any Canadian police officer who owns firearms, AR-15 or not, should carefully review the list of banned firearms and the ban criteria so as to avoid being in criminal possession at the conclusion of the two-year amnesty.

“With the private ownership option gone, officers will be limited in their ability to seek out additional training from private companies who offer, or at one time offered, patrol carbine training.  With this new legal framework, it will be a difficult proposition for an officer to get approval from their department to take a department-owned carbine out of service to go to outside training that hasn’t been reviewed and evaluated by the department.

“In addition, firearms trainers, many of whom are private citizens but with former law enforcement or military backgrounds, will be unable to use for teaching the very firearms platforms that they instruct on.  In the past, privately-owned patrol carbines removed these road-blocks, and now officers will be much more limited in their training options.”

In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced they are banning 1,500 different makes and models of what he called “military-style” and “assault-style” guns in Canada.

The ban came into effect immediately and was ordered by the cabinet without any bill or debate in Parliament.

Previously legal gun owners will be allowed to export the weapon or send them back to the manufacturer.

Guns like the M16, M4, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles will be banned. It is estimated there are now 125,000 of these guns – purchased legally – which are now illegal. Licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed to sell, transport, import or use the guns.

The move comes after the worst mass killing in Canadian history April 18-19 where Gabriel Wortman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia. Thirteen had been shot to death while nine died in fires Wortman set. Critics say the Liberals are using the tragedy to push through their new gun ban.

Wortman used illegal weapons from both Canada and the U.S. including one the RCMP said “could be described as a military-style assault rifle.”

The federal government still has to work out the details of a buy-back program to compensate the owners of previous legal firearms.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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