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CPC MPs put space between themselves and the Buffalo Declaration

“The same individual went up in national caucus and again informed the group that would be coming forward,” Kusie told the Hill Times.

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Conservative MPs in the Alberta caucus are staying mum after Calgary-Midnapore MP Stephanie Kusie told the Hill Times that they “were given essentially no information initially as to what (the Buffalo Declaration) contained.”

The Buffalo Declaration, first published by the Western Standard on February 20, caused a flurry of commentary from pundits and politicians. Some, like Cypress – Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes and former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall voiced their support; others, like Mayor Naheed Nenshi – not so much.

Kusie paints a picture of a small, secretive group within the Alberta caucus that wouldn’t share details but gave enough information for Kusie to question the motives of the “primary signatory” of the document.

Alberta MP Michelle Rempel-Garner (Calgary-Nose Hill) was the first member of the Alberta caucus to publicize the document online though Kusie doesn’t mention her by name.

“The same individual went up in national caucus and again informed the group that would be coming forward,” Kusie told the Hill Times.

“I again voiced my concern to the caucus that this was not a document or a statement or a declaration – we didn’t even know it was called a declaration, we didn’t know what it was called at all – with the consensus of the Alberta caucus but rather a few individuals.”

Other Alberta signatories who have not offered comment are Blake Richards (Banff-Airdrie) Glen Motz (Cardston-Warner) and Arnold Viersen (Peace River-Westlock).

Kusie continues to back away from the declaration saying she thinks the document “does more to create division and to stoke division rather than looking for solutions.”

Newly-elected Calgary-Centre MP Greg McLean didn’t agree that there was a lack of consensus, telling the Hill Times instead that he found it historically consistent and helped provide context for “why we are where we are now and how history keeps repeating itself”.

Kusie and McLean both said they would have preferred to have more input into the writing of the document before being asked to sign it.

CPC leadership candidate Peter MacKay issued a campaign email on Tuesday with a common theme: unity.

“Conservatives only win when we are united,” it begins.

“When I founded this party with Stephen Harper, we united based on a shared vision. A conservative is a Conservative. We belong in one party, because we are family. We need to unite so we can win again.”

Deirdre is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard

dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com

@Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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Barnes blasts own government over proposed EMS dispatch changes

This is just the latest run-in Drew Barnes has had with Premier Jason Kenney and his government.

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Rebel UCP MLA Drew Barnes is voicing concern with another of his government’s moves – to centralize EMS dispatch across the province.

“The best way to get the safest service is to keep it local, not to centralize,” said Barnes, a former Wildrose health critic and current UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

When Barnes was in Opposition, he also blasted NDP moves to centralize the service.

The move would see all calls for EMS handled by Alberta Health Services (AHS) dispatchers in Edmonton, Calgary and Peace River.

“In terms of cost effectiveness, centralization never saves money,” said Barnes in an interview with the Western Standard.

Alberta Health has said the move should save about $6 million.

“Another of the problems is that if you’re as small rural service, sometimes your ambulances get pulled in by the big cities when it’s busy,” said Barnes.

“Rural Albertans will suffer. A lot of local knowledge in terms of addresses and areas will be lost.”

Barnes said he has seen nothing from the health minister or members of the cabinet that shows any benefits of the move.

Barnes is the second in the UCP caucus to be skeptical of centralization.

Tany Yao, the UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, told the Fort McMurray Today he had a “mixed opinion” on the topic.

“In particular, our region is unique in that it’s so isolated and for that reason alone I think we can manage it,” said Yao, who is also a former firefighter and paramedic with the Fort McMurray Fire Department. 

“It’s a difficult one, but it’s one that I prefer stay within our local community.”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and other Alberta mayors have also voiced concerns about the move.

This is just the latest run-in Barnes has had with Premier Jason Kenney and his government.

One came on the heels of a dissenting report from Barnes, who was a member of the premier’s Fair Deal Panel. That dissenting report included calling for an independence vote if Alberta was unable to secure a fair deal within confederation, prompting the NDP to demand that Barnes be thrown out of the UCP Caucus.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Seattle’s police chief resigns after BLM rioting, cuts to the force

Seattle has been the scene of weeks of BLM rioting following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

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In a shocking move, Seattle’s police chief has resigned after the city slashed her salary and defunded other parts of the department.

Seattle has been the scene of weeks of Black Lives Matter rioting following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Anarchists also set up their own autonomous zone for several weeks before it was taken back by police.

Chief Carmen Best, Seattle’s first black, female chief, even had her home surrounded by BLM protestors.

“This was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time,” Best wrote in an email to her 1,400 officers, hours after the Seattle City Council voted to cut SPD’s budget by $3 million, including 100 sworn officers, the SWAT team, Navigation team, and her own salary.

“I am confident the department will make it through these difficult times. You truly are the best police department in the country, and please trust me when I say, the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan who wrote to SPD staff members in an email late Monday night said: “While I understand the Chief’s reasons, I accepted her decision with a very heavy heart.”

In her 28-year career, Best rose through the ranks from a patrol officer to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and deputy chief.

Best said it was not her decision to have officers flee the East Precinct in rioting in June, when the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” took over several blocks surrounding the building for weeks.

After two people – including a 16-year-old boy – were shot and killed around the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone – police moved in on Canada Day and cleared up the area.

CHAZ was just 24 hours a day of protesting, music, dancing and communing without a cop in sight. They quickly run out of food, putting out a plea for “vegan meat alternatives” and other soy-based food donations.

At the heart of the CHAZ is a Seattle police precinct, abandoned by officers and now being used by gun-tooting warlords who have established themselves as the new keepers of law and order.

They had a list of demands, including the “abolition” of the Seattle Police Department and its attached court system, free college for all people in the state, as well as “the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons.”

The streets were apparently controlled by a hip hop artist-turned-warlord by the name of Raz Simone, who has established an armed private police force that does not hesitate to dole out beatings to communal scofflaws.

U.S President Donald Trump and Durkan engaged in a war of words over the Zone.

“Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will,” Trump warned Durkan and Washington state governor Jay Inslee – both Democrats – in a tweet, calling the protesters “domestic terrorists” who have taken over Seattle.

“This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped (sic) IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST,” he said in another tweet.

Durkan replied, telling Trump to “go back to his bunker” a reference to when Trump sheltered in the White House bunker after D.C protests and riots got too close.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Popular Calgary mural to be painted over by new BLM one

A mural called Giving Wings to the Dream, done in 1995, has graced the outside of the downtown CUPS building.

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One of the most popular pieces of public art in Calgary for the last 25 year is about to be covered up by a new Black Lives Matter mural.

A mural called Giving Wings to the Dream, done by Calgary artist Doug Driediger in 1995, has graced the outside of the downtown Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) building.

But after city council approved more than $120,000 for four BLM murals in Calgary, Driediger’s mural will be painted over.

Calgary Arts Development has set aside a budget of $20,000 for the first mural.

“(I have) an unease over the idea that something that’s valid and vital would be covered by another artist’s work,” Driediger told Global News.

“Surely there should be some professional respect for work that exists, so that just leaves me a little concerned.”

Driediger said he supports creating Black Lives Matter murals, but added there are plenty of other sites that could be used.

 “I cautioned the organizers, you know, you might get a bit of backlash by removing something that is so well-liked, even with an excellent alternative going up there,” he said.

The mural measuring nine metres feet in height by 41 metres in width is seen by an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Calgarians per day due to its location opposite the Centre Street LRT station.

But a Black community activist said the new mural would have widespread benefits.

“It’s a great effort by the city and a great step toward showing representation of the variety of Calgarians who live in the city,” activist Daudi Kawooya told Global.

“When you look at Calgary murals, not so many visible ethnic groups have a chance to identify with themselves, so once they start seeing themselves, the next question is going to be can they see themselves in leadership positions, can they see themselves in the local office, which is a great way to start conversations and it’s very important.”

The CDA wants the murals done by the end of October. Artists have until Aug. 17 to submit their proposals.

Their ad states: “Candidates must be representative of Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities. Two Spirit, Indigiqueer, and Black LGBTQQIP2SA+ artists will be given priority for the Phase I mural. No mural painting experience is necessary to apply—we will work with artists of any experience level to achieve their design.”

CDA has been contacting for comment but haven’t responded yet.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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