The Buffalo Declaration issued by four Alberta Conservative MPs caused quick public reaction soon after it was released, but while some prominent Westerners have come out in support, others have been less enthusiastic.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney gave a tepid response when asked about his reaction to the Buffalo Declaration at a Glenbow Museum funding announcement on the morning of February 21st. In fact, the premier didn’t mention it at all when asked about it.
“Our government was elected on a mandate to fight for Alberta – that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Kenney said…It’s exactly why we’re in court challenging the federal carbon tax, challenging the ‘no more pipelines law’ – Bill C-69. It’s why we launched the Fair Deal Panel, and it’s why we are prepared to go to Albertans with a number of ideas to maximize our autonomy as a province.”
Taking a different route, UCP MLA and Fair Deal Panel member Drew Barnes said the Buffalo Declaration echoes what he’s been hearing at the consultations around the province.
“We could lose it all if we don’t get equitable representation – the fact is our voice is so often not heard”, he told the Western Standard.
“A lot of people support Alberta and what we do here and we need to get the word out that our economy, our families, and communities are hurting. When people with a platform, MPs and MLAs, talk about that, it helps,” he said.
“For those that don’t believe in Albertans having the opportunity to live in the freest and the richest province and contribute to Canada and Albertans have the opportunity to live life to the fullest – we have to push back. We’re in a situation where we have unequal representation in the house and, senate and the Supreme Court – nothing moves unless it’s pushed and it’s our job to push.”
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer issued a statement acknowledging that four of his MPs had issued the declaration, but said that he will not comment on it because there was an ongoing leadership race to replace him. Instead of addressing the declaration directly, Scheer said that his party has long advocated for democratic reform to “ensure Western Canadians have an equal voice in Canadian politics…The frustration and anger in Western Canada is very real and should not be ignored.”
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said the four MPs deserved credit.
“There needs to be national attention to and action on the abiding unfairness in the confederation toward Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the west in general,” he wrote on social media.
“You and your colleagues deserve credit for this Michelle [Rempel-Garner]. There needs to be national attention to and action on the abiding unfairness in the confederation toward Alberta, Saskatchewan and the west in general.”
NDP leader Rachel Notley left no doubt what she thought.
“At the end of the day, as a born and raised Albertan, I love this province. I will not have my values mistakenly described by extremist MPs in the conservative party,” she said in a statement.
“I believe in Canada. My Alberta is proud to be part of the greatest nation on the planet. My Alberta will lead on tackling climate change and create a stronger, more diversified economy that sets our children up for the future. We will continue on the path to reconciliation. My Alberta will offer good wages and fair workplaces. My Alberta is capable of cutting child poverty in half and ensuring our most vulnerable are protected. My Alberta cares about those kinds of things.”
Deirdre is the Senior Reporter for Western Standard.
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.
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
Alberta orders mandatory masks in schools for reopening
Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said students and teachers between Grades 4-12 will have to wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The government of Alberta says masks will be mandatory in provincial schools when kids return next month.
In the Monday announcement, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said students and teachers between Grades 4-12 will have to wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Each student will be provided two reusable masks to use.
More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.
Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. The government said mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance. In addition, evidence shows that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19.
“The safety of our staff and students continues to be my number 1 priority. Since cancelling in-person classes in March and developing our school re-entry plan, we have been clear that we would continue to adapt our guidelines as necessary based on current medical advice,” LaGrange said.
“These new safety measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, and we will continue to work with our school authorities to ensure they are equipped for a successful start to the school year.”
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta said: “After reviewing the emerging evidence, it is clear that masks can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I am not making this updated recommendation lightly, but acting on the best current evidence available.
“While masks are important, I want to stress that they are only one of the many public health measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of students, staff and families.”
About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be distributed between all school authorities. The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population.
And each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.
After the announcement, the NDP’s Kathleen Ganley tweeted: “Masks are good, but an adequate response requires some kind of class size limit – desks are too close together and masks are not required at all times. Classrooms with over 30 kids are a huge problem.”
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
WE scandal: Trudeau says he had no clue how much his family was paid by WE charity
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said WE “received no preferential treatment.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had no any how much his family was paid by the WE charity when he approved it for a nearly billion project.
Testifying from Rideau Cottage to a Senate inquiry on the WE scandal, Trudeau said he didn’t even realize the charity was in the running until he was told by “extremely professional” public affairs officials.
Trudeau testified he hoped to give the youth grant to the Canada Service Corps volunteer group but public service officials said they couldn’t do it and a third party was needed.
He said he didn’t hear about WE involvement until May 8, only hours before cabinet met to discuss the program.
Trudeau said because of his family connection to WE, the decision to give it the grant would be “closely scrutinized.”
Trudeau decided to pull the decision on May 8.
He said public officials later told him the WE group was the only group that was able to deliver the program so it was approved at the May 22 cabinet meeting.
Throwing the civil service under the bus was a reoccurring theme of Trudeau’s testimony.
Trudeau said WE “received no preferential treatment.
“I deeply regret how this has unfolded.”
In April, Trudeau announced a new program called the Canada Student Service Grant that promised to pay to students who volunteer over the summer.
Management of what was called $900-million program was outsourced to WE Charity. WE Charity would be paid up to $43 million to run the program.
After controversy erupted, the WE organization withdrew from the program.
Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger told MPs on Tuesday the amount of money involved was only $543 million. The charity has already received roughly $30 million of that but says it will repay the amount in full. They added the charity would be out $5 million they had already spent on the program.
The brothers denied they stood to personally benefit from the deal.
And they admitted they only hired the prime minister’s mother to speak on mental health when Justin Trudeau came to power.
It has emerged Margaret Trudeau spoke at approximately 28 WE events and received honoraria amounting to $312,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000, while Sophie Gregoire Trudeau had more than $1,400 in expenses paid for.
Margaret had also been paid $167,944 in expenses.
The PM testified Thursday he didn’t know the Kielburgers other than to to see them at the WE events he attended.
Under questioning by Tory MP Pierre Poilievre, Trudeau couldn’t provide figures on exactly how much his family made from WE nor the expenses paid to his wife for a trip to London a month before the final decision was made.
Trudeau said he didn’t even know what hotel in London his wife was staying in.
Poilievre told Trudeau: “Nobody believes you. You had a month to look into this.”
The meeting then degenerated into farce when the power went out for committee chair Wayne Easter.
That saw Poilievre saying he was now in charge of the hearing as the deputy chair.
He kept asking Trudeau how much his family his family made and the PM repeatedly refused to answer.
Liberal MPs then tried to shut down the meeting before Easter got his power back and order was restored.
Trudeau also said he had no idea WE fired their board chair and laid off hundreds of staff before they received the grant.
Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has announced that his office is investigating.
Alberta’s UCP government has severed ties with the charity as has several businesses including Telus and Virgin Airlines
Just last week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau paid back $41,000 to WE for an exotic family holidays to Kenya and Ecuador.
Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard