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The Frontier oilsands mine project has now been shelved as Teck Resources has withdrawn its application after nearly a decade of fruitless efforts to get government approvals.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

Opinion

GRAFTON: Canada’s corruption rating falling under Trudeau Liberals

Guest columnist Ken Grafton writes that under Trudeau, Canada’s high rating on corruption is falling fast.

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Notwithstanding five investigations by the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and the potential of an RCMP investigation into possible criminal activity in connection with the Lavalin-Gate scandal, the ethically-challenged Trudeau government was re-elected last October. Despite holding the distinction of being the first prime minister to be found guilty of violating federal conflict of interest rules and then doubling-down with a second violation, a surprising 5,911,588 Canadian voters felt that Justin Trudeau should continue as the head of government for another four years.

In addition to the two key centres of Toronto and Montreal, large swaths of the Maritimes, Yukon and Northwest Territories cast their votes for a government wreaking of corruption. Astounding to many – especially in view of the fact that SNC-Lavalin had a history of bribery, was again up on bribery charges following an RCMP investigation into its actions in Libya with terrorist sponsor Muammar Gaddafi, and had been found guilty of illegal campaign contributions to the Liberal Party in 2016 – Lavalin-Gate didn’t appear to be an issue for Liberal voters at the polls.

Now the prime minister is being investigated yet again by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion in connection with the WE Charity scandal. Conservative Shadow Minister for Ethics MP Michael Barret addressed an open letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on July 10th, calling for a criminal investigation into the matter. 

While the Trudeau government may be awash in corruption, it doesn’t appear to be a concern to most Canadians. A July 27th poll by Angus Reid showed that only 16 per cent of Canadians choose ethics and corruption as one of their top three issues facing the country, and 56 per cent believe that WE-Gate will have little impact on Trudeau’s government.  

Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) is a non-governmental organization that monitors government corruption globally. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), rating 180 countries by perceived levels of public sector corruption, and defines government corruption as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.” The CPI is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption, rating countries on a scale of 100 (very clean) to 0 (bring cash). The 2018 CPI rates Denmark at the top of the list, with a score of 88; and the lawless war-torn state of Somalia at the bottom, with a score of 10. The US falls in 22nd place, with a score of 71 (down from a pre-Trump placing in 2015 at 16th, with a CPI of 76). Canada scored high in 2018 with a CPI of 81, placing a very respectable 9th out of 180. 

That number fell to 77 in 2019, moving Canada off the Top 10 List to number 12. As Transparency Canada explains, “Last year, issues surrounding corruption came to the forefront in Canada and grabbed international headlines that let the world know that our modest, polite country had nefarious dealings.” Lavalin-Gate was a major factor in the downgrade, raising concern from the OECD Working Group on Bribery in a March 2019 warning statement.

In addition to providing data to corporate compliance officers, TI is a reference point for leaders and journalists around the world. The Economist has stated “No country can ignore its reputation for corruption. That means that no country can ignore Transparency International.” 

It’s no surprise perhaps that Denmark and Germany enjoy the highest credit ratings possible, while lawless Somalia is at the bottom with a CPI of 180. Although there are other considerations involved, many of the factors that determine a country’s CPI also affect credit ratings. The same factors can determine where a corporation chooses to locate or otherwise invest, contribute to wealth inequality (OECD), affect immigration patterns (with the least corrupt countries generally offering the best prospects for new immigrants), and impact tourism (as corruption and public safety are often linked). 

There are many arguments against corruption, and many reasons to embrace ethics and transparency. The UN has stated “Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability.” A 2016 OECD report “Putting An End To Corruption” sums up the threat to democracy. 

“Corruption undermines sustainable economic, political and social development, for developing, emerging and developed economies alike. Corruption endangers private sector productivity…hinders public sector productivity…and is a threat to inclusive growth by undermining the opportunities to participate equally in social, economic and political life and impacting the distribution of income and well-being. Corruption also erodes trust in government and public institutions, rendering reform more difficult.” 

This should be required reading on Parliament Hill.

According to TI, the Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index, a combination of different international surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The index draws on 13 surveys from independent institutions specialising in governance and business climate analysis covering expert assessments and views of businesspeople.

How will WE-Gate impact upon Canada’s international standing as a relatively corruption-free market environment? 

A glimmer of hope perhaps from Angus Reid. Trudeau’s approval rating has dropped to 44 per cent. Troublingly for Trudeau, this lost approval comes primarily from those who voted Liberal in the last election. Although four-in-five Liberal voters still approve of the prime minister, there has been a drop of nine points in two weeks.

Since the CPI – by definition – is a measurement of perceptions, it follows that the ethics violations by Prime Minister Trudeau must result in damage to Canada’s good standing. 

Look for a further downgrade in Canada’s CPI. Corruption is a slippery slope.

Ken Grafton is a freelance columnist

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Opinion

GEROW: Western Canada needs its own currency

Darcy Gerow writes that currency manipulation from Ottawa is a hidden tax on all Canadians, but robs the West more than others.

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With a united Wildrose Independence Party in Alberta and Jay Hill at the helm of Wexit Canada, the independence conversation has gotten serious. A May 2020 poll conducted for the Western Standard found that 45 to 48 per cent of Albertans supported independence. That’s real close to a 51 per cent tipping point. Though, for a lot of Albertans, independence is only an opportunity to lean into Ottawa for a fair deal on equalization and the constitution.

There is enough support for a fair deal to build a solid footing for Western independence, but that foundation will be useless if this house is framed using the Canadian dollar.

The Canadian dollar is consistently hitting new lows every year when measured against indicators like the consumer price index, which measures the price impacts of inflation caused by the Canadian government’s manipulation of the money supply. 

An independent West (or just Alberta) should reject a foreign government (in this case Ottawa) devaluing its currency. Unlike Quebec sovereigntists – who want to continue using the Canadian dollar – Westerners would be better off with their own currency, a Western dollar which is free of manipulation.

Junior high civics classes have conditioned Canadians to trust the government with the money supply as a noble endeavor, that the marketplace can’t provide a product sound enough to be used as a medium of exchange or a store of value. The federal government took that trust and printed up a trillion dollars in debt for all kinds of corporate welfare programs. Most recently, to give to their buddies in the mainstream media and WE charities, or to conduct the massive Covid-19 vote-buying welfare scheme, and they’ve done it at the expense of impoverishing those who trusted them with what little wealth they had. All while the marketplace has given us a product that is sound enough to be a medium of exchange and a far superior store of value – gold. 

The Canadian Dollar was backed by gold until 1914 when the Finance Act was passed. This allowed the dollar to be artificially devalued to fund the First World War. The dollar reached a new all-time low measured in gold at the end of 2019 from which it will never recover.

A fair deal on equalization, or better yet, the end of equalization is a great thing, but if the West keeps the Canadian dollar, the door to unfair treatment by Ottawa will always be open. The ability to manipulate the money supply is akin to a tax. Instead of confiscating the actual dollars – like they do with equalization – they are confiscating the value of a dollar. They are stealing purchasing power. As Western provinces have historically out-performed Eastern ones when it comes to productivity, a tax on purchasing power disproportionately affects the West.

If Albertans or the entire West succeed in achieving independence, it would be foolish to continue paying the inflation tax to Ottawa. 

While the West does not have the gold to completely back a currency yet, it isn’t necessary to get the ball rolling. The Western dollar can be pegged to the price of gold at a rate similar to the Canadian dollar and legislation will be required to restrict devaluation by Western governments. As Canada continues to devalue the loonie, our share of the Canadian debt – which would presumably follow us into independence – will be wiped out by inflation.

Here in the West, people are dumping dollars and turning to gold. Remember that Western Standard poll? Having a gold backed Western dollar on the table is enough to tip the scales towards independence.

Even for those not convinced that independence is the right course, Westerners should be demanding sound money as part of a fair deal with Ottawa. What’s the point of keeping those equalization dollars if the money itself is worthless?

Darcy Gerow is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

LETTER: Stop repatriating ISIS fighters to Canada

A reader says that Canada must shut the door on returning ISIS fighters.

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RE: Calgary man charged with terror crimes after allegedly training with ISIS in Syria

The arrest of a Calgary man by the RCMP on terror-related charges linked to his time with the Islamic State should be a stern reminder to Canadians that the old foe of Islamic extremism hides beneath current tensions. The RCMP say there are 190 Canadians linked to Islamic terror groups. Sixty have returned to Canada. The most notorious organization, Islamic State, butchered its way across nations and conquered sizable territory and resources.

We should never forget that these groups intend us harm. ISIS, more than any other, seduced many individuals into committing crimes for them – many of these persons were never officially linked to Islamic State. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is right to counsel Ottawa to never allow the repatriation of ISIS fighters back into this country. Last month, Human Rights Watch accused Canada of abandoning some of these people inside prison camps variously controlled by the Kurds and the Turks.

The problem of terrorist repatriation is a global one. The Kurds and the Turks, by turns, have demanded their return and an end to their unwanted global responsibility. Britain’s appellate court has been lambasted by critics for allowing its former citizen, dubbed the Jihadi Bride, an ISIS member, to return home. Shamima Begum left Britain for Syria and stayed with the terror group for three years. Now sitting inside a refugee camp, she apparently begged to be repatriated. Britain’s Conservative MPs argue her return sets a dangerous precedent. They are correct in saying so.

Global, indeed Middle Eastern, security has always depended on a powerful alliance between the U.S, Israel, and a few Arab nations. States like Egypt and Jordan share military and economic partnerships with Israel. The American withdrawal from parts of the Middle East like Syria was a mistake. They enabled the Taliban to rebound and Hezbollah to resume attacking Israel. The China-Iran alliance could enable the tracking of Western forces. 

Christopher Mansour
Barrie, ON

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