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Regina PPC candidates to run with Sask PCs

The three Regina candidates say that the provincial PCs is a good fit for PPC policies.

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Regina’s three People’s Party of Canada candidates all intend to run as Progressive Conservatives in the next provincial election. Trevor Wowk, Mario Milanovski , and Tracey Sparrowhawk finished fifth in their respective federal ridings last October, but believe there’s nowhere to go but up as they enter provincial politics.

“Going this route makes much more sense because this is an established party,” Sparrowhawk says. “We don’t have to bring it build it from the ground up, and there’s money available for the campaign…Plus it’s not as big a territory.”

The candidates will run in provincial ridings that are within their previous campaign areas. But the provincial ridings are smaller, since there are 14 federal seats in Saskatchewan but 61 in provincial elections. 

Seeds for the partnership were sewn last July when Saskatchewan PC leader and paratransit driver Ken Grey came to a campaign event for Wowk.

“I was almost chuckling out of my shoes the day Ken came to our barbeque because he was in full transit mode with his shorts and his safety vest and his walkie [talkie],” Wowk recalls. Grey agreed to offer PC volunteers to help PPC campaigns if the same would be reciprocated in the next provincial election.

“Early January of this year just about as I was willing to push the send button on my text message to Ken to say we need to have coffee, he sent me a text message. And that’s where we started.”

Gray says the PPC is a good match for the provincial PC’s with its emphasis on immigration policy, balanced budgets, and less centralization for provinces within the Canadian federation. He believes the governing Saskatchewan Party’s growth target of 1.4 million people by 2030 relies on “irrational immigration numbers…at all costs.”

“Many of the people that have come to us are disaffected Sask Party people who felt that the Sask Party was being more liberal, whether it was from a social conservative point of view or even an economic point of view,” Grey says. 

The Saskatchewan Party formed in 1997 as a coalition of four Progressive Conservative MLAs and four Liberal MLAs. The PCs have not won a seat since, but the Sask Party won the 2007, 2011, and 2016 elections under the leadership of Brad Wall. In his final election, the party took 51 seats and the NDP, 10.

Scott Moe replaced Wall as Saskatchewan Party leader and premier in 2018. The NDP and Liberal leaders have also been replaced, with a new Green leader to be chosen soon.

Amidst these winds of change, Grey hopes his party will increase its vote count and win a seat or two.

“The Sask Party has proven to be a very high-spending, high-taxing interventionist government. And I think a lot of conservatives took exception to that and are looking at us.”

The task before the PC Party is high. The Saskatchewan Party won the 2007, 2011, and 2016 elections under Brad Wall, taking 51 of 61 seats in his final effort.

Both the Saskatchewan Party and the PCs could also face a potential new challenger on the right as the new WEXIT Saskatchewan Party drives for its registration in time for the fall vote. 

The PC party only ran 18 candidates in the 2016 election and finished third in 10 of those. They collected 1.28 per cent of the provincial vote. Ken Grey finished third in the Regina Northeast by-election on September 24, 2018 with 2.8 per cent of the vote. Six weeks later he became the new PC leader.

In the federal election, Wowk received 573 votes in Regina-Lewvan. Saskatchewan Party MLA Warren Steinley won federally as a Conservative, taking more than half of the 51,614 votes cast. 

In recent weeks, Wowk invited former Regina-Wascana PPC candidate Mario Malinovsky to look at the platform. 

“I read through it and I felt I was getting back into PPC”, said Milanovski . 

Malinovski received 450 votes in Regina-Wascana, behind Liberal incumbent Ralph Goodale and Conservative Michael Kram, who won the seat.

“At a lot of the doors [during the federal campaign] they said they loved the platform and everything, but they have to vote Conservative now to take Trudeau out,” Maliovski says. “So I will definitely go back to the same doors.”

Sparrowhawk received 513 votes in her run against Andrew Scheer in Regina Qu’Appelle.

“It was good to get out there and talk to people and realize that a) there are a lot of people that a didn’t know who they were even going to vote for, b) they didn’t like Andrew Scheer,” Sparrowhawk says. “They were very open to hearing about the People’s Party platform.”

All three candidates attended a February 22 protest at Regina city hall calling for an end to illegal blockades. The blockades had run for days as a demonstration against pipelines, but on February 21, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for them to end.

“He should have done that in the first place,” Milanovski told the CBC.

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Affairs Columnist for the Western Standard

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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MPs from B.C least likely to give their April 1 raises to charity

B.C was the most miserly in western Canada with only 48 per cent of MPs donating their increase.

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MPs from B.C. are the stingiest in western Canada when it comes to giving up their April 1 raises to charity.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation asked all 338 MP from across the country if they planned to give their salary increase to charity in light of the coronavirus crisis. A total of 120 replied.

This year, MPs are entitled to a 2.1 per cent hike, which will increase their base salaries by just over $3,750 to $182,656.

B.C was the most miserly in western Canada with only 48 per cent of MPs donating their increase.

Of 42 B.C. MPs, only 20 did so. That was made up of 12 Tory MPs, four Liberals, three NDP members and one independent.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh did not donate his increase nor did Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

Elizabeth May

In Alberta, 24 of its 34 MPs, or 71 per cent, gave their raise to charity.

That includes 23 Tories and the lone NDP member.

In Saskatchewan, where the Tories swept the 14 available seats, 12 donated their increase for a mark of 86 per cent. Tory party leader Andrew Scheer did give up his raise.

And in Manitoba, where 14 seats were available 10 MPs made the choice to donate for a total of 71 per cent. That included 10 Tories, one NDP member and four Liberals.

Prime Minister Trudeau did make the decision to give up his raise. He earns $347,400.

“There’s no way politicians should be seeing a pay hike while countless Canadian families and businesses are struggling just to keep the lights on. It’s good to see many MPs turn down their pay bump, but there’s still MPs who haven’t confirmed whether or not they will accept a pay increase,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director of the CTF.

Franco Terrazzano

“Now would be the perfect time for politicians across the country to voluntarily reduce their own pay.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westewrnstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney announces $2-billion in infrastructure funding

“This will create thousands of good jobs,” Kenney said at a press conference in Edmonton.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on Thursday announced $2-billion in spending to fix provincial roads, bridges and fill potholes.

The money will also be used for fixing roofs, windows and doors in K-12 schools across the province.

Kenney said some of the cash would also be used for infrastructure fixes in the province’s post secondary education facilities and justice system.

“This will create thousands of good jobs,” Kenney said at a press conference in Edmonton.

“The good news for drivers is crews will be making sure roads are pothole free.”

Kenney repeated the Alberta economy is “in serious contraction” and will talk longer to recover.

“The government is doubling the capital maintenance and renewal (CMR) funding in 2020-21 from $937 million to $1.9 billion by accelerating the capital plan. This will allow government to act quickly and work with companies across the province so they can keep their workers employed during these challenging times,” the government said in a release.

“These infrastructure investments will be focused on projects that can be actioned quickly. By doubling our capital maintenance and renewal project funds, we will deliver much-needed improvements to important assets, keep companies operating and most importantly, keep Albertans working. As the weather improves and buildings are empty, now is the perfect time for us to act,” said Kenney

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westewrnstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney wants to track COVID cases via smartphone

A spokesperson for Alberta’s privacy commissioner said the potential use of an app to monitor movements of citizens heightened privacy concerns.

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In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government would be willing to use technology to monitor the movements of Albertans who tested positive for COVID-19.

Such apps have been in use in China, Taiwan, and South Korea but have yet to be introduced to Western countries.

“I have been very clear; we intend to follow the lessons learned from successful countries like Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea to more quickly reopen our economy and the relaunch strategy involves, in part, the limited and appropriate use of wireless apps, of smartphone apps for individuals who are under quarantine orders,” the premier said Wednesday in response to a question in the Legislature from UCP MLA Shane Getson.

Using international travel as an example, Kenney said it would help the government to “know if that person is going to go home and stay home”.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s privacy commissioner said the potential use of an app to monitor movements of citizens heightened privacy concerns.

“There are several unknowns about how an app would be deployed and what laws would be engaged by doing so,” Scott Sibbald told Postmedia.

“Any option being considered is sure to have privacy implications that would require reasonable safeguards to protect personal or health information. The Commissioner expects to be consulted on the various initiatives being explored by the Government of Alberta.”

Across the border, Kentucky officials have opted to use ankle monitors for individuals who have tested positive but “refuse to stay home”.

Kenney’s brief statement did not suggest the app would be used for those who refused to follow public health orders but rather for the government to monitor their cellular location and be assured targeted Albertans were staying home.

“The thought the government is going to start tracing people everywhere they go is ridiculous,” Kenney said.

“To protect us from a second phase of the pandemic, we might have to do what Taiwan, (China), Singapore and South Korea have done … we want to make sure they’re actually following the quarantine.”

Numbers released from the Alberta government’s modelling on Wednesday suggest the peak of the pandemic will not happen until late May. A second wave, if it were going to happen, would likely come in the fall after physical distancing restrictions were reduced.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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