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Trudeau says spreading pipeline blockades a ‘concern’

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took time from his African jaunt Wednesday to tell reporters the growing lawless protests in Canada over the building of the Global GasLink pipeline are “concerning.”

Road blocks, train blockades, port, buildings and bridge shutdowns have been growing across Canada since last Thursday when the RCMP raided and tore down an Indigenous camp near Smithers.

“Obviously it’s extremely important to respect the right to freely demonstrate peacefully, but we need to make sure the laws are respected. That’s why I’m going to be engaging with our ministers and looking at what possible next steps there are,” Trudeau told reporters in Senegal.

Trudeau said he would be talking to cabinet ministers later Wednesday.

• EDITORIAL: What the Western Standard is saying about the protests.

“I am encouraging all parties to dialogue, to resolve this as quickly as possible,” said Trudeau.

On Tuesday, CN Rail said it would be forced to shut down large swaths of track if the protests continue. It said Canada’s international reputation as a supplier was being damaged.

Illegal roadblocks in Vancouver (source: CBC)

And VIA Rail has now cancelled dozens of trips in high traffic areas of Eastern Canada. They have cancelled all trips through Thursday.

The Prince George Citizen said the RCMP had found a bridge damaged near the standoff site.

RCMP said officers noticed on Friday the support beams had been cut and some bolts loosened on Lamprey Creek Bridge, making it unsafe to support any kind of traffic. By Saturday, repairs had been complete, and a criminal investigation launched, RCMP said.

The pipeline has the support of all First Nations along the route, but hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation, through which 28% of the 670-km route passes, oppose it.

A group of unelected hereditary chiefs had set up a camp near Smithers and have kicked out Coastal GasLink workers.

Courtesy Twitter

The RCMP said they have found traps like felled trees and three stacks of tires along with flammables along the access road.

On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP arrested 14 protesters along the B.C. logging road. 

International attention was drawn to the issue when a British newspaper reported RCMP were ready to shoot protesters when they broke up the camp. The RCMP denied the story.

On Dec. 31, the B.C. Supreme Court granted CGL an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation from blocking the pipeline route near Smithers, B.C.

But the situation has been further complicated after a Jan. 3 indict by the Unist’ot’en, a smaller group within the First Nation, that they intend to terminate an agreement that had granted the company access to the land.

The RCMP checkpoint had been set up at the 27-km mark of the forest service road “to mitigate safety concerns related to the hazardous items of fallen trees and tire piles with incendiary fluids along the roadway.”

The $6.6 billion pipeline, to be operated by TC Energy Corp, would transport gas from near Dawson Creek in northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the coast and supply Canada’s largest liquefied natural gas export terminal, called LNG Canada, which is under construction.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@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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Alberta school changes will produce ‘nutbar…right-wing warriors’, top NDP official says

McGowan is the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour and was an NDP candidate in the 2015 federal election.

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New laws governing Alberta’s education system are aimed at producing “nutbar…right-wing warriors”, says a prominent NDP member.

“UCP paves the way for nutbar religious charter schools & home-schooling that doesn’t follow the curriculum. They’re trying to create an army of brainwashed right-wing warriors. And they accused the NDP of being too political with education! #ableg #abpoli” tweeted Gil McGowan Thursday afternoon.

McGowan is the president of the Alberta Federation of Labour and was an NDP candidate in the 2015 federal election.

mcgown tweet

“To add insult to injury, this will pave the way for a money grab so that the government can use YOUR tax dollars to help fund these crazy right-wing, religious schools. No other province gives more public money to fund private schools than Alberta.”

McGowan was going ballistic after Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, said she’s making good on an election promise to safeguard parent choice in education introduced Bill 15, the Choice in Education Act.

The AFL gets automatic seats on the provincial NDP board.

“It is completely unacceptable that the head of the NDP-affiliated Alberta Federation of Labour would call families of students who are homeschooled or attend a charter school nutbars,” LaGrange said in a statement to the Western Standard.

“Unlike this NDP affiliate, our government stands with all parents, regardless of how they choose to educate their children. Rachel Notley and the NDP must condemn this hateful, bigoted rhetoric.”

LaGrange said the bill strengthens the idea that parents have the right to choose the type of education their children receive, through amendments to the Education Act.

Premier Jason Kenney told reporters the proposed legislation is important because there continues to be special interest groups and political parties in Alberta who undermine the right.

“This legislation won’t let them do so in the future,” he said. 

Courtesy Alberta Education

“This legislation enshrines the belief of Albertans in freedom, diversity, pluralism and choice as well as parental responsibility. Because we believe that parents know better than politicians or bureaucrats about what’s in the best interests of their kids.”

 Bill 15 changes the home education programs section of the Education Act, allowing for “unsupervised notification-only, non-funded home education program,” meaning those students would no longer need to be supervised by an Alberta school board.

Parents would have to submit an education plan that shows the ministry the student would have the opportunity to achieve appropriate learning outcomes.

The bill also proposes changes to how charter schools can start. 

Current laws say that those wishing to establish a charter school have to go to the school board in the area and request that the board establish an alternative program before considering the charter application. 

Under the proposed changes, those wishing to establish a charter school would go directly to the minister. 

There hasn’t been a single charter school application since Kenney took office.

“The waiting list for charter schools is unacceptably long. Last I heard, there were 14,000 students province-wide waiting for a position in a charter school,” he said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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RCMP quietly adding more firearms to the banned list

The RCMP sent a statement confirming the re-classification was taking place beyond the original list of 1,500, and so far no public notification has taken place.

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The RCMP are quietly adding more guns to the list of 1,500 banned by the federal government earlier this month.

Maple Ridge, B.C., gun store co-owner Matt Mendel said he heard rumours that more and more firearms were being banned, and sure enough, when he started checking weapons his store was selling in the national Firearms Reference Table (FRT), it was true.

He said most of the firearms added to the list were shotguns.

The RCMP, which manages the FRT through the Canadian Firearms Program, sent a statement to CBC confirming the re-classification was taking place beyond the original list of 1,500, and so far no public notification has taken place.

“The Canadian Firearms Program (CFP) has been working diligently to ensure that the FRT is updated to reflect all of the classification changes resulting from the Order in Council issued May 1st,” read the statement to the CBC.

Mendel said the Typhoon F12, a semi-automatic shotgun, was listed as non-restricted on May 14, but then a subsequent FRT search the following day showed it as prohibited.

“If I wasn’t a diligent business owner and constantly kept my ear to the ground with this sort of thing, I could have been selling illegal firearms to people, and people could be possessing illegal firearms without even knowing it,” Mendel told CBC.

The store stands to lose $30,000 to $40,000 for a dozen firearm models that have been reclassified as prohibited.

“As a business, we just hold on to that and we lose that money. We’ve paid for those firearms, and now they’ll sit in my basement … forever essentially,” said Mendel.

In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday 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.

The Liberals campaigned in the last election to ban assault rifles and introduce legislation allowing cities to ban handguns.

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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Disgraced CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi back on the air

Roqe, a new Ghomeshi-hosted podcast focusing on “the in-depth life stories, opinions, and identities of personalities in the Iranian diaspora,” launched in mid-April

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Shamed broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi is back on the air with a podcast focussing on Iranian issues.

Roqe, a new Ghomeshi-hosted podcast focusing on “the in-depth life stories, opinions, and identities of personalities in the Iranian diaspora,” launched in mid-April, Canadaland reported.

Ghomeshi has published seven episodes of the podcast ranging from 36 to 75 minutes in length. 

Canadaland reports “Roqe” is a Farsi word that translates as “candid, or straightforward in conversation.” 

Roqe

In 2014 and 2015, Ghomeshi was the subject of allegations of sexual harassment or assault from 20 women and men and was later arrested. In late 2015, Ghomeshi  pleaded not guilty to the charges and the trial began in early 2016.

He was acquitted of five of the charges on March 24, 2016. On May 11, 2016, the Crown withdrew the last remaining charge after Ghomeshi signed a peace bond and apologized to his accuser.

He was fired from the CBC in October 2014.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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