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WEXIT calls for merger of Alberta’s independence groups

Downing said that the time has come for WEXIT, the AIP, the FCP and other independence groups to come together.

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WEXIT Alberta Leader Peter Downing says that the time has come for the province’s disparate independence groups to stop fight each-other and unite as a single party.

Downing told the Western Standard, “The quickest, most practical way for us to defend Alberta, is to get together the different independence groups to become one, united independence party of Alberta.”

Downing said that the new party should include his own WEXIT organization, the Alberta Independence Party, Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, “Alberta-First faithful within the United Conservative Party, and non-registered groups supporting independence.

Downing’s call for unification was welcomed by Freedom Conservative Party President Bill Jones, who said that there must be “no conditions,” and that all parties in negotiations need to put everything on the table for it to work.

Previous calls to unite the constellation of Alberta’s sovereigntist movement have been unsuccessful so far. Former Alberta Independence Party President Todd Beasley called for a merger in October of 2019, but was deposed soon after. The Freedom Conservatives released a “5-Point Plan” to unify the sovereigntist parties in December of 2019, but was rebuffed by Downing.

“The FCP has never withdrawn the offer,” said Jones. “It’s always been an open offer.”

Asked why he dropped his opposition to a merger, Downing told the Western Standard that it was a “crucible of recent factors,” including the federal government’s potential cancelation of the Teck Frontier oilsands mine, worry that the province’s Fair Deal Panel will deliver recommendations “without any teeth,” and what Downing says is Premier Jason Kenney’s sudden about-turn on fighting Ottawa over the future of the oil and gas industry.

“He [Jason Kenney] has abandoned Alberta. He has abandoned our energy industry.”

Patrick Reilly of the Alberta Independence Party rejected calls for merger and said that Albertans supporting secession should instead join his party.

“WEXIT isn’t actually a provincial political party and the AIP can’t merge an organization that isn’t a political party”, said Reilly. “The Independence Party encourages all supporters of independence, including supporters of Wexit, to join the Independence Party and help to shape and grow the party. We think its a better use of people’s efforts than gathering signatures for a new party like Downing is doing. The Independence Party is open to working with any pro-independence group and is already actively working with several.”

WEXIT is not a registered political party with an elected executive or leader, but is conducting a signature drive with Elections Alberta.

Since the 2019 provincial election, the three organizations have compete with one-another to emerge as the leading independence voice.

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Calgary mayor says Buffalo Declaration authors ‘need to calm down’

Calling the rhetoric of the Buffalo Declaration “overheated”, Nenshi said he wished politicians would focus on the need for job creation.

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Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the authors of the Buffalo Doctrine need to “calm down.”

Nenshi said the type of rhetoric in the 6,000-word essay “doesn’t create jobs” – purportedly the number one priority for Calgary, the province, and all elected representatives of Alberta.

Nenshi said he was “one hundred per cent focused… on rebuilding the economy in Alberta and building up quality of life for Calgarians,” intimating that other politicians were not as similarly inclined – but should be.

Alberta CPC MPs Michelle Rempel Garner, Blake Richardson, Arnold Viersen, and Glen Motz, released a declaration Thursday about Alberta’s future in Confederation.

Calling the rhetoric “overheated”, Nenshi said he wished politicians would focus on the need for job creation.

Premier Jason Kenney refused to back the declaration when pointedly asked by reporters at a media scrum after Kenney announced $40 million in funding for Calgary’s Glenbow Museum on Friday February 21.

Admitting that he had not read the declaration “in detail”, the premier said the Declaration “underscored the depth of frustration” in the province.

The premier then went on to detail what his government was doing to address the concerns of Albertans – namely, with the government’s Fair Deal panel.

Deirdre is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard

dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com, @Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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Kenney, Scheer won’t back Buffalo Declaration – Wall and Barnes come out in support

Barnes, who is also a member of the Fair Deal Panel, said the Buffalo Declaration echoes what he’s been hearing at the consultations around the province.

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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.
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
@Mitchell_AB

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Trudeau says barricades must come down now

Saying Canadians have “run out of patience”, Justin Trudeau on Friday called for Indigenous protesters to remove their rail barricades immediately.

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Enough is enough, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Saying Canadians have “run out of patience”, Trudeau on Friday called for Indigenous protesters to remove their rail barricades against the Coastal GasLink pipeline immediately.

“We have exhausted our capacity to engage… to resolve this. The onus has shifted to the Indigenous leadership,” Trudeau told a press conference in Ottawa Friday afternoon.

“All Canadian are paying the price. Some can’t get to work, others have lost their jobs.

“Canadians have been patient. The government has been patient.

“The barricades need to come down. The injunctions must be obeyed and the law must be upheld.”

• What the Western Standard says

Trudeau noted the barricades have been up for two weeks and said his government has been in dialogue with the Indigenous groups since the start.

“Every attempt at dialogue has been made, but discussions have not been productive. We can’t have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table,” Trudeau said.

But Trudeau’s message was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response from Indigenous leaders.

At a press conference in Tyendinga, Ont. near one of the rail blockades, Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk leaders repeated calls the barriers would stay until the RCMP have completely retreated from Wet’suwet’en territory.

Wet’suwet’en leaders stood by another condition that all work on the CGL pipeline stop in their land.

• In other developments, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he was worried about more citizen vigilantism.

Last Thursday,  CN Rail announced it was closing down operations in eastern Canada while Via Rail shuttered its entire network because of a Mohawk rail blockade near Brockville, Ont.

Tory leader Andrew Scheer said enough is enough and it’s time for Trudeau to call in the RCMP to clear the blockades.

“Quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous. Radical activists, many of whom have no connection to theWet’suwet’en people, are holding our economy hostage. Meanwhile our prime minister has been out of the country on a vanity project to win a vote at the UN, neglecting his duties here at home,” Scheer said, referencing Trudeau’s jaunt to Africa.

“Do the right thing, Prime Minister Trudeau. We can’t allow a small number of activists to hold our economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs. I believe it’s time for the law to be enforced. Law enforcement should enforce the law. We have court orders, court injunctions, they need to be respected.”

The protests have been growing across Canada for two weeks since the RCMP raided and tore down an Indigenous camp near Smithers.

Last Thursday, the protesters at the main camp released a new video of RCMP action at the site.

COURTESY GIDIMT’EN CHECKPOINT





RCMP officer seen at Indigenous camp near Smithers, B.C.

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 edict 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

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