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MORGAN: Leaderless and disorganized, Alberta Independence Party holds a solid third place

For a party to go from nothing to nearly 10 percent support in Alberta while not even having a leader is unprecedented.




As we approach the one year mark since Jason Kenney took the reins as Premier in Alberta, polling numbers released from Angus Reid this week tell an interesting tale.

The United Conservative Party has dropped from a 52 per cent electoral showing down to 40 today. With a somewhat clumsy first year in power, this isn’t too surprising. Communications blunders and the less than stellar performance from initiatives such as the Canada Energy Centre are taking their toll on government support. The budget doesn’t cut nearly enough spending to satisfy fiscal hawks while the rather modest spending restraint is still enough to inflame and draw the ire of public service unions. There are few people giving the UCP a thumbs up on any front right now and the polls are reflecting it.

Coming in today with 36 percent after taking 41 percent in the general election last year, Notley’s NDP is not faring any better. In opposition Notley has not been able to score any political points against Jason Kenney as she obsessively repeats her disproven mantra that the UCP government has handed out $4.7 billion to their “rich friends”. Her song is getting repetitive and tiresome. While the shine has faded with the UCP, Albertan’s remain unconvinced that another dose of the NDP is the answer.

Disenchanted Liberals managed to take over the Alberta Party a decade ago and have been loudly claiming that they will be ushering in a new era of government governing from the mythical “centre”. While the Alberta Party has been able to talk a strong game on social media and they have proven adept at gathering left-leaning floor crossers in the legislature, their support has always been moribund and remains so at a dismal eight percent. When your party stands for nothing it tends to draw nobody.

Under the steady hand of David Khan, the Alberta Liberal Paty has been completely obliterated and no longer even registers in polls.

With a showing of nine percent, the newly minted Alberta Independence Party (AIP) is the real newsmaker in today’s polling. This is a party that only got registered during the last election. They currently have no leader and their party organization itself is in utter disarray due to infighting and a lack of solid ground (or really any) organization. Despite all of these handicaps, the AIP is in a solid third place with enough support to be a spoiler at the least in future elections.

The AIP is still largely a shell of a party, and appears to be attracting support based more on its name than anything else at present. Imagine what the support numbers will be once the AIP gets a solid leader and starts actually organizing around the province.

We are in tumultuous times. Albertans are deeply dissatisfied confederation and they want to see change. While Kenney has held meetings throughout the province and talked a good game, with nearly a year in power he has failed to do a single substantial thing to change Alberta’s lot within Canada. People are beyond calling for the drafting and sending of angry letters to Ottawa. It is time for some solid legislative changes to start shielding the province from a federal government that is increasingly malevolent towards Alberta.

For a party to go from nothing to nearly 10 percent support in Alberta while not even having a leader is unprecedented. The AIP, Freedom Conservative Party, and Wexit Alberta have been dancing around merger talks for some time now. If those parties manage to get it together and if they find a strong leader, they will be a major player on Alberta’s political landscape. Unified, led, and organized, they could actually be competitive in a few seats, or potentially even become a contender.

I know, I know. “Polls are but snapshots in time”. Yes, indeed they are, but to dismiss the rise of a party which is little more than a concept right now yet is taking close to 10 per cent support is foolhardy. Either the UCP is going to cover its regionalist flank, or the AIP will be taking a very big bite out of it in the next election. The ball is in Kenney’s court right now, but it won’t remain so for long if Albertans don’t see some action soon.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the pending world economic collapse dominating the headlines these days, the growth with the Alberta Independence Party and the broader independence movement is sliding under the headlines. With such a long period of instability and turmoil on the horizon, it is clear that the AIP isn’t going anywhere any time soon as people seek change from the status quo in a system that is failing them.

Cory Morgan is a columnist for the Western Standard


LETTER: Stop repatriating ISIS fighters to Canada

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




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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LETTER: There won’t be any accountability for WE in this Canada

A reader says that Canadians shouldn’t hold their breath that any accountability will come in the wake of the growing WE Scandal.




The Kielburger brothers are like the prime minister; they think most people would believe the WE charity along with the founders wouldn’t benefit from administering a near $1 billion dollar program. The Conservative’s have called for a RCMP investigation of WE and Trudeau’s involvement. I can’t see that happening.

Brenda Lucki, the RCMP Commissioner in the SNC-L affair, could have applied to the courts for release of cabinet documents, but she chose to hide behind the PM’s cabinets privilege. The Ethics Commissioner has no teeth to impose any real penalty on these ministers who again, abuse Canadian finances. This is a failed federation, lead by a corrupt PM and finance minister along with the PMO that has its head in the sand.

On another point.

WEXIT is sounding better, every day, for Albertans, but I don’t think Premier Kenney had any intention of taking the next step to give Albertans a say. Premier Kenney changed his tune after he was elected to the Premiership. I am not impressed with him as he was all fire and brimstone prior to the election, but now I feel he is just another politician who pulled a bait and switch on his real intensions. To bad I didn’t hear him tell Albertans that he was a committed Federalist prior to saying he was fighting for Alberta. I would have changed my vote for sure. 

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB 

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BARNES: Time to replace the RCMP with an Alberta force

Drew Barnes writes that Alberta should immediately begin the process of creating its own police force.




Guest opinion column from Drew Barnes, MLA

In the Fair Deal Panel report, it was recommended that Alberta create its own police force. It is what we heard loud and clear from Albertans across the province. It is imperative, now more than ever with the overreaching policies of Ottawa, that we have control over policing in our own land. Premier Kenney – in the government’s response – has committed to conducting a further analysis of the panel recommendation to move to an Alberta Provincial Police. This analysis will support why we should have our own police force that is overseen by a directly elected Alberta Chief of Police. An Alberta Provincial Police force is a constitutional right that we have, and it should be exercised. 

Historically, Alberta had its own police force from 1917 to 1932. During that period, Alberta saw an increase in arrest rate and conviction, and a decrease in movement into Alberta by those with criminal intent. The reason for this increase has been attributed to the institutional difference in focus and priorities of a national vs an Alberta entity. 

This history serves to underscore why we need a police force that is familiar with the Alberta experience. One of the issues the RCMP have that makes it difficult for them to effectively police the province is the constant in-and-out of its members in communities, which nullifies the benefits that come with being familiar with an area and its particular challenges. An officer raised in Jasper, Ontario will be less familiar with the issues and concerns of Jasper, Alberta, than an Albertan. While some RCMP recruits may be from Alberta and may land a position in Alberta, that is too often not how it works. The lack of familiarity with community, and short-term posting protocol of the RCMP is an ongoing, acknowledged hinderance, for both the officers and the community.

The costs to operate the RCMP increase at a higher rate than provincially run police forces. A study comparing these costs found that over the span of eight years, the cost of operating RCMP detachments rose an average of $44.50 per capita. The costs for the Ontario Provincial Police force rose only $37.10 per capita on average during the same period.

We can cancel the contract with the federal government and the RCMP with two years notice. Providing notice that we will cancel the contract can take place as early as March 31, 2021. This would allow us to terminate the contract as of March 31, 2023 at no cost. Within that two-year gap, we can work out the details, such as settling accounts over buildings and equipment, which the current contract provides a road map for.

As a province, we even have a basic template in place that make this easier. The Alberta Sheriffs already perform many police duties in our province with 950 sworn members and 16 stations. We would simply need to look at expanding them into the areas that presently utilize RCMP service. 

The RCMP is a proud and iconic symbol of Canada, made up of proud, hardworking members from across Canada, however, it is time for Alberta to consider taking back it’s policing, to create local ownership, accountability, and to hire Albertans to police Alberta. Albertans should determine their own policing priorities based on their particular needs. It is time to bring back the Alberta Provincial Police.

Drew Barnes is the UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat

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