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HAWKINS CARTOON: May 7th, 2020

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Opinion

LETTER: Western Standard is wrong to call vandals “bigots”

You are just like the lamestream news: Go for the Headline not the substance.

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RE: Bigots deface French signs in historic Calgary neighbourhood

Editors note: The following Letter to the Editor has been published as it was received and has not been edited for spelling or grammar

No, I do not condone this childish behavior.

Why the term “Bigots”? When in our own country the very same fench people that we are appeasing have LAWS in their OWN Province that forbade English even being on any of thier signs. Nobody calls them bigots, or anything else for that matter. Yet you fail to mention that for balance in your article against the Bigots terminology.No, I do not condoe this vandelism, it is stupid and just looking for attention, Makes me wonder if a Franco-phone or someone, anyone else, got bored  and decided to ignight a contoversy. I do not know and NEITHER DO YOU.  You went with Bigot not just in the article but as the first word of your Headline. So much for balance reporting eh!?Of cours we ALBERTANS are “committed to ensuring the French language and culture flourish in Alberta. That is reduntant for your article as we have right in our own beautiful city an excellent French Immersion school funded by Alberta Taxpayers. 

I thought as a Conservative news site I would see more Conservatism, Nope you are just like the lamestream news: Go for the Headline not the substance. 

Plus I read your quick Bio before sending this email and am disappointed that you are/were part of the “mainstram media” for decades.  You may think you are a free thinker, but your paychecks tell a different story. I quite reading the Calgary Sun when I realized that they were getting their orders of what to write in Calgary from Toronto. 

Ray Jeffrey

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Opinion

ROYER: Alberta & Saskatchewan have got enemies, but more friends than we might think

3-in-10 Quebecers views their province as getting a raw deal in confederation.

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Albertans are seeking solutions to the mounting difficulties. Policies of the federal government hurt our economy and we seem to have few friends. However, Alberta is viewed more positively in most of Canada than the media portrays. That positive view of the province may mean that it can lead the country to a much needed change of direction.

Alberta champions change like nowhere else. It comes together, throws out the old and builds something new.  Homegrown solutions from new parties such as the United Farmers of Alberta, the Social Credit, the Progressives, the CCF and Reform all had roots in the province. 

Political reform – unconstrained by old partisanship – is part of Alberta’s DNA and much of the country is poised to listen

Saskatchewan, BC, Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces all chose Alberta as the province most friendly to their own in a recent Angus Reid survey (Fractured Federation, Jan 2019). Manitoba ranked Alberta close behind Saskatchewan. 

Alberta was seen by respondents in each of these provinces plus Manitoba as the province – other than their own – that contributes the most and benefits the least in confederation. 

Rather than Alberta, it is Quebec that is seen in English Canada as the outlier.  None of those provinces thought Quebec to be close or friendly toward it. Ontario was the highest where only 1-in-10 respondents see Quebec as a friend. In Alberta, that response was an astonishing 1-in-100.  

In fact, significant majorities in all English provinces but BC, view Quebec as unfriendly toward their province. BC was just under a majority with 4-in-10 seeing Quebec as hostile. 

Only 3-in-100 in the nine English provinces saw Quebec getting a raw deal. Significant majorities in those provinces thought that Quebec receives the most advantage from confederation.  

Quebec on the other hand, sees things a bit differently. To Quebec, Alberta is deemed the antagonist. A majority of Quebecers see Alberta as being unfriendly to it. No other province is considered anywhere near as unfriendly. And they do not see that Alberta is over-contributing. 

3-in-10 Quebecers views their province as getting a raw deal in confederation. No other is close. 

The country is of two very distinct perspectives. Nine provinces view Quebec as unfriendly, isolated and receiving disproportionate benefits from confederation, while Alberta is friendly and gets a raw deal. Quebec however views Alberta as an adversary and itself as getting the worst deal. The media and the national government generally assume the perspective of Quebec. Why?

There are two simple reasons; votes from Quebec are thought to largely determine electoral success and the national political structure leans in its direction. Both of these can and should change.

The nine other provinces are not divided. They don’t see Alberta as the antagonist. They see the excess contribution that Alberta makes. They see an isolated, unfriendly Quebec receiving undue preference and benefit. 

The chance to champion broad and positive political change is in Alberta’s court. There is more sympathy waiting in the country than the media and the political elite would lead us to believe. 

Alberta can propose a renewed country where all people are treated fairly; all voices are heard equally. We can offer a strong, unified country with one economy, free and open internal borders and a Canada first policy. We can propose a cohesive nation with wealth and power enough to stand up to China, and an increasingly xenophobic United States. 

It is possible to build a prosperous, united and independent Canada. If that isn’t acceptable, then Alberta needs to go its own way with whatever friends share its vision.

Randy Royer is a Columnist for the Western Standard, a Calgary businessman, and the author of ‘Alberta Doesn’t Fit.’

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Opinion

MORGAN: The new kid on the Alberta political block is off to a good start

The UCP is vulnerable on its right flank and the WIP is already taking up that slack.

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While they haven’t even officially formed as a party yet, the Wildrose Independence Party (WIP) has already moved into a solid third place on the Alberta political landscape. In a poll of 1,100 Albertans commissioned by the Western Standard, the nascent WIP was the electoral choice of 10 per cent of Albertans. That is a significant base for a brand new party to start with.

When I got involved with the Alberta Alliance Party in 2004, we tended to poll at around 4 percent, if pollsters asked about us at all. By 2012, we had merged to form the Wildrose and became the official opposition. By 2019, the final incarnation of the party was folded into the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta to create the UCP, which of course forms the government today. It took multiple elections, mergers, and compromises, but that little party holding 4 percent support ended up leaving a very major mark on Alberta’s history. It would be foolhardy to dismiss the WIP, which is currently supported by 10 per cent before they even have a leader.

While pretty much every premier in Canada has been enjoying a surge in support numbers over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason Kenney has been slumping in the polls. Kenney’s response to the pandemic has been solid for the most part and in line with other provinces. The drop in support for the UCP isn’t directly related to the pandemic.

It’s hardly a revelation that Albertans have been feeling economically abused and vulnerable within confederation. We are milked of our revenues by Ottawa when times are good, and are treated as confederation’s red-headed stepchild when times are bad. Our energy sector is under constant attack from ideologues in Ottawa and we are called selfish rednecks when we dare speak up about it. Albertans are sick of it and want to see some action to protect our province from further federal incursions. This is where Kenney’s UCP falls short.

The Wildrose Independence Party is little more than a concept at this time. There is no leader and there are no policies. It is rather inherent in the WIP name though that the interests of Alberta will be paramount in the party’s priorities. The term “independence” is clear in its intention of distancing Alberta from Ottawa, yet ambiguous in just how far that distance may be. This creates a broad tent to gather those who are fed up with the status quo in confederation, whether these are outright sovereigntists or folks who want to seek more autonomy within confederation. It creates a sizeable and motivated support base with a common cause to bind them.

Jason Kenney and the UCP have always talked a great game when it comes to standing up to Ottawa, but with a year in power behind them, they have appeared so far to be all talk. With the refusal to even release the “Fair Deal” panel report, it begins to look like the exercise of the panel and its tour was simply to provide lip service to Albertans in hopes of quelling their discontent. Kenney very vocally promised to make citizen’s initiated referendum legislation a top priority in this legislative session, and his promise vanished within days. Albertans are losing faith in the UCP’s will and ability to stand up for them against an increasingly hostile federal government. The WIP is already eating a good part of the UCP’s lunch. If the new party gets a good leader, they will be a formidable player on the provincial scene in the coming years.

Momentum is everything and right now, an unfounded party with no leader is holding it. NDP support remains flatlined, and the Alberta Party’s ongoing campaign of standing for nothing is garnering it the support such a stance deserves. The UCP is vulnerable on its right flank and the WIP is already taking up that slack. The WIP is clear in what it stands for and Albertans are seeking confident clarity and leadership on the issue of standing up to Ottawa.

Polls are indeed snapshots in time and there are countless variables to take into account when trying to predict the political future. There can be no doubt though that the Wildrose 2.0 is coming out of the gates fast and gaining steam already though. If the UCP doesn’t find a way to stop bleeding support to the WIP, this new party could evolve into a true gamechanger in the next provincial election.

Cory Morgan and a columnist for the Western Standard and a business owner in Priddis, Alberta.

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