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POLL: 45-48% of Albertans back independence

A large poll conducted exclusively for the Western Standard finds that between 45% and 48% of Albertans would vote for independence.




  • Independence support has grown to just shy of a majority
  • A majority of UCP and rural voters back independence

In an exclusive poll conducted by Northwest Research for the Western Standard, 45 per cent of decided Albertans surveyed said that they would defiantly vote yes or were leaning yes if there was a referendum on Alberta’s independence, while 55 per cent said that they would definitely vote no or were leaning no.

If undecided voters are factored in, 41 per cent said that they would back independence, 50 per cent were opposed, and 9 per cent were not sure. 

The poll surveyed 1,100 people in Alberta, was weighted for regional balance, age, and gender, and contains a margin of error of 3.02 per cent. 

Previous polls conducted on independence before the last federal election normally pegged support in the mid-thirties to low-forties. Since the federal election, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has commissioned a “Fair Deal Panel”, whose report has been delayed with the support of NDP leader Rachel Notley. 

Poll conducted by Northwest Research, all rights reserved by Western Standard (Wildrose Media Corp.)

Those surveyed were first asked if they agreed that “If the federal government is unwilling to negotiate with Alberta on a new constitutional arrangement, Alberta should hold a referendum on independence.” In that scenario, 48 per cent of decided respondents said that they would vote yes, and 52 per cent said that they would vote no, nearly a statistical tie.

Those surveyed were also asked “If a referendum on independence were to be held, which way would you vote?” In this scenario, 45 per cent of decided voters said that they would definitely or were leaning to vote yes, and 55 per cent said that they would definitely or were leaning to vote no.

Support for a referendum on independence if the province’s demands were rejected was highest outside of Alberta’s two biggest cities, at 61 per cent in support and 39 per cent opposed, while it was lowest in Edmonton at 33 per cent backing sovereignty and 67 per cent backing the federalists. Voters were most evenly split in Calgary at 44 per cent in favour, and 56 per cent opposed.

Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams said the polling numbers may reflect Albertans displeasure with pandemic relief offered by the feds to the energy industry and farmers.

“Earlier polls on support for independence reflected a decrease in support for independence attributed to recognition of Alberta’s interdependence with the rest of the country and the importance of federal support in the face of unprecedented economic peril,” Williams told the Western Standard.

MRU’s Lori Williams

“This poll raises questions about that interpretation. It is possible that respondents were influenced by the wording of the question; asking about support if the federal government would not negotiate.”

The poll asked respondents two questions on independence, including one that does not reference any negotiations with the federal government

“Another factor could be frustration with pandemic fall out, and particularly the federal government’s slow/inadequate response to challenges faced by oil/gas and agriculture,” Williams continued. “It will be very interesting to see whether future polls reinforce this picture. Pointed questions could shed light on the underlying trends that explain it.”

Older voters were more likely to back a referendum on independence, with 43 per cent support of those under age 35, 46 per cent for those between ages 35 and 54, and 56 per cent of those over 55. 

There was a modest gender gap as well, with men breaking 52 per cent to 48 per cent in support of a referendum on independence, while women broke 43 per cent to 57 per cent. 

Poll conducted by Northwest Research, all rights reserved by Western Standard (Wildrose Media Corp.)

While support for independence was strongest if Alberta first sent its “fair deal” demands to Ottawa, support for going straight to an independence referendum was still relatively strong at 45 per cent of decided respondents.

Support for going straight to an independence vote without presenting any demands to Ottawa was highest again outside of the two biggest cities at 57 per cent, and 43 per cent opposed. In Calgary, there were 42 per cent in support and 58 per cent opposed, and in Edmonton 33 per cent in support, and 67 opposed.

The independence question presents a potential third-rail for Alberta’s political landscape, with 82 per cent of Wildrose Independence Party voters in support, 52 per cent of UCP voters, 41 per cent of undecided voters, and just 11 per cent of NDP voters.

Both major parties and their leaders have pledged themselves as federalists, however the UCP used significant anti-Trudeau language until the last federal election. 

On April 27th, the relatively small Freedom Conservative Party and Wexit Alberta announced that their members would vote on a merger to form the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta. 

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


NDP MLA under fire for mocking death of British PM Margaret Thatcher

“The only thing I regret about Margaret Thatcher’s death is that it happened probably 30 years too late,” said Marlin Schmidt




An Edmonton NDP MLA is being slammed for mocking the death of the Iron Lady – former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

“I can still go on to enjoy the fact that Margaret Thatcher is dead. The only thing I regret about Margaret Thatcher’s death is that it happened probably 30 years too late,” said Marlin Schmidt, MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar, in the Legislature Wednesday afternoon.


Thatcher is known around the world as a conservative icon.

Schmidt’s comments drew the ire of former Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

“Keepin’ it classy. @abndpcaucus” Wall tweeted.

Thatcher served as British PM from 1979 to 1990. She was the first woman to hold the position.

A Soviet journalist dubbed her the “Iron Lady.”

Thatcher was also credited with crushing the powerful British union movement and being in charge when Britain defeated Argentina in a war over the Falkland Islands.

Thatcher died in 2013, at the age of 87, after suffering a stroke.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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UCP bill will allow private sale of blood

Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, has brought forward Bill 204 that will repeal Alberta’s ban on the private purchase of human blood.




The UCP is about to repeal a law in Alberta that bans the private sale of blood.

Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, has brought forward Bill 204 that will repeal Alberta’s ban on the private purchase of human blood.

In 2017, the NDP passed the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, which banned everyone except for the Canadian Blood Services from paying for plasma and other blood products.

“A secure supply of plasma is a cornerstone of a modern twenty-first century health care system. The repeal of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act will help patients by making our plasma supply less dependent on international supply which can be unreliable,” Yao said.

Bill advocate Whitney Goulstone, Executive Director Canadian Immunodeficiencies Patient Organization (CIPO), noted last summer Canada experienced its first IG (Immune Globulin) shortage.

Kate van der Meer, said the bill, if it becomes law, will make her life easier.

“I was originally scheduled to switch to SCIG (Subcutaneous Immune Globulin) in May 2019. Due to the shortage, this did not happen. Instead, I had to continue traveling to the hospital every 3 weeks, and struggle to care for my 3 young children while recovering from each intravenous infusion. This continued until the end of September 2019 when the shortage eased and Canadian Blood Services began allowing patients to switch to SCIG again,” she said, in a statement in the government press release.

“Patients have suffered because of our apathy, and because of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act.”

Canada as a whole only supplies 13.5 per cent of the plasma needed for the production of the IG and other plasma therapies used for the treatment of Canadian patients.

The NDP is on the record as opposing the new bill.

“If passed, this bill will divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services to private buyers, who can then sell them to the highest bidder on world markets,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd.

“This is very bad for Albertans. It flies directly in the face of the Krever Inquiry.”

 The Krever Inquiry investigated Canada’s tainted blood scandal, in which tens of thousands of people were infected with hepatitis C or HIV through tainted blood products.

The inquiry’s report led to the creation of a single national agency, Canadian Blood Services. 

Ontario, Quebec and B.C. also have legislated bans on the purchase of human blood. Manitoba has a single paid-donation centre for rare blood types that predates the Krever Inquiry.

Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have private blood purchasing locations. 

Shepherd said: “This isn’t a partisan issue – our single public voluntary system has served Albertans well for decades, and through this global pandemic.  Allowing private buyers to divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services will cause terrible harm to Canada’s supply. Tany Yao’s bill is a terrible mistake, and I hope members of the UCP caucus will join us in defeating it.”

Peter Martin Jaworski, Ph.D., an Associate Teaching Professor in Strategy, Ethics, Economics and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has made the case for allowing blood products to be sold.

“In order to meet the demands of patients, every country has come to rely increasingly on plasma from the United States, one of the few countries that permits some form of payment for plasma. The United
States is responsible for 70% of the global supply of plasma. Along with the other countries that permit a form of payment for plasma donations (including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czechia), they
together account for nearly 90% of the total supply,” he wrote in a paper called Bloody Well Pay Them.

“This situation is unsustainable, a risk to security, and, most importantly, a threat to the millions of patients who currently depend on plasma therapies, those who will in future, and those who would benefit from them but do not have access.

“In order to ensure a safe, secure, and sufficient supply of plasma therapies, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia should withdraw prohibitions on voluntary remunerated plasma collections, and thereby ensure domestic security of supply for our patients, and begin to contribute to the global supply of plasma.”

David Clement, Toronto-based North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said “We applaud the Government of Alberta and MLA Tany Yao for putting this forward. A ban on paid blood plasma was ridiculous to begin with, especially considering that 70 per cent of Canada’s blood plasma supply comes from the USA, where they compensate donors.

“Blood plasma is used for a variety of medical treatments, and plays and important role in the fight against Covid-19. Our hope is that by allowing for compensation, more Albertans will donate blood plasma and help the province overcome the persistent shortages that occur. Czechia (previously the Czech Republic) legalized paying for blood plasma, and saw a 7 fold increase in donations. If that were to happen in Alberta it would be cause for celebration, not condemnation.” said Clement.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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Canada now $1,200,000,000,000 in debt

The projected debt will be $1.2 trillion by March 2021, up from $765 billion a year earlier.




Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Wednesday a deficit of $343 billion this fiscal year – taking Canada’s debt to more than $1.2 trillion.

In a what he called a “fiscal snapshot”, Morneau said spending from the COVID-19 outbreak was to blame for the massive deficit.

The projected debt will be $1.2 trillion by March 2021, up from $765 billion a year earlier.

Before the pandemic hit, the federal deficit was pegged about $34.4 billion.

“Some will criticize us on the cost of action,” Morneau said in the House of Commons. 

“But our government knew that the cost of inaction would’ve been far greater.

“Those who would have us do less ignore that, without government action, millions of jobs would have been lost, putting the burden of debt onto families and jeopardizing Canada’s resilience.”

Much of the higher deficit comes from higher than projected spending under Ottawa’s two key COVID-19 financial aid programs, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The snapshot shows that GDP will shrink by projected 6.8% this year — worst since the Great Depression. But the economy is expected to bounce back by 5.5% next year.

One of the reason the deficit is so much higher is the government predicting the amount of money it takes in will drop substantially.

Personal income taxes are projected to dip by 30 per cent and corporate taxes will be 11 per cent lower.

The national unemployment rate hit almost 14 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 but is expected that rate to return to levels closer to the pre-pandemic era — roughly 7 per cent — by the end of 2021.

“The reality is we’ve witnessed an unprecedented shock to our system,” Morneau told reporters.

“With a crisis of this magnitude, someone was going to have to shoulder the costs and the federal government was uniquely placed to take this responsibility on. We took on this role because it was the right thing to do.”

Tory leader Andrew Scheer called Morneau’s fiscal update a “dire picture of Canada’s finances.”

“The prime minister’s track record proves that he cannot be trusted to lead Canada through the recovery,” he said.

Scheer said Canada is the only G7 country that has had its credit rating cut during the pandemic and Canada has the highest unemployment rate among the group of developed nations.

“That should be a real wake-up call for this government.”

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Federal Director Aaron Wudrick said the news should alarm Ottawa.

“Unfortunately, Ottawa doesn’t seem to have a plan to manage this deep dive into debt. For all the specifics he provided today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau may as well have posted a picture on Instagram,” Wudrick said.

“Pandemic-related spending has caused the deficit to balloon by more than one thousand per cent in just four months. Much of this spending was intended to temporarily address the COVID-19 crisis, but these programs are extremely expensive and unsustainable. Minister Morneau needs to lay out a plan to turn off the taps, but he failed to do that.

“In particular, it is clear that the government must either end or significantly reform the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which creates a strong unintended incentive for people to stay out of the workforce. 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard


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