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Barnes responds to Kenney: “I am an Alberta patriot”, doesn’t support unconditional federalism

“Without transferring a net $20 billion a year to Ottawa, we would retain the freedom to either increase our own spending … or to drastically cut taxes,” Drew Barnes wrote.

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UCP MLA Drew Barnes publicly responded over the weekend to Premier Jason Kenney who said that independence is an “empty threat” and would be bad for Alberta.

Kenney’s comments come on the heels of a dissenting report from Barnes, who was a member of the premier’s Fair Deal Panel. That dissenting report included calling for an independence vote if Alberta was unable to secure a fair deal within confederation, prompting the NDP to demand that Barnes be thrown out of the UCP Caucus.

Responding, Kenney told the media, “I am a Canadian patriot and I believe the vast majority of Albertans in their hearts are patriots. I don’t believe patriotism can be qualified. You can’t put conditions on love of country. You either have it or you don’t.”

Barnes does not name Kenney in his statement, but appears to respond to his main points.

The first line of Barnes’ weekend response was, “I am an Alberta patriot.”

Barnes went a step further in stating, “I do not believe in unconditional support for federalism.”

Kenney told the media that as people and investment fled Quebec during that province’s two independence referendums, so would also happen in Alberta.

“We’re certainly not going to get investment to bring jobs back in Alberta if we create a crisis of confidence by having a vote on separation…They went from Montreal mainly to Toronto. Real estate prices collapsed overnight and hundreds of thousands of Quebecers left the province,” said Kenney.

Barnes’ seemingly took issue with that in his own statement.

“The argument that an independent Alberta will fail, based on equivalating Quebec’s story to Alberta’s, is incorrect,” the Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.

“Quebec’s independence movement was linguistically and ethnically motivated, and therefore scared investment and many of its minority’s groups away, and was fiscally unsound. By contrast, Alberta’s independence movement is motivated by a drive for freedom and equality, and is based on a strong financial footing.”

“Without transferring a net $20 billion a year to Ottawa, we would retain the freedom to either increase our own spending on government programs, or to drastically cut taxes. We would quickly become the first debt-free country in the world…In fact, an independent Alberta would have the 9th highest GDP per capita in the world, ranking us with Singapore and Switzerland…Ottawa never spends a dollar in Alberta that it didn’t take from Alberta first.”

Kenney also said not a lot of Albertans want independence, and that it was an empty threat.

“You don’t make a threat that you’re not prepared to keep, and I have not seen a single public opinion poll that indicates we’re anywhere close to the majority of Albertans voting to leave Canada,” Kenney told reporters.

Barnes seemingly disagreed on this point as well.

“Support for independence is no longer limited to a small fringe…In my own constituency of Cypress-Medicine Hat, people are no longer willing to be bystanders in their own country,” Barnes wrote.

“While there will be heartfelt, honest disagreements about the path forward, I was elected to speak out and represent my constituents, their convictions, and our hope for the future.”

large poll conducted exclusively for the Western Standard in May found between 45% and 48% of Albertans would vote for independence.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/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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UCP has no plans to debate their own anti-independence motion: source

Sources tell the Western Standard that the UCP motion meant to skirt an NDP anti-independence motion will die on the order paper.

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A UCP motion intended to shut down debate on rejecting Alberta independence is likely to die on the order paper without any debate or vote, sources tell the Western Standard.

On Monday, NDP MLA Heather Sweet introduced a motion  asking for the Legislature to reject independence and support a united Canada.

But the UCP refused to give it the unanimous consent needed to allow debate. Instead, the UCP gave a notice of their own motion, which makes no explicit mention of the independence question.

The resolution would “affirm its [Alberta’s] loyalty to a united Canadian federation, and urge the Government to obtain a fair deal for Alberta within the Canadian federation.”

But now, sources inside the UCP tell the Western Standard that the government has no plans to allow their own motion to come forward for debate, instead letting it die on the order paper.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon did not respond to requests for comment, however after this story was originally published, a spokesperson told the Western Standard, “Oral notice for the motion was provided yesterday, and the motion is now on the Order Paper. This is standard procedure.”

Nixon’s spokesperson did not say if and when the motion would be debated.

The NDP motion appears to have been an attempt to try and divide the UCP caucus between its federalist leadership and sovereigntist-leaning elements in the backbenches; most notably, MLA Drew Barnes who said that a referendum on independence should be on the table in negotiations with the rest if Canada fail to secure Alberta a fairer deal within confederation

“Repeatedly, UCP Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes has, without challenge or objection  from Jason Kenney or any member of the UCP Cabinet and Caucus, supported the idea of Alberta separating from Canada,” the NDP said in a release on Canada Day.

Kenney slammed the independence movement after Barnes’ first comments were made public.

Heather Sweet, NDP House Leader, said, “This motion will force Jason Kenney and the UCP to finally take a stand. Fanning the flames of separatism is this Premier’s way of distracting Albertans from his failed $4.7-billion corporate handout, which hasn’t created jobs or drawn in new investment.”

In an earlier interview with the Western Standard, Barnes dismissed the motion at NDP politicking.

“I am very, very disappointed the NDP with the motion would try and diminish the role of Alberta within Confederation,” Barnes said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Yet another U.S. court blow for Keystone XL pipeline

The court kept in place a lower court edict that blocked a key permit for the project.

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The Keystone XL pipeline project has been handed another legal hurdle in the U.S., this time by that country’s Supreme Court.

In a Monday ruling, the court kept in place a lower court edict that blocked a key permit for the project.

It’s yet another legal blow for Calgary-based TC Energy which has been trying to get the pipeline built for years.

Another blow could come in November with the U.S. election. Democrat candidate Joe Biden has vowed to cancel the pipeline’s permit that was brought in by President Donald Trump after it was cancelled by Barack Obama.

Last week, Premier Jason Kenney held a press conference to celebrate work getting underway in Alberta on the project. The Kenney government has invested $1.5 billion in the pipeline and has given TC access to $6 billion more in loan guarantees.

Work on the Alberta section will continue will the U.S. legal morass continues.

It’s been a bad few days for pipeline in the U.S. with the cancellation of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipeline in the Southeast and on Monday a ruling that shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota.

In the Keystone case, an April ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana had threatened to delay not just Keystone but more than 70 pipeline projects across the U.S., and add as much as $2 billion in costs, according to industry representatives, the AP reported.

TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha told the AP the company is not giving up on Keystone, but it will have to delay large portions of the 1,900-kilometre pipeline. 

Keystone was proposed in 2008 and would carry up to 830,000 barrels of Alberta crude daily to Nebraska, where it would be transferred to another TC Energy pipeline for shipment to refineries and export terminals on the Gulf of Mexico.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Former Alberta NDP Minister: People shouldn’t jump to conclusions about Communism

“I know some people will see the word Communist and jump to all kinds of conclusions but I’d say give it a read before you do that, it may surprise you,” Shaye Anderson said.

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Just give Communism a try, you might like it.

That’s the message from former Alberta NDP cabinet minister Shaye Anderson, who served as municipal affairs minister under Rachel Notley’s government.

“This is a good read. I know some people will see the word Communist and jump to all kinds of conclusions but I’d say give it a read before you do that, it may surprise you,” Anderson tweeted Monday in response to an article written by Elizabeth Rowley, the leader of the Communist Party of Canada.

Anderson tweet

The article, in a Communist website called The People’s Choice, covered a variety of tops including the COVID-19 pandemic and the rioting over police racism.

“The pandemic has underlined all the ills of capitalism. These include privatization and deregulation, tax cuts for the rich and the corporations, trade deals that destroy manufacturing and secondary industry, low wages and precarious work, growing poverty and insecurity,” Rowley wrote.

Elizabeth Rowley
Courtesy YouTube

“Eighty percent of COVID-related deaths in Canada have occurred among residents and workers in long-term care (LTC) homes. Most of these are private, for profit operations that are under-staffed, under-funded, and largely unregulated. LTC must be brought under public healthcare and treated as a public service with federal standards, needs-based staffing and funding.

“It is now clear to everyone that ‘we’re not all in this together.’ The wealthy have managed quite nicely. But the poor and unemployed, and those living and working in cramped or unaffordable housing without childcare, are in desperate straits and much more likely to become infected by the virus.

“While Cuba and China have been providing supplies, equipment and teams of healthcare workers to countries around the world, private producers of essential supplies and equipment in the capitalist countries have raised their prices, selling to the highest bidders.”

In the wake of race riots in the U.S., Rowley called for the disarming of police forces.

“The Central Committee received Party Executive’s previously issued statement supporting the protests and demanding an end to police killings and the systemic racism and violence against Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples. The statement noted that this oppression is a built-in feature of capitalism, which helps generate vast super-profits for the biggest exploiters, the large national and transnational corporations,” she wrote.

“The CC reiterated the Party’s long-standing demands for radical reform of policing. These include charging, prosecuting and sentencing police for crimes such as murder, rape and assault; demilitarizing police forces and disarming most police units, and putting an end to racial profiling and carding; enacting strong civilian control over police; slashing police and military budgets and redirecting those funds to civilian and social spending; and abolishing CSIS, the CSE and RCMP, as well as “anti-terrorist” legislation that threatens civil and democratic rights.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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