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‘Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan’ set for a membership vote

Members of Wexit Saskatchewan will vote on choosing “Buffalo Party” as their new name.

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Wexit Saskatchewan is considering a name change just two months after it was given official party status. On June 3, the party’s executive board voted in favour of the name “Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan”. However, the party announced a few days later that it will put the choice to its membership in an online vote.

In a post on the Wexit Saskatchewan website, the party said, “Over the last few months, we have heard both membership support and toleration for the registered name and feel at this time (as we move towards a Founding Convention this summer) it is imperative to allow the membership to decide on the name of this grassroots independence party.”

The executive sees some advantages in distinguishing itself from the “Wexit” name. 

Party executive member Harry Frank told the Western Standard that his party did not want to be associated with all of the broad range of comments on the VoteWexit.com Facebook page, which has 3,600 unmoderated posts per day.

“They basically let anybody post anything they want, and a lot of it may not even have to do with Wexit. People were getting pissed off. You’re posting a whole bunch of crap from the [United] States. Just racist comments…I might make the odd comment and usually it’s Wexit Sask has nothing to do with these guys.”

Frank said, “People just saying, ‘I’m fed up with this site, this is ridiculous,’ you know, ‘you just lost my vote,’ so that’s something that we want to try and curtail.”

According to the party’s website, “All members will receive an email containing a secure voting link beginning on the morning of June 28th, 2020. The poll will remain open until 6:00pm on July 4th, 2020. The results will be published within days shortly thereafter.”

Two members of the executive resigned over the name change, partly because they supported the old name (Wexit), and partly because at that time the executive had not yet decided to put the matter to a vote of members. The former executive members talked to the Western Standard on the condition of anonymity.

“My position was stay the course, deal with a name later. Rome wasn’t built overnight, so quit trying to please everybody. Do we stand for something, or more worried about what everybody thinks?” said one. “I won’t be ‘buffaloed’ into virtue signaling.”

The second former executive member told the Western Standard, “I can’t hear that name without seeing Michelle Rempel’s face.”

Michelle Rempel, Glen Motz, Arnold Viersen, and Blake Richards were four Conservative Alberta MPs who published the Buffalo Declaration earlier this year in the Western Standard. The declaration called for federal reforms to rectify ‘critical injustices’ against Alberta.

Other names were pondered, including Liberation Party of Saskatchewan, Prairie Freedom Party, and Grass Roots Independence Party. However, Elections Saskatchewan wouldn’t let the party use the word “Independence”, deeming it too close to “independent candidate”. This wasn’t the case in next door, where Elections Alberta approved the name “Wildrose Independence Party” for the pending merger of the Freedom Conservative Party and Wexit Alberta. 

“We found out you can’t use the word ‘Progressive’ in it, ‘Conservative’, ‘Saskatchewan’, ‘New’,  anything that relates to any other party you can’t use in your name…”

The Province of Buffalo was proposed by the former Premier of the Northwest Territories, Sir Frederick Haultain. Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier decided to create a separate Alberta and Saskatchewan instead.

A search of domain info on the Canadian Internet Registration Authority shows that “buffaloparty.ca” was registered on May 2 of this year. The Wexit movement is represented by VoteWexit.com. However, a visit to VoteWexit.caautomatically redirects to a clip of the 1978 film Jaws.

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Affairs Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a Research Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and is the former Saskatchewan Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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Alberta union leader says ‘sorry’ for comparing UCP to Nazis

“I, Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, apologize unreservedly for invoking the name of Adolf Hitler and the monstrous Nazi government of Germany.”

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The head of an NDP-affiliated union in Alberta has apologized for comparing the UCP government to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party.

“Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, famously said “always accuse your enemies of what you are doing yourself.” That’s exactly what’s going on with Jason Kenney’s union-busting Bill 32. It’s the UCP & its corporate friends who are gaming the system,” Alberta Federation of Labour head Gil McGowan tweeted Monday.

“And, yes, I’m accusing the UCP of adopting tactics pioneered by the Nazis and being implemented right-wing authoritarians today. Hungary, Turkey, Brazil, India, Trump’s America. These are all countries led by authoritarians who Kenney calls friends. This is what we’re up against.”

The tweets drew cross-country condemnation, especially from Jewish groups.

McGowan initially stood by the tweet, but then Wednesday finally apologized.

“I, Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, apologize unreservedly for invoking the name of Adolf Hitler and the monstrous Nazi government of Germany, in my criticism of political tactics adopted by the UCP government of Alberta,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

“While I continue to believe that the world is experiencing an alarming rise in right-wing authoritarianism which threatens the rights and well-being of millions, including historically persecuted people, like the Jewish population of the world; and while I also continue to believe that the UCP is exhibiting a troubling willingness to implement tactics, strategies and policies inspired by these new populist strongmen, I was wrong to use the Nazi regime as a point of reference.

“After engaging in conversation with a representative of the Calgary Jewish Federation and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, it became clear to me that my use of a quote widely attributed to Hitler’s propaganda chief could trigger traumatic memories for survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta crude reaches NB refinery after 12,000 km journey

Cenovus announced Canada Day is first shipment had been loaded onto tanker Cabo de Hornos in the Trans Mountain loading area in Burnaby, and was on its way to the Irving refinery.

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Alberta’s first shipment of crude has reached the refinery in New Brunswick, after a circuitous journey of nearly 12,000 km.

Cenovus announced Canada Day is first shipment had been loaded onto tanker Cabo de Hornos in the Trans Mountain loading area in Burnaby, and was on its way to the Irving refinery.

But instead of flowing along an Energy East pipeline which was kiboshed, the oil was sailed down the Western seaboard, through the Panama Canal, and up the Eastern Seaboard to New Brunswick, a distance of 11,900 km.

“We were pleased with the economics of this transaction and excited to work with another strong Canadian company like Irving Oil,” said Keith Chiasson, Cenovus Energy Executive Vice-President, Downstream, in a statement when the ship left Burnaby.

“This is a one-off shipment for now, but we think there’s tremendous potential for more oil from Western Canada to make its way east, expanding our customer base here at home. It’s truly a Canadian success story.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta’s gambling profit should be used to create new welfare payment, says think tank

“Those at the margins of society are paying disproportionately into the coffers,” the report concludes.

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Alberta’s more than $1.4 billion in gambling profits should be used to give the province’s poor a monthly payment, similar to welfare, says a national think tank.

Think tank Cardus, in a report released Wednesday, said the lowest-income households in Alberta pay the provincial government an estimated 7% of their annual incomes through gambling – triple the proportion that the wealthiest Albertans pay.

“Those at the margins of society are paying disproportionately into the coffers,”  the report concludes.

The report, called Royally Flushed, outlined ways to turn Alberta Gaming and Lottery Corporation (AGLC) revenue toward reducing poverty instead of mixing it in with the province’s general tax revenue.

It recommends creating a gaming equality benefit, which “would re-direct AGLC’s $1.4 billion annual contribution away from general government revenues toward low-income families through monthly support payments similar to the province’s social assistance system.”

It also says AGLC profits be used to incentivize savings – “one of the best ways to ensure families don’t turn to usurious payday loans. This can boost the savings accounts of low-income families, following a model similar to government top-ups of RESPs contributions or through prize-linked savings accounts.”

“I hope Alberta’s government takes this research seriously and seizes the opportunity to turn bad habits into good,” says Johanna Wolfert, a Cardus researcher and report co-author.

The report also found: 

  • AGLC generated more than three quarters of its 2019 profit from slot machines and video lottery terminals, which are designed to override players’ conscious, rational control.
  • Albertans are likely spend almost six times more on gambling than they report.
  • AGLC revenue is treated exactly the same way as general tax revenue; it is not designated specifically for community improvements.

“Alberta made a mistake in 2019 when it started shovelling AGLC’s casino, lottery, and slot machine proceeds into general government revenues,” says Brian Dijkema, Cardus Vice-President of External Affairs and co-author of Royally Flushed.

“That simply solidified the status of Alberta’s gambling system as a regressive form of taxation, disproportionately taking money from those who can least afford it.”

Royally Flushed: How gambling can work for, not against, Alberta is available online.

Cardus is a “non-partisan, faith-based think tank and registered charity dedicated to promoting a flourishing society through independent research, robust public dialogue, and thought-provoking commentary.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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