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LETTER: Alberta has no leverage if we won’t put consequences on the table

A reader says that the premier and panel is wrong to take independence off the table.

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RE: ‘Fair Deal’ will keep Ottawa firmly in control

Derek Fildebrandt is correct in his assessment that the thrust of the belatedly released Fair Deal Panel Report will keep Ottawa firmly in control, especially given the panel’s assertion, “we do not believe the threat of secession is a constructive negotiating strategy”. 

In the news conference related to the release of the Fair Deal Panel Report held on June 17th, a reporter asked for an explanation of the argument for removing equalization from the constitution and how Alberta would benefit. 

In his response, Kenney, as well as explaining how Albertans see equalization as fundamentally unfair, pointed to the effectiveness of Quebec in getting its way. According to Kenney, “I have always said it’s about time we started to take a page out of Quebec’s playbook and the way that they have managed to get so much focus on their agenda within the federation. We Albertans should learn from that effective maximization of leverage by consecutive Quebec governments.”  

Indeed, we should learn from Quebec’s example of how to achieve maximum leverage. However, instead of taking a page out of Quebec’s playbook, Kenney is only willing to take a tiny morsel from that page of Quebec’s playbook (by only being willing to have a referendum on equalization which carries no leverage).

Disappointingly, his perspective was dutifully parroted by the Fair Deal Panel (except for the dissenting view of Fair Deal panelist, UCP MLA Drew Barnes) in its assessment that separation is not a useful tool for negotiation, a position which is completely at odds with Quebec’s playbook, whereby they have successfully managed to get so much focus on their agenda within the federation.

Ron Voss
Cochrane, Alberta 

Letters to the Editor of the Western Standard are posted under this account. Letters do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of the Western Standard or its columnists.

Opinion

LETTER: Will Nenshi mandate masks?

A reader says that Nenshi should stop threatening Calgarians that do not wear masks.

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The word on the street is that the mayor of Calgary is going to institute a face-mask law for Calgarians in the next two weeks, based on the fact that not enough of them are complying to face mask recommendations. 

On July 8th, Nenshi told CTV News,  “Our level of mask wearing in Calgary, in stores and in public transit in particular, is way too low, and I’ve been pushing saying, ‘we gotta do it’ and people aren’t doing it.” Nenshi’s reason for implementing a face mask mandate is not because the death toll in Calgary is thru the roof; he has not even quoted scientific, medical data indicating if masks can contain the spread of a virus. Instead, he states that there are too few people wearing them, therefore we must force them to. Where’s the rationale in that? And why wait for two weeks before instating this mandate?  

If Nenshi and his gang believe that masks save lives, why wait? Why let more Calagarians die in the interim?  To me, his warning that he will issue face masks if Calgarians don’t cooperate sounds more like a threat from an autocratic, “too-big-for-his-britches” politician than a plea from a good-hearted, reasonable, genuinely concerned leader.  

Katrina Kitchen
Cochrane, Alberta

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Opinion

NAVARRO-GÉNIE: The University of Calgary’s “systemic racism” admission is virtue-signalling at its worst

Navarro-Génie writes about the University of Calgary’s self-flagellating virtue signalling.

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The University of Calgary (UC) has admitted to being a systemically racist institution against blacks, indigenous people and other people of colour. The revelation by its Senior Leaders University Team has hardly received any attention. The shocking admission was made on June 24, which coincidentally is the unofficial discovery of this country, when John Cabot landed in Newfoundland in 1497. 

Only three weeks earlier on June 1, the University tweeted a statement denouncing racism and offering support “in these difficult times.” It was retweeted 168 times and received 559 likes (July 14).

Spearheaded in the Department of Psychology, a group from the academic grievance industry reacted to the tweet a week later, charging the university with racism in an “Open Letter”. It is an adapted form letter circulated on other Canadian campuses.

The open letter initially acknowledges efforts at the UC to create an environment of inclusion, and welcomes the new “equity, diversity and inclusion” Komissar this coming August. But it’s not enough. The open letter claims that the UC is systemically racist and has “longstanding, underlying and systemic racism” problems. 

Claiming something does not make it so, however. A skeptical approach to these claims is necessary because the letter indiscriminately casts dispersions of racism on an entire community of scholars and workers. Equally important, a minimum standard of evidence is required in any academic setting. 

The letter says the UC is “the home of racist…sentiment.” If per chance it is, presenting evidence renders the greater service to alumni and donors, to this city and province. 

Alas, beside conjecture, the freest form of association and a cartoonish intellectual attitude, the letter presented no case of systemic racism on the university’s campuses. None. There was racism in “Alberta in the early 20th century,” it reads. There surely was, but does it link to the UC today? “Researchers have shown…racism within schools is among the main reasons for the academic failure of Black students,” they say, without establishing relevance to the UC from school research.  

In a blanket smear, the letter claims that “Students, teachers and administrative staff” can be racist. But saying that there may be racist people on campus doesn’t demonstrate that it is institutional? 

In all, not one example of a person subjected to such reprobate institutional behaviour at UC is offered. The letter even fails to summon the intellectual entrepreneurship to demonstrate how minorities might be underrepresented on campus. 

Similarly, the letter does not define “systemic racism.” This absence of a clear standard illustrates the failure of social justice warrior and the grievance-studies sub-cultures in universities more vividly than rhetoric could. Strong argument based on carefully marshalled evidence has always been a hallmark of scholarly excellence.

In the absence of any evidence, the signatories leapt to the undemonstrated conclusion that “there is need to address longstanding, underlying and systemic racism in our own university.” 

Judging by what follows the racism charges, the letter’s signatories want the UC to become a factory of social justice activists “equipped to advocate.” The adapted document offers a litany of requests to correct undemonstrated problems, including a condemnation of police brutality, “more faculty and staff of colour,” and less rigor in admissions. 

The requests betray an ideological desire to transform the university into a political tool. They want to radicalise the teaching and research, in the name of “protect[ing] the public from structural and research racism, bias and discrimination.” They want “permanently [to] abolish the unsafe practices currently being used to educate community leaders and researchers” without even showing anecdotal evidence of abuse. 

Short of saying the current academic offerings promote racism, they want “programming and curricula…to provide in-depth instruction [not education] on structural racism, oppression and marginalisation, and decolonisation…to provide people with the tools to combat racism.” 

The most radical indoctrinating request wants race at the center of all things and “adopt identity-conscious policies and practices.” Put differently, the UC should become the training ground for a new race-conscious activist who, in radical opposition to the accomplishments of the last 60 years, will judge people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character.

In response, the Senior Leadership University Team admits that the institution has a “crisis of systemic racism.” The response never says whether the university may be a racist emporium for its hiring practices, for failing non-white students or because qualified minority students are being denied entry into programs or the right to graduate? Albertans need substantive answers.

Meaningless politically-correct self-flagellation is one thing. But when the top thee UC administrators openly admit systemic racist practices, they also stain Calgary and this province. 

Marco Navarro-Génie is a Columnist for the Western Standard, President of the Haultain Research Institute, and a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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Opinion

JAY HILL: Lend Wexit your vote

Guest columnist Jay Hill writers about the need for independence, and taking a chance on Wexit.

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Ask any Westerner and they can likely recite from memory a long list of grievances of how Central Canada has misunderstood and mistreated the West. And continues to do so. Some are historical dating back decades, some much more recent.

Many folks – like myself – have reached the breaking point.  The realization that no matter who we elect to govern us, nothing much will change in this regard.

‘The system’ is rigged against us and we must break the cycle that sees all federal governments -regardless of party – focus on appeasing voters in Central Canada to the detriment of the West.

So, we all know why we’re frustrated and even angry, but what is it that convinces some of us there can be a brighter future that Central Canada continues to deny us?

I believe it is because it is not only logical, but it’s the belief we can do, and be, so much better.  And it is deep within each of us. New immigrants have come here to the West for decades, from lands around the globe, regardless of their race, creed or gender identity.  They’ve been made welcome and with those who preceded them, have worked hard to build a future for themselves and their families. Not because there was a guarantee life would be better here, but because they dreamed of a better life and never gave up on working hard to ensure it.

I believe that dream is still very much alive and well in the hearts of each of us here in the West. It is part of what makes us distinct, even unique, from the majority in Central and Eastern Canada. We are different. It is time to reject the status quo, unconditional federalism that has shackled our economy and forced unfair laws upon us. 

Even with all the logical, common sense arguments for breaking free of this abusive relationship with the East, are you still reluctant to “hitch your wagon (reputation) to our team?” “What if it’s taken over by a bunch of ya-hoos and self destructs like so many independence movements before,” you may well ask. Believe me, the eight of us on the current Wexit Board share your concern, but that will not deter us from working as hard as we can to ensure that fate does not befall Wexit.

If seeking independence from the ROC (Rest of Canada) is still a bridge too far for you, then I respectfully ask that you consider lending us your vote… just once. Take a chance for just one election.  Let’s see what can happen if we send some MPs to Ottawa that will only vote for legislation if it’s good for the West.

Not MPs who must constantly weigh their support, or opposition, based upon whether it may enhance or harm their party’s chances in Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa.

We cannot, must not, keep repeating what we’ve done in the past expecting a different result… that’s the definition of insanity. Just imagine if the early Reform MPs of 1993 – myself included – had been demanding “The West Wants Out” rather than “In”, how much further we would have progressed towards independence over the past twenty-seven years.  

I believe in the succeed against all odds, hard working, entrepreneurial pioneer culture that built the West. Pioneers carved out their futures, and ours, with their bare hands. Like others, I worked alongside my father and brothers clearing and breaking raw land to become a field of golden wheat. That’s right, my generation… not people 400 years ago. Westerners know first hand how to overcome adversity, we’re just tired of trying to overcome it from our own federal governments and so many folks east of Manitoba.

If this describes some of your own thoughts and feelings please consider joining us in working for the brighter future we all know is possible.  

Jay Hill is the Interim Leader of the Wexit Canada Party

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