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O’Toole platform light on Western promises, heavy on Quebec

In his 50-page platform released Wednesday, Tory leadership candidate Erin O’Toole goes on for page after page what he is promising for Quebec should he be elected prime minister.




It appears what’s good for the goose, may not be so good for the gander.

In his 50-page platform released Wednesday, Tory leadership candidate Erin O’Toole dedicates six pages of promises for Quebec should he be elected CPC leader and prime minister.

But Alberta – in fact the whole of Western Canada – gets less than a single page, with only five points.

Titled “Action Plan for Alberta and the West”, O’Toole said: “No part of our country has suffered more under the Trudeau Liberals than Alberta.”

“There is real anger in the West and elsewhere among those whom Trudeau regards as political obstacles. He has driven this country to the brink of a national unity crisis. It is reckless and it is wrong,” the platform reads.

To fix the woes of the West, O’Toole vows to fix the Equalization and Fiscal Stabilization programs, repeal Bill C-69, pass a national pipelines act, scrap the Liberal’s tanker ban and create a LNG export strategy. No details were given for what a reformed Equalization formula might look like.

No commitments were made for reallocating seats in the Senate, which currently awards Alberta six, Quebec 24, and New Brunswick 12.

O’Toole’s promises for Quebec go on for six pages with five sub-sections.

“Under my leadership, the federal government will respect the division of powers between our two orders of government; above all, it will never interfere in the internal affairs of Quebec,” O’Toole writes.

Under a section titled ” Strengthen the recognition of the Quebec nation” O’Toole vows to:

  • ensure that Quebec never be under-represented in the House of Commons, whatever its demographic weight within the Canadian federation;
  • work with the government of Quebec in order to significantly increase its autonomy in respect to decisions related to immigration, including refugees and family reunification;
  • remain open to the development of new administrative agreements with the government of Quebec with a view to promoting decentralized federalism;
  • limit federal spending powers in Quebec’s fields of jurisdiction;
  • make annual federal transfers for social programmes unencumbered by restrictive conditions;
  • develop a plan for a return to balanced budgets without cutting transfers to the provinces;
  • respect the Constitution Act of 1867 by the application of a non-intervention approach in respect to internal affairs within Quebec’s fields of jurisdiction.

Under a section called “Public security”, O’Toole says he will:

  • strengthen our existing customs infrastructure;
  • modify the agreement on safe third countries by abolishing the administrative breach which has resulted in illegal border crossings;
  • permanently close illegal border crossing points such as Roxham Road.
  • strengthen the legal penalties provided for in the criminal code for persons hindering the proper functioning of energy transportation infrastructures;
  • ensure that the movement of those resources necessary for the proper functioning of our essential industries and businesses will never be interrupted;
  • consolidate our strategic reserve of personal protective equipment;
  • select Canadian Forces Base Bagotville as the main site to host the Government of Canada’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SATP).
  • reassess all federal regulations concerning the labelling of food products so as to ensure that both their contents and country of origin are clearly identified;
  • work with community stakeholders in order to develop policies facilitating the transfer of family farms from parents to their children;
  • amend existing laws in order to allow livestock owners to use local slaughterhouses, reducing both stress to the animals and the production of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from transportation to distant facilities;
  • protect our supply management systems;
  • allow more flexibility in the allocation and management of farmer assistance programmes;
  • put an end to the failure of the Liberal government in commercial treaty negotiations and their negative impact on the industry dairy. Provide for full compensation as promised by the present government all the while ensuring flexibility in the allocation of funds;
  • promote free trade in agricultural and food products among and between provinces, including alcohol.
  • protect the free movement of goods, services and citizens across our entire transportation infrastructure, enforcing our laws and maintaining order in the event of illegal blockades;
  • upgrade federal port facilities;
  • strengthen maritime safety by renewing our fleet of icebreakers in partnership the Davie shipyard, to be designated as a full partner within the National Shipbuilding Strategy;
  • tackle the logistic and security problems plaguing rail networks in several regions of Quebec.

In the “Innovation” section of his Quebec platform, O’Toole says he will:

  • support innovative private sector projects in the various regions of Quebec;
  • work in partnership with the Government of Quebec in promoting the Saint-Laurent Project, a maritime strategy for Quebec’s economic development comprising the creation of ten innovation zones;
  • provide strategic and targeted assistance to start-ups in the new economy;
  • adopt budgetary incentives in order to enhance vocational training in our cutting-edge technological sectors;
  • encourage entrepreneurial initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • adopt financial incentives for the development of innovative local production, such as greenhouses and aquaculture;
  • adopt a government purchasing policy on low carbon footprint materials;
  • reform and up-date the law on animal species in order to make it more responsive to the needs of stakeholders by taking account of the presence of subspecies, as in the case of woodland caribou.

In the “Infrastructure section for Quebec, O’Toole vows to:

  • provide financial assistance to the Government of Quebec for the construction of the third link in the Quebec City area as well as supporting regional infrastructure projects prioritized by the province and various municipalities;
  • honour current funding agreements allocated to various public transit projects in the province;
  • connect all of rural Quebec to high-speed internet;
  • transfer, where necessary, further port infrastructures to the provincial government, accompanied by adequate financing.

Finally, in the “taxation” section, O’Toole said he will:

  • cancel Liberal tax hikes;
  • encourage entrepreneurship and “re-entrepreneurship” by introducing a version of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) for authorized withdrawals from Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP), in this instance for investment in the creation of first-time SMEs or the purchase of existing SMEs;
  • bring back tax fairness by eliminating the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on subscriptions to Canadian digital platforms, thereby promoting online cultural content by Canadian cultural concerns such as Illico and Tou.tv. The objective is to create a level playing field with foreign digital platforms such as Netflix;
  • encourage the occupation and management of private forest land, big and small, by granting their owners the same tax benefits enjoyed by major forest producers.

Some of the things promised Quebec have also been sought after in Alberta.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said he is supporting O’Toole in the race.

In an exclusive poll last month 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.

The four candidates currently qualified for the final ballot are O’Toole, Peter MacKay, Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan.

The Tory leadership race will have mail-in voting this summer and conclude August 21.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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


Alberta brewery shocks Maori people by naming beer after their pubic hair

New Zealand TV presenter Te Hamua Nikora, a member of the Maori community, blasted the brewery on his FaceBook page.




An Alberta brewery has unwittingly offended the Maori people of New Zealand by naming one of its beers after their pubic hair.

The Hell’s Basement brewery in Medicine Hat used the Maori word “huruhuru” to name its “New Zealand hopped pale ale”.

Unfortunately, in the Maori language “huruhuru” means pubic hair.

New Zealand TV presenter Te Hamua Nikora, a member of the Maori community, blasted the brewery on his FaceBook page.

“Some people call it appreciation, I call it appropriation,” he wrote.

Nikora said he contacted the brewery to inform them of their blunder.

“Don’t call beer pubic hair unless you make it with pubic hair,” he said.

Brewery co-founder Mike Patriquin said in statement to the New Zealand news site RNZ he thought “huruhuru” meant “feather” and he didn’t realise it was a reference to pubic hair.

“We did not realise the potential to offend through our artistic interpretation, and given the response we will attempt to do better in the future,” he said.

“To those who feel disrespected we apologise. We also do not think pubic hair is shameful, though we admit it may not go well with beer.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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Gov.-Gen. Pyette spending hundreds of thousands of dollars so she doesn’t have to see people

But Pyette’s spokeswoman says Canadians don’t have to right to ask about her living arrangements.




There’s more evidence out of Ottawa of Gov.-Gen. Julie Pyette acting like a drama queen – including spending $141,000 to plan for a private staircase that was never built.

But Pyette’s spokeswoman says Canadians don’t have to right to ask about her living arrangements.

It was part of hundreds of thousands of dollars Pyette demanded in privacy upgrades before she would move into Rideau Hall – but she still hasn’t moved into her official residence almost three years into her five-year mandate. 

More than $117,500 was also spent on a gate and series of doors to keep people away from Payette’s office, according to the National Capital Commission (NCC), which manages the official vice-regal residence.

While a large chunk of the grounds of Rideau Hall are open to the public, Payette “wanted to come and go without anyone seeing her,” one source with knowledge of the project told the CBC.

Multiple sources told CBC, Payette doesn’t like maintenance workers in her line of sight and even RCMP protection officers aren’t allowed to stand directly outside her office door and must hide in a room down the hallway.

Early in Payette’s mandate, CBC reported she wanted a door for her cats to be able to exit the living quarters on the second floor and go outside. The idea then changed into a private exit for Payette.

CBC said a team of government staff and outside companies spent months working on the project and going through a rigorous approval process to make the addition to the heritage building, according to sources. But the staircase was never built. 

But Payette’s press secretary, Ashlee Smith, suggested it’s not in the public’s interest for the media to ask about Payette’s living arrangements.

“To date, outstanding issues regarding universal accessibility and privacy in the space provided in Rideau Hall for the Governor General have not yet been addressed,” said Smith in a statement to CBC. 

“In this day and age, the interest in this seems contrary to respecting the life and privacy of a person.”

During the pandemic, Payette has spent time working at her own cottage in Quebec which means RCMP have to travel to the area near Mirabel and stay in hotels, the CBC reported.

Just last month there were claims the Queen’s representative in Canada had seen a mass exodus of staff while reducing others to tears after dressing-downs.

“Four members of Payette’s communications team have departed during the pandemic period alone. A fifth person is leaving this week and another two have taken leaves of absence. It’s just the latest wave of staff to quietly transfer out of the small office in response to mistreatment during Payette’s mandate”, multiple sources told the CBC.

“This has gone from being one of the most collegial and enjoyable work environments for many of the staff to being a house of horrors – it’s bullying and harassment at its worst,” one source told CBC.

CBC said they had spoken to dozens of sources to come up with the portrait of a tyrant Pyette.

The sources told CBC Payette has yelled at, belittled and publicly humiliated employees. They accused her of throwing tantrums in the office and, on one occasion, tossing an employee’s work aside and calling it “sh&%.”

CBC reported on one day along multiple people were seen leaving Pyette’s office in tears.

Multiple sources told CBC Payette routinely complained of being tired, underfed and overworked.

But Rideau Hall said Payette and “the management of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General ‘strongly believe’ in the importance of a healthy workplace.”

“We deeply regret this reporting, which is in stark contrast to the reality of working at the OSGG, and obscures the important work done by our dedicated staff in honouring, representing, and showcasing Canadians,” said Ashlee Smith, press secretary to the Governor General, in a statement to CBC.

Payette, a former astronaut, was appointed Governor General on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in October 2017. Her term runs until 2022.

At the beginning of her mandate, CBC reported, Payette put staff on the spot by quizzing them about outer space — asking them to name all the planets in the solar system, for example, or to state the distance between the sun and the moon.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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WATCH: Alberta to explore nuclear option

Kenney said Alberta will enter into talks with Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to support the development of versatile and scalable small modular reactors.




Alberta is joining three other province to try and launch small scale nuclear power plants, says Premier Jason Kenney.

Kenney said Friday Alberta will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to support the development of versatile and scalable small modular reactors (SMRs).

In a release, the government said SMRs are smaller than traditional nuclear reactors and scalable to suit local needs, with lower upfront capital costs and enhanced safety features. This new and versatile technology could supply non-emitting, low-cost energy for on-grid and off-grid communities in Alberta, including remote and rural areas of the province, as well as industries with a significant need for steam, such as Alberta’s oil sands.

“Our government is exploring all opportunities that could help diversify our economy and create jobs for Albertans,” said Kenney.

Government of Alberta video

“We are building on our track record of responsible and innovative energy production by exploring the potential for small modular reactors, which have the potential to generate reliable and affordable energy, while also strengthening our traditional resource sectors and reducing emissions.

“We are excited to collaborate with our provincial partners to stay ahead of the game in the development of this promising technology.”

The government said SMRs would be small enough to be built in a factory and shipped by truck, rail or ship.

A typical SMR would generate between two and 300 megawatts of electricity, which could provide power for a village or small city. In comparison, a conventional nuclear reactor can generate 600 to 1,000 megawatts, which can provide power for a large city.

SMRs could operate independently or be linked to multiple units, depending on the required amount of power.

“Alberta’s rich uranium deposits, respected innovation and research sector, and technically skilled and educated workforce could make us an attractive destination to develop and deploy SMRs,” said Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a statement.

“By signing on to this agreement, our government is taking another step to attract investment and job creators to our province by ensuring we have the appropriate regulatory framework in place should private industry decide to pursue this emerging technology.”

In December 2019, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to support the development and deployment of SMRs.

Canada is the second largest uranium producer in the world, with about 15 per cent of total world production.

The Athabasca Basin, which straddles the northern Alberta-Saskatchewan border, contains some of the greatest uranium resources in the world.


Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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