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Pierre Trudeau statue blackfaced

As activists vandalize and petition for the removal of statues they consider offensive, someone in Ontario took matters into their own hands.

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A statue of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau was vandalized in Ontario, with black spray paint on the image’s face.

The York Regional Police were alerted Thursday morning that the statue had been given “blackface”, and the vandalism is being investigated as a hate crime. The painted face is a likely reference to the multiple known cases of Pierre Trudeau’s son, current prime minister Justin Trudeau, wearing blackface.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

As progressive activists vandalize and petition for the removal of historical figures across the world, the breadth of their target has widened. In Canada, activists have succeeded in removing a statue of Canada’s leading founding father, Sir John A. MacDonald from Victoria, B.C. Activists are currently attempting to remove a statue of Mahatma Gandhi from Carleton University, for his views of black Africans in the 1800s.

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario.

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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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