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UCP MLA Barnes demands tougher stance – including possible independence vote

Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes said the issue of Alberta independence needs to be squarely on the table.

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UCP MLA and member of the Alberta Fair Deal panel, Drew Barnes has written his own report to Premier Jason Kenney urging a much stronger stance against Ottawa for the province to get a fairer deal in confederation, adding that the issue of Alberta independence needs to be on the table.

“I am grateful to you [Premier Kenney] for giving me the opportunity to listen to the thousands of Albertans that came to share their vision with the Fair Deal Panel,” said Barnes in a press release moments after the Fair Deal Panel report was released.

“With an increasingly hostile government in Ottawa, you have had the foresight to understand that Albertans will no longer accept the inequities of being a second-class people under the constitution. My colleagues on the panel have given thoughtful consideration to the proposals before us, but it is necessary for me to express clearly to you and to Albertans what I feel in my heart must be done.”

In his letter, Barnes recommends the following:

  • A firm referendum date six months from now expressly forbidding Ottawa from legislating any kind of Equalization program.
  • Alberta should collect its own provincial and federal personal and corporate income taxes.
  • Alberta should hold a referendum expelling Ottawa from spending inside areas of provincial jurisdiction and transferring the tax points of the Canada Health and Social Transfers to the provinces.
  • Albertans should elect a constitutional convention to draft a provincial constitution, to be ratified in a referendum.
  • An Alberta Constitution should include the right to initiate referenda and recall elected representatives.
  • Alberta should immediately take back control over its own immigration under its provincial jurisdiction.
  • Albertans should hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment to not only elect senators, but to equally and justly determine how many seats each province holds.
  • Alberta should hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment to clarify and strengthen internal free trade provisions, including the right to move our resources across provincial boundaries.
  • Albertans should hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment to strictly firewall off any encroachment by the federal government over the internal development of our natural resources.

Barnes said his proposals should be voted on in two broad questions proposed to Albertans in a referendum: one on actions that Alberta can make unilaterally without federal consent, and one on constitutional amendments requiring the consent of the federal and other provincial governments.

“As we do so, we should be clear with Ottawa and the other provinces that if the people of Alberta vote for a fair deal of constitutional equality within confederation, but these proposals are rejected, that Albertans will be given the opportunity to vote on their independence,” said Barnes.

“While I appreciate that my colleagues on the panel do not believe that Alberta can raise the prospect of independence under any circumstance, I must respectfully disagree. A free people must be willing to at some point of injustice without rectification, to draw a line and make a stand.

“I do not make any of these recommendations, and the last in particular, lightly. I was born a Canadian, and sincerely wish to build a reformed Canada that treats all of its people equally and fairly.

“In fact, this is another opportunity for Albertans to lead the way, for by finding equality and fairness for ourselves, we can create the framework for others to find the same. Ultimately, this will help to build a stronger, freer, prosperous, and more united Canada.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westewrnstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby769

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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