The nascent Wildrose Independence Party made a giant leap forward towards electoral viability with their selection of Paul Hinman as interim leader. Paul’s experience and temperament make him the perfect fit to establish and build this new party. The mainstream media will likely ignore this new and significant development, but that is nothing new when it comes to Hinman. While Paul was rarely one to draw much fanfare and broad attention in the public eye, he was one to get results.
I first met Paul at a small function in 2005 when he was sitting as the lone MLA for the Alberta Alliance Party. I had attended as a skeptical libertarian who felt that the party was too socially conservative for my involvement. I had no intention of joining the party at that time, but after a long chat with Paul I found myself with a new membership, which led to my being involved heavily with the party for nearly a decade to follow.
Hinman had found that elusive balance between social conservatism and libertarianism. While Paul is an observant Mormon, his political philosophy is guided heavily by Frédéric Bastiat who held individual rights to be paramount within society. While it seems so simple, it remains so complex to so many that a person can maintain socially conservative views without feeling that the state needs to impose those views upon others. Paul won me over and it is just that sort of ability to convert which could very well transform the Wildrose Independence Party into a big tent organization which could change the Alberta political landscape.
Paul Hinman has a well established history of political upsets. Nobody expected the Alberta Alliance Party to win a seat in the 2004 general election. Ralph Klein still reigned supreme in Alberta and no fourth party had managed to break through and win a seat in 28 years. It was a narrow win, but Paul managed to unseat a Progressive Conservative Party incumbent in Cardston-Taber-Warner, much to the surprise of the Alberta political establishment. Paul then won the Alberta Alliance Party leadership in what was a small but hostile leadership race. While relegated to a corner of the legislature and without formal party status, Hinman managed to punch above his weight and hold the PC government to account from a conservative perspective, while the Alberta Alliance Party continued to grow.
Internal rifts are always rife within conservative movements. A group broke away from the Alberta Alliance Party in hopes of returning to more socially conservative roots and began petitioning to form the Wildrose Party. It split a movement which was still too small to handle such a division. Hinman negotiated a merger of the disparate groups which involved his sacrificing of his hard won role as party leader in order to bring things back under the united entity of the Wildrose Alliance Party. The degree of humility and pragmatism demonstrated in that move was striking.
The Wildrose Alliance Party was dismissed as a rural rump by the mainstream media and political establishment. Hinman had lost his seat by an agonizing 39 votes in the 2008 Tory sweep and pundits used that loss to dismiss Hinman’s prior win as a one-off political anomaly. Hinman proved them all dead wrong when he defeated Diane Colley-Urquhart in an urban Calgary seat in a 2009 by-election. Once again Paul was the lone sitting MLA in the legislature, but he was soon joined by some PC MLAs who had crossed the floor, which gave the Wildose Party formal party status under Danielle Smith and made them a truly serious political player.
Paul Hinman is a workhorse. His upset wins were the result of his tireless campaign door knocking while still juggling the leadership and management of a growing party. There is no doubt that Paul will apply that work ethic and experience to his tenure as leader of the Wildrose Independence Party. There is a lot of work to be done and there can be no herd of cats more difficult to manage than a group of independence-minded folks.
I expect that Hinman will be dismissed yet again by the political and media establishments. While Paul is capable of compromise, change, learning and growth the Alberta establishment appears to be incapable of it. The Wildrose Independence Party has scored quite a coup with the acquisition of Hinman, though few may quite realize it yet. The biggest mistake that has been made by every opponent of Paul Hinman over the years has been to underestimate him.
Cory Morgan and a columnist for the Western Standard and a business owner in Priddis, Alberta.
GRAFTON: Trudeau cannot lead a nation that he doesn’t believe in
“Distrust in government, a disproportional electoral system, mass immigration, and other factors are poised to meet at the polls next election in a perfect storm of disunity.”
In November 2015, newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave an interview to the New York Times. It was an historic interview, during which the Prime Minister signaled his disdain for Canada as a nation with any kind of unique cultural identity. He said that Canada has no core identity, and that it is “becoming a new kind of country, not defined by our history or European national origins, but by a pan-cultural heritage”. He went on to say that he sees Canada as the “first post-national state”.
Almost six million Canadians – mostly east of Manitoba – supported his vision at the polls in 2019.
The critical take-away here is the clear statement of a “post-national” goal. Post-nationalism involves the global replacement of national identities and nation-states with multicultural supranational entities such as NATO, the UN, the EU, and multi-national corporations.
Disunity now threatens Confederation.
A DART poll conducted on February 24th shows that an alarming sixty-nine percent of Canadians believe “Canada is broken”. Eighty-two percent of Canadians believe that politicians represent their own partisan interests rather than those of Canada.
The Electoral Map resembles a cancerous MRI scan, vividly coloured tumours highlighting patches of tribal discontent from coast to coast.
A poll conducted for the Western Standard in May found that between 45 and 48 of Albertans back independence, depending on how the question was put. Soon after, Wexit Alberta and the Freedom Conservatives merged to form the Wildrose Independence Party, also with a credible leader in the original Wildrose’s first leader, Paul Hinman.
The Bloc Quebecoise holds 32 seats in the House of Commons, giving it the balance of power on national legislation.
What led to this great divide?
We could attribute it to a lack of national leadership, however blaming it all on Trudeau would be too easy. There are other causal and contributing factors.
One is the electoral system. The “plurality system”, also known as “first-past-the-post”, is responsible for the 2019 re-election of the Trudeau government, with only a third of the popular vote. More Canadians voted for Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives. This marginalized the West – which had voted solidly Conservative – and contributed immediately to the formation of the Wexit Party federally, the Wildrose Independence Party in Alberta, and the Buffalo Party in Saskatchewan. Trudeau had campaigned in 2015 on a platform promising electoral reform, but abandoned his promise after taking office. Of course, had he followed through with electoral reform, he would have lost to Scheer in 2019 and we would have a Conservative government in Ottawa, or at the very least, a Conservative plurality of seats.
The reality of the first-past-the-post system is that Ontario (121 ridings) and Quebec (78 ridings) can determine who wins an election. With 338 ridings across the country, a plurality of 199 seats invalidates the other eight provinces and three territories (with only 139 seats combined). The electoral system therefore sows disunity.
Another causal factor may be found in demographics. A 2019 poll conducted for CBC showed that while indigenous voters were abandoning the Liberals, immigrants overwhelmingly support Trudeau and the Liberals. According to the poll, “Forty-five per cent of new Canadians polled say they voted for the Liberals in 2015 and 39 per cent say they currently intend to vote for the party in 2019.” Under the Trudeau government, immigration levels have soared to record high levels, with the 2022 annual target set at 361,000 (comparable to adding a city the size of say London or Halifax every year). Using the CBC numbers, that represents an influx of 141,000 to 162,000 new Liberal voters annually to Canada.
The 2011 National Household Survey revealed that most immigrants (86 per cent) are from non-European countries, and that 20 per cent of the population (6.8 million) were born outside of Canada. Almost all (95 per cent) move to Ontario, BC, Quebec, and Alberta; most (91 per cent) in large cities, and most of these in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Unfamiliar with Castor canadensis, new immigrants are a large voting block inhomogeneous with national voting trends. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver voted Liberal in 2019. Forty-five of fifty ridings in the GTA alone elected Liberal members. For comparison, there are only thirty-four ridings in all of Alberta. This trend will continue to marginalize the West.
Contributing to national disunity is an erosion of trust in the democratic process. Globally, voters are disengaging from mainstream politics and polarizing toward niche parties serving special-interests (Bloc Quebecoise, Green Party, and Wexit
Distrust in government, a disproportional electoral system, mass immigration, and other factors are poised to meet at the polls next election in a perfect storm of disunity.
It may be a tipping point for Canada’s future.
Canadians awoke on the morning of October 22nd, 2019 to a crisis of disunity. The prime minister cannot recognize a national crisis if he does not recognize the nation.
Ken Grafton is a freelance columnist
LETTER: BLM mural is expensive virtual signalling
A reader says that Calgary’s mayor and councillors that want the BLM mural can pay for it themselves, and shouldn’t paint over what’s there already.
This BLM [Black Lives Matter] progressive virtual signalling by Calgary City Council has gone too far. Look farther into BLM and you will see a well organized political movement. Now, funded by City Council to the tune of $120,000 of our taxpayers dollars for BLM murals in Calgary that helps this political movement. How does that help taxpayers Mayor Nenshi?
A respected Calgary artist, Doug Driediger, gave us (1995) Giving Wings to the Dream. Which in my opinion deserves respect from a virtual signalling city council. Our city is in a financial crisis, but city hall seems to find cash for pet projects that make little sense to hard working people who are just making it.
Why are we, as a city funding this mural? It’s not public art, but it is a political statement from a BLM political movement! If BLM wants to paint murals, then BLM can fund that themselves and I hope not erase (paint over) a mural that may Calgarians have enjoyed over the years in downtown Calgary.
Easy to virtual signal for a cause when it comes out of the taxpayers pockets Mayor Nenshi. You and city council want BLM murals then chip in and pay for it yourselves.
It’s time for a change at City Council, time for a change from progressive virtual signalling councillors to fiscal responsible councillors who won’t get caught up in political movements and then pass the bill onto the taxpayers so they can pat themselves on the back.
Respect of cultures all cultures.
CLEMENT: China’s Hong Kong crackdown comes to Canada
China isn’t just extending its iron rule over Hong Kong, but now charging non-Chinese citizens in the West for supporting the democratic resistance.
Hong Kong’s National Security Law is just over a month old and the Chinese Communist Party is already wreaking havoc in what was once one of the freest places on earth. The law – which effectively silences almost all criticism of the government in Beijing – has quickly been used to arrest pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong.
What started with the rounding up of pro-democracy students and political leaders has now turned to arresting prominent Hong Kong business figures, including Apple Daily’s founder Jimmy Lai. Lai was arrested this week on charges of “colluding with foreign powers,” when in reality his crime is that Apple Daily is a wildly popular source of pro-democracy news and commentary in Hong Kong.
To make matters worse, the National Security law is also being used to target anti-communist voices abroad. The CCP formally charged a handful of pro-democratic leaders who have successfully sought asylum abroad. In addition to that, the CCP extended itself to charge Samuel Chu, who has been a naturalized US citizen for over 25 years. When asked about the charges laid against him, Chu stated “I might be the first non-Chinese citizen to be targeted, but I will not be the last. If I am targeted, any American and any citizen of any nation who speaks out for Hong Kong can, and will be, too”.
A foreign power charging non-citizens for violating laws in a country they don’t live in shows that in the eyes of Beijing’s CCP, their reach knows no bounds. That overreach, and persistent threat, landed on Canadian shores just this week. Sing Tao – Canada’s largest Chinese language newspaper – rejected an advertisement that spoke out against Hong Kong’s National Security Law.
While the paper is free (in Canada) to run whatever ads it likes, and reject whichever ads it doesn’t, it does raise questions as to why the paper would turn away several thousands of dollars in advertisement money. It isn’t baseless speculation to assume that the paper rejected the pro-democracy ad because it would put those involved on Beijing’s blacklist. The CCP has already signaled that it will charge US citizens for supposed crimes against the Chinese state, so naturally that same adventurism would extend to Canadians guilty of promoting democracy in Hong Kong.
This over-step by Beijing demonstrates that the CCP won’t just oppress their own citizens, which adds more fuel to the fire regarding how Canada should treat companies like Huawei or Tik Tok. Beijing’s 2014 Counter-Espionage law and their 2017 National Intelligence Law mandates that individuals and firms must support state intelligence work when asked, which pretty much guarantees that your data could be handed over to the Chinese government if Beijing were to ask for it. While these companies may claim that they are independent from the Chinese state, it’s incredibly unlikely that these companies wouldn’t comply if asked for data. If these companies didn’t comply, it is certain that the Chinese state would simply take what it requested, and reprimand those who didn’t comply.
Regardless of what mainland owned firms want to be, their ties to the CCP are undeniable. Coupled with the fact that Beijing will not hesitate to charge non-citizens with crimes against the state makes for a toxic cocktail of privacy violations and state oppression.
That’s why in liberal democracies, we must remain vigilant and support our fellow democratic voices who end up in the CCP’s crosshairs. Because at one point or another, this could affect people in our nations.
David Clement is a columnist for the Western Standard, a Director at 21Democracy and the North American Affairs Manager with the Consumer Choice Center.
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