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Paul Hinman named new Wildrose interim leader

The original Wildrose Party’s first leader is jumping back into politics as the interim leader of the new Wildrose Independence Party.




The new Wildrose Independence Party (WIP) has named Paul Hinman as its interim leader. The new leader was appointed by the party’s Interim Joint Board of Governors made up of representatives of the now defunct Freedom Conservative Party and Wexit Alberta.

Members of the two parties voted on June 29th to unify their two groups into the WIP.

Hinman’s appointment echos the early original Wildrose Party, also made up of a merger of two smaller parties which had lost their lone seat in the Tory sweep of 2008. Hinman led the predecessor Alberta Alliance from 2005 to 2008, and was the first leader of the Wildrose from 2008 to 2009. In that time, he served two non-consecutive terms as an Alberta MLA.

The party is expected to elect its first leader in late 2020 or early 2021. In the interim, Hinman committed to building the party into fighting form and guiding it through its founding convention, likely to be scheduled for the fall.

“The time for asking Ottawa for a fair deal is over,” said Hinman. “The time for half-hearted conservatism is over. Alberta’s time as a subservient to the Laurentian elite is over. The time has come for we as Albertans to stand up for ourselves and put our house in order. It’s time to radically alter our relationship with Ottawa.”

“My mission is to put the new Wildrose Independence Party on the playing field and make sure that Albertans can become fully autonomous. If we can grow this party fast enough, hopefully Premier Kenney will move on these key issues and we will not have to wait till 2023 to start. We need to put our house in order, or as the air attendant says, you have to put on your mask before you can help others. “Alberta’s best interest is also Canada’s best interest.”

Hinman supported the Wildrose-PC merger in 2017 and backed Jason Kenney’s bid to become UCP leader at the time.

A poll conducted a month before the WIP merger for the Western Standard saw the then-pending party in third place at 10 per cent of voter support, behind the UCP at 40 and the NDP and 34.

The same poll found between 45 and 48 per cent of Albertans backing independence, providing the new sovereigntist party with a potentially fertile base of voters to tap into. Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams told the Western Standard that support for independence could see the new Wildrose reclaim much of the first Wildrose’s support.

“Some of us warned of the dangers of stoking such inclinations [independence]in the lead up to the 2019 election. Such anger can turn against leaders/governments who fail to meet the expectations raised. And indeed, the new Wildrose Independence Party appears to be capitalizing on the growing legitimacy of anti-federalist [and pro] independence rhetoric.”

“I would not be surprised to see the highest support [for the WIP] in former Wildrose and Social Credit strongholds [i.e. central and southern Alberta]. As the poll also seems to suggest, there may be enduring challenges for opponents of the UCP and Kenney, splitting their vote for alternatives.”

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


Liberals will turn to private sector to organize gun confiscation program

A Canadian firearms expert said the buying back of now-prohibited firearms could end up costing up to $5-billion.




Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is looking for a private organization to come up with ideas how their gun confiscation program will work after banning more than 1,500 “assault-style weapons.”

Public Safety Canada has invited 15 consulting firms to come up with a range of options and approaches for the planned program to compensate gun owners.

It’s expected any plan will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

A spokeswoman for Public Safety Canada said options that emerge from the selected contractor “may be incorporated into a final program. Costs will be available once a provider is selected.”

Pubic Safety said any plan would would require the successful bidder to consult with other federal agencies, possibly other levels of government and industry experts to devise options that include compensation plans for each affected firearm, analysis of benefits and risks associated with each compensation model and the identification of “other considerations” that might affect the feasibility of each approach.

The first phase of the work is expected to be complete by the end of March. 

The invited bidders include well-known firms such as Deloitte, IBM Canada, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse Coopers, though Public Safety has not ruled out other entries.

Trudeau’s Liberal government announced in May they are banning 1,500 different makes and models of what he called “military-style” and “assault-style” guns in Canada.

The ban comes into effect immediately and was ordered by the cabinet without any bill or debate in Parliament.

In response to the federal order, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the province will look at appointing its own firearms officer.

A Canadian firearms expert said the Trudeau Liberal government’s plan to buy buy recently prohibited firearms from Canadian gun owners could end up costing up to $5-billion.

Gary Mauser, Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, said whatever plan the Liberals come up with will likely end up being a billion-dollar boondoggle.

“Minister (Bill) Blair claimed the cost for the “buy back” of roughly 250,000 firearms would be between $400 million and $600 million—$375 million for the guns and presumably the rest for overhead. That is, if owners comply,” Mauser wrote in a January blog, published before the firearms ban was announced.

“However, the actual full cost of the ‘buy back’ won’t be $600 million; it will be much more.

“Focusing on reimbursement costs is misleading because it ignores the biggest expense—staffing costs. Prohibiting and confiscating an estimated 250,000 firearms is a complex undertaking and would involve considerable government resources. It’s impossible to do with current police resources.”

Gary Mauser

Mauser wrote that if everything went according to plan for setting up the infrastructure to buy back weapons could be up to $2.7 billion.

“Based on these assumptions, confiscating 250,000 firearms would cost the Canadian taxpayer between $1.6 billion to almost $5 billion in the first year. This estimate excludes travel costs and any ministerial administrators,” he wrote.

“Remember, this is just part of the costs to taxpayers for the “buy back.” These estimates do not include the $600 million the government promises to pay owners who surrender their firearms.”

Numerous lawsuits have been filed to try and stop the gun grab.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard


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Calgary BLM murals put on hold after ‘violent viritol, racism and threats’

“The city is not ready,” said Pink Flamingo




Organizers of a group planning four Black Lives Matter murals to be painted in Calgary say the program is now on hold because they say they have received threats.

It comes after thousands of Calgarians lodged complaints when it was revealed the Calgary Arts Development group had hired a organization called Pink Flamingo and was going to paint over a mural called Giving Wings to the Dream, done by Calgary artist Doug Driediger in 1995, that has graced the outside of the downtown Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) building.

“Pink Flamingo will be postponing our mural project to Summer 2021 due to the violent viritol, racism and threats we have received in the last 36 hours. We do not wish to add to the harm our community experiences,” the group posted on their Facebook page.

“We moved forward with this wall after reaching out to the original artist and would not have gone ahead if we did not understand our correspondence as supportive, or at worst, neutral.

“The artist is free to change their mind or express themselves as they see fit, and we must adapt to this because the power dynamic is not in our favour for a variety of reasons.

“We announced this mural weeks ago without backlash, sending more than 145 press releases and doing numerous interviews in regards to announcing the project. Our vision for this wall is also one of hope, evolutionizing this message by hearing it from the perspective of a racialized artist. Nothing About Us, Without Us.

“The last two days, the narrative has changed, and it is no longer safe to carry out the Black Lives Matter Murals this year.

“The city is not ready.”

The city announced Wednesday the mural site would be switched after the outpouring of outrage.

“As there has been unprecedented citizen support for Giving Wings, we are working with Pink Flamingo and CADA to explore new sites for a downtown BLM mural. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in negative and hostile messages directed at Pink Flamingo as a result of the recent media attention. We are working with Pink Flamingo and CADA to monitor social media and support the ongoing communications where appropriate,” Jennifer Thompson, acting manager for Arts and Culture for the city, said in email to councillors.

City council approved more than $120,000 for four BLM murals in Calgary in July.

Coun. Dianne Colley-Urqhart, who voted against the grant, said they weren’t told of any planned locations.

And she blamed Coun. Evan Wooley for the controversy.

“One of the council members made an end run around current policy to get this done,” she said.

Public art projects in Calgary have been suspended for about three years after controversy erupted after things like the Giant Blue Ring and the Bowfort Towers at the western edge of the city.

“I knew there was a risk for controversy. I’d never heard of these people (Pink Flamingo),” she said.

Calgary Arts Development had set aside a budget of $20,000 for the first mural.

“(I have) an unease over the idea that something that’s valid and vital would be covered by another artist’s work,” Driediger told Global News.

“Surely there should be some professional respect for work that exists, so that just leaves me a little concerned.”

The mural measuring nine metres feet in height by 41 metres in width is seen by an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Calgarians per day due to its location opposite the Centre Street LRT station.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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CTF calls for large pay cuts for top Alberta bureaucrats

Alberta’s deputy ministers receive 30 per cent more than the Ontario-West average, while assistant deputy ministers receive 12 per cent more than the average.




The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling for a 20 per cent cut to Alberta’s deputy and assistant deputy ministers’ paycheques.

“Taxpayers can’t afford to keep paying the Alberta bureaucrat premium,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director on Thursday.

“Long gone are the days when Albertans should be asked to pay a 30 per cent premium for their top bureaucrats and Premier Jason Kenney needs to bring Alberta’s bureaucrat compensation in line with our peers.”

The average total annual compensation for Alberta’s deputy and assistant deputy ministers is $327,297 and $234,084 respectively, according to a CTF report based on data from provincial compensation disclosure lists.

Alberta’s deputy ministers receive 30 per cent more than the Ontario-West average, while assistant deputy ministers receive 12 per cent more than the average.

Compensation costs for Alberta’s top bureaucrats increased by six per cent between 2014 and 2019, while total compensation for all Alberta employees declined by four per cent, according to Statistics Canada data.

Terrazzano noted New Zealand’s top bureaucrats took a 20 per cent pay cut to show solidarity with struggling taxpayers during the COVID-19 economic crisis.

“I can confirm that myself and government ministers and public service chief executives will take a 20 per cent pay cut,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the time.

“The Alberta government needs to address its labour costs to balance the budget and begin paying down the debt, and there’s no better place to start than at the top of the pyramid,” said Terrazzano.

“When you compare our top bureaucrat pay with other provinces and the many cuts Albertans are enduring, it’s clear that it’s time to end the Alberta bureaucrat premium.”

The CTF report, comparing Alberta’s top bureaucrat compensation with compensation in other provinces and private sector trends, can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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