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EXCLUSIVE: Former Alberta Tory finance minister Snelgrove joins the WIP

“We are thousand of miles away from the people making the decisions and they just don’t get it. Something has to change,” said Snelgrove

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A former top Alberta cabinet minister has publicly thrown his support to the fledgling Wildrose Independence Party.

Lloyd Snelgrove, who served as Treasurer in the Ed Stelmach government, told the Western Standard in an exclusive interview Tuesday, the time has come for Alberta to look at independence.

“I don’t think I’m any different than other Albertans, that having watched federal and provincial governments over the last 25 years, coming to the conclusion the system doesn’t work,” said Snelgrove.

“We are thousand of miles away from the people making the decisions and they just don’t get it. Something has to change.”

Snelgrove said the independence movement was also growing in Saskatchewan and he hopes the province’s look at independence together.

Snelgrove was elected as a Tory in the riding of Vermillion-Lloydminster in the 2001, 2004 and 2008 provincial elections.

He left the Tory party in 2012 after becoming disillusioned with the government of Premier Alison Redford.

Snelgrove said his move to the WIP has had “Zero to do with Premier Jason Kenney.

“It’s clear the system doesn’t work anymore. Just look at Quebec, stamping their feet more and more to get what they want,” he said.

“It’s so easy to be against (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau, but even with Tory governments in Ottawa nothing as changed.”

Snelgrove said the early proponents of a Triple-E Senate were on the right track.

“But there’s no way Quebec and Ontario would ever put up with that,” he said.

Snelgrove, 64, said his role in the new party would be strictly as an adviser – he ruled out running in the next election.

“It’s like JFK said about going the the moon, ‘We’re not doing this because it’s easy, we’re doing it because it’s hard.’

“If we can get 100,000 members by the next election, the provincial and federal government will have to look as us seriously.”

In July, WIP 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.

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.

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

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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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Trudeau says thoughts of Western Alienation are ‘crazy’

The Liberal prime minister made the comment in question period as his Throne Speech was debated.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that any ideas of Western Alienation are “crazy.'”

The Liberal prime minister made the comment in question period as his Throne Speech was debated.

“The Conservatives want to make this a national unity crisis,” said Trudeau.

“I apologize, but this is simply irresponsible. We have shown, throughout this pandemic that, better than anyone else in the world, Canadians are there for one another,” he said in French.

“Thus, to try and sneak in this approach, this political attack, its simply irresponsible and crazy.”

The federal Tory party has already said they will not support the Throne Speech.

Trudeau’s “crazy” remark drew condemnation from Tory leader Erin O’Toole who tweeted video of the prime minister’s comments.

O’Toole tweet

O’Toole brought up the issue of Western Alienation during his first conversation with Trudeau after he won the Tory leadership.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, along with his Western counterparts, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister, have been unanimous in saying the Throne Speech will do nothing to help the economies of the west.

Pallister was particularly critical of Trudeau for not increasing health transfers.

“When your foundation is eroding you fix your foundation first, you don’t start redecorating your second floor sitting room,” Pallister said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Notley says Kenney shouldn’t have criticized Trudeau’s Throne Speech

“I was alarmed by the comments we heard from the Premier today,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley

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Alberta NDP leader has launched an attack on Premier Jason Kenney for daring to attack Justin’s Trudeau’s Throne Speech.

“I was alarmed by the comments we heard from the Premier today – this premier is so desperate to distract Albertans from his inability to create jobs and restart economic growth that he is continuing his fake fight with Ottawa at the expense of the best interest of the people he was elected to represent,” said Notley in a statement released on Thursday.

An angry Kenney has slammed the Wednesday Liberal Throne Speech as doing nothing for Alberta, especially the crippled energy industry.

Kenney is talking to other Canadian premiers Thursday afternoon to come up with a joint response to the Throne Speech.

“In addition to losing 50,000 jobs even before the pandemic, and in addition to shrinking Alberta’s economy with his $4.7 billion corporate handout, Jason Kenney made it clear today that he is willing to put his own political interest over the possibility of a long-awaited and long overdue national drug plan,” said the Notley statement.

“This self-serving decision will undermine the quality and affordability of the health care of millions of Albertans. This is an abdication of leadership.

“Albertans deserve a leader who will do the hard work of building a real economic recovery plan, a leader who will do whatever it takes to get Albertans back to work, and a leader who is laser focused on the challenges facing Alberta, not fake fights with federal politicians.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney’s anger at Throne Speech continues to grow

Kenney called the speech “kooky”, full of “bright shiny objects” and policy ideas that will see Alberta challenging them in the Supreme Court.

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After having a night to sleep on it, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney emerged Thursday no less angry about Justin Trudeau’s Throne Speech.

During a morning press conference, Kenney called the speech “kooky”, full of “bright shiny objects” and policy ideas that will see Alberta challenging them in the Supreme Court.

An angry Kenney said he will be talking to other premier’s later Thursday and they will issue a statement about the speech later Thursday or Friday.

The premier noted not a single word in the speech discussed the crippled oil and gas sectors in Alberta.

Nor was there any mention of the growing concern of Western Alienation.

“All premiers asked the government to focus on two things in the speech – health care and the economy,” Kenney told reporters.

“Instead we got bright shiny objects and kooky objectives.”

Kenney said he hoped the speech would offer something “to allow the energy industry that has been cut off at the knees to get back on their feet.

“Instead we got a litany of policies that would further damage industries that are struggling to survive,” he said.

Kenney also took aim at a Liberal pledge to turn 25 per cent of Canada’s land mass into protected areas.

The premier said such a “sterilizing” move would be “potentially devastating” on Alberta’s mining industry.

Kenney also blasted the speech over it’s clean fuel and other climate change promises and said Alberta “is doing everything humanly possible” to lower carbon emissions.

“If Alberta doesn’t produce these (energy) things they will be produced elsewhere,” he said.

Kenney said governments have to be able to “pivot” during hard times, just like the Stephen Harper government he was a part of did to save the Canadian auto industry.

“The government of Canada had the opportunity to pivot….they failed to pivot,” Kenney said.

Kenney said there were more policies invading provincial jurisdiction “than I could count.”

“It’s a full frontal attack on Canadian federalism,” he said.

“I see Alberta participating in many more constitutional challenges.”

Kenney once again pointed out Alberta has given the rest of the country more than $630 billion since 1960 in transfer payments to help build things like schools and hospitals across Canada.

“A strong Canada needs a strong Alberta,” he said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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