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Trudeau shuffles cabinet as poll shows majority in sight

Trudeau makes key cabinet changes following Navdeep Bains decision to retire from politics

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made three key changes to his cabinet Tuesday morning during a virtual ceremony with Governor General Julie Payette, following the resignation of minister of industry, innovation, and science Navdeep Bains (Liberal MP Mississauga).

Bains said in a video posted Tuesday on social media that he plans to spend more time with his family, and has decided not to run in the next election.

Foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne will replace Bains as industry minister.

Transport minister Marc Garneau was moved to foreign affairs, becoming Canada’s top diplomat.

Mississauga MP Omar Alghabra, previously the parliamentary secretary to the minister of international trade diversification, will take over Garneau’s former post as minister of transport in his first cabinet level appointment.

Former natural resources minister and Winnipeg MP Jim Carr will be returning to cabinet as a minister without a portfolio and special representative for the Prairies.

The cabinet shuffle is viewed by some as a move toward addressing tensions with China, Huawei and the airline industry, in preparation for a spring election.

Champagne will assume responsibility for reviewing foreign investments such as Huawei and predatory takeover attempts amid the pandemic.

Garneau will take over handling Canada’s tense relations with China. This will include working with the incoming Biden administration on key files, such as securing the release of the “Two Michaels”, now detained by China for more than two years in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou

Alghabra will be dealing directly with the airline industry as it continues to push for government aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, and on the issue of refunding the costs of cancelled flights to Canadian travelers.

Alghabra said his life experience, arriving in Canada from Saudi Arabia as a student with only one cousin in the country, as a Syrian Muslim and an engineer, has positioned him well to provide insight at the cabinet table with this opportunity to “serve along giants.”

Carr was one of only a handful of Liberals re-elected in the Prairies during the 2019 election, which heightened tensions across Western Canada over resource sector issues and lack of political representation in Ottawa.

In a statement, Carr described the job as being Trudeau’s “eyes and ears in the West, I’m a lifelong westerner and have a deep attachment to the region, Many western Canadians are feeling frustrated. I will work with them, listen to them and advocate for a strong West in a united Canada.”

The latest cabinet occurs amidst rumours of a spring election, and in the wake of new polling conducted by Ipsos for Global News, suggesting that the Liberals may be approaching a level of support needed to win a majority.

The Ipsos results indicate the Liberal handling of the pandemic to date has placed them close to majority territory – as Conservative support drops, particularly in the key electoral background of Ontario – with the Liberals at 36 per cent support among decided voters nationally (up from 35 per cent in December) and the Conservatives dropping to 29 per cent support (a drop of three per cent since last December).

Ken Grafton is the Western Standards Ottawa Bureau Chief. He can be reached at kgrafton@westernstandardonline.com

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Kenney ‘concerned’ of reports Biden to cancel KXL

And if Biden does cancel the project, Kenney said he will sue.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney – whose UCP government invested $1.5 billion of taxpayers money in the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project – says he’s “concerned” about reports from south of the border that President-elect Joe Biden is set to cancel the project.

And if Biden does cancel the project, Kenney said he will sue.

Reports from Washington Sunday night said Biden will cancel the project on the first day he is in office, January 20.

Biden was vice-president and stood by President Barack Obama on November 6, 2015, in the Oval Office when he cancelled Keystone. President Donald Trump overturned that decision and granted a permit.

Kenney’s statement was critical of the pending decision, but made no mention of the $1.5 billion ownership stake his government took in the project. Biden publicly committed to killing the pipeline project along before the decision to purchase a portion of the pipeline was made by the UCP government.

“I am deeply concerned by reports that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden may repeal the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL border crossing next week,” Kenney said in a statement.

“Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-U.S. relationship, and undermine U.S. national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future.

“In 2019, the United States imported 9.14 million barrels per day of petroleum, 3.7 million of which came from Canada. The rest comes from countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, none of whom share the commitment of Canada and the United States to environmental stewardship, combatting climate change, or North American energy security.

“As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil per day for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with his plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously.

“The Keystone XL pipeline also represents tens of thousands of good-paying jobs that the American economy needs right now. That is why major American labour unions who supported President-elect Biden’s campaign strongly back the project, as do First Nations who have signed partnership agreements, and all state governments along the pipeline route.

“Prime Minister Trudeau raised the issue with President-elect Biden on their November 9, 2020, telephone meeting, agreeing ‘to engage on key issues, including … energy cooperation such as Keystone XL.’

“We renew our call on the incoming administration to show respect for Canada as the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally by keeping that commitment to engage, and to allow Canada to make the case for strengthening cooperation on energy, the environment, and the economy through this project.

“Should the incoming U.S. Administration abrogate the Keystone-XL permit, Alberta will work with TC Energy to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s $1.5 billion.

The Democratic candidate and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

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

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BREAKING: Biden to cancel KXL pipeline first day in office, report says

It will be a huge blow to Alberta, which has invested heavily in the pipeline.

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US President-elect Joe Biden is sent to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project on the first day he enters the Oval Office, says a report.

Biden was vice-president and stood by President Barack Obama on November 6, 2015, in the Oval Office when he cancelled Keystone. President Donald Trump overturned that decision and granted a permit.

It will be a huge blow to Alberta, which has invested heavily in the pipeline.

Alberta has already invested more than $1.5 billion with operator TC Energy. Another $6 billion in loan guarantees has also been made available to the company.

CBC News on Sunday reported a briefing note from the Biden transition team was widely circulated over the weekend after being shared by the incoming president’s team with U.S. stakeholders. 

The words “Rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit” appear on a list of executive actions supposedly scheduled for Day 1 of Biden’s presidency, said CBC.

Biden has said he will sign a raft of executive orders on his first day in office, on January 20, including revoking a Donald Trump-imposed limit on travel from Muslim countries.

During the campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta.

The Democratic candidate and the vice president-elect, Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Alberta and federal governments have promised to lobby Biden hard on the benefits to letting pipeline construction from the Alberta border to Nebraska proceed.

In November, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was optimistic the pipeline would get the go-ahead.

In March 2020, Kenney ordered the Alberta government to buy a $1.5 billion stake in the project that appears to be in deep trouble.

“U.S. energy security is dependent on Alberta as the United States’ largest source of oil imports. Much of the American economy is fuelled by Alberta energy. We look forward to working with President-elect Biden’s transition team and future administration to ensure that this vital economic partnership continues,” said Kenney.

“Canada and the United States must work closely together to protect lives and livelihoods through the COVID crisis, and to return our economies to growth. Alberta looks forward to doing our part in advancing that growth agenda, working with the next U.S. administration and Congress.”

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

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

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North Vancouver councillor says pickup truck is ‘glorification of violence’, ‘petro masculinity’

Mathew Bond, a councillor for North Vancouver made the comment on Twitter Saturday after coming across a parked pickup in Vancouver.

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A North Vancouver councillor says a pickup truck is a “glorification of violence” and is a symbol “domination”.

Mathew Bond, a councillor for North Vancouver made the comment on Twitter Saturday after coming across a parked pickup truck in Vancouver.

“The glorification of violence and domination,” Bond tweeted with disgust, along with a picture of the truck.

Bond hash-tagged his posted “#unnecessarytrucks #petromasculinity“.

Bond tweet

The Dodge Ram with a medium suspension lift did not have a front licence plate, which means it could be from Alberta.

There is also a skull attached below the front bumper adorned with the words “global warmer.”

The post caused an eruption of anger by pickup truck supporters against Bond.

“I’m unclear on the point of this post other than to perpetuate/aggravate an “us and them” position. “Petromasculinity” really? “Unnecessary truck”? With so much crap actually going on do we really need to sit in judgment of a parked truck downtown???” asked Sonya Bonenfant.

Rand Ridley mocked the driving capabilities of Vancouverites with his response: “At least when you get that one inch of snow that shuts Vancouver down this guy won’t be stuck blocking traffic!”

But the councillor was less than impressed with his critics.

“A lot of the replies to this tweet (which Twitter has graciously ran through the quality filter) are reinforcing the point I made,” he tweeted on Sunday.

“Wow, never expected to have so many people on this website thinking about my penis (especially dudes). Weird, but thanks?”

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

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