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Project Confederation petitions for independent Alberta amid separation sentiments – Globalnews.ca

October 30th, 2019

As talks of Alberta separating from the federation continue to swell following a Liberal victory in the federal election, a new group has come forward to petition the provincial government to take steps towards independence, without seceding from the Canadian Confederation.

READ MORE: Separatist talk renews in Alberta following Justin Trudeau Liberal victory

Project Confederation is an independent group and a subsidiary of the Alberta Institute, an independent, third-party, libertarian public policy think tank.

The group started prior to the federal election, and began circulating a petition and open letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

“In order to move forward, we need immediate action,” Project Confederation executive director Josh Andrus said. “There [are] eight steps outlined in the letter, and we feel that those need to be taken in order to seek a new deal within Confederation — one that puts Alberta in more of an equal footing with the rest of the members of this federation.”

Proposals

The letter’s proposals include: referendums to abolish Canada’s equalization formula and clarify Section 92 and Section 121 of the Constitution Act — allowing for unrestricted free trade across provincial borders — and to reform the Senate to allow senators to be elected, rather than appointed.

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Project Confederation also wants to see Alberta collecting its own revenue on personal income tax, withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan to create an Alberta Pension Plan, and withdrawing from the Canadian Employment Insurance program to create an Alberta employment insurance program.

Other proposals include establishing an independent and privately sponsored Alberta immigration system to replace the federal government’s system — something already done in Quebec.

READ MORE: Preston Manning warns Western alienation could spark separatist surge on the Prairies

The group also wants the provincial government to allow the contract with RCMP to expire in 2032, to create an Alberta provincial police force.

“People are reaching out to us saying they’re not quite ready to separate, but they feel there needs to be immediate action, and I think we struck that tone in the letter itself. We’ve been pushing for a more independent Alberta within the federation,” Andrus said. “We had to strike a tone that wasn’t conciliatory, but it also wasn’t emotionally driven.

“To me, emotion is a part of politics — that’s natural — but we also have to be prepared to act in a rational, intelligent manner.”

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According to organizers, the petition’s goal is 100,000 signatures, and as of Oct. 30, it has over 3,000.

READ MORE: Alberta premier gives pre-budget address, warns of spending cuts

Following the federal election, Kenney addressed the notion that Alberta needs more independence in the federation during a televised address to the province that aired on Global News the night before the provincial budget was tabled.

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“Simply put, in an uncertain world where we can’t count on federal support, we must be self-reliant,” Kenney said. “We must put our house in order so that we are prepared for whatever the future might bring.”

‘Autonomy is appealing’

Lori Williams, an associate professor of public policy at Mount Royal University in Calgary, believes Kenney will be receptive to proposals put forward by Project Confederation.

“Jason Kenney has talked a lot about wanting power akin to what Quebec has, sort of [ramping] up the control that Alberta has over what goes on within the province,” Williams said. “[There is] a lot of appeal for that among those that think Alberta would like to have autonomy, and autonomy is appealing to anybody just on an individual level.”

Williams said that while the proposals could work for Alberta, they each come with individual challenges, including costs to provide the same level of support that would exist for programs while they were under federal control. She said the other potential problem is that there are some powers that belong to the federal government under the Constitution that can’t be transferred to provincial governments.

“The sorts of things that Alberta is struggling with, in terms of federal and provincial powers at the moment, isn’t something that more autonomy for Alberta will fix,” Williams said.

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READ MORE: Analysis: Western alienation is very real in Alberta and Saskatchewan

Independence from the federation without separating could also come with political costs, Williams said.

“It may well be that some who are angry and want nothing short of, let’s say, separation or those who don’t think the provincial government or the UCP [are] doing enough in support of Alberta’s autonomy might splinter the conservative movement,” Williams said.

“The reality is, there isn’t a large constituency of support for separation in Alberta, [but] there is a large constituency of support for the recognition of Alberta’s economic difficulties and a demand that those are responded to.”

READ MORE: Alberta premier to create panel aimed at ‘fight for fairness’ in Canadian constitution

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According to officials in the premier’s office, Kenney is expected to announce a new panel that will consult with Albertans on the province’s place in the federation, which will include public hearings.

“Premier Kenney has been clear that he will continue to fight for a fair deal for Alberta in the federation, and has already taken concrete steps towards that goal,” Kenney’s press secretary Christine Myatt said in a statement to Global News.

“We know that Albertans are frustrated and fed up with a federal government that has not only failed to take the economic situation in this province seriously, but to exacerbate it with policies that block the development and export of our natural resources.”

Officials said the panel will be announced “in the coming days” and that Project Confederation is welcome to submit its open letter and petition to that panel once it is in operation.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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1 dead, 2 injured in separate collisions involving pedestrians in Scarborough – CityNews Toronto

October 30th, 2019

One man is dead and two women are in hospital after three separate collisions involving pedestrians in Scarborough on Wednesday night.

Police were called to Howden Road, near Birchmount Road and Lawrence Avenue, around 8:15 p.m. to reports a man had been struck by a vehicle.

Police said the man was dealing with a matter at the collision reporting centre when he was struck. A police officer attempted life-saving measures but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

At around the same time, police responded to a call near McNicoll Avenue and McCowan Road where a woman suffered serious head injuries after being struck by a vehicle.

Police say around 9 p.m., another woman suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck on Ellesmere Road just east of Scarborough Golf Club Road.

All of the vehicles involved remained at the scene.

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DeepMind AI now keeps up with ‘StarCraft II’ Grandmasters – Engadget

October 30th, 2019

17 “Doctor Sleep” Details, Easter Eggs, And Secrets That Are Just So Clever And Cool – BuzzFeed

October 30th, 2019

“Doctor Sleep” Easter Eggs, Details, And Secrets Most People Will Miss The First Time Around back to top

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One dead, two others seriously injured in separate collisions – CityNews

October 30th, 2019

One man is dead and two women are in hospital after three separate collisions involving pedestrians in Scarborough on Wednesday night.

Police were called to Howden Road, near Birchmount Road and Lawrence Avenue, around 8:15 p.m. to reports a man had been struck by a vehicle.

Police said the man was dealing with a matter at the collision reporting centre when he was struck. A police officer attempted life-saving measures but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

At around the same time, police responded to a call near McNicoll Avenue and McCowan Road where a woman suffered serious head injuries after being struck by a vehicle.

Police say around 9 p.m., another woman suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck on Ellesmere Road just east of Scarborough Golf Club Road.

All of the vehicles involved remained at the scene.

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Frank Ocean Announces Halloween PrEP+ Dance Party – Pitchfork

October 30th, 2019

Frank Ocean has announced the third edition of his PrEP+ party, which is happening tomorrow night (October 31, aka Halloween). Arca, who performed at last week’s party, is set to host. Joey labeija, Vegyn, Last Japan, and DJ Heather are all set to appear. Ocean announced the party with a flyer posted to his Instagram story, which directed viewers to his blonded.world website to RSVP with a code.

PrEP+ was named after the HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis to “pay homage to what could have been of the 1980s’ NYC club scene if the drug… had been invented in that era.” After the first party, Ocean premiered a new song, “DHL.”

Read Pitchfork’s report from the first PrEP+ party, “Frank Ocean’s PrEP+ Promised Justice for the 1980s Queer Club Scene. It Did Not Deliver.

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Five hurt in west Toronto shooting – Toronto Sun

October 30th, 2019

Emergency crews have a northwest Toronto apartment building locked down after a shooting sent four people to trauma centres with serious injuries.

And police say a fifth person showed up at hospital with gunshot wounds shortly after the shots rang out, with injuries described as non-serious.

Just after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, three suspects exited a black sedan and entered an apartment building on Clearview Heights near Black Creek Dr. and Trethewey, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told media at the scene.

Once inside, the suspects entered a hallway and opened fire on a group of people gathered there, firing at least 20 shots.

The gunmen then ran from the building and fled the scene in their car, last seen heading towards Trethewey.

Four victims — aged between 16 and 18 — were rushed to Toronto trauma centre with injuries ranging from serious to life-threatening.

Suspect descriptions are vague, reported to be three males in their late teens to early 20s wearing dark hoodies.

“This was definitely targeted,” Saunders said.

Police officers, including detectives from the city’s gang unit and forensic identification technicians worked late into the night gathering evidence and surveying the scene for clues.

Saunders was visibly dismayed at the city’s latest instance of gun violence, which has so far resulted in seven people shot in less than 24 hours.

Wednesday’s shooting came less than 24 hours after a woman in her 40s and man in his 70s were injured after gunmen opened fire on a home on Conron Pl. — less than four kilometres away from Clearview Heights.

He said Wednesday’s shooting, like most others investigated by police this year, will rely on cooperation from the community to bring the gunmen to justice.

“This is a very solvable case,” Saunders said, adding the shooting would be “very hard to keep a secret.”

“If we can solve this one, it’ll be very good for the people of Toronto.”

Anybody with information or security footage to contact 12 Division at (416) 808-1200, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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John Bolton won’t appear at impeachment inquiry without a subpoena – CBC.ca

October 30th, 2019

U.S. House investigators are asking former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in their impeachment inquiry, deepening their reach into the White House as the probe accelerates toward a potential vote to remove the president.

Democratic lawmakers want to hear next week from Bolton, the hawkish former adviser who openly sparred over the administration’s approach to Ukraine — in particular, U.S. President Donald Trump’s reliance on his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for a back-channel operation.

Bolton once derided Giuliani’s work as a “drug deal” and said he wanted no part of it, according to previous testimony.

Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, said Wednesday evening that his client would not appear without a subpoena.

The Democrats are also calling John Eisenberg, the lawyer for the National Security Council, who fielded an army officer’s concerns over Trump’s phone call with the Ukraine president, and Michel Ellis, another security council official, according to a person familiar with the invitation and granted anonymity to discuss it.

The rush of possible new witnesses comes as the House prepares to take its first official vote Thursday on the process ahead. That includes public hearings in a matter of weeks and the possibility of drafting articles of impeachment against the president.

The White House has urged officials not to testify in the impeachment proceedings, and it’s not guaranteed that those called will appear for depositions, even if they receive subpoenas as previous witnesses have.

Bolton’s former deputy, Charles Kupperman, has filed a lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to resolve the question of whether he can be forced to testify since he was a close and frequent adviser to the president. Any ruling in that case could presumably have an impact on whether Bolton will testify.

Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill say the entire impeachment inquiry is illegitimate and are unpersuaded by the House resolution formally setting out next steps.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the format for the impeachment probe denies Trump the “most basic rights of due process.”

Now in its second month, the investigation is focused on Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine when he asked President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democrats and a potential 2020 political rival, Joe Biden, as the White House was withholding military aid Ukraine relies on for its defences. Democrats contend Trump was proposing a quid-pro-quo arrangement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the inquiry denies Trump ‘the most basic rights of due process.’ (Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

On Thursday, the investigators are to hear from Tim Morrison, a former top Republican aide on Capitol Hill, who served at Trump’s National Security Council and was among those likely monitoring the president’s call with Ukraine.

Late Wednesday, it was disclosed that Morrison was resigning his White House position. He has been a central figure in other testimony about Trump’s dealing with Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, the Democratic and Republican House lawmakers heard fresh testimony about the Trump administration’s unusual back channels to Ukraine.

Two State Department Ukraine experts offered new accounts of Trump’s reliance on Giuliani rather than career diplomats to engage with the East European ally, a struggling democracy facing aggression from Russia.

Foreign Service officer Christopher Anderson testified that Bolton cautioned him that Giuliani “was a key voice with the president on Ukraine” and could complicate U.S. goals for the country.

Previous testimony has revealed that Bolton called Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani ‘a key voice’ on Ukraine. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Another Foreign Service officer, Catherine Croft, said that during her time at Trump’s National Security Council, she received “multiple” phone calls from lobbyist Robert Livingston — a former top Republican lawmaker once in line to become House speaker — telling her the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, should be fired.

“It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch,” she said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.

Livingston characterized Yovanovitch as an “‘Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” she said, referring to the American financier who is often the subject of conservative criticism in the U.S. and Europe.

Public hearings to begin in weeks

Most Democrats are expected to support the formal impeachment investigation resolution Thursday, even if they don’t back impeachment itself, saying they are in favour of opening the process with more formal procedures.

Public hearings are expected to begin in mid-November. Democrats are eager to hear from some top witnesses who have already provided compelling testimony behind closed doors, including diplomat William Taylor, a top ambassador in Ukraine, and Alexander Vindman, the army officer who testified Tuesday that he twice reported to superiors, including Eisenberg, his concerns about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

Vindman is willing to testify publicly, according to a person familiar with the situation and granted anonymity Wednesday to discuss it.

At Trump’s hotel in Washington, during a fundraiser for House Republicans and lengthy dinner afterward with party leaders, the president indicated he was prepared for the fight ahead, said those familiar with the private gatherings Tuesday night.

“He’s a tough guy,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, the Republican whip.

Both career diplomats testifying Wednesday had served as top aides to the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who was the first to testify in the impeachment inquiry and whose cache of text messages provided key insight into Trump’s demands on the new Ukraine president.

Croft, who testified for nearly five hours, described being told at an administration meeting that security funds for Ukraine were being put on hold “at the direction of the president,” corroborating other accounts that have been provided to investigators.

In his opening statement, Anderson traced his unease with developments that he felt threatened to set back relations between the U.S. and Ukraine.

He told investigators that senior White House officials blocked an effort by the State Department to release a November 2018 statement condemning Russia’s attack on Ukrainian military vessels.

Both witnesses were instructed by the administration to not testify but appeared in response to subpoenas from the House, according to a statement from their attorney Mark MacDougall.

The lawyer told lawmakers that neither of his clients is the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry and that he would object to any questions aimed at identifying that person.

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Updated: After blistering critique, Peter MacKay denies he wants Andrew Scheer’s job – National Post

October 30th, 2019

OTTAWA — Peter MacKay says it’s “false” that he’s organizing a Conservative leadership bid, but there is increasing talk among Conservatives that MacKay is a leader-in-waiting for the party — speculation that was given a boost this week by MacKay’s public criticism of the election campaign run by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

“To use a good Canadian analogy, it was like having a breakaway on an open net and missing the net,” MacKay said in response to a question about the Conservative campaign, speaking in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday at a panel discussion hosted by the Wilson Center.

He went to say that nobody wanted to talk about issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, “yet that was thrust onto the agenda and hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly, and he wasn’t able to deftly deal with those issues when opportunities arose.”

MacKay also said Scheer’s climate and energy policies had some good ideas, but weren’t sold well enough in the campaign.

Late Wednesday night, after his comments were widely reported, MacKay did some damage control on his Twitter account.

“I’ve repeatedly said I support Andrew Scheer (and) I worked (very) hard to help him in the campaign,” he wrote. “Reports of me organizing (are) false.” He said his comments were “about our Party’s shortcomings” and the need to improve its policies and communications.

Conservative MPs will be in Ottawa next week for their first caucus meeting after the election. Scheer will have a mandatory leadership review in April, meaning the party’s membership will vote on whether he should stay on as leader. Wednesday’s caucus meeting will be the first of many tests of whether Scheer’s support is strong enough for him to remain in charge.

Multiple Conservative sources have told the National Post that supporters of MacKay are mobilizing around a potential leadership bid, though MacKay himself is unlikely to seek the job unless Scheer steps down. MacKay, who held senior cabinet positions in Stephen Harper’s government, stayed out of the 2017 Conservative leadership race that resulted in Scheer eking out a narrow victory over Maxime Bernier.

MacKay was active on the campaign trail this year, appearing with Scheer at events in Atlantic Canada. MacKay was a Nova Scotia MP for 18 years before declining to run in the 2005 election. He was the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in 2003 before it merged with the Canadian Alliance to form the modern Conservative Party.


Peter MacKay introduces Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at a campaign rally in Little Harbour, N.S., Oct. 17, 2019.

Carlos Osorio/Reuters

Below are extended versions of MacKay’s remarks from Wednesday’s event.

Social conservative issues

I think there was a number of issues that became very prevalent in this election that nobody other than the politicos wanted to talk about. People did not want to talk about women’s reproductive rights. They didn’t want to talk about revisiting the issue of same-sex marriage. And yet that was thrust onto the agenda and hung around Andrew Scheer’s neck like a stinking albatross, quite frankly, and he wasn’t able to deftly deal with those issues when the opportunities arose. And I think among female voters in particular, and those who would have been impacted by any revisitation (of abortion), it created a nervousness or it took them out of their comfort zone if they were considering voting Conservative. Which, you know, frankly, having known Andrew Scheer…like Stephen Harper, who was Prime Minister for almost ten years, there was no intention and there is no intention to revisit those issues. But it created an aura, inaccurate, but impacted very much at that point when people enter the ballot box.

Energy and climate issues

The closest in my view that we came to seeing a big issue was either climate or energy. And on energy, Andrew Scheer actually presented what I think was a compelling idea, but didn’t fill in the blanks of having — he called it an energy corridor, I call it a financial corridor — that would span the country for communications purposes, for the purposes, yes, of transporting bitumen from the oil sands in Fort McMurray, but in Saskatchewan as well, to bring Canadian energy to tidewater. But the issue really didn’t catch on and it didn’t really become a factor. Same with green technology. And while Andrew Scheer was pounded over the fact that he was late in producing a green plan for Canada, when he did, his idea, again, I felt had merit. It was going to be technology, not taxes, that will help us tackle climate change, which I personally believe in….But it’s difficult, you know, with the pace of information, and certainly now with social media, to get traction on some of these big issues. But that’s part of the analysis of, I think, what went wrong in terms of Andrew Scheer’s campaign.

• Email: bplatt@postmedia.com | Twitter: btaplatt

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Strong Galaxy Note 10 sales help stem falling Samsung profits – The Verge

October 30th, 2019