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Wexit: How a political divide in Western Canada is driving calls for separation – CTV News

October 22nd, 2019

Wedged between the federal government’s climate policy and the politically driven oil-and-gas economy in the west lies a deep-seated regional divide that some believe has reached a breaking point.

As calls for a so-called “Wexit” began trending on social media, a newly re-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to the stage to acknowledge the frustration felt by voters in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“To Canadians in Alberta and Saskatchewan, know that you are an essential part of our great country. I’ve heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you,” Trudeau said during his victory speech.

But the sentiment did not reach some Conservatives, including Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who renewed his calls for Trudeau to cancel the federal carbon tax, rework the equalization formula and build pipelines to reach international markets.

“There is a fire burning here in the Prairie Provinces… What I am doing is handing him a fire extinguisher and I’m asking him not to show up with a gas can,” Moe said Tuesday.

A quick glance at Canada’s new electoral map points towards a growing frustration in the western provinces.

Though the Liberals won a minority government in Monday night’s election, the party was shown the door in Alberta and Saskatchewan where the Conservatives picked up 47 out of 48 possible seats.

Most of that frustration can be linked back to Alberta’s oil industry, where tens of thousands of people have been laid off and pipeline projects remain up in the air. But experts say calls for western independence stem from far beyond the current state of the oil industry — it’s an issue that spans generations.

“It’s not just oil and gas; it’s also the equalization payments, the premise of which is oil and gas. Without the resource wealth from Alberta, the equalization program would not exist and everybody knows that — especially the recipients in Ontario and Quebec,” Barry Cooper, political scientist and professor at the University of Calgary, told CTVNews.ca by phone Tuesday.

“It’s about the bizarre ingratitude of Laurentian Canada and what they have taken from here. People are saying, ‘What is the point of belonging to a political organization where we are donors and no one says thank you.’”

Cooper is linked to the “Calgary School,” a group of Conservative-linked academics at the University of Calgary whose work largely focuses on Western Canada interests.

He notes that the region has always had different interests from the rest of the country, pre-dating confederation. But renewed motivation for a separatist movement is likely thanks to increased polarization between federal climate policy and oil industry.

“What’s new is this ideological attack on the Alberta and Saskatchewan oil-and-gas industry, motivated by what many people here think are fraudulent complaints about the environment,” he said.

“This time it might be a little bit different because so much of the economy of the country relies on the oil sands.”

‘The concept of Canada has died in people’s hearts’

At the helm of calls for an independent west is Peter Downing, founder of Wexit – as in “western exit” – Alberta.

Downing created the group in a bid to bring together the small, fractured parties all calling for independence and harness their collective frustrations to create a larger group that would vie for party status, eventually bringing together similar movements in B.C., Saskatchewan and western Manitoba to form Wexit Canada.

“People are heartbroken,” Downing told CTVNews.ca by phone Tuesday. “The concept of Canada has died in a lot of people’s hearts.”

He says that many at the heart of the movement feel that the votes of those in Western Canada, and Alberta in particular, don’t count federally, with many growing tired of having “money and resources” stripped from the province.

“We really do have a pioneer mindset, we have an expectation of taking care of ourselves,” Downing said.

Wexit’s Facebook page experienced a surge of support in the hours following news of a Liberal minority win on Monday, growing from just 4,000 members to over 171,000 by Tuesday.

The attention has already sparked controversy, raising allegations of Russian backing thanks to a recent article by Russian news agency Sputnik — allegations Downing calls entirely false. But Downing hopes this surge of attention will put further pressure on the provincial government.

“Wexit Canada will be the Reform Party 2.0.,” he said. “Their slogan was ‘The West Wants In,’ but ours is ‘The West Wants Out.’”

According to Angus Reid polling released in February, 50 per cent of Albertans believed separation was a real possibility, compared to 68 per cent of Canadians who thought it unlikely.

That same poll found that 60 per cent of Albertans would either strongly or moderately support the province joining a Western separatist movement.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, however, is largely seen as a federalist and has addressed calls for separation in social media campaigns.

“Albertans have been rightfully frustrated by the unfair deal we are getting in the Federation going as far as to even express support for separation,” Kenney tweeted in August.

“I don’t want to let @JustinTrudeau push us out of our country. I’d rather focus on separating him from the Prime Minister’s office.”

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Frustration rises in Alberta oil patch after Liberal election win – The Globe and Mail

October 22nd, 2019

One positive for investors is that the election brings some certainty to the energy market, sending a clear signal that carbon pricing is here to stay.

CHRIS WATTIE/Reuters

The election of a Liberal minority under Justin Trudeau has deepened longstanding anxieties within Alberta’s oil patch, amid fears that a weakened government will need to lean heavily on parties that are hostile to the energy industry.

Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals faced a groundswell of frustration on Monday from voters in Alberta and Saskatchewan who are deeply suspicious of his commitment to finish work on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. After five years of economic malaise in both provinces, along with Mr. Trudeau’s failure to make sufficient progress on a new pipeline during his first mandate, the Liberals were swept from Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in the oil patch since 2015 and billions in international investment has fled to other global energy markets. Many producers have blamed a lack of new pipeline capacity and resulting bottlenecks for the drop in activity.

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As a sign of the industry’s plight, dozens of employees streamed out of Husky Energy Inc.’s Calgary headquarters on Tuesday morning with layoff notices.

Dan Halyk, chief executive of Calgary’s Total Energy Services Inc., said he spent Tuesday morning trying to calm nervous workers. Mr. Halyk said the federal Liberals weren’t particularly strong allies to the oil and gas sector when they had a majority government. Now that the New Democrats or Bloc Québécois could have greater sway in the House of Commons, people in Calgary don’t know what will come next.

“We have a lot of employees that are pretty upset, scared and uncertain right now,” said Mr. Halyk, whose company provides labour to oil and gas operations.

He said as recently as 2015, Total’s business was focused almost completely on work in Canada. But now, the firm does more work internationally than it does at home – a shift he attributes to changes in energy policies. “We hire in the U.S. and Australia, and we lay off in Canada.”

Kevin Krausert, chief executive of Beaver Drilling Ltd., said the anger in Alberta is palpable right now. “Downtown Calgary is a sad sight,” he said.

But he said the election result makes clear that Canada can’t continue to be divided on the issue of energy and the environment. “It’s time for the adults in government and in industry to change the channel, and work on rational solutions to climate change and energy access,” he said.

According to Mr. Krausert, Canadian energy industry and its technology could be part of the global solution to climate change – such as displacing coal at power plants in Asia with natural gas, thereby reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

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One positive for investors is that the election brings some certainty to the energy market, sending a clear signal that carbon pricing is here to stay. On the other hand, the possibility of more lax regulations for future pipeline projects is off the table.

Jennifer Winter, director of energy policy research at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, said any kind of stability is helpful. “The fact that it’s a Liberal minority is not the end of the world for Alberta. It really isn’t. If anything, at least there’s a consistent path in policy,” she said.

Shares in long-depressed Canadian oil and gas dipped slightly at the opening Tuesday but then rose, partly from news that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is mulling further production cuts.

Underscoring the depth of Western discontent with Mr. Trudeau, the Liberals lost a seat in Regina that it had held through decades of up-and-down fortunes on the Prairies.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe warned on Tuesday that there is a “fire burning here in the Prairie provinces” that was only made worse by Mr. Trudeau’s win. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said his province, where nearly 70 per cent of voters cast their ballots for the Conservatives, spoke in “one loud voice of defiance” to Mr. Trudeau and fellow Canadians who voted for other parties.

In the eyes of many in the energy sector, two laws passed by the Liberal government earlier this year make it difficult for Canada to compete in a global oil market. One is the law that bars tankers from loading at ports on the northern coast of British Columbia – and is specifically intended to prevent the shipment of heavy oil from Canada, mainly Alberta.

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The other contentious law is an overhaul of federal environmental assessments of major construction projects that the industry has labelled the “no more pipelines bill.” The Liberals argued the law will help make major infrastructure projects more environmentally accountable while still allowing development to proceed. However, the Liberals’ star environmental candidate in Montreal said last week it will be hard to build any more new pipelines after Trans Mountain under the new law.

Scrapping the two laws is one of the conditions laid out by Mr. Kenney in a five-page letter sent to Mr. Trudeau on Tuesday where the Alberta Premier specifies how the federal government could reduce frustration in the Prairie provinces. Mr. Kenney also called on Mr. Trudeau not to seek the help of the New Democrats, Bloc Québécois or Green Party to govern – a proposal the Prime Minister is likely to reject.

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Chris Selley: So, how did all that pandering to Quebec work out for you? – National Post

October 22nd, 2019

REGINA — Andrew Scheer seems to think all the self-abasement was worth it. Twenty-five years after the Progressive Conservatives fractured into three chunks over special treatment for Quebec, Scheer made a lavish, explicit appeal not just to Quebecers but nationalist Quebecers: a single tax return administered by the province, more control over immigration and culture, a proudly hands-off approach from the federal government to new restrictions on civil servants wearing religious symbols on the job — this from a party, and a leader, for whom protecting religious freedom both here and abroad is a unique selling point.

And what did the Tories get? A third-place finish behind the resurgent Bloc Québécois, and the Liberals, who pandered to Quebec interests the least of any party (which isn’t saying that much, admittedly). The party won two fewer seats and slightly less of the popular vote than Stephen Harper did in 2015. Harper won as many seats and considerably more of the popular vote in both 2008 and 2006.

“We’re going to be looking, analyzing what didn’t work (in Quebec) and work even harder next time,” Scheer said at a brief press conference at a Regina hotel on Tuesday morning. “We’re going to redouble our efforts.”

The mind boggles. Short of cracking open the constitution, what the hell else is there to offer?

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Scheer has insisted throughout the campaign that Conservatives are united in supporting this most asymmetrical of federalist visions. But it was tough not to notice during Scheer’s Monday-night concession speech that his appeal to “la nation Québécoise” came only in the langue de Molière

“We will continue to work for you,” Scheer averred in French. “Conservative values are Quebecois values and Quebecois values are Conservative values: Freedom of expression, a smaller government, and recognizing that a dollar spent by the person who earned it is better (than the government taxing it and spending it). These are Quebec values.”

If that’s true (and I’m not at all sure it is), then surely all these ideological contortions shouldn’t be necessary. And if the contortions are futile, then why risk the embarrassment?

To be fair, it’s certainly not just Scheer and the Conservatives who need to ask themselves these questions. They can at least appeal to traditional party positions on the division of powers, provincial rights and decentralization. The New Democrats … cannot.

To the extent the NDP is still a thing in Quebec, boasting just 11 per cent of the popular vote and returning just one MP to Ottawa, it is not a thing that needs to be turning itself inside out over something like Bill 21. Their lone Quebec MP, Alexandre Boulerice, represents the Montreal riding of Rosemont-La-Petite-Prairie. Provincially, that’s the territory of the far-left Québec Solidaire, which opposes Bill 21. QS also opposes federal meddling in Quebec affairs, of course, but there has to be a reasonably happy medium for the NDP to achieve without constantly walking on eggs. If Trudeau can win Quebec seats off the Island of Montreal, when everyone there expects his government to join court challenges against Bill 21, then the NDP should be able to compete as well. And if it can’t, more pandering demonstrably isn’t the answer.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh campaigns in Montreal on Oct. 16, 2019.

Sebastien St-Jean/AFP via Getty Images

Leader Jagmeet Singh talked a good game about trying to sway hearts and minds on minority rights rather than hectoring nationalist Quebecers. But that presumes Bill 21 was a good-faith bill gone wrong — that a bunch of principled secularists wandered down the wrong path and ended up harming people in a way that they just don’t quite understand. That’s not what it is, and Singh knows that very well. Bill 21 is a law to put hijab-wearing Muslim women in their place. Sikhs, Jews and anyone else who ends up shut out of the civil service are just collateral damage. If multicultural icon/villain Trudeau can win more seats in Quebec than the Bloc, there is no reason for any other party not to call it as they see it.

The basic state of affairs is this: For no particularly good or explicable reason, Quebecers have shifted back to supporting an explicitly separatist party, at a time when one conservative and one social-democratic party were essentially offering them everything they wanted plus the proverbial “seat at the table” in Ottawa. The answer isn’t to pitch nationalist harder, if that’s even possible. The answer is to stand on basic principles and let the chips fall where they may — because no one knows how to predict it anyway.

• Email: cselley@nationalpost.com | Twitter:

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Calgary MPs taking united message to Ottawa as they face Liberal minority government – Calgary Herald

October 22nd, 2019

Conservative candidate Michelle Rempel, pictured at her election headquarters after being re-elected Monday night. Dean Pilling/Postmedia

After a clean sweep of the city in Monday’s election, Calgary’s Conservative MPs are ready to put up a fight for the province’s energy industry while navigating an unpredictable minority government.

With heightened frustration and anger coursing through Alberta, Tory MPs will bring with them to Ottawa a strong message of getting Alberta back on its feet. According to MP-elect Michelle Rempel, the “status quo” to bury Alberta by putting its energy sector on hold and continually asking for equalization payments is unacceptable.

“That status quo that has been set by [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau, this new ‘normal’ can’t be allowed to happen. I understand that the mandate I’ve received from my community Monday night is to fight and upset that. We will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens because there’s a lot riding on us being successful for our communities,” said Rempel, who was re-elected in Calgary Nose Hill.

Rempel said Trudeau would invest in Alberta’s industry if he has the best interests of the country at heart. But if that doesn’t happen, she’s ready to make her voice heard by the minority Liberal government.

“We will be going back to Ottawa with 20-some new colleagues, which is a very positive thing. Every Conservative who won Monday night understands that they will fight shoulder to shoulder with us on this,” said Rempel. “The energy sector is something that should be uniting our country in prosperity.”


Michelle Rempel, MP-elect for Calgary Nose Hill, at her campaign headquarters in Calgary on Sunday, Sept, 29, 2019.

Darren Makowichuk / Postmedia

The MPs anticipate meeting with the Conservative caucus to discuss their strategy for putting Alberta’s economic concerns at the forefront.

Stephanie Kusie, MP-elect for Calgary Midnapore, said there’s a desperation for pipelines, jobs and a better economy in Alberta which was reflected in the election outcome. By Tuesday afternoon, results showed Kusie towering over her opponents with 74.5 per cent of the vote in her riding.

“We will stand up for the values Albertans appreciate which is the ability to have access to their natural resources, to prosper from their natural resources and have the ability to share the fruits of their labour with the nation. I think, that’s all we want to do,” said Kusie.

MP-elect Greg McLean won over the lone Liberal seat in Calgary Centre, said the boot given to the Liberals in Alberta and Saskatchewan should send the Liberals a clear message.

“That’s something the government’s going to have to pay particular attention to because its policies over the past four years have really been detrimental to Alberta, to our economy. Many people have been laid off because of this government’s policy misdirections and they need to address that,” said McLean.


Conservative MP-elect Greg McLean was still door-knocking a few hours before the polls closed in Calgary Centre on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019.

Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

The MP-elect for Calgary Rocky Ridge Pat Kelly said there are deep divisions in the country that won’t be easily overcome by Trudeau’s minority government.

“I picked up a lawn sign from a guy this morning who was laid off and has been unemployed for quite a period of time, looking for work and he’s devastated at what’s happened because he knows how difficult things have been under this existing government so he’s concerned for what’s ahead,” said Kelly.

MP-elect for Calgary Shepard Tom Kmiec said the next cabinet has to find a way to reach out to Alberta, making amends for previous “policy mistakes” to get people to work in a province that’s struggling.

“But it will be up to us to represent our constituents very well. I heard a lot of ideas while doorknocking from people in Calgary that I’ll bring with me to Ottawa,” said Kmiec.

Ron Liepert, MP-elect for Calgary Signal Hill, is hopeful more Conservatives in the House of Commons will trigger a reaction that hasn’t previously been seen.

“It’s the ways this province is treated by our prime minister that makes us feel we aren’t appreciated and we’re taken for granted,” said Liepert.

Len Webber, MP-elect for Calgary Confederation, said there’s an overall disappointment the Conservatives weren’t able to form government but it won’t stop them from standing together to fight for the economy.

sbabych@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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Scheer attacks Trudeau for ‘demonizing’ Doug Ford as post-election fallout continues – The Globe and Mail

October 22nd, 2019

One Conservative source said Tuesday that the Scheer campaign was shocked by its poor results in Ontario.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the Prime Minister was wrong to spend the election campaign “demonizing” Doug Ford, even as some provincial Conservatives grumble that the federal Tory campaign should not have left the Ontario Premier on the sidelines.

“Justin Trudeau should consider the fact that he just spent the last 40 days personally attacking and demonizing the Premier of Ontario. And now we have a country that is more divided than ever,” Mr. Scheer told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr. Scheer’s party failed to make the breakthrough it was hoping for in the province, especially in the seat-rich suburban belt around Toronto known by its telephone area code, the 905. The result has led to a debate in Conservative circles over whether Mr. Ford hindered Mr. Scheer, or could have helped him.

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Mr. Trudeau did repeatedly invoke Mr. Ford’s unpopular spending cuts on the campaign trail. However, Mr. Scheer adopted a strategy of never appearing with Ontario’s Premier and almost never saying his name, for fear of damaging his own chances in the province.

One Conservative source said Tuesday that the Scheer campaign was shocked by its poor results in Ontario.

Some Ontario Progressive Conservatives and federal Conservatives say the Scheer team was wrong to leave Mr. Ford on the sidelines, and insist that the loss to a scandal-plagued Mr. Trudeau cannot be blamed on the Premier. The Globe and Mail is keeping their names confidential because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The federal campaign was hearing concerns from candidates at the door about Mr. Ford. But a senior Conservative source said those reports had largely died down by September, after Mr. Ford withdrew some of his cutbacks and shuffled his cabinet. The Globe is keeping the source’s name confidential because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Mr. Ford also put the legislature on a five-month break and generally stayed out of public view. Still, his name continued to be associated with the federal leader in the minds of some Ontario voters.

Conservative strategist Kory Teneycke, who was Mr. Ford’s campaign manager in the 2018 provincial election, said he doesn’t believe the provincial party was a factor in the Tories’ election loss. Mr. Ford swept the 905 and even won 11 seats in Toronto itself when he captured his majority last year.

“Among Conservative and potential Conservative voters, Doug Ford is demonstrably more popular [than Mr. Scheer],” Mr. Teneycke said.

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“That’s pretty conclusive evidence that Doug Ford has the biggest ability to reach out and be successful politically in the province of Ontario,”

While he praised the campaign for successfully holding Mr. Trudeau to a minority, he pointed to issues that plagued Mr. Scheer during the election, such as his positions on abortion and same-sex marriage, as well as his dual Canada-U.S. citizenship and questions about the accuracy of his résumé.

Mr. Scheer’s party won 33.2 per cent of the popular vote in Ontario Monday night, trailing the federal Liberals, who won 41.5 per cent. The Conservatives ended up with 36 seats in the province, were shut out of Toronto and took only a few seats in its suburbs.

In his June, 2018, election, Mr. Ford won 40.5 per cent of the popular vote in Ontario, enough for a majority government with 76 of the 124 seats at Queen’s Park. But he was facing an unpopular incumbent Liberal premier in Kathleen Wynne, whose party had been in power for 15 years.

Myer Siemiatycki, a professor emeritus of politics at Ryerson University who has watched Toronto-area politics for decades, said he believed the “Ford factor” harmed Mr. Scheer’s chances. Dr. Siemiatychi noted that not a single federal seat in the inner Toronto suburbs, where the Premier draws his core supporters, went blue.

“The fact that the Conservatives couldn’t take a single seat in Etobicoke or Scarborough, the biggest strongholds of Ford Nation, that tells me Ford was not going to be an advantage to Scheer,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Ontario’s Premier appeared to be setting a new tone with the now re-elected Prime Minister, while his office signalled that his province’s court challenge of Mr. Trudeau’s carbon tax was up for discussion.

That topic, however, did not come up in a phone call between Mr. Ford and Mr. Trudeau on Tuesday, in what was described by the Premier’s team as a “positive and constructive conversation.” But the pair discussed the province’s Ontario Line subway expansion and pledged to meet in person, the Premier’s office said.

Mr. Ford had said in August that the federal carbon tax will ultimately be decided at the ballot box, not by the courts, and said he would consult with his cabinet in the event of a Liberal re-election. On Tuesday, his office said the matter remains under discussion, as reports came that New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs was backing down on his province’s opposition to the carbon tax.

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Alberta premier to create panel aimed at ‘fight for fairness’ in Canadian constitution – Global News

October 22nd, 2019

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has a list of expectations for Canada’s new federal government and promised on Tuesday the UCP government will hold Justin Trudeau’s Liberal minority to account on all of them.

In a speech to the Legislative Assembly, Kenney said the results of Monday’s 43rd federal election – and the party platforms that were tabled through the campaign period – were a “complete inversion” of the Canadian constitution and he’s committed to seeing that righted, especially when it comes to defending Alberta’s interests. He called on the incoming Trudeau government not to make any deals or arrangements with the NDP, Bloc Quebecois or the “anti-Alberta Green Party.”

READ MORE: Tory blue wave sweeps Alberta, Saskatchewan, bringing challenges with Liberal minority

Kenney said he called Trudeau on Tuesday to congratulate him on his win, adding he also took the opportunity to set out Alberta’s expectations, which he wrote in a five-page letter to be sent to the prime minister-elect Tuesday.

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The first of Kenney’s demands was to see plans for a resource corridor across the country, which he said wasn’t a unique request, but rather one that is based on nation building and “helps achieve the dream of economic union.” He said he would hold the feds to their word on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which 278 representatives from Canadian political parties now sitting in the House of Commons were in support of.

“One can imagine a scenario in a minority Parliament where parties that hold the balance of power might try to negotiate their support for confidence measures such as a budget contingent upon federal withdrawal from TMX,” he said Tuesday. “What I’m saying is that would be totally unacceptable and if the prime minister means what he said last night, about listening to Alberta and Saskatchewan, the clearest way he could do so would be to unequivocally commit this new government to the completion of the pipeline that the federal government owns.”

1:38Federal Election 2019: Why should Trudeau listen to the Alberta government?

Federal Election 2019: Why should Trudeau listen to the Alberta government?

Kenney also demanded fundamental change to the equalization payment program, saying Albertans have been overwhelming contributors to the rest of the country’s economy, despite struggling financially since 2015. He said the stabilization program should be imposed when “have provinces” like Alberta are faced with an economic hit, but because of the program’s payment capping, the province hasn’t seen the payments it should.

“If the frustration and alienation in Alberta continues to mount, it will pose a very serious challenge to national unity,” Kenney said. “Alberta plays a hugely oversized role in national prosperity and the finances of the federal government. If [Trudeau] wants to strengthen national unity and the Canadian economy, then he needs to listen to the provinces that produce a disproportionate amount of wealth in the federation.”

Kenney promised that if changes aren’t made to the highly controversial federal Bill C-69, his government would look at having equalization deleted from the Canadian constitution.

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“It’s insulting to us that we have to subsidize provinces that choose not to develop their own resources with the resources that we develop,” Kenney said. “We think that’s a perverse incentive for other provinces not to develop their resources.”

READ MORE: Alberta Election Fact Check: Could Alberta end or change equalization?

The premier also renewed his call for the federal government to exempt Alberta from the mortgage stress test on homebuyers, which he said was designed to get booming markets like those in Toronto and Vancouver under control, but has had negative impacts on Albertans. He said he plans to include Saskatchewan on that demand.

Finally, Kenney said he wrote in his letter to Trudeau he would continue to press the federal government to listen to nine out of 10 provinces and the vast majority of the Senate and reconsider Bill C-69. He said he’d like to see Trudeau’s government look at previously presented amendments, including some that were proposed by the former Alberta NDP government.

Kenney said in the coming days, the UCP government will create a panel to consult with a broad range of Albertans – including grassroots residents, academics and other stakeholders — on “ways to secure our role and fairness in Canadian federation.”

1:40Federal Election 2019: Alberta premier wants ‘to find a way to work together’ with Trudeau

Federal Election 2019: Alberta premier wants ‘to find a way to work together’ with Trudeau

“There are a whole lot of ideas that have been floated about constitutional amendments, non-constitutional approaches, a greater assertion of provincial jurisdiction,” Kenney said.

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“Many of these ideas go all the way back to, for example, ideas that Peter Lougheed floated in the late 1970s and since then. So the mandate we will give to this expert panel will be to look at all these ideas and say, ‘What would be the most effective ways to assert fairness for Alberta in the federation and to listen to Albertans in doing so.’”

Kenney said the panel — which will include well-known Albertans — would gather information through public hearings and is expected to be announced next week.

He said the UCP would consider each idea presented between now and the end of the calendar year, with the aim to “present an expanded plan to fight for fairness in the federation” to Albertans in early 2020.

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

One thing the premier said he didn’t write about in his letter to Trudeau about was the federal carbon tax, which Kenney has been openly opposed to and promised in his own election campaign to abolish.

When asked by reporters why that wasn’t included on his priority list Tuesday, Kenney said the province “will continue to dispute that.”

“First of all, through judicial reference to the Alberta appeal court, and also by supporting the appeals of the governments of Saskatchewan and Ontario to the Supreme Court of Canada,” he said.

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“We will be asking that the Supreme Court delay their consideration of those appeals until we’ve been able to get a judgment of the Alberta appeal court that considers the unique fact pattern here in Alberta.

“I know Justin Trudeau is not going to back up on his policy on that. Our first effort was to get a democratic decision from Canadians — that didn’t happen on the carbon tax yesterday. Our back-up plan, Plan B, is to go and assert our provincial rights through the courts.”

2:16Federal Election 2019: Alberta will ‘continue to dispute’ federal carbon tax

Federal Election 2019: Alberta will ‘continue to dispute’ federal carbon tax

Monday night’s election saw Trudeau’s Liberal Party re-elected as a minority government. However, the party did not win a single seat in Alberta.

All but one of Alberta’s 34 ridings were won by the Conservatives. The only riding not won by a Conservative was in Edmonton Strathcona, where NDP candidate Heather McPherson was elected.

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

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B.C. police commissioner highlights ‘predatory behaviour,’ gun safety in report – National Post

October 22nd, 2019

VICTORIA — A West Vancouver police officer was fired for what British Columbia’s police complaints commissioner describes as “predatory” behaviour involving 11 women.

The case study in the commissioner’s annual report says an investigation was launched when a victim of violence by her partner received inappropriate photos from the unnamed officer.

The report says an investigation determined the officer’s conduct spanned six years and involved women he met while on duty, using his position of trust as a police officer to develop a sexual relationships with the 11 women.

It says “the pattern of behaviour by this officer was deemed to be predatory in nature.”

The officer retired before a disciplinary hearing, but the report says his employment records will say he was dismissed from the department.

It says the officer also misused police department equipment, such as cellphones and email, by sending sexually explicit and other inappropriate photos, messages and written communications to the women.

Const. Kevin Goodmurphy of West Vancouver police says no further action has been taken against the officer and no other women have stepped forward to complain.

“Nothing short of dismissal would have been acceptable, given the findings of that investigation,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. “This person opted to resign prior to that conclusion, but that would not have changed the outcome, given the investigation findings.”

The commissioner’s report says three police officers from various provincial departments were dismissed in 2018-19 following investigations into their conduct under the Police Act.

The report was tabled in the legislature this week and provides an overview of misconduct involving municipal police officers in B.C.

The report also makes recommendations to Vancouver’s police board on so-called street checks, saying further study should be done into appropriate training programs and policies on the practice.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs filed a complaint last year claiming that police were racially biased when they stopped people on the street to check their identification.

They said the policies and practices led to a significant overrepresentation of Indigenous and black people stopped in the checks.

The report says Vancouver’s police board approved six recommendations and added a seventh that called for an independent review of the policies and consultation to identify how street check policies affect Indigenous and racialized people.

The commissioner also recommended proper training for the use of ceremonial gun holsters and the reconsideration of procedures on the maintenance of firearms.

It comes after a Vancouver officer discharged his gun as it was being holstered in a ceremonial holster, grazing the officer’s right thigh, which required 13 stitches. An investigation found the officer’s pistol was poorly serviced and the department hadn’t adhered to its schedule of inspecting the guns every three months.

In the report, commissioner Clayton Pecknold says his office will be watching trends in the use of force.

“The office will be paying especially close attention to any instances involving the gratuitous application of force, or the misuse of otherwise lawful techniques and equipment — such as intermediate weapons and police service dogs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2019.

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Nothing but a ‘vanity project’: People’s Party of Canada is likely dead, experts say – National Post

October 22nd, 2019

In the lead-up to this week’s federal election, media outlets around the world wondered whether right-wing fringe candidate Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party represented an expansion of the populist, nationalist and anti-establishment sentiment sweeping the United States and Europe.

“A ‘Mad Max’ candidate offers a far-right jolt to the Canadian election,” read a headline in the New York Times. “Can populism become popular in Canada?” asked the BBC.

Judging from Monday night’s results, the answer appears to be a resounding no. The dismal outcome — the People’s Party clinched zero seats and less than 2 per cent of the popular vote — did not come as a surprise to political watchers, who said Tuesday our first-past-the-post system “inoculates” us from fringe parties. Plus, they said, Bernier’s brand of populism was just too extreme, particularly when it came to his views on immigration.

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While Bernier, who lost in his own riding of Beauce, Que., insisted in a concession speech that the movement was “only getting started,” experts said the People’s Party likely would not survive.

“The PPC is rather easily seen now as a vanity project of Bernier’s, and as a very ineffectual attempt to come up with a latter-day Reform Party challenge to more moderate conservatism,” said David Laycock, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University.

Bernier, who held the Beauce riding since 2006, had served under the Conservative banner until last year when he narrowly lost the leadership contest to Andrew Scheer and then formed his own party. On Monday night, he garnered 28 per cent of the vote and placed second to Conservative Richard Lehoux.

Some of the party’s other higher-profile candidates, such as Renata Ford, widow of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and Lee Harding, former Saskatchewan director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, barely made a dent — coming in fourth in their respective ridings of Etobicoke North and Cypress Hills-Grasslands and capturing only 2.8 per cent of the vote.

Bernier blamed “nasty and shameless attacks” from opponents for the PPC’s poor showing. (Late last week, The Globe and Mail reported that strategist Warren Kinsella and his firm Daisy Group had been hired by the Conservatives to “seek and destroy” Bernier’s party and portray its supporters as racist. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer refused to confirm or deny the allegation. Bernier filed a complaint with Elections Canada over the affair).

But experts suggested it was the party’s policies that did them in. While certain aspects of the PPC platform — support for libertarian principles, small government and a repeal of the carbon tax — dovetailed with the Conservatives, the party’s stances on immigration were controversial.

Bernier vowed to repeal the Multiculturalism Act and severely curtail immigration levels. Stealing from Donald Trump’s playbook, he even suggested building a fence along parts of the Canada-U.S. border to thwart irregular migration. Critics accused the party of providing a home to people peddling hate.

“Canadian voters don’t and won’t soon support the kind of overt racism that Bernier courted,” Laycock said. “Comparative public opinion data on immigration and multiculturalism show that while Canada isn’t the multicultural utopia that some commentators contend, Canadians don’t feel comfortable with explicit attacks on minority groups, and value ethnic diversity far more than most Europeans do.”

Frankly, populists would have used the absence of coverage … as a way to suggest that the media is overtaken by liberal interests

If Bernier had discussed multiculturalism in a more nuanced way with specific policy proposals, his messaging may have resonated more, said Tamara Small, a political science professor at the University of Guelph.

“The idea of multiculturalism is very important to people — definitely in English Canada,” she said.

Bernier had initially not been invited to take part in televised leaders’ debates, but that decision was reversed by former governor general David Johnston, head of the Leaders’ Debate Commission, who cited the party’s  “organizational capacity,” legitimate chance of electing more than one candidate and the media attention the party had received.

But Laycock and Small said the party received more news coverage than it deserved.

“I can’t think of a party in recent history that has polled at less than 3 per cent that got the amount of attention that he got, frankly,” Small said.

But if the media had ignored the PPC during the campaign, they would have been accused of not giving attention to the broad spectrum of political parties, said Bessma Momani, a political science professor at the University of Waterloo.

“Frankly, populists would have used the absence of coverage … as a way to suggest that the media is overtaken by liberal interests.”


People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier prepares to cast his ballot in Beauce, Quebec, Oct. 21, 2019.

Jacques Boissinot/Pool via Reuters

Asked what message the defeat of the PPC now sends to the Conservative Party as it rebuilds after failing to topple the Liberals, Small said there is nothing to be gained by pushing further to the right.

“There’s no more people there. There’s none,” she said.

“If there’s going to be a leadership race, a Kellie Leitch type of candidate probably doesn’t dominate,” Small added, referring to the one-time Conservative leadership hopeful who had controversially proposed screening immigrants for “Canadian values” and setting up an RCMP tip line so people could report “barbaric cultural practices.”

However, there is a chance, Momani said, that backers of right-wing populism may still want to work with the Conservative Party, in the same way the Tea Party movement in the U.S. worked with the Republican Party to elect Donald Trump.

The People’s Party itself though is “probably” dead, Laycock said. Bernier’s poor showing in Quebec indicates there isn’t a regional base for his conservative alternative.

Furthermore, “it is very hard to attract media attention without any MPs, especially when your leader can’t win his own seat.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

• Email: dquan@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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MANDEL: Trans activist learns testicle waxing not a human right – Toronto Sun

October 22nd, 2019

It’s not a human right to force someone to wax your genitalia.

Now that would seem to be self-evident, yet it took five days of hearings and months of deliberation for B.C.’s human rights tribunal to come up with that obvious decision. Unfortunately, too many poor, vulnerable home aestheticians eking out a living in the Vancouver-area were dragged through the human rights muck for declining to perform a manzillian on a transgender opportunist named Jessica Yaniv.

The apologetic aestheticians insisted they were either not trained in waxing male private parts or uncomfortable doing so. Surely, that’s their right. Yaniv claimed their refusal to wax her, scrotum and all, was discrimination on the basis of her transgender identity and expression.

To its credit, the tribunal recognized these complaints as the shakedown they were. And so Yaniv was the one ordered to pay up — to the tune of $2,000 each to three of the aestheticians — for her “extortionate behaviour.”


Trans activist Jessica Yaniv is a freqent flier at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. She wanted her male genitalia waxed. The owner said no.

“Ms. Yaniv has engaged in a pattern of filing human rights complaints which target small businesses for personal financial gain and/or to punish certain ethnic groups which she perceives as hostile to the rights of LGBTQ+ people,” wrote Devyn Cousineau in her ruling released Tuesday.

Cousineau rejected Yaniv’s argument that since the women performed Brazilian waxes on female nether regions, they should have been willing to do the same for her male equipment. The tribunal had to spell out the nitty gritty of how a “brozillian” or “manzillian” involves prolonged manipulation of male genitalia — not to mention the arousal that often goes along with it — which can offend a female aesthetician’s religion or comfort level.

This is not a case of someone who refuses to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple or rent out a room to a transgender person, Cousineau noted.

“Human rights legislation does not require a service provider to wax a type of genitals they are not trained for and have not consented to wax,” she wrote.

More problematic, Cousineau found, were the aestheticians who refused to wax her arms or legs once Yaniv disclosed she was transgender, saying they “only do ladies.” That might have been a violation of the human rights code if the tribunal didn’t dismiss Yaniv’s multitude of complaints for bad faith.

In addition to targeting small businesses for financial gain, Cousineau charged, Yaniv was “also motivated to punish racialized and immigrant women based on her perception that certain ethnic groups, namely South Asian and Asian communities, are “taking over” and advancing an agenda hostile to the interests of LGBTQ+ people.

It didn’t help her case that the tribunal was shown numerous anti-immigrant comments made by Yaniv on Twitter. How ironic that someone lodging countless human rights complaints would be so bigoted herself.

Yaniv tried to make the waxing appointments with the aestheticians — none were white — through Facebook Marketplace and used a series of deceptions before finally disclosing she was transgender. She was never really after waxing services, the tribunal found, “but rather setting the stage for a human rights complaint and the anticipated financial settlement that she hoped would follow. ”

In all, Yaniv filed 15 complaints seeking as much as $15,000 in damages against each aesthetician.

The Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms represented three of the women, two of whom shuttered their businesses because of the complaints. “They are all exceedingly relieved. One of them was crying and that speaks to the level of relief that she felt,” said lawyer Jay Cameron. “No woman should be compelled to touch male genitals against her will, irrespective of how the owner of the genitals identifies.”

Or as British comedian Ricky Gervais so wisely tweeted about this ridiculous waste of time and resources: “It is a woman’s right to say ‘I don’t wax testicles. On a man or a woman.’ End of discussion. No sexism. No homophobia. No transphobia.”

mmandel@postmedia.com

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1 million Canadian students also elect Liberal minority in mock election – CTV News

October 22nd, 2019

They may not be old enough to vote, but more than a million Canadian students appeared to be in tune with the rest of the country when they also voted for a Liberal minority government in a mock federal election.

After learning about the electoral process, researching the parties and their platforms, and debating the country’s future, more than 1.1 million elementary and secondary school students from nearly 8,000 schools participated in Student Vote Canada 2019, in which they cast most ballots in all 338 federal ridings.

Organized by the non-partisan charity CIVX, the pretend election provides students with the “opportunity to experience the voting process firsthand and practice the habits of active and informed citizenship,” according to the group’s website.

After all 1,187,987 of the votes were tallied, the results appeared to mirror the actual election’s outcome in some respects.

The students elected a Liberal minority government with 112 seats and 22.4 per cent of the popular vote. In the real election, the Liberal party won 157 votes and 33 per cent of the popular vote.

Unlike reality, however, the students elected the NDP as the official opposition instead of the Conservatives. The mock election gave the NDP 98 seats and 24.8 per cent of the vote while the Conservatives won 93 seats and 25.1 per cent.

Rounding out the results were the Green Party with 27 seats and 18.1 per cent of the popular vote and the Bloc Quebecois with 12 seats and 1.3 per cent of the vote.

In the students’ election, all of the party leaders won their seats in their respective ridings.

According to an independent evaluation commissioned by Elections Canada, the Student Vote program has a “positive impact on student knowledge and understanding of Canadian politics and elections as well as future voting intentions.”

As for voter turnout, the charity said the 1.1 million students who voted this year was an increase from the 922,000 who participated in 2015.

“We are thrilled with the turnout for Student Vote Canada 2019,” says Taylor Gunn, president and CEO of CIVIX Canada. “We are grateful for all the teachers that dedicated time and energy to cultivating the next generation of voters.”

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