The News Rundown
- This week was the week where opposition leaders met with Justin Trudeau.
- After Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet met with Trudeau he was asked for his thoughts on western separatism.
- He said, “If they were attempting to create a green state in Western Canada, I might be tempted to help them. If they are trying to create an oil state in Western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us.”
- Andrew Scheer called the statements insulting and disingenuous.
- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said that Quebec should support the industry that funds their government by way of equalization.
- The media jumped up and said that Alberta isn’t directly paying Quebec, but let’s look at how equalization works.
- Equalization works by taking money Albertans pay in federal income tax and earmarks it for the equalization program.
- In 11 years Albertans have paid $240b to the rest of Canada.
- To put that in context, that number is 1.5x BC and Ontario combined.
- Since 1961 Alberta has paid more than $600b towards the federal fiscal balance. The only other provinces to give more than they receive are Ontario at around $700b and BC at just more than $100b. Every other province has received more than they have given.
- Broken down the $240b in 11 years (during tough economic times) relates to roughly $5,000 per year per Albertan.
- This is during a recession, during the oil price collapse, and during the slow growth period precipitated by bad policy at the federal and provincial level.
- Trevor Tombe spelled out the economic reality, that these high transfers are due to Albertans having an above average level of economic strength.
- Tombe also added that Alberta has the youngest population which means it also contributes more to Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan.
- Numbers from Canada’s numbers agency, Stats Canada, shows that Quebec brought in $107b by way of equalization since 2007.
- All of the other receiving provinces are at or below the $20b mark with Newfoundland, BC, and Saskatchewan receiving the least.
- Ben Eisen, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute’s Provincial Prosperity Initiative said that these numbers are hard to ignore, especially the per capita numbers.
- He said that the data should also “promote a sense of cooperation and help Canadians from coast to coast to understand how big Alberta’s contribution to everyone's well being is.”
- And that quite frankly, “A strong Alberta benefits the entire country, when there’s an economically strong Alberta it spreads across the country.”
- Liberal governments and the media have championed Statistics Canada and here is the data proving what Scheer, Kenney, Moe, and others have been saying all along.
- Alberta pays disproportionately more but yet gets policy foisted upon the province that holds it back.
- The media would love the conversation to be about the jabs this week but the graphs, data, and economic analysis from the National Post speak volumes.
- This is what Premier Kenney’s speech at the Manning Conference this week aims to highlight. Will others like the new Trudeau cabinet or the media look at this as well? We shall see.
- The BC Utilities Commission has completed its research into gas prices in BC, and is standing by its finding of an unexplained markup of about 13c/l in gasoline prices. However, it is also cautioning the province against moving too quickly to regulate the market.
- Rather than increasing supply, the BCUC seems to think the BC NDP government will go straight to regulations to fix the markup. It cautioned against moving quickly despite acknowledging a possible need for regulation because the major players preside over a closed oligopoly rather than an open competitive market.
- The New Democrats are preparing legislation that would put the challenge back to the commission in sorting out the mysteries of the market.
- Premier John Horgan confirmed this week that they "have got some ideas that we will be bringing forward in the legislature" in reacting to the latest report from the commission. He was referring to a bill that is expected to be tabled after the house resumes Monday for the final two weeks of the fall session.
- Horgan described the price difference as a "gouge on local drivers," and said the problem isn't just about supply, adding that there is only one refinery in the province: "We asked the utilities commission to get us the straight goods on why gas prices were so out of whack in British Columbia compared to other parts of the country,'' Horgan said.
- Cabinet minister Bruce Ralston, whose jobs ministry includes responsibility for the gas price inquiry, elaborated further, saying that the NDP “are in fact considering legislation that would require industry to give information about their supply and prices to an independent regulatory body, likely the BCUC, for review."
- Dean Morton, who is also CEO of the BCUC commission, welcomed the proposed legislative direction, and indicated the commission was ready to cooperate if the legislation were to provide it with more routine data from the oil and gas companies on supply and pricing. He added the legislation ought to give the commission regulatory authority to do something with the information: “Certainly if we were asked to participate further in trying to unravel this mystery, so to speak, yes it would be very helpful.”
- Suncor Energy, Parkland Fuel, Imperial Oil, Advanced Biofuels and 7-Eleven Canada participated in the one-month comment period after the initial inquiry in August. All five companies filed evidence in an effort to explain the price gap.
- The supplementary report Tuesday said the evidence was not conclusive enough to account for the gap. At best, it said, the evidence could bring the gap down 10 cents per litre instead of the originally reported 13-cent discrepancy.
- In the report, BCUC noted that of the 41 letters sent to it by members of the public, 29 were from Powell River residents.
- Unlike Metro Vancouver, where price fluctuations have led to frustration at the pumps, prices in the northern Sunshine Coast community have been stuck at 159.9 per litre for much of the summer and fall. On Friday, gas at the Petro-Canada station on Joyce Avenue was still 159.9, according to GasBuddy.com, although other nearby stations were charging a few cents less. Across the water in Courtenay on Vancouver Island, the price was 122.9 at Costco.
- “Our gas in Powell River … is the most expensive in North America,” one resident wrote to the BCUC. “Powell River does not have a transit tax, so how is this happening? Why are we being charged so much?”
- But the report was short on answers — both for residents of Powell River and other B.C. communities with inexplicably high gas prices. That includes Chilliwack, where online message boards frequently highlight price discrepancies with neighbouring Abbotsford. It also includes Squamish, where residents have planned a series of protests to draw attention to the difference between their gas prices and those in neighbouring Vancouver and Pemberton.
- Squamish’s prices are typically higher than those in Vancouver, even though there is no TransLink tax outside Metro Vancouver. While gas prices in Vancouver were between 129 and 132 on Friday, the cheapest gas in Squamish was 143.9, according to GasBuddy.com. While some of the difference might be attributed to transportation costs, gas in Pemberton, almost 100 kilometres further north on Highway 99, was 132.9.
- What no BC media is willing to talk about is how increased supply from the Trans Mountain Pipeline could lower gas prices. While much of the focus (and protest) is on increased export capacity to market through increased tanker traffic, a twinned line could also provide for more specialized product, like airline fuel and refined petroleum, which would not only lower gas prices, but airline prices too.
- One famous quote that could be attributed to this situation is "I've tried nothing and I'm all out of ideas". Perhaps rather than attributing more work to the BCUC and doing a lot of hand wringing, the BC NDP could put more focus on getting more concessions on spill responses from the federal government, instead of continuing to try to blockade a major resource project in the national interest. At the end of the day, it's ordinary BC residents that are suffering.
- This week we could be talking about the expenses of Kenney’s top aide flying to London or Bill 207 which re-affirms the conscience rights of doctors and healthcare professionals.
- Both measures have drawn significant criticism from the media and opposition NDP.
- But Alberta and the west in general is in crisis.
- Energy companies are shuttering their doors, laying off workers, and the oil drilling forecast for 2020 does not look good.
- The future is a constant question for many Albertans and Alberta’s great Premiers from Ernest Manning to Peter Lougheed and Ralph Klein have always looked for that next edge to push the province forward.
- For Manning it was converting the province to an oil based economy from one purely based on agriculture.
- For Lougheed it was modernizing Alberta and fighting Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program.
- And for Klein it was slaying the debt and making Alberta one of, if not the most, competitive area to do business in North America.
- Last weekend Jason Kenney spoke at the Manning Centre’s “What’s Next?” conference.
- This conference outlined Alberta’s next steps in an era where the potential Trudeau minority government is likely to be propped up by the socialist NDP or separatist Bloc Quebecois.
- In his nearly hour long speech the Premier announced the government will be opening offices in Ottawa, Quebec, and BC to defend the provinces interests
- The government will also introduce the Citizens Initiative Act to give Albertans the power of citizen referenda on “matters of widespread public concern”
- The government will continue to push for equalization reform, holding a referendum on removing equalization if progress is not made on Trans Mountain and Bill C–69 (the NEB overhaul Bill) is not amended or repealed, holding a referendum on entrenching property rights in the Constitution, and much more.
- The biggest announcement though came in the form of the “Fair Deal Panel”
- The panel will consult with Albertans on the best way to secure a fair deal for Alberta.
- The fair deal panel will be asking if Alberta should implement the firewall protocol from 2003 as signed in 2003 by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Alberta Finance Minister Ted Morton.
- Things up for discussion include: the establishment of a provincial revenue agency to collect taxes directly, creating an Alberta pension plan by withdrawing from the Canadian Pension Plan, establishing a provincial police force by ending the contract with the RCMP, following Quebec’s role of seeking Alberta representation in treaty and trade negotiations that affect Albertan interests, requiring that public bodies (municipalities, school boards, and more) obtain approval of the provincial government before entering agreements with the federal government, appointing a Chief Firearms Officer to implement the Firearms Act in Alberta, opting out of federal cost sharing programs such as any pharmacare program, seeking an exchange of tax points for federal transfers under the Canada Health and Social transfers program allowing Alberta to spend money as it sees fit, and finally establishing a provincial constitution.
- The tax collection idea and Alberta Pension Plan will need to be examined from an economic perspective but everything else is implementable and would give Alberta more autonomy. According to the Fraser Institute, over the past decade Albertans paid $27 billion more to the CPP than they received.
- The panel will include known Albertans such as Preston Manning, Stephen Lougheed (son of Premier Peter Lougheed), Oryssia Lennie, Jason Goodstriker, Donna Kennedy-Glans, Moin Yahya, and 3 MLAS: Drew Barnes, Miranda Rosin, and Tany Yao.
- If this panel meets and Albertans suggest to implement all of the recommendations, Alberta will have implemented a firewall around the province to mitigate slightly the impact that decisions in Ottawa have.
- The groundwork will have been laid for some of the essentials that an independent Alberta would need.
- And finally, why are we talking about this? If implemented this would mark the largest political shift in Alberta since confederation. It also sets the stage for a potential independence movement as it lays down many of the infrastructural requirements an independent Alberta would need.
- When did we last see this? Never.
- Instead the media wants to talk about egregious expenses (which we may talk about here at WC at some point in the future) and a private members non government Bill that is being framed as re-opening the abortion debate.
- And NDP leader Rachel Notley said that Kenney was “intentionally stoking the fires of western alienation”
- This is a point at which the future of the province is being charted and the media is off chasing the shiny objects as they so often do.
- Not often does hockey become a major political story nationwide, but a week after it happened, people are still talking about it. If you turn onto a news station, you're likely to find more drivel on Donald Trump's impeachment proceeding, but if you wait through that, you're likely to find journalists still talking about "Poppygate". This is, of course, hockey icon Don Cherry's supposed "divisive and discriminatory" rant on Hockey Night in Canada last Saturday about "you people" not wearing poppies on Remembrance Day to support our military troops and veterans. Let's have a listen so we get the full context of what exactly he said:
- [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d44QlwurFbQ] from start to 0:40s
- Now, before we go further, I just want to be clear, I'm not even that big of a fan of Don Cherry. I think his commentary is biased towards certain Eastern hockey teams, and that his views are rather outdated, and that he probably should have retired years ago. However, I do admire the man for his tireless passion for hockey, and his advocacy for the military veterans who are so often overlooked by their government and their country. I have a feeling that, love him or hate him, lots of people feel that way about Cherry. He's a no-nonsense man who doesn't mince words or waste time, and I respect that.
- Bart Yabsley, president of Rogers Sportsnet said in a statement after Cherry's remarks that “Don’s discriminatory comments are offensive and they do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network. We have spoken with Don about the severity of this issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”
- Cherry, who is a passionate supporter of veterans and the Canadian military, would not back down from his words however, saying that he meant what he said.
- There was a furor on social media, with left wing politicians and journalists alike taking to Twitter to condemn Cherry's "you people" comments, including Toronto Mayor John Tory, Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie, and CBC reporter Ahmar Khan.
- Following this, Sportsnet decided to fire Don Cherry, on Remembrance Day, which upstaged the one day of the year that's dedicated to the people who have defended our Canadian values, including free speech.
- Yabsley's statement read that “Sports brings people together — it unites us, not divides us,” ironically not noting how firing Cherry actually divided the nation further on the issue.
- Yabsley went further: “Following further discussions with Don Cherry after Saturday night’s broadcast, it has been decided it is the right time for him to immediately step down. During the broadcast, he made divisive remarks that do not represent our values or what we stand for. Don is synonymous with hockey and has played an integral role in growing the game over the past 40 years. We would like to thank Don for his contributions to hockey and sports broadcasting in Canada.”
- The NHL called Cherry’s comments “offensive” and “contrary” to their values.
- Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington took to a busy downtown Toronto street to count how many people walking past had poppies. Despite a veteran selling poppies in front of a store, no one went up to him in the 2 minute video. Only 3 people were wearing poppies out of hundreds of people walking past.
- Cherry said that his dismissal just came down to his poor phrasing of "you people".
- Cherry added that his many good deeds — he mentioned helping Montreal Canadiens forward Max Domi with the launch of his book on growing up with diabetes — are being overshadowed by his word choice.
- "Not a word was said about that, but you used two words and that's where it goes," said Cherry.
- In retrospect, he said he sees how he could have made his point differently.
- "I think it was a mistake," he said. But I think the big thing was that I should have said 'everybody' — that was the big, big thing."
- Many hockey players were asked for their comments, and a lot of them echoed the same thoughts, that it was disappointing to see Cherry fired after decades of advocacy for hockey and the military.
- Cherry’s fans know sometimes his ‘Grapes speak’ style crunches so many thoughts together, the context can be lost.
- He doesn’t care if you are new to the country or born here, he just doesn’t want people to forget the safe and prosperous lifestyle enjoy here thanks to those who fought or died in war. He just wants the focus put back on Remembrance Day. Unfortunately, being fired on Remembrance Day, the most important day of the year for him "felt like a stab in the back".
- Cherry's Coach’s Corner partner Ron MacLean metaphorically did just that to Cherry. On Twitter, MacLean said he wanted “to sincerely apologize to our viewers and Canadians. During last night’s broadcast, Don made comments that were hurtful and prejudiced and I wish I had handled myself differently. It was a divisive moment and I am truly upset with myself for allowing it.”
- Saying “diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths,” MacLean said he “worked with Don for 30 years” but feels “we failed you.”
- It’s ironic — when MacLean was fired from his chair twice it was Cherry working the back rooms to bring him back.
- The slow news week let every commentator across the country talk about the firing. Jessica Allen, on CTV's "The Social" talk show, kind of like the US's "The View", described hockey players as “white boys” and “bullies” while scolding parents for spending money on the sport.
- Allen said that while she has been “told (Cherry) is a Canadian icon and a symbol of the great sport of hockey,” she doesn’t “worship at the altar of hockey.”
- The reason she gave was “a certain type of person in my mind, in my experience, who does” and “they all tended to be white boys who were, let’s say, not very nice.”
- Added Allen: “They were not generally thoughtful. They were often bullies. Their parents were able to afford to spend $5,000 year on minor hockey: $5,000 is a lot of money. You can do other things besides than spending time in an arena. They could go on a trip and learn about the world. See other things, eh. The world is a big place. Get outside of that bubble. For me, Don Cherry is the walking and talking representative of that type.”
- Although she acknowledged he has done some “good things,” she said that Cherry is “still a bigot and a misogynist.”
- One thing different from what Cherry said last Saturday was that he didn’t refer to or single-out any race or skin colour, or even mention immigrants. Allen did.
- Thursday evening, Allen tweeted a statement, where she said she regrets "saying my experiences were 'personal' instead of underlining that they were specific episodes from determined moments with particular individuals. As a result, I offended many people. Not just our viewers, but parents, children, coaches, volunteers, and hockey families everywhere. To you, I apologize. But I still can't apologize to the very specific hockey players I was referring to on Tuesday. I wish I'd used my voice and privilege more back then."
- She did not give an apology for her racist comments, and the statement that CTV put out on her behalf was atrocious.
- CTV on Twitter said "CTV's The Social is based on opinion and debate about current issues and we often hear from viewers who don't agree with some of the perspectives on the show. However, Jessica Allen's comments about hockey have generated an extraordinary response. We've been touched by the stories we've heard from Canadians everywhere, including families from Humboldt, about what the game means to them. That matters to us. We would like to apologize to everyone who was offended by the remarks, and let you know your feedback sparked much debate and introspection at The Social and CTV. We won't restrict our hosts from offering their opinions on an opinion show, but we've always listen to viewers when they offer theirs."
- Unbelievable, right? When a beloved, if at times abrasive hockey icon tries to get more Canadians to wear poppies, he's fired, but when a hateful and racist woman speaks about how hockey is full of "white boy bullies", she can't even see how that was wrong?
- This is the standard of political correctness in our country. And our biased and sensationalist media encourages it. Rather than act to help focus on the military and veterans on Remembrance Day, like Don Cherry wanted, instead, we're inundated with awful opinions about our national pastime and culture. It's disgusting.
Word of the Week
Double standard - a rule or principle that is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Out of Whack
Teaser: We look at how Alberta pays Quebec’s bills, the mystery of markups in BC gas prices, and Alberta taking steps to take care of themselves. Also, we look at the firing of Don Cherry on Remembrance Day, and the attack on our Canadian culture.
Recorded Date: November 15, 2019
Release Date: November 17, 2019
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes