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Opinion

Alberta Election 2019 is shaping up to be the most anticipated election in decades.

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The Alberta 2019 Election will probably be the most exciting election in decades.
If the forecasters are correct and we are back in the boom portion of our boom and bust economic cycle then the incumbent New Democratic Party government will be a contender. Simultaneously drawing from and decimating smaller parties like the Alberta Greens and the Alberta Liberal Party.
The recently created United Conservative Party after 2 years of media attention from creation, merger, and leadership votes is expected to be a strong contender. Splinter groups will likely appear from disgruntled ex-Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives which may grow faster in a fractious leadership race. The Alberta Advantage Party is in the works and should not be discarded.
Former Premier Jim Prentice found out the hard way that politics is fickle. Ending the Progressive Conservative reign, electing an New Democratic government with a Wildrose opposition. Alberta has been instrumental in creating parties like the Reform Party and Wildrose so these splinter parties should not be ignored.
The Alberta Advantage Party appears to be drawing some interest from former Wildrose, Progressive Conservatives, Alberta Reformers, and Social Credit voters. Depending upon funding and organizational abilities they may be contenders.
The Alberta Party seems to draw the attention of some Alberta Liberal members, some Progressive Conservatives, and some Greens but will they burst onto the scene like the hare or continue like the tortoise? Only time will tell.
The other wildcard is the urban vote. Will the urban vote rally around the current New Democratic government and will it be enough? The urbanization of the rural communities, the younger generation’s increased education, increased computer and internet access, the decline of local media, and the accelerating of the importance of technologies other than fossil fuel based technologies, altogether or individually, deem the policies of the United Conservative Party archaic even before their first election?
Elections Alberta shows about a dozen parties but I think in 2019 there will probably be only 3 or 4 serious contenders with the New Democrats and the United Conservatives being the top 2 to watch. The Alberta Party and the Alberta Advantage Party may prove to be contenders, only time will tell.
The 2015 election was supposed to be a slam dunk win for the Progressive Conservatives after former Premier Jim Prentice lured former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and several MLAs over to his party. He then campaigned with his back turned to new leader of the Wildrose allowing the New Democrats to show their strength and win. So 2019 will be exciting.
Forecasters may be wrong, as they often are, and we may be in the bust portion of our boom and bust economic cycle so it may be a walk for an opposition party.
The 2019 Alberta Election will be the election to watch, Albertans do not shy away from a good fight. 2019 is shaping up to be a good fight.

Opinion

We want free trade with everyone but Canadians living in other provinces.

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bc-wine Pipeline
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Free Trade with everyone but ourselves.
Canadians have been hearing a lot of talk about the need for and benefits from free trade with the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, and the Americans. Yah, let’s get it done.
What about free trade within our own country with other provinces?
Not so much.
We have been fighting amongst ourselves over healthcare, education, labour certification, lumber, minerals, water and a thousand other things. The latest is Alberta and British Columbia over oil and wine.
British Columbia with it’s fragile government put up barriers to the twinning of a pipeline, citing environmental concerns. Alberta countered with a ban on British Columbia’s wine.
There is a connection between oil and air pollution but there is also a connection between wine and alcohol related deaths. So is one government more righteous than the other? No, they both looking after the economic well being of their respective provinces.
British Columbia has great dealings with other governments over their energy resources, especially in the north, so they are not so pure in their stance. Alberta will continue to drink their wine, most notably from other countries.
The Federal government is the missing player in this game. They have the power to solve this situation. They can push the pipeline, which they previously approved, through British Columbia’s legal challenge. Will they?
Alberta has not been a supporter of this federal government and British Columbia has shown more support. This government needs British Columbia seats in the next election and will not gain any seats in Alberta in any case.
If they push the pipeline agenda they will be seen as anti-environment and lose seats in British Columbia and possibly in other areas that are environmentally sensitive areas.
If they do not push the pipeline agenda, they may retain their seats in British Columbia but may lose seats in the more right-wing economic sensitive ridings in other parts of the country.
We, Albertans, have been consistent in denouncing the Liberals for everything they have done or said, oftentimes without justification, in the past. We are reaping what we have sown in the political arena, as we wait for the next shoe to drop.
Mr. Trudeau, will push the pipeline agenda, and there will be people who will still complain, drive cars, fly airplanes, heat their homes and drink wine, drive under the influence, or know someone who will die due in some part to alcohol.
Then we will find another provincial barrier to argue about while we clamour for free trade with everyone else. Right?

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Opinion

A rural response to Gerald Stanley’s acquittal from a Saskatchewan farmer..

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As a person who lives on a farm in rural sask. I can offer the following insights into rural realities. I only speak for myself and my family. I don’t claim to know what I would or wouldn’t do if I was in the Stanley’s situation, nor if I was in that vehicle with Colton. I hope I never have to find out. I don’t know what life is like on farms in other places, I can’t speak to that.
I can only offer what knowledge I have of rural life…
1. If you live on a farm you are responsible for everything yourself. Snow removal, garbage disposal, water, sewer, security and safety. If your house starts on fire it’s very unlikely that the FD will arrive in time to save it. If you have a heart attack it’s very unlikely that the EMTs will arrive in time to save you. And if your family is attacked it is very unlikely that the RCMP will arrive in time to save you. You are basically on your own. I don’t feel that to say that the Stanleys could have locked themselves in the house and called the police is very reasonable. They weren’t in the house, they were all over the yard. Maybe their door didn’t even lock. Had they been in the house already they may have just hid there like their neighbor did. We can’t know either way. And where I live the earliest RCMP response would be greater than 30 mins. A lot can happen in 30 mins.
2.Anyone who enters a farmer’s property with the intent to steal from or threaten the occupants should be aware of the likely presence of weapons. All of the farmers I know have guns. More than one. Some have many. They aren’t solely or primarily for protection from would be thieves or attackers. some people collect guns, some people enjoy target shooting or hunting. On a farm it is pretty much necessary to have a gun. Where we live there are coyotes, raccoons, cougars, wolves, wild boars etc. An aggressive or rabid animal can attack your family dogs or a beloved animal may be injured or sick and need your mercy. It’s just a rural reality. But a gun can kill people just as easily as animals so everyone should just be aware that on farms there are usually guns.
3. The reasons farmers are easy targets for crime are the very same reasons they are often forced to deal with it on their own. Essentially no effective police response and isolation.
I don’t live in an area with a lot of rural crime. We’ve been robbed before and neighbors have had vehicles stolen and equipment vandalized but I would not say it’s a regular occurrence. Regardless, I have fears. I fear that this far from town someone will get injured or have a heart attack so I have our land location written by the phone and I took CPR. I fear that a snowstorm will take out our power and block our roads so we have a genset and snow moving equipment. I fear that our sewer will back up so we have an alarm and an extra pump. And I fear that if someone came into my yard with the intent or ‘the perceived intent’ to hurt my family the police would be of no help. So we have dogs, and locks on all our doors. And guns. And when guns get involved people can get hurt or killed. My point is we have to take extra precautions for things that urban people are comfortable letting ‘the professionals’ handle. Most farmers, most men actually, will do what they feel is necessary to protect their families and deal with the consequences later. No one wants to be in that position but when you live on a farm you are. You can not depend on anyone else to protect you or save you.
When people are intoxicated their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. And it is safe to say when people are scared their judgement is impaired and they do not act or react in a predictable way. It’s very unfortunate that this tragedy happened at all and I feel terribly sad for all involved.

Regan from Saskatchewan

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february, 2018

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