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Alberta

Alberta’s Danielle Smith announces new parental rights policy to be released this week

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘When it comes to the balancing of the parental rights with kids growing into adulthood, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with parents wanting to protect their child’s innocence as long as possible on issues of sexuality,’ Danielle Smith said over the weekend.

Alberta is set to unveil new legislation to protect parental rights within the school system this week.   

On January 27, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced that this week her United Conservative Party (UPC) will publish a new parental rights policy after promising the legislation last November.   

“We’ll be releasing policy about this next week and I’m really hopeful that we can depoliticize the discussion and be thinking about the kids who are listening to us adults, talking about these issues that are impacting them and making sure we get the right balance,” Smith told the audience of her Corus  radio call-in show. 

Smith’s comments came in response to a caller named Linda who referenced Smith’s promises during the UPC’s annual general meeting (AGM) and questioned when Smith would introduce “an Alberta parental rights bill.” 

“I want every parent listening today to hear me loud and clear. Parents are the primary caregivers and educators of their children,” Smith had promised at the AGM last November.   

“Regardless of how often the extreme left undermines the role of parents, I want you to know that parental rights and choice in your child’s education is and will continue to be a fundamental core principle of this party and this government, and we will never apologize for it,” she declared.  

In November, UPC members passed a slew of pro-family, medical freedom, and anti-woke policies at its AGM, including one calling for a bill to support “comprehensive parental rights” in education. While the policies are non-binding, merely serving as suggestions for the Alberta government, Smith told reporters at the time that her government does support the party’s grassroots process.  

During Saturday’s show, Smith revealed that consultations have taken place about such a policy, and that new legislation will be published shortly.

“When it comes to the balancing of the parental rights with kids growing into adulthood, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with parents wanting to protect their child’s innocence as long as possible on issues of sexuality. I think that that’s a good instinct,” she told the caller.  

Smith’s promise comes after both Saskatchewan and New Brunswick introduced legislation to protect parental rights despite incurring the ire of many in the LGBT community. 

Last September, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe invoked his government’s notwithstanding clause to protect legislation mandating that parents be told if their child changes “genders” at school; a judge had ruled against enforcement of the law earlier that day.  

The notwithstanding clause, embedded in section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, allows provinces to temporarily override sections of theCharter of Rights and Freedoms to protect new laws from being scrapped by the courts. 

Saskatchewan had followed the example of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, who earlier in 2023 had been condemned by LGBT activists for reviewing the province’s “gender identity” policy that allowed schools to hide students’ “transgender” status from parents. 

“For [a desire to be identified with the opposite sex] purposefully to be hidden from the parents, that’s a problem,” Higgs told reporters at the time.

In early August, pro-LGBT politicians tried unsuccessfully to remove Higgs from office. Their failure led Progressive Conservative Party members to say that, despite the media backlash, Higgs has the support of the “silent majority.” 

According to an August 2023 survey, 86 percent of Saskatchewan-based participants are for parental rights and support the province’s new laws.

There have also been numerous protests against the LGBT agenda in schools, including the September 2023 “Million Person March” which drew thousands of Canadians from across the country.

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Alberta

Indigenous-owned LNG projects in jeopardy with proposed emissions cap, leaders warn

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Indigenous leaders meet with Japan’s ambassador to Canada Kanji Yamanouchi. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Cody Ciona

‘It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table’

A proposed cap on oil and gas emissions will threaten opportunities for Indigenous communities to bring cleaner alternatives to coal to international markets, Indigenous leaders warned during a recent webinar. 

Karen Ogen, CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, fears Indigenous-led projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG are threatened by the cap, which is essentially a cap on production. 

“If we’re going to help China and India get off of coal and help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, it makes common sense for us to be selling our LNG to Asia and to other countries. To put a cap on, it would just stop us from doing that,” Ogen said. 

“It’s like we’re finally at the table and we’re having to fight to keep our seat at the table.” 

Indigenous communities across Canada have increasingly become involved in oil and gas projects to secure economic prosperity and reduce on-reserve poverty. 

Since 2022, more than 75 First Nations and Metis communities have entered ownership agreements across western Canada. Among those are key projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the joint investment of 23 communities to obtain a 12 per cent ownership stake in several oil sands pipelines. 

The planned federal emissions cap will stall progress toward economic reconciliation, Ogen said. 

“Our leaders did not accept this and fought hard to have rights and titles recognized,” she said. 

“These rights were won through persistence and determination. It’s been a long journey, but we are finally at the table with more control over our destiny.” 

Chris Sankey, CEO of Blackfish Enterprises and a former elected councillor for the Lax Kw’alaams Band in B.C., said the proposed emissions cap could stifle Indigenous communities pushing for poverty reduction. 

“We’re working hard to try to get our people out of poverty. All [the emissions cap is] doing is pushing them further into debt and further into poverty,” he said. 

“When oil and gas is doing well, our people do well.” 

Together, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, LNG Canada project and Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $10 billion in contracts with Indigenous and local businesses

Indigenous employment in the oil and gas industry has also increased by more than 20 per cent since 2014. 

For Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council, an emissions cap feels like a step in the wrong direction after years of action to become true economic partners is finally making headway. 

“Being a participant in the natural resource sector and making true partnerships, has been beneficial for First Nations,” he said. 

“So, when you see a government trying to attack this industry in that regard, it is very disheartening.” 

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Alberta

TDF funds defence of the “Coutts Three”

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The “Coutts Three,” Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen

News release from The Democracy Fund

A jury trial is expected to proceed after pretrial applications.

LETHBRIDGE: The Democracy Fund (TDF) is funding the defence of three men charged with mischief in Lethbridge, Alberta. The men, known as the “Coutts Three,” are Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen. All three are alleged to have been leaders of the 17-day trucker protest against COVID-19 restrictions that shut down the Coutts border in February 2022.

The matter is expected to proceed to a jury trial after pretrial applications are heard over the next few days. Jury trials are only available for serious criminal matters where the accused faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment or more.

The men should not be confused with the “Coutts Four,” who were among the twelve persons arrested in connection to an RCMP raid that resulted in the seizure of weapons and the end of the protest. According to Van Huigenbos, the message of the Coutts protesters “had been lost” following the arrests and the border blockade was voluntarily dismantled.

Donations for the three men can be made on this page.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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