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Alberta

Standing for Alberta – The Fight for a Fair Deal Within Canada

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A new organization called Fairness Alberta has recently joined the ongoing national conversation discussing Alberta’s role in the Canadian landscape as a major contributor to the wealth and general prosperity of the country. Arguments surrounding the value of Alberta, which position it as Canada’s neglected province, have long been a contentious topic at the regional and national levels. 

In 2016, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel famously made waves at parliament when she accused the federal government of treating Alberta like a “fart in the room, that no one wants to acknowledge or talk about” (1).
In October 2019, the results of the Canadian Federal Election saw the outrage of many across western Canada, giving rise to the popular Western Exit, better known as WEXIT, movement. Based on fundamental principles of economic liberty and social stability, WEXIT advocates for Western Canadian sovereignty through the secession of the western provinces from the rest of the country.
In January 2020, Alberta Proud hosted The Value of Alberta: A One-Day Conference on Alberta’s Future, featuring keynote topics such as “The Economic Value of Alberta”, “Is there a Canadian Manifesto without Alberta?” and “Reasons Alberta Struggles to fit and Where we go Next”. 

On Monday, May 25, Fairness Alberta joined the ranks of Albertans dissatisfied with the federal government’s treatment of Alberta, seeking to take a stand against biased policies and regulations. This Proudly Canadian, Fiercely Albertan organization operates on non-partisan, factual fundamentals, seeking not to deepen the divide between Alberta and the rest of the country, but to bridge the gap through education, discussion and understanding. 

Bill Bewick, Executive Director Fairness Alberta, brings extensive experience to the organization with a PhD in Political Science from Michigan State University and years spent working as a political consultant, as well as within the Alberta legislature. “It is entirely outside of our mandate to speculate about separatism,” says Bewick of the WEXIT movement, “our goal is to get a better deal for Alberta, within Canada.” 

At the core of their organization, Fairness Alberta believes Canadians should recognize how a prosperous Alberta benefits Canada as a whole. According to Bewick, FA founders and members share a fundamental frustration regarding “how little people and politicians seem to understand about the amount of money leaving Alberta every year.” The Alberta Transfer Meter, operated by Fairness Alberta, features a running total of Alberta’s net contributions to other provinces in the form of federal taxes and EI premiums over the last two decades. According to the Meter, Albertans have seen an estimated total of $324 billion of their tax dollars spent in other Canadian provinces from the year 2000 to 2019. 

Dedicated to informing the rest of the country about “the importance of Alberta’s contributions to Canada, and about the unfair nature of various federal policies, actions, and decisions from Ottawa”, Fairness Alberta hopes to help level the Canadian playing field in regards to fiscal, trade, energy, procurement and infrastructure issues.

 “Alberta’s contributions are taken for granted,” says Bewick, “We want to encourage investment in a place that has shown high levels of productivity in the past and has a lot of potential for the future.” In achieving this goal, Bewick adds, “we really think education and open discussion are critical in reaching a common ground and having any significant change take place.” 

 Since their official launch, Fairness Alberta has experienced positive pick-up and feedback from the Alberta public, and is committed to continued growth and expansion throughout the rest of Canada. Dialogue based and donation driven, Bewick encourages the public to reach out, share feedback and join the conversation surrounding Alberta’s future. 

For more information on Fairness Alberta and how to get involved, visit https://www.fairnessalberta.ca.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

Vancouver Canucks beat Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime, advance in NHL playoffs

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EDMONTON — The Vancouver Canucks are back in the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2015, but they didn’t do it the easy way.

The Canucks had to battle back from deficits three times Friday night to beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime at Rogers Place to take their best-of-five qualifying series three games to one.

Defenceman Chris Tanev scored on a wrist shot from the blue line 11 seconds into the first overtime to clinch it.

Vancouver forward Bo Horvat said it’s been a long time in the playoff wilderness.

“It’s awesome,” said Horvat.

“This franchise has been through a lot these last four years not making the playoffs. We’ve taken it to heart and we wanted to come out and prove ourselves.

“It feels great but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

Rookie scoring sensation Quinn Hughes had a goal and assist to power the Canucks. Tanner Pearson, Brandon Sutter, and Horvat also scored.

Eric Staal, Luke Kunin, Nico Sturm, and Joel Eriksson Ek replied for Minnesota.

The Wild have now missed the post-season for two consecutive seasons, with first-round exits in each of three seasons before that. 

Minnesota was hampered by the loss of top defenceman Ryan Suter, who did not dress after playing big minutes in the first three games. The league is not releasing injury information or any individual COVID-19 test results.

Staal said the loss was particularly painful given that the Wild pride themselves as a shutdown team.

“When you have a lead, especially with the type of group we have, you expect to get the job done and the right result at the end of the night,” said Staal.

“Credit (Vancouver). They kept coming and kept attacking and were able to cash in on a couple of broken plays and a couple of good plays.”

Goalie Alex Stalock had 26 stops for Minnesota

Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom, whose stellar play in the regular season made it possible for the Canucks to make the post-season tournament, stopped 25 of 29 shots but fought the puck all night, allowing two sharp-angle short-side goals and giving up juicy rebounds.

Minnesota opened the scoring about three minutes into the first period. Kunin, on the power play, took a pass on the end line from Mats Zuccarello, crashed the net, and jammed the puck over Markstrom’s goalpad.

Pearson tied the score at the 12:52 mark, corralling a perfect stretch pass from Tanev at the left face-off dot and releasing a wrist shot that banked off the far goalpost and in.

Minnesota responded 40 seconds later. Staal, standing below the face-off circle to Markstrom’s right, took a pass from Marcus Foligno, who was behind the net, and sniped a puck past Markstrom’s ear on the short side.

In the second period, the Wild went up 3-1. Eriksson Ek grabbed a rebound off a point shot and lifted the puck over Markstrom. The Canucks immediately cut the lead to 3-2 when Hughes’s point shot got deflected high up in the air and landed behind Stalock, allowing Sutter to jam it over the goal line.

Hughes tied the game just over a minute later on the power play, wristing the puck from the high slot through heavy traffic and in.

Then Minnesota went ahead again.

With under a minute to go in the period, Sturm flew in on the left wing and fired a wrist shot near the end line that managed to elude Markstrom under the arm.

The Canucks tied the game late in the third period, when Pearson fought off a check behind the net and fed Horvat for a one-timer in the slot, setting the stage for overtime.

The series was a case of Hughes and the Canucks’ high-flying top six forwards against the smothering team defence of the Wild.

Hughes, the Calder Trophy nominee, led all rookies in scoring in the abbreviated regular season (eight goals, 53 points) and kept the hot hand in the playoffs with a goal and five assists.

Vancouver’s top six didn’t score a lot but they scored enough. Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Pearson each had two goals while Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller had one each.

Winger Tyler Toffoli didn’t play since Game 1, out with an apparent foot injury.

Vancouver lost the opener 3-0, but came back to win 4-3 and 3-0 before Friday’s clincher.

It was a close-checking, low-scoring series dominated by penalties that continued early in the game when Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen squared off and scrapped with Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman.

The 12 Western Conference teams have been playing at Rogers Place, with players in isolation to avoid contracting COVID-19. The Eastern Conference teams are doing the same in Toronto.

The tournament was created after the NHL prematurely ended the regular season in mid-March due to the COVID pandemic. 

Vancouver will now play one of the top four seeds: the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars or Vegas Golden Knights.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 7, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press


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Alberta

Blackhawks bounce Oilers from NHL post-season with 3-2 win in qualifying play

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EDMONTON — The Chicago Blackhawks bounced the hub-city host Edmonton Oilers out of the NHL’s post-season tournament Friday, beating them 3-2 at Rogers Place.

The Blackhawks won the best-of-five qualifying series 3-1 and now move on to the round of 16.

Brandon Saad, Matthew Highmore and Dominik Kubalik scored for Chicago.

Josh Archibald and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for Edmonton.

The Oilers were expected to beat Chicago, given they were the fifth-seeded team in the Western Conference tournament and the Hawks were the bottom seed at 12.

Edmonton was also led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the top two scorers in the league during the abbreviated regular season.

The Oilers scored 45 seconds into the game on their first shot.

McDavid fed the puck from the boards to Archibald as he streaked through the slot. Archibald redirected the puck up and over the left shoulder of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.

Edmonton was without top-pairing shutdown defenceman Adam Larsson for a second consecutive game (deemed “unfit to play”) and it showed when Chicago scored the next two goals off point shots, catching the Oilers defence running around.

At 5:16, Saad pounced on the puck from a rebound off a Connor Murphy shot, swooped around the net, — with Edmonton defenceman Oscar Klefbom draped all over him — and slid a backhand wraparound shot past goalie Mikko Koskinen.

Less than three minutes later, Highmore, standing unmolested in front of the net, redirected a Duncan Keith point shot past Koskinen and in.

Nugent-Hopkins tied the game two minutes into the second period, shovelling the puck past Crawford on a goal-mouth scramble.

Edmonton’s defensive troubles worsened in the second period when Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat drilled Ethan Bear head first into the boards from behind. Bear went to the dressing room and DeBrincat was assessed a five-minute major for boarding.

The winner came midway through the third, when Hawks captain Jonathan Toews outmuscled Bear for the puck beside the Oilers net, then fed the puck to Kubalik for a one timer over the short-side shoulder of Koskinen. 

The Oilers made a late push but took a too-many-men penalty with two minutes left when there was bench confusion after Koskinen started heading off for an extra attacker but then stopped and stayed on the ice.

Crawford made 41 saves for the win. Koskinen stopped 25 in the loss.

The Hawks success was due to veteran leaders and scoring up and down the lineup. Toews had four goals and seven points in the series. Patrick Kane collected one goal and four points.

Rookie Kubalik had five points in Game 1 but was otherwise quiet until his game-winning a series-clinching goal.

Chicago had goals from nine different players in the series. Nine of the 16 goals came off blue-line point shots.

The Oilers suffered from a lack of scoring other than from McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins. First line winger Zack Kassian was punted to the fourth line after an ineffective Game 1. Rookie Kailer Yamamoto, a point a game player after being called up in January, was kept off the scoresheet in all four games.

McDavid finished with five goals and nine points. Draisaitl had three goals and three assists. Nugent-Hopkins recorded two goals and eight points.

The Blackhawks were by all rights done for the year, spiralling out of the playoff picture when COVID-19 pandemic forced the NHL to shut down regular season at the 70-game mark in mid-March. 

However, they were one of the 24 top teams invited to play in the expanded conference post-season tournament, held in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. All players have been isolating to avoid contracting COVID-19 and playing their games in otherwise empty arenas.

There was no home advantage to the Oilers in Rogers Place other than familiar surroundings. They had to share their home dressing room equally with other teams and isolate in a hotel like everyone else.

The Oilers have missed the playoffs for 13 of the last 14 seasons and four of the past five seasons since drafting McDavid first overall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 7, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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