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The Awed Couple: Can Ottawa Force Alberta To Stay In Its Lane?


8 minute read

Fact: Alberta and Saskatchewan were to enter Confederation in 1905 as a province named Buffalo. But Sir Wilfrid Laurier feared a landmass that big would threaten the domination of Quebec and Ontario in Canada. And so Buffalo was split into the two provinces we know today.

Of all the riddles that make up Canada’s current prime minister one of the most intriguing is how the grandson of a man, Charles-Émile Trudeau, who made his fortune in Montreal gas stations is now hellbent on destroying the same industry.

In this obsession to end fossil fuels, Trudeau does have the company of many other heirs to fortunes created by oil and its products. The ranks of Green NGOs and political movements are thick with names like Rockefeller, Getty, Morgan, Flagler and more, heirs with a guilty conscience about perceived climate-change destruction.

But while most of these families have chosen discreet roles in their quest, Trudeau’s climate infatuation has propelled him to prime minister of Canada since 2015. In that time “Sunny Ways” Justin has obsessively pursued his goal of transitioning Canada from the fossil-fuel giant to an imagined Shangri-la of gentle breezes and warm sunshine.

Nothing can shake him of his messianic role as saviour of the Frozen North. Likewise, no public disgrace or controversy can shake his loyal supporters who supported his father in the same manner. Buttressed by the lapdog NDP caucus he spouts buckets of enviro-nonsense to a docile media (which he has bribed to stay quiet).

Because subtlety is not a strong suit he even named a former Greenpeace zealot and convicted felon as his Environment minister. Which has naturally put him directly at odds with that portion of the country that exploits fossil fuels and (don’t tell anybody) floats the boat of federal budgets.

So when Justin proposed a  Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act to turn energy workers into code writers and social workers by 2035 there was a degree of pushback amongst those who would lose their livelihoods. That plan was revealed last week by EnerCan (who makes up this dreck?) minister Jonathan Wilkinson.

Promising to convert Calgary’s public transit to all-electric, Wilkinson (former leader of the New Democratic Party‘s youth wing in Saskatchewan) proposed the ‘Sustainable Jobs Act’ advisory council that will provide the federal government with recommendations on how to support the Canadian workforce during transition to a ‘net-zero economy.” You can guess who’ll be on the advisory council, but don’t count on any Ford F-150 drivers.

Enter Danielle Smith, newly re-elected premier of Alberta. Smith and her advisors have declared as unworkable the federal government’s unilateral prescription for a carbon-neutral society by 2050. While they recognize the need for transition the Alberta solution is predictably less draconian than Trudeau’s Pol Pot prescription for moving the population back to a more bucolic lifestyle.

Specifically, Alberta wants “to achieve a carbon-neutral energy economy by 2050, primarily through investment in emissions-reduction technologies and the increased export of Alberta LNG to replace higher-emitting fuels internationally.” (Presumably Alberta will be joined by Saskatchewan in this pushback.)

Then came the hammer. “As the development of Alberta’s natural resources and the regulation of our energy sector workforce are constitutional rights and the responsibility of Alberta, any recommendations provided by this new federal advisory council must align with Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan.”

Translation: Federal legislation has to be in synch with provincial plans, not the other way around. In short, try to impose some Michael Mann fantasy on the province and it’s a no-go. Don’t like it? See you in court. In Alberta. Not Ottawa.

Will this constitutional gambit work? While Smith’s mandate from the recent election is hardly rock-solid, she does have the benefit of time in her four-year term. Trudeau has no such luxury, and launching a court case in Alberta would likely stretch past his mandate ending next year. Yes, the impertinence of Alberta would play well with his base in the 514/613/416. But let’s be honest, they are voting Trudeau even if he (in the words of Donald Trump) grabs them by the privates.

One thing you can be assured of when it comes to the PM. He will not be forcing any  Canadian Sustainable Jobs Act on the Ontario auto industry to aid its transition to EV vehicles. There will be no helpful suggestions on the death of the automobile for the new mutlti-billion dollar VW battery plants cashing federal cheques in Windsor. He knows his voting base won’t buy it. But those Alberta saps?

The telling impact of this jurisdictional fight will be where Trudeau’s rival, Pierre Poilievre, comes down on the transition issue. With his election depending on the swaths of voters in the GTA shoulder ridings— where Trudeau’s mooting about crybaby Alberta will get a full airing— does he lend his support to Smith’s pushback?

Put simply, is backing Alberta sovereignty in the oil patch a vote-loser for a party still looking past “Hate Trudeau” as an election platform? You could see Poilievre rationalizing that he’ll get the seats in the West no matter what, so why not leave Trudeau to wrassle the Alberta bear alone?

Risky for sure. But if he gets the PMO seat in 2024 Poilievre can always play kiss-and-make-up later with Smith and her government. Can’t wait.

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Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via


BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Premier Smith announces plan to boost Alberta’s Heritage Fund to at least 250 Billion by 2050

Published on

From CPAC on YouTube

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith delivers state-of-the-province address

In a televised address from Edmonton, Danielle Smith, the premier of Alberta, delivers an update on her government’s vision and legislative priorities.

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Alberta looking to ban electronic vote tabulators ahead of next provincial election

Published on

From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.

The conservative Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, has confirmed she is looking to ban the use of electronic vote tabulators in future provincial elections after issues with them in the 2023 election saw massive delays in the tallying of votes.  

Smith, according to a report from True North, while speaking to a United Conservative Party (UCP) fundraiser on January 26 in the community of Bonnyville was asked if she would “end the use of voting tabulators across the province?” 

Smith replied with a firm “yes.” 

The 2023 Alberta provincial elections held in May saw Smith and her UCP win a majority, although a slim one, over the left-wing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP).

Elections Alberta used what is called a Vote Anywhere Service, which allowed anyone to vote at any voting place regardless of which riding (jurisdiction) they were actually voting in. While paper ballots were used for the election, electronic tabulators were used to count the votes from all hand ballots. A form was then printed out with the result of each riding from the tabulators count of the hand ballots.  

However, the electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.  

Elections Alberta noted in June 2023, per True North, that “[w]e did not use any electronic data transfer from the tabulators, as the tabulators used for advance voting were never connected to a network at any time.” 

“As a result, it was a manual process to verify and enter these results.”  

As for Smith, before the 2023 election, she noted that she was confident in Elections Alberta’s plan to use electronic tabulators, as “we have the ability to do a hand count as a follow up in the event there are close results, I believe that’s going to be sufficient.” 

“That’s, I think, something that people expect in democracy – that you should be able to verify a vote if results end up very close,” she added.  

Elections Alberta, however, has pushed back on returning to hand counting ballots, saying it would increase the manual workload of employees.

There were many close results on election night, with the NDP losing a few seats by only a handful of votes in some Calgary ridings.  

Smith gave no timeline as to how or when she would make the change.

Many large municipalities in Alberta, including the province’s two biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, use electronic tabulators for ballot counting.

Issues surrounding electronic voting machines as well as tabulators came to a head in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which saw Joe Biden declared the winner over Donald Trump. 

A report published by LifeSiteNews last year documented how a computer programmer, Clinton Eugene Curtis, who had previously testified to Congress on the integrity of voting machines, warned lawmakers in Arizona to never trust them.  

“Don’t use machines, because you can never, ever trust them to give you a fair election,” said Curtis. 

“There are too many ways to hack them. You can hack them at the level that I did when you first build them, you can hack them from the outside, you can hack them with programs that load themselves on the side. It’s impossible to secure them. You will never beat the programmer. The programmer always owns the universe.”  

Of note is that Curtis is a Democrat who had worked as a programmer for NASA, as well as the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

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