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Election follow up: A proud Canadian’s heartbreaking breakup letter with Canada


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Submitted by Mark Meincke of Okotoks

Dear Canada,

When I was a child, Pierre Elliott Trudeau was our Prime Minister, and when he instituted the National Energy Program, Alberta was devastated. My Dad was a successful business owner, who employed dozens and dozens of people. All his employees lost their jobs. We declared bankruptcy, and were foreclosed on. My Dad lost everything, so my parents, my sister and I lost our home.

Our family went from being successful, to living in our Uncles basement for a year. Our family spent a full year, with 10 people in a house that only had one bathroom. It was rough for all of us…but we made it through. Alberta eventually recovered, but our family never fully bounced back, and we still feel the pain to this day.

On October 21rst, you re-elected Justin Trudeau to be your Prime Minister.

Like you, I’m a proud Canadian, and have proven my loyalty by risking my life in a war zone to protect our country. I was wounded there, and have been suffering from those wounds for over 20 years. My family has also suffered from those wounds, and is still suffering today.

Canada, you elected a Prime Minister who said that Veterans were asking for more than the government is willing to give….so every day another Veteran who is desperate for help, takes their own life. Their cries for help continue to go unanswered.

Canada, you elected a Government who has openly declared they will destroy the Alberta energy sector, which will destroy Alberta. Your response…”Well, I guess Alberta should have diversified their economy…so tough luck”. You don’t seem to understand, that it’s more than the oil sector you’ve shut down. Hundreds of restaurants have already shut down, with hundreds more about too.. Downtown Calgary high rises are vacant, property values are dropping, and businesses of all sorts are evaporating with no end in sight.

Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, have gone bankrupt, and have lost their homes. Suicide is on the rise, and mental health is on the decline. All of this pain…and you don’t seem to notice. Still…somehow it is US who is paying YOU equalization payments. How is this possible? If you won’t help us by sending the cash back in our direction, at least stop taking our money until we can get back on our feet….please!

Canada, you chose to replace the cleanest, most ethical oil in the world with Saudi oil. By doing so, you are supporting a dictatorship that kills homosexuals, and subjugates women. How can you be in favor of human rights, gay rights, and women’s rights….and yet support Saudi oil?

The result of your decision, is LESS clean, ethical oil, and MORE dirty, unethical oil. ZERO improvement will occur with carbon emissions, instead there will be MORE emissions, and LESS progress on human rights. Destroying the Alberta energy sector goes against all of your beliefs and morals…yet somehow you still justify your decision.

When we pleaded for help, you rolled your eyes. When Alberta warned you that our separtist sentiment was on the rise, you scoffed. When Justin Trudeau…the man who openly hates the west won the election…you cheered. You cheered for the devastation of the west.

I love you Canada..I love you so very much. I love you so much that I’ve given all that I have to give to you. I love you, but we are in an abusive relationship.

There is no pain so great as unrequited love.

A good marriage is one where each has an equal say. A good marriage is one where each respects the opinions of the other, even if they disagree. In a good marriage, each spouse not just allows for the individuality of the other, they support and encourage individuality.

Alberta has done all that we can to be a good partner to you. We have put bread on the table, paid your bills, put your kids through school, and supported your freedom to be whoever you want to be. But still, …you don’t love us back. You don’t even want to treat us as casual friends. Alberta feels more than just left out, we feel despised.

Dear Canada, the time has come for us to go our separate ways. We love you…SOOOO MUCH, but we now realize that you will never love us back. For most of my life, Separation was not a possibility, but now I realize it’s the only way we can survive.

Heart broken,


(Written by Mark E. Meincke, blending his real life story with the persona of Alberta)

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Protests “A War Against Working Men and Women” Poilievre’s speech goes viral

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Pierre Poilievre made a speech in Parliament Wednesday that has gone viral across Canada.   Since it was posted Wednesday it’s been viewed on Poilievre’s facebook page well over a half million times.  He called this speech “A War Against the Working Men and Women of this Country”.  It’s a pretty powerful argument.

We’ll open comments in case you’d like to weigh in.

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Alberta father irked by charity group (The 3% Project) that targets fossil fuel industry

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David Durda

With bassa Social Innovations Todayville recently introduced #visionCanada2119

#visionCanada2119 engages Albertans and Canadians in the types of conversations we need to move ahead as a province, a country, and an economy serving both.   Please consider posting your comments at the end of this article, or in the social media thread.   In some cases we will use these comments in future posts.   
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PHOTO David Durda at his office with the Three Percent Project handout that was given to his son in school in Airdrie, Alberta, December 5, 2019.

David Durda is normally happy to have his 15-year-old son exposed to as many points of view as possible.

But the Airdrie, Alberta dad was deeply troubled when he learned an environmentally-focused non-profit, the 3% Project, was given the green light by school administrators to deliver what he believes is a misleading presentation to some 400 students at his son’s high school in October.

Some of the educational materials provided as part of the presentation contain what he considered to be misleading or incomplete information, and appear to directly target the fossil fuel industry and Alberta’s oil sands.

In just under two years, the 3% Project, the flagship campaign of the Toronto-based Foundation for Environmental Stewardship, has made presentations in 355 schools in more than 250 communities – from Mangilaluk School in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, to Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John’s, Nfld. – delivering the message that students represent “the final generation” who can solve a potentially “apocalyptic future.”

By next year, the project, according to its website, aims to make presentations in 600 high schools and ask 1 million Canadian youth (representing three per cent of Canada’s population) to sign the following pledge:  “I am more certain that climate change is happening right now, that it is mainly caused by human activities, and that we’re the final generation who can solve it.”

In its stated goals, the group says it also aims to “identify and heavily invest in three youth climate leaders,” cultivate a further 20 “youth advocates” to spread its message, and plans to have 200 youth identified by name in local media outlets sharing the group’s message.

After hearing that his son was required to go to what he called a mandatory presentation at his school, Durda, who works for a Calgary oil and gas firm, began digging into the group, founded by a 25-year-old climate activist who, according to the group, attended climate leadership training led by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

“They have pretty ambitious plans and I believe the school was misled about what the presentation was about,” Durda said.

“In my mind, they just presented one view.”

Much of the information in the campaign is straight-forward.

But some of the educational materials being provided to children as young as Grade 6 contain questionable information.

A review of the 43-page 3% Project handbook, available through the group’s website, finds several questionable statements and data points:

  • In making its case to battle “climate indifference” over Alberta’s oil sands, the non-profit suggests the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated Canada is subsidizing its fossil fuel industry to the tune of $46 billion annually, which would account for 13 per cent of Canada’s entire 2019 federal budget. Not mentioned in the literature is the fact that that figure came from an IMF working paper, which according to a prominent disclaimer accompanying the report, doesn’t “necessarily represent the view of the IMF.” According to a 2016 study conducted by Canadian climate advocacy group Environmental Defence, annual subsidies from both provincial and federal governments amount to about $3.3 billion annually.
  • The 3% Project also suggests that between 2003 to 2010, the fossil fuel industry “invested $558 million in climate denial groups.” The source of that information, a 2013 study from Drexel University, only reviewed donations from the United States during that period, and of the 140 foundations identified as funding these groups, the “overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations,” while the fossil fuel industry itself barely warrants a mention in the academic paper. The literature provided to students suggests industry fosters campaigns of misinformation, with one of the project’s key rationales suggesting: “Public education for youth influences their parents and is the best weapon against disinformation by the fossil fuel industry.” The document also makes no mention of the millions of dollars invested by U.S.-based environmental charities to help disrupt Canada’s energy industry as well as derailing some critical pipeline projects.
  • The report vilifies Canada for being “one of the most environmentally destructive populations per capita on earth,” citing, in particular, its globally high per capita rate of CO2 emissions. The literature fails to mention the fact Canada is middle of the pack when it comes to G7 countries, according to the World Bank, and its 537,000 kilotons generated are a bare fraction of those produced by the world’s top three emitters: China, the United States and India, which in 2014 contributed about 18 million kilotons between them. As well, Canada is quickly becoming a world leader in cleantech oil and gas development while making significant progress in lowering the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta’s oil sands.
  • The literature also talks about “the possible apocalyptic future we may inherit.” While the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent special report on climate, released in October 2018, highlights several risks associated with climate change, including increasing global temperatures, potential droughts, increased flooding, incremental sea level rising and significant risk to some ecosystems, participating scientists consider many of its predictions to be “medium confidence,” compared to other designations of low and high confidence used by the scientists who make up the panel.

A 3% Project spokesperson, through its website messenger system, declined to make anyone available to comment on any of the concerns raised prior to the publication deadline.

In a statement, the Calgary Catholic School Division said individual school principals are encouraged to invite external groups, and are given guidelines to aid in making those decisions.

“The Calgary Catholic School District recognizes the value of external agencies and organizations to provide information to enhance the curriculum and benefit student learning,” it read.

“Principals are encouraged to invite various external organizations to present information that strengthens the curriculum. Principals are given guidelines to assist their decision-making regarding the circulation of any balanced, approved materials or information at the school level.”

However, correspondence from the school’s principal to Durda included an apology for how the presentation came to be, suggesting it wasn’t thoroughly vetted beforehand.

“I did … apologize and agreed with you that we learned from this, that we need to vet the presentation more thoroughly, but also shared the 3% presentation wasn’t one we would bring back because it didn’t hit home with the kids,” read an email, in part, sent to Durda following the presentation.

Durda said he had recommended a separate presentation from Modern Resources CEO Chris Slubicki, who has emerged as a measured voice from industry touting the innovations and benefits of Canadian energy, which could educate students on the positive improvements that continue to be made, including a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emission intensity of oilsands crude since 1990, and producing increasingly cleaner burning natural gas.

However, he was told such a presentation should be initiated by his son and like-minded peers, and would only be in front of a much smaller assembly of students who showed an interest in attending, which Durda feared would put his son in an unfair position.

According to documents from Revenue Canada, as a registered charity, the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship received some $545,000 from other registered charities in 2018. Among their sponsors are the Butterfield Family Foundation, Lush Cosmetics, the City of Vancouver and Service Canada.

In the group’s handbook, its authors suggest children are not being given all the facts about climate change and the fossil fuels industry. And it aims to mobilize kids as a conduit to influence their elders.

“Children engaging their own parents and grandparents most effectively cultivates behavioural change. Parents start taking action on climate out of love for their children, not of principle,” the handbook reads.

“And they can’t be lied to. Public education must engage youth with the facts before they are thoroughly confused with climate disinformation.”

For Durda, the fact the group was able to get into his son’s school has left him concerned about how many other Canadian students will be influenced by the 3% Project’s message.

“They only presented one view and I thought that view was pretty misleading.”

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