Alberta to protect citizens from civil suits who defend their land with force
Alberta is making changes to the law that will prevent property owners from being sued if they injure a criminal on their property. These amendments will be introduced imminently, making Alberta’s legislation on this matter retroactive to the start of 2018, according to Global News.
This comes after the notable Edouard Maurice incident in 2018. In that case Maurice shot and wounded an intruder who had been robbing his truck on his property in south Calgary. Although charges were never pressed, the intruder is currently suing Maurice.
Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell has called Wexit “nuts” and that it was created to sow “unnecessary division.”
Speaking to Global News, Campbell stated that “adult” conversations were necessary with policies like equalization, and yet the dialogue has been anything but mature.
“We’re a complex country and we are always going to have issues that need solving,” she added. When Campbell was prompted on Wexit she gave out an incensed screech: “It’s nuts! I’m sorry, it’s a dead-end, so Alberta’s going to separate and that’s going to make it easier to get access to open water? That is a slogan designed to make people angry.”
Campbell’s comments come after the surging support in western separatism deriving from Justin Trudeau’s re-election. Since then, a notable online presence has grown in support of the Wexit movement, and the premiers of western provinces have cautioned Trudeau of the stark consequences of western alienation.
Campbell finished by saying that the Wexit movement “was not how grown-up people address problems … I see this and I think grow up!”
A Twitter search of Campbell’s tweets on Quebec show no similar criticism of the separatist movement in that province.
Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet has attacked Alberta Premier Kenney by saying that he needs to “start explaining things with truth.” Blanchet went on to say that Kenney had been spreading “false information” about the province’s equalization payments, according to Global News.
An indignant Blanchet told The West Block that Canada “does not send a cheque to Quebec … I would be glad if he started explaining things with truth instead of some false information as we see.”
When Blanchet was asked about the Wexit movement he stated that he understood “that some people in western Canada don’t feel comfortable in the presence of this country … but the desire to do whatever they want with their oil might not be a sufficient reason to fuel a desire to become a country.”
Blanchet’s comments is the latest escalation in the war of words between the Quebec and Alberta premiers. Last week, after leaving a meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, Blanchet told a scrum of reporters that he would not indulge western Canada’s desire to build an “oil state”.
Due to Kenney making a point of criticizing equalization payments, even going as far as to threaten a referendum, Blanchet’s position will further antagonize an already disenfranchised western Canada
Since 1960, Alberta has paid $600 billion in equalization payments to Ottawa, much of which has then relocated to Quebec. Over the last few years, Alberta’s economy has begun to slow down, even falling into a light recession this year. Despite this, they still have had to pay $23 billion each year for the past five years.
Blanchet’s comments, then, add additional salt to Alberta’s wound, especially as Quebec posted a $4 billion surplus.
Disclosure:Garnett Genuis is the Conservative MP representing Sherwood Park–Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta.
At the federal level, I have consistently sought to advance the protection of conscience in legislation and policy. A right to freedom of conscience is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and is part of other human rights documents going back to before Confederation.
Protection of conscience has a strong moral and intellectual basis. The most important freedom we all have is the right to an independent and personal search for truth–to do what we believe right and avoid what we believe wrong, insofar as doing what we believe right does not involve some act of violence against another person.
If a person can be compelled to accept the state’s notion of right and wrong regardless of his or her own conscience, then what is left of the notion of individual freedom?
There has been much discussion recently about freedom of conscience and religion in the context of religious symbols. Importantly, though freedom of conscience has to go beyond external symbols. If you believe that a Muslim woman should be free to wear a hijab at work, do you believe that that same Muslim woman should be free to abstain from participation in, say, euthanasia, if such participation conflicts with her conscientious beliefs? Conscience is a matter of what is inside your head, not just of what you put on your head.
In the last Parliament, Conservatives sought to amend the government’s euthanasia legislation to protect the conscience rights of medical practitioners. Many doctors would prefer not to participate in euthanasia. Requiring them to do so will not improve access because it will force those with a strong conscientious objection out of the profession or out of the country. This is a serious concern given the limited number of doctors practising palliative care. Fewer palliative care doctors means more pain at the end of life and less access to the accommodation and comfort that people under such pain deserve.
Notably, our efforts to protect conscience through our opposition motion were supported in a vote on May 17, 2016, by all present Conservative MPs (including Stephen Harper, Rona Ambrose, and Jason Kenney) as well as by five NDP MPs–Charlie Angus, Alistair MacGregor, Gord Johns, Sheila Malcolmson, and Erin Weir.
For good reason. In light of the failure to act at the federal level to protect conscience and ensure access to vital services, a provincial MLA has proposed legislation to affirm conscience protection here in Alberta (Bill 207). This legislation would mean no substantive change for anyone–it simply codifies into legislation what is already the rule and practise for physicians in Alberta. It does not provide a right to refuse service on the basis of identifiable characteristics–only on the basis of well-founded conscientious objection. It is a necessary legislative step because it ensures that doctors in Alberta won’t face a situation in the future where the regulatory body tries to take away conscience protection.
It is fascinating to observe how apoplectic many on the political left have become over proposals like Bill 207 to protect conscience. Apparently the road to Gilead is paved with conscience rights protection. (People who say such things have probably never actually read A Handmaid’s Tale).
Many on the left have embraced the inverted vocabulary of another dystopian novel, 1984. To them, the protection of something as basic as conscientious objections has been re-imagined as an attack on someone else’s freedom. But nobody’s right to anything should be a basis for compelling someone else to provide that thing in violation of their conscience. Unlike the Alberta NDP, this is something that at least some members of the federal NDP understood well in the last Parliament.
Diversity isn’t just about the colour of your skin or the symbols you wear. Respecting diversity means allowing people with substantively different views of life to express their opinions and to access professions. A society that does not understand this is not a free society. It is, therefore, vitally important to ensure that Charter protections for freedom of conscience are taken seriously.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has some impassioned words for Quebecers and some fighting words for the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves-François Blanchet.
As first reported in the National Post, Kenney has told Quebecers to ignore the “arrogance” of Blanchet. “We Albertans are friends with Quebecers. … I say to the people of Quebec: Reject this arrogance, this idea that Quebec should be able to take the benefit of our resources without allowing us to develop it,” Kenney said. “Let us be partners in prosperity.”
It’s fair to say that Kenney and Blanchet have been at each other’s throats over the last few weeks after Blanchet made insulting remarks about the Alberta oil industry:
“If they [Albertans] were attempting to create a green state in western Canada, I might be tempted to help them. If they are trying to create an oil state in western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us.”