Iran has nearly fulfilled its promise, attempting to seize a UK oil tanker in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had made threats towards the UK, saying there would be “consequences” for their seizing of an Iranian oil tanker last week. Five gunboats attempted to make good on that promise only hours later, reports Reuters.
“I remind this to the Britons,” Rouhani said during a government meeting. “You are the ones initiating insecurity, and will come to realize its consequences in the future.”
According to Fox News, “Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defence official told Fox News.”
It appears the British warship had been anticipating such a development, as it trailed along only 5 miles behind the tanker and was able to quickly react to the presence of the Iranian gunboats. No shots were fired during the conflict.
Navy Captain Bill Urban said that the US was also aware of the incident, adding “Threats to international freedom of navigation require an international solution. The world economy depends on the free flow of commerce, and it is incumbent on all nations to protect and preserve this lynchpin of global prosperity.”
As UPI reports, “The attempted seizure Wednesday is the latest conflict to occur in the Persian Gulf following attacks on several tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, where some 20 percent of the world’s oil transits, in the past two months.”
The failed commandeering of the UK vessel comes as retaliation for a similar action against Iran last week. Last Thursday, an Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria was seized by the British Royal Marines for violating EU sanctions. It was then impounded in British territory in Spain.
“Panama’s Maritime Authority said on Thursday that Grace 1 was no longer listed in Panama’s international boat registry as of May 29”, CBC reports; thus, making its travel route illegal as per EU’s maritime sanctions.
However, given current tensions between Iran and the US, the decision to seize Iranian oil can be viewed as a bold if not radical move, one that obviously seems to have escalated foreign relations between the two countries.
Furthermore, “Spain’s acting foreign minister said the seizure of the ship – Grace 1 – was at the US’s request,” the BBC reports, not at the request of the EU, regardless of what sanctions exist.
The decision last week represented a big change in relations between the EU and Iran. As Reuters points out, “While the European Union has banned oil shipments to war-torn Syria, a close ally of Iran, since 2011, it had never seized a tanker at sea. Unlike the United States, Europe does not have broad sanctions against Iran”.
The decision to seize the tanker immediately sparked outrage in Tehran, prompting an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman to call the seizure a “form of piracy.”
“Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to voice “its very strong objection to the illegal and unacceptable seizure” of its ship,” CBC reports. “The diplomatic gesture lifted any doubt over Iran’s ownership of the vessel, which flies a Panama flag and is listed as managed by a company in Singapore.”
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs John Bolton, who has been pushing for escalation and conflict to emerge between the US and Iran, took to twitter to celebrate the seizure:
Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions. America & our allies will continue to prevent regimes in Tehran & Damascus from profiting off this illicit trade.
Conversely, many anti-war activists and commentators condemned the UK’s decision, agreeing with the Iran Foreign Ministry’s “piracy” claim.
All of these recent developments come in the wake of American concerns over Iranian nuclear capabilities. When Trump decided to abort the possible airstrikes on Iran following Iran’s decision to take down an American drone, Trump pursued an economic route of retaliation instead, targeting Iranian trade, much of which involves oil, to pressure Iran to accept increased nuclear sanctions.
While this decision has had an immediate economic effect, it has not deterred Iran from pursuing its own interests.
“Iran has said it wants to keep the nuclear deal alive but cannot do so indefinitely unless it receives some of the promised economic benefits. In the past week, it announced it had accumulated more low-enriched uranium than allowed under the deal and says it will refine uranium to a greater purity than the deal allows from July 7,” CBC reports.
In response to the UK’s seizure, Iran threatened to seize an oil tanker of its own, promising a tit-for-tat relationship amidst rising tensions. “Iran should seize a British oil tanker if an Iranian tanker detained off Gibraltar earlier this week is not released immediately, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said in a tweet last Friday,” Reuters reports.
Given the current state of affairs, it looks like tensions between Iran and Western countries will continue to escalate as more complications emerge out of tit-for-tat politics. Clearly, Iran will not back down on its promises, and neither will Western countries.
Disclosure: Tanya Granic Allen is a former Ontario PC leadership candidate in the last race in which Ford won. She also ran in the last Ontario provincial election as a PC candidate until Ford decided she could no longer run for the party after the Liberals pushed a video of her speaking about sex-ed and gay marriage in the context of a previous Marxist-Yugoslav Communist regime.
The Ford “conservative” government is continuing its bullying of Ontario Catholic schools into adopting the full program of neo-Marxist, gender ideology–the very same gender ideology that Pope Francis condemned as “demonic” and comparable to “the educational policies of Hitler.”
Last week in a vote of eight to four, the Toronto Catholic District School Board voted to add “gender identity” into the Board’s code of conduct. This flies directly in the face of Catholic moral teaching on sexuality.
The vote was taken to comply with the Ford Government’s diktat, known as “Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 128.”. PPM 128 demanded gender theory be adopted into all schools’ codes of conduct which will affect disciplining of students as well as practices for hiring teachers.
PPM 128 is most offensive for Catholic schools because they enjoy constitutional protection against anti-religious ideology that other school boards do not. Section 93 of the Constitution Act,1867, as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantee that Ontario Catholics have a right to run their own schools and teach the Catholic faith in those schools.
As Pope Francis has pointed out, gender ideology contravenes Catholic moral teaching. But it is also contrary to natural law. For those who might be behind the times, gender ideology is the unscientific, ideological theory that there are many more genders beyond male and female. Sometimes there are six gender identities, sometimes seventy-two gender identities or even a “limitless” number. Gender ideology promotes the fiction that gender is merely a social construct. In other words, if a man declares himself to be a woman well, then, he is a woman.
When some brave Toronto Catholic school trustees offered resistance to PPM 128, a letter was issued from the Government’s Ontario Human Rights Commission demanding board action on gender ideology. When further resistance was met, Ford sent his Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, to insist that the Catholic school board buckle to Ford’s gender ideology policy. As Minister Lecce put it, “My message to the board is quite clear. My expectation is that every child irrespective of their differences can see themselves reflected in schools and more importantly that they will adhere to the Ontario Human Rights Code.”
Ultimately, several trustees caved in to pressure from Doug Ford’s minions including Lecce and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Shame on them. But, also, shame on Doug Ford and his new ideology! Kathleen Wynne must be so proud of him!
Am I surprised? Not in the least. Ford’s procession has been steady and swift to worship at the altar of gender ideology he now promotes with the same zeal and gusto as Kathleen Wynne. During the leadership campaign that made him Ontario PC Leader, Doug Ford said he was against this nonsense. Rightly, he condemned gender identity theory, calling it “Liberal ideology” and promised to stop forcing it on Ontario schools, parents and students, especially in the sex-ed curriculum.
However, almost immediately upon becoming Premier, Ford flip-flopped on this promise. Within days of his swearing in as Premier, Ford’s first Education Minister promised that “gender identity” and “gender
ideology” would remain in the new Ford curriculum.
Now that he is Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford is pursuing gender ideology with the zeal of a convert. He is forcing his new beliefs on the Ontario public starting with bullying Ontario school boards, both Catholic and public.
In November 2018, at the Ontario PC policy convention, I sponsored a resolution that condemned gender ideology and called on the Ford government to stop forcing it on Ontario students. This resolution was passed by over two-thirds of the party delegates present. Ford’s initial reaction was stupefied speechlessness, but, two days later, he sputtered, “I’m not moving forward with that. It’s done,” and he dismissed the resolution.
Then, in court proceedings earlier this year, Ford government lawyers re-affirmed that all the controversial topics of Kathleen Wynne’s sex-ed curriculum, including gender theory, can still be taught in Ontario schools. In March, the Education Minister re-confirmed that gender ideology would remain in the Ford sex-ed school curriculum. And remain it did!
Now, a full seven years after the words “gender identity” and “gender expression” were added to the Ontario Human Rights Act, it has fallen to the “conservative” Premier Doug Ford to crack the whip and force gender ideology into the code of conduct of Ontario’s school boards. Even, the Catholic ones.
Who could have predicted that Ford would be an even bigger flip-flopper than former PC leader Patrick Brown? Even more shocking, who could have anticipated that Ford would move to the left of the neo-Marxist former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne? Doug Ford’s new positioning as a devout worshipper at the altar of political correctness has not yet bottomed out. How far will he go?
Wynne’s anti-religious bigotry, coupled with her ideological contempt for parental rights, has been well-documented. Beyond gender ideology and her sex-ed curriculum there were several other pieces of anti-parent, anti-religion legislation which passed under her watch–all of which have remained on the books, strictly enforced by Doug Ford.
The question remains: Why? Why is Doug Ford behaving like a bigot against all religious people? Why is he so determined to force this neo-Marxist gender ideology on the students and teachers and parents of Ontario?
Premier Ford, we await your answer.
Ron MacLean was on Sportsnet after the first intermission during Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday without Don Cherry, and people were not pleased.
A somber MacLean tried to explain why Cherry, 85, was fired by the network for his contentious comments he made a week prior.
“There were steps that needed to be taken after what he said, and he didn’t want to take those steps,” said MacLean between the first and second period of NHL games Saturday night.
Many hockey fans were displeased and angry with MacLean this week because of the apology he gave last Sunday after Twitter exploded with people upset with Cherry’s comments about how not enough immigrants are wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. Many people on social media claimed what Cherry said was racist and xenophobic. Many fans of Coach’s Corner felt that MacLean had betrayed his co-host and friend of over 30 years.
“I Sat all week long reflecting, listening to you, and I have heard you. I mean you the viewer. I’ve reflected by listening to my own heart. I’ve struggled mightily to find the words, and I’m not sure I even have them now. But they say it’s a good thing because when you can find the words it’s dead in your heart. And it’s not dead in my heart,” said MacLean in the intermission which some commented on seemed like eulogy at a funeral.
“By the way, Don Cherry. We have communicated. We talked a lot on Monday, by phone. I was there in person, and then by phone. He sent me a note yesterday–I phoned you by the way, Don, at 9:30 when we normally talk and you didn’t [answer], I don’t know if you’re at the cottage or just couldn’t.”
Cherry’s comments that caused a firestorm and ultimately led to Cherry being fired from Coach’s Corner after hosting it for over 30 years were as follows: “You people love–they come here whatever it is–you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple of bucks for poppies or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada. These guys paid the biggest price.”
The response to MacLean’s monologue were swift and heated from hockey fans online:
“We are all hurting. Bobby Orr is disappointed in me. I’m disappointed in me,” MacLean also said in his monologue. He also explained that he had to choose principle over friendship in making his decision to apologize on behalf of Don, but that he also loves Cherry and its the end of an era.
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.”
CN Railway revealed on Saturday that the Teamsters have provided notice that they plan to go on strike beginning November 19.
CN’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Reilly released a statement today that read in part: “If a settlement cannot be reached this weekend, we will once again encourage the union leadership to accept binding arbitration as an alternative to disrupting the Canadian economy. We remain committed to constructive talks to reach an agreement without a work stoppage.”
Reuters reports that “CN’s estimated 3,000 conductors, trainpersons and yardpersons voted in favor of strike action in September, after negotiations failed to produce a contract. The previous collective agreement expired on July 23, 2019.”
Recently The Globe and Mail reported that CN will be eliminating both management and union jobs to the tune of almost 2000 as a result of an economic downturn.