Saskatchewan Premier demands new deal between Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has penned a letter demanding that a new deal be negotiated for Alberta and Saskatchewan.
In his letter, Moe points out that the new Liberal minority government does not represent Saskatchewan and Alberta at all. Following the election, Conservatives won all 14 seats in Saskatchewan, as well as 33 out of 34 seats in Alberta, with a lone NDP candidate. The Liberals were shut out of both provinces.
Former Saskatchewan MP and Liberal cabinet minister Ralph Goodale said the nascent Wexit separation movement threatens Conservative parties in the province and “would be devastating” economically.
“Because where will those votes come from in the first place, those votes that would support the Wexit movement if it became a party? Those votes would come primarily from the Conservatives and the Sask Party,” Goodale told CBC Saskatchewan.
“So it is in the interests of the Conservatives and the Sask Party to ensure that the Wexit movement does not become a political party that would take votes from them.”
Goodale had served as Regina-Wascana’s MP since 1993 but lost his seat to Conservative Michael Kram in last year’s 43rd general election, leaving the province without a single seat in the House of Commons.
The former Finance minister (PM Paul Martin) and Public Safety Minister in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous majority government also said separation would have immediate economic consequences for Saskatchewan.
“When you actually go to the dollars and cents and the nuts and bolts of it all, it would be devastating,” he said.
“We would lose right off the top, for example, $1.7 billion in transfer payments that come into Saskatchewan because of the government of Canada. We would lose things like the RCMP Training Depot at Regina. That would be gone. That’s $40 million every year into the economy.”
Goodale went on to suggest that the Wexit debate itself was “counterproductive.”
“It leads people to have great and furious arguments. It leads to divisions being created and it takes people down a counterproductive rabbit hole,” he said.
An Alberta company that makes diesel from garbage is planning to take the company a step further by adding three new plants—all in southern Alberta.
Cielo Waste Solutions and Renewable Energy currently operates near Lethbridge, AB and plans to make the expansion later this year. So far they’ve started a trial plant in Aldersyde, AB.
The company produces biodiesel fuel by mixing waste and motor oil that has already been recycled. The end product is meant to be a high-grade fuel at a low cost.
CTV reported that the fuel has been used in both vehicles and jets.
Since the recent success of the company, they want to bring the new plants to Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Brooks.
Director at the company, Lionel Robins said, “Any kind of wood waste, plastics – all seven types, not just a few plastics—all the clamshell plastics that just been buried in the past, rubber, municipal sod waste. Basically everything but rock, metal and glass.”
By next summer, the company is planning to have all of their new plants in full operation.
They have started construction on an additional plant in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
Provinces are disagreeing with the federal Liberals regarding their plan to enforce a handgun ban. They are instead siding with law enforcement who are arguing that banning legal guns is not the way to reduce violent crimes in Canada.
Saskatchewan is among the governments arguing against the planned handgun ban which is only directed at legal gun owners. They are also against banning semi-automatic rifles and allowing municipalities to choose whether they want to ban handguns for their areas on their own judgement.
Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford, also commented that bans on legal gun carriers will not be an effective way of lowering gun violence in his area or others.
In Alberta’s legislature, they unanimously passed a motion to preserve the rights of their legal gun owners.
Gun bans are opposed by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. CTV News reported Vancouver police Chief, Adam Palmer saying, “The firearms laws in Canada are actually very good right now. They’re very strict.”
Trudeau previously said, “I very much look forward to the election campaign in which we will be able to share with Canadians our vision for how to keep Canadians safer.”
“That involves, yes, strengthening gun control but it also involves investments that … are so deeply needed in community infrastructure.”
Palmer argued, “People can’t be naive to the realities of how it works with organized crime and smuggling.”
“There will always be an influx of guns from the United States into Canada,” he added. “Heroin is illegal in Canada, too, but we have heroin in Canada.”
The Saskatchewan government wants the federal Liberals to rethink their recent gun control measures. The controversial new measures would give cities the power to enact local bans on handguns and also outlaw certain semi-automatic rifles.
Ottawa has the final say on firearms and the changes were promised in an election campaign. But Don Morgan, the justice minister of Saskatchewan, thinks that there are other effective ways to fight gun crime.
According to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Morgan said he’s “not taking anything off the table,” referring to the federal government’s plans for gun control. He mentioned that he wanted to collaborate with Ottawa on the issue.
Morgan said, “We don’t want this to go ahead in this form.” He added that the collaboration between provinces would be a “great signal.”
“We’re going to try and adopt a positive approach with them. We’ll put forward the ideas, we’ll want to meet with them at federal-provincial-territorial meetings, which are coming up this month. I intend to raise those issues there,” he said to the StarPhoenix.
Premier Scott Moe is against the banning of guns but the Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, will have to be swayed by Saskatchewan which does not seem likely.
Blair’s spokesman, Scott Bardsley, noted that they were committed to banning assault rifles but leaving further restrictions on handguns to municipalities.
In an email, Bardsley mentioned that $11.9 million was recently put towards anti-gun and anti-gang programs in Saskatchewan.
Some of the people against the new measures believe that Canada already has fairly strict rules and regulations when it comes to purchasing and possessing firearms.
The Canadian Coalition for Firearms Rights says that there are no recorded crimes that have been carried out with AR-15’s by licensed gun owners in Canada.
U of S Social Sciences Research Laboratories conducted a poll in September of 2018 regarding Saskatchewan residents and their opinion on the subject. The poll showed that only 40 percent of residents want stricter gun regulations.
Saskatchewan’s government has not proposed that the gun regulations be less strict.
Morgan believes that there is not much evidence that shows banning “military-style assault rifles” would reduce the crime rate since they are not among the common guns generally used in crime.
Morgan also thinks the many millions that would be used to purchase back the weapons could be much more effective if put towards other issues. He suggested it be used for addiction issues and gangs because of the high crime rate involved with those problems.
Bardsley noted, “Military-style assault rifles have been used tragically to target women and students. For more than four decades, police chiefs in Canada have been advocating for restrictions on assault weapons, and we have listened.”
Morgan said that he is not in favour of giving the authority to ban local handguns to municipalities. He said, “I don’t think that’s where municipalities really should be.”
Bardsley said, “We understand that each city and province has different needs and concerns. We will work with provinces and municipalities by empowering them to enact additional requirements to restrict the storage and use of handguns within their jurisdictions.”