WEXIT: Wheatland County passes ‘Alberta First Referendum’ calling for independence
Residents of a southeasterly county in Alberta passed a resolution calling for changes to the confederation on Tuesday, all with the threat of holding an independence referendum.
“Wheatland County Coun. Jason Wilson’s resolution, pressing the provincial government to insert Alberta’s constitutional rights within the confederation, will now go out to other municipalities across the province,” reports CTV News.
The former Wild Rose leader, Brian Jean, has encouraged all Albertans to boycott Quebec beer in reaction to the province’s stance on Albertan oil. In particular, Jean asked Albertans to boycott Molson Canadian, the brewing goliath, which was originally from Montreal, Quebec.
Despite the Molson’s relationship with Quebec, their company has become a global organization over the last century. It is headquartered, in the United States and has an international distribution network. As such, it is difficult to ascertain just how successful Jean’s boycott would be.
This is the most recent escalation in a series of incidents that have arrived since Justin Trudeau’s election as Prime Minister. The Liberals were swept in western Canada, without winning a single seat in Saskatchewan or Alberta.
This voting was indicative of the extent to which western Canada was frustrated with Ottawa. This was made clear when the premiers Scott Moe and Jason Kenney, threatened a referendum on the controversial equalization payments, as well as their opposition to the carbon tax.
Disaffected Canadian regions have often used protectionist trade sanctions to state their disapproval or influence other regions. Last year, Jean again called on Albertans to boycott products from Quebec. As well as this, the Albertan government has previously sanctioned all wine produced in British Columbia after they delayed an oil pipeline.
During the third reading of Bill 17 Disclosure to Protect Against Domestic Violence (Claire’s Law) Act, the honourable Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Community and Social Services, shared a personal story of a friend who experienced domestic violence.
Sawhney stated that domestic violence is not usually reported to the police and that “the prevalence of this issue is way more common than we think it is.”
She said that this law is relevant because “when you have this information, people can make informed decisions about their relationships as to whether they could be harmful to them.”
Premier Jason Kenney also spoke of a recent example in Alberta where Claire’s Law may have been effective in preventing domestic abuse. In this example, the woman was brutally beaten by a boyfriend who had a history of violence.
However, it’s far from enough. Jonathan Denis, Alberta’s former Attorney General, said there is “no one solution”. Instead, this is “a step forward”.
Minister Sawhney and Premier Kenney both believe that this new law can both save lives and prevent further domestic violence.
The provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador has made similar efforts to develop a procedure curbing domestic violence. It recently passed its second reading.
Alberta, like it’s Prairie counterparts, suffer from high rates of domestic violence
According to a Stats Canada report report, 75,399 of 166,928 (45 percent) female victims nationwide were victims of intimate partner violence. On page 26 of the same report, women aged 25 to 34 years and 35 to 44 years were predominantly impacted, accounting for 56 and 52 percent of violence towards those respective age groups.
3,642 of said 75,399 women experienced sexual assault, accounting for 4.83 percent of all intimate partner violence towards that particular gender, the Stats Canada report states.
Alberta, like it’s prairie counterparts in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, is subject to some of the highest rates nationwide according to the report. The third-highest rate, which is exacerbated in rural areas because of “justice by geography.”
Throughout 2018, about a quarter of homicides committed in Alberta were documented cases of domestic violence.
Claire’s Law is “a step forward”, but more can be done to curb domestic violence
Despite the continued shortage of Crown prosecutors, which the UCP has committed $10 million to alleviate for rural concerns, gaps in policy still remain.
Notably, budget cuts to the specialized electronic monitoring of domestic violence perpetrators serving their sentence in the community were taken off the table.
However, individuals can find out if their partner has a history of violence by requesting records from the police, but that’s only if their history violence has been reported. The police are then able to inform that individual of their partner’s criminal history if they determine that it is necessary to ensure an individual’s safety.
Bill 17 was passed into law on Nov. 1 with unanimous support from both the NDP and the UCP. It is not with any coincidence that this law passed on the first day of November as this month is Family Violence Prevention Month.
Saskatchewan was the first province to adopt Claire’s Law. Claire’s Law is named after Claire Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton in Manchester, England. After Claire’s murder, her family found out that Appleton had spent six years in prison for a previous domestic violence assault.
Had this law existed before Wood’s murder, the police could have notified Wood on her boyfriend’s violent history.
Hopefully, this law will entice further dialogue and encourage the reduction of domestic abuse in Alberta.
If you or someone you know are experiencing family or spousal violence in Alberta (and it is not urgent), please call the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818. For more information, click on the following link: https://www.alberta.ca/family-violence-prevention-month.aspx
An Edmonton man has been arrested after a string of poppy box robberies in Lloydminster, Alta., and Sherwood Park.
RCMP responded to a call at a Lloydminster Tim Hortons after the thief stole a poppy box off the counter and walked out.
Later that night, two customers at a local business in Sherwood Park saw a man stealing poppy boxes before fleeing, according to RCMP. The couple followed him and detained him with the help of an off duty police officer.
Korey McPhee, 34 of Lloydminster, was charged in the theft of both poppy boxes.
McPhee appeared in court on Wednesday.
During a meeting in Ottawa, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister gave some “friendly advice” to Justin Trudeau. Pallister told Trudeau that there was growing frustration in western Canada has towards Ottawa, according to the CBC.
In their meeting, the two leaders discussed a range of issues that came up during the election campaign. This included climate change and indigenous issues, as well as western alienation. Speaking to the CBC, Pallister stated that “there’s some great frustration with the lack of progress, not just on pipelines, but on other things.”
After the election, a deep frustration with Ottawa turned quickly into a separatist movement. This was blamed on the Liberal party, who due to a series of policy decisions, did not pick up a single seat in Alberta. Parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have also been vocal in their frustration with Trudeau’s government.
Pallister was critical of Trudeau’s carbon tax and other policies designed to hinder the Canadian oil and gas sector. This has been a deeply contentious topic in the prairies, especially due to the recession that was triggered as a result of Trudeau’s pipeline bungle.
Unlike the Saskatchewan and Alberta premiers, Pallister has not threatened to rip up the equalization agreement.