HYPOCRITE: Parti Quebecois leader calls Alberta Premier an incompetent liar
The leader of the Parti Quebecois, Pascal Berube, has attacked Jason Kenney and his UCP in an opinion piece in the Calgary Herald.
In the article, Berube declared that Kenney was lying to Albertans about Albertan taxes paying for Quebec’s social infrastructure. Berube claimed that Kenney’s statements were “simply not true.”
Berube also took time to rebut Kenney’s indignation over equalization payments—an issue that Kenney will put to a referendum. Berube said that equalization payments were calculated based on the province’s ability to generate tax revenue, and thus “Albertans should not complain about paying for any of Quebec’s social programs. It simply is not true.”
Berube went on to say that “Alberta is a bigger spender than its leaders would like you to believe … Alberta is not some libertarian’s dream, as some would like you to believe. The province is a perfect example of ‘big government.’”
By saying this, Berube has labeled Kenney and the UCP as hypocritical and manipulative.
What was more piercing, however, was when Berube attacked Kenney directly, suggesting that Kenney was “looking for someone or something to blame for his gigantic fiscal deficit.”
Berube went on to say that “Albertans need to realize that their leaders have let them down … he will seal his place as the proud heir of past leaders who drove Alberta to the brink of the fiscal precipice where it now finds itself.”
Berube’s attack is the latest incident in a war of words between the two provinces. Previously, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and CAQ leader Francois Legault had criticized Kenney and the Wexit movement. Blanchet, for example, has also disputed Kenney’s equalization claims, declaring that Alberta doesn’t “send a cheque to Quebec.”
Blanchet has also ridiculed the broad sentiment of alienation in the western province, stating that “the desire to do whatever they want with their oil might not be a sufficient reason to fuel a desire to become a country.”
A recent study by Statistics Canada revealed that Alberta has lost 18,000 jobs in November alone. The decline in jobs was across numerous industries but was affected most in wholesale and retail trade, according to the Labour Force Survey.
Total employment had seen little dramatic change over the past decade. The unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percent to 7.2 percent as early as August but has since rebounded to 6.6 percent in September and 6.7 percent in October according to StatsCan.
This isn’t just affecting Alberta alone, across the country 38,400 full-time jobs and 32,800 part-time jobs were lost in November. Canada’s overall unemployment rate went up 0.4 percent since October being the biggest one-month hike since 2009.
Manufacturing employment hasn’t been as affected over the past years but the natural resources sector saw about 25,000 lost jobs or 7.2 percent. Alberta and British Columbia taking the biggest hit. British Columbia lost 18,000 jobs in November.
The services-producing sector had a decrease in employment of about 25, 000 workers primarily in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta this November. Men between 25 to 54 and women aged 55 and older were most affected.
Calgary’s housing market is showing the fallout of this increase in unemployment. A decline of 2.2 per cent for the average new home since July 2018 according to the New Housing Price Index.
Jim Sparrow, a long-time realtor in Calgary told the CBC that “the resale prices have been falling for almost five years since the price of oil fell. We’ve sold fewer detached single family homes year to date than we did last year.” said Sparrow.
Even with the decline in prices, it’s the slowest year in Calgary real estate in 23 years. This has led to a decrease in the building of new homes as well.
“Buyers are really hard to find these days for homes in pretty much any price range,” said Sparrow.
Sparrow feels the oil and gas industries are struggling and is the reason for the downward shift in Calgary’s housing market.
“There’s a lot of people that aren’t impacted by the price of oil. But ultimately, I think they will be because Calgary still runs on oil and gas,” he said.
Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie told the CBC, “When you take this many people out of the industry … they have no choice but to leave the province if they want to make a living.
“I don’t think we’re going to have any dramatic change in demand next year unless there’s a shift in economic conditions.” she said.
Conservative MP Jeremy Patzer is the representative for Cypress Hills—Grasslands (Saskatchewan).
In delivering their Throne speech, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals unveiled what could have been an opportunity to acknowledge the mounting difficulties Western Canadians are facing. Especially the millions of hard-working Canadians who are employed, or rather, were employed in the energy industry. Instead, what we heard was a complete disregard for the real threat facing national unity today: the collapsing energy industry.
On election night, Prime Minister Trudeau went on national television and told Western Canadians, “I hear you.” The throne speech made it very clear, he is not listening.
This was an opportunity for the Liberal leader to demonstrate he has heard the concerns of Saskatchewan and Alberta, who routed every Liberal candidate in their provinces and prevented any new ones from being elected. This was an opportunity for him to show that he has heard our message, which was strong and clear, and that he plans to switch tracks in this minority Parliament.
At the very least, I expected the speech to mention the production of a National Energy Corridor to help get our resources to market and unite our country. Instead, we received more of the same from a PM rich in rhetoric but thin in deed.
Western Canada—and I believe all of Canada at large—expected to see a government that had learned from the disastrous mistakes of its own past, that would work to heal our regional divides, that would strengthen our position on the world stage, that would get Canadians back to work in hard hit regions, and that would give hope to the millions of Canadians who continue to feel abandoned by Justin Trudeau. The Liberal government’s Speech from the Throne was an opportunity to bring Canadians together and express a renewed vision for national unity. But, there was nothing of the sort.
Despite this disappointment, I am excited to be a part of Andrew Scheer’s Conservative team in Ottawa. We are ready to tackle the challenges ahead. We will continue to fight for Canadians and hold to a vision of a Canada that is stronger when we work together. We will offer real solutions that will allow nation-building infrastructure projects, like the Trans Mountain pipeline, to get built, rather than let innovative ideas die as a result of government dithering and red tape.
As the Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, I was elected to serve my constituents, not prop up Justin Trudeau’s agenda. I will continue to work hard every day to ensure that all Canadians can have confidence that this country is one for all of us. Canada’s Conservatives, under Andrew Scheer, have heard your voices. We are here to serve all Canadians, from Coast to Coast to Coast, including Saskatchewan and Alberta.
A new study by The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found 15-year-old students in Alberta are excelling in reading and science.
The international standardized test spanning over 79 countries indicated that the Albertan students scored fourth in the world in science and third in reading.
Alberta also won silver in math scores in the country, second only to Quebec.
Alberta’s public education system would be eighth in math and third in reading and science globally if it were ranked as a country, according to the ATA results.
Jason Schilling, the Alberta Teachers Association president says that the students and teachers should be “Very, very proud,” he told CTV. “We remain the envy of the world, when it comes to our outstanding achievement results.” He went on to add that Alberta has an “outstanding public schools, with amazing teachers and a world-class curriculum.”
Editor’s Note: If you need help, or know someone who does, please call Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline: 1-877-303-2642.
Ken Chan, a former military veteran, suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to those closest to him.
“He probably had a lot of pain that he just kept inside, depression being one of them,” said Harold Linder, stepson of Chan’s.
Chan, who took his life at 64, was a veteran who served in the army for 25 years.
Before taking his own life, Chan sent two emails. One email was sent to his co-workers at the trucking company he was employed at. In the letter, he detailed how he felt disrespected. He also expressed love for his coworkers.
The second was sent to federal and provincial health ministers about medical assistance in dying.
Chan sent the emails roughly 25 minutes prior to taking his own life.
“I can’t change the past, but it’s too bad a really good man had to do that,” said Linder of the tragic circumstances.
He said by discussing his stepfather’s death, he hopes to help those who are facing similar struggles.
“Try and love yourself and try and love the ones around you.”
Chan’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
Deaths by suicide within the Canadian veteran population are tragic and a top public health concern, as former Canadian soldiers commit suicide at a much higher frequency than the general population, according to numerous studies.