The left-wing New Democrats won election in the Canadian province of Alberta on Tuesday, ending the 44-year run by the Progressive Conservatives amid promises to review oversight of the oil and gas sector in the home of Canada’s oil sands.
At the end of a month-long campaign, the New Democratic Party (NDP), which has never held more than 16 seats in the 87-seat provincial legislature, will lead a majority government. It held a commanding lead in early results, leading or elected in 54 seats at 9 p.m. local time while the Conservatives were ahead in just 13, according to CBC TV.
The NDP is expected to be far less accommodative to the Western Canadian province’s powerful energy industry.
NDP Premier-elect Rachel Notley has proposed reduced support for pipeline export projects and a review of oil and gas royalties in the resource-rich province, and energy shares on Canadian stock markets are expected to react negatively to her party’s victory.
The NDP had promised to hike corporate tax rates by two percentage points to 12 percent if elected, but its promise to review the amount of royalty payments due the province from oil and gas production made some investors nervous.
Alberta’s oil sands are the largest source of U.S. oil imports.
The Conservatives had won 12 straight elections, but support for rookie Premier Jim Prentice plunged during the campaign and right-wing voters split support between the Conservatives and the younger, more conservative Wildrose Party, which appeared on track to be the official opposition.
The Alberta “Progressive Conservatives” are almost as leftist as the NDP. The only real conservatives in Alberta are the Wildrose.
The NDP have won a majority in Alberta. What could Alberta look like moving forward? Leader Rachel Notley campaigned on having the wealthy pay more to fund better health care and education. Here’s a look at some of the party’s key platform planks:
— A Resource Owners’ Rights Commission to review the royalties oil companies pay to the province with any amount earned above the current rates going into savings.
— A boost in the corporate tax rate to 12 per cent from 10 per cent and an increase in the minimum wage to $15 and hour by 2018.
— More tax brackets on high earners than the Tories are proposing: A 12 per cent tax rate on income between $125,000 to $150,000; 13 per cent on income between $150,000 to $200,000; 14 per cent between $200,000 and $300,000 and 15 per cent over $300,000. The NDP also plans to roll back the Tory health levy.
— The creation of 2,000 long-term care spaces over four years.
— A ban both corporate and union donations to political parties.
That last one looks like a conservative policy, since big corporations and unions are both leftist. So there’s a silver lining to this cloud. I’m sorry for my Canadian friends who will have to live with this, but the mistake was made last election, when they chose the Progressive Conservatives over Wildrose. One thing is for sure, Alberta supplies a lot of our oil here, so this NDP win will raise oil prices, and it’s going to put pressure on American families. Maybe we should be drilling for our own oil?
An Edmonton high school teacher suspended for giving zeros was officially given the axe Friday in a letter from the Edmonton Public School Board.
[…]The Ross Sheppard physics teacher — suspended last spring after he gave a student a zero for not handing in an assignment — now plans to seek legal council and file an appeal.
[…]Despite the months of uncertainty and scrutiny over his controversial teaching decisions, Dorval says he doesn’t regret his actions.
“I keep saying I will never regret it,” he said. “If students don’t do the work, they don’t deserve the mark and I stand by that.”
It’s important for children to learn when they are young and the stakes are low that there are consequences for choices. Punishing teachers who try to teach this to children early does no favors to the children. The world is a tough place, and it’s better to learn that when it’s relatively easy.
The public school board made a mistake by firing this teacher. It says a lot that teachers can do almost anything wrong and not be fired, but that they can be fired for doing the right thing. That’s another reason why the public school monopoly needs to be broken up.
I’m monitoring the exciting election in Alberta between radical leftist Alison Redford and moderate conservative/libertarian Danielle Smith. The Progressive Conservative party has been dominating the province for years, but their new leader Alison Redford is a liberal extremist on social policy and fiscal policy.
In a list of party principles approved at the Wildrose annual general meeting last year, members voted in a clause that reads: “Wildrose members believe the Government of Alberta should…implement legislation protecting the ‘conscience rights’ of health-care professionals.” Ms. Smith also told the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association that “Wildrose will ensure conscience rights for marriage commissioners and health professionals,” according to a summary of candidate positions published by the association in August, 2011.
Ms. Redford, who opposes the notion of conscience rights, eagerly responded to a reporter when asked about it Wednesday, hoping it will cast the Wildrose as a hard-right party and win back supporters.
“I was very frightened to hear the discussion today.… I certainly respect people’s personal beliefs, but I believe in a province where we have to treat individuals with dignity and respect. We have to live in a community where we respect diversity and we understand that everyone feels safe and included,” Ms. Redford said.
She said doctors would be expected to prescribe birth control and perform abortions, regardless of personal beliefs, to ensure that “all of the unique families in this province have the opportunity to know that when they’re accessing services, they can trust those services can be provided. And when they take on professional responsibilities, I expect them to be able to meet those professional responsibilities. I think it’s a critical discussion in this election.”
[…]The Wildrose says conscience rights cases will be among those heard by justices in a new Human Rights Division of the Alberta provincial court. Anyone filing a complaint and needing legal aid will be referred to a roster of “human rights advocates.”
These advocates will have specialized training in human rights law and be in good standing with the Law Society of Alberta. The division will be funded with money currently used for the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which Wildrose plans to scrap.
Danielle Smith’s view is a moderate view – it’s more moderate than Redford’s leftist view.
On fiscal issues, Danielle Smith has proposed returning some of the money from budget surpluses to taxpayers, but the leftist Alison Redford opposes that.
[…]…Alison Redford wondered whether or not Albertans could be trusted to spend such bonuses wisely.
Redford and the tut-tutting experts reveal one thing with their criticisms: They believe all money belongs to governments and you and I should be grateful for whatever crumbs we are permitted to keep. If you cannot demonstrate you have a higher purpose for the money you earn than the schemes proposed by politicians, bureaucrats and academics, then you have no right to complain if government taxes away giant gobs of your income to spend on the “public good.”
On the other hand, the proposal by Smith to send each Albertan a cheque whenever the provincial budget is in surplus is an indication that Wildrose believes what you earn is yours and government should tax away only as much as is necessary to fund essential services. If a government finds itself with more money on its hands than it needs to cover the spending it budgeted for in a given year, it should be obliged to return the overage to taxpayers rather than rub its hands with glee and look for new ways to spend.
Again, Danielle’s view is a moderate view – it only returns money to taxpayers if there is a surplus. Redford, on the other hand, has been spending like a drunken sailor since she took office, and most Albertans I know think that tax increases are just around the corner.
The latest poll shows the Wildrose with a 13-point lead over the Alison Redford’s leftist Progressive Conservative party.
Wildrose: 43% (+10)
PC: 30% (-6)
Danielle Smith: 56% approve, 32% disapprove (57-30 in Calgary, 50-42 in Edmonton)
Alison Redford: 48% approve, 43% disapprove (45-45 in Calgary, 45-43 in Edmonton)
Homeschooling groups are sounding the alarm this week as the Alberta government prepares to pass a bill that they say threatens to mandate “diversity” education in the home.
The province’s new Education Act, re-tabled Feb. 14th by Alison Redford’s majority Progressive Conservative government to replace the existing Schools Act, stipulates in section 16 that all instructional materials in schools “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”
But, in addition to publicly-funded school boards, the proposed Act defines “school” to include private schools and “a parent providing a home education program.”
Paul Faris of Canada’s Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) says the law subjects homeschoolers’ entire families life to the Human Rights Act, the provincial version of “human rights” legislation that has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, particularly those espousing traditional views on homosexuality.
“Basically what it would mean is all learning that goes on in the home, all material that goes on in the home, would essentially be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act,” Faris explained.
“At least when the child leaves the school and goes home it no longer applies, but for a homeschooling family they never get away from this,” he added.
Faris said Alberta already has some of the toughest regulations for homeschooling among the Canadian provinces. Parents have to register with a school board and submit a plan at the beginning of the year, followed by two visits from a certified teacher that normally occur in the home. He did note, however, that difficulties are somewhat mitigated by the fact that parents have some choice about which school board in which they register.
[…]The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) says the Education Act as written “provides opportunities to impose curriculum and practises upon all schools in Alberta, whereby special interest groups will have leverage to actively promote alternate lifestyles.”
“Individuals or groups with special interest agendas could take action against home educating families by utilizing [section 16] of the Act,” they add.
[…]The Progressive Conservatives have 67 of the 83 seats in the province’s legislature, so the bill’s passage is essentially assured. But Faris noted that the province is set for an election so the government may be open to changing its mind on the homeschooling aspect to avoid controversy.
Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.
“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.
“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.
Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris of the Home School Legal Defence Association said the Ministry of Education is “clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes.”
Quebec already pushes religious pluralism and moral relativism onto homeschoolers, and Ontario is probably going to do the same, soon. I really think that Alberta needs to take a closer look at conservative Danielle Smith and elect her next time. No more “Progressive Conservatives” whatever that means.
An Alberta woman won’t be going to prison for strangling her newborn baby with her thong underwear.
Katrina Effert, 25, wiped away tears as an Edmonton judge ruled Friday she can serve a three-year suspended sentence with probation.
Effert was 19 when she secretly gave birth in her parent’s basement in Wetaskiwin, south of Edmonton, in April 2005. She then tossed the baby’s corpse over a fence into a neighbour’s backyard.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Joanne Veit said the public naturally grieves for the dead baby boy.
“But Canadians also grieve for the mother,” she said. “This is a classic infanticide case — killing a newborn after a hidden pregnancy by a mother who was alone and unsupported.”
Effert was twice convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 10 years. But the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled earlier this year that the murder conviction was unreasonable and substituted one of infanticide.
Medical experts testified Effert had a disturbed mind when she killed her baby.
The Crown has already asked the Supreme Court of Canada to review the case.
Prosecutor John Laluk said Effert deserved four years in prison because she showed no remorse for her crime by lying to police and initially blaming her boyfriend for the killing.
The maximum sentence for infanticide is five years, but Veit said prison time is rarely handed out for such offences. She said the wildly inconsistent stories Effert gave police were actually “painful evidence” of her mental imbalance at the time.
As part of her probation, Effert must notify officials if she becomes pregnant again so she can receive assistance and counselling.
Veit described Effert as a person of good character with no prior criminal record who spent nearly six years living under restrictive bail conditions.
But part of the ruling that also has pro-life advocates troubled is Judge Veit’s decision that Canada’s acceptance of legalized abortion entitled Effert to kill her child. Judge Veit ruled, according to multiple media reports, that because Canada allows abortions it reflects how “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.”
“Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death, especially at the hands of the infant’s mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother,” said Veit, who said that, while what Effert did was “very grave,” there were no aggravating factors. Prosecutors said the aggravating factors included how Effert initially lied to police about whether she was a virgin and how she initially tried to blame the father of the child for her actions.
“I am of the view that those actions, along with the action of throwing her baby’s body over her back fence, are painful evidence of Ms. Effert’s irrational behavior as a result of her disturbed mind,”the judge said, according to the Sun News Network. “In summary, this is a classic infanticide case – the killing of a newborn or a justborn after a hidden pregnancy by a mother who was alone and unsupported.”
Ultimately, the judge rejected prosecutors’ call for a four-year prison term, saying the suspended sentence is “just” in the case.
At times like this, I think that it is a good thing for us to consider what it takes to make a judge like this, to see whether it might be possible to make one by having a plan. That way, instead of having a judge who opposes protecting unborn on the bench, we can have one who supports protecting the unborn instead. So how do we make our own judges?
Born September 9, 1942 at Brantford, Ontario. Education at University of Ottawa; London School of Economics. Chair, Alberta Securities Commission 1977-81. Appointed judge of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, and ex officio member of the Alberta Court of Appeal, June, 1981. Appointed deputy judge of the Superior Court of the Northwest Territories, August 21, 1991. Appointed judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada June 7, 1990.
Wow, she is a smart lady – she has a good resume, too. I don’t think that too many people have qualifications like hers. Making a good twin of her would be pretty tough to do, and there are no guarantees of success.
Here are some steps that I would recommend to Christian parents if they wanted to have a better than average chance to make a judge like this judge.
The Christian man, when single, should study in a tough field, even if he hates it, like computer science.
The Christian woman, when single, should study in a tough field, even if she hates it, like computer science.
Both of them should work at jobs that pay well, even if they hate them, and save their money in preparation for their marriage.
They should get married, and then she should stay at home to homeschool several children.
They should try to be as frugal as possible so they can afford homeschooling, private schools and college tuition.
They should teach their children about all the different areas in the world where the truth of Christianity or Christian values are being attacked by different ideologies and speculations, in this case, by feminism and abortion.
They should analyze the skills and talents of each of their children, and try to lead them towards fields where they can have an influence on the world for truth and for goodness. The main criteria is not what the child wants, but what the child can do well, and what serves God the most. What the child wants is a factor, but not the main factor.
One of the children might go on to become a judge.
Might this work? It seems to me that it is more likely to produce the judge than the alternative view, which is not studying hard topics, not taking hard jobs, not being frugal, not having a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, and not saving up college tuition. I don’t think it would be fun or easy, but it is the good and loving thing to do, if we care about what happens to little babies.
I remember taking second year calculus back when I was doing my undergraduate degree in computer science, (I also have the Masters degree in computer science), and I was crying because it was so hard for me to understand it. I failed my first calculus test in that class, and ended up with a B as a final grade. I remember that my Dad felt very badly about how hard it was for me, and he would keep bringing me tea and snacks and he would try to encourage me and drive me to my night classes and pick me up afterwards – even though he hated driving at night.
I graduated with highest honors. I was the first one in my family – a family of immigrants – to go on to graduate school, and graduated with a 3.9 GPA. But when I was crying, and there was no one to help me, I felt very sad about it. You do what you have to do, not what you want to do. And as a result of that suffering, I now have the money I need to pay for Christian scholars to come out to churches and universities where my friends have organized lectures and debates for people to see.
UPDATE: My buddy Justin tells me to link to this post at the Canadian bioethics site Unmasking Choice.