The (Right) News Rundown
- Our hockey loving nation was shocked last weekend with the news of the bus crash of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team Humboldt Broncos, a crash in which 16 of the 29 on the bus have perished. Most of the survivors remain in critical condition, with life threatening injuries. Those who do not make it through will be forever marked by this horrible tragedy. We at the Right Side have those affected in our thoughts. It's a terrible event that has nonetheless united the country in it's outpouring of grief for the young lives lost.
- A GoFundMe page was set up by Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington, herself a mother of a player of Humboldt's bantam team, the team that feed into the junior team involved in the crash. The GoFundMe has seen over 125,000 people donate over 11.3M at time of recording, and that number is ever increasing, and it's the 3rd largest in the site's history. The crash, and the GoFundMe have quite rightly dominated the news cycle in the past week, even with other important stories surfacing later in the week. So when a Canadian journalist decided to add in her reaction to the crash and the GoFundMe on Twitter, it was put into the spotlight.
- Nora Loreto, a freelance leftist writer who authored a book about unions, and is the editor of the Canadian Association of Labour Media retweeted an article by Huffington Post Canada about the GoFundMe's amount raised, saying "This is a lot of money." Which in itself wasn't so bad, it was what followed it that took the cake: "I'm trying to not get cynical about what is a totally devastating tragedy but the maleness, the youthfulness and the whiteness of the victims are, of course, playing a significant role."
- Oh boy. The Twitter masses, being what it is, did not take kindly to Loreto's remarks, jumping on her attempt to play gender and racial politics with one of Canada's worst national tragedies. She received death threats on Twitter, and the media, being what it is, jumped on those death threats as a way to invalidate people that disagreed with her thoughtless and disgusting remark.
- Loreto's own defense of her tweet and responding to the backlash she received was that "this is the cost of daring to mention systemic racism in Canada and it shows that we have some very deep reflection to engage in once we allow the necessary space for mourning". In doing so she forgot that she clearly didn't leave the necessary space for mourning, and in doing so, tried to turn the page on the story and change it to one about racism instead. She also forgets that not all of those affected were white (one of the players was First Nations) male (the trainer was female) or young (the coach was in his 40s). So in doing so, she missed the boat completely.
- Numerous opinion articles appeared in various mediums defending Loreto. This one from the National Observer, titled "Let Nora Loreto have her say", asking if Loreto's remarks were "that extreme", and mentioned that other incidents were not as widely covered, and decries that such observations "are met with (often male) violence and rage".
- CBC had a stacked panel discussion on the issue where all 3 panelists and the host defended Loreto's comments without sparing any thought for the victims and the families of those affected by the crash. It's a new low for the CBC, and their video on Youtube has also received a negative reception, with the top comments being "Nora knew exactly what she was doing and she got the response that she wanted. This was nothing more than an extremely inappropriate cry for attention" and "CBC- You are doing it wrong...you just jump on the hype train every chance you get. Garbage reporting on something that only detracts from real story."
- MacLeans on the other hand, condemned Loreto's comments. They received lots of backlash as well, as Loreto had guest wrote an article in January for them, and many believe she was employed by MacLeans regularly. They said "We’d like to clarify that, contrary to misinformation being spread on social media, Nora Loreto has never been an employee of Maclean’s. She is a freelance writer who published one article on our website a few months ago. We had nothing to do with her extraordinarily inappropriate tweet regarding the Humboldt tragedy. We will have nothing else to say on this matter at the current time because we do not wish to distract from the tributes and grief being expressed on behalf of the victims of the accident, nor do we wish to feed into the torrent of abuse that Ms. Loreto has been subjected to since publishing her tweet."
- Others of course, condemned Loreto's comments but in a much more effective way than Twitter threats. Ben Morris writing for Medium.com writes it better than I ever could: "as a journalist you should know one sentence, or paragraph can ruin your premise, argument, or make you appear to be the worst kind of asshole; one who applies race where it doesn’t belong, presumably to get brownie points from your tribe, or at worst, to get attention on the back of tragedy."
- "The fifteen Humboldt Broncos who died, weren’t white people, they were kids and young adults who were chasing a distinctly Canadian dream. We saw our peewee hockey son, on that bus; we saw kids who could have been ours, dead, instead of on the ice, fighting for a puck in the corner. We lost cherished brothers, boyfriends, sons, and husbands, doing something millions of Canadians have done without incident; riding a bus to a hockey game. A tragedy like this one resonates on so many levels to millions of Canadians, including those who coached, played with, or knew these kids."
- And that is what Loreto, CBC and so many others missed as to why people are still talking about Humboldt, because for many Canadians, this could easily be about them or their loved ones. And this is an absolutely awful place to put in an inappropriate comment about racism, sexism, or to try and play politics with this tragedy.
- The government has introduced Bill 9 to create a buffer zone around abortion clinics within Alberta.
- Recall that there are no specific laws regarding abortion in Canada, only that they are not illegal and that they must be performed by reputable doctors.
- The new Bill would create a 50m buffer zone around abortion clinics.
- The rights of protest are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- We must also remember though that 50m is ultimately a relatively small distance and protesters would still be free to gather outside that area.
- Injunctions to prevent protest already exist, though they are not enshrined in law.
- This means that there are actual orders in place to prevent protest within that boundary, but they may or may not be enforced.
- If the government wanted to, all they would need to do is enforce the current injunctions.
- Injunctions are also in place to prevent protestors from interfering with the Trans Mountain pipeline work. As we saw last week there were arrests that took place in BC for violating the injunctions.
- A disintegration of the rule of law has lead to the violations of the Trans Mountain injunctions but we will have more on that later.
- If Alberta has the rule of law we don’t need this new Bill. If we don’t then perhaps a discussion is in order.
- Now let’s recap what else is happening this week: Trans Mountain announced that work will be suspended on the pipeline expansion and gave all parties until May 31st to reach an agreement.
- The timing of this Bill forces a change in channel.
- The media was all too happy to provide coverage of Bill 9 over the ensuing pipeline battle.
- This week we often saw the coverage order go as follows: Humboldt, Bill 9, and then updates on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
- The media in large part mirrored this ordering, difference here is we’re telling you what’s missing from their coverage.
- We saw in general the same coverage from The Edmonton Journal in most cases from Graham Thomson and Paula Simons, and the TV news stations of Global, CBC, and CTV.
- The media claims to have gone down this path because the United Conservative Party has said that they will abstain from voting on the Bill.
- The UCP says that this is the case because they feel the government should be focusing on jobs rather than trying to create a divisive debate on social issues.
- As a result of this, the UCP will abstain from the vote on the matter.
- After UCP MLA Angela Pitt gave remarks in the house on this Bill, NDP MLA Deborah Drever gave a response saying she was “offended” at what was said, even though the majority of it was defending free speech.
- Meanwhile, NDP Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said this amounts to the UCP failing to stand with women.
- And as we saw, the government was successful on one front: the media.
The Firing Line
- This is now the 7th week in a row that we have to talk about pipelines. Last week was Trudeau attempting to blame Harper for his own failures on getting natural resource infrastructure built, and we've now had a continuation of the story. This past Sunday, Kinder Morgan Limited announced that it is suspending all non-essential activities and related spending on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, due to the BC Government's hostile opposition to the project. The company will consult with its shareholders and reach a result by May 31st on whether or not the project will continue. Rather than rehash old news, we'll talk about what's happened new. For a recap on everything, check out past episodes on rightsidenews.ca or iTunes.
- KML Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steve Kean released a statement, frankly stating the cause of the matter. "As KML has repeatedly stated, we will be judicious in our use of shareholder funds. In keeping with that commitment, we have determined that in the current environment, we will not put KML shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend. A company cannot resolve differences between governments. While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments."
- He added, "Today, KML is a very good midstream energy company, with limited debt. The uncertainty as to whether we will be able to finish what we start leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control. To date, we have spent considerable resources bringing the Project to this point and recognize the vital economic importance of the Project to Canada. Therefore, in the coming weeks we will work with stakeholders on potential ways to continue advancing the Project consistent with the two principles previously stated."
- Trans Mountain has spent C$1.1 billion (approximately half of which has been spent since the KML IPO) and made unprecedented efforts to develop the Project since its initial filing with the National Energy Board in 2013. As a result of extensive engagement, a comprehensive regulatory process and detailed engineering and design, the Project has changed in several, substantive ways during the intervening five years, including: thicker wall pipe in environmentally sensitive areas such as watercourses and aquifers; avoidance of several fish bearing streams; changes to the detailed route of the pipeline in consideration of community needs and concerns and environmental impacts; Burnaby tunnel construction, to avoid neighbourhoods and minimize impacts; changes to Burnaby Terminal tank design in response to risk assessments; and, enhancements to marine safety that will benefit all marine users.
- In addition, in an unprecedented negotiated commitment with the former BC Liberal government under Christy Clark, Trans Mountain agreed to provide financial benefits from the Project, if completed, to British Columbia for a newly-formed BC Clean Communities Program to be accessed by communities for local projects that protect, sustain and restore BC's natural and coastal environments.
- BC NDP Premier John Horgan is remaining obstinant on his stance on the pipeline, saying that he “respectfully disagrees that this project is in the national interest.” and that he is standing up for British Columbians and our coasts. His press conference after KM's announcement was so vague and did not provided any concrete answers beyond that the BC government would continue to fight the pipeline as much as possible. He also thinks the province should have more say over the project. “It is our view that provincial jurisdiction should prevail in many areas that are affected by this process,” Horgan said. “We said from the beginning that the NEB process was flawed.”
- “We campaigned to ensure that we were going to defend our coast, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” he told the legislature. “We’re doing that through the courts. We are asserting that we have jurisdiction on areas of the environment with respect to our air, water and lands. We had an election campaign about 12 months ago. During that time, we on this side of the house were abundantly clear about our view on (that) particular project.”
- The BC government has dodged questions about it's stance on Kinder Morgan, which has changed drastically between when they were in opposition and government. During debate on the environment ministry budget before Spring Break, B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong accused Heyman and his colleagues of being “resolved to use every means possible to prevent the construction of the pipeline.”
- Not so, replied Environment Minister George Heyman: “Neither I, the premier nor any member of our government has said that we would use every means available to delay, to deny the pipeline. What we’ve said is that we’ll use every tool in the tool box to defend B.C.’s coast, our economy and our interests. That is substantively different in every sense of the word.”
- Later that day, de Jong was back at it, this time armed with a quote from page 62 of the NDP election platform: ‘The Kinder Morgan pipeline is not in B.C.’s interest …. We will use every tool in our toolbox to stop the project from going ahead.” Did that not contradict the minister’s earlier denial? No, replied Heyman in an astonishing display of quibbling. “I was responding to a statement the member attributed to our government. The statement that the member read out was not a statement made when we were in government. As the member himself has pointed out, it was in our platform. I stand by the answer I gave him.”
- De Jong tried again, this time quoting the postelection confidence and supply agreement (CASA) between the New Democrats and Greens: “Immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.” Was that not an NDP pledge to use every tool available to stop the pipeline? And it was right there on page 5, paragraph C of, as de Jong put it, “the document by which the government itself exists.”
- Heyman resorted to another artful dodge. “That document was signed before we were government,” he replied. “We did not become government till sometime after that …. Questions with respect to a document that was signed before we were government are just simply not in order.”
- Horgan denies his government is harassing the project, despite saying his government made it its priority to use “every tool in the toolbox” to frustrate it. It has done that through lawsuits, regulations, support for Burnaby’s denial of municipal permits, even working closely with foreign-funded eco-activists orchestrating protests to disrupt work at the pipeline’s Westridge terminal.
- While it’s his job to enforce the law, Horgan praised protesters who got arrested. “Investors at Kinder Morgan have to be moved by the passion of British Columbians that are emerging in many dozens to be arrested on a daily basis,” he said.
- He also says he's standing up for Canadians against America, with saying that “The interest of the Texas boardrooms are not the interests of British Columbians,” Horgan said. In fact, Kinder Morgan Canada has been publicly traded since last year and is 77% owned by Canadians, with Manulife and TD the biggest shareholders. Its shippers are predominantly Canadian oilsands producers and Canada as a whole benefits from the pipeline’s opening of the Asian market.
- I mentioned last week that Trudeau was in Peru this week, meeting at the 8th Summit of the Americas, but is cutting the visit short to return to Ottawa to meet with Horgan and Alberta Premier Notley to resolve the trade war. Notley says she will attend a meeting about the Trans Mountain pipeline in good faith and with an open mind, but the bottom line is the expansion project must get built without delay. Notley also says she will bring in legislation next week that would allow her to curtail oil shipments to British Columbia — regardless of the outcome of her Sunday meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan. Such action is expected to cause gas prices and other costs to spike in B.C.
- The federal government has long insisted the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will be built. Now it has to match its intentions with results. At stake is nothing less than the fate of the Canadian federation. The refusal of the government of British Columbia to recognize the legal approval process for the project means this test is about much more than a pipeline — it’s about the ability of the federal government to regulate the economy of Canada in the national interest.
- For this, we turn to Shane as he discusses the rule of law, the constitution, and the federal government's crucial need to assert it's jurisdiction.
- A good question was asked by John Robson of the National Post: Do we have rule of law in this country? Do we have a functional government?
- John Robson says that, “If a pipeline can’t be built because a province and some disgruntled people mock the law, we have to ask, fundamentally, what is a government for?”
- We must recall that Kinder Morgan Canada puts money down for the project, they are hoping that the project will receive legal approval.
- If the pipeline received legal approval, the question is then, what is the federal government doing on the matter.
- When Kinder Morgan Canada decided last week to hold investment on the project, Maude Barlow, (Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch) tweeted, “Huge good news! Kinder Morgan suspending all non essential spending on Trans Mountain pipeline!!! Resistance matters!”
- John Robson then followed up by asking, “Resistance to what?” By this assertion it highlights that the rule of law is in jeopardy in Canada, because if a legally approved project can be held up, what’s the point of the law?
- The situation is best summed up as. “people [acting] as though everything they dislike must secretly be illegal” and more completely, “If you live under tyranny, you’re entitled to resist by whatever mix of force and fraud seems prudent. But Canada is not a tyranny, and to engage in lawbreaking when a decision here doesn’t go your way is petty, narcissistic and incipiently tyrannical.”
- The argument of being against a pipeline and the necessity to secure “social license” as Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley, and others call it must mean that through social license it should be easy to forbid the process legally.
- At the end of the day this comes back to being an issue of federal jurisdiction.
- Under constitutional clauses section 91, section 92.2, and section 92.10 clause c in particular nothing lets the provinces use their powers to usurp federal jurisdiction.
- Taking an even more macro look at the issue, John Robson highlights the preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms saying, “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”
- If this is no longer the case, what’s left of the Charter or federal government?
- The jurisdictional matters also extend to the court system, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley claims to have won court battles on the issue but the pipeline is no closer to being built. Once again, rule of law.
- John Robson ends with a rather ominous warning: “We could end up with literally no country if we mock resurgent Alberta separation as just gun-totin’ hicks with hygiene issues. Why stay in a country whose entire system of government appears to have no function beyond virtue-signalling? Some think instead its key function is redistributing money. I beg to differ. But surely everyone right of Maude Barlow knows you can’t redistribute non-existent money. And business investment is fleeing Canada because we seem to be letting the rule of law slip away.
- If we are, why do we have a government? Indeed, do we have one?”
Word of the Week
injunction | inˈjəNG(k)SH(ə)n |
an authoritative warning or order.
• a judicial order that restrains a person from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another, or that compels a person to carry out a certain act, e.g., to make restitution to an injured party.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Rule of Law
Teaser: We review the media’s shift of the Humboldt crash to gender and race politics, and the Alberta government’s ploy to gain political points on social issues. Also, Trans Mountain spending is halted, and how the pipeline debacle affects Canadian rule of law.
Recorded Date: April 14, 2018
Release Date: April 15, 2018
Edit Notes: Internet drop out at contact/engage.
Podcast Summary Notes