Comments on PCAA Leadership Race


I don’t doubt that Richard Starke and Byron Nelson care deeply for Alberta. I don’t doubt that both of them are good, well-intentioned men. However, their methods of doing what’s best for Alberta are severely flawed. To wish continued division for Alberta is not a path forward. It is not a path to recovery.

Alberta is hurting. Our economy is in a tailspin. Negotiations with the US on pipelines and our oil & gas sector have not gone well. Right now, we have both a Premier and a Prime Minister who refuse to put Albertans first. For them, ideology trumps all. This is making division in our province worse – possibly the worst I’ve ever seen it. We’ve seen what division has done to our neighbors in the south. Yesterday, they elected a man who can be considered nothing short of awful. Anyone who thinks that negotiations will go any better with the US under our current leadership once Trump takes office is severely misled.

Yes, last night’s American election results are a wake-up call, or at least they should be. We cannot continue this division between the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties. Last night should send a message to all Albertans – it’s time to unite. Only under a strong and free, united Alberta, can we turn this ship around.
I encourage all Albertans, but particularly PCAA members and former MLA’s, to support the unity movement. No, I’m not calling for Starke or Nelson to drop out, and I’m not calling for them to endorse Jason Kenney. I encourage them to shift to a unity platform of their own. This is what the members of the PCAA want. Polling has been quite clear on that. If all three of our candidates fight for unity, we can not lose. Our province can not lose.

Let us end this division, and let us Unite Alberta behind one big tent united conservative coalition. If we do this, anything is possible for Alberta, and we will once again be the envy of an entire nation.

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Today, I Joined the PCAA

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Today I did something that I had pondered in the past, but never truly seriously come close to doing – I joined the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

My reasons for joining the party are quite simple, honestly. Although the stench of past corruption still lingers within the party (thanks for that, Sandra Jansen), there is clear change in the air. Some MLA’s have impressed me greatly. Richard Gotfried and Mike Ellis, in particular, have proven themselves to be amongst the most effective members of opposition. Ultimately, however, this is not the reason I joined the party.

We in Alberta are currently in dire straits. We have a destructive socialist party currently in government. This party inherited a $1 billion surplus and turned it into a record deficit, doubling our province’s total debt in just over one year. In that time span, this socialist party has also introduced an enormous $3 billion wealth distribution scheme that they’ve called a “carbon levy”, and they’ve spent over $5 million of our tax dollars to advertise this scheme. These socialists have gone against impact analysis and pushed through a job and small business-killing 50% minimum wage hike. They’ve forced an expensive, misled and hated labour bill onto Albertan farms. They hiked the corporate tax by 20% while creating enormous uncertainty for our oil sector with a long, drawn out royalty review. Of course, this is just a brief summary, but one thing is certain – this government has done an immense amount of damage to Albertans and to the Albertan economy. It will take years to undo this damage. If anything is clear, it’s that Alberta cannot afford another term for the NDP.

Right now, polls show Wildrose holding steady, around the same support numbers they’ve held since before the 2012 provincial election. Wildrose is built on true Albertan principles: responsible fiscal management, property rights, small localized government and a return to the Alberta Advantage – low taxation to encourage investment. With that said, Wildrose has been infiltrated by extreme socons; the kind of people who think that their personal beliefs should overrule the rights of all others. These are the kind of people who follow Ezra Levant and his Rebel like he’s Jesus and his tabloid is the Bible. Wildrose has, of course, brought a lot of this on itself, by spending party donations to advertise on the Rebel, and having MLA’s attend Levant’s events in Alberta. Wildrose has also fallen prey to more “bozo eruptions” within caucus, such as the now-notorious Holodomor blog and Brian Jean’s inexcusable decision to boot Derek Fildebrandt from caucus before reversing his stance only days later. This is evidence of poor leadership – something that has plagued Wildrose since its early days. Brian Jean is a good man. Of that, I have no doubt. However, Jean lacks the ability to rein in and unite his caucus. Come election time, I have no doubt that Wildrose alone will drop in the polls and end up with very similar numbers to what they’ve had in the past two elections. With both Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives splitting the vote, each ending up with popularity percentages in the 20-25% range, the NDP, behind a united left, will form government once again.

There is only one way to defeat the NDP in 2019. Alberta’s two center-right parties need to unite, and they need to do this soon. The two current leaders of these parties, Brian Jean and the PCAA’s Ric McIver, have shown that they are unwilling to cooperate on this. One man, a man with a strong record, incredible fundraising numbers and a proven ability to win, has stepped forward to finally unite conservatives – Jason Kenney. Jason Kenney isn’t my favorite Conservative MP (My personal choice would have been Rona Ambrose). He’s too socially conservative for my liking. However, despite Kenney’s personal views, he has never once spoken against topics such as abortion or gay marriage in Parliament, and he has never attempted to table bills against these things. As a conservatarian, Kenney embodies my belief that we can all have our own views without enforcing them on each other. This, together with his track record, makes him easy to support. While I still support the basic principles of the Wildrose Party, and still consider myself a Wildroser, I do not feel that remaining a member of Wildrose will lead to defeating the NDP. I believe that I can do more to defeat the NDP as a PCAA member, working with my local Spruce Grove – St Albert constituency board to send pro-Kenney delegates to the PCAA leadership convention next year. Thus, last Wednesday, I sent the following email to Wildrose, and today, upon receiving confirmation from the party that my membership has been terminated, I joined the PCAA.

To Whom It May Concern,

I have been a Wildrose member for nearly 3 years now, and I have been a supporter since the beginning. The principles that this party was founded on, socially libertarian views promoting individual freedom & property rights, along with fiscal conservatism, are the principles that have guided me since the day I left school. I fully and wholeheartedly support the ideals that Wildrose stands for.

Despite the above, regrettably, I am writing to you to formally terminate my membership in the party. This has nothing to do with Wildrose itself (although recent bozo eruptions, between the Holodomor stuff, the Fildebrandt ejection et all have shaken my confidence in leadership). This is because I feel that I, as an Albertan, have a bigger fight  in which I must take up arms. Alberta needs a united Conservative party, and there is a man running for PC leadership to do just that. I feel that I serve more purpose as an Albertan in working with my local PC CA to send pro-Kenney delegates to the PC leadership convention next spring.

I am a Wildroser through and through, but we can’t just continue spinning our tires with the risk of another NDP government less than three years away on the horizon. I do not believe that we can take down the NDP without a united right. The left has unified behind one party, and we on the right must do the same. We need unity, and we need it as soon as possible.

Regards,

Trevor Norris
Spruce Grove – St. Albert

This battle is only beginning. There is strong resistance towards Kenney coming from the more left-leaning side of the PCAA. These are the elitists who are responsible for the end of the PCAA’s 44 year reign. These people will likely rally around Richard Starke and Sandra Jansen for leadership. This may be advantageous for Jason Kenney. Conservatives within the PCAA have one candidate to rally behind. I encourage others with no current party affiliation, as well as those with current Wildrose memberships, to do the same. By rallying behind Kenney, you are not betraying Wildrose, nor are you betraying your past dislike of PCAA indiscretions. On the contrary, you’re fighting for conservative principles against those responsible for the aforementioned indiscretions.

Let’s elect Jason Kenney as PCAA leader and finally unite the right in Alberta. Let’s defeat the NDP. Let’s fight for Alberta, and take our province back from the socialist scourge that will stop at nothing to destroy everything we stand for.

 

 

Petulant Remain Crybabies

  

When the Liberals won a majority on October 19th, I was disappointed. Hell, I was downright angry. However, democracy is never wrong. The people of Canada made their decision, and I respected that.

Flash forward to this week. Britain chose freedom and liberty over the campaign of fear launched by the Remain camp. It was beautiful. Britain chose to regain control of their own future, and part from the massive, unelected, centralized foreign government of the EU.

Now, angry leftists in the Remain camp are going crazy. They’re whining about the referendum not being “legitimate”. They say that there should be a new referendum. Parts of the country that voted differently (Scotland by double digits, and Northern Ireland only by the slimmest of margins) are demanding their own independence (imagine if Alberta and Sasktchewan’s provincial governments suddenly demanded independence following October 19’s results). They’re lashing out at the “Leave” campaign, accusing 52% of Britons of being “xenophobic” or “racist”. This is utter nonsense. Frankly, it quite reminds me of the way that those on the far left reacted to Stephen Harper. From labels like “Nazi” to “fascist”, leftists in Canada called Stephen Harper every nasty name in the book. This is exactly what they’re doing to 52% of Britons now, and it’s simply because a vote didn’t go their way.

It’s absurd. It’s sick. These people only like democracy when it goes their own way. As soon as it doesn’t, they fall to the floor and cry while pounding their fists. They remind me of 4 year olds. Suck it up. Move on. Get over it. The people have spoken, and they didn’t like what you had to offer.

No. This week, freedom & liberty have prevailed, and that is a beautiful thing.

Sorry, Wildrose. You’ve Lost Me…

I’ve been a Wildrose supporter for a long time. I’ve given the party more money than I could afford to give them at times, and attended a number of party events, some of which had large price tags. I’ve promoted the party and tried to convince anyone I could find to join the party. Although I had a brief lapse of support after the leadership contest last year, watching the party in the legislature convinced me that they were the real deal and still deserved my support.

The decision to suspend Derek Fildebrandt puts an end to that – at least for now. This was a piss poor move and a showing of bad judgement on the part of party leadership. Derek is a good man. He is absolutely not a “homophobe”, and he has never given anyone any reason to believe that he is. Derek has been a champion for Albertans for years, first fighting against the overspending corrupt left wing PCAA, and then becoming one of Wildrose’s absolutely most effective MLA’s. There is no justification for his suspension whatsoever. How can I possibly put my faith in a party and a leader who would take such a drastic move over something that amounts to absolutely nothing?

When I first mused about potentially trying to run for nomination in Spruce Grove-St Albert in late 2014, Derek not only encouraged me to go for it, but he offered his full support and any help that he could give me. When my support waned following a nasty leadership race, it was Derek who welcomed me back into the party and convinced me that the new leadership was going to take the party to new heights. At last year’s AGM, it was Derek who gave me the time of day to have a full conversation on the current state of Alberta and why Wildrose will win in 2019. Outside of Drew Barnes (Who I supported for leader and has always been supportive of me), no other MLA bothered to give me more than a minute or two of their time. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Derek has grown this party and earned it a ton of support.

Until Derek Fildebrandt is given full reinstatement and an apology is issued to him by the party, I will no longer be attending Wildrose Party events, and the party will not receive a single penny in donations from me. This suspension is an insult to all party supporters and to all Albertans, for whom Derek has fought hard for since long before he became an MLA. The party must right this wrong as soon as possible.

Reflecting on Fort McMurray

  

I can’t really describe what I experienced today. It was something I never thought I would experience and hoped I’d never have to experience. I was one of the lucky ones. Highway 63 at MacKenzie Blvd was shut down just as I was approaching the intersection. I watched as the trees on the west side of the road crowned with flames. I saw a burst of fire jump up as flames engulfed the Shell. It looked more like a bomb than a forest fire.

When I first realized the situation, I said that this was Slave Lake all over again. I was wrong. With all due respect to the good people of Slave Lake, this was worse. I fear that, when we’re able to see what remains of Fort McMurray, we’re not going to like what we see. Regardless, we are Albertans, and we will rebuild.

Fort McMurray gets a bad rap. The east hates it. It’s been referred to as “Mordor” by know-nothing idiot celebrities. It’s been trashed by the political left. It’s picked up nicknames like “Fort Crack”

The real truth about Fort McMurray is very different. It’s a place where so many of us, both in Alberta and country-wide, have lived and worked. We’ve sat down for dinner at Moxies, drank a little too much at Showgirls and lost too much money at the Boomtown Casino. We’ve waited in enormous lineups at Tim Hortons off 63, excited for that last coffee or donut before heading to site. Through all of this, we’ve made some pretty great memories of McMurray, whether we’d like to admit it or not.

I’ll never forget my first real night out in McMurray. While working on the Noralta Lodge Village construction crew, we went into town to celebrate a co worker’s 30th birthday. It wasn’t just our group celebrating though. It was everyone in the bar. People who’d never even met the guy were buying him birthday drinks, or putting a 5 down on roulette for him. Fort McMurray isn’t just a place to make money or find a job. It’s a place to feel part of a community. It’s a place to make friends and memories.

For me, Fort McMurray was a place to start anew. After returning from college in Ontario, I faced massive debt. After spending a few years trying to pay it off with a local job, I made the decision to go to McMurray on an electrical apprenticeship. What I found was more than just money. It was a new beginning. I matured. I learned a lot about myself. Yes, I also paid off my debt. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the things I learned and accomplished in Fort McMurray.

At the end of the day, what made Fort McMurray wasn’t Moxies. It wasn’t Showgirls or Boomtown Casino. It wasn’t Tim Horton’s or even City Hall. No. What made Fort McMurray was the people. Albertans, regardless of origin. Our provincial motto is “strong and free”, and it’s that for a reason. We’ve proven it before. Edmonton’s Black Friday, Calgary’s flood, and the massive fires that hit Slave Lake in 2011. We rebuilt each and every time. We banded together, as Albertans, and ensured that our people were taken care of. We will do that once again.

Fort McMurray – you are not alone. You have all of Alberta behind you. Together, we are Alberta Strong.

Could Rachel Notley Run for Federal NDP Leadership?

  
During Rachel Notley’s speech at the NDP’s federal convention in Edmonton, National Newswatch tweeted out a hypothetical question: “Is this Notley’s federal leadership speech?” At the time, I chuckled, and scrolled on past the tweet. There’s no way that a newly elected Premier would leave her seat only a year or two in to run for leadership of the third party in Ottawa, right? Why would Notley consider such a thing? It’s interesting to think about, but it’s not gonna happen, so it’s not worth more than that single tweet.
The latter half of the previous paragraph explains my line of thinking…prior to this morning. This morning I received a phone call from someone fairly well-connected in the Alberta political sphere. This person told me of something overheard from a staffer in the Notley government last week. At one point, the topic of Tom Mulcair’s leadership review came up. When asked who would replace Mulcair, the staffer replied, “Rachel’s thinking about it”. Yes, I understand that this kind of thing should typically be considered as hearsay, but this source has proven to be incredibly reliable and trustworthy in the past. Recent events also back up the possibility of this happening. Let me explain.

Let’s go back to last week. Rachel Notley conducted a televised address in which she made a number of ideological shifts from her past. She embraced pipelines and oil development. She spoke about tightening the province’s purse strings and being more stringent with government spending. Notley put her best foot forward in working to appear as a leader (at least when we ignore the enormous $90K price tag). Following this was Notley’s address at the NDP convention itself. She laid out her revised views once again, and at the same time, she rejected the extremism held in some NDP policy proposals, such as that of adopting the Marxist Leap Manifesto (which was passed). At the same time, Notley grabbed on to the knife stuck in Mulcair’s back and twisted it for good measure. One day before the vote that removed Mulcair as leader of the NDP, Notley clearly nudged convention attendees in the direction of voting against Mulcair’s leadership.

On the final day of the convention, the NDP also passed an amendment allowing two years for the leadership campaign to occur (the party’s constitution typically allows one year). In my opinion, this only lends more likelihood to Notley entering the fray for federal NDP leadership. It would give her time to line up potential successors at the provincial level (Sarah Hoffman & Shannon Phillips would likely run in this hypothetical situation), and set the provincial party in the direction she wishes for it to proceed. At the end of it all is the simple reality that the Alberta NDP is very, very unlikely to win the 2019 election, and Rachel Notley knows this. There is a large incentive for Notley to seek leadership of the federal NDP.

In a hypothetical situation, what would happen if Notley were to seek federal NDP leadership? First, she would have to resign as Premier. Secondly, she’d have to fight a long battle for the federal leadership. If Notley were to win, she would have to replace a current MP in a safe NDP riding. The politically observant folks in Alberta would notice that Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan has been unusually quiet over the past year or two. She’s getting older, and rumors have this current term being her last term. For Rachel Notley, this is a riding she would likely win in a landslide. Of course, this is all purely hypothetical, but it’s certainly believable.

Carrying forward, it’ll be interested to see what happens with the NDP leadership race. One thing is certain: Notley is likely the best potential candidate that the federal NDP could ask for. We’ll see if they get what they want.

To My Fellow Conservatives,

 
I’ve always tried to avoid getting into scraps on my own side of the spectrum, but honestly, it’s time for me to vent some thoughts and feelings. Ever since the Conservative defeat in the October federal election, I’ve seen an escalation of sorts on the right. Extremists seem to have taken over our movement, and they’re even converting good people to their ways. I’ve seen so many people, many of whom I’ve greatly admired over the years, who have turned to spewing rhetoric, hate, exaggerations, and even bigotry. It sickens me that we’ve come to this.

Conservatism is about freedom and individual liberty. It’s about small government, low taxes, and your right to live your life whichever way you desire. As Ronald Reagan said, “The very heart of conservatism is libertarianism”. The above is all so very true. Why is it that so many so-called conservatives have now taken to attacking the way that others choose to live their lives? When we have issues like soaring provincial debt, the biggest deficit budget in Alberta’s 111 year history, a $30B federal budget deficit, a sinking resource industry and so many others, why are conservatives occupied with attacking LGBTQ children? No, Ezra Levant. Elementary school boys are not going to “pretend to be transgender” to go into girls’ change rooms and sexually assault young girls. Why are conservatives so pre-occupied with attacking minorities when the very heart of our movement is being blatantly attacked by the party of union domination and rapidly expanding government? These people are even attacking our own party. When interim CPC leader Rona Ambrose came out and took initiatives to modernize some of our party’s stances, and shift to some more libertarian viewpoints, some on the right lashed out at her. The words I read from some people are too vile for me to include in this column.

I’ve become somewhat ashamed to even call myself a conservative, as I do not want to be associated with people such as those that I’ve described in the above paragraph. I’ve already found myself growing closer and closer to the ideals of libertarianism on the whole, but with the conservative movement having been hijacked by extremists and socons, I’ve taken to calling myself a fusionist or conservatarian. I believe in individual liberty. I believe in freedom. I may not agree with every single lifestyle decision made by others, but I’ll fight to my last breath defending their right to live the lifestyles they live. Perhaps conservatism has changed. Perhaps it’s no longer about freedom and liberty. I hate to think that, but based on what we’re seeing in today’s political landscape, it really has become something entirely different.

This rising extremism on the right side of the spectrum isn’t contained to Canada either. Down south, in the land of the free, or “God’s Country”, as one Alaskan shop owner welcomed me to back in 2013, a fascist is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan, hijacked by a man who’s pulled policies straight out of the Nazi party handbook, and has been endorsed by David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. Never before have I seen such hatred fuel a political campaign at any level. This man has mocked prisoners of war, Holocaust victims, a disabled reporter, women, minorities, immigrants, etc. If you can name a group that isn’t exclusively made up of extremely wealthy white men, Donald Trump has been sure to attack them. What truly terrifies me is that I’ve seen Canadians tooting Trump’s horn here at home. In a nation built on diversity, some on the right are embracing a bigoted demagogue who believes in everything that Canada was built against. It both saddens and disgusts me in ways I cannot explain in words.

Yeah, left wing social justice warriors have gone too far. Yes, feminism has become a plague spreading lies, hatred and victimhood. That said, what do we gain by allowing extremists to take control of our movement? “The left does it, so we can too!” is a horrid argument. Why stoop to that level? Why are the Ezra Levants, Ann Coulters, Donald Trumps and Kevin O’Learys (the latter two not even being actual conservatives) being allowed to commandeer the movement of Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, John A. MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and John Diefenbaker? I suppose things have changed. I have tried not to leave conservatism, but perhaps conservatism has left me.

Where do we go from here? Well, I’m sure that half of my audience will throw hate at me for writing this, but I’m certain that the other half will give me a golf clap. To the latter half, I invite you to work with me to restore the conservative movement. Yes, I’m one 25 year old tradesman who really isn’t important (at all) in the political landscape, but what if a great number of us worked together? What if we told the right that we’re sick of the negative, hateful, divisive rhetoric, and that we must return to our core values? Honestly, I’m not sure that many would listen, but I think it might be worth a try.

If you’ve read to this point, I’d like to thank you. This was all born out of what I’ve witnessed over the past few months. I’ve made my criticisms of others on my side of the spectrum, but never quite like this. I wrote an article in opposition to Ezra Levant and his Rebel hate machine that resulted in me losing 50-100 followers on Twitter, many of whom had followed me for 2-3 years. When I spoke out against Donald Trump’s brand of fascism, I lost another 50 or so followers. This is all immaterial. These are people I can do without. I must speak for what I believe in. I refuse to allow extremists to be the most prominent voices of the right. If I’m shouting into an empty space, I’ll continue shouting. This I promise you. I could lose all 1460 (approximately, as of March 7, 2016) Twitter followers, and I’d still keep tweeting. I have big plans for the future. I’m looking ahead to 2017 hoping to attend both CPAC and the Manning Centre Conference. I hope to speak to as many others as I can about the current state as well as the future of conservatism.

Let’s fight for the right’s future,

Trevor Norris