NDP MLA Cam Westhead accused Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman of threatening violence.
Westhead is the MLA for Banff-Cochrane and in a Facebook post he said this:
“If this is the kind of opposition the Wildrose feels is acceptable, it’s no wonder they will never form government.”
Rick Strankman’s direct quote from the Alberta Hansard on Dec 1, 2015 reads:
“Some of these predator control devices are found in the back of the truck and out in the shop and in the tractor in the spring time when they’re calving, because those predator devices keep the coyotes away from the baby calves and keep the varmints controlled. Going forward there might be unintended consequences that this legislation might bring forward in that regard”
Ok, so I think we all know what Strankman was talking about. He’s talking about the implications of having firearms on OHS compliant worksites. Firearms and OHS compliant worksites don’t mix. This is a legitimate concern for farmers who will now fall under OHS rules and use firearms for predator control. There were no threats of violence unless you're a coyote or a gopher.
Westhead persisted. He thought he really had something on those redneck farmers now. He took to Twitter. He asked Wildrose leader Brian Jean to denounce Strankman for his threats of violence against gophers.
Now let’s digest all this. In case you don’t know, Rick Strankman is a hero in the agricultural community. He went to jail for his act of civil disobedience against the Canadian Wheat Board. He drove a truck full of his own wheat to the American border and was arrested under export laws for trying to do what eastern Canadian farmers had always done: Sell their own wheat. He turned himself over to the police. He was never, ever violent.
At some point, someone from the NDP probably advised Westhead that parliamentary privilege doesn’t apply outside the legislature. So he sent out a mealy mouth tweet apologizing for the confusion around Strankman’s motives. That confusion was purposefully caused by Westhead himself. Now he’s using the typical NDP excuse about "miscommunication”.
Just because you own a gun doesn’t mean you’re violent. But the NDP might think so. And if dippers like Westhead are too clueless about OHS laws and the realities of firearms as a tool on the farm, then they have no business drafting OHS laws.
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