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School oil sands project enrages parents; RCMP called in, dance cancelled

A heated social media debate on Facebook resulted in RCMP involvement and the cancellation of a elementary school dance, in central Alberta.

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A heated social media debate on Facebook resulted in RCMP involvement and the cancellation of am elementary school dance, in central Alberta.

The controversy at the Iron Ridge Intermediate Campus school in Blackfalds, just north of Red Deer, started when a Grade 4 teacher showed two videos to a class on the oil sands – one from the provincial government viewpoint and one from Greenpeace.

It didn’t take long for parents to take the issue to Facebook. Things became so heated that threats were issued, the RCMP were called in and the school dance was cancelled.

“The Principal sought to address the concerns through open and constructive dialogue, but was unsuccessful,” Wolf Creek Public Schools Superintended Jayson Lovell wrote in a letter to parents posted on Wolf Creek School Division’s website.

“Unfortunately, the posts on the Facebook forum reached a level where it was necessary for the Blackfalds RCMP to be involved. The RCMP investigated and issued a ticket under the School Act for disrupting or interrupting the proceedings of a school.”

RCMP Cpl. Laurel Scott said complaints resulting from social media specifically would be difficult to track.

“The ticket for this incident was issued under the School Act, which is provincial legislation. It would be difficult to track the number of complaints resulting specifically from social media unless there was an actual crime attached to it,” Scott said.

In a 2018 paper, Benjamin Perrin, Associate Professor at Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, and former Special Advisor and Legal Counsel to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, addressed the Canadian Criminal Law response to social media threats.

“The most common categories of criminality recognized (on social media networks) were: (1) sexual offences, (2) threats, and (3) criminal harassment,” Perrin wrote.

The Social Media Crime Project identified “1,844 potentially relevant decisions related to Facebook; 149 related to Twitter, and 15 related to Snapchat.”

Freedom of expression is not freedom from consequences.

In Alberta, Rebel Media’s Sheila Gunn-Reid recently posted about her own legal victory in being awarded damages when a Twitter user called her a “Neo Nazi.” The user received a monetary penalty in addition to “pinning” an apology to his profile and deleting the original offending tweet.

Ontario-based columnist, lawyer, and political strategist Warren Kinsella is the subject of a potential claim of defamation against People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier for articles Kinsella posted to his personal website exploring whether or not Bernier was “racist”.

In 2018, Orion Rutley of Edmonton was arrested and charged with uttering threats on Twitter against Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley.

News

Calgary company testing COVID vaccine on humans

Providence Therapeutics said in a Tuesday statement they hope to have the vaccine ready to go by the end of the year.

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A Calgary company has become the first Canadian firm to start clinical trials on a possible vaccine for COVID-19.

Providence Therapeutics said in a Tuesday statement they hope to have the vaccine ready to go by the end of the year.

“Subjects will be monitored for a total of 13 months from the beginning of the trial. However, there will be enough data accumulated by April 2021 to move into Phase 2 in May 2021, pending regulatory approval,” the company said in a statement.

“Sixty volunteers between the ages of 18-65 will be enrolled in the Phase 1 study and divided into three groups of 20. Three different dose levels of PTX-COVID19-B will be administered together with a placebo in each group.”

The human testing of the vaccine will be carried out in Toronto.

“Having a made-in-Canada solution to address the global COVID-19 pandemic will augment the reliability of vaccine supply for Canadians, contribute to the global vaccine supply and position a Canadian company on the global stage as a contributor to the solution,” said Brad Sorenson, CEO of Providence Therapeutics.

Canada’s vaccination plan has fallen into shambles because the drug maker Pfizer has stopped shipments here so they can remodel their plant in Europe.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the province has plans to vaccinate 50,000 people a day, but they have no doses to deliver.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Energy

POLL: Westerners on their own in Keystone battle

Overall, 59 per cent of Canadians say it’s time to move on from Keystone XL, an opinion driven by respondents in the country’s most populous provinces, especially Quebec, the poll found.

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A new Angus Reid poll released Tuesday shows people in Alberta and Saskatchewan will be fighting the battle to save the Keystone XL pipeline project on their own as the rest of Canada says it’s time to move on.

“With majorities in Alberta and Saskatchewan saying if it were up to them, they would press the Biden administration to reverse course. Majorities in BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, however, are of the view that it is time to accept the decision and focus instead on other Canada-U.S. priorities,” the Angus Reid group said in a statement.

Overall, 59 per cent of Canadians say it’s time to move on from Keystone XL, an opinion driven by respondents in the country’s most populous provinces, especially Quebec, the poll found.

Angus Reid poll

The poll found while majorities across the political spectrum acknowledge the economic damage the Keystone XL cancellation may cause to Alberta, this sentiment is lowest among past NDP voters (52%) and highest among past CPC voters (87%), a concentration of whom are from Alberta

“The Keystone XL issue is viewed through a different lens across the country. Overall, 51 per cent say this is about the economy and jobs – a view held by a majority of those in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Atlantic Canada. For 49 per cent -including at least half in B.C., Ontario and Quebec – the project is about environmental concerns and climate change,” said the statement.

“Just over half (52 per cent) of Canadians say its cancellation is a “bad thing” for Canada. There is stronger agreement (65 per cent) that Alberta will be worse off with the pipeline blocked. By contrast, just two-in-five (40 per cent) believe that overall this is a negative for the U.S. (where domestic oil output has boomed in recent years).”

Angus Reid poll

Canadians from coast to coast have sympathy for the province. While those in oil-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan are the likeliest to say the cancellation is to Alberta’s detriment, more than half in every region of the country agree, said the statement.

Angus Reid poll

“Moreover, the lens through which Canadians view these priorities highly correlates with how they would handle Keystone’s cancellation. Seven-in-ten (69 per cent) who say economic considerations come first would push for authorization, while nine-in-ten (88 per cent) of those that prioritize environmental considerations would accept Keystone’s cancellation and move on.”

Angus Reid poll

Alberta has billions of dollars tied up in the project, with $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money handed to TC Energy already, along with $6 billion in loan guarantees.

Premier Jason Kenney told a Wednesday press conference he had “no regrets” about staking so much taxpayers’ money on the project.

Kenney has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his help getting the money back. Kenney has also said Alberta will sue.

During the Democratic primaries and campaign, Biden vowed to kill the pipeline, large portions of which have already been built in Alberta. He made the vow before Alberta invested it’s money.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, have also said in the past they would put an end to fracking, a promise they did not repeat during the campaign.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would have run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

COVID lockdown remains as new virus variants found in Alberta ‘a serious threat’

Shandro said 20 cases of a variant from Great Britain, along with five cases of a variant from South Africa, have been discovered in the province.

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There is no sign of Alberta relaxing COVID-19 lockdown regulations as numerous cases of virus variants are showing up in the province.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the variants are “a serious threat.”

Shandro said 20 cases of a variant from Great Britain, along with five cases of a variant from South Africa, have been discovered in the province.

He said the variants are one of the reasons the province will not be easing lockdown regulations as they make sure the health care system is not overwhelmed.

Shandro said any easing of the restrictions will be based on the amount of “risk” involved.

When asked about numerous Alberta businesses opening despite lockdown regulations, Shandro said: “Our hearts go out to all business.”

Shandro also blasted the federal government as Alberta currently has no COVID-19 vaccines to hand out. Manufacturer Pfizer has said Canada will not receive any doses this week.

“We need more doses – now,” said Shandro, adding Alberta is currently ready to vaccinate 50,000 people a day when the shipments resume.

He noted Canada has only vaccinated two per cent of the population, while in the US, the figure is six per cent and the UK, ten per cent.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said regulations will be relaxed “as soon as it’s safe.”

She said in the last 24 hours, Alberta has found 362 new cases of the virus, along with 25 deaths. The positivity rate is 5 per cent.

It’s is the fewest number of new cases in a day since Oct. 23.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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