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UPDATED: Flu case found in Ontario as virus continues to hammer China

People across Western Canada are now being tested for a new strain of flu currently cutting a swath through China.

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Health officials in Ontario have announced a man in that province has tested positive for a suspected case of 2019-nCoV.

It’s the first time the virus, currently cutting a swath through China has been found in Canada. Dozens more people are currently undergoing testing across the country.

Ontario health officials said the man, in his 50s, had traveled in Wuhan and arrived back in Canada on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the man became ill enough for family members to call 911.

Hazmat-suit paramedics rushed the man to Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital where he was placed in isolation and remains in stable condition.

Health authorities are now backtracking the man’s movements since arriving in the country. His small family is now in “self-isolation.”

Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer for the province of Ontario, told a Saturday press conference that “the risk is still low.”

Ontario officials have notified federal authorities about the case and have set up a new website for people with concerns.

Known as 2019-nCoV, the flu has already killed dozens in China with hundreds more being infected. A new 1,000 bed hospital is being built in Wuhan, the city that is hardest hit. It will be built in only 5 days.

Chinese state-run TV said the province of Hubei reported 15 new flu-related deaths on Friday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned on national TV Saturday the crisis was deepening.

‘Faced with the grave situation of an accelerating spread of the new coronavirus […] it is necessary to strengthen the centralised and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee,’ Xi said, according to official news agency Xinhua.

The government has given the U.S. permission to land a 230-seat chartered aircraft in Wuhan to start evacuating their citizens. Approximately 1,000 Americans live there.

But now there is global concern as the virus is showing up in areas around the world.

Video courtesy The Guardian

In Canada, more than 20 people are being tested for the flu, the Globe and Mail is reporting.

Doctors are testing people mainly who have been to Wuhan.

The Globe said doctors are testing an unspecified number of people in B.C. and Alberta for the 2019-nCoV. Ontario has tested 14 people. Five people have been tested in Quebec with four already back as negative.

Officials are monitoring airports in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Cases have now been confirmed in the U.S. – in a person in Seattle and Chicago – Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, France and Australia.

Reuters reported 63 people are now under investigation from 22 states in the U.S.

In China, numerous cities are in lockdown affecting 56 million people. Those include Wuhan, Ezhou, Huanggang, Chibi, Xiantao, Zhijiang, Qianjiang, Huangshi, Xianning and Yichang.

Inside Wuhan via the South China Morning Post

It is the Lunar New Year in China and the government has shut down numerous large, planned parties in Beijing.

It has closed the Forbidden City, shut down parts of the Great Wall and even closed Shanghai Disney. McDonalds announced it has also suspended its businesses in five affected cities.

Images of long queues at hospitals and patients attached to intravenous drips on the street have been put on social media. All public transportation in Wuhan and surround cities has been shut down.

While killing 14% of the people it infects, the World Health Organization has not declared the virus an international emergency.

The virus, which is from the same family of viruses as SARS, can be transmitted through human contact, said the Chinese government.

Reporter’s bid to flee affect areas. Courtesy Cnn

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed an estimated 100 million people.

It is believed to have started at a military hospital in France that treated hundreds of thousands of soldiers. It then spread as men returned home throughout the world with the virus.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: @Nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Madu out as justice minister

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has removed Justice Minister Kaycee Madu from his job after he called Edmonton’s police chief about a distracted parking ticket he received.

Madu was fined $300 on March 10, 2021 after an Edmonton police officer caught him talking on his cellphone while driving through a playground zone.

Madu soon phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, and discussed the ticket with him. 

“Minister Madu did contact me via the telephone concerned about a ticket. But just to be very, very clear, he never asked to get out of the ticket,” McFee told CBC News in December, adding he didn’t know exactly what was on the ticket.

“Everybody has to wear their decisions.”

McFee did say during their discussion, Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers. Madu is black.

“The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone. I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket” said Madu.

“Later, I spoke to Chief Dale McFee. Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.

“Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.”

But that wasn’t good enough for Kenney who, after CBC broke the story, removed him from his post because it is “essential the independent administration of justice is maintained.

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation,” Kenney tweeted.

“Minister Madu told me that he did not ask to have the ticket rescinded, nor was it his intention to interfere in the case, and that he promptly paid the ticket. I understand that Chief McFee has confirmed that at no time did the Minister seek to have the ticket rescinded.

“Nevertheless, it’s essential the independent administration of justice is maintained. That’s why I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.”

Energy Minister Sonya Savage will take on the duties of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

The scandal will be a blow for Kenney as Madu was one of his biggest supporters in an often fractured caucus.

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Home buyers and sellers can now use bitcoin

“This is yet another step towards a bitcoin standard society as we continue to propel bitcoinʼs usability. Our ability to process tens of millions of dollars with ease will allow customers looking to use bitcoin in real estate transactions to transact with confidence.”

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Canadians will soon be able to buy and sell their homes with bitcoin.

Edmonton-based Bitcoin Well announced Tuesday they have signed a deal with Greater Property Group (GPG) where customers use bitcoin and other digital currencies to buy and sell residential and commercial real estate.

The signed letter of intent will see both companies promote the other through their respective websites and real estate transactions involving bitcoin will be conducted through the joint venture.

Bitcoin Well will provide digital currency services and licensing, compliance strategy and required Know Your Customer processes. GPG will provide real estate services, licensing and strategy.

“I canʼt wait to begin working with GPG,” said Adam OʼBrien, founder and CEO of Bitcoin Well.

“This is yet another step towards a bitcoin standard society as we continue to propel bitcoinʼs usability. Our ability to process tens of millions of dollars with ease will allow customers looking to use bitcoin in real estate transactions to transact with confidence.

“Working with GPG is an exciting look at how the bitcoin infrastructure we’ve built can scale. We have the pieces in place to help set the stage to help global industries adopt bitcoin. It’s exciting to see real estate being one of the first.”

Officials with GPG say they welcome the agreement.

“As a brokerage that facilitates buying and selling houses with cryptocurrency, we couldnʼt be happier to be partnering with Bitcoin Well on this venture.” said Nathan Singh, managing partner of Greater Property Group.

“The applications for cryptocurrency in real estate are limitless, and we look forward to bringing that investment power and flexibility to more and more transactions and agents from coast to coast.”

The completion of the joint venture agreement is expected in the first quarter of 2022.

Bitcoin Well is the first publicly traded Bitcoin ATM company in the world and is traded on the TSX.V under the ticker BTCW.V

Publisher’s Note: Bitcoin Well is an advertising client of Western Standard New Media Corp.

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Calgary lawyer applauds Shell’s reversal of vax mandate

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said lawyer James Kitchen.

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In the wake of Shell Canada temporarily removing its mandatory vaccine policy at its Scotford site in Alberta, Calgary lawyer James Kitchen called it a “good and lawful” move.

Kitchen — a civil litigation lawyer focused on constitutional rights, human rights, and health freedom — represents a number of clients in the oil and gas sector, including CNRL staffer Naomi Smart who was the first employee dismissed without cause for refusing to adhere to the mandatory vaccine policy.

“There are two potential things happening here,” Kitchen told the Western Standard in reference to Shell’s decision to change its vaccine policy at the Scotford site.

“Either Shell is concerned with defending themselves legally — as the vaccines have little to no effect on transmission — or, there are decent human beings (who) run Shell who are looking at the science and they realize this is the sensible thing to do.”

Kitchen said Shell could be “showing some good business sense” and now, after “spending all this money and realizing nothing we do will stop it (the spread of COVID-19),” they are looking to get back to work.

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said Kitchen.

When asked if the move from Shell to reverse its vaccination policy might affect the outcome of current legal cases — including some of his own — Kitchen said he’s doubtful.

“Generally speaking, the court doesn’t care. The industry does what it wants so in a strictly legal sense, no. But in a broader sense, it does matter,” said Kitchen.  

“It’s like a band-wagon effect,” he said adding if other companies follow suit, “it could give pause and change course for policymakers.”

“I don’t expect others to follow, but I’m hopeful,” said Kitchen.

Kitchen applauded Shell for what he called, “the most reasonable, lawful positions I’ve seen in a long time.

“They have chosen not to be willfully ignorant of what is good, right and lawful and have chosen against coercion and tyranny,” said Kitchen.

“I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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