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Thousands gather at Alberta legislature to protest budget cuts

The budget had barely been introduced to the public when thousands of protesters arrived at the Legislature Thursday.

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The budget had barely been introduced to the public when thousands of protesters arrived at the Legislature Thursday.

“Several thousand people, in Edmonton for a teacher’s convention, marched through downtown Edmonton from the convention centre to the legislature to protest UCP cuts to public sector jobs and services,” said the Western Standard‘s Ric Dolphin who was covering Budget 2020 in Edmonton.

One woman attending the protests said the turnout was “huge” to “protest against public sector cuts”.

“The people united will never be divided!” They chanted.

The government’s budget showed a decrease of around 2,000 public sector jobs between this year and next which Finance Minister Travis Toews said Wednesday his government has been “very transparent about.”

“There is no greater job for our government than getting Alberta back to work,” Toews said in a press release Thursday.

“We are putting a growth and prosperity lens on everything we do to ensure the choices we make as a government support economic growth and jobs for Albertans.”

The government is looking at ways to increase funding for education in the province, according to the budget documents.

Education property taxes will rise by 3.1 per cent in 2020-21, with residential/farmland rates going from $2.56 to $2.64 per $1,000 of equalized assessment. Non-residential rates will rise from $3.76 to $3.88.

The UCP introduced the “one time” Shallow Gas Tax Relief in July of 2019 which gave rural natural gas producers a 35 per cent (the amount of education taxes) property tax cut. In December the government subsequently extended the tax relief for the 2020 tax year.

“We are now shifting our focus to the long term,” said Dale Nally, Associate Minister of Natural Gas.

“Providing the same property assessment reduction in 2020 as in 2019 will allow us to work with industry to fix Alberta’s assessment model, without having to rush the process.”

With files from Ric Dolphin

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter: @Mitchell_AB

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Hundreds of Albertans protest in front of UCP MLA offices over COVID restrictions

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

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He knew they couldn’t stop the government from bringing in even more COVID-19 restrictions, but Jordon Kosik wanted to be ready to show his displeasure.

Operating two Facebook groups, Holding MLAs Accountable and Closed for Fall, Kosik had his 17,000 members ready to protest just hours after Premier Jason Kenney brought in a fourth COVID-19 lockdown, which this time includes vaccination passports.

“A couple of weeks ago, we knew something was happening,” Kosik said in a Thursday interview with the Western Standard.

Protest in front of Nathan Cooper’s office. Photo courtesy Holding MLAs Accountable

“There was nothing we could do to stop it, but what we could do is get ready.”

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

Some had a handful of people show up, while others had scores of people.

“This was on organic protest, people in their own ridings,” said Kosik.

And Kovik thinks this won’t be the end of restrictions, with more likely in a couple of weeks.

“To get ready for that we have to network, network, network,” Koik said.

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

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Vancouver gangster killed in daylight shooting

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

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Vancouver cops are on the hunt for an armed killer after a gangster was slain Wednesday during a daylight shooting in Vancouver’s core area.

Amandeep Manj, 35, a known member of the United Nations gang, was shot about 3:30 p.m while sitting inside his car in the parking lot of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel near Canada Place.

Soon after he bloodied body was discovered, paramedics raced to the lot, but Manj was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they’re convinced the shooting was a targeted hit.

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

Manj’s brother, Jodh Manj, also died a violent death three years ago when he was killed while leaving a Mexico City gym.

Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin told the Vancouver Sun Manj is the city’s 13th homicide of 2021.

She told the paper officers responded to level three of the parkade near Cordova and Burrard streets “after a man was found unresponsive by a witness.” 

Police have made no arrests in the case, and ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to contact Vancouver police.

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COVID vaccines changing their names

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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What’s in a name? Plenty, apparently, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Health Canada announced Thursday it will accept the change in new brand names of the three most common vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be called Comirnaty, which the company said represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

CBC said the vaccines didn’t go by their brand name initially, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

Canada is still expected to receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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