fbpx
Connect with us

News

March 17 UPDATE: Western Canada and COVID-19

Western Canada totals now nearing 300.

mm

Published

on

Western Canada now almost 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 19 presumptive cases, and the provinces are awaiting result of more than 40 tests.

Alberta

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced that the province has identified 23 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the province’s total to 97. Approximately six cases may be from community spread.

The Premier announced earlier today that Alberta was enacting a public health emergency due to the concerning amount of cases that have been identified coming from community spread.

It is now recommended that Albertans cancel gatherings of more than 50, including weddings and funerals. Bars have been asked to close but restaurants, pubs, cafes, and delis can remain open.

The Premier also said that community organizations, such as non-profits and charities who minister to homeless and food insecure will also remain open.

The healthcare system in Alberta is preparing to be able to care for any Albertan who needs urgent care, Hinshaw said, adding that the province was postponing all elective and non-emergent surgeries at this time.

Hinshaw reiterated that social distancing plays an important role in protecting us all from infection.

Additional information for Alberta residents can be found here.

British Columbia

B.C. had the largest jump in cases since yesterday at 83, bringing its total to 186. The province also reported three more deaths.

At this time, six people are in acute care, five have recovered (completed two negative tests for the virus 24 hours apart) and six people have died.

With triple digit infection rates in the province, B.C. has finally suspended K-12 classes, making them the sixth province to do so. Ontario was first, followed by Manitoba, New Brunswick, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said some schools will remain open to deliver education for “essential” workers such as first responders and other health professionals.

Premier John Horgan said child care facilities will remain open at this time.

Additional information for B.C. residents can be found here.

Manitoba

The province has identified seven new presumptive cases, bringing their potential total to 15.

Premier Brian Pallister announced (and reiterated) the immediate “phasing down” of K-12 classes and day care facilities including private facilities by end of day Friday March 20.

“I want to emphasize that we are working with health and emergency service to ensure child care will be available for our front line emergency staff who need those services,” Pallister said.

He added that it may be necessary for some care centres to remain open to provide such an “essential service” to Manitbans.

Day homes will stay open.

Post-secondary institutions are putting additional mechanisms in place to provide academic continuity but Pallister did not elaborate at this time.

Casinos in Manitoba will also be closed as of Wednesday March 18.

Pallister said he is hoping retail and grocery outlets will try to open to seniors and vulnerable citizens without opening to the general public so that there are less opportunities for transmission.

Though there are currently no cases demonstrating community spread in the province, additional measures are being added to protect the most vulnerable including restricting visitation to long-term care facilities and hospitals.

Manitoba has also implemented a restriction on gatherings over 50 people.

Additional information for Manitoba residents can be found here.

Saskatchewan

The province of Saskatchewan has identified its eighth case of COVID-19 as of Tuesday March 17. The latest case, a woman in her 50’s from Regina, recently returned from a trip to Vancouver.

The province has performed more than 1,100 tests and are still awaiting results from 46.

Additional protections have been implemented to protect employee leave from their jobs during the pandemic. The government removed a requirement for doctor’s notes, and a requirement for employees to have 13 consecutive weeks of employment before accessing sick leave.

The province has also postponed the release of the 2020 budget.

“The events of the past few weeks have resulted in our revenue forecasts no longer being accurate,” Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said in a release Tuesday afternoon.

“Given the rapidly changing situation, accurate revenue forecasts are not possible right now.”

Additional information for Saskatchewan residents can be found here.

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

News

BC drops more COVID fines under pressure from Justice Centre

On Tuesday, the JCCF announced that five more “public health” tickets issued to its clients have been dropped by Crown Prosecutors in BC.

mm

Published

on

BC officials have dropped five more COVID-19 related tickets in response to pressure from the Justice Centre.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) is funded by voluntary donations and represents its clients free of charge.

On Tuesday, the JCCF announced five more “public health” tickets issued to its clients have been dropped by Crown prosecutors in BC.

Three tickets totalling $6,900 were issued to a health care worker named Nadine Podmoroff, who organized three outdoor events in Castlegar and Nelson.

Podmoroff said, according to JCCF, that leading up to the Dec. 21, 2020 event she was in contact with Castlegar RCMP who gave her the green light to proceed without being ticketed as long as the laws were followed.

Policed “monitored the event throughout and said we behaved peacefully,” said Podmoroff, who added RCMP did not issue any tickets until two days after the event when they arrived at her home and issued a ticket of $2,300.

Podmoroff organized two additional outdoor rallies shortly after, for which she was also ticketed.

JCCF filed a Notice of Constitutional Question on Nov. 5, 2021, challenging the validity of the tickets issued to Podmoroff. On Nov. 15, 2021, the Crown dropped two tickets challenged by the notice, as well as an additional ticket issued to an unnamed individual who spoke at a protest with Podmoroff.

Podmoroff has one remaining ticket from Dec. 21, 2020 which JCCF is attempting to have dropped.

“The scientific data unequivocally shows outdoor public gatherings are not, and never were, a public health risk,” said Jay Cameron, litigation director at JCCF.

Additional tickets issued to JCCF’s clients for protesting or holding in person religious services have also been recently dropped in BC, according to the organization, which is in the process of having dozens of more tickets dropped in the province — such as a church in Fort St. John that was fined for recording a Zoom service in its building with staff present.

“The Justice Centre will continue to defend BC citizens against the Government’s unjust violation of their Charter rights,” said Cameron.

BC-based non-profit the Canadian Society for the Advancement of Science in Public Policy’s (CSASPP) Executive Director, Kip Warner, among others involved in combating state overreach, speaks highly of the JCCF.

“The problems Canadians are facing are across the country and are best met with areas of responsibility allocated to different competent campaigns,” Warner told the Western Standard.

“For that reason Alberta’s JCCF and BC’s CSASPP have a complimentary, productive, and professional working relationship.”

Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

Continue Reading

News

Liberals axe mandatory minimum sentences for many firearms crimes

“Conservatives believe that serious, violent offences that are committed with firearms deserve mandatory prison time. It’s shameful that the Liberals think we should be weakening firearms laws in Canada,” said Rob Moore in a statement.

mm

Published

on

The Liberal government is moving again to eliminate the mandatory minimum prison (MMPs) times handed to people convicted of some gun crimes.

A proposed Liberal bill would affect 14 Criminal Code sections and six drug-related offences.

The gun offences that would see MMPs dropped include possessing a restricted firearm with ammunition, weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm while committing an offence, reckless discharge of a firearm, and extortion and robbery with a firearm.

It follows a similar bill the party introduced February that died without being passed when the election was called in August.

It would remove MMPs from 13 firearms offences and one for a tobacco offence.

MMPs would remain for murder, treason, impaired driving and sexual offences, as well as a some firearms offences.

“With Bill C-5, we are turning the page on the policy of the former government. It is a policy that in the end did not discourage crime or make our justice system more efficient or more fair,” Justice Minister David Lametti said.

“All the approach did was imprison too many indigenous, black and marginalized Canadians.

“Indigenous adults represent 5% of the general population but account for 30% of federally incarcerated inmates. That’s double where it was 20 years ago.”

The legislation also would repeal MMPs for all six offences to which they apply under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, including possession, trafficking and the production of substances classified under Schedules 1 and 2 of the act.

“This measure will allow for more effective rehabilitation and integration by allowing individuals to keep their job, to care for their children or family members or to seek counselling or treatment for substance and addictions abuse,” Lametti said. 

“Think about your own kids. Perhaps they got into trouble at some point with the law. I bet you would want to give them the benefit of the doubt or a second chance if they messed up. Well, it is a lot harder to get a second chance the way things are now.

“And that’s particularly true if you are a young person who happens to be indigenous or black.”

Conservative justice critic Rob Moore was less than pleased with the proposal.

“Conservatives believe that serious, violent offences committed with firearms deserve mandatory prison time. It’s shameful that the Liberals think we should be weakening firearms laws in Canada,” said Moore in a statement.

“This bill is soft on crime and puts communities and victims at risk.”

Continue Reading

News

Indigenous leaders welcome ‘Elders Wisdom Panels’ recommended by Allan Inquiry

Stephen Buffalo, President & CEO of Indian Resource Council, wants the premier to formally accept the Allan report in the legislature and Energy Minister Savage to give a mandate to elders panels.

mm

Published

on

Indigenous leaders are calling on the Alberta government to implement vital First Nations recommendations from the Allan Inquiry’s Final Report, including the establishment of Elders Wisdom Panels.

The statements were issued in a press release by the Indian Resource Council which was founded in 1987 by chiefs following the recommendation of a task force that was established to study the role of the Crown in the management of First Nations oil and natural gas resources.

The IRC now represents more than 155 oil and gas producing First Nations across Canada.

“Commissioner Steve Allan has defined a vital instrument — Elders Wisdom Panels — for opening a novel path to relationship development, establishing common purpose and the cooperative and constructive economic foundations for reconciliation,” said Stephen Buffalo president and CEO of IRC.

“We call upon Premier Jason Kenney to advance a motion of acceptance in the Alberta Legislature of the Allan Inquiry Final Report’s six recommendations. Energy Minister Sonya Savage should then work with Chief Littlechild and other respected elders to formulate the terms and mandate for Elders Wisdom Panels, including the implementation of regulations that require Elders Wisdom Panels as constructive intermediators for all substantive resource developments.”

In his report, Steve Allan noted that $102 million had gone from nine U.S. foundations to indigenous environmental initiatives from 2003 through 2019.

Allan said elders panels could “breach the divide, not only within and between First Nations communities, but also to advance greater understanding among all Canadians of First Nations issues, as well as the responsible stewardship of Canada’s natural resources.” 

Bearspaw First Nation, part of the Stoney-Nakoda Nation in Alberta, has been involved in resource development and natural gas for nearly 70 years. Chief Darcy Dixon believes the Allan report and elders panels could facilitate more development.

“The Allan Inquiry provides solid recommendations for resolution of conflicts among indigenous groups, energy developers, environmental groups and governments. For too long we have been handicapped by the Indian Act and a government bureaucracy that restricts our ability to create strong economies for ourselves and to become true business partners. Elders Wisdom Panels would certainly help bring about mutually beneficial agreements, as well as a greater level of mutual understanding,” he said.

Former Grand Chief Wilton J. Littlechild, a lawyer and one of three commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, also gave his endorsement.

“Commissioner Steve Allan’s recommendations must not be ignored,” said Littlechild, who added the panels could help Canada fulfill its obligations under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Ermineskin Cree Nation, located 80 kilometers south of Edmonton, has been involved in oil and gas for more than 60 years from the Bonnie Glen Field at Pigeon Lake. Chief Randy Ermieskin believes economic development and reconciliation go together.

“Reconciliation begins when indigenous people grow their own economies for financial security and stability and have meaningful participation in the greater Canadian and international marketplace. First Nations themselves also need to come together to joint venture and partner in large projects, many of which are in the energy sector. We are a force that is not going away,” said Ermineskin.

Mac Van Wielingen, Founder of ARC Financial Corp and incoming chair of the Business Council of Alberta, believes the indigenous aspects of the “large and comprehensive” Allan report have received too little attention.

“The public discussion to date has focused narrowly on foreign funding of opposition to Canadian oil and gas development… [but] the Allan Inquiry Final Report has many other constructive recommendations,” said Van Wielingen.

“Canada’s resource sector is ideally placed to accelerate indigenous reconciliation through partnership, education, training and economic development that advance multi-generational self-reliance and shared prosperity. Elders Wisdom Panels will help bridge the opportunity gaps and build the structural conditions for economic and social sustainability among all Canadians.”

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan
lharding@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Share

Petition: No Media Bailouts

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

830 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

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

**your signature**



The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

Share this with your friends:

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard New Media Corp.