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March 27: Alberta agrees to protect renters

There are now 4,777 positive cases of COVID-19 in Canada including 1,479 from B.C. to Manitoba.

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Measures have finally been introduced to protect Alberta renters. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said rental rates would be frozen and late fees will not be enforced.

“No one will be evicted as of April 1, 2020 – that includes folks who have not been able to pay their rent for the last couple of months,” Kenney said.

“Effective today, there will be no rent increases,” even for those who have already been given notice of increases, Kenney said. Late fees will also not be enforced from April 1 until June 30, 2020.

Kenney clarified that these protections do not apply to rental situations in which willful damage of property or other violations of existing rental agreements.

Alberta

The province announced 56 new cases today bringing their total to 542.

These numbers include two additional cases at the Mackenzie Town continuing care centre, bringing their total to 15.

Alberta has recommended that public gatherings be reduced to less than 15 and has asked that all non-essential businesses are now close including public parks, campgrounds, restaurants, clinics, masseuse, furniture stores, and others.

The City of Calgary has ordered the shutdown of personal care businesses, closure of parks playgrounds, and skate parks, and leisure sports including football, baseball, cricket, and basketball.

“The number of community transmission cases are rising,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health said Friday afternoon.

AHS will now be limiting diagnostic imaging and blood testing to those who are emergent only.

“The more that we comply with recommendations by public health experts, the faster we can get through this,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said.

Alberta Tourism Levy will be deferred for six months to assist hotels and access to Alberta Parks will be restricted.

Kenney said the Legislature will be recalled on Tuesday March 31 to deal with provincial issues.

Additional information for Alberta residents can be found here.

British Columbia

The province identified another 67 cases on Friday bringing its total to 792.

Modelling suggests that physical distancing restrictions are starting to slow new cases in the province.

British Columbia confirmed new cases at three additional senior’s homes in the province, up from nine facilities on March 26.

A resident at Berwick by the Sea in Campbell River, a staff member at The Harrison at Elm Village in Surrey, and a health worker at Chartwell Independent Living at Langley Gardens have tested postive for the virus.

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

Manitoba

Three probable cases of COVID-19 were identified in Manitoba and a woman in her sixties has succumbed to the virus. This is the first COVID-19-related death in the province.

Additional information for Manitoba residents can be found here.

Saskatchewan

Nine new cases of the virus have been identified in the province bringing its total to 104.

More than half of the province’s COVID-19 cases are people under the age of 4 and six people have now been hospitalized including two people in intensive care.

Saskatchewan’s cases have risen to over 100 cases in less than a week.

Additional information for Saskatchewan residents can be found here.

Quebec reported 10 deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours and saw their confirmed cases rise by over 400 for a third day in a row.

Provincial tallies:

  • Quebec: 2,021 confirmed and presumptive cases, including 1 recovered and 18 deaths
  • Ontario: 993 cases, including 5 recovered and 18 deaths
  • British Columbia: 792 confirmed cases including 186 recovered and 14 deaths
  • Alberta: 542 confirmed cases including 34 recovered and 2 deaths
  • Saskatchewan: 104 confirmed and presumptive cases and 3 recovered
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 102 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Nova Scotia: 90 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • New Brunswick: 45 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Manitoba: 42 confirmed and presumptive cases and 1 death
  • Prince Edward Island: 9 confirmed cases, and 1 recovered
  • Yukon: 3 confirmed cases
  • Northwest Territories: 1 confirmed case

There are now 4,777 positive cases of COVID-19 in Canada including 1,479 – B.C. from B.C. to Manitoba.

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

News

Canada in bottom bunk of hospital bed availability

The video revealed that Alberta’s NDP and UCP cut health spending by $220 million in only four years.

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Patrick Brown, Mayor of Brampton, caused a stir online by tweeting data pointing out the comparison of 36 countries’ health care systems.

In 2018, Canada was ranked fourth last for hospital beds per capita, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported.

Data from The World Bank shows Canada’s drastic decline over past decades regarding hospital beds per 1000 people.

The World Bank, Hospital Beds per 1000 people – Canada

The latest data shows that number of hospital beds per 1000 individuals is 2.5, which is only half of what it was in 1995.

Alberta health services released a YouTube video outlining the expenditure changes that occurred from 2016 to 2020.

The video revealed that Alberta’s NDP and UCP cut health spending by $220 million in only four years.

The federal government’s spending in healthcare increased only in specific sectors.

The feds provided $5 billion and dispersed the money to all the provinces and territories based on population.

According to the Canada Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the total health spending for Canada in 2021 reached $308 billion, yet the number of hospital beds were not recorded to be increased in public data bases.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard.
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

MORGAN: Restrictions are stealing the best years from our youth

“We are creating a fearful, introverted generation and it is going to take decades to undo the damage.”

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With the sudden cancelation of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship tournament, hundreds of young players lost out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Players from around the world had been training for much of their young lives for that tournament and now the chance is gone. Many of the players will be too old to qualify when the next tournament is held. The same thing can be said for the canceled Mac’s Midget AAA World Invitational Tournament traditionally held in Calgary. Those players won’t be able to come back if they reach 18 years of age.

It’s not just high-level hockey tournaments that are being canceled. All kinds of events from spelling bees to dance recitals have been canceled in the last two years. These are age-specific gatherings and events. Once kids grow past them, they can’t go back and do them later, and the years are passing. Competitive and demonstrative events are crucial for the social development of our children and they can’t be substituted through Zoom meetings. Children learn essential skills from strategy, to team building to communication through interaction with their peers. They are losing those experiences right now and we can’t turn that clock back.

Education from kindergarten to post-secondary has been stunted and inconsistent for two years now due to government COVID-19 restrictions. Youth don’t know if they are coming or going. They are being trained to spend time with their peers through social media rather than in-person while their education lags behind due to remote learning requirements.

We are creating a fearful, introverted generation and it is going to take decades to undo the damage.

While two or three years may not substantially change those of us who already have decades of living under our belts, it is a large and critical portion of a person’s life when they are under eighteen. These young people are being imprinted with a broken worldview where we can’t see smiles in person due to masking and periodically are told not even to leave our homes. Forced-masking is creating an entire generation of children who consider it natural to comply with a government-imposed dressed code.

If there is any silver lining to be found in the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that children appear to be nearly unaffected by it. Oh I know, fear-mongering politicians and broadcasters scour the planet and highlight those incredibly rare cases where a child has been harmed by COVID-19, but the numbers clearly show kids have little to fear from the virus. The Alberta government touted the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy as evidence that COVID-19 kills the young, only to have to climb down when the Western Standard reported that they lied about it. In fact, the child died of brain cancer. COIVID-19 had nothing to do whatsoever with his death.

We should be comforting kids with facts, rather than terrorizing them with forced-masking and segregation over an infection that is statistically less likely to kill them than the commute to school or a bolt of lightning is.

Cost-benefit analysis has been terribly lacking with every COVID-19 restriction. The economic costs of pandemic lockdowns costs are staggering as well as the social cost through side-effects such as the opioid addiction epidemic. As waves of infection come and go, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine whether lockdowns have any significant impact on the spread of COVID-19 or not. Government leaders must start asking themselves whether the ends are justifying the means with pandemic restrictions.

When it comes to restricting the lives and development of our children, there should no longer be any discussion. The risk COVID-19 presents to them is almost non-exsistant, while the damage from social restrictions is exceptionally high.

We need to end all school closures. They damage kids and don’t reduce the spread of the COVID-19 anyway. The same applies to every other social event for kids, whether it’s school theatre productions or soccer games. Young minds will only get the chance to develop once and we are needlessly disrupting their development.

We need a return to sanity on all levels and for people of all ages. The path to that return has to begin with our youth because they are taking the brunt of the damage from the restrictions and we can’t buy that time back later.

We have been doing a lot of foolish things as a society in the last few years due to mass panic over COVID-19. Disrupting the development of our youth during their most vulnerable period of life has been the dumbest and most destructive action to date. We can’t start working to undo that damage soon enough.

Cory Morgan is Assistant Opinion & Broadcast Editor for the Western Standard
cmorgan@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

SELICK: Why did the Chinese Communist Party shut down the English tutoring industry?

“Most people in the west never heard about this deliberate dismantling of an industry that served millions of Chinese youngsters.”

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In July 2021, the Chinese government took an axe to a $120-billion domestic industry: the private after-school tutoring companies that provided English lessons to Chinese children and teens over the internet. With little warning, businesses that offered such services were ordered to shut down. Thousands of Chinese citizens who had been employed in running these schools unceremoniously lost their jobs. So did tens of thousands of American, Canadian, and British ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers who had been teaching Chinese children online, sometimes for many years.

Most people in the west never heard about this deliberate dismantling of an industry that served millions of Chinese youngsters. Indeed, most westerners probably weren’t even aware that the industry had existed, even though prominent online language companies such as New Oriental Education & Technology Inc. and TAL Education Group were listed on US stock exchanges. Their stock prices fell abruptly in late July and have since flat-lined at about 5 percent of their former value.

I have two friends who were employed teaching ESL by a Chinese tutoring company when the axe fell. They’ve mentioned to me a little-known phenomenon about the industry: namely, that many friendly cross-border relationships were formed during the years that the English-speaking teachers worked for the Chinese companies. The teachers got to know and like many of the Chinese managers who offered them extra gigs such as making promotional language videos for potential customers, or training new teachers.

Westerners also got to know their regular students, some of whom they would see two or three times a week. Occasionally they would speak to the students’ parents, who sometimes hovered in the background during their children’s lessons. Western teachers learned that Chinese parents aren’t much different from themselves in wanting what’s best for their kids.

More importantly, however, the Chinese children got to meet and develop affection for their western teachers. For many, it was probably the only opportunity they had ever had, or ever will have, to meet an American, Canadian, or Brit and find out that they can be friendly and caring. My friends say that lessons often ended with students and teachers drawing hearts for each other on their electronic whiteboards.

The official reason given by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the sudden termination of these companies is that overly competitive parents were spending so much of their incomes on tutoring that they were compelled to restrict themselves to having fewer children, contrary to the wishes of the party.

China abandoned its one-child policy in 2015 and has now woken up to the fact that its population is aging and may soon start shrinking. In May 2021, it began encouraging people to have three children instead of the previous limit of two. But If Chinese parents feel compelled to keep up with the Zhangs by spending lavish amounts of money on tutoring, it doesn’t necessarily follow that making tutoring unavailable will result in the production of more children. It might just mean that Chinese kids, still only one or two to a household, will be outfitted with fancier bicycles, designer clothing, or braces on their teeth.

I suspect that the CCP is being disingenuous about its reasons for clamping down on tutoring. I think the real reasons are twofold.

First, given the extremely oppressive COVID lockdown measures that China has imposed recently on its own people, I suspect that the CCP doesn’t want tens of thousands of westerners having the opportunity to peer daily into the living rooms of Chinese families, where they might learn the nature and extent of the privations. They don’t want millions of Chinese children divulging to their American and British tutors, for instance, that they have been locked into their apartments by iron chains placed on the outside of the building, and that they haven’t got enough food inside to eat. This was reportedly the situation in Xi’an, a city of 13 million people, just a week ago.

Secondly, given the hostile – even warlike – posturing that China has engaged in recently with respect to Taiwan, the CCP doesn’t want its youth to think fondly of the American or British people whom they might someday soon be called upon to kill. Governments invariably vilify their enemies during wars, casting them as sub-human foreign devils. It would undermine the state’s credibility if its young people were thinking, “But wait – my western tutors were all really kind and helpful. I don’t want to kill them.”

English has been a mandatory subject for Chinese school children for many years, in recognition of the importance it has in the global economy. Chinese parents apparently agreed and wanted their kids to have whatever advantages supplementary lessons could offer. Whatever the CCP’s real reason was for abolishing private English tutoring, it’s a retrograde step for Chinese youth.   

Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

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

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No Media Bailouts

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

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