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Kenney accused of donating “good” supplies, leaving “substandard” equipment in Alberta

These recent complaints follow a long list of problems with masks from China that have become more apparent with the increased need.

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Voices are growing about health care workers in Alberta being left with sub-standard equipment after the province gave away better stuff to other promises.

Alberta Health Services sent 5.6 million masks to Alberta facilities, doctors, pharmacies, and first responders April 13 – as Premier Jason Kenney offered up 750,000 masks to B.C., Ontario, and Quebec – shortly before 40 tonnes of supplies arrived from China.

Critics have also slammed the government of Alberta’s decision to promote the Premier’s charity on Facebook – at a cost ranging between $14,000 and $20,000 – but moved to question whether Alberta’s front-line healthcare workers were left with shoddy equipment afterwards.

Demand for masks and other medical supplies to deal with the pandemic has been exceptional across the globe – providing an opportunity for manufacturers who are not regular suppliers to change production to the ‘must have’ items.

These “imitations” have come under fire from some front-line service providers in the province.

A Calgary-area nurse told CBC her facility was previously using masks from an Edmonton manufacturer, Pri-MED – who is registered with Health Canada as a supplier of medical supplies – and is now receiving a new product, Vanch, that neither seals, nor fits to different face sizes as N95s.

The masks have also been blamed for facial swelling, headaches, and rashes.

An Edmonton doctor, Micheal Chatenay, also told CBC the “new” masks were “sub-standard”.

Government spokespeople disagree.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro’s press secretary, Steve Buick, said all PPE procured by Alberta Health Services is safe and disputed the need to rely on supplies from Canada as “preposterous”.

“AHS is doing a superb job of sourcing PPE. To do so, they’re working with new suppliers, and that includes adjusting products to meet their needs and respond to staff concerns,” Buick told CBC in response.

“The minister’s office said AHS is working on a process to reduce the smell from the procedural masks, and future shipments from the supplier will include corrections to improve fit,” according to the same article, suggesting the new masks are not, in fact, the same standard as previously supplied.

Premier Kenney announced Sunday that Alberta had received an additional 2 million KN95 masks, a distinction between the new ones and the N95s that Alberta had been sourcing previously, according to Dr. Amir Pakdel, an Edmonton doctor.

“KN95 are almost like N95s,” Dr. Pakdel wrote on social media.

“KN95 is regulated by Chinese governments, while N95 is (the) North American standard. The only reason to use KN95 is if we’re out of N95s.”

These recent complaints follow a long list of problems with masks from China that have become more apparent with the increased need.

A Global News investigation revealed on March 21 that counterfeit masks manufactured in China were being sold globally. The article included a EuroNews link to a recall of KN95 masks distributed in the Netherlands.

Kenney told Power and Politics interviewer Vassy Kapelos that he would “not wait for Health Canada to catch up” to authorize product or drug safety that either the European Union or United States Food and Drug Administration authorized for use.

The USFDA has authorized a human trial on Americans of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine by the Swiss drug company Novartis AG, who hopes to have results by the summer.

To date, the small French study’s results – which first sparked interest in the malaria drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19 – have yet to be replicated.

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

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Penticton joins list of cities cancelling Canada Day celebtations

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

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The city of Penticton has become the second municipality in BC to cancel Canada Day festivites.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

“When we heard what happened in Kamloops and they found the 215 unmarked graves of those children, we thought it was appropriate to hold back and wait to see what the federal government was going to announce,” Mayor John Vassilaki told CBC.

The mayor reached out to Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band, to ask how council could support the local First Nations community following the Kamloops discovery.

“The Chief also made a note that if we were to cool down the celebrations this year, it would be greatly appreciated by the Penticton Indian Band,” said Vassilaki. 

“And we wanted to show respect and reconciliation with what happened in Kamloops.”

St. Albert this weekend became the first city in Alberta to cancel celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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

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St. Albert cancels Canada Day fireworks

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

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The city of St. Albert has become the first municipality in Alberta to cancel some Canada Day celebrations.

“In respect of our community members who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of intergenerational trauma due to the residential school system, the City of St. Albert will not be hosting its annual Canada Day fireworks display this year,” it said in a tweet.

Celebrating Canada Day has been called into question across the country after the discovery of the gravesites of 215 undocumented children at a Kamloops residential school.

The city of Victoria was the first out of the block when they cancelled their Canada Day programing last week.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the challenging moment we are in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Kamloops Residential School, Council has decided to take the time to explore new possibilities, instead of the previously planned virtual Canada Day broadcast,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in a media statement.

City council, who voted unanimously to change its plans for July 1, noted everyone will celebrate Canada Day in their own way.

“The City of Victoria aims to take leadership and provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it means to be Canadian in light of recent events and what we already know from our past,” says the City of Victoria in a release.

Helps also made headlines in 2018 when she had a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald – one of the central figures involved in bringing residential schools into Canada – removed from the front of Victoria City Hall.

An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Kamloops Industrial School (later known as the Kamloops Indian Residential School) was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 before growing into the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.

While several Catholic bishops across Canada have apologized and requested the release of documents in response to the discovery in Kamloops, the Vatican has yet to issue an apology or release documents.

As for the Canadian government, 15 tons of paper documents related to the residential school system between 1936 and 1944, including 200,000 Indian Affairs files, were destroyed by Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s government, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report.

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

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BREAKING: Alberta to drop all COVID restrictions on Canada Day

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3 which was a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

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It’s all systems go for Alberta to launch into Stage 3 of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

Premier Jason Kenney announced Friday the province has reached the targets to launch Stage 3, which included a vaccination rate of 70.2% in the province.

He said Alberta will drop all COVID-19 regulations on July 1 and “our lives will get back to normal.”

That means:

  • All restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain

“This is a great day for Alberta! Thanks to the diligence of Albertans and the decision of 2.7 million folks to get vaccinated, we are now just two weeks away from getting our lives back to normal,” said Kenney at a Friday press conference.

“This is an important milestone and a great achievement, but we will not stop here. We will keep administering first and second doses as quickly as possible so we’re not just open for summer, but open for good.”

Kenney said the general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings.

And the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton have said they may continue with their municipal mask bylaws.

“With more than 70% of eligible Albertans now vaccinated with a first dose and more receiving second doses every day, the end of this pandemic is near,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

“Thank you to the Albertans who have rolled up their sleeves to get protected. For those who are still thinking about getting a shot, you have only one week to get your shot before we draw for $1 million and other great prizes.”

Anyone in Alberta aged 18 and over can still enter the first Open for Summer Lottery draw for a chance to win $1 million. Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on June 24 and proof of vaccination will be required to claim the prize. The winner will be announced on July 1.

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

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