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Nenshi gives Calgary mosques permission to break noise bylaws during Ramadan

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, himself a Muslim, has given the local community permission to break noise bylaws once a day by broadcasting the call over loudspeakers.

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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has given Calgary mosques permission to break the city’s noise bylaw in its calls for people to pray during Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. This year it runs from April 23 to May 23.

Five times a day mosques are to make a call for believers to come and pray – and Nenshi, himself a Muslim, has given the local community permission to break noise bylaws once a day by broadcasting the call over loudspeakers.

It was Calgary Muslim groups who asked Nenshi for permission to broadcast.

“Observing Ramadan is a very important time of the year, and I know Muslim Ummah are finding it difficult to commemorate this holy month without congregational prayer, breaking the fast with extended family and friends and gathering for Eid,” Nenshi wrote Muslim leaders in a May 8 letter obtained by the Western Standard.

“As an effort to spark some joy and community spirit in the Ummah, I have reached out to our Bylaw Team and have asked them to accommodate your request without infringing on the noise regulations.

Mayor Naheed Nensi

“I am pleased to advise you that an exemption under the bylaw will be granted once per day for sunset prayer for the remainder of Ramadan. We will ask that the broadcast last no longer than five minutes each evening.”

Nenshi asked Muslim leader to contact bylaw officials which mosques will be doing broadcasts so the city can advise area residents.

The city’s noise bylaw states illegal noise can include, but is not limited to, “yelling, shouting, loud music, horns, power tools and air conditioners.”

It states a noise creating 85 decibels (dBA) measured over a period of 15 minutes during the day-time is also illegal.

A study by Purdue University described 85 decibels as: “Garbage disposal, dishwasher, average factory, freight train (at 15 meters).  Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB).  Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB).

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/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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Liberals on spending spree — $500 billion so far, and there’s no end in sight

Budget Officer Yves Giroux warned of cabinet overspending dating from 2020 testimony at the Senate national finance committee.

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The Liberals have spent more than $500 billion since the start of the pandemic, including billions for non-COVID-19 items, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

And the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) said there was little sign of restraint.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the government has spent, or planned to spend, $541.8 billion in new measures,” said a PBO report.

Liberal Party election promises would cost another $48.5 billion, it warned: “There is an upside risk to the deficit.”

Non-pandemic spending totaled $69.2 billion last year, including money related to ‘building a better economy’ post-COVID ($49.9 billion), compensation to First Nations children and their families ($24.2 billion) and other policy measures ($33.3 billion),” said the report.

“The government’s previously identified fiscal guard rails and their benchmarking would suggest ‘stimulus’ spending should be wound down by the end of the 2022 fiscal year” on March 31, wrote PBO analysts.

“Thus it appears the policy rationale for additional spending over 2022 to 2024 that was initially set aside as stimulus spending has changed.”

Budget Officer Yves Giroux warned of cabinet overspending dating from 2020 testimony at the Senate national finance committee.

“We have to have targets,” testified Giroux.

“The absence of a fiscal anchor can be equated with uncertainty. There is no clear path forward for the government’s finances. That’s a big question mark.”

Giroux said targets “provide a sense of direction, a sense of cohesion” so taxpayers could anticipate future federal policies.

“I’m not advocating for one specific type of fiscal anchor,” said Giroux.

“Regardless of whether it be a balanced budget come hell or high water as we had in the late 1990s or a declining debt to GDP ratio or a certain level of growth in expenditures, but something that can anchor expectations.

“What is the priority? Where is the government headed in a very general sense? Are we headed for very tight fiscal discipline, or are we headed for mild discipline, or are we headed for no discipline at all?”

Parliament has not balanced a budget since 2007.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday told reporters that “we’re continuing to have Canadians’ backs as we promised from the very beginning of the pandemic.”

“Are you concerned this new spending might actually hurt the recovery?” asked a reporter.

“We are continuing to work to support Canadians through this challenge,” replied Trudeau.

Parliament last year raised the federal debt ceiling 56% from $1.68 trillion to $1.831 trillion under the Borrowing Authority Act.

Trudeau at the time said Parliament “took on debt so Canadians don’t have to.”

“What does that even mean?” Senator Yonah Martin (B.C.), deputy leader of the Opposition in the Senate, earlier told legislators.

“Does the prime minister not understand public debt must be repaid by public money which comes from taxes?”

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Alberta and AMA make nice, set to return to negotiation table

Getting to a deal will be aided by labour and management facilitator Rick Wilson, scheduled to start interest-based negotiations shortly.

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The Alberta government and Alberta Medical Association are acting together on “high-priority healthcare system issues” prior to resuming formal negotiations, the groups said Thursday.

In a press release, Minister of Health Jason Copping and Alberta Medical Association (AMA) President Dr. Michelle Warren said the parties are one step closer to returning to the table after agreeing to move on some much-needed stabilizing actions.

The two sides are making friendly, collaborating on the pandemic, doctor compensation, and virtual care.

Getting to a deal will be aided by labour and management facilitator Rick Wilson, scheduled to start interest-based negotiations shortly.

Wilson was with Canadian Pacific for more than 30 years in various labour relation/operation roles and is listed on the Alberta Labour Board’s Umpire Registry for essential services.

Then-Health Minister Tyler Shandro said progress was being made on a new doctor’s deal last July 2021.

“Our work with the AMA continues moving forward and we’re taking action together on immediate priorities. Alberta’s government remains committed to working with physicians in a spirit of collaboration and trust. I recognize and thank all physicians for their critical role in keeping Albertans healthy. I look forward to restarting negotiations as soon as possible with the goal of achieving an agreement that defines our relationship with physicians in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Thursday’s release said the parties are working together to best manage community rapid testing for communities, patient advisement, and new recommendations on personal protective equipment requirements.

The government agreed to delay the implementation of Alberta Health Services stipends, fee reductions and AHS overhead policies in favour of “a comprehensive strategic compensation framework that delivers value for dollars spent and fairness for physicians.”

Amber Gosselin is a Western Standard reporter

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Ontario judge put COVID vax gag on father

“I find (the boy) is receiving mixed messages about the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and that at 10 years of age he is unable to make an informed choice,” wrote Justice Francine Van Melle.

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An Ontario judge has told a Brampton father involved in a custody dispute he is not allowed to badmouth the federal government’s vaccination policy within earshot of his 10-year-old son, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Anything that “calls into question the safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine” is not allowed, ruled Ontario Superior Court.

“I find (the boy) is receiving mixed messages about the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and that at 10 years of age he is unable to make an informed choice,” wrote Justice Francine Van Melle.

The court granted the urgent motion sought by the boy’s mother.

Court records showed the couple divorced in 2013. The mother, a teacher, wanted the boy immunized since “she is worried about sending the child back to school for in-person learning next week without him being vaccinated,” court was told.

Van Melle noted the father complained “the government was forcing people to be vaccinated against COVID,” that “there is no benefit to children to receive the COVID vaccine” and that he wanted to “wait until further evidence is available regarding the safety of the vaccine.”

Van Melle agreed the mother could vaccinate her son, and went further in issuing a gag order prohibiting the father from questioning the immunization program with his son.

“He is not to tell or suggest to (the boy) directly or indirectly that COVID-19 vaccines are untested, unsafe or ineffective or that he is particularly at risk from them,” wrote Van Melle.

“He shall not permit any other person to have any such discussion to make any suggestion to (his son) directly or indirectly. He is prohibited from showing the child websites, other online information, literature or any other material that calls into question the safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine or to permit any other person to do so.”

The order follows a December 23 ruling by a Québec Superior Court judge who suspended weekend visitation rights to prevent an unvaccinated father from seeing his fully immunized 12-year old son.

“The best interests of the child must guide the court,” wrote Justice Sebastien Vaillancourt, of Montréal.

“The child is vaccinated so he has some protection against the virus. Is this enough to allow him to rub shoulders with his father? The court finds this is not the case.”

The Department of Health on November 19 approved a Pfizer-BioNtech vaccination for children aged 5 to 11. Only 3% percent of eligible youngsters are fully vaccinated to date.

“The vaccination rate for kids 5 to 12 is too low in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

“It means not only are kids more vulnerable, but all of society, whether it’s teachers, whether it’s grandparents, whether it’s front line health workers risking getting overwhelmed when those people start to get sick.”

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