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Buffalo Group wants release of Alberta Fair Deal report now

“We are thankful the Alberta Government initiated the Fair Deal Panel, and now is the time to see what work has been done and take action,” said Dallas Howe.

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A group calling itself The Buffalo Project, concerned citizens fighting for a new deal for Alberta and Saskatchewan, are calling for the immediate release of the Alberta Fair Deal Panel Report. 

The group cites growing concerns among Alberta and Saskatchewan residents in recent polling done by the group. The polling mirrors one done last month exclusively done for the Western Standard on Alberta independence. 

“Our polling shows Alberta and Saskatchewan residents want to see action from their provincial governments immediately to address the ongoing unfairness within Canada,” said Buffalo Project Board Chair Dallas Howe in a statement Friday.

“The release of the Fair Deal Panel Report is the logical first step.” 

The Buffalo Project is a group of Alberta and Saskatchewan businesspeople.

The group’s board includes several high-ranking businesspeople from a cross-section of prairie sectors: Whitecap Resources CEO Grant Fagerheim; Stan Grad, president of Soderglen Ranches Ltd. and co-founder of Grad & Walker Energy Corp.; Dallas Howe, former chairman of Potash Corp.; Bill Turnbull, president of W.G. Turnbull and Associates real estate developers; Don Chynoweth, international relations and logistics consultant, and Tim Hearn, former chairman and CEO of Imperial Oil Limited, current chairman of the consulting/investment management and philanthropic organization Hearn & Associates,” the National Post reports.

A recent poll conducted on behalf of the Buffalo Project among members of the Angus Reid Forum from June 3-7, 2020 showed 75 per cent of Albertans and 72 per cent of Saskatchewan residents are dissatisfied with their province’s treatment by the federal government. 

Further, roughly three-in-five, 58 per cent in Alberta and 57 per cent in Saskatchewan support a new arrangement where their province would have more autonomy from the federal government within Confederation.

Of those in support of greater autonomy, roughly one-half want action immediately and do not want to wait until the pandemic situation or economy stabilizes. 

The group also noted Premier Jason Kenney committed in the Alberta Legislature on May 27 to releasing the Fair Deal report immediately following the suspension of Alberta’s State of Emergency which is set to expire on June 15. 

Many of the policy proposals the panel will report on, like the creation of an Alberta Pension Plan, creation of provincial tax collection agencies, utility corridors and negotiating new international trade agreements, would create many high-paying local jobs for Alberta – and in Saskatchewan if that province decided to take similar actions. 

“We are thankful the Alberta Government initiated the Fair Deal Panel, and now is the time to see what work has been done and take action,” said Howe.

“The economic crisis caused by COVID and a global oil price war makes the need for change even greater, especially if we can create jobs at home and increase our freedom within an unfair federation. 

“Our provinces are at a pivotal point in our history and we need informed citizens to urge their political leaders to fight for our shared prosperity.” 

Angus Reid sampled of 800 Alberta residents and 800 Saskatchewan residents who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The poll is accurate for each province to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Michelle Rempel, Glen Motz, Arnold Viersen, and Blake Richards were four Conservative Alberta MPs who published the Buffalo Declaration earlier this year in the Western Standard. The declaration called for federal reforms to rectify ‘critical injustices’ against Alberta.

In an exclusive poll conducted by Northwest Research last month for the Western Standard, 45 per cent of decided Albertans surveyed said that they would defiantly vote yes or were leaning yes if there was a referendum on Alberta’s independence, while 55 per cent said that they would definitely vote no or were leaning no.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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

News

Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.

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Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Nearly $400 million in commemorative holiday events planned for fed employees only

The Department of Canadian Heritage promises “large-scale commemoration events” for a September 30 holiday for federally regulated employees only.

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It’ll cost hundreds of millions of dollars with federally regulated employees getting ready to party like it’s 2021, all on the public teat.

The Department of Canadian Heritage promises “large-scale commemoration events” for a September 30 holiday for federally regulated employees only.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the holiday will cost $388.9 million, by official estimate.

“The department will collaborate with national organizations for large-scale commemorative events on September 30,” staff wrote in a briefing note. It is the first federal observance of its kind.

The Senate on June 3 passed Bill C-5 An Act To Amend The Bills Of Exchange Act that designates September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The paid holiday applies only to federal employees including the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces, and federally-regulated private sector workers at job sites like airports, banks, grain mills, marine shippers, radio stations and railways.

“This new annual statutory holiday on September 30 will ensure public commemoration of the tragic history and legacy of Residential Schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process,” said the briefing note National Day For Truth And Reconciliation. Costs of planned events were estimated at $2.7 million.

Parliament passed the holiday bill without a dissenting vote though senators in final debate questioned its usefulness. “What could long-term, dedicated and stable funding mean for food security, for closing the infrastructure gap which is huge, for finally ending boiled water advisories, for dealing with acute housing shortfalls in Indigenous communities?” asked Senator Dennis Patterson (Nunavut).

“It is hard for me to hear about the hundreds of millions of dollars that will go to provide federal employees a paid day off when I think about how an ongoing commitment of what we have heard today would be $388.9 million per annum for this holiday,” said Patterson.

“It would be an insult to my family members, to my friends and to the memories of those survivors I have lost along the way if this day were to become yet another paid day at the cottage for federal workers,” said Patterson. “It needs to truly be a day of remembrance and learning.”

The Treasury Board said direct costs were $165.9 million in the federal public service. “Most of that is in lost productivity,” Stephen Diotte, executive director of human resources, told the Senate June 3.

“The balance of it is payments required for employees in 24/7 work environments like corrections or Canada Border Services or ships’ crews and officers in the Department of National Defence and Department of Fisheries,” said Diotte.

The $165.9 million figure did not include holiday pay or overtime for Crown corporation employees. “I don’t have those figures,” said Diotte.

The labour department said airlines, marine shippers and other federally-regulated private sector companies would pay another $223 million annually.

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City of Edmonton mandates COVID jabs

The e-mail did not contain what disciplinary actions the city would take against staff who don’t get jabbed.

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City of Edmonton employees have less than a month to get jabbed against COVID-19, officials said in a new mandatory vaccine policy announced Monday.

City Manager Andre Corbould said in an e-mail to all staff they will have to be vaccinated by November 15.

“Last week, I shared the results from the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Disclosure Policy (A1700) with you. The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) used this information to determine if additional steps were necessary to protect you, keep our facilities safe and operational, and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Corbould.

“According to the disclosure results, 72% of employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the context of the fourth wave in Alberta and rising cases in our own employees, that level is not high enough to give us confidence that we are minimizing the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace to the greatest extent possible.

“As a result, the City of Edmonton is introducing a COVID-19 vaccination policy for all City of Edmonton employees effective today, September 20, 2021. All employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two weeks after receiving the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine) by Nov. 15, 2021.”

Courbould said he realizes the decision is bound to set off a storm of controversy.

“While I recognize this decision may be difficult for some, I expect everyone to behave respectfully to one another as this decision is implemented. ELT made this decision, not your supervisor. We will not tolerate disrespectful or abusive behaviour or communications,” he wrote.

“This is a significant step for our organization, and an essential safety measure for keeping our workplaces safe.”

The e-mail did not contain what disciplinary actions the city would take against staff who don’t get jabbed.

Earlier this month, the City of Calgary also instituted a mandatory vaccination requirement.

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

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

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