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UCP launches independent probe into 2016 Grande Prairie hospital noose incident

“Racism and bigotry have no place in our health-care system,” said Health Care Minister Tyler Shandro

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The Alberta government has ordered an independent investigation after reports a noose was found hanging in a Grande Prairie hospital four years ago.

“In 2016, a piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital. In August of 2019, I was first made aware of this incident and was reassured by senior officials that the matter was being dealt with appropriately, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a statement Friday morning.

“Recently, individuals with first-hand knowledge of the incident have raised this matter again, questioning how AHS handled this matter in 2016. I share their concerns and I am not satisfied that this matter was handled appropriately.

“Racism and bigotry have no place in our health-care system. That’s why I am announcing an independent third-party investigation of how this matter was handled by Alberta Health Services.

“It also appears that the investigation was limited by medical staff bylaws that govern how AHS responds to complaints and disciplines staff. These bylaws have not been updated in more than a decade. Consequently, I have issued a directive requiring AHS to revise their bylaws within 60 days.

“Finally, I will be introducing legislation next week that will increase the number of public representatives on college councils, hearing tribunals and complaint review committees from 25 per cent to 50 per cent – which will increase the public’s oversight of health professions.

“These initial steps are only the beginning. The review, which will be made public, will undoubtedly bring further required changes to our attention. While it may be uncomfortable for some, Albertans demand and expect our health-care system to reject racism and intolerance. If our system failed, we will fix it.”

Former NDP health minister Sarah Hoffman said she was unaware of the incident.

“I am shocked and disgusted to learn of the violent, racist incident that occurred at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016. I want to be clear that I was not aware of this incident at the time. If I had been informed, I would have taken swift action and that doctor would have been fired immediately,” Hoffman said in a statement.

“My record on confronting racism is clear. In 2017, when two AHS employees used a racial slur against an Indigenous woman, we moved swiftly to dismiss them. 

“I am deeply concerned that Tyler Shandro, the current Health Minister, has known about this incident for nearly a year and he has not raised this publicly or acted. That’s not leadership. We must confront racism head on. We must be anti-racist.”


CBC reported, a white South African-born surgeon tied a noose and then taped it to the door of an operating room in the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.

He told another doctor the noose was for a Black Nigerian-born surgical assistant, CBC said.

In a statement to CBC, the surgeon said: “Some years ago, as a foolish joke, I made what I considered to be a lasso and hung it in an operating room door. In no way was it intended to be a racist gesture.

“It was very quickly drawn to my attention by staff members that this was unacceptable I subsequently brought the matter to the attention of AHS and apologized both verbally and in writing to my colleagues.

“At the time, I did not appreciate the heinous symbolism behind the knot I created. I did undertake some self-study and I now have great insight into the symbolism here and I am terribly sorry and embarrassed about this incident.”

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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WATCH: Alberta Oil drives Guilbeault to meeting with Nixon

Federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault’s tour of Alberta has already kicked off with a whiff of hypocrisy.

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Attended by a sizable entourage, Guilbeault exited his black gasoline-powered SUV and hustled into the McDougall Centre in Calgary for a meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon.  

Guilbeault has dedicated most of his career to telling Canadians they need to transition from petrochemically fueled transportation. During this meeting though, Guilbeault chose not to find an utilize an electric-powered SUV in order to demonstrate his environmental virtue. With the resources of the entire federal government behind him, one would have thought that Guilbeault could have arranged appropriate transportation for his cross-Canada tour.  

It’s almost as if electric vehicles are still not ready for mainstream use yet. 

At least Guilbeault contributed to the Western economy with his conspicuous consumption of local petrochemical products.  

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Officials urge booster injections to tackle lingering Delta variant amid Omicron craze

The WHO classified Omicron as a “variant of concern,” however, the South African doctor who discovered Omicron in her patient says she is “stunned” by the response.

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) is now strongly urging COVID-19 booster injections for those over the age of 50.

In addition, the committee is now recommending boosters of an authorized mRNA vaccine to those 18-49 years of age at least six months after completion of a “primary COVID-19 vaccine series with consideration of jurisdictional and individual risks.”

The announcement comes amid global discussion of the Omicron variant. The federal government requested on Tuesday that NACI swiftly review its booster guidance in response to Omicron.

The NACI’s new booster recommendation, however, focuses on the lingering Delta variant while more details are gathered on Omicron.

On Nov. 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified Omicron as a “variant of concern,” although the South African doctor who discovered Omicron in her patient says she is “stunned” by the response.

“As chair of the South African Medical Association and a GP of 33 years standing, I have seen a lot over my medical career,” writes Dr. Angelique Coetzee, in an op-ed for the Daily Mail.

“But nothing has prepared me for the extraordinary global reaction that met my announcement this week that I had seen a young man in my surgery who had a case of COVID that turned out to be the Omicron variant.”

The young man was unaware he had contracted the virus.

Coetzee says she has seen nothing about the variant that warrants panic.

“No one here in South Africa is known to have been hospitalized with the Omicron variant, nor is anyone here believed to have fallen seriously ill with it,” writes Coetzee.

She also says the variant has been circulating South Africa for “some time.”

Viruses — such as COVID-19 — have their own DNA or RNA, therefore allowing them to mutate into new forms.

“This virus is going exactly how you’d expect,” Dr. Steven Pelech, chair of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee at the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, told the Western Standard.

“Strains are going to predominate which are more infectious and mild. That’s how it displaces other variants, it doesn’t kill the host. The host often doesn’t even know they are infected.”

Pelech — who is far from alone in his analysis — suggests the “variants of concern,” including Delta, are merely steps towards COVID-19 evolving into a common coronavirus. One that is highly infectious and exceedingly mild.

The Canadian government implemented additional travel restrictions in response to Omicron on November 30 — built upon previous measures.

“We know that these concerning mutations can arise and, where vaccinations are low in parts of the world, they can spread rapidly,” said BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday.

BC officials say the province will have more information on Omicron and its implications — such as vaccine efficacy — in the coming weeks.

“Isn’t this the same playbook we heard a year ago with the Delta variant?” said Pelech.

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

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Surrey RCMP investigating rocks thrown from overpass

Multiple vehicles, including a transit bus, were damaged by rocks hurled from the pedestrian overpass. Fortunately, no one was injured.

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Several incidents involving rocks thrown onto Highway 99 in South Surrey have prompted an investigation from Surrey RCMP.

Multiple vehicles, including a transit bus, were damaged by rocks hurled from the pedestrian overpass. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The first incident took place on November 26, at 7:44 p.m. when a semi-truck and bus were struck with rocks. The following incident, involving another two semi-trucks occurred three days later on November 29 at 10:49 p.m., and most recently, November 30 at 10:20 p.m. when yet another two semi-trucks were damaged.

“These incidents are very concerning. Throwing objects off of the overpass has the potential to cause serious or even fatal injuries to the occupants of vehicles,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn, Surrey RCMP.

“We are asking anyone with information to contact police. If you reside in the area please check your residential cameras and be sure to report all suspicious activity to police.”

The overpass where these incidents took place is between the 32 Avenue and King George Boulevard exits of Highway 99.

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

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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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