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City spends $64,000 to uncover $6,000 in dodgy Joey Mags expenses

“This is a lot of money, especially during a very challenging time. For many people in Calgary, this could be their annual salary,” said Franco Terrazzano, of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

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An outside investigation into the expenses of Joe Magliocca cost taxpayers $64,000 – and uncovered $6,000 in expenses the councillor shouldn’t have charged.

“This is a lot of money, especially during a very challenging time. For many people in Calgary, this could be their annual salary,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“We shouldn’t be doing these investigations frequently, but when you catch a councillor with their hands in the taxpayer cookie jar you need to hold them accountable and an investigation was needed.

“This whole expense debacle has been a comedy of errors, but it hasn’t been funny for taxpayers.”

The final bill for the PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP report still isn’t in yet and the $64,000 figure could still increase.

On Friday, Mayor Naheed Nenshi also released a “formal letter of reprimand” he sent to Magliocca last month.

“The actions described in the Report show a pattern of behavior that continually disrespects the money and trust that have been placed in our care by the citizens of Calgary,” the letter reads.

“This disregard has an impact on the trust that all citizens have in their City Council. For that reason, Council also directed that I request a public letter of apology from you.

“To be frank, the citizens of Calgary deserve better than this. I hope you have learned from your actions and that you will respond in a way that shows an understanding of the seriousness of what you have done.”

Magliocca – known as Joey Mags in city hall circles – still hasn’t responded since the controversy broke.

In February, council called for an external audit of his expenses dating back to 2017 following Postmedia reports about discrepancies in his receipts from the 2019 Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference in Quebec City.

 Magliocca, who has been in office since 2013, expensed $6,400 travelling to and from the conference, at least $1,800 was attributed to “hosting” costs, paying for meals and drinks with other politicians and company representatives.

Postmedia found 11 people that Magliocca claimed hosting expenses with who said they had never met him.

The amount was more than double what nine other council members on the trip expensed.

The city has forwarded the report to the city police for a look-see.

Magliocca said the results were because of clerical errors and told council in February: “Calgary taxpayers expect better of me and so does this council.”

He initially paid back $2,100 in conference expenses and later paid back all “alcohol-related” costs since the last election. Magliocca has now repaid more than $6,000 from the past two years of his expenses. 

Magliocca hasn’t announced whether he will seek reelection next October.

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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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

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The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

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

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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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