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Liberals’ shopping-list of promises outlined in Throne Speech

The speech, written by the Liberal government, said they will focus on four main elements in the coming Parliament.

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Calling it “an ambitious plan for unprecedented times,” Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government put forward its agenda for the future during a Speech from the Throne Wednesday.

It include promises to create 1 million jobs, an action plan for women, daycare investments, support for workers and businesses hit by COVID-19 and a plan for climate change.

Taxing the rich and a handgun grab were also promised in a speech that barely touched on the West and didn’t mention pipelines at all.

The 54-minute speech was a huge promise list of spending that will end up costing tens or hundreds of billions of dollars.

The speech said the Liberals will focus on four main elements in the coming Parliament.

The first element will be to fight the pandemic, the speech said, noting 9,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19.

The Liberals vowed to help any businesses shut down by new health orders during the country’s reopening.

The second element will be to “support people and businesses…for as long as it take.”

The Liberals vowed to create more than 1 million new jobs with direct spending, more training programs and incentives for businesses to hire.

The speech said the government will replace the current CERB program with the Canada Recovery benefit.

The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program until the summer of 2021,

“Canadians shouldn’t have to take on debt the government is better able to shoulder.”

The third pillar will be to “build back a stronger and more resilient Canada.”

The speech noted the pandemic has been especially hard on women leaving moms “with the impossible choice between kids and career.”

The Liberals announced a “significant and long-term investment” into child care across the country. The programs will also include after school care. It also announced further strategies for female entrepreneurs.

Climate change will be a “cornerstone” of Liberal policy.

The speech said the Liberals plan to exceed 2030 carbon emission targets and make plans for a net-zero economy by 2050 a law.

It said it will continue with its carbon taxing while coming up with a plan to retro-fit Canadian homes with new environmental technology. It vowed more transit options across the country along with cheaper electric cars.

A new federal fund will also be launched to attract investment in carbon reduction businesses.

The Liberals vowed to support the energy industry, foresters and rancher in their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“It can’t be free to pollute,” the speech read.

The Liberals also vowed to revive the Canada Water Agency and work on the economy of fishers and coastal communities.

The speech said Liberals will focus on helping the middle class and taxing “extreme wealth” along with closing tax loopholes.

The Liberals also vowed to go after digital giants like Google and Netflix to make sure they pay their fare share.

“This must change and will change,” the speech said.

Noting residents of long term-care homes were hard hit by the pandemic, the speech announced there would be changes to the Criminal Code to penalize negligent owners.

Along with the provinces help, new national standards for old age homes will be brought in.

The government vowed to move quicker with a national Phramacare program.

It repeated Liberal vows to ban handguns in cities and will take steps to address violence against women. New battered womens’ shelters will also be funded.

The government also vowed to work quicker on the issue of systemic racism in the country and move forward with reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

It will include plans to combat online hate groups and vowed to make sure the justice system doesn’t discriminate against minorities.

The government also committed to more oversight for the RCMP.

More money was also promised for overseas countries to develop and defeat the pandemic.

Strengthening the Official Languages Act, increasing immigration and working to free two Canadians detained by China are also on the governments to-do list.

Finally, the speech said the Liberals will focus on “standing up for who we are as Canadians.”

The speech was read by embattled Gov.-Gen Julie Payette, who is under investigation for workplace harassment.

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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Vulnerable Albertans 18+ can receive fourth COVID booster

Eligible individuals can begin booking fourth dose appointments beginning January 20 with AHS or at participating pharmacies by using the Alberta vaccine booking system or by calling 811.

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Those 18 and older who have specific immunocompromising conditions can now book their fourth booster five months after receiving their third dose, said Alberta Health.

The decision announced on Tuesday in the provincial COVID-19 address is in line with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization (AACI).

“We remain committed to protecting Albertans from the Omicron variant, and vaccinations continue to be our best tool in preventing severe outcomes,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a statement.

“We continue to rely on the latest research to guide our decision-making, and with evidence showing immunocompromised individuals benefit from a fourth dose, we are pleased to provide them.”

Eligible individuals can begin booking fourth dose appointments beginning January 20 with AHS or at participating pharmacies by using the Alberta vaccine booking system or by calling 811.

“I know that the approximately 80,000 Albertans who live with immunocompromising conditions will be relieved to receive these additional doses,” said Minister of Health Jason Copping.

“At the same time, the best way for all of us to protect ourselves and one another is to continue getting whatever dose we are eligible for. I encourage all Albertans to continue to sign up for their booster doses as soon as they can.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the fourth COVID-19 dose will help “individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions” and will provide “additional protection” against the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Qualifying conditions include:

  • Transplant recipients, including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
  • Individuals with malignant hematologic disorders and non-hematologic malignant solid tumors prior to receiving or receiving active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy or having received previous COVID-19 vaccines while on active treatment), excluding individuals receiving solely hormonal therapy, radiation therapy or a surgical intervention.
  • Individuals being treated with an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody such as Rituximab.
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease on dialysis.
  • Recipients of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy.
  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Individuals with Stage 3 or advanced HIV infection and those with acquired COVID-19 immunization.
  • Individuals undergoing immunosuppressive therapies (e.g., anti-B cell therapies, high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumornecrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents).
  • Individuals on certain medications for autoimmune diseases, including rituximab, ocrelizumab and ofatumumab.

“Youth ages 12 to 17 with the preceding conditions continue to be eligible for third doses. Fourth doses have not yet been approved for this age group,” said the release adding, “third doses have not been approved for youth under the age of 18.”

Hinshaw said the province has recorded 3279 new cases within the last 24 hours while 8995 tests were recorded for a positivity rate of 39%. Hinshaw has earlier stated actual cases are likely 10 times higher due to lack of testing.

Hinshaw also confirmed 1,089 are currently in hospital — 51% of those hospitalized are due to COVID-19 while 49% are cases with COVID-19. Currently, there are 104 people in ICU — 74% due to COVID-19 while 26% are cases with COVID-19. Nine deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

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

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AHS uses undercover agents to bust restaurant for accepting dog photos instead of QR codes

The test shoppers entered the restaurant at different times on January 11 and were permitted access after showing a photo of a dog and their personal identification.

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Alberta Health Services (AHS) has shut down a Red Deer restaurant for allowing patrons to show dog photos in place of proof of vaccination.

The Granary was ordered closed to indoor dining on Friday after complaints to an AHS executive officer resulted in two test shoppers busting staff for accepting photographs of a dog instead of scanning vaccine passport QR codes.

The test shoppers entered the restaurant at different times on January 11 and were permitted access after showing a photo of a dog and their personal identification. It was reported a staffer pretended to scan QR codes with a tablet.

The owners have been told the indoor dining area is to remain closed until they produce a written plan on how they plan to implement the restriction exemption program moving forward.

The owners will also have to provide confirmation they have trained staff about the program and will be required to attend an administrative hearing with Environmental Public Health.

The restaurant took to its Facebook page on Friday to explain the circumstances to its patrons and offered up free coffee for all to-go orders throughout the weekend.

“To our valued guests, we had an unfortunate circumstance at our front door which involved one of our underage hostesses, and the requirements for the REP program.  We are taking the weekend to retrain and regroup,” it said.

“We look forward to serving you again as soon as we are ready to reopen.  In closing, we would like to remind everyone of the tremendous pressure being placed on front staff, and please remember to be kind.”

The restaurant has since opened again and is currently offering free rapid testing on site.

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

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MLA Barnes demands greater punishment for corrupt politicians

“This suspension is a staggering under reaction designed to shield one of the Premier’s cronies,” said Barnes.

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Independent Alberta MLA Drew Barnes is outraged that Justice Minister Kaycee Madu was only being suspended after he called Edmonton’s police chief about a ticket he received.

That action led to Madu being suspended Monday night by Alberta Primer Jason Kenney.

“This suspension is a staggering under reaction designed to shield one of the Premier’s cronies,” said Barnes, the MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

“It is inexcusable that any minister’s first instinct upon receiving such a ticket is to swing influence in an attempt to get his ticket fixed. It’s just another indicator that the culture of Redford-era cronyism remains alive and well within Premier’ Kenney’s inner circle.”

After being fined $300 for speeding in an Edmonton playground zone, Madu phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, to discuss the ticket with him. 

“It is particularly galling that this minister is currently overseeing changes that will deny procedural fairness for thousands of Albertans when they face similar traffic fines,” said Barnes.

This follows the removal of traffic courts in Alberta, the previously most accessible part of the justice system now no longer available to citizens.

“Under this minister, you are considered guilty until proven innocent, unless, of course, you happen to have the local police chief on speed-dial,” said Barnes.

“It seems the minister, like the Premier, considers himself above the law. Albertans deserve better. The real question is, why hasn’t he been fired yet?”

“Over the past year, Premier Kenney has repeatedly punished both ministers and MLAs for daring to question his leadership, but when a real case of misuse of power comes along concerning one of his handpicked cronies, the fix is in. That’s not justice; that’s cronyism.”

McFee said he received the call about the ticket from Madu, saying Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers.

“This is the Minister who continues to encourage legal action against pastors and small business owners for allegedly violating the very same health restrictions that the Premier and his cronies violated on the Sky Palace patio,” said Barnes.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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