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Christmas comes early for single Albertans

But the regulations are being relaxed for Christmas only – December 23-28 – with single people allowed to go to Christmas dinner at one household.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has an early Christmas gift for some Albertans – he’s relaxing restrictions around festive gatherings for single people.

In a province-wide lockdown announced two weeks ago, household gatherings of any kind were banned for Christmas.

But the regulations are being relaxed for Christmas only – December 23-28 – with single people allowed to go to Christmas dinner at one household.

A household will be allowed to host two single people, and their minor children, for one festive activity.

But Kenney urged all Albertans to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“”Remember, there have been people that have passed away in Alberta because they got around dining room tables at Thanksgiving,” Kenney said.

Kenney announced the province has seen 1,021 new cases of coronavirus. A continued drop in rates over the last few days. There will also 11 more deaths from the virus.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro also announced lessening of restrictions that will allow people with prescriptions to have massages.

Earlier, Kenney announced a total of 25,350 vaccine doses had arrived in the province.

He said Calgary and Edmonton will each receive 6,825 vaccine doses and Red Deer will receive 1,950.

The remaining 9,750 Pfizer vaccine doses will be distributed to vaccine sites in Brooks, Camrose, Drumheller, Edson, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Pincher Creek and St. Paul. Each of these 10 communities will receive 975 doses.

“This is just the beginning of immunization in our province – but we’re off to a strong start. We have been ready to receive and administer vaccine since day one – and we will be ready to safely and quickly distribute all future doses into the arms of Albertans,” said Kenney.

Alberta received its first Pfizer vaccine shipment of 3,900 doses on Dec. 14. Since then, 3,074 health-care workers have received their first shots. The first phase of vaccine rollout focuses on respiratory therapists, intensive care physicians and staff, and long-term care and designated supportive living facility workers across Alberta.

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

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Allen

    December 23, 2020 at 9:21 am

    Anyone else unbelievably angry, thinking that these people can prevent us from being human beings?

    • misg

      December 23, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      The social contract is broken.

  2. David Elson

    December 22, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Aww, Kenney is such a nice authoritarian. I’m so glad he won’t have single people arrested for eating dinner.

    Be thankful Albertans. Kenney is really going out on a limb just for you! Of course, the police will still have to go to your house to arrest married couples who show up for dinner, but hey, Kenney has to make people think he’s on the job.

  3. warrenzoell

    December 22, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    Sorry Kenney but I don’t require your permission.

  4. Marc McWilliams

    December 22, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    The ploy is to make people think that being put in house arrest with a day pass for normal healthy activity is some sort of “reprieve”?

    It reminds me of this trick from the Ministry of Plenty in Orwell’s “1984”:

    “However, one item stands out in particular. The chocolate ration was
    reported to have risen to 20 grams per week, although it actually fell
    from 30 grams per week. More so, in February, the Ministry of Plenty
    promised that there would be no reduction in chocolate rations”.

  5. abgirl3

    December 22, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    “A household will be allowed to host two single people, and their minor children, for one festive activity.”
    What are two single people, and their minor children?
    Does that mean that a married couple with their minor children do not qualify?

    • Allen

      December 23, 2020 at 9:19 am

      Just ONE festive activity, remember! Open a gift, but no dinner for you!

    • sunbeamvalley

      December 24, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Good point. One could argue discrimination based on marital status.

  6. sunbeamvalley

    December 22, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    What a disgusting thing to say: Remember, Thanksgiving killed people. – But bars, restaurants, grocery stores, vlt’s, weed stores, liquor stores, movie theatres, museums, air travel, concerts and casinos never did. For some, this will be their last Christmas spent without their kids or grandkids to celebrate life with. Let’s all stay scared of an illness with an overall above 99% survival rate. Can we please do some risk assessment here folks? Driving is more dangerous, yet we accept the risk because, life.

    • Allen

      December 23, 2020 at 9:21 am

      Just proof of how stupid we’ve all become.

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News

Road closures as British Columbians brace for more rain

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday.

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As BC braces for additional rain, the government has ‘proactively’ closed a number of highways for travel.

“We are actively responding, monitoring and assessing the many highway closures due to flooding and will continue to do so as we work with local and emergency service partners,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Safety is our top priority while we deal with a rapidly changing and difficult situation.”

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday. The ministry said the time and duration of the closures will be weather-dependent.

“The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storms, and more heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk,” said the ministry in a press release.

“The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when it is safe to do so.”

The release said Highway 1 will be closed between Popkum and Hope on Saturday afternoon as BC Hydro plans a reservoir release, “crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by the heavy rains.”

The release explains the reservoir release will discharge water towards areas of Highway 1 that were affected during the November 14 storm.  

“This additional flow – combined with the increased precipitation and already high stream flows – poses a risk of impact to Highway 1 in the Laidlaw area.”

The ministry is bracing for further damage to Highway 1 in this area and said the reopening time cannot be determined at this stage but will be assessed by crews “when it is safe to do so.”

Highway 7 between Mission and Hope remains open with travel restrictions in place. Essential purposes for travel are defined in the travel restrictions order through the Emergency Program Act

Weather statements are in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Squamish to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast into next week. Storms are expected to bring more rain which has resulted in high streamflow advisories for all regions of the coast by the River Forecast Centre.

Ongoing road and travel updates are available on the ministry’s website.

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

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Bill to aid jurors traumatized by testimony up for vote … again

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling.”

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For the third time in three years, legislators will attempt to pass an aid bill for jurors traumatized by graphic testimony in criminal courts.

“When we ask citizens to be a juror we don’t ask them to be a victim,” said Quebec Senator and bill sponsor Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

“There is no excuse not to adopt that bill.” 

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling,” said Blacklock’s Reporter.

Two identical bills, S-207 and C-417, lapsed in the last two Parliaments.

“That kind of bill should be a government bill, not a private bill,” said Boisvenu.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of private interest. It’s a matter of national interest.”

In 2017, the Commons justice committee recommended the Criminal Code amendment after hearing testimony from former jurors who said they quit jobs, suffered marriage breakdown and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being compelled to watch crime scene videos and hear testimony from coroners.

“Everyone’s mental health matters,” Ontario Senator Lucie Moncion said Thursday.

“Yet from a legal point of view, jurors are part of a special category of people who are denied complete health care. The secrecy rule prohibits a juror from disclosing information related to deliberations to anyone including a health care professional. This needs to change.”

Moncion was a juror in a 1989 murder trial and said the experience left her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“They show you the whole autopsy,” said Moncion.

“It was very difficult. This is still very difficult for me.”

Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper, a member of the 2017 Commons justice committee that recommended reforms, said delays were inexcusable.

“It should have been a no-brainer for the government to have brought this bill forward,” said Cooper indicating the bill has been “studied thoroughly.”

“There have literally been no arguments tendered against this piece of legislation.”

Cooper, in 2019, sponsored a similar bill – C-417 – that lapsed. MPs at the time noted U.S. jurors were free to discuss their experience with friends, family, psychiatrists or media.

“In the United States once a trial is over jurors are generally free to discuss the events of the trial and jury deliberations unless a specific court order bars them from doing so,” said Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, then-parliamentary secretary for justice.

“What that means is that jurors in the United States can talk with nearly anyone about juror deliberations including a talk show host on national television or across the Internet. This approach, which offers limited protection for juror privacy, is significantly different from the Canadian model.”

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Lock-down ignoring party host arrested again in Vancouver

“Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them,” said Sergeant Steve Addison, VPD.

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A man arrested by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) earlier this year for running a “makeshift nightclub” from his downtown penthouse has been convicted of new charges.

Mohammad Movassaghi was initially sentenced to 18 months probation in April, along with 50 hours of community service after pleading guilty in BC provincial court on counts of violating a public health order and selling liquor.

The 43-year-old man hosted hundreds of party-goers to his 1,100 square-foot penthouse near Richards Street and Georgia Street, equipped with cash machines, menus, and doormen.

VPD officers arrived at one of the parties on January 31 after a “witness” reported the event. One of the alleged doormen was issued several fines, however Movassaghi refused to open the door and was defiant with police. Officers returned early Sunday morning with a search warrant and subsequently issued over $17,000 in fines for violations contrary to the Emergency Program Act.

Large quantities of cash were seized as well.

“Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them,” said VPD Sgt. Steve Addison, following the January 31 arrest.

“If you are caught hosting or attending a party during the pandemic, and continue to break the rules, you could face stiff fines or wind up in jail.”

Of Addisons’ top concerns was the fact that “none of them were wearing masks.”

A GoFundMe was set up shortly after Movassaghi’s arrest, which stated he’d lost $15,000 in cash and liquor.

The campaign was shut down before it reached $300.

Judge Ellen Gordon compared Movassaghi’s actions with those of a drug dealer, specifically fentanyl — a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine. Her logic being COVID-19 can kill people, and so can fentanyl. Therefore there is “no difference.”

“What you did, sir, is comparable to individuals who sell fentanyl to the individuals on the street who die every day. There’s no difference. You voluntarily assumed a risk that could kill people in the midst of a pandemic,” said Gordon.

Fast forward to August and Movassaghi had violated the court orders again when he began hosting more parties in his penthouse, prompting a second VPD investigation leading to his arrest on Wednesday night.

He has since plead guilty of two counts of failure to comply with an order of the health officer and one count of selling liquor, says VPD.

Movassaghi has now been sentenced to 29 days in custody, 12 months of probation, and a $10,000 fine — leaving many wondering if he will switch up the location for his next party, possibly somewhere more discreet.

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

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