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UCP scrubs details of recall legislation promise from party website

The issue of recall legislation – promised by the UCP before and after the 2019 election – has come into the limelight again with voters angry about nine, and counting, UCP MLA and staffers who jetted out of Alberta to enjoy warmer climates.

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Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) appears to have scrubbed the details of their promised recall legislation from their website.

The issue of recall legislation – promised by the UCP before and after the 2019 election – has come back into the limelight again with voters angry about nine – and counting – UCP ministers, MLAs and senior staffers who jetted out of Alberta to enjoy warmer climates after locking Albertans down during Christmas.

The details of the campaign promise were tweeted by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney during the 2019 campaign against the NDP, but in recent days has seen a large number of critics on both left and right resharing the potentially awkward promise.

Halfway through their term, the UCP has not yet delivered on their promise of recall legislation, and used procedural moves to stop a UCP backbencher’s private member’s bill pushing the issue quicker.

Senior Tory sources tell the Western Standard that elements mostly aligned with the former Progressive Conservative Party in caucus oppose the legislation, and are pushing for a high signature threshold that would render it largely useless.

“Albertans want their MLAs to be accountable to them. That’s why a United Conservative government would introduce a Recall Act allowing voters to fire their MLA in between elections if they have lost the public’s trust,” Kenney said in a UCP election website in 2019.

“The power to fire politicians through recall petitions exists in many other countries and most US states. We would model our recall law on one that has existed in British Columbia for three decades.

“Empowering citizens to hold their MLAs to account will strengthen Alberta democracy.”

While news releases and the party’s member-passed policies still include references to recall, it now appears that the key details of the promise on the party’s website have been removed. Users that click on the link are met with a “404” error with a picture of former NDP Premier Rachel Notley under a phrase saying “this link is as broken as the NDP carbon tax.”

The controversy over Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard and other UCP MLAs and staffers flaunting their own non-essential travel restrictions show the need for the UCP to bring in their promised recall legislation, said the Canadian Taxpayers Federation earlier this week.

“Premier Jason Kenney said he doesn’t think he can sanction elected officials for travelling abroad while families and businesses were locked down during the holidays, but voters are certainly up to the job,” said the CTF ’s Alberta Director, Franco Terrazzano.

“Albertans deserve the right to hold politicians accountable and that’s why we need recall legislation now.

“Kenney promised recall legislation when he was vying for votes during the 2019 campaign and he promised recall legislation again during last February’s throne speech, but he has yet to deliver on those promises.”

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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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. ninetyninepct

    January 3, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Kenney seems to be a closet Trudeau. Lie through their teeth to get elected and then give voters the finger. Hey, Horgan, are you paying attention? The WEXIT / Maverick Party is looking better all the time. Thanks for the support, Jason.

  2. David Elson

    January 3, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Kenney hasn’t fulfilled any promise.

    Where is the fair deal panel these days?
    How about that vote on equalization?

    • joc22

      January 4, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      Well Kenney did say the referendum will be held the civic elections BUT there is no vote of Alberta Treasury and Revenue Office, an Alberta Employment and Immigration Office or an an Alberta Constitution.
      What is supposed to be included (don’t quote me) is an Alberta Police Force, Firearms Office, Pension Plan and a vote on repealing the Equalization Plan. Even if Albertans vote to rid ourselves of this travesty, does any sane people believe eastern Canada will get rid of it. LMAO

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Canada-Europe take action over COVID variant Omicron

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

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With the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC) named Omicron in South Africa, the Canadian government is taking steps to limit the risk to Canadians.

Travellers arriving from countries of concern within the last 14 days will be required to quarantine pending negative COVID-19 tests. Countries of concern include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

On Friday, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the federal government will impose five measures in an effort to limit its spread in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam took to Twitter on Saturday to share her concerns over the VOC.

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” wrote Tam.

The WHO has labelled Omicron as a variant of concern due to its high number of mutations and reports that early evidence suggests it could be more infectious than other variants.

Meanwhile, during a news conference on Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will take “targeted and precautionary measures” after two people tested positive for the Omicron variant.

One case was identified in Brentwood, a town in southeastern England while the other case was located in the central city of Nottingham. Both individuals are linked and had travelled from southern Africa. The two individuals are self-isolating along with their households and authorities are working on contact tracing.

Johnson confirmed travellers arriving in England will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate until a negative test result is provided. Those that test positive for the new variant will have to self-isolate, along with any of their close contacts, for 10 days regardless of vaccine status.

He also said masks will be required in shops and other public spaces and indicated they will “boost the booster campaign.”

“Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defences,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the new rules will be reviewed in three weeks when scientists know more about the variant.

On Friday, the British government added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the country’s travel red list. By Saturday, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were also added to the list.

Other countries are adding restrictions on travellers coming from various southern African countries including the US, Japan, Brazil, and Australia while cases have also been reported in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic have also reported suspected cases related to travellers arriving from South Africa.

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

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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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