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Anti-lockdown protests condemned by Notley and Iveson, but they’re silent on ANTIFA

While the anti-lockdown protest and anti-racism counter-protest remained mostly peaceful, both parties engaged in back-and-forth bantering

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Political leaders spent the weekend condemning anti-lockdown protesters without acknowledging the incitement to violence by counter-protesters. 

Between 1-2 p.m. on Saturday, nearly a dozen ANTIFA members attempted to agitate protesters with the intent to incite violence before larger crowds mobilized at the Alberta Leg grounds.

At 2 p.m., protest organizers thanked the police for maintaining the peace and thanked them for their service.

“Blue Lives Matter,” said one of the anti-lockdown protesters, following a friendly fist bump.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson earlier commented on the protest.

“I am aware of an “anti-public health measures” rally taking place at the Alberta Legislature today. COVID-19 is not a joke nor a hoax. We are in the middle of a global public health crisis,” he said.

“Wearing a mask and following other public health measures keeps people safe and saves lives.”

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said: “Outside of the Federal Building, we saw people gather under the guise of protesting COVID-19 measures.

“Many in attendance lit torches and proceeded to march around downtown Edmonton. These marches are intended to intimidate … [and] spread hate. This wasn’t about COVID-19,” she said.

Iveson also stated he was aware that some people associated with this rally might be related to known hate groups.

“Edmonton unequivocally condemns racism, misogyny and other forms of hate such speech is not welcome in our community,” he said.

Notley suggested the protest and subsequent freedom march were demonstrations of white nationalism, with a call-to-action to strengthen Alberta’s resolve and fight back against racism.

“I have received many messages about the hate-filled weekend torch march in Edmonton. Some of you have asked for clarification of my comments after some in attendance said the rally was about COVID-19. I assure you it was about much more than that. It was about spreading hate and racism,” she said in a statement to social media.

“We simply cannot allow what happened to stand.”

Neither the protesters nor the counter-protesters were socially distanced.

“Several hundred protesters converged on the Alberta Legislature for a rally today, the vast majority of whom exercised their freedom of expression peacefully and respectfully,” said Edmonton Police in a statement on Facebook.

“Only one arrest was necessary during the proceedings, which saw an adult male taken into custody for causing a disturbance at the outset of the rally.”

He was not charged and later released.

“We are grateful for the strong partnership, patience and professionalism displayed by our frontline EPS members, the Alberta Sheriffs and rally participants,” they said.

EPS didn’t address with any know white supremacists were at the rally.

While the anti-lockdown protest and anti-racism counterprotest remained mostly peaceful, both parties engaged in back-and-forth bantering consistent with similar demonstrations.

However, other anti-lockdown protestors were not as friendly as some openly harassed a local Edmonton reporter and crew on the Alberta Leg grounds.

A trans-woman by the name of Valerie called out the counter-protesters for manipulating social justice for marginalized communities and politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valerie said: “There are two kinds of people in Canada: people who are [tired of] this rigged economy, this society trampling with totalitarianism, and the “paper class” who know the game is up but are clinging by their “phony little fingers” for their undeserving slice of the pie that they themselves are making shrink.”

While Valerie diverged briefly to discuss trans-issues amid her critique of ongoing public health measures, the counter-protest did not attempt to counter the positions tabled by the anti-lockdown protest.

Instead, they regurgitated common left-wing talking points. “Black Lives Matter” and “Ban White Supremacy” were the go-to phrases. 

Dhaliwal is the Western Standard’s Edmonton reporter

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Walk for Freedom plans Saturday Calgary march as counter-protesters also gear up

“We do not censor people unless they’re hateful, violent or aggressive – those types of people will never get on the stage,” said Carrigan.

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A Walk for Freedom in Calgary is set for Saturday as organizers of a counter-protest are urging their supporters to come to the rally wearing a disguise.

And local organizers of the walk say they are tired as being described as white supremacists.

“We respect what Premier Jason Kenney did because he didn’t go overboard, but we still say it’s too far and way too much,” said Brad Carrigan, an organizer with Walk For Freedom, referring to the premier’s statement after a rally in Edmonton last weekend.

Politicians and media are afraid that we’re supporting an anti-lockdown narrative they don’t like. They called us racist to discredit the rally and diminish our work to promote different stances on Alberta’s COVID-19 response,” he said.

“We’ve done about 20 of these rallies with large crowds, and each protest has been peaceful. We’ve always put on every poster that we are peaceful, nonviolent, and respect the police.”

“That’s our mantra – that’s the real story.”

Before Saturday’s protest in Edmonton, organizers thanked local police for being present to keep the peace between anti-lockdown protestors and anti-racism counter-protesters.

Except for one incident during the rally, Edmonton police said the protest and counter-protest were peaceful displays of free speech.

Carrigan made it clear as long as people didn’t push hateful nonsense on the stage and want to talk about the draconian measures, vaccines, etc., they were welcome to speak.

“We do not censor people unless they’re hateful, violent or aggressive – those types of people will never get on the stage,” he confirmed.

With ANTIFA attempting to instigate an altercation with anti-lockdown protestors in Edmonton, Carrigan said Calgary police would keep counter-protesters to the other side of the street to maintain the piece.

“Wherever ANTIFA goes, they burn down private and public property and assault police officers and protestors who don’t subscribe to their ideology,” said Carrigan.

“Their organization burns down businesses and rioted in Portland and Seattle, yet they call us hate-mongers.”

ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter affiliates are expected to be present at the Calgary rally on Saturday at the Olympic Plaza in protest of “white supremacy” and a litany of phobias.

According to a counter-protest poster, they intend to “come in peace, leave in peace” and have asked its members to turn their social media accounts private.

A social media post making the rounds urges counter-protesters not to come alone, carry water and make sure their phones are charged.

“Plan an escape route with your crew,” the advisory reads.

“Wear a mask to protect your identity.”

The protest is expected to begin at 12:30 p.m., with previous rallies garnering crowds in excess of 400 to 2,500 people.

Dhaliwal is a reporter based in Edmonton for the Western Standard

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Alberta doctors reach deal with province

Details of the pact – a year in the making – were not released

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The UCP and Alberta doctors have finally reached a deal that will fund provincial physicians.

Details of the pact – a year in the making – were not released.

The Alberta Medical Association will now take the tentative deal to its 11,000 members for ratification.

Shandro said doctors have made “truly extraordinary efforts” to help get Albertans through the COVID-19 pandemic, noting they had made “great personal sacrifices.”

He said the negotiations aimed at getting three solutions for Albertans; patient care, equity for doctors and fiscal stability.

He said the deal is “accountable to taxpayers.

“Our fiscal goals can be reached,” said Shandro, adding the deal would provide “stability.

“Negotiations on a provincial agreement for physicians have continued despite the pandemic, with both the government and AMA recommitting to work together. Both parties came to the table understanding the importance of collaboration, while respecting our differences, so we could achieve an agreement during these challenging times,” said Shandro.

AMA President Dr. Paul Boucher said the new deal “puts us in position to get through COVID-19.”

Dr. Paul Boucher

He said the negotiations for the deal had “reestablished” relationships with the province.

The AMA will now hold a virtual conference with 148 representatives of the medical profession across the province.

That is expected to take three weeks.

“For many years, AMA agreements have been powerful tools toward improving quality care that brings high value to the system and to patients,” said Boucher.

“They are not just about funding for physicians. They have addressed needs such as new models for delivering care, building the Medical Home in Alberta, strategies to improve quality of care for patients and more. This tentative agreement package has potential to continue that legacy.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Ontario COVID lockdown not curbing caseloads, but punishing businesses, say MPPs

Almost 80 per cent of all COVID-related deaths are in group-living settings.

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Ontario COVID-19 cases have remained steady even though the province has been in lockdown since Christmas.

Opponents of the shutdownsay it has done nothing but hampered freedom and cost taxpayer dollars.

“Most of the province has been in lockdown since Thanksgiving, but cases, cases, cases – the only thing that seems to matter, continue to climb,” said Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber in a passionate member statement.

Baber noted Ontario’s COVID-19 case count has risen, despite province-wide lockdowns under the mandate of Bill 195, which gave the province emergency powers for the next year to tackle COVID-19.

Alongside Baber, New Blue Party MPP Belinda Karahalios – also booted from the Ontario PCs for objecting to Bill 195 – called out its “draconian lockdown measures” because it disproportionately impacted small and medium-sized businesses who “suffer considerably.”

Karahalios has openly criticized the lack of scientific data on COVID-19 transmission by businesses, including, but not limited to, fitness centres, restaurants, and retail stores.

On Christmas Day, the day before the stay-at-home order, there were 167,000 total COVID-19 cases, increasing to 295,000 cases two months later.

Baber said: “In the two months since the stay-at-home order, we have almost as many COVID-19 cases as we did in the entire nine months prior. With all these cases, you would think that the dire predictions of the COVID-19 models would wreak havoc on all of us – no, it has not.”

With ICU occupancy flatlining, Baber criticized the hyperbolic modelling of projects that exceed the reality on the ground by “three to five times.”

Despite the lockdown, seniors – the most vulnerable demographic – continue to perish in care homes.

Baber said the government’s inability to institute infection protocol and control and fix staffing shortages or vet agency staff.

“Almost 80 per cent of all [COVID-related] deaths are in group-living settings. That’s a tragedy we must admit, and a medical reality the government is trying to spin,” Baber said.

“It’s not about how many cases of COVID-19 but who gets COVID-19. Locking all of us down doesn’t do anything. The government keeps blaming community spread on what is happening in group homes to distract from its own failure.

“All it takes is one worker – one agency worker – to go from one home to another to bring COVID-19. The problem is not healthy people – it is the government that cannot fix long-term care, that blames us and locks us down instead.”

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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