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‘I was detained at Calgary COVID detention centre for 11 days’

Neil McCullough tells of being held in an isolation centre for 11 days

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Neil McCullough took a quick trip to Phoenix for Christmas and ended up spending 11 days in a Calgary COVID-19 detention centre upon his return because of a paperwork error.

McCullough said he decided to speak out after reading in the Western Standard about two women being put in similar situations.

“I went home to Phoenix for Christmas. As part of preparing to come back, I took part in the Border Testing Pilot Program at the Calgary Airport. Also, when I was home for Christmas, I found out I needed to take a COVID test. No problem. I flew back to Calgary on January 8. Covid test in hand,” McCullough wrote in a Facebook post.

“As part of the pilot program, I had my ArriveCAN app updated, I had my ABTraceTogether app on my phone (all things you need for the pilot program) and I had my registration number for the rapid test. I got as far as Canada Customs. As there was no address on the paper I had from the clinic for the COVID test, I was diverted over to the Health Canada nurse, had my temperature taken, I was fine, and escorted out of the airport.”

As with other detainees, McCullough was whisked into a van and driven the the Westin Airport, which is being used as a federal isolation centre.

“The next morning, I was given a nose swab test, and again, I explained to a Health Canada nurse, that I was supposed to get the Rapid test, that my test in Phoenix was negative, that my paperwork did not have the address of the clinic on it,” he wrote.

“A lady in the next room, room 425, stuck her head out and said ‘the same thing happened to me.’ As soon as she spoke, security, who had a desk set up at that wing of the hotel, approached and said if we didn’t stop talking to each other, our quarantine period would restart.”

McCullough then tried to phone the woman in her room but discovered inner-room calling had been disconnected.

“I spent a total of 11 days in that hotel room. What a colossal waste of taxpayers money. When I asked the health nurse who I could call, they just answered, “the department of health.” Really? So very vague. I had no one I could call about the test I took, no reference number, nothing,” he wrote.

“All I got was a recorded phone call, from the government inquiring about information about my flight. That call had me coming in on Jan. 9, which was wrong. I had the option of pressing 1 if that was correct, or 2 if it was wrong. I pushed 2, and the call ended. I had that call 3 or 4 days in a row.

“By day 10, the results of my test came back. Guess what? I was still negative. The Health nurse told me they would bring my release by the next day. I waited 24 hours for a piece of paper that had my name and address hand written on it and that I was released.

“I blew up at the Health nurse. The security guard started coming down the hallway, I looked right at him and told him to tell his relief, I was leaving this hotel in the morning come hell or high water.”

McCullough thanked the Canadian Red Cross who provided him with the necessities.

“As much as this was a waste of taxpayers money, for 11 days, I had no rights. No one to call, no one was accountable, no option to do anything but go along. If I resisted, would I have been arrested? I did not want to find out.

“Try sitting in a hotel room for 11 days, and see how you feel.”

There have been several recent detentions at the Calgary airport.

A Red Deer mom watched her son whisked away into isolation from the Calgary airport says it’s her duty as a citizen to speak out.

Edmonton Pastor Chris Mathis told of his experience at the airport earlier when he went to pick up his wife, Nikki.

She had been given the wrong test in Dallas and was whisked to the isolation centre after she landed at YYC, and authorities also refused to tell him where she was.

The Justice Centre for Constitution Freedoms (JCCF) says they will file immediate court challenges, calling the Trudeau government’s actions unconstitutional.

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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Judge says military accounting a major mess

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

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A judge in Nova Scotia says he has no doubt Canadian Armed Forces money was swiped, but military bookkeeping is so terrible he can’t say how much.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the money was discovered to be stolen from Sydney, N.S. Garrison after an internal audit faulted the Department of National Defence for mismanagement of money-losing golf and curling clubs.

In convicting a former manager of theft, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Peter Ross said he was “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the Sydney Garrison, but had to estimate the loss at $28,000 due to “lax accounting practices” and “sloppy recordkeeping.”

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

“There are too many holes in the bucket,” the Court was told.

David Mullins, a former Department of Public Works manager, was found guilty of theft. Mullins worked as manager of the Sydney Garrison Messes for two years handling food and liquor sales, hall rentals, petty cash, bank deposits and inventory.

Court was told bookkeepers in Halifax became alarmed when the Garrison started “going into the red” and reporting bank deposits for $4,700 “deemed suspicious because it was such a round number.”

Forensic accountants found the Garrison “did not have working cash registers” and discovered $2,800 in banknotes in a filing cabinet.

“If bottles are missing, cost is what matters,” testified Roberta Sullivan, a forensic accountant with the Department of Public Works.

“If cash is missing, retail value is what matters.”

The Garrison Messes were managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services branch, the same division responsible for operations of 39 military-owned sports clubs nationwide.

An earlier Non-Public Property Audit Of Special Interest Activities found the clubs lost $2.7 million annually.

The review found military clubs sold memberships to the general public in direct competition with the private sector.

“Policy dictates the combined non-military membership at a special interest activity shall not exceed 50% of the total membership,” said the report.

“Several special interest activities have requested exceptions to this, citing financial sustainability.”

“Policies require special interest activities to operate as businesses with the goal of being financially sustainable.”

“Sustainability” was widely interpreted, the report added, with unnamed club managers found to “interpret a net loss as acceptable” as long as it was subsidized by the Department of National Defence.

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

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Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

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A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

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

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News

Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

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“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

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

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