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Health head refuses to answer MP question over firing of Chinese scientists

“Now answer the damn question,” said Tory Garnett Genius in frustration

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The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada has blamed an ongoing RCMP investigation for refusing to tell a Common’s committee why it fired a husband-wife scientific team from China, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

MPs on the Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations said the case smelled of possible espionage as the couple had made numerous trips to China.

“There is an RCMP investigation underway at this time,” Iain Stewart told the committee.

“The RCMP have been doing an extensive investigation.”

Researchers Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Chang were fired January 20 from the National Microbiology Laboratory at Winnipeg.

“They went to China on several occasions,” said Bloc Québécois MP Stéphane Bergeron (Montarville, Que.).

“Why were they let go?” asked Bergeron.

“I’m not really at liberty to talk about that, sir,” replied Stewart.

“What do you mean, you’re ‘not at liberty’ to talk about that? You’re in a parliamentary committee here,” said Bergeron.

“Mr. Stewart, has there ever been a case where any government lab has fired scientists as a result of security breaches?” asked Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.).

“That’s a very difficult question to answer,” replied Stewart.

“Well, I’m glad you have a bloody senior office in this country where you’re supposed to account to parliamentarians and the Canadian people,” said MP Genuis.

“Now answer the damn question.”

“Mr. Stewart, this is a critical issue of national security. Has any lab in this country ever fired a scientist as a result of a security breach or the improper transfer of viruses? You’re a public servant. People deserve an answer.”

“I’m not able to answer the question as it was structured,” said Stewart, adding he was constrained by the Privacy Act, security matters and the ongoing RCMP probe.

“You gave us three rationales for not answering,” said Conservative MP John Williamson (New Brunswick Southwest).

“There is a fourth one, and that is just bureaucratic butt-covering, incompetence, malfeasance in the department. The reasons you gave us are far from exhaustive.”

The committee was told the couple traveled from Winnipeg to Wuhan’s Institute of Virology in 2019 with a shipment of live viruses aboard an Air Canada flight. They were suspended at the time. No reason was given for their dismissal two years later.

“Can you understand why Canadians are concerned about the termination of employment of these two scientists at the lab and why it’s concerning no further information is being released, even to a parliamentary committee?” said Conservative MP Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills, Ont.).

“It creates a lot of suspicions and questions.”

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 Editor 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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Jivraj admits planting fake stories with Press Progress, CBC

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm of the NDP.

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Western Standard News editor Dave Naylor has spent two weeks investigating the story of Caylan Ford. Ford seemed a rising political star – intelligent, photogenic and a working mother. She was recruited by Jason Kenney to run provincial for the UCP.

Ford seemed to be on the path to stardom when she was shot down in flames by rumours and planted news stories in a NDP-linked news site.

Ford blames one man for her downfall – Kiram Javrij. 

Over the next week, Naylor will tell their story backed with court documentation and interviews.

Karim Jivraj, under testimony during a deposition, detailed just how complex his undercover harassment of UCP candidate Caylan Ford, and other women was.

Under withering questioning by Ford’s Lawyer, R.E. Harrison, Javrij admitted to planting fake stories with the NDP-linked Press Progress and the CBC.

In October 2018, Jivraj wrote a letter accusing Ford of committing “residency fraud” and claimed she was ineligible to stand as a candidate for election in the riding of Calgary Mountainview.

“He asked nine members of my constituency association board to sign the letter, but did not sign it himself,” said Ford in an exclusive interview with the Western Standard.

“Then he sent it to the media, and invited journalists to report on his allegations. Press Progress did.”

The following is a portion of the Q and A between Harrison and Jivraj.

Harrison: You say that you helped author the letter?
A: Yes.

Harrison then ask Jivraj who else on the board helped author the letter to then UCP Executive Director Janice Harrington.

Q: Now, after authoring the letter, you circulated it to the other board directors to seek their signatures?

A: Yes. I — I and others circulated it.

Read Javrij’s letter to the Mountainview board

Harrison then got Jivraj to admit he didn’t sign the letter he letter. Jivraj then detailed how he was the one who sent the letter to the NDP-linked news website, Press Progress.

Q: The October 13, 2018, article from Press Progress is entitled “UCP Constituency Association Accuses Jason Kenney’s Handpicked ‘Parachute Candidate’ of Breaking Party Rules.” Do you see that.

A: Yeah.

Q: Do you recognize this article?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, do you know who sent the October 1, 2018, letter to Press Progress?

A: I believe I did.

In November 2018, Jivraj purchased Google attack ads on searches of Ford’s name. These ads included a fabricated quotation, which Jivraj attributed to Ford. Harrison asked Jivraj who bought them.

A: I’m not sure if “purchase” is the right word. I received a free $50 budget on Google Ads, and so that was used for this. So there was no monetary investment.”

Q: Okay. So these ads were posted by you?

A: Yes.

In November 2018, Jivraj used a pseudonymous email account to send defamatory statements about Ford to 1,300 of her electors. The emails included another fabricated quotation which he attributed to Ford.

Q: You see the last attack ad has a quote: “My family has lived in southwest Calgary for generations. I could never live in north Calgary. Anywhere above the Bow is basically a suburb.” Do you see that quotation?

A: Yes

Q: Did you create that quotation?

A: I don’t believe so.

Q: Where did you get that quotation from?

A: I’m not sure. I think Ms. Ford may have said something along those lines when I was looking for a place in Calgary.

Q: You’re aware that Ms. Ford has lived in the neighbourhood of Sunnyside?

A: I became aware of that afterward.

Q: And why did these attack — why did these ads link to Press Progress?

A : That’s a good question. I don’t know.

Under oath, Jivraj admitted he was a long-time informant for Press Progress, the de facto media arm for the NDP.

Q: Did you email or call PressProgress to disclose this conversation?

A: I can’t recall. I don’t — I can’t recall if I reached out directly to Press Progress. I think the — what initiated the cycle of events was my meeting, my physical meeting at (Calgary coffee shop) Vendome.

Q: What I want to know is whether you phoned Press Progress to provide them with the contents of the conversation or provide them information

A: I can’t recall.

Q: Why did Press Progress call you out of the blue as you’ve insinuated.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press Progress previously to discuss provincial and federal politics.

Q: OK, How many times would you have spoken with Press Progress previously to their phone call to you?

A: Again, I don’t want to guess, but several, several times.

Jivraj admits he has been in contact with Press progress since 2015. Ford herself then jumps into the questioning, asking Jivraj about his dealings with the CBC.

CBC Logo (photo credit CBC)

Ford: Did you disclose additional private messages between yourself and me to the CBC?

A: Yes

Ford: Have you created any other pseudonymous Twitter accounts?

A: Yeah. In my various political activities, yes, I’ve created many.

Ford is suing Jivraj, Press Progress and several media outlets for a total of $7 million.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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

The saga of Karim Jivraj’s campaign against Ford and other conservative women is just too incredible to be told in a single feature article.

That’s why the Western Standard decided to break it down into a series, which will dive into several of the actions taken by Jivraj. It’s a story we did not believe until we obtained the evidence.

COMING NEXT: Tap on back leads to assault allegations from Rivraj against Ford

PREVIOUSLY: 
How a Conservative candidate worked with the NDP to bring down star UCP candidate
Tory candidate admits using a fake Twitter account to spread false sexual rumours
Jivraj admits to undercover online campaigns against women

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EXCLUSIVE: UCP MLA says Shandro approved barricading GraceLife Church

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

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Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro personally approved the AHS-RCMP raid and barricading of the Grace Life Church according to a UCP MLA that spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity.

RCMP and Alberta Health Services conducted a Wednesday dawn raid on the church in Spruce Grove, Alberta after it repeatedly refused to comply to lockdown and capacity orders from the government.

“Shandro directly signed off on the raid,” said the MLA.

The MLA said the public backlash against the raid has rocked the government, and they are considering removing the wall before an expected large service is held there Sunday.

But a spokesman for Shandro denied any involvement by the minister.

“Minister Shandro did not direct or sign off this action. The law gives AHS independent authority to carry out such an action. The Minister is not required to sign off on enforcement activity such as seen at GraceLife, nor did he sign off. “

The move against the church came the day after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threw the province back into a COVID-19 lockdown for the third time, discarding the policy of phased reopening based on measurable targets.

The move infuriated even members of his own caucus, with 17 UCP MLAs signing a public letter denouncing Kenney.

Another UCP MLA told the Western Standard they are “100% certain” Kenney will be the subject of an early party leadership review.

“Caucus is in total chaos,” said the MLA, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

A new Angus Reid poll this week showed a whopping 75% of Albertans oppose Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, including those that believe he has gone too far in restrictions, and those who believe that he hasn’t gone far enough.

Former federal Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day the Alberta government for barricading the GraceLife Church, saying it would bring “gleeful howls” from dictators around the world.

The church’s pastor, James Coates recently spent 35 days in the Edmonton Remand Centre after refused to agree to stop preaching as a condition of his bail.

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

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Kenney urges GraceLife protesters to wear masks

“I call on those who believe in the sanctity of life, to act accordingly,” he said.

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Premier Jason Kenney is warning anyone planning to take part in Spruce Grove’s GraceLife Church protest Sunday to practice COVID-Alberta Health Services (AHS) safety protocols.

Kenney said it would be “tragic” if the protest “lead to a super-spreader event.”

On Tuesday the AHS, aided by the RCMP, raided the GraceLife Church and built a wall around it.

People outraged by the move are planning to protest outside the barricades on Sunday and perhaps even hold a service.

The church’s pastor, James Coates was jailed for more than a month for repeatedly holding packed Sunday services that exceeded the COVID-19 limit.

Asked at a Saturday press conference what he’d say to the protesters, Kenney replied: “I would tell them to take COVID seriously…to keep people safe.”

“I call on those who believe in the sanctity of life, to act accordingly,” he said.”If people are going to gather, please do social distancing and wear a mask.”

Kenney claimed Alberta had the most freedom of religion in the entire country, noting the province hasn’t closed places of worship like they’ve done in other jurisdictions.

“Thank you to those faith communities (who have followed the law) for respecting the sanctity of life.”

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

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