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Alberta moves fully into Phase 2 of reopening

Up to six UCP MLA’s spoke publicly against their government not moving fully into Phase Two.

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After a UCP caucus revolt last week against current COVID-19 lockdown regulations, the Alberta government announced Monday afternoon they are fully moving into Phase 2 of their reopening plan.

The updated health measures are now in place for retail, hotels and community halls, performance groups, and youth sports, performance and recreation.

The changes are effective immediately. They are in addition to the small Step 2 measures announced on March 1, as pressure eases on the health system and hospitalizations remain well below 450.

Up to six UCP MLA’s spoke publicly against their government not moving fully into Phase Two.

Medicine Hat UCP MLA Michaela Glasgo has joined colleagues Todd Loewen, Dave Hanson, Ron Orr, Angela Pitt and Drew Barnes in condemning current regulations.

Despite reaching Phase 3 benchmarks, Premier Jason Kenney only announced March 1 that libraries could open and gyms to start offering some services.

“Every day, we administer more vaccines and every day fewer Albertans are in hospital due to this virus. With cases stable and more vaccines arriving, it’s time to take another safe step forward. Our government is listening to the evidence and protecting both lives and livelihoods across the province,” said Kenney in a Monday statement.

Phase 2 reopenings now include:

Banquet halls, community halls, conference centres and hotels

  • These facilities can now open for all activities permitted under Step 1 and Step 2.
  • This includes hosting virtual meetings/conferences/events, permitted performance activities, wedding ceremonies with up to 10 individuals, and funeral services up to a maximum of 20 individuals.
  • Wedding receptions, funeral receptions or trade shows are not permitted.

Retail

  • All retail services and shopping malls must limit customer capacity to 25 per cent of fire code occupancy, not including staff. This is an increase from 15 per cent.
  • This includes individual stores and common areas.
  • Curbside pickup, delivery and online services are encouraged.

Performance activities

  • Individuals or groups can now rehearse and perform in preparation for filming or live streaming a performance, provided they adhere to public health guidance.
  • For adult performers and performance groups (over the age of 18), the following activities are permitted:
    • Individual performers or performance groups (up to a maximum of 10 individuals) can access facilities for rehearsals or filming/virtual broadcasting.
    • Larger indoor film and other performances will be allowed provided there is no audience and subject to an approved plan that follows strict new guidance, including regular lab-based PCR testing.
  • No in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
  • Masks are required and three-metre physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
  • For children and youth, performance activities are permitted provided they follow the same requirements set out for youth sport, performance and recreation activities in Step 1:
    • Up to a maximum of 10 individuals with three-metre distancing between all participants.
    • No spectators or in-person audiences are allowed for any type of performance.
    • Masks are mandatory at all times.
    • Includes lessons and practices.
    • Includes youth development activities such as Scouts, Girl Guides and 4-H.
  • Performance activities include dancing, singing, theatre and playing instruments.

Youth sports and recreation

  • There is no change to the restrictions around youth sport and recreation.
  • The Step 1 restrictions around youth sports and recreation have been expanded to include members of college and university athletic programs:
    • Lessons, practices and physical conditioning activities are allowed.
    • Games are not allowed.
    • Maximum of 10 total individuals, including all coaches, trainers and participants.
    • Physical distancing must be maintained between participants at all time.
    • Participants must be masked at all times, except during the training activity.

“We continue striking a safe balance between easing restrictions and preventing cases from rapidly rising once again. The strain on our health system continues to decline, which benefits every Albertan. Proven health measures remain in place in all sectors, and we must all do our part to keep each other safe and continue driving hospitalizations downward,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

Any decisions on Step 3 will be made on March 22, at the earliest, based on hospitalizations and the current spread of COVID-19. 

“While targeted measures are being eased, we all must remain vigilant and keep going the extra mile. COVID-19 remains a serious health threat, and variants of concern can spread more easily if given the chance. Until we have more vaccine for our population, it is essential that every Albertan continues to be the vaccine for each other,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

Hinshaw also reported 6 new deaths since last Friday, bringing total to 1,920. She said there 278 new cases on March 7; 304 on March 6.

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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Truckers: ‘We are not separatists or terrorists’

The organization announced the number of heavy trucks-alone- going to Ottawa is close to 50,000, a large increase from the original expected 1,600 trucks.

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Truckers on the Freedom Convoy are rejecting characterizations they are “separatists” and “terrorists.”

“A small team of Alberta truckers, their family members and friends, came to the decision that the Government of Canada has crossed a line with implementing COVID-19 vaccine passports and vaccine mandates. As of today, we now have the support of millions of Canadians from across the country,” group organizers said in a press release.

Demands from the Freedom Convoy to the federal government are:

  • Terminate all vaccine passports, including inter-Canada passport systems.
  • Eliminate mandatory programs of vaccination and contact tracing.
  • Respect the rights of those who wish to remain unvaccinated.
  • Cease the divisive rhetoric attacking Canadians who disagree with government mandates.
  • Cease limiting debate through coercive measures with the goal of censoring those who have varying or incorrect opinions.

“A unified and free Canada can be our future, and it starts now with reminding the government they serve the people,” stated the truckers.

“We have an opportunity for all of us to come together irrespective of our differences and do what is needed to ensure our freedoms are protected now and for future generations.

Statements claiming the convoy participants are ‘separatists’ or ‘terrorists’ are “categorically false and an attempt to smear” the movement, organizers said.

“It is saddening this kind of rhetoric is coming from Prime Minister Trudeau and his government. Instead of protecting our basic freedoms outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Justin and his government seek to do the opposite. He is continually issuing defamatory comments and maligning large segments of the population. If history has taught us anything, these are actions that cannot be ignored. We are peaceful, hard-working Canadians who love our country and want the betterment for all Canadians.”

The organizers said due to the mass support of the movement, they can no longer guarantee the average Canadian will not be disrupted by the protest.

“For that, we are truly sorry, and we will do our very best to limit the disruptions to your lives. We ask that Canadians remember we are fighting for everyone’s freedoms and it’s the political class that has abandoned us all,” said the release.

The organization announced the number of heavy trucks going to Ottawa is close to 50,000, a large increase from the original expected 1,600 trucks. One driver going the opposite direction told the Western Standard he measured the convoy at 100-km long as it approached Winnipeg.

Some supporters are unable to commit to the whole trip, but are finding ways to still participate.

“A lot of vehicles just join the parade while it’s close to their homes and then peel off later, so it’s dynamic,” Martin Halvorson, a driver in the convoy, told the Western Standard.

“The amount of people is unknown because we are not counting … The numbers are big,” convoy organizer, Andy Draaistra, told the Western Standard.

“All the support is unbelievable, we hope the overpasses will hold the tons of people,” said Draaistra.

via risex100, Twitter
Via Basia Porter, Twitter

The protest is against federal COVID-19 mandates and is scheduled to arrive in Ottawa January 30 and then hold a mass demonstration the next day, Monday, when Parliament reumes.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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China changes Fight Club ending to cops busting anarchists

Multiple scenes from the original cut were deleted and a new ending was added.

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The classic film Fight Club has been changed for viewers in China, with a ‘happy ending’ that complies with domestic censorship rules.

An altered version of the 1999 film was released on streaming platform Tencent Video in China over the weekend.

Multiple scenes from the original cut were deleted and a new ending was added.

Many in China had seen the original film pirated online and were surprised when streaming the newly released version.

Instead of buildings exploding at the end, the version shows authorities step in and win. 

Original closing scene of Fight Club

In the closing scenes of the original the narrator kills off his imaginary alter ego Tyler Durden and then watches multiple buildings explode with Marla Singer, suggesting his character’s plan to bring down modern civilization is underway.

In the censored version released in China, the narrator still kills off Durden, but the exploding buildings scene is replaced with a written message on black screen.

“The police rapidly figured out the whole plan and arrested all criminals, successfully preventing the bomb from exploding.”

As well as Tyler, figment of the narrator’s imagination was sent to a ‘lunatic asylum’ for psychological treatment and later discharged.

Revised ending to Fight Club

China is home to some of the strictest rules regarding censorship, and only a handful of foreign films are released each year.

In the past Hollywood has created alternative cuts in order to comply with Chinese censorship rules, in hopes to access millions of viewers in the country.

It is unclear if the cut was made by western movie producers, or the Chinese government.

Tencent did not comment on the matter.

Authorities under President Xi Jinping have been working to eliminate society of influences classified as unhealthy, including within movies, television, computer games.

This effort was also extended to cracking down on the country’s local celebrities for perceived immoral behaviour.

The Cyberspace Administration of China announced earlier this week an organized month-long ‘clean’ web campaign to create a ‘civilized and healthy’ online atmosphere.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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Butt launches Twitter tirade on Scheer for supporting truckers

“It’s a truly depressing turn for our politics to take in Canada. Have we paid no attention to what happened to US politics, and how it happened?”

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The former top aide to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has launched a Twitter broadside against former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer after he supported the truckers’ convoy rolling across Canada to protest vaccine mandates.

“Thank you Truckers! Trudeau is attacking personal liberty and threatening everyone’s ability to get groceries because of his overreach on vaccine mandates. He is the biggest threat to freedom in Canada,” Scheer tweeted.

Scheer tweet

That was enough to set Butts off.

“A breathtakingly irresponsible thing for a former Leader of the Opposition to say. Calling the prime minister — any prime minister — the biggest threat to Canadian liberty? This isn’t a dog whistle. It’s a welcome mat,” he tweeted.

“Politics is a rough business and not for the thin of skin or faint of heart. But the people in these enormously important offices have to respect those offices, even if they don’t like each other.”

Butts tweet

In a later tweet, Butts said: “Have been thinking about Mr Scheer’s comments all day. It’s a truly depressing turn for our politics to take in Canada. Have we paid no attention to what happened to US politics, and how it happened? I almost wish I were a Conservative, so I could fight for my party’s soul.”

On the weekend, Butts took a run at organizer Tamara Lich in an attempt to cast doubt on the integrity of Convoy For Freedom 2022.

“An Alberta separatist has collected almost a million bucks on a GoFundMe page to ‘support’ trucker protests. Where will the money go?” asked Butts in a tweet. 

More than $4.5 million has been raised to date as thousands of truckers are expected to descend on Ottawa this weekend.

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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