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COVID, financial hurdles putting Calgary Stampede at risk

Calgary Stampede suffered a whopping $26.5 million loss last year

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With the Calgary Stampede saddled with its first cancellation in 108 years, concerns over a second consecutive cancellation to COVID-19 have emerged.

Despite $16 million in government aid and grants and a $2.2 million revenue surplus in 2019, the Stampede suffered a whopping $26.5 million loss last year, said their annual report released this week.

Unsurprisingly, gross revenue nose-dived from $85 million in 2019 to $307,000 in 2020.

The non-profit cites the rodeo and midway bash’s cancellation, declining facility rentals and event services among the contributing factors during a trying year for the organization.

Following CEO Warren Connell’s passing in December and 890 temporary job cuts, impacts to vendor revenue and declining aid committed by the Alberta government signify trying economic times ahead.

Despite pledging $6.8 million in grants to significant fairs for 2021-22 in the recent Alberta budget, this represents a decline from $9 million the previous year.

Though the rapidly evolving and dynamic circumstances of the ongoing pandemic throws a wrench in future planning, the Calgary Stampede is “optimistic about 2021 and beyond.”

The report states: “Public health orders and the current economic environment have and may continue to have significant adverse impacts on the Calgary Stampede.”

Spruce Meadows has already cancelled prestigious show-jumping events in June and July, leaving many wondering about the fate of this year’s Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

“We are reviewing operating guidelines and working with various levels of government and health officials on specific measures to host the best and safest possible Stampede, July 9 to 18,” said the Stampede.

“We continue to work with our government partners and to identify strategic solutions to overcome these financial challenges.”

In an email with the Western Standard, Calgary mayoral candidate, Zane Novak echoed these sentiments, stating” “Stampede is truly a part of the traditional fabric of our community.” 

“For decades, it has created and opened a path to prosperity on so many levels, not just financial. Its value to Calgary can not be underestimated.”

Novak is hopeful the City of Calgary can execute a modified, reduced but safe version of Stampede for 2021 to keep this spirit alive.

“I will do what I can to support it in a manner that is safe and fun for all involved, including patrons and businesses dependent on Stampede,” he said.

Cindy Ady, CEO of Tourism Calgary, said the Stampede’s fiscal situation “makes very clear the uphill climb ahead of it [as] rebuilding becomes that much more difficult.”

She urged provincial and federal governments to backstop the Stampede to ensure its viability financially, owing to its importance to Calgary’s economy and social fabric.

The annual event constitutes one-third of revenue for the hospitality industry.

COVID-19’s effect on tourism was severe as typical hotel occupancies fell well into the double digits last summer.

Ady said the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations is a crucial factor for Calgary Stampede in 2021, with the province’s Phase 4 of reopening slated to permit larger gatherings.

Currently, in Phase 2 of Alberta’s reopening plan, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said: “We still can’t know what the case growth might be in the coming months.

“We are committed to working with these organizations, so they do at least have the best information.”

Dhaliwal is the Western Standard’s reporter based in Edmonton.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Dyck

    March 3, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Texas is 100% OPEN – Gov. Abbott says Texans can make their own decisions as to how to protect themselves – this is called FREEDOM, Mississippi is 100% OPEN, South Dakota has been, and is 100% OPEN, Florida has been, and is OPEN – what is Alberta’s excuse??? That the United Communist Party is terrified of the people they have turned against, oppressed, traumatized (especially children), denied healthcare to (tens of thousands of cancelled surgeries, diagnostic procedures)? How is fining and jailing pastors and fining and illegally (according to the Criminal Code), entering a church with firearms OK? Using violent force on those who disagree and peacefully protest? Refuse to be transparent, refuse to answer valid questions… on and on and on. END THE LOCKDOWN! REPEAL BILLS 10 AND 24!

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News

UPDATED: Omicron found in Alberta, BC

But Hinshaw refused to say where the traveller lives over fear it would identify them.

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The tentacles of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have reached Alberta and BC.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said an Albertan returning home from Nigeria, via the Netherlands, has tested positive for Omicron.

Hinshaw said they tested positive a week ago and the person, who traveled alone, is now self-quarantining.

She said medical officials are trying to “delay” the spread of the variant until more research is done.

But Hinshaw refused to say where the traveller lives over fear it would identify them.

Hinshaw also urged people not to take out their frustrations against the family of the infected person nor the countries that are under an Omicron watch.

And she said people shouldn’t “think of this as a reset to Ground Zero.”

In her daily update, Hinshaw said in the last 24 hours, health officials have found 238 new cases of coronavirus. There are 434 people in the hospital with 81 in ICU. Another six people are reported to have succumbed to the virus.

In BC, Der, Bonnie Henry said another traveller coming home from Nigeria had tested positive for Omicron.

That person lives in the Fraser Health region and is isolating. 

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced 156 Albertans self-quarantining after returning from travel in a country that had been hit with Omicron.

Six confirmed cases of the variant of concern have now been confirmed in Canada so far.

Earlier in the day, Canada added Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt to its Omicron travel ban.

On Friday, the government put restrictions on travellers from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

“Obviously we’re watching very, very closely the situation with Omicron,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on his way into the cabinet meeting.

“There may be more we need to do and we’ll be looking at it very carefully.”

More to come…

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

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Unvaxxed grounded in Canada

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

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As of Tuesday, Canadian travellers over the age of 12 will no longer be able to fly or travel by train in Canada without proof of vaccination.

The policy was originally set to come into effect on October 30, however, the federal government announced it would grant a grace period to unvaccinated travellers allowing for a negative COVID-19 test to be provided within 72 hours of the trip.

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

The new travel restrictions for the unvaccinated come on the heels of the emergence of a new variant of concern (VOC) dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cases involving the new variant, originally detected in South Africa, have been found in other countries including five cases within Canada.

Although there is not much known about the new variant at this time, the WHO confirmed scientists around the world are working to determine how the highly-mutated variant will affect transmissibility and severity of illness in the population.

Canada, along with other nations, closed its boards and expanded its screening protocols to travellers arriving from affected areas in southern Africa.

The Canadian airline industry welcomed the vaccine mandates when they were announced in October. Air Canada and West Jet have both confirmed they will be asking all travellers to produce proof of vaccination before boarding their carriers as of Tuesday.

While health measures such as masking and screening will still be required, no measures for quarantining individual travellers have been put in place with the exception of those who have travelled through or arrived from southern Africa.

“If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines,” the government indicated in a statement.

The Canadian government is also warning permanent residents abroad to expect to provide vaccine passports to return home.

The rules don’t apply to commuter trains.

The Government of Canada has created a “reliable way to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination history when travelling internationally and within Canada,” states the government’s website. The document is verified once uploaded to ArriveCAN upon returning to the country.

The website warns travellers are not guaranteed entry to another country with the documents and suggests checking the rules of your destination country and the countries you travel through.

“Today, Canada passed a sad milestone in its history,” said Matt Slatter, a pilot with a major Canadian airline and a founder of Free 2 Fly, a hub that has “Canadian aviation professionals standing with passengers in defence of freedom.”

“No longer can it hold itself as a beacon of freedom and liberal values.”

The Free 2 Fly website encourages passengers and airline workers who “feel strongly that the ability to travel should not be linked to vaccination status,” to sign up and join their movement.

“With the advent of mandates requiring all aviation and rail passengers to be vaccinated, Canada is now effectively a two-tier society,” said Slatter.

“On one tier, compliant citizens are afforded many of the rights they once enjoyed in a free society. While the other tier is essentially relegated to their own localities, with limited exception.

“History suggests this style of governance will only lead to more tragedy and heartbreak. The cure is inevitably worse than the disease. Will Canada learn from the mistakes of the past?”

Currently, there are just under 38,000 signed up on the Free 2 Fly site. One of the goals of the group is to “wage a legal campaign to block, and/or overturn, all vaccination mandates.”

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

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News

CRTC trying to hang up on spoof calls

Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

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All those calls from the taxman and Canadian Border Services officials threatening to arrest you could soon be coming to an end thanks to new regulations from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“Many Canadians are now able to determine which calls can be trusted thanks to a new technology aimed at combating spoofed calls named STIR/SHAKEN. Caller ID spoofing is frequently used in nuisance and fraudulent calls to mask the identity of the caller,” said the CRTC in a release.

“As of today, telecommunications service providers will certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new technology will help reduce the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing. As service providers continue to upgrade their IP networks and offer compatible phones to their customers, more and more Canadians will be able to see the effects of STIR/SHAKEN.”

It’s believed up to 25% of all calls in Canada are scams.

The CRTC said Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

“This new caller ID technology will empower Canadians to determine which calls are legitimate and worth answering, and which need to be treated with caution. As more providers upgrade their networks, STIR/SHAKEN will undoubtedly reduce spoofing and help Canadians regain peace of mind when answering phone calls,” said Ian Scott, CRTC CEO.

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