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‘I’m in charge,’ O’Toole says after fractious CPC convention

“We’ve now fought and lost two elections against a carbon tax because voters did not think we were serious about addressing climate change,” said O’Toole.




Following a tumultuous convention for the Conservative Party of Canada, leader Erin O’Toole came out firing away at dissenters saying he was the one running the show.

“I’m the leader, I’m in charge,” O’Toole said at a Tuesday press conference.

O’Toole renewed his party’s commitment to addressing climate change ahead of the next federal election palatably. 

The Tories acknowledged climate change in their 2019 election platform but were explicit in their opposition to a carbon tax to address the issue.

Over the weekend, delegates to the Conservatives’ virtual policy convention voted down a resolution that would have included the line “climate change is real” in the party’s official policy document.

The Liberals jumped on the vote results Monday to accuse the Tories of being climate change deniers.

“Only Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals would tax 30 million households, single seniors, small business owners, farmers drying their grain to try and tackle climate change when they’re actually not partnering with the provinces and with large emitters,” said O’Toole.

With a divide on the climate change between party leadership and its base, O’Toole spoke of the need for them to come around on climate policy.

In his virtual speech Saturday, he warned of the consequences of remaining status-quo, citing repeated failures to form a government.

He argued the public perceived they did not take the issue seriously.

“We’ve now fought and lost two elections against a carbon tax because voters did not think we were serious about addressing climate change,” he said.

“We will have a plan to address climate change.”

Those opposed stated the concerns surrounding greenhouse-gas emissions were misplaced, as they claimed many types of pollution do not contribute to climate change.

Among the voters the CPC hopes to tap into next election are Quebecers who support the Bloc Québécoisand its party leader, Yves-François Blanchet.

“The Conservatives say that climate change does not exist, and the Liberals do nothing about it while pretending to do something about it,” Blanchet said Tuesday. 

“They will keep supporting generously the oil and gas sector in Western Canada, while we say that this is not the way to do it.”

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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  1. Robert Philip

    March 24, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Instead of the COC arguing CLIMATE DENIERS WR’RE NOT, how about working on the long term strategic information on what happens when we quit producing our natural resources and the cost to Canadians. Let’s get the other side of the story out. If there was the same sanctions on the East Coast regarding the shipment of oil coming in from foreign countries, where would Eastern Canadians receive their oil from? The US just shut down their oil production.

  2. waynethornton@yahoo.com

    March 24, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Erin. If you have to say it you’re not. We need a ‘Trump’ folks. Someone that will stand up to the lying Fake News Media. We want to hear common sense, not more RINO propaganda.

  3. Left Coast

    March 24, 2021 at 9:27 am

    “Klimate Change” . . . this man is a complete FOOL . . .

    Canadians are concerned about JOBS, the Economy, Crime, and the INSANE DEBT . . . last thing anyone want is an idiot who thinks we can control the weather and hence the Klimate.

    Chine increases their emissions every 16 weeks equal to Canada Total ANNUAL Emissions . . . there is absolutely nothing we Dumb Canooks can do on the issue.

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.




The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.




Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

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