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BC Greens call for tougher COVID measures

NDP inaction allowed rampant transmission, says Green Party leader

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On the very day British Columbia reported its highest number of COVID-19 infections, the BC Green Party is calling for a three-week shutdown.

BC reported 1,293 new COVID-19 cases, smashing all previous daily records of infection.

The BC Greens are putting responsibility for the escalation right at the foot of Premier John Horgan and the rest of the NDP Party.

“Earlier this spring, I said it felt like government was not rising to the fight in light of rising case numbers,” said Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley, said in a statement.

“We were not dealt a bad hand — we loosened restrictions despite rising variant cases, allowed out-of-province travel, stalled in-school mask mandates, and did not enforce orders or tailor messaging to hit those who have not been following orders. This third wave is the outcome of that inaction.”

It’s believed the new cases are part of a surging third wave and bring the total cases recorded in the province to 108,278 since the pandemic began.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says two more people have died, bringing the death toll to 1,493.

While the vaccine rollout has seen 995,001 doses delivered across British Columbia (of those, more than 87,000 were second doses), there are 9,184 active COVID-19 cases, including 336 people in hospital, and 101 more in critical care.

Henry says the province is shifting its screening strategy for variants of concern, but the methods for preventing transmissions, such as hand washing and physical distancing, remain the same.

She also noted a WorkSafeBC to issue temporary closure notices to workplaces where three or more workers are sick and transmission has been proven to have occurred in the work site.

Yet Furstenau said those measure simply aren’t enough.

“Neither the methods nor the messaging are working,” she said.

“We need a coordinated response and action from government that shows they are taking the immediate and long-term threat of COVID-19 seriously.”

Furstenau said her party is calling on the province to create a clear and targeted shutdown strategy for a three-week period that includes:
• Enforcing non-essential travel measures.
• Moving school online for most students.
• Providing immediate government support to temporarily close non-essential businesses.
• Increase transparency and revamp public communications by:
• Resuming daily COVID-19 briefings.
• Publishing case numbers on weekends and holidays.
• Extending media availability.
• Adopting new messaging outside of press conferences to target non-compliers.
• Increase testing and vaccination capacity by:
• Expanding asymptomatic testing and rapid testing in workplaces, schools, businesses, and neighbourhoods.
• Improving reporting on variants of concern.
• Increasing staffing at vaccination clinics and extending hours to administer all doses as soon as they arrive in province.

“We need to step up and fight for the health of our province,” said Furstenau.

“If we do this now, and do this right, we will all be stronger for it in the near future.” 

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

Mike D'Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief and Copy Editor for the Western Standard. He worked as an investigative crime reporter at the Calgary & Winnipeg Suns. mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    April 9, 2021 at 10:41 am

    Its unfornuate that in a place as large as Canada we should be able to find place for these green morons so they can only affect them selves and leave the sane Canadians not to be affected with their lunacy .Lets hope

  2. Left Coast

    April 9, 2021 at 9:29 am

    BC Greens . . . aka Enviro Marxists, are completely Nuts . . .

    1200 odd “Cases” that are the result of the PCR Test that even the WHO says is not reliable.

    The REALITY is in BC there are 5 Million people . . . around 300 are in hospital, that is neither a “Pandemic” nor a problem . . . works out to about 1.6 persons in each BC hospital.

    What is a problem in BC is the number of citizens who are dying of drug overdoses, suicides and lack of medical care with the dial-a-Dr. minimal or no care nonsense.

    Einstein said doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is the definition of Insanity . . .

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Third pastor arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID lockdowns

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon.

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A Calgary baptist preacher has become the third religious leader arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID-19 regulations over church attendance.

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon. He had been the subject of repeated warnings from Alberta Health Services for having too many people at his services.

Earlier this month, on the church’s website, Stephens vowed to contiue services.

“Our actions are borne out of theological commitments to the Lordship of Christ and his instruction to the church as revealed in Scripture,” wrote Stephens.

“This, above all, is the reason why we have been gathering and will continue to gather … the consequences may be severe. But we stand before Christ rather than bend before consequences.”

Pastor James Coates, of the GraceLife Church, outside Edmonton, spent a month in jail after he was arrested by the RCMP for breaking lockdown regulations repeatedly. His case is still before the courts.

Last week, Pastor Art Pawlowski was arrested in Calgary for continuing to flout the regulations at his street chruch.

Calgary police at the AHS issued a joint statement saying Stephens was “arrested this afternoon for organizing a church service that was held today at Fairview Baptist Church, located at 230 78 Ave. S.E., that did not comply with public health orders, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. Police did not enter the church during today’s service.

“CPS has received repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services held at Fairview Baptist Church over the past several weeks. Last weekend, Pastor Stephens was proactively served a copy of the Court of Queen’s Bench Order obtained by AHS,” the statement said.

“The pastor acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with today’s service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees.

“For several weeks, AHS has attempted to work collaboratively with leadership at Fairview Baptist Church to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site. It is only when significant risk is identified or continued non-compliance is noted that AHS resorts to enforcement action.

“Once again, CPS acknowledges it is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we are still in a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.”

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

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LETTER: Hypocrisy in high school rodeo approval

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

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RE: Hinshaw grants approval for high school rodeos

Dr. Hinshaw approved school rodeos after Premier Kenney thought the rodeo near Bowden was a bad idea. It’s the mixed messaging these two are giving that is making me mad. A lockdown with very minimum exemptions is what I thought Hinshaw wanted, but apparently not. A school rodeo can bloody well wait until after the lockdown is completed!! Let up on the Whistle Stop Cafe then, Dr. Hinshaw. What a bully.

It’s a real kick by Hinshaw, at the Whistle Stop Cafe owner. With his cafe now in chains, while Dr. Hinshaw gives out approvals during this so-called circuit breaker lockdown.

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB

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Opposition calls for crackdown on animal activists

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

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By EMMA GREGORY

A coalition of federal Conservatives, NDP and Bloc MPs want to increase punishment for animal rights activists trespassing on farms, because they might make the animals sick.

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Chief Veterinary Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there are no proven instances of an animal rights activists spreading a disease to animals while protesting at a farm.

“To our knowledge, there are not many documented cases from trespassing or from people having demonstrations. The one that I heard is the one in Quebec, but I’m not actually sure if there is evidence of transmission from the activists to the pigs. So in the scientific literature, we have not seen much evidence of transmission of disease from these activities,” said Dr. Jaspinder Komal, to the agriculture committee earlier this month.

The one instance Komal mentioned was an allegation made by Porgreg, a pig breeding facility in Saint Hyacinthe, Que.

The activists involved in that protest, members of the group Direct Action Everywhere, are charged under the Criminal Code with breaking and entering and mischief. Whether or not they gave pigs rotavirus is a matter before the court.

Rotaviruses are common amongst pig herds and typically are transmitted from pig to pig, via the fecal-oral route.

If a human were to spread a novel rotavirus to a pig it would be in a similar fashion.

When asked if she or any of her associates pooped in the barn, activist Jenny McQueen said, “No.”

Komal said the CFIA does not police activists.

“The CFIA enforces the Health of Animals Act and regulations which address disease and biological, chemical, physical agents that may affect animals or be transmitted to persons and in the same way to protect animals from these risks…CFIA inspectors are public officers they are not peace officers… In contrast, peace officers are generally police officers, their powers include the ability to detain or arrest individuals. Peace officers may also be armed where public officers such as inspectors are not,” he said.

There are several new provincial laws that seek to lay blame for disease outbreaks in farmed animals on activists.

The Canadian Biosecurity Guideline lists an intentional act of contaminating animals with a disease is considered a possible threat of bioterrorism.

Gregory is a Vancouver-based freelance reporter

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