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Manitoba family has ‘outrageous’ $18,000 COVID fine dropped

The mother, her four children and their 70-year-old grandmother travelled back to Canada on February 15, 2021, and were forced to go into a quarantine facility, after arriving at a land border with PCR tests that had expired by only two hours.

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A Manitoba family facing fines of $18,000 for entering the country on a PCR test that expired two hours previously has had all the charges against them dropped, says the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom.

The mother, her four children and their 70-year-old grandmother travelled back to Canada on February 15, 2021, and were forced to go into a quarantine facility, after arriving at a land border with PCR tests that had expired by only two hours.

The mother, represented by the JCCF, wants to remain anonymous due to fears of backlash from her employer.

She travelled with her children and the grandmother to Wisconsin, for a critical medical appointment to address the grandmother’s end-stage renal disease. The mother’s sister, who lives in Wisconsin, arranged the appointment with an American doctor with the medical expertise to provide treatment for this condition.

The JCCF said the mother is a front-line medical worker and has been involved in patient care throughout the pandemic. She carefully followed the protocols set out by the health authorities. Even before PCR tests became mandatory, she, her children and her mother all obtained PCR tests before travelling.

“While the mother and her family were in the USA, new mandates were implemented, requiring returning land travellers to have a negative PCR test,” said the JCCF in a Tuesday release.

“Most testing sites the mother contacted had a turnaround time of two to five days. She and her family eventually attended at the Wisconsin Government National Guard facility on Friday, February 12, 2021, to be tested. They were tested at 1:47 pm and the site closed at 2 pm.”

“Five out of six test results came back on Sunday, February 14 at noon and the remaining result did not arrive until 1:30 am on Monday, February 15.”

The JCCF said while the family could have travelled home on Sunday before the new rules of obtaining a PCR test within 72 hours of returning to Canada were implemented, they decided to wait for the last test result and ensure it was negative, before travelling on Monday, February 15, 2021.

“The family did not have a smooth return home to Canada. Early Monday morning, almost halfway home, three warning lights came on in their vehicle. The mother, pulled over, referred to the vehicle manual, did what was suggested in the manual, which was to reduce her speed. Ultimately, the family arrived at the border 74 hours and 15 minutes after having the PCR test, two hours after the PCR test expired under the new government orders,” said the JCCF.

“Once at the border the mother was informed that the test results had expired, her passport was taken away and she was asked to pull over. After an approximate one-hour wait without anyone providing her with any information, she was advised to pull into the garage at the border, where she met two quarantine officers. The quarantine officers once again explained that the tests had expired and that there was zero tolerance for non-compliance.”

“While the mother made every attempt to explain her circumstances, she was advised that her circumstances were not relevant. The quarantine officers refused to allow the family to return to the nearest US point, Grand Forks, North Dakota, to get re-tested. After three hours of waiting with hungry, cranky children, the family was issued tickets totalling the outrageous sum of $18,000.”

The JCCF said quarantine officers told the family they must immediately drive to a quarantine facility in Winnipeg, or face additional fines of $,3000 and the “RCMP would be sent.” 

“The mother, her children and their ill grandmother were confined at this facility for three days before they were released and allowed to go home. While in quarantine, the grandmother’s dietary restrictions were not accommodated, despite her serious health issues,” said the JCCF.

“This family tried in every way to comply with unreasonable requirements and were still fined and quarantined, despite having negative PCR tests. They are pleased the charges have been dropped, but, to this date, the government has not provided any empirical data or a reasonable explanation for why people with negative COVID tests cannot quarantine at their own homes,” said JCCF lawyer Sayeh Hassan.

“Clearly, individual circumstances must be looked at. A Canadian accused of murder has the Charter right not be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned; the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay; the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial court. Police can forcibly confine a Canadian only after arresting that citizen, and police can only arrest someone after charging them with having committed a crime.”

“This family had none of these rights respected in this situation.”

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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Omicron grounds every 1 in 5 WestJet flights in February

Customers affected by the new cutbacks will hear from WestJet within the next few days.

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A total of 20% of WestJet flights will be cancelled in February — Omicron and past layoffs are to blame.

“As we continue to navigate the unpredictability of the Omicron variant on our staffing levels, along with the ongoing barriers to international travel, we are making every effort to proactively manage our schedule in order to minimize disruption to our guests’ travel plans,” said President & CEO Harry Taylor in a press release. 

“To our guests impacted by these additional consolidations, we sincerely apologize for the disruption and appreciate your continued understanding and patience.”

Customers affected by the new cutbacks will hear from WestJet within the next few days.

The aviation industry is the only transportation sector in Canada requiring full vaccination status to use and is the highest COVID-19 tested consumer activity in the country.

“Canada remains one of the only countries in the world requiring multiple molecular tests for fully-vaccinated travellers — these testing resources should be redeployed to our communities,” said Taylor, commenting on the demand to stop arrival testing.

The measures are in addition to the 15% reduction in flights implemented in January because of staff shortages.

These events follow the December deadline for WestJet employees to be vaccinated, where hundreds of employees were fired because of their vaccination status.

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

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Misery index places Canada in bottom ranks

“Canadians are rightly concerned about the country’s high inflation and unemployment rates, and when compared to other developed countries, Canada is not doing well.”

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Canada’s combination of high rates of inflation and unemployment have secured it the sixth most “miserable” advanced economy in the world.

Tuesday morning, the Fraser Institute released a study that ranked the International Monetary Fund’s top 35 economic countries.

With an inflation rate of 3.15% and unemployment rate of 7.72%, Canada’s 2021 Misery Index score is 10.88.

“Canadians are rightly concerned about the country’s high inflation and unemployment rates, and when compared to other developed countries, Canada is not doing well,” said Jason Clements, executive vice president of the Fraser Institute.

Fraser Institute

American economist Arthur Okun created the Misery Index to understand the level of economic strain felt on an everyday basis for regular citizens of a country.

Inflation and unemployment act as measures that drastically affect the costs of living that impacts economic well-being on an individual level.

Only five countries received worse scores than Canada, Spain in the last spot with a score of 17.61, followed by Greece (15.73), Italy (11.96) and Iceland (11.26)

Countries above Canada’s score include France (10.10), the United States (9.72), Australia (7.33), and the United Kingdom (7.17).

Japan (2.61) and Switzerland (3.57) received the top scores being the least miserable.

The Misery Index was prominent in policy discussions during the 1970s and 1980s, but fell out of the spotlight during the 1990s while inflation and unemployment was low.

“The fact we are again discussing the Misery Index and Canada’s high ranking on it is bad news for all Canadians, who will suffer as a result,” Clemens said.

“Governments across Canada, particularly the federal government, should prioritize those policies that will make Canadians less miserable by lowering inflation and unemployment.”

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

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LETTER: Does Copping have scientific evidence to continue with vaccine passports?

“Surely our government would not discriminate against any Albertans without a sound scientific basis for doing so.”

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RE: Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

My wife and I took it upon ourselves to get tested for immunity to the COVID-19 virus at our own cost. Several other couples in our community have done the same thing. The test is carried out by the Mayo Clinic so I think we can all agree it is done by a very credible organization.

Both my wife and I tested >250 which is the highest level of immunity that they register. It is also the same level of immunity they show on the most vaccinated people. 

With this in mind, I ask the Minister of Health and the entire UCP government, what is the scientific basis for your continuing to impose the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) to discriminate against us and restrict us from being able to participate in society?

Surely our government would not discriminate against any Albertans without a sound scientific basis for doing so.

Murray Woods
Linden, AB

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