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UPDATED: Kenney announces staggered removal of lockdown restrictions

On June 1, Albertans will be allowed to hoist a pint at a restaurant patio, but only with three other people.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced Alberta is planning to drop COVID-19 lockdown restrictions – very slowly.

Kenney said Wednesday Stage 1 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan starts Friday with churches being allowed to open to 15% of fire code capacity.

“Today, we are truly near the end of this thing,” said Kenney.

Starting June 1:

  • Outdoor social gatherings, with distancing, increase to up to 10 people.
    • Indoor social gatherings are still not permitted.
  • Outdoor patio dining can resume with a maximum of four people per table.
    • Everyone at the table must be members of the same household or for a person living alone, dining parties are limited to two close contacts.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Outdoor physical, performance and recreational activities are permitted with up to 10 distanced people, for all ages.
  • Retail can increase to 15% of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
  • Personal and wellness services can reopen, by appointment only.
  • Wedding ceremonies may have up to 10 people, including the officiant, bride/groom, witnesses and any photographers/videographers. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Funeral ceremonies may have up to 20 people, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect

Kenney said further reopenings will be linked to the percentage of Albertans vaccinated against COVID-19 and the number of people in the hospital. A total of 2.55 million Albertans have had their first vaccine.

He said there would be a two-week delay in stage openings so people getting the vaccine have that time for it to become effective.

Kenney said the province was ready to move into Stage 1 on May 18, hence the delay for entering it until June 1.

Kenney said the province looks set to achieve a 60% vaccination rate in the province, meaning that, along with less than 500 hospitalizations, Alberta could move into Stage 2 in mid-June.

Stage 2 will see:

  • Outdoor social gatherings increase to 20 people, with distancing.
  • Wedding ceremonies may occur with up to 20 attendees. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
  • Funeral ceremonies remain unchanged with up to 20 people permitted, not including facility staff, funeral clergy or organizers not considered guests. Receptions are permitted outdoors only.
  • Restaurants may seat tables with up to six people, indoors or outdoors.
    • Dining parties are no longer restricted to households only.
    • Physical distancing and other restrictions still apply.
  • Retail capacity increases to one-third of fire code occupancy (must maintain ability to distance).
  • Capacity for places of worship increases to one-third of fire code occupancy.
  • Gyms and other indoor fitness open for solo and drop-in activities with three-metre distancing between participants and fitness classes may resume with three-metre distancing.
  • Indoor settings may open with up to one-third of fire code occupancy, including indoor recreation centres. This includes arenas, cinemas, theatres, museums, art galleries and libraries.
  • Indoor and outdoor youth and adult sports resume with no restrictions.
  • Youth activities, such as day camps and play centres, may resume, with restrictions.
  • Personal and wellness services can resume walk-in services.
  • Post-secondary institutions can resume in-person learning.
  • The work-from-home order is lifted but still recommended.
  • Outdoor fixed seating facilities (e.g., grandstands) can open with one-third seated capacity.
  • Public outdoor gatherings increase to 150 people (e.g. concerts/festivals), with restrictions.
  • Distancing and masking requirements remain in effect.

Kenney said provincial vaccination rates should hit 70% in early July, meaning Stage 3 would be allowed to go ahead then.

Stage 3 would see all restrictions lifted meaning full attendance for things like the Calgary Stampede and CFL games.

Kenney did add Calgary Mayor Nenshi has said there might not be a permit allowed for the Stampede parade, but if that’s the case a scalled-down version might be had on the grounds.

Mandatory quarantine rules will still be in place for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19.

At a press conference, Kenney called it a “great day. One we have waited for a long time.

“Albertans haven’t just stopped the spike, they crushed it,” said Kenney, thanking Albertans for their sacrifices.

He said there are currently 548 people in hospital – down 150 from a week ago. The number of people in the ICU has dropped from 187 to 157.

“We can confidently expect pressures on hospitals to continue to go down,” said Kenney.

Meanwhile, the government is allowing accommodation providers to keep the tourism levy amounts they collect for an additional three months.

And the application intake for the spring 2021 payment from Alberta’s small business grant has been extended to June 30.

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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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. MD

    May 28, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    Watch the high wire in Texas to get the real science and reporting on what is going on.
    Kenney doesn’t know what he’s doing or talking about. How do our politicians sleep at night?

    Major harms to kids and deaths after injections. Canada is mentioned in this week’s episode.
    https://thehighwire.com/watch/

  2. Barbara

    May 28, 2021 at 4:08 pm

    He just doesn’t get it . He’s handing out cookies and ice cream
    like we are errant children. Get vaccinated and we’ll open fully in July. Even his opening up the province is insulting.
    The only redemption here is that Rachel Notly would have been far worse.
    People now have a 3rd viable choice , thank goodness. The Wildrose has given us that.

  3. Marie Kuzek

    May 27, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    I was watching baseball games and hockey games and horse jumping finals on television. The crowds are packed and have been for weeks and months in some part of the world. This fear and propaganda here in our
    Province is shameful.

  4. MD

    May 27, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    I don’t believe anything that comes out of Jason Kenney’s mouth, he has lost all credibility. He says we are at the end of this thing. Really? He is not listening to the right doctors and the Science.
    The increase in vaccinations to get to Kenney’s targets the more we may see hospitalizations. It’s reported by healthcare whistleblowers in the US that 60% of Covid infections and hospitalizations are breakthrough cases. Let’s remember that these injections are not really vaccines. Kenney is playing with our minds as usual. He has a track record of coercing, insulting and blaming Albertans. I fully expect him to move the goal posts again.
    I’m thankful that half of Albertans have a brain and can think for themselves. There is hope.
    I’m all in for the Wildrose Independence Party. We need to break free from the communists.

  5. John Clark

    May 27, 2021 at 11:26 am

    There is no science involved in this decision. The WRP make up the caucus of the UCP and started the move to remove Kenny. China had numbers on COVID which were a fraction of what Alberta’s numbers are now. Two weeks later they are into a Level four pandemic! This, after thinking they were on their way out of it. The sickness and death following the Rodeo are all on the UCP’s playing to the crowd.

  6. Rick Johnson

    May 27, 2021 at 8:21 am

    This has been an aweful bloody long two weeks to stave off a cold.

  7. Lee Morrison

    May 27, 2021 at 8:15 am

    Cosmo Kramer: Any source for those stats or did you just dream them up?

  8. Liliana Brown

    May 27, 2021 at 7:12 am

    I think you mean May 28th not May 18..

  9. Mars Hill

    May 27, 2021 at 12:21 am

    The thing I have a hard time wrapping my mind around is that Kenney and the other fools are taking themselves seriously, it really is bizarre. In light of that thought the only thing that make sense to me is that many of these fools really don’t take themselves seriously and, see the people as fools and are implementing an agenda from their puppet masters. I suspect tribunals will sort it out.

  10. Steven Ruthven

    May 26, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Yippee !! Wow !! The reality is back: Watching the doctors yipping and yapping about keeping us locked down. Not enough people vaccinated, could pose a big problem. Opening up to soon say the doctors on the news at 6 pm.

    Premier Kenney bends like to wind to the will of AHS. I don’t believe one word that comes out of that liars mouth. From UCP to WIPA for me.

  11. Baron Not Baron

    May 26, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    What a crook! He really thinks everyone is buying his BS? This #COVRIG thing never happened. Control experiment.

  12. Tony

    May 26, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Thought experiment time. I read that approx 12k people are seriously injured or killed in car accidents annually in Canada. Should the speed limit on all roads therefore be lowered to 30km/h to prevent these serious injuries and fatalities? A rational person would say that such a low speed limit is a bad trade off for society as a whole. A similar cost benefit analysis applied to the debate about lockdowns and masks would result in a person being called a selfish bigot who wants to see harm come to everyone’s grandma. As Thomas Sowell said, there are no perfect solutions, just tradeoffs. Our leaders have all made bad tradeoffs because they are politicians first.

  13. Kelly Carter

    May 26, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Yet another “staged re-opening” where the goal posts can be randomly moved 🙄. I did see the political random we will be at stage 3 in time for Stampede 😂 Only because it will look good, and for no other reason.

  14. Pamela Bridger

    May 26, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    They can easily manipulate numbers up and down as they did with “case” numbers. Kenney has discredited himsel one to many times. Bring on the rodeo!!

  15. Striker

    May 26, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    This man is nothing less than an evil tyrant.

    Average life expectancy 81. Average age of covid death 81.

    This is not an emergency, and we’re never going to stay open if the bar is such that we need to prevent old people from dying to have our constitutional freedoms.

    He’ll be closing us back down this fall/winter after a few months of “freedom”.

    Alberta is a shithole like the rest of communist Canada, and we have cowardly Jason Kenney to thank.

  16. Cosmo Kramer

    May 26, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Justin Kenney says “Albertans haven’t just stopped the spike. They crushed it.”

    Or maybe it is the mid spring warm weather, sunshine and vitamin D that crushed it. With possible adverse reactions to the untested and unknown injections the government has been marketing and when fall begins, I fear that very tough times are ahead.

    I considered emigrating to the USA 10 years ago and with job offers in hand we could have done it. Florida would have been nice. I really regret staying in Canada.

  17. berta baby

    May 26, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    @ tony good points…would the abortion my body my choice be open to perhaps a challenge if this precedent is established?
    If it is established could the government then force terminate pregnancy based on health conditions of the baby?

    Communist kenney is gonna have another initiative blow up in his face if he commits to this trajectory

  18. Tony

    May 26, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    I have become so disgusted with the government funded advertising/propaganda imploring us to take the vaccine. Now we have more passive-aggressive coercion in the form of “permitting” us to have a normal life again being contingent on vaccination rates. If someone’s assessment of the risks and rewards lead them to making a decision about the vaccine question, then so be it. Do not force people!! I have not seen any compelling argument that unvaccinated people impose a negative externality on the vaccinated. Should we be forced to give blood and become organ donators too?

  19. Bryan

    May 26, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    ‘Justin’ Kenney, your word is as valuable and trustworthy as your namesake in d’Ottawa, the Prime Mistake of Canada. Go flock off back to Ontario. Take your pal, Numbskull Nenshi, with you!

  20. John Lankers

    May 26, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    If his announcement included the immediate removal of all executive powers from AHS and Dr. Hinshaw he would have been more credible.
    I’m not holding my breath.

  21. berta baby

    May 26, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    @cosmo it’s coercion …. take freedoms then dangle freedoms back IF people take a vaccine that is only authorized under emergency orders… so what happens kenney if people say no? I’ll grow the hair out and have super on the deck… if bussiness owners that are closed don’t like that…. write a letter to the communist party

  22. K

    May 26, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    FUCK OFF. You didn’t keep your word last time, you won’t this time. You monsters can’t be trusted, and you don’t have the authority to tell us when and how we live our lives. All carrot and stick bullshit. We’re not dogs. This isn’t obedience training.

  23. Cosmo Kramer

    May 26, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    This is nothing. I can have a beer with 2 other people from my family on my deck. Churches still at 15% while Walmarts and Costcos are packed. Also, statement that further reopenings are dependent on people getting an approved for emergency use only experimental DNA altering injection. These injections have already caused more than 4000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries in the USA at minimum (most go unreported). For vaccinations in the past, 50 deaths would trigger the vaccine get pulled.

    He is walking the line over violating the Nuremberg code. 2 more years to another election. We have to wait out the siege. I wonder how many of these politicians have been paid off to inflict death, suffering and misery.

  24. berta baby

    May 26, 2021 at 12:30 pm

    Old communist kenney will change it in a few days… the cuck can’t help himself when it comes to lies.

  25. Andrew Pludek

    May 26, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Looking forward to the staged removal of Kenney, Hinshaw and the rest of the tyrants…..

  26. Josh

    May 26, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    What is this. The 3rd or 4th time they said this? They won’t keep their word.

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CLEMENT: No reason to toast federal tax on non-alcoholic beer

Across the board, we should expect better from Ottawa, and the tax on non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of where they’ve gotten it wrong.

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Sin-taxes, across all sectors, are fairly excessive in Canada. At almost every turn the government sinks its tax teeth into the process of you purchasing the products you like. This is true for cannabis products, alcohol, tobacco, vaping, gas, and annoyingly so, non-alcoholic beer. Yes, non-alcoholic beer in Canada is not exempt from federal excise taxes.

You read that right. The federal government also extends its sin-tax regime for non-alcoholic beer, at a rate of $2.82/hectolitre.

The application of excise taxes for non-alcoholic beer is problematic for a variety of reasons. The first, and most glaring, is that it is hypocritical given that the federal government has exempted non-alcoholic wine and spirits from the excise tax. Why apply it for beer, but not wine and spirits? Obviously, a more consistent approach would be to simply exempt all non-alcoholic beverages from the excise tax, because the purpose of the sin tax is to recover alcohol-related healthcare costs. That said, there are no alcohol-related healthcare costs at all from non-alcoholic beer, which immediately shows the lunacy of sin-taxing these products.

In addition to correcting hypocrisy, removing the excise tax for non-alcoholic beer would put federal policy in line with how the provinces treat these products. Provincial regulators, including Alberta, don’t require non-alcoholic beverages to be sold at licensed alcohol retail outlets, because they’ve accepted the obvious that these products don’t have alcohol in them and thus shouldn’t be strictly regulated. That is why in Alberta these products are often sold alongside carbonated water and pop. Removing the excise tax would be the federal government following the lead of the provinces in treating non-alcoholic beer differently than beer, because they are in fact different.

On the industry side, the federal excise tax acts as a barrier for product development in Canada, mostly because other beer producing jurisdictions (US,EU,UK) don’t tax non-alcoholic beer. Because of this the domestic industry in those jurisdictions has flourished, offering consumers more choice and at better prices. Their sane tax policy, coupled with increased consumer demand, is in large part why the non-alcoholic beer market is expected to grow to over $4 billion by 2025. These drinks aren’t just for hipsters, designated drivers and pregnant women anymore.

Lastly, and most importantly, is how non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of new products reducing harm for consumers. And while I don’t personally enjoy these drinks, I can see why someone would still want to enjoy a beer with their friends, or at a bar, without the alcohol that comes along with it.

From a harm reduction perspective, it makes perfect sense to have different tax strategies for products that vary in risk. The Trudeau government, at times, has championed harm reduction for illegal drugs but appears to have a blind spot when it comes to legal substances. This is an uncomfortable trend from Ottawa that is perfectly exemplified by the excise tax on non-alcoholic beer. Ottawa has kept the excise tax system for non-smokable THC cannabis products, like edibles and beverages, despite the fact they are significantly less harmful. They’ve sought to ban vape flavours, despite the fact that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, and flavours are an incredibly useful tool for adult smokers trying to quit.

Across the board, we should expect better from Ottawa, and the tax on non-alcoholic beer is yet another example of where they’ve gotten it wrong. Hopefully, come Budget 2022, they can correct this mistake and remove the excise tax from these products entirely.

David Clement is a columnist for the Western Standard and the North American Affairs Manager with the Consumer Choice Center

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EXCLUSIVE: 2003 hearing ruled Chu’s accuser ‘not to be believed’

“I find her evidence not to be believed and I was not able to consider her evidence when deciding a sentence.”

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The accuser at the centre of the embattled Calgary Coun. Sean Chu controversy told a hearing he sexually assaulted her while holding a gun to her head, according to documents obtained by the Western Standard.

But the presiding officer at the police disciplinary hearing, Insp. Debbie Middleton-Hope, said the then 16-year-old minor’s testimony was not credible and not to be believed.

The sentencing hearing took place Jan. 31, 2003 and lasted eight minutes.

Chu did admit to caressing the woman’s leg while in uniform at the King’s Head pub on Macleod Tr. after meeting her while conducting a walk-through patrol in August of 1997.

After his shift, Chu went home to change into civilian clothes before returning to the pub to meet the girl.

Middleton-Hope said in her statement that Chu provided investigators with intimate details of sexual contact the pair had when they returned to his home.

“I find Const. Chu to be forthright in his description of the details and I find his evidence to be believed,” said Middleton-Hope, a long-serving, well-respected Calgary policewoman, now retired.

The woman, in turn, denied Chu had caressed her leg.

“… her evidence was directed on an aggressive, physical struggle at which time a gun was held to her head,” said Middleton-Hope.

But Middleton-Hope said she found the woman’s testimony “inconsistent.”

“Under cross-examination (the woman) had difficulty in recalling pertinent details,” said Middleton-Hope.

“I find her evidence not to be believed and I was not able to consider her evidence when deciding a sentence.”

Middleton-Hope also addressed the age of the woman, who was 16 at the time.

“I have no evidence before me Const. Chu was aware of this fact. Several witnesses said [the girl] appeared to be 19 to 21 years old,” she ruled.

The accuser also testified she had an interaction with Chu two years previous after an altercation at school. Chu wasn’t the investigating officer, but did speak to the girl on the phone.

“…and [received] a Christmas card from her as a result of that phone call,” Middleton-Hope said.

“No evidence was presented that Constable Chu was aware of her age from this verbal contact.

“I believe Constable Chu to be sincere when he indicates he was unsuspecting of [the accusers] exact age.”

Middletin-Hope then ordered Chu have a letter of reprimand on his file for discreditable conduct for caressing the accuser’s leg while on duty.

Chu was also ordered to undergo six months of ethics training.

Middleton-Hope noted performance reviews in his 10-year police career described Chu as “hard working” and “highly motivated.”

For the third time, Chu was elected on October 18 to be the councillor for Ward 4. He won by 100 votes, winning the advance poll, but losing on election day. Documents over the case had been leaked to the media just days before the election in what Chu called a “political assassination.”

There have been a chorus of demands from other politicians for Chu to resign and a byelection called. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, incoming Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek and most of the incoming council have demanded Chu resign.

Chu said he would be happy to meet with Mayor-Elect Gondek to discuss the situation.

Dueling protests — one for Chu and one against — are planned in front of city hall on Sunday.

Chu has vowed to not resign and wants to clear his name.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any harm,” Chu told the Western Standard in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

Chu admits there was “some touching underneath clothes” in the 1997 incident.

“She then said she wanted to go home and I drove her straight there.”

Chu denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

“If there had been a gun involved there would have been charges,” said Chu.

Documents obtained by the Western Standard and other media indicate that the woman claimed the whole process was a “cover-up.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

Now Chu said he is looking at his legal options and a possible defamation suit over some of what he called the false reporting.

“I have always told the truth. My reputation is important to me and now my family is hurting,” said Chu.

Chu said he wouldn’t comment on remarks made by Gondek that she will try and remove him from council.

“I will continue to tell the truth at council and will be a fiscal hawk,” he said.

“The most important thing is I told the truth and the truth will prevail.”

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

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TV news mistakes leads to censure

“The details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts,” wrote the Canada Broadcast Standards Council.

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A St. John’s TV station breached newsroom ethics when it put out a report containing mistakes, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The TV station was censured for garbling a handful of facts in a local story.

“The details were clearly inaccurate and related to historical facts,” wrote the Canada Broadcast Standards Council.

Correct information “could have been easily verified by the reporter prior to airing the news segment,” wrote the Council.

NTV on its flagship suppertime newscast last April 26 broadcast a story on a local parole case that misstated the year of the crime, the date the killer was convicted, and the number of years the murderer served in the penitentiary.

“This whole story was riddled with inconsistencies,” complained one viewer.

“He was charged and convicted in 2003. They reported 2002.

“These facts were not factual. There were four mistakes in the story.”

NTV management apologized and acknowledged errors were made as the story was “rushed to air” but denied any breach of newsroom ethics.

“Although we do not believe our coverage of this story was in breach of any industry guidelines or codes, we understand every individual may view news material or programming from a different perspective,” wrote station managers.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code Of Ethics states, “It shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to ensure that news shall be represented with accuracy.”

A similar Code Of Journalistic Ethics by the Radio Television Digital News Association states: “We are committed to journalism in the public interest that is accurate and reliable.”

“There was no deliberate attempt by NTV to change the narrative of this story which focused on the revocation of the parole of the convicted murderer,” wrote the Standards Council.

“It is understandable that in a rush to get the story to air, incorrect pieces of information were used.”

“Journalists should strive to verify facts and put them in context. These inaccuracies constitute breaches.”

There are no fines for breaching TV codes. The station must announce the violation on its newscast.

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