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EXCLUSIVE POLL: Opposition to lockdowns on the rise in Alberta

While opposition to lockdowns in Alberta has grown from 39% to 45% since January, the number of hardcore opponents has more than doubled.

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An exclusive Mainstreet Research Poll commissioned by the Western Standard shows opposition to continued lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions are on the rise, and there are sharp divisions in the province over the issue.

Of the 1,010 Albertans surveyed, 52% said that they supported continued lockdowns and 45% said they should be ended immediately.

While those in support had a slight edge in overall support, the intensity of those who were fiercely opposed was more than twice that of those who were strongly supportive.

The poll was conducted between May 19-20, 2021 with a scientifically-weighted sample size of 1,010 adults living in Alberta. Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cell phones and the results have a margin of error of +/- 3% with a confidence level of 95%.

Most of those who said they were opposed (25%) agreed “The lockdown and all restrictions should be ended immediately,” and another 20% agreed with the statement: “The lockdown should end immediately with some restrictions to be kept in place temporarily.”

The 52% of survey respondents who said they supported continued lockdowns were markedly less adamant. Of those respondents, 41% agreed: “The lockdown and all restrictions should continue until Public Health officials say it is safe,” while just 11% agreed with the statement: “The lockdown and all restrictions should continue until COVID−19 vaccination of the entire Alberta population.”

While the proportion of Albertans supporting continued lockdowns continues to hold a slim majority, that majority has slipped markedly since the same questions were polled in early January 2021. That poll showed that a combination of hardcore and softcore lockdown supporters added up to 57%, now down to 52%.

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns, Jan and May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

By contrast, combined hardcore and softcore lockdown opponents have increased from 39% to 45%. Of note is the massive increase in hardcore opposition from just 12% in January, to 25% in May.

Support for, and opposition to, lockdowns also cuts clearly along partisan lines.

Among current NDP voters, 85.3% said that lockdowns should continue, including 18.7% who were hard pro-lockdown. Just 11.8% of NDP voters support ending lockdowns.

Among current UCP voters, 55.3% said they were opposed to continued lockdowns, including 25.4% who were hard anti-lockdown. This number is significantly higher among those who voted UCP in 2019, however, with a combined 62.6%, including 38.3% who are hard anti-lockdown supporters.

Mainstreet Research President Quito Maggi pointed to Alberta Premier Kenney’s COVID-19 policies as a key driver of plummeting UCP support.

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns by party voters, May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

“It’s a near-impossible task for Jason Kenney in terms of how he handles the pandemic,” said Maggi. “When we look at why people don’t approve of how he’s handling [COVID-19], you have a mix of people on the left who say he’s not strict enough, and people on the right who say the lockdown must end. That’s what’s driving that vote.”

That poll released yesterday saw the UCP trailing the NDP in second place, at 28% and 35% respectively, and the Wildrose Independence Party growing to 16% support.

Wildrose voters were even more likely than UCP voters to oppose continued lockdowns, with a combined 88.3%, and 69% which were hard anti-lockdown. Just 11.7% of Wildrose voters said they support continued lockdowns.

The poll’s data also found deep regional divisions across Alberta.

Support for continued lockdowns was highest in Edmonton, with a combined 63.8%, and 33.7% opposed. In Calgary, support for lockdowns was still in the majority at 58.7%, but a growing 37.5% in opposition.

The “rest of Alberta” – which includes both rural areas and smaller urban areas – deviated sharply from the two big cities. There, 58.9% said the lockdown should end immediately, with 36.5% in the hard anti-lockdown camp. Pro-lockdown support in the “rest of Alberta” made up 37.7%.

Alberta support and opposition to lockdowns by region, May 2021 Shareable with credit and hyperlink.

The debate over COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions is driving a large shift in the Alberta political landscape. In the same survey, Albertans were asked which party they voted for in the last election, and which party they would vote for if an election were held today.

The NDP lead the pack with 35% among decided and leaning voters. The UCP is in second with 28%, and the Wildrose Independence Party has pushed itself into a competitive third place at 16%. 

Another 7% of voters were undecided; with 5% for the Alberta Party, 3% for the Liberals, 2% for the Greens, and 3% for “other.” 

Maggi said Alberta’s political environment is quickly becoming a three-party system as the unpopularity of Kenney weighs heavily on UCP support.

“My advice federally to Conservatives is to not be within a mile of Jason Kenney right now. His performance on the pandemic – on both ends of the spectrum – is putting a taint on all Conservatives. This is causing an uptick in Maverick Party support, and Wildrose support.

“Being a three-way race [outside the two big cities], you’re talking three seats for Wildrose Independence, minimum. I’m sure some of the modellers are going to look at these numbers and release seat projections. The more important number is those in Calgary and Edmonton, because they come one-for-one from UCP support.”

The UCP, NDP and Wildrose are locked in a tight three-way race outside of the two big cities, at 31.7%, 23.0%, and 23.1% respectively.

“The most surprising number provincially is the Wildrose Independence support in both Edmonton and Calgary being in the double digits”, said Maggi. 

The NDP hold a slight edge in Calgary at 36.6%, followed closely by the UCP at 32.6%, and the Wildrose at 10%.

In Edmonton, the NDP have a commanding lead at 49.1%, far ahead of the UCP at 19.4%, and the Wildrose at 12.3%.

While the NDP leads province-wide, the numbers don’t necessarily point to an NDP majority government.

“The only path to a majority (NDP leader) Rachel Notley has is a sweep of Edmonton, a sweep of Calgary, and a handful of rural seats.” 

Asked what’s driving the shift in party support, Maggi pointed primarily to Kenney’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s the performance of the UCP on the pandemic. When very few strongly approve of Kenney’s handling of the pandemic, and a huge number strongly disapprove. There’s your answer right there.”

Just 48% of those who voted UCP in 2019 say they intend to do so again. The NDP has held 86.9% of its 2019 support, and picked up 12.3% of those who voted UCP, and 31.3% of those who voted Alberta Party. 

The Wildrose has consolidated much of the support from the smaller rightist/sovereigntist parties in 2019, and picked up 23.7% of those who voted UCP, and 23.1% of those who voted Alberta Party. The Alberta Party has retained just 35.2% of those who voted for them in 2019. 

Maggi was not optimistic when asked if Kenney can reclaim most of the wayward Wildrose voters.

“It’s hard to say right now. I’d have to see what things look like in a year. But when you look at how many want Kenney to step down as premier, including those who voted UCP, it didn’t all go to the Wildrose, but some has gone to the NDP.

“Once a vote intention changes like that, it tends to be sticky. It’s hard to win it back. When a party is losing moderates to the NDP, and conservatives to the Wildrose, it’s hard to imagine coming out of that nosedive. It’s a pretty daunting task.”

Maggi says the news could get worse for Kenney once Wildrose elected a permanent leader and develops a personal brand, “but it depends on who that leader is.” 

The Wildrose Independence Party is currently holding a leadership race with the only declared candidate so far Paul Hinman, the founding leader of the original Wildrose Alliance Party. As the only candidate in the race, he will face an up-or-down vote by party members on August 28.

Growing tension in the UCP bubbled to the surface when 17 UCP MLAs signed an open letter condemning Kenney for putting Alberta back under a third lockdown. Kenney’s dismissal of the letter led to a series of leaks from the UCP caucus, with several MLAs telling the Western Standard the premier threatened them with an early election if they did not have confidence in his leadership.

Soon after a rogue rodeo in Bowden, Alta. to protest the third lockdown, UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney said in reference to the attendees, ““If they are our base, I want a new base.”

Kenney denied the story as “fake news” and said the comments were only referring to people making death threats against him, but UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney was “lying.”

Last week Kenney moved to expel two rebel MLAs from the UCP Caucus after Todd Loewen published a letter calling for the premier’s resignation. 

The move comes as the caucus and party has been wracked by internal infighting over issues of Kenney’s “Fair Deal Panel,” and most significantly the government’s reaction to COVID-19.

Western Standard Staff
news@westernstandardonline.com

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Left Coast

    May 23, 2021 at 10:31 am

    In India they approached things a little different . . . .

    All adults in Goa will be given Ivermectin, irrespective of their vaccination status, to prevent complications arising out of Covid-19 infection. Ivermectin is a drug used to treat many types of parasite infestations, and it does not prevent Covid-19, but can help reduce the severity, said state health minister Vishwajit Rane.

    “I have given instructions for immediate implementation of prophylaxis (action taken to prevent disease) treatment,” Rane said.

    “People will be given Ivermectin 12mg for a period of five days. Expert panels from the UK, Italy, Spain and Japan, found a large, statistically significant reduction in mortality, recovery time, and viral clearance in Covid-19 patients treated with Ivermectin,” Rane said on Monday. — Hindustan Times

    Cases and fatalities came down almost immediately.

    Just three weeks after adding Ivermectin, Delhi now leads India out of the deadly second surge of the COVID pandemic. Cases that had peaked at 28,395 on April 20 plummeted nearly 80% to just 6,430 on May 15. Deaths peaked May 4, and now they are also down 25%.
    Meanwhile, three other Indian states have followed Goa’s lead in adding Ivermectin: Uttarkhand, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. And, as expected, they have seen a drop in new daily cases as well, with Uttar Pradesh down nearly 75% from a peak of 37,944 just four days after they began following the April 20 AIIMS guidance to just 10,505 on May 16.

    Why do you think Canadian Drs & Politicians are too friggin Stupid to do the same ? ? ?

  2. berta baby

    May 23, 2021 at 6:32 am

    Ya never having a majority government again would be okay with me… communist kenney and his weaponized courts and police state can definitely count on me to not vote for UCP ever again

  3. Baron Not Baron

    May 23, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Hint: the lockdowns will never end, until you get used to it, as the “new norm” – unless you really retaliate. I never saw a totalitarian regime falling because it decided to fall.. it actually always required sacrifice, blood shed.. you know, the usual.
    If you ever believed that a parasite will leave the host on its own, you were making a mistake.

  4. Dave Lindsay

    May 22, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    If Trudope goes ahead with C-10, I see a CLEAR Wildrose Win come Election Time

  5. Left Coast

    May 22, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    “52% said that they supported continued lockdowns” ? ? ?

    Followup Question: Which lockdown do you think is going to work? Number 10 in 2023?

    Are 52% of the folks really this dumb? Or, is this the fault of the FakeStream Media who have bombarded them with Fear & Scare for over a year now?

    Instead of reporting that those under 60 and healthy have a 99% + chance of surviving the virus. The FACT that the vast Majority of the deaths in Alberta are the Elderly & those with Co-morbidities.

    When did the all-knowing Dr. Hinshaw inform the folks how to treat the Virus before you are too sick to remain at home and have to go to the hospital? Didn’t happen . . .

    Ivermectin, Zinc, Vit C & D, and HCQ all help if taken early . . . but no one got that message from the so-called “Experts” . . .

  6. Steven Ruthven

    May 22, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    Just wondering how many of the pro lockdown folks are actually staying staying at home? How many are leaving the cities & heading to the campgrounds for the long weekend? Who earlier complained about a rodeo near Bowden, AB or the forced closure of the Whistle Stop Cafe or forced closure of a couple of church’s.

    The hypocrisy here is that, these same people will go out to the big box stores. With just as many people around them. So I say to AHS, why is there lockdowns for a certain class of businesses while other classes of businesses are given freedom with apparently little AHS oversight?

    That’s the way I see it.

  7. Baron Not Baron

    May 22, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    I can clearly see an exodus to the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta, from UCP and even from NDP!
    There is an absolute advantage to be sovereign, from every point of view. We, Albertans, are to decide what is best for us – no more need to ask a bunch of foreigner from Ottawa when we should breath, eat, pay all we have – to them, pee, or how to!
    Freedom of life.

  8. K Snyder

    May 22, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    The key is focusing on the demographic who supports lockdowns because they believe those in charge know what they are doing. If the UCP has a chance they need to stop going after the never-conservatives (NDP) and update the narrative on covid – specifically ICU and deaths are low, and “cases” are just positive tests, not necessarily sick, so drop that stat from updates, it’s not relevant. Give those who cannot look at data pragmatically a narrative that comforts them (the truth) and stop the lockdown now….. Or welcome in the wildrose….

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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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