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Jean says Albertans may vote no in Equalization referendum to send message to Kenney

“Premier, don’t let this referendum become about you!” Brian Jean wrote on his Facebook page Friday night.

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Former Wildrose leader Brian Jean says he fears Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s personal popularity is so low that it could now put the successful outcome of the fall referendum on Equalization in jeopardy.

Albertans will vote on October 18 – the same day as civic elections – to remove the Equalization program from the Constitution.

But Jean said he worried Albertans may see the ballot as an opportunity to express their feelings toward Kenney’s leadership.

“Premier, don’t let this referendum become about you!” Jean wrote on his Facebook page Friday night.

“A defeat on the Equalization referendum would damage Alberta for generations. It would allow federal Liberal politicians to discount the true feelings of Albertans for years to come. They would say Alberta politicians might talk a big game but when given a chance, Albertans vote for the Canadian status quo.”

Jean expanded on his worries in a column in Saturday’s Calgary Sun.

“Even MLAs in your government are worried that if the equalization referendum becomes a referendum on Jason Kenney’s leadership, then it would likely go down to defeat. This could happen even though a large majority of Albertans think, and have thought for years, that equalization is particularly unfair to Alberta,” he wrote.

Jean said Kenney should immediately appoint a “referendum czar,” a cabinet minister who would be the point person on the referendum.

“There are cabinet ministers who have so far avoided becoming tainted by this government’s angry tone and style, let one of them be the spokesperson for the referendum. Let them run the campaign. Let them do the media conferences. Let them be the face of this crucial issue,” he wrote.

Jean added the appointment of such a czar comes at a perfect time as Canadians are talking about the constitution after Quebec last week announced it planned to unilaterally change it by itself.

In an interview with the Calgary Herald’s Don Braid on Friday, Kenney said he would support Quebec’s move.

“Alberta should vigorously oppose Quebec attempting this — unless it is done through a reopening of the Canadian Constitution and dealing with equalization and the other ways Alberta is treated unfairly,” Jean wrote.

“And premier, most importantly, have the referendum czar call out the NDP if they try to take this very important issue and play politics with it. Since I first raised the equalization referendum proposal in the spring of 2017, multiple polls have shown that Albertans of all political persuasions recognize that Alberta is not treated fairly by the equalization formula. They know that equalization, as it currently exists, drains money from Alberta in good times and in bad with no regard for how badly we are suffering. Any attempt by Rachel Notley to politicize this issue should be politely but firmly rebuked.

“Premier, this is an issue that unites Albertans. We implore you not to make it divisive or allow others to do so.”

Jean, a former leader of the opposition, lost to Kenney in a leadership battle when the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties voted to merge into the United Conservative Party of Alberta.

In an exclusive Western Standard poll Friday, Mainstreet Research President Quito Maggi said Alberta’s political environment is quickly becoming a three-party system as the unpopularity of Kenney weighs heavily on UCP support.

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

“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,” he said.

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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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Baron Not Baron

    May 23, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    BERTA BABY,
    Equalization is important to not happen again! We have to get rid of communists, get our freedom and get rid of parasitism. Separation.

  2. berta baby

    May 23, 2021 at 6:36 am

    Let’s deal with the rot before we put a fresh coat of paint on it…. equalization is important but first we have to get rid of the communist in charge and his band of Bolsheviks

  3. Baron Not Baron

    May 23, 2021 at 12:04 am

    Kenney, if he has any decency left and doesn’t have the courage to see his master in Ottawa, should find a (preferably tall) bridge and see how he could use it best.
    UCP is lost as an organization – cancerous commies in disguise. It spreads social disease, it is infiltrated with the worst intended criminals – just like any big gvt. The rest of them are straight out of the book, communists.
    WILDROSE Independence Party of Alberta is my only choice, so I can be a free man. So it is your choice.

  4. Zeb

    May 22, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t understand where this sentiment could be coming from. I’ll vote against equalization and I will never vote for Kenny again. That liebrano plant can take his liebrano staff and go the f*** back to Ontario. WildRose and the Maverick party people. To hell with commies and liebrano.

  5. Declan Carroll

    May 22, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    Who in their right mind would vote yes to continuing equalization. That is like asking people to vote yes for a tax hike. In regards to Kenney no matter what happens he is responsible for this tyranny under which we now live. People don’t just forget about stuff like that. He has to be removed as leader. This is non negotiable.

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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.

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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
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

Nearly $400 million in commemorative holiday events planned for fed employees only

The Department of Canadian Heritage promises “large-scale commemoration events” for a September 30 holiday for federally regulated employees only.

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It’ll cost hundreds of millions of dollars with federally regulated employees getting ready to party like it’s 2021, all on the public teat.

The Department of Canadian Heritage promises “large-scale commemoration events” for a September 30 holiday for federally regulated employees only.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the holiday will cost $388.9 million, by official estimate.

“The department will collaborate with national organizations for large-scale commemorative events on September 30,” staff wrote in a briefing note. It is the first federal observance of its kind.

The Senate on June 3 passed Bill C-5 An Act To Amend The Bills Of Exchange Act that designates September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The paid holiday applies only to federal employees including the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces, and federally-regulated private sector workers at job sites like airports, banks, grain mills, marine shippers, radio stations and railways.

“This new annual statutory holiday on September 30 will ensure public commemoration of the tragic history and legacy of Residential Schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process,” said the briefing note National Day For Truth And Reconciliation. Costs of planned events were estimated at $2.7 million.

Parliament passed the holiday bill without a dissenting vote though senators in final debate questioned its usefulness. “What could long-term, dedicated and stable funding mean for food security, for closing the infrastructure gap which is huge, for finally ending boiled water advisories, for dealing with acute housing shortfalls in Indigenous communities?” asked Senator Dennis Patterson (Nunavut).

“It is hard for me to hear about the hundreds of millions of dollars that will go to provide federal employees a paid day off when I think about how an ongoing commitment of what we have heard today would be $388.9 million per annum for this holiday,” said Patterson.

“It would be an insult to my family members, to my friends and to the memories of those survivors I have lost along the way if this day were to become yet another paid day at the cottage for federal workers,” said Patterson. “It needs to truly be a day of remembrance and learning.”

The Treasury Board said direct costs were $165.9 million in the federal public service. “Most of that is in lost productivity,” Stephen Diotte, executive director of human resources, told the Senate June 3.

“The balance of it is payments required for employees in 24/7 work environments like corrections or Canada Border Services or ships’ crews and officers in the Department of National Defence and Department of Fisheries,” said Diotte.

The $165.9 million figure did not include holiday pay or overtime for Crown corporation employees. “I don’t have those figures,” said Diotte.

The labour department said airlines, marine shippers and other federally-regulated private sector companies would pay another $223 million annually.

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City of Edmonton mandates COVID jabs

The e-mail did not contain what disciplinary actions the city would take against staff who don’t get jabbed.

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City of Edmonton employees have less than a month to get jabbed against COVID-19, officials said in a new mandatory vaccine policy announced Monday.

City Manager Andre Corbould said in an e-mail to all staff they will have to be vaccinated by November 15.

“Last week, I shared the results from the Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Disclosure Policy (A1700) with you. The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) used this information to determine if additional steps were necessary to protect you, keep our facilities safe and operational, and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Corbould.

“According to the disclosure results, 72% of employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the context of the fourth wave in Alberta and rising cases in our own employees, that level is not high enough to give us confidence that we are minimizing the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace to the greatest extent possible.

“As a result, the City of Edmonton is introducing a COVID-19 vaccination policy for all City of Edmonton employees effective today, September 20, 2021. All employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two weeks after receiving the final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine) by Nov. 15, 2021.”

Courbould said he realizes the decision is bound to set off a storm of controversy.

“While I recognize this decision may be difficult for some, I expect everyone to behave respectfully to one another as this decision is implemented. ELT made this decision, not your supervisor. We will not tolerate disrespectful or abusive behaviour or communications,” he wrote.

“This is a significant step for our organization, and an essential safety measure for keeping our workplaces safe.”

The e-mail did not contain what disciplinary actions the city would take against staff who don’t get jabbed.

Earlier this month, the City of Calgary also instituted a mandatory vaccination requirement.

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

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