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Kenney calls rodeo ‘disturbing’, not the cowboy way

On Saturday, the Alberta Health Services announced a record daily toll of 2,433 COVID-19 cases. The total dropped on Sunday to 1,731. A total of 648 people are hospitalized. with 155 in ICU.




Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has gone on a tirade against the No More Lockdowns Rodeo – calling it the exact opposite of the cowboy spirit.

Kenney called the rodeo, attended by about 4,000 people over the weekend, “disturbing.”

“It is disturbing to see large numbers of people gathering this weekend at Bowden in flagrant violation of COVID-19 public health measures,” Kenney said on his Facebook page.

“We are all sick of this. We all want it to end. Thousands of Albertans are following the rules, sacrificing travel and social gatherings to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Not only are gatherings like this a threat to public health, they are a slap in the face to everybody who is observing the rules to keep themselves and their fellow Albertans safe.

“On a personal note, I’m angered and saddened to see so many people selfishly put themselves ahead of others. Rodeo celebrates Alberta’s Western heritage, a key part of which is our community spirit and looking out for others, especially the vulnerable. That’s the opposite of what these folks are doing.”

On Saturday, the Alberta Health Services announced a record daily toll of 2,433 COVID-19 cases. The total dropped on Sunday to 1,731.  A total of 648 people are hospitalized. with 155 in ICU.

Rodeo action. Photo courtesy Northcott Rodeo

“The reason we are at this critical stage of the pandemic in Alberta, with record high daily case counts and intensive care numbers, is precisely because too many Albertans are ignoring the rules we currently have in place,” said Kenney.

“If we do not begin to bend the curve, our health care system could very well be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks. I again implore Albertans to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and to follow the rules in your area. To those of you already doing this, thank you. To those who aren’t, please smarten up. The more people we have flouting the rules, the longer this pandemic will last.”

The organizer of the rodeo, Ty Northcott comes from a historic rodeo family and opened up his own livestock ranch in the late ’80s.

But the three Alberta COVID-19 lockdowns have hit his business hard, leaving him with only 50% of his normal stock because the costs of wintering and feeding them depleted his bank account.

He decided to hold the rodeo as a protest to the Kenney government’s COVID-19 restrictions.

Northcott, on Sunday afternoon, told the crowd the event was such as success he will hold another one July 1.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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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  1. Left Coast

    May 3, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Lockdowns May Be Canada’s Biggest Policy Failure in History, Report Says
    BY ANDREW CHEN May 3, 2021 Updated: May 3, 2021biggersmaller Print
    Lockdowns have had little effect on bringing down COVID-19 deaths and could be one of Canada’s biggest policy failures in history, a professor wrote in a research paper published this month.

    Douglas W. Allen, economics professor at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, reached the conclusion after examining over 80 papers on the effects of lockdowns implemented worldwide by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy forced the closure of businesses, supply chains, various sector activities, among other activities in daily life.

    “Lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths,” Allen wrote in his report (pdf).

    Allen’s own cost/benefit analysis is based on the calculation of the “life-years saved” which determines “how many years of lost life will have been caused by the various harms of lockdowns versus how many years of lost life were saved by lockdowns.”

    “The benefit of lockdown, therefore, was the avoidance of this extra 22,333 years of lost life. However, the cost of lockdown, as noted, was 6,300,000 years of lost life.”


  2. Eric Mills

    May 3, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    Rodeo is condemned by EVERY animal welfare organization in North America due to its inherent cruelty. For most of the animals, the rodeo arena is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse, all in the name of a bogus, mach “entertainment.” Rodeo was outlawed in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales) back in 1934. Can Canada and the U.S. be far behind?


  3. Left Coast

    May 3, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Kenny . . . if “Lockdowns” WORKED . . . why do we keep doing them?

    Kenny is just another uninformed Politician . . . not even smart enough to look around the Continent or the Globe to see what other jurisdictions are doing right.

    The are still marching out the “Cases” numbers . . . not “Sick” people but the results of PCR tests that are a complete FRAUD !

  4. Joni Menz

    May 3, 2021 at 9:24 am

    What happened to ‘live and let live’ and ‘to each their own’? I agree with Declan. You need to do what is right for you. If you are afraid, stay home and isolate yourself. Selfish is not doing whatever you want, it is forcing others to do whatever you want.

  5. Lee Morrison

    May 3, 2021 at 9:14 am

    This is childish bullshit. Time to protect the the general public by slapping the organizers with a few $5,000 fines. Sure, open air events are relatively safe compared to. for example, crowded church services, but spectators sitting close together can be spreaders. Keep exercising your “independence” folks, and we’ll still be fighting the virus for months, until most sane people have been protected by vaccination.

  6. Dennis Richter

    May 3, 2021 at 8:05 am

    Time for Albertans to become part of the solution. Get your membership in the fastest growing party in the country, get involved with your local constituency association. Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta Make it happen in 2023. https://wildrose.party/

  7. Ed Ward

    May 3, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Show us the “scientific and medical evidence” you have used to justify your unconstitutional lockdowns over the past year! It does not exist or you would not be having your lawyers attempt to have the case against Grace Life adjourned for 7 more weeks…..You wanted Alberta to be a stepping stone for you on your way to 24 Sussex and you have the nerve to explain “the Cowboy way”….? Back to Ottawa with you Jack A**!!!!

  8. Joc2257

    May 3, 2021 at 7:47 am

    It is time to elect a party that knows exactly what the Cowboy lifestyle is not some passive obedient servant looking for a government hand out to exist. There is very little difference in the Kenney UPC and the Notley NDP governments, at least we knew what street the NDP totalitarians were walking down, Kenney just talks out of the two sides of his face, a trick he learned in his time in Ottawa.
    It’s time the citizens of this great and freedom loving province get behind a party that will always pull the citizens freedoms, social responsibilities and economical progression ahead of anything or anyone else. Get behind the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta, join today and help vote in a leader you believe will stand for these ideals at wildrose.party

  9. Robert Lang

    May 3, 2021 at 6:57 am

    To Kenney: More to come. In larger capacities. Get used to full mass non-compliance to lockdowns.

  10. Tony

    May 2, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I naively hoped early on in the “crisis” that Kenney would emerge as a Canadian version of DeSantis or Noem. Instead we got a Cuomo/Newsom/Whitmer. And guess what Jason??? The establishment media and permanent political class whose validation you so desperately crave still treat you with disdain. Give it up….step aside and let this party be lead by someone other than a career politician. The alternative is a Notley majority on the back of a 30% popular vote and low voter turnout among anyone who does not belong to a public sector union or living at the public trough.

  11. Baron Not Baron

    May 2, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    Kenney is the death of everything. You should see it by now.

  12. francis witzel

    May 2, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Kenny should step down , he’s lost confidence in the people who elected him . Kenny must go now

  13. Tracey

    May 2, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    What the hell would you know eastern city boy? Your all hat and no cattle you pos.

  14. John Stirling

    May 2, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Call a leadership review Kenney! You have lost the support of Albertans and your own party! We’ll show you the cowboy way!

  15. tomanynamesgone@aim.com

    May 2, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Kenny is wrong. Let people live. I don’t fear this virus but I fear government that don’t listen to the people. Fear and politicians drive this insanity.

  16. Rosie B

    May 2, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    As if Jason Kenney has any concept of “the cowboy way.” When did a lifestyle synonymous with freedom become one about following government rules? Such bullsh**.

  17. Declan Carroll

    May 2, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    He should be putting the rodeo on every weekend enough is enough. If your scared then stay home. Life is for the living and it is not the role of government to try to save everyone by taking away their liberty.

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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.




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.”




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

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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.




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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