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Kenney said caucus rebellion led by ‘small group’, wont be tolerated again

“We’ve been through some tough times and I think we are going to emerge very strong,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says this week’s UCP caucus revolt was contained to a “small group” who weren’t able to garner a lot of support – adding such dissent won’t be tolerated anymore.

On Thursday, the UCP caucus booted out MLAS Todd Loewen, of Central Peace-Notley, and Drew Barnes, of Cypress-Medicine Hat. Earlier in the day, Loewen had issued a public letter calling on Kenney to resign. Barnes has been a constant thorn in the premier’s side for months, disagreeing on numerous policies.

“Yesterday the caucus did confirm my leadership. There have been some folk who have tried to destabilize the government during this period of crisis internally. I think it’s a very small group and they haven’t been able to demonstrate any widespread support for that,” Kenney said on QR77’s Shaye Ganam show.

“So, yes, I believe I have the confidence of the party I lead, and the caucus I serve with. And I’m governing on the largest democratic mandate in Alberta’s history. We’ve been through some tough times and I think we are going to emerge very strong.

“I look forward to leading through this period. And for all Albertans, I know it’s been a tough time, a lot of people are angry and anxious but we are getting very close to the end of this thing. Let’s get to the goal.”

Asked if he thought there could be any further uprisings, Kenney said it was “implicit that caucus members have a limited tolerance now for behaviour that can undermine the unity of our team and our ability to work together.”

Loewen’s comments earlier in the day triggered a firestorm of political intrigue in the UCP.

“The government’s response to a hostile federal government has been perceived as weak and ineffective. Albertans have lost trust in the leadership of our government and are no longer willing to extend to us any benefit of the doubt on most issues,” said Loewen in the letter.

“Albertans perceive our government as out-of-touch and arrogant, and they expect our caucus to bring their issues of concern to the government. Many of us have tried to do so repeatedly, only to be ignored and dismissed. When the Premier chooses not to listen to caucus, is it any wonder why the people choose to stop listening to the government? Our supporters and those I represent can no longer tolerate this. These folks have not abandoned the principles and values of the UCP, but they have abandoned you specifically.”

The letter comes as Kenney’s leadership is already on the ropes. More than a dozen UCP constituency associations have already passed special resolutions demanding a leadership review, however Kenney poured cold water on the idea, pushing the vote to just six months before the next election

Growing caucus tension also 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 the 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 that the comments were only referring to people making death threats against him, but UCP MLAs told the Western Standard Kenney was “lying.”

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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Baron Not Baron

    May 14, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    Kenney has the false idea he’s got any authority. No one gives a rat’s (..) about you, Kenney! Just get out of Alberta. We don’t want you here.

  2. Kelly Carter

    May 14, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    I don’t know anyone willing to vote for a Kenney lead UCP again. I flat out told my MLA I will note vote UCP again. I would rather spoil my ballot, even if it means NDP get in again. There has been little difference between Notley and Kenney.

  3. berta baby

    May 14, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    the support of caucus ? 4 MLA’s spoke out publicly against Lowen … thats it . Kenny used a stone arm tactics to eliminate the secret ballet , everyone I know that voted for the UCP is not voting for them again…. take note Urban MLA’s you stand with the Authoritarian so called leader and you won’t be in politics for much longer… but they do want a new base so … good luck I guess

  4. Steven Ruthven

    May 14, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Jason Kenney, every word that you speak is subjective now. Is it the truth or another embellishment to make the mess you have gathered around yourself less ominous.

    I thought Justin Trudeau was a bad ass, but you, my friend have outdone Mr. Trudeau by a country mile.

  5. John Lankers

    May 14, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Jason Kenney was elected on a host of election promises to bring Alberta back to its previous glory, he broke every single promise or watered it down to the point where it isn’t worth the paper its been written on. To add insult to injury he gave the COMH unbelievable super powers allowing her to terrorize ordinary citizens like they do in places like China.
    A quick web search for ‘Jason Kenney’s approval ratings’ shows he is dead wrong, he is the premier with the lowest approval ratings in the country.

  6. R3

    May 14, 2021 at 11:24 am

    By Kenney allowing AHS CEO Dr Verna Yiu to be resigned for additional years to continue their Authoritarian medical tyranny shows how bad he is and how much trouble we are in.

  7. Bryan

    May 14, 2021 at 10:50 am

    ‘Justin’ Kenney needs to resign, jump back into his pick’em up truck and go back to Oakville, where his attitude may be appreciated. His autocratic ‘rule’ is not appreciated in Alberta.

  8. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    May 14, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Its obvious Kenny does not listen to the taxpayers that elected him. He hopes that the shots will stop the virus. To many Albertan’s he has joined the AHS and their union to call the shots. The UCP was elected this happens when you can’t do the job. Kenny head for the timber the end is near.

  9. Wesley

    May 14, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Words from Rick Bell in a recent article regarding the caucus expelling Barnes and Loewen couldn’t be more appropriate. ” These individuals, clearly backers of the old Toryland dynasty of Progressive Conservatives, curse former Wildrosers as hicks and wing nuts and knuckle-draggers.

    They turn my stomach.”

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News

Bernier tickled with support from Trudeau’s half brother

“It’s very dangerous to speak like that, coming from the leader of a democratic country, you cannot speak like that,” said Bernier.

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People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier was presently surprised on Friday to learn Justin Trudeau’s half-brother is cheering for the PPC.

During the presser, Bernier was told of the Western Standard‘s hour-long interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s half-brother Kyle Kemper who — among other things — called out Trudeau for his divisive speech towards unvaccinated Canadians.

During the interview, Kemper also showed support for the People’s Party of Canada.

When Bernier was asked how he felt about a Trudeau family member propping up the Purple Wave, he said he was “surprised to hear a member of the Trudeau family is cheering for the PPC” and said he agreed with Kemper that Trudeau has been divisive.

“It’s very dangerous to speak like that, coming from the leader of a democratic country, you cannot speak like that,” said Bernier.

“We, at the PPC, we want to unite everybody under the freedom umbrella. We don’t believe in division and segregation.

“This party is growing and I know that the mainstream media don’t like to cover the PPC because we are telling the truth based on facts and on science.”

In the Friday press conference, Bernier said he speaks for millions of Canadians with his one message to the government: “We want our lives back.”

Despite the vast majority of Canadian’s being vaccinated, Bernier showed frustration over the remaining COVID-19 measures, “from vaccine mandates to lockdowns and vaccine passports.”

The PPC leader also pointed to the recent lifting of mandates and restrictions in a number of European countries and elsewhere.

“Canada is becoming the outlier. Not only do we still have most of these measures in place, but some governments are planning to add more,” said Bernier referencing his home province of Quebec bringing in a “punitive tax” against the unvaccinated.

Bernier calls the “science” into question and suggested there is evidence the “authoritarian measures” have little to no effect on the spread of COVID-19 while imposing “massive negative economic and health impacts on the population.”  

“Both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can catch and spread the virus. Vaccine passports are completely useless,” said Bernier.

Over the coming days, Bernier said he plans to join the trucker’s Freedom Convoy in Ottawa and support those protesting the vaccine mandate calling it a “blatant example of the unscientific approach adopted by the federal government.”

“Unvaccinated cross-border truckers have been providing an essential service to the Canadian economy for two years. That’s why they were exempt from the border closures,” said Bernier.

“They pose no threat to anyone. They’re alone in their trucks most of the time. There is no crisis because of sick truckers. So why are they suddenly being forced off the road with a new vaccine mandate?”

Calling Canada’s supply chain “more fragile than ever,” Bernier called the Canadian and US governments “irresponsible” and said there is no logic behind adding further needless disruptions.

“More and more Canadians, vaccinated and unvaccinated, want an end to this nightmare. The tide is turning. It’s time to stop living in fear and learn to live with this virus.”

Bernier followed with a list of requests for the Liberal government.

“First, repeal the vaccine mandates on federal employees and federally regulated industries,” said Bernier.

He also said he believes all civil servants, military personnel and government employees should be reinstated and federal regulated industries be instructed to rehire employees who were “unjustly fired.”

For those unjustly fired who don’t want to return to their former jobs, Bernier said they should be given “any severance package and unemployment benefits that a terminated employee normally receives.”

“Second, repeal all travel restrictions on planes, trains and boats for unvaccinated Canadians. These measures are useless and are a violation of our basic constitutional rights.

“Third, the government should stop bailing out provinces that devastate their economy with lockdowns, curfews, vaccine passports, and vaccine mandates.”

Bernier blamed the federal government for influencing provinces to implement COVID-19 measures with the “billions of dollars of borrowed and printed money sent by Ottawa through various programs.”

“Provincial governments should be responsible for their own decisions. If they want to impose destructive measures, they should be accountable to their own citizens,” said Bernier.

Bernier also took time to congratulate Conservative MPs including deputy leader Candice Bergen and Finance critic Pierre Poilievre who have opposed “the government’s authoritarian measures after two years of silence,” while accusing O’Toole of supporting Trudeau’s decisions throughout the pandemic.

Calling the Conservative Party of Canada a “morally and intellectually corrupt party,” Bernier suggested the “door is open” for any who would like to join the People’s Party.

Bernier said he is looking forward to the next general election and his opportunity to debate the other leaders on stage.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

AHS researched COVID manipulation tactics

Other studies linked being female and those with higher incomes with being more compliant while political conservatism was linked to those less compliant.

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An Alberta Health Services (AHS) document featuring the results of a number of studies focused on attitudes and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines has been obtained by the Western Standard.

The 63-page report dated September 2020 focused on factors that “impact attitudes towards or adherence to COVID-19 public health guidelines” and on “what interventions can create more positive attitudes towards following public health guidelines.”

It included data collected from 30 studies compiled from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand — jurisdictions considered to be somewhat similar to Alberta.

A list of key messages from the evidence summary include:

• Studies consistently show higher adherence to COVID-19 guidelines among people who (i) trust government or authorities; (ii) perceive the threat of the virus to be greater; (iii) have a greater knowledge of the pandemic, (iv) who are older; and (v) who identify as a woman.

• Accessing information through traditional news media (print; television; radio) is associated with greater guideline adherence, while use of social media is associated with a higher likelihood of endorsing conspiracy beliefs, factual misperceptions and lesser degrees of guideline adherence.

• Limited evidence suggests that distinct population groups may require distinct messaging to promote guideline adherence.

• No strategies for promoting adherence to public health COVID-19 guidelines have been robustly proven in the published scientific literature. The most promising strategies appear to be communications to increase knowledge about the pandemic and perceived threat of the virus. Moralistic messaging (e.g.linking physical distancing to being a good person/citizen) could produce problematic consequences such as ostracization of individuals who do not adhere to public health guidelines.

• As evidence on changing attitudes and behaviours related to COVID-19 is still emerging, medical and public health leaders may benefit from reviewing literature on attitude and behaviour change in other, more widely studied health and societal contexts (e.g., climate change, waste reduction, vaccination or smoking cessation) where theories and frameworks have been established.

Recommendations stemming from the study included targeting those with limited knowledge of the pandemic or those that weren’t convinced of the efficacy of public health guidelines as they are “more likely to exhibit consistently poor adherence.”

The groups identified in the study with the “higher risk of non-adherence” to the guidelines include “men, younger people, those who identify as politically conservative, and those who are prone to lower levels of trust in government or science.”

The study also recommended public health content be distributed on social media because “multiple studies found that social media users were less likely to be adherent to public health guidelines.”

The recommendations also suggested officials work with “behavioural scientists and experts in communication sciences” to craft public health messaging designed to influence behaviour change.

Other findings in the report said adherence to guidelines was related to individual characteristics such as narcissism, impulsiveness and agreeableness or societal characteristics such as individualism or collectivism.

A number of factors were listed categorizing their impact on attitude toward adherence to public health guidelines.

For instance, a greater trust in government or authority predicted greater compliance. Other studies linked being female and those with higher incomes with being more compliant while political conservatism was linked to those less compliant.

Also included in the report is a breakdown of how political affiliation affected people’s attitudes towards the virus and public health measures.

“They report that supporters of the Liberal Party are more likely to be very concerned about the virus (46%) than those who support the Conservative Party (39%), Bloc Quebecois (33%), and People’s Party of Canada (PPC) (29%),” said the report.

“Supporters of the Liberal, Green, and New Democratic Parties were slightly more likely to report making behaviour changes (making 63% of recommended changes, on average) than supporters of the Conservative Party (59% of changes), PPC (51%), and Bloc Quebecois (60%).”

A section on research gaps points to a number of important areas that have been “underexplored” including the impact of tailoring specific messaging to particular subgroups such as the Hutterite populations, First Nations Peoples and those experiencing homelessness.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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New collective agreement secures Alberta nurses as highest paid in Canada

UNA has filed more than 150 grievances on behalf of its members related to AHS’ Immunization or Testing of Workers for COVID-19 policy.

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Alberta Finance Travis Toews has announced Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the United Nurses of Alberta (UNA) have ratified a new collective agreement that will see a 4.25% pay raise for Alberta nurses.

UNA said the new collective agreement involves more than 30,000 registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses, represented by 130 UNA locals. The pay raise — spread out over the four-year deal — will keep Alberta nurses among the highest paid in Canada.

“I am pleased to hear that registered nurses have voted to accept the mediator’s recommendation. This four-year labour agreement comes after many months of dedicated negotiations,” said Toews.

“Alberta’s nurses have played a critical role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re deeply appreciative of the role they have played in caring for our friends, families and neighbours over the past two difficult years.”

As part of the new collective agreement, UNA said nurses will receive a one-time lump payment of 1% in recognition of their pandemic efforts, as well as enhanced psychological and mental health supports. UNA also said semi-annual lump-sum payments will be convereted to the wage grid.

“I also applaud the parties in arriving at an agreement that recognizes and works to address the unique labour market realities facing Alberta and North America in the recruitment and retention of registered nurses,” said Toews.

The new agreement will allot $5 million annually to recruiting and retaining staff in rural and remote Alberta. It also comes with the creation of a union-employer provincial workload advisory committee with $2.5 million allocated to relocation assistance.

AHS President and CEO, Dr. Verna Yiu brought in a mandatory COVID-19 immunization plan or AHS staff late last year. Approximately 1,650 full-and part-time AHS staff were subsequently put on involuntary leave without pay for noncompliance.

AHS was forced to walk back the mandate by providing testing options for some staff after critical staffing shortages, particularly in rural Alberta. The agency’s website details province-wide notices of physician and volunteer shortages. Red alerts due to EMS staffing shortages are also on the rise.

UNA is has filed more than 150 grievances on behalf of its members related to AHS’ Immunization or Testing of Workers for COVID-19 policy.

UNA deemed the policy “unfair, unreasonable, and discriminatory, and inconsistent with the UNA-Multi-Employer Collective Agreement.”

Amber Gosselin is a reporter with the Western Standard.
agosselin@westernstandardonline.com


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