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Barnes and Loewen unload on Kenney and UCP as session ends

Drew Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat and Todd Loewen, MLA for Central Peace-Notley, were both expelled from the UCP caucus last month.




Two Independent Alberta MLAs marked the end of the legislative session with a blistering attack on Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP.

The joint statement was issued by Drew Barnes, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat and Todd Loewen, MLA for Central Peace-Notley, both of whom were expelled from the UCP caucus last month.

“Obviously the biggest scandals this session involved the Premier’s numerous and clear violations of his own pandemic health restrictions,” said Barnes.

“Despite clear photographic evidence to the contrary, for five days the Premier insisted that he followed the rules, before finally admitting his guilt with regard to the Sky Palace Patio-gate scandal. And everything went downhill from there.”

Loewen said: “Recent polls show that Kenney remains the least popular premier in Canada for two months running. You don’t need a degree in political science to see why.

“You would think this scandal would be enough to humble him, but no. He went on to display how out of touch he is in the session’s remainder. On at least two occasions, he used every tool at his disposal to overrule the democratically expressed will of his own party members.”

The pair said on recall legislation, UCP MLAs voted to support a system with lower signature requirements, a longer signature collection period, and fewer protections for MLAs, “Kenney didn’t like that. Instead of listening to UCP members he encouraged MLAs to vote down the changes,” Barnes and Loewen put forward that would have aligned the bill with UCP members’ passed policy.

They said Kenney did them same thing on a bill for citizen-lead referenda.

“The Premier intervened to impose his will and overrule the democratically expressed will of his own party’s members,” said Loewen.

Added Barnes: “The Premier portrays himself as a champion of democratic reform, but it is clear that ‘Professor Kenney’ has no time for any ideas but his own. His Grassroots Guarantee has become a Hypocrisy Guarantee.”

The two also blasted the UCP for its handling of the issue of rural physicians.

Loewen, in question period on May 21, noted the hospital in Fairview did not have a physician available to staff the emergency room. On June 9 the Fairview emergency room was again closed, this time for more than 12 hours.

“This is not the first-time rural emergency rooms have been shut down due to the rural physician shortage. It has become a chronic issue. It is not something people in Calgary or Edmonton would find acceptable. The government clearly has a double standard when it comes to patient care for rural communities. This is an issue of government incompetence,” said Loewen.

The pair said they plan to use the summer break to campaign for the October 18 referendum of the federal Equalization program.

‘We were both elected on a platform that included the referendum on Equalization, and we will use every tool at our disposal to fight for a fair deal for Albertans. The Equalization referendum is a small first step in that pro­cess, and it will help bring this issue to the attention of all Albertans,” said Loewen.

Barnes concluded: “Our main concern at this time is the Premier’s lack of popularity may threaten the outcome of this refer­endum. Polling indicates the public has turned firmly against Premier Kenney’s leadership. Referendums are an opportunity for the general public to speak, and this equalization referendum will be Albertans’ first opportuni­ty to send this premier a message since this government was first elected two years ago,” said Barnes.

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. Claudette Leece

    June 19, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    We need to make sure we don’t let our dislike for Kenney to not vote for equalization. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We can’t keep threatening to be independant and ignore the one tool, that shows Canada we have had enough

  2. Barbara

    June 17, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    If they really wanted to oust Kenny all these outed mlas would join the WILDROSE and vote out these corrupt weak conservatives who only represent Kenny and not their constituents.

  3. Steven Ruthven

    June 17, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Jason Kenney is a spoiler. Was he sent to Alberta purely to protect the CPC parties dominance in Western Canada? Kenney, to my knowledge, appeared out of no where. Kenney was well known & liked, at the time by Albertans & was given free run of Alberta in his blue pick up truck to Bait us into voting for him. Then Switched his allegiance from Alberta back to the CPC & O’Toole & the Conservative focus on Central Canada; Quebec.

    Well liked attitude, in Alberta, towards Jason Kenney & the CPC & O’Toole is long gone.

    Jason Kenney is being well paid to hold up autonomy for Albertans. The coming useless Equalization Referendum question is more of his smoke and mirrors.

    Be gone you lying bastard !!

  4. berta baby

    June 17, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Proud of these Alberta boys, kenney is a joke I make a point of yelling at least 3 people a day how horrible he is, had a fire last weekend at the lake 8 different folks sitting around the fire and I asked .. how many of you voted UCP last election ? Everyone put up their hand , how many would vote kenney in again ? Not one person!

    Ya communist come in many forms but in the end the ideals and the lies get them.

    I bet 2 litres of gas kenney flakes on the open for good bulll shit .


    June 17, 2021 at 11:07 am

    It is clear to me that Jason and his gang are up to no good, to say the least.

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SLOBODIAN: Decade long investigation into Manitoba residential school involves nearly 100 officers and 700 interviews

The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.




A “large and complex” decade-long investigation by RCMP has been underway into allegations of sexual abuse at a former residential school in Manitoba’s Sagkeeng First Nation.

The Fort Alexander Residential School opened in 1905 on Sagkeeng First Nation, located 120-km north of Winnipeg. In 1970 it was converted to a day school that operated for several years.

Manitoba RCMP issued a press release Tuesday confirming the major crimes unit began looking into allegations of abuse in February 2010, then launched a formal criminal investigation the following year.

RCMP began by gathering information, including reviewing archival records in both Ottawa and Manitoba. They went through thousands of documents such as student and employee lists and quarterly returns.

This involved more than 80 officers who interacted with more than 700 people across North America in an effort to find possible victims and witnesses.

“After compiling and collating all this data, investigators developed an investigative plan that began with the canvassing of people whose names had been identified in the documents as well as a door-to-door canvas in the Powerview/Fort Alexander area, where the school had been located,” said the statement.

The criminal investigation launched in 2011 involved 75 formal witnesses and victim statements.
Recently, Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson said elders and survivors have long spoken about abuse at the school and children that went missing.

The First Nation recently undertook a search of the site using ground-penetrating radar technology but has not released the results.

“Violation of the privacy rights of those involved in this investigation will not only cause further trauma to everyone involved, but also potentially compromise this highly sensitive investigation,” said Henderson. “We ask that the trauma our community has experienced and continues to live every day is respected and that those affected are afforded their privacy at this time.”

RCMP are working closely with First Nations leaders and no other criminal investigations into former residential schools are underway in Manitoba, said RCMP.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard  lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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BC increases vaccine efforts amid slowing rates, including ‘vax vans’

“Over the next two weeks, BC will push hard to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible.”




BC health officials want more people rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 shot, and say they will be increasing efforts in the coming weeks to do just that.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Dr. Penny Ballem addressed BC’s vaccine roll-out plan during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Among their announced efforts are “walk-in Wednesday” which will take place August 4 when 20,000 jabs will be made available with no need to book in advance.

Walk-in Wednesday is part of the “Vax for BC” campaign.

“I’d like to begin by thanking each and every one of the millions of British Columbian’s, like me, who have stepped up to be vaccinated,” said Henry.

“Because of this small act, we have been able to re-open our province.

“While we have made tremendous progress with our immunization plan, there is of course more work to do. We know that some people still struggle to find a convenient time in their day to get immunized, and others may still have questions, and be hesitant about the vaccine.

“So starting today, we are making it even easier for people to get vaccines. To help protect themselves, and their loved ones against COVID-19.”

Henry said the province will be introducing “custom vax vans” so people will be able to get vaccinated on their lunch break or “while cooling off at a lake.”

The province is also reducing the wait time between first and second doses from eight weeks to seven weeks.

There are currently 906,772 eligible people who have not received a dose, roughly 19.6% of the population older than 12, according to data from July 23.

Interior health has an un-vaccinated population of 26.2% while Northern health has 32.5% without a first shot.

On Monday, the Surrey Board of Trade wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Health Minister of Canada Patty Hajdu, BC Premier John Horgan, and Minister of Health Adrian Dix urging them to “implement a proof-of-immunization model.”

“We support a centralized, Canada-wide approach to COVID-19 proof-of immunization that could be easily used to confirm vaccination status for international and domestic use,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“Without inter-provincial harmonization, Canada risks a piecemeal approach, making life more difficult and unpredictable for individuals and employers during an already uncertain time.”

Last week, YVR airport implemented separate lines for vaccinated and un-vaccinated individuals prior to reaching customs.

The separation of lines – which was put in place as a federal policy – has since been removed following extensive public push-back.

As for enforcing proof-of-immunization policies at concerts, night clubs, and sporting events – an increasing number of British Columbian’s are cozying up to this idea.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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Feds silent on $120M loan to company not ‘worthy of taxpayers’ largesse”

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions.




Federal agencies yesterday remained mum about a $120 million housing loan to one of Canada’s wealthiest developers, after Cabinet earlier defended the loan as critical, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Ahmed Hussen, minister responsible for housing, told reporters. “That’s why the government is taking action to increase the supply of rental housing through projects like the one we’re announcing.”

Cabinet on July 19 announced the $120 million loan to build 302 apartments in Brampton, Ont. The developer is Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. The company’s CEO was paid $3 million in salary and benefits last year, according to corporate filings.

“This project will help over 300 local families find rental housing units,” Hussen’s department said in a statement. “A solid and reliable supply of rental housing is critical to ensuring more Canadians have access to housing that is affordable.”

Choice Properties is owned by George Weston Ltd. The developer’s 2020 net income totaled $451 million. The loan was approved through a federal program, the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, that extends 10-year, easy-term credit “for certainty during the most risky periods of development,” according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Both CMHC and the Department of Social Development declined to respond to questions. The news website Press Progress cited data from Canada Mortgage and Housing that of 302 apartments in the Brampton project, as few as 61 would rent at below-market rates. The building is scheduled for completion by 2023.

“We know that finding an affordable place to live is a challenge for many Canadians in communities across the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the time. “Today’s announcement is great news for families in Brampton. The Government of Canada will continue to invest to increase affordable housing options.”

George Weston Ltd. reported net earnings of $1.6 billion last year. It also operates the Loblaw Companies Ltd. supermarket chain that in 2019 received a $12 million federal grant to install new freezers. “Canadians might wonder why the Liberals handed over $12 million to Loblaw’s, one of Canada’s richest companies,” Conservative MP Mark Strahl (Chilliwack-Hope, B.C.) earlier told the Commons.

The freezer grant was paid under a Low Carbon Economy Fund. A now-disbanded ecoEnergy program similarly paid grants to large corporations in the name of energy efficiency.

Sobeys Inc. received $1.48 million in ecoEnergy grants in the period from 2006 to 2013. Loblaw Companies received $801,000. A total $207,968 was paid to McDonald’s Restaurants and $153,960 to Sears Canada.

“These companies are flush,” Liberal MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood, Ont.) said in an interview at the time. “Companies, given their financial statements, don’t seem to be worthy recipients of taxpayers’ largesse.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.

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