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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.

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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
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. 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 .

  5. JONATHAN DIXON

    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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News

Moe calls Unified Grassroots founder

Following the Western Standard article on Ness’ appeal for an audience with the Saskatchewan premier, he gave her a call and talked for more than an hour.

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By LEE HARDING

Unified Grassroots founder Nadine Ness finally got a phone call from Premier Scott Moe, one week and 20,000 YouTube viewers after her online request` to talk.

In a subsequent video posted December 4 entitled simply A Message From Nadine Ness, President of Unified Grassroots, the retired RCMP officer said the premier called her the evening of December 3.

“I’m gonna give credit where it’s due. He did in fact call me last night and we spoke for quite a long period of time. I’m surprised he didn’t brush me off, to be honest. It was a good, productive talk. And I foresee there being more in the future,” Ness said in the video.

Ness said she would reveal more of the content of their conversation in a subsequent Unified Grassroots Facebook post, but told Western Standard the conversation was more than an hour.

“I suspected a lot of people in Saskatchewan felt the way I felt and felt the way a lot of people in our organization feel. And I have to admit, seeing the response of that video kind of confirm my suspicions, that we’re not alone, that the people of Saskatchewan have become really concerned with the direction this province is going with the Christmas holidays approaching,” Ness said in the video.

Ness read some mainstream media headlines where articles recommended households have their own vaccine mandates and gave suggestions for how people could tell their unvaccinated family members they weren’t welcome.

“There’s this big push that maybe you shouldn’t be inviting some of your family members over for Christmas, or maybe you should be telling them they’re unwelcome. I find that really concerning. Is this really we’re where we are right now? A year ago would you have thought that you’d be thinking and feeling the way you’re thinking and feeling right now?” Ness asked.

“It makes me wonder who has taught us to think and feel this way? I can’t help to think but think that mainstream media and news organization and Premier more I’m not not gonna let you off the hook with this one, but you play a big part in this as well.”

The Christmas season was a good time to come together, not split apart, Ness said.

“I highly encourage if you have alienated anyone from your family, maybe it’s a time to call and make amends and say I’m sorry. If we don’t do something now, we’re going to look at ourselves in the mirror a year from now and not recognize who we’ve become.”

Ness, who lives near Langham, Saskatchewan, said Unified Grassroots was hosting a “hamper food / winer clothes drive, along with some Christmas music” at an as yet undecided location on December 12.

“See, that’s the Saskatchewan that I know. The Saskatchewan that I know is the one that raises the most for Telemiracle. It’s the one when a farmer is sick, the entire community comes together and combines his field; the one where we’re if someone’s having a hard time in their family, you’ll get some meals sent to your home. People will bring you food,” said the former New Brunswick native.

“And that’s the Saskatchewan that I fell in love with and decided… to make my home. I really don’t want us to become something we’re going to regret…

“It’s time we recognize that there’s a lot of hurt going on. What if we changed our focus instead of COVID, if we changed it to loving one another or caring for one another? Maybe Maybe Saskatchewan would be a better place and start going in the right direction.”

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

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News

Bernier given vote of confidence by PPC members

Bernier received the support of 95.6% of members.

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The leadership of Maxime Bernier in the People’s Party of Canada has been given an overwhelming show of support by members.

Party Executive Director, Daniel Tyrie, announced Saturday that with 15,454 votes cast and a voter participation rate of 57.5%, Bernier received the support of 95.6% of members, who had to answer Yes or No to the following question: Do you support Maxime Bernier remaining as Leader of the People’s Party of Canada? 

“I am extremely proud to know I have the support of the vast majority of our members. I believe this vote signals a strong unity within our party around the principles and policies that I have been defending since its founding,” said Bernier.

“We have grown so much over the last three years, but we’re just getting started. I have big plans for the PPC to prepare us for the 45th General Election and I am excited to get to work with this newfound mandate!” 

The leadership review was conducted online in partnership with third-party firm, SimplyVoting. The vote took place between November 12th and December 3rd. All PPC members with active membership by September 20th, 2021 (the date of the 44th General Election) were allowed to vote. Official results from SimplyVoting are available on their website at https://ppc.simplyvoting.com/index.php?mode=results&election=155777&language=en

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Sask Polytech ditches vax policy but burdens unvaxxed with testing costs

The Justice Centre is unsatisfied with the response of Sask Polytech and reiterated its intention to pursue legal action against the institution and against the University of Saskatchewan over its requirement for staff and students to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

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By LEE HARDING

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is unsatisfied with the decision of Saskatchewan Polytech to reverse its vaccination requirement for staff and students because the institute does not recognize natural immunity and imposes testing costs on the unvaccinated.

On November 19, the Justice Centre sent Sask Polytech and the University of Saskatchewan letters demanding they reverse their requirement that all staff and students be vaccinated by January 1, 2022. 

On December 1, Sask Polytech reversed its “vaccinated only” policy but now requires unvaccinated staff and students to comply with testing three times a week at their own expense. In a press release, the Justice Centre called this “unacceptable.”

“Such testing requirements for students are even greater than the Saskatchewan government’s requirements for employees of its ministries. Sask Poly has also failed to recognize the compelling scientific evidence of natural immunity for those who have already recovered from Covid-19 and have proof of antibodies,” reads a JCCF press release on Saturday.

“Testing costs, which could exceed $200 per week, mean that only the wealthy and privileged can bear the burden,” stated Andre Memauri, the Justice Centre’s Saskatoon-based lawyer.

“Sask Poly, which has chosen to impose discriminatory testing requirements for staff and students, has the ability to acquire these tests at wholesale cost.”

The Justice Centre said it would commence legal proceedings against Sask Poly in the Court of Queen’s Bench unless Sask Poly immediately absorbs the testing costs and recognizes natural immunity. 

On October 28, the U of S and Sask Polytech announced mandatory vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty, removing the alternative of twice weekly testing which had been in place since the start of the school year. The Justice Centre will also commence legal action against the U of S for refusing unvaccinated students. 

On November 26, Global News reported a 19-year-old student was hospitalized briefly with breathing problems after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The student’s mother, Michelle Marciniuk, publicly called for the university to reconsider its policy.

The U of S’ policy includes exemptions on medical and religious grounds in accordance with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. But according to the Justice Centre, the university usually rejects exemption requests or does not respond to them for several weeks. Besides this, the university has made itself the arbiter of faith considerations for religious exemptions. Medical exemptions have become a difficult document for patients to receive in Canada, due to regulatory pressure on physicians not to provide them based on their medical judgement except in very rare circumstances.

The U of S crowns itself for academic freedom, diversity, equality, human dignity and a healthy work and learning environment, yet it has harshly terminated faculty for speaking on the hallmark principle of informed consent for Covid-19 vaccination of children,” stated Andre Memauri, a U of S alum. 

“Now, the U of S seeks to exclude and villainize those who decide for various reasons not to be vaccinated…Without question, our community has been through a great deal of difficulty and it requires these institutions to lead as vessels of science not ideology…The Justice Centre demands both schools follow the science and adopt policies that bring students together in the most safe and lawful manner.”

The letters sent to both schools from the Justice Centre on November 19 warned that the schools are seeking to deprive students from education on the basis of vaccination status, contrary to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Sections 2(a), 7, and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

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