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FACT CHECK: Did Kenney’s Sky Palace gathering break his COVID rules?

Even using the premier’s own defence, Kenney and his colleagues violated eight of its government’s guidelines and 16 of their legally binding regulations.

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It is the topic of debate across the province.

Did Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and key members of his cabinet break his own government’s COVID-19 rules as he sat with them on the penthouse patio of Edmonton’s Federal Building — famously dubbed the “Sky Palace” — complete with a bottle of whiskey and wine, on a balmy Edmonton evening?

We will break down the facts and check them against the Kenney government’s COVID-19 restrictions that remain in place.

Undisputed Facts

• The pictures appears to show Premier Jason Kenney, Environment Minister Jason Nixon, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Finance Minister Travis Toews. They are joined by an unidentified woman and an unidentified man. Two other men are seen walking away from the table.

• In total, there are eight people in the photo from different households.

• No person in the photo was wearing a mask.

• The rooftop patio is on the penthouse floor of the “Sky Palace.”

• The “Sky Palace” is licensed as a venue to serve alcohol and serve catered food on a regular basis.

• The “Sky Palace” penthouse and rooftop patio is not private property or a residence.

“Patio Dinning” or “Outdoor social gathering”?

Kenney’s defence of the meeting on the Sky Palace’s rooftop patio rests on his assertion that the meeting was an “outdoor social gathering” as defined by Stage One of his reopening plan, and not “outdoor patio dining.”

Outdoor social gatherings are permitted for up to 10 people, however outdoor patio dining is limited to just four individuals. Just what category this gathering falls under is the primary dispute between the defenders of the UCP government, and those that say they broke their own rules.

The dispute over which kind of gathering it was hinges on what the Sky Palace rooftop patio is considered to be.

It is not a residential space, despite the building’s design plans under former premier Allison Redford. It is therefore not the private space of the premier to entertain guests.

It is also not a commercial restaurant or bar, however the space is licensed to sell alcohol and cater food.

If AHS preformed a hypothetical inspection, they would have to make a determination of if the locale constituted “patio dining,” or a “outdoor social gathering.”

If it was deemed to be patio dinning, then the meeting would be in clear contravention of the Kenney government’s COVID-19 restrictions. If however the meeting was deemed to be an outdoor social gathering, they would still not be off the hook with AHS.

Household numbers

Even “outdoor social gatherings” are limited to a maximum of 10 people, and there are eight shown in the photo. By this measure, Kenney and his guests did not break their own rules.

However, the governments states “Two household cohorts maximum is encouraged.”

Every single person shown in the photo is believed to live in different households, making for eight counts of violating the guidelines, if not the regulations.

Guideline violations: 8

Physical Distancing

The government’s regulations for outdoor social gatherings requires “mandatory physical distancing must be maintained at all times between members of different households.”

All attendees at the table are within one meter of each person to their left or right. Additionally, the two men walking from the table through the door are within less than one meter from one another.

Legal Regulatory violations: 8

Moving Indoors

The government’s regulations of outdoor social gatherings further require that they “must not have an indoor component (movement in/out of homes is not permitted.”)

The photo clearly shows two men walking from the table towards the door to enter the penthouse of the Sky Palace. Unless a ladder was used, the other six attendees at the table are required to move in/out of the penthouse to reach or leave the rooftop patio.

Legal Regulatory violations: 8

Conclusion

While the meeting itself would most likely be classified by AHS as outdoor patio dining – which makes it illegal for more than four people to gather at a table – the government can argue it should be considered a outdoor social gathering.

Even if it was an outdoor social gathering, the event would still break a ream of the government’s own COVID-19 restrictions. This includes:

8 guideline violations for having members of different households.
8 legal regulatory violations for not physically distancing, and
8 legal regulatory violations forming in and out of doors.

In total, this fact check finds that even using the premier’s own defence, Kenney and his colleagues violated eight of its government’s guidelines and 16 of their legally binding regulations.

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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Linda McAuley

    June 5, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Lack of masks is not an issue if they were eating.

  2. K

    June 3, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Fuck these cheating bastards. This shouldn’t even be a thing, but here we are.

  3. Baron Not Baron

    June 3, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    What was that expression? Oh yes, SUPERSPREADERS hahahaha

  4. berta baby

    June 3, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Lock those plague spreaders up.

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News

Judge says military accounting a major mess

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

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A judge in Nova Scotia says he has no doubt Canadian Armed Forces money was swiped, but military bookkeeping is so terrible he can’t say how much.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the money was discovered to be stolen from Sydney, N.S. Garrison after an internal audit faulted the Department of National Defence for mismanagement of money-losing golf and curling clubs.

In convicting a former manager of theft, Nova Scotia Provincial Court Judge Peter Ross said he was “convinced beyond a reasonable doubt” that tens of thousands of dollars were stolen from the Sydney Garrison, but had to estimate the loss at $28,000 due to “lax accounting practices” and “sloppy recordkeeping.”

Defence lawyers in the case argued army accounting was so incompetent all evidence of theft was circumstantial.

“There are too many holes in the bucket,” the Court was told.

David Mullins, a former Department of Public Works manager, was found guilty of theft. Mullins worked as manager of the Sydney Garrison Messes for two years handling food and liquor sales, hall rentals, petty cash, bank deposits and inventory.

Court was told bookkeepers in Halifax became alarmed when the Garrison started “going into the red” and reporting bank deposits for $4,700 “deemed suspicious because it was such a round number.”

Forensic accountants found the Garrison “did not have working cash registers” and discovered $2,800 in banknotes in a filing cabinet.

“If bottles are missing, cost is what matters,” testified Roberta Sullivan, a forensic accountant with the Department of Public Works.

“If cash is missing, retail value is what matters.”

The Garrison Messes were managed by the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services branch, the same division responsible for operations of 39 military-owned sports clubs nationwide.

An earlier Non-Public Property Audit Of Special Interest Activities found the clubs lost $2.7 million annually.

The review found military clubs sold memberships to the general public in direct competition with the private sector.

“Policy dictates the combined non-military membership at a special interest activity shall not exceed 50% of the total membership,” said the report.

“Several special interest activities have requested exceptions to this, citing financial sustainability.”

“Policies require special interest activities to operate as businesses with the goal of being financially sustainable.”

“Sustainability” was widely interpreted, the report added, with unnamed club managers found to “interpret a net loss as acceptable” as long as it was subsidized by the Department of National Defence.

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

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News

Civil service mag promotes immunization passports

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

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A magazine for Canadian public service managers says the country must introduce vaccine passports, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The immunity of the population is detrimental for the safe reopening of the economy and various jurisdictions across the world are exploring the idea of immunity certificates as an enabler,” said a commentary in Canadian Government Executive, a periodical published for federal public service managers.

“After a rigorous analysis of the issue of immunity certificates, this article concludes the necessity of immunity certificates in Canada as a key enabler for the safe reopening of the society and economy in a post-Covid world.”

Any mandatory scheme would see Canadians required to carry proof of vaccination to eat at a restaurant, visit a shopping mall or go to a baseball game, said the magazine.

“They can also be used to promote economic activities such as workplace safety, tourism etcetera,” said the periodical.

The magazine acknowledged Canadians were divided on the issue and numerous foreign jurisdictions have banned vaccine passports.

“It is important to note in the United States several states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona etcetera have either banned or prevented the mandatory use,” said the commentary.

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in a May 19 statement said vaccine passports breached the Privacy Act since they compelled users and non-users alike to disclose personal health information to access public facilities.

“There must be clear legal authority for introducing use of vaccine passports,” said Therrien, adding Parliament would require “a newly enacted public health order or law” before any mandatory scheme could be introduced.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a January 14 podcast called it a divisive issue.

“I think the indications that the vast majority of Canadians are looking to get vaccinated will get us to a good place without having to take more extreme measures that could have real divisive impacts on community and country,” said Trudeau.

“I think it’s an interesting idea but I think it is also fraught with challenges. We are certainly encouraging and motivating people to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. We always know there are people who won’t get vaccinated, and not necessarily through a personal or political choice.

“There are medical reasons. There are a broad range of reasons why someone might not get vaccinated. I’m worried about creating undesirable effects in our community.”

Federal research shows about 12% of Canadians would refuse a COVID-19 vaccine under any circumstances. A total of 26% said they did not trust the Public Health Agency, according to the Statistics Canada report.

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

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Canada Post to make bank on lending operations

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

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“A roll of stamps and $30,000 please.”

That will soon be possible as, for the first time in 53 years, Albertans will be able to go to the post office for a loan.

Blacklock’s Reporter said Canada Post on Thursday confirmed outlets in Alberta and Nova Scotia will broker cash loans for the Toronto Dominion Bank.

“The market test goal is to offer the new financial service in over 249 Canada Post locations before the end of 2021,” the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said in a statement.

Post offices would offer Toronto Dominion loans of $1,000 to $30,000 at “competitive rates.”

Post offices currently sell money orders, gift cards and process electronic cash transfers but disbanded deposit-taking postal banks in 1968.

The union said loans would be issued in a test project at post offices in Halifax and Bridgewater, N.S. and surrounding rural areas, as well as Calgary and Red Deer by year’s end.

“CUPW continues to support the creation of an independent postal bank despite our current partnership with Toronto Dominion Bank,” said the union.

“Partnering with a financial institution does not put an end to the goal of an independent postal bank.”

Parliament in an 1867 Postal Act allowed post offices to hold cash deposits and offer cheque-cashing services. Postal banks at their peak in 1908 held the equivalent of a billion dollars on deposit.

A 2016 Department of Public Works survey found 39% of small business owners nationwide, and 44% on the Prairies, said they would use Canada Post banking services if offered.

The department paid $142,137 for the study by Ekos Research Associates Inc.

“I think Canada Post is very open to increased financial services, not necessarily ‘postal banking’,” Brenda McAuley, national president of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said in an earlier interview.

“I think the word ‘banking’ scares a lot of people. The banks don’t think it is necessary.

“There are islands in British Columbia where people have to take a ferry to get to a bank. We will look at pilot projects. I’ve got quite a few places on my radar.”

Canada Post in its 2020 Annual Report said it was “reinventing our retail model” at 6,084 post offices nationwide, including “assessing new financial services and options” mainly in rural Canada.

“Our vast retail network of post offices and dealer outlets across the country provides convenient locations and services with many of them offering evening and weekend hours to meet the changing needs of Canadians,” wrote management.

Jessica McDonald, then-chair of the Canada Post board, in 2018 testimony at the Commons government operations committee said the Crown corporation was “very open-minded” on resuming postal bank services.

“Postal banking has been under a tremendous amount of discussion and continues to be,” said McDonald.

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

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We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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